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Monday, November 30, 2009

Nonviolent movememnt for a single state solution in Palestine

I believe it is very worth mentioning this Gaza group, new to me, that is launching a campaign to solve the problem of Palestine by the only means possible: the constitution of a multiethnic secular democratic unified state. The fact that they are also nonviolent makes them even more interesting in a context marked by violence and continuous crimes against humankind (very specially by Israel - there's no comparison!)

Link: The One Democratic State Group (ODSG).

Israeli Apartheid: real and with legal implications worldwide

Similarly to the previous report by a South African committee, this new paper by Luciana Coconi ratifies the idea that what happens in Palestine has no other name than Apartheid, which is a crime against humankind and therefore Israeli officials and collaborators of all sorts can be prosecuted internationally anywhere on Earth.

The paper, titled Apartheid against the Palestinian people, has been published by ACSUR and is available in English, Spanish and Catalan (direct link to English PDF here).

Massive abstention in Honduras illegitimate poll

The legitimate Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, declared that the pseudo-elections, that the dictatorship has organized to perpetuate itself under a clout of legitimacy, managed to attract only 35% of voters.

The coupists are claiming that abstention was of only 30%, when actually reached 65%. We have 1400 of the total 5000 polling stations sampled and we also have the acts and voting numbers. That means: we have enough data to demonstrate that the dictatorship is falsifying the truth - declared the ousted President to the Bolivarian News Agency (ABN).

The USA and Panama have already declared they would acknowldege the result of these illegitimate elections. Colombia and Peru might do as well. Most other countries of America will surely keep their support for Zelaya, even if only nominally.

It is interesting to read imperialist media like the pseudo-prestigious BBC because they only mention the dictatorship's claims. It says a lot about the real "objectivity" of such media.

So we can say now that Honduras had fraud elections and that the dictators lost... though they claim otherwise.

With less than 35% of popular support (there were huge pressures on citizens to vote) the oligarchic tyranny has a problem to keep itself afloat. The conflict is likely to continue for some time until the coupists are ousted and a constitutional assembly can be elected with guarantees.

There were no neutral international observers in this election. Only far right US groups sent some but they are anything but neutral.

Amnesty International already denounced the "threatening atmosphere" in which this poll took place. There are reports that in some places armed troops in plain clothes rounded up the citizens forcing them to vote. The state of emergency in which the poll took place did not impede that demonstrators took to the streets again in San Pedro Sula, however the police repressed them violently. The repression against those who support the legitimate president is spreading up to the point that this jouney dressed of democracy has been dubbed the second coup in Honduras.

We'll see what happens but, unless a patriotic commander makes a counter-coup, the totalitarian situation can extend in time, bringing destabilization and potential increased conflict to all the region. But one thing I am sure about: the Honduran people will not submit.

Update: the National Front of Resistence Against the Coup in Honduras declared only 21.5% went to vote.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dozens Basque youths arrested in political round-up

Just another chapter of the thoughtless repression of the state against legitimate political activity by Basques. 34 people, allegedly holding responsability posts in the youth organization Segi, were arrested two days ago in various towns of the Southern Basque Country by orders of the Neoinquisition judge Grande-Marlaska.

On application of the anti-terrorist law they have been deprived of all legal guarantees and can be held incommunicated for two weeks. Yesterday the tribunal rejected the habeas corpus and the application of the anti-torture measures, which are only used at discretion of the judges (that means almost never).

The charges are unknown at the moment but it's likely that they will be accused of belonging to terrorist organization, as the inquisitorial judges have already ruled that "everything is ETA", and that certainly applies to Segi.

These measures are only applied against the Basque Left. Hence you can have someone punished with 10 years of prison for burning a cash machine and someone with 12 years for homicide (you can imagine who is a Basque patriot of the two, right?). You can have someone with incommunication and denial of the right to defense for just being member of a political organization and another with full rights and bail for being member of a terrorist organization that has made actual attacks (but the latter are Spanish nationalists, not Basques).

Source: Gara.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bilderberg rules EU

The hyper-secretive club of the powerful that is claimed to rule the World (or at least a good deal of it) from the shadows, the
Bilderberg Group, paid for the secret dinner where the new EU Council's President was nominated.

The new office will be in the hands of Herman Van Rompuy, the Christian-Democrat Prime Minister of Belgium. In spite of his low profile, he frequents the secret meetings of the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission, therefore he is an insider of the Western Imperial Senate (if not government) who will implement their obscurantist decissions.

