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October 15, 2013 | By Paul Whitefield
Do you like prehistoric cave paintings? No? Well, I do, and so the news that many of those paintings were apparently done by women is fascinating. Not only for what it says about our ancestors but for what it says about archeology. Writing for National Geographic, Virginia Hughes reported recently : Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Most scholars had assumed these ancient artists were predominantly men, so the finding overturns decades of archaeological dogma.
September 17, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
Deep in a Croatian cave, scientists have discovered a tiny snail with a shell that looks as if it is made of glass. The Zospeum tholussum specimen was found more than half a mile beneath the Earth's surface, in the  Lukina Jama-Trojama cave system, one of the 20 deepest cave systems in the world.  The snail is minuscule -- just 1 millimeter across. It is part of a group of snails generally found along the drainage systems of caves. Like its Zospeum cousins , Zospeum tholussum has limited eyesight and mobility, according to researchers.  "Since they are grazing microorganisms from stones, mud and wood that has been washed into the cave, they have everything around that they need," said Alexander Weigand of Goethe-University in Frankfurt, Germany, who described the snail in the journal Subterranean Biology.
June 18, 2013 | By Brad Balukjian
Cool things are found in caves: stalagmites, Christian Bale , Goonies and now a new species of assassin bug that snipes spiders, according to a new study . The labyrinth bug, named for its cave habitat ( and not the David Bowie movie ), was formally described last week in the journal Zootaxa. These spindly killers use their spiny front legs to seize small insects and other prey, and then pierce their catch with a sword-like snout in order to suck up its juices.   The new species ( Phasmatocoris labyrinthicus )
June 9, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos, Los Angeles Times
QUSAIR, Syria - A line of unmarked cars and pickup trucks ferried weary Hezbollah fighters back to Lebanon on Sunday as stunned residents began returning to this war-ravaged town, in Syrian government control again after a fierce three-week battle that ended last week. Syrian officials staged a boisterous victory rally amid the rubble, but the town they captured bore little resemblance to the one they lost to rebel forces more than a year ago. Every building within several blocks of the town's center appeared to have been badly damaged or destroyed.
May 25, 2013
By Kari Howard This week, I came across a website called Six Word Stories . The website, its creators say, was inspired by a bet from Ernest Hemingway's pals that he couldn't write a story in six words. So I thought I'd do six-word versions of this week's five Great Reads. (No, I'm not giving Hemingway's story until afterward. It would be like having the Beatles as your opening band.) “She was done with hate. Freedom.” “Papa. Mama. Why did they leave?” “The big break, with $10 water.” “Pi are squared?
April 22, 2013 | By Todd Martens
There were two questions heading into the xx's set on the main stage of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival on Saturday night. Could a band that's evolving by stripping more out of its songs hold the attention of a large festival crowd? And would R&B singer Solange make a guest appearance for a second week in a row? Both were clearly answered. Solange unfortunately didn't appear, once again making Weekend 1 the hotter ticket, but the xx continues to transfix by turning its songs into mini pieces of performance art. The xx didn't duet.
April 12, 2013 | By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
Twenty years ago, veteran caver Chris Nicola received an offer from a Ukrainian friend to explore the well-known gypsum giant caves in the western part of the European country. Nicola quickly accepted the invitation. "My family on my mother's side had Cossack roots and they were known to come from the Ukraine," the New Yorker said over the phone this week. "I thought in the back of my mind I could do some family research. " But his main reason was to visit the 77-mile long Priest's Grotto cave, which is part of an extensive gypsum cave system.
April 11, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
Add one more extraordinary survival tale to the canon of Holocaust documentaries: "No Place on Earth. " Director Janet Tobias uses a successful mix of storytelling methods as she details the strands of this remarkable, harrowing chapter. For 511 days, between 1943 and 1944, 38 members of two related Jewish families - the Stermers and the Wexlers - eluded the Nazis by living underground in two caves in western Ukraine, the fairly accessible Verteba followed by the far deeper Priest's Grotto.
April 9, 2013 | By Gina McIntyre, Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - Nick Cave, the moody Australian statesman of majestic post-punk folk rock, was only midway through answering the second question of an early interview in Manhattan when he stopped the conversation to try to clarify a point. Settling in at a corner table in the sumptuous lobby of a boutique hotel downtown, dressed in a striped satin shirt and black sport coat, Cave had been describing the improvisational approach he and his band, the Bad Seeds, took to writing the nine songs featured on their latest studio album, "Push the Sky Away.
April 8, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun
Federal biologists on Monday confirmed the presence of a lethal fungus known as white-nose syndrome at Alabama's Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge, home of the largest wintering colony of endangered gray bats. With more than 1 million hibernating gray bats, Fern Cave is the most significant hibernaculum for the species. Documentation of the disease in its maze of chilly sinkholes and galleries  “is extremely alarming and could be catastrophic,” said Paul McKenzie, endangered species coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
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