Good African mountain gorilla news

This video says about itself:

5 November 2014

Mountain Gorilla – Full Documentary HD

The mountain gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) is one of the two subspecies of the eastern gorilla. There are two populations. One is found in the Virunga volcanic mountains of Central Africa, within three National Parks: Mgahinga, in south-west Uganda; Volcanoes, in north-west Rwanda; and Virunga in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The other is found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Some primatologists consider the Bwindi population in Uganda may be a separate subspecies, though no description has been finished. As of November 2012, the estimated total number of mountain gorillas is around 880.

From the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany:

Number of wild mountain gorillas exceeds 1,000

The population of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes has more than doubled in the past three decades

May 31, 2018

Summary: A recent census of the critically endangered mountain gorillas conducted in the Virunga Volcanoes found a minimum of 604 individuals. In combination with the 400 individuals living in the only other population in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, these new results push the total number of wild mountain gorillas in the world to over 1000.

“This represents one of the rare success stories in conservation. The population of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes has more than doubled in the past three decades, despite intensive threats of poaching, habitat degradation, and civil conflict”, stated Martha Robbins, research scientist and gorilla expert at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. “This increase exemplifies the dedicated efforts of the governments of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to conserve these critically endangered great apes, and notably, the hard work of park staff on the ground. This dramatic increase also shows that extreme conservation efforts including tourism, veterinary work, and community projects can have a positive impact on one of our closest living relatives.”

The census was a combination of intensive fieldwork in 2015 and 2016 and detailed genetic analysis. Field teams walked more than 2,000 kilometres to sweep intensively through the entire 440 square kilometres Virunga Volcanoes searching for trails and nest sites left by the gorillas. Genetic analysis, taking more than 18 months to complete, was conducted on approximately 1,100 fecal samples to determine that there are a minimum of 186 unhabituated (not regularly contacted by humans) gorillas. The remaining 70 percent of the population consists of 418 gorillas that are habituated for research and tourism.

The last census conducted in the Virunga Volcanoes was in 2010, when the population was estimated to be a minimum of 480 gorillas. The current figure represents a 26 percent increase in the number of gorillas over a six-year-period, which is a 3.8 percent annual rate of increase. This increase is due to improved methods used in this recent census as well as actual growth of the population. The 604 gorillas were found in 41 social groups and 14 solitary males.

Conducting the census was a large collaborative effort among the park services of the three countries where mountain gorillas live, namely Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, several non-governmental conservation organizations, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Routine censusing such as this one is a crucial part of adaptive management strategies to help determine whether a population is increasing or decreasing in size and decide if conservation efforts are effective or should be modified. The population of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes numbered only about 250 gorillas in the mid-1980’s.

“Genetic analysis of DNA from fecal samples allows us to count gorillas without even observing them,” observes Linda Vigilant, head of the primatology genetics lab in Leipzig. “Next we will be analyzing the detection history of individuals over time to get more insights into how groups form and group membership changes.”

Walt Disney corporation treats workers like shit

This video from the USA says about itself:

Some Disneyland Employees Are Facing Homelessness Working At ‘The Happiest Place On Earth’ (HBO)

10 May 2018

ANAHEIM, California — Low-wage workers are being priced out of Orange County, the posh suburbs south of Los Angeles. That’s especially true in the city of Anaheim, and its largest employer: Disney.

The unions representing Disney’s lowest-paid workers have banded with other unions in Anaheim to put a measure on the ballot: a new minimum wage for the hotel and restaurant workers at the city’s largest resorts that would pay $15 per hour by 2019, and gradually increase to $18 per hour by 2022. (California’s minimum wage is set to increase to $15 per hour in 2021.) Raises thereafter would be at least 2 percent per year.

The push for a ballot measure has drawn the ire of the city, and Disney itself. The company is co-funding the group pushing against the measure, with the subtle name No To The Anaheim Job Killer Initiative.

Disney workers say they can’t live in Anaheim — or most places in Orange County — while earning less than $15 per hour.

By Senator Bernie Sanders from the USA today:

Disney represents much of what is wrong with contemporary capitalism

The Walt Disney Company is an enormously profitable corporation worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 billion. Last year, it made $9 billion in profits and rewarded its CEO, Bob Iger, with a compensation package worth up to $423 million over a four-year period. And as a result of the Trump tax cuts, they were given an additional $1.6 billion.

