dijous, 30 de maig de 2019

Slavoj Žižek and Political Correctness

Slavoj Žižek: Political Correctness is a More Dangerous Form of Totalitarianism

dimarts, 21 de maig de 2019

Pushy bonobo mothers help sons find sexual partners, scientists find by Ian Sample

Pushy bonobo mothers help sons find sexual partners, scientists find
High-ranking mothers lead sons to groups of females and keep guard while they mate

Ian Sample Science editor                 Mon 20 May 2019 16.00 BST

Their mothers are so keen for them to father children that they usher them in front of promising partners, shield them from violent competitors and dash the chances of other males by charging them while they are at it.

For a bonobo mother, it is all part of the parenting day, and analysis finds the hard work pays off. Males of the species that live with their mothers are three times more likely to father offspring than those whose mothers are absent.

Martin Surbeck, a primatologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, said: “We wanted to see if the mothers’ behaviour changes the odds of their sons’ success, and it does. The mothers have a strong influence on the number of grandchildren they get.”

Bonobo mothers seize every opportunity to give their sons a leg-up. In bonobo society, the lower ranks tend to be gender balanced, but females dominate the top ranks. Many mothers have social clout and chaperone their sons to huddles with fertile females, ensuring them better chances to mate. “The mothers tend to be a social passport for their sons,” said Surbeck.

But in the free-for-all that underpins bonobo sex, vigilance is the watchword. When their sons are finally copulating, bonobo mothers keep a wary eye on nearby males. Should any make a move to rush the busy couple – a tactic that is well-known – she can bound in and block the attack.

Such dirty tricks abound. When mothers spot other males on the job, they have been known to detach the hapless apes with a well-timed charge. On rare occasions, the mothers literally drag unrelated males off their sexual partners. “Once I saw a mother pulling a male away by the leg,” said Surbeck. “It doesn’t necessarily increase their son’s mating success, but it shows that they really get involved in the whole business.”

To assess the impact of mothers’ interventions, Surbeck and his colleagues observed several wild bonobo populations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, Uganda and Ivory Coast. Mothers from both species, which share the title of our closest living relative, helped their sons in fights, but only the bonobos boosted their sons’ mating success. In chimpanzee society, males are dominant, so the mothers have less influence.


Surbeck suspects bonobo mothers have hit on a winning strategy. In going the extra mile to get their sons mating, the mothers get to spread their genes without having to have more children themselves.

Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.
Bonobo image from www.publicdomainpictures.net CC0 Public domain

Vocabulary for Spanish readers:

Keen for
Estar interesado en
Conducir, dirigir
Proteger. Escudo, protección
Hard work pays off
El trabajo duro da sus frutos
Dar una ventaja. Ayudar
Acompañante, carabina.
Acurrucarse, aproximarse, juntarse
Apuntalar, sustentar
Lema. En otros contextos santo y seña.
Wary eye
Mirada cautelosa, vigilante.
A move to rush
Un movimiento para molestar, para apresurar
Verbo bound: Moverse rápidamente mediante saltos o zancadas.
Ver, observar
Apilar. Posicionarse a favor de.
Hang around
Pulular, andar por la zona.

dissabte, 18 de maig de 2019

Lyon focused on fourth Women’s Champions League title in a row by Suzanne Wrack

Lyon focused on fourth Women’s Champions League title in a row

As Barcelona contest their first final Lieke Martens says nothing of a possible move to her French opponents

Suzanne Wrack in Budapest             Fri 17 May 2019 19.00 BST

The Netherlands midfielder Lieke Martens said she is “happy” in Barcelona as speculation about the possibility of swapping the Catalan club for her Champions League final opponents, Lyon, mounts.

“I saw it also today in the news,” Martens said on Friday, speaking before Barcelona’s first Champions League final. “I don’t know. I have one more year in Barcelona, I am really happy here, I’m just focused on the game tomorrow and that’s it.”

The Barcelona head coach, Lluís Cortés, was similarly vague on the future of his star – who according to L’Équipe has a £3m buyout clause. “Tomorrow Lieke is going to be with us,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen next but tomorrow Lieke will be with us and that is good for us.”

Cortés was clear that, win or lose, reaching the final shows Barcelona are treading the right path. “Of course the fact that we are playing the final is an achievement in itself but it’s not the final stage and, if we win tomorrow, that won’t be either,” he said.

