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Ex-bikini model warns against lifestyle: What ‘a warped brain I had’

 (iStock)

Leaders of the #fitspo movement solicit heaps of praise on social media, but what it really takes to achieve a viral-worthy transformation photo often remains hidden from public view.

Former bikini competitor Julie Ledbetter, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, has illuminated some of those secrets in a viral Instagram post — and, she divulges, the journey isn’t always pretty.

“I was almost in the single digits for body fat % (not healthy), constantly cold (in the middle of JULY), always thinking about my next meal because I was in a deep caloric deficit and couldn’t miss a gym session because ‘I was ___ weeks out from my show,’” Ledbetter writes in the post.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTDDutuFTbq/embed/?cr=1&v=7#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A9743.995%7DNot so anymore. Since abandoning the competitions, she’s lost her six-pack and buff arms — but she’s also gotten her life back, she writes.

To show how she’s changed, Ledbetter shares a reverse side-by-side transformation photo: one showing her in 2014 before she won a bikini competition and another showing her today, when she’s “happy, healthy and free” with no plans to compete anymore.

She recalled sending the 2014 photo to her coach at the time, asking him if she still needed to shed more weight before the competition.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BRHkQNOl3k4/embed/?cr=1&v=7#%7B%22ci%22%3A1%2C%22os%22%3A9770.000000000002%7D“Talked (sic) about a WARPED brain I had,” she writes.

In the post, she clarifies that she isn’t bashing bikini competitions themselves. Rather, she urges her followers not to compare themselves to women like her former self. Not only did she find the lifestyle unsustainable, but many of the images that grace magazine covers are Photoshopped to look unrealistic, she warns.

“The body on the right is a maintainable body,” she writes. “I am at a healthy body fat %, I am not constantly thinking about my next meal or stressed when things take priority over my workouts. I am strong, content and most importantly confident of the body I have built since 2014. This body is something that I can confidently say I can maintain for life.”

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Fracking isn’t contaminating groundwater, study finds

New research claims that fracking isn't contaminating groundwater.

New research claims that fracking isn’t contaminating groundwater.  (Reuters, File)

A major anti-fracking argument by environmentalists may not have the facts to back it up, a new study conducted by Duke University found.

Fracking has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, according to the peer-reviewed study published this month in a European journal.

“Based on consistent evidence from comprehensive testing, we found no indication of groundwater contamination over the three-year course of our study,” explained Avner Vengosh, the professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

TAPPED OUT: SCIENCE SHUTS DOWN AN ANTI-FRACKING MYTH ABOUT DRINKING WATER

The growing industry could help create as many as 3.5 million jobs by 2035, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

While the study concluded that fracking didn’t contaminate groundwater, the researchers did say accidental spills of fracking wastewater could be dangerous to surface water in the area.

VIDEO: IS FRACKING REALLY SO BAD?

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”However, we did find that spill water associated with fracked wells and their wastewater has an impact on the quality of streams in areas of intense shale gas development,” Vengosh added.

“The bottom-line assessment,” he continued, “is that groundwater is so far not being impacted, but surface water is more readily contaminated because of the frequency of spills.”

To complete the research, water samples from 112 drinking wells in northwestern West Virginia were evaluated during a three year period. Twenty of the water wells were sampled prior to drilling or fracking started in the area in order to obtain a baseline for later comparisons.

Tests demonstrated the presence of saline groundwater and methane in both the pre-drilling and post-drilling well water samples. But the samples had a chemistry slightly but distinctly different from the methane and salts found in fracking fluids and shale gas. The findings indicated that the elements occurred naturally in the region’s permeable rock and weren’t related to the result of recent shale gas operations at the site.

The study appears in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

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The Victorian-Era Supercomputer And The Genius Who Created It

The London Science Museum finally completed work on the Victorian era’s greatest supercomputer, the Difference Engine No. 2, 120 years after the death of inventor Charles Babbage. This five-ton machine is currently traveling across the pond to San Francisco, and will go on display in America for the first time starting May 10th at the Computer History Museum. Find out everything you wanted to know about Charles Babbage and his wonderful engines in today’s triviagasm.

