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6 - 12 Nov 2017

by Bjinse Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:40:50 PM EST

Your take on this week's news


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by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:41:54 PM EST
Puigdemont fate hangs on Belgium's European arrest warrant response
Puigdemont, who turned himself in to Belgian police after Spain issued a European arrest warrant for rebellion and misuse of public funds, is barred from leaving Belgium without a judge's consent.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 6th, 2017 at 01:47:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Rebellion and misuse of public funds" are, as far as I can see not on the EAW list of crimes for which a defendant should always be extradited. However, a defendant can also be extradited on the basis of double criminality. I would assume rebellion and/or misuse of public funds are crimes in Belgium too.

So, I think they will be extradited.

One possible avenue of defense would be to claim that the actions they are accused of doesn't meet the criterias of such crimes in Belgium. Claiming that they can't get a fair trial in Spain is unlikely to work.

by fjallstrom on Mon Nov 6th, 2017 at 02:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I tend to treat press reported "crime" as paraphrase of language in statutes. Whence many popular misunderstandings of what is punishable and what is permitted. "Technicalities" as the journalists' style books would phrase it, popular misunderstandings of what is punishable and what is permitted.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Mon Nov 6th, 2017 at 03:52:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How Britain did Gaddafi's dirty work - Guardian


As the CIA and MI6 built relationships with Libya, the two agencies assisted Libyan spies in the kidnapping of Gaddafi's enemies. Two leading figures in the Libyan opposition who had fled the country were kidnapped, one from Hong Kong, one from Thailand, and flown back to Tripoli along with their wives and children. Both men were tortured. MI6 gave their Libyan counterparts questions for the prisoners, who, under extreme duress, led them to other Libyan dissidents in exile.

Opponents of the Gaddafi regime who had been living legally in the UK for years were detained by British police, and the British government made a determined attempt to have them deported to Tripoli. Asylum seekers and British-Libyan nationals in Manchester and London were menaced by Gaddafi's agents, who were invited into the UK and permitted to operate on the streets of Britain alongside MI5. British intelligence handed over details of the targets' telephone calls to the ESO, and their relatives and friends in Libya were arrested and threatened.

Details of the dark arrangements made by the intelligence agencies of the US, UK and Libya have been gleaned through interviews with government officials and victims of rendition, British government documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, and material that emerged during a lengthy Scotland Yard investigation and a number of civil trials. In large part, however, what follows is based on several extraordinary caches of secret British, American and Libyan intelligence documents that were discovered amid the chaos of the Libyan revolution in 2011, scattered around abandoned government offices, prisons and officials' private residences. Many of the most intriguing documents were found by Libyan civilians and human rights activists in September that year inside ESO's offices. Others came to light in various government outposts after Gaddafi was captured and killed the following month. All together, they amount to many thousands of pages.

These papers show that the post-9/11 rapprochement between the Gaddafi regime and the west - and Tony Blair's government in particular - went far deeper than was previously known.

by Bjinse on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 09:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Britin has a long and grubby track record of accomodating truly odious regimes in order to maximise temporary advantage.

Nobody who has watched the UK government's track record will be in the least bit surprised at how dirty the accord with Gadaffi was. Too many people in Blair's Cabinet were deeply morally compromised, Jack Straw foremost among them. So, of course this shit went down

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 12th, 2017 at 10:07:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since I remembered some of the shit the west had been up to in supporting Gaddafi, I was quite surprised when he became villain of the week in 2011. Still, not as surprised as Gaddafi, I bet.
by fjallstrom on Wed Nov 15th, 2017 at 08:55:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
European Court to Decide Whether U.K. Mass Surveillance Revealed by Snowden Violates Human Rights
A panel of 10 judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, held a hearing Tuesday [7 NOV 2017] to examine the U.K. government's large-scale electronic spying operations, following three separate challenges brought by a dozen human rights groups, including Amnesty International, Privacy International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Big Brother Watch, the Open Rights Group, and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
[...]
Government lawyer James Eadie told the court that using surveillance systems to collect and store communications is not itself a violation of privacy. Instead, he said, privacy is only violated when there is "sentient examination" of communications - in other words, when a human analyst reads or listens to individual messages or calls. This will be a key point of contention for the Strasbourg judges to consider.

