Natural-World Winner: "Lightning at Kaieteur Falls"Photograph by James Broscombe, EPOTY.org/Fame/Barcroft
Lightning illuminates Kaieteur Falls at night in British photographer James Broscombe
's winning image in the "Natural World" category. Located in Guyana
's Kaieteur National Park, the natural wonder is five times the height of Niagara Falls.
(Pictures: Chile Volcano Plume Explodes With Lightning.
Overall Winner: "Homeless"Photograph by Chan Kwok Hung, EPOTY.org/Fame/BarcroftChildren comfort each other in a scrapyard in Kathmandu, Nepal, in a 2011 image by photographer Chan Kwok Hung of Hong Kong. The picture, an entry in the "Quality of Life" category, won top honors in the 2011 Environmental Photographer of the Year awards, whose winners were announced last week.
The children live with their grandmother and search the scrapyard for things to sell, using the money to buy food, according to the photographer. "They had found nothing for a few days," he said in a statement.
More than a third of Nepal's 12.6 million children live below the poverty line, according to a 2010 report by UNICEF. An even higher number suffer from malnutrition and lack of access to education.
Organized by the London-based Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management
, the Environmental Photographer of the Year contest honors amateur and professional photographers who "raise awareness of environmental and social issues."
Compared to 2010, submissions this year doubled to over 10,000 pictures, which came from photographers in 105 countries.
(See the best environmental photos of 2010
.)—Korena Di Roma
Underwater-World Finalist: "Giant's Gullet"Photograph by Doug Perrine, EPOTY.org/Fame/Barcroft
Fish flee the gaping maw of a Bryde's whale
, which surprised U.S. photographer Doug Perrine
, who was in the middle of photographing striped marlin lured by a bait ball of sardines. In an account released with the image, Perrine said he snapped the picture while also fleeing the whale.
Sleek and lean, Bryde's whales use their meshlike mouth plates, called baleen, to filter food as they power through the sea.
Natural-World Finalist: "Wild Dog Hunt"Photograph by Suzie Eszterhas, EPOTY.org/Fame/Barcroft
A pack of African wild dogs
attacks a warthog
in this image by U.S. photographer Suzie Eszterhas
, who captured the picture in northern Botswana
Also called painted or Cape hunting dogs, the endangered canines roam open plains and sparse woodlands in sub-Saharan Africa.
Changing-Climates Finalist: "Lost Villages"Photograph by Neil A. White, EPOTY.org/Fame/Barcroft
A seaside road succumbs to erosion
on the Holderness coast in Yorkshire, England
. The area suffers the highest rate of coastal erosion in Europe, according to a statement by London
-based photographer Neil A. White
Several villages are under constant threat, as the coast crumbles at a rate of about six feet (two meters) a year, he says. Many villages that have been lost to the sea date back to Roman times.
Underwater-World Finalist: "Kingfisher"Photograph by Joe Petersburger, EPOTY.org/Fame/Barcroft
In typical fashion, a kingfisher splashes in headfirst for a meal in this fish's-eye view from photographer Joe Petersburger of Hungary
Traditionally, philosophy includes at least four core fields or disciplines: ontology, epistemology, ethics, logic.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Ontology is the study of beings or their being — what is.
- Epistemology is the study of knowledge — how we know.
- Logic is the study of valid reasoning — how to reason.
- Ethics is the study of right and wrong — how we should act.
- Phenomenology is the study of our experience — how we experience.
"Let us therefore reject all superstition in order to become more human; but in speaking against fanaticism, let us not imitate the fanatics: they are sick men in delirium who want to chastise their doctors. Let us assuage their ills, and never embitter them, and let us pour drop by drop into their souls the divine balm of toleration, which they would reject with horror if it were offered to them all at once."
