Playing Hide and Seek with The Grim Reaper, (and some other stories)



The megalithic remains of Anglesey

by Baynes, Edward Neil


It is a cause of genuine regret to me that I did not commence my inquiries earlier, when I had more opportunities of pursuing them, especially when I was a village schoolmaster in Anglesey and could have done the folklore of that island thoroughly; but my education, such as it was, had been of a nature to discourage all interest in anything that savoured of heathen lore and superstition. Nor is that all, for the schoolmasters of my early days took very little trouble to teach their pupils to keep their eyes open or take notice of what they heard around them; so I grew up without having acquired the habit of observing anything, except the Sabbath. It is to be hoped that the younger generation of schoolmasters trained under more auspicious circumstances, when the baleful influence of Robert Lowe has given way to a more enlightened system of public instruction, will do better, and succeed in fostering in their pupils habits of observation. At all events there is plenty of work still left to be done by careful observers and skilful inquirers, as will be seen from the geographical list showing approximately the provenance of the more important contributions to the Kymric folklore in this collection: the counties will be found to figure very unequally. Thus the anglicizing districts have helped me very little, while the more Welsh county of Carnarvon easily takes the lead; but I am inclined to regard the anomalous features of that list as in a great measure due to accident. In other words, some neighbourhoods have been luckier than others in having produced or attracted men who paid attention to local folklore; and if other counties were to be worked equally with Carnarvonshire, some of them would probably be foundnot much less rich in their yield. The anglicizing counties in particular are apt to be disregarded both from the Welsh and the English points of view, in folklore just as in some other things; and in this connexion I cannot help mentioning the premature death of the Rev. Elias Owen as a loss which Welsh folklorists will not soon cease to regret.


Nearly every night of our lives, we undergo a startling metamorphosis.

Our brain profoundly alters its behavior and purpose, dimming our consciousness. For a while, we become almost entirely paralyzed. We can’t even shiver. Our eyes, however, periodically dart about behind closed lids as if seeing, and the tiny muscles in our middle ear, even in silence, move as though hearing. We are sexually stimulated, men and women both, repeatedly. We sometimes believe we can fly. We approach the frontiers of death. We sleep.

Around 350 B.C., Aristotle wrote an essay, “On Sleep and Sleeplessness,” wondering just what we were doing and why. For the next 2,300 years no one had a good answer. In 1924 German psychiatrist Hans Berger invented the electroencephalograph, which records electrical activity in the brain, and the study of sleep shifted from philosophy to science. It’s only in the past few decades, though, as imaging machines have allowed ever deeper glimpses of the brain’s inner workings, that we’ve approached a convincing answer to Aristotle.

Everything we’ve learned about sleep has emphasized its importance to our mental and physical health. Our sleep-wake pattern is a central feature of human biology—an adaptation to life on a spinning planet, with its endless wheel of day and night. The 2017 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to three scientists who, in the 1980s and 1990s, identified the molecular clock inside our cells that aims to keep us in sync with the sun. When this circadian rhythm breaks down, recent research has shown, we are at increased risk for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and dementia


The Lena River Delta in Siberia/LandSat NASA

Until recently, anthropologists drew the human family tree in the same way that my 10-year-old son solves a maze. He finds it much easier to work from the end to the beginning, because blind alleys lead with depressing sameness away from the start. In just this way, scientists once traced our own lineage from the present into the past, moving backward through a thicket of fossil relatives, each perched upon its own special branch to extinction.

This approach yielded the now-ubiquitous image of the human family tree, with Homo sapiens – the one and only living hominid – sitting alone, seemingly inevitable, at the top. It’s a powerful metaphor, but it also turns out to be a deeply mistaken one. Where once we saw each branch in isolation, DNA evidence now reveals a network of connections. From an African origin more than 1.8 million years ago, human ancestors flowed into different populations, following separate paths for hundreds of thousands of years, yet still coming together to mix their genes.

The recovery of ancient DNA from ancient hominins, first by Svante Pääbo’s research group at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig and later by others, has started to bring unknown populations into view. Neanderthals provided a proof of principle, showing the recovery of whole-genome evidence from small fragments.

The first high-coverage genome provided the biggest surprise: a tiny piece of a finger bone from Denisova Cave, in southern Siberia, has shown us an unknown population (now called the ‘Denisovans’) who are as different from living people as from the Neanderthals. They make up some 5 per cent of the ancestry of living Aboriginal Australians, and a tiny fraction of more than a billion people across Asia and the New World.


In other words, natural selection and cyborgization as humanity spreads throughout the cosmos will result in species diversification. At the same time, expanding across space will also result in ideological diversification. Space-hopping populations will create their own cultures, languages, governments, political institutions, religions, technologies, rituals, norms, worldviews, and so on. As a result, different species will find it increasingly difficult over time to understand each other’s motivations, intentions, behaviors, decisions, and so on. It could even make communication between species with alien languages almost impossible. Furthermore, some species might begin to wonder whether the proverbial “Other” is conscious. This matters because if a species Y cannot consciously experience pain, then another species X might not feel morally obligated to care about Y. After all, we don’t worry about kicking stones down the street because we don’t believe that rocks can feel pain. Thus, as I write in the paper, phylogenetic and ideological diversification will engender a situation in which many species will be “not merely aliens to each other but, more significantly, alienated from each other.”




