Painted buntings in Florida, USA


This video from Florida in the USA says about itself:

Painted Buntings – Most Colorful Songbird Close-Up

30 January 2018

Mature male Painted Buntings are known as the most colorful songbirds in North America – even rivaling the gaudiest of South American and tropical birds! This male has been hanging out in the Backyard in recent days. He is one of the most stunning I’ve ever seen and here he gives a rare extreme close-up. In fact, he gets so close to the lens he goes out of focus a bit, but if you’ve ever seen a Painted Bunting you’ll never forget! Note that the dark tangle of dense scrub along a fence border is classic Bunting winter habitat and the dead foliage makes him stand out in stark contrast in mid-Winter.

Advertisements

National bee count in the Netherlands


This 20 April 2018 Dutch video is about the first ever national bee count.

On 21 and 22 April 2018 was the first ever national bee count in the Netherlands. 3400 people counted almost 35,000 bees of various species.

The most counted species was the honey bee: almost 12,000 individuals. Second was the red mason bee, counted over 5,000 times. That wild bee species often lives in insect hotels. That it was counted so much is a sign that insect hotels work,

Moor frogs gathering


This April 2018 video shows blueish male moor frogs gathering in Twente region in the Netherlands for the mating season.

Harry Brummelhuis made this video.

Puerto Rico’s dialysis patients in trouble


This 18 April 2018 video is called Puerto Rican patients must travel 12 hours for dialysis.

By Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, Kaiser Health News:

Puerto Rico’s Slow-Going Recovery Means New Hardship For Dialysis Patients

Sunday, April 22, 2018

VIEQUES, Puerto Rico — As the cry of a rooster heralded the dawn, Joe Garcia, 41, pulled a vial of insulin from the fridge. He filled a syringe and wrapped it in aluminum foil in preparation for the long day ahead.

“I tell him that from here to there, that’ll spoil”, said his mother, Martina Collazo de Jesus, 63, watching the preparations under the fluorescent bulb lighting the family kitchen.

It is a gamble Garcia, who has both diabetes and kidney failure, has taken since Hurricane Maria slammed this Puerto Rican island just east of the main island. More than six months after the storm, Garcia and 13 other Vieques residents must still board a plane three days a week for kidney dialysis on Puerto Rico’s main island.

Hurricane Maria totaled Vieques’ hospital, which housed the island’s only dialysis clinic.

That set off an ongoing crisis for patients with kidney failure such as Garcia — who cannot survive without dialysis and for whom the thrice-weekly round trip to a dialysis center in Humacao on Puerto Rico’s main island, including treatment, takes at least 12 hours.

When seriously ill patients like Garcia will again be able to access their lifesaving treatments in Vieques remains uncertain, as federal, local officials and nonprofit groups debate strategy and finances. No one knows when the hospital will be rebuilt, either. And the government and nonprofit organizations continue to punt the responsibility of paying for the flights.

Dodo killed by gun, new research shows


This video from England says about itself:

20 April 2018

The famous Oxford Dodo died after being shot, according to breakthrough research by Oxford University Museum of Natural History and WMG at the University of Warwick.

Read more here.

From the University of Warwick in England:

Dodo‘s violent death revealed

April 21, 2018

The famous Oxford Dodo died after being shot in the back of the head, according to breakthrough research by Oxford University Museum of Natural History and WMG at the University of Warwick.

Using revolutionary forensic scanning technology and world-class expertise, researchers have discovered surprising evidence that the Oxford Dodo was shot in the neck and back of the head with a shotgun.

The significant and unexpected findings, made by Professor Paul Smith, director of the Museum of Natural History, and Professor Mark Williams from WMG at the University of Warwick, only became apparent when mysterious particles were found in the specimen during scans carried out to help analyse its anatomy.

Subsequent analysis of the material and size of the particles revealed that they are lead shot pellets, typically used to hunt wildfowl during the 17th century.

The findings cast doubt on the popular theory that the Oxford Dodo is the remains of a bird kept alive in a townhouse in 17th-century London.

Held at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Oxford Dodo represents the most complete remains of a dodo collected as a living bird — the head and a foot — and the only surviving soft tissue anywhere in the world.

The researchers have shown that this famous specimen was shot in the back of the head and the neck, and that the shot did not penetrate its skull — which is now revealed to be very thick.

To conduct this research, the Dodo remains were securely transferred from Oxford to Professor Williams’ state-of-the-art scanning laboratory at WMG, where he used CT scanning technology and specialist 3D analysis software to analyse the bird’s skull and create a three-dimensional digital replica of it.