Matt Ridley speaks about how ideas have sex and the mating of these ideas create hybrid ideas that have cultural consequences. In history the expansion of Greek and Roman power and influence into Jewish Culture in Palestine allowed for an exchange and mating of cultural ideas that led to very consequential hybrids. One powerful hybrid being the religion of Christianity and the rise of Monotheism globally. It was Roman authority, Jewish mysticism and pagan mystery cults that gave birth to Christianity. It was Roman Crucifixion, A Jewish Jesus and Pagan familiarity with divine humans that were ingredients to a soup that would set much of human history on a certain trajectory. The Divine Augustus a Son of God would be replaced in some 300 years with the Divine Jesus the Son of God. It was a hybrid of Rome & Jerusalem and carried with it a hybrid theology from paganism and Judaism. The idea of God as Trinity (3 Gods who are 1) is a mix of pagan Monotheism. A hybrid idea of cultural consequence. Written in Hebrew and Greek and spread by a Roman Jew (Apostle Paul)
Without the mating of Rome and Jerusalem there would be no Christianity. It is clearly nourished by human history and not set apart from it.
Even logistically without the infrastructure of the Roman Empire it would have been impossible for Christianity and the Apostle Paul’s message to spread to the extent it did. The genius of the formation of early Christianity was to take Roman punishment and humiliation as the spiritual and theological significance of their movement and thereby turning death into life and tragedy into a triumph. It was a brilliant form of populism. It was a story that touched the masses where many lived lives of hardship compared to the ruling Roman elite. Jesus was a god of the people not of the state. Not until Christianity became popular in the Roman world and it became politically expedient for the Emperor Constantine to use this religion to solidify his power and unify the empire. In doing so Constantine gave the death blow to Hellenism (which had a fatal turn of events many years before in the Maccadean Revolt 166 BC) and now through Roman power gave rise to the Monotheistic State. An idea from Jerusalem to Rome that birthed a new era of political Monotheism that would not be challenged until the historical currents of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Enlightenment.
The Historical currents of Hellenism and Judaism mix and create hybrid ideologies.
Alexander the Great in the Jewish Temple
Alexander the Great entered Jerusalem as a Conquering King representing Empire. Jesus of Nazareth more than 300 years later enters as a peasant in response to Empire.
300 years after Jesus of Nazareth the Roman Emperor Constantine gives Christianity the seal of Empire.
Christianity is no longer a religion that responds to Empire but now it is Empire itself.
Taking his cue from Ross Douthat’s similarly-themed piece in the New York Times
, Sullivan goes after my attack on Mark Shea’s piece
in the Catholic Register
. I criticized Shea for “metaphorizing” the story of Adam and Eve, that is, admitting that it can’t be literally true but giving other explanations of how it could be figuratively
“true.” In Shea’s case, he conceived of the Original Sin as some dude thinking an evil thought while sitting around drinking coffee. That, he claimed, doomed the rest of humanity to eternal sin and the need for expiation, requiring Jesus to come down to Earth and be crucified.
That’s a dumb scenario, of course. Better to give up the whole myth of original sin and expiation than engage in such ridiculous intellectual contortions. And, as I said in my earlier post on Douthat, the mental gymnastics of apologists determined to save their myths deserves no more respect than does the tenacious stupidity of fundamentalists.
At any rate, Sullivan makes this accusation: " I am one of many deluded fools who thinks that the account of Genesis was meant to be taken seriously. From the outset it was an obvious metaphor, and intended to be seen as such!
There’s no evidence that the Garden of Eden was always regarded as figurative? Really? Has Coyne read the fucking thing? I defy anyone with a brain (or who hasn’t had his brain turned off by fundamentalism) to think it’s meant literally. It’s obviously meant metaphorically. It screams parable. Ross sees
the exchange as saying something significant about the atheist mindset – and I largely agree with everything he says, except his definition of “fundamentalist” doesn’t seem to extend much past Pat Robertson. It certainly makes me want to take Jerry Coyne’s arguments less seriously. Someone this opposed to religion ought to have a modicum of education about it. The Dish, if you recall, had
a long thread on this subject in August. No one was as dumb as Coyne." ***
What was Sullivan smoking when he wrote this? Among the people who have taken the Genesis story seriously are not only the fundamentalists he decries, but the theologians Thomas Aquinas
and Augustine (who believed in Adam and Eve), many Popes, and nearly every Christian in the history of Christendom
—at least until 1859. Many of my friends were taught that the Genesis story was true when they were churchgoing kids.Were these people brainless, as Sullivan implies? Were they simply impervious to the obvious metaphor?
Yes, I have read the “fucking thing” (it doesn’t take long), and yes, to many modern ears, aware of what Darwin found, it sounds metaphorical. But not to all
of them. Nor did the story “scream parable” to two millennia of Christians, some of them living among us right now.