Source: Peace Report (in Italian). Spanish version at Rebelión.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Genes, brains and fractals (various brief notes)

I'm feeling intellectually saturated right now and don't feel like writing or even reading too much at the moment. However there are some interesting news I think I should mention. Therefore I'll just make a quick reference here... by the moment.


Some of these news come from the new PLoS ONE issue:

D. López Herráez et al. have found several evolutionary markers that seem to define short height in Pygmies (as an adaptative response to low iodine diet) and cartilaginous tissue that may correlate with "racial" differences as shown in facial traits (facial features are largely defined by cartilages).

G. Resink et al. explore the parallels and differences between genetic structure in Sahul and language families. This report is also discussed at Dienekes' blog.

Also I have been reading Subramanian's paper on Penguin DNA and molecular clock (thanks to German again) but, sadly, it is not as clarifying as the press release would suggest. I need to re-read it in order to make up my mind.


At Science Daily we are informed of the fact that larger brains are not necessarily correlated with greater cognitive power, that bees and dogs can essentially understand the same things about their surroundings.

Also at SD, it is mentioned that IBM has managed to recreate with supercomputers the wiring complexity of a cat-like brain.


For those interested in Chaos theory and fractal geometries (I love it but also beats me), New Scientist deals with the three dimensionalization of the classical Mandelbrot Set, gallery included.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Liberal International attempts coup in Nicaragua

The President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega, has denounced that European MP and
President of the Liberal International, Hans van Baalen, attempted to seduce Nicaraguan military officers into organizing a coup in the Central American country. However, according to Ortega, the reaction of the officers was patriotic and instead of joining such an anti-democratic plot, they reported the conspiration attempt.

Van Baalen, member of the Dutch VVD party, also managed to appoint recently Honduran coup leader, Roberto Micheletti, as one of the many vice-presidents of this global political bloc that sponsors Capitalism and supposedly also democracy and human rights, and that is mostly made up of small European parties.

Source: Tercera Información (found via Rebelión).

So, essentially, this "democrat" is trying to impose military regimes in Central America, surely acting as agent for other powers like the USA, and smash genuine democracy in the continent.

These maneouvers must be understood in the context of increased US-NATO intervention in Latin America, of which the occupation of Haití, the coup in Honduras and what has been called "the annexation of Colombia to the USA" (the new military treaty that gives full operative freedom to US troops and absolute impunity) are just the tip of the iceberg. There is increased tension in the continent and not just anymore between the USA and Venezuela: the interventionist attitude of the USA is also rising tensions with Brazil, which is naturally trying to counter the North American imperialism in its area of interests (for example supporting the legitimate Honduran President Manuel Zelaya).

Watch Latin America closely because I would not be surprised if the rumors of war could become true. However the Latin American peoples are pretty much tired of being treated as a colony and I doubt that these imperialist interventions will anymore have much effectivity.

And, on a side note, the brutal drought in Mexico can bring this crucial country one step further towards a revolution (it has been leaning to it for 15 years now) and shift the power balance in America still more against US hegemony.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Molecular clock, two to six times slower than thought

Don't you just love it when you can say "I knew that!", "I told you!"

I did not have the hard evidence to prove it but I have been all the time arguing that the human molecular clock estimates (even by the standard Zhivotovski's compensated system) must be much older than normally claimed, at least twice.

Now penguins come to confirm my suspicion.

DNA from dead penguins that has remained frozen in Antarctica extreme conditions has demonstrated that the usual molecular clock age estimates are underestimated by 200 to 600 per cent.

In other words, a biological specimen determined by traditional DNA testing to be 100,000 years old may actually be 200,000 to 600,000 years old...

Source: Science Daily.

Original report: S. Subramanian et al., High mitogenomic evolutionary rates and time dependency. Trends in Genetics, 2009 (paywall).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moon has water

And apparently lots of it.

These are the results of a NASA probe (Centaur) that intently impacted on a Lunar crater in order to raise a plume of debris that could be analyzed by telescopes and the Lunar satellite LCROSS. The plume was smaller than expected but after due research in the last weeks it has been determined beyond doubt that a good deal of it was water vapor.

In fact, the water detected was more than 100 Kg. (100 liters at normal Earth pressures and temperatures, I guess). Future research will determine if this finding is confirmed and if there is water also in other spots.

If so, the path for space colonization would be a step closer to reality. However we must remember that the conditions in space and other planetary objects out there are highly hostile: extreme cold, radiation and lack of naturally breathable atmospheres make the whole affair still extremely difficult, much more than colonizing frozen Anctartica for example.

Source: BBC.

Younger Dryas began in just few months

Research by scientists of the University of Saskatoon (Canada) has found that the arrival of the last cold phase of the late Ice Age, known as the
Younger Dryas stadial, took place in few months.

