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  • Earthling 3:16 pm on 24th February 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: crime in moscow, cybersurveillance squads in russian schools, data insecurity, data privacy for genocide victims, , facial recognition glasses for police in moscow, hardcore surveillance in moscow, internet freedom in mother russia, internet freedom in the russian military, kids looking at extreme content, , places criminals can't hide in russia, street cameras in moscow,   

    February Internet Freedom Update 

    “Hello, is this the FSB? I found two terrorists, they’re yelling that they were just playing.”

    Moscow becomes the first Russian city with total surveillance
    The Moscow government has planned to provide police with facial-recognition glasses, and this system will also be connected to traffic cameras this year.
    The Department of Information technology (DIT) of the Moscow City Hall will order the development of augmented reality glasses with facial recognition capacity for the police, said sources involved in the preparation of the project and the interlocutor of RBC in the city hall.
    Moscow’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced the street camera facial recognition system this January: “Facial recognition to search for criminals has already been implemented in the subway, and this year will be on the street cameras. And it would be cool: criminals will stay away from Moscow, they can’t hide here.”
    According to him, currently, the urban video surveillance system has 167,000 cameras — they are in courtyards, entryways, parks, schools, clinics, retail outlets and construction sites, as well as in the halls of the Executive Branch and other public places. Sobyanin noted that footage from the cameras is used in the investigations of about 70% of offences.
    Complaints from citizens will now trigger unscheduled inspections of internet companies
    The Russian government has approved new rules for the organization and implementation of state control and supervision of personal data processing.
    Accoring to Roskomnadzor, the audits are conducted in relation to the activities of companies (their documents, local acts and information systems) for compliance with the Federal law “On personal data”.
    Complaints from citizens with proven facts of human rights abuses and violations identified by supervisors will now be a ground for unscheduled audits, which will be conducted after consultation with the Prosecutor’s office.
    Several regions of Russia have cyber-surveillance squads
    Authorities continue to support organizations that monitor the internet and collaborate with government agencies to identify “prohibited materials”, but in some regions they have gone further by entrusting these organizations with the surveillance of students.
    In a number of republics (states) of Russia, local authorities continue to create cells of pseudo-public cybersquad organizations. They are entrusted with legally questionable tasks. For example, last year we learned about the involvement of the Kogalym authorities in monitoring the internet to search for materials of extremist, terrorist and drug-oriented content accessible to minors.
    The same trend is continuing this year. Ugra reported on the establishment of cybersquad cells for as many as 151 of the General Education organization districts, “to ensure information security”. According to the district’s Department of Public and External Relations, the cybersquads only checked 11,789 internet resources in the last year. Complaints included resources where published information was aimed at the promotion of drugs or suicide, among other things. The department said that young people identified 774 antisocial actions on the internet, and at the request of cybersquads 330 internet pages were taken down by Roskomnadzor.
    Concerns have been raised about the age of these students monitoring extreme content, as they are hardly young adults.
    Strange methods of working with young people have been demonstrated the leadership of one of the medical educational institutions of Kazan. A video has spread online, which shows an assembly in a medical college where students are warned about the cooperation of the college administration with some local cyberquad, and its spying on students’ social network accounts:
    “We work with Cybersquad of the Republic of Tatarstan. All of your social networks, your contacts, Telegram, Instagram, are under control, under our strict control. Because again, our goal is the health of the citizens. Psychological, ideological and moral health. These are the three main components.”
    If this is not bravado from the college teachers, but a very real fact, then here is a violation of Russian law, since we are talking about unauthorized spying on citizens, even “informally”. It is known that the regional cybersquad office appeared in Tatarstan in 2016. Citizens who enter there conduct “raids” on the web in search of content that could be dangerous. Apparently, during these questionable activities, “cybercombatants” acquired a taste [for interesting content], and the administration of the university decided to pass the task of teaching onto somebody else’s shoulders, while at the same time trying to discover the secrets of their students. But thank you, dear teachers, for at least warning about surveillance…
    State Duma adopts law on internet restrictions for military personnel
    The text of the new legislation forbids military personnel to post information about their close relatives, colleagues, command, or locations of military units, and restricts the use of devices that can distribute audio, photos, videos and location data via the internet. All in all, this seems reasonable from a military point of view.
    Above content was mostly translated and paraphrased from Roskomsvoboda (CC4-licensed) by an anonymous student of Russian with the help of Google and Yandex machine translation services.
    Google Fesses Up To Hidden Microphone In Nest Home Security Platform
    Millions of genocide victims in China also have their data exposed online
    Millions of Swedish healthcare hotline calls left unprotected online

  • Earthling 4:09 pm on 20th February 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abaran-Su, Aghri-dagh, Ahaltzikhe, Airarat, Akampsis, Akhlath, Akhurean, Akstafa, Alagoz, Alatsovit, Albag, Alibaug, Aliovit, Alotz, Althamar islet, Altzniq, Ani, Apahunik, Aragadz, Aragatsotn, Ararat, Araxene plain, Araxes, Araxes civilization, Arberani, Ardahan, Ardzrunian Armenia and Geography, arghidag, arghidag History of Armenia, Armenian agriculture, Armenian black lands, Armenian chernozem, Armenian geography, armenian geography and history, Armenian Taurus, Arpa-chai, Arran, Arsharuniq, Artahan, Ashotz, Asthianene, backbone of armenia, Bagratid Armenia and Geography, Bagrevand, Barda, Basean, Basil II and Armenian geography, basins of armenia, Batum, bayonetted geography, Bingol mountains, Bitlis, Bitlis River, Blue Lake Armenia, Bzuniq, Chakatk, Chorokh, Colchis, Commagene, crateriform mountains in armenia, Dariunk, Dersim, Dvin, Dwin, Ekeleatz, Erzerum, Erzincan, Euphrates, fishy softwater of lake sevan, Gabeleanq, Ganja, Gargar, glens of armenia, Gogarene, Gok-Chai, Golthen, Golthn, Goomgoom, Gorjiak, Goumgoum, Gugark, gugarq, Gumgum, Guria, Hachich, Hanzeth, hanzith, Harput, Harq, Hashteanq, Hashtenq, high-quality fertile Armenian soil, Histoire de l'Armenia, historical armenia, Imereti, Julfa, Kandil-dagh, Kara su, , Karduene, Karpi-chai, Kars, Kemah, Khemsdinan chain, Khoith, Khoy, Khozan, Kingdom of Urartu, Kizilchai, Kogovit, Koh-i-nuh, Kolaver, Kop-dagh, Kori, Kotaiq, Koura, Kura, , Lake Sevan, Lake Urmia, Lazare of Pharpi, Lazica, Leninakan, little caucasus of armenia, Liz, Lori, Malatya, Manazkert, Manzikert, Mardastan, Masis, massifs of Armenia, Mekhethi, Melazkert, Miocene Armenia, Moghan, Mogk, , Mount Ararat, mountain ranges in armenia, mountains of the devil, Moush, Moxoene, Murad-chai, Nakhichevan, Narek, NarekOstan, Noah's ark, Oltichai, Ostan, Paghnatun, Palnatun, Palu, Pleocene Armenia, pontic, Province of Tao, Qarabagh, quaternary period, R. blanchard, Rene Grousset, Reshtunik, Sason, Sasun, Shaytan-dagh, Shusha, Shusha region, Sipan, Sivan-Maden, Sophene, Sourb-Khatch, Strabon, Suram, Syunik, table of tekman, Tao, Taron, Taronitide, Tendurek, Tendurek mountains, Theodosiopolis, Tiflis, Tigrus, Tmorik, Tosp, troglodytism in Armenia, Tsophk, Turuberan, valleys of armenia, Vanand, Vannic Armenia, Vaspurakan province, Vishapazunk, Where noah's ark landed, Xenophon, Yerevan, Zagros mountains, Zengi-chai, Zikar   


