National Geographic

  • #Methane supercharges climate change. The U.S. has a new plan to slash it.

    Yet, of all the sources producing methane in the U.S., raising livestock creates nearly as many emissions as oil and gas. A cow’s digestive system breaks down food through a process called enteric fermentation, resulting in methane-filled burps. With nearly 40 million cows being raised for beef and dairy in the U.S. those expulsions produce nearly a third of the country’s methane emissions every year, according to the EPA. 

    Despite research investigating how cattle feed sprinkled with seaweed reduces the methane in cow burps, any actions that require changes to the ag sector would be next to impossible to get through the divided Congress. Few politically possible options exist at a scale capable of meaningfully reducing emissions. 

    “I think #agriculture is a really hard one,” says Shindell. “It’s going to be an enormous amount of work to get legislation affecting agriculture.”


  • The Bigger Brains of London Taxi Drivers

    29.5.2013 - How hard could learning a map of a city be? In London, earning the credentials to drive one of the city’s iconic cabs is equivalent to earning a university degree. It’s so advanced, in fact, that being able to navigate the streets isn’t just considered knowledge, but is formally called “The Knowledge.” The way London’s taxi drivers talk about it, it seems a little like getting a black belt in karate while becoming an Eagle Scout while vying for admission to Mensa.

    The reason why is London’s curious urban design, a squirrely mix of streets that were designed over centuries rather than by a one-time urban design grid that you might find in New York or Washington DC. There’s no pattern to learn in London, or a system of mnemonics to remember the order of roads. You simply have to learn every street in the city. And before you can legally drive a taxi, you have to prove to a group of city officials that you can, without fail, navigate between any two points. During the tests, aspiring drivers have to dictate the most efficient route and recall landmarks they’ll pass on the way. The people who are very good at it—and let’s be honest, more than 90 percent are men—can master the system in two years. Most people take four or longer.

    It’s a fun tourist novelty to know that the person driving you has a very detailed spatial map of the city in his head. But for about a decade, a group of researchers at the University College of London have looked into the effect that memorizing such a disorganized system has on your brain. The part of the brain that navigates spatial intelligence is called the hippocampus, a pair of two chestnut sized masses toward the back of your head. The researchers found that London cab drivers have uniquely bigger hippocampi than almost anyone else.

    We asked a few London cabbies about this in hopes they could help us understood how their brains worked.

    “Oh yeah mate, it’s called the hippocampus,” one cabbie named Simon told us. “Most people don’t use it because of the simplicity of navigating most other places and because of maps and GPS. But with London there’s really no other way.”

    What’s it like to map something very complex in your brain, we asked?

    “Well, right when the person asks where to go, it’s like an explosion in your brain. You see it instantly.”

    An explosion in the brain is a pretty vivid image to understand just how someone’s mind works. Yet it rings true. Each time we got into a cab and stated an obscure street name or small neighborhood, the driver didn’t even respond. He just started driving, seeming to know immediately which streets to take, and what the most direct route would be.

    The downside to having a big hippocampus is that when cabbies retire and stop using their spatial mapping so regularly, the hippocampus actually starts to shrink back to normal. It’s like a muscle that shrinks if you don’t use it. What’s more, memorizing such a detailed map of a sprawling city actually took up the place of other grey matter. Researchers found that cabbies were worse at remembering things based on visual information and had worse short term memories. There is, after all, only so much real estate in one’s head.

    #Taxi #Neurologie #Hirnforschung

  • Historic drought looms for 20 million living in Horn of Africa

    As many as 20 million people in four African countries are facing extreme hardship and food shortages as an exceptionally long and severe drought grips the eastern Horn of Africa. Three rainy seasons in a row have failed to materialize. Now scientists and relief agencies fear that the next forecast one—scheduled to bring rain to Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia this month—will follow suit.

    #famine #climat

  • World’s brightest x-rays reveal COVID-19’s damage to the body

    A new scanning technique delivers exquisitely detailed images—and could revolutionize the study of human anatomy.

    This HiP-CT scan reveals the vasculature within a lung lobe from a 54-year-old male who died of COVID-19. HiP-CT scans show that in severe COVID-19 cases, the lungs’ blood vessels are severely damaged: Here, airspaces are colored with cyan, open blood vessels are colored in red, and blocked, damaged blood vessels are colored in yellow.

    #covid #poumons #dommages #sequelles #imagerie_medicale #technologies #maladies_vasculaires

  • U.S. lawmakers move urgently to recognize survivors of the first atomic bomb test

    For General Groves, getting the bomb ready—in secrecy—for wartime use had trumped all other considerations, including public safety.

    Yet he realized that a blast whose flash was seen in at least three states and two countries could not be wholly concealed. He ordered the commanding officer of the Alamogordo Air Base to feed a cover story to the Associated Press that “a remotely located ammunition magazine containing a considerable amount of high explosives and pyrotechnics exploded.” There had been, the report went on, “no loss of life or injury.” Local newspapers reprinted the announcement without challenge.

    Barbara Kent recalls that the day after the explosion, her camp’s dance instructor took the girls into Ruidoso, where government officials were to make an announcement about the source of the blast.

    “It was so crowded downtown—everyone was shoulder to shoulder,” Kent says. “What they told us—there was an explosion at a dump. They said, ‘No one worry about anything, everything’s fine, just go along with your own business.’ Everyone was confused. Some people believed it, but some people thought they couldn’t imagine that a dump explosion would do this." She continues: "They lied to us. I didn’t learn the truth until years later.”

    As time passed, Kent says she began to hear disturbing reports that her fellow campers were falling ill. By the time she turned 30, she says, “I was the only survivor of all the girls at that camp.” She adds that she has suffered from lifelong illnesses: She had to have her thyroid removed and has survived several forms of cancer, including endometrial cancer and “all kinds of skin cancers.”

    #états-unis #nucléaire

    • #Trinity (essai atomique) — Wikipédia

      Des abris furent construits à environ 10 000 yards (9 100 m) au nord, à l’ouest et au sud de la tour, et furent appelés N-10,000, W-10,000 et S-10,000. Chacun avait un responsable : Robert Wilson à N-10,000, John Manley à W-10,000 et Frank Oppenheimer à S-10,000[56]. La plupart des observateurs se trouvaient néanmoins à une trentaine de kilomètres, et certains assistèrent à l’explosion de façon plus ou moins informelle ; Richard Feynman affirma ainsi qu’il fut la seule personne à avoir vu l’explosion sans les lunettes de protection fournies, car il avait utilisé le pare-brise de son véhicule pour filtrer les rayons ultraviolet nocifs[57]. Bainbridge demanda à Groves de lui donner une liste de VIP de dix noms. Il choisit Oppenheimer, Richard Tolman, Vannevar Bush, James Conant, Thomas F. Farrell (en), Charles Lauritsen, Isidor Isaac Rabi, Geoffrey Taylor, James Chadwick et lui-même[53]. Le groupe assista à l’essai depuis Compania Hill à environ 30 kilomètres au nord-ouest de la tour[58].


      L’intense lumière et la puissante détonation furent remarquées dans tout le Nouveau-Mexique. Groves fit par conséquent publier un communiqué de presse rédigé plusieurs semaines auparavant par Laurence :

      « Alamogordo, N. M., 16 juillet
      L’officier commandant la base d’Alamogordo a fait la déclaration suivante aujourd’hui : « Plusieurs demandes ont été reçues concernant une forte explosion ayant eu lieu sur la base d’Alamogordo ce matin. Un magasin de munitions isolé et contenant une quantité considérable d’explosifs et d’engins pyrotechniques a explosé. Aucun mort ou blessé n’est à déplorer et les dégâts à l’extérieur du magasin d’explosifs ont été négligeables. Les conditions météorologiques affectant la composition des obus à gaz détruits par l’explosion pourrait pousser l’Armée à évacuer temporairement certains civils[92] ». »I


    • L’article de Wikipedia est par ailleurs sidérant,

      Dans le cadre du projet Manhattan, les scientifiques du laboratoire de Los Alamos développèrent une arme à fission utilisant du plutonium surnommée « Gadget » mais en raison de sa complexité, ils n’étaient pas certains qu’elle fonctionnerait. Il fut donc décidé de réaliser un essai dans une région isolée et inhabitée […]

  • La #Pologne érigera une clôture en barbelés à sa frontière avec le #Bélarus

    La Pologne a annoncé lundi qu’elle allait ériger une « solide #clôture » de barbelés, haute de 2,5 mètres, à la frontière polono-bélarusse et y augmenter ses effectifs militaires pour empêcher les migrants de pénétrer sur son sol.

    La Pologne a annoncé lundi qu’elle allait ériger une « solide clôture » de barbelés, haute de 2,5 mètres, à la frontière polono-bélarusse et y augmenter ses effectifs militaires pour empêcher les migrants de pénétrer sur son sol.

    Varsovie et les trois pays baltes (la Lituanie, la Lettonie et l’Estonie) dénoncent ensemble une « attaque hybride » organisée par le Bélarus qui, selon eux, encourage les migrants à passer illégalement sur le territoire de l’Union européenne.

    Le ministre polonais de la Défense, Mariusz Blaszczak, a précisé lundi qu’une nouvelle clôture « à l’instar de celle qui a fait ses preuves à la frontière serbo-hongroise », composée de quelques spirales superposées de fils barbelés, doublerait la première barrière à fil unique qui s’étend déjà sur environ 130 kilomètres, soit sur près d’un tiers de la longueur de la frontière entre les deux pays.