At the same time — and this is a national disgrace — employees at the company’s theme park in Anaheim, California are paid so poorly that many of them are literally living in a tent city not far from the park.

According to one recent study, nearly 1 in 10 workers employed at the park reported being homeless in the past two years, more than 2 in 3 say they are food insecure, and 3 out of 4 employees say they do not make enough money for their basic needs.

This is not what Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are supposed to be about.

Probably closer to what Uncle Scrooge is supposed to be about. Or, still more closely, the Charles Dickens character Ebenezer Scrooge, on which Uncle Scrooge is based.

This does not sound like the “happiest place on Earth” to me.

Now, I could be wrong, but I don’t expect you will see the plight of these low-wage workers at Disney discussed tonight on ABC, which is owned by Disney. Nor do I think you will be hearing too much about income and wealth inequality in the mainstream media.

That is why I am heading to California this weekend to rally with these workers and union organizers fighting to demand that Disney pay all of its workers a living wage.

Those workers could use your support as well:

Please sign my petition to Disney CEO Bob Iger: The greed at the Disney Company has got to end. It is time to pay all Disney employees a living wage of at least $15 per hour. Nothing less.

It is long past time that we, as a nation, stop worshipping the corporate greed of Disney and businessmen like Bob Iger, their CEO.

While he may be regarded as a brilliant and successful businessman among his peers in the financial, media, and political elite, the truth is that the way Bob Iger and Disney treat their workers represents much of what is wrong with contemporary capitalism.

This is a company, and a CEO, that accepted an obscene tax cut gifted to them by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, publicly promised to anyone who would listen a $1,000 bonus for all of their employees, and then withheld that bonus from some union employees unless they agreed to a contract that gave them a tiny raise to a wage that is still a starvation wage.

This is a company, and a CEO, that in addition to paying their workers here at home extremely low wages, employs many thousands of people in China to manufacture their products sold at Disney stores and online.

This type of greed and ruthless capitalism is not an economic model that we should be embracing. It is not to be celebrated. We can do better, and we must do better.

That is why this weekend I am heading to California to stand with Disney’s workers and to demand that Disney pay them wages and benefits which allow them to live with dignity and security.

I want to bring your voice with me. Make them hear the outrage that so many of us feel with regard to this type of economic exploitation.

Please sign my petition to Disney CEO Bob Iger: The greed at the Disney Company has got to end. It is time to pay all Disney employees a living wage of at least $15 per hour. Nothing less.

In addition to my event with Disney workers and union leaders, I will visit Carson, California for a town hall with port truck drivers, who handle 40 percent of consumer goods and merchandise imported into our country – and warehouse workers serving the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. These are some of the most abused and exploited workers in America, and I intend to support them and demand that they are paid a living wage with decent benefits.

I am also very excited to join Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and Real Justice co-founder Shaun King for a rally to discuss the steps we must take to radically reform our broken criminal justice system.

I hope you will stay tuned to our social media channels for live video from these stops. And I will be in touch when they are over.

The Political Revolution continues.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders


Paid for by Friends of Bernie Sanders

(not the billionaires)

PO BOX 391, Burlington, VT 05402

One worker killed, one injured hours apart at Florida’s Walt Disney World: here.

A worker has died after falling into a vat of oil at a facility near Walt Disney World.

Sixty-one-year-old worker dies in horrific fall into vat of oil near Disney World: here.

YES, THE RENT IS TOO (YOU FILL IN THE BLANK) HIGH “There is not one U.S. state, metropolitan area or county in which someone working a 40-hour week on the federal minimum wage of $7.25 can afford to rent a modest two-bed apartment.” [HuffPost]

America’s housing crisis is forcing people to live in their cars.

Whiskered auklets, new study

This video from Alaska says about itself:

Pelagic birding in the Aleutian Islands, 2012

Laysan Albatrosses were in view almost constantly. We encountered a few Black-footed Albatrosses during the Attu tour, but they were more common near Dutch Harbor. We saw over 15 Short-tailed Albatrosses, one of the major targets of the tours, over the course of both tours. On the way to Attu, two or three were seen between Buldir and Shemya Islands. There were three or four at Stalemate Bank, and on the return to Adak, we saw at least three more. Between Adak and Dutch Harbor, we saw five or more in Seguam Pass and four or more west of Herbert Island.

