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Showing posts from October, 2017

Qualqilya Zoo and Dr Khader's Taxidermy

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Qalqilya is a Palestinian city, which houses a 2-hectare zoo, open since 1986. It used to be a popular attraction among Arabic and Israeli visitors. However, once the Second Intifada (Palestinian uprising against Israel) began, visitors from outside of Qalqilya were no longer permitted to visit the zoo. 

The zoo was often surrounded by violence as protests broke out. For example, at one time school children decided to throw stones at passing Israeli tanks. In response, the soldiers started shooting at them. This resulted in very some tragic losses. One of the zoo's key projects were its giraffes. At the time the zoo housed two giraffes, male and female, with the female being pregnant at the time. When the sound of gunfire could be heard in the giraffes' enclosure, the male giraffe became very frightened, he panicked, and ran into a wall of his enclosure. This caused him to fall down, and as he was unable to get up, he died due to failed blood circulation (giraffes must not lie …

Taxidermy at the Manchester Museum

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"The world is not to be put in order; the world is order, incarnate. It is for us to harmonize with this order" - Henry Miller ----------------------------------------
Last weekend I visited my family in Manchester, UK. While I was there I took the opportunity to visit the Manchester museum, where natural history is a big theme and there is a large collection of taxidermy exhibits. My personal favourites were the birds and forest wildlife. Below are some pictures I took of the exhibits:

1. Taxidermy squirrel This exhibit shows part of the process involved in creating a mammal taxidermy. It is clear that the skin removed from the cadaver is placed on a man-made structure shaped as a squirrel. Of course, due to natural decay the animal's real eyeballs are replaced with glass eyes. I had a chance to touch a finished taxidermy squirrel in the museum and it felt like a living, furry animal, except for the lack of a spine.

2. The big bad wolf
This angry-looking wolf is a well-m…

Tsantsas - Shrunken Decapitated Heads

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Severed human heads can be shrunken and preserved. The process used to be carried out by tribal people from the Amazon rainforest for ritual, trade and trophy purposes. In some cases the shrunken heads could be used as toys for children. The demand for tsantsas (another name for the shrunken heads) from traders caused an increase in warfare between some of the Amazon tribes. Most of the demand came from dealers, museums and private collectors. The practice has ended around the 1960s.

The procedure of shrinking a human head would first involve removing the skull by making an incision at the back of the head and pulling the skin off, while severing the muscles and tissues connecting the skin to the skull. The skull is thrown away, eyes are removed and cartlidges from the nose and ears are cut off. The skin is cleaned while being turned inside out. A purpose-made boiling pot is then filled with water, and the water is brought to boil. The skin of the head is immersed in the boiling water…

Promiscuity and Infidelity

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I would like to dedicate this post to the man who made me realise that love no longer exists. A brief message to him is as follows: If you ever happen to come across this post, you know I'm talking about you, but the purpose is not to blame you or judge you for seducing countless women with your lies. I wish you could realise that the more you do it, the more likely you are to destroy your own life. The point is that all actions have their consequences. -----------------------------

As the title says, in this post I would like to talk about the potential deadliness of promiscuity (i.e. unsafe or excessive sexual behaviour, in case someone isn't sure). There exists undeniable proof that having multiple partners dramatically increases the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. And it is not only intercourse which can cause STDs, but also oral sex and even just touching each other can transmit harmful bacteria and viruses. But that's not the whole stor…

Asphyxiation

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Asphyxia is the key cause of death from things such as strangulation, drowning and carbon monoxide poisoning. It involves low level of oxygen in the body, combined with high carbon dioxide and acidosis (i.e. build up of lactic acid). In forensics there are 3 key categories of death via asphyxiation: Strangulation, Chemical Asphyxia, and Suffocation.

Strangulation is the method most commonly used during murders. It was also used as a method of execution in the past. For example, the garrote was a device used for capital punishment in Spain, until as late as 1940. It involved tying a rope around the neck of the condemned, and twisting it until it was tight enough to cause strangulation. However, self-strangulation, often auto-erotic, is also very common. The auto-erotic type often involves taking in alcohol or other substances, such as drugs, while being strapped and positioned with the head lowered relative to the rest of the body. Several famous people died that way, including the Ame…

Dead Birds: Part 1

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I was always fascinated by dead animals, especially birds and fish, as they usually cannot be handled easily and examined while alive. I have seen many dead birds throughout my life and took a few pictures to document the more interesting cases. Below are a few images of what I managed to find, near to where I live.

Bird 1: Likely a lark
This specimen was found still alive by my family near Manchester, UK. It was weak and unable to fly so they decided to take it to the vet, but it died on the way there. I believe it was a lark, most likely a skylark, or a meadow pipit, although skylark is more likely due to its size and shape. These birds can be found everywhere in UK, but mostly live in the countryside and farmland. They are not very easy to spot where this one was found, so it was interesting to see. 
As seen on the picture, the bird has angular wings, which are long in proportion to the rest of its body, enabling them to fly and hover smoothly. If it was alive, it could likely sing,…

Immolation

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Immolation refers to deliberate causing of death by means of burning. Sometimes self-immolation is carried out as a means of sacrifice, although the method was predominantly used for carrying out executions since the early human history.
Usually the prisoner would be bound to a large wooden stake and fire would be lit up underneath them. If the fire was large, the condemned would often die by Carbon Monoxide poisoning, before being burnt alive. However, if the flame was small, the body would catch fire while the prisoner remained conscious and their flesh would burn for a period of time, until death occurred due to loss of blood, body fluids, thermal decomposition of vital body parts or heatstroke.
During the process, the fire would first of all peel away the outer layer of human skin, i.e. the epidermis. After a few minutes, the thicker layer of the skin (aka the dermis) shrinks, splits open and fat begins leaking out. The fat can act as a fuel for the fire, thus sustaining the flam…

Censorship and Trigger Warnings - my viewpoint

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This post will be slightly different from what I usually write. It will be more personal, rather than just informative. I wanted to use this opportunity to present my viewpoint regarding the prevalence of censorship and trigger warnings. You may agree or disagree, and that is absolutely fine. However, I will not tolerate any disrespect as I believe in freedom of expression and the importance of respectful exchange of opinions between individuals. And honestly, I would love to finally get some comments on this blog.

So to begin with, censorship is defined as the prohibition of communication or information that may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect etc. It had been used throughout centuries to block out information from the public. I believe that in some ways it can be good, for example preventing children from seeing sexually explicit images and hearing sexual word references (that includes swearing), which they are not mature enough to understand a…