United States trees leafing out sooner than in Thoreau’s time


This video from the USA is called Henry David Thoreau‘s Walden: A Tribute.

From Boston University in the USA today:

Walden trees leafing out far earlier than in Thoreau’s time

9 minutes ago by Richard Primack

Climate-change studies by Boston University biologists show leaf-out times of trees and shrubs at Walden Pond are an average of 18 days earlier than when Henry David Thoreau made his observations there in the 1850s. However, not all plants respond in the same way, the result of which is that native species eventually may be threatened and lose competitive advantage to more resilient invasive shrubs such as Japanese barberry, according to a study published in the new edition of New Phytologist.

Walden trees

“By comparing historical observations with current experiments, we see that climate change is creating a whole new risk for the native plants in Concord,” said BU Prof. Richard Primack. “Weather in New England is unpredictable, and if plants leaf out early in warm years, they risk having their leaves damaged by a surprise frost. But if plants wait to leaf out until after all chance of frost is lost, they may lose their competitive advantage.”

The study began when Caroline Polgar, a graduate student with Primack, examined Thoreau’s unpublished observations of leaf-out times for common trees and shrubs in Concord in the 1850s, then repeated his observations over the past five springs.

“We started to wonder if all trees and shrubs in Concord are equally responsive to warming temperatures in the spring,” Polgar said. What she found was surprising. “All species—no exceptions—are leafing out earlier now than they did in Thoreau’s time,” she said. “On average, woody plants in Concord leaf out 18 days earlier now.”

In New England, plants have to be cautious about leafing out in the early spring. If they leaf out too early, their young leaves could suffer from subsequent late frost. Since leafing-out requirements are thought to be species-specific, the group designed a lab experiment to test the responsiveness of 50 tree and shrub species in Concord to warming temperatures in the late winter and early spring.

For the past two winters, the researchers traveled to Concord and collected leafless dormant twigs from each species, and placed them in cups of water in their lab. Over the following weeks, they observed how quickly each species was be able produce their leaves in these unseasonably warm lab conditions.

“We found compelling evidence that invasive shrubs, such as Japanese barberry, are ready to leaf out quickly once they are exposed to warm temperatures in the lab even in the middle of winter, whereas native shrubs, like highbush bluberry, and native trees, like red maple, need to go through a longer winter chilling period before they can leaf out—and even then their response is slow,” says Amanda Gallinat, a second-year graduate student and third author of the paper.

The strength of this study, Gallinat said, is the pairing of observations and experiments.

“Our current observations show that plants in Concord today are leafing out earlier than in Thoreau’s time in response to warm temperatures,” she said. “However, the experiments show that as spring weather continues to warm, it will be the invasive shrubs that will be best able to take advantage of the changing conditions.”

The spring growing season is of increasing interest to biologists studying the effects of a warming climate, and in coming decades non-native invasive shrubs are positioned to win the gamble on warming temperature, Primack said. The BU group is adding these findings to a growing list of advancing spring phenomena in Concord and elsewhere in Massachusetts, including flowering dates, butterfly flight times, and migratory bird arrivals.

Explore further: Warm winters let trees sleep longer.

More information: docs.google.com/file/d/0B05KETqlwfNmdnRhTHF3QTNzYkU/edit?pli=1

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FBI withheld information on Boston bombing suspects from local police


This video from the USA is called Amateur footage Boston bomb attack.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

FBI, Homeland Security withheld information on Boston bombing suspects from local, state police

11 May 2013

The Boston police commissioner and a top Massachusetts Homeland Security official told Congress Thursday that the local and state police were never informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Homeland Security of multiple warnings about Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar are the only suspects to date in the twin bombings at the downtown Boston finish line of the race, which killed three people and wounded more than 160 others. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police on April 19. Dzhokhar is under arrest at a prison medical facility outside of Boston.

Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said his department had been unaware that the Russian government contacted the FBI in 2011 to warn of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radical jihadist sympathies and his plans to travel to the northern Caucasus and link up with Islamist separatist and terrorist elements from Dagestan and Chechnya. Nor had he been told, he said, that the FBI had questioned the elder Tsarnaev brother and his family, or that Tamerlan subsequently, in 2012, spent six months in the volatile region of southern Russia.

