New king crab species discovered

Alaska king crab

From the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (UK) :

King crab family bigger than ever

New king crabs

Sally Hall, a PhD student at the University of Southampton’s School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) has formally described four new species of king crab, all from the deep sea.

Hall discovered the new species in the Smithsonian Collections of the National Museum of Natural History in Washington. Explaining the significance of the find, she said: “King crabs include some of the largest crustaceans currently inhabiting Earth and are fished by humans, particularly from the shallower waters of the polar regions. The new discoveries increase the total number of king crab species known to 113.”

The new species are Paralomis nivosa from the Philippines, P. makarovi from the Bering Sea, P. alcockiana from South Carolina, and Lithodes galapagensis from the Galapagos archipelago – the first and only king crab species yet recorded from the seas around the Galapagos Islands. P. nivosa and P. makarovi came from previously unidentified samples collected in the early part of the twentieth century by the US Bureau of Fisheries steamer, Albatross.

King crabs were first formally described in 1819. They are now known from subtidal waters at high latitudes, but deep-sea species occur in most of the world’s oceans, typically living at depths between 500 and 1500 metres.

“We are only now beginning to understand the incredible diversity of animals living in the deep sea,” said Hall: “It is incredible that the Albatross collection is still yielding new information, even though it is over 100 years since this survey of deep-sea life began.”

It is now clear that species of deep-sea king crab live in most areas of the world’s oceans, but many more species remain to be discovered. “The oceans off eastern Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Southern Ocean are all particularly poorly sampled,” said Hall: “We need to know which king crab species live where before we can fully understand their ecology and evolutionary success.”

USA: On both coasts little crustaceans known as sand crabs or mole crabs burrow into the sand in the swash zone and let the shallow waves break over their backs: here.

Gays will go to hell, cardinal says

This music video from Italy says about itself:

For the first time in Italy, reggae music takes a stance against homophobia. Luciano and The Jah Messenjah Band came out in support of gay rights and the 2009 national LGBT Gay Pride to be held in Genova, Italy on 27 June 2009. The concert took place on the international day against homophobia (17 May) drawing a crowd of 3-500 revellers. Special guest: Carrol Thompson.

From Italian news agency ANSA:

Gays won’t go to heaven’

Your heaven is ‘unjust’, gays tell cardinal

02 December, 16:35

Rome, December 2 – Gays and transsexuals won’t go to heaven, a top Roman Catholic cardinal said Wednesday.

“Transsexuals and gays will never enter the heavenly kingdom,” said Javier Lozano Barragan, until recently the Vatican’s ‘health minister’.

“It’s not me who says so, it’s St Paul,” he said, referring to the saint credited with forging the early Church.

St Paul (5 BC-67 AD) wrote many epistles (letters) to the rapidly spreading early Christian community.

In one of them, to the Romans, he said about unbelievers: ”God gave them up to degrading passions. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error”.

Barragan, who still holds positions on various Church bodies, added that people were not born gay but became so.

Barragan’s remarks drew a prompt reaction from the Italian gay association Arcigay, which said “yes, it’s true, we won’t ever get into your heaven, which is a murky and unjust place”.

This reminds me of the native American opponent of the Spanish conquistadores’ invasion of Cuba, who, just before being burned alive, given the choice between converting to Christianity and hell, said that he did not want to go heaven if the Spanish invaders would be there as well.

It added that Barragan’s statement came in the wake of a spate of attacks on gays and “a media campaign against the dignity of transsexual persons,” referring to unflattering portraits of prostitutes involved in a Rome sex scandal. In its teachings, the Catholic Church describes homosexuality as a “disorder” which bars active gays from taking part in the Church.

The Vatican sparked polemics last December when it opposed a proposed United Nations declaration to decriminalise homosexuality in the world.

But in July the Holy See said it agreed that homosexuality should be decriminalised and backed the Council of Europe’s plans to prepare a measure on the issue.

At least 86 countries ban gays and many others approve their torture and imprisonment.

U.S. Ties to Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill: here.

Castro takes responsibility for Cuba persecuting gays: here.

US veterans against escalation in Afghanistan


From Iraq Veterans Against the War in the USA:

IVAW protests sending more troops to Afghanistan

SEATTLE – A protest was held the midst of the hustle and bustle of Seattle‘s Westlake Center on Saturday.

The group Iraq Veterans Against the War is against sending more troops to Afghanistan. The demonstration was meant to show what they say really happens during a military occupation.

“We’re trying to let people understand what the people of Iraq and Afghanistan face every day,” said Joshua Simpson.

Hundreds rally at West Point to call for end of Afghan war: here.

The chief of NATO has announced that the Western military alliance will send 5,000 more troops into Afghanistan, declaring that “this is not just America’s war”: here.

Ferruginous ducks migration

This is a video of a ferruginous duck in Naarden, the Netherlands.

From BirdLife:

Ferruginous Ducks migrating south – For the first time a huge flock of some 3,500 Ferruginous Ducks Aythya nyroca has been recorded in the Durankulak IBA, along the Black Sea Coast in Bulgaria. It is likely the Ducks are now migrating south, heading to their wintering sites along the Nile or in Sudan. For more information contact