chamber hearing (running time 02:53:36)

  • Big Brother Watch and Others v. the United Kingdom (no. 58170/13)

  • Bureau of Investigative Journalism and Alice Ross v. the United Kingdom (no. 62322/14)

  • 10 Human Rights Organisations and Others v. the United Kingdom (no. 24960/15)

precedent: Joined Cases C‑203/15 and C‑698/15, Judgment, 21 Dec 2016

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 01:27:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
EU Court Adviser Cracks Whip on German Religious Employers

This is a remarkable case in that the complaint, the merits, deference to state sovereignty, and the remedy are so alien to US folklore.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 05:44:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It happens again
Wer kurz vor Wolfsburg mit seinem Koffer zum Ausstieg bereit an der ICE-Türe stand, musste sich bald wieder hinsetzen: Statt anzuhalten, fuhr am Sonntag ein Schnellzug an seiner planmäßigen Station vorbei.

Eigentlich hätte der ICE 555 auf dem Weg von Köln nach Berlin um 12.02 in der VW-Stadt haltmachen sollen. Reisende mit dem Ziel Wolfsburg mussten stattdessen bis Stendal im Zug bleiben und mit dem IC 1071 zurückfahren.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Nov 14th, 2017 at 09:30:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:41:56 PM EST
Russia and Mozambique agree big debt-for-development swap
"Russia's innovative move to convert debt into development funding will help feed a generation of schoolchildren in Mozambique," said WFP Executive Director David Beasley.
[...]
Diplomatic relations were formally established on 25 June 1975, soon after Mozambique gained independence from Portugal, and economic and defence relations developed further. This, however, began to change in 1984 when Mozambique joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Western aid by Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland quickly replaced Soviet support.
[...]
Mozambique sits on vast gas reserves and with good governance could achieve a quantum leap in living standards of its population.

side-line dealing
Mozambique creditors: government not bound by loan guarantees JUNE 2017
"[T]here is no basis -- in either Mozambican or English law -- for the Mozambique government to honour the purported guarantees of the Proindicus and MAM loans."
SEC investigates banks that sold Mozambique's 'tuna bond': WSJ Dec 2016
"The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating the sale of $850 million in bonds issued by Mozambique by Credit Suisse (CSGN.S), Russia's VTB Group (VTBR.MM) and BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA)"

archived: WFP: African refugee camps 'no longer attract global awareness' 2014

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 11:17:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is a debt-for-development swap?
by fjallstrom on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 02:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mozambique owes Russia money.  Russia sells the debt to an NGO (in this case the UN's WFP) at a significant discount.  WFP sells the debt at an additional discount to Mozambique and uses the funds raised to pay for developments in Mozambique.  Russia unloads some bad paper, WFP gets to do what it was set up for, and Mozambique gets to get its books in a little better order and gains some infrastructure to boot.
by rifek on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 08:37:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are electric cars only for the wealthy?
Norway tops the list of e-car drivers, with 29% (29 electric vehicles sold out of every 100 new cars). But it has a GDP per capita rate of €64,000 - twice the EU's average.
[...]
The sales of electric cars on a global scale have risen sharply thanks to China, which is the top global buyer of e-cars.

archived: VW targets 400,000 annual EV, plug-in hybrid sales in China by 2020

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 11:55:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
First, it is pretty darn strange that Intercept investigators can't manage reporting on funding of the notorious National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) itself, oozing through conference report to Trump's signature. Before getting into Greenwald's book of business AND Bezos Envy.