Including over 30 maps and site plans and hundreds of colour photographs, it also contains scores of articles by a wide range of contributors, from archaeologists and archaeoastronomers to dowsers and geomancers, that will change the way you see these amazing survivals from a distant past. Locate over 1,000 of Britain’s and Ireland most atmospheric prehistoric places, from recently discovered moorland circles to standing stones hidden in housing estates.


Nearly three thousand years old, the Gleninsheen collar represents one of the great treasures of the Irish Bronze Age. Fashioned out sheet gold and measuring 31 cm across, it is decorated in repoussé ornamentation that utilises beaded and circular motifs to stunning effect.

It was found in 1932 by a young man named Patrick Nolan, as he was hunting near Ballyvaughan in Co. Clare.  While walking through a field, his dog suddenly startled a rabbit, which took flight into one of the many limestone fissures that characterise The Burren. When Patrick inspected the narrow bolt-hole, something caught his eye. At the very bottom of the fissure and partially hidden by a large flat stone, was a spectacular gold object. Patrick had discovered the Gleninsheen Collar.


Conversations we have with people about climate change are rarely based on a comprehensive assessment of the current state of knowledge on atmospheric changes and the implications for our environment and society. We receive bits and pieces of news, often shared by friends on Facebook or Twitter, which make us worry for a few moments, before returning to busy daily life. We may think we have already integrated an awareness of climate change into our lives, by the career choice we made, or the way we shop, recycle or don’t eat meat. Most of us are not climate scientists anyway, there’s all kinds of other things to take care of, and we have bills to pay!

That was me, anyway, until this year. I decided to look more closely at the latest information from the range of sciences that give a perspective on our situation. The last time I studied climate closely was in 1994 when I was being taught climate science at Cambridge University. I do not claim to be an expert in any one climate-related field, but as a Professor who has worked and published in a range of disciplines, I have experience in assessing knowledge claims from various sources. In this summary I provide references as much as possible, so you can investigate further.

Many people working in the climate field look to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to provide the calm and authoritative voice on this complicated subject. That is what I used to do, as it made sense as a busy person who wanted to have a quick way of “making the case” to others. However, given that the IPCC has proven over the past decades to be woefully inaccurate in the cautiousness of its predictions, I now agree with some of the most eminent climate scientists that the IPCC cannot be looked to for telling us what the situation is. That is why I spent a few weeks returning to primary sources in academic journals and research institute reports, and piecing together a perspective myself. Given the long time span it takes for data to appear in academic journals, I often turn to the information direct from research institutes and their individual experts. The result of that process follows below.

This is Our World Right Now – not theory!


‘When we had arrived [in Cork], I made a request to Lord Inchaquoin to give me a passport for England. I took boat to Youghal and then embarked on the vessel John Filmer, which set sail with 120 passengers. `But before we had lost sight of land, we were captured by Algerine pirates, who put all the men in irons.’


The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20. If by some miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for longterm disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario. Three degree warming is a prescription for short-term disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities. Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree warming is the realistic minimum. Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable. The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.

Well, I suppose some people may have to ‘live underground like grovelling goblins’…



Patriotism has taken a beating in recent decades. The guardians of our civilisation tell us that attachment to place and tradition is reactionary, backward, dangerous. Like magic and mystery, attachment to land and history are things which belong to a dark and grim past, and should stay there. We are all progressives now.

This piece was, to put it mildly, not well received. Many commenters, primarily on Twitter, were scathing in their criticism. (An extensive, even-handed overview of the criticism by James Pierce Taylor of London Permaculture is worth reading.)

Kingsnorth withdrew the piece several days later. (For purely reference reasons, I have made a copy of the text here). His response to the criticisms (which he also later deleted) claimed the words had, as quoted by Taylor:

‘been twisted — not accidentally, it is clear, by some at least — into a complete misrepresentation of what I wrote and why’ by ‘fanatics on social media accusing me of fascism’, ‘people out there with agendas… wielding them with glee’, people who have ‘outrageously, and upsettingly, represented [him as] a racist or a promoter of far-right narratives’, people running a ‘smear campaign’ with ‘clear agendas’.

This would be all very well and good, except that he has (as we say in the Thames Estuary diaspora) form for this sort of thing. From a Guardian interview a year earlier:

“In Real England, he went searching for what English identity means at a time when displaying the St George’s flag can be read simplistically as a sign of football-hooligan racism. “It’s terrible,” he says. “It’s very sad. There’s an Anglophobia stalking Britain. It’s not acceptable to be an English patriot in the way you can be a Scottish or a Welsh patriot. Those are small countries that were attached to a bigger country. They define themselves against that. So what does the bigger country, England, define itself against?

…What does it mean to be ‘us’ in England?” he asks. “It’s such a big question at the moment because the level of migration is so high. You need to know who you are, and where you are, and have some control over that. If there isn’t an acceptable outlet for it, it goes to an unacceptable outlet.”


One day in March 2010, Isak McCune started clearing his throat with a forceful, violent sound. The New Hampshire toddler was 3, with a Beatles mop of blonde hair and a cuddly, loving personality. His parents had no idea where the guttural tic came from. They figured it was springtime allergies.

Soon after, Isak began to scream as if in pain and grunt at his parents and peers. When he wasn’t throwing hours-long tantrums, he stared vacantly into space. By the time he was 5, he was plagued by insistent, terrifying thoughts of death. “He would smash his head into windows and glass whenever the word ‘dead’ came into his head. He was trying to drown out the thoughts,” says his mother, Robin McCune, a baker in Goffstown, a small town outside Manchester, New Hampshire’s largest city.