    Image of Armenian Plateau from Ahmed Soyuk on Panoramio (CC3 License)


    General characteristics of Armenian geography
    Armenia, according to the geographer R. Blanchard’s definition, is “an enormous mountain range towering over the depressions of Transcaucasia and Mesopotamia,” or rather it is simultaneously a mountain range “because its frame is formed of adjacent folds” and a plateau “because its folds are drowned in eruptive effusions.” Briefly, “a great natural fortress with steep outskirts, but containing behind its battlements tables, basins and plateaus,” with “a striking contrast between the walls of the periphery and the relatively softer forms of the interior relief.” (Average height of the peripheral chains is 3000 to 4000 meters; the inner plateau is 1500 to 1800). Moreover, a new conflict is manifest in the interior itself, again “between high mountains, wild and deserted, and fertile basins, populated by sedentary people, basins that Armenia is dispersed between.” (1)
    One could not better formulate the two characteristics of Armenian geography: the profound individuality of this country in comparison to other lands of Western Asia, and its interior compartmentalization. From these geographical facts the two constants of Armenian history ensue: on one hand, the powerful “personality” of the Armenian nation, a personality which has enabled it to survive through all its invasions, dominations, and catastrophes; on the other hand, the inveterate feudalism which, from antiquity to 1064, was a cause of weakness and discord for Armenia.
    The Defense of the Armenian Fortress: the Mountains Bordering the North.
    In accordance with these general facts, the Armenian territory is divided into a certain number of well-distinguished zones.
    First are the border mountains that separate Armenia in the north from Transcaucasia and primarily the Georgian countries; and in the South, from the Mesopotamian plains. Strabon (XI, 14, 2) already remarked that “the circumference of Armenia is almost entirely composed of lowlands and mountainous land.”
    The northern ridge is highly elevated, between 3000 and 4000 meters. It is composed of three distinctly parallel chains which curve in the arc of a concave circle from the West to the East, from the North of Erzincan to the height of Tiflis, then from the Tiflis region to the Shusha region.
    In the northwest sector of this area, from Batum to the pass of Suram, the Pontic territory, with its abundant rains and soft climate, adorns the mountains, or at least their reverse to the north, with magnificent vegetation. It is the country known in antiquity as Lazica. Cantons, moreover, are cut “in a disorder of crests and gulfs with an impenetrable undergrowth of hollies, laurels, azaleas, and rhododendrons.” Let us note, however, that the Chorokh (ancient Akampsis) and its tributary the Oltichai, through their valleys across the adjacent chains, successfully establish a means of penetration into the interior, as we notably see in the campaigns of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II.
    The forested surfaces of the peripheral chains that separate Armenia from Guria and Imereti (ancient Colchis) come to an end on the southern slopes. The northern side, still covered with pine trees, is contradicted by the south with its naked slopes, and this dryness gains the northern side as it leaves the basin of the Black Sea and meets that of the Caspian. The upper Koura in the ancient district of Kolaver, around Ardahan or Artahan, to the north of Kars, still benefits from Pontic rains. Further to the East, the mountains are bared. Nevertheless, the floors of the valleys, and especially the gorges, preserve even here their jewelry of forests: thus the valley of Akstafa, in the region of Lori, is celebrated for its pine trees, plane trees, and gigantic walnut trees.
    The northern border chain thus runs in the arc of a concave circle, surrounding the country from Erzincan to Ardahan and from Ardahan to Lake Sevan, across the ancient provinces of Tao, Kolaver, Alotz, and Gugark, the ancient Gogarene. Near Sevan, it divides into two masses which encircle the lake and surround the province of Karabakh as well (the region of Ganja and Barda), a “plateau built from layers of lava, the highlands of which display a steppic vegetation between the forested mountains,” while remaining brilliantly drained by the last southern tributaries of the right side of the Koura.
    The Araxes clears a passage between these mountains, to the north those of Syunik (the land between Lake Sevan and Nakhichevan) and Karabakh, and to the south those of Persian Azerbaijan; it puts Armenia in direct communication with Iran. The valley of one of the southern tributaries of the Araxes, the Kizilchai which waters the country of Khoy (Her in Armenian) in Azerbaijan, was the way by which the Iranian invasions have always penetrated Armenia from the side of Julfa and Nakhichevan, the ancient district of Golthen or Goghtn. Farther to the East, at the Araxes’ exit from Armenia, it waters the grassy steppes of the Arran (on its right bank) and Moghan (on its left bank) which have always served as way stations for turco-mongol nomads in their push towards the Armenian fortress. In advancing in this direction, Karabakh, Syunik and Golthn form something of an “Armenian March,” destined to be a front against these thrusts from the steppe. Nevertheless the neighborhood of the Iranian plateau made itself strongly felt with its climate, that of the dry steppes of Persia; with the naked and almost metallic appearance of the mountains; with its character of an oasis of towns surrounded by vineyards, cotton plantations, and rice fields shaded by tall plane trees, contrasting with the emptiness of the surrounding land.
    The Defense of the Armenian Fortress: the Mountains Bordering the South
    The area bordering the south, with its mountainous massif separating Armenia from Mesopotamia, forms Kurdistan today. The chains oriented from the east to the west, which constitute the skeleton, stand 3000 meters above the Assyrian plains in the southeast. These are the ancient geographer’s districts of Moxoene and Karduene, the Mogk and Gorjaik of Armenian nomenclature. The same mountainous system continues to the West, from the region of Bitlis to the south of Harput and Malatya. It is this “Armenian Taurus” that dominates the ancient province of Khoith, Sason, Palu, and the medieval province of Khanzith, Hanzith or Hanzeth (or country of Harput), this last being included in the ancient Sophene. To descend the Armenian massif towards the Mesopotamian plain, the Tigrus, the Euphrates and their tributaries widen across this mountainous ridge of true canyons, “terrible gashes.” Thus the gorges of the eastern tributaries of the Tigrus cross the Khemsdinan chain, in the provinces of Gorjaik, Tmorik, and southern Albag (or Alibaug). Thus the gorges of the Euphrates, with their sharp bends and “bayonetted routes,” enter the ancient Commagene and Sophene, particularly in the province of Hanzith or Hanzeth, already cited, between Harput and Gargar.
    Concerning the appearance of these border mountains of the southerly zone, the geographers compare them to those of our Alpine southerly zone: after the flora of the Alpine meadows come the forests of mountain chains, to which can be added, in well-watered valleys, the wild mulberry, the fig and poplar trees; and finally in the lowest hills, the vine, and even cotton and rice. Nevertheless, in Kurdistan proper, the depth and narrowness of the gorges renders communications practically impossible for a part of the year. The only truly passable valley here is that of the Bitlis River, by which one gains access from Kurdistan to Vannic Armenia, around the provinces of Khoith (southwest of the lake of Van) and Reshtunik (south of the lake).