Other highlights included Whiskered Auklet (scattered throughout the islands, but the largest numbers were in Little Tanaga Strait east of Adak); hundreds of thousands of Least and Crested Auklets with the biggest concentration at the nesting colony at Sirius Point, Kiska Island; Red-legged Kittiwakes between Buldir and Shemya Island and at Stalemate Bank; Northern Fulmars, which like Laysan Albatross, were almost constantly in view, and we saw hundreds of thousands at Chagulak Island, one of their largest nesting colonies. We also saw 10 other species of alcids, Fork-tailed and Leach’s Storm-Petrels, Long-tailed Jaeger, and other pelagic species.

Mammals seen included many sperm and killer whales, one humpback whale, and a pod of Baird’s beaked whales, and Dall’s porpoises.

From the American Ornithological Society Publications Office in the USA:

Whiskered auklets lack wanderlust, are homebodies instead

May 30, 2018

A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances presents some of the best evidence that Whiskered Auklets are an outlier in the auklet family by not migrating and instead staying close to “home” (their breeding colonies) year-round. Most migratory birds lead two opposite lifestyles in the same year. During the breeding season a bird’s location is constrained and their habits are repetitive given a nest full of chicks that require food, warmth, and protection. For some birds it is the only time they congregate or otherwise come together. Comparatively, during the non-breeding season their only true task is to survive. Whether migratory or residential, as long as the bird makes it back to the breeding grounds to reproduce, they can go almost wherever they want. Whiskered Auklets are consistent through the year though and don’t wander far at all.

Carley Schacter and Ian Jones of Memorial University of Newfoundland used light-based archival geolocation tags on Whiskered Auklets in Buldir Island, Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to determine the locations of their full annual life cycle. The data they collected corroborated what researchers have long suspected. This species is unique in the auklet family for not migrating at all. Most seabirds roost on the water at night, but Whiskered Auklets stay in the vicinity of the breeding colony year-round and consistently return to roost at night on land. Such behavior may not only be unique to auklets, but to the entire seabirds group. How could this unusual adaptation have come about? Whiskered Auklets capitalize on the foraging habitat close to their breeding colony which reduces metabolic costs. Given the influence of tradeoffs on animal behavior and life history strategies, this foraging area could be a large contributor to their residential behavior.

But there are risks to this strategy as well. Lead author Carley Schacter notes, “While this non-migratory behavior is very interesting to us on a theoretical level, there are also important implications for the conservation and management of this most vulnerable of auklet species. Year-round residence near the breeding site (an area of high fishing and shipping traffic) makes Aleutian-breeding Whiskered Auklets even more exposed than previously thought to human threats such as oil/fuel spills and light attraction leading to fatal collisions with vessels. Their nocturnal roosting behavior also makes them especially vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators such as rats and foxes.”

“The authors found evidence for an almost unique adaptation of a seabird in a remote, difficult-to-work-in, and isolated environment”, adds Jeff Williams, Assistant Refuge Manager at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, who was not involved with this research. “We now know that Whiskered Auklets are particularly sensitive to human-caused disturbances (oil spills, light attraction, invasive species introductions etc.) and can incorporate this information into management planning.”

Spanish corrupt Prime Minister Rajoy’s downfall soon?

This video says about itself:

Spain: Podemos announce motion of no-confidence against Rajoy’s ‘corrupt’ government

27 April 2017

Secretary General of the Podemos Party Pablo Iglesias, accompanied by other leaders of the Unidos Podemos coalition announced their intention to launch a no-confidence motion against the government of the Popular Party in Madrid, Thursday.

Pablo Iglesias, Secretary General of Podemos (Spanish): “We think that the necessity to force the Popular Party out of the government is a wide and growing social demand and also is a civic and ethical obligation for us. Because of this, I announce that we have started meeting and discussions to start a no-confidence motion against the Popular Party. The no-confidence motion is the parliamentary tool that will allow us to push the Popular Party out of the government and will allow us to present an alternative.”

Irene Montero, Spokesperson of Unidos Podemos in the congress (Spanish): “We are going to ask to the political forces that nowadays are supporting the government, the Socialist Party and Ciudadanos, to stop supporting and helping the Popular Party government and joining these meeting and discussions with the civil organisations and other political forces to articulate and present this no-confidence motion.”

