Scotland: Eurypterid, prehistoric ‘scorpion’, bigger than human described

This video is about an Eurypterid fossil.

From World Science:

Scorpion bigger than human described

Nov. 30, 2005

Courtesy Nature and World Science staff

A geologist working in Scotland has uncovered footprints that he says come from a fearsome water scorpion bigger than a human.

The tracks were made about 330 million years ago by a six-legged creature called Hibbertopterus, according to Martin Whyte of the University of Sheffield, U.K.

Hibbertopterus was some 1.6 metres (5¼ feet) long and a metre (3¼ feet) wide, he added.

The tracks show that this now-extinct group of animals, previously thought to dwell in water only, could also survive on land, according to Whyte.

At around the same time as the creature lived, scientists believe our own [amphibian] four-limbed ancestors were also making their first steps towards leaving the water and colonizing the land.

The six-metre-long trackway reveals strides that were 27 cm (11 inches) long, and also features a central groove left by the creature’s dragging tail, according to Whyte.

This, he added, shows the creature was probably a very slow, lumbering beast when moving on land.

Whyte described the finding in the Dec. 1 issue of the research journal Nature.

See also here.

And here.

USA: Angela Davis

This video says about itself:

Inside USA – Angela Davis – 03 Oct 08 – Part 1

Part 2 is here.

3 December 2005

Moira Nolan looks at Angela Davis, who has campaigned against racism and injustice for over 35 years

In October 2004, the Not In My Name US anti-war coalition took out a full page advert in the New York Times condemning the war in Iraq.

Among the high profile academics and Hollywood stars uniting to oppose George Bush’s war was Angela Davis — a key figure of the black liberation movement in the 1970s.

Davis was catapulted to international renown in 1970 when the FBI put her on its Most Wanted list and issued an “Armed and Dangerous” poster of her — in those days an invitation to any racist cop in the US to gun her down in cold blood.

Yet for millions of black Americans Davis was a symbol of the movement to end the institutionalised racism of the US—and especially its prison system.

As a child in the 1940s Davis grew up in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, in an area known as Dynamite Hill because of the vast number of black American houses firebombed by the Ku Klux Klan.

The 1960s civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war campaigns were springboards for radical change and brought Davis into struggle.

Read more here.

Final of slam poetry tournament

Apollo and the Muses; by Raphael

Tonight was the final of the slam poetry tournament in a very crowded theatre.

Many people had to stand, some of those outside the entrance.

Ten poets had made it to the final round: instead of eight, as intended.

However, one of those ten did not come on stage: Harry Zevenbergen had become ill.

First on stage was poetess Susanne Metaal.

She already was someone writing poetry well, and reading poetry well.

The question with her was sometimes in the past: is her poetry especially fit for her reading it out; or more fit for reading it yourself from paper, with more time to discover subtleties?

This time, her poems were more immediately accessible, and went down well.

The first one was about gnomes and Lord of the Rings movies.

Her second one was about “choice” for consumers, so much promoted by corporations and Rightist politicians: who ignore that people want something good, not a confusing choice between over-complex alternatives.

Whether it is in jeans; mobile phones; privatized energy and health care which bring consumers just trouble: one good thing is better than lots of questionable ones.

However, Susanne’s last line was: One man? Maybe that is too restrictive.

After a pause later, the same nine poets, in reverse order.

Susanne Metaal’s poem then was about traffic.

Second on stage (and second last after the pause) was Peter van den Berg.

Many of his poems were fast: real slam poetry in that sense.

His first poem was an adaption of an Ajax football song.

The second was on how refugees are treated in The Netherlands.

Then, a poem on the Dutch Sinterklaas holiday.

And on Louis Sévèke.

After eleven people died in the Schiphol fire, Louis, organizer of their commemoration, was murdered in Nijmegen (by an extreme Rightist?).

Then, Gijs ter Haar from Amersfoort.

With a long poem, with a line “I wish there were more poets than soldiers”.