Finally, if Sullivan has an ear so finely attuned that it’s able to detect which parts of the Bible scream metaphor and which scream “literal truth,” then perhaps he’d grace us with his wisdom. Does he, for example, think that the virgin birth of Jesus, Jesus’s status as God’s son, and his crucifixion, Resurrection, and imminent return “scream metaphor” as well?
Is heaven also a metaphor? What about God himself? To my ear, those things scream “fiction”, which is the secular equivalent of “metaphor.” The thing about “sophisticated” apologists like Sullivan is that they always avoid telling us what Catholic doctrine they see as literally true. They know they’d look pretty bad if they said, for example, that crackers and wine are literally transformed into the body and blood of Jesus.
Like Ross Douthat
, Sullivan misses the point. Of course
the Bible sounds like fiction, because it is in its entirety
. Good Catholics like Sullivan try to save their religion by reading those fictions as metaphors. You could do the same thing with any scripture, or any myth. But if he really considers himself a Catholic, then surely there’s something in Scripture that Sullivan sees as really, truly true. Could he please tell us what that is?
Unfortunately, Sullivan doesn’t allow comments on his website, so I can’t post this there. Perhaps, because he reads this site, he’ll come over here and grace us with his opinion. And perhaps he’d explain why, even if Eden didn’t exist, he’s so sure that there’s God and baby Jesus?
Oh dear, I have got Andrew Sullivan’s knickers in a twist. His original attack of me
for conceiving of all religion as “fundamentalism” was uncharacteristically intemperate, and forced me to respond with equal vigor
(For a very strong critique of both Sullivan’s piece and Ross Douthat’s similar views
in the New York Times, see Jason Rosenhouse’s superb response at EvolutionBlog
. Jason shows that there’s no support for Douthat’s view that the Adam-and-Eve story was part metaphor and part truth, and he completely demolishes Sullivan’s claim that hardly anyone ever took that story as gospel over the whole history of Christianity).
Anyway, Sullivan is clearly ticked off and just as intemperate as before. He’s come back at me at the Daily Dish in
a piece called ”Must the story of the fall be true? Ctd.
” He repeats his views that he “can agree with Coyne on this [the sad state of modern Christian apologetics] and still find him crude and uninformed about the faith he has such contempt for.”
His response is notable for two things. First, he doesn’t really respond, but merely reproduces, without much response, several comments made by readers on this site
. So he’s been reading the posts and comments here, but is too cowardly to respond—and of course he doesn’t allow any
comments at his own site.
Second, he tries to defend Original Sin in a bizarre and incoherent way. I reproduce below his full defense, a lovely piece of obfuscatory apologetics:
I would argue that original sin is a mystery that makes sense of our species’ predicament – not a literal account of a temporal moment when we were all angels and a single act that made us all beasts. We are beasts with the moral imagination of angels. But if we are beasts, then where did that moral imagination come from? If it is coterminous with intelligence and self-awareness, as understood by evolution, then it presents human life as a paradox, and makes sense of the parable. For are we not tempted to believe we can master the universe with our minds – only to find that we cannot, and that the attempt can be counter-productive or even fatal? Isn’t that delusion what Genesis warns against?
The answer to his last question is “no.” Saying that we are creatures with evolved and culturally-derived morality (yes, Andrew, that’s where our moral imagination came from, not from God), and can be both good and bad, is hardly a “paradox”. And how is it “fatal” to try to master the universe with our minds? We’ve done a pretty good job of it so far. We sure haven’t mastered it with our nonexistent “souls”—or with a belief in baby Jesus.
He goes on:
"The Fall and the Resurrection are the bookends of that paradox. It could well be, as my lapsed Catholic reader believes, that we have become morally better over 200,000 years, that gain is possible, that our better angels can progressively master our raging beasts within. But part of that was fueled by religious evolution, as Bob Wright has brilliantly laid out. So it’s possible that the Fall does indeed lead to the Resurrection, but that it is only finally fulfilled by humankind’s ultimate, universal embrace of a loving God through the aeons of time. Doesn’t Christian eschatology strongly hint at exactly such an ultimate resolution? You just have to let go of certain neuroses when you read and ponder texts about profound mysteries rendered into stories. That’s why doubt fuels faith. It prevents you from fixating on a particular pattern of thought that blinds you to the richness of other interpretations of the same, basic truth."