Isak’s parents took him to pediatricians, therapy appointments, and psychiatrists. He was diagnosed with a host of disorders: sensory processing disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). At 5, he spent a year on Prozac, “and seemed to get worse on it,” says Robin McCune.

The McCunes tried to make peace with the idea that their son might never come back. In kindergarten, he grunted and screamed, frightening his teachers and classmates.


What got lost a little though was that the story came to prominence initially as publicity for a brilliant 3D scanning project involving the stone balls conducted by National Museums Scotland, allowing anyone at home to look at sixty different examples (of 500+ in total discovered over the years) in an interactive viewer, rotating and zooming to take a closer look. I’ve embedded the viewer below for readers to have some fun themselves.

Created some 5000 years ago in the Late Neolithic, the balls feature knobs and geometric markings that continue to baffle researchers, and as such their original intended usage remains “wholly unknown”. Some have suggested they were used as weapons, being mounted as maceheads or or tied to rope and thrown like South American bolas, but it is difficult to understand why the geometric carvings would be required for that (unless for ritual usage?).


They were, it must be said, a family of pigs.



History is not predestined. It’s not a predictable science like big-scale physics. Humans do change and that changes the way that they behave in comparable situations. However, I do believe that statistical patterns can be discerned and those have much to do with chance.

Personally, I have little doubt that depopulation periods of various magnitudes have happened throughout the last few thousand years but that little or no account of most of them survives. Such periods, if they exist, will, in my opinion, correlate with significant historical events. In the west we tend to play down the significance of such depopulation periods. The last one that happened, following The Great Pestilence or Black Death, which took place from the mid fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries AD, didn’t really correlate with any significant changes from a western point of view (well, maybe the rise of slavery). However, from the point of view of Eastern Europe and Asia the effects were much greater, with Turkish expansion, the collapse of the Tatars and the second serfdom.

My guesses at ancient depopulation periods in western Asia, including Europe, are 3000-2800 BC, ??2100-1900 BC, 1750-1550BC, 1350-1100 BC and 800-1000 AD. However, apart from some textual evidence for ancient epidemics (for the eighteenth and fourteenth centuries BC), they are largely based on hunches. Trying to find a good way to spot depopulation will be the job of radiocarbon specialists like Ian Shennan and geneticists like David Reich. Seeing if depopulation correlates with major events will be the job of archaeologists and geneticists. But for the first time such a thing seems possible.


Grim (adj.)

Old English grimm “fierce, cruel, savage; severe, dire, painful,” from Proto-Germanic *grimma-(source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Old High German, German grimm “grim, angry, fierce,” Old Norse grimmr “stern, horrible, dire,” Swedish grym “fierce, furious”), from PIE *ghremno- “angry,” which is perhaps imitative of the sound of rumbling thunder (compare Greek khremizein “to neigh,” Old Church Slavonic vuzgrimeti “to thunder,” Russian gremet’ “thunder”).A weaker word now than it once was; sense of “dreary, gloomy” first recorded late 12c. It also had a verb form in Old English, grimman (class III strong verb; past tense gramm, past participlegrummen), and a noun, grima “goblin, specter,” perhaps also a proper name or attribute-name of a god, hence its appearance as an element in place names.Grim reaper as a figurative phrase for “death” is attested by 1847 (the association of grim and deathgoes back at least to 17c.). A Middle English expression for “have recourse to harsh measures” was to wend the grim tooth (early 13c.).

Well, what can I tell you good folks today ? That Grim Reaper is out there, lurking…

Same for all of us, really. He took a swipe at me last week, and missed, but killed my computer instead. So now I have to write with the earlier old and knackered laptop which it replaced.

And this old laptop suffers from  several disabilities, broken keys, etc. Most of the letters have worn off the keys. I’m not proficient at touch typing, but interestingly, so long as I don’t think or try too hard, my fingers still know where the letters are, as a sort of subconscious habit.

What can I tell to you all today, other than complain about my poor health and computer woes ? ..which is not very interesting. I could bash Ian Welsh and Vinay Gupta and a few others for being idiots, but it would do no good, they think they know better, so it’d be a waste of my precious energy.

I’m greatly alarmed by the lack of birds and insects here this year. This is the first time in thirty years that there are NO Swallows, which fills me with sadness every time I think about it.

Not just the swallows, no Redstarts, no Flycatchers, no Red Kites. I see the Buzzards, but don’t hear any young ones calling for food. No Green or Spotted Woodpeckers.

Of course, some of this may be my subjective impression, or purely local. I looked up the RSPB and BTO sites, but their info lags a couple of years back. I know for certain that the Swallows used to arrive around the start of May and leave early September, and I’d see and hear them all day, dawn to dusk. But, alas, not this year.

I’d  could be that conditions have gone wrong for these migrants down in Africa, or anywhere on their flight paths on the migratory journey.

Guy McPherson always claims that ‘humans cannot survive without habitat’, but that’s not correct, because humans make their own artificial habitats – farms and cities, etc – and can find what they require in many different ways. There are the remains of those 200 or so deep underground cities in Turkey, which humans may have excavated to survive the impact of a comet or similar severe catastrophe.

