Music video of Redbone, Wounded Knee


This music video is of the native American band Redbone, with their song [We were all wounded at] Wounded Knee.

The video is from Dutch TV.

This single was number one in the Dutch charts, and other European charts, in 1973.

It might have charted in the USA then as well.

But it was never released as a single in the USA.

Wikipedia writes:

In 1973 Redbone released the politically oriented “We were all wounded at Wounded Knee”, recalling the massacre of Lakota Sioux Indians by the Seventh Cavalry in 1890. The song ends with the subtly altered sentence “We were all wounded by Wounded Knee”. The song reached the number one chart position across Europe but didn’t chart in the USA where it was initially withheld from release and then banned by several radio stations.

The lyrics are here.

Follow Magellanic penguins’ migration on the Internet


In this video, ‘Magellanic penguins take a stroll near Punta Arenas, Chile, in the Straits of Magellan’.

From the Penguin studies page:

Follow the Penguins’ Migration!

During the week of August 20, 2007, Professor Boersma and her student, Elizabeth Skewgar, selected six adult male [Magellanic] penguins from rehabilitation centers at two coastal towns in Northern Argentina–San Clemente del Tuyú and Mar del Plata–to carry satellite transmitters during their southern migration back to their breeding colonies. They put the transmitters on healthy, robust birds in good body condition that were likely to be eager to get back to their colony to begin breeding. The point is to follow their ocean route and determine if they are going south along a well-defined route.

Through late October the birds’ movements will be tracked by the Argos satellite system, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the French space agency. The satellites will pass overhead providing the penguins’ locations which we are charting on a tracking map so you can watch, with us, the route or routes the penguins are using to return to their breeding colonies.

Bookmark this page so you can check back to see the latest news, and follow along through October as we watch the penguins travel south.

Argentina declares new coastal marine park to protect vital wildife areas: here.

Play about the United States constitution


In this video, McDonalds debate Fast Food Nation on BBC Newsnight with Eric Schlosser.

From British weekly Socialist Worker:

We The People play

This new play is written by Eric Schlosser, the US-based historian and writer best known for Fast Food Nation, his exposé of the fast food industry.

It is set in 1787 and uses speeches, letters and documents from that time to recreate the Philadelphia Convention that hammered out the constitution of the newly independent US.

Charlotte Westenra directed the play. Her work includes Gladiator Games and Bloody Sunday: Scenes From The Saville Inquiry. It is showing as part of the Globe Theatre’s “Renaissance and Revolution” season.

We The People
directed by Charlotte Westenra
2 September to 6 October
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London SE1

Review of We the People: here.

About the US constitution: here.

Fossil bee and orchid discovered


This video is called Baltic Amber: The Living Gemstone Part I.

Part II is here.

Part III is here.

From Leiden university in the Netherlands:

A piece of amber, millions of years old, including a pollen covered bee, will reveal its secrets. Dr. Barbara Gravendeel discovered the first orchid fossil, and will report about that in Nature of Thursday 30 August.

ScienceDaily (June 15, 2010) — The world’s oldest known example of a fig wasp has been found on the Isle of Wight. The fossil wasp is almost identical to the modern species, proving that this tiny but specialized insect has remained virtually unchanged for over 34 million years: here.

New poisonous frog discovered in Colombia


This video is an Animal Facts Infographic on poison dart frogs at the Oregon Zoo, in the USA.

From Science Blog:

A new poisonous frog was recently discovered in a remote mountainous region in Colombia by a team of young scientists supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP). The new frog, which is almost two centimetres in length, was given the name the “golden frog of Supatá.”

Originally, the young scientists thought the frog was similar to several other common species in the area. However, after scientific analysis of the frog’s characteristics, and review of their findings by experts at Conservation International, it was determined that the golden frog of Supatá is unique and only found within a 20 hectare area in Colombia’s Cundinamarca region. Colombia is one of the world’s richest countries in amphibian diversity, with more than 583 species.

Unfortunately, since this frog is a recent discovery, and endemic to only the Cunidnamarca region, little is known about it. So far, scientists say that the golden frog of Supatá belongs to a group of “dart fogs” that are known to be highly venomous. In the coming months, the young scientists hope to have more information about the frog.

“The importance of this project is not just the discovery of the new frog,” said Oswaldo Cortes, team leader and one of the winners of the 2007 Conservation Leadership Programme awards. “But, most importantly, what this new discovery shows is how little we still know about our planet, and the many species that haven’t yet been discovered. This is why it is so important to work with local communities and educate them about the need for conservation.”

See also here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

New national park created in Colombia’s Amazon: see here.

Gopher frogs in Georgia, USA, see here.

USA: salamander larvae try to get too big for predators


About this video:

We discovered this female spotted salamander ovipositing on a stick while conducting a vernal pool survey.

From New Scientist:

Greedy larvae too much of a mouthful for predators

* 11:29 28 August 2007

* Roxanne Khamsi

Gluttony may protect certain species of prey from predators, suggests a new study. Some salamander larvae seem to have evolved such that they actively overeat to avoid becoming a meal themselves, say researchers.

Once the larvae reach a certain size, they no longer fit in the mouths of their predators. And the new study found that the larvae were mostly likely to engage in this overeating behaviour in ponds where they faced the greatest number of predators.

Mark Urban of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, US, spent three years collecting data from 10 ponds in the northeast of the country.

All of the ponds contained the spotted salamander Ambystoma maculatum, but only some of them were also home to its primary predator, the bigger marbled salamander Ambystoma opacum.

Marbled salamander larvae can comfortably gulp down prey smaller than 3.3 millimetres. And, notably, at three weeks the body of a typical spotted salamander larva measures about this size in diameter at its thickest point, making it relatively easy to swallow.

Scientists have shown, however, that spotted salamander larvae in ponds with many marbled salamanders measure about 3.8 mm in diameter – they believe that these prey bulk up to avoid becoming dinner.

Salamandra salamandra: here.

Hybrid salamanders in the USA: here.

In 1888, a biologist called Henry Orr was collecting spotted salamander eggs from a small, swampy pool when he noticed that some of them were green. He wrote, “The internal membrane of each egg was coloured a uniform light green by the presence in the membrane of a large number of minute globular green Algae.” Orr decided that the eggs “present a remarkable case of symbiosis.” The salamanders and the algae co-existed in a mutually beneficial relationship: here. And here.

Spotted Salamander Egg Masses: here.

New survey work suggests that fewer than 1,200 Mexican axolotls remain in its last stronghold, the Xochimilco area of central Mexico: here.

Rare moth for first time in Scotland


Lobesia abscisana, male

From The Scotsman:

Rare moth causes hearts to flutter

A RARE moth has been discovered on the Scottish mainland for the first time.

The micromoth Lobesia abscisana was discovered at St Cyrus Nature Reserve in Aberdeenshire.

The species is common in the south of England, but in Scotland had only ever been found in Shetland.

Moths of Britain and Ireland: here.

Bogong moths’ mass migration near Sydney, Australia: here.

US psychologist returns award in protest against Guantanamo torture


This video from the USA is called Bush: Torture is Good for USA.

By Stephen Soldz:

Author Mary Pipher Returns Award to American Psychological Association to Protest Torture Stance …

An even more dramatic development in the struggle occurred this week when psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Mary Pipher (author of Reviving Ophelia among many other books) decided to return her Presidential Citation award from the American Psychological Association in protest. Here is her letter to APA President Brehm explaining her decision:

August 21, 2007

American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242

President Brehm:

I am writing to inform you that I am returning my Presidential Citation dated 2/02/06 and awarded to me by then President of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Gerald Koocher. I have struggled for many months with this decision, and I make it with pain and sorrow. I was honored to receive this award and proud to be a member of APA. Over the years I have spoken at national conventions many times and had enjoyed an excellent relationship with the APA and its staff. With this letter, I feel as if I am ostracizing a good friend.

I do not want an award from an organization that sanctions its members’ participation in the enhanced interrogations at CIA Black Sites and at Guantanamo. The presence of psychologists has both educated the interrogation teams in more skillful methods of breaking people down and legitimized the process of torture in defiance of the Geneva Conventions.

The behavior of psychologists on these enhanced interrogation teams violates our own Code of Ethics (2002) in which we pledge to respect the dignity and worth of all people, with special responsibility towards the most vulnerable. I consider prisoners in secret CIA-run facilities with no right of habeas corpus or access to attorneys, family or media to be highly vulnerable. I also believe that when any of us are degraded, all of human life is degraded. This letter is as much about us as it is about prisoners.

