Danish mink fur business COVID-19 disaster

This 4 November 2020 video is called Denmark Wants to Cull All Farmed Minks Over COVID Fears.

By Eddy Wax, 4 November 2020:

Denmark to kill all mink to stop mutated coronavirus spreading to humans

Experts say the virus has been mutating in the animals and there have been 12 cases of those mutations being transmitted to humans in the country.

Denmark will cull millions of mink being farmed for their fur in order to stop a mutated version of the new coronavirus from spreading to humans, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced Wednesday.

Now detected at over 200 Danish mink farms, the virus has been mutating in the animals and there have been 12 cases of those mutations being transmitted to humans in the North Jutland region, the country’s infectious diseases institute has said.

“The mutated virus — via mink — can carry the risk that the upcoming vaccine will not work as it should,” Frederiksen, who is currently self-isolating after possible exposure to COVID-19, said in a virtual press conference.

She said continuing to breed mink during the pandemic “entails a significant risk to public health” and that Denmark has a responsibility to prevent a mutated coronavirus from spreading to other countries.

In October, the Scandinavian country already made plans to cull all infected mink, and those within a radius of around 8 kilometers from infected farms, but Wednesday’s announcement extended the cull to all animals, including those being used for breeding.

Frederiksen also apologized to Danish mink breeders, acknowledging they would lose their livelihoods.

Denmark is the world’s biggest producer of mink fur, with around 1,500 farmers churning out some 16 million furs per year.

Coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms have also been recorded in the Netherlands and Spain.

Trump’s bully Pompeo bullies Denmark

This 22 July 2020 German TV video says about itself:

US’s Pompeo wants Denmark to stop work on Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline | DW News

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is visiting Denmark to try to persuade Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen to stop work on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline passing through its waters. Denmark has just given the go-ahead for the work, but Pompeo hopes to get the Danes to change their minds. The US believes the pipeline will make Germany too dependent on Russian gas.

The Trump administration wants Germany to be dependent on United States fracking gas, from which Donald Trump profits personally.

Last week, Pompeo warned companies involved in the project they will be subject to US penalties if they didn’t halt their work. So how is the German government reacting to this latest US diplomatic offensive against Nord Stream 2? DW’s chief political editor Michaela Küfner spoke to German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

COVID-19 at Danish mink fur business

This 2015 video says about itself:

Denmark: The Ugly Business of Fur Farms | Focus on Europe

The global fur market is booming. One fifth of global demand for mink is met by Denmark. The country is home to over 1,400 mink farms, where animals are reportedly kept under hellish conditions.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The coronavirus was found at a mink fur business in Denmark. It is the first time this has happened in the country, the biggest producing country of mink pelts in the world.

The infected animals were discovered after a company employee tested positive for the coronavirus. All minks are killed.

In the Netherlands, the coronavirus has already been found at fifteen mink farms. More than half a million animals have been killed here.

How great cormorants hear, new research

This 2015 video from Britain says about itself:

BTO Bird ID – Cormorant and Shag

A black, reptilian-looking bird swims by low to the water – but is it a Cormorant or a Shag? Cormorants are more familiar and wide-spread, although Shags are more numerous. Let us help you to separate these two similar-looking species of waterbird.

From the University of Southern Denmark:

Surprising hearing talents in cormorants

April 1, 2020

Summary: The great cormorant has more sensitive hearing under water than in air. This new knowledge may help protect vulnerable bird species.

Many aquatic animals like frogs and turtles spend a big part of their lives under water and have adapted to this condition in various ways, one being that they have excellent hearing under water.

A new study shows that the same goes for a diving bird, the great cormorant.

This is surprising because the great cormorant spends most of its time out of the water. It is the first time we see such extensive hearing adaptations in an animal that does not spend most of its time under water, says biologist Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard, University of Southern Denmark.

Human noise is a problem for animals at sea

Researchers are increasingly paying attention to the living conditions of animals living in or near the oceans.

Oceans are no longer the quiet habitats they used to be. Human activities produce noise — examples are ship traffic, fishing and windmill constructions, and this noise may pose a threat to the oceans’ animals.

“We need more knowledge about how animals are affected by this noise — does it impair their hearing or their hunting and fishing abilities? We have studied the effect on whales for some time now, but we don’t know very much about diving birds. There are many vulnerable animal species living or foraging at sea, that may be negatively affected by human noise,” says Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard.

Listening for fish?

