New blogs

Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reminder: Leherensuge is dead, two new blogs took its place

I see that still some people keep not just following Leherensuge but even joining it. Naturally I appreciate such attention but you are in the wrong place because Leherensuge came to an end a year ago (Oct 1st 2010) and was replaced by these two more specialized blogs:

(prehistory, history, genetics, anthropology...)

(current affairs, politics, class war...)

Please, join them (if so you wish) because no more interesting posts will appear in Leherensuge, which is only kept as archive. 


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Archive pages

Better late than never. Now you can more easily browse through all that matters on Genetics and Prehistory (and similar) that was posted in Leherensuge in its three years of existence: I created two archive pages that are accessible from the top of the blog (tab bar). 

These two archives were originally posted at the new blog For what they were... we are but their location had become hard to find even for myself. I believe this is a much better location. 

Also, on occasion of the formal year change, I wrote a yearly review of 2010 anthropology and prehistory stuff that mostly revisits Leherensuge posts.

Remember please (some seem not to have noticed yet) that Leherensuge was discontinued on October 1st 2010 and replaced by two more sectorial blogs:

Hope that this change has been for the best.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

We apologize for the incovenience - new blogs reminder

My blogs as well as my whole Google account was disabled on a weirdo error (spam?) this morning. I finally managed to get them back but for hours this blog and the others have been impossible to access. 

So I apologize for the inconvenience (even if it was not my fault).

Reminder of the new blogs

I take this occasion to remind all followers of Leherensuge, that the blog was discontinued on  October 1st and replaced by two new blogs with more specific contents:
You may want to check them out.

Update (Dec 27): I forgot to put the links, corrected. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

THE END IS A NEW BEGINNING: Leherensuge discontinued but continued in two new blogs

Finally the day has come. The three-years story of Leherensuge ends here.

It is since now replaced by two more "sectorial" blogs:


The names taken from Pio Baroja's famous sentence, reflecting long-term continuity through our ephemeral lives, imply a more past and present-future orientation of each blog. They also reflect a more purely scientific-historical approach in For what they were... and a more socio-political one in For what we are...

Hopefully they will serve me and you as well or better than Leherensuge did.

Choose your favorite one or choose both, up to you. Join as follower and/or update your feeds and/or bookmarks. All what I blog from now on will be there.

See you around.

Note: Leherensuge will remain as archive. Also comments in Leherensuge remain open, at least for the time being.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Budget cuts cause revolt in Ecuador too

Update: Oct. 1: all this is nonsense. I was mislead by intoxications and lack of information. I can be a fool too at times and should be much more cautious, specially in a situation as confuse as this one. See my correction at my new blog For what we are... they will be. The only truth in all this is that there was a coup attempt, which failed, but everything else is wrong. 

President Rafael Correa was hurt by tear gas shot by mutinied police. Not only the police is mutinying but his own party has blocked Correa's attempts to cut spending by reducing the public sector. While the Army has sided with the president, there are reports of riots in Quito and the airport has been shut. 

Correa could technically rule up to two years without Parliament, assuming that this decision is approved by the Supreme Court, what is not likely.

Ecuador, like many European countries, has a budget problem (even after partial bankruptcy years ago) because it does not control the money it issues since the dollarization imposed by an unpopular right-wing government in the past. In order to take control of its own economy, it should be able to issue its own money, even if inflationarily. 

Correa and the parliamentary majority (59/100 seats) belong to Alianza PAIS (Patria AltIva y Soberana), a moderate left-wing political party, that sympathizes with the Bolivarian system of Venezuela. However it is surrounded by US allies with right-wing governments: Colombia and Peru, being maybe the weakest piece of the Bolivarian bloc, organized in the ALBA economic group. 

Sadly it is likely that the USA and its local puppets will try to take advantage of the situation, if they have not already helped to trigger it. A better solution is maybe that Correa is impeached or abdicates, as it is obvious that his new IMF-style policies have no support and governing by decree is not a viable solution anyhow (Ecuadoreans have already thrown away more than one such pretentious president)

Source for the main news item: Al Jazeera.