First of all, Wright certainly does not
show that humans have become morally better over the last 200,000 years. He gives no data on that point, asserting only that scripture
has become more moral since the early days of polytheism. But even if Wright is correct (and I don’t think he is), that says nothing about whether such putative moral improvement has anything to do with validating the Christian myth. In fact, if we’ve become progressively better
over time, then why do we think there was a “Fall”? And even if there was a Fall, why does that give evidence for Sullivan’s belief in God, Jesus, and the Resurrection?
All Sullivan is doing here is confecting a post facto
story to justify his Catholic beliefs. But the story is unconvincing. He has not come close to answering my main question: how does he know that certain parts of the Bible—like Adam and Eve and the Fall—are to be taken metaphorically, while others—like the existence of God, Jesus, the Resurrection, and the expiation of sin “through the universal embrace of a loving God”—are true
. Once again, he’s cherry-picking, and he’s plenty mad that I called him out on it. And like many “sophisticated” believers, he absolutely refuses to divulge what he believes.
“None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody - a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns - bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”
A time-lapse taken from the front of the International Space Station as it orbits our planet at night. This movie begins over the Pacific Ocean and continues over North and South America before entering daylight near Antarctica.
A view of the Auroras (the Northern/Southern Lights) as seen from the International Space Station during September 2011.
The Stoics largely believed that the moral permissibility of suicide did not hinge on the moral character of the individual pondering it. Rather, the Stoics held that whenever the means to living a naturally flourishing life are not available to us, suicide may be justified, regardless of the character or virtue of the individual in question. Our natures require certain “natural advantages” (e.g., physical health) in order for us to be happy, and a wise person who recognizes that such advantages may be lacking in her life sees that ending her life neither enhances nor diminishes her moral virtue.
When a man's circumstances contain a preponderance of things in accordance with nature, it is appropriate for him to remain alive; when he possesses or sees in prospect a majority of the contrary things, it is appropriate for him to depart from life…. Even for the foolish, who are also miserable, it is appropriate for them to remain alive if they possess a predominance of those things which we pronounce to be in accordance with nature. (Cicero, III, 60–61) Hence, not only may concerns related to one's obligations to others justify suicide, but one's own private good is relevant too. The Roman Stoic Seneca, who was himself compelled to commit suicide, was even bolder, claiming that since “mere living is not a good, but living well”, a wise person “lives as long as he ought, not as long as he can.” For Seneca, it is the quality, not the quantity, of one's life that matters.Stanford: Archives
Contrary to views in the Judaeo-Christian world, Graeco-Roman attitudes toward suicide held that it could be acceptable under certain circumstances. While some condemned it, such as the Pythagoreans, suicide most often occurred when one’s honor was irretrievably lost, and the individual confronted great public shame. It could also be associated with political protest, if one refused submission to tyrannical authorities. On the other hand, as an answer to petty misfortunes, suicide was frowned upon as a cowardly and disgraceful act. Though it was not commonly represented in the art of antiquity, the suicides of famous historical figures such as Socrates, Cleopatra, Sophonisba, and Lucretia became favorite subjects of later artists, writers, and music composers.
Some scholars believe suicide was fairly commonplace in the Greek and Roman world, at least up through the Early Imperial period. Of the thirty-two extant Greek tragedies, suicide figures prominently into thirteen examples. During the second century B.C.E., compulsory suicide became the preferred method of execution for the Roman elite. Eschewing imprisonment and a public trial, white-collar criminals were allowed to return to their families with the stipulation that they would kill themselves within one day. This provided the convicted a dignified, private death befitting his/her class. Mandatory suicide was later taken to the extreme by the emperor Nero who became infamous for sending daggers to the dinner tables of his political adversaries.University of Missouri
-Suicide in Graeco-Roman Society
The act of suicide in ancient Rome, Seppuku in Japan, was considered a means of regaining some honor or reputation in the face of shame and failure. For the Greeks and Romans one's honor and reputation were highly valued and they were often not only limited to life itself but also entailed repercussions followed after death.