Ernest Hemingway in Cuba and the USA


This video from the USA is the film For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) – Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.

From Prensa Latina news agency:

Hemingway Writings Preserved in Cuba Sent to US

Havana, May 10 – A total of 2,000 unpublished documents written by US author Ernest Hemingway were preserved by Cuban and US specialists as part of a bilateral agreement signed in 2002.

The lot of documents by Hemingway was sent to the US and will be exhibited soon at the Kennedy Library, Boston, Massachusetts, being the second sending from Cuba to the US cultural institution.

Ada Rosa Alfonso, director of the museum, told Prensa Latina that it is an extension of the working agreement for more than 10 years, with the objective that both nations possess a digital copy of the documents.

Specialists from the Andover, Massachusetts North Eastern Center for Document Preservation are working together with Cuban colleagues, she said.

Among the documents there is a letter written to Swedish-born actress Ingrid Bergman talking about Hemingway’s wish she were the starring actress in the famous film “For Whom the Bell Tolls” inspired by the novel with the same name written by Hemingway.

Another significant document is the group of letters addressed to his wife Mary Welsh, shopping lists, travelling itineraries and several of his weather considerations about the hurricanes going through the island between 1939 and 1960.

In the first part of the project, among the preserved documents there were manuscripts on his novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and a sample of the script for the film “The Old Man and the Sea”, also based on a novel written by the famous US writer.

Recently restored and with more than 9.88 acres, the house and farm in which Hemingway lived in Cuba, called Finca Vigia, in San Francisco de Paula, near the Cuban capital, was bought by Hemingway in December 1940.

His yacht, called “Pilar”, was restored with its original colors, registration information and other elements, to recreate the environment that surrounded Hemingway in Cuba.

Blue shark deep diving record


This video from the USA says about itself:

Jonathan Bird’s Blue World: Blue Shark Adventure

Mar 12, 2013

Jonathan joins Charlie Donilon on his shark charter boat in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and learns about how shark tagging has shed light on the biology of and behavior of Blue sharks. Tagging has shown that these incredible swimmers actually migrate completely across the Atlantic ocean. Jonathan tries his hand at tagging a shark and then swims with Blue sharks. We also learn that Blue sharks are not nearly as vicious as they have been reputed to be, and the divers are actually able to pet the sharks!

From the New Zealand Herald:

Shark’s record dive into the blue

By Morgan Tait

5:30 AM Thursday Apr 25, 2013

Recently tagged male blue shark plunges 1250m off the Bay of Plenty coast in a quest for a meal of squid.

A shark broke a world record when he dived deeper than any recorded before off the coast of New Zealand this week.

Bodhi, a 2.5m male blue shark, dived 1250m deep off the Bay of Plenty coast on Tuesday, data from satellite tagging research by University of Auckland PhD student Riley Elliott has shown.

Mr Elliott tagged the shark three weeks ago off the Coromandel Peninsula as part of his study to track the habitat use and migration of blue sharks in New Zealand waters.

Bodhi is one of eight sharks monitored with tags that transmit their location to Mr Elliott’s computer, but only one of two fitted with tags that also record depth and water temperature.

“This guy went from the Coromandel out into the Bay of Plenty area and went about 100km off the Bay of Plenty. There he’s in 2000m of water at a big … underwater volcano, and for some reason he realised that he wants to go down for a dive – so he went from the surface water down to the deepest recorded depth a blue shark has ever gone.”

The previous record was held by a 1.8m female blue shark tagged in Portugal. She dived to 1160m.

Bodhi was probably chasing squid – 60 per cent of a blue shark’s diet – when he made the dive, said Mr Elliott.

“It’s unusual for sharks to dive so deep. They usually stay in the top layer of water because it isn’t efficient for an animal to do that unless they’re getting a reward, so that further supports the idea that it’s foraging.”

Mr Elliott’s study was the first of its kind in NZ waters, and such finds so early on are encouraging.

“He did 90m more which isn’t a great amount but the fact that he’s only been tagged for about three weeks and is still in coastal waters and has recorded a depth deeper than ever recorded means he’ll probably dive deeper throughout the one to three years the tag should keep giving me information.”

