British government Grenfell Tower disaster cover-up?


This video from England says about itself:

17 June 2017

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in London to demand justice for victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Report by Sarah Duffy.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Corbyn: PM is focusing on avoiding criticism in Grenfell inquiry

Friday 18th August 2017

JEREMY CORBYN has written to Prime Minister Theresa May demanding further action on the Grenfell inquiry.

In the letter released yesterday following the publication of the probe’s terms of reference, the Labour leader raises concerns about the “decision to exclude the broader social and political issues raised by the fire.”

Mr Corbyn says there is a fear that the government’s “priority is to avoid criticism” for policy failures “rather than secure justice for Grenfell survivors.”

In order to learn the lessons of the Grenfell fire, Mr Corbyn calls on the PM to set out a clear process that addressed “the broader failings that led to the Grenfell fire.”

Mr Corbyn also seeks guarantees that probe chief Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s assessors “will include people from minority backgrounds, as many residents have demanded.”

Grey wagtail in Sweden, video


This video shows a grey wagtail in Sweden.

Solar eclipse in the USA 21 August update


This video from the USA says about itself:

August 21st Solar Eclipse Will Be Extraordinary And Rare Celestial Event! Watch To Know Why

16 August 2017

2017 Solar Eclipse Will Be Extraordinary.

Historic Solar Eclipse Just One Week Away.

What can the eclipse tell us about the corona’s magnetic field? Scientists want to directly measure the forces behind the wispy dancing plasma in the sun’s atmosphere. By Lisa Grossman, 7:00am, August 16, 2017.

Protect little ones’ eyes from the sun during the eclipse. By Laura Sanders, 5:20pm, August 15, 2017.

Eclipses show wrong physics can give right results. Success of astronomical predictions reveals power of science, by Tom Siegfried. 3:30pm, August 17, 2017.

Charlottesville solidarity demonstration in Amsterdam


This video from the Spui square in Amsterdam in the Netherlands tonight shows a solidarity demonstration with the anti-nazis in Charlottesville, USA.

People shout: ‘Fascism, never again!

US President Trump and the extreme right


This video from the USA says about itself:

Exclusive: Stonewall Jackson’s Great-Great-Grandsons Call for Removal of Confederate Monuments

17 August 2017

As President Trump faces growing outrage over his response to the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, we bring you an exclusive: an interview with the great-great-grandsons of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. At least 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy can be found in public spaces across the country. But now a number of the monuments are coming down.

Calls for the removal of the statues are even coming from the descendants of the leaders of the Confederacy. We speak with two of the great-great-grandsons of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Jack and Warren Christian have just written an open letter to the mayor of Richmond calling for the removal of the Stonewall Jackson statue in Richmond. They write, “Our sense of justice leads us to believe that removing the Stonewall statue and other monuments should be part of a larger project of actively mending the racial disparities that hundreds of years of white supremacy have wrought.”

By CJ Atkins in the USA:

Trump‘s common cause with bigots

Thursday 17th August 2017

The president’s manipulative political rhetoric and reactionary policies have emboldened white supremacists, warns CJ ATKINS

USUALLY when David Duke opens his mouth, you can count on the words that come out to be a lie. The former KKK imperial wizard, Holocaust denier and white nationalist typically peddles trash about supposed white genocide or the benefits of racial segregation. But this weekend in Charlottesville, Duke did something unexpected: He told the truth.

Or, at least he told one little piece of truth. Speaking at the neonazi confab in Virginia, Duke proclaimed he and his fellow racists were there “to fulfil the promises of Donald Trump.”

Duke is right.

The fascist terror that took the life of one woman, Heather Heyer, and sent many more people to hospital is precisely the “promise” that has been latent in Trump’s rhetoric ever since the start of his campaign for the presidency.

When Trump said during the election last year that it was time “to take our country back,” he was speaking in words that Duke and his cohort understood perfectly. It wasn’t hard — the message was hardly concealed.

It started years ago, most infamously with the racist “birther” controversy aimed at undermining President Barack Obama. It ramped up dramatically once Trump started running for the White House himself.

There was of course the denunciation of Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers and rapists in his very first speech of the campaign. That was followed up with candidate Trump’s pledge to build a wall along the southern border, sending the signal that certain people — brown-skinned people — were not welcome.

He closed out the election with an ad that was packed full of anti-semitic tropes about “global special interests,” bolstered by the faces of prominent Jewish personalities flashed across the screen. It was a work of television dog-whistling that would have made Jesse Helms proud.

Promptly announcing a ban on Muslims entering the US upon taking office, the president gave another nod to the racists and their notion of a war between civilisations.

In May this year, Trump dismissively responded to the concerns about police brutality raised by Black Lives Matter and other movements by saying that “our police have been subject to unfair defamation and vilification.”