It’s not only the absence of birds, the insect population also seems to have been severely depleted. When I was a kid, I used to collect moths and beetles, and the house lights would attract zillions of them. This year there have been no Cockchafers, Dor beetles, big moths, banging against the glass at night.

I’ve seen the reports of dramatic insect and bird declines across Europe. It’s difficult for me to be 100% sure what the causes are and what the results will be. Can we kill off what remains of wild nature and all the species which don’t have obvious economic commercial value, and still survive ?

I guess today’s children will discover the answer, although I myself won’t be around to know it.

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724 Responses to Playing Hide and Seek with The Grim Reaper, (and some other stories)

  1. ulvfugl says:

  2. ulvfugl says:

    For thousands of years, people from Sierra Mixe, a mountainous region in southern Mexico, have been cultivating an unusual variety of giant corn. They grow the crop on soils that are poor in nitrogen—an essential nutrient—and they barely use any additional fertilizer. And yet, their corn towers over conventional varieties, reaching heights of more than 16 feet.

    A team of researchers led by Alan Bennett from UC Davis has shown that the secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots—necklaces of finger-sized, rhubarb-red tubes that encircle the stem. These roots drip with a thick, clear, glistening mucus that’s loaded with bacteria. Thanks to these microbes, the corn can fertilize itself by pulling nitrogen directly from the surrounding air.

    The Sierra Mixe corn takes eight months to mature—too long to make it commercially useful. But if its remarkable ability could be bred into conventional corn, which matures in just three months, it would be an agricultural game changer.

  3. ulvfugl says:

    Radioactive isotopes found in Australian sheep have added credence to the theory that Israel conducted an illegal nuclear test over the Indian Ocean 39 years ago.

    The findings, published in a new study for Science and Global Security, shed intriguing new light on the mysterious Vela Incident, as it is known, of September 22, 1979.

    At 12.53am GMT on the date, the US satellite Vela 6911 detected the ‘double flash’ characteristic of a nuclear explosion in the southern Indian Ocean, near the Prince Edward Islands about halfway between Africa and Antarctica.

  4. ulvfugl says:

    On Saturday someone tried to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro using two drones loaded with explosives. At least, that’s what Venezuelan officials say happened, and video does suggest that something very startling occurred as the president was giving a speech, causing most of his audience to bolt. Maduro, who was unharmed, blamed right-wing groups, the president of Colombia, and people living in Florida. An obscure group called the National Movement of Soldiers in T-shirts claimed responsibility, according to Reuters. News reports piled up over the weekend, offering conflicting reports about what exactly went down.

    Whatever happened on Saturday, there is no doubt that a little-known, modestly funded group could launch a drone assassination. Governments, of course, have for years developed military drones, more formally called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs. (The United States deploys lethal drones, and Iran’s drone program has been decades in the making, to cite just a couple of examples.)

    But while governments pour their millions into deadly UAVs, it is relatively cheap and easy for anyone to adapt a commercially available drone into a weapon. Beginning around 2016, militant groups in Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine began to use modified commercial drones for offensive strikes. Last year, writing in the Bulletin, Michael Horowitz and Itai Barsade of Perry World House explored what militant groups do with drones:

  5. ulvfugl says:

    This Sunday is the ‘Glorious Twelfth’, the start of the grouse shooting season. But who are the landowners who own England’s vast grouse moors?

    As Who Owns England has previously exposed, grouse moor estates cover an area of England the size of Greater London – some 550,000 acres – and are propped up by millions of pounds in public farm subsidies.

    Now, for the first time, we’ve mapped the owners of around 100 grouse moor estates across England.

    Even the Spectator calls owning a grouse moor “screamingly elitist” – and surprise, surprise, around half of England’s grouse moor estates turn out to be owned by the aristocracy and gentry, whilst the other half are owned by wealthy businessmen and women, City bankers, hedge fund managers, and Saudi princes.

    Here’s the ten largest grouse moors by area, with their owners, and the farm subsidies their estates received from the taxpayer in 2016:

  6. ulvfugl says:

    Vessels sailing in the vicinity of Trinidad and Tobago are now under threat of being the victims of piracy for the first since the 1700s. According to a report from the Washington Post, in the wake of Venezuela’s economic and societal collapse, criminals desperate to earn a living have taken up the centuries-old crime and are attacking yachts and fishing vessels along the coast of South America.

  7. ulvfugl says:

    Television pictures from the incident showed armed police surrounding a silver saloon car that had hit heavy barriers outside St. Stephen’s Gate, the main public entrance to Parliament. Its hood was crumpled and its airbags had been deployed. A rooftop camera showed the moment the car crashed into barriers outside Parliament in London.

  8. ulvfugl says:

  9. ulvfugl says:

    According to FBI agent Travis Taylor, according to interviews with two teens from the compound, Siraj Wahhaj would lead rituals while reading from the Quran, which centered on his now-dead son – who he kidnapped from his mother in Jonesboro, Georgia in order to perform an exorcism to cure his seizures.

    We’re sure Judge Backus’s ruling has nothing to do with the fact that the training camp’s ringleader, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, is the son of a famous New York Imam, Siraj Wahhaj – an alleged unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 WTC bombing, who testified as a character witness for the notorious “blind sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman – who was convicted in 1995 of plotting the attack, according to CBS News. The senior Wahhaj was also described by Women’s March founder and liberal Islamic activist Linda Sarsour as a “mentor,” and an “amazing man.”

