Archive for November, 2015

First Londoners were multi-ethnic mix


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Christianist Republicans Systematically Incited Colorado Clinic Assault


Planned Parenthood Colorado assault

After months of verbal assault against Planned Parenthood and against women more broadly, Republican Christianists have gotten what they were asking for—bloodshed.

On November 27, a mass shooting left three dead and nine wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic just miles from the headquarters of the Religious Right flagship, Focus on the Family. Was the shooting exactly what conservative Christian presidential candidates and members of congress wanted? Maybe, maybe not. But it is what they asked for. Republican members of the Religious Right incited violence as predictably as if they had issued a call for Christian abortion foes to take up arms. Inciting violence this way is called stochastic terrorism:

Stochastic terrorism is the use of mass communications to incite random actors to carry out violent or terrorist acts that are statistically predictable but individually unpredictable. In short, remote-control murder by lone wolf.”

In an incident of…

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How did bonobos come to range south of the congo river? Reconsideration of the divergence of Pan paniscus from other Pan populations

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A Free Society where Genders are Equal and Religions Coexist is Successfully Fighting ISIS in Syria

Rojava, Syria – There are a variety of rebel groups fighting in the Syrian civil war – many only interested in taking power for themselves, instead of actually putting an end to oppressive regimes. Many of the rebel groups in Syria are actually terrorist groups, like ISIS, for example, or The Free Syrian Army, which gets funding and assistance from the US government and has close ties to Al-Qaeda.

However, there is one autonomous region that has developed in Syria where rebels are fighting to develop a new society that is free from ISIS, the Syrian government, and any other organization that may attempt to control their families, friends, and neighbors.

In this region, known as Rojava, or sometimes Western Kurdistan, people of different genders, ethnicities, and religions live in peace and relative prosperity considering the struggles of the region. Even people who have different ideas of how social and economic systems should work are able to live the way that they want to live while allowing their neighbors to choose their own path as well. The economic system is a diverse market where worker-owned cooperatives are thriving, but private property is well respected and widely held.

There are also no taxes and no central bank, which on a political and economic level makes it one of the most revolutionary places in the world. The political and economic culture in Rojava is neither right nor left, but something that is so new and different that words to adequately describe it have not been developed yet. Many commenters on different sides of the political aisle will rush to point out parallels with their philosophy and what is happening in Rojava. However, it is more important to look at this place as an incredible social experiment to be learned from, and perhaps create an entirely new philosophy, instead of using it to justify old ones.

One aspect of life in Rojava that is different than most places on Earth is the fact that any involvement which an individual has with the society is entirely voluntary. This means even when it comes to military support or paying for community projects, people have a choice of whether or not they want to contribute to that specific cause. When there is a need in a community, people pull together and use their unique skills and resources to find a solution. This is possible without taxes or central planning of any kind, and it is a way of life that is a threat to both ISIS and governments all over the world. It gives people proof that a better world is possible if people can find the courage to live without these authoritarian control systems that have governed our lives for centuries.

Since their way of life does pose such a threat to power seeking organizations, Rojava is constantly under siege by ISIS fighters and they have been marked as a terrorist group by the government of bordering Turkey, who has created a blockade that severely limits Rojava’s ability to trade internationally. Many people living in Rojava suspect that the government of Turkey is assisting ISIS for the sake of destroying the autonomous region, so it does not become an example for others to follow.

The fighters in Rojava, known as the YPG, have been defending their own territory from ISIS attacks, but they have also been reaching out and liberating nearby towns and cities. Due to the fact that it is one of the last glimmers of hope in Syria, many refugees continue to pour into Rojava, where they hope to become a part of the solution and start a new way of life. The people of Rojava have done this without any western support, and they have an army that is comprised of large numbers of men and women from various religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Rojava seems much like the historical culture of Zomia, a mountainous region of Southeast Asia the size of Europe that was completely stateless for many generations. In fact, the area was almost entirely inhabited by anarchists who had fled into the mountains to escape the reaches of various governments. Naturally, there was no official name or flag for this area, but it has been thoroughly studied and, in 2002, European historian Willem van Schendel of the University of Amsterdam named the region Zomia. In 2009, Yale Professor James C. Scott expanded on the study of the region with his book The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia.

Zomia was an area of around 2.5 million square kilometers, spanning from the central highlands of Vietnam to northeastern India, covering five Southeast nations including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma. The area contained around one hundred million minority peoples. It was not an actual state, but a collection of many peoples and regions mainly living in the hills and mountainous regions that were largely unwanted or inaccessible to the State. Scott’s argument is that these widely varied peoples came together to trade among each other and developed customs and practices that were inherently anti-state. As evidenced by their agriculture, politics, and spirituality, they sought to live in ways that were not congruent with Statism.