    This division, this cloistering of the valleys, has dictated the fate of the country, which is fragmented into townships which are still practically autonomous. “They live in little communities entrenched in the heights of the valleys,” writes R. Blanchard. “It’s a total dispersal. All the villages are installed in defensive eagle’s-nest sites. The houses are set up like stairs on a slope, each flat roof serving as a courtyard for the house above it.”
    In the Interior of the Armenian Fortress: the Summits.
    The Armenian plateau extends throughout the interior of the circular double arc of border chains. “Goodbye wooded crests,” writes R. Blanchard, “rough slopes where water flows, labyrinth of gorges from which mist arises. The country opens up, lowers itself, the lines soften and take form. Noble shapes, convexes, extend infinitely. The mountains have disappeared: here are the plateaus. Vegetation withers under the feeble radiance of a steppe sky. The green gives way to yellows and ochres. In descending the hill of Zikar towards Akhaltzikhe*, from Karabakh to the Gok-Chai (or Lake Sevan), from Bitlis to the plain of Moush**, the same contrast appears: it has struck all the explorers of Armenia.”
    * That is to say, in passing from Imereti towards the province of Meskhethi in the greater basin of the Koura, at the Armenio-Georgian fringes.
    ** The plain of Moush, between Khoith, Sasun and Taron.
    Is this to say that there is a central plateau with a uniform surface? Not at all. The plateau, because in the whole there is a plateau , is sowed with mountains even taller than those of the periphery. A section of them constitute a succession of folds which are oriented, like the border chain itself, from east to west. One of these folds begins, from the west side, with the chain, still partly wooded, from Dersim (the medieval provinces of Kemah, Khozan, and Palnatun), the ancient Acilisene. This chain is continued towards the East by the Shaytan-dagh chain (the mountains of the Devil), then the Bingöl chain. It is doubled in the North by “the backbone of Armenia”, which runs from the north of Erzincan to the south of Erzerum and ends at the Aghri-dagh ridge, from the north of the medieval district of Bagrevand up until the district of Chakatk. At Aghri-dagh follows, bending towards the south and southeast, the Tendurek chain, which in the medieval town of Kogovit completes the separation of northern Armenia the country of Ani and Kars from Vannic Armenia. And the Tendurek chain in turn rejoins the dividing line which, from the north to the south and across the vast province of Vaspurakan, separates the Lake Van Basin from the Lake Urmia Basin. Further yet to the south, this ridge goes on to sunder itself to the Zagros Mountains.
    This series of inner chains which cuts through the middle of Armenia from west to east has played the historical role of an interior barrier, largely responsible for Armenian dualism. At the apex of Armenian history, in the 10th century, we will in fact see two opposed Armenias: the Bagratid Armenia in the north around Ani and Kars, and the Ardzrunian Armenia in the South, in the Vannic region, at Vaspurakan; a dualism which will prevent the final union of Armenia at the decisive hour and pave the way for Byzantine annexation.
    After these chains, the mountains become isolated due to volcanism. Some of them are clearly crateriform, such as Sipan, Nimrud and Tendurek. Sipan, with a height of 4176 meters, stands to the north of the Lake Van, between the lake and the city of Manazkert, Melazkert, or Manzikert, in the district of Aliovit. Nimrud is situated to the west of the lake, in the town of Bzuniq, to the west of the town of Khelath or Akhlath. Its crater is 8 kilometers in diameter and it stands 1200 meters above Lake Van, 1600 to 1700 meters above the plain of Moush. As for Tendurek, with a height of 2500 meters, it peaks at the summit of the chain of the same name, to the south of Ararat, between Ararat and the northeast point of Lake Van, in the ancient district of Kogovit, to the southwest of the town of Dariunk, the contemporary Bayazid.
    One can see the extent to which Lake Van is surrounded by volcanism. But northern Armenia is hardly less rich in eruptive phenomena. Between Kars and Yerevan, in the north of the Aragatsotn province, to the south of the Ashotz, to the east of Apahunik province, the massif of Alagoz (Aragadz in Armenian), “A Cantal of 150 kilometers width, 4095 meters height,” stands over a landscape of beautiful prairies with cultivated land climbing up to 2500 beside them. More famous yet is Ararat which, in the province of the same name (Airarat), between Dvin and the Kogovit, raises its main summit at 5205 meters, with its eternal snow beginning at 4180 meters. It is the Masis of the Armenians, the divine mountain of their old paganism, inhabited by genies or children of a dragon (vishapazunk), the mountain which the Bible has the Ark of Noah stop on after the Flood, the Koh-i Nuh, the “mountain of Noah”, the Arghidagh, “the mountain of the Ark” of Muslims.
    The Plateaus
    In spite of these high peaks, the greater part of the Armenian plateau actually consists of the plateaus themselves. Thus we find, at the east of the Dersim chain, between Erzerum to the north and Bingöl-dagh to the south, the “pool table” which is Bingöl province (2), “roof of the waters” from which descend, at the same time, the sources of the Araxes and those of the Euphrates, in the ancient town of Havchich, a dependent of Turuberan province. Another example, more to the northwest, in the ancient district of Mardali, is the “table of Tekman,” with its black plateaus “covered with yellowish fennel and a meager steppic flora giving mediocre pasturage.” To the north of these plateaus, between them and the Kop-dagh chain or the Kandil-dagh massif, stands Erzerum, the Byzantine Theodosiopolis, the Armenian Karin, which is the junction point for the paths connecting the upper Kara Su valley (in other words the upper Euphrates) to the sources of the Araxes. In other words, it is the point of junction between ancient Roman Armenia and Persian Armenia, hence the important role of the ancient city and of the province situated further east, to which it prevents access.
    The Good Armenian Land
    Next to this picturesque Armenia, that of summits and high plateaus , is useful Armenia, which is essentially made up of ancient basins where the Miocene sea, in withdrawing, left strings of lagoons. In the Pliocene period, when the marine regression was completed, this lagoon pattern seasoned the whole of Armenia. In the Quaternary period, the ancient lakes became empty. This is what happened in the plain of the Araxes around Yerevan, an ancient lake which became dry when the flood forced the natural barrier of the mountain to the southwest. “But the vanished lake left a light and fertile land in its former location, a land formed from silt brought by the Araxes, which still covers ancient lava beds to this day.” (3) It was in fact around the same time, in the Quaternary period, that the aforementioned formidable volcanic eruptions finished giving the Armenian land its physiognomy, the lava and silt concurrently filling the ancient basins or dividing them into many sections. It was thus, for example, that the volcano of Nimrud “cut off the depression of Moush from the lake of Van,” while the volcanos of Akmangan, which R. Blanchard compares to our Puys in Auvergne , gave birth to the fishy softwater lake known as the Sevan or Blue Lake (Gök-chai).