    « Les travaux commenceront dès la semaine prochaine », a déclaré M. Blaszczak à la presse.

    Le ministre a annoncé que les effectifs militaires à la frontière allaient prochainement doubler, pour atteindre environ 2.000 soldats dépêchés sur place afin de soutenir la police des frontières.

    « Nous nous opposerons à la naissance d’une nouvelle voie de trafic d’immigrés, via le territoire polonais », a-t-il insisté.

    Les quatre pays de la partie orientale de l’Union européenne ont exhorté lundi l’Organisation des Nations unies à prendre des mesures à l’encontre du Bélarus.

    Les Premiers ministres d’Estonie, de Lettonie, de Lituanie et de Pologne ont assuré dans une déclaration commune que l’afflux des migrants avait été « planifié et systématiquement organisé par le régime d’Alexandre Loukachenko ».

    Des milliers de migrants, pour la plupart originaires du Moyen-Orient, ont franchi la frontière bélarusso-européenne ces derniers mois, ce que l’Union européenne considère comme une forme de représailles du régime bélarusse face aux sanctions de plus en plus sévères que l’UE lui impose.

    « Il est grand temps de porter la question du mauvais traitement infligé aux migrants sur le territoire bélarusse à l’attention des Nations unies, notamment du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies », peut-on lire dans la déclaration.

    Les quatre pays affirment qu’ils accorderont toute la protection nécessaire aux réfugiés traversant la frontière, conformément au droit international, mais ils demandent également d’« éventuelles nouvelles mesures restrictives de la part de l’UE pour empêcher toute nouvelle immigration illégale organisée par l’Etat bélarusse ».

    Dans de nombreux cas, les autorités de Minsk repoussent les migrants vers la frontière de l’UE, ce qui a déjà conduit à des situations inextricables.

    Un groupe de migrants afghans reste ainsi bloqué depuis deux semaines sur une section de la frontière entre la Pologne et le Bélarus.

    Des organisations polonaises des droits de l’Homme et l’opposition libérale accusent le gouvernement nationaliste-conservateur polonais de refuser de secourir les personnes ayant besoin d’aide et d’ainsi violer le droit international.

    #frontières #murs #barrières_frontalières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Biélorussie #militarisation_de_la_frontière

    voir aussi la métaliste sur la situation à la frontière entre la #Pologne et la #Biélorussie (2021) :

    • On the EU’s eastern border, Poland builds a fence to stop migrants

      Polish soldiers were building a fence on the border with Belarus on Thursday, as the European Union’s largest eastern member takes steps to curb illegal border crossings despite criticism that some migrants are being treated inhumanely.

      Brussels has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of using migrants as part of a “hybrid war” designed to put pressure on the bloc over sanctions it has imposed, and building the wall is part of Poland’s efforts to beef up border security on the EU’s eastern flank.

      “Almost 3 km of fencing has been erected since yesterday,” Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Twitter, adding that almost 1,800 soldiers were supporting the border guard.

      Blaszczak said on Monday that a new 2.5 metre high solid fence would be built, modelled on the one built by Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Hungary’s border with Serbia.

      On Thursday Reuters saw soldiers next the frontier stringing wire through barbed wire to hook it to posts.

      Poland has received sharp criticism over its treatment of a group of migrants who have been stuck on the Belarus border for over two weeks, living in the open air with little food and water and no access to sanitary facilities.

      On Wednesday refugee charity the Ocalenie Foundation said 12 out of 32 migrants stuck on the border were seriously ill and one was close to death.

      “No fence or wire anywhere in the world has stopped any people fleeing war and persecution,” said Marianna Wartecka from the foundation who was at the border on Thursday.

      Poland says responsibility for the migrants lies with Belarus. The prime minister said this week that a convoy of humanitarian offered by Poland had been refused by Minsk.

      Surveys show that most Poles are against accepting migrants, and Poland’s ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) made a refusal to accept refugee quotas a key plank of its election campaign when it swept to power in 2015.

      An IBRiS poll for private broadcaster Polsat on Wednesday showed that almost 55% of respondents were against accepting migrants and refugees, while over 47% were in favour of a border wall.

      “Our country cannot allow such a large group of people to break our laws,” said Emilia Krystopowicz, a 19-year-old physiotherapy student, in Krynki, a village next the border.

      Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has accused Poland and Lithuania of fuelling the migrant issue on the borders.

    • Poland to build anti-refugee wall on Belarus border

      Poland has become the latest European country to start building an anti-refugee wall, with a new fence on its border with Belarus.

      The 2.5-metre high wall would be modelled on one built by Hungary on its border with Serbia in 2015, Polish defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak said.

      “We are dealing with an attack on Poland. It is an attempt to trigger a migration crisis,” he told press at a briefing near the Belarus frontier on Monday (23 August).

      “It is [also] necessary to increase the number of soldiers [on the border] ... We will soon double the number of soldiers to 2,000,” he added.

      “We will not allow the creation of a route for the transfer of migrants via Poland to the European Union,” he said.

      The minister shared photos of a 100-km razor-wire barrier, which Poland already erected in recent weeks.

      Some 2,100 people from the Middle East and Africa tried to enter Poland via Belarus in the past few months in what Blaszczak called “a dirty game of [Belarus president Alexander] Lukashenko and the Kremlin” to hit back at EU sanctions.

      “These are not refugees, they are economic migrants brought in by the Belarusian government,” deputy foreign minister Marcin Przydacz also said on Monday.

      Some people were pushed over the border by armed Belarusian police who fired in the air behind them, according to Polish NGO Minority Rights Group.

      Others were pushed back by Polish soldiers, who should have let them file asylum claims, while another 30-or-so people have been stuck in no man’s land without food or shelter.

      “People were asking the [Polish] border guards for protection and the border guards were pushing them back,” Piotr Bystrianin from the Ocalenie Foundation, another Polish NGO, told the Reuters news agency.

      “That means they were in contact and that means they should give them the possibility to apply for protection ... It’s very simple,” he said.

      “We have been very concerned by ... people being stranded for days,” Shabia Mantoo, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, also said.

      But for its part, the Polish government had little time for moral niceties.

      “The statements and behaviour of a significant number of Polish politicians, journalists, and NGO activists show that a scenario in which a foreign country carrying out such an attack against Poland will receive support from allies in our country is very real,” Polish deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński said.

      Belarus has also been pushing refugees into Lithuania and Latvia, with more than 4,000 people recently crossing into Lithuania.

      “Using immigrants to destabilise neighbouring countries constitutes a clear breach of international law and qualifies as a hybrid attack against ... Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and thus against the entire European Union,” the Baltic states and Poland said in a joint statement on Monday.

      Lithuania is building a 3-metre high, 508-km wall on its Belarus border in a €152m project for which it wants EU money.

      The wall would be completed by September 2022, Lithuanian prime minister Ingrida Simonyte said on Monday.

      “The physical barrier is vital for us to repel this hybrid attack,” she said.
      Fortress Europe

      The latest upsurge in wall-building began with Greece, which said last week it had completed a 40-km fence on its border with Turkey to keep out potential Afghan refugees.

      And Turkey has started building a 3-metre high concrete barrier on its 241-km border with Iran for the same reason.

      “The Afghan crisis is creating new facts in the geopolitical sphere and at the same time it is creating possibilities for migrant flows,” Greece’s citizens’ protection minister Michalis Chrisochoidis said.

      Turkey would not become Europe’s “refugee warehouse”, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

    • Comme la Lituanie, la Pologne veut sa barrière anti-migrants à la frontière biélorusse

      Varsovie et Vilnius veulent construire des barrières contre les migrants qui transitent par le Bélarus, tandis que la situation humanitaire continue de se détériorer à la frontière orientale de l’Union européenne.

      La pression augmente pour faire de l’Union une forteresse. Vendredi 8 octobre, douze pays, dont la Pologne et la Lituanie, ont réclamé d’une seule voix que l’Union européenne finance la construction de barrières à ses frontières externes. Il s’agit de l’Autriche, la Bulgarie, Chypre, la République tchèque, le Danemark, l’Estonie, la Grèce, la Hongrie, la Lituanie, la Lettonie, la Pologne et la Slovaquie.

      « Je ne suis pas contre », a répondu la commissaire aux Affaires intérieures Ylva Johansson. « Mais quant à savoir si on devrait utiliser les fonds européens qui sont limités, pour financer la construction de clôtures à la place d’autres choses tout aussi importantes, c’est une autre question ».

      La question migratoire agite particulièrement en Pologne, soumise à une pression inédite sur sa frontière orientale, avec le Bélarus. Le 7 octobre, le vice-Premier ministre Jarosław Kaczyński, qui préside aussi la commission des affaires de sécurité nationale et de défense, a confirmé la construction d’une barrière permanente le long de la frontière polono-biélorusse. Lors d’une conférence de presse tenue au siège de l’unité des gardes-frontières de Podlachie, frontalière avec la Biélorussie, il a expliqué : « Nous avons discuté des décisions déjà prises, y compris dans le domaine financier, pour construire une barrière très sérieuse. Le genre de barrière qu’il est très difficile de franchir. L’expérience européenne, l’expérience de plusieurs pays, par exemple la Hongrie et la Grèce, montre que c’est la seule méthode efficace ».

      La Pologne a débuté les travaux en août dernier et des barbelés ont déjà été tirés sur des sections sensibles de la frontière polono-biélorusse. Lorsqu’elle aura atteint son terme, la barrière fera 180 kilomètres de long et plus de deux mètres de haut.

