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Daniel Spielmann
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So today Germany’s last manufacturer of lametta closed down, because people do not buy that stuff anymore. And wherever I look, journalists completely fail to even hint at the significance of this – the best they come up with when it comes to reading the semiotics of European culture connected with lametta is: “it used to be used to signify isicles”. With roots that can be traced back to beliefs of homo neanderthalensis, however, Yule is one of Europe’s most ancient festivals, it was hijacked by Christianity and currently it is very quickly going down the drain - the (lost) (hi)story about lametta is just part of the loss of cultural heritage.

The Yule tree is brought into the home, into the cave – signifying the symbolic (bear) womb. The Yule tree is the placenta which will nourish the embryo of the symbolic revival of the ancestor. It is decorated because it is alive and gives life. It is full of food for the embryo (blood and light: energy, blood and light are the same thing). Therefore, red fruit is hung up on the tree: the balls, or hearts (the heart of the ancestor: the stone or ax placed on the chest of a deceased ancestor thought to sooner or later re-live). Dwarves, elves or bears are placed on it as well: embryos, brought by birds and bees. The dwarves are the symbol of the child with the head of the ancestor and they have a cap (signifying the bag of water in the womb). as a sign of belonging to the otherworld. Those caps are red because they are engorged with blood, just like the fetus.

European forbears also used to place cakes and sweets on the tree – their purpose was to feed the embryo during pregnancy. Sweets because the mother is symbolically a shebear, who eats a lot of sugar and fat. Garlands – and now we get to the original significance of lametta – are the symbol of the umbilical cord: it must be cut in order to free the newborn life. Lametta used to be red (blood) or gold (light). The stars and the lights in the tree are symbols of vital energy. In ancient European thinking, blood is light because the plants “eat” light and then are themselves eaten by human or nonhuman animals to produce blood. The star on top of the tree is a symbol for the sun, the first source of this energy. 

The Advent calendar (which must be filled with sweets) is the symbol of the fetus nourished in the womb during pregnancy. Advent candles are a symbol of the energy consumed.

Traditionally, a child would receive gifts on Yule, symbolizing property formerly owned by a deceased ancestor. Originally, these gifts would be deer racks (antlers) to be used as a shovel to dig up the ancestor. Already in the age of our Neanderthal forbears, those racks used to hang on or near the tomb (the symbolical house), like a shovel that would allow entrance.

Santa Claus is a chimera of it all: He is both fetus (red cap), the child (dwarf), the ancestor (aged head), the male bear (male) and the female bear (the one who nourishes and feeds in return) and of course he comes through the chimney (the vagina). The flying sleigh with deer is symbol for the light that travels (similar to Apollo’s chariot). The deer are symbol of the male deer fight, the fight with Earth, with the soil, when the dead ancestor is dug up in order to be reborn. 

The shoes underneath the tree or the socks at the fireplace/chimney/vagina are the new body into which the ancestor slips down (cf. shoes of Cinderella or the seven-league boots).
The French traditionally eat a cake shaped as a wooden log at Yule: they eat the tree, the umbilical cord, the placenta. The gifts are wrapped up and later opened so that - metaphorically - they are first buried and then dug up.

All these Yule symbols remained stable for several tens and even hundreds of thousands of years – dare we call it genetic memory, just like the wisdom of crows has been passed on from generation to generation for just as long?

Lametta is but one example: shallow interpretations (in this case: “icicles”) fail to tell the history, thinking, traditions and truth of the species homo (which, btw., does NOT only include friggin sapiens, but also rudolfensis, habilis, ergaster,  neanderthalensis, and others – with at least the latter being capable of far more than our modern day egocentric delusion and our being so full up with ourselves would have us believe.)

So is the news mentioned at the beginning just about lametta, or maybe just as much about the alienation of sapiens from itself and the forebears, about the detachment from cultural heritage and the totality of our being swallowed by a “civilized”, consumerist, capitalist paradigm worthy of annihilation...

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Dinosaur blood vessels found in Canada now allow for the investigation of protein change over a large span if time. 

Ertrinken wir in #Anglizismen ? Oder kann kaum einer in Deutschland richtig Englisch und wir verpassen den Anschluss an die "Weltsprache"? Wir wollen wissen, wann Sie die englische Sprache wozu benutzen (oder auch nicht) und was Sie darüber denken. Die Umfrage dauert 7-10 Minuten und wird von der Universität Münster durchgeführt.
Die Umfrage finden Sie unter

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The rotating mask illusion proves the stable nature of subconscious, emotional and intuitive judgements. First you see a mask upfront, it turns, and then your challenge is to see the mask from inside out. No matter how hard you try: you will fail. To your limbic system, faces are highly emotionally coded - so if you manage to see the mask from behind: go see a doctor, for you no doubt suffer from an impairment of your limbic system.

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3 perspectives in 30 seconds: This quick Guardian ad shows how quick the brain of a human animal is in the intuitive judgement of a situation and in the reduction of complexity. That's why opinions alone don't help: the rational, fluid and conscious nature of the cortical system is not where decisions are made. Those emerge from the limbic system, which works in rather stable, emotional, intuitive and subconsious ways.

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First, the human animal cuts off the routes back to spawning grounds with weirs and power plants, pollutes the water and pushes the species towards the brink of #extinction. Then they come up with disgusting factory farming schemes to meet the demand for dead salmon, with 97 per cent of those farms not meeting even their own proclaimed goals for sustainability. This whole business is plain weird and disgusting and in a way indeed just like #tarsand. Free the rivers, just like Derek Jenkins suggests. 

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Sad days where people are relying on "restaurant birds" to "interact with nature". 
Restaurant birds are a “fantastic way for humans to interact with nature”, says animal ecologist Stuart Bearhop. That being said, they're also a good way for birds to interact with your lunch.

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The mountain that eats men
The Cerro Rico de Potosi mine in Bolivia was known as "the mountain made of #silver " or "the mountain that eats men". Since the Spanish first forced indigenous populations to mine the mountain, an estimated 8 million people have died mining silver out of that mountain alone. It is said that with the amount of silver taken from Potosi, the Spanish could have built a bridge of silver back to Spain. Local legends also say they could have built a second bridge back to the new world from the bones of the men that perished in the mining of that silver. 
Despite an estimated 33 million indigenous peoples and African slaves that worked the Potosi mine over the past 500 years, she is still yielding silver today.

At over 15,000 feet above sea level, young boys as young as 14 years old work all day in medieval conditions toiling rocks on their backs or breaking the rocks with hammers and iron chisels. Every days, these boys face almost certain death from either the dangers of the job, or if they're lucky enough to get to their 40s, they will certainly face numerous lung diseases associated with the job to work "the mountain that eats men".

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On sentiments getting lost in translation. The emotional import of "O" seems to be quaint for a time and age that doesn't fancy dealing much with things beyond their control and where the term "forebears" is handled as an equivalent to "dimwits".
I enjoyed this little piece very much. I saw colleagues invest half a decade into writing about words like "and" or "but", investigated "yeah" myself and through this kind of socialization pretty much love to see the small words put onto the center stage. #linguistics #language 

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On the neurophysiological benefits of #multilingualism: Building stronger neuronal networks prevents the whole thing from crumbling down. Or once it's shattered into pieces, a solid scaffolding may help reconstruction.
Just in case you needed one more piece of evidence for why your picking up the Arab tongue is perfectly reasonable, +Sonja Samuda​. 
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