Somalian-born hip hop artist K’naan interviewed


This is a video of the K’naan song called Hardcore. Live at BB King in New York City, USA.

From British daily The Morning Star:

Rise [anti racist music] festival: Interview

(Friday 13 July 2007)

HIP HOP WITH HEART AND SOUL: K’naan.

RICHARD BAGLEY meets Somalian-born acoustic hip hop artist K’NAAN.

MANY people at this weekend’s Rise in north London will have a story to tell.

But surely few would compare to the life story of one man. K’naan.

If you haven’t heard the name before, it probably won’t be long before it’s familiar, because this Somalian-born hip hop artist has exactly what it takes to become a truly global star.

At the age of 13, he and his mother were lucky enough to scramble on the last flight out of Mogadishu before the country imploded.

Since then, like so many Somalians, he has led the life of an exile, growing up as an immigrant in the West, first in Harlem and then in a Toronto neighbourhood.

Over the past decade and more, he and his fellow country folk have been forced to watch in horror as things went from bad to worse.

This feeling of helplessness and alienation has driven his music, acoustic hip hop that’s fuelled by anger, yet is tinged with a beauty that reflects this softly spoken young man’s compassionate heart.

Update August 2009: here.

American killdeer plover in Scotland


This video from the USA shows a female killdeer bird with chicks and egg. Notice the egg on the right moving, it is actually in the process of hatching. No birds or eggs were harmed in the filming of this clip!

From Rare Bird Alert in Britain today, there is an American killdeer plover in Scotland; at Virkie on the Mainland island of the Shetland archipelago.

Killdeer article and photos: here.

Scottish wildcats in danger


This video is the trailer for the nature / wildlife / current affairs documentary Last of the Scottish Wildcats.

From Wildlife Extra:

There has been much media attention recently to the plight of the tiger and other highly endangered big cat species, and rightly so. Yet one of the world’s most endangered cat species is the UK’s own Wildcat, and it is our entire fault. Recent genetic tests have shown that there are fewer than 400 true wildcats left.

For further information about Scottish Wildcats, or to find out how you can help with their predicament, go here.

Scientists: Scottish highland wildcats could be saved from extinction by cloning: here.

Two Scottish wildcat kittens have been filmed by a BBC crew: here.

Camera traps capture new Scottish wildcat sites in the Cairngorms: here.

London fur trader convicted for trading in skins of endangered cat species: here.

Ocelots in the USA: here.

Big cats video: here.

Rare grasshopper in the Netherlands


This is a blue-winged grasshopper video.

The rare blue-winged grasshopper, Oedipoda caerulescens, has been seen at two spots in the Netherlands.

Photos are here.

Dinosaurs and sharks ate each other in Jurassic Spain


This video is called Dinosaur Decoded.

From Discovery Channel:

Dinos, Sharks Were Predators and Prey

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

July 12, 2007 — Sharks and dinosaurs in prehistoric Europe had a taste for each other, suggests a new review of vertebrate fossils found in the Galve region of Northeast Spain.

Diverse findings dating from the late Jurassic to the early Cretaceous reveal that bony fish, salamanders, frogs, 39-foot-long crocodilians, small prehistoric mammals, freshwater turtles, several types of pterosaurs, and various other dinosaurs all once thrived at the Spanish site from around 163 to 145 million years ago.

Teeth from hybodont sharks — extinct, primitive shark-like fish — were found in non-marine rocks. This reveals the hybodonts lived in rivers and lakes right in dinosaur territory. At least one group of dinosaurs, the spinosaurines, was equipped to take on the fish species.

The findings were recently published in the journal Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Co-author Darren Naish, a paleontologist at the University of Portsmouth, explained to Discovery News that these theropod dinos, which originated in Europe, had “long skulls, retracted nostrils, and unusual, semi-conical teeth,” good for grabbing land prey as well as fish, including small sharks.

Naish emphasized “small,” less than 6.5 feet or so long, since hybodonts could defend themselves with their teeth, sharp spines and pointy horns.

For swimming dinos other than spinosaurines, Naish said “hybodonts would presumably have been a hazard that they would have wanted to avoid.”

“Dinosaur carcasses washed down rivers and into the sea were often scavenged by sharks,” he explained.

Another potential “hazard” would have been the enormous crocodilians, aquatic reptiles related to today’s crocodiles and alligators. Teeth, bony plates and bones are all that remain of these creatures, which grew to about the size of a large school bus.

The Galve assemblage resembles that of Wealden, a widely distributed series of rocks over much of Southeast England.

Michael Benton, who worked with Naish and Barbara Sanchez-Hernandez on the study, is a professor of vertebrate paleontology at the University of Bristol.

Benton told Discovery News that Galve is comparable to Wealden because “the climate was probably similar,” the rock formations date to about the same age, and the two sites are only a few hundred miles apart.

Unique to Galve, however, are “holdover dinosaurs,” mostly sauropods that were already extinct or evolved elsewhere. Benton explained that the dino relicts survived in Spain later than anywhere else “possibly because it was more or less an island,” since the Iberian region was then partly surrounded by seas that separated it from England, France and central Europe.

David Martill, a palaeobiologist at the University of Portsmouth, told Discovery News that the new overview on Galve fossils “is an accurate piece of science.”

In terms of sharks, Martill said they were “diversifying greatly” around the time of prehistoric Galve.

He described the primitive shark hybodonts as having “an impressive series of spines in front of the dorsal fins, and males had rather fierce-looking horns on their heads, which were used to attach the male to the female for a rather painful looking mating event.”

For dinosaurs that encountered them, however, they likely just inflicted pain.

Fossil bony fishes’ jaws: here.

Baryonix in Britain: here.

Cretaceous sharks of Alabama: here; of Britain: here.