Tuesday, July 8

Spiritual-Religious Groups in the PRC after 1978


I know I've been talking too much about religion recently and promise we will go back to more interesting topics :)

Here's an example of research done on how cults emerge, in this case in China. Cults emerge in strange and wonderful and not really well understood ways. What's fascinating is how normal people will give up one belief system and suddenly become disciples of some guru, faith, or something like that. Nothing wrong with this. As long as somebody else does it. And not you. Look up 'cult' in Wikipedia. People who follow organised religion or cults exhibit this kind of behaviour. Follow irrational beliefs and exhibit strange behaviour. 

I sometimes feel like I'm in a human zoo. Looking at these fascinating exhibits of strange and weird behaviour. And yes, I'm in a cage as well. With others looking at me and honking that I'm a complete nutter lol




Tiny screen, old eyes, ham fisted hands. apologies for typos and formatting. 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Dissertation Reviews <donotreply@wordpress.com>
Date: 13 May 2013 08:02:22 BST
Subject: [New post] Spiritual-Religious Groups in the PRC after 1978

New post on Dissertation Reviews

Spiritual-Religious Groups in the PRC after 1978

by Francis Khek Gee Lim

A review of Emergence and Development of Spiritual-Religious Groups in the People’s Republic of China after 1978, by Kristin Kupfer.

December 2012 witnessed a seemingly curious case of convergence of Mayan civilization, Christianity, and Chinese popular religion. Many members of a group called “Church of the Almighty God,” believing the Mayan prophesy that the end of the world was imminent, began to organize mass demonstrations exhorting the Chinese people to repent their sins, to prepare for the coming apocalypse, and to overthrow the ruling Communist Party. What happened next was highly expected by most watchers of China’s affairs: the authorities initiated a crackdown on the group by arresting its many members, and stepped up their surveillance over unregistered religious groups in the country. Many people inside and outside of China have heard about the Falungong, the previous high profile case that involved a so-called “evil cult.” But who are the Church of the Almighty God? When Kristin Kupfer defended her dissertation on the emergence and development of “spiritual-religious groups” in China, she probably had not anticipated the events of 2012 and the Mayan connections. But for those who wish to gain further understanding of groups such as “Church of the Almighty God” and the Falungong, Kupfer’s research will be an excellent source.

Monday, July 7

The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century


Here's a sad story. I'm sure you remember the book moby dick? 

Whaling. Diya do you remember the big whales we saw at the natural history museum? They are near extinction. 

Another amazing story of how these whales were simply killed so that a blunt production target from a centrally planned economy can be achieved. No reason. Not much use. Just killing. 

And we are doing the same thing with other species. And before somebody thinks that vegetarians are better, they are equally culpable as they demand the same feedstock and pulses and grains. Thereby reducing biodiversity. 

There is some hope but the ocean wealth is tragically being robbed. We will not have the same planet in few decades if we keep on consuming at this destructive levels. And we are still killing whales at an awesome rate. 

I saw whales in Hawaii, kids, They are majestic. They move with a dignity that's awesome. And their eyes are full of intelligence. Their cranial capacity is huge. Amazing creatures. 



The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century

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In the fall of 1946,  a 508-foot ship steamed out of the port of Odessa, Ukraine. In a previous life she was called the Wikinger (“Viking”) and sailed under the German flag, but she had been appropriated by the Soviet Union after the war and renamed the Slava (“Glory”). The Slava was a factory ship, crewed and equipped to separate one whale every 30 minutes into its useful elements, destined for oil, canned meat and liver, and bone meal. Sailing with her was a retinue of smaller, nimbler catcher vessels, their purpose betrayed by the harpoon guns mounted atop each clipper bow. They were bound for the whaling grounds off the coast of Antarctica. It was the first time Soviet whalers had ventured so far south.