      La Lituanie, autre pays frontalier de la Biélorussie, a elle aussi déroulé les barbelés et alloué 152 millions d’euros pour la construction d’une barrière de quatre mètres de haut, sur cinq cents kilomètres, qui doit être prête en septembre 2022.

      Le gouvernement national-conservateur du Droit et Justice (PiS) a réagi par la manière forte à la pression migratoire inédite sur ses frontières. Plusieurs milliers de soldats ont été déployés pour prêter main-forte aux gardes-frontières.

      Le Sénat a adopté le 8 octobre un amendement qui autorise l’expulsion immédiate des étrangers interpellés après avoir franchi la frontière irrégulièrement, sans examiner leur demande de protection internationale. En clair, il s’agit de passer un vernis de légalité sur la pratique dit de « pushback » qui contrevient aux règles internationales, mais utilisées ailleurs sur la frontière de l’UE, parfois très violemment, comme en témoigne la diffusion récente de vidéos à la frontière de la Croatie.
      Loukachenko accusé de trafic d’êtres humains

      Varsovie et Vilnius accusent de concert le président autocrate du Bélarus, Alexandre Loukachenko, de chercher à ouvrir une nouvelle route migratoire vers l’Europe, dans le but de se venger de leur soutien actif à l’opposition bélarusse en exil et des sanctions européennes consécutives aux élections frauduleuses d’août 2020.

      « Ce sont les immigrants économiques qui arrivent. Ils sont amenés dans le cadre d’une opération organisée par les autorités biélorusses avec l’assentiment clair de la Fédération de Russie. Les agences de sécurité biélorusses le tolèrent totalement et y sont présentes », a noté Jarosław Kaczyński. « Ces personnes sont conduites vers des endroits où elles auront une chance de traverser la frontière. Parfois, des officiers biélorusses participent personnellement au franchissement des barrières et à la coupure des fils », a-t-il ajouté.

      « Des centaines de milliers de personnes seront acheminées à notre frontière orientale », a avancé le ministre polonais de l’Intérieur Mariusz Kamiński, au mois de septembre.
      Soutien de la Commission européenne

      La Commission européenne dénonce, elle aussi, « un trafic de migrants parrainé par l’État [biélorusse] ». Le 5 octobre, Ylva Johansson, commissaire européenne chargée des affaires intérieures, a déclaré que « le régime utilise des êtres humains d’une manière sans précédent, pour faire pression sur l’Union européenne. […] Ils attirent les gens à Minsk. Qui sont ensuite transportés vers la frontière. Dans des mini-fourgonnettes banalisées. ».

      C’est aussi une manne économique pour Minsk, a détaillé Ylva Johansson. « Les gens viennent en voyages organisés par l’entreprise touristique d’État Centrkurort. Ils séjournent dans des hôtels agréés par l’état. Ils paient des dépôts de plusieurs milliers de dollars, qu’ils ne récupèrent jamais ».
      La situation humanitaire se dégrade

      L’hiver approche et les températures sont passées sous zéro degré les nuits dernières en Podlachie, la région du nord-est de la Pologne, frontalière avec la Biélorussie. Des groupes d’immigrants qui tentent de se frayer un chemin vers l’Union européenne errent dans les forêts de part et d’autre de la frontière qui est aussi celle de l’Union. « Ce [samedi] soir il fait -2 degrés en Podlachie. Des enfants dorment à même le sol, quelque part dans nos forêts. Des enfants déportés vers ces forêts sur ordre des autorités polonaises », affirme le Groupe frontalier (Grupa Granica).

      Une collecte a été lancée pour permettre à une quarantaine de médecins volontaires d’apporter des soins de première urgence aux migrants victimes d’hypothermie, de blessures, d’infections ou encore de maladies chroniques. Avec les trente mille euros levés dès la première journée (près de soixante mille euros à ce jour), trois équipes ont débuté leurs opérations de sauvetage. « Nous voulons seulement aider et empêcher les gens à la frontière de souffrir et de mourir », explique le docteur Jakub Sieczko à la radio TOK FM. Mais le ministère de l’Intérieur leur refuse l’accès à la zone où a été décrété un état d’urgence au début du mois de septembre, tenant éloignés journalistes et humanitaires de la tragédie en cours.

      Quatre personnes ont été retrouvées mortes – vraisemblablement d’hypothermie – dans l’espace frontalier, le 19 septembre, puis un adolescent irakien cinq jours plus tard. La fondation pour le Salut (Ocalenie) a accusé les gardes-frontières polonais d’avoir repoussé en Biélorussie le jeune homme en très mauvaise santé et sa famille quelques heures plus tôt.

      A ce jour, ce flux migratoire n’est en rien comparable à celui de l’année 2015 via la « Route des Balkans », mais il est dix fois supérieur aux années précédentes. Samedi, 739 tentatives de franchissement illégal de la frontière ont été empêchées par les gardes-frontières polonais, qui ont enregistré plus de 3 000 tentatives d’entrée irrégulière au mois d’août, et près de 5 000 en septembre.

    • EU’s job is not to build external border barriers, says Commission vice president

      Yes to security coordination and technology; no to ‘cement and stones,’ says Margaritis Schinas.

      The European Commission is ready to support member countries in strengthening the bloc’s external borders against the “hybrid threat” posed by international migrant flows but doesn’t want to pay for the construction of physical border barriers, Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said Thursday.

      Rather than defending borders with “cement and stones,” Schinas said in an interview at POLITICO’s Health Care Summit, the EU can usefully provide support in the form of security coordination and technology.

      Highlighting how divisive the issue is of the use of EU funds for physical barriers, which EU leaders discussed at length at a summit last Friday morning, Schinas’ line is different from the one expressed by his party in the European Parliament, the center-right EPP, and by his own country, Greece.

      He was responding to comments by Manfred Weber, chairman of the European Parliament’s EPP group, in support of a letter, first reported by POLITICO’s Playbook, by 12 member countries, including countries like Greece, Denmark and Hungary, to finance a physical barrier with EU money.

      Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said after last week’s Council summit that no EU money would be spent to build “barbed wire and walls.”

      “The Commission position is very clear. We are facing a new kind of threat on our external border. This is a hybrid threat,” said Schinas. “The obvious thing for the European Union to do is to make sure that those who seek to attack Europe by weaponizing human misery know that we will defend the border … I think that, so far, we have managed to do it.”

      “At the same time we do have resources that will allow us to help member states to organize their defences — not of course by financing the cement and the stones and the physical obstacles of walls,” he added.

      “But we have the capacity to assist and finance member states for the broader ecosystem of border management at the European Union external border,” said Schinas, referring to setting up command centers and deploying equipment such as thermal cameras. “This is how we will do it. If there is one lesson that this situation has taught us [it] is that migration is a common problem. It cannot be delegated to our member states.”

      Eastern member states have accused authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko of flying thousands of people into Belarus and then sending them on hazardous journeys into EU territory. Polish lawmakers approved €350 million in spending last week to build a wall along the country’s border with Belarus.

    • Poland Begins Constructing Border Walls To Deter Asylum-Seeking Refugees

      Poland has begun the construction of a new border wall, estimated to cost $400 million and likely to be completed by June 2022. The wall will stand 5.5 meters high (six yards) and will have a final length of 186 km (115 miles).

      “Our intention is for the damage to be as small as possible,” border guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska assured Poland’s PAP news agency on January 25th. “Tree felling will be limited to the minimum required. The wall itself will be built along the border road.”

      While the Polish border forces are taking extra precautions not to disrupt the nature surrounding the border, there have been concerns about the human rights of asylum-seeking refugees. Over the past decade, there has been a rise in Middle Eastern and African refugees entering European Union countries, primarily through Eastern European territories. Standards set by the United Nations state that it is not illegal to seek refugee status in another country if an individual is in danger within their home country; however, Poland has sent numerous troops to its borders to deter asylum seekers trying to enter the nation on foot from Belarus. Poland has accused Belarus of encouraging asylum seekers to use the state as a passage into E.U. countries that may be a more favorable residency. The Belarusian government has denied these accusations, stating that Poland’s current attempts to restrict the number of refugees allowed in its country are inhumane and a human rights issue. Poland has since claimed that the “easy journey” allowed by Belarus’s government, and potentially supported by its ally Russia, is a non-militant attack against not only Poland, but the rest of the E.U.

      As the two countries continue in their conflict, the asylum seekers – individuals from around the world in need of safety and shelter – are being caught in the crossfire.

      Over the past months, Poland has increased border security, built a razor-wire fence along a large majority of the border, closed off border territories from the media and advocacy groups, and approved a new law allowing the border guard to force asylum seekers back into Belarus. Due to the recent changes, the number of refugees entering Poland has decreased, but this does not mean that the number of asylum seekers in need of aid from E.U. countries has decreased. Numerous groups still try to cross the treacherous border; the Polish border guard estimates that there are seventeen crossings just in the span of 24 hours. Al Jazeera reported on the 25th that Polish border security caught a group of fourteen asylum seekers, the majority of them fleeing Middle Eastern countries, cutting through a portion of the wire fence. These individuals, like many asylum seekers discovered along the border, have been “detained” until the Polish government decides whether to grant them refugee status or force them to return to Belarus.

