Baby dinosaur stolen


By Jennifer Viegas:

Walking with Dinosaurs Dino Stolen

Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:30 PM ET

A thief in Mexico walked away with a Walking with Dinosaurs remote-controlled dinosaur, according to show spokeswoman Karla Arrollo. Various media reports value the stolen dinobot at anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000.

It was a model baby Plateosaurus, but it measured 5-feet tall. So it’s not the kind of thing you could just carry unnoticed out the door. I wonder how the criminal(s) managed the theft? An investigation is ongoing.

The live show features 10 species of mechanical, life-like dinosaurs that move around on a giant stage. It’s been on tour around the world for quite a while. I worked on multimedia for the original Walking with Dinosaurs documentary mini-series that ran on Discovery back in 1999 or so.

When a star misses a performance, the show is either canceled or restaged. In this case, the show went on, with producers completely reworking the first scene, which I believe usually shows the baby Plateosaurus attacked by a larger dinosaur.

The show, now in Mexico City, has increased its security and will continue to tour.

I don’t know how many replicas- if any- of these animatronic dinosaurs exist, but I believe the stolen one is like the dino shown in the below audience member-taken video.

See also here.

Boy Scout founder Baden-Powell ‘executed PoW’


Baden-Powell

From the BBC:

Boy Scout founder Lord Baden-Powell ‘executed PoW’

Baden-Powell founded the Scouting movement in 1907

Documents suggesting that Boy Scout founder Lord Baden-Powell illegally executed a prisoner-of-war have been sold for £3,740.

Papers relating to the Second Matabele War in 1896 say Baden-Powell, then a Colonel in the British Army, ordered the shooting of an African chief.

The chief, Uwini, had been promised his life would be spared if he surrendered.

Permanent Menezes memorial in London


From British daily The Independent:

Permanent memorial to Menezes agreed

By Chris Greenwood, PA

Thursday, 10 December 2009

A memorial to Jean Charles de Menezes will be erected permanently at the London Underground station where he was shot dead by police.

Relatives said Transport for London (TfL) has agreed to allow a colourful mosaic picture of the Brazilian to remain at Stockwell Tube station.

The move ends several years of arguing between the two parties about an enduring monument to his death on July 22, 2005.

The mosaic, created by local artist Mary Edwards, will replace an improvised pavement shrine of flowers, candles, pictures and newspaper articles.

Vivian Figueiredo, a cousin of Mr Menezes who lived with him before his death, said she was pleased at the decision.

She said: “The pain of never achieving justice for Jean’s killing continues to haunt us every day.

“But knowing his memory will be kept alive in the local community through this memorial is a tribute we could not have dreamed of.

“We thank all the members of the public who have supported us from the bottom of our hearts.”

Mr Menezes, 27, was shot dead by counter-terrorist officers hunting for would-be suicide bomber Hussain Osman on the day after the failed July 21 attacks.

The shooting provoked a series of wide-ranging inquiries which hauled police tactics, supervision and individual decisions over the coals.

Coroner Sir Michael Wright recorded an open verdict at the end of a multimillion-pound inquest last year after a jury rejected the police account of the shooting.

The family accepted a six-figure compensation deal from the Metropolitan Police last month.

The Menezes mozaic in London

The inquest into the death of a man shot dead by a police marksman involved in the death of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes has resumed at Folkestone magistrates’ court.

Changing blue whale songs


This video is called Blue Whale Song. Deep Sounds from a Blue Whale.

This is a National Geographic video about blue whales.

From Science Centric:

The sound level of songs blue whales sing across the vast expanses of the ocean to attract potential mates has been steadily creeping downward for the past few decades, and a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and his colleagues believe the trend may be good news for the population of the endangered marine mammal.

This video says about itself

Watch video with blue whales, nurse sharks, killer whales, and other sea creatures. Listen to the relaxing tunes that they make.

Blue whales align the pitch of their songs with extreme accuracy, study finds: Blue whales are able to synchronize: here.

Blue Whales Synchronize Song Pitch: here.

Blue whales show up off California coast in unusual numbers: here.

Anti-whaling conservationists say they are again intent on disrupting Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean and are concerned humpbacks may be included in the hunt this season, for the first time: here.

New Judith Leyster painting discovered


Judith Leyster, Self-portrait

From Dutch news agency ANP:

HAARLEM – The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem has discovered a new painting by the Haarlem painter Judith Leyster (1609-1660). Leyster is the most famous female painter from the Dutch Golden Age. The Frans Hals Museum hopes to be able to exhibit the painting soon, but the work is very damaged.

According to an employee of the museum this is a very recent discovery. She did not want to give details yet. The museum will soon release more information about the newly discovered work by the painter.

This Saturday, in the museum a small exhibition of her work will start, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Washington [in the USA], to mark the four hundredth birthday of Judith Leyster.

Cold war witchhunt in Hollywood


This is the trailer of the film Trumbo.