  • Babbage had a life-threatening fever when he was 8 years old, and the parents ordered that his “brain was not to be taxed too much.” Babbage later thought that this left him free to daydream, which led to his computers.
  • Babbage was later schooled at the Holmwood Academy, which only had 30 students. They also had a massive library, with many books focused on mathematics, which he fell in love with.
  • He worked on calculating machine designs from other inventor/mathematicians like Blaise Pascal, Wilhelm Schickard, and Gottfried Leibniz. All of these men had designed working calculators from the 1500s on. In Shickard’s case, he had invented a calculating machine called “The Speeding Clock” that could work with six-digit numbers and would ring a bell to indicate memory overflow. It was later destroyed in a fire, but a working replica was constructed in 1960.
  • Babbage himself first proposed building a “calculating engine” with much more capacity in 1822, and he went on to design several machines which he called “Difference Engines.” Sadly, they were never built because of their enormous size, cost, and also because Babbage’s personality frequently clashed with investors. Also, in 1827, Babbage’s father, wife, and two of his sons died… all in the same year. He had a resulting mental breakdown which further delayed any construction or design.
  • The first Difference Engine design had over 25,000 parts, would have been eight feet high, and would have weighed 15 tons. It was never fully completed during his lifetime, although different sections were later assembled and shown to work by his son, Henry Provost Babbage, after he inherited them.
  • Babbage revised his designs for the Difference Engine No. 2, although this was never built during his lifetime either. In 1989, the London Science Museum began constructing one from his designs, and it was completed in 1991. It has 8,000 parts of bronze, cast iron and steel, weighs five tons and measures eleven feet long and seven feet high.
  • Only two versions of this Engine exist: the one built for the London Science Museum, and a second one that was built by the museum on special commission for millionaire Nathan Myhrvold.
  • The first completed Difference Engine No. 2 performed its first calculation in 1991, and returned results to more than 31 digits. That’s more than your souped-up pocket calculator.
  • A separate printing unit that Babbage designed was constructed for the Engine in 2000 and didn’t need USB a to b cables or a serial interface. Pretty fancy stuff for the 19th Century.
  • Babbage improved on his Difference Engine ideas again by working on plans for an Analytical Engine that could be reprogrammed by inserting programs on punch cards into the machine. This was the first programmable computer, which later led to other scientists improving on these ideas and eventually to the modern computer.
  • Besides working on engines and calculating machines, Babbage also served as a mathematics professor at Cambridge for many years, won a Gold Medal from the Royal Astronomical Society, working on railroad rail gauges, invented uniform postal rates, ran for Parliament, worked in cryptography, and also invented the “pilot” (better known as a cow-catcher) that was mounted on the front of locomotives to “push” cows off the tracks to help prevent derailings.
  • Babbage also didn’t suffer from what he called public nuisance very well, either. He published “Observations of Street Nuisances” in 1864, which was a summary of 165 nuisances that he observed over 80 days. He also wrote “Table of the Relative Frequency of the Causes of Breakage of Plate Glass Windows” after counting the broken windows on a nearby factory.
  • On a side note, growing up in Dallas, Texas, I used to beg my parents to take me to a little software shop to buy computer games. It was called Babbage’s. Today it’s better known as GameStop, but I still have a soft spot for that geeky little store.
  • To this date, Charles Babbage’s brain is preserved in a glass jar at the London Science Museum, just awaiting the perfect moment for reanimation.

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Christians most persecuted group in the world as vicious attacks grow

April 10, 2017 Women pass by the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt. ISIS has recently increased their attacks on Egypt's Christian community.

April 10, 2017 Women pass by the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt. ISIS has recently increased their attacks on Egypt’s Christian community.  (REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany )

The recent Palm Sunday bombings at two Egyptian churches that killed 44 worshippers and wounded more than 100 others are the latest in a spate of deadly attacks targeting the world’s Christians.

Nearly 90,000 of the faithful were killed for their beliefs in violent and gruesome attacks last year, according to a report by the Center for Studies on New Religions, making Christians the most persecuted group in the world. While some were killed as part of state-sanctioned persecution, as in places like North Korea, nearly one-third of the Christians who died in 2016 were executed at the hands of Islamic extremists like ISIS.

The study also found that as many as 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016.

“There are many places on Earth where being a Christian is the most dangerous thing you can be,” Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project told Fox News in January.

Some of the more violent attacks on Christians include: terror groups in Nigeria taking out the eyes of Christians before butchering them; a mob of Muslim worshippers in Uganda — mad over conversion efforts — entering a church and beating parishioners and raping at least a dozen women; and the numerous bombings of Coptic churches in Egypt.

The violence against Christians has been on the rise over the past two years, with assailants growing more ferocious with each attack.

In October 2016, more than 40 Christians were killed in the village of GodoGodo, Nigeria, by Muslim Fulani Herdsman. The mostly Christian town was burned to the ground and crops and grazing land was destroyed by the herdsmen, who shot and slashed dozens of the fleeing villagers. In addition, more than 300 were left severely injured.

In the war-torn Central African Republic, more than a dozen Christian refugees were hacked by machete-wielding militia fighters, also in October 2016. Fighters from the republic’s largely Muslim Sleeka militia attacked refugees living in the village of Kaga Bandoro. More than 50 people were injured and another 13 were killed before U.N. peacekeepers from a nearby camp stopped the bloodshed.

