Spider web from dinosaur age discovered


This video says about itself:

A team of British researchers have been rebuilding fossils of 300-million year old spiders using computer 3-D technology- they say they are providing a clearer picture of how some extinct species once lived on early Earth.

From the BBC:

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Spider web confirmed as ‘oldest’

Spider webs encased in amber which were discovered on an East Sussex beach have been confirmed by scientists as being the world’s oldest on record.

The amber, which was found in Bexhill by fossil hunter Jamie Hiscocks and his brother Jonathan, dates back 140 million years to the Cretaceous period.

Professor Martin Brasier said they were the earliest webs to be incorporated into the fossil record.

He has published his findings in the Journal of the Geological Society.

Professor Brasier, who is a palaeobiologist at the University of Oxford, said: “This amber is very rare. It comes from the very base of the Cretaceous, which makes it one of the oldest ambers anywhere to have inclusions in it.”

‘Sticky droplets’

He added: “These spiders are distinctive and leave little sticky droplets along the spider web threads to trap prey.

“We actually have the sticky droplets preserved within the amber. These turn out to be the earliest webs that have ever been incorporated in the fossil record to our knowledge.”

His studies revealed that the spider that spun the web is related to the modern day orb-web or garden spider.

Scientists think the web became trapped in conifer resin after a forest fire and then became fossilised inside the resulting amber.

Mr Hiscocks and his brother also found the fossilised remains of an Iguanodon jaw bone on the coastline.

Extreme Behavioral Adjustments by an Orb-Web Spider to Restricted Spaces: here.

The brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa, has a bad and largely undeserved reputation. Across the U.S., people fear the bite of this spider, believing it is an aggressive attacker and certain to cause devastating necrotic wounds. Research on brown recluse spiders has proven these assertions to be false: here.

European garden spider: here.

Did Caterpillars Starve Dinosaurs to Death? Here.

Pondskater and long-tailed tits


This video says about itself:

Pond skater. Gerris sp. feeding on ants that have fallen from bushes and are trapped in the surface tension. Also close up view of adult and nymph.

Today, in the brook in the botanical garden, a pondskater.

Just outside the garden, a group of long-tailed tits.

The immature stages of the genus Trepobates (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Gerridae): here.

February 2010. A new report reveals that 80% of ponds in the British countryside are in a ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ condition. In England and Wales, the study also shows that the condition of ponds has got worse since 1996: here.

Hondurans celebrate return of Zelaya to presidency


In this Associated Press video, Hondurans celebrate the probable return of democratically elected president Zelaya to office.

See also here. And here. And here. And here. And here.

US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis and former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos are set to arrive in Tegucigalpa tomorrow as part of a commission that is to monitor the creation of a power-sharing government in Honduras: here.

The leadership of Honduras’s Congress has met to begin consideration of an accord that could reinstate ousted President Manuel Zelaya, but they failed to set a date for bringing the issue to the floor: here.

Pakistanis angry about US drone attacks


This video is called Refugees flee heavy fighting in South Waziristan – 23 Oct 09.

From CBS News in the USA:

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 30, 2009

Clinton Takes Heat for Drone Attacks

Secretary of State Mum as Pakistanis Unleash Anger over Unmanned Aerial Bombings along Afghan Border

(CBS/AP) U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton came face-to-face Friday with Pakistani anger over U.S. aerial drone attacks in tribal areas along the Afghan border, a strategy that U.S. officials say has succeeded in killing key terrorist leaders.

In a series of public appearances on the final day of a three-day visit marked by blunt talk, Clinton refused to discuss the subject, which involves highly classified CIA operations. She would say only that “there is a war going on,” and the Obama administration is committed to helping Pakistan defeat the insurgents and terrorists who threaten the stability of a nuclear-armed nation. …

During an interview broadcast live in Pakistan with several prominent female TV anchors, before a predominantly female audience of several hundred, one member of the audience said the Predator attacks amount to “executions without trial” for those killed.

Another asked Clinton how she would define terrorism.

“Is it the killing of people in drone attacks?” she asked. That woman then asked if Clinton considers drone attacks and bombings like the one that killed more than 100 civilians in the city of Peshawar earlier this week to both be acts of terrorism.

“No, I do not,” Clinton replied.

Earlier, in a give-and-take with about a dozen residents of the tribal region, one man alluded obliquely to the drone attacks, saying he had heard that in the United States, aircraft are not allowed to take off after 11 p.m., to avoid irritating the population.

“That is the sort of peace we want for our people,” he said through an interpreter.

The same man told Clinton that the Obama administration should rely more on wisdom and less on firepower to achieve its aims in Pakistan. …

A similar point was made by Sana Bucha of Geo TV during the live broadcast interview.

“It is not our war,” she told Clinton. “It is your war.” She drew a burst of applause when she added, “You had one 9/11. We are having daily 9/11s in Pakistan.”

Capturing a feeling that Clinton heard expressed numerous times during her visit, one woman in the audience said, “The whole world thinks we are terrorists.” The woman said she was from the South Waziristan area where the Pakistani army is engaged in pitched battles with Taliban and affiliated extremist elements – and where U.S. drones have struck with deadly effect many times.

See also here. And here. And here.

U.S. vs. Taliban? Who is the Bigger Threat in Pakistan? Here.

Deal in Honduras?


This video is called Zelaya addresses UN via cell phone.

From Democracy NOW! in the USA:

Deal Reached in Honduran Coup Crisis; Zelaya Restoration Would Depend on Vote by Honduran Congress

The Honduran coup regime and representatives of the ousted President Manuel Zelaya reached an agreement late Thursday that would pave the way for Congress to restore Zelaya to office and allow him to serve out the remaining three months of his term. We go to the Brazilian embassy in Tegucigalpa to speak with Andrés Conteris, who has been holed up at the embassy since Zelaya took refuge there last month.

See also here. And here.