How Would Some South Africans Respond to Holland Winning the World Cup?
There is plenty to be said for the strong Dutch team at the World Cup in South Africa. With players like Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, they’re among the tournament’s most exciting teams. With a long history built around their “Total Football” style of play, they’re probably the most talented nation never to win a World Cup final. But considering the Dutch role in Apartheid, would the Dutch winning in South Africa be bittersweet?
Fresh off their victory over Uruguay, which punched their ticket to the final game in Johannesburg, the Dutch are one step closer to the ultimate prize. Naturally, with a number of South Africans of Dutch ancestry, this is very exciting. But it’s also a potentially-divisive turn of events that most people aren’t likely to talk about.
Considering the role of Dutch settlers in South Africa’s history, some people are contemplating how the success the Dutch team has enjoyed in South Africa might rub some South Africans the wrong way. Sure, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Netherlands who feels any real kinship with Apartheid-era South Africa, but less than two decades since the end of Apartheid, not every wound has been healed entirely.
The World Cup is an entirely a-political event. But it’s also ignorant to assume that this history intertwining South Africa and Holland doesn’t matter. Israel and Germany enjoy strong diplomatic and economic relations, but the scars of the Holocaust exist nonetheless. At least enough that you probably won’t see too many Israelis cheering on the Germans in the World Cup. This piece of Dutch history and some of the Apartheid language tend to still tend to resurface in the political discourse every so often. Most recently with regard to a travel bill proposed last year in Curacao, a Dutch Caribbean island.
Regardless of how pertinent this history is to the World Cup discussion, it’s actually encouraging to see how much good the success of the Dutch team has done. The spirited Dutch fans have contributed greatly to the South African economy, so you could make the argument that Dutch success in the World Cup enhances the local economy. The incredible Dutch success in soccer has also contributed to a cultural diplomacy around the world. Nobody is going to proclaim that Dutch success in the World Cup is bad for South Africa. But it does bring up some pretty interesting arguments.
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- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
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If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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