Prehistoric Poo

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Oldest human faeces show Neanderthals ate vegetables

The team collected the ancient faecal matter at the El Salt archaeological site in Spain

Analysis of the oldest reported trace of human faeces has added weight to the view that Neanderthals ate vegetables.

Found at a dig in Spain, the ancient excrement showed chemical traces of both meat and plant digestion.

An earlier view of these early humans as purely meat-eating has already been partially discredited by plant remains found in their caves and teeth.

The new paper, in the journal PLOS One, claims to offer the best support to date for an omnivorous diet.

Poo is “the perfect evidence,” said Ms Ainara Sistiaga, a PhD student at the University of La Laguna on the Canary Islands, and the study’s first author, “because you’re sure it was consumed”.

Source: BBCNews Read more

Don Quixote


Hunt for author Cervantes’ remains narrows

A statue of Don Quixote in Madrid. The book is thought to be one of the most widely read on the planet

Forensic scientists looking for the body of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes say they have found five possible sites at a Madrid church.

The author of Don Quixote died in 1616 and is considered one of Spain’s most important literary figures.

His burial was recorded at the Convent of Trinitarians in Spain’s capital but the exact location is unknown.

Experts say the work of exhuming and analysing any findings is expected to take several months.

The search team, including historians, used infrared cameras, 3D scanners and ground-penetrating radar to pinpoint the possible sites.

Cervantes is recorded as having been shot three times during the Battle of Lepanto, a naval conflict in 1571 between an alliance led by Spain and the Ottoman fleet.

Two of the musket shots hit the writer’s chest and the other hit his left hand, causing him to lose the use of it.

If Cervantes’s remains are identified they will remain in the convent, which is still inhabited by nuns and has been designated part of Madrid’s cultural heritage since 1921.

Historians say an official burial site at the church would attract a significant number of tourists and literary pilgrims to the city.

Born near Madrid in 1547, Cervantes has been dubbed the father of the modern novel for “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha”, published in two parts in 1605 and 1615.

The book is thought to be one of the most widely read and translated books on the planet.

Source: BBC News Read more

Strong Crosswinds make for Ropey Landings


Strong crosswinds caused problems for pilots landing at Bilbao in Spain. One pilot decided to err on the side of caution and aborted the landing.




Life’s different here in Gib…

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Gib – A small rock roughly attached to Spain in a geographic manner, but British.

Or so the treaty of Utrecht says, in perpetutity.

But the Spanish want it back.

The Gibraltarians don’t want to be Spanish.

Each time Spain has domestic problems, they roll out the problem to hide the bad news from the people in a wave of patriotism. It’s a bit like the Falkland Islands problem, but different.

Gibraltar’s jubilee party sends signal to Madrid

Political tensions have escalated again between the UK and Spain over a territory eager to prove once more that it is ‘more British than the British’

Gibraltar prepares to celebrate: a diamond jubilee poster on the parliament building. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

In Gibraltar, said chief minister Fabian Picardo, children learn history fast. “They can say ‘the treaty of Utrecht’ when they are around a year old,” laughed Picardo, an Oxford-educated socialist with a picture of the Queen in his office. “We start them young.”

It was that agreement, signed in 1713, that granted the 426m-high rock jutting out where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic to the British “in perpetuity”. And as Gibraltar swathes itself in red, white and blue to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee, it is revelling in its reputation for being “more British than the British”.

“It’s about the symbolism, really,” said taxi driver Eddie Castle. “We do like to irritate the Spanish when we can. But they get their own back: whenever there is a row, they get their own back by making things very difficult for people at the border.”

The queues of cars waiting to cross from the tiny 2.6 sq mile territory into Spain have lengthened dramatically in the last week, as Spanish border patrols have been ordered to make things more difficult for motorists and workers, increasing security checks in a move condemned by Picardo as “childish”.

The latest row in the centuries-old fractious relationship between Gibraltar, London and Madrid is, as many have been over the years, about royalty….

…Out on a main street bristling with bunting – where pubs sell British grub and M&S advertises “UK prices” next to little shops selling T-shirts saying “Proud to be British” – political views are generally relaxed. Schoolgirls in white and burgundy uniforms crowd into Top Shop chattering in a mix of Spanish and English. “I’m Gibraltarian, or maybe English, both,” said Catherine, 14. “My dad would kill me if I didn’t say British but I think, for me, Gibraltarian,” said Rose, 14.

“Are you kidding me?” said a 15-year-old boy in designer sunglasses with a Spanish surname, when asked if he feels linked to Spain. “Nobody hates them or anything, but it’s a different world in Gib.” And as far as the majority of the inhabitants are concerned, it’s a case of bring on the jubilee.

Source: The Guardian Read more

Georaphically attached to Spain, but British


Another volcano???


The Earth is getting restless…

Canary Island volcano: A new island in the making?

An undersea volcano erupting just south of Spain’s Canary Islands may be the beginnings of a new island, or an extension to an existing one. For some, it’s a colourful spectacle – for others a major blow to their livelihood.

“It’s angry today. Look at it go!” says fisherman Elio Morales Rodriguez in the village of La Restinga, on the south coast of El Hierro island.

“That green patch on the water is a dead zone,” he says, looking out to sea. “It kills everything. No fishing, no dive schools, no tourists, just dead fish on the surface.”

For more than a month, the underwater volcano has been erupting three miles to the south of El Hierro, the smallest of the seven Canary Islands, about 50km (30 miles) south-west of its nearest neighbour, La Gomera, and 100km (60 miles) from the most populous of the islands – Tenerife.

From about 60m below the sea, the so-called “submarine” volcano is spewing gases and burning lava, some of which is breaking the surface of the water.

That has drawn lots of camera crews racing to the island to see what’s going on, but far fewer tourists than usual. Local journalist Barbara Belt says the islanders don’t know when all the fuss will die down and they will be able to get on with their lives again.

In the coastal village of La Restinga, many bars, restaurants, and hotels are shut, and many of the village’s residents have already left.


Scientists say the eruption is part of the long-term volcanic evolution of the Canary Islands, which may result in a new island, or add new territory to the southern coast of El Hierro.

There is seismic activity to the north of the island too.

Source: BBC News Read more

Times Change


Bullfighting in Barcelona ends with Catalonia ban

Bullfighting has declined in popularity in Catalonia

Bullfighting fans in Catalonia have seen the last fights before a ban on the age-old tradition comes into effect in Spain’s north-eastern region.

About 20,000 spectators filled Barcelona’s famous Monumental arena, where top matadors performed.

Lawmakers voted for the ban last year – the first in mainland Spain – after 180,000 people signed a petition.

They say the bullfighting is barbaric, but opponents say they will challenge the ban in Spain’s top court.

Source: BBC News Read the full story.

No glory here as a noble animal awaits the release of death

Bullfighting has to be one of the bloodiest sports that man has perpetrated on the animal kingdom. In today’s world there is no place for this type of atrocity and many animal rights proponents will be glad (as I am) that some parts of the world are slowly coming to their senses and banning the barbaric ‘sport.’ It isn’t a sport, a sport is where the opponents have an equal chance. The bulls do not. Personally, I cheer when the bull wins or inflicts a serious blow to his tormentor.

Paybacks are a bitch

This was written up as an accident, I would rather believe it was providence.

No sympathy from me.

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