Submilimetrical slicing of fossil sediments at Lough Monreagh in Ireland showed that biological activity stopped within months, a year at most. It would be like taking Ireland and moving it up to Svalbard, in the Arctic Ocean, said led researcher William Patterson.

This is even shorter than the time suggested by less precise measurements in Greenland's ice sheet, that suggested an onset of the big freeze in one to three years.

It is believed that this cold period was triggered by melting of ice sheets due to global warming at the end of the Ice Age, causing the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe quite warmer than normal for its latitude, to stop flowing. The Younger Dryas period lasted some 14 centuries, from 12,900 to 11,500 years ago.

Source: New Scientist.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stress in early life alters genes

Epigenetics is for real and babies should not be separated from their mothers at birth, as is still common in hospitals.

German researchers have demonstrated that even "mild" stress in early life can epigenetically damage mammals organisms, making them more stressed for life.

The experiment consisted in separating mouse pups from their mothers for three hours each day for ten days, while a control group had normal motherly care. This did not affect them nutritionally but the animals must have felt "abandoned" (which for a defenseless newborn mammal is the waiting room of death).

The "abandoned" group were less able to cope with stressful situations later in life and had worse memory than the control group.

The experiment did not stop here: they also analyzed the effects at molecular level. They found that the stressed pups produced high levels of stress hormones, which in turn tweaked the gene responsible for producing one of those hormones: vasopressin. This epigenetic alteration produced more vasopressin than usual through the mice's lives, keeping them perpetually stressed.

Using a drug that blocks vasopressin's effects, they tested that it was effectively this altered hormonal procedure which caused their behavioural and memory problems.

The scientists suspect that this also happens in humans, which are not that different from mice after all and on whom there is strong evidence that abuse and stress in infancy leads to later problems through life.

However I'd like to go a step further and again criticise the modern treatment of newborns in so many hospitals, which are often cruelly separated from their mothers for many hours after birth, precisely when they need most the reassuring company, after the heavy stress of birth. I am persuaded that this practice, along with other mistreatments largely product of the medicalization of birth are one of the causes, if not the main one, behind the growth of psychological disorders (psychosis, depression, etc.) among modern populations in the developed world, most of whom have gone through such unnatural hospital births.

Source: BBC.

Banks do well... but the USA is in a depression

Again, Samah El-Sahat nails it:
the USA is in a depression and so is the UK.

The awful policies of these weak governments, hostage of the corporations, mean that the banks have been saved from bankruptcy or nationalization and are now "doing well" thanks to taxpayers' money... but that does not translate in any improvement in the real economy.

The quote from Stephen Lewis is:

Depression is a prolonged period of sub-optimal economic activity in which policy measures are ineffective in improving performance on a substantial basis and based on this, then the USA is in depression

More than 10% unemployment and lack of purchasing power (because banks use the public money to patch leaks, not to lend) mean that the common citizen has lost and is still losing a lot. Still I think she's being way too optimistic when she says that the economy will begin recovering by summer 2010. Sincerely: I believe the economy will never again truly recover: capitalism is agonizing precisely because global leaders (and that means US leaders specially) are not brave enough to do the right thing: nationalize the banks and put them to work for the real economy.

How ironical that fear of "socialism" (nationalizing bankrupt banks to serve free market economy) is actually causing the fall or capitalism, right?

Palestinians demolish part of the Wall of Shame on the anniversary of Berlin Wall

A group of Palestinian and foreign activists have demolished a small section of the Zionazi wall of shame that was built to enforce apartheid in Palestine.

In Qalandiya, some 50 masked activists demolished a section of the wall using a truck, then crossing the apartheid line and burning tyres at the other side. The slogan of the action was "Jerusalem we are coming" and was visible in some shirts.

Last friday another section at Nilin was almost demolished using a hydraulic car-jack.

The activities are directed to raise awareness on the apartheid wall, which is almost identical in design to the Berlin wall. Abdullah Abu Rahma, leader of the People's Campaign to Fight the Wall, declared:

Today we commemorate 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. This is the beginning of the activities, which we do, to express our hold on our land, and our refusal to this wall - the wall of torture, the wall of humiliation.

Activities through the world are scheduled for this week in order to raise awareness of the abuse this barrier is, to claim its demolition in agreement with the International Criminal Court sentences, and to demand the release of imprisioned anti-wall activists.

Source: Al Jazeera.

Ancestral communism

I have the feeling that most of us, modern urbanites don't really have a good grasp on how hunter-gatherer societies are or used to be. I was just correcting someone who claimed that slavery existed among ancestral foragers, for example... but worst was the example given: the Vikings!

