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Tue, 15 Oct 2019
The World for People who Think



Swarms of locusts descend in Pakistan, eat up standing crops

Swarms of locusts coming from India in Cholistan have played havoc with standing crops in the region, ARY News reported on Saturday.

The swarms of locusts have damaged cotton crop in several villages of Sadiqabad adjoining to Cholistan.

Several swarms of locusts, a species of grasshoppers, eat up plants, grass and shrubs and deprived villages from greenery in the area after their descend in the region.

Local farmers were trying to push them out of the area on self help basis with traditional means including beating metal cans.

Assistant Commissioner Sadiqabad has said that the government has launched a spray campaign to address the menace.


17 whales strand on Sabu Island, Indonesia - 11 die

Six of the dead stranded whales were buried in a traditional ceremony

Six of the dead stranded whales were buried in a traditional ceremony
Seventeen whales became stranded on Menia Beach in West Sabu, Sabu Raijua regency, East Nusa Tenggara, on Thursday with 11 of them dying, possibly from the severe wounds all over their bodies.

"The wounds could have been caused by the corals along Menia Beach," Sabu Raijua Police chief Comr. Samuel Simbolon told The Jakarta Post, Thursday.

He said the whales were found stranded on the beach at about 1 p.m. local time, promptly attracting locals to see them. Some people went down to the beach to use speedboats to try to help the mammals return to the sea. Others helped recover the dead ones.


Neolithic agricultural revolution and the origins of private property

Cave painting of cow & horses, Lascaux, France
© Alamy
Cave painting of cow & horses, Lascaux, France.
Humankind first started farming in Mesopotamia about 11,500 years ago. Subsequently, the practices of cultivating crops and raising livestock emerged independently at perhaps a dozen other places around the world, in what archaeologists call the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution. It's one of the most thoroughly-studied episodes in prehistory — but a new paper in the Journal of Political Economy shows that most explanations for it don't agree with the evidence, and offers a new interpretation.

With farming came a vast expansion of the realm over which private property governed access to valued goods, replacing the forager social norms around sharing food upon acquisition. A common explanation is that farming increased labor productivity, which then encouraged the adoption of private property by providing incentives for the long-term investments required in a farming economy.

"But it's not what the data are telling us", says Santa Fe Institute economist Samuel Bowles, a co-author of the paper. "It is very unlikely that the number of calories acquired from a day's work at the advent of farming made it a better option than hunting and gathering and it could well have been quite a bit worse."


More sick Laughing Gulls turn up on Anna Maria Island, Florida

What's making these laughing gulls sick?

What's making these laughing gulls sick?
Days after a number of Laughing Gulls were found dead in Sarasota County, roughly two dozen of the birds were found deceased in Manatee County.

Over the past week, nine dead Laughing Gulls were found on beaches in Siesta and Lido Keys in Sarasota County and an additional 30 were reported sick. On Tuesday, wildlife officials confirm they received reports of dead birds on Passage Key off Anna Maria Island.

A handful of sick gulls were discovered by Anna Maria Island residents on Wednesday and brought to Wildlife Inc. for rehabilitation. Founder Ed Straight is working hard to nurse them back to health.

"We have been doing this for 32 years and we have never seen anything like this before," he said.

Straight said the sick gulls were discovered by the Anna Maria City Pier and Coquina Beach.


Eight-year-old boy dies after being attacked by dog pack in Tamil Nadu, India

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
A minor boy was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in Rangasamuthiram village in Sankarankovil town of Tirunelveli district, the police said on Saturday. The dead body of the eight-year-old boy was buried on Friday. A case has been registered in relation to the case.

Eight-year-old Santhosh used to study at a school which is around 200 metres away from his house. He used to walk to school. In the evening, he used to walk back to the school to play. To reach faster, he used to cross the fields instead of taking the road.

On the day of the incident, Santhosh did not return even after 6 pm. Reportedly, his parents got worried and started searching for him with the help of other villagers. While looking for Santhosh in the fields, the villagers found a pack of stray dogs.

When they pointed their flashlights in the direction of the dogs, the villagers saw that they were biting Santhosh. Santhosh's father Sethupathi and the villagers then chased the dogs away. The villagers called a local doctor who said that the eight-year-old boy had died.


Rampaging elephants kill 4, injure 7 in northern Tanzania

At least four people have been killed and seven others injured by rampaging elephants in Tanzania's northern district of Mwanga in Kilimanjaro region, an official said on Friday.

Maurice Msuha, a senior official with the Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority, said the elephants that strayed from Mkomazi National Park raided two villages, killing the four villagers.

Msuha said three people were killed in Toloha village and one in Ngulu village, adding that seven other villagers were injured by the jumbos and they were being treated in health centers.


The age of the Great Sphinx

Shows that the feline symbol represented the constellation Cancer, not Leo, in the ancient European zodiac, and therefore reveals the true age of the Great Sphinx of Giza.
The Great Sphinx
© Prehistory Decoded


Bear sightings, attacks spike due to food shortages in Niigata Prefecture, Japan

A food shortage ahead of hibernation season is likely fueling a surge in bear sightings and even serious attacks on people in populated areas in this prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast.

According to Niigata Prefecture's environmental planning division, there have been 646 sightings of live bears or traces of the animals reported from April 1 to the end of September -- about 100 more than in the same period in 2018. Furthermore, there have been at least five bear attacks since the start of September, and authorities are urging residents to be on the alert for the animals.

In one incident on Sept. 25, a jogger in his 40s was attacked on a prefectural road in the city of Minamiuonuma. The bear left the man with serious claw wounds requiring two weeks in hospital. On Oct. 2, a man in his 20s was mauled as he was getting into his car outside a house. He was bitten by the animal multiple times, including on his right wrist.

Comment: Bear attacks increasing worldwide


Dead whale shark stranded at Banten beach in Indonesia

An official measures the length of the body of a dead whale shark which stranded at Taluak Batuang beach in West Sumatra, Indonesia, Oct. 8, 2019.
© Andri Mardiansyah
An official measures the length of the body of a dead whale shark which stranded at Taluak Batuang beach in West Sumatra, Indonesia, Oct. 8, 2019.
For two consecutive days, Banten found two dead cetaceans after being stranded on the region's beach. Monday, October 7th saw a whale shark also died at the Lebak Keusik Beach while the following day saw a bottlenose dolphin died after being stranded at Carita Beach.

According to the region's Head of the Utilization and Preservation of Coastal Resource Management Subsection, Zaid Abdur Rahman, the 7.5-meter whale shark was already dead when his team arrived.

A group effort by the government, police, agencies, and locals managed to move the whale's carcass to another location where it was eventually buried after samples were taken for further studies.


About 100 hornbills spotted together for first time in China

The birds had previously only been seen in small numbers in China

The birds had previously only been seen in small numbers in China
About 100 hornbills were spotted in flocks for the first time in southwest China's Yunnan Province.

In Tongbiguan Natural Reserve, researchers saw at least 99 hornbills cluster in flocks when they were conducting resource surveys in the area.

The hornbill earned its name with its yellow and black casque on top of its large bill and is a rare species of bird under national second-class protection in China.