Hans Rosling, who died this week aged 68 a year after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, had a virtuosity and flair that brought statistics to life
Archive for the ‘death/ terminally ill/ massacres, genocide’ Category
More than 700 species facing extinction are being hit by climate change
Humans’ closest relatives, the primates, are among those worst affected because their tropical habitats have had a stable climate for thousands of years
More than 700 mammals and birds currently threatened with extinction already appear to have been adversely affected by climate change, according to a major review of scientific studies.
Primates and marsupials are believed to have the most individual species suffering as a result of global warming, according to a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Only two groups of mammals, rodents and insect-eaters, are thought to have benefitted.
This is partly because they have fast breeding rates, tend not to be specialists suited to a particular habitat, and often live in burrows which provide insulation against changes in the weather.
The figures are much higher than previously thought, making up 47 per cent of land mammals and 23 per cent of the birds on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of species threatened with extinction.
According to the list itself, just seven per cent of the mammals and four per cent of the birds are described as being threatened by “climate change and severe weather”.
The researchers developed a model to compare the animals’ weight and other characteristics with changes in the climate, such as the temperature.
“Using this model, we estimated that 47 per cent of terrestrial [non-flying] threatened mammals (out of 873 species) and 23.4 per cent of threatened birds (out of 1,272 species) may have already been negatively impacted by climate change in at least part of their distribution,” the article in Nature Climate Change said.
“Our results suggest that populations of large numbers of threatened species are likely to be already affected by climate change, and that conservation managers, planners and policy makers must take this into account in efforts to safeguard the future of biodiversity.”
Primates and marsupials are more at risk than other animals partly because they have lived mostly in tropical parts of the world which have had a stable climate for thousands of years.
“Many of these [animals] have evolved to live within restricted environmental tolerances and are likely to be most affected by rapid changes and extreme events,” the paper added.
“In addition, primates and elephants are characterised by very slow reproductive rates that reduce their ability to adapt to rapid changes in environmental conditions.”
One reason why climate change is causing a problem for animals is changes in the distribution of plants.
“In areas with reduced precipitation and/or temperature seasonality, it is likely that plant species may have narrower climatic tolerances, and therefore that these areas may have already experienced vegetation changes with consequential loss of habitat for animals living there,” the paper said.
“A more specialised diet was also associated with greater probability of negative responses in mammals.
“Our findings are in agreement with previous studies on the predictors of general extinction risk, in which species with narrower diet breadths were associated with lower ability to exploit resources and adapt to new environmental conditions and selective pressures.”
Birds living in the world’s cold mountain regions appear to be particularly at risk.
“Populations of species living at high altitudes and in colder places have fewer opportunities to move towards cooler areas or upslope to avoid increasing temperatures, and hence may have increased extinction risk,” the paper said.
Another problem is that higher temperatures are inducing birds to lay eggs earlier.
“For animals living in these environments the effects of temperature changes may have been exacerbated, potentially leading to disruption in synchronisation between the timing of chick-feeding and peak food availability,” the paper said.
Hans Rosling: ‘A kind and constantly curious genius’
Hans Rosling was a kind and constantly curious genius. He was truly committed to the poorest people in this world, passionate about statistics and dedicated to communicating a fact-based worldview. His knowledge, virtuosity and humour infused his unique data visualisations with a life of their own, encouraging people around the world to engage with facts about population, global health and inequality that might otherwise have passed them by.
I first met him in his messy, overloaded office at Uppsala University in Sweden, where he was associate professor of internal medicine, in 1992. He showed me his now famous bubble graph on world statistics on handwritten overheads, and from that moment on he constantly provoked me to think and to become better.
Hans was born in Uppsala on 27 July 1948, and the city – about 43 miles north of Stockholm – loomed large in his life. He attended medical school at Uppsala University, graduating in 1974, and lectured there on international health from 1983 to 1996.
