Play on Jean Charles de Menezes’ death

From London daily The Morning Star:


Tricycle Theatre, London, NW6

Monday 14 September 2009

by Tom Mellen

IF the war that British troops in Afghanistan have been waging in our name for over eight years is making us safer, why does insecurity and fear seem to pervade our society more than ever?

The July 7 2007 attacks on the London public transport network that killed 52 civilians, the dud copycat attacks of July 21 that year and the killing of a young Brazilian electrician by armed police at Stockwell Tube the next day – all these bloody incidents flowed from the logic of the war on terror.

Kieron Barry‘s 90-minute piece at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn on the inquest into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is more than an account of that process, which returned an open verdict.

The play, every line of which is taken verbatim from the transcripts of the 10-week inquest, forces us to ask questions about the nature of our relationship with the rest of the world – and the relationship between “foreign policy” and domestic security.

See also here.

The family of murdered Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes has confirmed they had agreed a compensation deal with the Metropolitan Police: here.

The family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the man killed by police in 2005, look set to receive just £100,000 compensation: here.

After a four and a half year struggle for justice, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes has been forced to make an out-of-court settlement with the Metropolitan Police. The family could have received just a third of the £300,000 compensation award they were seeking: here.


Velociraptor claws for climbing, not slashing?

This video is called velociraptor Jurassic Park.

From LiveScience:

Velociraptor Claws Made for Climbing

By Robert Roy Britt, Editorial Director

posted: 14 September 2009 09:42 am ET

The vicious Velociraptor of pop culture slashes and disembowels its prey with large, curved claws. The dinosaur gore makes for good cinema, but one research team thinks those claws were made for climbing.

Phillip Manning at the University of Manchester and his colleagues used X-ray scans of fossils from the Late Cretaceous period (spanning from 144 million to 65 million years ago) and drew from knowledge of the material in modern-day owl claws to make a model of the Velociraptor‘s supposed death sickles.

Velociraptor and other dromaeosaurids were bipedal and lightweight and related to modern birds. A study in 2007 found Velociraptor had feathers, though it could not fly.

Stress tests showed the curved claws “were well-adapted for climbing as they would have been resistant to forces acting in a single (longitudinal) plane, in this case due to gravity,” the scientists write in the journal Anatomical Record. “The tip of the claw functioned as the puncturing and gripping element,” and the rest of the claw could have transferred the stress to bones.

45 new snail species found in Western Australia

This video from Australia is called Hairy desert snail Semotrachia euzyga.

From Wildlife Extra:

45 new species of snails found on Western Australian Islands

New discoveries on Kimberley islands

September 2009. Western Australian scientists and traditional Kimberley land owners are rapidly discovering new species in the State’s north as part of the Kimberley islands biological survey. With field work almost complete, the survey has confirmed that the Kimberley is one of Australia’s diversity hotspots for ancient camaenid land snails.

Research scientist Dr Frank Köhler said that even though they are small and might seem insignificant, the snails are an important indicator of the general condition of the islands and the threats faced by other animals.

“Although science usually moves at a snail’s pace, because the islands are largely unexplored by modern science it means that we are finding previously unrecorded species very quickly and there is a surprisingly high number of them,” he said.

“Each island is different and tends to support a unique set of species due to its isolation by water and therefore the species form distinct groups which differ from the mainland.”

9 islands still to be surveyed

So far, 48 species of snails that are unique to the islands have been recorded as part of the survey and all but three of these have never been formally described. Nine islands are still to be surveyed in the wet season and scientists are predicting more discoveries.

“Just like kangaroos, these land snails are among the survivors of the major changes in climate that have taken place over the last few million years. These days, most people will not see them because they bury themselves deep in the soil or hide in crevices to escape the heat and conserve water, only emerging during the wet season”, he said

“One of the fascinating features is how you distinguish between different species through the size and shape of the male organs, so what might look like the same snail from the shell is actually another species that you’ll recognise only if you look inside.”

4 year survey

The survey of 22 of the largest islands in the Kimberley, designed to sample groups of mammals, reptiles, land snails, birds and plants at most risk of threats such as fire, weeds, human activity and cane toads, commenced in late 2006 and is due for completion in 2010.

The project is a collaboration between Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), the Western Australian Museum, the Australian Museum and the Kimberley Land Council

DEC is in the process of preparing a science and conservation strategy for the Kimberley as part of a $9 million State Government commitment.

Western Australian islands to be cleared of rodents: here.

How do we even begin to describe the 420,000 or more unnamed species in Australia? Taxonomy is only at the dawn of its discovery phase on this mega-diverse continent, but as a discipline it is undervalued and on its way out: here.

Queensland Museum scientist Dr. John Stanisic has named a rare species of tree snail discovered in north Queensland in honor of wildlife advocate and conservationist Steve Irwin. The snail, Crikey steveirwini, was found in the mountainous regions of north Queensland’s Wet Tropics near Cairns: here.

Snails may split into different species rapidly precisely because they move so slowly, scientists now suggest: here.

A team of Catalan researchers has studied the changes in the make-up of animal populations following forest fires, and have concluded that malacological fauna are a good indicator of forest recovery. The conclusions of this study will help to ensure that post-fire forestry operations that do not harm these species of molluscs, which are sensitive to microclimatic conditions of the soil and vegetation structure: here.

Cloud forest shell slug (Ibycus rachelae, Helicarionidae), Crocker Mountain Range, Borneo: photo here.

Tiny Mediterranean snail ‘hitchhiked’ to UK in Victorian times: here.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 19, 2010) — Two world experts in micro mollusks, Anselmo Peñas and Emilio Rolán, have made an unprecedented description in a scientific publication of a combined total of 209 snail species. Commissioned by the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, the study was unveiled in September in the French capital, and it covers the most new species from a single genus of any study to date: here.

Slugs’ last meals: molecular identification of sequestered chloroplasts from different algal origins in Sacoglossa: here.

How sea slugs ‘capture the sun’: here.

Surprising number of Sea slugs off Wales: here.

The brightly coloured moorish idol, the busy bumble bee of the reef: here.