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Gombang Nan Cengka (sijebat)

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Geology determines politics 😱
The Alabama Senate Election Was Decided 100 Million Years Ago

Current voting patterns in the South are related to ancient sea creatures. Yes, really.

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Where have all the insects gone?

In Germany, it seems the population of insects has dropped about 75% over the last decade. This is bound to affect birds and other animals higher up the food chain.. and indeed, bird populations have been dropping too.

The cause is unclear, though places for birds to live have been going away, and the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, known to kill insects, has been rising over this time.

Here's the news:

...a new set of long-term data is coming to light, this time from a dedicated group of mostly amateur entomologists who have tracked insect abundance at more than 100 nature reserves in western Europe since the 1980s.

Over that time the group, the Krefeld Entomological Society, has seen the yearly insect catches fluctuate, as expected. But in 2013 they spotted something alarming. When they returned to one of their earliest trapping sites from 1989, the total mass of their catch had fallen by nearly 80%. Perhaps it was a particularly bad year, they thought, so they set up the traps again in 2014. The numbers were just as low. Through more direct comparisons, the group—which had preserved thousands of samples over 3 decades—found dramatic declines across more than a dozen other sites.

One can hope it's some sort of mistake. But it seems these folks are being careful:

The members monitored each site only once every few years, but they set up identical insect traps in the same place each time to ensure clean comparisons. Because commercially available traps vary in ways that affect the catch, the group makes their own. Named for the Swedish entomologist René Malaise, who developed the basic design in the 1930s, each trap resembles a floating tent. Black mesh fabric forms the base, topped by a tent of white fabric and, at the summit, a collection container—a plastic jar with an opening into another jar of alcohol. Insects trapped in the fabric fly up to the jar, where the vapors gradually inebriate them and they fall into the alcohol. The traps collect mainly species that fly a meter or so above the ground. For people who worry that the traps themselves might deplete insect populations, Sorg notes that each trap catches just a few grams per day—equivalent to the daily diet of a shrew.

Sorg says society members saved all the samples because even in the 1980s they recognized that each represented a snapshot of potentially intriguing insect populations. "We found it fascinating—despite the fact that in 1982 the term ‘biodiversity' barely existed," he says. Many samples have not yet been sorted and cataloged—a painstaking labor of love done with tweezers and a microscope. Nor have the group's full findings been published. But some of the data are emerging piecemeal in talks by society members and at a hearing at the German Bundestag, the national parliament, and they are unsettling.

Beyond the striking drop in overall insect biomass, the data point to losses in overlooked groups for which almost no one has kept records. In the Krefeld data, hover flies—important pollinators often mistaken for bees—show a particularly steep decline. In 1989, the group's traps in one reserve collected 17,291 hover flies from 143 species. In 2014, at the same locations, they found only 2737 individuals from 104 species.

The picture here shows a hover fly.

Since their initial findings in 2013, the group has installed more traps each year. Working with researchers at several universities, society members are looking for correlations with weather, changes in vegetation, and other factors. No simple cause has yet emerged. Even in reserves where plant diversity and abundance have improved, Sorg says, "the insect numbers still plunged."

This consistent with other trends. For example, bird populations have been dropping in Europe. In 2014, a study published in Ecology Letters revealed that most common species (the top 1/4) had dropped in population by 92% since 1980.

We are in the midst of a mass extinction event. A mass extinction event is a bottleneck. The species that make it through will make up our future. So, it's a time when small changes can make a big difference.

Bird and insect populations can bounce back quickly if we let them... unless their species has gone extinct. So: help these species in your back yard. Help stop the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Help support nature reserves. Help stop development that destroys wild or semi-wild land.

The quote is from this article by Gretchen Vogel:

The photo is by Jef Meul for National Geographic. Here's the paper on bird populations in Europe:

An overview of the 6th mass extinction:


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Battle on the island of the gods

For me, one of the aspects that makes Bali unique is its mysticism. Even with the onslaught of hedonistic capitalism, Balinese still strongly hold their tradition. You can find statues and shrines on almost every corner, with offerings delivered to them every day.
Most Balinese are Hindu, which has hundreds of gods, each with their own trait and unique stories. And with those gods, also came stories of battles and wars between Dharma and Adharma, good and evil (and perhaps also between Shapers and N'Seer, who knows).
My favourite, The Mahābhārata is an epic narrative of the Kurukṣetra War and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes.

Today, 23rd September 2017, there was a whole different battle raging on Bali. An invisible XM battle, waged by hundreds of agents from all around the world.
This was an Ingress XM Anomaly event, called "13 Magnus Reawakened". And Ingress Anomalies are global, Bali is not the only place where it happened. Stockholm, Ljubljana, Turin, Seoul, Galle, Washington D.C, Belo Horizonte, and Kansas City also had anomalies on the same day, while tens of other cities around the world had it on this series alone.

In Bali's Kuta battleground, I and two other agents from Semarang were attached to the elite Siluman Mataram (Mataram stealth) squad. And for a few hours I'd experience first hand what made the team got their reputation.

