September 2, 2018 in 1,989 words

England’s Forgotten Pet Massacre of 1939

Why were hundreds of thousands of pets put to sleep in London?

Pictured above: Rescue of a puppy during the Blitz, South London, c 1940. Wartime images and actions like this contrasted strongly with pre-conflict treatment of pets.

IN THE FIRST WEEK OF September of 1939, London’s animal shelters were overflowing with patients. Lines of pet-owners, all waiting to euthanize their cats, dogs, birds, and rabbits, stretched out the door, in some cases wrapping around the block for nearly a mile. But none of the animals were dying. In fact, none of them were even sick. The distraught Londoners had brought them to do what they thought was the humane thing: Spare their pets from the atrocities—and food shortages—of the impending world war.

The British Pet Massacre of 1939 is a horrific, if not seemingly impossible, twist in the narrative often told about the “People’s War.” In fact, animal cruelty was often used to embody the cruelest reaches of fascism. One piece in the Daily Mirror ridiculed a German ambassador for abandoning his dog when fleeing the embassy, stating “[t]hat’s what Britain is fighting—the inherent brutality of Nazi-ism, that has no justice or human feeling—even for its pets.”

Instead, England championed its brave-hearted canine war heroes. At the Ilford Pet Cemetery, you’ll find headstones commemorating World War II animals such as Simon, the beloved cat who received the Blue Cross and the PDSA Dickin Medal for his Naval service. But, according to author and historian Hilda Kean, buried alongside these celebrated critters are thousands of pets who were killed before a single bomb had been dropped. “The PDSA grounds might well be defined as a site of memory,” Kean writes, “only certain, individual, animals, whose exploits are narrativised to fit within the notion of a ‘good’ war are actually remembered.” And until recently, that darker history has remained, largely, underground.

Here lies the noble Able Seacat, Simon.

The National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee (NARPAC) had estimated that England was then home to six to seven million dogs and cats, 56 million poultry, and more than 37 million farm animals—about twice as many domestic animals as there were people in the country. War not only meant the potential for air raids on the homeland, but also for rationing and major food shortages. In anticipation of wartime conditions and sparse resources, NARPAC issued an advisory pamphlet to animal owners encouraging them to send their animals to the countryside. But if the animals couldn’t be placed into someone else’s care? The pamphlet suggested it would be “kindest to have them destroyed.”

How Trump built an invisible wall around America


New Americans take the oath of citizenship, Feb. 2017.

Thanks to a whirlwind of executive orders, policy adjustments, and subtle bureaucratic changes, US immigration policy is looking more and more like the xenophobic 1920s. Back then, the US barred Asians, as well as Italians, Greeks, and people from Eastern Europe. This time, however, US immigration policies are focused on reducing the number of people from Muslim-majority countries, Mexico, Africa, and Central America.

While Donald Trump is still a long way off from building his much-hyped border wall, the overall effect of his administration’s policies has created what experts describe as a “virtual wall.” On a practical level, this barrier to entry makes the US’s higher-education system less diverse, and the country less welcoming to a global pool of talent and creativity. It also presents an existential crisis for America, critics say.

“Ultimately what we’re talking about is the kind of country that we are,” David Price, a Democratic congressmen from North Carolina told Quartz. Yes, US immigration history is checkered, he said, and the country has had nativist administrations before. But the historical norm has always been to think of the US as a country of immigrants—until now.

The invisible wall: Technicalities, delays and an avalanche of paperwork

Earlier this year, Francis Cissna, the Trump-appointed director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), changed the agency’s mission statement, taking the term “nation of immigrants” out.

How America Overdosed on Capitalism

America is History’s Greatest Social and Philosophical Experiment in Capitalism. So What do the Results Say?

Every so often, when I write about capitalism, I get a furious response, from a certain kind of man (it’s always a man): “dude, you don’t even know what capitalism!! I can’t believe this!! You’re so dumb! ”

Translation: Mommy!! Umair’s being mean to me again! Calm down, Tucker. Let’s think about it.

America is something like history’s greatest experiment in capitalism. In a sense, we’re lucky to have it — it’s rare that a society devotes itself furiously, single-mindedly, one-dimensionally to an ideology, rejects the world, and pursues its own course. Here we have something truly rare and unique, which doesn’t happen often in social thinking: a perfect experiment to test the hypothesis — what would happen if a society only ever chose capitalism?

Or, one I like better: what would happen if capitalism were given total freedom to be itself? If it could unfold according to its own logic, rules, choices, destiny — what would it naturally become? What is its nature? Now we can answer that very question, not with theory, but with reality.

(Yet for that very reason, too, we should, instead of idly theorizing about utopian daydreams, as American economists do, simply look at what’s before our eyes. Such cases give us the closest thing that the messy, tangled world can have to a sterile, controlled lab — we’ll never have a 100% pure specimen of anything social, economic, or political, but what we can have is at least is a kind of self-chosen test case. The Soviet Union was a self-chosen test case for absolutist communism, perhaps, if you see my drift — and now, ironically, America’s one for absolutist capitalism. But what does it show us?)