While some of the ancients may have been concerned about their personal fate and destiny of the afterlife, the Romans were mostly preoccupied of the image and legacy they left behind in the minds of other people and the shame and disgrace they may have caused or cause to their family and the other generations to come.
Suicide and Death by Execution in Ancient Roman Life To the Roman nobility, courage and dignity were of utmost importance. When one`s life had been tarnished with a disgraceful or shameful act, suicide represented a manner of “rectifying” the error and “regaining” some of the dignity lost in the public eye.
The Royal Society of Medicine:
The Greek tragedians in antiquity were the first to use nearly all of the literary forms which exist nowadays: tragedy, comedy, epic and romance.2
The three tragedian giants were Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides.Aeschylus, who was regarded as the father of tragedy, was born in Elefsis in c. 525 BC and died in 456 BC. He was the earliest of the dramatists whose work has survived; his famous predecessors included Thespis, Pratinos, Phrynichus and others whose works have been lost. The performances were of a religious origin, and were part of the cult of Dionysos.3
It has been estimated that Aeschylus wrote between 70 and 90 tragedies, but only seven have come down to us. Some are very well known, such as Seven against Thebes
and the Oresteia
(consisting of Agamemnon, Choephori
), which is the only surviving trilogy and which represents not only Aeschylus' greatest achievement,4
but is most probably among ‘the greatest work[s] of dramatic art ever created.’5
In the Aeschylian classic drama Prometheus Bound4
one of the characters, Eos, who has become desperately entrenched in psychological problems, says that it is better for one to die than to suffer every day. It appears that Aeschylus was not against euthanasia. ‘It were better to die once and for all than to drag out my lingering days in anguish.’7aSophocles8
was born in c. 495 BC and died in 406 BC; his family was of very comfortable means. A handsome and successful athlete and musician, he enjoyed the high esteem of his fellow citizens, holding both political and religious office. Sophocles' profound respect for the gods resulted in his strictly negative viewpoint with regard to euthanasia. He believed that life was the highest good given to mankind by the gods.Seven Sophoclean tragedies have survived, spanning some 40 years or more.8
Sophocles was the recipient of numerous awards for his plays. In Antigone10
he states that nobody is so silly as to wish to die: ‘Who prays to die is mad.’ ‘No man is so foolish that he is enamoured of death.’7b However, in another play, The Women of Trachis
he refers to the dilemma presented by assisted euthanasia: The protagonist Heracles, who is suffering from unbearable pain, asks his son, Hyllus, to help him end his life: ‘Lay my body thereupon and kindle it with flaming pine-torch. And let no tear of mourning be seen there.’7c Hyllus complains that in so doing, he will ‘become a murderer’ and will be showing disrespect to the gods. ‘What a deed dost thou require of me my father that I should become the murderer guilty of thy blood.’7c ‘Father, father, how can you? You are asking me to be your murderer, polluted with your blood.’ And Heracles replies: ‘No, I am not. I ask you to be my healer,’11
or ‘(be) healer of my sufferings, sole physician of my pain.’7cEuripides, who was born on the island of Salamis in c. 480 BC and died in 406 BC, was the most modern of the three dramatists; he wrote more than 100 plays, of which 18 have survived and others are known in fragments. Among his innovations were the introduction of realism and a machine appearing from the heavens, out of which comes a god: when the play proceeds to its conclusion, this divine being seems to resolve the impasse, offering a solution.Unlike Sophocles, Euripides won few awards.12
He believed that man is responsible for his actions and on at least two occasions in his plays, individuals seek euthanasia. In Iphigeneia in Taurica,
Orestes, who suffers psychologically, tries to put an end to his life by starving himself to death. He writes:12
‘Fasting before his shrine I cast me down and swore to snap my life threat, dying there I.’ However, Euripides admires life and his attitude is one which is against euthanasia. In his play Iphigeneia in Aulis14
he writes: ‘Ill life o'er passeth gracious death.’ And lastly, in his play The Madness of Hercules
he puts the following words in the mouth of his hero: ‘Yet, thus I have mused—how deep soe'er in ills—shall I quit life and haply prove me craven?’ Or, ‘I will be strong to await death.’16
Many auroras appear green, but sometimes other colors such as red show up—as in this picture taken from the International Space Station
on September 26.