“Even though the great cormorant is not an aquatic animal, it does frequently visit the water columns, so it makes sense that it, too, has adapted its ears for hearing under water,” Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard says about the new study.

Whereas the great cormorant spends about 30 seconds foraging under water in active pursuit of prey, approximately 150 other species of diving birds spend up to several minutes in pursuit of fish and squid.

Foraging under water is challenging for the sensory apparatus of the birds, however, and for most birds, their visual acuity under water is no better than that of humans. So, the birds may use other sensory modalities.

We know very little about birds’ hearing under water

Apart from a few behavioral studies, the hearing of birds under water is unknown.

Previously, researchers from University of Southern Denmark, have documented that great cormorants and gentoo penguins respond to sound under water, but this is the first study of the physiology of underwater hearing in any bird.

The study shows that the cormorant ear has been specialized for underwater hearing.

How was the study done?

To study hearing of the cormorant in air and under water the scientists measured auditory evoked responses and neural activity in response to airborne and underwater sound in anesthetized birds.

The neural responses to airborne and underwater sounds were measured using electrodes under the skin. In this way, the scientists could measure hearing thresholds to sound in air and under water.

Thresholds in water and air proved to be similar, with almost the same sensitivity to sound pressure in the two media. This is surprising, because similar sound pressures in air and water means that the threshold sound intensity (the energy radiated by the sound wave) is much lower in water, so the ear is more sensitive to underwater than to airborne sound.

The cost: Stiffer and heavier eardrums

“We found anatomical changes in the ear structures compared to terrestrial birds. These changes may explain the good sensitivity to underwater sound. The adaptations also may provide better protection of the eardrums from the water pressure,” says Jakob Christensen-Dalsgaard.

But there is — as always in Nature — a cost to these benefits:

Their hearing in air is not as sensitive as in many other birds. Their eardrums are stiffer and heavier.

How has the ear adapted?

The cormorant eardrum shows large vibrations in response to underwater sound, so the sensitivity likely is mediated by the eardrum and middle ear.

Underwater eardrum vibrations and anatomical features of the cormorant ear are similar to features found in turtles and aquatic frogs, that also appear to be specialized for underwater hearing.

The data suggest convergent modifications of the tympanic ear in these three distantly related species, and similar modifications may be found in other diving birds.

Denmark, Christian state religion, secularism and Islam

This May 2019 Voice of America video says about itself:

Denmark Targets Migrants in ‘Ghetto’ Crackdown Ahead of EU Election

For many, the term ‘ghetto’ evokes the horrors of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. But in Denmark, the government has launched a crackdown on 30 run-down areas officially labeled as ‘ghettoes,’ all with high immigrant, Muslim populations. The policy has dismayed many liberal Danes, but as Henry Ridgwell reports from Copenhagen, immigration is playing a major role in the European Parliament elections this week, and issues like integration and identity are creating a fiery campaign.

By Sophie Zinn:

Voices of Danish Youth Signal a New Danish Consensus on Islam

23 November 2019

The European migration crisis, which began in 2015, has had a significant impact on immigration and security policies across the region. In Europe’s smaller, more homogenous countries, rising migration and the prospect of refugees and migrants becoming people’s permanent neighbors has led to amplified anxiety about national identity. This has been particularly true in Denmark, one of the most racially homogenous, migrant-averse countries in Europe. Especially when considering Denmark’s treatment of migrants from Africa and the Middle East, (all of whom are referred to as ‘Muslims,’ whether they are or are not), public discourse consistently questions what makes a Dane a Dane and whether immigrant families can share in that identity. For four months in Denmark, I studied how different religious and non-religious communities from diverse ethnic backgrounds construct Danish identity and the influence that Denmark’s secular culture and established state church could have on the construction of this identity. Existing scholarship suggests that Danish identity, secularism, and religion are not uniformly understood. By focusing on younger generation Danes, I was able to discover interesting trends that go beyond the scope of existing scholarship: there are generational differences among Danes, and younger generations tend to view a multicultural Danish identity more positively than their elders.

Why Denmark?

