Category Archives: Natural Life

The Legendary Dahomey Amazons

In the 1800s, there was an all-female army in modern day Benin that pledged a similar loyalty to the throne. They were known as the Dahomey Warriors and were praised for their bravery and strength by local leaders and European colonizers alike who encountered them. Their role in preserving the mighty Dahomey kingdom cannot be overstated.

The growing conversation about the Dora Milaje therefore presents a perfect opportunity to learn about the Dahomey women.

The Dahomey Warriors

The Dahomey Warriors were traditionally called the N’Nonmiton, which means “our mothers” in Fon, the language of the Fon people of Dahomey, now in present day Benin. Some European historians and observers called them the Dahomey Amazons as they reminded them of the mystical and powerful all women’s army called Amazons in Greek mythology.

According to a beautiful comic by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the Dahomey Warriors first appeared as part of the entourage of the King of Dahomey’s bodyguard in the seventeenth century. They were to ensure his personal protection and guard the royal palace. Soon, the women’s number and prominence grew – from a troop of 800 to 6000. They would later go to fight in battles against other kingdoms as the Dahomey began to expand, lost their male soldiers in war, and were threatened and attacked by the French.

The Dahomey Warriors were known to be especially skillful, competitive, and brave. Their drills and military parades were always performed to dancing, music, and songs and their weapons were sometimes used as choreographic props. As expressed in their songs, their goal was to outshine men in every respect, and European travelers observed that they were better organized, swifter and much braver than male soldiers. As such, the King would send them to war as opposed to their male counterparts and European soldiers would also hesitate to kill them as they were often young women.

The women also enjoyed privileged relations with the king, swearing to celibacy and living in the royal palace, which only the king and his entourage had access to. As a testament to their power, women servants rang little bells to warn the people of the women soldiers’ presence and inhabitants were required to move aside, bow and avert their eyes.

The Dahomey women’s army only became defunct when the Dahomey kingdom fell at the end of the 19th century. According to UNESCO, after two months of fighting and previously broken accords between the French and Dahomey, the king of Dahomey took flight and set fire to most of the royal palaces, marking an end of the Kingdom of Dahomey and its army of women in 1892.

The Dahomey king was later arrested, deported to Martinique, then Algeria where he died. Dahomey then became a French possession between German Togo and British Nigeria, until Benin declared independence in 1960.

The Dahomey women are truly a testament to the real life story of the African women depicted in Black Panther. Their importance as strategic allies in the safety and vitality of the nation cannot be overstated.

Source – Face2FaceAfrica 

The Curse of Coltan Mines in Congo


The Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa is one of the world’s most resource-rich countries. A wide range of rare minerals can be found here in abundance, all commanding high prices in world commodity markets. Diamonds for jewellery, tantalum, tungsten and gold for electronics; uranium used in power generation and weaponry and many others. Congo has copious deposits of raw materials that are in high demand internationally but remains one of the poorest countries in the world. From colonisation, with the horrors of slavery and other atrocities, to a turbulent and equally brutal present in which militant groups control the mines, Congo’s richness in natural resources has brought nothing but misery. Referred to as “conflict minerals”, these riches leave only a trail of death, destruction and poverty. Under Belgian rule, Congolese labourers were often required to meet quotas when mining different minerals. Failure could mean punishment by having a hand cut off with a machete. The country gained independence in 1960, but that didn’t put a stop to slave and child labour or to crimes being committed to extract and exploit the minerals. Warring militant fractions from inside the country and beyond seized control of mines for their own benefit while terrorising local populations. For our translator, Bernard Kalume Buleri, his country’s history of turmoil is very personal; like most Congolese people, he and his family fell victim to the unending mineral based power struggle. Born in the year of his country’s independence, he has lived through war and seen his homeland torn apart by violent looting and greed. His story is a damning testament, illustrating how nature’s bounty, instead of being a blessing, becomes a deadly curse.