The "Amazon Amendment" Would Effectively Hand Government Purchasing Power Over to Amazon

Second, it is pretty darn sad that Intercept investigators weren't driving around DC metro back in '05, '06 to hear Google radio advertising soliciting government software dev business. If they had, well, they wouldn't be much surprised by SALGADO's airs in the "Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online" hearing, now would they?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 02:24:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RT
The third rebuttal, which I'll develop in more depth in a later column, is that if I can help strengthen Russia as a rival axis of power to the USA, then I think that's a good thing. I'd rather have a bipolar (or tripolar) battle for global dominance between two (or more) Superpowers, than have a unipolar world with a single Superpower, led by a leader with a bipolar personality.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 09:14:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Steve Keen, throwing this crap the shade it so richly deserves.
by rifek on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 09:28:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:41:59 PM EST
From Current Affairs. (Not about Northam who voted for Bush twice)
Something else happened in Virginia, though: the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, became the second African American elected to statewide office in Virginia history. More important than his race, though, are his beliefs: Fairfax was a progressive whose environmentalist stance against new pipeline construction alienated him from the Democratic Party, to the point where they even left his image off campaign flyers. Yet Fairfax beat the Republican candidate by a healthy margin, proving that you don't actually have to compromise your values in order to win.

The other most-noted story was Philadelphia District Attorney's race, in which the Unelectable Larry Krasner, a career defense attorney and critic of mass incarceration who supports Black Lives Matter and the ACLU, beat the Republican candidate by 40 percentage points. Krasner has been called an "ultra-progressive": the police union can't stand him, and he was considered the least likely person to ever be chosen as a prosecutor. Again, there's a lesson here about not compromising your principles: Krasner was clear on what he stood for, clear on what he intended to do, and people responded positively even though he was well outside the "mainstream."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 04:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Krasner got a lot of free air time in (regional) radio interviews over the past 18 months just by running for the DA office. Philly is rough, always has been.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 05:23:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And the City (sic) Council of Montgomery County, Maryland unanimously approved a $15 minimum wage.

This information is incorrect. Residents elect a nine-person County Council and an County Executive form the county's government. The county's boundaries contain several incorporated and unincorporated cities and towns whose boundaries can overlap electoral district borders. The County Council has been deliberating the minimum wage hike nearly two years, ostensibly fearing a veto by Leggett. The issue was not offered for vote by referendum. MoCo is one of the wealthiest counties in the USA with median HH income last reported ~$94K.

Similarly, the Council members of the city-state known as the District of Columbia has been deliberating the minimum wage hike nearly two years, ostensibly fearing a veto by the Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 05:55:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
America's global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump - The Economist


So far, Mr Trump's foreign policy has been less awful than he promised. Granted, he has pulled America out of the Paris accord, making it harder to curb climate change, and abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a big trade deal. However, he has not retreated pell-mell into isolationism. He has not quit NATO; indeed, some of America's eastern European allies prefer his tough-talk to the cool detachment of Barack Obama. He has not started any wars. He has stepped up America's defence of Afghanistan's beleaguered government, and helped Iraq recapture cities from IS. In the parts of the world to which he pays little attention, such as Africa, an understaffed version of the previous administration's policy continues on autopilot. As Mr Trump makes a 12-day visit to Asia, it is hard to dismiss him as a man wholly disengaged from the world.

(...)

Perhaps the greatest damage that Mr Trump has done is to American soft power. He openly scorns the notion that America should stand up for universal values such as democracy and human rights. Not only does he admire dictators; he explicitly praises thuggishness, such as the mass murder of criminal suspects in the Philippines. He does so not out of diplomatic tact, but apparently out of conviction. This is new. Previous American presidents supported despots for reasons of cold-war realpolitik. ("He's a bastard, but he's our bastard," as Harry Truman is reputed to have said of an anti-communist tyrant in Nicaragua.) Mr Trump's attitude seems more like: "He's a bastard. Great!"

This repels America's liberal allies, in Europe, East Asia and beyond. It emboldens autocrats to behave worse, as in Saudi Arabia this week, where the crown prince's dramatic political purges met with Mr Trump's blessing (see article). It makes it easier for China to declare American-style democracy passé, and more tempting for other countries to copy China's autocratic model (see article).

by Bjinse on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 08:59:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ken Vogel Tweet series flogs Ken Vogel NYT article. NYT is back to demanding subscription fees. Ken Vogel NYT article contains little info about DoJ subpoenas.

archived:
28 MAR
28 OCT
Tony Podesta leaves lobbying firm amid Robert Mueller probe


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 11:03:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:42:02 PM EST
Gush Shalom presents: Settlement Products Wiki
Settlement Products Wiki - a systematic informational research about businesses in the settlements and their products; businesses that have left the settlements and relocated to within the Green Line; and the misleading tactics with which businesses attempt to cover up and conceal their location in the settlements.