Denmark is considered one of the most secular societies in Europe, even though the state itself has an official national church, producing a social system that Lægaard identifies as “moderate secularism”. He argues that Denmark’s “endorsement of moderate secularism implies that multicultural equality does not require the same kind of recognition for all religious communities” (2012, 200). Danish secularism, therefore, has presented unequal opportunities for the recognition of, and civic participation by, various religious minorities and migrant populations in the country, both with respect to state institutions and in everyday interactions. Because the state ultimately determines the legal status of individual religious groups, the country’s migrants and religious minorities are confronted with a Protestant conceptualization of religion, where migrants’ religious expression, freedom, and beliefs are overseen and authorized by an Evangelical Lutheran state (Lægaard 2012, 200). The Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs is in charge of the national church and also has the power to officially recognize religious minority communities. Denmark’s Evangelical Lutheran state is, however, itself circumscribed by the ethnically Danish, Christian majority’s desire for a secular public square. Denmark’s traditional understanding of its own identity as Christian-yet-secular can hinder “other” members of its population from fully identifying and participating as Danish citizens. Pervasive social rhetoric refers to Danish identity as either Christian or secular, leaving little space for the inclusion of religious minorities.

In 2005, when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published twelve cartoons entitled “The Face of Muhammad” with provocative images of Islam and the Prophet, widespread debates about immigration, freedom of speech, and identity followed (Shetarh 2005). The cartoon controversy contributed to a rise in Danish nationalist parties, such as the Danish People’s Party (DPP), who advocate for free speech [against immigrants] and a Christian national identity.

What is less well known is that Denmark’s military and civil engagement in Afghanistan may have contributed to the idea that Muslims cannot be Danish. This became evident to me when I was touring the Danish War Museum’s exhibit on Denmark’s contribution to the war in Afghanistan. Our group’s tour guide explained that part of the mission for Danish soldiers was to promote democratic development and respect for human rights, yet just a few minutes later, he remarked that most soldiers did not believe that Islam was compatible with either of those ideals. For Muslims living in Denmark, the state’s continued presence in Afghanistan since 2001 has informed Danish notions that the Middle East is not compatible with democracy and human rights, attitudes reflected in the policies and attitudes of the Danish Parliament and right-wing nationalist parties. The Danish military effort to provide support and strengthen Afghan’s ability to take care of themselves suggests that Danish values need to be introduced into this conflict zone in order to secure peace and security. However, our tour guide at the Danish Military Museum discussed the overall reluctance to utilize military resources in a region that Danes view as being incapable of aligning with their democratic values. The recent refugee crisis of 2014 may also help explain why the media and politicians portray Middle Eastern migrants as Muslims with a culture that rejects the Danish values of human rights, democracy, and welfare.

At the Trampoline House in Copenhagen, a community center for asylum seekers and refugees, the organizers exposed me to more recent Danish efforts that highlight Denmark’s reluctance to assist and integrate newcomers. I sat next to new friends during a staff update about changes in refugee and asylum policies because the Minister of Integration, Inger Støjberg, was cutting spending in refugee camps. In December 2018, Støjberg declared that about 100 migrants with criminal convictions would be relocated to Lindholm, a remote Danish island, to emphasize Denmark’s hard stance against migrants. Overall, Denmark’s reluctance to accept migrants and Muslims as Danish is related to their recent military experience, debates about public discourse, and religious differences.

Public discussions and political elections have involved questions about the perceived Muslim threat to Danish identity because most Danes are non-religious. The Danish majority had assumed that minority populations would integrate themselves into Denmark’s non-religious culture, but migrant communities continued to advocate for accurate religious representation in the public sphere, recognition, and freedom. Denmark’s political parties and actors have consistently drafted legislation and issued rulings that limit public Muslim expression, such as restricting certain headscarves or prohibiting public calls to prayer over a loudspeaker. The Danish Parliament introduced legislation in 2003 that restricted the migration of imams to Denmark, requiring that these leaders speak Danish and respect Western values of democracy and human rights to demonstrate they are not a threat to the Danish state (“Aledanemarek Tetkhed Ejera’at” 2003). More recently, in May 2018, Denmark introduced the “niqab ban”, authorizing a fine for anyone wearing a face-shielding garment in public (Samuel 2018). These policies are a way for Denmark’s Christian-yet-secular society to advance their Protestant understanding of religious expression so that religious minorities cannot physically display their alternative religious identities. With most Danes considering themselves to be non-religious, practicing Muslims face significant challenges in justifying their right to be religious in a society that does not seem to understand their beliefs.

Attitudes of Danish Youth Towards Islam

It is against this backdrop that I collected the personal narratives of young adults living in Copenhagen in 2018. I spoke with Christian, Muslim, and non-religious Danes about their interactions with the state and the national church, their own religious identity, and how their experiences relate to the wider Danish society. Four major themes emerged clearly, the most interesting of which was the pronounced generational differences in attitudes towards Islam between these young adults (ages 20-35) and their elders. I will take the first three themes briefly and discuss the last in more detail.