    Thus, “the good Armenian land” is made of a mixture of lakeside sediments, marls, clays and limestones , with volcanic soils at the foot of Mount Ararat which (like those of the Vesuvius) are among the most fertile in the world. As Egyptian agriculture is a gift from the Nile, and as Chinese agriculture is a gift from the Loess Plateau, so too is Armenian agriculture a gift from the volcano and the lake. The production of arable land continues today under our very eyes in the vast marsh called sazluk which is found especially to the north of Erzerum, on the upper Kara Su or Western Euphrates. These are the last evidences of the immense prehistoric marshes that deposited, at the bottom of valleys, “this black humus, so rich in organic debris, capable of bringing plentiful harvests every year without fertizilation.”
    Agricultural and Pastoral Wealth of the Northwest Provinces
    Geographers divide the thusly formed cultural zones into two categories, according to latitude: the Northwest Zone, and the South and East Zone.
    In the Northwest are expanses of high plains, very cold, very harsh in climate, with vegetation that has been called, not without exaggeration, “qausi-polar”: the basin of Erzerum (or to the north of Erzerum) and that of Basean are respectively at 1800 and 1600 meters of altitude. It is a matter, then, of high steppes as defined in the Mongolian regions. At Erzerum the winter is seven months, the spring reveals itself to be scorching, and agricultural work cannot commence until April. At Kars the cold can reach 40 degrees. Xenophon had already made observations of this order in his Anabase. During his crossing of western Armenia between the eastern Euphrates (our Murad-chai) and what he calls “The Stage”, that is to say the sources of the Araxes, between the region of Moush and that of Erzerum, he noted that the climate obliged the populations to resort to troglodytism in the winter. (4) The practice still continues today there and all the way up to the northeast, as we can see around Lake Sevan, where the peasants winter their livestock in subterranean shepherds’ barns.
    If we add that the snow can remain for eight months while rain is rare, and that because of this the country is almost completely devoid of trees, but that on the other hand, the spring seasons are torrid because of the latitude, the picture of the analogies between the Armenian and Central Asian climates will be complete, with the botanical consequences that ensue. The geographer R. Blanchard describes these high northwestern Armenian plains as “an area of stipa steppes where grasses dominate, along with thorny Asiatic shrubs, continuing toward the West with the flora of Iran and rising without interruption to the thin Alpine plants of the high plateaus of Bingöl.”
    A country of this nature can, like Mongolia, remain dedicated to the nomadic life. How is it that in spite of its sometimes so inhospitable appearance, the sedentary people (and that is the whole history of the Armenian people) have been fixed and still prospered to this extent? It is because, as we declared above, the arable soil here is admirably fertile. “The decomposition of volcanic elements and their mixing with the soft sediments of the Miocene and Pleocene periods have formed superb soils, true black lands (analogous to the chernozem of Ukraine) that are easy and rewarding to cultivate.” As the torrid heat of the spring melts the thick layers of snow, the abundance of water augments the wealth of the soil. Not only did these “Armenian steppes” reveal themselves to be perfect land for grains, but at the side of the volcanos these grains sometimes rise to 2500 meters. Wheat, rye, and barley are here among them. Certain districts, benefiting from hot and humid springs, have even corn and sometimes rice. As in Scandinavia and Canada, the speed of germination in northern Armenia compensated for the brevity of its beautiful days. There too “one hears the wheat cracking.”
    One shouldn’t be surprised by the intensity of the agricultural life in the ancient provinces of Ekeleatz (the Erzincan basin, the ancient Erez, our Armenian Erzenka), Karin (the Erzerum basin) and Basean (upper course of the Araxes, close to its source, to the east of Erzerum). Xenophon, in the passage above cited, already showed that the harshness of the climate is not an obstacle to rural prosperity: wealth in livestock, barley and wheat, nothing was missing for these hardy troglodytes he described for us. (5) But the travelers who pay homage to such an agricultural wealth insist at the same time on the harsh character of these highlands, these expanses without trees, “these bare plains, closed off by equally bare slopes”, unfolding themselves in landscapes of a poignant severity. This austerity of the landscape and climate, combined with the wealth of a soil predestined for agriculture, has determined in many respects the very character of the Armenian race, a race of peasants whose persistence has maintained, for so many centuries, a European tillage at the frontier of the Asiatic steppe.
    The Superiority of the Southern and Eastern Basins
    The southern and eastern basins are generally less cold. Even if the snows covering the summits in Kurdistan and the Armenian Taurus persist in the spring, there is only benefit from this, since the streams that ensure the watering of the plants thus continue their flow through the dry season. The orchards too lack nothing compared to those of Europe. We are here in the “classic” provinces of Armenian history. The basin to the north of Kharput is the ancient Akilisene and part of ancient Sophene, Hanzeth or Hanzith, the Tsophk of the high middle age. The basin of Jabalashur, to the north of Sivan-Maden, touches ancient Asthianene, the medieval district of Hashteanq or Hashtenq. Further to the north, the basin of Kighi noticeably corresponds to the medieval district of Khorzeanq or Khordzenq, the Khorzianene of the Greeks, between Paghnatun and the province of Turuberan. The important basin of Moush corresponds to the province of Taron whose rulers have played such a large role in Armenio-Byzantine history. Further to the north, the basins of Liz and Goumgoum stretch between the ancient districts of Arshamuniq, Harq, and Kori, in Turuberan.
    To the northeast of Goumgoum is the basin of Khinis, on the opposite eastern side of mount Bingöl, to the south of the ancient districts of Havchich and Alori. On the other hand, to the north, northwest of the Lake Van, extends the rich basin of Manazkert (Manzikert) which shines on ancient Harq and Kori to the west and touches the Tuaradoi-taph to the north, and the Apahuniq to the east. Finally, the northeast regions contain the two largest agricultural zones. First is the basin of Alashkert which corresponds to the famous Bagrevand province until Gabeleanq. Then is the immense basin of the middle Araxes, also called the basin of Yerevan, which includes the entire valley of the river from the confluence of the river in Kars to the area outside Julfa, across the best districts of the ancient province of Airarat.*
