Wednesday, December 31, 2008
This is the conclusion of a new paper published at PLoS ONE and authored by Willian E. Banks et al.
I have not yet but browsed it but guess that it adds to the rather intense discussion on why did our ancestors replace Neanderthals in West Eurasia and specially Europe, a good review of which can be found at Dienekes.
By the moment just a note. I may write more later on when I read it properly.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Israel has killed scores in Gaza concentration camp in what ammounts to the single largest zionist massacre since 1967. The attack cannot be justified obviously - but well Israel itself can't be either.
But what is more intriguing is that some already think it is the prelude of a toppling of the democratic Palestinian government to replace it by the deslegitimated Zionist lapdog Mahmoud Abbas. It seems pretty clear by now that Abbas and Mubarak are in agreement with this operation that has only begun and will get many many more killed before it's over.
In September I mentioned certain key information where this attack had been agreed between the Fatah and Zionist leaders. It was also mentioned that Abbas, whose term ends this month of January would ilegally extend it for a whole year in order to acomplish this takeover.
This is the beginning of the takeover. Israel has not concentratd all Palestinian refugees in Gaza to allow the ghetto to become a resistence base but to exterminate them or at least keep them in total subservience. The man of Israel in the remaining Palestine is Abbas and Fatah after the supression of Arafat has become a mere puppet of the Zionist Apartheid, the pathetic bantustan dictator that is more interested in the perpetuation of his masters power, on whom he's become totally dependent by now, than in the rights and survival of the Palestinian nation.
It will be a murderous New Year time in Palestine. It will not be over, probably, before the legitimate Hamas government has been deposed and meanwhile the Zio-Nazi airplanes will fly over Gaza bombing the impoverished homes of the Palestinians imprisioned in such a tiny fraction of their own homeland.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Of course, there are many, even if most are rather the opposite and in the last decades Jewish identity has been dominated by criminal Zionism and hysterical anti-anti-Semitism. But the issue has more ramifications and this interview, rather discussion, at Palestine Think Tank illustrates the matter pretty well. Gilad Atzmon argues in favor of dejudaization, in the line of Spinoza or Marx, while Sid Shniad argues that it is very necesary to stand up as Jewish against Zionism.
Take a look: Fighting Within.
He confessed, his sons denounced him... soon some were considering that he was a pacted scapegoat. Not much of a scapegoat anyhow when one is left free to remain at home and has to pay just a ridiculous bail that is infiniesinally lower than all the "lost" money.
Some even considered that the money was never lost and that was instead moved to Israel.
Maybe. But this is a much more likely scenario: expectations are that at least 30% of all hedge funds will go bankrupt in the next few months. If the fund goes bankrupt the investors get nothing but what if there is fraud instead? In that case the US law provides refunding on taxpayers' money. I don't know if the USA can afford to pay 50 billion dollars (maybe yes with the current policy of dumping the green note to promote exports at the expense of US citizens' real wealth) but this is what some already suspect as the reason for the financial superstar to confess to fraud. With such an spontaneous confession no evidence of fraud should be needed: all the wealthy investors and terrorist "charities" would get 100% their money back.
The plot could be even more twisted. I am almost sure that is anything but what is apparent.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Even if it's hard that anyone will surpass the dimensions of the Madoff scam in many years, he is certainly not the only one among the world's fascists. A more modest but very similar scam has been unveiled in the person of Bush' advisor Felipe E. Sixto, leader of the counterrevolutionary entity Center for a Free Cuba. Sixto confessed last friday to have robbed $600 million from this "charity".
Sadly the stolen millions are only 25% of the US public aid against Cuba. But don't worry, his accomplices (CIA agent Frank Calzón and Adolfo Franco, former US director of USAID for Latin America) are facing no acusation whatsoever, so they will surely keep robbing your money instead of spending it to destroy te Cuban revolution.
All happy, I guess.
This is funny to say the least. There's nothing like a fanatic warlord bragging:
We wish to tell Bush and our opponents our real intentions: we will establish Islamic rule from Alaska and Chile to South Africa, Japan, Russia, the Solomon Islands and all the way to Iceland, be warned, we are coming.
While I don't doubt that this bunch of fanatic maddogs of castrating and superstitious rituals are able to cause much harm in Somalia and maybe other places... the only sane reaction is a good laugh. And then a straight jacket and a cold shower.
Now that another year comes formaly to an end, one may happen to ask, or even just accidentally stumble as I did, where were we 10 or 20 years ago, more or less. Not sure about you but these two images tell me where I was and that we made some difference by not being just passive sheep:
The one above has no date but I'm pretty sure is like 18 years ago, more or less. The people who are occupying the tank (blocking a military parade or maneouvre in Gasteiz, what eventually took the tanks out from the streets) belonged to the same organization I was in. I can perfectly recognize the one facing the camera. I was not in that one but were in others...
This one instead has a date and is like 12 years ago, center of Bilbao. Again I can recognize one of the main actors, a very outgoing and militant man. Homosexuality was, as you can see already more or less normalized by then - though there's always someone looking odd.
Nothing was like that when I was born, or even when I was a teen ager... we made a difference. We got the once arrogant army hiding into their barracks, we got the bishops to see their churches empty, we got ties and formal adresses very much supressed, we got informal sexuality to be much more common and accepted everywhere...
It is possible to make a difference. You just have to be right, get organized and persist. Things change... a lot. What you see now was made, is made, by people like you and me. For good or bad we are the actors of this story: we are the ones that make things happen.
Images borrowed from this quite interesting collection of covers and content from the historical Basque Autonomist magazine Resiste. Now continued in electronic format as Eutsi (name that then was used for monographic issues only).