“The club has been investing in women’s football, we want to put more investment into the female team and for us to reach the Champions League final is an achievement. It shows we’re working well. It’s a step forward. We’re at a high level in terms of European football but we have to keep working.”

The midfielder Vicky Losada believes Lyon are far from unbeatable. “Over the years they were one of the first teams to invest in women’s football,” she said.

“They have lots of qualities but they are not invincible. They went through hardship playing against Chelsea and last year when we played against them it was not a clear win for them; it was just one goal in each match. That’s what we have to keep in mind. They are a good team but anything can happen and we can win the match.

“We know how Lyon play, we know how their team work and we believe in our capacities. We’ve worked really hard and we’ve gained respect in Europe.”

Martens added: “The key is going to be which team has more possession and the transition so I’m really excited to see what happens. It’s going to be really interesting.”

For Lyon’s Dzsenifer Marozsán it will be an emotional experience to play a final in Budapest, having been born in the Hungarian capital.

“There is a lot of emotion in me. It’s a big big game for me,” said the Germany captain. “I’m proud to be born in Budapest. It’s perfect for me that the final is here. I can play the first time at home in front of my family. It’s my dream, it was my dream, but now it’s true. I’m really excited.”


Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd


Buyout clause
Cláusula de compra
They went through hardship
Pasaron por dificultades
Hacerse eco
Voluntad. Deseo, testamento,…

divendres, 17 de maig de 2019

414 million pieces of plastic found on remote island by Ben Smee

414 million pieces of plastic found on remote island group in Indian Ocean
Debris on Cocos (Keeling) Islands was mostly bottles, cutlery, bags and straws, but also included 977,000 shoes, study says

Ben Smee               Thu 16 May 2019 14.23 BST

On the beaches of the tiny Cocos (Keeling) Islands, population 600, marine scientists found 977,000 shoes and 373,000 toothbrushes.

A comprehensive survey of debris on the islands – among the most remote places on Earth, in the Indian Ocean – has found a staggering amount of rubbish washed ashore. This included 414m pieces of plastic, weighing 238 tonnes.

The study, published in the journal Nature, concluded the volume of debris points to the exponential increase of global plastic polluting the world’s oceans and “highlights a worrying trend in the production and discharge of single-use products”.

The lead author, Jennifer Lavers from the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies, said remote islands without large populations were the most effective indicator of the amount of plastic debris floating in the oceans.

“Islands such as these are like canaries in a coal mine and it’s increasingly urgent that we act on the warnings they are giving us. Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic debris now circling the globe,” Lavers said.

The study found the quantity of debris buried up to 10cm beneath the beach was 26 times greater than the amount visible; that previous surveys that only assessed surface garbage might have “drastically underestimated the scale of debris accumulation”.

Lavers led a previous study, published in 2017, that found the remote Henderson Island in the eastern South Pacific was among the places most affected by plastic pollution.

While most of the debris found on Henderson Island was fishing-related, on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, the plastic was mostly single-use items such as bottles, plastic cutlery, bags and straws.

“Our excessive and unrelenting demand for plastics, coupled with ineffective policy and waste management, has resulted in myriad negative effects on marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments, including entanglement and ingestion of debris, and subsequent exposure to plastic-associated chemicals,” the report said.

“The Cocos (Keeling) Islands [are] touted as ‘Australia’s last unspoilt paradise’, with tourism a primary source of income for the local community. However, the impact of debris on tourism and [their] beaches is increasingly difficult to avoid.

“Sadly, the situation on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands is not unique, with significant quantities of debris documented on islands and coastal areas from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Together, these islands and coastal areas reflect the acute symptoms of an otherwise rapidly increasing environmental hazard.”


Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.


Tiny: Small, little
Debris: Rubbish, garbage
Wash ashore: To bring (something) onto the shore by waves. A lot of debris was washed ashore during the storm.
Point to: To mention or refer to (something) as a way of supporting an argument or claim
Bury up to:  Not a phrasal verb. To bury something means to put it into a hole in the ground and cover it up with earth.
Beneath: Something that is beneath another thing is under the other thing. She could see the muscles of his shoulders beneath his T-shirt.
Cutlery: Knives and forks
Straw: A straw is a thin tube of paper or plastic, which you use to suck a drink into your mouth.
Unrelenting: Inexorable
In myriad: A great number of persons or things
Entanglement: The condition of being wrapped and twisted together in a mass:
Touted: Publicised
Unspoilt: Pure. An unspoiled place is beautiful because it has not been changed or damaged by people.
Landfill: A place where garbage is buried
Wash up: In this case: If something is washed up on a piece of land, it is carried by a river or sea and left there. Generally this phrasal verb refers to the act of clean something.

