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Comic book convention bans Kevin Sorbo over friendship with Sean Hannity

The founder of a popular New Jersey comic book convention reportedly banned famed actor Kevin Sorbo because of his friendship with Sean Hannity.

“I turned down Kevin Sorbo for East Coast Comicon,” founder Cliff Galbraith wrote on Facebook. “He’s pals with Sean Hannity. I just can’t do it.”

Sorbo is a popular figure at comic conventions – known for starring in “Hercules.” He is also a devout Christian. And he also happens to be a friend of Hannity.

Hannity was the executive producer and financed “Let There Be Light,” a hugely successful faith-based film that starred Sorbo.

“I’ve never even heard of the East Coast Comicon,” Sorbo told the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “They don’t have any A-Listers attending. I think they are looking for free publicity.”

I reached out to the East Coast Comicon but they did not respond to my inquiries.

Hannity told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show” that Galbraith is “just mad that comic book movies are just boring formulaic Hollywood drivel that people are tired of.”

“And ‘Let There Be Light’ was a breakout hit without any Hollywood support,” Hannity said.

“Let There Be Light was the fourth highest-grossing faith-based film in 2017 and they were second in box office receipts against Thor’s opening weekend.

“I’ll pity the poor insecure guy who cannot escape his comic book world, and handle a little real world truth and reality and an opposing viewpoint,” Hannity told the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “Take that Batman.”

Sorbo said he was not terribly surprised to learn about Galbraith’s snub.

“The Left always screams about tolerance and freedom of speech, but it’s a one-way street for them,” he said. “I don’t get upset with someone having a different point of view.”

A poster for last year’s comic book convention featured the Statue of Liberty cloaked in terms like homophobia, misogyny, racism, xenophobia, voter suppression – well, you get the point.

Galbraith’s Twitter feed is filled with all sorts of anti-Trump rantings – including this one:

“Who was stupid enough to buy a condo from Trump? You supported him years ago by buying a condo from him. His name should be branded on your forehead.”

This guy sounds like a cross between Lex Luthor and the Joker.

“The Left gets so angry and they go crazy,” Sorbo told the Todd Starnes Radio Show. “What are you going to do? It is what they are.”

From a business standpoint, it would make sense for the East Coast Comicon to invite Sorbo. He’s a successful movie actor with a massive fan base.

But if a businessman wants to put politics in front of profits, so be it.

The East Coast Comicon is under no constitutional mandate to invite Kevin Sorbo. Likewise, freedom-loving comic book fans are under no constitutional obligation to attend the East Coast Comicon.

By the way, the “Let There Be Light DVD launches on Feb. 27th.

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Terrifying shark with extendable jaws like the ‘Alien’ monster is dragged from the deep

Scientists were left baffled after catching a rare shark that can extend its jaws beyond its mouth – just like the monster from sci-fi hit “Alien.”

It seizes its pray with its rapidly extending jaws – which can be used to swallow large fish with one bite.

The glow-in-the-dark beast is so incredibly rare that only a handful have been caught since they were first discovered in 1986.

Describing them, it said: “The most obvious feature are the needle-shaped teeth, like snake-like fangs; this is also the origin of viper shark name.”

Because they are so seldom seen, little is known about viper sharks =- but they’re believed to migrate from 300m-400m deep during the day to 150m deep at night.

Of the latest specimens – which were caught at a depth of 350m – four were dead and the living shark was immersed in cool seawater, but died a day later.

The viper shark diet comprises crustaceans and bony fishes, including lanternfishes – perhaps attracted by the predator’s glowing body.

The species was first discovered in 1986 off the coast of Shikoku Island, Japan, by the bottom-trawler, Seiryo-Maru.

Its scientific name Trigonognathus kabeyai honours the fishing vessel’s captain, Hiromichi Kabeya.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

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Prehistoric ‘paradise’ with trove of flint axes discovered in Israel

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a prehistoric ‘paradise’ dating back half a million years.

Experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University have been excavating the site at Jaljulia in Central Israel in recent months, unearthing hundreds of flint hand axes.

“The site of Jaljulia is unique and very special,” explained Professor Ron Barkai, head of the archaeology department at Tel Aviv University, in a video posted to YouTube. “It was used by people half a million years ago, it was covered rapidly by sediment – nobody knew that it was here.”

Archaeologists say that the site, which is on the banks of an ancient stream (now flowing about a third of a mile to the south), was rich in vegetation and herding animals. In a statement, Barkai and Maayan Shemer, who directed the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities authority, described the site as a “green spot” in the landscape.

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The excavation at Jaljulia. (Samuel Magal, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

The excavation offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of prehistoric humans living during the Lower Paleolithic period. Specifically, the haul of teardrop-shaped flint hand axes is evidence of activity by Homo Erectus, a direct ancestor of modern humans.

“A river was running here, running from East to West, bringing with it a lot of flint nodules,” explained Barkai, noting that the nodules were used to create flint tools and butcher animals. “Animals came here because of the water, so for people it was like a paradise, so they came here again and again.”

“The findings are amazing, both in their preservation state and in their implications about our understanding of this ancient material culture,” Shemer added in the statement. “We see here a wide technological variety, and there is no doubt that researching these finds in-depth will contribute greatly to the understanding of the lifestyle and human behavior during the period in which Homo Erectus inhabited our area.”

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Maayan Shemer, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority, showing a half-million year-old hand axe. (Samuel Magal, Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority)

The discovery is the latest fascinating prehistoric find in Israel. In 2016, experts found the remains of 780,000-year-old edible plants, shedding light on the diet of early humans.

In 2014, a 300,000-year-old hearth was discovered in the Qesem Cave near the town of Rosh Ha’ayin in Central Israel. The Qesem Cave is about 3 miles to the south of the Jaljulia excavation site.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Scientific breakthrough? Experts find way to reverse aging

It’s understood that degenerative diseases like Alzheimers and cancer can make a person’s “golden years” look pretty bleak. However, there’s some hope on the horizon thanks to some new research from England. A research team at the University of Exeter has found a way to possibly stave off these diseases by making older cells act and look like younger ones.

Older cells have a tendency to stop dividing (or splicing) as people age, which can lead to a host of degenerative diseases. The body cleanses itself of these cells most the time, but they can begin to pile up as an older immune system starts to break down.

“We had seen from human populations and old cells that the splicing factors get downregulated as we age, so you can’t adapt as well to challenges in your internal and external environment,” study leader and University of Exeter Professor of Molecular Genetics Lorna Harries told Fox News. “What we didn’t know was whether these changes were a cause of aging or just an effect.”

The researchers found some inspiration from resveratrol, a chemical found naturally in dark chocolate, blueberries and red wine. Harries had seen some reports that suggested the chemical was capable of switching back on a few of the 170 different splicing factors, and wondered if resveratrol could moderate the levels of the rest of them as well.

But experts say don’t start downing red wine just yet.

“We really aren’t trying to tell people that chocolate or red wine makes you look younger or live longer,” Harries said. “This is how a lot of the media have painted it!”

Though resveratrol’s regenerative effects have been documented before, Harries and her team found that creating a compound that could mimic resveratol’s regenerative mechanism was more effective than resveratrol itself.

“In actual fact, we didn’t just use resveratrol, as this compound has lots of other effects,” she explained. “In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Brighton, we made a series of other chemicals that resembled resveratrol but were not identical and had different properties, which allowed us to isolate the effects on splicing factor levels from the other effects of resveratrol.”

The team experimented with the new compound, testing its effects on living human cells in a lab. To their surprise, the cells began rejuvenating.