Along the way, he touched countless young lives. Fashion, food or sleep, he couldn’t care less about. The man who became famous as an “edutainer” on stage was just as mind-blowing, intense and inspiring in private discussions or in the classroom. He never accepted dogma, and had a boundless capacity to come up with new ideas.
Hans was my mentor in public health, in research and in life. He believed in people and gave me the confidence to do what I thought impossible. He was a professor who understood how to make others grow, and he sparked energy and a willingness to effect change in numerous young people in so many places around the world. Once you became his friend, he was always there for you.
We worked together for many years, organising courses in public health in India, Tanzania and Vietnam and collaborating on a textbook on global health. One paragraph in the book took weeks of conversations to agree upon, and it sometimes drove me crazy. But during our travels he never stopped educating me or anyone else who was interested, regardless of that person’s status or background.
To Hans, it didn’t matter if you were Bill Gates, a first-year medical student or a traditional birth attendant in a village in Tanzania – as long as you really listened and tried to understand. By the same token, he listened to others and liked to be challenged himself.
That appetite for challenge took Hans around the world. After graduating from Uppsala University in statistics and medicine in 1974 – by which time had already spent a year studying public health at St John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India – he worked as a doctor in northern Mozambique from 1979 to 1981.
He subsequently began investigating the cause of a rare paralytic disease affecting people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. His research on the subject, which continued across Africa and led to the disease being named “konzo” – or “tired legs” in the Bantu language Yaka – earned him a PhD from Uppsala University in 1986.
Honesty came naturally to Hans. He once said to me: “To succeed, remember to always pay taxes and make no tricks with money.” No one worked for free around Hans, because he made sure everyone had a salary. His loyalty to his friends and family was strong. Agneta, his wife, who travelled to Mozambique with him when they were a young and idealistic couple, started as a midwife, became a psychiatrist, did her PhD and became head of clinic, encouraged by Hans. They married in 1972, when he was 24; he would later find statistical mileage even in those bare details.
Ola, Anna and Magnus, his three children, were very close to him, but sometimes I wondered how his family could stand all his travels and his impossible work pace. Hans always worked. I think it was compensated by his absolute attention when he was present in front of you, full of warmth and with a great sense of humour.
In 1997, he became professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute; in 2005, still pursuing his dream of a fact-based global outlook, and determined to “fight devastating misconceptions about global development”, he co-founded the Gapminder Foundation together with his son Ola and daughter-in-law Anna Rosling Rönnlund.
Within two years, Google paid an undisclosed amount for the Trendalyzer software behind the bouncing bubbles and animated statistics that, through his Ted talks and TV documentaries such as The Joy of Stats and Don’t Panic – the Truth about Population, propelled him into the global spotlight.
When Hans became famous, he would sometimes laugh about it like an excited boy. Yet fame never changed his way of being. He just truly loved being on stage. I think what he enjoyed most about the elevation of his status was the access it gave him to influential people. That meant he could make things happen.
One example of this occurred during the Ebola epidemic, when he mobilised funds and established an Ebola course for international aid workers. He gave an epic speech at the Medical Association on the importance of acting quickly against Ebola that left all 400 people present ready to leave the next day to help.
One of his last missions involved assisting the ministry of health in Liberia during the Ebola epidemic. He really enjoyed working cheek by jowl in a small office with his Liberian colleagues, passionately charting, analysing and acting to stop the epidemic.
Hans was discouraged sometimes. “I teach the same thing over decades and ignorance is still there,” he would occasionally lament.
But Hans, you moved so many of us. No one can take your place, but we can all play our part in creating a fact-based understanding of the world that will help us make the right decisions for our future.
Laughing at Auschwitz – in 1944
SS auxiliaries poses at a resort for Auschwitz personnel
The photos were taken between May and December 1944, and they show the officers and guards of the Auschwitz relaxing and enjoying themselves — as countless people were being murdered and cremated at the nearby death camp.
In some of the photos, SS officers can be seen singing. In others they are hunting and in another a man can be seen decorating a Christmas tree in what could only be described as a holiday in hell.