I. Muslims: Developing an Identity and Relationship with Denmark

The four practicing Muslims I interviewed (between the ages of 22-35) all concluded that although individuals outside the Muslim tradition may not consider them to be Danish, their strong identification as Danes is independent of outsiders’ assessments. Liza, Zara, and Arya, Muslim women with diverse ethnic backgrounds, all agreed that their ethnic heritage negatively influences others’ abilities to understand them as Danish, in spite of their own identification with Danish society. These Muslim women chose to join mosques, such as the Danske Islamisk Centre, that help them understand Danish values and integrate into Danish society. They view Denmark’s secular culture as a primary challenge to their religious expression. Philip, a young Danish Muslim convert, furthered this argument, stating that Muslims are expected to be strictly devout, while Christians can sin and it is not considered an issue. Ultimately, all of these Muslims argued that identity is based on a personal association with a culture rather than external cultural and religious expression. Their primary concern was not how their outward appearance was judged but whether their ability to practice devoutly in a state that is often hostile to spirituality and religion was constrained.

II. Non-Muslims: Danish Identity and Religion

Five interview subjects dwelt at length on the Danish state and its church, Danish secularism, and minority religions. Common themes emerged: the national church’s dwindling influence, the welfare state as grounded in Christian values, and the tension between Danes’ open-mindedness and their attachment to social convention. Anders, as a non-religious individual whose parents gave him freedom of choice regarding his religion, believes that Denmark’s public identification with Christianity is a way to deter non-Christians from publicly expressing their religious beliefs (such as in their religious garments). He argues that Danes are open to different religious beliefs but that these beliefs should be molded to fit Denmark’s homogenous, … and historically Protestant society that does not promote public religious expression, and therefore looks suspiciously at religious garments. Anders calls for a “middle way” that satisfies both religious communities’ needs and existing Danish culture.

III. Freedom of Speech and the Media

Finding a “middle way,” as Anders describes, is difficult in Denmark because of widespread misinformation about both “ethnic Danish” (as it is commonly called) and Muslim Danish identity as well as religion in the media. All of the young-adults that I interviewed believe that extreme right-wing views towards migrants and Muslims is declining among Danish people, yet they all point out that the media does not reflect this decline. The Muslims I interviewed highlighted common misconceptions about Muslims in the Danish media, such as the common belief that a woman wearing a hijab is oppressed. Neither Zara nor Liza can watch the news anymore because of the nationalist propaganda. All three Muslim women agree that the media’s outsider portrayal of Islam is extremely negative. When I inquired about non-Muslims’ perspectives on the freedom of speech, they often directed the conversation to the Danish Cartoon Controversy. Anders explained that the Muhamad drawings were published to send a message about the unfettered Danish right to freedom of speech. The non-Muslims I interviewed believe that extreme interpretations of freedom of speech, which originate in nationalist parties, are actually hindering their own right to the freedom of expression because these voices appear regularly in the media and do not allow room for other conceptions of Danish identity and beliefs. The underrepresentation of Muslims in the media was widely discussed in both my interviews and informal discussions.

IV. Generational Differences

A major finding of my interviews that is not reflected in the scholarly literature is the pronounced generational differences among all religious groups on issues of spirituality, society, and the state. Without solicitation, Muslims as well as religious and non-religious ethnic Danes highlighted the differences between themselves and their elders regarding their perspectives on migrants, Muslim beliefs, and Danish identity. Interestingly, the Muslims I interviewed spoke at length about their reasons for joining ethnically-mixed congregations, yet Arya, Zara, and Liza’s parents all attend mosques that are associated with their separate national or ethnic identities. Zara mentioned that older-generation Muslims who attend national or ethnic mosques do not attempt to connect with other surrounding Muslim communities. She sees a stark difference in younger generations:

I think the younger generation is realizing that there is much more benefit in having cooperation with each other. I think the younger generation is more informed. They seek knowledge themselves and they know that it’s allowed in Islam to have different opinions of different things…There’s a… lack of knowledge within the older generations. Like, “this is our way. This is the only right way”…Bottom line; they believe in the same thing [as we do] but they practice maybe in a different way, because I see that in my parents’ generations.

