Porsche cars dangerous for children


Porsche toy car

Cars of the PorscheVolkswagen corporation are dangerous; as their fraudulent software increases exhaust pollution, causing the deaths of bees, of humans and of much other life.

Now it turns out that not only Porsche big cars for adults, but also small Porsche cars for kids are dangerous. Even though these toy cars don’t have exhausts.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Porsche takes a wooden toy car off the market. Because the wheels and axles can come loose, the car is dangerous for children. If they put those parts in their mouths, they can suffocate.

It concerns the blue version with the article number WAP 0400 110G, which has been sold since July 2015.

The company advises people to keep the car out of the reach of children. The product can be returned to the Porsche dealer, who reimburses the purchase price.

The Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority has placed the warning on its website.

One might sarcastically wonder: have these life-threatening toy cars been tested on baby monkeys and baby humans, like their big car brothers’ toxic fumes were tested on adult monkeys and on adult humans?

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.

Giant panda conservation, worth billions


This January 2017 video says about itself:

IT’S A PANDAFUL LIFE! How China is saving the giant panda from extinction

The panda breeding centre in Chengdu employs highly qualified Chinese and international specialists. The pandas live safely here and are provided with conditions conducive to successful procreation and cubs are taken care of to ensure they survive. …

All that hard work eventually bore fruit. In September 2016, the Giant Panda was taken off the endangered species list; a significant achievement for the conservationists who have spent over half a century saving the black and white wonder. It also offers hope to all animal specialists who are working hard to conserve other critically endangered animals. However, pandas are not completely out of the woods yet; they still have to be able to breed in the woods without being killed by poachers or losing their food to deforestation.

From ScienceDaily:

What’s giant panda conservation worth? Billions every year, study shows

June 28, 2018

In China, the giant panda is clearly a cultural icon. And yet panda conservation, and the panda itself, is often criticized because of the associated cost. But an analysis reported in Current Biology on June 28 shows that panda conservation has great value that extends far beyond protection of pandas themselves.

According to the new findings, the panda’s protection as an umbrella species yields 10 to 27 times as much value as it costs to maintain the current reserves. In fact, the findings suggest it might be worth expanding those panda reserves and other investments in natural capital in China.

“Many detractors have argued that spending valuable resources on panda conservation is wasteful”, says Fuwen Wei of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “Our analysis contradicts this view and demonstrates clearly the great value of the panda, both for its cultural and intrinsic value and for the ecosystem services provided by panda reserves.”

Between 1990 and 2010 China’s National Conservation Project for the Giant Panda and Its Habitat (NCPGPH) doubled panda habitat. By 2010, a total of 67 panda reserves with an area of more than 33,000 km2 had been established, covering more than half of suitable panda habitat.

The question in the new study was: what is that worth? To find out, Wei and colleagues used the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services framework. Ecosystem services include three parts: provisioning services, regulatory services, and culture. Panda reserves offer a variety of provisioning services that are valued by local people such as growing crops, grazing animals, procuring water supplies, and harvesting firewood and useful plants. Important regulatory services include the hydrologic benefits of managing precipitated water runoff, sediment retention, carbon sequestration, nutrient retention, and more.

To explore the value of pandas and their reserves, the researchers reviewed each of the regulating, provisioning, and cultural services associated with panda reserves, collating estimates of the value of each from numerous studies. They then converted all those estimates to US dollars and used the median value for each to generate a combined estimate of the annual per-hectare value of panda reserves. That exercise led them to a median estimate of US$632 per hectare per year.

After multiplying that per hectare per year value by estimates of forest area within the 67 panda reserves, they came to a value of US$562 million per year in 1980. By 2010, the value of ecosystem services of the panda and its reserves had increased to somewhere between US$2.6 and US$6.9 billion per year.

“Now, we know that the system of reserves and protections [for pandas] are working to reverse the panda’s decline and that these efforts have benefits for society and nature at large,” Wei says. “This should provide added motivation for people to continue backing panda conservation to bring about the eventual recovery of the species.”

The researchers say that this encouraging news provides justification not just for efforts to preserve the panda, but for other endangered species as well.

This work was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Creative Research Group Project of NSFC, and the Sichuan Forest Department and State Forestry Administration.

Scientists report results of a large-scale study examining giant panda habitat use trends and changing threats to their survival. This benchmark study is based on nearly 70,000 person-hours of survey work by China’s State Forestry Administration throughout the panda’s range in Sichuan, covering three-quarters of the entire species range: here.