United States Opioid Addiction Is Killing Rainforest

The jungles in Guatemala’s northern reaches are some of the most biodiverse forests north of the Amazon. They’re one of the last remaining homes for jaguars, tapirs, and scarlet macaws. And they’re being systematically destroyed.

There are a number of factors that contribute to deforestation in Guatemala, but the impact of drug trafficking has had a measurable effect. Drug traffickers set up shop in the region, grabbing up land and tearing down trees to build landing strips for airplanes, or to set up farms, which they use to launder money. Narco-deforestation, as it’s known, has long been a problem, but America’s opioid epidemic is almost certainly making it worse.

It’s a link that hasn’t yet been made by researchers, but data from conservation, drug policy, and health literature add up to a compelling indication that our addiction to painkillers is playing a role in the destruction of this precious ecosystem.

Widespread addiction to opioid painkillers like OxyContin has expanded the US market for heroin, which is almost identical chemically to prescription opioids. Heroin is also usually cheaper than pills, can be more readily available, and is more potent. With more demand for heroin in the US, drug cartels in Central and South America have even more incentive to continue tearing down the rainforests, and statistics show that deforestation has continued to climb right along pace with our growing appetite for heroin.

I first learned about this connection during a reporting trip to central Guatemala. Fascinated by the networks at play influencing the opioid epidemic in the US, I was curious if it had had any impact in Central America. So one afternoon, while driving to visit some indigenous midwives in the hilly, bucolic Tecpán region, I turned to my interpreter to ask if she knew whether the drug trade had changed at all in recent years.

She nodded emphatically, telling me it’s “gotten worse,” and that drug cartels in the north of the country were “chopping down the rainforest.”

“Is it just cocaine?” I asked her.

“Cocaine,” she acknowledged. “But heroin, too.”

Guatemala’s rainforests are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. Image: Walter Rodriguez/Flickr

Between 1990 and 2005, 17 percent of Guatemala’s total forest cover was torn down—a loss of roughly half a million hectares of trees—according to the European Space Agency, which tracks deforestation using satellite imagery. It’s continued at a similar pace since then, particularly in the ecologically vulnerable rainforest areas, where an increase in drug trafficking coincided with as much as 10 percent forest loss between 2006 and 2010, according to study published in Science.

And it’s only getting worse.

“It hasn’t slowed down in the last four years,” said Matthew Taylor, a professor of geography and the environment at the University of Denver, who has studied the impacts of drug trafficking on the environment. “From speaking with my sources and from evidence from being in the field, it’s increasing.”

Though agriculture and logging account for a large portion of this deforestation in Central and South America, the narco-deforestation has played a significant role, too. The actual cultivation of drugs like cocaine and heroin has an impact: The Organization of American States estimates that 2.5 million hectares of Amazonian forest in Peru have been destroyed to grow coca, while more than 1 million hectares of forest in Colombia have been culled to grow illicit drugs, including opium poppies for heroin.

But in Central America, the drug-related deforestation is caused instead by all of the activities surrounding the trafficking side of the supply chain, according to Kendra McSweeney, the study author and a professor of geography at Ohio State University.

“[Traffickers] need a lot of land through which to move drugs,” McSweeney told me. “In order to secure those routes, they like to buy up the land and cut forests for landing planes, landing boats, unloading, reloading, and driving out by car.”

Drug cartels also buy land and cut down forests to establish cattle ranches, which make handy businesses through which to launder money, McSweeney explained. It also gives them a diversification option: If the drug route gets cracked down, they still own the land, which they can sell off for major profits, since the original sale is usually made under duress (you can’t really negotiate real estate prices with a drug cartel).

“These are totally dynamics made in the USA, no question.”

Read the full article on Motherboard 

Book Select: Shape Power

This book is the result of 35 years of personally funded research into finding how shapes and different materials convert universal aether into other forces and energies. Dan has broken the code on how the process works; how nature manifests from the virtual particle soup of the aether into matter. Dan has also defined a unified field theory which puts all this into perspective, complete with the mathematical physics and a morphology of atomic structure. He defines the embryonic basis for a new branch of physics and chemistry. The implications of the breakthrough discoveries elucidated in this book have far reaching implications in every area of our lives.