      While Poland’s frustration with the uneven distribution of asylum seekers entering their country compared to others within the E.U. is understandable, its poor treatment of those in need of aid and protection is unacceptable. Rather than raising arms and security, Poland and the European Union must explore options of refugee resettlement that appease Polish desires for an equal dispersal of refugees throughout Europe without turning away people who need real government assistance. No matter its attitude towards Belarus, Poland must not turn its punishment towards those in need of refuge.

    • "The Iron Forest" - building the walls to scar the nature

      If I could bring one thing from my hometown, it would be the fresh air of the conifers from “my” forest. This is the statement my friends have heard me say many times, in particular when I feel nostalgic about my hometown.

      Augustów, where I am from, lies in the midst of Augustów Primeval Forest, in the North-East of Poland — a region referred to as the “green lungs” of Poland. It is an enormous virgin forest complex stretching across the border with Lithuania and connecting with other forests in the region.

      When I was 10, I went on a school trip to a neighbouring Bialowieza forest — a UNESCO heritage site with its largest European bison population. I still remember the tranquillity and magnificence of its landscape including stoic bison. I never would have thought that some years later, the serenity of this place will face being destroyed by the wall built on the Polish and Belarusian border, following the recent events of the refugee crisis.

      Today, I am a mental health scientist with a background in Psychology and Psychological Medicine. I am also a Pole from the North-East of Poland. Embracing both identities, in this blog, I would like to talk about “building walls” and what it means from a psychological perspective.
      Building Walls and Social Identity

      Following the humanitarian crisis which recently took place on the border between Belarus and Poland, we are now witnessing Poland building a wall which would prevent asylum seekers from Syria, Iraqi Kurdistan and Afghanistan, to cross the border.

      The concept of building a wall to separate nations isn’t new. I am sure you have heard about the Berlin wall separating East and West Germany, the Israeli West Bank Barrier between Israel and Palestine, or more recently the wall between Mexico and the US. In fact, according to Elisabeth Vallet, a professor at the University of Quebec-Montreal, since World War II the number of border walls jumped from 7 to at least 70! So, how can we explain this need to separate?

      In her article for the New Yorker on “Do walls change how we think”, Jessica Wapner talks about the three main purposes of the walls which are “establishing peace, preventing smuggling, and terrorism”. It is based on the premises of keeping “the others” away, the others that are threatening to “us”, our safety, integrity and identity. These motivations form the basis for the political agenda of nationalism.

      Using the words of the famous psychologist, Elliot Aronson, humans are social animals, and we all have the need to belong to a group. This has been well described by the Social Identity Theory which claims that positive evaluation of the group we belong to helps us to maintain positive self-image and self-esteem. Negative evaluation of the “the other,” or the outgroup, further reaffirms the positive image of your own group — the intergroup bias. As such, strong social identity helps us feel safe and secure psychologically, which is handy in difficult times such as perceived threat posed by another nation or any other crisis. However, it often creates a “psychological illusion” as in attempt to seek that comfort, we distort the reality placing ourselves and our group in a more favourable light. This, in turn, only worsens the crisis, as described by Vamik Volkan, a psychiatrist and the president of the International Society of Political Psychology, in the article by Jessica Wapner.

      The disillusionment of walls

      In reality, history shows consistently that building walls have only, and many, negative consequences. The positive ones, well, are an illusion: based on the false sense of psychological protection.

      In 1973, a German psychiatrist #Dietfried_Müller-Hegemann, published a book, “#Wall_disease”, in which he talked about the surge of mental illness in people living “in the shadow” of the wall. Those who lived in the proximity of the Berlin wall showed higher rates of paranoia, psychosis, depression, alcoholism and other mental health difficulties. And the psychological consequences of the Iron Curtain lingered long after the actual wall was gone: in 2005, a group of scientists were interested in the mental representation of the distances between the cities in Germany among the German population. They demonstrated systematic overestimations of distances between German cities that were situated across the former Iron Curtain, compared with the estimated difference between cities all within the East or the West Germany. For example, people overestimated the distance between Dusseldorf and Magdeburg, but not between Dusseldorf and Hannover, or between Magdeburg and Leipzig.

      What was even more interesting is that this discrepancy was stronger in those who had a negative attitude towards the reintegration! These findings show that even when the physical separation is no longer present, the psychological distance persists.

      Building walls is a perfect strategy to prevent dialogue and cooperation and to turn the blind eye to what is happening on the other side — if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

      It embodies two different ideologies that could not find the way to compromise and resorted to “sweeping the problem under the carpet”. From a psychoanalytical point of view, it refers to denial — a defence mechanism individuals experience and apply when struggling to cope with the demands of reality. It is important and comes to the rescue when we truly struggle, but, inevitably, it needs to be addressed for recovery to be possible. Perhaps this analogy applies to societies too.

      It goes without saying that the atmosphere created by putting the walls up is that of fear of “the other” and hostility. Jessica Wapner describes it very well in her article for the New Yorker, as she talks about the dystopian atmosphere of the looming surveillance and the mental illness that goes with it.

      And lastly, I wouldn’t want to miss a very important point related to the wall of interest in this blog — the Poland-Belarus wall. In this particular case, we will not only deal with the partition between people, but also between animals and within the ecosystem of the forest, which is likely to have a devastating effect on the environment and the local society.

      Bringing this blog to conclusion, I hope that we can take a step back and reflect on what history and psychology tell us about the needs and motivations to “build walls”, both physically and metaphorically, and the disillusionment and devastating consequences it might have: for people, for society, and for nature.

    • Poland’s border wall to cut through Europe’s last old-growth forest

      Work has begun on a 116-mile long fence on the Polish-Belarusian border. Scientists call it an environmental “disaster.”

      The border between Poland and Belarus is a land of forests, rolling hills, river valleys, and wetlands. But this once peaceful countryside has become a militarized zone. Prompted by concerns about an influx of primarily Middle Eastern migrants from Belarus, the Polish government has begun construction on a massive wall across its eastern border.

      Human rights organizations and conservation groups have decried the move. The wall will be up to 18 feet tall (5.5 meters) and stretch for 116 miles (186 kilometers) along Poland’s eastern border, according to the Polish Border Guard, despite laws in place that the barrier seems to violate. It’s slated to plow through fragile ecosystems, including Białowieża Forest, the continent’s last lowland old-growth woodland.

      If completed within the next few months as planned, the wall would block migration routes for many animal species, such as wolves, lynx, red deer, recovering populations of brown bears, and the largest remaining population of European bison, says Katarzyna Nowak, a researcher at the Białowieża Geobotanical Station, part of the University of Warsaw. This could have wide-ranging impacts, since the Polish-Belarus border is one of the most important corridors for wildlife movement between Eastern Europe and Eurasia, and animal species depend on connected populations to stay genetically healthy.

      Border fences are rising around the world, the U.S.-Mexico wall being one of the most infamous. A tragic irony of such walls is that while they do reliably stop the movement of wildlife, they do not entirely prevent human migration; they generally only delay or reroute it. And they don’t address its root causes. Migrants often find ways to breach walls, by going over, under, or through them.

      Nevertheless, time after time, the specter of migrants crossing borders has caused governments to ignore laws meant to protect the environment, says John Linnell, a biologist with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research.

      Polish border wall construction will entail heavy traffic, noise, and light in pristine borderland forests, and the work could also include logging and road building.

      “In my opinion, this is a disaster,” says Bogdan Jaroszewicz, director of the Białowieża Geobotanical Station.
      Fomenting a crisis

      The humanitarian crisis at the border began in summer 2021, as thousands of migrants began entering Belarus, often with promises by the Belarusian government of assistance in reaching other locations within Europe. But upon arrival in Belarus, many were not granted legal entry, and thousands have tried to cross into Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Migrants have often been intercepted by Polish authorities and forced back to Belarus. At least a dozen migrants have died of hypothermia, malnourishment, or other causes.

      Conflict between Belarus and the EU flared when Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory in the August 2020 presidential election, despite documented claims the election results were falsified. Mass protests and crackdowns followed, along with several rounds of EU sanctions. Poland and other governments have accused Belarus of fomenting the current border crisis as a sort of punishment for the sanctions.

      In response, the Polish government declared a state of emergency on the second of September, which remains in place. Many Polish border towns near the Belarusian border are only open to citizens and travel is severely restricted; tourists, aid workers, journalists, and anybody who doesn’t live or permanently work in the area cannot generally visit or even move through.

      That has made life difficult for the diverse array of people who live in this multi-ethnic, historic border region. Hotels and inns have gone out of business. Researchers trying to do work in the forest have been approached by soldiers at gunpoint demanding to know what they are doing there, says Michał Żmihorski, an ecologist who directs the Mammal Research Institute, part of the Polish Academy of Sciences, based in Białowieża.

      The Polish government has already built a razor-wire fence, about seven feet tall, along the border through the Białowieża Forest and much of the surrounding border areas. Reports suggest this fence has already entrapped and killed animals, including bison and moose. The new wall will start at the north edge of the Polish-Belarusian border, abutting Lithuania, and stretch south to the Bug River, the banks of which are already lined with a razor-wire fence.

      “I assume that it already has had a negative impact on many animals,” Żmihorski says. Further wall construction would “more or less cut the forest in half.”

      Some scientists are circulating an open letter to the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, to try to halt the wall’s construction.

      Primeval forest

      Much of the Białowieża Forest has been protected since the 1400s, and the area contains the last large expanse of virgin lowland forest, of the kind that once covered Europe from the Ural Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. “It’s the crown jewel of Europe,” Nowak says.