Ireland to waste 30 billion euros in bailing out pointless bank

As a commenter explains under the extremely brief BBC news note, that is the cost of two years of public healthcare. All commenters agree: let it fall, use public money in public investment to generate much needed jobs instead. 

You are probably familiar with this image already: in yesterday's class war pan-European protests a demonstrator crashed this truck, representing the burden of Anglo Irish Bank to the Republic of Ireland, against the Parliament's gates. The incident has become known as cementgate, and is generating a number of silly jokes involving the words concrete and gate, as well as others such as constructive protest, crash, foundations, etc.

But the issue is much more serious: why should a state bail out a private bank? If anything it should nationalize it or, alternatively, just let it fall. Most business do not have the heavy state protection some banks do, nor see even a fraction of the absurdly high profits and disparate salaries for their managers. And most business, unlike banks, contribute to the real and not just the speculative economy.

Ireland is one of the European countries worst affected by the budget crisis, along Greece, Latvia and Hungary, all which are under IMF intervention (with the only result that their recession has aggravated many levels since then). I imagine that the least they can do is to waste 30 billion in a useless bank.

Can anyone tell me what do banks contribute to the real economy? I can't find a single idea, specially since they do not even issue loans anymore. 

Let them fall, all the banks except the public ones (which are the ones issuing money and which can lend directly to the public and even make a benefit from that).

Venneman's exposition of Vasconic substrate in Western Europe

Found at Iruinaoka's page at YouTube, which also includes many videos on Iruña-Veleia, most of them in Spanish language.

However linguist Theo Venneman's exposition is in English, even if his German accent and poor sound quality make sometimes difficult to follow. Turn volume up, adjust balance and be patient... or look for a better quality video/book/paper. I apologize in advance for that poor quality, which is annoying, but I cannot do anything about it.

Video 1: greeting in Basque, introduction on Basque known and speculated history (Upper Paleolithic) and vigesimal system in Basque, Western Romance, Gallic and Germanic:

Video 2: Verbs: difference between to be at/in/on (egon) and to be something (izan). Accents.

Video 3: Loanwords: kinfe (< ganibet), silver (< zilar), star (< izar), andra (lady, woman), grand (< grandi < handi)...

Video 4: More loanwords: cheese (< Käse < gazta < gatz = salt), bust and bush. Toponimy: Lech.

Video 5: Toponimy:  

Is- (Isar, Isère, IJzer, etc.), from Iz- found in compound words like izurde = dolphin ("water boar"), and ur- (from ur = water).  

Aran (valley), from which: Arn- in Germany/Austria, -earn in Scotland.  

Ibaso (ancestor river?) -> Ybbs, Ibar (river bank) -> Eber-, Iberus/Ebro...

Suffix -oz (place?)

Video 6:

Toponimy: -os.

Heint/haint (German): today, from hi naht ('this night'), construction similar to Basque gaur (gau: night + (hau)r: this), also reported by Caesar in Gaulish.

Coherence between linguistics and genetics.

See also:
  • Theo Venneman's homepage
  • B. Oyharçabal's Power Point presentation (including many of the same graphs used by Venneman in his exposition): direct download.
  • R. Mailhammer's The Prehistory of European languages (PDF)


Notes: I must say that I do not necessarily agree with every single etymology but I do with the bulk of them at least. 