The album also contains eight photos of Josef Mengele — some of the very few existing snapshots taken of the concentration camp’s notorious doctor during the time he spent there.
The photos were made public by the United States National Holocaust Museum in Washington. The museum obtained the photos from a retired US Army intelligence officer, who came across the album in an apartment in Frankfurt and has now given them to the museum.
“These unique photographs vividly illustrate the contented world they enjoyed while overseeing a world of unimaginable suffering,” museum director Sara Bloomfield said in a statement.
“They offer an important perspective on the psychology of those perpetrating genocide.” The director of the museum’s photographic reference collection, Judith Cohen, said there are no photos depicting anything abhorrent, “and that’s precisely what makes them so horrible.”
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Remembering Hans Rosling
February 7, 2017
Is the world getting worse every day in every way, as some news media would have you believe? No.
In fact, the most reliable data shows that in meaningful ways — such as child mortality rate, literacy rate, human lifespan — the world is actually, slowly and measurably, getting better.
Hans Rosling dedicated the latter part of his distinguished career to making sure the world knew that.
And in his 10 TED Talks — the most TED Talks by a single person ever posted — he hammered the point home again and again. As he told us once: “You see, it is very easy to be an evidence-based professor lecturing about global theory, because many people get stuck in wrong ideas.”
Using custom software (or sometimes, just using a few rocks), he and his team ingested data from sources like the World Bank (fun story: their data was once locked away until Hans’ efforts helped open it to the world) and turned it into bright, compelling movable graphs that showed the complex story of global progress over time, while tweaking everyone’s expectations and challenging us to think and to learn.
We’re devastated to announce that Hans passed away this morning, surrounded by family.
As his children announced on their shared website, Gapminder: “Across the world, millions of people use our tools and share our vision of a fact-based worldview that everyone can understand.
We know that many will be saddened by this message. Hans is no longer alive, but he will always be with us and his dream of a fact-based worldview, we will never let die!”
Game of Thrones or game of the Roses among Princes?
Beginning around 1377, medieval England was shaken by a power struggle between two noble families, which spanned generations and involved a massive cast of characters, complex motives and shifting loyalties.
Sound familiar? Alex Gendler illustrates how the historical conflict known as the Wars of the Roses served as the basis for much of the drama in Game of Thrones.
In what’s dubbed the Red Wedding, both Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn, two leading protagonists from a noble house already wrecked by tragedy, are viciously murdered along with their entourage while feasting in the hall of Westerosi power broker Walder Frey.
The betrayal, as Jim Poniewozik wrote, is “heartbreaking” and “horrifying.” It signals the end of the Stark war effort and, with the suddenness of its execution, leaves an emotional desolation at the heart of the Game of Thrones narrative.
It’s easy to understand the anger of so many viewers, some of whom who took to Twitter to rail against the TV show, HBO and George R.R. Martin for killing their favorite characters.
The massacre of the Starks is not only a surprise, but also an outrage.
As Martin emphasizes in his book, the Starks were guests in the Frey home — upon arrival, they ceremonially ate the Freys’ bread and salt, long considered a guarantee of protection from the host.
The treachery violates ancient customs in Martin’s fictive universe that we keenly, intuitively understand. Laws of hospitality are deeply embedded in all human societies.
In the Iliad, the primordial war epic of the West, the Greeks lay siege to Troy after the Trojan prince Paris betrays the welcome extended to him at the court of the King of Sparta by slipping away with the King’s beautiful wife Helen.
The rights of guests feature prominently in ancient Biblical scriptures, as well as in the Arthashastra, an ancient Indian treatise from roughly 250 B.C. intended as a proto-Machiavellian handbook for South Asian monarchs.
Martin himself claims to have drawn inspiration for the Red Wedding from an infamous episode in medieval Scotland.