Professor John Montgomery, Mr Elliott’s supervisor and Leigh Marine Laboratory director, said the record was likely to be one of many to come from the work.

“I suspect this is the first of a number of very interesting findings that will come out of this study,” he said. “There’s a whole new wave of technology coming out with respect to those tags which provide really new insights into what those animals are doing and where they are.”

Mr Elliott hoped his research would increase knowledge about sharks and their behaviour and aid shark conservation projects.

Record-setting shark

• 2.5m male blue shark named Bodhi.
• Satellite tagged off Castle Rock, Coromandel, three weeks ago.
• Dived 1250m deep off Bay of Plenty coast on Tuesday.
• Previous record was 1160m dived by a 1.8m female shark tagged in Portugal.

One Boston teenage terrorist, and everyone’s civil liberties


This video is called Syria War: Rebels Joined By Chechnya Islamic Militants In ‘Jihad’ Against Assad.

After uncertainty who had committed the Boston bomb atrocity, attention is now focused on one suspect: critically wounded nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a United States citizen. He is called Chechen. But it seems he never was in Chechnya, a republic within the Russian federation. He spent the last, most recent, half of his life in the USA. And the first half, it seems, in the Russian federation republic of Dagestan, and in the independent former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. It also seems that the Tsarnaev family is not only of Chechen, but also of Avar ancestry.

From ABC News in the USA:

Czech Republic Ambassador: Don’t Confuse Us With Chechnya

Apr 20, 2013 9:18am

The Czech Republic and Chechnya are nearly 2,000 miles apart, but that didn’t stop people from mixing up their geography.

The Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers, are of Chechen ethnicity. When the similar sounding Czech Republic, a country in Central Europe, began getting buzz online, the country’s ambassador to the United States stepped in to clear up the social media confusion.

“The Czech Republic is trending because idiots are confusing it with Chechnya. If you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, cry,” Chris Jones, a writer for Esquire and back-page columnist for ESPN The Magazine tweeted.

This reminds me of at least two things. First, people now attacking Czechs for the horrible Boston bombing are of course idiots. But one should also not attack Chechens in general for criminal acts, it seems, of only two people who apparently never lived in Chechnya.

The other thing these idiots now attacking Czechs remind me of is Islamophobes in the USA (and elsewhere). The impact of hysteria and violence against Muslims (overwhelmingly Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism) was and is not limited to Muslims. It also hurts people who are not Muslims at all. But who are “Muslims” in the eyes of “idiots” (to quote the ABC article on anti-Czech hysteria). People like Sikhs, or Hindus.

Some background on the Chechen issue. Chechens had and have legitimate grievances against Russian czars, who conquered Chechnya in the nineteenth century, and against later Soviet and Russian governments. These grievances have been abused. During Hitler’s 1941-1945 war against the Soviet Union, the nazis tried to steer Chechens in the direction of extreme nationalism, violence and fanatical forms of Islam. Soon after that, during the Cold War, the CIA and other Western secret services tried to steer Chechens in the direction of extreme nationalism, violence and fanatical forms of Islam. Like they also did in Afghanistan.

Very recently, Chechen “Jihadi” fighters were allies of NATO countries in the war in Libya. At the moment, they are allies of NATO countries in the war in Syria.

By Alex Lantier and Kate Randall in the USA:

Bombing suspect captured after military-police lockdown of Boston

20 April 2013

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in Monday’s bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, was captured yesterday after a massive manhunt by law enforcement agencies. Thousands of National Guard troops, FBI and other federal agents, and state and local police placed Boston in an unprecedented lockdown yesterday, after Dzhokhar, 19, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, engaged in a firefight with police.

In the space of a few hours, a major American city was transformed into a virtual armed camp and placed under the equivalent of martial law. The massive scale of the military and police mobilization—replete with Blackhawk helicopters, armored vehicles with machine guns, and SWAT teams pointing automatic weapons—seemed vastly disproportionate to the threat posed by one teenage youth.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, issued a “shelter in place” order early Friday, shut down Boston’s mass transit, and recommended that businesses close. According to the “shelter in place” order, Boston residents had to stay inside with their doors locked and not open them to anyone but a properly identified police officer. The order was progressively extended over some 100 square miles of the Boston metropolitan area, covering approximately 1 million people.