I must also say that I miss mention of some Vascoid roots I considered on my own, some very apparent, for instance:
  • The obvious bi- Latin particle for two or double (as in bilateral, bipartite, etc.), which is not Indoeuropean and is terribly consistent with Basque bi: two.
  • Professional suffix -er/-ero, very similar to Basque -ari, which is used the same way but has a clear Basque etymology: ari (auxiliary verb of action, used in present/past continuous), arin (fast, quick), aritu (to hurry).
  • English verbal infinitive particle to (as in to be, to do...), which sounds identical to the most common verbal infinitive suffix in Basque: -tu (sometimes found as -du for cacophony avoidance). Other verbal endings are -n and -i. This one is a bit conjectural. 
  • English ash, Basque auts (ash, dust).
  • English kill and ill, strikingly similar to Basque il(-du) (pronounced like ill), meaning 'to die' (intransitive) or 'to kill' (transitive).
 More conjectural:
  • English black, compare with Basque bel-(tz) (black), which is at least coincident in the two main consonants. However there is a Germanic-IE etymology as well from *blegh (to burn, shine) but this is the same root as blanco/blanche (white) and blank. Conjectural.
  • Arguros and argentum, silver in Greek and Latin respectively. Possibly from Basque argi (light, shiny/bright, to shine), would be a loanword from the Bronze Age possibly. The only Eastern IE word is Sanskrit arjúna (not silver but white) but may well be unrelated or a borrowing via Mycenaean Greek. Conjectural.
  • Possibly mountain (V. Lat. montanea) and mound. While this is argued to be an IE word, Eastern alleged cognates appear without the intermediate -n- and mean different things (such as shore in Albanian mat). I conjecture it may be from Basque mendi (mountain) instead, in turn from mende (power, might), rel. mendebalde (West: 'part under power' or maybe 'under the mountain') and possibly from a very archaic West Eurasian root *man, as in manna, man, Lat. manus (hand), meaning power or potency.
  • Coincidences of declined to be: Basque zara (you are), English are, Spanish eres (you are). Also notice the similitude between IE *is (to be) and Basque izan (to be). Also coincidence in the second person but dancing between singular and plural: Basque zu (singular 'you' but distinct from hi: thou), English thou, German du, Latin tu. These and maybe others might point to a common very old origin of Basque and IE or to the affection of PIE by a Basque-related language such as NE Caucasic/Hurro-Urartean/Sumerian (conjecturally the language of Eastern Gravettian). Alternatively some may be influences of IE into Basque but most look as deep phylogenetically rooted in Basque.

European protests, Spain's general strike

In a general strike that has been delayed for all the summer by the duopolistic unions UGT and CC.OO., finally Spaniards had yesterday occasion to vent their anger and frustration and go on strike.

It was, it seems, a massive success, considering the appeals to demobilization and police violence by the entrenched institutional actors. Unions estimated the impact in 71.7%, with some media reporting a rounded up figure of 75%. Even the minister of labor had to admit that the impact was of 100% in the automotive sector, with air carrier Ryanair also canceling all its flights and some key services such as trash collection generally paralyzed.

Southern Basque Country

CNT picket in Bilbao
In the Southern Basque Country the impact was smaller, as the major unions did not join the strike, disgruntled by passive and manipulative attitude of the Spanish union duopoly. However in Navarre, the impact was similar to that of Spain with 74% of workers joining according to Gara and the airport completely paralyzed. Reports from industrial areas in the Western Basque Country, talk of some key industries paralyzed and industrial areas nearly stopped, as well as a total blockade of the harbors of Bilbao and Pasaia. Non-industrial sectors however were only mildly impacted.

Catalan Countries

Reports from the Catalan Countries tell of strong following in general and riots in Barcelona. With demonstrations in the thousands in many cities (Barcelona, Sabadell, Tarragona, Valencia, Lleida, etc.) and some arrests.

Fire barricade at Barcelona

Closing Mercavalencia at dawn


In Xixon (Gijón) the walkout was generalized, with few incidents. The demo was called by Corriente Sindical de Izquierdas (CSI), SUATEA and CGT but was boycotted by institutionalist unions UGT, CC.OO. and USO, who were accused of making secret pacts with the patrons and government, trying to demobilize popular anger.


The reports also talk of a general success, not just in Zaragoza but also in Teruel and other towns. They also talk very bad and  of the attitude of UGT-CC.OO, who posed for the photo and then left in most pickets. Combative unions in this country were CGT, Sindicato Obero Aragones (SOA) and CATA.

Closing El Corte Inglés, more images at NoblezaBaturra
There are also reports of police charges and arrests.


I could only find reports so far on Málaga, telling of irregular impact but stopping the key sectors. The demo was of several thousands.


The most important city by large is Madrid, which was strongly affected by the General Strike according to La Haine.

While the "official" UGT-CC.OO. demo gathered some 500 people, the alternative one called by other unions (CGT, Solidaridad Obrera, etc.) was massive (photos).

Very symbolically, regional public TV Telemadrid cut its emission, reminding somewhat of the impacting cut of TVE in the quasi-mythical general strike of 1988, which was a massive success.

