This video from the USA shows a giant elephant shrew; filmed at the National Zoo in Washington, DC.
From Wildlife Extra:
Scientists Discover New Species of Giant Elephant-Shrew in Tanzania
Related to sea cows and elephants, it lives in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania and is the largest elephant-shrew yet discovered.
January 2008. Although there is unquestionably much left to be discovered about life on Earth, charismatic animals like mammals are usually well documented, and it is rare to find a new species today, especially from a group as intriguing as the elephant-shrews.
Distant Cousins of the Elephant
Elephant shrews are monogamous mammals found only in Africa with a colourful history of misunderstood ancestry. Like shrews, these small, furry mammals eat mostly insects. Early scientists named them elephant-shrews not because they thought the animals were related to elephants but because of their long, flexible snouts. Ironically, recent molecular research has shown that they are actually more closely related to elephants than to shrews.
They evolved in Africa over 100 million years ago, and their relatives include elephants, sea cows and the aardvark. Until recently, only 15 species of elephant-shrews, also called sengis to avoid confusion with true shrews, were known to science. However, in March of 2006, California Academy of Sciences Research Associate Galen Rathbun and a team of collaborators confirmed the existence of a new species that lives only in two high-altitude forest blocks in the mountains of south-central Tanzania. Their discovery appeared in the January 25 issue of The Journal of Zoology.
First New Species of Elephant Shrew for 125+ Years
This is one of the most exciting discoveries of my career,’ said Rathbun, who has studied the ecology, social structure, and evolution of sengis for more than 30 years. ‘It is the first new species of giant elephant-shrew to be discovered in more than 126 years. From the moment I first lifted one of the animals into our photography tent, I knew it must be a new species, not just because of its distinct colouring, but because it was so heavy!’ The new species, which has been named the grey-faced sengi (Rhynochocyon udzungwensis), weighs about 700 grams (1.5 pounds), which is 25 percent larger than any other known sengi.
First Seen in 2005
The new sengi was first caught on film in 2005, when Francesco Rovero of the Trento Museum of Natural Sciences in Italy set up camera traps inside the remote Ndundulu Forest in Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains, where he was surveying the region’s forest mammals. When the cameras recorded an elephant-shrew that looked unfamiliar, he sent the photos to Rathbun for identification, who determined that the colourful animal appeared to be a new species. In March of 2006, they embarked on a two-week expedition with a team of colleagues to search for specimens to confirm the discovery.
See also here.
Video about this new discovery: here.
This video from Britain is called A Song Thrush visits a Bingley garden, 2007.
Part 2 is here.
Today, in a garden opposite the nature reserve: blackbird; song thrush; male chaffinch; dunnock.
Later, at the same time together: robin, dunnock, female chaffinch.
Also: great tit, blue tit, collared dove.
In the reserve today: great crested grebe, mallard, coot, carrion crow.
Feeding Garden Birds in Winter leads to better breeding: here.
Birdhouses in the USA: here.
This is a
video concerning Royal Dutch Shell, of Niger Delta infamy, and their coal bed methane plans in the Sacred Headwaters Basin, Mount Klappan, British Columbia.
Contact Shell! firstname.lastname@example.org
From British daily The Guardian:
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell is facing renewed accusations of profiteering after reporting record profits of $27.6bn (£13.9bn) – the highest-ever figure reported by a British company.
The huge profits – equivalent to more than £1.5m an hour and a 9% increase on last year – will cause anger amongst Britain’s motorists who are paying over £1 a litre for petrol after the huge increase in oil prices in recent months.
The Shell figures were immediately branded “obscene” by Unite, Britain’s biggest union, which called on the government to levy a windfall tax on the oil industry.
See also here. And here.
Shell is an example of corporations doing greenwashing in their publicity.
This video is called Brokeback Mountain Trailer.
By Richard Phillips:
Heath Ledger dead at 28: a life tragically cut short
31 January 2008
The sudden death on January 22 in New York City of Australian actor Heath Ledger, best known for his role as Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, has seen an outpouring of heartfelt tributes by filmmakers, actors and movie fans around the world.
A detailed autopsy has not yet been released but 28-year-old Ledger is believed to have died from a toxic combination of Ambien sleeping tablets and other prescription drugs. He was living alone in a $23,000 per month sparsely-furnished apartment in Manhattan’s SoHo district and was discovered lying face down in his bed in the mid-afternoon.
Whatever the exact cause of Ledger’s death, his passing is a sad event and tragically ends the career of an intelligent and naturally talented actor who had much to contribute to his craft and the film industry.
Heath Ledger was born into a comfortable middle class family in Western Australian in 1979. His parents—Sally, a French teacher, and Kim, a racing-car driver and mining engineer—named him after Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. …
Unlike several high-profile Australian movie stars, Ledger refused to remain silent about the impending US-led invasion of Iraq and used his scheduled media appearances to denounce this war crime and Australian involvement in it. Along with Ned Kelly co-stars Joel Edgerton and Naomi Watts, Ledger joined antiwar demonstrations in Melbourne, telling journalists that it was “strange” to be publicising a movie in the midst of the outbreak of war.
