Against World War I, by Georg Brandes


This video is called Georg Brandes Quotes.

From Wikipedia:

Georg Morris Cohen Brandes (4 February 1842 – 19 February 1927) was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century.

Like Helen Keller in the USA and Marie Lenéru in France, Georg Brandes wrote against the first world war.

From his anti-war writings:

Georg Brandes: War, uninterrupted series of horrors, atrocities, and slaughter

December 22, 2012

Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

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Georg Brandes: An Appeal Against Wholesale Murder

Georg Brandes: The World at War

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Georg Brandes

From The World at War (1917)
Translated by Catherine D. Groth

Georg Brandes

1916

He who remarks how, on the sixteenth month of the war, the conflicting peoples, each and all, are convinced they are fighting for justice and truth against falsehood and oppression, while they all simultaneously massacre each other by means of most frightful inventions, cannot help feeling that man by nature is a vastly more sophisticated devil than the one whom Goethe characterised in Faust by the celebrated lines:

“Ein Theil von Jener Kraft
Die Stets das Böse will und stets das Gute Schaft.”

Man, or at least the spirit of the nations, is quite different and much more terrible. He and they are part of that force which

“Stets das Gute will und stets das Böse schafft.”

For all belligerent statesmen, strategists, officers, and soldiers, as well as generals and admirals, colonels and naval commanders, all, without exception, day in and day out, only ask to do the right — but their good intentions are expressed day in and day out by an uninterrupted series of horrors, atrocities, and slaughter in proportions the world never dreamed of. The fight for the good has had the certain result of causing the most awful evil which one would think inspired only by the wildest lust of bloodshed and destruction.

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The actors as well as the spectators of the huge tragedy have been taught from childhood that a supernatural and wise destiny directs the world. And they believe that everything, even that which seems most desperate in our eyes, is for the best. They ask in deep anxiety: What good is to come out of this?

Theologists and philosophers have ready answers.

They say a new era will come over the world, courage and virtue will take the place of luxury. From the thunder of canons, the clash of firearms, from bursting grenades and exploding mines, from machines that spread burning liquids or poisonous gas over what was previously called fellow men, now the enemy, they claim, will come what is called justice.

Most people believe this because philosophers as well as ministers and poets have impressed it on them. And young people wishing to appear thoroughly up to date are convinced they are “modern” when they profess optimism.

Few are they who know that humanity is worth more than nationality. Few who know that where hatred is sown nothing but hatred can be reaped.

Few they are who feel, as it says in a little Swedish verse I have read:

“I saw innocence crushed under foot,
I heard might admired,
Truth despised,
Then my blood boiled.
Now I have quite ceased to be surprised,
When everything flouts simple, common sense,
I know right is crushed under foot
In spite of prayers and tears,
I know life’s law is hard and not good.”

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War — cultural power, it is claimed to be! — has made everything poorer and more sordid — everything is brutalised, militarised, clericalised, nationalised, over all the earth.

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During the war, the press of the belligerent countries has succeeded in exciting to an unknown degree the most horrible of all powers, national hatred — hatred which is not founded on a person’s faults or crimes, but on his race or birthplace — idiotic race hatred and national hatred. This hatred is the political factor which prevents peace.

But behind the nations and over the nations stands humanity and humanness.

And behind national hatred and above the national hatred the love of humanity still exerts itself.

It is human love that strives to diminish the sufferings which national hatred has caused, and to heal the wounds it has caused.

Dinosaurs, why so many big species?


This video is called Dinosaur Evolution 1 of 5.

By Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience Contributor:

Dinosaurs Skewed Bigger Than Modern-Day Species, New Research Suggests

Published: 12/20/2012 10:12 AM EST on LiveScience

Dinosaurs as a group may have been skewed more toward giant species than modern-day creatures are, researchers say.

The findings, based on comparisons of size ranges among extinct and current species, shed light on just how different the world was during the age of dinosaurs, scientists added.

Dinosaurs included the largest animals ever to walk the Earth. The giants developed early within the dinosaur lineage, with massive, long-necked, long-tailed sauropods evolving by about 200 million years ago.

Although scientists have discovered many giant dinosaurs over the years, many researchers, including, paleontologist David Hone at Queen Mary University of London, assumed dinosaurs came in the same range of small and large species as modern animals do, “and it was just my familiarity with the larger ones that distorted my perception.”

“Turns out, nope, there really were tons and tons of big guys out there and not many little ones,” Hone told LiveScience.