Alberto Garzon, Secretary General of United Left (Spanish): “Our country lives under the threat of the democracy being parasited by the Popular Party, but we have an alternative, and we hope this no-confidence motion goes ahead, to defend democracy and to put the Popular Party out of the government because this country can not stand anymore the corruption of the Popular Party.”

That was a year ago. And now …

Reuters news agency reports today:

Socialist chief Pedro Sanchez set to become Spain’s Prime Minister

by Julien Toyer

MADRID – Pedro Sanchez was almost certain to become Spain’s new Prime Minister after his socialist party on Thursday secured enough votes to topple Mariano Rajoy in a confidence vote over a corruption case.

Sanchez has received the backing of six parties totalling 180 votes in parliament to become prime minister, more than the absolute majority of 176 votes needed to take power immediately if the no-confidence vote is held on Friday as scheduled.

Rajoy’s departure would trigger a second political crisis in southern Europe, further unnerving financial markets already wrongfooted by failed attempts to form a government in Italy three months after a national election. …

Spain’s blue-chip index Ibex closed down 1 percent on Thursday but the news of Rajoy’s likely downfall did not trigger a major sell-off and Spanish stocks were also hit by the trade war the U.S. started with Europe and other allies. …

Shortly before he secured the key support of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), Sanchez had told Rajoy it was still time to leave and avoid the humiliation of becoming the first Spanish prime minister to lose a no-confidence vote.

“Are you ready to resign? Resign today and leave by your own will,” Sanchez told Rajoy. “You are part of the past, of a chapter the country is about to close.”

The Basque PNV had backed Rajoy’s budget as recently as last week but it decided to remove its support after dozens of people linked to the ruling People’s Party (PP) were sentenced to decades in prison in a long-running corruption trial.

Sanchez said that if he took power he would stick to the budget approved by Rajoy, and would also seek to start a new dialogue with the restive region of Catalonia. …

Two Catalan pro-independence parties as well as leftist Podemos, a relative newcomer, another small Basque group and a party from the Canary Islands have said they will back Sanchez.

Jose Luis Abalos, the member of parliament in charge of formally presenting the motion on behalf of the Socialists, told PP deputies that the court ruling had triggered a wave of indignation across the country.

“While families were suffering the crisis, you were becoming millionaires”, he told PP members in parliament.

Rajoy, whose minority government has struggled after two inconclusive elections in 2015 and 2016 ushered in the most fragmented parliament since democracy returned to Spain in the 1970s, is also coming under fire for a perceived inability to solve a secession crisis in Catalonia.

See also here.

Baby spinosaurus dinosaur discovery

This video says about itself:

Almost a century ago, paleontologists found the first tantalizing hints of a monster even bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex, perhaps the largest predator ever to live.

Newly discovered fossils revealed that Spinosaurus, bigger than T. rex, was an excellent swimmer, unlike any other dinosaur.

Found in the sands of Morocco. Paleontologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Nizar Ibrahim weaves together clues from the Cretaceous period, Nazi Germany, and present-day Africa.

Bigger Than T Rex – HD Documentary (2015).

From PeerJ:

The smallest biggest theropod dinosaur

A new fossil from Africa represents a small juvenile individual of the huge sail-backed Spinosaurus

May 30, 2018

Spinosaurus is the longest, and among the largest predatory dinosaurs, and possesses many adaptations for a semiaquatic lifestyle. A tiny claw phalanx of the foot, discovered in Cretaceous-aged sandstones of the Sahara, shows a peculiar shape compatible with an early juvenile Spinosaurus. As reported in PeerJ — the Journal of Life & Environmental Sciences, the fossil is from the smallest known individual of this giant, sail-backed theropod. The findings suggest the small specimen retains the same locomotor adaptations as the large version — such as traversing soft substrates or paddling — during the entire lifespan.

Collected in Morocco in 1999, a 21 mm-long pedal ungual phalanx (a phalanx supporting a claw of the foot) remained unnoticed in the Paleontological Collection of the Natural History Museum of Milan, until the recent discovery (2014) of a new partial skeleton of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, that preserves an almost complete right foot with peculiar morphology in the phalanges.