Sunday, December 21, 2008
First time ever that people openly announce their joining illegal armed organization ETA. Nobody remembers anything like that. Maybe in the 60s?
A comunication sent to Gara newspaper declares that ten Basque citizens have decided to join ETA after being judged and persecuted as if they were militants when they were not. Four of them appear in a picture attached to the letter (left), though no names are mentioned.
They claim to be activists of the Basque Nationalist Left, who in different ways have worked in favor of Basque independence.
We have worked in different organisms of the Basque National Liberation Movement until heavily armed policemen came to arrest and torture us and we have been forced to run away.
They denounce that the political situation has been worsening, that there is no democracy, freedom of association, freedom of expression anymore in the Basque Country and that in the impossibility of working in their townsthey have decided not to surrender to the Spanish tribunals.
We had no option left than to face the Spanish persecution with weapons in our hands and we will make it with determination.
In spite of not being members of ETA, they wanted to kidnap and judge us as if we were. But this does not scare us, like many other people before us, we have decided to take up weapons and join Euskadi Ta Askatasuna.
Live to see. When you think you've witnessed virtualy everything...
Saturday, December 20, 2008
From tomorrow on, the days begin to get longer again (in the Northern Hemisphere, of course).
As it's traditional, this day is celebrated with rural markets all around the country, though this year it was moved to the day before because of the 21st being sunday:
Note: the pictures were mercilessly borrowed from Gara.
His demand was, of course, ignored.
But it is important anyhow because he did so only as he saw the awful state of the prisioners in the police station where they are incommunicated, as usual.
June Villarubia was finally set free yesterday and has denounced tortures like "the bag" (deprivation of air by placing once and again a plastic bag on your head), sexual abuses and being brutally pulled by the hair all around. She has been arrested and incommunicated for five days but, in spite of the trotures, she made no declarations to the police and rejected all accusations before the judge.
The two men arrested in the same operation, all initially accused of passing information to ETA, Arkaitz Landaberea and Julen Etxaniz, are still incommunicated after having declared before special judge Ismael Moreno. The fourth arrested, Saioa Urbistazu, was left free two days ago.
The judge rejected the application of the "Garzón protocol", that is intended precisely to prevent abuses during the incommunication period, by filming their stance in the police station and appointing a second forsenic physician.
I think any reasonable person who contemplates the complexity of human behaviour and the multiple forces often unpredictable that are at play in making human history will agree that that Y-DNA dating is more of a compass than a clock.
Afriqash at Dienekes' Anthropology Blog (comment)
It seems that by the moment it is fairly impossible to get the whole picture of the Madoff scandal. And I do not mean just a whole list of his customers and the ammounts affected but all the posible ramifications, including very possibly the Zionist network and Israel.
So by the moment I'm just thinking loud and taking notes on what I find around there to see if I can come to some conclusions in due time. I'd thank that any readers with ideas or just interesting links would make me notice them (feel free to comment).
Some interesting stuff (though verifiable facts, unconfirmed allegations and opinions are all mixed) is the Blogosphere. The more or less interesting material comes from:
1. Jewish anti-Zionist blogs (they do exist and are most interesting):
- Joachim Martillo, at Ethnic Askenazim Against Zionist Israel, says that the Madoff scandal is nothing compared with the ammount scammed by Zionists to the US public to finance Israel. The same author also has a quite interesting history of Zionism (or as he call it: "Judonia"), worth a good read.
- Jews sans frontieres considers that the Madoff affair is a blessing because philantropy is reactionary and Jewish philantropy even more (one of the "charities" scammed by Madoff, the Lapin Fundation, that appears to have lost all its money in this affair, was basically dedicated to promote Jewish racism).
- Window into Palestine wonders if Madoff moved all the "lost" money into Israel. This is a very intriguing post but sadly the sources are vague and unclear. According to them anyhow the money is not gone but it's safe in Israel, and most or all investors have been privately notified. The whole confession affair would then be just a stratageme not to pay taxes in the USA, after Swiss bank leaks, and because "it was felt that this was a necessary measure in protecting certain high level clients in the face of a collapse of the USA". It adds that "the money needed to be taken out of the US on fear of collapsing US dollar and seizure of funds by IRS and courts for frauds committed during the sub prime bubble". They also suggest that the real ammount involved would be closer to $100 billion (double than what is official). - Note: traced the original source of this article is a post at Google-groups by Mark Graffis, post that appears to have been transcribed around the net. It remains intriguing but I'd like to know the alleged sources. [Note: most quoted source is Rense - but this informal news site links to Yahoo-groups. It's clearly a rumor but many seem to take it as very likely]
- Diario Pampero Cordubensis translates from an English-language article by John Paterson (NSK News - still to locate online). The article says that the money is in Israel and that it's quite obvious why Madoff has been given such a generous bail: it's all a financial plot, not just this scandal but the whole financial crisis [that we know well: was caused by a chain of Ponzi schemes itself, as denounced by the 2008 Nobel Prize of Economics]
Madoff is not just any Jon Doe after all. He was the star guru of Wall Street, the presiden of NASDAQ (...), mecenas of Jewish organizations, friend of Israel, director of the Hebrew Yeshiva University (...) Zionist militant, he is one of the most renowed leaders of AIPAC (US pro-Israel lobby).4. News sites:
Obviously it's so crude that truth comes alone: Madoff is the consensuated visible face of something else. Can anybody believe that someone that was scamming for so many years (...) was never spotted by the SEC or FINRA or even the FBI? [I'd add also European and Japanese regulators]
(...) many already think that we are before a controlled demolition of the financial bubble. That is: the monster is being dismantled like in demolition works with explosive charges while the money is transfered from the naive to a few select hands. bankrupticy of the Zionist investment bank Lehman Brothers and the silence of the Zionist financial lobby, Robert Rubin, few doubts remain.