A lot of people don't seem to understand well the difference between agrarian and hunter-gatherer societies; in many other cases I have needed to object that Amazonian or Papuan natives are not true foragers but actually jungle farmers, and therefore have social structures that are more complex and quite different. But there are very few modern examples of real hunter-gatherers, mostly on the verge of extinction, but there are some, namely: Bushmen, Pygmies, Australian Aboriginals, Negritos, Andamanese and some Arctic peoples like the Inuit and the Nganasan (am I missing any?). These are diverse enough to constitute a good example of how real Paleolithic societies, our ancestors, might have been.

Victor Grauer has been exploring them in his latest posts at Music 000001 but yesterday's post is particularly insightful and synthetical. He makes clear that foragers like Bushmen and Pygmies have a set of values that are highly egalitarian and cooperative, while allowing for a great deal of individuality too. He makes a difference between these social values, transmitted generation after generation, that secure social cohesion and persistence, and the reality not always as idyllic as some would expect.

There are occasional problems in such "utopic" societies, like murder or wife beating or mere petty cheating. However the worst practices of "more advanced" societies are to be found nowhere:

What we do not see are evidences of: cannibalism, head-hunting, endemic warfare, female mutilation, prostitution, slavery, blood-feuds, raiding, etc.

Monday, November 9, 2009

We the people...

Almost one out of two members of the US Congress is millionaire, compared with less than 1% of all US citizens. The exact figure is 237 out of 500 representatives or 44%.

This is pretty worrisome because, in a democracy, one would expect their representatives in parliament to be more or less like oneself, maybe more brilliant or better educated and surely more charismatic but otherwise, if they have to represent the feelings of the people, they have also to feel their economic situation more or less, right?

Instead the US Congress is dominated by aristocrats, quite ironically.

This reminds me a question that former Democrat candidate John Kerry avoided to answer when asked in TV: what does it mean that both presidential candidates belonged to Yale's secretive society Skull and Bones?

The answer, regardless of whatever conspiracies the society may harbor, is that they both belong to the high elite. Sadly enough this is what democracy has become: a two party system not too different from a one party state (as there is hardly any substanctial difference between the two platforms), in which many or even most politicians are nobility and where the working class is unable to get organized effectively. At best they can get a populist patrician leader like Obama, who is also pretty rich.

Source: Politico. Found via The Angry Arab News Service.

Most people think 'free market' needs at least major reforms

Interesting global survey the one
published today by BBC on account of the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

It shows that the world is divided between those that demand regulation and reforms for "free market" (an euphemism for Capitalism) and those that think that this system is a failure and something else is needed. The fraction that are happy with the economic system as it is are a minority everywhere, barely surpassing 20% in the hyper-Capitalist USA.

Among those more emphatic on a new system being necessary are the peoples of France, Mexico, and Brazil. Instead the nations among whom people mostly think that only reform is needed are Germany, USA, UK, Pakistan and Canada. But in all countries people is mostly unhappy with the system as it is now.

Another issue asked is whether the fall of the USSR was a good or bad thing. In this case, the dividing line is between the West (where nearly everybody believes it was a good thing) and the rest (where substantial numbers think it was something disgraceful). Egypt, Russia and Ukraine are the countries where there is more resentment for the fall of the USSR, while in Asia opinions are very divided.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inefficient selection behind complexity

In the pure Darwinian scenario of draconian selection that can exist for instance among microorganisms, which are numerous enough for drift and randomness not to be a factor, and among whom competence is maximized like in the ideal free market of liberal economists, all accidental extra copies of genes (paralogs) are eventually erased because they are inefficient.

But among a much smaller population, like humans, Darwinian evolution works inefficiently and these troublesome extra copies of genes do in fact persist. In principle paralogs are problematic and can cause degenerative diseases like Alzheimer because they produce less efficient proteins. But what Ariel Fernández and Jianping Chen of the University of Texas have found is that these paralogs also drive complexity, that it is the accumulation of these errors by drift what in fact generates complexity, that complexity can only arise when selective evolution becomes weak and drift (chaos) rules instead.

After all every order is just a subset of pure Chaos, right?

Source: Science Daily.
Original paper: Human capacitance to dosage imbalance: Coping with inefficient selection. Genome Research 2009 (paywall).

9/11: eight years on and it's as murky as ever

Theirry Meissan reviews at Voltaire Network the details of the criminal insider job that was the 9/11 massacre, crime for which the actual culprits are still laughing. They are laughing at the world and laughing at the victims and laughing about being able to get away with such macabre scam.

However, as Lincoln said, you can't deceive everybody forever.