Zara continued to advocate for the need for Muslims to be more informed about Danish culture and different ethnicities, and she strongly believes that younger Muslims with integrated congregations are taking that step. Emily, the non-religious Dane who has explored Copenhagen’s Muslim communities, regarded Muslims in the same way. She found in her inquiry that young adult Muslims are starting to view themselves as beyond the ethnic and national divisions previously seen in older Muslims because newer, non-ethnic mosques had been established in Denmark and because young people want to integrate into Danish culture. Arya argues that this rise of informed young Muslims is due to younger generations actively seeking religion on their own.

The ethnic Danes I spoke with regarded their family and older generations in similar ways. With both the religious and non-religious individuals I interviewed, Jesper was the only one who was both born and raised in Copenhagen. Many of these young adults moved to Copenhagen for school, and grew up in the Jutlands – the more rural part of [Denmark]. Sarah regarded her upbringing in mostly negative terms:

I grew up in a very conservative community; it’s called Lutheran Mission… It’s…hard to even discuss anything with them. Like, they’re against female pastors or priests, and they’re against sex before marriage, homosexuality, you know. And that’s hard because I grew up there and I kind of didn’t want to be part of that. And then I kind of got excluded from the whole community… Many [of those] people voted for the party (DPP) because [of its] …foreign policy, but [also because] they [the party] are all about the elderly and get their support from older people…In my part of Denmark, like the southern part, they have the majority. They have around 20% of the votes from the last election. Now they’re at, like, 15% or something because people are realizing they’re not very accepting.

Sarah’s comments about the DPP highlight important political strategies of the party. The DPP does target the elderly in their messaging. They focus on the welfare state and protecting Danish identity, arguing that newcomers and foreigners are taking money from the welfare system that belongs to the elderly and promising to return money to the older generations. Sarah left her hometown in Jutland to be with younger and more open Christian communities. Christine and Jesper, as religious Christians, had parents who were either non-religious, culturally Christian, or Catholic, and found their religious identity on their own. When thinking about how Muslim immigrants identify with being Danish, Jesper pointed out that second- or third-generation migrants should feel just as Danish as he does:

We had a big wave of Turkish immigrants in the 60s for work. I feel like the second generation, the guys that came here when they were kids, I hope they feel as Danish as I do. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve lived a Danish life a longer time than I have…it’s kind of hard to integrate into a society when you’re in a smaller community with people from the same place. But I think that a second or third generation immigrant is just as Danish as I am.

Throughout these interviews, it became clear that both Muslim and non-Muslim Danish young adults see a more accepting future in Denmark as the important work of younger generations.


With previous scholarship outlining the differences between majority and minority opinions about religion’s place in Danish society, these interviews have further highlighted the absence of any universal understanding of Danish culture or identity. These nine personal narratives underscore the challenges young adults in Denmark face when trying to navigate Denmark’s consistently heated political and media rhetoric. Christian, non-religious, and Muslim Danes believe religion is privatized throughout Danish society. For these Danish Muslims, exercising their faith in ways that are publicly visible is essential to their identity, and Denmark’s secular society has challenged, but not inhibited, their religious belief and practice. Danish people continuously face uncertainty about the role of the media and their freedom of speech, but ultimately believe that the younger generation is more informed and open to conversations about minority cultures. With both migration and xenophobic rhetoric rising worldwide, the future of religious minorities in Denmark remains uncertain, yet these young people are hopeful that the country they love, where freedom, welfare, and love of others predominate, will persevere. Whether that is through the national church, or through a secular democracy that respects religious minorities remains uncertain.

Sophie Zinn is currently an MA in International Relations student at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom. Sophie graduated summa cum laude from Elon University in May 2019 with a BA in International and Global Studies and Political Science. She minored in Middle Eastern Studies and Interreligious Studies. This article is a shortened version of a larger two-year research project from her time at Elon University, and was funded by the Elon College Fellows and Multifaith Scholars programs. Sophie is a devoted and academically-driven policy advocate with a passion for multiculturalism, freedom, and immigration reform.

Ljubljana, 23 November 2019


Delanty, Gerard. 2008. “Dilemmas of Secularism: Europe, Religion and the Problem of Pluralism.” In Identity, Belonging, and Migration, 78–97. 17. Liverpool: Liverpool Univ. Press.

Etherington, Kim. 2011. “Narrative Approaches to Case Studies,” 56.