Money does not vanish: what many loose, a few gain. And they have decided to gather all in their hands without any need to give account. For this purpose the US taxpayers (...) will have to pay 700 billion already compromised for the "rescue" of Wall Street (...)
The money stolen by Bernard Madoff maybe is already safe in Israel, meanwhile it will be dissimulated with the song of the "scammed Jewish investors", like Steven Spielberg (...), who all keep a suggestive silence, possibly on request.
- David B. Carusso (AP) at Yahoo news Spain analyzes some of the possible accomplices of Madoff. In the article it seems obvious that an elderly man alone, no matter how smart and well connected, could not do all that mega-scam alone. From other news it's just clear that the impact in Europe is growing by moments and that the same kind of criticisms against the regulators is being thrown around. At least one Basque public bank (Kutxa) is affected.
- NYT: list of losers, Dec. 14 (obsolete but it's something)
- In Gold is Money.info, a member (whaterbd), discussing the obscure allegations of Graffis, argues that it's just impossible that Madoff run a Ponzi scheme with such important customers, it should have not gone unnoticed to financial analysts nor to the employees. He argues that by confessing, all customers would be able to claim refund from the US administration (this normally would require the fraud to be proven but confession allows to skip that part). - lost the link but well... it's just a note.
- InvestorCentric mentions that Madoff customers want a bailout too.
- Mondoweiss mentions his links with Ezra Merkin, who apparently invested all in Madoff's fund. Merkin nevertheless got a large privatized Israeli bank two years ago. A character to trace in this story, along with Sharon and Olmert, who appear in the same photo.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Finally a decent answer to the cui bono? question that any intelligent person should ask in these cases. I won't claim it's the only possible one but it makes some sense, what is interesting in itself, and it's signed by a respectable analyst who has been claiming for years that Bin Laden is nothing but a puppet of US intelligence, as I do believe too.
Link: India's 9/11. Who was behind the Mumbai attack? Washington is fostering political divisions between India and Pakistan, by M. Chossudovsky.
The Canadian author claims that the USA exerts much more control over the dark alleys of Pakistani intelligence agency than the new civilian government (that obviously was not interested at all in such attack but rather in improving the relations with its neighbours) and that the main reason for the attack is to sabotage the Indian-Pakistani diplomatic improvements (divide et impera), promote further internal ethnic tensions in both countries and justify even further the intervention in Afghanistan (already declared primary goal by the new Emperor Barack I) and neighbouring Pakistani tribal areas. He also claims that the FBI, along with British M16 and Israeli Mossad, is manipulating the investigation and that, as happened with the Bali attacks, the true masterminds of the crime will never been found.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Today, December 18th, is the Shministim Day of Action. Shministim are those young Israelis who are being jailed for refusing to serve in an army that persists with the occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Meet them at WWW.DECEMBER18TH.ORG, and don't forget to send your email of protest.
One case is particularly worrying: Tamar Katz (pictured), 19, has been put in isolation and there are reports of abuses because she rejected to wear military uniform while in prision.
Found at Dienekes' Anthropology Blog, original paper at DOI: 10.1353 (paywall).
MtDNA H lineages from Tunisia are less diverse and within the variability found in Iberia. Therefore they are most probably a derivate. This fits terribly well with what I have been pondering in the last months or even years about the early origins of North Africans and specifically of Oranian culture (also known as Iberomaurusian) , so I'm quite excited about it.
Let's reconsider all elements:
- North African mtDNA H derived from Iberian H (also notice the relatively high concentration haplogroup V in Tunisia and nearby areas, that must be of European origin as well)
- North African mtDNA U6 less diverse than Iberian one. The lack of U6 elswhere in Europe and the greater diversity of its derived subclade U6a in NE Africa, has led some scholars to think it arrived from West Asia. But overall Iberia has by large the highest diversity of this clade, followed by Morocco, including haplogroups U6b and U6c, that are not found in NE Africa. See my earlier post on U6 and the Maca-Meyer paper on the matter.
- Odd rather common R1b ill-studied clades in NE Africa (Sudan, Upper Egypt) and also in Northern Cameroon, where it's dominant among some groups. While in this case the diversity argument is not so clear (most Iberian and European R1b belongs to a single subclade - but not all), we can't forget that Y-DNA is potentially much more susceptible to drift and that, in Western Europe, was affected by the LGM bottleneck and the Epipaleolithic demographic movements after it may have spread into Africa. R1b is not dominant but it's still a somewhat important haplogroup in NW Africa (I understand that the Capsian/Afroasiatic countertide replaced it largely by E1b1). Most North African R1b haplotypes connect much better with European than with West Asian clades in fact (there is one exception though).
- The curious synchretic SE Iberian Gravetto-Solutrean culture dates from c. 22,000 BP (late 20th century calibrations, today it'd be probably somewhat older, like 25,000 BP maybe). The Solutrean of Mallaetes and Parpalló is among the oldest ones (only surpassed by that of Dordogne) but, unlike what happened in the Franco-Cantabrian region, where it became dominant soon after, in SE Iberia, it suffered a Gravettizing reaction that created a unique techno-cultural complex. Some of their artifacts fit extremely well with the back-tipped style found in North Africa, that also follow the all-covering Solutrean style of retouch.