Football, Korea-Germany 2-0, Hitler reacts


This satiric video says about itself:

Hitler reacts to Germany’s defeat to South Korea and elimination from the 2018 World Cup

27 June 2018

(Note the film Downfall goes to the respectful owners)

After hearing the news that Germany failed to advance to the knock out stages after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea, Dolfy goes to rant town.

Meanwhile, Hitler’s political heirs in Germany, the AfD party, blame the defeat on players of African and Turkish ancestry in the team.

Young bird, parents at Panama feeder


This video says about itself:

Juvenile Gray-headed Chachalaca Forages With Two Adults – June 27, 2018

Across much of the world, young birds are beginning to venture out into the wild under the watch of their parents to learn what life will be like as an adult bird. One of the first lessons: where to find food.

Here, a juvenile Gray-headed Chachalaca learns that the Panama feeder is a one-stop shop for fresh, fleshy fruit.

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Canopy Family.

I know gray-headed chachalacas from Costa Rica.

British government and torture update


This video says about itself:

🇬🇧 Report: UK involved in torture and rendition of terror suspects | Al Jazeera English

28 June 2018

An investigation into the UK’s involvement in rendition and torture after 9/11 has criticised “inexcusable” collusion with the United States in the mistreatment of detainees.

The British Parliament’s Intelligence Committee Report concluded that the security agencies supplied questions for the interrogation of prisoners who they knew or suspected were being subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and paid for the rendition of others to states where they were at risk of such abuse.

And the Committee said it was ‘unacceptable’ that the UK still has no clear policy on rendition.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from London.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 29 June 2018

Hooded, shackled, with gun to my head’ – UK spies witnessed

‘WE still don’t know the process of accountability’, British citizen Moazzam Begg, previously held in Guantanamo Bay, said criticising the scope of an inquiry into torture and extraordinary rendition.

He was responding to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report released yesterday which showed that there were at least 13 cases where UK spies witnessed at first-hand a detainee being mistreated by the US operatives.

Moazzam Begg said: ‘British intelligence agents were physically there watching as I was hooded, shackled, with a gun to my head, threatened with being sent to Syria or Egypt if I didn’t co-operate. ‘There was the sound of a woman screaming in the room next door, that I was led to believe was my wife being tortured. British intelligence agents knew all about this.’

Although there is no evidence US rendition flights transited through the UK, there is evidence that two detainees went through the Indian Ocean British Territory of Diego Garcia, where records about the conditions in which they were held are ‘woefully inadequate’.

The report states: ‘That the US, and others, were mistreating detainees is beyond doubt, as is the fact that the agencies and defence intelligence were aware of this at an early point.’

Tory MP Dominic Grieve, chair of the ISC, said: ‘We find it astonishing that given the intense focus on this issue ten years ago, the government has failed to take action. There is no clear policy, not even agreement over who has responsibility for preventing UK complicity in unlawful rendition. In particular, we note the government has failed to introduce a process to ensure that allies can’t use UK territory for rendition purposes without prior permission.’

Responding to the Intelligence and Security reports released today, Bella Sankey, Deputy Director of Reprieve, said: ‘Dominic Grieve has exposed systemic levels of UK support for torture and rendition operations up until 2010 despite the restrictions his Committee were operating under. ‘But he makes clear in his statement today that he has been forced to “draw a line” under its inquiry after the government refused access to key witnesses.

‘The evidence the Committee heard amounted to just 6 minutes of oral evidence per case of torture or rendition with UK involvement. We have only scratched the surface. ‘The Prime Minister has so far shown contempt for the Committee’s work and its recommendations.

‘She must now listen to cross party calls to deliver what the government originally promised: an independent judge-led inquiry which can explore the dark corners the ISC could not reach. ‘The Prime Minister must also publicly consult on her Torture Guidance which still to this day fails to protect both agents on the ground and hundreds of individuals at risk of mistreatment.’

UK tolerated ‘inexcusable’ treatment of detainees by US after 9/11, damning official report finds. ‘There was no understanding in the government of rendition and no clear policy – or even recognition of the need for one,’ MPs say: here.

British intelligence agencies complicit in US torture: here.

Britain’s role in US rendition and torture revealed: here.

Representatives of Amnesty International, Freedom From Torture, Liberty and Reprieve delivered a 27,000-signature petition to Theresa May demanding she restore her predecessor David Cameron’s broken promise to hold an inquiry into British complicity in the use of torture by the US: here.