Johnston, Chris. 2015. “One Dead and Three Injured in Copenhagen ‘Terrorist Attack.’” The Guardian, February 14, 2015, sec. World news. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/14/copenhagen-blasphemy-lars-vilks-prophet-muhammad-krudttonden-cafe.

Kublitz, Anja. 2010. “The Cartoon Controversy: Creating Muslims in a Danish Setting.” Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice 54 (3): 107–25.

Lægaard, Sune. 2012. “Unequal Recognition, Misrecognition and Injustice: The Case of Religious Minorities in Denmark.” Ethnicities 12 (2): 197–214. https://doi.org/10.1177/1468796811431273.

Maruggi, Matthew, and Martha Stortz. 2018. “Teaching the ‘Most Beautiful of Stories’: Narrative Reflection as a Signature Pedagogy for Interfaith Studies.” In Interreligious/Interfaith Studies: Defining a New Field, edited by Eboo Patel. Boston: Beacon Press.

Nielsen, Anne Mark. 2014. “Accommodating Religious Pluralism in Denmark.” Archives Européennes de Sociologie 55 (2): 245–74.

Reeh, Niels. 2009. “Towards a New Approach to Secularization: Religion, Education and the State in Denmark, 1721—1900.” Edited by Enzo Pace. Social Compass 56 (2): 179–88. https://doi.org/10.1177/0037768609103352.

Samuel, Sigal. 2018. “Banning Muslim Veils Tends to Backfire—Why Do Countries Keep Doing It?” The Atlantic. August 3, 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/denmark-burqa-veil-ban/566630/.

Taylor, Charles. 2007. A Secular Age. 1st ed. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Wern, Birgitte, trans. 2013. The Constitutional Act of Denmark. Copenhagen.

Aledanemarek Tetkhed Ejera’at Bheq Ala’emh Alemselmeyn. September 20, 2003. Translated by Sophie Zinn. http://www.aljazeera.net/home/Getpage/f6451603-4dff-4ca1-9c10-122741d17432/e153d7a5-3312-4f11-a8d4-c36bb3e3dc26.

Henfey, Khaled. “Seyamu Meslemy Awerweba Hel Yushekl Khetraan ‘Ela Alemjetm’e.” March 6, 2018. Translated by Sophie Zinn. http://blogs.aljazeera.net/blogs/2018/6/3/صيام-مسلمي-أوروبا-هل-يشكل-خطرا-على-المجتمع.

Shetarh, Semyer. “Meslemw Alednemarek Yetsedwen Lhemlat Alesa’h Leleselam.” December 10, 2005. Translated by Sophie Zinn. http://www.aljazeera.net/home/Getpage/f6451603-4dff-4ca1-9c10-122741d17432/ad59892d-443d-4fe0-93b0-1cfc5e576eac.

“Qetyel Bhejwem ‘Ela Merkez Theqafey Bekwebneghahen Walhekwemh Tesfh Balerhabey.” February 14, 2015. Translated by Sophie Zinn. http://www.aljazeera.net/home/Getpage/f6451603-4dff-4ca1-9c10-122741d17432/3faf126e-57d3-4aa7-8b86-c52520d8e950.

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Insects and plants, new research

This March 2015 video says about itself:

Eerie Time-Lapse of Bug-Eating Plants | Short Film Showcase

Filmmaker Chris Field captures the beautiful but deadly world of carnivorous plants in his “bio-lapse”, Carnivora Gardinum. The project took over a year to complete, with 107 days of continuous shooting on two cameras.

From Aarhus University in Denmark:

DNA traces on wild flowers reveal insect visitors

February 8, 2019

Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, have discovered that insects leave tiny DNA traces on the flowers they visit. This newly developed eDNA method holds a vast potential for documenting unknown insect-plant interactions, keeping track of endangered pollinators, such as wild bees and butterflies, as well as in the management of unwanted pest species.

Environmental DNA (eDNA) can provide an overview of the DNA sequences in complex samples such as water and soil, and thereby a snapshot of the species inhabiting the particular ecosystem. In previous analyses of water samples from lakes and oceans, researchers have fx found DNA traces from insects, amphibians, fish and whales.

Flowers as DNA collectors

Flower-rich grassland habitats like meadows are typically visited by hundreds of species of insects such as bees, butterflies, flies and beetles, which collect food from the flowers. However, it can obviously be quite difficult to keep track of which insect species visit which flower.

But now, Associate professor Philip Francis Thomsen and Postdoc Eva Egelyng Sigsgaard from the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, have undertaken eDNA analyses of 50 flowers from seven different plant species.