DNA BREAKTHROUGH: SCIENTISTS REPAIR GENES IN HUMAN EMBRYOS TO PREVENT INHERITED DISEASES

“I had anticipated that we might see some changes in splicing factor levels, but we really didn’t anticipate to see such marked changes in the levels of old cells in the cell population,” Harries added. “That was something of a surprise.”

The team now believes that rather than each degenerative disease of aging having a unique cause, a lot of them actually share common causes and that the changes in splicing factor expression could be just one of these. By addressing these causes, theoretically you could attack a number of diseases at once– including common ailments in the elderly like cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes.

So when can we see this technology at work? Unfortunately, Harries predicts it’s at least 20 to 30 years away.

“We need to pinpoint exactly how the splicing factors are causing the cells to rejuvenate, and identify the key points where we could intervene to stop them declining as we age, or to restore them once the damage is done,” she said. “We’re now addressing why the splicing factors get switched off as we age, what the downstream consequences of this are for the regulation of our genes and the behavior of our cells, and also to identify new ways by which we might be able to intervene in these processes.”

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Archaeologists find tunnel that may emulate underworld

What would make the discovery of a secret passageway under Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon even more intriguing? A theory that the tunnel was used to emulate the underworld, to start.

CT scans performed by archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History in June indicate that a tunnel about 30 feet underground spans from the pre-Aztec pyramid to the middle of its outer central square, reports Live Science.

They say it’s possible the tunnel was used for ritualistic purposes, such as ceremonies marking the different agricultural cycles. “The function of the tunnel may have been to reproduce the underworld, a world where life, animals, and plants originated,” says archaeologist Verónica Ortega, per the International Business Times. Construction began on the Pyramid of the Moon in 100 BC; it was initially a small platform that grew in stages over roughly 500 years to a height of 150 feet. The pyramid is believed to have been the site of human sacrifices and other grisly rituals, indicated by its tombs holding human and animal remains. Researchers believe the tunnel below it may contain artifacts that reveal more about the ancient civilization, but further investigation is needed to confirm the tunnel’s existence before it can be explored. A passageway below the Temple of the Sun, Teotihuacan’s largest pyramid, was discovered in the ’70s but had been looted several centuries prior. An interesting side note from the AP: In contrast to other ancient Mexican sites, no remains believed to belong to Teotihuacan’s rulers have ever been uncovered. (Meanwhile, a 3,000-year-old prosthetic toe was found in Egypt).

This article originally appeared on Newser: Archaeologists Find Tunnel That May Emulate Underworld

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Spy satellites, drones, help experts discover lost city in Iraq founded after Alexander the Great

Archaeologists have harnessed spy satellite imagery and drones to help identify the site of an ancient lost city in Northern Iraq.

Experts at the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme have been working at the Qalatga Darband site, which is 6.2 miles southeast of Rania in Iraqi Kurdistan. Backed by U.K. government funding, the project involves archaeologists from the British Museum and their Iraqi counterparts.

Qalatga Darband was first spotted when archaeologists analyzed U.S. spy satellite imagery from the 1960s that was declassified in the 1990s. Experts at the British Museum used the data to map a large number of carved limestone blocks at the site, indicating substantial remains. A drone survey highlighted other buildings that may be buried at the site.

The site, which overlooks the Lower Zab river at the western edge of the Zagros Mountains, is part of a historic route from ancient Mesopotamia to Iran. Alexander the Great passed through the area in 331 B.C. when his army was pursuing Persian King Darius III after defeating him at the battle of Gaugamela. The site was also at the eastern edge of the Assyrian Empire in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., according to the British Museum.

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Statue of a nude male discovered at Qalatga Darband  (© Trustees of British Museum)

Excavations at Qalatga Darband have given archaeologists a fascinating glimpse into the life of the ancient city. Initial analysis suggests that the city was founded by the Seleucids, who inherited the empire of Alexander the Great. Hellenist, or Greek, influences, were still strong in the region during the Seleucid era. The site is thought to have survived the subsequent overthrow of the Seleucid Empire, when Qalatga Darband came under Parthian rule.