- The Oranian culture of North Africa, concentrated along the coasts, was early on called Iberomaurusian because the affinities with Iberian techno-complex appeared evident. Later, as doubts about its origin mounted up, it was renamed Oranian. In the last times it has been common to claim that Oranian arrived from Sudan or Egypt but that is not the least clear in fact. What does appear to have migrated from that area is the Epipaleolithic, maybe even Mesolithic (grain-gathering) Capsian culture, that has a more interior distributon and that was probably the one spreading Afroasiatic (Berber) language in the area. Oranian earliest dates are of c. 20,000 BP and its human remains are considered Crô-Magnon type, a type that was most common in Europe with the Gravettian culture (though in Mediterranean Iberia also within the "Solutrean").
- The Qurta rock art of Upper Egypt (right in the crossroads where later Capsian may have originated) is incredibly similar to European rock art, specially to that of Côa valley in Portugal (see previous post on this matter). This artwork is dated to c. 16,000 BP.
You may already know of Archaeonews, the archaeological news section of Stone Pages (one of my favorite sites around the net that deals primarily with Megalithism), section that is mirrored at Archaeoforums. Usually I pick up one or two news as they arrive but, as I have been rather inactive and uninterested in everything intellectual for the last months, many have piled up - and many are very interesting actually. In this post I will try to ammend my laziness of late times, listing all those I would have surely mentioned anyway:
Huge fortress revealed in Wales. The Gaer Fawr fortress has been described as "the Milennium Stadium of the Iron Age" because of its unsual dimensions. A masive piece of egineering, with five terraces cut in the hillside. Being the area a dense forest its dimensions were not really understood until now. The apogee of the site is from 900-800 BCE (Late Bronze Age) but it was in use until Roman times. (forum links 1, 2)
Oldest European cremation burials found in Neolithic Istanbul. They are also the oldest of that kind in Anatolia. The urn necropolis has been found as the subway is being laid in the Turkish city, in the district of Marmaray and date to some 8000 years ago, long before other peoples ever adopted cermation anywhere in Europe. (forum link)
Neanderthals did not hurl weapons, Sapiens did. H. sapiens right humerus from c. 28,000 BP (Gravettian culture) are clearly rotated in a way that can only derive from frequent missile throwing since childhood. No Neanderthal remains show this feature, what means that they probably fought in close combat most of the time, be it against hunting prey or other peoples. While the authors suggest that projectile weapons may have dated from 100,000 BP in Africa, the evidence gathered in their study appears inconclusive for the supposed Sapiens military/hunting advantage over Neanderthals they claim, because Neanderthals had already lost most of their territory by that time. Now, I imagine that they could not study earlier remains because of the scarcity of them (Gravettian Cromagnons left many human remains in comparison with other older or more recent cultures), so maybe the hypothesis stands after all. (forum link)
Oldest marihuana stash found in Uyghuristan. The finding of 780 grams, still keeping their green color and psychoactive properties (but not the characteristic smell), belongs to the Gushi culture (Tocharians) and is dated to c. 700 BCE. It was found alongside a mummy of what is believed to be a Tocharian shaman. The article describes him as "fair-haired and blue-eyed" but while I can accept that hair preserves well in such exceptional conditions, I really suspect that the journalist was letting his/her imagination fly when describing the eyes, a most perishable part of the body. Otherwise the eyes would be the news, not the cannabis. (forum link)
Dugout oak canoe found in Black Sea. It is not dated but must be from long ago. The unusual lack of oxygen and aboundance of hydrogen disulfide at the deep layers of the Black Sea have allowed it to arrive to us in excellent condition. It was found by local fishermen off the Bulgarian coast. (forum link)
New Gravettian art set found in Russia. The portable artwork found at Zaryak (some 160 km SE of Moscow), carved on mammoth bone, is being compared to that of Kostienki and Avdeevo, and is dated to c. 22-21,000 years ago. It includes engravings of mammoths and diagonal cross patterns, as well as two "venus" statuettes (ritually placed in pits surrounded by colored sand), the style resembles very much that of Avdeevo, further south. (forum link)
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It has broken all limits by pushing the interest rates to nearly zero, well below the inflation rate, what is losing money in itself.
Apparently the logi behind such ridiculously low rates is injecting so much money into the system that a good deal of it is passed onto households and businesses at a reasonably low interest rate.
But there is one big problem: the Fed doesn't loan to private people, not even to companies... only to banks. And banks worldwide are right now not conceding almost any loans to almost nobody. And it's not a problem of money availabality: it is a problem of panic, after being overly indiscriminate with credit for decades, they have suddenly panicked and do not want to give any credit that does not have absolutely all guarantees. It's not that they don't have money to loan, it's that they fear to lose it and prefer to keep it locked.
So the Fed would do much better changing its directives and directly giving credit to the people and business, who right now can't get it from the banks. They could even ask for a much higher rate. That would of course be a virtual equivalent to bank nationalization... but in the mid run it's something they will have to do anyhow, because if banks do not fulfill their role providing credit (not mad credit as they did before but certainly normalized reasonable credit), they will need to be scrapped or replaced by some effective economic mechanism, private or public.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sources: SD. Original paper: J.F. García Reyes et al., Determination of Pesticide Residues in Fruit-Based Soft Drinks. Analytical Chemistry, 2008 (behind paywall).
The results show absolute incompetence by regulating authorities in these and other countries, nincluding as much as 300 times the maximum ammounts of pesticides allowed by EU directives. The pesticides found include: carbendazim, thiabendazole, imazalil and its main degradate, prochloraz and its main degradate, malathion, and iprodione.
Obviously none of them are inocuous for humans. In fact the authors do express serious concern about potential harmful effects, specially in children.
Enceladus may have Earth-like plate-tectonics.