    Let’s not forget to mention the agricultural lands on the eastern side of Lake Van, which the districts of Mardastan and Tosp depend upon (this latter town forming a suburb of the city of Van.
    *  From the ancient district of Kotaïq to Vakhchavan et Golthen or Golthn.
    The Middle Araxes Basin
    Particular attention should be paid to the basin of the middle Araxes and its hinterland in the high valleys of Akhurean, Arpa-chai or Ani River, and Kars-chai or Kars River. The Araxes, in descending from 1500 meters to reach the plain of Yerevan, receives the Silav, the Karpi-chai or Abaran-Su which waters the patriarchal city of Echmiadzin (Valarshapat in antiquity), and the Zengi-chai, which is the watercourse of Yerevan and the Lake Sevan region. The snows of Ararat and Alagöz, as well as the summits of the Armenian “Little Caucasus”, contribute to the feeding of this rich water system. Thus are born “thousands of sources and streams that maintain the freshness of the valleys and glens during the great heat of the summer, ensuring the watering of orchards and fields, and only rejoining the Araxes at the time of the great spring rains.”
    In the prehistoric period and doubtless in antiquity as well, this whole region was covered with forests, but the pastoral life, here as elsewhere, deforested the valleys and hills. At least the valleys have lost nothing of their fertility, thanks to the abundance of the waters and an exposure to sunlight which reminds us that in spite of the altitude, we are here at the latitude of southern Italy. “In the valleys,” notes Morgan, “the vegetation is most often ahead of that of the immediate surroundings of Yerevan, because this large plain, being less well-secured from the northern winds, endures very harsh winters. Nevertheless, vine and fruit trees grow in abundance, and in the vineyards of Masis (Ararat) they still harvest excellent wine.”
    The Armenian colonies which have expanded or persisted further to the east, between Julfa and Shusha, on the edge of Qarabagh (“the Black Garden”) and along the lower Araxes, one finds the same prosperity along the sides of the river. In the streams of the Araxes, downstream of Julfa, “wheat grows with surprising vigor, the vine enlaces in its branches the highest trees, reaches the tops of walnut trees with monstrous trunks, and spreads out in giant garlands above thickets which are sometimes ancient. The villages disappear under the greenery, buried in veritable forests of fruit trees, incomparable orchards where peach trees, prune trees, apricot trees, fig trees, pomegranate trees, apple trees, and pear trees blossom.”
    Moreover, we find this fertility already attested in Strabon: “If one penetrates into the interior of Armenia,” the Greek geographer tells us, “one finds many mountains and dry plateaus where the vine itself does not come except with difficulty, but one encounters there many valleys… of an incomparable richness. Such is, for example, this Araxene plain which the Araxes crosses in all its length before flowing into the Caspian. We can even mention Gogarene*, for this plain consistently abounds in grains and fruit trees…” (6) The Armenian chronicler Lazare of Pharpi too celebrates this “magnificent province of Ararat, so fertile and fruitful. Its plains are immense and brimming with game. The surrounding mountains, agreeably situated and rich in pasturelands, are populated by ruminants. From the top of its mountains, waters flow and water the fields, which have no need of fertilization by man. The lively perfume of fragrant flowers offers health to hunters and to shepherds who live under the vault of heaven. The fertility of the fields fulfills the wishes of a nation of laborers.” (7)
    *  The medieval district of Armenian Gugark, at the northeast point of Lake Sevan.
    The Vannic Region
    The lands of southern Armenia have against those of the North the advantage of a less elevated altitude with an equal fertility. The plain of Moush, for example, which commands old Taron (the Taronitide of Greek geographers), is destined by nature to be at the same time a garden and a breadbasket for grains. Let us add, in this Armenian Midi, the heat: at Kharput, up to +34° in the Summer. We also see in this country, the ancient Sophene, the medieval Hanzith, the coming forth of the vine and fruit trees of Europe, together with the silkworm farming that establishes itself there today. Particular attention must be accorded in this respect to Lake Van (Dzov-Vana in Armenian), which is the Thospitis of Strabon and Ptolemy. “Created by a volcanic barrier formed in a recent period by the Nemrut” and still lightly salted, Lake Van exercises a beneficial influence: its vast layer of water, six times as vast as Lake Geneva, plays a regulating role by softening the climate and rendering possible highly varied cultured lands. It is thus that one sees a properly Mediterranean vegetation announce itself: at Khelath (Akhlath), for example, on the northern bank, in the medieval district of Bzuniq, fields of olive trees prosper.
    In fact, the Vannic region has played a considerable role in history. In pre-Armenian history, it was the center of the Kingdom of Urartu. In the high middle ages we see around the lake some of the most prosperous provinces of feudal Armenia: in the north, Turuberan, with the historic districts of Aliovit (to the south of Manazkert) and Bzuniq (around Khelath); to the West, the Altzniq, upon which the district of Khoith depended (between the lake and the land of Moush); to the south, the province of Mokq or Moks, the ancient Moxoene, upon which the coastal district of Reshtunik depended; to the East, the very important province of Vaspurakan, the Asprakania of the Byzantine geographers, upon which depended, from north to south, the districts of Arberani, Mardastan, Alatsovit, and Tosp which was the very canton of Van. Under the Ardzruni dynasty, Vaspurakan will be a powerful kingdom counterbalancing the fortune of the Bagratid kings of Kars and Ani. Let us add that the cities of the Vannic region, Van to the East, Manazkert and Khelath to the North, Bitlis to the South, have played a crucial role in Armenian history, not to mention the sanctuaries that are huddled together on the southwest coast of the lake, such as Narek, Ostan, Sourb-Khatch and the islet Althamar.
    Whatever the cultural importance of the Vannic region, the Ararat region (ancient province of “Airat”) remains preponderant. There are the historic districts of Vanand which was the region of Kars, Shirak which was the region of Ani, Ashotz (around the present Leninakan), Aragadzotn (east of Ani), and of Arsharuniq (south of Kars), not to forget Kotaiq (around present Yerevan) and Airarat proper, upon which depends Dvin, the ancient capital, which was the very heart of Armenia, the seat of its medieval grandeur, just as today it is the sanctuary of its independence.
    1. R. Blanchard, L’Asie Occidentale, t. VIII of Géographie universelle of VIDAL DE LA BLACHE et GALLOIS (1929) p. 109 et sq.
    2. The Bingöl-dagh of the Turks is the Sermantz-léarn of the Armenian geographers, the Mount Sermantzu of the Byzantines.
    3.  F. NANSEN, L’Arménie et le Proche Orient (Geuthner, 1928), p. 135. The Greek tradition wants it to be Jason, the chief of the Argonauts, who opened an exit from the Araxes towards the Caspian (STRABON, 1. XI, ch. XIV § 13).
    4. Anabase, 1. IV, ch. V, § 25.
    5. Anabase, 1. IV, ch. V, § 25-27
    6. STRABON, 1. XI, ch. XIV, § 4.
    7. LAZARE OF PHARPI, ch. VI.