The striking similarities with the claw phalanges of the foot of Spinosaurus allowed palaeontologists Simone Maganuco and Cristiano Dal Sasso to identify the tiny bone to a very small and young specimen of the sail-backed Spinosaurus, the smallest individual reported up to today. “Besides the rarity of the fossils belonging to juvenile theropod dinosaurs, and the rarity of Spinosaurus bones, this finding is even more remarkable if we consider the dramatic size attained by some large specimens of Spinosaurus, which are possibly the longest, and among the largest predatory dinosaurs ever found”- says Maganuco.

Assuming the juveniles looked like smaller versions of the adults, the 21 mm-long claw phalanx from this small specimen would pertain to an early juvenile individual, 1.78 m-long, only just a little bit longer than the estimated length of the sole head of the largest adult Spinosaurus known to date, which is also housed at the Natural History Museum of Milan.

According to recent studies, the broader than deep unguals in Spinosaurus with their flat plantar surface are reminiscent of the flattened pedal shape of shorebirds that do not perch, and the whole foot may have been adapted to traversing soft substrates or webbed for paddling. “This find indicates that in Spinosaurus the foot of early juveniles had the same locomotor adaptations observed in large individuals, that were probably achieved early in ontogeny and retained for the entire lifespan”, remarks co-author Cristiano Dal Sasso.

Theocracy in Bavaria, Germany

This video about Germany says about itself:

Cardinal Marx condemns Bavaria decision to hang crosses in all public buildings

1 May 2018

‘If the cross is just seen as a cultural symbol, then it has not been understood’, Marx said. The enactment of a decision to hang crosses in all public buildings in Bavaria has triggered “Division, stirred up trouble and played people off against one another”, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich, the president of the German bishops’ conference told the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ on 30 April. Bavaria last week ordered all government buildings to display a cross at their entrance.

Apparently, the CSU party government in Bavaria is more fanatically Roman Catholic than Cardinal Marx or than the pope (at least the present pope; I am not so sure about his predecessor Ratzinger). It looks like the CSU is scared of losing right-wing voters to the Islamophobic neo-fascist AfD party in this year’s elections. That is also why they are making Bavaria a police state.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Cross from tomorrow on mandatory in Bavarian government buildings

A Christian cross, visibly hung at the entrance. From tomorrow on , this will be mandatory in every government building in the German state of Bavaria. The Kreuzpflicht, on which there is much criticism, also from Christian tendencies, comes from the brain of state premier Markus Söder (CSU), who wants to emphasize the cultural values ​​of Germany. …

There is a lot of criticism of the cross obligation. For example, Söder is said to have established the rule in response to the rising popularity of the anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD). In October there are state elections. Söder is said to mainly use the cross to win voters from the right-wing, who believe that immigration from Muslim countries harms the German identity.

Cross is not folklore

There are also many disapproving reactions from Christian sides. Leaders of the Catholic Church believe that the obligation to have crosses leads to division. “The cross is a truly religious symbol and should not be reduced to folklore and regional use”, said the Roman Catholic Bishop Franz Jung in an interview. According to Jung, Söder is responsible for “division, unrest and fighting”.

Mandatory crosses are a mistake, says the Protestant religious scholar Johanne Harberer. “We have enough crosses in Bavaria, Söder abuses the religious symbol.”

The obligation to have crosses applies to all government buildings, but not to all government agencies. Only a recommendation applies to museums, universities and theaters. There are already crosses in courtrooms and many classrooms, writes Die Welt daily.

Just three months after taking office, the fourth government of Angela Merkel is facing possible dissolution. A fierce conflict over refugee policy between the conservative sister parties, Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU), threatens to blow apart the Grand Coalition, which also includes the Social Democratic SPD. This could also mean the end of the chancellorship of Merkel, who has been German head of government since November 2005: here.

Bloodshed in Libya, worse than ever

Warlord Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi, AFP photo

On this AFP photo we see warlord Khalifa Haftar. Formerly living in the USA as a CIA asset. Haftar, the boss of a militia which includes salafist religious fanatics. One of many militias killing each other and civilians in Libya. Haftar’s uniform looks spotless. Not even one drop of blood. Very different from many Libyan civilians.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

UN alarm about Libyan city Derna: fierce fighting and no water

The violence in the Libyan city of Derna has reached a new low point. The city is being bombed by air raids, residential areas are being shot at by artillery and ground fights are taking place. The UN agency for humanitarian affairs (OCHA) writes this in a report.