  10. ulvfugl says:

    What’s difference does one more lie make at this point?

    Profile picture for user californiagirl
    californiagirl Ghost of PartysOver Tue, 08/14/2018 – 13:44 Permalink
    Then there is the Azealia Banks thing.

    Banks, a singer and self-proclaimed witch, who sacrifices chickens in her closet, apparently was Musk’s houseguest for several days (in order to collaberate on some music with Musk’s “meth-head” girlfriend, singer Grimes). She left pissed off after Grimes abandoned her to tend to her stressed boyfriend. Now Banks has gone off on Instagram, claiming Musk was on acid while tweeting, and that she observed him scrambling over the weekend, to find investors to support his “funding secured” claim. She provided a whole lot more colorful commentary, including her assessment that Musk is on the Downs Syndrome spectrum, takes steroids, and has hair plugs.

    Maybe Banks put a hex on him, for good measure. Might explain some of his behavior. ;-(

    crazybob369 TGF Texas Tue, 08/14/2018 – 13:31 Permalink
    I know what you mean. Most of these days I wake up and feel as though I’ve walked into the most bizarre episode ever of the Twilight Zone. Even the gremlins episode with Captain Kirk made more sense.

    In reply to What the fuck? How is this… by TGF Texas
    Vote up!
    Vote down!
    Profile picture for user Badsamm
    Badsamm TGF Texas Tue, 08/14/2018 – 13:34 Permalink
    You saw the missing bumper on the Model3?

    all that matters these days are appearances. Don’t ask questions and god forbid, don’t touch it

    Vote down!
    Profile picture for user thereasonableinvestor
    thereasonablei… Tue, 08/14/2018 – 13:05 Permalink
    Videos Of “Acres And Acres” of Tesla Cars in Burbank, CA Holding Lot:

  11. ulvfugl says:

  12. wolfwitch says:

    “Glad” to hear that your laptop took the hit for you and not you personally!
    If I may; a report from East Anglia: I was interested and obviously unhappy to read your Wales report on birds, insects etc. In these parts it has been a different story this summer. We do have swifts, martins and swallows (maybe down a bit in numbers perhaps). It is only in the last 5 or 6 years that buzzards ventured this far north and east but they are now very numerous. Also, the red kite population is growing having only appeared within the last 3 years. They did a release I believe in Thetford Forest in Breckland using the Rhayader kites several years ago but they have bred well and are now all over Norfolk. I have seen more butterflies this year and a few more moths. Also, bees are about the same. Not many hoverflies but a massive increase in wasps, probably the most I can remember. I believe this is due to a short spring which prevented nest die offs through early awakenings. In fact I have a most annoying underground nest about 20 feet away from my caravan.

    Just a quick tech observation: in the last few weeks any twitter posts that you put in the comments are not appearing as they used to ie no pictures or vids just text. It could be my end or maybe your reserve laptop?
    Regardless, excellent work as always; much appreciated.
    Be well.

  13. ulvfugl says:

  14. ulvfugl says:

  15. ulvfugl says:

    Hi wolfwitch, and thanks for observations.

    “Glad” to hear that your laptop took the hit for you and not you personally!

    That Grim Reaper has plenty of other folks to visit, but I know he’ll be back here again for sure, sooner or later….

    I’m considering buying a new laptop, still figuring out the choice and what I like best.

    If I may; a report from East Anglia: I was interested and obviously unhappy to read your Wales report on birds, insects etc. In these parts it has been a different story this summer. We do have swifts, martins and swallows (maybe down a bit in numbers perhaps).

    Glad you are tuned in to the birds. I’ve never seen Martins here, there used to be Swifts, I don’t know where they nested, I’ve seen NONE this year. I used to look forward to the arrival of the Swallows. One year, when they first got back, a pair flew in through my open front door, and spent about an hour sitting side by side on the curtain rail in this room, twittering away, as if to tell me all about the adventures on their journey. They used to nest in the roof of one of the sheds every summer until now.

    It is only in the last 5 or 6 years that buzzards ventured this far north and east but they are now very numerous. Also, the red kite population is growing having only appeared within the last 3 years. They did a release I believe in Thetford Forest in Breckland using the Rhayader kites several years ago but they have bred well and are now all over Norfolk.

    Buzzards are here, but I’ve not heard a young one calling for food, as in previous years.
    After complete absence, the Kites did arrive a few years back, and I saw them frequently, but not this year.

    I have seen more butterflies this year and a few more moths. Also, bees are about the same. Not many hoverflies but a massive increase in wasps, probably the most I can remember. I believe this is due to a short spring which prevented nest die offs through early awakenings. In fact I have a most annoying underground nest about 20 feet away from my caravan.

    I have seen NO wasps. There are still feral honey bees living in my roof.

    I know people have suggested several possible causes for the decline of insects, climate change, Monsanto-Bayer-Syngenta agrochemicals and pesticides, traffic collisions, loss of food plants and habitat, etc. Perhaps all of them combined. And in turn, that may mean less food for birds….

    Countryside here should be ideal for a huge variety of birds. Something is wrong. Might be the pyrethroid sheep dips that are lethal to insects and get into the foodchain ?

    Re display of tweets, yes, I get that too sometimes. I do not know if it is Twitter themselves or the ISP and speed of the lines. Sometimes they do display fully for a period, and then go back to the abbreviated form. Very annoying.