Professor Williams and his team gained an unprecedented level of insight to the precious dodo remains, looking inside the skull of the bird and discovering crucial information about its anatomy, as well as how it lived and died.

The Oxford Dodo originally came to the University of Oxford as part of the Tradescant Collection of specimens and artefacts compiled by father and son John Tradescant in London in the 17th century. CT scanning technology allowed researchers to see inside the famous specimen for the first time, revealing details without disturbing the remains or taking them apart.

Professor Paul Smith, Director of Oxford University Museum of Natural History, commented: “The Oxford Dodo is an important specimen for biology, and because of its connections with Lewis Carroll it is of great cultural significance too. The new findings reveal an unexpected part of history of this specimen as we thought the bird had come to the museum after being displayed as a live specimen in London.”

The researchers at WMG produced detailed scans of the dodo remains, and created a 3D model of the bird, which was analysed by the researchers at Oxford, who were able to confirm the findings.

The results of three years of collaborative research, these findings deliver ground-breaking fresh knowledge about this famous but mysterious creature that has been extinct since the mid-17th century.

Dodos were endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The first European accounts of the bird were made by Dutch explorers in 1601, after they rediscovered the island in 1598. The last living bird was sighted in 1662, and the dodo has subsequently become an icon of human-caused extinction.

Professor Mark Williams, leader of the Product Evaluation Technologies and Metrology Research group at WMG, University of Warwick, commented: “When we were first asked to scan the Dodo, we were hoping to study its anatomy and shed some new light on how it existed. In our wildest dreams, we never expected to find what we did.

“Although the results were initially shocking, it was exciting to be able to reveal such an important part of the story in the life of the world’s most famous extinct bird. It just goes to show that when you are carrying out investigative research, you never quite know what you are going to find.”

Dr Jay Warnett, Assistant Professor at WMG, commented: “At its core, the technology is the same as what is used in medical X-ray CT scanning. But because we weren’t limited by dose (because we were scanning an inanimate object rather than a person), it meant we were able to get a much higher resolution.

“Because of this higher resolution — going down to a fraction of the size of a human hair — this meant that we had a much bigger data challenge.”

Professor Mark Williams has employed the same digital forensics techniques to provide crucial evidence in over sixty major police trials, and to conduct crucial automotive research.

He has also used it to reveal long-lost details of other landmark historical and archaeological artefacts — providing answers that are only possible through using this pioneering scanning technology at WMG.

Spanish police arrests Catalan football fans for yellow shirts


This 22 April 2018 video is called Pro-Catalan Supporters Targeted By Spanish Police.

Sometimes, police arrest football fans for hooliganism. But in this case, the arrests were for wearing yellow shirts; seen as a protest against making Catalans political prisoners.

This was at the King’s Cup match in Madrid yesterday. FC Barcelona from Catalonia won the cup by beating Sevilla 5 to 0.

From AFP news agency today:

Spanish authorities under fire over cup final yellow ban

Spanish authorities are facing a backlash after Barcelona supporters were forced to ditch yellow T-shirts ahead of the club’s Spanish Cup final victory over Sevilla.

Several television stations showed pictures of police forcing Barça fans to discard their yellow T-shirts before entering the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid ahead of the 5-0 thrashing of Sevilla that earned the Catalan club a 30th Copa del Rey victory.

Many Catalans — including Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola whose ribbon has resulted in a fine by English football authorities — have been donning yellow to show support for nine Catalan independence leaders held in prison near Madrid over “rebellion”.

They face up to 30 years in jail if convicted of that charge. …

Barça have often played a significant role in the Catalan independence movement supported by many of their fans. The club is seen by many as a bastion of resistance against Madrid domination, not just on the football field but in political halls too.

Barça centre-back Gerard Pique has been jeered many times by Spain fans while wearing the national team jersey over his open support for a referendum on Catalan independence.

Saturday’s measures sparked anger in Catalonia.

“Inexplicable. We’re a club that defends freedom of expression”, said Barça chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu after the game, adding that he would demand an explanation from the Spanish Football Federation.

“If now, a simple colour is an offence to the State, where are we going?” former Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont tweeted from Germany where he is in self-imposed exile to avoid a Spanish arrest warrant.

“Banning yellow in a football stadium is absurd and ridiculous, and an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression”, said pro-Catalan independence association Omnium Cultural.

Social media users reacted with irony, asking if the match officials for the cup final would also have their jerseys taken from them as they were wearing yellow.

Some Barcelona fans jeered the Spanish national anthem and the watching King Felipe VI ahead of Saturday’s match.

A goal from Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and two from Uruguay international forward Luis Suarez helped Barça cruise to victory.