      Oaks, ash, and linden trees, hundreds of years old, tower over a dense, unmanaged understory—where trees fall and rot undisturbed, explains Eunice Blavascunas, an anthropologist who wrote a book about the region. The forest is home to a wide diversity of fungi and invertebrates—over 16,000 species, between the two groups—in addition to 59 mammalian and 250 bird species.

      In the Polish side of the forest, around 700 European bison can be found grazing in low valleys and forest clearings, a precious population that took a century to replenish. There are also wolves, otters, red deer, and an imperiled population of about a dozen lynx. Normally these animals move back and forth across the border with Belarus. In 2021, a brown bear was reported to have crossed over from Belarus.

      Reports suggest the Polish government may enlarge a clearing through Białowieża and other borderland forests. Besides the impact on wildlife, researchers worry about noise and light pollution, and that the construction could introduce invasive plants that would wreak havoc, fast-growing weedy species such as goldenrod and golden root, Jaroszewicz adds.

      But it’s not just about this forest. Blocking the eastern border of Poland will isolate European wildlife populations from the wider expanse of Eurasia. It’s a problem of continental scale, Linnell says, “a critical issue that this [border] is going to be walled off.”

      Walls cause severe habitat fragmentation; prevent animals from finding mates, food, and water; and in the long term can lead to regional extinctions by severing gene flow, Linnell says.
      Against the law?

      The wall construction runs afoul of several national environment laws, but also important binding international agreements, legal experts say.

      For one, Białowieża Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a rare designation that draws international prestige and tourists. As part of the deal, Poland is supposed to abide by the strictures of the World Heritage Convention—which oblige the country to protect species such as bison—and to avoid harming the environment of the Belarusian part of the forest, explains Arie Trouwborst, an expert in environmental law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

      It’s conceivable that construction of the wall could lead UNESCO to revoke the forest’s World Heritage status, which would be a huge blow to the country and the region, Trouwborst adds; A natural heritage site has only been removed from the UNESCO list once in history.

      The Polish part of the Białowieża site has also been designated a Natura 2000 protected area under the European Union Habitats Directive, as are a handful of other borderlands forests. The new wall would “seem to sit uneasily with Poland’s obligations under EU law in this regard, which require it to avoid and remedy activities and projects that may be harmful for the species for which the site was designated, [including] European bison, lynx, and wolf,” Trouwborst says.

      EU law is binding, and it can be enforced within Poland or by the EU Court of Justice, which can impose heavy fines, Trouwborst says. A reasonable interpretation of the law suggests that the Polish government, by building a razor-wire fence through Białowieża Forest, is already in breach of the Habitats Directive. The law dictates that potentially harmful projects may in principle only be authorized “where no reasonable scientific doubt remains as to the absence” of adverse impacts. And further wall construction carries obvious environmental harms.

      “One way or another, building a fence or wall along the border without making it permeable to protected wildlife would seem to be against the law,” Trouwborst says.

      The EU Court of Justice has already shown itself capable of ruling on activity in the Białowieża Forest. The Polish government logged parts of the forest from 2016 to 2018 to remove trees infected by bark beetles. But in April 2018, the Court of Justice ruled that the logging was illegal, and the government stopped cutting down trees. Nevertheless, the Polish government this year resumed logging in the outskirts of Białowieża.
      Walls going up

      Poland is not alone. The global trend toward more border walls threatens to undo decades of progress in environmental protections, especially in transboundary, cooperative approaches to conservation, Linnell says.

      Some of the more prominent areas where walls have recently been constructed include the U.S.-Mexico border; the Slovenian-Croatian boundary; and the entire circumference of Mongolia. Much of the European Union is now fenced off as well, Linnell adds. (Learn more: An endangered wolf went in search of a mate. The border wall blocked him.)

      The large uptick in wall-building seems to have taken many conservationists by surprise, after nearly a century of progress in building connections and cooperation between countries—something especially important in Europe, for example, where no country is big enough to achieve all its conservation goals by itself, since populations of plants and animals stretch across borders.

      This rush to build such walls represents “an unprecedented degree of habitat fragmentation,” Linnell says. It also reveals “a breakdown in international cooperation. You see this return to nationalism, countries trying to fix problems internally... without thought to the environmental cost,” he adds.

      “It shows that external forces can threaten to undo the progress we’ve made in conservation... and how fragile our gains have been.”
      #nature #faune #forêt #flore

      voir aussi ce fil de discussion sur les effets sur la faune de la construction de barrières frontalières :

    • Le spectre d’une nouvelle #crise_humanitaire et migratoire à la frontière entre la Pologne et la Biélorussie

      La #clôture construite par la Pologne en réponse à l’afflux de migrants en 2021, n’empêche pas la Russie de continuer à user de l’immigration comme d’une arme pour déstabiliser l’Europe.

      #Minkowce est une bourgade polonaise d’une centaine d’âmes, accolée à la frontière biélorusse, où les rues non goudronnées, les anciennes maisons de bois et leurs vieilles granges donnent l’impression que le temps s’y est arrêté. « On se croirait en Amérique à la frontière avec le Mexique ! », s’amuse pourtant Tadeusz Sloma, un agriculteur à la retraite. Car si dans cette région forestière, l’automne est humide et resplendit de couleurs vives en cette fin d’octobre, une imposante clôture d’acier de 5,5 mètres de hauteur, rappelant celle du Texas, s’élève depuis peu à proximité immédiate du hameau.

      « On finit par s’y habituer et on ne la regarde même plus », relativise M. Sloma, dont le jardin débouche sur la clôture. Ici, le souvenir de l’afflux migratoire de l’automne 2021 et de ses dizaines de milliers de réfugiés reste vif. « Nous jetions de la nourriture aux migrants au-dessus des barbelés, des sacs de couchage, des habits, se rappelle le retraité. Ils nous répondaient : “Thank you ! We love you !” Des femmes enceintes, des enfants… cela faisait mal au cœur. » Mais désormais, dit-il, tous les autochtones approuvent le mur et les mesures sécuritaires. « C’est une situation qui ne pouvait pas durer. On se sent davantage en sécurité. Ça ne se répétera pas. »

      Le long de ce qui était il y a encore peu une des frontières les plus paisibles et les plus sauvages de l’Union européenne (UE), chemine désormais un serpent d’acier, de béton et de barbelés de 186 kilomètres de long. Beaucoup plus imposante que les infrastructures similaires dans les pays Baltes, la clôture traverse la #forêt de #Bialowieza, la dernière forêt primaire d’Europe et ses pâturages de bisons, classée au patrimoine de l’Unesco. Les ONG et les scientifiques dénoncent une catastrophe écologique provoquée par la construction de l’infrastructure, qui traverse des zones où la biodiversité était préservée depuis près de douze mille ans.

      « Guerre hybride »

      Depuis que le régime biélorusse a fait de l’organisation de filières migratoires du Moyen-Orient une arme contre le Vieux Continent, le gouvernement national conservateur polonais a répondu avec la plus grande fermeté, au grand dam des défenseurs des droits humains.

      Pour lutter contre ce qui a été qualifié par les institutions européennes de « #guerre_hybride », la raison d’Etat a pris le dessus sur bien des considérations liées aux libertés civiques, au respect du droit d’asile où à la protection du patrimoine naturel. La guerre en Ukraine n’a pas arrangé les choses, même si le nombre de soldats dans la région est passé de 15 000 au pic de la crise migratoire à 1 600 aujourd’hui.

      Grâce à la lutte contre les filières depuis les pays d’origine, l’arrivée de migrants a considérablement baissé, mais ne s’est jamais tarie : 11 000 tentatives de passages ont été recensées depuis le début de l’année, dont 1 600 au mois octobre. Elles étaient 17 000 en octobre 2021. La clôture, opérationnelle depuis juin, est sur le point d’être équipée de systèmes de surveillance électronique dernier cri, avec lesquels les autorités espèrent la rendre « 100 % étanche. » Il restera néanmoins 230 km de frontière le long du Boug occidental, un cours d’eau difficile à surveiller.

      « Ce qui est frappant, c’est que le profil des migrants a radicalement changé , souligne Katarzyna Zdanowicz, porte-parole des gardes-frontières de la région de Podlachie, au nord-est de la Pologne. L’immense majorité provient désormais d’Afrique subsaharienne et de pays jamais recensés auparavant : Nigeria, Soudan, Congo, Togo, Bénin, Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Erythrée. » Autre différence : les migrants ne transitent désormais plus directement par Minsk mais d’abord par Moscou. « Il est clair que la Russie leur facilite la tâche. Les visas russes sont tous récents », ajoute-t-elle.

      Possible hausse des tensions

      A une moindre échelle, l’effroyable industrie migratoire pilotée par Minsk et Moscou continue, et les épaisses forêts marécageuses, surnommées par les migrants « la jungle », voient errer des centaines de personnes par semaine. Les soldats biélorusses jouent les passeurs et s’occupent de la logistique. Ils aident les migrants à franchir le mur, fournissent des échelles, des outils, de quoi creuser des tunnels.

      « Grâce au mur, il y a moins d’incidents , insiste Katarzyna Zdanowicz. Avant, les heurts violents étaient fréquents. Les Biélorusses diffusaient dans des haut-parleurs des pleurs d’enfants pour nous faire craquer. » Le temps où les gardes polonais et biélorusses organisaient chaque année, en bonne camaraderie, des compétitions de kayaks le long de la frontière, paraît aujourd’hui bien loin.