  16. ulvfugl says:

  17. ulvfugl says:

  18. ulvfugl says:

    House sparrows (Passer domesticus) are a hugely successful anthrodependent species; occurring on nearly every continent. Yet, despite their ubiquity and familiarity to humans, surprisingly little is known about their origins. We sought to investigate the evolutionary history of the house sparrow and identify the processes involved in its transition to a human-commensal niche.
    We used a whole genome resequencing dataset of 120 individuals from three Eurasian species, including three populations of Bactrianus sparrows, a non-commensal, divergent house sparrow lineage occurring in the Near East.

    Coalescent modelling supports a split between house and Bactrianus sparrow 11 Kya and an expansion in the house sparrow at 6 Kya, consistent with the spread of agriculture following the Neolithic revolution. Commensal house sparrows therefore likely moved into Europe with the spread of agriculture following this period. Using the Bactrianus sparrow as a proxy for a pre-commensal, ancestral house population, we performed a comparative genome scan to identify genes potentially involved with adaptation to an anthropogenic niche. We identified potential signatures of recent, positive selection in the genome of the commensal house sparrow that are absent in Bactrianus populations. The strongest selected region encompasses two major candidate genes; COL11A—which regulates craniofacial and skull development and AMY2A, part of the amylase gene family which has previously been linked to adaptation to high-starch diets in humans and dogs. Our work examines human-commensalism in an evolutionary framework, identifies genomic regions likely involved in rapid adaptation to this new niche and ties the evolution of this species to the development of modern human civilization.

  19. ulvfugl says:

    The niche concept in human cognitive evolution

    All species live in a place with certain environmental characteristics of geographical and geological character, where their population can develop in space and time, thanks to the functional relationships (behavior) of the community with said habitat. This set constitutes the ecological niche, being specific for each biological species. As is logical, all human species participate in these concepts, because they can only live, procreate and develop in specific places that allow it. However, unlike other species, their relationship with these natural environments in which they live is dynamic, as they can change their constant and particular interaction.

    This situation is due to the fact that within the genus Homo there has been a cognitive evolution that favors a special form of social relationship among the members of their communities, as well as a greater capacity for capturing, processing, assimilation and transmission of information than nature. offers us. These characteristics offer greater resistance to ecological changes and the possibility of occupying new habitats through the environmental changes necessary for the development of human populations. The production of such adaptive improvements is not due to the simple evolutionary development of the brain, but to the production of such cognitive evolution , which is achieved thanks to the evolutionary improvements of its brain that, together with the influence of the environment, is capable of increase social learning, create and develop human language, and produce the emergence of new cognitive abilities (expansion of working memory, development of the theory of mind and self-consciousness), which acting in proper coordination allow the construction This niche is a process of permanent accumulation and transformation, in which behaviors, tools and ideas are being improved from generation to generation (Tomasello, 1999, Bickerton, 2009).

    What is innate and what is acquired in human behavior?

    The answer can not be born of the result of our cognitive introspection, or of a criterion based on our own beliefs. It must arise from the knowledge, as well-founded as possible, of the functional reality of our brain, consequence of a complex evolutionary process within various environmental media that made it possible (human niches: ecological, genetic, cultural, cognitive, etc.).

    Your method must be broadly interdisciplinary . This is the method that can best clarify things, but is also its main drawback, because its realization is much more complex than we can imagine, which can only be seen in its true magnitude if you try to do it, which It really happens very rarely. I am going to expose the theories about the human niches that have had more diffusion at the present time.

  20. ulvfugl says:

    UN Sanction Monitor: U.S. Watches As ISIS In Syria Recuperates, Pumps And Sells More Oil

    Since November 2017 the U.S. largely stopped the fight against ISIS in north-east Syria. It gave ISIS the chance to regain power. A new report to the UN Security Council now confirms that ISIS in north-east Syria recuperated. It again profits from oil extraction under the nose of U.S. forces.

    As noted here in April:

    [The] Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), having been defeated militarily in Iraq and most of the Syrian Arab Republic during 2017, rallied in early 2018. This was the result of a loss of momentum by forces fighting it in the east of the Syrian Arab Republic, which prolonged access by ISIL to resources and gave it breathing space to prepare for the next phase of its evolution into a global covert network. By June 2018, the military campaigns against ISIL had gathered pace again, but ISIL still controlled small pockets of territory in the Syrian Arab Republic on the Iraqi border. It was able to extract and sell some oil, and to mount attacks, including across the border into Iraq.
    Under the nose of more than 2,000 U.S. forces in north-east Syria ISIS recuperated and again gained force. It is still able to pump oil from the ground and sell it into the local market.

  21. ulvfugl says:

    One rather material element in delusions about Russia, alike in my country as in yours, is that people still appear to have difficulty realising that Putin is not a communist, and, where they can get this far, find it utterly impossible to make sense of what he actually is.

    Among the more extreme instances was provided by our Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, in the exchanges in April as the Western powers were trying to cover up yet another ‘false flag’ chemical weapons attack. She explained: “In respect of Karl Marx, I think he must be turning in his grave to see what the country that was founded on many of his precepts is doing in the name of supporting Syria by condoning the use of chemical weapons on Syrian territory.”One rather material element in delusions about Russia, alike in my country as in yours, is that people still appear to have difficulty realising that Putin is not a communist, and, where they can get this far, find it utterly impossible to make sense of what he actually is.