Heavily-armed forces swarmed the city’s empty streets. Local reporters compared the scene to videos of US-occupied Baghdad.

Particularly in Watertown, police went house to house, carrying out searches with assault rifles drawn. The New York Times commented, “Watertown found itself an odd combination of ghost town and police state on Friday morning.”

Bus service between New York and Boston was shut down, and Amtrak train service north of New York City was halted. Taxis were ordered off the streets during the morning hours. The Boston Bruins hockey and Red Sox baseball games were cancelled.

Area universities—including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Suffolk University, Boston College and University of Massachusetts-Boston—were closed. UMass-Dartmouth, where the younger bombing suspect was a student, was shut down and evacuated, with some students with nowhere to go housed at the local high school. Area public schools were already closed for vacation.

Late Thursday afternoon, police had released videos from security cameras showing the suspects leaving bags near the scene of the bombing. According to the authorities, the Tsarnaev brothers carjacked a Mercedes sports utility vehicle later Thursday night, and police pursued them to the northwest Boston suburb of Watertown. Tamerlan was mortally wounded in a firefight with police, during which he reportedly hurled explosives, and died at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital at 1:35 AM Friday. Dzhokhar fled the scene of the shoot-out.

According to early media reports, police had identified the Tsarnaev brothers as suspects after video emerged of a robbery at a convenience store at 10 PM Thursday. Shortly afterwards, a campus security officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean Collier, was found dead, shot in his police cruiser. A mass transit security officer was also shot and seriously wounded.

In a video interview with Russia Today, the brothers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said she believed her sons had been “set up.” She claimed that the FBI had “controlled” her son Tamerlan over a period of three to five years, monitoring his Internet use and repeatedly visiting their house to question him.

Late yesterday evening, the FBI confirmed that it had interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of an unidentified foreign government.

Bostonians had been told the “shelter in place” order was necessary because they had at all costs to avoid Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was described as “armed and dangerous.” At 6 PM yesterday, however, Patrick suddenly lifted the “shelter in place” order at a press conference attended by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Police Colonel Timothy Alben, although they had not apprehended Tsarnaev or any other suspect. They did not explain why they considered the streets to be safer after their press conference than before.

Alben also contradicted earlier reports that the Tsarnaev brothers had carried out the armed robbery at the convenience store.

Shortly after the lifting of the order, however, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding under a tarp in a boat in the backyard of a private home in Watertown, covered in blood. Tactical police forces were called in, set up a perimeter, and fired a series of shots at Tsarnaev before taking him into custody and placing him in an ambulance. He is reportedly in critical condition.

Later in the evening, television outlets showed large numbers of people leaving their homes in relief and celebrating in the streets of Boston.

In carrying out this extraordinary and sinister police state exercise, the Obama administration, the military, the police and state and local officials relied on the media to create a climate of fear and anxiety so as to discourage careful consideration by the public of its long-term implications.

Notwithstanding the horrific character of the crimes involved in the Boston bombings, these implications are very real. The staggering police-military mobilization was clearly the result of years of planning and coordination between various military, intelligence and police agencies that have been relentlessly built up in the decade since the 9/11 attacks. It is now clear that, based purely on their say-so, a major American city can be placed under what would have been called, in a Latin American military dictatorship, a state of siege.

The events in Boston have lifted the veil on the degree to which, behind an eroding veneer of democracy, American society has been thoroughly militarized.

A Twitter message by Ingeborg Senneset from Norway:

Post July 22nd, Norway gave Breivik a good lawyer, a fair trial and human punishment. He took 77 lives, but we kept our dignity.

Boston Marathon suspect may never be able to be questioned, mayor says. Surviving suspect’s injuries prevent him from communicating as FBI faces scrutiny over contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011: here.

Unanswered questions in Boston bombings: here.

5 of the worst reactions to the Boston manhunt, starring Ann Coulter, and Sen. Chuck Grassley: here.