"B11 is volatile! Follow me! Now!" @Bangkur21, our team leader, instructed.
Volatile portals are randomly selected portals that when captured can worth five other portals, while B11 is the designation of a portal a couple hundred metres away.
Alongside us, a group of Resistance agents apparently got the same order, and tried to race us. We started to run, and they followed suit. Some puzzled tourists and locals looked curiously at us, about a dozen people raced while laughing under hot Denpasar sun.
@Bangkur21 suddenly dashed forward, leaving everyone else behind. One Resistance agent tried to sprint, but soon went out of breath and felled behind. My early morning jogging (almost) every week was probably the only reason why I managed to arrive after @Bangkur21, and quickly joined him destroying the blue portal. Before the Resistance team arrived, we managed to neutralise and capture it for the Enlightened faction, then promptly switched to defence mode. Of course the Resistance agents then started attacking, they wanted this volatile portal as bad as we were.
"Oy! Mod! Mod!" @Damnjar yelled, alerting others to replace the AXA portal shield mod that got destroyed.
The Resistance attack was so intense that nearby portals that wasn't defended got shredded just from collateral damage.
But we kept recharging and replacing destroyed resonators and shields, only using precious and rare AXA shields to make the portal much tougher to crack.
And held it we did.
After a few minutes, the volatile mark disappeared from A5, meaning it had returned to normal state. The resistance slowly stopped their attack and moved on.

We returned to our original positions, attacking the blue portal we were previously assigned to. But now we are spread thin, it was only @ascanae and me there against several Resistance agents. It was almost impossible to capture the portal, but I had an idea. @ascanae and I suddenly stopped attacking, and when the portal was fully deployed and heavily shielded, I let a Jarvis virus loose on it, to promptly turning it (along with all its installed components) green. It was a risky move, because I didn't know how long the portal had been flipped before. If it were flipped less than an hour ago, the move will fail but I would still lose the extremely rare virus.
It turned green. It worked.
Then, after a few seconds, a second ring mark appeared around it. It had became a volatile!
In a couple of minutes, even more Resistance agents had surrounded us, but a couple other Siluman Mataram agents also came running. Even then we were still outnumbered, perhaps 1 against 2, but we held the portal green until the volatile mark disappeared again.

The battle raged on for a few more hours. But alas, even with Siluman Mataram best efforts, apparently the Resistance sheer number simply overtook the overall Anomaly. They've won Bali 70.18 to 29.82.
Fortunately, final global score had Enlightened in the lead 11.5 - 8.5

What first drew me into Ingress was it's unique gameplay, which forced me to leave my comfortable couch and walked for kilometres to capture just one more portal (then just another one. OK, this is the last, I promise. Ah, maybe one more).

But then what kept me playing was the people. Ingress players (a.k.a. agents) came from myriad of countries, backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, even languages or dialects. But those differences do not even crossed our minds. We are one. It was well known that every agents who travelled to any cities anywhere in the world, can just open their scanner, introduced themselves on Comm, and instantly gained new and trusted friends.

Within a couple of days, I've seen beautiful sunrise aboard a ferry on Bali strait, watched magnificent sunset on Kuta beach, met hundreds of agents from around the world, including +Hilda Leung​ from Niantic, walked and ran around Denpasar busy streets under a fierce sun for kilometres, and had fun. A lot of fun.

I am @maxda
The world around you is not what it seems, be Enlightened.

Siluman Mataram team for 13 Magnus Reawakened:
@PrinzZdyfh +Dy fh​ (Intel Operator)
@Bangkur21 +Ridwan Kurniawan T ​(Team Leader)
@Fedoric +Achmad Wijayanto​ (Co - Team Leader)
@Damnjar +Adimas Banjar
@skripsi +Awe Tsamma
@ascanae +Aini Sunar
@hollykidzz +Denny Tripriadhi
@rockcrust +Andreas Damian
@maxda +Max Darmawan


+Ingress+Andrew Krug+Hilda Leung
Bali, 23rd September 2017
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CrazyCZechs fieldart

(english version below)
Nemám rád dlouhé sitrepy, tak jen takto krátce.

Již chvíli se ozývaly hlasy pro postavení nějakého zajímavého fieldartu.
Proč tedy nenakreslit něco, co symbolizuje jednotu a špetku bláznivosti hráčů z České republiky? Ano, symbol CrazyCZechs jistě bude vhodnou volbou. Bude to však dostatečně "crazy"?
Skvělá spolupráce hráčů z různých koutů České republiky pod dohledem bedlivých očí z Berlína, Štětína a ČR vedla k postavení obrázku na 139 portálech, skládajícího se z 303 linků a 233 polí. Velké díky všem, kteří se zapojili a pomohli při přípravě a realizaci.
Myslíte si, že je to dostatečně crazy? Dostatečně CrazyCZechs? Posuďte sami.

I don't like long sitreps, therefore this one will be a short one.

There have been voices calling for an interesting fieldart.
So why not do something interesting, something that symbolises the unity and craziness of Czech players? Yes, the CrazyCZechs logo is surely the right choice for that. Is it going to be "crazy" enough?
The excellent collaboration of players from the whole Czech Republic and with careful oversight from Berlin, Szczecin and Czechia culminated in building an art built on 139 portals, consisting of 303 links and 233 fields. Sincere thanks to all who participated and helped with preparations and realisation of the project.
Do you think it's crazy enough? Crazyczechs enough? You'd be the judge.

#ingress #CrazyCZechs #fieldart #sitrep

+Agent KodamaSmiles +Anne Beuttenmüller +AndrewKrug
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​13MAGNUS Reawakens continues. 9 cities. Choose your battlefield for the next round of anomalies on September, 23. Do your part to make a difference. Don't forget to register:
Niantic registration:
ENL registration:

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The final countdown has officially begun. We are exactly 30 days away from the front battle field, XMPs pouring like nothing you've ever seen, the tougher-than-steel AXAs become as soft as commons and cubes runs out like your breath catching you up chasing the enemy.

30 days to 13MAGNUS Reawakens, XM Anomaly Bali.

Register here:

And here:

Let's go to WAR !

Viva La Enlightened !

#13MAGNUSReawakens #13MAGNUSBALI #Ingress #Enlightened
+Ingress Indonesia Enlightened
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