Saturday, August 29, 2009

When Food Talks

It’s fair to say that chickens are the most domesticated animal you can find. I always buy 8-10 live chickens when I go to our dacha in Racha. I enjoy having them around, providing great meat. This year I bought older chickens than usual because I wanted to test out egg production. What is crucial to find out is WHERE the chickens lay their eggs. You can run around looking for days. But as it seems, chickens starts to cackle intense when they have produced an egg. You then need to listen, and look from where they come, and scrutinise the surroundings nearby. Then you might find the secret place. When you find it, then mark the egg with a text-marker or pencil, and leave it so the chicken feel safe it’s a good spot to lay eggs. The next day the same thing will happen, and then you can take the next egg, leaving the marked one. One of the chickens in secret managed to adopt the bathroom as nest. The bathroom on our dacha has a separate door which can be accesses from outside the main building if left open. One day we found an egg in the basket with dirty clothes.
Why this cackling after they have laid eggs??
We have to go to science and ask this question. In Georgia there is a firm believe that the chickens cackle because they have a sore ass after pressing this huge egg out. I am not so sure. It seems like a major designflaw from nature if this is the case, so I would test the following hypothesis in a social constructivist perspective: Chickens cackle when having laid an egg because the want to make the other chickens aware of their deed, and then be recognised as important members of the chicken community.
Dr. Beaumer and his chick-talk tapes to the rescue!.
One should think that a quick “google” would solve the mystery, but no. Today chickens mostly is kept inside in extremely tight cages, and therefore there are no need to go looking for the eggs, so the information is scarce. But fear not, The Animal Welfare Movement found the traces of Fowl linguist Dr. Erich Baeumer of Wiedenau, Germany, who has been studying chickens since 1954. The good doctor proclaims that he keeps a list of 30 sentences which are part of a spoken international chicken language, be it an Indian Jungle fowl, a Russian Orloff rooster, an Italian Leghorn, a Cornish cock or a New Hampshire Red. Again accoring to the Animal Welfare Movement Dr.Baeumer was only eight when he realised that he could understand the chickens around his house. "It was an intuitive understanding, I could actually tell what they were saying. I began to spend hours with them; they became brothers and sisters to me," he says. In 1954, he started working with Professor Erich von Hoist at the Institute of Behaviour Physiology near Munich. After recording hours of chicken talk, Dr. Baeumer selected examples of clear-cut chicken "sentences" that could be related to records or photographs of specific actions. Dr. Baeumer’s chick-talk tapes have been played at universities in many countries (Animal Welfare Movement).
The hardcore facts about the chicken and the egg
Hens make a cackle when they have laid an egg, but Dr. Baeumer does not think they are boasting or saying, "Thank heaven that’s over." He believes that it all goes back to the days when wild hens laid eggs in hidden nests. After each delivery, the hen gave a loud cackle to regain contact with the rest of the flock. "Chicken behaviour is not too different from human behaviour," says Dr. Baeumer, " Nor is the chicken language" (Animal Welfare Movement).
I must remember that when I chop off the heads of those poor chickens.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Russian Occupation and refugee camps

After traveling around in Georgia for one month in July/august, I have a clear impression that this war is not over yet. Numerous provocations from separatists/ russians shooting at EUMM personnel, the pathetic visit to South Ossetia by miniputin in july, machoputin’s visit yesterday to Abkhazia where he pledge 500 mill $ for more armed forces, together with the ongoing Russian propaganda campaigns shows this clearly. The EUMM personell is doing their job as best they can, and is very visible around the separatist enclaves.
The refugee camps
Several thousands Georgians have been driven from their homes which has been thoroughly looted before burned down by russian and ossetian militia. For those reading the analysis starting to come out now, (that is besides Der Spiegel and other more or less unserious journalists) it’s clear that Russia preplanned the war and must without any doubt be regarded as the aggressor. And now it seems that ethnic cleansing is rewarded with more territory. A process Russia has taken active part in since 1992 in Abkhazia, where the total number of displaced people now amounts to round 250 000. The many huge refugee camps is evidence. I have seen a lot of them, newly erected around the Russian occupied territories.
NATO acts like the battered wife
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the new NATO leader, proclaimed that he would pursue true and close cooperation with Russia. I seriously think he must spend more time out of office before doing business with a nation, now run by FSB, that systematically have broken every international and national agreements and laws, not forgetting human rights, since Stalin started the destruction of the nation. Surely NATO must have learned at least a tiny bit from the shameless lack of action in august 2008. But I am not sure of that. European politician are book keepers, not political leaders fit to defend principles of integrity and democracy. That includes Norway to, where foreign minister and wonderboy of “dialogue” Jonas Gahr Støre is quick to condemn actions in Zimbabwe and Burma, but quickly hides under the table when Russias systematic violations of everything a modern society holds high of values and principles is mentioned. This lack of action reminds me about the psychology of battered wives trying to please their abusive husbands without much success. The battering is a pathological condition impossible to cure with any “dialogue”.
The EU Factfinding Mission Report
The EUFFM report about the war in Georgia will be published in September. Is it political possible to blame Russia? I think no, given the political climate in Europe? We’ll see…The main questions that should be asked is this: Who gained land in the war? Russia gained 20% of Georgia, a sovereign nation. That ends the blame game.
Russia is deteriorating rapidly
Russia is on a steep downturn both democratic and financially. Hopefully that will bring down the regime, and give space for development for Russians, who more or less live in total confusion givet that the regime controls all information. Not even Europe’s last dictator Lukashenko, in Belarus follows the Russian threats and directives anymore. Only Hamas has formally recognized the breakaway regions, whatever that gives of credibility.
Medvedev legalize military action outside Russia.
Medvedevs new law proposal will allow Russian troops to intervene wherever there can be found a scent of Russian genetics being ”mistreated”. This should seriously alarm the Baltics and Ukraine. The Russian leadership is on a path which is dangerous for all nations having Russians with double citizenship as a part of the population.