Rape suspect claims he was framed

Botswana, December 2010

A habitual rape suspect, Mokhujwane Babolokeng, of Mapatse in the Central District, last week pleaded with Francistown High Court Judge Abedinico Tafa to grant him bail, saying that he was framed.

The suspect, who allegedly committed an offence of rape while on bail for another rape charge, told the court that the complainants connived to bring false charges against him.

The charge sheet reveals that on May 23, 2010 the accused went on a drinking spree in Mapatse Village and, on his way back home, he met a woman and raped her in the presence of her son.

After the incident, the woman then called the police where upon the suspect was later arrested.
“All the complainants who have laid the charges on me, usually agree to have sex with me and after that they rush to the Police and put a charge of rape against me,” he maintained.

However, Justice Tafa lambasted the accused, saying that the aggravating factor of the matter is that he committed the offense while he was on bail for a similar crime. He went on to rubbish the accused’s claim that he was framed by the complainants, adding that if indeed he was framed why did he not refuse to have sex with the second complainant.

The judge reserved his judgment, saying that there is need by the prosecution to find out when his mention dates at the magistrate courts are and to further enquire if the police investigations are complete before he could be considered for bail.

Judgment will be delivered on the 10th of December this year.
The state is represented by Careb Mbenda.

Figaro, the Toolmaking Cockatoo

NOV. 21, 2016 – The New York Times

The Goffin’s cockatoo is a smart bird, so smart it has been compared to a 3-year-old human.

But even for this species, a bird named Figaro stands out for his creativity with tools.

Hand-raised at the Veterinary University of Vienna, the male bird was trying to play with a pebble that fell outside his aviary onto a wooden beam about four years ago. First he used a piece of bamboo to try to rake the stone back in.

Impressed, scientists in the university Goffin’s lab, which specializes in testing the thinking abilities of the birds, put a cashew nut where the pebble had been. Figaro extended his beak through the wire mesh to bite a splinter off the wooden beam. He used the splinter to fish the cashew in, a fairly difficult process because he had to work the splinter through the mesh and position it at the right angle.

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In later trials, Figaro made his tools much more quickly, and also picked a bamboo twig from the bottom of the aviary and trimmed it to make a similar tool.

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Cockatoos don’t do anything like this in nature, as far as anyone knows. They don’t use tools. They don’t even build nests, so they are not used to manipulating sticks. And they have curved bills, unlike the straight beaks of crows and jays that make manipulating tools a bit easier. Blue jays have been observed creating tools from newspaper to pull food pellets to them.

Alice M.I. Auersperg, a researcher at the Veterinary University of Vienna who studies cognition in animals, and her colleagues reported those first accomplishments by Figaro in 2012. Since then, they have continued to test Figaro and other birds in the lab that were able to learn tool use or tool making, sometimes both, by watching Figaro.

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Most recently, Dr. Auersperg and colleagues report in the journal Biology Letters, the scientists tested four cockatoos to see if they could adapt their skills to different materials. The birds had different skill sets when they started. Figaro had already mastered larch wood and a bamboo twig. Another bird, Pipin, had only mastered tool use.

The results made two things clear. First, these birds can transfer a skill to a completely different material. Both Figaro and Dolittle were able to make tools not only out of larch wood and twigs, but out of cardboard, which required a fairly complicated biting procedure to cut out a tool of the right length and width. Think of a toddler trying to master that task with kiddie scissors.

But the tests also showed clear variations in the abilities of different birds. Pipin seemed to have something against larch wood, but was able to trim a twig, as were all of the birds.

That was the only triumph for Pipin, whereas Kiwi could do twigs and larch wood, but not cardboard.

The birds were also offered beeswax, which none of them could turn into the equivalent of a stick.

Dr. Auersperg may look into individual differences in future research. For now, she says, the cockatoos have shown that their general level of intelligence, which perhaps evolved because they ate some foods in the wild that had to be extracted from hard shells, can be put to use in making and using tools in ways not seen in nature.

She did say that the birds are so intelligent and complex in their behaviors that keeping them as pets is quite demanding. You might even compare it to dealing with a 3-year-old — for 40 years or more. That’s how long the cockatoo can live.

Kreutz Religion and universes

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Most Brutal Execution Methods #2: Scaphism

Welcome to part two of the most brutal execution methods known to man. I hadn’t even heard of this method until today and it is not only brutal, but disturbingly creative. The fact that humans kill and torture other humans is always shocking and hideous, but what I always find most chilling is the thought process behind it. For me it’s the way that humans can so cold-heartedly and thoughtfully produce a procedure purely designed to make someone suffer in the worst possible manner. It’s a horrible fact that humans from every culture and continent have dreamed up weird ways to make people die horribly.

Scaphism, otherwise known as “the boats” is possibly one of the darkest and grossest ways of ending someone’s life. Scaphism was developed by the Persians and described by the Greeks who were normally the intended victims of the procedure.

So this is how it worked: the poor person to be killed would be securely tied between two wooden canoes (or hollowed out tree trunks) with their head and legs protruding. So the trunk of their body was basically encased and sealed in a wooden box. The executioners would then force feed them milk and honey until their bowels were ready to scatter violently. More honey was then applied to any sensitive areas to attract insects. At this point they would take the suffering man to either float on a stagnant pond, or just leave him out in the sun.

The victim’s more than swift bowels would quickly fill the container he was stuck in with excrement allowing insects to breed and feed on his living flesh. Gangrene would set in as burrowing insects started to interrupt blood flow. So far so good yeah? I can almost smell the milky, sweet diarrhea from here.

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The force feeding would be repeated every day so that the hopeless man couldn’t even look forward to death by starvation and dehydration. The honey and milk would give him more than enough nutrients to survive and live through the ordeal.

Death would be slowww…

Delirium would set in after a couple of days and death would eventually come from septic shock (and dehydration if they were lucky). They were basically eaten from the inside out.

Here’s how Zonoras explains the procedure of scaphism: “two boats are joined together one on top of the other, with holes cut in them in such a way that the victim’s head, hands, and feet only are left outside. Within these boats the man to be punished is placed lying on his back, and the boats then nailed together with bolts. Next they pour a mixture of milk and honey into the wretched man’s mouth, till he is filled to the point of nausea, smearing his face, feet, and arms with the same mixture, and so leave him exposed to the sun….

… this is repeated every day, the effect being that flies, wasps, and bees, attracted by the sweetness, settle on his face and all such parts of him as project outside the boats, and miserably torment and sting the wretched man. Moreover his belly, distended as it is with milk and honey, throws off liquid excrements, and these putrefying breed swarms of worms, intestinal and of all sorts. Thus the victim lying in the boats, his flesh rotting away in his own filth and devoured by worms, dies a lingering and horrible death”.

The process was a long one and could be lengthened by the captors if they fancied it. The famous Persian soldier Mithradates was killed by scaphism and according to legend was kept alive for 17 days. To put that into perspective, that’s as long as the entirety of the Sochi Winter Games.

Once the victim had passed away they would open the wooden vault that held their bodies. I was going to say that I would imagine the smell is pretty awful, but I actually can’t imagine what a body would smell like that had been sat in diarrhea for a few days and partially eaten and putrefied by insects in a swamp? Nope, I have no idea what that would smell like and I’m pretty grateful. Hopefully I will never know what that smells like.

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