Bats in churches in Dutch Friesland


This 2007 video shows Daubenton’s bats at the famous Kapellbrücke in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal Society:

Monday, November 9th, 2015

During large-scale church attic research in Friesland last summer many new Daubenton’s bats homes were discovered. It was also examined what could be the possible reason why this species stays in church attics.

More than 200 churches were examined for the presence of bats. The study was conducted by two students from Van Hall Larenstein College in Leeuwarden, commissioned by the Office of the Mammal Society. The churches prove to be very important places for bats. In total, 36% of these churches house bats and bats’ traces were found found in 84%.

The most commonly found species were common long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus), serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) and Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii). Also found was the rare Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri), this was only the third time that this species in the Netherlands was found in a church attic. The research has provided valuable data on the distribution of bats.

The high number of churches in which colonies of Daubenton’s bats were found was most remarkable. This is a species that is best known as a tree dweller and of which in the Netherlands hardly colonies in buildings were known. Of this species was also discovered the largest known colony of the Netherlands: as many as 242 animals were counted in a church.

United States Republican Carson believes Joseph built the pyramids to store grain


This 2011 video is called Pharaohs-The Great Pyramid of Egypt (How was it built?) – BBC 1 of 6.

While all serious Egyptologists say that the six pyramids of Giza were built about 2500 BC as graves for pharaohs, there are some crackpot theories denying that.

Some claim ancient Egyptians did not build the pyramids, but aliens who had arrived in UFOs did.

And now, a United States Republican politician has another off base pet theory. After his fellow Republican Sarah Palin claimed that dinosaurs and humans used to live at the same time, Ben Carson thinks he should not just become president of the USA, but an amateur pseudo-Egyptologist as well.

From daily The Independent in Britain, 5 November 2015:

Ben Carson says pyramids were ‘built by biblical figure Joseph to store grain’

It is not the first time the 64-year-old former surgeon has expressed the novel theory

Andrew Buncombe, New York

There are three of them on the outskirts of Cairo, with the tallest of them soaring to more to more than 140 metres.

Over the years, experts and archaeologists have debated over what may have been the use of these giant pyramids, one of which was for centuries the highest man-made structure on earth. Were they simply burial chambers for the mightiest of the pharaohs?

Ben Carson, one of the leaders of the US Republican presidential race, believes the solution lies in the Bible.

He has repeated his longstanding belief that Egyptian pyramids were built by the biblical figure, Joseph, to store grain.

Dear Dr Carson, there are some problems here. Most historians think that the biblical Joseph was a myth. A few believe the Joseph tradition was based on the Hyksos Asian invaders of Egypt. But that was around 1800-1500 BCE, so almost a thousand years after the Giza pyramids were built.

Another theory claims that the Bible was right on Joseph. In that view, Joseph was the same person as Amenhotep-Huy, vizier of Pharaoh Amenhotep III. But that was about 1360 BC, still more centuries later than the building of the pyramids.

“It’s still my belief, yes,” the retired neurosurgeon told reporters this week.

“Well, the pyramids were made in a way that they had hermetically sealed compartments. You would need that if you were trying to preserve grain for a long period of time.”

The Associated Press said that Mr Carson, 64, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, first articulated his theory at a 1998 commencement speech at Andrews University.

In the commencement video, Mr Carson laid out his theory that the pyramids were constructed for grain storage.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Mr Carson

“Now all the archaeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”

Exclusive: Carson claimed West Point ‘scholarship’ but never applied. Republican hits POLITICO story, later admits to The New York Times he wasn’t offered aid: here.

Ben Carson ‘fabricated’ his admission to West Point military academy: here.

Ben Carson is not having the best week, between redrawing borders on a U.S. map and that NYT piece on his lack of foreign policy understanding.

ISIS vandalism criminal, Saudi government vandalism not criminal?


David Cameron meets with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal inside 10 Downing Street in London, on March 22, 2011. Photo: Akira Suemori - WPA Pool/Getty Images

From daily The Independent in Britain:

The West rightly condemns Isis vandalism of ancient sites – but not when the Saudis do it

Saudi Arabia’s grotesque destruction of Muslim history is directly linked to Isis’s own purgation of the past

Robert Fisk

Sunday 11 October 2015 17:47 BST

Explosives pulverise historic sites in the Middle East, bulldozers erase ancient tombs and shrines, historic forts are torn down and Ottoman facades destroyed. The home of the favourite wife of the most revered man in an entire religion is even turned into a block of toilets. How can the world prevent this wicked desecration and extinction of a heritage that belongs to all mankind? I am, of course, referring to those iconoclastic Wahhabi-Salafist Muslim head-choppers … the Saudis!