In our Ethics Code we agree to promote honesty and accuracy. Our involvement in these projects has been secretive and dishonest. Finally, as psychologists we vow to do no harm. Without question, we violate this oath when we allow people in our care to be deprived of sleep or subjected to sensory over-stimulation or deprivation.

I cannot accept the August 19, 2007 Reaffirmation of APA’s Position Against Torture (Substitute Motion Three.) Under this motion, psychologists will be allowed to continue working on interrogation teams that are not subject to the Geneva Conventions. This motion places our organization on the side of the CIA and Department of Defense and at odds with the United Nations, The Red Cross, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association. With this reaffirmation we have made a terrible mistake.

I know that the return of my Presidential Citation from Dr. Koocher will be of small import, but it is what I can do to disassociate myself from what I consider to be a heinous policy. All of my life I have tried my best to stand up for those with no voices and no power. The prisoners our government labels as enemy combatants are in this category.

I return my citation as a matter of conscience and in the hopes that the APA will reconsider its current unethical position. We have long been a wonderful organization that respected human rights and promoted tolerance, kindness, and peace. Nothing is more fundamental to our core orientation and professional service to others than our commitment to all people’s inherent dignity, safety and welfare. I hope my letter may be useful in restoring the APA to its long-respected and important stance as a beacon of integrity and kindness for all human beings.

Respectfully,

Dr. Mary Pipher

Pipher interview: here.

See also here.

Pentagon anthropology in Afghanistan: here.

Botero’s Abu Ghraib paintings may get permanent home in California


This video about Fernando Botero’s works on Abu Ghraib is called A Permanent Accusation.

From the San Francisco Chronicle in the USA:

Cal could be permanent home for controversial Abu Ghraib paintings

Jesse Hamlin, Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

If the details can be worked out, Colombian artist Fernando Botero‘s potent Abu Ghraib paintings will find a permanent home at UC Berkeley, where the controversial images were shown last winter.

Latin America’s most celebrated living artist, Botero has offered to give the university all the pictures it displayed – 25 big paintings and 22 drawings of bound, bloodied and blindfolded naked prisoners, one pawed by a ferocious dog. They’re based on the photographs and stories of Iraqi prisoners tortured by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau has tentatively agreed to accept the gift, the monetary value of which experts peg at $10 million to $15 million.

“We have a gentleman’s agreement,” said Birgeneau, who saw the works when the exhibition opened at Cal’s Doe Library in January and was impressed by “their emotional impact and technical brilliance. I’ve written the artist saying we’ll accept them, subject to us being able to work out a reasonable set of conditions.”

Those conditions include how many of the works would be on permanent view and how they’d be loaned to other institutions. Botero, who is famous for the bloated figures in his playfully satiric paintings that now fetch $1 million to $2 million at auction, has said he would never sell the jarring Abu Ghraib pictures, which were first shown in Europe in 2005. He turned down an offer from the Kunsthalle Wurth museum near Stuttgart, Germany, to build a wing to house them.

“I think they should be here – in the United States – or in Baghdad,” Botero told Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker on the eve of the Berkeley show, which drew about 15,000 people over two months and inspired lectures and panels around campus on torture, human rights, terrorism and art. The works are now on view in a Botero retrospective in Milan and will tour for two years.

In April, the artist, who lives mostly in Paris, e-mailed Professor Harley Shaiken, director of the Center for Latin American Studies, who had organized the show, to say he’d decided to give the works to UC Berkeley. He wrote that because of the school’s academic stature and “openness of spirit,” he wanted the pictures to reside there permanently.

“We were stunned. It was well beyond our wildest dreams,” said Shaiken, who relayed the offer to the chancellor, whom he praises for taking the risk of showing these provocative works and supporting the belief that “a university deals with ideas.”

Shaiken first learned of the Abu Ghraib pictures from a New York Times review of them at Manhattan’s Marlborough Gallery, which represents Botero. “These paintings do something that the harrowing photographs taken at Abu Ghraib do not,” wrote critic Roberta Smith, who considers them some of Botero’s best work. “They restore the prisoners’ dignity and humanity without diminishing their agony or the injustice of their situation.”