dijous, 16 de maig de 2019

John Bolton wants to lie us into war in Iran like he did in Iraq, like they did in Vietnam said Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders: John Bolton wants to lie us into war in Iran like he did in Iraq, like they did in Vietnam

Sen. Bernie Sanders joined MSNBC's Ali Velshi Tuesday to denounce national security adviser John Bolton in response to reports from the New York Times that he has ordered a plan to be drawn up to attack Iran.
He has ordered a plan to be drawn up: Ha ordenado que se elabore un plan

"It is almost impossible to imagine that after the horror of the war in Iraq when we were lied to by the Bush administration and one of the leading architects was this very same, John Bolton," Sanders said.

"You will remember how we got into the Vietnam war, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and it turns out the so-called attack in the Gulf of Tonkin did not actually take place. It was based on a series of lies," Sanders also said. "What worries me is that the architect of the effort right now to get us into a war in Iran is the guy who was the architect to getting us into the war in Iraq. That is John Bolton. I worry about provocations on the part of the United States against Iran."

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC: Joining me is 2020 presidential candidate, Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders. You are quite worried, more worried than the Pentagon says you should be, about troops, American troops going into Iran, what's your concern?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: I believe that if we go into Iran we will destabilize the entire region. And we will be in war for a decade after decade, which will cost us thousands of lives for our troops as well as God knows what happens in terms of how many people die in the region. It is almost impossible to imagine that after the horror of the war in Iraq, when we were lied to by the Bush administration, and one of the leading architects was this very same, John Bolton, who remains one of the few people in the world that thinks to date that the war in Iraq was a good idea. That we would once again go to war in that region.

So what I am working hard on is to continue the work that I and some conservative Republicans did -- that is to remind Congress and the president that it is the U.S. Congress under our Constitution, not the president who decides when we go to war. We're looking now to get 51 senators and a majority in the House, to say to this president, you are not going to war in Iran or any place else with Congressional authority and we're not going to give you that authority.

ALI VELSHI: But it was Congress who agreed to the Iran deal, and the goal was to try to get Iran back into the international community and economically engaged. So it would think it was valuable to stay economically with the world, than to saber rattle and misbehave in the region. What do you say to people that say, this is preventative, a worst-case scenario, in the case Iran attacks American soldiers, American troops or uses its proxies to do so?
Saber rattle: ‘ruido de sables’
Worst-case scenario: ‘el peor de los casos’
Proxy: ‘aliados’

BERNIE SANDERS: First of all, Ali, you will remember how we got into the Vietnam war, the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, and it turns out the so-called attack in the Gulf of Tonkin did not actually take place. It was based on a series of lies. What worries me is that the architect of the effort right now to get us into a war in Iran is the guy who was the architect to getting us into the war in Iraq. That is John Bolton. I worry about provocations on the part of the United States against Iran. And I worry very much that this thing could flare up. I think again that a war in Iran would be an absolute disaster. Never ending war, huge amounts of money, loss of lives. What the Congress has to do is have a serious discussion about how we deal with that region. I for the life of me have never understood why it was that the United States determined that Saudi Arabia, which is a despotic murderous undemocratic regime, is our great friend. And Iran is all that's horrible.
Flare up: ‘estallar’

Obviously, we have many many concerns about Iran. But let me tell you, Iraq is not one of the great humanitarian regimes on the planet. The function of the United States, the most powerful nation on Earth and our president, should be to bring Saudi Arabia into Iran into a room together and to begin serious negotiations about how we can calm the tensions in that region. Not inflame them. Not threaten to go to war.

Choco Leibniz biscuit heiress apologises over Nazi labour remarks by The Guardian

Choco Leibniz biscuit heiress apologises over Nazi labour remarks
Verena Bahlsen says comments were ‘thoughtless’ amid calls for a boycott of brand

“Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd”.

Reuters in Berlin  Thu 16 May 2019 00.05 BST

The heiress of a German biscuit empire has apologised for stirring outrage with remarks that appeared to play down the hardship suffered by dozens of people forced to work at the family business under Nazi rule.

