Signs & Portents

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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, March 10

The nature of the leap year is explained. The threat facing bees is examined. And are negative emotions important for your well-being? It's Earthy Thursday, our weekly segment on science and Earth-related news! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

We all know 2016 is a leap year and February 29 is a leap day. But what exactly are leap years and why do we have them? Over at Bad Astronomy, Phil Plait explains the math behind our calendar's seemingly odd tradition.

Cat owners may have experienced some anxiety when reports surfaced that they could possibly be infected with the microbial parasite Toxoplasma gondii via their feline companions and that such an infection might contribute to diseases like schizophrenia. But is T. gondii's reputation all it's built up to be? Discover Magazine's "Neuroskeptic" takes a look.

If you had any doubts that the world's bees were in trouble, doubt no more. A new study shows that bees—and other insect pollinators—are indeed experiencing steep and worrying population declines. You can read more about the story at Grist.

Bees might not be doing so well but some other species of insects may yet prove helpful in other ways: as food. Entomophagy or the eating of insects may not be popular in the United States but it has a long tradition in other places and according to some, may be a more sustainable source of protein than larger animals. Read more about how some activists are trying to get us to eat more bugs here.

Generally speaking when we talk about emotions we tend to divide them into "positive" emotions like love and happiness and "negative" emotions like anger or sadness. But are those negative emotions really so negative? Maybe not. In fact, they could be vital to your mental well-being.

Top image by Charlesjsharp

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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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