And the world will do absolutely nothing. It will screech and rage and curse as the iconoclastic Wahhabi-Salafist Muslim head-choppers of Isis blow to bits the Roman ruins of Palmyra, but will never dare – and has never dreamed – of uttering a pussy-cat’s protest against Saudi Arabia’s wilful destruction of the ancient graves, homes, shrines and buildings of Islam’s Prophet Mohamed and his closest relatives and companions. Naturally, we could conclude that Roman remains are more valuable than the antiquities of Islam. But this would be about as racist a reaction as suggesting that the Roman empire was more important than the Islamic empire.

No, the real reason we ignore the vandalising of so many Muslim sites is that we cannot – will not, must not – criticise the Saudis whose grotesque wealth silences all of us to such obscene lengths that our Prime Minister flies our flags at half mast when its autocratic ruler dies. No suggestion must be made – not even the softest whisper must be uttered – that might connect our Saudi friends with the apocalyptic cult called Isis, which follows with absolutist determination the Wahhabi Sunni faith adopted 270 years ago by the ancestors of the present Saudi monarchy.

In the past few days, we have rightly bewailed the pulverisation of the magnificent Arch of Triumph at Palmyra, 1,800 years old – probably erected to commemorate the Emperor Aurelius’s victory over Queen Zenobia who was later dragged, Isis-style, through the streets of Rome – and the loss of the entrance to the magnificent and roofless Roman colonnade which, we must all fear, will also be levelled by the time the Syrian army, with its Russian air cover, recaptures the city. The reduction of Palmyra to rubble is a war crime, according to the UN. But when the country with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Isis supporters – and donors – wipes out the Islamic history of Arabia, including 90 per cent of Mecca’s millennium-old sites, we pay as much attention to this mass vandalism as we do to the damage of a nativity window in a Co Kerry church.

Take a glance at what has come to pass in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A library has been built over the dwelling where the Prophet Mohamed was born in Mecca in AD570 – even this may now be replaced by skyscrapers – and the fine Bilal mosque, dating from this same period, has been bulldozed. Mohamed’s first wife, Khadijah, lived in a Mecca house which has been turned into toilets. The Mecca Hilton Hotel was erected over the house of Abu Bakr, Mohamed’s father-in-law, his closest companion and future Caliph. Hundreds of old Ottoman houses have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia and Ottoman architecture around the Great Mosque is being torn down for pilgrimage “expansion” projects. Five of the famous “Seven Mosques”, built by Mohamed’s daughter and four companions, were demolished 90 years ago. And, after the Lebanese (Christian) Professor Kamal Salibi published a book in 1985 suggesting that many Saudi villages bore biblical Jewish place names, the bulldozers arrived to erase them.

This grotesque destruction of Muslim history is directly linked to Isis’s own purgation of the past by the Wahhabi faith, which the Saudis adopted from the teachings of the 18th-century Mohamed ibn Abdul Wahhab – who preached that Islam should return to the purity of its earliest principles. From these ideas came the notion that almost any historical monument represents an excuse for idolatry, a precept adopted with ferocious enthusiasm by the Saudi tribes. When Abdul Aziz ibn Saud moved into Mecca in the 1920s, his first actions included the destruction of the graveyard in which Khadijah was buried, along with the tomb of one of the Prophet’s uncles. The same fate awaited the tombs of Mohamed’s daughter Fatima and his grandson Hasan ibn Ali.

Thus began the vandalism of graveyards, tombs, shrines and historic buildings across south-west Asia: from Shia shrines in Pakistan to the magnificent Buddhas of Bamiyan to the ancient libraries of Timbuktu; from the antiquities of Mecca to the churches of Mosul and the Roman ruins of Palmyra. Even beautiful – though war-damaged – Bosnian mosques hundreds of years old have been torn down in favour of the Saudi-funded concrete monstrosities that are now appearing in the Balkans. This hatred of history is part and parcel of the retrograde Wahhabi belief in which the past has only a spiritual presence, its physical remains a reminder only of imperfection.