  • Earthling 11:14 am on 30th January 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bidirectional translation tools, free software, fun, funtime, open source software, software by mr. goertzel, translation funtime, translation software   

    Software Release: Translation Funtime — Alpha 1.0 

    Translation Funtime is a software designed to help translators have a fun time while translating. It can also be used to do bidirectional translations, which is a traditional language learning technique going back to the middle ages and beyond.

    • Dictionaries for French, Russian, Arabic, Sanskrit, Japanese (more coming in future releases)
    • Fun tools not featured in other translation software
    • Recycle button to facilitate bidirectional translations

    This is an ALPHA release. There are some bugs.
    Software is GNU 3.0 Licensed, Open Source, brought to you by Mr. Goertzel

  • Earthling 12:49 pm on 27th January 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Great Green Dam of Algeria, Great Green Wall, Panafrican Agency on the Great Green Wall, Sahel strip, UNCTAD   

    The Great Green Wall of Africa 

    Translated from an article by Jacques Hallard
    Confronting desertification in the African Sahel Strip means fighting the decline and degradation of arable land, enabling local populations to sustain themselves, survive and live better in certain territories where creeping desertification and recurrent dryness impede agricultural production with food crops – guarantors of a fragile food security – and lastly, trying to better adapt to climate change, which is having an effect there too: these are the challenges that inspired a joint action initiative between 11 concerned states in 2005.
    Many regional, national and international organizations have contributed to this gargantuan project, which aims for nothing less than the establishment of a strip of developed lands across more than 7,000 kilometers, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the West to the southern outlet of the Red Sea in the East, and also from Dakar in Senegal to the Republic of Djibouti.
    In order to provide management for the Great Green Wall project, the Panafrican Agency on the Great Green Wall was created in 2010 under the leadership of the African Union and the CEN-SAD (Community of Sahel-Saharan States).
    The Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel project receives support from the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). It can also benefit from achievements and experience gained from the “Great Green Dam” program carried out in Algeria since the 1970s.
    This project to restore natural resources across vast territories has notably received the technical and scientific support of the IRD (French Institute of Research for Development) in 2010 and the CSFD (French Scientific Committee on Desertification) in 2012. It seems wise to consider taking action on groups of small, well-defined geographic sectors, developing versatile gardens that enable the diversification of local foods, and involving the populations of these areas in order to convince them to avoid overgrazing in the planted zones.
    The lessons learned from the Algerian experience can help us choose which species to recommend a priori. Among these species, it has been recommended in particular to use the filao (Casuarina equisetifolia, of Australian origin, most suited to seasides), the desert date palm (Balanitesa egyptiaca), and the white gum tree (Acacia senegal). The following species have also been suggested: the African baobab (Adansonia digitata), the jujube (Ziziphus spp.) or the shea-tree (Vitellaria paradoxa), for various uses.
    The big obstacle to achieving this project is that the geographical zone in question is currently subject to much political and social instability in many states. Armed conflicts, complex civil wars and continual humanitarian crises prevent concrete and appropriate measures from being implemented in the land. National and international policies have yet to be elaborated, detailed and shared with populations, who are most often disadvantaged, for a practical implementation, which has anyhow proven urgent and indispensable.
    Work on this project began in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in 2014. But it was in 2008 that the Republic of Senegal took the lead and that’s probably why it was the results from this latter country that were reviewed and commented on. Great efforts need to made for popular education and sharing knowledge and techniques in the territories targeted by the African Great Green Wall project. The initial good results in Senegal must be expanded upon.
    Some Links:
    The Great Green Wall in the Sahel (Lengthy Academic Article)
    Africa is Building a “Wall of Trees” (Ventures Africa)
    Battle of the Desert (II): A ‘Great Green Wall for Africa’ (IPS News)

  • Earthling 4:24 pm on 26th January 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Global Environmental Collapse Renders Continuation of Growth-Based Industrial Civilization Implausible, ,   

    State of the Modern World Address — January 2019 

    Global Environmental Collapse Renders Continuation of Growth-Based Industrial Economics Implausible

  • Earthling 10:08 am on 26th January 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: counterrevolutionary pigdog fascists, , , , , legality of spy gadgets in russia, , prc, uyghur holocaust   

    January Internet Freedom Update 

    “You want to say something? Or you started to think deeply?”

    Bills providing punishment for insulting the authorities and false information are in reading
    Odious bills on punishment for insulting the authorities on the internet and spreading false news have been under discussion by the State Duma. These bills have been subject to debate in society and within the government.
    Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that “the groaning against the authorities” in the past led to the collapse of the USSR and the Russian Empire, so the introduction of responsibility for the relevant insults — is “protection of the country.” The head of the LDPR spoke approvingly about the “law on fake news”, because, in his opinion, it is necessary to suppress panic in society caused by fake news from the Internet and the media.
    Hundreds of millions of rubles to be spent searching for “anti-social phenomena and subcultures” on the web
    Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science plans to allocate 628-million rubles for searching online for information that is dangerous to the health of children. The subsidy will be provided to the non-profit organization ‘Center for the Study and Online Monitoring of the Youth Environment’, whose activity is aimed at monitoring the distribution of information on telecommunication networks. This non-profit organization was created on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 31, 2018.
    Putin signs laws that partially decriminalize reposting illegal content
    The penalties for posting illegal content on the internet have been changed from criminal to administrative, if they do not pose a public threat and are committed for the first time
    The laws in question punish people for inciting racial, national, religious and other hostility through the internet or media. Under the new amendments, criminal liability will only be for repeat offenders.
    The fine for first-time offenders will range from 10,000 to 20,000 rubles, or consist of compulsory work for up to 100 hours, or administrative arrest for up to 15 days. For legal entities the fine will be from 250,000 to 500,000 rubles.
    Russian Supreme Court partially legalizes “spy gadgets”
    A new Supreme Court ruling decided that it is only necessary to punish people for the purchase of “spy” devices if they were used to “infringe upon the constitutional rights of citizens”.
    What is meant by “spy” technologies is technological means intended for secretly obtaining information. Smartphones, video recorders and voice recorders can be recognized as such, if they are specially modified. The Supreme Court recommends not to punish people who bought “spy” pens or other devices for personal safety (to monitor their house, apartment, the safety of their relatives, animals) or by accident, according to the new decision.
    According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, illegal circulation of special technological means intended for secretly obtaining information is punishable by imprisonment of up to four years.
    According to the statistics of the Judicial Department of the Armed Forces, from January to June 2018, 86 people were convicted under this law, and only one acquitted. Cases against 50 people were dismissed during the investigation.
    Libraries to limit number of simultaneous users of ebooks
    The SKOLKOVO Foundation has developed amendments to the Civil Code, among which are rules that libraries will not be able to provide access to the same electronic copy of a publication to several users.
    In March, the State Duma is scheduled to make amendments to determine the nature of free use of educational and scientific works electronically stored in libraries. The text of the proposed amendments is:
    “allow libraries to provide remote access to electronic copies of books, provided that the user will not be able to copy the materials, as well as if the purpose is not to make a profit (currently the reader can access the electronic version of the book only in the library or archive);
    allow people to read scientific and educational materials in electronic form, of any year of publication (currently this opportunity applies only to works that have not been reprinted in Russia for more than ten years).
    Maxim Proksh, Chairman of the Intellectual Property Group, said that this would be a right, not an obligation of libraries, and also clarified that they would not be able to provide access to the same copy of an electronic work to several users at once: if a single copy is stored in the library, only one person can view it at a time, if 50 copies — then 50 users.
    “We are talking mostly about literature, because access to knowledge is the goal of the bill,” said Proksch. “However, sometimes fiction can also have an educational character, for example, for students of Humanities faculties or schoolchildren, but this applies mainly to the classics, which already has the status of the public domain. According to him, the bill applies to those books that are protected by copyright: “we have no goal to bring down the publishing market, we focus solely on making educational and scientific literature available to any resident of the country without the need to make an expensive trip to the library, where the desired copy is located.”
    The project is currently undergoing internal coordination, after which it will be submitted to the Commission of Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov. According to the plan, the document can be adopted in May this year.
    (Above content is translated and paraphrased from RoskovSvoboda.org, which is available under CC4 License)
    China undertakes manual internet censorship by visiting people
    LinkedIn supports China’s censorship regime
    Pyscho bourgeois pigdog dictators of China use information warfare to cover up Uyghur holocaust

    Save the 3 million Uyghur Muslims in Chinese concentration camps!