“I have worked with DNA from water and soil samples for several years and have often thought that DNA is probably much more common in the environment than would initially imagine. With this study we wanted to test if eDNA from flowers can reveal which insects the flowers have interacted with,” says Philip Francis Thomsen, who heads a research group focusing on eDNA.

The researchers were quite surprised by the analyses, which revealed that the flowers have been visited by at least 135 different species of butterflies, moths, bees, flies, beetles, aphids, plant bugs, spiders, etc. The list goes on.

The flowers therefore function as passive DNA collectors that store data about each flower-visiting insect — a discovery that is published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.

Efficient monitoring of our insect fauna

The method opens up completely new possibilities of studying the interactions between specific plants and insects. The knowledge gained can be used within many research areas, including applied research in pest control.

The new method also holds major perspectives in the management of endangered species like wild <a href="https://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/save-all-bee-species-from-pesticide-death/”>pollinators, which is an urgent task since many groups of flower-visiting insects are threatened. Thus, the populations of several wild bees and butterflies have decreased significantly in recent decades and many species have now become locally extinct.

“The eDNA method might provide a comprehensive overview of the insects involved in the pollination of various plants. Earlier the focus has almost entirely been on bees, butterflies and hoverflies, but we have found DNA from a wide range of other insects such as moths and beetles that may in fact also be important pollinators” says Philip Francis Thomsen.

Biggest Danish bank’s money laundering scandal

This video says about itself:

Money Laundering Claims: Billions of Euros illegally moved via Estonia says Danske Bank

19 September 2018

The results have been released of an inquiry into one of Europe’s biggest money laundering scandals.

After similar scandals at many other banks, eg, at the very big HSBC

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Boss of Danish bank leaves in big money laundering scandal

The money laundering scandal at the largest bank in Denmark costs CEO Thomas Borgen his job. In the period 2007-2015, probably 200 billion euros in criminal money or money of unclear origin went through the bank offices in Estonia, including from Russia.

The bank says it is unable to provide an accurate estimate of the number of suspicious transactions and cash flows in Estonia. According to previous estimates, the bank is said to have made 1.5 billion euros by money laundering.

At that time, Borgen was head of the department responsible for, eg, the bank accounts in Estonia. Until 2015, non-Estonians were also welcome at the bank, mainly Russians, Moldovans and Azerbaijanis.


According to an independent banking survey, in 2013 alone 80,000 transactions are said to have occurred for 30 billion dollars in potentially criminal money. “These are breathtaking amounts and numbers for such a small bank office, and when such sums flow through the bank, that raises questions”, says one of the researchers.

Deutsche Bank broke ties with Danske Bank in Estonia in 2015 because of concerns about the customer base. Deutsche Bank said they only felt safe about 10 percent of the customers. Especially the Moldovan customers looked suspect.


For years, the bank did nothing with rumours about criminals using the bank. Only after reports by a whistleblower in 2013 did the bank start its own investigation into malpractice banking practices. However, that did not go deep and was not shared with the top level of the bank.

In 2014, a few measures were taken, but they were not very successful. For example, the Estonian banking activities did not go through the Danish IT systems and they were not covered by the anti-money laundering procedures of Danske Bank.

The Public Prosecution Service started a criminal investigation in August. The Danish regulator already said that Danske Bank risks getting a fine of 650 million euros. The bank also fears retaliatory measures by US regulators such as disconnection of US bank relations, so that Danske Bank will be excluded from the international financial network. Danske Bank itself does not have a banking license in the US. …

Recently, [Dutch bank] ING was also fined for money laundering by failing to comply with the control and compliance rules for customers and accounts. The bank had to pay 775 million euros and the responsible financial director Koos Timmermans resigned.

However, the CEO of ING, Ralph Hamers, is still the big boss.

Danish artist Per Kirkeby, RIP

On 9 May 2018, Danish artist Per Kirkeby died. This video says about him:

Per Kirkeby Interview: We build upon ruins

Find out why this renowned artist destroys his own paintings if they are too beautiful. Watch the interview with the acclaimed Danish artist Per Kirkeby, about building art on the ruins of your ideas.