“A systematic collection of surface ceramics has been carried out, analysis of which has for the first time established that the site can be dated to the first and second centuries BC,” explained the British Museum, in a press release. Excavations revealed a large fortified structure at the north end of the site, stone presses that may have been used for wine production, and Greco-Roman architecture, such as the use of terracotta roof tiles.

When archaeologists investigated a huge stone mound at the southern end of the site, they found the remains of a large building, which given the presence of smashed statuary, may have been a temple for worshipping Greco-Roman deities. The smashed statues include a seated female figure that may be the Greek goddess Persephone and a half life-sized nude male figure that may be Adonis.

A nearby site, Usu Aska, has revealed a fort tentatively dated to time of the ancient Assyrians. A grave cut into the Assyrian remains contained a coin dating to the time Parthian King Orodes II, around 57 to 38 B.C. “The discovery of a fort dating to the time of the Assyrian period will generate information on a corner of the empire which is virtually unknown, while the discovery of a city established in the wake of the conquests of Alexander the Great is already yielding evidence for the fundamental changes wrought by the advent of Hellenism,” explained the British Museum.

The Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme was set up in 2015 in response to the devastation wrought by the Islamic State.

During its reign of terror, ISIS launched a series of wanton attacks on sites of historic and religious importance across a swathe of Iraq and Syria. Last year, for example, ISIS released a video that showed militants using sledgehammers and drills to destroy artifacts in Iraq’s Mosul Museum.

In 2015, ISIS took control of the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and subsequently demolished some of its best-known monuments, such as the Temple of Ba’al. The jihadists, who beheaded the city’s former antiquities chief, also used Palmyra’s ancient amphitheater for public executions.

Last year, a Christian saint’s bones were reportedly unearthed amid the rubble of an ancient Syrian monastery destroyed by ISIS.

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Crusader-era hand grenade surprises archaeologists

3.	A hand grenade that is hundreds of years old which was found in the sea. (Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority)

3. A hand grenade that is hundreds of years old which was found in the sea. (Photographic credit: Amir Gorzalczany, Israel Antiquities Authority)

A centuries-old hand grenade that may date back to the time of the crusaders is among a host of treasures retrieved from the sea in Israel.

The metal artifacts, some of which are more than 3,500 years old, were found over a period of years by the late Marcel Mazliah, a worker at the Hadera power plant in northern Israel.

Mazliah’s family recently presented the treasures to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Experts, who were surprised by the haul, think that the objects probably fell overboard from a medieval metal merchant’s ship.

The hand grenade was a common weapon in Israel during the Crusader era, which began in the 11th century and lasted until the 13th century, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority. Grenades were also used 12th and 13th century Ayyubid period and the Mamluk era, which ran from the 13thto the 16th century, experts say.

Haaretz reports that early grenades were often used to disperse burning flammable liquid. However, some experts believe that so-called ancient grenades were actually used to contain perfume.

The oldest items found in the sea by Mazliah are a toggle pin and the head of a knife from the Middle Bronze, which date back more than 3,500 years. Ayala Lester, a curator at the Israel Antiquities Authority, explained that other items, such as two mortars, two pestles and candlestick fragments, date to the 11th-century Fatimid period. “The items were apparently manufactured in Syria and were brought to Israel,” she said, in a statement. “The finds are evidence of the metal trade that was conducted during this period.”

Experts in Israel regularly unearth fascinating sites and artifacts. Archaeologists in Western Galilee, for example, recently uncovered a 1,600-year-old ceramics workshop and a kiln. Another dig at an ancient synagogue in northern Israel revealed stunning mosaics depicting Noah’s Ark and the parting of the Red Sea.

However, the recent discovery of a 3,000-year-old graveyard in Ashkelon, hailed as a key find from the Philistine era, has sparked historical debate among archaeologists.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers.

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