In February 2015, a video was released by the Islamic State showing the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya.

The tape showed the victims — who were migrant workers kidnapped in the city of Sirte — kneeling in orange jumpsuits on a beach along the southern Mediterranean coast before they were beheaded.

“Oh people, recently you’ve seen us on the hills of Al-Sham [Greater Syria] and on Dabiq’s Plain, chopping off the heads that had been carrying the cross delusion for a long time, filled with spite against Islam and Muslims, and today we… are sending another message,” said one of their captives in English before the decapitations.

While the video, experts say, was doctored to make ISIS soldiers appear larger than life, no one holds out hope the victims, mostly poor fishermen who had gone to Libya for work, are alive. The following day, after the clip went viral, Egyptian warplanes launched airstrikes on a port city near Tripoli, where the video appeared to have been filmed.

The Coptic Christian community has become what is seemingly a top target for ISIS. Worshippers on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the northern part of the country have been under siege.

The Sinai Peninsula — where northeastern Egypt shares its borders with Gaza and Israel — has been the center of an ongoing conflict between Islamists and Egyptian forces for years, but in recent times the Islamic State and their local affiliates, known as the “Sinai Province,” have been attempting to drive the Coptic population out of the northern Mediterranean city of Al Arish.

While the Christian population of the city has had to flee from threats before, their plight has taken a dark turn in 2017. With a recent call from ISIS for the Copts on the peninsula to be killed, more than 100 families had to flee amid attacks – including the executions of their loved ones.

In the Palm Sunday attacks in Egypt, at least 44 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in the bombings — which ISIS claimed responsibility for.

The first blast occurred at St. George Church in the Nile Delta town of Tanta, where at least 27 people were killed and 78 others wounded, officials said.

Television footage showed the inside of the church, where a large number of people gathered around what appeared to be lifeless, bloody bodies covered with papers.

The second explosion – which Egypt’s Interior Ministry says was caused by a suicide bomber who tried to storm St. Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria — left at least 17 dead, and 48 injured.

The attack came just after Pope Tawadros II — leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria — finished services. He reportedly was unhurt.

The blasts came at the start of Holy Week leading up to Easter, the most solemn time for Christians and just weeks before Pope Francis is due to visit Egypt. The attacks led Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to call for a three-month long state of emergency.

Christians continue to live in fear of practicing their faith, and there are no signs the slaughter soon will be coming to an end.

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych

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Scientists issue dire warning about tomb of Jesus

Few places are more holy to Christians than what’s thought to be Christ’s tomb in Jerusalem, but scientists are now warning that there’s a “very real risk” of collapse at the site.

Researchers from the National Technical University of Athens say the Edicule, a shrine that encloses the cave where the faithful believe Jesus was buried and resurrected, faces “catastrophic” collapse if issues aren’t remedied soon, National Geographic reports.

The Edicule itself is inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Scientists discovered the decaying foundation—which they say is further destabilized by the fact that it’s built on rubble and atop a network of tunnels and channels—during a months-long, $4 million restoration project that was unveiled earlier this week.

“This is a complete transformation of the monument,” Bonnie Burnham, an ex-chief for the World Monuments Fund, said Monday at the unveiling, per the AP.

During the renovation, however, extensive structural problems were uncovered by camera bots and ground-penetrating radar. The general instability of the site has been known for almost a hundred years, but varying Christian sects have been fighting over who has custody of the site and didn’t come to a restoration agreement until March 2016.

What the NTUA says is needed now: a new $6.5 million project that could take close to another year as workers grout rotting mortar and install sewage and rainwater drainage systems around the shrine.

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Walking dead? Medieval villagers zombie-proofed their corpses

Here, knife-marks can been seen on the surfaces of two rib fragments. Cut-marks and chop-marks are the bones suggest the bodies had been mutilated after death.

Here, knife-marks can been seen on the surfaces of two rib fragments. Cut-marks and chop-marks are the bones suggest the bodies had been mutilated after death.  (Historic England)

Zombies are hardly a modern preoccupation. For centuries, people have been worried about corpses rising from their graves to torment the living. Now, archaeologists in England think they’ve found evidence of medieval methods to prevent the dead from walking.

The researchers revisited a pit of human remains that had been dug up at Wharram Percy, an abandoned village in North Yorkshire that dates back to nearly 1,000 years ago. The corpses had been burned and mutilated after death, and the archaeologists offered two possible explanations: either the condition of the corpses was due to cannibalism, or the bodies were dismembered to ensure they wouldn’t walk from their graves, according to the study published April 2 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Study leader Simon Mays, a human-skeletal biologist at Historic England, said the idea that the bones “are the remains of corpses burnt and dismembered to stop them walking from their graves seems to fit the evidence best.” [See Photos of the ‘Zombie’ Burial at Wharram Percy]

People at the time believed that reanimation could occur when individuals who had a strong life force committed evil deeds before death, or when individuals experienced a sudden or violent death, Mays and his colleagues wrote. To stop these corpses from haunting the living, English medieval texts suggest that bodies would be dug up and subjected to mutilation and burning.