”An ornament is something which repeats itself endlessly. In a way you can say life is like that. It’s an eternal appearance of exactly the same things.” The painter, poet, filmmaker and sculptor Per Kirkeby (b. 1938) is one of the most acclaimed Danish artists today. With a masters in Arctic geology from 1964, Kirkeby’s interest in geology and nature in general, has played a crucial role in his artistic expressions. In this interview Kirkeby talks about how the arrogance of age means that you don’t have to fulfil any expectations any more, not your own, and not other peoples’ expectations: “You don’t have to give a toss.” Kirkeby says. Once you let go of your own expectations, it becomes possible to exceed them. You achieve complete artistic freedom.

“My painting isn’t good until it goes under.” Kirkeby explains. The original intention, the smart and clever beginning, is not enough to make a painting. Beauty is not enough. There must be something more, a structure. You must commit yourself, and risk everything, sacrifice the good, and go through a process of recognition, until something better is created, built upon the ruins of the original idea: “The right structure slowly emerges from the picture.”

Per Kirkeby’s work has been shown at art exhibitions worldwide and are represented in many public collections such as Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Tate Gallery, Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA and Centre Pompidou. Kirkeby has been teaching as a professor at the Art Academy in Karlsruhe (1978–89) and Frankfurter Städelschule (1989–2000).

Per Kirkeby was interviewed by Poul Erik Tøjner at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, May 2008.

Camera: Bøje Lomholdt
Edited by: Pernille Bech Christensen and Martin Kogi
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2014

Cormorants can hear under water, new research

This video says about itself:


29 May 2017

For the first time a study shows that cormorants can hear under water. This means they can hear – and be disturbed by – human noise: ships, construction work, etc.

From the Rare Bird Alert site:

New discovery: Cormorants can hear under water

20 June 2017

For the first time, researchers have shown that marine birds can hear under water. This offers new possibilities for the protection of marine birds in trafficked waters. Seals, whales and other marine animals can hear under water. The cormorant also has this ability, which new research from University of Southern Denmark (SDU) shows.

According to the biologists it makes good sense that a cormorant can hear under water — the environment where it finds most of its food.

About every tenth bird species — ca. 800 species — in the world hunts under water, and it may turn out that they too can also hear under water.

The sound of fish

Researchers Kirstin Anderson Hansen, Alyssa Maxwell, Ursula Siebert, Ole Næsbye Larsen and Magnus Wahlberg from the Department of Biology at University of Southern Denmark have tested the cormorant Loke’s hearing. Loke lives at SDU’s marine biology research station in the Danish town Kerteminde.

“Hearing under water must be a very useful sense for cormorants. They depend on being able to find food, even if the water is not clear, or if they live in the Arctic regions where it is dark for long periods at a time,” says Kirstin Hansen, Ph.D.

Loke’s hearing abilities are on a par with the hearing of the toothed whale and the seal.

The sound of humans

He can hear sounds ranging between 1 and 4 kHz, and it is in this range that fish such as sculpin and herring produce sounds. Both sculpin and herring are on the cormorant’s menu.

1 — 4 kHz is not only the range in which fish sounds are found. There are also various human-made sounds found in this range.

Human-made sounds can disturb the ocean’s animals to such an extent that they cannot find food or communicate with each other. It is a known problem for porpoises and seals for instance, and now it is also a potential problem for birds. It is certainly something that we should be more aware of, says Magnus Wahlberg, Associate Professor.

Human-made sounds can be everything from spinning wind turbines and ship traffic to water scooters and drilling platforms.

The SDU biologists are now planning more trials, and the next birds to be tested will probably be guillemots and puffins.

Bigger-brained birds have less chance of being shot

This video says about itself:

Raptor migration over Skagen, N Jutland, Denmark in May, 2016. Featured species are (among others) hobby (Falco subbuteo), rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus), peregrine (Falco peregrinus), and osprey (Pandion haliaetus).

From Biology Letters:

Brain size and the risk of getting shot

Anders Pape Møller, Johannes Erritzøe

Published 2 November 2016


Hunting kills hundreds of millions of animals annually, potentially constituting an important selection pressure on hunted species. We hypothesized that hunted individuals differing from survivors by having better ability to distinguish between dangerous humans and other human beings would be at a selective advantage.

We tested whether shot individual birds had smaller brains than survivors, under the assumption that individuals with larger brains had superior escape ability. We used a large database on birds from Denmark to test whether getting shot was predicted by brain mass, while controlling statistically for the potentially confounding effects of age, sex, body mass and body condition.

Analyses based on all species, or only species that were hunted, while controlling for differences in sampling effort in random effects models, showed consistently that shot individuals had smaller brains than survivors.