NASA scientists working with the Cassini spacecraft have found that Saturn's moon Enceladus has very Earth-like plate tectonics. The snow-white satellite has many fractures ear its south pole and now it's been confirmed that some sections of them are moving, much as Earth's crust fractures do in the ocean or in East Africa (the Rift valley). The difference may be that, while in Earth the engine is driven by molten lava, in Enceladus it may be water what pushes the icy surface around.
Titan's frost volcanoes.
Another info brought by Cassini: it seems that the hazy orange moon of Saturn, Titan, may have cryovolcanoes, that is: volcanoes that erupt with cold materials like ice water, amonia and methane.
Axial tilt heats Europa's interior ocean.
According to Robert Tyler, from the University of Washington, the axial tilt of Europe (still not well known) should be eanough to cause heating and, therefore, strong currents, in the ocean that Jupiter's satellite is thought to have under its crust. This model should also affect other solar system bodies with underground oceans.
Monday, December 15, 2008
There's a pretty interesting article by Spengler at Asia Times Online on the very apparent lack of viability of Muslim states within the context of the Global Economic (not just "financial", whatever some say) Crisis (not just "recession" certainly).
While I don't know how accurate this guy may be in his catastrophic forecasts, his reasoning makes some sense certainly. He argues that countries like Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia and even Saudi Arabia area already economically unviable and in the brink of disaster. The case of Pakistan, with its huge mostly illiterate population and nuclear weapons, is certainly the most worrying maybe but the case is that all these countries have a very bad prognosis, with bankrupt or nearly bankrupt governments totally dependant on subsidies to the vast poor masses for mere survival, subsidies that they cannot afford anymore as The Crisis grips the global economy and makes everybody to keep a close watch of their ficnances, including international lenders and donors.
Spengler argues that many more "Somalias" are to be expected soon in the future all through the Muslim World and that Pakistan is very likely to be one of them. This concern is also reflected in other articles in the same magazine, for example, Seeram Chaulia (I'd think he's an Indian, right?) argues that Pakistan is the only state in the world that negotiates with a un on its own head and he calls for an international mandate (something that sounds like an impossible endeavour, specially considering the situation in nearby Afghanistan and Iraq, much less populated and with no nuclear arsenal, as well as the failure of Ethiopian "mandate" in Somalia - not to mention the most dubious ethics of such "international police" projects).
Certainly I don't think that such colonialist intrvetions are possible anymore, certainly not at such huge scale as would be needed in Pakistan and certainly not in a time when the masses are largely politicied and are the enemy any potential invader must fear the most. Guerrilla warfare has long demonstrated that military intervention is often just not viable and, when it is, it becomes incredibly costly. The successes of the tiny ill-equipped colonial expeditions of Cortes, Pizarro, Judar Pasha or, more modernly, the less known conquerors of India and Africa... are not anymore replicable. This kind of military invasions are something of the past and are generally bound to fail nowadays. Even Napoleon had to admit that his worst error was invading Spain, where he just got a costly and impossible to win guerrilla warfare (that's the origin of the word guerilla, by the way, Spanish term meaning "small war"). Today all or nearly all the world, and very specially the strongly ideologized Muslim countries, has extremely high possibilities of becoming another "Spain" (or Vietnam or Afghanistan...) for those who dare to intervene in them. Not any realistic solution at all.
Back to Spengler's article, he also claims to have reliable sources that suggest that the recent attack to Mumbai's center was not any suicidal action but actually a larger operation by at least 30 people with relatively high expectations of survial. Naturally he mentions that such kind of military activity are much more likely to draw better combatants than the merely desperate (and probably scarce) suicidal volunteers. He claims that the Indian authorities are hiding information on the assault precisely because some 20 attackers apparently managed to escape the police and military siege, a shame they just cannot assume publically.
He also ponders my favorite question in such situations "cui bono?" (I thought it was spelled "qui bono" but seems I was wrong): to whom does this benefit? But provides no clear answer.
In another of a series of these fascist rulings, the Spanish Supreme Tribunal has ruled that the Parliament of Biscay (Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia, a historical autonomous entity with at least 800 years of history) must place the Spanish flag in their balcony and in a preferential site in the inetrior. Another similar sentence last Novemeber 27th forced the Basque Parliament to place the fascist ensign in their facade as well.
Why do I call the Spanish banner "fascist"? Because it was the flag imposed by the fascist coup of 1936-39. It is not the more democratic, albeit still Spanish, republican flag. The Spanish banner was invented in the 19th century, mostly to be used on ships (hence the bright colors), replacing other traditional ensigns like the Burgundy Cross (also known as St. Andrew Cross) and all the traditional emblems of the different realms and royal houses. It was an arbitrary decission by the authoritarian monarchical regime of the time but in any case, its use did not became standard until much later.
It has always been rejected in the Basque Country as a symbol of foreign opression. In an eclectic measure, the local authorities, except those controlled by Spanish nationalist parties, have for decades not shown any banner at all in their facades, exception made sometimes (again imposed by the Spanish tribunals) of the main festivities, what often sparked violent riots. The current legal measures show that Spanish nationalism is clearly in the offensive, that the "moderate" Basque Nationalist Party has no courage to face that (in fact they probably have no national project anymore at all) and that the true nationalists have been to some extent cornered by the legal and police measures decreed against them.
Found at Genes and Demons, based on a New Scientist's article:
Vindija Neanderthal genome is half-way into full sequencing and, this is the important part, some speculations can already be discarded:
- Neanderthals did not have the microcephalin gene
- Neanderthals did not have the increased fertility variant of Icelanders
- Neanderthals were lactose intolerant
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Just the last insulting item: EU has fined France for not allowing GM crops according to EU rules. The same EU that is not able to force the fishing fleet (largely French) to drop the hyper-destructive bottom-trawling techniques or other destructive arts is trying to force more ecological destruction by forcing us to accept the much hated genetically modified monsters.
