Monday, March 13, 2017

badgers, boundaries, and regicide

via https://donegaldollop.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/badger.jpg

Bullock, S, 2016, ‘"Shit Happens": The Spontaneous Self-Organisation of Communal Boundary Latrines via Stigmergy in a Null Model of the European Badger, Meles meles’. in: Tom Froese (eds) Artificial Life XV: Proceedings of The Fifteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems. MIT Press
This reminds me of a display I saw in the Archaeology museum in Dublin when I first arrived in the British Isles in 2010. The old Irish fiefdoms would often have burial sites at their boundaries, and especially at their corners. In particular, corners where several of these territories met each other would often be places where executions, and, according to the theory, ritual regicides, might be staged.
Badgers are incredibly clean and will not defecate in their sett – they have special latrines (communal toilets) comprising of shallow pits placed away from the setts on the edge of their territory. They will not bring food into the sett either.
"The king had great power but also great responsibility to ensure the prosperity of his people. Through his marriage on his inauguration to the goddess of the land, he was meant to guarantee her benevolence. He had to ensure the land was productive, so if the weather turned bad, or there was plague, cattle disease or losses in war, he was held personally responsible."
via http://tobinfamilyhistoryaus.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/stephen-tobin-ch13-irish-roots.html
I'm also reminded of a talk by Žižek about Brexit, and a few other things, in which he talks about the changes to keeping-up-of external (i.e., boundary-related) appearances.  I'm sitting in a talk now so I can't listen to the audio but I'll add a quote later.

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