By Charles Bogle in the USA:

Hollywood on Trial: a timely reminder

10 December 2009

Hollywood on Trial (1976) directed by Daniel Halpern, Jr., written by Arnie Riesman, cinematography by Barry Abrams, narration by John Huston

The Hollywood witchhunt and blacklisting of left-wing actors, writers and directors in the post-World War II period has been the subject of many books, but has received little serious attention in Hollywood itself. …

The Front, Martin Ritt’s 1976 film starring Woody Allen, is a humorous effort with some serious insights. Other films concerned with the blacklist or McCarthyism in general include Guilty by Suspicion (1991), The Majestic (2001), Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), and the television film Tail Gunner Joe (1977). The list is shamefully short.

More recently, in 2007, the worthwhile but limited documentary Trumbo appeared, based on letters from screenwriter Dalton Trumbo who was one of the Hollywood Ten, the writers and directors who were cited for contempt of Congress and blacklisted in 1947 for refusing to testify, on First Amendment grounds, before the witchhunting House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

The only effort to deal in some detail and in documentary form with the history of the HUAC hearings in this period is the 1976 film Hollywood on Trial.

There is much valuable material in this movie. The footage in some cases speaks for itself, showing the Congressional witchhunters at work.

The film exposes the myth commonly subscribed to that the witchhunt was the product of a few flawed individual minds, specifically those of the redbaiting Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy, and the California Congressman who went on to become president of the United States some two decades later, Richard Nixon.

Senator Joseph McCarthy

While McCarthy and Nixon were notorious for playing the anti-communist card throughout their despicable political careers, they were only two among other prominent players in these events, and neither played a leading role in the Hollywood events. The witchhunt represented the policy of the American ruling class, not simply one or more of its political representatives. …

The documentary’s most valuable service is in dispelling the superficial and mistaken conception that the anti-communist hearings arose suddenly in conjunction with the post-World War II Cold War, and just as suddenly disappeared without leaving a trace.

In fact, although HUAC became a permanent body in 1945, its origins go back to the 1930s and even further, to a Congressional committee that began investigating Bolshevism after the 1917 Russian Revolution. …

HUAC was neither the beginning nor the end of anti-communism. In recent decades many in Hollywood have smugly assured themselves that the days of the blacklist were an unfortunate aberration. The aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated the stupidity of such a claim, as new efforts were made to ensure that movies toed a patriotic, pro-war line.

Film critic Robin Wood dies at 78: here.

Radio and TV history in the USA: here.

The First World War (1914-1918) marked the initial foray by the US ruling elite into promoting a war with assistance from Hollywood film companies. The latter responded enthusiastically to the appeals of the Woodrow Wilson administration: here.

Monarch butterflies flying in space


This video is from when the monarchs on the ISS were still caterpillars.

From Space.com in the USA:

The first-ever Monarch butterflies in space have taken flight on the international space station to the delight of astronauts aboard. …

The Monarch butterflies are the first ever sent to space. They began emerging just days after several Painted Lady butterflies began emerging from their own cocoons in a separate enclosure.

The Monarch and Painted Lady butterflies arrived at the station as catepillars last month on the space shuttle Atlantis as part of an educational experiment. And while butterfly larvae have been sent to space before, the colorful insects on the space station now are the first to successfully go through all phases of their development — from larva to pupa to adult butterfly — in orbit. …

At least one difference between space Monarch butterflies and their terrestrial counterparts has already been revealed. On Earth, the wings of a newly-emerged Monarch butterfly can take anywhere between three and five minutes to dry. But aboard the space station, it took about 15 minutes. …

Because of the cramped quarters, the Monarch butterflies — which began emerging Nov. 30 — were only expected to live about four days, instead of the two weeks they would survive on Earth, NASA officials said. The space Painted Lady butterflies, meanwhile, are expected to live about a week, about half what they would on Earth.

The butterflies are not the first critters to live among the human crew of the International Space Station. Two orb weaving spiders managed to spin wild webs in weightlessness last year, with astronauts checking in on them from time to time.

Monarch Butterflies Reveal a Novel Way in Which Animals Sense Earth’s Magnetic Field: here.

Monarch butterfly numbers hit all time low: here.

Monarch butterfly crash: due to U.S. farms & suburbs, not just Mexican Habitat loss: here.

Monarch butterflies use medicinal plants to treat offspring for disease: study: here.

Thousands of monarch butterflies to arrive at St Marks Refuge, FL, in Oct. Experience monarch magic on Oct 23: here.

Fears grow for future of Britain’s rarest butterflies: here.

June 2011. The Forestry Commission has linked up with Butterfly Conservation to lure one of Yorkshire’s rarest butterflies back to a former haunt. The striking yellow and brown flecked Duke of Burgundy (Hamearis lucina) survives at only a handful of places in the north: here.

Dutch butterflies, 19 April 2010: here.

The end of the US space shuttle program: here.