Highland Cow, by Neil Paskin.
New App Measures Sky Brightness
Researchers, from the German “Loss of the Night” project, have developed an app for Android smartphones that counts the number of visible stars in the sky. The data from the app will be used by scientists to understand light pollution on a world wide scale.
“In natural areas you can see several thousand stars with the naked eye,” says Christopher Kyba, physicist at the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Freie Universität. “In Berlin, we can still see several hundred, but the situation in most large cities and world capitals is far worse.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/04/new-app-measures-sky-brightness
The use of Bones in Magic and Folklore
Bones have a wide use throughout history. Their most common use, seems to be that of a Talisman, or a form of jewelry or item enchanted for, worn, or carried for a specific magical purpose.
In some traditions the bone of a Raccoon’s penis is often tied with Red string and carried as a luck charm- specifically for luck in gambling- or to promote fertility. A black Cat’s bone carried on your person is said to be a charm against the magic of others, while the wing tip of a chicken bone dropped into the pocket of your lover is said to entice them to propose. Some folklore states that, when burning the body of an animal, if any bone is left untouched by the fire then that bone is lucky and carrying it will prevent ill luck from falling on you. The wishbone of a turtle is said to prevent a man from leaving you, where the bone from a cat’s rectum is said to make you invisible. In yet another country, the addition of chameleon bones to the food of a cheating spouse was said to restore their fidelity to their spouse. Likewise we all know the age old tradition involving the breaking of a wishbone, but who has heard of the tradition of hanging a wishbone above the door as a talisman to help someone find their true love?
Bones are especially good items to have if one works closely with death and spirits and can also be good components in Binding and Banishing magics. They may even potentially be used in protection and cleansing spells, particularly if such things apply to banishing or cleansing a spirit from an area and further protecting an area from a particular spirit. The age old tradition of salting bones before burning them in order to destroy hauntings is one such example of such usages.
Symbolism for the items can include such things like Death, Decay, Destruction, but may also extend to represent time or several other things depending on the animal or type of bones. Bones that come from a fox may be used in magics to help increase one’s cunning abilities, sneakiness, or to help one succeed in trickery or subterfuge. Other bones, like those from a Mouse, may be used in magics for resourcefulness, adaptability, or voraciousness. Likewise, the bones of an owl may be used for Wisdom, Knowledge, Secrets and Mystery.
They can be used in divination, and this is perhaps the most common usage of them outside of their widespread folkloric use as talismans. Astragalomancy (divination using dice or dice-marked knuckle bones), Ossomancy/ Osteomancy (divination using bones), and Spatilomancy (divination using skin, bones, etc.) are 3 methods that use bones as either a primary component, or as an added “ingredient” so to speak. There are also several (often closed) indigenous cultural methods that utilize bones, specifically in such cultures as African Tribal peoples.
They can also be used to create such things like Spirit Bottles and House wards, and may also act as a housing unit for House Guardians or another vessel to store spirits, or even as a sort of communication vessel to commune with them. They’re a common component in Witches Ladders for some practitioners, may be fashioned into wind-chime like items, or even simple window hangings.
And don’t forget their folk use as musical instruments, called “Playing the Bones”, or their less folkloric use in the making of tools such as sewing needles, as a precursor to the modern spiral steal boning found in corsets, or ever their appearance as early ancestors to jewelry and cutlery.
Bones even have a place in Folk Medicine and bodily health through the regular consumption and prescription of nutrient dense bone marrow, to the creation of equally rich Bone Broths. In modern day we’re seeing a re-emergence of such concepts and it’s giving way to elaborate modern cookbooks such as “Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore”.
Fans of science fiction, interstellar travel and faux documentaries are in for a treat with this awesome short film (14 minute run time) titled ‘Project Kronos’. You may recall that I had previously posted a trailer to the short film which you can find here, but the video provided is the full flick and I recommend it if you have the time!
Project Kronos is a documentary film set in the not too distant future, following a mission to achieve interstellar space travel. As the mission unfolds with extraordinary results, the scientists find themselves dealing with a much bigger agenda.