But this is just an example: EU and its undemocratically clique is just imposing the bad things (ultra-liberalism, interests of private corporations) and showing itself unable to do the right things (protecting the enviroment, jobs, people's welfare...). If there is no radical swing (and its undemocratic structure does not allow for such thing), EU will end up fragmented and with people really hating it. In fact the main causes of the recent Greek upheaval are, according to most analysts, massive discontent for EU liberal measures that make jobs unstable and dismantle the national economy.
I am a strong Europeist but this undemocratic EU bureaucracy is an insult to all Europeans and a burden on our shoulders. We need a democraticaly elected government on a platform and under democratic scrutitny, not this government of the corporations. And we certainly need a more socialist EU, not this brutal Monsanto-style liberalism.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This is a curious, possibly meaningful, piece of info: several US economists and other intellectuals are calling for the nationalization of General Motors (and also Ford and Chrysler). Such "socialist" ideas were virtually unknown in the USA just a few months ago, or at least did not get any echo.
But actually seems a much better plan than just giving them money blindly and without a project. After all, the state would get whatever benefits these companies may make in the future and state planning may make some strategical goals (like more emphasis in ecological vehicles or, as Moore demands, also public transport) a realistic goal, unhindered by the pure market forces that appear to rule private companies.
Interestingly enough, while many US citizens oppose spending public money in helping private companies (quite logically) only a small minority appears to oppose nationalization of strategic industries, like oil. This is well against the common perception of US mentality as fiercely opposed to any sort of "socialism".
President Correa gave the order not to pay the interest of some of its $10 billion international debt, that he considers "immoral and illegitimate". It is the first Latin American country to do so in many decades (others have defaulted or put limits to interest payements but none had bluntly denounced the illegitimacy of the international debt so far). He says his cabinet will soon propose a system to renegotiate the debt in "reasonable" terms and denounced the international lenders as "monsters".
This is, I understand, a major yet expected step (I have been reading forecasts for scenarios like this since the 1980s) that will no doubt put more strain in the already weak global financial system. The BBC article suggests that this would put strain on Ecuador's finances but actually I guess that the economist that is Rafael Correa is probably thinking rather in alleviaing them.
As has been denounced once and again, most of the transnational debt held by poor countries has neven been of any help to them but rather has fed the pockets of some corrup leaders, while it is the taxpayer who is expected to put up with them.
In a more detailed account, Rebelión (in Spanish) informs that this is the outcome of the Public Credit Integral Auditing Comitee (CAIC) research, an organism created in 2007 precisely to evaluate the legitimacy of the foreign debt, chapter by chapter. The decision affects some $3.8 billion (roughly 38% of Ecuador's foreign debt) owed by the Global Bonds 2012 scheme.
The CAIC found "serious indications of illegality" in the contracts of foreign debt in general, what has brought President Correa to say that "what has been done with the debt is immoral: a treason to the fatherland, totally illegitimate". They are pondering legal action against the debt owners.
In this context, Ecuador has asked the UN for help in their effort to estabilish what parts of the foreign debt of poor nations are legiimate and which are not and to create a legal frame that regulates the debt morally. They are gathering support among the G-77 (the group of most impoverished countries) and also with China for that goal. If Correa is succesful in his international endeavours, it may mean very bad news for the international lenders, so used to impose their criteria to poor nations. It should also make corrupt loans less likely to happen, specially as they could be challenged legally.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Nothing really new for those with some interest for astronomy but the 16-years research at Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik (Germany) have confirmed that there is a black hole at the center of the Milky Way. After long years of observations, the astronomers involved have concluded that there is no other possible explanation for the behaviour of the stars near Sagittarius A*. They found that there is an inner group of very fast rotating stars with randomly inclined orbits and an outer one of stars orbiting the black hole in an ecliptic-like plane.
The most important evidence has come, for what I could infer, from the orbit of S2, a star that moves so quickly that has completed one whole orbit around the GC black hole in those 16 years of watch. In their own words:
Observations by our group and by the UCLA group of the velocities and accelerations of stars in the Galactic Center over the course of the last decade have already provided strong evidence that SgrA* is in fact a black hole of about 2.6 million solar masses. However, these measurements could not rule out some alternatives to the black hole model. Two such alternatives are a ball of massive, degenerate fermions, like neutrinos, or a cluster of dark astrophysical objects, such as stellar mass black holes or neutron stars. These two alternative explanations can now be excluded by analyzing the orbit of S2:
In spring 2002 S2 was passing with the extraordinary velocity of more than 5000 km/s at a mere 17 light hours distance -- about three times the size of our solar system -- through the perinigricon, the point of closest approach to the black hole. By combining all measurements of the position of S2 made between spring 1992 and summer 2002, we have obtained enough data in order to determine a unique keplerian orbit for this star, presented in Figure 1. It is highly elliptical (eccentricity 0.87), has a semimajor axis of 5.5 light days, a period of 15.2 years and an inclination of 46 degrees with respect to the plane of the sky. From Kepler's 3rd law we can determine the enclosed mass in a straightforward manner to be 3.7±1.5 million solar masses. Therefore at least 2.2 million solar masses have to be enclosed in a region with a radius of 17 light hours. It is not possible to explain this result with a neutrino ball model because the required neutrino masses would be too large, or with a dense cluster of dark astrophysical objects because such a cluster would have the extremely short lifetime of at most a few hundred thousand years. Compared to the lifetime of our Galaxy of the order of 10 billion years this configuration is highly improbable. The only remaining alternative to the black hole model is a ball of bosons, which would be hard to distinguish from a black hole because of its small size. However, eventually, after some time such a ball would eventually collapse to a black hole after having accreted enough matter from its surroundings. Hence, the observed keplerian orbit of S2 around SgrA* provides compelling evidence for the existence of a massive black hole at the center of our Galaxy.