When the jumbled bones were first excavated in the 1960s, they were originally interpreted as dating from earlier, perhaps Roman-era, burials that were inadvertently disturbed and reburied by villagers in the late Middle Ages. The bones were buried in unconsecrated ground, after all —near a house and not in the official cemetery.

However, radiocarbon dating showed that the bones were contemporary with the medieval town, and chemical analyses revealed that the bones came from people who were local to the region.

What happened to the corpses after death could rival scenes from a gory zombie movie.

The bones from Wharram Percy came from at least 10 people between the ages of 2 and 50, according to the new study. Burning patterns from experiments with cadavers suggest that the bodies were set ablaze when the bones still had flesh on them. (A fleshed corpse was thought to be more threatening than a bare skeleton.) The scientists also found cut marks consistent with dismemberment, and chop marks that suggest the skeletons were decapitated after death.

“If we are right, then this is the first good archaeological evidence we have for this practice,” Mays said in a statement , referring to the zombie-safety precautions. “It shows us a dark side of medieval beliefs and provides a graphic reminder of how different the medieval view of the world was from our own.”

Stephen Gordon , a scholar of medieval and early-modern supernatural belief, who was not involved in the study, said he found the interpretation plausible. [7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires]

“Although, of course, one cannot discount the possibility that cannibalism was indeed a cause, I do think the evidence veers toward a local belief in the dangerous dead,” Gordon told Live Science in an email.

Gordon noted that several examples of revenants, or reanimated corpses , come from 12th-century northern English sources, so archaeological evidence from Yorkshire from around 1100 to 1300 is certainly to be expected.

There are still some mysteries concerning the bones, the authors of the study noted, such as how the human remains ended up together in this particular pit, especially since they span the 11th to 13th centuries. It’s also unclear why, if the corpses were feared, they would be reburied in a domestic context.

What’s more, revenants, at least according to written English sources, were commonly associated with males, but skeletons from both sexes and children were found in the pit. Gordon, however, doesn’t think this should invalidate the walking-dead argument.

“The written evidence in English chronicles and saints’ lives, which focus on male revenants, represents just a small (and highly constructed) snapshot of the realities of everyday belief,” Gordon said in the email.

A bishop of the Holy Roman Empire, Burchard of Worms, writing around A.D. 1000, “alludes to the fact that children who died before baptism, or women who died in childbirth, were believed to walk after death and needed to be ‘transfixed,'” Gordon said. He pointed to another case, from the 14th-century Bohemian chronicler Neplach of Opatovice, in which a female walking corpse had to be cremated. “As such, it is possible that female corpses were indeed believed to walk after death in England.”

The bones from Wharram Percy might not represent the very first revenant burial found in Europe. In several so-called ” vampire burials ” in a 17th-century Polish cemetery, the corpses have sickles around their necks. One interpretation is that the blades were meant to keep the dead from rising.

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Man who lived 700 years ago gets brand-new face

(Credit: Dr. Chris Rynn, University of Dundee)

(Credit: Dr. Chris Rynn, University of Dundee)

Gizmodo calls his face “haunting,” but to UK researchers, seeing the mug of the man known as Context 958 is nothing short of astounding. His visage was revealed at the two-week-long Cambridge Science Festival this month, as were details about who he was: in short, a 13th-century working-class man who died in middle age, had apparently lived a life of indigence, and whose face was reconstructed by scientists based on his teeth and bones, per a Cambridge press release.

Context 958’s skeleton, analyzed as part of the university’s “After the Plague” project, was discovered along with about 400 others between 2010 and 2012 in a medieval-era graveyard underneath one of the college’s schools.

The bodies, which date from the 1200s to the 1400s, came from the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist, which used to exist across from the cemetery.

Context 958, who was found buried face-down in his burial spot, is believed to have been a few ticks older than 40 and boasted a “robust skeleton with a lot of wear and tear,” which means he likely had a physically challenging job, says Cambridge professor John Robb.

However, unlike others who lived in poverty, Context 958 appears to have chowed down on meat and fish, suggesting that he worked in a specialized niche that gave him access to this ample food supply.

What makes the discovery of his body and others in the same demographic notable, Robb says, is that it gives researchers a chance to study how the poor lived in England more than 700 years ago.

“The less money and property you had, the less likely anybody was to ever write down anything about you,” he notes. (This living man’s face was reconstructed using 3D printing.)

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