Hone and his Queen Mary colleague Eoin O’Gorman, a community ecologist, analyzed the sizes of modern birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and terrestrial mammals. They also looked at dinosaurs, the prehistoric winged reptiles known as pterosaurs, and terrestrial mammals that vanished before the modern era. [Gallery: Stunning Illustrations of Dinosaurs]

Skew toward giant

The investigators scanned past research on the sizes of thousands of animal species, including approximately 330 dinosaur species. They found that dinosaurs were dramatically skewed toward large sizes, a pattern significantly different from all other groups of animals they studied.

The most obvious question regarding this work is whether or not large dinosaur fossils survived more successfully than smaller ones, influencing the analysis.

“Indeed, large things do tend to be more readily preserved and smaller ones harder to find, so we would expect there to be a bias in the results towards larger species,” Hone said. “The question is, is that enough to affect our results?”

They don’t think so.

“First off, the differences are so colossal that the amount of small species missing would be truly enormous, and it’s unlikely we, as in the scientific community, have missed that many,” Hone said.

Indeed, paleontologists would have had to miss 99.99 percent of dinosaur diversity to explain the huge skew toward giant sizes that O’Gorman and Hone found.

In addition, this skew is not seen with the other extinct groups of animals the scientists examined, including. This includes the pterosaurs, which were close relatives of the dinosaurs and lived alongside them in similar environments.

Bigger is better?

Rather, the environments and biology of dinosaurs might explain this unique skew.

“As you get bigger, you get more energetically efficient, as being big gives you a longer digestion time and returns more energy from eaten food,” Hone said. “But mammals can’t get that huge or they would overheat.”

Mammals are endotherms, or “warm-blooded,” meaning they constantly generate their own heat. In contrast, big dinosaurs probably stayed warm because their enormous mass helped retain heat, just as large pots of hot water would take longer to cool down than smaller ones.

In addition, while mammals can have bigger and bigger young as they get larger, often growing their offspring inside themselves, “you can’t lay larger and larger eggs,” Hone said. The embryos inside eggs need the shells of eggs to be thin enough to allow them to breathe in oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide, and if eggs grow too massive, the shells will not be strong enough to protect the eggs.

“So large dinosaurs still laid small eggs. That meant small babies.” The large number of eggs and small babies that big dinosaurs likely had suggests the roles that small species often play in environments may have been filled by the young of large species.

If these findings are true, they suggest the age of dinosaurs behaved in ways fundamentally different from the modern world.

“These must have been very harsh environments to live in, with some of the most efficient predators the planet has known,” O’Gorman said. Survival amid predators that preyed on the small likely involved producing many young with very rapid growth rates. [Image Gallery: Dinosaur Daycare]

O’Gorman noted this pattern of size ranges they discovered was different between herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs. The sizes of herbivorous dinosaur species were biased toward giants, while carnivorous dinosaurs had nearly as many smaller species as large ones. That is likely because the herbivorous lifestyle allows a larger size limit, so that the larger they get, the more energy they can get from digested food. The same apparently did not hold true of a carnivorous lifestyle — they could only get so big before they reached a maximum in terms of benefits.

In addition, this skew toward giant sizes generally happened toward the end of major time periods, such as the Late Triassic, Late Jurassic and Late Cretaceous. The researchers suggest the evolution of large body sizes among dinosaurs was the result of long exposures to stable environments, and was reset by the mass extinctions that occurred at the end of these periods.

A mystery that remains is why the researchers did not find this pattern in reptiles, amphibians or fish, which … like the giant dinosaurs were not endoderms. Although the vast majority of modern reptiles and amphibians are carnivores, many fish are herbivores.

“I would be very interested to explore the fish data more thoroughly, subdividing by herbivorous and carnivorous groups as we have done for the dinosaurs,” O’Gorman told LiveScience. “This may help to validate the dinosaur results further if we find a consistent trend.”

The scientists detailed their findings online Dec. 19 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Maya and fake apocalypse


This video says about itself:

2012, NASA and the Mayan Calendar

Answers to some questions about 2012 from NASA’s Ask an Astrobiologist, Dr. David Morrison, and information about ancient Mayan calendars and their base 20 numerical system.

From Scientific American:

December 23, 2012

Maya Civilization Provides A Real Apocalyptic Lesson

Research shows that what laid low Mayan society was climate change, which brought prolonged drought. David Biello reports.

You survived the Mayan apocalypse, or at least transitioned to the next baktun, number 14 according to the Mayan calendar. But what real lessons does this ancient culture hold?

First and foremost, the Maya are a case study in adaptation. Their complex civilization of powerful city-states collapsed, and the jungle retook those urban centers. But the Mayan people endured, today being the principle ethnic population of parts of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize.

European invaders did not end the era of the Mayan city-state. Although it was descendants of those Europeans who came up with this apocalypse mumbo-jumbo.