      D’autres signes laissent présager une possible hausse des tensions : la Russie a ouvert, début octobre, l’aéroport de Kaliningrad, l’enclave russe située entre la Pologne et la Lituanie, aux vols internationaux. Les médias russes rapportent que les autorités aéroportuaires ont annoncé leur intention d’ouvrir des liaisons avec les Emirats arabes unis, l’Egypte, l’Ethiopie ou encore la Turquie. Un moyen supplémentaire de pression sur l’UE. Pour l’heure, les autorités polonaises assurent toutefois ne constater « aucun phénomène préoccupant » sur la frontière avec Kaliningrad, pourtant particulièrement difficile à protéger.

      Plus au sud, le village de #Bialowieza vit toujours au rythme des interventions des activistes bénévoles, qui portent assistance en forêt aux réfugiés retrouvés dans des états critiques après des journées d’#errance. Au quartier général de l’organisation « #Grupa_Granica » (« Groupe Frontière »), dans un lieu tenu secret, on recense toujours entre 50 et 120 interventions par semaine, sur une zone relativement restreinte. « Grâce au mur, si l’on peut dire, nous n’avons presque plus de femmes ou d’enfants, c’est une différence par rapport à l’année dernière, confie Oliwia, une activiste qui souhaite rester anonyme. Mais nous avons davantage de jambes et de bras cassés, de blessés graves par les barbelés. »

      « Nous avons vu trop d’horreurs »

      Autre différence, la #répression des activistes par les services spéciaux s’est considérablement accrue. « L’aide est de plus en plus criminalisée. On essaye de nous assimiler à des passeurs, alors que nous n’enfreignons pas la loi. Nous sommes surveillés en permanence. » Chacun des militants a un numéro de téléphone écrit au marqueur indélébile sur l’avant-bras : le contact d’un avocat. Les #arrestations_violentes sont devenues monnaie courante. Il y a peu, le local d’une organisation partenaire, le Club de l’intelligentsia catholique (KIK), a été perquisitionné, des membres ont été arrêtés et du matériel confisqué.

      « Nous ne sommes plus en crise migratoire, ajoute Oliwia. Les gardes et l’armée devraient être plus contenus, faire respecter les procédures. Mais ils sont au contraire plus agressifs. La crise humanitaire, elle, est toujours là, et elle va s’accroître avec l’hiver. »

      En #Podlachie, l’aide aux migrants repose principalement sur les épaules des militants bénévoles et de certains autochtones. Elle est financée par des campagnes de dons, et les moyens tendent à se tarir. Nombreux sont ceux qui déplorent l’absence de soutien des grandes organisations humanitaires internationales.

      L’année tumultueuse qui s’est écoulée a laissé des traces dans les mentalités des populations locales, empreintes d’un ras-le-bol généralisé, d’une atmosphère d’extrême méfiance de l’étranger et d’omerta sur les sujets sensibles. « Après plus d’une année à agir, nous sommes tous exténués physiquement et psychiquement , conclut Olivia. Nous avons vu trop d’horreurs. »
      #criminalisation_de_l'aide #criminalisation_de_la_solidarité

    • Polonia tra accoglienza e nuovi muri, ‘solidarnosc’ a lettura politica

      Un nuovo muro anti migranti clandestini tra Polonia e Bielorussia costato quasi mezzo miliardo di Euro che frena ma non ferma. Non bastano il muro e l’inverno, in quelle foreste particolarmente crudele. La spinta dei migranti clandestini usata anche come arma politica, analizza Marsonet. Sulla Polonia e altrove. Chi la favorisce e chi la ferma per ragioni opposte ma eguali: per interesse politico o per puro guadagno.
      Per rimanere su quel confine interpretato spesso come fronte con la Russia, tra le persone che lo attraversano o muoiono tentando di farlo, si contano circa 80 nazionalità e luoghi di origine, segnalano Croce rossa e Mezzaluna rossa.
      Il migrante come arma o come guadagno

      Vi sono pochi dubbi sul fatto che Putin e il suo alleato Lukashenko stiano utilizzando il problema dei migranti per mettere in difficoltà l’Unione Europea. Del resto, è noto che anche Erdogan sta praticando la stessa strategia. L’unica differenza è che il “sultano” si fa profumatamente pagare per impedire che i disperati lascino il suolo turco e si dirigano verso l’Ue, lasciando però scoperti varchi attraverso i quali la fuga può essere tentata.
      Nessuna richiesta di denaro invece, da Mosca e Minsk. Federazione Russa e Bielorussia vogliono solo accrescere le difficoltà di Bruxelles, magari usando i migranti per cercare di ammorbidire le sanzioni emanate dopo l’invasione dell’Ucraina.
      Europa in ordine sparso e scaricabarile

      Purtroppo occorre constatare che le varie nazioni europee affrontano il problema (anzi: il dramma) in ordine sparso. Non c’è alcuna strategia comune che l’Unione abbia adottato. E, se anche vi fosse, vien fatto di pensare che non verrebbe accettata da tutti.
      La reazione più comune consiste nel costruire muri sempre più alti, con grandi quantità di filo spinato e dotati di sensori elettronici in grado di dare l’allarme in caso di sconfinamento. Tali muri danno, ai Paesi che li erigono, un notevole senso di sicurezza.
      I muri muraglia senza imparare dalla storia

      E’ lecito chiedersi, tuttavia, se tale senso di sicurezza sia giustificato, o se si tratta piuttosto di una sicurezza fasulla. I fenomeni migratori sono una costante della storia, e non solo di quella occidentale. Gli imperatori cinesi costruirono la Grande Muraglia, che resta tuttora una meraviglia architettonica.
      Però non riuscì affatto a fermare i popoli delle steppe dell’Asia centrale, che la superarono senza eccessivi problemi penetrando quindi nei territori dell’Impero Celeste, mischiandosi ai cinesi e imponendo addirittura dinastie estranee agli “han”, la componente etnica maggioritaria della Cina.
      L’inganno delle trincee indifendibili

      Ci si chiede, quindi, perché mai nella nostra epoca i muri che vengono costruiti a ritmo accelerato nell’Europa dell’Est dovrebbero riuscire a bloccare le ondate di disperati che vogliono penetrare nelle nazioni più ricche, alla ricerca di un’esistenza migliore.
      Il caso emblematico è quello della Polonia, ormai trasformata in una sorta di “fortezza” protetta dai muri anzidetti. Senza scordare che non tutti i confini sono fortificabili in questo modo. Per esempio, tra Polonia e Bielorussia esistono vaste aree con grandi foreste e acquitrini che rendono in pratica impossibile la costruzione di muri di quel tipo.
      ‘Solidarnosc’ solo con Kiev

      Ora si apprende che Varsavia intende erigere un muro anche al confine con l’enclave russa di Kaliningrad, peraltro irta di missili che Mosca vi ha piazzato per far pesare la sua presenza militare. Il governo polacco è allarmato per l’aumento dei voli dall’Africa a Kaliningrad, e accusa quello russo di voler incoraggiare anche qui il passaggio di migranti.
      Sottolineando ancora una vota le responsabilità di Mosca (e di Minsk) che usa i migranti come “arma politica”, è tuttavia lecito chiedersi se una nazione vasta come la Polonia può davvero trasformarsi in fortezza inespugnabile con questi metodi. Dopo tutto è il Paese in cui Lech Walesa fondò il movimento sindacale “Solidarnosc” (che significa “solidarietà”).

  • ‘Dragon Man’ skull may be new species, shaking up human family tree

    And then there was the skull’s unusual size: “It’s enormous,” says paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum.

    Perhaps aware of the magnitude of the find, the man secreted the skull away in an abandoned well. Now, nearly 90 years later, a study published in the journal The Innovation makes the case that this skull represents a new human species: Homo longi, or the Dragon Man.

    Two additional studies reveal that the stunningly preserved cranium likely came from a male that died at least 146,000 years ago. Its mashup of both ancient and more modern anatomical features hints at a unique placement on the human family tree.

  • How L.A.’s urban tree canopy reveals hidden inequities

    A drive from north to south down Vermont Ave in Los Angeles, California, reveals how trees on the city’s streets change with the income level of each neighborhood.

    Four areas (designated as A, B, C, and D) along a six-mile stretch of the avenue exemplify the differences between L.A.’s richest neighborhoods, filled with large shady trees, and its poorer ones, where trees are often smaller and hard to find.

    This disparity, in full view if one knows to look for it, is one that leaves many residents exposed to increasing and unhealthy heat levels.

    #urbanisme #habitabilité #arbre #ségrégation #inégalités

  • Starling murmurations are dazzling, ubiquitous, and puzzling

    Look up on a fall or winter day in the Northern Hemisphere and you may see the fast, synchronous cloud of thousands of birds swirling over their roosts. While migrating south, starlings take rest stops for a few weeks at a time and perform murmurations together at dusk, sometimes lasting up to 45 minutes at a time.

    The most common explanation is that murmurations are a defense against predators. But these massive flocks can also attract predators, making the phenomenon a scientific mystery.

    Peregrine falcons, starlings’ most common predators in North America, elicit the most elaborate murmurations. A frequent hunting strategy is to attack the flock once, suddenly and from a distance.

    #oiseaux #murmuration

  • Parasites are going extinct. Here’s why we need to save them.

    They’re “gross and slimy and flaccid and wiggling.” But parasites can be just as important as more charismatic animals—and many may be on the verge of disappearing.