To download the pdf go here Free-Energy.Co

Arctic Midnight Sun

Another phenomenon that makes you go hmmmmm maybe everything isnt as we are told.


The midnight sun is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months in places north of the Arctic Circle or south of the Antarctic Circle, when the sun remains visible at the local midnight. Around the summer solstice (approximately 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere and 22 December in the Southern Hemisphere) the sun is visible for the full 24 hours, given fair weather. The number of days per year with potential midnight sun increases the closer towards either pole one goes. Although approximately defined by the polar circles, in practice the midnight sun can be seen as much as 55 miles (90 km) outside the polar circle, as described below, and the exact latitudes of the farthest reaches of midnight sun depend on topography and vary slightly year-to-year.

The Entheomycological origin of Egyptian crowns

Written by Stephen R. Berlant ∗

In this paper, I theorize that the Egyptian White and Triple Crowns were originally primordia of the entheogenic Psilocybe (Stropharia) cubensis, which an Egyptian tale known as Cheops and the Magicians allegorically explained grew on barley, and that Osiris was the God of spiritual rebirth because he personified this and other entheogenic mushrooms. I go on to theorize that the plant known commonly as the Eye of Horus, which the Egyptians included in cakes and ales designed to spiritually rebirth the living and the dead, was an entheogenic mushroom cap entirely analogous, if not identical, to Soma. Finally, I explain why so many scholars failed to discern these identities and relationships for so long.

© 2005 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

. Introduction

Ethnopharmacology was derived from the Greek words eth- nos for people and pharmacology for the characteristics, proper- ties, and effects of a drug. Accordingly, ethnopharmacology is, by definition, as much a social science as it is an experimental science, in that it is concerned with the way people used and continue to use drugs derived from plants.

Ethnopharmacologists must therefore often rely as much on the methods and materials historians, archaeologists, and vari- ous other specialists use to study a culture as they do on the more rigid methods and materials clinical and experimental pharma- cologists use to study a culture’s drugs. In fact, when the drugs in question are those of an ancient culture, ethnopharmacologists must often rely to a far greater extent, and in some cases solely, on that culture’s literature and art, than on scientifically derived data.

This is particularly true if the drugs in question were used in an ancient culture’s religious rituals, for such rituals were typically performed covertly, as the following passage of the Egyptian Book of The Dead (Budge, 1969a,b) makes clear:

And you shall perform these ceremonies secretly in the Tuat- chamber of the tomb, for they are mysteries of the Tuat, and they are symbolic of the things which are done in Khert- Neter. . . Let no stranger anywhere have knowledge of it. Do not speak about it to any man. Do not repeat it. Let no [other] eye see it. Let no [other] ear hear it. Let no one see it except [thyself] and him who taught [it to thee]. Let not the multitude [know of it] except thyself and the beloved friend of thy heart.

Moreover, this is particularly true when the drugs in question were used in the ancient Near East, for paleobotanical evidence from this region is remarkably rare (Merlin, 2003).

Nevertheless, the literature and art of many ancient Near Eastern cultures have shed a great deal of light on the way mem- bers of these cultures used drugs recreationally, medicinally, and religiously. For example, La droga en el Antiguo Egipto noted pictures of the following psychoactive plants on the tomb walls of Egyptian Pharaohs and their bureaucrats: (1) the lotuses Nymphaea alba and Nymphaea caerulea, which contain the psy- choactive alkoloid apomorphine; (2) Lactuca verosa, a substitute for opium with mild hypnotic effects; (3) the poppy Papaver somniferum, from which opium is, of course, extracted.

It is therefore not surprising that ancient Egyptian priests were designated by the Egyptian word sem for plants, or that these priests contemporaneously served as physicians—for the Egyptians, like all ancient peoples, believed that health and dis-ease could be attributed to the actions of Gods. However, unlike the modern, Western medical practice of prescribing drugs for an afflicted person to take, an ancient Egyptian physician-priest would often himself take a drug that would presumably allow him to commune with the Gods on behalf of the afflicted per- son, and he would often administer drugs to spiritually rebirth, or even physically resurrect, the dead. Hence, Egyptian medicine and religion were inseparable.