After the pause, a poem on dancing.

Then, Christiaan Mooiweer from Delft.

He read poems on madness; on love; and a sonnet.

Then, Gerard Beentjes.

His poems included one on climate change.

Then, Jaap Montagne came on stage.

This time not as a slam poet, for which he is best known, but as a guitarist and singer.

He played Just like a woman, by Bob Dylan.

Later, after the pause, Like a rolling stone, also by Dylan.

Then, Paul Groenendaal.

Poems on the Frisian language; and on a dead man.

Then, Simon Mulder.

With poems in archaic language on subjects like death.

Then came Upperfloor.

This Rotterdam poetess was maybe the best of the night in her reading and interaction with the audience.

She spoke to an older man in the audience as if addressing the young girl that poem was about.

As final one: local poet Germen Bergervoet.

Already when still making his way to the stage through the crowd, he started reading his first poem.

His work was on subjects like Leiden local dialect.

Then, the verdicts came, of the votes both by the three person jury, and the audience.

The audience voted for Peter van den Berg; just ahead of Susanne Metaal.

The jury vote was won by Gijs ter Haar; just ahead of Upperfloor.

A special prize was for Simon Mulder.

All three winners then read an encore poem.

And now, from the Google cache of ModBlog, on a preliminary round for this:

Slam poetry night at the theatre Comments: 2
Date: 11/9/05 at 12:03PM

Mood: Listening Playing: Poetry in motion

Tonight, I went to the theatre for a slam poetry tournament.

More precisely: the second bit of its first round.

Last week, two of the participants then had made it to the final round, later this month.

They were Susanne Metaal and Peter van den Berg.

This time, in between the poetry, there was music by Roy Santiago.

The first poet was Martin Aart de Jong, whom I had also heard earlier.

Second was Lotte Asveld. She is from The Hague, but also organizes poetry nights in Leiden.

After her came Gijs ter Haar from Amersfoort. He read sonnets.

One of his poems was on the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.

Then Christiaan Mooiweer, maybe the most typically “slam” poet of the night.

He declined to use a microphone, as he thought his voice was loud enough.

Then, last before the pause, Pom Wolff. His poems had macabre humour.

After the pause, the same poets came, in reverse order.

So, Pom first, Martin Aart de Jong last.

Martin’s poems included one on Dutch immigration minister Verdonk.

While the jury was deciding who of the five poets would win, there was a performance by Alex Franken.

He did two poems and several songs, with guitar.

In a later part of the slam poetry tournament, he will be a participant.

Finally, on behalf of the jury, Han Ruijgrok said Gijs ter Haar had won, and would proceed to the final round.

A poll of the audience decided Christiaan Mooiweer would join Gijs in that round.

Helping rare Bermuda snails survive

Bermuda land snail

From The Scotsman:

Mon 28 Nov 2005

Rare species goes at snails‘ pace to beat extinction

RARE snails flown to London Zoo in an attempt to save them from extinction have successfully reproduced.

A colony of 56 Bermudan land snails were brought to the UK in February after the native population fell to critically low levels.

Just 300 remained after being hunted to the edge of extinction by predatory snails and ants.

After successful breeding there are now about 70 adults and 157 juveniles at the zoo in Regent’s Park.

The Bermuda Natural History Museum, which had been monitoring the snails, asked the zoo for help after numbers among the single surviving colony fell dramatically.

A programme was set up to establish a thriving population of the snails away from their natural habitat and the predators who were hunting them.

Experts at the zoo have also taken the opportunity to improve their knowledge of the creatures to help conserve them.

They have been monitoring egg batches and hatchling snails to clarify average clutch size, incubation periods, time taken for snails to reach maturity and life expectancy.

Giant snails invasion of Barbados: here.

