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Bayard

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Home country: U.S.
Member since: Tue Dec 29, 2015, 03:16 PM
Number of posts: 9,315

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Michelle Obama's Ancestry and American Slavery

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Geneticist Megan Smolenyak and The New York Times, revealed in recent years, a map of the former first lady’s ancestry like never before.
Michelle Obama’s maternal great-great-great grandmother was Melvinia Shields, who lived on a farm enslaved with 20 other enslaved persons in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

In his will, written in 1850, slaveowner David Patterson, bequeathed her to his wife, Ruth. David wrote in his will that Melvinia, and any children she might bear, would become the property of his wife, Ruth. Specifically, he wrote that she was to inherit “the use and service of the said negro girl, her issue and increase, if any.” He also requested for his slave families to “be kept together as far as possible.”
After the death of Ruth and of David in 1852, their daughter and son-in-law Christianne and farmer Henry Wells Shields became Melvinia’s new owners. She was about 8 years old. There were 2 slaves on the 200-acre farm and Melvinia is believed to have been one of them.

Based on genetic testing and research, Charles Marion Shields, Henry’s son, has been identified as the likely father of Melvinia’s son Dolphus T. Shields, who was born around 1860 (Charles was 20 and it is suggested that Melvinia was around 15).

Dolphus was Michelle Obama’s maternal great-great-grandfather. After the American Civil War, Melvinia Shields had more children who were biracial – 3 out of 4 were listed as “mulatto” on the 1870 census. Melvinia worked during her time in slavery as farm laborer, a washerwoman and a maid. When she was in her 30s or 40s, Melvinia had a reunion with Mariah and Bolus Easley, who were formerly enslaved with Melvinia’s first owner’s the Pattersons. They lived nearby and Melvinia’s son Dolphus married one of their daughters, Alice and they had a daughter Pearl. However, the marriage was short. Alice was Michelle Obama’s great-great-grandmother. Melvinia passed away in her 90’s in 1938. On her death certificate, filled by a relative, the words “Don’t Know” were typed where her parents names should have been.


Henry Wells Shields, the owner of Mrs. Obama’s great-great-great grandmother, Melvinia Shields, is the elderly man with the beard. His wife, Christian Patterson Shields, sits to his right. Charles is the third man standing from the right side.

https://blackresearchcentralblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/30/michelle-obama-and-american-slavery/


Fascinating article with many historical photos

Everything you ever wanted to know about Alpacas


(older clip, no show going on)

I want one.

400 Years After the Mayflower Set Sail,

400 Years After the Mayflower Set Sail, a New Exhibit Acknowledges the U.K.'s Impact on Native American Communities



On a September day in Plymouth, southwest England, a ship set sail. The day was Sept. 16, 1620, and the vessel was the Mayflower. Its passengers and their voyage would soon secure their place as an indelible part of American history. Now, 400 years later, in another September in Plymouth, the facts of that story are coming in for a reexamination.

The Mayflower story taught to generations of American schoolchildren goes something like this: The ship’s arrival in Cape Cod, Mass., that November, was the start of British colonization in the Americas. Those onboard were pilgrims, migrating from Europe as a result of religious persecution; they created a new Plymouth in Massachusetts, overcame adversity and eventually celebrated the first Thanksgiving. But that is only a fraction of the true history. The Mayflower’s passengers were not all pilgrims and 1620 did not mark the start of British colonization, nor did the 1621 Thanksgiving event mark a happy ending when it came to the settlers’ impact on the Indigenous Wampanoag people, who had been living on that particular part of the land for thousands of years.

“Quite honestly, the Mayflower story can’t be told without the inclusion of the Wampanoag perspective,” says Paula Peters, a Wampanoag historian living in the community of Mashpee, Cape Cod. For the anniversary of the Mayflower’s journey (which began 400 years ago Wednesday according to modern calendars, though the date was recorded as Sept. 6 at the time), she has been advising organizers of anniversary activities on both sides of the Atlantic about how to properly incorporate this often overlooked perspective.

https://time.com/5888990/native-americans-mayflower/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=editorial&utm_term=history_education&linkId=99749679

Drone footage follows 10,000 ducks "cleaning" rice paddies in Thailand



After the rice crop was harvested on a farm in Nakhon Pathom province in Thailand, a flock of around 10,000 ducks was released from a pen - and instinctively streamed towards the flooded fields to devour pests such as snails hiding in the rice stubble.

Drone footage, capturing the spectacle that resembles naturally-occurring animal migration, shows the birds zig-zagging across the fields as they headed towards the nutrient-rich rice paddies.

This way of raising ducks in rice-growing areas has long been a tradition in the area and other parts of the region. Thais call it "ped lai thoong", which means "field chasing ducks".

The Khaki Campbell ducks, a British breed, are brought to rice fields after 20 days in nursery and will be raised on the move for the next few months. After roaming free for about five months, they are returned to the duck farm to produce eggs for up to three years.

"The benefit (for the breeder) is that we reduce costs to feed the ducks," said Apiwat Chalermklin, 34, a breeder who took over the business from his father. "And in return, for the rice farmers the ducks help eat pests from the farm and the farmers can reduce the use of chemicals and pesticides."

Apiwat has four flocks of ducks that move around different rice fields in the province where farmers typically cultivate three rice crops every year.



Khaki Campbells are a nice breed. I have a few. One hen is probably 15 years old.

Reimagining Dinosaurs

PREHISTORIC ICONS GET A MODERN REBOOT

On a chilly January afternoon, Susannah Maidment stands on the shore of a London lake, staring down a pack of dinosaurs.

Maidment, a curator at the U.K.’s Natural History Museum, has come with me to tour Crystal Palace Park, which in 1854 included the world’s first public dinosaur showcase. The sculptures were a smash hit at their unveiling and sparked the dinomania that’s been with us ever since. More than a century before Steven Spielberg dazzled the world with Jurassic Park, the Crystal Palace dinosaurs drew two million visitors a year for three decades straight, and Charles Dickens name-dropped one in his novel Bleak House.

To grant us a detailed look at these 166-year-old monuments, Ellinor Michel and Sarah Jayne Slaughter, trustees with the nonprofit Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, guide us through a metal gate to the banks of the lake, where we don waders to make our crossing. I misjudge my first step and fall into the water, clambering onto the island’s shore, dripping wet and smelling of pond scum. “Welcome to Dinosaur Island!” Slaughter exclaims, grinning from ear to ear.

Tucked in among ferns and spongy beds of moss, the pale green sculptures are imposing, even imperious. The park’s two Iguanodon, a Cretaceous herbivore, resemble huge iguanas with nubs on their snouts—which scientists now understand were spikes on their thumbs. It’s tempting to dismiss the assemblage as outdated or the stuff of B movies. But Maidment sees the Crystal Palace dinosaurs for what they really are: the bleeding edge of scientific knowledge at the time, based on comparisons between living animals and the few fossils available to researchers.

Scientists still use this technique to re-create the fantastic beasts, filling in the soft gaps in time-worn fossils. Bones don’t preserve evidence of cheeks on ancient faces, Maidment says, as we pause between two of the statues, “but we reconstruct them as being there because it works: Animals today have cheeks.” The park’s sculptors used the same process, she says. “They were completely reasonable to reconstruct them like this from what they knew.”

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/10/reimagining-dinosaurs-prehistoric-icons-get-a-modern-reboot-interactive-feature/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=social::src=linkedin::cmp=editorial::add=li20200916ngm-newngmreimaginingdinos::rid=&sf237791360=1


Fascinating article following the first scientific dinosaur research, to what exists today. Be sure to see the realistic animated clips. Many photos.

Reimagining Dinosaurs

On a chilly January afternoon, Susannah Maidment stands on the shore of a London lake, staring down a pack of dinosaurs.

Maidment, a curator at the U.K.’s Natural History Museum, has come with me to tour Crystal Palace Park, which in 1854 included the world’s first public dinosaur showcase. The sculptures were a smash hit at their unveiling and sparked the dinomania that’s been with us ever since. More than a century before Steven Spielberg dazzled the world with Jurassic Park, the Crystal Palace dinosaurs drew two million visitors a year for three decades straight, and Charles Dickens name-dropped one in his novel Bleak House.

To grant us a detailed look at these 166-year-old monuments, Ellinor Michel and Sarah Jayne Slaughter, trustees with the nonprofit Friends of Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, guide us through a metal gate to the banks of the lake, where we don waders to make our crossing. I misjudge my first step and fall into the water, clambering onto the island’s shore, dripping wet and smelling of pond scum. “Welcome to Dinosaur Island!” Slaughter exclaims, grinning from ear to ear.

Tucked in among ferns and spongy beds of moss, the pale green sculptures are imposing, even imperious. The park’s two Iguanodon, a Cretaceous herbivore, resemble huge iguanas with nubs on their snouts—which scientists now understand were spikes on their thumbs. It’s tempting to dismiss the assemblage as outdated or the stuff of B movies. But Maidment sees the Crystal Palace dinosaurs for what they really are: the bleeding edge of scientific knowledge at the time, based on comparisons between living animals and the few fossils available to researchers.

Scientists still use this technique to re-create the fantastic beasts, filling in the soft gaps in time-worn fossils. Bones don’t preserve evidence of cheeks on ancient faces, Maidment says, as we pause between two of the statues, “but we reconstruct them as being there because it works: Animals today have cheeks.” The park’s sculptors used the same process, she says. “They were completely reasonable to reconstruct them like this from what they knew.”

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/10/reimagining-dinosaurs-prehistoric-icons-get-a-modern-reboot-interactive-feature/?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=social::src=linkedin::cmp=editorial::add=li20200916ngm-newngmreimaginingdinos::rid=&sf237791360=1


Fascinating article following the first scientific dinosaur research, to what exists today. Be sure to see the realistic animated clips. Many photos.

China National Acrobatic Ballet Troupe



Zang Shibo and Han Ying from China perform an extraordinary number where the ballerina balances in attitude en pointe on her partner's arm. This number won the Silver Award at this edition.