Now, I’ll “define capitalism” — I promise. That’s the point of this essay, in fact. But rather than thinking of what capitalism “is”, I want you to think about it becomes. We’re used to thinking of it in a static way — just as the Soviets thought of communism. But in the real world, things are not ideologies, inflexible, rigid, immoving — they are dynamic, changing, transforming. And so the question “what is capitalism” is better asked as: “what does capitalism become?” Does it become something self-sustaining, nurturing, and giving, like a forest — or something explosive, violent, self destructive, like a fire? Then we also answer the question — “what is capitalism’s nature? What does it become when given total freedom to be itself?”

Researchers discover link between body sensations and conscious feelings

New study’s findings help to understand how illnesses and bodily states in general influence our subjective well-being

Turns out, humans constantly experience an ever-changing stream of subjective feelings that is only interrupted during sleep and deep unconsciousness.

According to the researchers, emotions vividly colour all our feelings as pleasant or unpleasant. It is possible that during evolution, consciousness has originally emerged to inform the organisms and others around about tissue damage and well-being. This development may have paved way for the emergence of language, thinking, and reasoning.

Researches also show how the subjective feelings map into five major categories: positive emotions, negative emotions, cognitive functions, somatic states, and illnesses. All these feelings were imbued with strong bodily sensations.

These results show that conscious feelings stem from bodily feedback. Although consciousness emerges due to brain function and we experience our consciousness to be ‘housed’ in the brain, bodily feedback contributes significantly to a wide variety of subjective feelings.

First ever trials on the effects of microdosing LSD set to begin

In Silicon Valley they say taking tiny amounts of the hallucinogenic drug increases creativity and productivity, but is it all in the mind?
‘It lifted me out of depression’: is microdosing good for your mind?

Several trials have been conducted on the affects of taking LSD, but none on microdosing it.

Silicon Valley geeks say it sharpens their thinking and enhances creativity. Other people say it lifts the fog of depression. A novel experiment launching 3 September 2018 will investigate whether microdosing with LSD really does have benefits – or whether it’s all in the mind.

Microdosing using psychedelic drugs – either LSD or magic mushrooms – is said to have become very popular, especially with people working in the Californian digital tech world, some of whom are said to take a tiny amount one or more days a week as part of their routine before heading to work. It’s not for a psychedelic high, though – it’s to make them more focused.

Microdosers tend to use either tiny amounts of LSD – as little as one-fifteenth of a tab – or of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. The study is recruiting just those who use LSD, because of the difficulty in disguising even ground-up mushrooms in a capsule.

But it’s illegal. So how many people are microdosing is unknown and there is only anecdotal evidence of the effects and any downsides. In a bid to learn more, the Beckley Foundation, which was set up to pioneer research into mind-altering substances, and the unit it funds at Imperial College London, will launch the first ever placebo-controlled trial of microdosing on Monday, 3 September 2018.

It will be unique, says Balázs Szigeti, the study leader. The cost and the illegality of LSD would make a conventional study prohibitively expensive. So he has hit on a way of running it by inviting those who already microdose to join a “self-blinded” study. They will take either what they usually use in a capsule or an identical dummy capsule instead, without knowing which is which. They will complete questionnaires and tests and play cognitive games online, and only at the end will they learn whether they were happy and focused because of LSD or because they thought they were using LSD.

Video Goodnesses
and not-so-goodnesses

Racoons are as clever as monkeys… so what puzzles can Rascal tha racoon solve to get to a tasty treat?

23andMe is an the best way to find out your heritage and pinpoint where your ancestors are really from… for some.

さすがに小さ過ぎた箱とねこ。-The box is too small for Maru indeed.-


Headless body in fish tank leaves neighbors fearing worst for San Francisco eccentric

San Francisco neighbors say they haven’t seen Brian Egg in months and called police repeatedly before a body was found.

Neighbors had been concerned about Brian Egg for weeks.

When police announced on Tuesday that they had found a headless corpse in a fish tank in the San Francisco home of the former bartender Brian Egg, it seemed to confirm the worst suspicions of his neighbor, Scot Free.

Free, an actor who lives across the street from Egg in San Francisco’s busy South of Market neighborhood, had been convinced that something horrible had happened to Egg ever since he had noticed a stream of sudsy water gushing from under his missing neighbor’s front door weeks earlier.

Egg, 65, an eccentric neighborhood “curmudgeon” who regularly walked his dog and watered trees in the urban alleyway where he lived, had been conspicuously absent all summer. But Free said several shady-looking men had been around his home, cleaning frantically with chemicals that smelled like bleach, using so much water that it poured out from under the front door and into the street.

Free and other neighbors said they had called the police repeatedly and asked them to check on the welfare of their neighbor, who they said often opened his home to “drifters”.

But their concern only increased on 14 August, when a white van pulled up, marked as a biohazard crime scene cleanup vehicle from a company called Aftermath Services. A strange man stood outside the home to meet it. Free and his neighbors dialed 911 to get the police.

“We said: ‘Get over there now; there’s something really fishy happening,’” said Free.

Ed. More tomorrow? Probably. Possibly. Maybe. Not?