In November 1440, the principal men of the Black Douglas clan went to dine with the young King of Scotland at the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle. They had guarantees of safe passage. Not unlike the realms of Westeros, Scotland then was riven by feuding noble families — and the Douglases happened to be at odds with the royal court and those in league with the King.
The dinner seemed a moment for rapprochement until the following, narrated by Martin to Entertainment Weekly, happened:
Then at the end of the feast, [the King’s men] started pounding on a single drum. They brought out a covered plate and put it in front of the Earl [of Douglas] and revealed it was the head of a black boar — the symbol of death.
Most accounts describe the decapitated animal as a black bull, not a boar, but in any event, the slaughter of the Douglases that followed — dubbed the Black Dinner — is scorched into Scotland’s historical memory. Four centuries later, it stirred Sir Walter Scott to pen these lines of doggerel:
Edinburgh castle, toune, and towre,
God grant thou sink for sin;
And that e’en for the Black Dinner,
Earl Douglas gat therein.
Martin also mentions the 17th century Glencoe massacre, where dozens from the highland clan MacDonald were butchered by soldiers they had given shelter from a wintry storm. Scotland is also home, at least in lore, to Macbeth, the grasping noble who murdered his King while the latter slept in Macbeth’s castle.
The deed is a stark betrayal of both Macbeth’s obligations as a host and as a thane to the Scottish crown. In the Shakespearean play, it’s an unnatural, hideous act. Says one character of the moment of the regicide: “The obscure bird/ Clamored the livelong night./ Some say the Earth/ Was feverous and did shake.”
Of course, you ought to expect more troubles when owls start interminably hooting and a darkness falls on the land.
Ruthless, treacherous violence is rarely forgotten, both by the perpetrators and those loyal to the victims. Macbeth gets his comeuppance. And in Westeros, much more blood will be shed.
So-Called “Religious Wars” were planned decades ago?
This index has risen at a mind-numbing rate over the years. To give you an idea of how far this index has increased since we started it almost 11 years ago, consider this:
From Feb 2005 to Jan 2006 the Index moved from 300-501.
The current reading is 5750.
When Israel attacked Lebanon, we stated that the situation was hot, and that was back in 2006. This index has been dead on regarding predicting violence, religious intolerance and the general surge of violent behaviour the world has experienced over the years.
If we could have invested money in this index all our subscribers would be millionaires by now; the same applies to the adult index below.
What is it telling us now?
We are in the maximum overdrive zone.
Nations have very little tolerance for those that try to stamp on their heads, especially governments they no longer respect.
This is a reminder for the U.S, which Russia and China no longer respect it or fear it.
In fact, we are one of the few voices that went on record to state that Russia would overtly go out of its way to challenge and attack the U.S, especially after the Ukraine incident. We also went on to say that China would follow in Russia’s footsteps and then these two would team up to openly challenge the US.
No matter what anyone states, the U.S does not have the firepower to take on both Russia and China.
Russia gave the U.S one hour notice before it started bombing in Syria (Not believable), China has countered that they will attack the U.S if they violate what they claim are their waters in the South China Sea. These guys are not backing down anymore. They have had it with US hegemony and failed policies that have made the world a far uglier place than it was and should be. (The Dollar and sanctions on States that displease US policies)
Russians in general, when dealing with outsiders are slow to anger. Their silence can sometimes be mistaken for being passive or nonchalant, but when you cross a certain point, the game changes.
When the U.S and Europe came into Russia’s backyard and started telling them what to do, that point was reached. The bear once activated does not back down, and it will hunt till its killed or it kills its foe.
Russia is going to challenge the U.S and every twist and turn of the road.
Next, they will challenge NATO in a more open manner and show the world that NATO is nothing but a teddy bear. NATO’s strength lies in the illusion it creates that it will help any nation that is challenged.
