First leatherback turtle nest in Texas since 1930s


This video is called Dr. Scott Eckert – Leatherback Sea Turtle Presentation.

From the New York Times in the USA:

For the first time since the 1930’s, federal biologists confirmed that a leatherback sea turtle has nested on a Texas beach, at the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi.

Last Friday, staff conducting a beach patrol found turtle tracks and a few exposed eggs. They were thought at first to be those of a green turtle. But the eggs and the width of the tracks, more than six feet across, were later determined by a park biologist, Cynthia Rubio, to be from a leatherback. The giant, ancient, endangered turtles, some the size of a Smart Car, have until now only been known to nest in four spots in the United States – with about three dozen females a year laying eggs on beaches along the east coast of Florida and slightly larger nesting populations in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There is evidence of nesting in North Carolina as well.

UNH researchers tag first-ever free-swimming leatherback turtles in New England: here; and here.

Leatherback turtles in Malaysia: here.

6000 new Leatherback turtle nests discovered in Panama & Colombia: here.

CIA spy scandal in the Netherlands on Pakistani nuclear proliferation


This video from the USA is called U.S. Nuclear Non-Proliferation Policy [and the Indian sub-continent].

In Dutch daily De Telegraaf today, the main headline on the front page was for this article (translated):

12 June 2008

Dutch-United States spying scandal

by Joost de Haas

THE HAGUE – The United States intelligence service CIA has done operations which the Dutch government did not know about. In a conflict about that, the The Hague CIA boss had to leave.

The espionage row up to now had been carefully kept from becoming public in order not to harm the relationship with the USA.

Controversy

The CIA ‘station chief’ who had become controversial left the Netherlands in 2005 after the Dutch intelligence bosses had lost confidence in him. Well informed sources in The Hague say so. Behind closed doors, the parliamentary committee on intelligence services (CTIVD) has been informed on the problems with the CIA.

When asked, the chair of that committee, [Christian Democrat] Ms I.P. Michiels van Kessenich-Hoogendam, confirmed that the issue had been solved by replacing the CIA chief.

The controversial operations on Dutch territory included, eg, an inquiry into nuclear technology proliferation, including Pakistan. The [Dutch secret service] AIVD in this found out about CIA activities which it had not been informed about according to the legal rules. According to insiders, this led to a bizarre situation during a secret visit to the house of a Dutch businessman: “Shortly after the AIVD had intruded into the house and had installed microphones and cameras, suddenly a CIA team arrived, going into the same house. In this way, the AIVD people were able to film their American colleagues.”

According to Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, that incident was in 2004. There, the AIVD confirms the De Telegraaf article.

De Telegraaf is a Rightist daily with a tradition of slavishly following United States governments.

The CIA has been in the news before as helping the Pakistani regime in nuclear spying in the Netherlands against the will of the Dutch government.

United States governments have a record of supporting nuclear proliferation to the regimes of Pakistan, India [see also here], Israel, and South Africa when it was still an apartheid state.

While citing nuclear proliferation as the pretext for the Iraq war with over a million dead … while Iraq did not have any weapons of mass destruction.

At the moment, Iran is threatened by war by the Bush administration with similar pretexts as for the Iraq war … though even Bush’s own intelligence services admit that Iran does not have any nuclear weapons and is unlikely to get them anytime soon.

One of already over 110 (when I last checked) comments at the site of De Telegraaf:

How low have we [Dutch] gone by following Bush. “Our little boy” [Prime Minister Balkenende], did he say anything about it during his recent visit to the USA, or did he accept insincere compliments like a good boy?

Ans, Driel | 06:50 | 12.06.08

More bee species than mammals and birds combined


This video is called Solitary bee just emerged and taking first flight.

From the American Museum of Natural History:

Bee species outnumber mammals and birds combined

Newly completed checklists from the American Museum of Natural History highlight the importance of these pollinators

Scientists have discovered that there are more bee species than previously thought. In the first global accounting of bee species in over a hundred years, John S. Ascher, a research scientist in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History, compiled online species pages and distribution maps for more than 19,200 described bee species, showcasing the diversity of these essential pollinators. This new species inventory documents 2,000 more described, valid species than estimated by Charles Michener in the first edition of his definitive The Bees of the World published eight years ago.

“The bee taxonomic community came together and completed the first global checklist of bee names since 1896,” says Ascher. “Most people know of honey bees and a few bumble bees, but we have documented that there are actually more species of bees than of birds and mammals put together.”

The list of bee names finished by Ascher and colleagues was placed online by John Pickering of the University of Georgia through computer applications that linked all names to Discover Life species pages, a searchable taxonomic classification for all bees, and global maps for all genera and species. Ascher and colleagues recently reviewed all valid names from his checklist and from those of experts from all over the world for the World Bee Checklist project led by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and available online (www.itis.gov).

The bee checklists were developed as a key component of the Museum’s Bee Database Project initiated in 2006 by Ascher and Jerome G. Rozen, Jr., Curator of bees at the Museum, and with technical support from Curator Randall Schuh. A primary goal of this project is to document floral and distributional records for all bees, including now obscure species that may someday become significant new pollinators for our crops. The vast majority of known bee species are solitary, primitively social, or parasitic.

These bees do not make honey or live in hives but are essential pollinators of crops and native plants. Honey is made by nearly 500 species of tropical stingless bees in addition to the well-known honey bee Apis mellifera. Honey bees are the most economically important pollinators and are currently in the news because of colony collapse disorder, an unexplained phenomenon that is wiping out colonies throughout the United States.

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The crises facing traditionally managed pollinators like honey bees highlight the need for more information about bee species and their interactions with the plants they pollinate. The National Academy of Sciences identified improved taxonomic data on bees as a high priority, and the new online bee checklists, maps, and other databases have for the first time made comprehensive data readily accessible. The checklists compiled by Ascher and colleagues facilitate ongoing databasing of the Museum’s worldwide collections of more than 400,000 bee specimens, research that was possible due to the generous support of Robert G. Goelet, Chairman Emeritus of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. The Discover Life bee checklist can be accessed at www.discoverlife.org/mp/20q?guide=Apoidea_species. The valid names in this checklist were peer-reviewed as a contribution to the World Bee Checklist (www.itis.gov), a just-completed project coordinated by Michael Ruggiero of the Integrated Taxonomic Information System at the Smithsonian Institution, with technical support by David Nicolson of ITIS. The World Bee Checklist Project and development of collaborative tools for a planned dynamic catalog received funding from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII). For additional credits, see here.

Bees in Zealand: here.

How to Build a Bee House: here.