While the unity and strength of genuine labor-unionism was an important element, the violence of police was another one. Police did not only charge against pickets, including the bycicle picket, but there are reports of seven live ammunition caskets being found after a specially violent charge in Airbus-EADS Getafe.

Another city where the strike had major impact was Valladolid.


In Salamanca instead the reports tell of low following. 

Elsewhere in Europe

There was a call for protests and demos to take place around Europe yesterday and I am aware of such protests in Ireland, Portugal, Italy and several Central European countries, however in the wealthy central bloc of the EU the impact of this call for mobilization seems to have been pretty low or nil, excepting the central demo at Brussels. 

Dublin (Parliament gates)
Brief Analysis

Combative labor unions clearly made gains both in charisma and unity yesterday in the State of Spain, while traditional subsidized unions seem to have tried to make a posse strike instead to save their face before a growingly angry working class, which massively joined the strike in spite of all.

Much remains to be done at European level, which, in my understanding, is a key level of organization if we want to stop and reverse the offensive of Big Capital.

Some relevant links: CGT, CNT, Solidaridad Obrera, Rojo y Negro, La Haine.

Update: according to Cuestionatelotodo ("questioneverything") the sectorial impact was:
  • Metal 74%
  • Wood 59%
  • Construction 70%
  • Chemical 80%
  • Textile 77%
  • Mining 100%
  • Air transport 82%
  • Road transport 78%
  • Sea Transport 90%
  • Urban transport 85%
  • Markets 90%
  • Public education 60%
  • Private education 32%
By autonomous communities:
  • Andalusia 76.8%
  • Asturias 87%
  • Balearic Islands 72%
  • Canary Islands 70%
  • Cantabria 70%
  • Castile-Leon 72.3%
  • Castile-La Mancha 80.2%
  • Catalonia 80%
  • Valencian Country 78%
  • Extremadura 70%
  • Galicia 80%
  • Madrid 76%
  • Murcia 72%
  • Navarre 74 %
  • Western Basque Country 30%
  • La Rioja 71%

Maternal care modifies gene regulating key neurotransmitter

Physorg reports new research that emphasizes again the crucial epigenetic effects of maternal care of lack of it.

Researchers bred two different clades of rats, ones affective with their offspring and the others extremely detached. The offspring of the latter experimented an epigenetic modification obstructing the expression of the GAD1 gene, which regulates the key neurotransmitter GABA

GABA helps to regulate emotions and people with schizophrenia may have GABA deficits. Similarly the rats raised by the detached mothers also had low GABA production. 

Inversely, the rats raised by cuddly mothers showed high expression of GAD1. 

Rodents are genetically very close to primates and hence a very good model for our own biology even within the restricted spectrum of placental mammals. 

The research is attributed to Tie-Yuan Zhang to be published in September 29 in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Boy buried near Stonehenge was from the South

A teenager who died c. 1550 BCE and was buried near Stonehenge with an amber necklace was not raised in Britain but further south, near the Mediterranean, reports BBC

The burial was discovered in 2005 5 km south of Stonehenge, in a mound at Boscombe Down, while doing roadworks for military housing. His age at death is estimated to have been 14-15 years old.

The burial shows the characteristic fetal position of Bell Beaker but not the usual grave goods of this subculture

The oxygen isotopes found in his enamel evidence that he grew in a warmer climate than Britain, near the Mediterranean. Date and context suggest to me Portugal, where an important Megalithic civilization was still active at that time. However other places of Megalithic culture in Iberia, Southern France or even North Africa or Italy cannot be discarded with the available information. 

Other people buried near Stonehenge known to have arrived from afar are the Amesbury Archer, a member of the Bell Beaker subculture, known to have grown at the Northern Alps, and the Boscombe Bowmen, also with a Bell Beaker style burial, known to be from Wales or Brittany or maybe even farther away. However all these belong to a much earlier period, 750 years earlier than the boy of the amber necklace. This strongly suggests that Stonehenge and the religious/cultural (and maybe political) complex around it kept attracting people from the wider Megalithic and Bell Beaker area for almost a whole millennium, possibly more.