We would like to see just how many nations will come to help Turkey or Lithuania, or Poland or any other member of NATO if Russia challenges them. (You cannot seriously challenge a superpower when too far away by land)
More importantly, Putin is going to make the House of Saud (Saudi Kingdom) pay very dearly for their betrayal. They made a strategic error when they double crossed Russia by agreeing to take the oil markets down (even hurting themselves for decades); now they will pay the price for decades to come
We will not be surprised if they start to equip the Houthis and the Yemeni army with serious weapons to give the House of Saud a dose of their own medicine.
Without any help, the Houthis and the Yemeni Army are already a painful thorn. Things will only get worse. In fact, Putin might send bombers to Saudi Arabia if they provoke Russia enough.
The Houthis and the Yemeni Army continue to push into Saudi Kingdom (regions that Yemen ceded to the Kingdom 3 decades ago, under pressure). Full Story
Putin also decided to sell the advanced version of the S-300 to Iran, only after Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen.
Iran will be happy to take on the House of Saud, and Russia is providing them with the necessary means to do so.
One thing many forget is that despite all the stuff that is being said about Assad, he is the only Muslim leader that has gone out of his way to protect a group of Orthodox Christians in this country, who would have been slaughtered without his intervention.
The Russian Orthodox Church asked Putin if he would step in to save the Christians of the world that are being murdered by the so-called moderate rebels the U.S seems to arm all over the Middle-East. To which Putin answered, it will be so.
For example, the rebel group al-Nusra Front, one of the players in the region Russia is now pounding, previously overran the Christian village of Maaloula, 40 miles north of Damascus, executing three Christians and kidnapping a dozen nuns before being driven out by the Syrian army.
During the battle for that village, one Christian addressed the BBC camera operator with these chilling words: “Tell the Europeans and the Americans that we sent you St Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us. Full Story
Russia’s entering into Syria is a holy war; it is the latest crusade of our time. The Russian Orthodox Church declared this, when its senior cleric, Vsevolod Chaplin, said:
Whatever they are trying to justify terrorism with, it cannot be justified. Thus, any fight against terrorism is moral; we can even call it a holy fight. It is a holy fight to defend the brethren, to protect the holy sites and the churches in Syria.
The active position of our country has always been connected with the protection of the weak and oppressed, like the Middle East Christians who are now experiencing a real genocide. Russia’s role has always been in protecting peace and justice for all Mideast peoples.
Putin is the St. Constantine of our time, for, like that priestly king of old, he has unsheathed the holy sword of the Church to strike down the enemies of God for the cause of humanity. Russia is following the Christian precept of loving God, honouring the state, and defending the brethren. The Russians are abiding by the teachings of St. Peter,
The Middle East needs tough, ruthless leaders for it is composed of tribes that hate each other, and if left to their own devices they will devour each other.
The Middle-East was far safer and stable with Saddam, Khadaffi, Hafez Assad etc.
Now that they are gone those countries are in tatters.
This is a religious war, and the war has just escalated.
Note, that as observers, we do not take sides, we just report what the trend is dictating. Our opinion matters not and over the years we have found it easier to distance ourselves from the situation. Emotions only exacerbate the situation.
The house of Saud is in Putin’s line of fire, so expect things to truly heat up in the months to come. (The problem is: Who will succeed the Kingdom except the Wahhabi extremists?)
There is no such thing as moderate rebels, these rebels, slaughter, rape and kill Christians and Shia Muslims. There is Sunni; there is Shia, and then there is the Wahabbi Doctrine or Sect that most Saudi’s seem to adhere to; a view that is more radical and more violent.
The Houtis, by the way, are also a branch of Shia as is Assad’s tribe.
Many might ask why we cover political and health issues when our primary focus in the stock markets and the financial arena. The short and straightforward answer is that all these fields are connected; we don’t have free market forces anymore.
Everything is manipulated; from the food, you eat to data you are provided.
If you are aware of this, you can plan accordingly. Identifying the problem is over 80% of the solution, and this is why most people don’t know what to do because they don’t understand the problem. (The context of the game)
Now you know why we are the only financial website that covers such a wide array of topics that on the surface appear to be unrelated but are in fact, deeply interwoven.