I am totally awestruck. If they only won silver, I can't imagine what the gold couple did!

The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke . . . Is Now Officially Broke

It took decades, but Chuck Feeney, the former billionaire cofounder of retail giant Duty Free Shoppers has finally given all his money away to charity. He has nothing left now—and he couldn’t be happier.

Charles “Chuck” Feeney, 89, who cofounded airport retailer Duty Free Shoppers with Robert Miller in 1960, amassed billions while living a life of monklike frugality. As a philanthropist, he pioneered the idea of Giving While Living—spending most of your fortune on big, hands-on charity bets instead of funding a foundation upon death. Since you can't take it with you—why not give it all away, have control of where it goes and see the results with your own eyes?

“We learned a lot. We would do some things differently, but I am very satisfied. I feel very good about completing this on my watch,” Feeney tells Forbes. “My thanks to all who joined us on this journey. And to those wondering about Giving While Living: Try it, you'll like it.”

Over the last four decades, Feeney has donated more than $8 billion to charities, universities and foundations worldwide through his foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies. When I first met him in 2012, he estimated he had set aside about $2 million for his and his wife's retirement. In other words, he's given away 375,000% more money than his current net worth. And he gave it away anonymously. While many wealthy philanthropists enlist an army of publicists to trumpet their donations, Feeney went to great lengths to keep his gifts secret. Because of his clandestine, globe-trotting philanthropy campaign, Forbes called him the  James Bond of Philanthropy.


With Warren Buffett

https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2020/09/15/exclusive-the-billionaire-who-wanted-to-die-brokeis-now-officially-broke/#72e659953a2a


How about that--a billionaire as one of the good guys, who gave away his fortune (except a couple million for he and his wife to finish out their lives).

Pfizer CEO: Company refused taxpayer money for COVID-19 vaccine development

Pfizer CEO: Company refused taxpayer money for COVID-19 vaccine development to 'liberate our scientists'

https://twitter.com/i/status/1305180611200593921

Pfizer chose not to take U.S. taxpayer money to help fund its coronavirus vaccine development, a move that CBS News' Margaret Brennan pointed out on Sunday is a bit of a financial risk for the pharmaceutical giant.

CEO Albert Bourla admitted that it will indeed "be painful" if the vaccine fails, but "at the end of the day it's only money" and the lack of taxpayer funds won't "break our company." It was more important for Bourla that his scientists were able to work without any strings attached, he said. "I wanted to liberate our scientists from any bureaucracy," he continued. "When you get money from someone, that always comes with strings. They want to see how we are growing to progress, what types of moves you are going to do. They want reports. I didn't want to have any of that."

Bourla said he gave Pfizer's team an "open checkbook" so they only have to worry about "scientific challenges." Plus, he added, he wanted to keep Pfizer out of politics, a tall task for a pharma company on any day, but especially during this pandemic.

As for the vaccine itself, Bourla said Pfizer is preparing for a situation in which they'll know if the candidate works by the end of October, adding that "I cannot say what" the Food and Drug Administration "will do" after that, but "I think it's a likely scenario" the product could receive federal approval before the end of the year.

https://theweek.com/speedreads/937325/pfizer-ceo-company-refused-taxpayer-money-covid19-vaccine-development-liberate-scientists


Don't know about this source, since the next article was something positive about trump. But this one--the man says he wanted to keep politics out of their process. Good idea.

The Case For Drinking Coffee Is Stronger Than Ever

There are few things more more ritualistic—and to many, more sacred—than a morning cup of joe. 64% of Americans drink at least one cup a day—a statistic that’s barely budged since the ’90s. Despite warnings from doctors over the years that coffee may be hard on the body, people have remained devoted to the drink.

Luckily for them, the latest science is evolving in their favor. Research is showing that coffee may have net positive effects on the body after all.

Is coffee bad for you?
For years, doctors warned people to avoid coffee because it might increase the risk of heart disease and stunt growth. They worried that people could become addicted to the energy that high amounts of caffeine provided, leading them to crave more and more coffee as they became tolerant to higher amounts of caffeine. Experts also worried that coffee had damaging effects on the digestive tract, which could lead to stomach ulcers, heartburn and other ills.

All of this concern emerged from studies done decades ago that compared coffee drinkers to non-drinkers on a number of health measures, including heart problems and mortality. Coffee drinkers, it seemed, were always worse off.

But it turns out that coffee wasn’t really to blame. Those studies didn’t always control for the many other factors that could account for poor health, such as smoking, drinking and a lack of physical activity. If people who drank a lot of coffee also happened to have some other unhealthy habits, then it’s not clear that coffee is responsible for their heart problems or higher mortality.

That understanding has led to a rehabilitated reputation for the drink. Recent research reveals that once the proper adjustments are made for confounding factors, coffee drinkers don’t seem have a higher risk for heart problems or cancer than people who don’t drink coffee. Recent studies also found no significant link between the caffeine in coffee and heart-related issues such as high cholesterol, irregular heartbeats, stroke or heart attack.

https://time.com/collection/live-well/4768860/is-coffee-good-for-you/
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