Iraq war and the United States media, cartoon


Iraq war and the United States media

From Slowpoke blog, by United States cartoonist Jen Sorensen:

With all this talk of whether the media was soft on the Bush administration during the buildup to the Iraq war, I thought this cartoon from March 2003 might prove a refresher.

Protests link Bush to McCain, urge end to war in Iraq: here.

Bush’s comparisons of Iraq to World War II: here.

Tim Russert and the US media: here. And here.

Venomous bites by Australian animals


This is a tiger snake video.

From the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare:

Bees, spiders bite more than snakes

Friday, 30 May 2008

Over 11,000 people in Australia were hospitalised because of a venomous bite or sting between 2002 and 2005, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Spider bites accounted for a third of those hospitalisations, and the vast majority of spider bite cases were attributed to red-backs (59 per cent).

A much smaller proportion of cases were attributed to white-tailed spiders (7 per cent) and funnel web spiders (3 per cent).

Clare Bradley of the AIHW’s National Injury Surveillance Unit, said that 3 in 10 bite and sting hospitalisations were because of wasp and bee stings.

‘Bee stings alone accounted for almost 25 per cent of all bite and sting hospitalisations,’ she said.

Bites from snakes accounted for just 15 per cent of bite and sting hospitalisations.

‘Just over half of those snake bite cases were attributed to brown snakes (54 per cent). Black snake (15 per cent) and tiger snake (11 per cent) bites were also common,’ Ms Bradley said.

Other venomous bites and stings requiring hospitalisation in 2002-05 were attributed to venomous arthropods, such as ants, centipedes, and millipedes (10 per cent of cases) and venomous marine animals, such as jellyfish and stingrays (9 per cent).

The report, Venomous bites and stings in Australia to 2005, also revealed strong correlations between the rate of venomous bites and stings and place of residence.

Not surprisingly, residents of major cities had the lowest rate while residents of the very remote regions of Australia had the highest.

The highest rates of hospitalised bite and sting cases occurred in the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, while the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria had the lowest rates.

King brown snakes and cane toads: here.

Redback spider sex: here.

AUSTRALIA’S DEADLY REDBACK SPIDER has shown its stripes in New Zealand, threatening to colonise major cities, researchers have found: here.

Scientists Discover Stinging Truths About Jellyfish Blooms In The Bering Sea: here.

Rare animals and plants in the Netherlands


In this video by a European reptile enthusiast

A small and harmless smooth snake attacks my hand.

In 2007, various rare plants and animals were observed in nature reserves in the Netherlands.

They included:

- Whiskered bats. 11 of them in Fort Spijkerboor

- Yellow centaury: 20 to 30 flowering on Schiermonnikoog island

- Smooth snakes are back in the Bergherbos; four were seen at the same time

- Great reed warblers are back as a breeding species in Eemland

- Great egret: over a hundred birds sleeping in Botshol

- Great crested newt: in nearly all ponds in Op Hees

- Silver washed fritillary: July 3 in Zuid-Kennemerland

- Little crake and little bittern: rare marsh birds, seen in new nature reserve near Harderbroek

- Eurasian treecreeper: 2 couples in the Haagse Bos

- Middle spotted woodpecker: in 2007, 10 to 12 couples were breeding in five areas in Twente

- Inundated clubmoss: in the Damlanderpolder

- Slime mould: a new species for the Netherlands, found on a beech tree in Enzerinck

- Scarce blue-tailed damselfly: seen at Berkenbosje near Haarzuilens

- Water shrew: in Tienhovense Plassen

- Golden samphire: found on the Wadden sea island Griend (in 2006, seen for the first time in the Netherlands, at Kwade Hoek)

- Sea eagle: 2 young birds for over 2 months in Zuid-Kennemerland

- Stripe-winged grasshopper: was seen and heard in the Velhorst

Source: report on 2007 of Dutch conservation organization Natuurmonumenten.

Butterflies in the Netherlands, spring 2008: here.

Smooth snakes to be reintroduced to Devon: here.

New spider species found in Australia


Assassin spider

From ABC in Australia:

New spider species found near Albany

Posted Wed May 28, 2008 2:02pm AEST

Researchers have discovered a new species of spider on Western Australia’s south coast.

The group has also uncovered a population of an ancient arachnid known as the Assassin spider.

The spiders were found at a number of sites along a 70 kilometre stretch of coastline near Albany.

The Assassin spider is just five millimetres in length and, despite its name, is harmless to humans.

Mark Harvey from the Western Australian Museum says the Assassin spider is a threatened species and is believed to date back 150 million years.

He says it is a significant discovery.

“We hadn’t seen that species for about 25 years, so to find them quite happy in their habitat on the south coast was quite a boon for us,” he said.

The new species of spider, which is yet to be named, is about four millimetres long and was discovered at Bremer Bay.

An extraordinary new genus of spiders from Western Australia with an expanded hypothesis on the phylogeny of Tetragnathidae (Araneae): here.

Australian spiders: the 10 most dangerous: here.