The works were shown at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome and other European museums, but American museums passed on them. It rankled Shaiken that the work by Latin America’s best-known artist “addressing one of the driving moral issues of our time” wasn’t going to be seen on the West Coast. He contacted Botero through his dealer and got the ball rolling. When officials at UC Berkeley’s Art Museum said the museum was booked for two years, Shaiken and colleagues set their sites on a space in the Doe Library leading to the stacks. In seven short weeks, pros at Oakland’s Atthowe Fine Art Services converted it to a gallery. The $120,000 to mount the show came entirely from private donations.

“We chose to do that because we knew the content would be controversial,” said Shaiken. He thinks American museums declined the exhibition because of “an unholy mixture of political timidity and critical aloofness.” Some critics dismiss Botero’s work as predictable and too commercial. “He’s accessible,” Shaiken said, “and accessibility makes some suspicious.”

Botero and Berkeley clicked from the get-go. “There was a natural engagement the minute he stepped on campus,” Shaiken said. People flocked from far beyond the campus to see the work. “Many were deeply moved by the art, others disturbed,” Shaiken said. “It did what art is supposed to do.”

After receiving Botero’s offer, Chancellor Birgeneau read up on Botero and sought opinions from people on and off campus. The response was overwhelmingly favorable, Chaiken said, but not unanimous.

Kevin Consey, the director of the Berkeley Art Museum, reportedly is not a big Botero fan. He was out of the country Monday and was unavailable for comment. Museum spokesman Rod Macneil said there were concerns regarding the conditions surrounding the gift, “the requirements about the number of works that would have to be displayed and how they would be displayed. There was concern about the way in which it would impact our freedom to operate the museum.” (The museum is planning a new building in downtown Berkeley). “Everyone recognizes that these are clearly very important works. It would be a good thing if they remain in the UC Berkeley community.”

Botero has made no specific demands yet, Shaiken said, but “I think it is very likely that these works will be in Berkeley, and I think there’s no more appropriate place for them.”

Peter Selz, a retired UC Berkeley art history professor and one-time director of the university museum, wrote the chancellor urging him to accept Botero’s gift. “These are major, meaningful works of art,” said Selz, who was director of the Berkeley museum in the mid-1960s when abstract expressionist Hans Hoffman gave the university 47 paintings. The Botero gift is equally and possibly more significant than Hoffman’s, Selz said.

“I feel it’s very important for future generations to see these paintings chronicling the cruelty in our time.”

E-mail Jesse Hamlin at jhamlin@sfchronicle.com.

Note the adjective “controversial’, cowardly inserted in, especially, the headline about the Abu Ghraib paintings in this otherwise non-problematic article; because of some higher up at the San Francisco Chronicle, who is a Bushist, or scared of Bushist businesses advertising in the paper? It reminds me a bit of Pablo Picasso, admired by Botero: when, it is said, during the nazi occupation of Paris, a German officer entered Picasso’s workplace, and saw Picasso’s famous painting Guernica. Patronisingly, the officer asked Picasso: ‘Haben Sie das gemacht’ [Did you make that]? Picasso replied: ‘Nein, das haben Sie gemacht’ [No, you have done that [to Guernica]]!

Botero is indeed right that his Abu Ghraib work should be either in Iraq or in the United States. However, being in a California university, it will not be in a major art museum. It will also not be in Washington, DC, close to the culprits of horrors like at Abu Ghraib: the Bush administration.

Abu Ghraib Swept Under the Carpet, see here.

Corruption in Bush’s Iraq war: here.

USA: Bush’s Attorney General Gonzales resigns


This video from the USA says: ‘As the US Attorney scandal rages, another Alberto Gonzales scandal has flared up – this time concerning his pressuring then A.G. John Ashcroft to sign domestic spying orders when Ashcroft [was ill].

James B. Comey, former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, testifies on May 15th about an incident on the evening of March 10, 2004 (from Wikipedia):’

From the BBC:

US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, embroiled in a row over the sacking of eight US attorneys, has formally announced his resignation.

In a brief news conference Mr Gonzales said he had met President George W Bush on Sunday to tender his resignation, which will take effect on 17 September.

Members of Congress have accused Mr Gonzales of abuse of office over the sacking of federal prosecutors.

He is the latest in a run of senior officials to leave the White House.

See also here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

Juan Cole on Gonzales’ resignation: here.

How about after Gonzales? See here.

Gonzales jokes: here.

Special prosecutor appointed to investigate US attorney firings: here.

As with the resignations of Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, etc: good riddance to bad rubbish. However, Bush and Cheney still have to quit.