Daring the USA.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 02:24:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(caption: The roughly 3000-year old skeletons found in the Philistine graveyard in Ashkelon have clear hallmarks of Aegean customs, not Canaanite.)
Is the Bible a true story? Eighteen years ago, on October 29, 1999, Haaretz published an article by Tel Aviv University's Ze'ev Herzog, whose message was spelled out in the very headline: "The Bible: No evidence on the ground."[...] The unbridgeable gap Herzog described between the Biblical tales and the archaeological findings was nothing new, to researchers. Israeli archaeologists have long thought as much, based on biblical criticism theories originating in Germany during the early 19th century. The general public, however, was shocked.[...] In any case, most archaeologists now agree that the Israelite-Jewish identity arose from traditions that developed among the inhabitants of Canaan. It was not brought from outside by invaders.

Jury is still out on the six olive pits.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 09:16:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have heard that the archaeological community has seen signs that the Philistine peoples, specifically (distinct from other Cannanites) were either a settler Mycenean Greek state or strongly influenced by them. Greek raiding and pirate activites were pretty common in the Mediterranean of the time, and it does not seem impossible on its face.
by Zwackus on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 12:54:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, Helen and I had a wack at the topic in this thread. 2nd millennium trade flow has become quite the controversy upsetting classicists. Greek-speaking people weren't the only "pirates" settling/colonizing/destroying ports along the Mediterranean, Black, and Baltic seas.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 01:45:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a refreshing old rant I think everyone(but the "irrational") can appreciate.

WHO: I told you Tedros Adhanom is an empty suit!

What kind of a moron appoints Robert Mugabe as goodwill ambassador for health? That is what the new Ethiopian-born Director General of the World Health Organization did - sparking global consternation. The appointment, now reversed, underlines one fact: Tedros Adhanom lacks what it takes to head even a village clinic.
.
.
.
For crying out loud, select Robert Mugabe out of the 7 billion people on Planet Earth?

Wouldn't Mugabe have been a better ambassador for geriatric medicine in sleep disorders (as in routinely conking out (falling asleep) at international conferences and diplomatic meetings)?

Who on earth would want to follow in Mugabe's stench as WHO ambassador?
.
.
.
I have sugarcoated how I really feel about Tedros Adhanom. I have called him, among other things, an empty suit--someone in a position of authority with an impressive title but totally devoid of substance, personality or ability.

Adhanom got the WHO job through nepotism and Big Bill pulling the money string. (BTW: I sent my congratulations to Bill Gates in May when Adhanom snagged the WHO job. In 2010, the Gates Foundation gave WHO $2.5 billion. That Foundation has dumped billions more in handouts to WHO over the past seven years.)

Wonder Woman had better watch her back.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 10:11:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Washington Examiner
"Take the Bible. Zachariah and Elizabeth for instance. Zachariah was extremely old to marry Elizabeth and they became the parents of John the Baptist," [Alabama State Auditor Jim] Ziegler said choosing his words carefully before invoking Christ. "Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus."

"There's just nothing immoral or illegal here," Ziegler concluded. "Maybe just a little bit unusual."

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 09:11:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As a commenter on TPM wrote: "Ziegler is implying that Jesus wasn't the product of a miracle but of Mary and Joseph getting it on."
by Bernard on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 09:41:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't that make the Virgin Birth even more of a miracle?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Nov 12th, 2017 at 05:34:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't believe there are any prohibitions about with a minor anywhere in the bible.

which was one of the earlier defences used by less than enlightened defenders of the Catholic child buggery scandal. Not like that damned sin of homosexuality

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 12th, 2017 at 10:33:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Raqqa'sSDF's and Operation Inherent Resolve's dirty secret
In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 14th, 2017 at 02:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:42:51 PM EST
The Earth's ozone hole is shrinking and is the smallest it has been since 1988 - The Washington Post

Here's a rare piece of good news about the environment: The giant hole in the Earth's protective ozone layer is shrinking and has shriveled to its smallest peak since 1988, NASA scientists said.