The inner cluster of fast rotating stars, artistic reconstruction
In the media:
- Science Daily
Water and CO2 in extrasolar planet:
This also called my attention and has been mediatically relevant: an extrasolar "Jupiter" shows clear signs of having CO2 and water, substances that we immediately associate with life (though this extreme is, of course, unconfirmed yet).
(At BBC, at SD)
Monday, December 8, 2008
What follow are my best guess on how Neolithic clades from the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa may have spread in Iberia.
I understand that E3b2 corresponds to a North African clade (sorry but cannot recall which is which after so much renaming, specially as the supplemental material on which all is based does not list the mutations), while E3b1 is probably the Balcanic clade instead. At least that's what seems apparent from their respective distribution areas.
See my previous post on this matter for further details on specific clade distribution and references.
It seems apparent that:
- Cardium Pottery (and whatever came after it) had an irregular array of founder effects in Eastern Iberia: J2 and G are stronger in Catalonia, E3b1 in Valencia while T is strongest in Ibiza, while the Ebro Valley appears as a hub for both J2 and T specially.
- SW Iberia, a major civilization hub since Chalcolithic (probable focus of Megalithism, major hub of Bell Beaker, site of several important towns/cities), may have been a major focus of "Neolithic" Y-DNA expansion, specially in what regards to NW Iberia, an area colonized only in the eve of Copper Age, along with Megalithism spread. It seems specially the main hub of Norh African Y-DNA E3b2 and may have redistributed it elsewhere in Europe in the context of Megalithism and Bell Beaker.
Note please that I'm focussing here in the minority clades (yet not erratics either). I have obviated any mention to the main haplogroup R1b, that makes up the vast majority of the ancestry, though varying through regions too (the Southwest, Ebro Valley and Asturies appear as abnormally low).
Worker: Who pays for this, boss?
King: "The Sovereign", of course.
Worker: Ah, you!
King: No, man, no! "The Sovereign People".
Cartoon by Josetxo Ezkurra, borowed from Rebelión. By the way "sovereign" has nothing to do with "sober".
Watching the news (example) and all seems eclipsed by the events in Greece: after three days, riots persist with full force. And are not anymore limited to the largest cities.
I can't but express my admiration for the Greek people and the antiauthoritarian faction within it, surely one of the strongest and best organized in all Europe. It brings me memories of the riots of 1991, that happened when I was visiting Thessalonikí (though the action was then all in Athens), but what really encourages me of all this is to see that after 17 years the capability of Greek antiauthritarians to challenge the system has not diminished at all. While it's probably not probably the moment yet, I must say that this is the substance of which revolutions are made and that I am really glad that somewhere in Europe there seems still to be such a strong class conscience and people power to resist Liberalism.
Expansion: what do Spanish-language antiauthoritarian media think?
Based on the following news and opinion media: Eutsi, Nodo50, Kaosenlared...
Maybe the most interesting stuff is on why these riots: obviously the trigger was the murder of a student by the police (not the first one certainly) but, as they mention at Nodo50, this is not something that 100 anarchists can set up, it implies widespread anger and frustration among huge sectors of the population. There's a major general strike called for next Wesdnesday and the speculation is that the riots won't settle before that day in the best case; the strike itself is an outburst of massive discontent, specially on light of new Liberal measures imposed by Brussels, like allowing private universities or privatizing certain airlines. Also another element appears to be the rise of the far right, whose combat squads recently killed a Pakistani bringing anarchists to clash with them in the streets of Athens. One of the triggers was precisely solidarity with 15 immigrants who are on advanced hunger strike demanding civil rights.
And certainly one of the most direct triggers was the policial challenge, who took up the Athenian neighbourhood of Eskarja, context in which the cold blood murder of a young anarchist happened.
There's also an interesting meditation by Kilnamen in Nodo50, where s/he compares the somewhat pitiful situation of Iberian anarchism, almost unable to react to a similar cold blood murder some months ago, and the admirable health of Greek antiauthoritarians or even the recent Italian uprising in a similar context. The author calls for a more direct approach of confrontation on daily basis and less factionalism to feed up again the Iberian libertarian movement and the much needed hope of revolution.
The UN report confirmed the existence of torture in Spain and suggested to supress the incomunication period (of up to 15 days, if I recall correctly) where most of the abuses happen. Instead he government is pushing ahead a mostly cosmetic modification of the law that, while would supress incommunication for minors, will keep it as it is for the rest. The measures proposed are to record audio-visually the stance of incommunicated prisioners in police stations and to allow a second physician (yet one appointed by the government too) to survey the state of the arrested.
Also the Spanish government (with the complicity of the media) is "hiding" two other reports by international organizations that also denounce widespread tortures under police arrest, one by UN Comission for Human Rights and the other by the Comitee for Prevention of Torture.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Another SD story: lab rats affected by cell phone radiation at very low levels (two hours per week) showed clear decrease in memory performance tests.
The scientist suggests to use hands-free equipement to minimize the damage.
This seems to be a clear case of nurture and not nature influence in intellectual capabilities. A recent study by UC Berkeley's neurophysicists, on which I've read at Science Daily, reports that, all else equal, children growing in poor households have frontal lobes that are not really functional.
Kids from lower socioeconomic levels show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult...