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UK: Menezes family hails Blair inquiry

Cousin of De Menezes at Stockwell tube stationFrom London daily News Line:

Tuesday, 29 November 2005

‘THEY ARE GOING TO PAY FOR THEIR LIES!’ – Menezes family hails Blair inquiry

‘This will be the start, they are going to pay for all their lies, all the shootings,’ Alex Pereira, the cousin of Jean Charles de Menezes told News Line yesterday.

He said: ‘I am very happy Commissioner Blair is being investigated, he should resign’.

Pereira was responding to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmation that it is beginning an investigation of the conduct of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair and his officers, after the police murder of unarmed young Brazilian electrician, De Menezes at Stockwell Tube last July 22nd.

Alex Pereira added to News Line: ‘We asked the IPCC to do that a month ago.

‘Commissioner Blair showed us no respect.

‘At 3.30pm when he made his statement he knew that my cousin was a Brazilian and not a terrorist.

‘He made a false statement.

‘He has to answer why no-one went to Jean Charles’ house to give us the news of his death.’

Amphibians on the rise in The Netherlands

European tree frogFrom Dutch news agency Novum:

The numbers of frogs and toads in The Netherlands are on the rise, though worldwide there is a decline.

The numbers are from the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS) between 1997 and 2004.

Ever since the 1950s, there was a decline in The Netherlands of the numbers of frogs and toads.

According to the people doing the research, this growth is due to improvement in water quality and digging of new ponds.

They say the number of tree frogs is rising fastest.

Since 1997, there are four times as many European tree frogs.

The numbers of common and edible frogs in The Netherlands are said to rise with five percent a year.

The yellow bellied toad is still threatened, though numbers are on the rise, according to the CBS.

Numbers of common toads rose with 3.5 percent a year.

Common Eurasian spadefoot toad in The Netherlands: here; and here.

Fossil frogs, Rana pueyoi, from Spain: here.

Toads in the USA: here.

Vietnam: rare langur monkeys found

Trachypithecus francoisi

From BirdLife International:

Vietnam survey team finds rare primate


During a recent survey to prepare for the establishment of Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve in Vietnam’s Quang Tri province, a team from the BirdLife in Indochina Programme and the local forest department proved how important this kind of work can be for all types of biodiversity – when they discovered a new population of globally threatened primate.

Twelve Hatinh Langurs Trachypithecus francoisi hatinhensis were discovered living on a limestone cliff in the survey area.

The local Van Kieu minority people call the species ‘Con Cung’, which roughly translates as “black, cliff-dwelling monkey with a long tail”.

The actual number of Hatinh Langurs present in the area is thought to be considerably higher than twelve, as inclement weather and a lack of time prevented more intensive searching.

Hatinh Langur is endemic to Vietnam and qualifies as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

This is the first time that it has been seen in Quang Tri province.

Previously it was known from only two locations, Phong Nha-Ke Bang and Kim Lu limestone forest in Quang Binh province. (Despite its name, the species has never been confirmed to occur in Ha Tinh province.)

The proposed Bac Huong Hoa Nature Reserve covers 35,000 ha. Around 1,500 ha of this is limestone forest habitat in which the langur has been found.
Edwards's pheasant
Many other important species can be found in the area including the globally threatened Edwards’s Pheasant Lophura edwardsi (Endangered) and the near threatened Crested Argus Rheinardia ocellata, Great Hornbill Buceros bicornis and Tickell’s Brown Hornbill Anorrhinus tickelli.

“The proposed nature reserve will soon be officially established in Quang Tri province.

This results from great efforts of Quang Tri Provincial People’s Committee, Quang Tri Provincial Department of Forest Protection and BirdLife International over the last few years.

However, on the way ahead, there will be a lot of work to do if we are to preserve the biodiversity values granted by nature and contribute to the development of the local economy,” said Mr Le Trong Trai, Project Coordinator at the BirdLife in Indochina Programme.

Rare gibbons in China: here.

Squirrel monkeys in London zoo: here.

Gelada baboons: here.

Chacma baboons: here.

Red uakari: here.