An aurora's colors depend on which types of atoms cause the splash of light. In most cases, auroral lights appear when charged particles from the solar wind collide with oxygen atoms in Earth's atmosphere, according to a NASA statement.
"This produces a green photon, so most auroras appear green. However, lower-energy oxygen collisions—as well as collisions with nitrogen atoms—can produce red photons, so sometimes auroras also show a red band, as seen here."
illuminate the sky over Whitehorse, in Canada
's Yukon Territory.
Such auroral displays are triggered when clouds of charged particles from the sun—known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs)—slam into Earth's magnetic field.
A "severe" CME hit September 26, sparking auroras at both Poles and inducing light shows visible in five U.S. states, including Michigan, New York, South Dakota, Maine, and Minnesota, according to NASA.
As solar particles get funneled along Earth's field lines toward the Poles, they collide with molecules in the atmosphere, infusing them with extra energy. The molecules in turn release the energy as light.
Capturing the above aurora required "a long night of waiting-but the activity picked up," photographer Jonathan Tucker wrote on SpaceWeather.com
The source of the major solar storm was sunspot AR1302, which stretches about 93,000 miles (150,000 kilometers) from end to end and is visible to the naked eye, according to SpaceWeather.com
Photographer Fabiano Belisário Diniz caught the monster sunspot in a picture he took of the sun setting over Curitiba, Brazil
, on September 26.
"It was overcast and cold all day long, but at the end of the day a break in the clouds revealed the sun and AR1302," Diniz told SpaceWeather.com. "What a great sight!"For more on solar flares, sunspots, and solar wind, read "The Sun-Living With a Stormy Star," in
National Geographic magazine
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory
spotted a midsize flare that shot a plume of plasma (charged gas) from the sun. Most of the material fell back onto the active region that had spawned the flare.Shortly afterward, the sun rotated so that the same active region faced Earth, and several subsequent flares were linked to eruptions of charged particles hurled toward our planet that sparked geomagnetic storms.
Saturn's moon Enceladus appears to be cloaked in drifts of powdery snow around 330 feet (100 meters) thick, scientists announced this week.
The researchers think superfine snowflakes are blasted out of geyser-like jets, which emanate from long fissures called tiger stripes on the moon's southern hemisphere. Some of the snow from these plumes falls back to the moon's surface, coating older fractures and craters in a slow process of accumulation.
The finding is based on new high-resolution pictures of Enceladus from NASA's Cassini orbiter
, as well as global maps of color patterns that help reveal the ages of surface features. Above, an artist's rendering shows an active tiger stripe, including bluish regions that indicate freshly exposed water ice.—Richard A. Lovett
"Great is he, who conquers the frightful. Sublime is he, who, while succumbing to it, fears it not."
"The art of living well and the art of dying well are one."
The Courage to Be and the Courage not to Be.
"To take into the inmost shrine of the soul the irresistible forces whose puppets we seem to be -- Death and change, the irrevocableness of the past, and the powerlessness of man before the blind hurry of the universe from vanity to vanity -- to feel these things and know them is to conquer them."
"Freud was a hero. He descended to the Underworld and met there stark terrors. He carried with him his theory as a Medusa's head which turned these terrors to stone."
psychiatrist R. D. Laing
"A young shepherd I saw, writhing, gagging, in spasms, his face distorted, and a heavy black snake hung out of his mouth. Had I ever seen so much nausea and pale dread on one face? He seemed to have been asleep when the snake crawled into his throat, and there bit itself fast. My hand tore at the snake and tore in vain; it did not tear the snake out of his throat. Then it cried out of me; "Bite! Bite its head off! Bite!" Thus it cried out of me — my dread, my hatred, my nausea, my pity, all that is good and wicked in me cried out of me with a single cry.
The shepherd, however, bit as my cry counseled him; he bit with a good bite. Far away he spewed the head of the snake — and he jumped up. No longer shepherd. no longer human — one changed, radiant, laughing! Never yet on earth has a human being laughed as he laughed! O my brothers, I heard a laughter that was no human laughter; and now a thirst gnaws at me, a longing that never grows still. My longing for this laughter gnaws at me; oh, how do I bear to go on living! And how could I bear to die now!"
Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra