Darwin’s tinamou egg discovered in Cambridge


This video is called The Young Charles Darwin.

From the BBC:

Charles Darwin‘s egg rediscovered

By Christine McGourty

Science Correspondent, BBC News

An egg collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on HMS Beagle has been rediscovered at Cambridge University.

The small dark brown egg, with Darwin’s name written on it, was found by a retired volunteer at the university’s zoology museum.

It bears a large crack, caused after the great naturalist put it in a box that was too small for it.

The egg is the only one known to exist from Darwin’s Beagle collection.

At one time it was thought there were a dozen or more.

It was spotted one day in February by volunteer Liz Wetton, who spends a day each week sorting eggs in the Museum’s collection.

She said: “It was an exhilarating experience. After working on the egg collections for 10 years this was a tremendous thing to happen.”

It was the collections manager, Mathew Lowe, who first realised the importance of the specimen.

“There are so many historical treasures in the collection, Liz did not realise this was a new discovery,” Mr Lowe told BBC News.

“To have rediscovered a Beagle specimen in the 200th year of Darwin‘s birth is special enough, but to have evidence that Darwin himself broke it is a wonderful twist.”

Dr Mike Brooke, the museum’s curator of ornithology, traced the specimen’s origin in the notebook of Professor Alfred Newton, a friend of Darwin’s and a professor of zoology in the late 19th century.

Newton had written: “One egg, received through Frank Darwin, having been sent to me by his father who said he got it at Maldonado (Uruguay) and that it belonged to the Common Tinamou of those parts.

“The great man put it into too small a box and hence its unhappy state.”

Darwin himself mistook the bird for a partridge at first. And in his notebooks from 1833, he wrote that the bird had a “high shrill chirp” and that its flesh was “most delicately white” when cooked.

The museum’s director, Professor Michael Akam, said: “This find shows just how valuable the work of our loyal volunteers is to the museum”.

This video says about itself:

This is the birth of the famous grouse. These little birds are crazy!! The real name of these birds is Rhynchotus rufescens or Red winged Tinamou or Martineta Colorada in Spanish.

ScienceDaily (Apr. 18, 2009) — Darwin was a brilliant observer and described everything he could perceive with the naked eye. However, the micro-organisms from the beginning of evolution remained hidden from him. He came unsuspectingly close to them in his essay on reefs: here.

Goodbye hawfinch, hello chiffchaff


Today, to the cemetery.

The hawfinches and siskins of winter are gone.

However, singing chiffchaffs are back from Africa.

Some birds which are always there: nuthatch, great tit, blue tit, chaffinch, blackbird, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker.

And jays. Today, a jay jumped up from a tombstone to catch an insect in an ivy bush.

Thai protesters stop Asian summit


From Voice of America news:

Thailand Evacuates Leaders from Asian Summit After Protests

11 April 2009

Thailand evacuated leaders from an Asian summit Saturday after anti-government protesters stormed the venue in Pattaya.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has now lifted a state of emergency in the seaside resort after helicopters airlifted Asian leaders from the city.

Hundreds of red-shirted demonstrators, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit, breached police lines and broke through glass doors to enter the hotel where the ASEAN summit was to take place. …

The annual summit was to bring together leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with the leaders of Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s plane was two hours from landing at Pattaya when he received word of the protests. His plane was diverted to an undisclosed location for refueling and then returned to Canberra.

Thailand PM declares Bangkok state of emergency: here.

CIA opposes Obama administration on publishing torture memos


By Diane Sweet in the USA:

Report: ‘Holy Hell’ breaks loose over torture memos

Published: Friday April 3, 2009

The Obama administration’s commitment to promises of transparency in government is being sorely tested by a battle that has erupted over Attorney General Eric Holder’s determination to release classified Bush-era interrogation memos, and intel officials equally as determined to keep those documents right where they are.

Britain: Inquiry into torture allegations announced: here.

Slow steps on closing Guantanamo: here.

THE International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has confirmed that medical professionals who monitored CIA interrogations at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay violated medical ethics by participating in torture: here.

A recently released confidential Red Cross report on the treatment of 14 “high value” detainees details the CIA’s methods of torture. It also outlines violations of international law committed by Washington in the “war on terror”: here.

The Obama administration and torture: here.