    China releases app showing locations of nearby people who are in debt
    Gabon, DRC, Zimbabwe shut down internet in response to conflicts
    Conservative legislators try to clean the internet, protect children with internet porn filtering act

  • Earthling 12:30 pm on 7th January 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: albian aquifer, eighth man-made wonder of the world, gaddafi, GMR, great man-made river, great man-made river of libya, harm of libyan war, harm of western imperialism, moammar gaddafi   

    The Great Libyan Man-Made River and the Albian Aquifer in the Maghreb 

    Are very large-scale construction projects always useful and advisable, both in terms of meeting the essential and food needs of populations at the micro-local level, and in terms of contributing to true sustainable development at the regional level, without further aggravating the factors that are globally responsible for climate deregulation?

    The Great Man-Made River in Libya is based on the exploitation of a huge aquifer in the Maghreb called the Albian Aquifer. It was conceived especially for the irrigation of agricultural lands and for food self-sufficiency in Libya.

    A bit of history

    The early development of civilization in a large part of this region was based on irrigation systems that laid the foundations for the intensive production systems still in use today. Historical evidence indicates that in the Roman era, nearly all of North Africa received sufficient rainfall to allow regular rain-fed cultivation of grains and other crops. The climatic conditions and plant cover of the soil seem to have deteriorated since then…

    The FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) observed that “historically, agriculture played an essential role in the development of many economies in the Middle East and North Africa; first with grain production and breeding, then with the development of fruit, vegetable and cash crop production in totally or partially irrigated areas. In 1997, agriculture made up 13 percent of the regional GDP, 19% of exports, and 50% of jobs in the region. However, there are great variations between countries depending on the relative importance of non-agricultural revenue in their economy. Water access, in terms of both quantity and quality, remains a major problem for national and agricultural economies. Many economies were obliged, by the relatively low potential for production increase in the absence of irrigation, to turn to other solutions for economic growth, such as oil, mining, manufacturing, international commerce, etc.”

    This region was also an important area for agricultural innovation between the 4th and 11th centuries, when many new crops and technologies were introduced in the Far East.”

    The experts at FAO also recalled that “patterns of land occupation depend on the history of political changes; populations increase in big cities and concentrate in the most important villages of rural areas. The region is home to many nomadic herders who move, according to the season, between the mountainous and low-altitude regions, and between the humid areas and the dry steppe. The long history of human settlement, unequal access to land and increasing urbanization has led to serious degradation of soils and forest resources throughout most of the region…”

    The farming systems are highly varied and have been described and mapped. See production – Middle East and North Africa – Source of the excerpts above systems: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/Y1860F/y1860f0c.htm#TopOfPage


    The Albian Aquifer Today

    The Albian aquifer is essentially of fossil origin, but with a small modern natural supply.

    Libya’s economy has been shaken by the recent dramas in the country. The Great Man-Made River was a humongous project, realized over the course of several decades. The conflict in 2011 nearly compromised the expected optimal functioning of the river’s hydraulic developments, as well as the positive effects on the economy and the well-being of concerned populations.

    A retrospective technical review of Moammar Gaddafi’s water program that was made in 2005 enables us to (re)discover the wealth, boldness, inherent difficulties of such a big project in the region.

    The Algerian authorities articulated a plan to use various technologies (including geothermal energy) to stimulate subsistence agriculture as well as agricultural products for export; this plan also shed light on the potential for a future “recovered” Libya. But others have established a possibly risky connection between the exploitation of shale gas, and the resources of this aquifer, which has a depth between 500 and 800 meters, and an area greater than two times that of metropolitan France.

    On a political level, the role of the Libyan state was already outlined in 2016. In 2012, the Algerian politician Abdelmalek Sellal announced the feasibility of an agreement on the Albian aquifer, for a just division and optimal usage of water between Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

    This very large-scale project has been greatly supported by effective hydraulic engineering technologies, substantial financial allocations and firm political determination. What remains to be implemented to help local populations live better in peaceful, secure territories, are a technical reevaluation of the Great Man-Made River of Libya, a review considering the river in terms of sustainable development, and proactive inter-regional cooperation.

    Translated from an article by Jacques Hallard


    Further information:

    The Official Great Man-Made River Website

    “The GMR (Great Man-made River) project – with a price tag of at least $25bn – kept rolling along. By the time the uprising against Gaddafi started in early 2011, more than 70 percent of the work on the GMR was completed.

    But with the chaos resulting from the ongoing civil war, the project and its web of infrastructure is under severe strain, threatening supplies of water to a majority of Libya’s 6.3 million people.”

    Divided into five phases, the GMR involved sinking 1,300 wells, some up to 600 metres deep, down below the desert sands. Giant concrete pipes big enough for a bus to be driven through were sunk into trenches: altogether a water pipeline network covering 4,000kms was established.
    Reservoirs were constructed. Numerous pumping stations were built. The first phase of the GMR, supplying water to Benghazi in the east of Libya and to Gaddafi’s stronghold of Sirte was completed in 1991.
    Other phases of the project, supplying water to Tripoli in the west and Tobruk in the far east of the country, gradually came on stream.”
    Gaddafi liked to claim that the GMR was ‘the eighth wonder of the world.’ It is in many ways a remarkable feat of engineering but the whole scheme could collapse if the mayhem in Libya continues – resulting in a chronic water crisis affecting millions of people.”

    Trouble Ahead for Gaddafi’s Great Man-Made River (Middle East Eye)

    “According to Elawej (Environment Advisor), it is impossible to give accurate report of the environmental effects [of the GMR], since no relevant data currently exists. This would entail a huge amount of research. Elawej regards the positive effects of the project as follows:

    1. The GMMR has helped expand the green areas in the north and west of the country, preventing further desertification.

    2. The green areas contribute to tempering the weather.

    3. Traditional water resources in the north have been spared as people can now rely on GMMR water instead.

    4. Agricultural production has increased.

    According to Elawej, the negative effects include:

    1. The desert environment of the areas where the fossil water is taken from may be changing.

    2. The pipeline network itself may affect the environment.

    3. Some of the water is stored in open pools, with evaporation leading to salinisation. Salinity of the GMMR water is high according to international standards, though it is not as bad as in the north′s traditional wells, which are affected by an influx of seawater.

    4. Since most – and perhaps all – of the fossil water is not renewable, a finite resource is being used.

    Over the course of the civil war, the GMMR has suffered severe damage. During the revolution in 2011, NATO airplanes bombed water ducts in Brega. They also targeted a pipe factory, possibly in order to cut off Gaddafi′s forces from their water supply. More recently, there have been acts of sabotage in the south. In March 2017, the GMMR administration issued a warning that repeated assaults on wells at JabalHasawna might completely stop the water flow to Tripoli and other north-western cities.”