    Among the more extreme instances was provided by our Ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, in the exchanges in April as the Western powers were trying to cover up yet another ‘false flag’ chemical weapons attack. She explained: “In respect of Karl Marx, I think he must be turning in his grave to see what the country that was founded on many of his precepts is doing in the name of supporting Syria by condoning the use of chemical weapons on Syrian territory.”

  22. ulvfugl says:

    The Bilderberg gang is using all guns this week to stop Trump. Any supporters on the internet are now under sustained attack. Note how a lady who worked for Trump and then who tried to spy on him illegally, is being used to bludgeon him about using common ‘dirty talk’. And worse, in a country where Hollywood and NY City is filled to the brim with black and leftist white dudes who use cuss words and say ‘ni$$er all the time, singing it, yelling it, they still try to punish everyone else for saying that word in private! Talk about childish…and the NY Times hired a lady from South Korea who openly demands race wars and annihilating all white males which is OK but we have to yell at Trump because years ago, he might have said a dirty word?????? Insane.

    August 14, 2018 at 9:21 pm
    Jays Analysis was just taken down. Infowars site was also taken down.

    WordPress is going after people. Elaine, you better back everything up. Especially if you let WordPress run everything and don’t own your own domain.

    August 14, 2018 at 11:28 pm
    off topic—I believe that Kathy O Brien [claims she was molested by Hillary] said Bill is Bi and Hillary a lesbian—LOOKY

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    So far, most of my plastics posts focus on this waste angle. The present post is a bit different, as in it I discuss a report issued this month by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about the health concerns with using plastics, particularly for children. I include a link to the full report, published in the August Pediatrics: Food Additives and Child Health (hereafter, AAP report). For those readers who lack time to read the full report, this press release summarizes its gist: American Academy of Pediatrics Says Some Common Food Additives May Pose Health Risks to Children (hereafter AAP press release.)

    Currently, the United States permits the use of more than 10,000 additives in foods, for various purposes, including preserving, packaging, or making food look or taste better. Many additives were grandfathered in for approval during the 1950s, and roughly 1,000 additives qualify for a “Generally Recognized as Safe” designation process that doesn’t require U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, according to the AAP press release. Further:

    “There are critical weaknesses in the current food additives regulatory process, which doesn’t do enough to ensure all chemicals added to foods are safe enough to be part of a family’s diet,” said Dr. Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, FAAP, an AAP Council on Environmental Health member and lead author of the policy statement. “As pediatricians, we’re especially concerned about significant gaps in data about the health effects of many of these chemicals on infants and children.”

    Some additives are placed directly in foods, while other indirect additives creep in during packaging and processing. Plastics fall into the latter category.

  30. ulvfugl says:

    Here is proof that the giant corporate entities are now going to censor the entire internet. Infowars is down right now due to hack attacks from Google and Apple, etc. Oh, how very clever of these bloated little toads! They stupidly think that we, online, don’t notice this.

    Worse, they think, after the last two years with all of us joking about how Google, for example, took down their ‘Do no evil’ motto and we replaced it with ‘be evil all the time’. Hello! Do they think we are all stupid? Living in their precious little bubbles in California which is going bankrupt…they think desperate leaders of that welfare state won’t loot them eventually to keep foreign illegal aliens happy? Hello!

  31. ulvfugl says:

    Ancient burial mounds of the Southern Urals, Bashkortostan, Russia
    / Burial mounds with chambers – Ancient megalithic tombs of the South Urals, Bashkortostan, Russia

  32. ulvfugl says:

    Maine’s invasion came early this year. In recent hotbeds of tick activity — from Scarborough to Belfast and Brewer — people say they spotted the eight-legged arachnid before spring. They noticed the ticks — which look like moving poppy seeds — encroaching on roads, beaches, playgrounds, cemeteries, and library floors. They saw them clinging to dogs, birds, and squirrels.

    By May, people were finding the ticks crawling on their legs, backs, and necks. Now, in midsummer, daily encounters seem almost impossible to avoid.

    Maine is home to 15 tick species but only one public health menace: the blacklegged tick — called the “deer” tick — a carrier of Lyme and other debilitating diseases. For 30 years, an army of deer ticks has advanced from the state’s southwest corner some 350 miles to the Canadian border, infesting towns such as Houlton, Limestone, and Presque Isle.

    “It’s horrifying,” says Dora Mills, director of the Center for Excellence in Health Innovation at the University of New England in Portland. Mills, 58, says she never saw deer ticks in her native state until 2000.

  33. ulvfugl says:

    The scorching weeks of the summer of 2018 left crops shrivelled and gardens scorched. It has also revealed the lines of scores of archaeological sites across the UK landscape, tracing millennia of human activity, from neolithic cursus monuments laid out more than 5,000 years ago to the outline of a long-demolished Tudor hall and its intended replacement.

    Lost sites have been turning up all over Britain and Ireland, ploughed flat at ground level but showing up as parch marks from the air, in areas where grass and crops grow at different heights, or show in different colours, over buried foundations and ditches. A treasure trove of discoveries, including ancient field boundaries, lost villages, burial mounds and military structures, was revealed on Wednesday, recorded during the summer by aerial archaeologists flying over the landscape for Historic England.