Too early to jump to conclusions over Boston terror bombing: here.

Information coming to light about the background of the Boston Marathon bombings raises many questions about the relationship of US intelligence agencies to the alleged bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: here.

Boston bomb horror, pretext for Islamophobic violence


Police in Boston, USA, still don’t know who perpetrated the terrible bomb attack on the local marathon. They don’t know the motive for this crime yet.

Barry Grey in the USA writes:

It remains unknown whether the terrible crime was the work of one person or an organization, homegrown or foreign, although even some congressmen have acknowledged that several factors point to a rightwing domestic terrorist. These include the relatively crude character of the bombs, the lack of any prior threat alert or claim of responsibility, and the timing—on Boston’s Patriot’s Day and federal tax day and the same week as the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

Senator Saxby Chambliss (Republican of Georgia) said Wednesday, “There are a lot of things that are surrounding this that build an indication that it may have been a domestic terrorist.”

However, the media of phonehacker in chief and burglar in chief Rupert Murdoch and other far Right wingers pretend to “know” that “the Muslims” did this crime.

Let us, for the sake of argument, presume that the culprit, or small group of culprits, was indeed a Muslim, or a small group of Muslims. What would that say about the other 1.62 billion adherents of Islam, making up over 23% of the world population?

Nothing. Like the Oklahoma bombing by the Christian Timothy McVeigh did not make all Christians in the world criminals. Like war crimes by Buddhist soldiers in Sri Lanka do not make other Buddhists who have nothing to do with that, into criminals. Etc.

From ASpoonfulofSuga blog in the USA:

April 18 2013

It Took Two Days for a Random Muslim to Get Assaulted in Boston, Please Retweet

Muslim woman

A Palestinian woman said she was assaulted while taking a late morning stroll with her baby daughter and friend by a man who accused her of being a terrorist. We thought someone would’ve been publicly attacked and berated for secretly planning the Boston Marathon bombings within hours of the explosions, but nope — racists managed to contain themselves for two days. Bravo.

Heba Abolaban told Malden Patch that she and her friend, both wearing hijabs, were walking with their kids when a white male in his thirties punched her left shoulder and began shouting at them:

“He was screaming ‘F___ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F___ you!’” Abolaban remembered. “Oh my lord, I was extremely shocked.”

Taken from Jezebel

______________________

Bangladeshi man beaten at Applebee’s in ‘revenge attack’ over Boston Marathon bombings

New York

A Bangladeshi man has claimed he was beaten at a New York City Applebee’s in retaliation for the Boston Marathon bombings – because of the color of his skin. Abdullah Faruque, 30, says that he was heading out of the restaurant to smoke a cigarette when he noticed a group of Hispanic men who had been at the bar followed him out.They then confronted him.  He told the New York Post: ‘One of the guys asked if I was Arab. I just shook my head, said like, “Yeah, whatever.”‘ Mr Faruque said that when he tried to go back inside Applebee’s, one of the men said, ‘Yeah, he’s a f***ing Arab,’ and they attacked, beating him about the head and body.

______________________

Monday was a difficult day not just for America but for the world. Any time innocents die in the world we as a global community lose out. As an American my immediate sentiments are that we should act in such a way to honour those who have died, and those who are suffering now with the right action. While this sounds like another platitude echoed by countless news-people, I really believe that we should look hard at the suffering caused by the events in Boston. Indirectly that would mean that for me, (another no name blogger) the most important  action for us as  nation and global community, is to look and internalize what has transpired. This I am sure, will be an unpopular course of event. There is a need for justice, there is a need to make sense of these events, there is a need for action.

I remember the environment in NYC a day after 9/11. There was such an outpouring of love from the world to NYC, from NY’er to NY’er. It was a rather tender moment for me, because for once I could visibly see and participate in actions socially that challenged my cynicism about people coming together and a possibility for racial acceptance and religious tolerance. That moment was short-lived unfortunately. Soon Americans citizen of Middle Eastern decent across America were the targets of hate crimes. Whatever love was given was all to soon gone. Ten years later America as a whole is still recovering not just from the events of 9/11, but from how we chose to respond to the tragedy on our home turf. Two wars, trillions in debt, soldiers losing their homes and coping with PTSD, a great divide economic divide further marginalization of Muslims not to mention Americans of Middle Eastern decent, (to name a few) are some of the many pressing issues we do not have a handle on.