Stonehenge, no doubt, was a Mecca of its time. Pity that we know so little about the beliefs and society that motivated such pilgrimages.

European HR Court condemns Spain for not investigating tortures

It refers to the case of Basque citizen Mikel San Argimiro who was arrested, held incommunicado and (allegedly, most likely) tortured for five days by the Guardia Civil (militarized police corps) in 2002. The sentence condemns Spain to pay 23,000 euros for the fault of investigating the denounces of torture. The sentence is likely to establish a precedent in the matter because Spain almost systematically does not investigate torture while in detention.

The forensic report in San Argimiro's torture case established the first day that he had many lesions, which were dismissed as they could be "compatible with the development of the arrest and the maneuvers of immobilization". This same argument was held by the state attorney in the case of Igor Portu and Mattin Sarasola, which, in an exceptional development, resulted in the accusation of several policemen (Guardia Civil again) which will be judged in a month. 

In the second day of arrest the forensic physician reported new lesions without attributing them to any particular cause. Four days later, after being sent to prison, another physician found a broken rib.

The European tribunal cannot judge the existence of not of torture, because there is no investigation but can judge that not investigating it is a serious fault, a breach of article 3 of the European Covenant on Human Rights forbidding torture.

There is a long list of similar cases involving Basques as victims; next in line are the well known cases of Unai Romano, whose photos with the face totally deformed by the beatings caused a tremendous impact, and Martxelo Otamendi, director of Basque language newspaper Egunkaria, which is one of the most aggravating cases of persecution against freedom of speech and linguistic diversity. 

 Unai Romano before and after his arrest

In the past the European tribunal has only ruled against Spain in few occasions, one involving Catalan nationalists, tortured in the context of the Olympic Games of 1992, the other two affect Basque victims: nationalist MP Miguel Castells, who was deprived of parliamentary immunity, judged and sent to prison for a crime of opinion (denouncing that the death squads of the 1980s were not being investigated) and the other happened last year, when Strasbourg condemned Spain to pay 170,000 euros to Mikel Iribarren, who was almost killed by a rubber bullet shot at short distance against his face. 

Hopefully this sentence will help to at least contain a bit the systematic impunity of police torture.

Source: Gara.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hyenas another european mammal extinct at the end of the last ice age

Spanish researchers have published a new paper on the extinction of spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta, the same species dominant in Africa) in Europe and Asia. Apparently hyenas lived without much trouble in the Mediterranean areas of Eurasia until c. 10,000 years ago, when they became extinct. This is also the time of the end of the last Ice Age.

Lead researcher Sara Varela says that climate change in the past was not directly responsible for the extinction of the spotted hyena in southern Europe, but it was a factor in its disappearance.

Source: Science Daily, illustration from Wikipedia.

Physical anthropologist claims (again) that Homo floresiensis was cretin Homo sapiens

This hypothesis has been proposed before by the same team and then rejected. However I feel obliged to mention it as I'm sure that some readers will find it interesting and also because, if real, it would mean that LB1 is not an Homo erectus (maybe a cretin H. erectus?) nor a new species but a marginal representative of our own expansion in Eurasia and beyond.

However I am skeptic, specially because Oxnard fails to compare with Homo erectus.

Cretinism is a severe chronic medical condition caused by low iodine intake. Iodine is mostly ingested with drinking water and also from sea salt, but not refined table salt (unless enriched).

Judge yourself anyhow:

On strike

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Several volcanoes may have severily damaged Neanderthals

This is the hypothesis proposed by Liuvob Golovanova in the latest issue of Current Anthropology, according to Science News.

Golovanova's team has found two different volcanic ash layers in the Neanderthal  site of Mezmaiskaya, in the North Caucasus, the first one is dated to c. 45 Ka ago and the second one to c. 40 Ka ago. This one seems to have sealed the fate of Neanderthals in the Caucasus. 

Some time later, c. 38-37 Ka ago, items that are mostly associated with Homo sapiens, such as perforated shell ornaments, bone points and other items, appear at the site. 

A similar situation is found, as far as I know, in the not too distant site of Kostenki, in southern Russia. The 40 Ka eruption is also associated with the cold episode known as HE4 and has been related to the expansion of Aurignacian culture in SW Europe. 