The largest the hole became this year was about 7.6 million square miles wide, about two and a half times the size of the United States, in September. But it was still 1.3 million square miles smaller than last year, scientists said, and has shrunk more since September.

Warmer-than-usual weather conditions in the stratosphere are to thank for the shrinkage since 2016, as the warmer air helped fend off chemicals like chlorine and bromine that eat away at the ozone layer, scientists said. But the hole's overall reduction can be traced to global efforts since the mid-1980s to ban the emission of ozone-depleting chemicals.

by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:48:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even with global warming, extremely hot summers would be less frequent if it weren't for deforestation - NOAA

Anyone who has escaped into the woods on a scorching summer day--or scored the coveted space under a parking lot's only tree--would probably have a hunch about how cutting down forests could affect summer heat. New NOAA modeling research backs up those hunches with numbers. In many parts of the mid-latitudes, including the United States and Europe, forest clearing over the past few centuries has likely doubled to quadrupled the frequency of extremely hot, dry summers.

The maps at right show model estimates of the number of years between a location's hottest and driest summers during the period between 1981-2005, taking into account both greenhouse gas increases and forest clearing. The return periods are color-coded to show how they compare to the projected frequency of such events in a world without deforestation. Red means shorter return periods (fewer years between extreme summers), gray means no change, and blue means longer return periods (more years between extreme summers).

For the experiment, scientists combined land surface and atmospheric models to create two simulated worlds. In one world, greenhouse gases, deforestation, and other climate influences were allowed to change much as they did in the real world between the mid-1800s and the present. In the other, everything was identical except that forests and other vegetation were kept as they would naturally be without human activities.  For each world, they ran the simulation twice--tweaking the starting conditions a bit each time to increase the range of possible outcomes--and averaged the results.

The team then identified the hottest and driest 10 percent of summers that a location would have experienced between 1981-2005 if forests and other vegetation had not been cleared for agriculture. Describing a summer as so extreme that it only occurs 10% of the time is the same as saying that it occurs once per decade on average, or every 10 years. How often, the scientists asked, would such an extreme summer occur with real-world patterns of deforestation?

As the map shows, regional and local impacts vary a lot. Gray areas of the map show where the return period remained around 10 years regardless of deforestation. But across much of Europe, Canada, and the United States, models estimate that the loss of shading and evaporative cooling shortened the return period for extremely hot, dry summers significantly: from every ten years to every 2-3 years.

by Bjinse on Tue Nov 7th, 2017 at 09:42:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Substantial reforestation can also have serious influences on global CO2 levels - some have suggested that the "Little Ice Age" was strongly influenced by the post-Colombian destruction of native American populations across North and South America. The disruption of their active forestry and clearing activites is said to have allowed substantial re-forestation, drawing CO2 out of the atmosphere and having a climactic effect.
by Zwackus on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 12:58:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nuclear accident sends 'harmless' radioactive cloud over Europe
IRSN, the technical arm of French nuclear regulator ASN, said in a statement it could not pinpoint the location of the release of radioactive material but that based on weather patterns, the most plausible zone lay south of the Ural mountains, between the Urals and the Volga river.

archived: Get Ready for a New Chernobyl in Ukraine -- Oriental Review

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 11:09:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
re: black history

Pottery Shards Found Near Tbilisi Hold Clues to Origin of Wine Industry

The eight shards, recovered from two sites about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south of Tbilisi, are roughly 8,000 years old. That's some 600 to 1,000 years older than the previous record, revealed by a wine jar found in nearby Iran.

It's not the oldest sign of winemaking; other evidence shows that a beverage that mixed grape wine with rice beer and other ingredients was produced as long as 9,000 years ago in China.



Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Tue Nov 14th, 2017 at 03:12:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
re: sui generis

A review of the book Kingdom of the Wicked which eurocentrists compare imperial innovation, or 1st century BCE industrial capacities to 18th century industrial capacities.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Tue Nov 14th, 2017 at 03:17:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I suppose wine making, mead and cider, which all occur with or without the involvement of people, had to have been well established long before beer. All people add is a little centralisation, organisation and storage.