A Personal Lesson Learned

While I will be the first to admit that I do not know how to keep a nation state, I cannot,like many other Americans, help wondering if the two wars and all their political, financial, economic, and diplomatic ramifications worth it ? What have we learned as a nation after 9/11?

I will tell you what I have learned over this past decade. I have seen that (especially after the wake of the most recent presidential election) Americans are too divided  to come together for an extended period of time. I feel we have reduced a  person to just simple instruments to be used for the attainment of ideological goals. Before one is a republican or democrat or libertarian, American or, black white, latino, or whatever other label we like to use, one is a person.  The Saudi national who was initially considered a suspect is a human being too. The Sikh person in your neighbourhood is a person. The Mexican Guy who may be cutting your grass is human being.  The Muslimah that sports the hijab is a person.  Surprising so these people may even be American like you or I which means we share an ideology and a vision.

Of course this is idealistic. Behind the sarcastic statements, the cynical quips, I am a idealist. I am a positive person.  There will always be those amongst us who will will seek to disrupt us, to take from us the most precious things like our sense of security, the want to engage with our fellow human beings and country man, and sadly as the explosion in Boston have shown even our lives.  History is littered with heinous acts, but if we look close enough we will see so many instances of self-sacrifice and benevolence.

An Important Anniversary

Tuesday April 16 was an important anniversary to me. Fifty one years ago on that day  MLK wrote  his letter from Birmingham Jail. That letter has always been a point of inspiration for me. It gave a voice to a sentiment I hold deeply, specifically that we can today with a greater sense of urgency and determination work to make a better America. The bombings in Boston are an opportunity for us to come together as a nation and talk about the human issues we are all facing.

I feel that it was irresponsible for a memo to the New York Post and other media outlets to tell people top be on the lookout for out for “dark-skinned” suspects. I feel, rather I am certain that the news is working people up to a frenzy. The president in a recent speech praised Boston for overcoming the face of evil.. But if Muslims are being attacked have we really overcome the face of evil or have we just brought out another evil face. Fire cannot be fought with fire. We need to change of view on things, we need to deliberate a little more as a whole before anyone else gets heckled or beaten up for being of middle Eastern descent. …

U.S. Muslims mobilize to prevent Boston backlash

It’s a familiar race against time for Muslim groups. Almost as soon as the smoke cleared around Copley Square, they knew from long experience that some would immediately point the finger of blame in their direction.

Still, conservative columnist and Fox News guest Erik Rush quickly sent out tweets blaming Muslims, adding in one, “Let’s kill them,” a post he subsequently deleted. “Jihad in America,” wrote anti-Muslim blogger Pam Geller. Speaking about the bombings on his ”700 Club” program, Pat Robertson was also furious: “Don’t talk to me about religion of peace” – the way Muslims describe their faith – “No way.” On his show, conservative host Glenn Beck opined that “no American citizen blows up random people; that’s a Middle Eastern scene, that’s not an American scene. When our crazies go off, they target the government, not streets that are crowded with people.”

Final Words

While it’s difficult thing to do i will be writing about the ramification of the Boston as I see them in my life with the hope of generating actual discussion instead of hate-speak/News-Speak and double talk. Probably also when all is said and done I will go to Boston and lay soem flowers down , anyone who wants to join is welcome.

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

Swedish citizens stand in solidarity with pregnant Muslim woman after she was beaten: here.

Britain: Man who admits killing 82-year-old Muslim in Birmingham, UK, also says he plotted explosions near mosques: here.

Boston marathon bomb tragedy, and media rush to judgment


This video from the USA is called Kathrine Switzer, Pioneering Boston Marathon Runner, on Fight to Stay in 1967 Male-Dominated Race.

First of all, today I wish recovery and strength for the survivors, families and friends of the Boston marathon bomb horror in the USA.

Then, I remember the Oklahoma bomb horror in the USA. Still many more people killed and wounded. The big media shouted: “Muslims! Muslims!” But the perpetrator of the atrocity turned out to be extreme Right Christian Timothy McVeigh; aided and abetted by other far Rightists.

I also remember the mass murders in Norway. The big media shouted: “Muslims! Muslims!” But the perpetrator of the atrocity turned out to be extreme Right Islamophobe Anders Behring Breivik, a killer with many links to neo-nazis and other far Rightists.

By Barry Grey in the USA:

Media rush to judgment in Boston Marathon bombing

16 April 2013

The explosion of two bombs Monday afternoon at the Boston Marathon has been accompanied by a rush to judgment by the media, in which claims of a broad new terror attack are being made without any factual substantiation.

The bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon in the heart of the city’s downtown area. According to media reports, at least three people were killed and 144 wounded, including 15 with critical injuries. Witnesses on the scene and at hospitals have reported that the injuries include amputated lower limbs.

The explosions took place within about 20 seconds of one another and 50-100 yards apart, while thousands of marathoners were still running and many thousands of spectators were lined up along the route. The blasts shattered storefront windows, sending shards of glass and other debris into the crowd.

No individual or organization has as yet claimed responsibility for this brutal and criminal act.

Copley Square was evacuated and will reportedly remain closed off for 24 hours. Parts of the city’s public transit system were shut down and aircraft grounded for several hours at Logan International Airport, but service resumed in the early evening.

The federal government increased security around the White House, and New York City announced it had elevated its security operations.

In a press conference several hours after the blasts, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said there was a third explosion several miles away at the John F. Kennedy Library, which authorities were treating as related to the bombings at the marathon. However, officials subsequently said the incident at the JFK Library was “fire-related” and not connected to the marathon bombings.

There were also multiple press reports of a third bomb deliberately detonated by authorities following the initial blasts, and the Associated Press cited an unnamed intelligence official as saying at least one other device was found in the area of the race.

In the absence of clear facts or forensic evidence, many of the statements made by the media amounted to pure speculation, aimed at promoting an unstated political agenda and encouraging a mood of panic. Many assertions contradicted one another. For example, some commentators claimed the explosive devices were small and primitive, while others said they were sophisticated and indicated the work of a terrorist organization.

Some media outlets in particular seemed bent on steering the public toward the view that the Boston events were a terror attack along the lines of 9/11. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer directed the network’s reportage along these lines, encouraging his “expert” commentators to make wide-ranging claims within minutes of the explosions and while the mayhem on the streets of Boston was still unfolding. Jane Harmon, the former Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, appearing as a CNN commentator, claimed the bombings pointed in the direction of Al Qaeda.

The Murdoch press’ New York Post ran a banner headline, “Clearly an Act of Terror,” and featured a second article headlined “Authorities ID suspect as Saudi national in marathon bombings, under guard at Boston hospital.”

NBC Evening News featured as its terrorism expert Michael Leitner, former director of the US National Counterterrorism Center under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Without any factual substantiation, Leitner declared that the bombings were the act of a “terrorist organization.”

However, President Obama, in a brief statement from the White House delivered at about 6 PM, pointedly refrained from labeling the incident as an act of terror. He said the “full resources of the federal government” and the “full weight of justice” would be deployed against those responsible, while admitting that the government did not know “who did this or why.”

There appeared to be an element of confusion or conflict within the state over the response to the bombings. The media widely reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had declared the bombings to be a terrorist act. And only minutes after Obama’s White House statement, a “senior administration official” told Fox News, “When multiple devices go off, that’s an act of terrorism.”

It is necessary to treat all of the initial reports by the media with extreme skepticism. Whether the Boston bombing was a terror attack by Al Qaeda or by a home-grown right-wing organization, or an act carried out with state involvement, remains unknown.

In maintaining a critical attitude and avoiding falling prey to media manipulation, it is useful to recall the role of the media in previous cases of alleged terrorist attacks. In the anthrax incidents that occurred shortly after 9/11, for example, the media made sweeping claims of Al Qaeda and Islamist involvement, none of which proved to be true.

The leading fighting group in the US-backed war against the Syrian government has announced its loyalty to Al Qaeda: here.