To read the full study download the pdf from dropbox  The full read includes photos!


Rare White Giraffes in Kenya

A pair of elusive white giraffes has been spotted near a conservation area in Kenya.

Rangers from the Hirola Conservation Program were alerted by villagers that the mother and calf were seen walking together near the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy in Kenya’s Garissa County in May. In August, the organization published footage of the encounter, but the video began to take off this week, accumulating more than 225,000 views on YouTube.

“The mother kept pacing back and forth a few yards in front of us while signaling the baby Giraffe to hide behind the bushes — a characteristic of most wildlife mothers in the wild to prevent the predation of their young,” the HCP wrote in an August blog post, which included video from the May 31 encounter.

“These rare white giraffes shocked many locals, including myself, but they also gave us renewed energy to protect and save our unique wildlife,” Abdullahi Ali, founder of the Hirola Conservation Program, told Caters News Agency.

White giraffes are rarely spotted in the wild, and the conservation group said it’s aware of only two previous confirmed sightings — in Kenya and Tanzania. However, reports of white giraffe sightings go back as far as 1938, wildlife biologist Zoe Muller wrote in the African Journal of Ecology in 2016.

In Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park, a white giraffe calf, which a local tour guide named Omo, was first spotted in January 2015 and again in January 2016. A white giraffe was spotted near the same Kenyan conservancy in March 2016, near where the mother and calf were seen in May.

In all these cases, the giraffes appeared to be leucistic, not albino. Leucism is a condition that causes a partial lack of pigmentation.


“Leucism is often mistaken for albinism, but they are two different conditions,” Muller wrote, adding that unlike albinism, leucism generally doesn’t affect an animal’s eye color, and in some cases the animals “retain their species-specific coat pattern.”

The Nature Institue adds that “albino individuals lack melanin everywhere, including in the eyes, so the resulting eye color is red from the underlying blood vessels.”

Giraffes, of which there are at least four distinct species, were classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature last year, meaning they are considered as threatened as African elephants.

As The Washington Post’s Ben Guarino wrote in December, an IUCN giraffe specialist group determined that the giraffe population declined to 97,562 in 2015, down from between 151,000 and 163,000 animals, according to a 1985 estimate.


Source – Washington Post 

Octopus Fungus?

Ever seen a fungus hatch? Yeah, we hadn’t either, and it’s unnervingly strange. While this crazy organism looks better suited to life on Proteus than Earth, the devil’s finger fungus (Clathrus archeri) is Native to Australia and New Zealand. It typically appears as a white, gelatinous orb, but when it comes time for fruiting, the fungal ‘egg’ opens, unleashing four to eight blood-red arms (and likely a pinch of doom) on the world.

While unappealing to us humans, what you’re seeing is actually a rather ingenious method of reproduction. The tentacles are laced with a foul smelling tissue, specially formulated to attract flies and other insects. When bugs come-a-knockin’, they get to feed on the slimy substance, but not before their feet are coated with fungus’ spores.

It’s a tactic also used by many stinkhorn fungi, which (like the devil’s finger) belong to the order phallales. Once the insects leave the area, they bring the precious spores with them, and thus the lifecycle can start anew.

Not every phalloid fungus looks like the Beetlejuice shrimp cocktail hand. They come in all shapes and colors: from bright, coral-like stalks, to delicate, complex lattices, to, well, you can decide for yourself on this one:

Fungus-vag-20151112Source: Wikimedia Commons

Some commenters have asked if the devil’s finger is safe to eat. The answer surprisingly, is, yes – but their gelatinous nature is rumored to make the experience rather unpleasant. That doesn’t mean you should eat any ‘hatching’ fungus you see. A closely related species, Clathrus ruber is known to cause convulsions and vomiting when ingested…but thankfully not chest-bursting.