It’s not that Saudi Arabia’s self-destruction of history is unknown – The Independent was one of the first Western newspapers to give it publicity in pre-Isis days. Nor, may the saints preserve us from such folly and the kingdom’s lawyers, must we ever suggest that the Saudi regime supports Isis. But if we are to understand just what Isis is – and what it represents and who admires it – then we must study much more carefully the frightening religious habits that connect Isis, the Taliban and al-Qaeda to the people of a country whose king calls himself the “Caretaker of the Two Noble Sanctuaries” of Mecca and Medina.

Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other: here.

Children of Briton sentenced to 350 lashes over homemade wine appeal to PM. Karl Andree, 74, who reportedly broke Saudi Arabia’s alcohol laws, will not survive flogging, say his family: here.

A new book reveals the horrifying, and fascinating, details of daily life under Isis. It details all of Isis’s cruelty, but places it in the context of a very bloody history: here.

Swifts in Nijmegen city


This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

A juvenile Common Swift (Apus apus) peering out of a nest brick entrance hole at approx. 35 meters height at project Hessenberg in the centre of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Filmed August 1st 2013. More about this project and the Swift nest bricks: here.

If in old cities old buildings are torn down to make way for new buildings, then birds like swifts often lose their nesting opportunities.

Jochem Kühnen of BirdLife in Nijmegen city in the Netherlands tries to do something against that.

In 2009, when the high-rise building De Hessenberg was built, Kühnen convinced the builders to include 22 nesting bricks for swifts.

Already in the next year, swifts started to nest there. Now, the birds use 80% of these nesting opportunities.

Now there are plans for an ever bigger building in Nijmegen: Nimbus, 24 stories high. Jochem Kühnen talked to the Nimbus architect about swifts. The architect became enthusiastic, and decided to include 100 swift bricks in the building.

Ants build a city, video


This video from the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

September 11 2015

Swarming ants in an anthill and busy city life are often compared. But in Rotterdam they made a very special example of that. Designer Lucas Zoutendijk of Bureau 1:1 made for the Architecture Day an ant city of sand in the shape of the map of Rotterdam. 1300 ants have been living there since some weeks ago. The Spanish ants immediately began construction of their ideal city.

Palmyra in Syria, ISIS and the CIA


This 2010 video is called Palmyra, Syria.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

The atrocities of ISIS and the US wars of sociocide

26 August 2015

Images posted Tuesday on social media have confirmed the destruction by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin in the Syrian city of Palmyra. The images show ISIS fighters planting explosive charges throughout the ancient structure and then detonating them, reducing the temple to rubble.

The willful demolition of this site, one of the most important cultural centers of the ancient world and one of the best preserved Greco-Roman ruins in existence, followed the savage murder a week earlier of Professor Khaled Assad. The 82-year-old Syrian archeologist had participated in the excavation and restoration of Palmyra’s ruins and had remained there as the head of antiquities for nearly half a century. He was beheaded for refusing to assist ISIS in looting the site.

UNESCO, the United Nations cultural and educational agency, justifiably denounced these atrocities as “war crimes,” adding that “their perpetrators must be accountable for their actions.”

There is no question that those responsible for these acts and for far bloodier atrocities against the Syrian people are criminals and should be held accountable. The obstacle to bringing to justice those principally responsible, however, is the fact that they are the former and current chief officials in the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA.

It was they who laid waste to one Middle Eastern country after another, while working with the Islamist forces that comprise ISIS to carry out their wars of regime-change against a series of secular Arab governments.

The systematic destruction of a cultural heritage carried out by ISIS has a historical precedent in the crimes carried out by the Pol Pot regime and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. This regime set out to erase the country’s cultural heritage, while carrying out a reign of terror and mass murder against the population.

The similarities between ISIS and the Khmer Rouge do not end with their barbaric assaults on culture and human life. In both cases, the preconditions for these atrocities had been created through the destruction of entire societies by US imperialism.

In Cambodia, a US bombing campaign dropped some 532,000 tons of explosives on the country in four years—more than three times the tonnage dropped on Japan during all of World War II. The resulting death toll is estimated as high as 600,000, while 2 million people out of a population of 7 million were made homeless and economic life was shattered.