The work began inauspiciously. In her first season, the Slava caught just 386 whales. But by the fifth—before which the fleet’s crew wrote a letter to Stalin pledging to bring home more than 500 tons of whale oil—the Slava’s annual catch was approaching 2,000. The next year it was 3,000. Then, in 1957, the ship’s crew discovered dense conglomerations of humpback whales to the north, off the coasts of Australia and New Zealand. There were so many of them, packed so close together, the Slava’s helicopter pilots joked that they could make an emergency landing on the animals’ backs.

In November 1959, the Slava was joined by a new fleet led by the Sovetskaya Ukraina, the largest whaling factory ship the world had ever seen. By now the harpooners—talented marksmen whose work demanded the dead-eyed calm of a sniper—were killing whales faster than the factory ships could process them. Sometimes the carcasses would drift alongside the ships until the meat spoiled, and the flensers would simply strip them of the blubber—a whaler on another fleet likened the process to peeling a banana—and heave the rest back into the sea.

The Soviet fleets killed almost 13,000 humpback whales in the 1959-60 season and nearly as many the next, when the Slava and Sovetskaya Ukraina were joined by a third factory ship, the Yuriy Dolgorukiy. It was grueling work: One former whaler, writing years later in a Moscow newspaper, claimed that five or six Soviet crewmen died on the Southern Hemisphere expeditions each year, and that a comparable number went mad. A scientist working aboard a factory ship in the Antarctic on a later voyage described seeing a deckhand lose his footing on a blubber-slicked deck and catch his legs in a coil of whale intestine as it slid overboard. By the time his mates were able to retrieve him from the water he had succumbed to hypothermia. He was buried at sea, lowered into the water with a pair of harpoons to weight down his body.

Sunday, July 6

Mass Grave from Thirty Years War Investigated in Lützen Germany


An interesting story about a long forgotten war. But couple of interesting things. These dead fought for money and for religion. And 9000 died. For what? Strange reasons to die. 

Second is the last quote. There are lots of quotes like this. History is a vast early warning system. History repeats itself. And now this one. History has habits. 

Look at Syria. Uk and France are all gung ho about it. What happened the last time France and UK got involved in the Middle East? Suez happened. But they were involved before during the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the infamous Sykes Picot pact screwed up the Middle East for decades. And of course the crusades before. Religion and money. 

When people don't learn from their mistakes son, they are idiots. It's just stupid. No blame for making mistakes. That's how you learn. But you make a mistake. Then you don't learn? That means you are stupid over and over again means that you need to be careful of that person society or country. 



Mass Grave from Thirty Years War Investigated in Lützen Germany - SPIEGEL ONLINE

It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Thirty Years’ War, but until recently there was no trace of those who died there. Now a mass grave is shedding light on the mysteries of the Battle of Lützen. Were those who fought hungry young men or well-fed veterans? And where did they come from?

The morning of November 16, 1632 was foggy, so the mass killing could only begin after some delay. It wasn’t until midday that the mist cleared, finally allowing the Protestant army of Sweden’s King Gustav II Adolf to attack the Roman Catholic Habsburg imperial army led by Albrecht von Wallenstein. The slaughter lasted for hours in the field at the Saxon town of Lützen.

“In this battle the only rule that applied was, ‘him or me,’” says Maik Reichel. “It was better to stab your opponent one extra time just to ensure there was no chance of him standing up again.” The historian und former German parliamentarian for the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) is standing at the edge of a field on the outskirts of Lützen. After the battles here, the ground was soaked with blood. “About 20,000 men fought on each side and between 6,000 and 9,000 were killed,” estimates Reichel, who heads the museum in the city castle.

When the soldiers in the religious war clashed on the outskirts of Lützen, the road from there to Leipzig was not yet called “B 87,” but “Via Regia.” The Red Cross nursing home and nearby supermarket that now stand on the battle site also didn’t exist back then. But the past is present here when one goes looking for it. So far archaeologists have examined about one- third of the former battlefield, in total 1.1 million square meters (11.8 million square feet). Theoretically, only another one-third could still be examined. The rest has been covered by the nursing home, supermarket and small garden allotments.