Beer doesn't happen by itself, things have to happen in a certain order. Of course, the process probably evolved from some abandoned porridge, but it is not a natural process.

So, although beer is known from 2 - 3,000 BCE, I'm not surprised wine has been around for a lot longer.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 14th, 2017 at 05:31:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:42:54 PM EST
An Unknown 'Void' Found in the Great Pyramid Using Cosmic Rays - The Atlantic

On the Giza Plateau in Egypt rise three large pyramids--the tallest and oldest of which is the Pyramid of Khufu. It is also known as simply the Great Pyramid of Giza. You know what it looks like. It's one of the seven great wonders of the world.

Yet, for all its fame and antiquity, so many questions remain. How was it built? Why is there nothing in the pyramid, except a broken sarcophagus missing its lid? Could there be anything else hidden inside this massive structure? In the absence of information, there is of course ferocious speculation. And now, an intriguing new piece of information: the discovery, announced today, of a large, previously unknown "void" in the Great Pyramid.

This discovery comes by way of cosmic rays. When these high-energy rays hit atoms in the Earth's atmosphere, they send subatomic particles called muons shooting toward the ground. The muons can be slowed down by large masses--like the rocks that make up the Great Pyramid. And if muons pass through a cavity inside a large mass, that cavity will show up on muon detectors, too. Three groups of particle physicists using three different techniques patiently tracked muon patterns over several months--gathering evidence that a large cavity lurked in the middle of the pyramid.

by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:45:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I read this story last week, because I check out courthousenews almost every day. This is syndicated material (AP file).
Scientists Discover Hidden Chamber in Egypt's Great Pyramid

What I find interesting about that version by comparison to others was that reporter's attention to detail (eg. authorative informant, dating, muon scan factors, architecture/engineering (A/E) analysis). I concluded, the contribution of the "story" to general knowledge related to R&D, applied technology, not cosmic mysteries.

"a weariness and wariness"
The Atlantic reporter gets to unstated, contemporary perceptions of 4,500-year-old intelligence or superstition (depending) midway through the article. Then concedes, this monument to "black history"  is "daring us to solve it".

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Mon Nov 6th, 2017 at 04:27:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
15 maps that will change the way you see the world - Telegraph

This map shows the world's nations according to their railways. Those shown in dark blue have the most extensive networks, those in lighter colours the smallest. Unsurprisingly, the largest and most populous countries dominate, with the USA, China, Russia, India and Canada making up the top five. There are some more surprising findings, however. The British attachment to rail travel is clear. It has the world's 17th largest rail network, at 17,732km, despite being just the 78th largest nation by land area. That figure was once as high as 34,000km. Romania's 22,298km network is also impressive, putting it 15th on the list, even though it is only the world's 81st largest country. Many countries don't have any railways at all, often due to the harsh, mountainous or densely forested surroundings. They include Iceland, Greenland, Yemen, Oman, Bhutan, Libya and Papua New Guinea.

12. Road deaths

Each country on this map
is colour-coded to reflect the number of road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants per year. Most of the bottom 10 - including Eritrea, the deadliest driving destination, Libya (40.5) and Iraq (31.5) - are unlikely to feature on the travel itineraries of most Britons. But a couple - Thailand (38.1) and South Africa (31.9) - are popular holiday destinations. Relatively risky roads can also be found in Ecuador, Vietnam, Brazil, Paraguay, Kenya and Laos. The safest places to drive include the Maldives (1.9 deaths, though the lack of roads probably helps), Norway (2.9), Denmark (3), Sweden (3) and Switzerland (3.4).

by Bjinse on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 07:53:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Netherlands has only 6000 km of railways. Pretty pathetic. Seriously, what are these comparisons supposed to mean?

The "harsh, mountainous or densely forested surroundings" didn't bother the Italians, who built 400km of railroads in Libya. I think their absence has other reasons.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 08:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From Tiffany's.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Mon Nov 13th, 2017 at 04:49:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To be fair, it says it's oversized.