Verena Bahlsen, whose father owns the Bahlsen company that makes some of Germany’s most famous biscuits including Choco Leibniz, said her remarks that the firm did nothing wrong when it employed 200 forced labourers during the second world war were thoughtless.

Most of the forced labourers at Hanover-based Bahlsen were women, many from Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

“This was before my time and we paid the forced labourers exactly as much as German workers and we treated them well,” 25-year-old Bahlsen, one of four children of company owner Werner Bahlsen, told the mass-selling Bild newspaper.

German politicians criticised her remarks and some social media users called for a boycott of Bahlsen biscuits.

“It was a mistake to amplify this debate with thoughtless responses,” Bahlsen said in a statement on Wednesday. “I apologise for that. Nothing could be further from my mind than to downplay national socialism or its consequences.”

She added that she recognised the need to learn more about the company’s history. “As the next generation, we have responsibility for our history. I expressly apologise to all whose feelings I have hurt.”

Verena Bahlsen has also been criticised for boasting about her wealth and love of conspicuous consumption.

“I own a fourth of Bahlsen and I am very happy about that,” she said at a business event in Hamburg earlier this month. “I want to earn money and buy a sailing yacht.”

The Bahlsen company, which also makes Leibniz butter cookies, voluntarily paid 1.5 million deutschmarks (about 750,000 euros) in 2000-2001 to a foundation set up by German firms to compensate 20 million forced labourers used by the Nazis.

Former forced labourers have failed to obtain compensation from Bahlsen in individual lawsuits, with German courts citing statute of limitations laws.

“If you inherit such a large estate you also inherit responsibility and should not come across as aloof,” Lars Klingbeil, secretary general of the centre-left Social Democrats, told Bild.

Stirring outrage
Play down / downplay
Downplay / play down
Large state
Should not come across as aloof
En medio, entre
Creciente escándalo
Minimizar, frivolizar
Minimizar, frivolizar.
Pleito, litigio
Gran propiedad;  alto rango; imperio; latifundio,…
No debe quedar al margen

dimecres, 15 de maig de 2019

San Francisco is first US city to ban police use of facial recognition tech by Kari Paul

San Francisco is first US city to ban police use of facial recognition tech
Supervisors vote eight to one to restrict surveillance: ‘We can have security without being a security state’

Kari Paul and agencies       Wed 15 May 2019 01.10 BST

Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.

San Francisco supervisors voted to make the city the first in the United States to ban police and other government agencies from using facial recognition technology.

Supervisors voted eight to one in favor of the “Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance”, which will also strengthen existing oversight measures and will require city agencies to disclose current inventories of surveillance technology.

“This is really about saying: ‘We can have security without being a security state. We can have good policing without being a police state.’ And part of that is building trust with the community based on good community information, not on Big Brother technology,” the supervisor Aaron Peskin, who championed the legislation, said on Tuesday.

Two supervisors were absent for Tuesday’s vote. The board of supervisors is expected to vote on the new rules a second time next week, when they are expected to pass again.

Critics argued on Tuesday that police needed all the help they could get, especially in a city with high-profile events and high rates of property crime. That people expect privacy in public space is unreasonable given the proliferation of cellphones and surveillance cameras, said Meredith Serra, a member of a resident public safety group Stop Crime SF.

But those who support the ban say facial recognition technology is flawed and a serious threat to civil liberties.

Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU of Northern California, argued the legislation was a positive step towards slowing the rise of technologies that may infringe on the rights of communities of color and immigrants. “Face surveillance won’t make us safer, but it will make us less free,” Cagle told the Guardian after the proposal passed a committee vote last week.

The ordinance applies to a wider range of technology, including automated license plate reading and gunshot-detection tools. It also expands a 2018 law requiring the San Francisco public transportation system Bart to outline how it surveils passengers.

Speaking to the Guardian last week, Peskin said the new regulations were meant to address concerns about the accuracy of technology and put a stop to creeping surveillance culture.

We are all for good community policing but we don’t want to live in a police state,” Peskin said. “At the end of the day it’s not just about a flawed technology, it’s about the invasive surveillance of the public commons.”