Some 125,000 people live in Derna. They are largely devoid of water, food and medicines. The electricity and water supply of the city is gone.

Although Libya has been plagued by violence between militant militias and rogue army divisions since the deposition of dictator Gaddafi in 2011, the UN calls the current situation in Derna “unprecedented”.

Gaddafi was not simply ‘deposed’. A coalition of NATO and jihadist militias attacked Libya, starting bloodbaths of civilians which still continue. Then, Gaddafi was murdered cruelly. Probably at the instigation of French President Sarkozy, who, like many other NATO country politicians, used to be a buddy of Gaddafi until just before starting the war. Sarkozy was scared that if Gaddafi would be on trial, then he might reveal the Libyan money scandal in Sarkozy’s presidential election campaign.


The eastern city has been surrounded by the Libyan National Army (LNA) [official sounding name for Haftar’s militia] since July last year under the leadership of General Khalifa Haftar. …

The LNA is being helped by Egypt from the air.

While Egyptian dictator Sisi helps Haftar, the Erdogan regime in Turkey and the Qatari absolute monarchy provide help to his opponents.

Bermuda petrel chick’s last day in the nest, videos

This video says about itself:

Last Parental Visit Before Fledge on Cahow Cam – May 28, 2018

Watch highlights of the last parental visit for “Sunny” the cahow chick before he left the nesting burrow on May 28, seemingly for the last time.

This final reunion was complete with back-and-forth vocalizations, multiple feedings, and a long preening session between parent and chick.

The CahowCam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nonsuch Expeditions.

You can watch the cam live at and learn more about Nonsuch Island’s environs (including the cahow) at

This video says about itself:

Cahow Chick‘s Last Visit To Nest Burrow Before Fledging From Nonsuch Island! – May 28, 2018

After spending much of the day wandering back and forth through the nesting tunnel, “Sunny” the cahow chick left the nesting burrow at around 10:00 P.M. on May 28 and likely has fledged from Nonsuch Island, Bermuda!

Check out these highlights from Sunny’s last visit after 87 days in the nest burrow. The young Bermuda Petrel will spend the next 3 to 6 years learning to forage over the Atlantic Ocean. Once matured, he’ll return to the breeding islands on Bermuda, mate, and attempt to raise his own chicks in a nesting burrow. Good luck out there, Sunny!

Renault, Peugeot cars software fraud

This British punk rock music video is called THE BUZZCOCKS – FAST CARS (LIVE 1981).

This blog post is not about cars being fast or not. It is also not about fraudulent software in cars for covering up pollution.

Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard today:

How Renault and Peugeot cheated their customers

In reality, a Citroën logo costs 10 euros

Customer thinks that it is worth more than 20 euros

Why would Citroën ask 10 euros?

An ornamental element for the radiator grille of the popular Citroën C4 Picasso? The French constructor set the price at 27.42 euros, but can also ask at least 40.83 euros for it. The door covering of the Berlingo? 50.36 euros instead of 21.6 euros. And the finish of the wheelhouse in the Peugeot 308 may cost 82.54 instead of 38.49 euros.

All of them are price determinations based on the algorithms in the Partneo software. That computer program was developed in the mid-2000s by a French expert in the optimization of industrial profit margins. Partneo is a particularly sophisticated system that gives ‘optimization’ almost a new meaning. …

The developer of Partneo set up the company Acceria to market its software. In February 2010 Acceria and consultancy Accenture visited PSA, the group owning Peugeot and Citroën, to present Partneo. The presentation that was given there explains in detail how the system works. …

The rear-view mirror of the third generation of the Renault Clio – with which Partneo previously went into business – cost 10 euros to make and was sold for 79 euros before the introduction of Partneo. But after calculations by Partneo, that price rose to 165 euros.

VW workers are also being forced to pay with their jobs for the actions of top VW and Audi executives who oversaw the intentional programming of diesel engines to activate their emission controls only during laboratory emissions testing. VW has been forced to pay €28 billion thus far for manipulating diesel engines, while Audi recently accepted fines of €800 million. Similar scandals have engulfed Jeep, Volvo, Renault, Hyundai and other automakers, with Fiat Chrysler announcing Wednesday that was recalling 865,000 vehicles after settling claims that it manufactured vehicles that emitted more pollution than legally allowed in the US: here.