“It’s surreal for me to be sitting here, talking to you and giving an interview while they’re dropping 3,000 bombs on Baghdad,” he said. “It’s really hard to sit here and be happy about a movie opening, ‘cause it just makes you realise the insignificance of this, it means nothing in comparison… I don’t think war is the answer to anything. It’s a very, very sad day.”
Video about the publicity on Ledger’s death vs. the many deaths in Iraq: here.
This video from the USA is called John McCain vs. John McCain; about the Iraq war and other issues.
John McCain cartoon: here.
There is a new Mark Fiore animation, about the primary elections in the USA, on the Internet.
It is about Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, just a few days before Super Tuesday.
It is here.
On eve of “Super Tuesday” primaries, Wall Street casts the money ballot: here.
This comedy video from the USA says about itself:
How does President Bush react to the news that entomologists named a Slime-Mold Beetle in his “honor?” Find out in this PNC exclusive…
From Arizona State University in the USA:
An unusual new species of whirligig beetle from India is being named Orectochilus orbisonorum in honor of the late rock ‘n’ roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara.
Arizona State University entomologist Quentin Wheeler announced the description and discovery of the beetle species Jan. 25 during a Roy Orbison Tribute Concert, part of a weekend of tribute events hosted by ASU’s Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture and the Tempe Center for the Arts. …
In 2005, Wheeler and Miller made news with the discovery of 65 new species of slime-mold beetle of the genus Agathidium, with one named after Darth Vader and others named for President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
A scientific paper describing the new species of Gyrinidae (Coleoptera), Orectochilus orbisonorum, sp.nov, was accepted for publication by “Zootaxa,” an international journal for animal taxonomists. According to the trio of researchers, the new species “is unique among Indian Gyrinidae and Orectochilus Lacordaire, in general, since the ventral surfaces are white as the result of clear areas of cuticle allowing internal tissues to be visible.”
Bombardier beetle: here. And here.
From the site of the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands:
Soldiers who about 50 AD guarded the border of the Roman empire in what is now the Netherlands, as they kept watch ate fish, waterfowl, and shellfish. So says a report, Vroege Wacht, published this week about a Roman watchtower, discovered in Utrecht in 2002. …
Rations were probably not enough; as the soldiers in the tower added to it by fishing for carp bream, roach, perch, and especially pike.
Also waterfowl were hunted: the soldiers certainly ate mallard, wigeon, and teal.
This video is called The Courtship of Anna’s Hummingbird (Britannica.com).
From British daily The Independent:
Revealed: the bird that sings through its tail
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Wednesday, 30 January 2008
A small hummingbird has been found to “sing” through its tail feathers rather than its voice-box in the same way a wind musician plays a note on a clarinet.
Scientists have found that the Anna’s hummingbird of the American south-west makes a “chirping” sound by dive-bombing at speeds of 50mph to cause wind to rush through its splayed tail feathers. The feathers quiver in the same way that the reed of a clarinet vibrates when a musician plays the instrument to produce a musical note. In this way, the bird is able to produce a noise that is louder than anything its own tiny voice-box can make.
The researchers said it is the first time that any bird has been shown to make a deliberate noise in this way, but they now believe that there may be other species of hummingbirds that can sing through their feathers.
This video, from the firefighters’ trade union in the USA, is called Giuliani Gets Exposed As Fraud by Firefighters.
From AMERICAblog in the USA; after the results of the Republican primaries in Florida came in tonight:
We won’t have Rudy [Giuliani] to kick around anymore, although we’ll be mocking his candidacy for years to come. What a spectacular disaster. Despite his best finish so far — a distant third, which is way better then his usual sixth place — Rudy is dropping out and backing McCain.
Giuliani had been favoured by the big media and the party bosses, and had lots of money.
Update: Giuliani officially quits.
Rudy Giuliani’s daughter Caroline busted for shoplifting in NYC – NY Post, NBC News: here.
Sweetheart Deal?: Caroline Giuliani Gets 1 Day of Service for Shoplifting: here.
McCain and the Iraq war: here.
This music video is called Barbara Breedijk – Charming Farmer –Zing Zong Festival.
Tonight, poetry and music at the theatre.
First, poetry by Jacob Aachenende, an admirer of Lord Byron and Slauerhoff. I still knew him from when he read his poems in Amsterdam; “the first time ever”, he said. The subjects of his poems of tonight included death; prostitution; and the chess player Jan Hein Donner.
Then, acoustic guitar music and singing by Eelco Romijn. A Nick Drake fan, the subjects of his songs included his son.
After a pause, yours truly, with a column about fish.
Then, poetry by Gerrit Vennema; whose poems included one about Paris cemetery Père Lachaise.
Finally, acoustic guitar music and singing by Barbara Breedijk. Her first song (also in the video in this blog post) was about a woman falling in love with a farmer and then getting disappointed.