Reed bunting singing and feeding


This 29 june 2018 video is about a male reed bunting preening, singing and feeding on a damselfly.

Jos van den Elshout made this video in Biesbosch national park in the Netherlands.

Marine wildlife of Oman, video


This video says about itself:

29 June 2018

In their final day of diving, Jonathan and Cameraman Bill had a great experience at “Shark Island” and they recount their adventures in this final VLOG from Oman.

JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD is an Emmy Award-winning underwater science/adventure series featuring underwater cinematographer/naturalist Jonathan Bird.

After French neo-fascism, US ‘mainstream’ conservatives whitewash Spanish Inquisition


This Christian video says about itself:

The Spanish Inquisition

March 31, 1492 was one of the saddest days in history. [Spanish rulers] Ferdinand and Isabella signed an edict to remove all the Jews from Spain. This was in direct objection to scripture, as Paul said so well, “Dear friends, my greatest wish and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved” Romans 10:1. History began to repeat itself again…. A state church was established and the Jewish people as well as all unbelievers in the state church where rounded up and tortured. The top down dictation of religion was enforced. We know as Christians a morality must come from the heart, not from rulers, through force. Not everything done under the name of Christianity is Christian. We need to read his word and love others, not persecute. Change comes from the heart, bottom up, not top down.

First, the United States main conservative political conference invited not just President Trump and Vice President Pence, but also invited French neo-fascist Marion Maréchal-Le Pen.

Then, there was the British ‘mainstream’ Conservative Spectator weekly, praising Adolf Hitler’s World War II Wehrmacht.

Now, there is the ‘mainstream’ United States National Review. With a history of whitewashing anti-Semitism and racist segregation. And support for wars. Like George W Bush’s Iraq war, which they defended vehemently against, eg, Dear Kitty. Some Blog.

And now, from United States daily The Forward:

Conservative Magazine Defends Spanish Inquisition, Calls It ‘Ahead Of Its Time’

June 28, 2018

By Alyssa Fisher

The prominent conservative magazine National Review published an op-ed defending the Spanish Inquisition, lamenting that most opinions of it were formed by Elizabethan propaganda.

Ed Condon, a writer and practicing canon lawyer, argued that northern European kingdoms worked to “paint the Spanish Empire as constitutionally evil; not just a political, religious, and military rival but an existential threat to all that was good in the world.” The Spanish Inquisition, which he wrote became “byword for oppression and abuse dressed up as law”, became the lead example.

Condon claims that the Inquisition was “ahead of its time” and a “pioneer of many judicial practices we now take for granted.” He argued that the legal concept of “inquisition” is not sinister, but because it was a religious court based primarily on heresy trials, it gained the reputation of an “ecclesiastical thought police run by religious fanatics who trapped innocent laymen with theological technicalities.”

The inquisition led to the conversion or expulsion of Spain’s Jews upon penalty of death, an event that is commemorated on Tisha B’Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. Those who converted were subjected to enhanced investigation by the inquisition, and “lived in fear of denunciation as ‘secret Jews’ and could have their property seized and their lives ruined”, Condon admitted.

But he added [that] the jails of the Inquisition were known to be hygienic and well maintained and not run as places of punishment. He acknowledged the inquisition’s use of torture, but said it is often placed out of context.

He concluded that while the Spanish Inquisition was not “something to be proud of or remembered fondly…it was also, by the standards of the time, in many ways superior to almost all other courts.”

Though Roman Catholic religious rightists may agree with Condon, Protestant religious rightists, with their tradition of seeing the pope as the Antichrist, will not.

This video says about itself:

The documentary explains the origins and aims of the Spanish Inquisition in the XV century, specially its persecution of “Conversos” or “Marranos” (cristianized Jews).

Dutch far-right Catholic author Robert Lemm also defends the Spanish Inquisition, Spanish 16th century King Philip II against whom the Low Countries revolted, and twentieth century Spanish dictator Franco.

Dodgy police facial recognition software in Britain


This video says about itself:

German police tests face recognition software | DW English

25 August 2017

Authorities trial new surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology at a train station in Berlin. Supporters say the new system is needed to prevent future terrorist attacks. But not everyone agrees.

According to the BBC, police face recognition software misidentified over 2,000 people at a football match in Britain as ‘criminals’.

It looks like that British police software is as ‘reliable’ as the fraudulent software of Volkswagen and other car corporations mismeasuring exhaust pollution. And as dangerous to human rights as the ‘Palantir’ Big Brother software of United States Donald Trump-loving and women’s suffrage-hating billionaire Peter Thiel.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Facial recognition to be deployed by police across London, sparking human rights concerns

The Independent on the scene as police trial controversial new technology

Lizzie Dearden, Home Affairs Correspondent

Millions of people face the prospect of being scanned by police facial recognition technology that has sparked human rights concerns.

The controversial software, which officers use to identify suspects, has been found to be “staggeringly inaccurate”, while campaigners have branded its use a violation of privacy.

But Britain’s largest police force is set to expand a trial across six locations in London over the coming months.

Police leaders claimed officers make the decision to act on potential matches with police records and images that do not spark an alert are immediately deleted.

But last month The Independent revealed the Metropolitan Police’s software was returning “false positives” – images of people who were not on a police database – in 98 per cent of alerts.

The technology, which has previously been used at Notting Hill Carnival and Remembrance Sunday services, was used on thousands of shoppers in Stratford, east London.

Scotland Yard said the Stratford operation would be “overt” and that members of the public passing the cameras would be handed leaflets, but The Independent did not observe any information being proactively given out.

The majority of those passing through a line of police officers straddling a bridge appeared not to see posters saying facial recognition technology was being used through the throngs of shoppers.

Sophia Pharaoh said she felt “uncomfortable” knowing the software was in use at the busy intersection, which sits between two shopping centres near Stratford Tube and railway station, adding: “It’s an invasion of privacy and there’s no way around it.”

Hannah Couchman, an advocacy and policy officer at Liberty who monitored the trial in Stratford, described the technology as “lawless”.

“There’s no dedicated legislation, there’s no guidance, there’s no good practice,” she said. “It’s staggeringly inaccurate and this sort of technology has been shown in America has shown to be actively biased and misidentify women and black people.

“Liberty believes the use of this technology in a public place is not compatible with privacy, and has a chilling effect on society.”

Liberty has threatened legal action against South Wales Police over its facial recognition programme, while campaign group Big Brother Watch is attempting a case against the Met.

The latest trial came as the government announced the creation of a new oversight and advisory board for facial recognition in law enforcement, which could be expanded to ports, airports, custody suites and police mobile devices.

The Home Office’s strategy on biometrics, which also include fingerprints and DNA, said the board would make recommendations on policy changes and oversight arrangements for technology that is currently being purchased ad hoc by police forces.

Meaning that if a computer says that your face looks vaguely like someone suspected of terrorism, you may be shot dead as a ‘terrorist‘ without trial. Look at what happened to innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in London.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018. Big Brother Watch launches fight against ‘Orwellian’ facial recognition: here.