Research shows that what laid low Mayan society was something more insidious: climate change. A subtle shift in weather patterns brought less rain and the Mayan civilization was simply unable to cope with a prolonged dry period punctuated by several severe droughts.

Given that our highly complex civilization is also facing climate change, it might make sense to look back to the Maya for a glimpse of our future. Today much of the former Mayan city-states are nature preserves, dotted by ruins. Will we do better when faced with crippling and long-lasting drought in this, the 14th baktun?

Hare from Ice Age discovery


This is a video of a snow hare in its summer fur coat.

Translated from Museon museum in The Hague, the Netherlands:

December 19, 2012

The Hague Geological Society shows discovery

A piece of a jaw which this summer was found by Barbara Marsman, a member of the The Hague Geological Society, on the ‘Sand Engine‘ off the coast of Ter Heide, turns out to be a prehistoric hare. In the laboratory of Professor Hans van der Plicht, of the University of Groningen, the piece of bone was dated to an age of 31,000 years. “That means that this hare during the last ice age has walked between the mammoths on the current North Sea floor,” researcher Dick Mol of the natural history museum in Rotterdam says enthusiastically. The hare’s jaw is shown as a special exhibit in the Museon from 18 December 2012 to 17 March 2013.

Mol and paleontologist colleagues have found quite a lot of bones from the last ice age on the bottom of the North Sea. These were mainly of large animals such as mammoths, bison, horses and rhinoceroses. “But this is the first ice age are we know about from the North Sea floor. Never before have we been able to date a hare which has walked simultaneously with mammoths on the North Sea floor, “says Mol.

From the scientific description of the hare jaw:

Summary

For the first time we have been able to identify and date a jaw fragment with a few teeth of a lagomorph from the North Sea floor. The 14C age is 31,140 (+200, -190) BP, Late Pleistocene. In the absence of the hare’s characteristic third premolar (p3) it is not possible to distinguish between the species European hare, Lepus europaeus Pallas, 1778, and the snow hare, Lepus timidus Linnaeus, 1758.

Father Christmas arrested in Texas


Pope Benedict XVI abuses Christmas for attacking people who love each other and want to marry.

Police in Austin, Texas, USA abuse Christmas for arresting Santa Claus.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Troopers Arrest Santa Claus & Elf for Chalking Wishes At Capitol

Austin, Texas December 21, 2012: Acclaimed Arctic peace activist Kris Kringle, better known to the world as Santa Claus, was arrested early this afternoon at the Texas State Capitol. Claus was arrested while chalking Christmas wishes for the world, offered by children and other holiday merry makers.

“Today I saw the jolly red elf at the Capitol, cheerfully requesting that children write their wishes for a better world in chalk on the sidewalk. Santa said his favorite word was ‘Community.’ Various children wrote words like ‘Peace,’ ‘Friendship,’ and ‘Grace,’” said Occupy Austin‘s Lainie Duro, a witness to the arrest.

After wrestling Santa to the ground and placing handcuffs on him, activists also arrested Corey Elf after he used sidewalk chalk to write “Free Santa.” Both were arrested for Criminal Mischief, while Santa may face additional resisting arrest charges.

Occupy Austin stands in solidarity with Santa Claus and his elf. Three members of Occupy Austin, Audrey Steiner, Corey Williams, and Jim Bird were arrested earlier in 2012 for chalk. Though they were held in Travis County Jail, they have not been charged with any crime, raising questions about whether Troopers are arresting activists to silence them.

Occupy Austin believes that the use of washable sidewalk chalk is constitutionally protected free speech, and several previous court rulings agree. The organization demands that the Texas State Preservation Board respect the free speech rights of chalkers, and that State Troopers halt arrests immediately.

Occupy Austin called for a Free Santa Rally to begin at 6pm at the Travis County Jail (500 W. 10th St) and to continue until Santa Claus and Corey Elf are released. “DPS has overstepped all boundaries today and I will stand and wait for Santa. I hope he’s out quick, I hear he still has a lot to do to get ready for Tuesday,” said another witness, Christopher Michael, a member of the Occupy Your Capitol group.

About Santa Claus

Santa Claus, or Kris Kringle, is an internationally known child welfare and world peace activist. With the help of his many elves, Santa delivers gifts to good children all over the world while cultivating a sense of global togetherness and love. His busiest night, Christmas Eve, is just around the corner.

About Occupy Austin

Occupy Austin is a standing protest against the unjust and harmful power of large corporations over the world’s economic and political systems and against threats to civil liberties and democracy at home and abroad. Our Occupation began on October 6, 2011 and continues to hold marches and events throughout the city.

See also here. And here.