Because that makes all the difference.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Nov 13th, 2017 at 05:26:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:42:56 PM EST
Today-101: November 8, 1917: What's the Russian for "It's on, bitches"? was more interesting on account of the previous week's NYT editorial condemning suffrage in NY, reproductive strategies, shame and all.

Alice Hill Chittenden, president of the NY State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, is not at all bitter about losing the referendum: "when radicalism and socialism prevail, woman suffrage will carry." She also blames pacifism and says New York men will "rue the day." Rue the day, I tell you!


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 09:45:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I guess that s/b Yesterday-100

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 09:46:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Bjinse on Sun Nov 5th, 2017 at 08:42:59 PM EST
As it happens, my daughter, first year university, has been given to read The Mismeasure of Man (1981). I'd forgotten or perhaps was never fully aware of status quo controversy Gould dislodged until I went searching yesterday. In hindsight it's interesting that Bernal found a publisher shortly after that.

Here are two obits.

Natural History | Remembering Stephen Jay Gould
Scientific American | Defending Stephen Jay Gould's Crusade against Biological Determinism (with an odd nod to John Hawks)

archived: [PILTDOWN ALERT]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 06:23:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For years, starting in the mid '70s, I subscribed to Natural History magazine, largely just for Stephen Gould's "This View of Life" column.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 04:17:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BARBARA MACLEAN wants to know:
Why haven't women fought back?
Women who have tried to fight back have always done it as individuals, making it much easier for them to be dismissed or targeted themselves as money-grubbers or attention-seekers. ["]We["] have not fought back because many of us have been ashamed, believing that somehow the harassment or assault was our fault...

A pragmatic explanation exposes competition among females (and women) to criticism of "feminist" leadership, capital, and political satisfaction many individuals would rather ignore.

"The two features considered in hypotheses 3 and 4, male control of resources and male potential for polygyny, have important implications for female reproductive strategies. This brings us to the fifth hypothesis for the evolution of patriarchy.

"Hypothesis 5. In pursuing their material and reproductive interests, women often engage in behaviors that promote male resource control and male control over female sexuality. Thus, women as well as men contribute to the perpetuation of patriarchy.

"As Hrdy (1981) pointed out, it is not always in a female's reproductive interests to ally with other females against males. Often, females do better by competing with other females and/or allying with males. Among humans, such female strategies can reinforce patriarchy."

Barbara Smuts, "The Evolutionary Origins of Patriarchy," Human Nature. Vol. 6, No. 1. (It once was open access; now only download from scribd)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 03:50:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly related:

Why Conservative Women Defend Sexist Men - Marie Claire

Take Sanders and Conway, who have both publicly dismissed women who have spoken out about sexual assault. Their defenses are clearly cynical and serve a political purpose, but for conservative women more broadly, going along with the idea that women lie about assault--or blaming women for sexual harassment by claiming that they somehow brought it on themselves--can be a form of self-protection. Believing that other women are "bad", and that that's why something terrible happened to them, enables you to convince yourself that you are safe.

For white women, like the 53 percent who voted for Trump, it means feeling confident that somehow the patriarchy--which diminishes and discriminates against people of color, immigrants, and the LGBT community--will not also come after you.

However:

In reality, though, aligning with misogynist men is no safeguard. Look at the women at Fox News, who say they were harassed and abused by Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly--despite playing along with conservative talking points and mocking the very feminists who worked so hard to pass policies that would eventually help them.
by Bernard on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 09:50:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair-weather" Megyn and Greta got paid double-digit millions for pain and suffering of cynicism. That's a sign of "leadership" youngster can understand.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 06:30:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A pragmatic explanation exposes competition among females (and women)
Well, yeah. Liberul justise wariors not know that they trending toward (ouch!) the dumb end of the Totem Poll of Good Life.
by das monde on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 04:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ooo, that site hits all the "divisions in our society" with a filthy jock. And the comments ... inevitably lead me to wonder, how in hell has this outfit ("ads by revcontent") come to infect so many "platforms"? I mean, is this doubleclick-GOOG automated matching or custom placements by Internet Research Agency?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Nov 11th, 2017 at 06:44:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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