Hawfinches and siskins


This is a hawfinch video from Italy.

Today, again to the cemetery.

Quite some siskins. A great tit.

Three hawfinches in the top of a tree. Until jackdaws came; then they flew away.

A male chaffinch. The sound of a nuthatch.

The temperature is below zero. In the old harbour there is much more ice than yesterday. An icicle just outside the window.

World’s biggest dinosaur discovery in China?


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Experts in China’s Liaoning province discovered a new species of dinosaur. They and their colleagues at Brazil’s National Museum in Rio De Janeiro believe the pterodactyl or flying reptile is one of the smallest ever found.

Pterosaurs are not really `dinosaurs`.

From British daily The Guardian:

Dinosaur bones find is world’s biggest, says China

7,600 fossils about 100m years old discovered in Zhucheng

* David Stanway in Beijing
* Tuesday 30 December 2008

China claims to have found the world’s biggest deposit of dinosaur bones in the old city of Zhucheng in Shandong province on the country’s eastern coast.

Workers digging along a 300 metre slope on the outskirts of the city unearthed a densely packed layer of fossils that could be more than 100m years old. The state news agency Xinhua said that 7,600 samples had now been discovered, mostly dating from the late Cretaceous period, the era when dinosaurs are believed to have become extinct.

Zhucheng has become an important site for China’s dinosaur hunters, with the world’s largest remnant of the duck-billed hadrosaur discovered near the city more than 20 years ago. The city’s unique importance to the world of palaeontology emerged in 1964, when oil prospectors working for the state geological bureau stumbled on a collection of dinosaur fossils during a routine dig.

Xinhua said the new findings included the skull of a large ceratopsian, a beaked flying dinosaur, along with bones thought to belong to the club-tailed ankylosaurus.

A number of important fossil discoveries have been made in China from a wide range of geological ages, with the remains of oviraptors, sauropods, plateosaurs, stegasaurs [sic; stegosaurs] and hadrosaurs found in Mesozoic deposits stretching from Shandong in the east to Xinjiang in the remote west. The caudipterix, elaborately plumaged and believed to be the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds, is also one of the country’s most important discoveries.

Pterosaurs are not really `flying dinosaurs`.

The fossilized remains of a dinosaur brooding in its nest have emerged from the red sandstones of the Gobi desert in Mongolia, providing new evidence for a far longer-lived and adaptable species than previously thought. Called MPC-D 107/15, the new specimen is an Oviraptor, which is the only dinosaur ever found in the act of brooding. More specifically, it belongs to the species known as Nemegtomaia barsboldi, a crested ostrich-like theropod that lived in Late Cretaceous Mongolia: here.

Long-Necked Dinos Hung Their Heads: here. And here. And here.

Estimating Impact Forces of Tail Club Strikes by Ankylosaurid Dinosaurs: here.

Sex Pistols vs. Irish police


This music video is Sex Pistols – Anarchy in the UK.

From British daily The Guardian:

Revealed: how the Sex Pistols shook Ireland

* Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
* Wednesday 31 December 2008

They raged against the Queen and the “fascist regime”, and noisily agitated for anarchy in the UK. But in the late 1970s the Sex Pistols were considered just as much of a threat to Ireland and its traditional Catholic moral values, it emerged yesterday, as state papers revealed the extent of official concern about the prime instigators of the punk revolution.

Robert Burns, poet and revolutionary


This video from Scotland says about itself:

A RED, RED ROSE by Robert Burns, sung by Andy M. Stewart

It’s one of the Bard of Scotland’s great poems, sung by Andy M. Stewart with Gerry Butler as Rabbie Burns. 18th and 19th century Scottish paintings and etchings were adapted as the background, and a number of actresses portray Burns’ wife and many loves. One can only hope that the movie about the life of Robert Burns will one day be made. If anyone can do it, Gerry Butler is the man.

From British daily The Guardian:

Burns was a republican fan of French revolution, says expert

Scottish literature professor claims that revered poet engaged in dangerous talk

* Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
*Wednesday 31 December 2008

In the late 18th century, it was a dangerous idea, a political view that could entail deportation to the penal colonies. But the revered Scots poet Robert Burns was openly discussing republican sentiments in the last months of his life, risking punitive action for challenging the authority of the king, an expert in Scottish literature has found.

In a biography to mark the 250th anniversary of Burns‘s birth, Prof Robert Crawford of St Andrews University has unearthed new evidence which he believes is conclusive proof that Burns was a democrat who sympathised with the French revolution.

A private journal written by a contemporary of Burns records meeting the poet and a friend in Dumfries, two months before he died there in July 1796, aged 37. The diary by James Macdonald recalled: “They were both staunch republicans.” Crawford said this claim could have had explosive consequences for Burns: “It was dangerous to be called that then.”

At the time, the British aristocracy was extremely fearful about the risks of radical, democratic ideas spreading in Britain following the French revolution and of threats to George III’s life. Men such as Thomas Muir, the Scots political reformer, were being deported to the Botany Bay penal colony for sedition.

“Particularly towards the end of his life in the 1790s, democracy was a dirty word. It was a word associated with terrorism, a word which has just come into the English language; it’s associated with the terreur in France,” he said.

Crawford’s biography of Burns, The Bard, is published by Cape in the UK and Princeton in the US next month to coincide with more than 300 cultural and arts events being held across Scotland next year to mark the 250th anniversary of Burns’s birth in Alloway, Ayrshire, on 25 January 1759.

See also here.

Scotland’s national poet Burns to be commemorated on stamp set: here.

Rare Burns’ widow letter unveiled: here.