  • Vintage Video Explains How Road Maps Were Made in 1940

    Déjà signalé mais ce film est vraiment trop kitch et trop drôle. Le NG présente une version raccoucie de 2 minutes mais le film de 8 minutes est visible ici :

    Et c’est beaucoup mieux

    Making road maps might seem like a mundane or even obsolete task today, but this 1940 video portrays it as a heroic endeavor. The gung-ho narrator describes how draftsmen continuously updated maps based on reports from “road scouts” who drove the country’s fast-expanding road network and sent back details on route changes: “It’s swell teamwork on the part of everyone that gets speedy, accurate information on modern road maps!”

    #cartographie #sémiologie #cartoexperiment #vidéo #caught_mapping

  • Syrian refugees complain about Gabčíkovo camp

    SYRIAN asylum seekers who have arrived from Austria and are temporarily placed in the refugee camp in Gabčíkovo (Trnava Region) are complaining about alleged bullying and insufficient care of children.

    They have already signed a petition and have tried to meet with the the management of the facility. The management, however, rejects any meetings. Moreover, they say it is only play-acting when talking to media, the website reported.

    “They promised us the same conditions as in Austria but the differences here are huge,” a 20-year-old man from Aleppo told

    There are currently more than 400 Syrians accommodated in Gabčíkovo, including 120 children. All of them are seeking asylum in Austria but have been placed in Slovakia based upon the memorandum on cooperation which was signed between Slovakia and Austria earlier this year.

    The refugees mostly complain about bad conditions for children, most of whom have already reached school age. Nobody has yet secured any courses or lessons for them. As it is possible that they may spend up to six months in the camp, it is likely that they will miss a whole year at school, according to

    The only activity for children in the camp is kindergarten, which is only open between 14:00 and 15:00, where every child younger than 18 can go. They mostly have art lessons there. The activity is led by Thawra, one of the facility’s inhabitants, the website wrote.

    The Syrians also complain about problematic medical care. While in Austria there are doctors who come to the refugee camps daily at certain hours, in Slovakia they have to ask for them. According to official information, the paediatrician visits the facility twice a week between 14:00 and 18:00, but the refugees complain that this is not always true, wrote.

    According to the memorandum, the medical care should be secured by Austria. The Syrians say that the problem is with ORS Slovakia company which manages the facility and which is also the official contract partner of the Austrian government.

    Additionally, the refugees say they are not happy about the food they receive. They also say that the kitchens are locked at night and they cannot warm food for their babies.

    “These people have escaped from war, I think it is important that they do not sleep on floor and that they have hot meal every day,” Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said, as quoted by, adding that the Gabčíkovo facility is not a hotel.

    #ORS #Slovakia #Gabčíkovo

    • Slovakia promotes Gabcikovo camp as answer to refugee problem

      Slovakia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, has showcased the Gabčíkovo camp near Bratislava as an example that intergovernmental solutions can work better than the Commission’s relocation system based on mandatory quotas.

      On Saturday (2 July) the Slovak presidency took a group of 58 Brussels journalists to Gabčíkovo, in the Trnava Region, on the border with Hungary, some 50 kilometres from Bratislava, to showcase a refugee camp run in cooperation with Austria.

      The previous day, the Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, and other officials had stated that Gabčíkovo was a proof that the country was unfairly criticised for not doing enough to share the burden of the refugee crisis the EU is faced with.

      The camp is a former technical university, which was converted in 2015 into a refugee camp for a period of two years, under a bilateral deal with Austria. So far a total of 1,200 Syrian refugees, mostly families, have been settled in the camp. Before coming to Gabčíkovo, all of them applied for asylum in Austria, and agreed to await the decision on their application in Slovakia.

      Slovakia is providing accommodation and food, while Austria has dispatched 22 social workers, who among other things, teach the refugees German.

      Karl-Heinz Grundböck, spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior of Austria, expressed thanks to the Slovak government for the assistance, which has been particularly helpful when the Austrian asylum system collapsed last summer, with no accommodation available and asylum seekers sleeping on the grass in the Traiskirchen refugee camp near Vienna.

      At present, only 14 refugees are living in the Gabčíkovo camp, but Austria would like the project to be maintained, because as Grundböck explained, the future remained uncertain.

      The total capacity of the camp, of 500 refugees, was reached during the past winter. All asylum seekers accommodated so far have ultimately received asylum and none has fled.

      Bernard Priecel, director of the migration office of the Ministry of Interior of Slovakia, explained that the refugees don’t want to remain in Slovakia, and if they are forcibly relocated there, would disappear “the next day”. He argued that instead of applying the relocation scheme, as decided upon by the Commission, other types of bilateral projects, such as Gabčíkovo, could be replicated across the EU.

      Slovakia takes EU to court over migrant quotas

      Slovakia will launch legal action by next month against an EU quota plan to distribute 160,000 refugees and migrants across the bloc, a justice ministry spokeswoman told AFP today (24 November).

      Asked if the Gabčíkovo camp has ever been visited by the Commission, Priecel said no. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the facility in October 2015.

    • Following Syrian Refugees Into an Unwelcoming Slovakia

      Late last week, after a long journey, a group of 24 young men arrived by bus in a tiny town about an hour outside of Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital city.

      Most of the men had traveled for at least a month from their homes in war-torn Syria, following a path that took them first to Turkey, then across the Aegean Sea and through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary, then into Austria.

      “We lost everything in our country,” says Mahmood Alokla, 24, who came from outside Damascus. “We lost our sisters and our brothers. We paid all our money—and for this. We don’t want it.”

      Alokla and the other refugees who were sent to a camp in Gabčíkovo (pronounced gab-chee-kovo) say they want to stay in Austria. They proudly display their Austrian ID cards. A few have family in the country. But as the result of a deal between Austrian and Slovak leaders, the refugees were put on a bus and moved. Some of them were separated from family members they had traveled with from Syria.

      Years of conflict in Syria, splintered warring factions, and the rise of ISIS have all driven hundreds of thousands of people to seek safer lives elsewhere. The influx of these asylum-seekers—in addition to thousands more fleeing danger zones around the Middle East and North Africa—has lead to concerns and confusion about where they can, and will, end up.

      “I want to be in Vienna,” says Abdelkarim Alorfi, 26, sitting on the crumbling steps of the main building of the refugee’s housing camp. Alorfi was separated from his brother’s family when he left Austria. “I don’t want to be here. The police are watching.”
      Pictures of Syrain refugees in Slovakia

      View Images

      Refugees collect their luggage at the camp in Gabčíkovo, Slovakia.
      Photograph by Igor Svítok, Demotix, Corbis

      The camp, made up of a series of run-down buildings belonging to the Slovak University of Technology, has been used to accommodate refugees in the past, but it’s been empty for the last six years. A police car sits in a parking lot, and others drive through on surveillance runs.

      It’s no secret that the Slovak government has been loath to accept asylum seekers from the Middle East as the number reaching Western Europe has grown to what many are calling crisis levels in recent weeks.

      In late July, Slovakia agreed to temporarily house 500 refugees from Austria in the Gabčíkovo camp. In early August, the townspeople staged a referendum that garnered a nearly 97 percent vote against allowing refugees to stay at the camp.

      Reports in mid-August indicated the Slovak government would agree to relocate up to 200 Syrians, and initially suggested that these refugees had to be Christian (the BBC reports that about ten percent of Syrians were Christian before the conflict started).

      Marches against the “Islamisation” of Slovakia and Europe have drawn crowds in Bratislava. The most recent saw an estimated 1,000 protesters just a day before the refugees arrived in Gabčíkovo. Plans for a protest against the acceptance of migrants—initiated by the far-right People’s Party and set to take place in Gabčíkovo, whose residents are mostly ethnic Hungarian—were thwarted by police earlier in September.

      On Tuesday, the EU pushed through a measure that would disperse 120,000 refugees across Europe—with Slovakia taking on fewer than 1,000 initially. Slovakia was one of four countries to vote against the proposal. Following the decision, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico continued to hold strong against quotas.

      Alorfi says he thinks he will be in Slovakia for 60 days. Others say five days. One man, speaking on his cell phone a few feet away, shouts over to the rest of the group in Arabic, “Where are we?” A few respond, “Slovakia!”

      The men say they are confused as to why they are in Slovakia. They say they were never told they would be moved out of Austria.

      “We are like animals,” says Dewan Mohammad, 33. “We are here today. We don’t know tomorrow. This is how it is for us Syrians.”
      Picture of Syrian refugees in Slovakia

      View Images

      A group of refugees that traveled from Syria to Austria were, to their surprise, moved to Slovakia, where residents have protested their arrival. Tarek Abood (left) and Abdelkarim Alorfi are among many awaiting a decision on their applications for asylum in Austria.
      Photograph by Meghan Sullivan

      The day before the refugees arrived, Slovakia’s health minister Viliam Čislák was out talking with the media about the need to be sure all the migrants were in good health and had been vaccinated. The same day, Prime Minister Robert Fico and Interior Minister Robert Kalinak told reporters that Slovakia, in conjunction with the Czech Republic, was open to creating a corridor through Slovakia to allow safe passage of refugees into Germany, if Germany supported the idea.

      The concern among many Slovaks is that their nation of 5.4 million cannot accommodate a large influx of immigrants, socially or economically. Prime Minister Fico has said that the current system doesn’t control for potential terrorists slipping in under the radar. And Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak told NPR on Friday that it doesn’t make sense to give asylum to refugees who, effectively, want to establish themselves elsewhere.