  34. ulvfugl says:

    Unfortunately, there is no consistent obesity data in the United Kingdom before 1988, at which point the incidence was already rising sharply. But in the United States, the figures go back further. They show that, by chance, the inflection point was more or less 1976. Suddenly, at around the time that the photograph was taken, people started becoming fatter – and the trend has continued ever since.

    The obvious explanation, many on social media insisted, is that we’re eating more. Several pointed out, not without justice, that food was generally disgusting in the 1970s. It was also more expensive. There were fewer fast food outlets and the shops shut earlier, ensuring that if you missed your tea, you went hungry.

    So here’s the first big surprise: we ate more in 1976.

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    You probably know Easter Island as “the place with the giant stone heads.” This remote island 2,300 miles off the coast of Chile has long been seen as mysterious–a place where Polynesian seafarers set up camp, built giant statues, and then destroyed their own society through in-fighting and over-exploitation of natural resources. However, a new article in the Journal of Pacific Archaeology hints at a more complex story–by analyzing the chemical makeup of the tools used to create the big stone sculptures, archaeologists found evidence of a sophisticated society where the people shared information and collaborated.

    “For a long time, people wondered about the culture behind these very important statues,” says Field Museum scientist Laure Dussubieux, one of the study’s authors. “This study shows how people were interacting, it’s helping to revise the theory.”

    “The idea of competition and collapse on Easter Island might be overstated,” says lead author Dale Simpson, Jr., an archaeologist from the University of Queensland. “To me, the stone carving industry is solid evidence that there was cooperation among families and craft groups.”

    The first people arrived on Easter Island (or, in the local language, Rapa Nui) about 900 years ago. “The founding population, according to oral tradition, was two canoes led by the island’s first chief, Hotu Matu’a,” says Simpson, who is currently on the faculty of the College of DuPage. Over the years, the population rose to the thousands, forming the complex society that carved the statues Easter Island is known for today. These statues, or moai, often referred to as “Easter Island heads,” are actually full-body figures that became partially buried over time. The moai, which represent important Rapa Nui ancestors, number nearly a thousand, and the largest one is over seventy feet tall.

  38. ulvfugl says:

    The Swedish police spokeswoman Ulla Brehm says that they have DECIDED to NOT arrest anyone over the riots last night.

    Instead they have identified them and will be talking with their families.

    This has caused an outcry amongst Conservatives.

  39. ulvfugl says:

    Khater has been arrested on suspicion of ramming a car into pedestrians and cyclists before crashing into security barriers outside the Houses of Parliament. The suspect is being held in custody in south London, and is said to be not cooperating with police. Scotland Yard’s head of counter-terrorism Neil Basu said no other suspects have been identified.

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    update: As we suggested, the death toll continues to climb, with the AP now reporting at least 37 among the dead, citing local Afghan authorities:

    “At around 4 pm this afternoon, a suicide attacker who had strapped explosives to his body detonated himself inside the Mawoud education centre,” police spokesman Hashmat Stanikzai said.

    “In the explosion 37 people were killed, more than 40 injured,” he said, adding that the “absolute majority” of them had been students.

  43. ulvfugl says:

    “A large part of the texts are still unpublished. Texts about medicine, botany, astronomy, astrology, and other sciences practiced in Ancient Egypt,” says Egyptologist Kim Ryholt, Head of the Carlsberg Papyrus Collection at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

    An international team of researchers are now translating the previously unexplored texts, which according to one of the researchers, contain new and exciting insights into Ancient Egypt.

  44. ulvfugl says:

    Despite authorities finding the decomposing body of a three-year-old boy who was reportedly killed in a ritual ceremony by his father – the son of a famous Imam, who claimed his seizure-stricken child would resurrect as Jesus and use his psychic powers to help the group target “corrupt institutions and people” with “violent actions,” and despite a letter from one suspect to his brother inviting him to “die as a martyr,” New Mexico judge Sarah Backus on Monday released five alleged Muslim extremists on a $20,000 “signature bond” (meaning they don’t have to pay it) – while effectively admonishing the prosecution for Islamophobia.

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    Maen Llia Standing Stone is an elegant and imposing standing stone which is impressively situated in a remote position at the top of the Llia valley, along which it points directly north to south.

    It is a massive slab of a stone 3.8 metres in height, 2.8 metres across but only 0.9 metres thick and dominates the scenery in the austere moorland of Fforest Fawr.

    Note: More investigations of solstice shadow effects at Maen Llia

  47. ulvfugl says:

    While there has been much speculation as to how and why Stonehenge was built, the question of the origins of the people buried there has received far less attention. Part of the reason for this neglect is that many of the human remains were cremated, and so it was difficult to extract much useful information from them. Snoeck demonstrated that that cremated bone faithfully retains its strontium isotope composition, opening the way to use this technique to investigate where these people had lived during the last decade or so of their lives.

    With permission from Historic England and English Heritage, the team analysed skull bones from 25 individuals to better understand the lives of those buried at the iconic monument. These remains were originally excavated from a network of 56 pits in the 1920s, placed around the inner circumference and ditch of Stonehenge, known as ‘Aubrey Holes’. They were later reburied in Aubrey Hole 7, and bone samples from this collection have been analysed in the new study.

  48. ulvfugl says:

    Including over 30 maps and site plans and hundreds of colour photographs, it also contains scores of articles by a wide range of contributors, from archaeologists and archaeoastronomers to dowsers and geomancers, that will change the way you see these amazing survivals from our distant past.

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