Three new salamander species discovered in Costa Rica


This video is called Bolitoglossa, New salamanders from Costa Rica. It is also here.

From the BBC:

Bio-rich Costa Rica’s new marvels

They were among some 5,000 plants and animals recorded by scientists from London’s Natural History Museum during three expeditions to Central America.

Two species are nocturnal, while the third is a dwarf variety, growing to little longer than a thumbnail.

The three new finds bring the number of Costa Rican salamanders known to science to a total of 43. …

The three new salamanders were found in La Amistad National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site on the Costa Rica-Panama border.

Two belong to the nocturnal Bolitoglossa genus [see also here]; while the third, from the Nototriton (dwarf salamander) family, is a diminutive 3cm (1 inch) in length.

See also here. And here.

And here.

Black-bellied salamanders in the USA: here.

USA: Researchers examine salamander populations on golf courses to improve biodiversity: here.

Mistle thrush, buzzard, and pike


This video is called Breakfast [of mealworms] for a mistle thrush.

Today, in a Hilversum garden, a mistle thrush eating a small snail.

Later, in the Corversbos, a buzzard flying overhead. A fallen birch tree with Piptoporus betulinus fungi. A nuthatch climbing a still standing birch tree.

In the shallow water near the bank of the canal to the old harbour of Hilversum, a dead pike of about 35 centimeter long.

Anti Iraq war art in Britain


This music video is Edwin Starr’s song War (lyrics are here).

There was also a video on YouTube of this song with Iraq images; but YouTube deleted it.

From British daily The Independent:

War. What is it good for? Art

The latest Turner Prize winner is leading a wave of artists inspired by conflict. Andrew Johnson reports

Published: 06 January 2008

The Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger is preparing to invade Europe with his recreation of an anti-war protest, marking the latest advance of war art on all fronts.

Wallinger’s success with State Britain, including the award of the Turner Prize last month, marks a remarkable renaissance for art based on military conflict, which is being snapped up by museums and embraced by the art establishment.

State Britain, an exact replica of the placards and photographs that made up the peace-campaigner Brian Haw‘s encampment outside Parliament Square in London, will take the installation abroad for the first time when it travels to Paris next month and then to Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the Art Fund, a charity that tries to help museums buy art, has purchased Steve McQueen’s Queen and Country for the nation. The work – books of stamps featuring the head-and-shoulder images of many of the British soldiers who died in Iraq – is being exhibited at the Imperial War Museum.

The Art Fund is also supporting his campaign to pressure a so-far-resistant Post Office into publishing the stamps for public sale.

Also at the Imperial War Museum is an exhibition of war posters, including those designed for the protests against the invasion of Iraq by David Gentleman, who has designed many of Britain’s stamps. His posters are recognisable from the single splat of blood-red-paint motif.

Truth or Consequences, by Gerard Laing

Capriccio, by Gerald Laing

Then there is the Newcastle-born pop artist Gerald Laing, who was moved to create his first paintings in 30 years after the outbreak of war. His Abu Ghraib-inspired Capriccio was exhibited in London in the autumn, as was Truth or Consequences – showing Tony Blair standing next to a bombed London bus, morphing into George Bush by a burning Baghdad as the viewing angle is changed – and Repetition, which puts Warhol’s soup can next to a repeated pattern of soldiers.

McQueen, who was appointed official war artist for Iraq, but prevented from experiencing combat first hand, said: “The role of art is as a stimulant that can bring something to the table. People do get numbed through the media. If you can get in their consciousness in another way their boundaries drop… they can experience in a way they can’t through other media.”

David Barrie, the director of the Art Fund, added: “What has made it harder for artists to respond to recent conflicts is that they have been very inaccessible. The nature of war has changed, so the response of artists has to change.” And Wallinger suggested that art had the power to capture the unpalatable and hold those responsible to account: “It was like Parliament’s guilty conscience, or a mirror held up to them that no one paid close-enough attention to – they didn’t want to see how ugly they really were.”

To back Steve McQueen’s postage stamp campaign go here.