Havana, Apr 16 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Government condemned today the terrorist attacks perpetrated yesterday near the finish line of a marathon in the city of Boston, in the United States, which killed three people and wounded another 176, including 17 reported in critical condition: here.

President Barack Obama used a briefing Tuesday to declare the bombings the day before at the Boston Marathon “an act of terror,” though the FBI and police still had neither suspects nor a motive for the attacks: here.

While the nation, including the people of Boston, have remained calm, deeply saddened and shocked by the bombings as they are, the media and their leading personnel present a picture of disorientation and panic: here.

Cliff swallows evolve to avoid traffic


This video from says about itself:

May 31, 2011

A pair of Cliff Swallows building their mud nest under a bridge in Newbury, MA. With the mud being brought to the nest one mouthful at a time this truly is an enormous feat to stick this nest to the underside of a bridge.

From Science in the USA:

Evolution via Roadkill

by Sarah C. P. Williams on 18 March 2013, 12:30 PM

Cliff swallows that build nests that dangle precariously from highway overpasses have a lower chance of becoming roadkill than in years past thanks to a shorter wingspan that lets them dodge oncoming traffic. That’s the conclusion of a new study based on 3 decades of data collected on one population of the birds. The results suggest that shorter wingspan has been selected for over this time period because of the evolutionary pressure put on the population by cars.

“This is a clear example of how you can observe natural selection over short time periods,” says ecologist Charles Brown of the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, who conducted the new study with wife Mary Bomberger Brown, an ornithologist at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. “Over 30 years, you can see these birds being selected for their ability to avoid cars.”

The Browns have studied cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) in southwestern Nebraska since 1982. They return to the same roads every nesting season to perform detailed surveys of the colonies of thousands of birds that build mud nests on bridges and overpasses in the area. Along with studies on living swallows—counting birds and eggs, netting and banding individuals, and observing behaviors—the Browns also picked up swallow carcasses they found on the roads, in the hopes of having additional specimens to measure and preserve. They hadn’t planned studies on roadkill numbers, but recently they began to get the sense that they were picking up fewer dead birds than in the past.

When the researchers looked back at the numbers of swallows collected as roadkill each year, they found that the count had steadily declined from 20 birds a season in 1984 and 1985 to less than five per season for each of the past 5 years. During that same time, the number of nests and birds had more than doubled, and the amount of traffic in the area had remained steady.

The birds that were being killed, further analysis revealed, weren’t representative of the rest of the population. On average, they had longer wings. In 2012, for example, the average cliff swallow in the population had a 106-millimeter wingspan, whereas the average swallow killed on the road had a 112-millimeter wingspan.

“Probably the most important effect of a shorter wing is that it allows the birds to turn more quickly,” says Charles Brown. Previous studies on the dynamics of flight have illustrated the benefits of short wings for birds that perform many pivots and rolls during flying and shown that shorter wings also may allow the birds to take off faster from the ground, he adds.

When the researchers analyzed the average wing length of the living birds in the population, they discovered that it had become shorter over time, from 111 millimeters in 1982 to the 106 millimeter average in 2012. The data suggested to the Browns that roadkill deaths were a major force driving this selection. Birds with longer wings would be more likely to be killed by vehicles and less likely to reproduce, the team reports online today in Current Biology.

The data illustrate a “beautiful trend that never could have been predicted,” says evolutionary biologist John Hoogland of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg, who was not involved in the study. “We humans, because we’re changing the environment so much, are adding a new kind of natural selection to these animal populations.”

Few studies have looked at long-term changes in roadkill numbers, Charles Brown says, so more work is needed to determine whether similar trends hold for swallows in other areas, for other types of birds, or for mammals. “I would think that this would be a pattern that certainly might apply to other species,” he says. “But there’s almost nothing in the literature on historical trends in roadkills, because surveys typically last a season or two, not an extended period of years.”

The new findings could also apply to birds killed by wind turbines, Hoogland adds, and they illustrate the payoff that can come with careful data collection and observation. “I think the most important lesson from this research is the paramount importance of collecting data even when you’re not sure what it means or how it could lead to findings in the future.”