At the beginning of this month, there was the roll-out of a new Republican immigration plan which has been roundly criticised as a project for a whiter US.

The pattern is plain to see for anyone who has been paying attention.

Many of the words and policies of Trump, both before and since taking office, have been a calculated effort to mobilise a hard-core base of supporters motivated by racial resentments and hatred.

His condemnation on Saturday of the “hatred, bigotry and violence from many sides” was another case of his pandering.

The truth is that the hatred, bigotry and violence that were on display in Charlottesville did not come from “many sides.” They came from one side.

But to only single out Trump for emboldening the neonazis that were on the march this weekend would be to deny the credit due to so many others in his administration.

There is Steve Bannon, the “alt-right” ideologue who brought white nationalism right into the Oval Office. Responsible for writing many of Trump’s most inflammatory speeches and sprinkling them with references to white nationalist vocabulary is Stephen Miller.

And of course, we can’t forget Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, who has been linked to a nazi group in Hungary and just last Wednesday said on Breitbart Radio that white supremacists are not a problem.

Several Republican senators — such as Orrin Hatch of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and others — took strong positions calling out this weekend’s racist terror for what it was. Some of them even urged President Trump to do so as well.

But where will these same senators be when Trump starts pushing another effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act? Where will they stand when an anti-immigrant Bill comes up for a vote? Will they denounce the racism behind the next iteration of Trump’s Muslim ban?

Trump, the white nationalists around him in the White House and the nazis in Charlottesville are all attempting to sell the whites in US, especially the working-class whites, a false bill of goods.

As the reverend William Barber said on Saturday: “White nationalists don’t care about white US. They don’t support living wages for the working poor. They don’t support healthcare for the poor and the working poor… They support the kind of policies that would take those things from people.”

Barber’s call for a non-violent mass movement of all people to challenge the ideologies that foster racism and the wedge attacks that are used to divide working people points the way forward.

From the start, Trump and his promises to “Make America great again” have been backward-looking. They have encouraged racist sentimentality for a segregationist past when minorities knew their place and multiculturalism was unheard of. His manipulative political rhetoric and reactionary policies have emboldened white supremacist forces and led us to this moment.

If his efforts to strip millions of healthcare, his bombing of Syria and Iraq, his demonisation of an entire religion, his plans to build a border wall or his threat of nuclear war did not make clear how dangerous the continuation of this presidency is, perhaps Charlottesville will.

It was already obvious, but now perhaps more so. It’s time for President Trump to go.

Fossil and living porcupinefish, new research


This video says about itself:

Porcupine fish rescue

21 March 2016

Our guys came across an entangled porcupine fish while snorkeling. The little guy was freed using a broken bottle. Clever.

From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama:

Comparing the jaws of porcupine fish reveals three new species

August 16, 2017

Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and colleagues compared fossil porcupine fish jaws and tooth plates collected on expeditions to Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil with those from museum specimens and modern porcupine fish, revealing three new species.

Startled porcupine fish suck in air or water to inflate their bodies, becoming a prickly balloon-like shape to defend themselves from predators and some contain a neurotoxin a thousand times more potent than cyanide in their ovaries and livers. They are also good at offense, crushing the shells of clams and other marine mollusks with beak-like jaws so tough that they are preserved as fossils to be discovered millions of years later.

Two of the newly discovered species, named Chilomycterus tyleri, in honor of the Smithsonian’s James C. Tyler, senior scientist emeritus at the National Museum of Natural History — an expert on this group of fish — and C. expectatus, named for the arrangement of its dental plates, were discovered in Panama’s Gatun formation.

The third new species, Diodon serratus, named for the serrated edge of its crushing dental sheet, comes from the Socorro Formation in Venezuela. When Darwin traveled to the tropics on the Voyage of the Beagle, he noticed this fish that swims upside down when inflated. He even mentioned a report from a fellow naturalist, that porcupine fish could gnaw their way out of the stomach of a shark.

Today 18 species of porcupine fish populate tropical seas worldwide. Species in the genus Diodon are common in shallow, tropical waters of both the Atlantic and Pacific. In contrast, only one species of the genus Chilomycterus is found in the Eastern Pacific. The rest are in the Atlantic.

When the Isthmus of Panama arose from the sea to connect North and South America and divide the Atlantic from the Pacific, the oceans on each side of this intercontinental bridge changed forever. The Eastern Pacific became cooler and more nutrient rich and the Caribbean because warmer and more nutrient poor, characterized by more coral reefs and seagrass beds.

This research team hopes to better understand why there was only one Chilomycterus species in a fossil deposit near Panama’s Tuira river on the Pacific side of the isthmus of Panama.