Simple Rhubarb Jam

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2 pounds rhubarb
3 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or of ½ orange and ½ lemon

Wash, trim and dice the rhubarb. You will have about 8 cups.

In a large pot combine the rhubarb, sugar, and citrus juice and toss to mix. Bring the rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 1 to 2 hours.

Set a stockpot on the stove and fill with enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Sterilize the jars in the water bath.

For a jam with some texture, set a colander over a bowl and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the rhubarb to the colander.  Bring the juices to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until thickened.  Add the rhubarb back to the pot, along with any juices that have collected in the bowl under the colander. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, and cook about 5 minutes longer.

For the smoother jam, cook the fruit with the juices over medium-high heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Bring the water bath back to a boil. Simmer the lids in a saucepan of hot water. Ladle the jam into the jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean and set the lids on the mouths of the jars. Twist on the rings.

Using a jar lifter, gently lower the jars into the pots. When the water returns to a boil, decrease the heat to an active simmer, and process the jars for 10 minutes.

Transfer the jars from the pot and let sit for at least 6 hours, until cool enough to handle. Check to be sure the jars have sealed.  Store the sealed jam for 6 months to 2 years. Once open, store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

 

Positive News of the Past Year Around the World

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With such awful news lately, here’s some good news from around the world this past year:

~ Rwanda became the first low income country to provide universal eye care to all of its citizens

~ London fashion week will no longer use animal fur in its shows

~ Ethiopia and Eritrea made peace following a 20-year conflict

~ An international agreement banned commercial fishing in the Arctic

~ The world’s first electrified road opened in Sweden

~ Global numbers of critically endangered mountain gorillas are now above 1,000

~ 70% of the world’s population is reducing their meat consumption.

~ In the UK, half of the cheapest deals are now green tariffs

~ Pakistan’s new government pledged to plant 10bn trees over five years

~ The EU banned bee-harming insecticides

~ The Belize Great Barrier Reef was removed from the UNESCO list of threatened world heritage sites

~ Colombia created the world’s largest tropical rainforest national park

~ In Germany, share of MPs with migrant backgrounds has risen from 3% to 9% in the last two elections.

#GoodNews #WorldNews

The Great Pyramid of Giza

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The Great Pyramid of Giza is the defining symbol of Egypt and the last of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World. It is located on the Giza plateau near the modern city of Cairo and was built over a twenty-year period during the reign of the king Khufu (2589-2566 BCE), also known as Cheops, of the 4th Dynasty. Until the Eiffel Tower was completed in Paris, France in 1889 the Great Pyramid was the tallest structure made by human hands in the world; a record it held for over 3,000 years.

The pyramid rises to a height of 479 feet (146 metres) with a base of 754 feet (230 metres) and is comprised of over two million blocks of stone. Some of these stones are of such immense size and weight (such as the granite slabs in the King’s Chamber) that the logistics of raising and positioning them so precisely seems an impossibility by modern standards. Exactly how it was built, however, still puzzles people in the modern day. The theory of ramps running around the outside of the structure to move the blocks into place has been largely discredited.

Contrary to the popular opinion that Egyptian monuments in general, and the Great Pyramid in particular, were built using Hebrew slave labor, the pyramids of Giza and all other temples and monuments in the country were constructed by Egyptians who were hired for their skills and compensated for their efforts. No evidence of any kind whatsoever – from any era of Egypt’s history – supports the slave labor narrative of building the pyramids.

Worker’s housing at Giza was discovered and fully documented in 1979 by Egyptologists Lehner and Hawass but, even before this evidence came to light, ancient Egyptian documentation substantiated payment to Egyptian workers for state-sponsored monuments while offering no evidence of forced labor by a slave population of any particular ethnic group. Egyptians from all over the country worked on the monument, for a variety of reasons, to build an eternal home for their king which would last through eternity.

Source: Joshua J. Mark. “Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited”, a non-profit organization registered in the UK.

#Egypt #GreatPyramidGiza #MythBusting

A new and important hominin skull from Ethiopia

An interesting and important post about the discovery of a new hominin skull by American biologist Jerry Coyne:

Why Evolution Is True

A new analysis of a remarkable hominin find in Ethiopia suggests that the species it represents, Australopithecus anamensis, may be one of the very earliest species in our lineage, and possibly the first hominin we know of that is undoubtedly part of our own genealogy. (“Hominins”, formerly called “hominids”, represent all fossils on our side of the family tree since we branched off from our common ancestor with the chimpanzees). The find has also has led to a revision of the idea that A. anamensis was the ancestor of the later A. afarensis, thought by many to be the ancestor of the genus Homo, and thus of modern Homo sapiens. (We love to know who our ancestors are, as witnessed by the popularity of companies like 23 & Me.)

A. anamensis lived from about 4.2 to 3.9 million years ago (mya) and A. afarensis from 3.9…

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The Sphinx: An Introduction

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The Sphinx

The Sphinx. What words could describe this epitome of architecture? What hints could decipher the mystery in his gaze? Most likely built during the reign of Pharaoh Khufu (4th Dynasty), the Sphinx is composed of a human head accompanied by the body of a lion.

Some people believe the Sphinx serves as a guard – protecting the pyramids from the destructive force of time. Yet several people made studies and predicted that the Sphinx gazes into that specific direction by no ordinary chance. They believe that the sphinx looks at a certain point, in the horizon, where Gods descended to earth.

Hieroglyphics and Cartouches Made Easy

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Hieroglyphics and Cartouches

Hieroglyphics was a system, an alphabet, which Ancient Egyptians used to express their thoughts in written form. Composed of over 1000 distinct and illustrious characters, cursive hieroglyphics were used for religious and historic literature – recorded on papyrus which was resourceful in Ancient Egypt. Hieroglyphics can be found at many locations – from pyramids to catacombs to Pharaoh’s tomb writings (which helped identifying them).

The major discovery, which lead to the deciphering of hieroglyphics, was made by Napoleon’s army in 1799 – the Rosetta Stone! It took over 20 years, after the discovery, to fully comprehend Ancient Egyptian scripture. The Rosetta Stone involved the same text written in 3 different languages: Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, Demotic, and Ancient Greek.

Cartouches were carved tablets, mostly made of stone, which contained a message written in Hieroglyphic script. Cartouches were sometimes used as ornaments and, at other times, as titles for pharaohs and priests. the ancient Egyptians called them “shenu”.

The deciphering of hieroglyphics and discoveries of cartouches have, together, lead us to a much better understanding of the Ancient Egypt civilization. Ancient Egypt carries a rich history and it will take much more time – a year, a decade, a century, before we can have a complete and clear vision of its society… #AncientEgypt #Hieroglyphics