Strengthen: If something strengthens a person or group or if they strengthen their position, they become more powerful and secure, or more likely to succeed. Reinforce, brace.
Oversight: Supervision.
‘…which will also strengthen existing oversight measures’: ‘lo cual también refuerza la vigilancia sobre las medidas existentes’
Disclose: If you disclose new or secret information, you tell people about it. Reveal.
Inventories of surveillance: A formal and detailed list of goods in this case connected with vigilance.
Board of supervisors: A group of people who control a company
Flawed: Not perfect, or containing mistakes. This technology has errors.
License plate (or licence plate –USA-): Registration number in a vehicle.
BART: Bay Area Rapid Transit, is a rapid transit public transportation system serving the San Francisco Bay Area in California.
Surveil: To observe closely the activities of (a person or group)
Creeping: To move very quietly and carefully and, in slang, a disgusting person.
Public commons: The common people; commonalty.

dimarts, 14 de maig de 2019

Doris Day. Comments from readers

Doris Day, celebrated actor and singer, dies aged 97

Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.

Mon 13 May 2019 15.08 BST

Some comments from readers

Fromibizatothebroads: It's a shame today that such is the digital, mobile internet life people will only dip in and out of the news to learn about Doris Day and why she was much revered. They may at best sample a snippet of one of her movie roles or of her singing. It's as if we have forgotten how to just relax and be entertained for an hour and a half when at a loose end one wet Saturday or Sunday afternoon. If you have only ever seen snippets of Paul Newman on screen, you can't really talk about him. And the same would be for the terrific Doris Day.

M_T_Wallet: Yeah. Neither were actually great actors. Very good but not great.
When they were in a movie you watched such is their screen presence.

Ffynnongarw: It is ironic that its the FA cup final next weekend. Will always associate DD with going to Wembley.

Terencepatrick: As is usual I too thought Doris day was everyones favourite aunty and as a kid was warmed by her seeming wholesomeness as an individual. However I am also bound to say she had no effect on my life other than a nice feeling as a kid; so, ta for that Doris.

Addled: Dick van Dyke was on Radio4 today, bemoaning the fact that he'd never made a film with her.
I've only seen two of his films and he was nowhere near her league.

Chinaplatemate: As some other poster has said: My first crush.

Karl Bucket: Pre internet and pre mass porn we had pinups and imagination. I truly do not envy the youngsters these days or their need for instant gratification.

SaltbushJack: Rest in peace Doris, You were one of a kind. As a boy I remember a lot of your movies debuting. Movies like "Pillow Talk" and "Move Over Darling" were racey for their time, but my parents didn't mind us watching them.

Struttingpig: The thing that stands out for me is her loyalty. She stood by Rock Hudson her friend and co-star in the teeth of the aids crisis and the hysteria it generated.
A great singer, a great actress and a good friend!

MarkAlexander: How sad! Her passing marks the end of an era. I have very fond memories of her in my childhood. Her rendition of 'Que séra séra' was truly wonderful. I love listening to it even to this day. R.I.P. and thank you!


Snippet: A snippet of something is a small piece of it.

Terrific: If you describe something or someone as terrific, you are very pleased with them or very impressed by them.

Wholesomeness: If you describe something as wholesome, you approve of it because you think it is likely to have a positive influence on people's behaviour or mental state, especially because it does not involve anything sexually immoral.

As an individual: If you describe someone or something as individual, you mean that you admire them because they are very unusual and do not try to imitate other people or things.

Bound: (bind | bound | bound) If you are bound by something such as a rule, agreement, or restriction, you are forced or required to act in a certain way.
The authorities will be legally bound to arrest any suspects. [be VERB-ed to-infinitive]
There is a bottom deck though, so you're not bound to sit on top. [be VERB-ed to-infinitive]

Ta for that: Ta means 'thank you'.

Bemoan: If you bemoan something, you express sorrow or dissatisfaction about it.

Crush: If you have a crush on someone, you are in love with them but do not have a relationship with them

Pinup: Designating a person whose sexual attractiveness makes her or him a suitable subject for the kind of pictures often pinned up on walls

To be one of a kind: With no equal; completely unique.

More over: If someone moves over, they leave their job or position in order to let someone else have it.

Racey: Slang. Anything else that can get your heart going faster than normal. Something daring, risky, sexual etc.

Stand (stand | stood | stood) by: If you are standing by, you are ready and waiting to provide help or to take action.

Passing: You can refer to someone's death as their passing, if you want to avoid using the word 'death' because you think it might upset or offend people.

Fond memories: If you are fond of something, you like it or you like doing it very much.

Rendition: A rendition of a play, poem, or piece of music is a performance of it.