      “Sometimes you feel like no one respects you,” Alokla says. “It’s hard in Austria, but we have friends and family. We come here only because of war. “I hope to just be near my sister. It’s peace for me. As you have family, we have. As you have feelings, we have. After some time, if you see the people, you would respect us.”

      As the refugees head into the cafeteria for a lunch provided by the Slovak government, a local woman pushes her young grandson by in a stroller. When asked what she thinks of the situation, she just shrugs her shoulders.

      She and her neighbors could be seeing more migrants temporarily, or permanently, join their community soon.

    • Slovakian village doesn’t want Austria’s migrants

      Residents of the Slovakian village of Gabcikovo voted in a referendum on Sunday to reject the establishment of a temporary asylum camp to house 500 migrants bound for Austria under an agreement between Bratislava and Vienna.

      About 97 percent of voters said yes to the question “Are you against the establishment of a temporary migrant camp in the building of the Slovak Technical University?”

      According to Teodor Bodo, the head of the referendum’s electoral commission, 2,600 of Gabcikovo’s 4,300 adult residents participated in the vote, with only 102 in favour of hosting migrants.

      Local authorities organised the consultation following a petition signed by 3,150 residents of Gabcikovo. The interior ministry warned however that the outcome of the consultation was not binding.

      “The local referendum is binding on the municipality, but the interior ministry, as an organ of the state is not obliged to act according to its results,” said ministry spokeswoman Michaela Paulenova.

      Slovakia has agreed to house 500 migrants who have applied for asylum in Austria, at the end of a bilateral agreement concluded on July 21st in Vienna and designed to reduce pressure on the neighbouring country’s capabilities for receiving migrants.

      Under this agreement, hailed as “a great sign of solidarity on the part of Slovakia” by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Slovakia will pay the cost of accommodation and food for migrants while Austria will assume the personnel costs.

      Mikl-Leitner’s Slovak counterpart Robert Kalinak justified Bratislava’s gesture as a desire to “pay (its) debts” to Austria, which hosted refugees during the time of the Iron Curtain and supported Slovakia’s accession to the EU and the Schengen area.

      “Everything is ready now for Gabcikovo to accommodate migrants from Austria”, Paulenova said. The date of their arrival is however not yet known, she added.

    • Asyl : Ein Schauspiel namens Gabčíkovo

      Ein kleiner Ort in der Westslowakei sollte das Lager in Traiskirchen entlasten. Doch bisher lief nichts nach Plan.

      Wien. „Die Lage hier ist nicht gut. Das Camp ist überfüllt und sie haben uns mit 14 anderen Familien in einen 200 Quadratmeter großen Raum gesteckt“, schreibt ein zweifacher irakischer Familienvater und Arzt der „Presse“ aus dem Flüchtlingslager Traiskirchen. Die Situation sei weiter angespannt, Entlastung geboten, meint auch das Innenministerium. Einen Plan dafür gibt es. Seit Juli. 500 Asylwerber aus Traiskirchen sollen vorübergehend, bis zum Bescheid, in der Technischen Universität im westslowakischen 5000-Einwohner-Ort Gabčíkovo untergebracht werden. Die ersten wurden im Juli, dann im August, später Anfang September erwartet. Es kam immer anders.

      Das Innenministerium in Bratislava ist entnervt: „Zweimal wurden Termine abgesagt, bei denen bereits das Essen für die Flüchtlinge in Gabčíkovo vorbereitet war“, sagt Sprecher Ivan Netík Donnerstagvormittag zur „Presse“. Das sei „nicht sehr nett“ von Österreichs Behörden. „Uns ist es auch egal, aus welchen Lagern die Flüchtlinge kommen“, ergänzt er, während es in Österreich die nächste Meldung über einen abgesagten Transport gibt. 42 Syrer aus dem Zeltlager in Krumpendorf sollten nach Gabčíkovo gebracht werden, denn „wir brauchen die Ressourcen dort wegen der Neuankünfte“, sagt Karl-Heinz Grundböck, Sprecher des Innenministeriums. Der Flüchtlingsstrom mündet nun ja in Österreichs Süden. Die Flüchtlinge wollten nicht. Also stellten NGOs Ersatzquartiere auf. Wieder nichts mit Gabčíkovo.

      Die am 21. Juli vereinbarte Asylkoordination mit der Slowakei stand von Anfang an unter keinem guten Stern. 97 Prozent der Bewohner Gabčíkovos lehnten die Pläne ab. Premier Robert Fico setzte sich (nach Zögern) über die Befragung hinweg. Die Bürger sollen nun aber mit einem besseren Kamerasystem im Ort beruhigt werden. Dann das nächste Problem: Die Gründung eines slowakischen Ablegers der österreichischen Flüchtlingsorganisation ORS zog sich in die Länge (ORS ist vor Ort für Sicherheit und Betreuung zuständig). Bratislava erklärte, es warte auf Dokumente aus Österreich, wo erwidert wurde, man warte auf die slowakische Genehmigung. Am 8. September wurde sie erteilt. Schon davor dürfte man im Innenressort aber erkannt haben, dass der größte Fallstrick anderswo lauert: Asylwerber haben genauso wenig Interesse an Mittelosteuropa wie die Staaten dort an deren Aufnahme. Zwingen kann man niemanden.
      Freiwillige gesucht

      Die Asylwerber sollen nun in Informationsgesprächen für Gabčíkovo erwärmt werden. Was für den Ort spreche? „Eine adäquate Unterkunft“, sagt Grundböck. In Traiskirchen gebe es ja teils Zelte. Mitgrund für das geringe Interesse seien die Bilder aus Ungarn und dass der Eindruck entstanden sei, Deutschland nehme alle auf, sagt Grundböck. Wobei im Smartphone-Zeitalter den Asylwerbern auch die Haltung der Slowakei nicht entgangen sein dürfte, die in der Aussage gipfelte, man akzeptiere nur Christen.

      Gestern trafen dann doch erste Asylwerber in Gabčikovo ein. 18 Syrer wurden aus Salzburgs Schwarzenbergkaserne in den Ort gefahren. Den ersten Transport aus Traiskirchen sollte es erst geben, wenn sich 50 Asylwerber gefunden haben. Auch dieser Plan wurde noch am selben Tag verworfen, als die Ersten aus Traiskirchen nach Gabčíkovo gebracht wurden: Es waren sechs Asylwerber an der Zahl.

      ("Die Presse", Print-Ausgabe, 18.09.2015)

  • Horseshoe crab blood is key to making a COVID-19 vaccine—but the ecosystem may suffer.

    Despite their name, these creatures are more closely related to spiders and scorpions than crabs. They also have nine eyes—two compound eyes and seven simple ones.


  • En Alaska, les glaciers fondent 100 fois plus vite que prévu | National Geographic

    Une nouvelle méthode de mesure de la fonte des glaciers sous le niveau de la mer a permis d’aboutir à une découverte surprenante : certains glaciers fondent cent fois plus vite que ne l’avaient prévu les scientifiques.


  • Pirate maps were the most valuable treasure of all

    In 1680, English pirate Bartholomew Sharpe and 300 men crossed the Central American isthmus at Panama, captured a Spanish ship, the Trinity, and used it to raid Spanish vessels up and down the Pacific coast of Central and South America. Their exploits became famous, in large part because they were a remarkably literate band of buccaneers: Five of the men, including Sharpe, kept detailed journals. (See also: Blackbeard Relics, Gold Found.)

    #cartographie #cartographie_ancienne #pirates #dragons #cartoexperiment

  • This Veterans Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the birth of mapmaking at National Geographic.

    How World War I launched mapmaking at National Geographic
    During World War I, the National Geographic Society began producing original maps that gave readers context for the events around the globe.
    5 Minute Read
    By Becky Little

    PUBLISHED November 9, 2018

    In the summer of 1914, Americans began reading news accounts of a conflict that would soon be called the Great War—and that would draw the United States in three years later. (See also: The United States Enters World War I).
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    But it was National Geographic’s maps that quickly helped Americans grasp the sweep of a conflict so vast that it would later become known as the First World War.

    “People who followed the war at all followed it by reading newspapers...and maps were a very important way to make sense of these faraway places [and] strange names,” says Robert Poole, a former executive editor at #National_Geographic magazine and author of a book on the history of the magazine.

    #dragons #carto_experiment #géographie #cartographie #histoire #pgm

  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Imola Plan changed mapping from art to science

    #Leonardo_da_Vinci transformed mapping from art to science
    Applying math and measurement, Leonardo created a beautiful and practical map of Imola accurate enough to navigate the Italian city today.

    #dragons #carto_experiment #géographie #cartographie #sciences

  • Fauci: No scientific evidence the #coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab

    One topic in the news lately has been the origins of SAR-CoV-2. Do you believe or is there evidence that the virus was made in the lab in China or accidentally released from a lab in China?

    If you look at the evolution of the virus in bats, and what’s out there now is very, very strongly leaning toward this [virus] could not have been artificially or deliberately manipulated—the way the mutations have naturally evolved. A number of very qualified evolutionary biologists have said that everything about the stepwise evolution over time strongly indicates that it evolved in nature and then jumped species.

    Sure, but what if scientists found the virus outside the lab, brought it back, and then it escaped?

    But that means it was in the wild to begin with. That’s why I don’t get what they’re talking about [and] why I don’t spend a lot of time going in on this circular argument.