Adaptative evolution does not alter neutral mutation rates

A new research paper appears to demonstrate that adaptative evolution happens along the lines of neutral stochastic evolution and is not accelerated.

Kryazhimskiy S, Tkacik G, Plotkin JB, The dynamics of adaptation on correlated fitness landscapes. PNAS 2009 (right now the PDF is freely available)

From the Press release:

A major conclusion of the work is that for some organisms, possibly including humans, continued evolution will not translate into ever-increasing fitness. Moreover, a population may accrue mutations at a constant rate –- a pattern long considered the hallmark of “neutral” or non-Darwinian evolution -– even when the mutations experience Darwinian selection.


According to the study, a population’s fitness and substitution trajectories —t he mutations acquired to achieve higher fitness — depend not on the full distribution of fitness effects of available mutations but rather on the expected fixation probability and the expected fitness increment of mutations. (...)

Researchers demonstrated that linear substitution trajectories that signify a constant rate of accruing mutations, long considered the hallmark of neutral evolution, can arise even when mutations are strongly beneficial.

If confirmed, this research should lay to rest the hypothesis that dismiss the informative value of genetic phylogenies based on presumpt adaptative selection: adaptative or not, mutations accumulate on similar rates, depending mostly on other factors, like population size (greater or weaker drift, possibly leading to fixation).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Human lower jaw from China is 110,000 years old

at Mundo Neandertal, originally from Science magazine (paywall).

Chinese scientists have found remains of a lower jaw, including one full molar, at Guangxi Zhuang (country bordering with Vietnam). The remains have been dated by uranium isotopes to c. 110,000 BP.

This finding seems to add to the evidence in favor of an older out of Africa migration than the dates typically considered of c. 70-60,000 BP.

It is worth reminding that lithic tools that might be the work of Homo sapiens have been found recently at Japan, with a date not significatively different from this one. Also in this period there was some migration to North Africa (Aterian) and Palestine, and there are some lithic industries in India, dating to as early as 103,000 BP, that might also be attributed to H. sapiens (stone blades).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Palestine: negotiations only a pretext for Israeli expansion

As I expected and feared,
the US government has backed from its original position of total freeze of the Zionist settlements in occupied land.

All this was since the beginning, and I mean the beginning back at Oslo, more than a decade ago, just a maneouver to gain time in order to continue the genocide.

Let's be frank with ourselves: there is no two-states solution of any kind, all is just talking about nothing while the colony expands. Just as Israel has been doing since the very beginning. Negotiation in Palestine is a dead end, a mere waste of time unless it is negotiation of the details to achieve a single state inclusive of all.

And this is not going to happen while US politics are so subservient of Israel and Global Zionism.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sahrawis could face death penalty

Sahrawi citizens are being subject in Morocco to military trials for "treason". Their crime, to meet with the refugees at the Tindouf camps in Algeria and therefore having contact with the Polisario Front.

They were originally kidnapped by the occupation forces upon their return to West Sahara. Other five people were similary kidnapped but abandoned then in the desert.

The seven activists are jailed in the infamous high security prison of Salé, near Rabat. They are being accused of "attack against territorial integrity, against national security and meeting the enemy, and could even face the death penalty.

Morocco is an authoritarian regime where the monarch's power is absolute. It is, together with Swaziland, the last monarchy of Africa. In the 1970s, Morocco annexed unilaterally the former Spanish colony of West Sahara against the will of the people, sparking the continuity of the anti-colonialist guerrilla. The annexation is not recognized internationally and Morocco is in fact an occupying power.

Source: Rebelión.

Was the Madoff network Zionist laundry rather than a mere scam?

Joachim Martillo comments
at EAAZI on the newly known ramifications of Madoff's network that involve two Jewish "philanthropists", one of them already "mysteriously dead":

What we're seeing is the tip of the iceberg of a network of Jewish 'philanthropists' whose job it was to funnel money into the Madoff organization, and then take the money back out mostly for the purposes of moving it to Israel for Zionist causes. The biggest 'victims' were anything but victims, and the focus on Madoff is an intentional diversion. The reason Bernie owned up so quickly was to protect the network. Picower had probably been talking about doing some sort of deal with the Feds, knew too much, and so had to die to protect the greater Zionist cause.
I have already mentioned in the past that I suspect that this "scam" is much more than it appears. Otherwise it would have not gone ignored for so long. An imperial-level mafia laundry makes much better sense: this is not a few people plot - it's just too powerful, too well connected... and too much money has vanished in it.

Palestinian and Latin American media already echoed back then rumors about all of Madoff's money having gone to Israel.