However it must be noted that in the same issue, geologist Biagio Giacio, challenges Golovanova's account, mentioning the presence of artifacts under the ash layer in several Mediterranean locations. I presume that these are the same sites that Julien Riel-Salvatore has been digging in Southern Italy, of Uluzzian culture. 

Riel-Salvatore stands today at his blog by his published claims of Uluzzian being a Neanderthal industry, mostly because of the existence of a Mousterian (probably Neanderthal) buffer in Central Italy arguably preventing Sapiens influences from arriving,  but other researchers have already proposed that it is of H. sapiens manufacture because of it srather unmistakable Upper Paleolithic style, including bone tools (unknown to have been ever made by Neanderthals), and specially the presence of perforated decorations. 

The debate continues. 

Ref. L.V. Golovanova et al. Significance of ecological factors in the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition. Current Anthropology. Vol. 51, October 2010, p. 655. doi:10.1086/656185.

General Strike tomorrow

Labor unions have called a General Strike of 24 hrs. in the state of Spain tomorrow, September 29th. While I have my reservations, I will join it and therefore Leherensuge will be idle tomorrow. I won't reply to comments either. 

The most representative unions in the Basque Country, ELA and LAB, which organized a separate national strike in June, declared weeks ago that they will not back the strike, because it has been unprepared and the Spanish unions have not counted with them. Another reason is that they argued that tomorrow there would be a Europe-wide strike and there is nothing like that (they lied). Other state-wide unions have joined the strike also critically.

However I am of the opinion that not one day but many of general strike are needed in order to put the State, Big Capital and EU against the ropes. So I am not renouncing to the opportunity to adhere to this strike, even if I am strongly critical of the subsidized Spanish union duopoly and I strongly suspect that the main motivation they have is to demobilize workers, rather than actually present battle against Big Capital and their administrators in Madrid and Brussels. 


On a separate note:

Leherensuge will be discontinued in October 1st. Two new blogs: will take its place that day:

This follows the plan I have already outlined in the past, with a slight delay. The strike is another reason to delay it a few days more (avoiding confusion), even if the new blogs are ready, I believe. 

A final post will formalize the change. Leherensuge will remain online as archive and, at least for some time comments will be allowed.
Please make preparations for the replacement: bookmark, follow and/or update your feeds. Thanks. 

Spain arrests Basque internationalists

Spanish police has arrested tonight seven members of the, so far legal, internationalist organization Askapena. It has done so ordered by the Neoinquisition's new boy, judge Juan Pablo Ruz, who is replacing B. Garzón, who is in trial for daring to investigate fascism or something).

The seven arrested are Gabi Basañez, Unai Vázquez, Itxaso Lekuona, Rubén Sánchez, David Soto, Aritz Ganboa and Walter Wendelin. Wendelin, who has German citizenship, was expelled from Venezuela in March in a cowardly action by the Bolivarian government, upon pressure from Spain. In spite of all the manipulations he was free until yesterday. 

There is of course concern because of the recent reports of tortures against other people arrested arbitrarily by the Audiencia Nacional (Neoinquisition). 

Source: Gara.


This is obviously another sabotage against any possible peace process and a provocation to the whole Basque Nationalist Left. There is no question about it. The only question may be who is directing the judges (and police, as tortures are not something that judges can order) into arbitrary arrests of political nature in this delicate time. I do not have an answer but it is clear that, if it is not the Spanish Government directly (it might be the right wing opposition), it casts a huge shadow on the real power wielded by Rodriguez Zapatero (PM) and Rubalcaba (Minister of the Interior) and therefore on whether something can be negotiated at all with the PSOE government. 

Question remains is how much patience will ETA have with the blatant disinterest of Spain in reaching to any agreement or even respecting the most basic protocol towards any sort of negotiation. And how much patience will the Basque people have as well because what is obvious by now, and is likely to become more obvious in the near future, is that Spain does not want peace and democracy and Basque people does instead. 

By the way, there is some persistent helicopter noise out there. Not too unusual but sign that they are monitoring the streets from the air, whatever the exact reason. As there is no demonstration called for today, it should be related to the arrests.