Mass psychology is a very powerful tool, and if employed correctly can help you spot the abnormal levels of manipulation, the masses are subjected to. We firmly suggest that you read or view Plato’s allegory of the cave.
TORTURE and ABUSE , PRISONERS, and ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION of Palestinians in Israel occupied territories
FACTS & FIGURES –
‘Israeli military justice authorities arbitrarily detained Palestinians who advocated non-violent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier.
In January,a military appeals court increased the prison sentence of Abdallah Abu Rahme, from the village of Bil’in, to 16 months in prison on charges of inciting violence and organizing illegal demonstrations, largely on the basis of coerced statements of children.’
- According to the Israel Prison Service, there were about 4424 Palestinian prisoners and security detainees being held in Israeli prisons as of the end of April 2012. According to prisoners’ rights organization Addameer, there were 4653 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel as of May 1, 2012.
- Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned upwards of 700,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, or about 20% of the total population of the occupied territories.
- Those who are charged are subjected to Israeli military courts that human rights organizations have criticized for failing to meet the minimum standards required for a fair trial.
- According to Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: “Palestinians in the [occupied territories] subject to Israel’s military justice system continued to face a wide range of abuses of their right to a fair trial. They are routinely interrogated without a lawyer and, although they are civilians, are tried before military not ordinary courts.”
- According to Human Rights Watch’s 2012 World Report:
– TORTURE & ABUSE –
- Until 1999, the use of torture by Israeli military and security forces was both widespread and officially condoned under the euphemism of “moderate physical pressure.” Methods included beatings, forcing prisoners into painful physical positions for long periods of time, and sleep deprivation.
- In 2000 it was revealed that between 1988 and 1992 Israel’s internal security force, the Shin Bet, had systematically tortured Palestinians during the first, mostly nonviolent, uprising against Israel’s occupation, using methods that went beyond what was allowable under government guidelines for “moderate physical pressure.”
- These methods included violent shaking, tying prisoners into painful positions for long periods, subjecting them to extreme heat or cold, and severe beatings, including kicking. At least 10 Palestinians died and hundreds of others were maimed as a result.
- In 1999, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the use of “moderate physical pressure” was illegal, however reports of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners continued unabated.
- Amnesty International’s 2011 Annual Report on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories states:
“Consistent allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, including of children, were frequently reported. Among the most commonly cited methods were beatings, threats to the detainee or their family, sleep deprivation, and being subjected to painful stress positions for long periods. Confessions allegedly obtained under duress were accepted as evidence in Israeli military and civilian courts.”
- Other abusive practices employed by Israel against Palestinian prisoners include the use of solitary confinement, denial of family visits, and forcing prisoners to live in unsanitary living conditions.
- The harsh conditions endured by Palestinians in Israeli prisons prompted a series of hunger strikes, including a mass hunger strike by more than 1500 prisoners in early 2012 leading to some concessions from Israel. The concessions reportedly included an end to the use of solitary confinement as a punitive measure and allowing family visits for prisoners from Gaza.
– ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION –
- Israel uses a procedure known as administrative detention to imprison Palestinians without charge or trial for months or even years. Administrative detention orders are normally issued for six-month periods, which can be extended indefinitely.
- Administrative detention was first instituted by the British during the Mandate era in 1945, prior to the creation of Israel.
- There are currently as of May 29, 2012, approximately 308 Palestinians being held in administrative detention.
- Since 1967, some 100,000 administrative detention orders have been issued by Israel.
- Although there are none currently being held in administrative detention, Israeli authorities have in the past used the procedure against Palestinian children as well as adults.
- Israel’s frequent use of administrative detention has been condemned by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israeli human rights groups like B’Tselem.
- An end to the use of administrative detention was one of the main demands of a recent wave of hunger strikes by Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
- In May 2012, Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch implicitly admitted that Israel uses administrative detention for reasons other than stated urgent “security” concerns, urging authorities to “use it only if there’s a need.”