ISIS and the current bloodshed across Syria and Iraq are the direct products of similar acts of sociocide on the part of US imperialism. In Iraq, the illegal US invasion of 2003, the subsequent occupation and the systematic destruction of what had been one of the most advanced health and social infrastructures in the Arab world claimed the lives of over 1 million Iraqis, while turning another 5 million into refugees. The divide-and-rule strategy pursued by the Pentagon stoked a sectarian civil war by deliberately manipulating tensions between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni populations.

The ramifications of this policy have long since spilled across national borders, with increasingly catastrophic consequences, all driven by Washington’s resort to militarism to advance its aim of hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia.

To this end, the US has been involved in wars for over 35 years, beginning with the CIA’s orchestration of the war for regime-change against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan, where it allied itself with Islamist forces, including Osama bin Laden and the other founders of Al Qaeda.

Nine months before the last US troops withdrew from Iraq in December 2011, Washington and its NATO allies launched another unprovoked war of aggression to topple the government of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya and impose their own puppet regime over the oil-rich North African country. The destruction of the Libyan state and the murder of Gaddafi plunged the country into chaos and bloodshed that continues to this day. Islamist militias used as US proxies in the Libyan war, along with tons of captured Libyan weapons, were subsequently funneled—with the aid of the CIA—into the civil war in Syria, strengthening ISIS and helping create the conditions for it to overrun more than a third of Iraq.

In the name of the never-ending “war on terrorism,” Washington is prosecuting another military campaign in alliance with the Shia-based government in Baghdad against ISIS in the predominately Sunni regions of Iraq, while in Syria it is stepping up military operations in alliance with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf monarchies, while attempting to find “moderate” Sunni Islamists it can utilize as proxies in the war to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The New York Times Tuesday published a lengthy article reflecting an internal debate within the Obama administration over whether to provide more direct US support to Ahrar al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist militia with multiple links to Al Qaeda. The group already receives extensive backing from key US allies Turkey and Qatar.

The horrific consequences of decades of US wars are now spilling into Europe, with the increasingly desperate flight of hundreds of thousands of refugees—in many cases at the cost of their own lives—from homelands that Washington has turned into killing fields.

Politically and morally, the US government and its top officials, starting with Bush and Obama, are totally responsible for all of the crimes, atrocities and human suffering resulting from the multiple wars of aggression they initiated.

None of them have been held to account. Representatives and defenders of an oligarchy of corporate billionaires, they are not, under the present political setup, answerable to the American people, whose opposition to war they routinely defy.

The task of bringing these war criminals to justice and putting an end to the succession of wars and growing threat of a new world war lies with the working class.

Egyptian Queen Nefertiti’s grave discovered?


This 2013 video is called Discovery Channel’sQueen Nefertiti” The Most Beautiful Face of Egypt.

From the Amarna Royal Tombs Project, by Nicholas Reeves:

ABSTRACT

Recently published, high-resolution scans of the walls of room J (the Burial Chamber) of Valley of the Kings tomb KV 62 (Tutankhamun) reveal, beneath the plastered surfaces of the painted scenes, distinct linear traces. These are here mapped, discussed, and tentatively identified as the ‘ghosts’ of two hitherto unrecognized doorways. It is argued that these doorways give access to: (1) a still unexplored storage chamber on the west of room J, seemingly contemporary with the stocking of Tutankhamun‘s burial; and (2) a pre-Tutankhamun continuation of KV 62 towards the north, containing the undisturbed burial of the tomb’s original owner: Nefertiti.

From the Daily Mail in Britain today:

Has Queen Nefertiti been found behind King Tut’s tomb? Scientist claims to have discovered a secret door to her burial chamber in Tutankhamun’s grave, the boy king who may have been her son

Radical claim made by Dr Nicholas Reeves at the University of Arizona
He analysed high-resolution scans of the walls of Tutankhamun‘s grave
Dr Reeves says he found ‘ghosts’ of doors that tomb builders blocked
The door on the north side contains ‘the undisturbed burial of the tomb’s original owner – Nefertiti’, Dr Reeves argues

Inspection of King Tut’s Tomb Reveals Hints of Hidden Chambers. Secret doors may conceal the burial chamber of Queen Nefertiti, but tantalizing clues await further testing: here.