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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, October 8

Japan plans to wow visitors to Tokyo during the 2020 Olympics. Suzanne Sadedin discusses the evolutionary origins of menstruation. And astronomer Phil Plait takes down some of the common anti-science memes purported by presidential candidate Ben Carson. It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

The last time Tokyo hosted the Olympics in 1964 it debuted the bullet train, Japan's renowned high-speed train to the surprise of spectators around the world. In five years, Japan hopes to repeat the awe of the 1964 Olympics with a number of new technological advances. You can read more about their plans—including robots, algae fuel, and more—at tech website Gizmodo.

Despite the controversy about vaccines among the general public, medical doctors are unified in their support of the treatment to prevent the transmission of potentially deadly or debilitating diseases such as influenza or measles. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a declaration saying that all children six months or older should be vaccinated against the flu.

Why do human women get periods? No one's quite sure but the truth is that menstruation, at least as humans understand, is actually somewhat unusual among our fellow mammals. Evolutionary biologist Suzanne Sadedin gives the mystery of humans' time of the month a shot over at Quora.

Speaking of evolution it's quite common for people to refer to humans' ancestors as apes. But if you go even further back our ancestors were once fish and it was from fish that we developed jaws, which, based on existing evidence, is a bizarre mutation of gills. You can learn more about the origin of the jaw over at io9, courtesy of Esther Inglis-Arkell.

We generally strive to avoid mixing politics and science but sometimes it's unavoidable. Phil Plait, famed astronomer and popular columnist for Slate, takes down several of the common anti-science biases held by members of the Republican Party, including presidential candidate Ben Carson.

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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