Bavaria

Dinosaurs of a feather

ᔥ The Australian

It has long been thought that dinosaurs were related to birds…the proof is mounting as well, the latest being a full skeleton of a dinosaur with feathers:

German researchers have discovered a fossil of a feathered hatchling that may be the earliest evidence of a plumed, meat-eating dinosaur that was not closely related to birds.

The fossil is believed to belong to a young land-based dinosaur from the Late Jurassic period, some 170 million years ago, said a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Named Sciurumimus albersdoerferi, in part after its bushy, squirrel-like tail – tree squirrels come from the genus Sciurus – it is the “most complete megalosauroid fossil yet”, the study said.

Megalosauroid is the name for a wide-ranging group of carnivorous dinosaurs that could grow as big as 9m long and weigh up to one tonne.

The fossil, which shows a juvenile dinosaur with its jaws open and tail extending far over its head, was found in a quarry in Bavaria, Germany.

The hatchling likely had a large skull, shorter hind limbs and smooth skin with feathers covering its entire body.

Why Suppression doesn’t work

ᔥ Sydney Morning Herald

The Bavarian Government is going to republish Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf after a ban of more than 67 years. The case shows why in suppression anything, including books and even names just leads to the creation of a conspiracy. People want to know why something is suppressed, or who is hiding, when the opposite of suppression, that of openness often leads to the same ends that suppression was attempting to do.

For me we shouldn’t ban things that are distasteful or offensive, we should mock the ideas, subject them to ridicule. To suppress them just gives them credence.

The truth is that in this digital world, there’s no such thing as suppression any more. Just ask the state government of Bavaria, which has decided to republish Adolf Hitler’s 1925 work Mein Kampf before the book’s copyright expires in 2015.

Rights to the book are owned by the Bavarian finance ministry, though publication of the work has been banned in Germany since 1945.

So why offer formal state publication to this book, from which the German people, on the whole, have spent the past 67 years firmly distancing themselves?

Because the book is so widely available – you can find the whole thing with a few keystrokes – that the only purpose being served by formal suppression is the conferment of an illicit thrill for those who track it down.

To publish the book in all its ugliness and stupidity and leaden prose, its fascinatingly silly perorations on racial purity – ”the titmouse seeks the titmouse,” intones the Fuehrer, at one point, in all seriousness – this is, in the present environment, the best way to strip the work permanently of its appeal to residual fans.

Deprived of its titillating suppression order, this banned book becomes … a book. A bad book, at that, for all sorts of reasons – most of which become thuddingly clear upon cracking it open. Similarly treated, a conspiracy theory becomes a theory, just like any other – nothing more.