Honduran mock election exposed


This video is about the fake election, recently under the dictatorship in Honduras.

Honduran President Manuel Zelaya has revealed that the coup regime that ousted him will only allow him to leave the country if he renounces his post as constitutional premier: here.

5 young resistance members massacred in Tegucigalpa neighborhood by four men dressed as military and police who arrived in a white bus to kill the five young men who were important organizers for the resistance in the Honduras and Víctor F Ardón neighborhoods of Tegucigalpa: here.

Charles Darwin and botany


This video is called Darwin and his fabulous orchids.

Although Charles Darwin is most well-known for his book On the Origin of Species, in which he described the process of natural selection, he greatly contributed to many specific fields within biology. As the bicentennial anniversary of Darwin‘s birth comes to a close, the December issue of the American Journal of Botany presents two papers exploring botanical history before the time of Darwin, Darwin’s contributions to botany, and what scientists have discovered in the subsequent years following Darwin’s first presentation of his many provocative ideas to the scientific community: here.

The father of evolution Charles Darwin was a direct descendant of the Cro-Magnon people, whose entry into Europe 30,000 years ago heralded the demise of Neanderthals, scientists revealed in Australia Thursday: here.

Charles Darwin, ichthyology and the species concept: here.

The problem of the Origin of Species since Darwin: here.

Darwin, Galton and the Statistical Enlightenment: here.

North-South American bird exchange in prehistory


This video is called The Courtship of Anna’s Hummingbird.

From ScienceDaily:

Tropical Birds Waited for Land Crossing Between North and South America, Study Finds

(Dec. 9, 2009) — Despite their ability to fly, tropical birds waited until the formation of the land bridge between North and South America to move northward, according to a University of British Columbia study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Early Edition).

“While many North American birds simply flew across the marine barriers that once separated the continents, tropical birds, especially those in Amazon forest regions, began colonization of North America almost entirely after the completion of the land bridge,” says lead author Jason Weir, who conducted the study as part of his PhD at UBC.

“This study is the most extensive evidence to date that shows the land bridge playing a key role in the interchange of bird species between North and South America and the abundant biodiversity in the tropical regions,” says Weir, now a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Chicago.

The Isthmus of Panama land bridge was completed between three and four million years ago, and today consists of the country of Panama. It is believed to have initiated the Great American Biotic Interchange, bringing mammals that evolved uniquely in South America during its “island isolation” — the armadillo, opossum and porcupine — to North America.

Fossil records have shown that mammalian species also travelled across the land bridge from North to South America, increasing biodiversity in the tropical regions. “But a lack of bird fossils has made it difficult to determine if the land bridge was equally instrumental in the interchange of avian species,” says Weir.

By analyzing the DNA of 457 bird species on either side of the land bridge, Weir and colleagues at UBC and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama were able to reconstruct a “family tree” of species closely related to one another and revealed a “hidden chapter” in the impact of the land bridge to biodiversity. They found a dramatic increase in the rates of interchange after the land bridge completion.

“This is a bit surprising,” says co-author Dolph Schluter, UBC zoology professor and Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Biology. “Couldn’t the birds have flown across the gap? Some did, but most tropical birds waited for the land crossing.”

The researchers believe the inability of many tropical birds to fly long distances across open water — some are reluctant even to cross rivers as narrow as 200 metres — may have contributed to the few north-bound movements prior to the land bridge completion.

Scientists studying ancient species migration believe northern birds had the ability to colonise continents that southern species lacked. The research, published in Ecography, reveals how the ancient ‘land bridge’ of Panama, which first connected North and South America, caused an uneven species migration, leading to a new understanding of species diversity today: here.

Study shows loss of 15-42 percent of mammals in North America: here.

BirdLife International’s Canadian co-partners Bird Studies Canada and Nature Canada have launched a new website for the Canadian Important Bird Areas (IBA) Programme: here.

Panama Canal fossils reveal ancient collision of worlds: here.

United plates of America: Collision of North and South America changed Earth’s climate dramatically: here.

Neotropical bird photos: here.

Baby birds in Singapore


Adult golden conures

From ZooBorns:

December 09, 2009

Baby Bird Boom in Singapore’s Jurong Bird Park

Bird lovers have something to rejoice over as Jurong Bird Park welcomes six chicks hatched in the last few months. The chicks are of six different species, namely the crown pigeon, golden conure, greater flamingo, Malay fish owl, red-shouldered macaw and yellow-naped Amazon.

Singapore wild birds: here.

Macaws: here.

Deepest universe photo ever


Deepest universe photo ever

From Space & Astronautics News:

The new Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken the deepest image yet of the Universe in near-infrared light. The faintest and reddest objects in the image are likely the oldest galaxies ever identified, having formed between only 600-900 million years after the Big Bang. – ESA

ScienceShot : Odd Galaxy Raises Many Questions: here.

Astronomers using the South Pole Telescope External Non-U.S. government site report that they have discovered the most massive galaxy cluster yet, tipping the scales at the equivalent of 800 trillion suns, and holding hundreds of galaxies: here.

Spiral galaxies stripped bare: Six spectacular spiral galaxies are seen in a clear new light: here.

A giant structure around our Milky Way galaxy has been discovered by the NASA Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Gamma ray emitting bubbles are symmetrically attached at either side of the plane of the Milky Way and are 50,000 light years, or half the Milky Way’s diameter across (one light year is the distance travelled by light in one year, or about 6 trillion miles). Gamma rays, like radio, microwaves, light and X-rays, are electromagnetic radiation travelling at the speed of light but with a much higher energy or shorter wavelength: here.

Hubble Spies Aftermath of Galactic Cannibalism: here.

NATO Kunduz strike illegal, Red Cross says


Translated from German weekly stern of today:

Bombing of Kunduz: Red Cross report damages Guttenberg

Despite his recent about-face: his hasty statement on the bombing of Kunduz has greatly injured the public image of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. A Red Cross report from Afghanistan means more pressure for the new Defense Minister, the stern reports.

Guttenberg, Red Cross, Kunduz, air raid

A report by the International Red Cross (ICRC), according to information from the stern, is expected to bring more trouble for Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in explaining himself. The aid agency has investigated in Kunduz, where the German army ordered the bombardment of the two tank trucks. According to information from the stern, the ICRC has concluded in a “strictly confidential” classified report that the attack, ordered by German colonel George Klein, was not “in conformity with international law”. Also, there had been too many civilian casualties of the bombing. In the annex to the report, the ICRC lists the names of 74 dead civilians, including eight-, ten- and twelve-year-old children.

The ICRC report was on Guttenberg’s table on 6 November. Nevertheless, he said hours later, at his first press conference as Minister of Defense, that the attack had been “militarily appropriate.”

See also here.

Red Cross: US Afghan troop surge will endanger more civilians: here.

Britain: Joe Glenton, the serving British soldier who refused to fight in Afghanistan, has been released from military prison in Colchester: here. And here.

The mayor of Kabul remains in his post despite being jailed for corruption, casting doubt on Western-backed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s claim that he’s serious about tackling rampant graft and bribery in his administration.

UN Afghanistan survey points to huge scale of bribery: here.

ARMUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Afghan soldiers shot dead four civilians who were demonstrating against a NATO-led attack in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, witnesses and a Reuters journalist said: here.