It's not just that these kids are poor and more likely to have health problems, but they might actually not be getting full brain development from the stressful and relatively impoverished environment associated with low socioeconomic status: fewer books, less reading, fewer games, fewer visits to museums.
These kids have no neural damage, no prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol, no neurological damage. Yet, the prefrontal cortex is not functioning as efficiently as it should be. This difference may manifest itself in problem solving and school performance.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Found the reference to this interesting Y-DNA study at Dienekes. The paper itself, by Adams et al., is behind a paywall, but curiously enough the supplemental material is not. And there is where all the hard data is anyhow.
It's maybe one of the most comprehensive Y-DNA studies of Iberian (and Gascon) populations. After some work, I got the following distribution maps:
Nearly all R is R1b, with some R1b* at Valencia but mostly R1b3 (really old nomenclature, I know, but it's what the paper uses and does not mention the specific SNPs, so I'm follwing it here, much to my own displeasure). There's also some scattered R1a1 and even one R1* in Western Andalusia.
Within R1b3 most is R1b3* (if anybody is willing to compare the haplotypes, that would be an interesting thing to do and I'd love to hear from the results - overall, on first sight, they appear rather closely related anyhow). There are three SNP-defined subclades though:
- R1b3b, only found in the Basque Country (2 individuals)
- R1b3d, clearly stronger among Basque and Gascons and less important elswhere
- R1b3f, centered in Catalonia (other studies suggest Mid/Eastern Pyrenees) and somewhat more common in the peninsula, specially in the East
R1b becomes somewhat rarer to the SW but it is also oddly low in Asturias and Aragon. These two regions show some peculiarities regarding other clades too, what suggests that they have been affected by major demic movements at or after the Neolithic.
Neolithic or Celtic or both? Lacking clear data on what subclades are more common in each region is hard to judge. Overall other studies have suggested that the Iberian main clade is the same as that of the Balcans, what would suggest a Neolithic origin (Cardium Pottery) but hard to say without testing downstream SNPs.
Haplogroup I in Iberia is strongest at Aragon (a major Celtic hub in the Iron Age) but other locations appear to relate better with a Neolithic spread. The high presence in Galicia, Asturias and Extremadura could be explained by both prehistorical migrations.
Haplgroup E3b (now E1b1b).
While there are some E3b*, some E3b3 and even some E(xE3b), two clades appear dominant: E3b2 and E3b1. Not sure which is which (this nomenclature went obsolete long ago) but I think one correlates best with Greece/Albania and the other with North Africa. Nevertheless their distribution patterns are very similar, being both strong in the West specially.
Out of the Western Half, Valencia and Minorca appear significative in the East, what may relate to Neolithic founder effects.
While here is some scattered J(xJ2), most of the Iberian J is J2. This is a clearly Neolithic clade too, that must have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, arriving with Cardium Pottery.
It's widespread but again the West (specially the SW, but also the enigmatic Asturias) appears unusually high.
This is another clade that must be original from West Asia (Neolithic). It appears strongest in Portugal and overall in the West. There are other areas, notably Catalonia, where this clade is also very important.
Described as K(xP), this clade must be T (formerly known as K2). It must be again a Neolithic clade and is strongest in Ibiza (Phoenician founder effect?).
And that's about all. Just to mention the two cases of Q(xQ3), found one in the Basque Country and the other in Andalusia that must be considered erratics of likely Anatolian origin (Neolithic).
Hope you like the maps.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
The most beautiful voice, the most revolutionary musician... such are some of the phrases you can read today in the Basque press and around the net. And all what can be said is probably too little.
Born in 1934 in Donostia (San Sebastian) he was temporarily exiled in Bordeaux as a kid. Later he had to face the violent reality of his native language and culture being terribly opressed under fascism. After a begining as children psychiatrist, he turned to music in 1964, when (as member of the band Ez Dok Hamairu) published his first record, Lau Herri Kanta. From then on he became a most popular and beloved folk (yet very innovative) musician with many of his songs having been assimlated into popular culture as of today.
Yesterday he died at the age of 74 leaving all Basques (and many foreigners) torn but also knowing that his was a very full life and one that really impacted us like very few people can. I am not really an art-oriented person (at least largely not) but I'm always impressed when some of the size of Laboa (or one of his favorite poets, Brecht) can cause such an emotional and psychological impact around, a very favorable impact certainly.
As I've said above, many of Laboa's songs have become really well known popular Basque songs but maybe the one that is best known of all is Txoria Txori (the bird a bird), also known as Hegoak (the wings) a cry of love of freedom and disdain for opression, but a most sweet cry indeed.
The lyrics translate in English as follows:
If I cut its wings,
it would be mine,
it would not go away.
But, that way,
it would not be a bird anymore.
I loved the bird.
it would be mine,
it would not go away.
But, that way,
it would not be a bird anymore.
I loved the bird.
Another very popular minimalistic song from Laboa is Lili Bat (a flower), of a more purely romantic, maybe philosophical, theme:
and, petal by petal,
also dreams you,
also undresses you.
and, petal by petal,
also dreams you,
also undresses you.
And also very popular is Aita-semeak (fathers and sons) that goes on traditional gender roles and nation building:
And we can't forget the super-famous Baga-Biga-Higa (one, two, three), here sang not by Laboa but the Orfeon Donostiarra (Victor of Music 000001 should love this one specially):
As is said in Basque: Mikel gogoan zaitugu (Mikel, we have you in our mind/soul).
All videos from YouTube, not necesarily original videos but certainly original music from Mikel Laboa himself (with the partial exception of Baga-Biga-Higa). Photo from Wikimedia.