John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website

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The Stunning Diversity of Human Faces

The Human Evolution Blog


  • The shape and structure of the human face varies much more among individuals than do the faces of other species, even compared to species that have far more genetic diversity.
  • The shapes of human faces vary more in the population than does any other physical feature.
  • This high degree of facial diversity, which cuts across all racial groups, argues that human evolution has explicitly favored wide variance in human face shapes.
  • Humans are a highly social species with remarkable skills in facial recognition, which develop very early in childhood.
  • Therefore, the evolution of highly diversified faces may have been a key feature of human sociality and group cohesion.

What’s in a face?

You have probably noticed that human faces come in all shapes and sizes. It really seems that no two faces are the same. With over 7 billion people on the planet, there are a whole lot of…

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Koko, Washoe, and Kanzi: Three Apes with Human Vocabulary

The Human Evolution Blog

In the last 40 years, there have been many apes that have been taught to communicate with humans using sign language or other means, but the most famous among them are Koko the gorilla, Washoe the chimpanzee, and Kanzi the bonobo. These are their stories.

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Koko was born in the San Francisco zoo on the fourth of July, 1971. Her name is a shortened form of Hanabiko, which is Japanese for “fireworks child,” a reference to her birthday. Penny Patterson began working with her almost immediately, originally as part of her doctoral thesis, and still works with her some 44 years later. She began with an intensive training program, teaching Koko to recognize both spoken English words and ASL-based sign language. Koko then graduated into making the signs herself. Patterson reports that Koko uses more than 1,000 different signs and can recognize more than 2,000 spoken words.

There is a…

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Researchers Record Chimpanzee Mother Caring For Her Disabled Child In The Wild | IFLScience

Physical disabilities among apes are unfortunately not rare, with many losing hands and feet to snares left by hunters in the forests to catch other animals. But congenital disabilities, or those present from birth, are far less well documented, especially for those in the wild.

Researchers Record Chimpanzee Mother Caring For Her Disabled Child In The Wild

November 10, 2015 | by Josh L Davis

Photo credit: The disabled female chimp XT11 (on the left) next to her healthy brother (on the right). Matsumoto et al. 2015

Physical disabilities among apes are unfortunately not rare, with many losing hands and feet to snares left by hunters in the forests to catch other animals. But congenital disabilities, or those present from birth, are far less well documented, especially for those in the wild. Now, a new study published in Primates details the social and behavioral development of a wild chimpanzee thought to be born with “symptoms resembling Down syndrome” over her two years of survival, and how her mother coped.

The researchers, who were studying a group of habituated chimpanzees living in Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains National Park, didn’t at first notice anything wrong with the infant, named XT11. But at around six months old, they observed that while her brother became much more active at this age, she showed little change. She remained behaviorally and socially limited, unable to support herself and still totally reliant on her mother for both transport and food when other similar-aged infants were much more independent.

Along with the presumed mental disability, XT11 also had some physical abnormalities. She had what appeared to be a hernia on her belly, which grew and shrunk, as well as apparent damage to her spine, an additional finger on her left hand, and she often kept her mouth half-open. In spite of this, her mother quite incredibly managed to keep her alive for almost two years.

A series of images showing the disabled infant XT11 with her half-open mouth (a), her hernia (b), lack of activity (c), extra digit (d and e), and bald patch down the length of her spine (f). Matsumoto et al. 2015

And it was this behavior of XT11’s mother, a 37-year-old chimpanzee called Christina, that was of most interest to the researchers. No studies had previously examined how a mother chimpanzee would cope with a disabled child in the wild. They found that not only did she adapt her own behaviors to help support her infant, such as helping it suckle, but she even gave up others, such fishing for ants. This, in addition to the fact that Christina’s other daughter also helped care for the disabled sibling, meant that XT11 survived for 23 months, way beyond what might have been expected.

Because the poor infant couldn’t move independently, and continually clung to her mother, Christina had to adapt her locomotion to become tripedal when climbing, constantly keeping one hand on XT11 for support. This meant that Christina had to give up trying to fish for ants – a tasty treat for any ape – when in the trees because she couldn’t hold XT11 and fish at the same time. It could have been this limitation that meant that the infant’s sibling took over the care occasionally, allowing Christina the chance to forage unhindered.

The research gives some hint into social caring among great apes. Interestingly, Christina would only let relatives care for XT11, possibly, as the researchers suggest, because she understood that the infant required extra care. It could have been this reluctance to let others look after the disabled infant that was the unfortunate end of her, because as soon as her sister had her own baby, she would no longer care for XT11, and perhaps Christina could not care alone.

Source: Researchers Record Chimpanzee Mother Caring For Her Disabled Child In The Wild | IFLScience

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