    The Eighth Wonder of the World? (Qantara)

    Survey of Sustainable Development to Make Great Man-Made River Producing Energy and Food (Current World Environment Paper)

    Libya’s choices: Desalination or the Great Man-made River Project (Paper on Sciencedirect)

    The Libyan Great Man-Made River Project, Paper 1, Project Overview. (Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Water Maritime and Energy)

    The Libyan Great Man-Made River Project, Paper 2, The Water Resource. (Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers – Water Maritime and Energy)

    Freshwater from the Desert (D+C Article)

    The Great Man-Made River of Gaddafi: What Happened To It? (Anonymous HQ Article)

    A technical overview of the GMR project prior to NATO’s intervention

    The Great Man-Made River of Libya (Amusing Planet Article)

  • Earthling 7:07 am on 6th January 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big Brother, bourgeois dictators of China, disgusting hypocrisy, scriabin, surveillance and theater, theater, theatre   

    Surveillance, Sincerity and Scriabin 

    People act differently when they know or suspect they are being watched. Surveillance is an affront to liberty even if the data obtained is not looked at or used in any way, because people being watched do not know that the data will not be used against them. How can one behave naturally when one is being spied on and potentially judged by unknown individuals or algorithms?
    Things get really ugly when surveillance is directly used to manipulate and coerce people. In China, surveillance is turning the whole of society into a grotesque theatrical production with the help of the “social credit” system. The human conscience itself is being assaulted in a novel way: people are no longer allowed to base their behavior on their conscience; instead, they must consider what Big Brother and his algorithms want them to do. You might have your organs stolen or be sent to a slave labor camp for your choice of a human conscience over a contrived and automated system designed by and for psychopaths.
    Hence, everyone in such a society becomes a full-time actor. The amount of “private spaces” where technology won’t spy on you is ever decreasing.
    The Russian philosopher Alexander Scriabin once observed that the whole of human civilization was becoming increasingly “theatrical”. He tried to transform this “theatrical production” of a world into something aesthetically perfect like his own music. After all, if we’re all going to act all the time, it may as well be Shakespeare-worthy acting with Beethoven-worthy music, instead of this disgusting hypocrisy that the bourgeois dictators of China are producing (and even exporting to Africa). Let’s hope that if the Big Brothers in the West follow China’s example, they will display more artistic taste.

  • Earthling 11:53 am on 1st January 2019 Permalink | Reply

    Healthy Living 101 

    Get Exercise



    Smile: It’s Good For You!

    Be Honest


    Be Compassionate




    Walk Fast


    Eat Fruits and Veggies


    Avoid Factory-Farmed Meat


    Avoid Processed Foods


    Fast Intermittently


    Eat Little


    Be Married


    Have Sex Frequently


    Be Celibate


    Don’t Work Too Hard


    Use a Computer Stand


    Moderate Use of Technology

    (Don’t waste your time reading all these links)


    Go Enjoy Nature

    Health Benefits of Relaxing in Nature

    • Li Yang 1:03 am on 28th March 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for providing the links! They are really great! I haven’t been out enjoying nature lately since I’ve been so busy with my social media, but I will go out for a stroll in the park or go hike with my friends this coming Friday. Also, Another way to live healthy is to have and keep a healthy diet.

  • Earthling 6:26 pm on 30th December 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , health effects of long-term tocix chemical exposure, long-term danger of toxic chemical, long-term exposure to toxic chemicals, long-term fetus exposure to toxic chemicals   

    Long-term exposure to toxic chemicals 

    By Carroll Colette J. Yorgey
    Toxic chemicals are everywhere – the air, water, food and soil. Exposure to toxic chemicals occurs through breathing, touching and ingesting. The developing fetus is the most vulnerable to toxic chemicals, which can be ingested by the mother when she eats or drinks, or when she breathes contaminated air. She can also introduce toxic chemicals into her system if she applies lotions to her skin, or her skin comes into contact with toxic chemicals.
    Although the developing fetus is the most vulnerable to the exposure to toxic chemicals, any person
    can be highly vulnerable depending on age, health and the length of exposure. Long-term exposure can cause more devastating effects. Also, small children are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals than adults due to their small size and small organs, and the fact that they are growing at a rapid rate.

    Health problems associated with toxic chemical exposure

    The most serious health risks caused by the exposure to toxic chemicals are asthma, childhood cancers, impaired fertility, birth defects and learning disabilities.
    According to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, an organization that seeks to reduce the toxic chemicals that people are exposed to, many chronic diseases have increased substantially.
    They state that cancers such as “leukemia, brain cancer and childhood cancers have increased more than 20 percent since 1975.” Cases of asthma doubled between 1990 and 1998 A birth defect causing “undescended testes increased 200 percent between 1970 and 1993.” Autism has increased “tenfold” since the 1990s.

    How people are exposed to toxic chemicals

    Exposure to a toxic chemicals happens when a person has direct contact with a toxic chemical or when a substance they come in contact with is contaminated with the toxic chemical, such as food or drinking
    water, or as in the case of the fetus, the toxic chemical enters the mother’s bloodstream and then is transported to the bloodstream of the fetus. The toxic chemical may have been long-term chemical exposure to the mother, such as her eating contaminated fish for a long period of time.
    People can be exposed to toxic chemicals by breathing, ingesting or through direct skin contact with soil, dust or sediment. Drinking contaminated groundwater or surface water can cause chemical exposure. Showering or swimming in water can also cause chemical exposure either through accidentally swallowing the contaminated water or by skin exposure to the toxic chemical in the water.
    Air contaminants such as hazardous chemical vapors, other chemical contaminants or dust can cause a toxic and long-term chemical exposure.
    Food contaminants happen when food is exposed to direct contact with a contaminant; or food can
    become contaminated through the food chain. The original source of the contaminant can be eaten by fish that are caught by fishermen and then eaten by the consumer with the resulting toxic exposure to the person eating the fish. In the case of the developing fetus, the toxic chemical travels further in the food chain to the developing fetus causing a genetic disorder or genetic mutation.

    Why the developing fetus or young child is more vulnerable

    The developing organs of the developing fetus can be permanently damaged by toxic chemical exposure because the introduction of the toxic chemical will stop the normal development of the developing organs within the fetus.
    Children between birth and six years of age are in a stage of rapid development; and due to this rapid development they may take in a larger dosage of the toxic chemical due to “body chemistry, level of activity and small body size.”
    Chemicals introduced into the developing fetus or small child can “alter many processes essential for normal cell development.” These toxic chemical changes can “cause organs within the body to be altered, impairing proper development to a mature organ.”
    Adolescents are also vulnerable due to their “increased physical activity and curiosity about the world around them.”
    You can find more information about protecting your children from toxic chemical attack on
    the EPA website.


    It is very important to find out as much as you can about the toxins that can invade your environment in order to protect yourself, your unborn children and your young children from the invasion of toxic chemicals. Long-term exposure is more damaging and therefore it is important to find out what you are eating, what you are drinking, and what household contaminants are living in your environment with you
    and your children.
    Copyright © 2018 Carroll Colette J. Yorgey

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