Poem on Tony Blair and Iraq war

Tony Blair and the Iraq war inquiry, cartoon

From British daily The Morning Star:

“Wickedness defeated,” says PM as Baghdad Library Burns

Wednesday 03 February 2010

edited by John Rety

by Raymond Geuss

“A man should not appear before his family trailing body odour and stinky smells” – S Hussein

“Good has triumphed over evil, justice has overcome barbarism and the values of civilisation have prevailed” – T Blair

No more failures of hygiene,
We bathe twice a day.
Irrationality is abolished
People everywhere see reason.

Everyone buys a PC,
Justice prevails.

Ugliness is obliterated,
The whole world is beautiful.

Sadsacks are genetically modified,
Happiness abounds.

All evil is eliminated,
What remains is good.

So why should anyone
Need a library?

About the poet: Raymond Geuss, Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge University, is also one of Britain’s best poets. His last book Parrots, Poets, Philosophers & Good Advice is a series of instructional poems on how to live based on the works of Plato, Catullus, Juvenal, Martial, Euripides, Sappho and Aeschylus. Topics include eating, drinking, work, indigency, old age, looks, cleanliness, sex and the posthumous evaluation of human achievement.

Bush and Blair Did Strike Iraq Deal, Says Welsh MP: here.

Former prime minister Tony Blair has been labelled a barrier to peace in the Middle East by a Labour MP following his “hawkish” comments about Iran.

Blair at the Iraq inquiry: here.


Giant snake ate fossil crocodiles

This video is called Titanoboa – The World’s Largest Snake.

From LiveScience:

45-foot Ancient Snake Devoured Giant Crocs

By LiveScience Staff

posted: 03 February 2010 10:50 am ET

The largest snake the world has ever known likely had a diet that included crocodile, or at least an ancient relative of [that] reptile.

Scientists have discovered a 60-million-year-old ancient crocodile fossil, which has been named a new species, in northern Columbia, South America. The site, one of the world’s largest open-pit coal mines, also yielded skeletons of the giant, boa constrictor-like Titanoboa, which measured up to 45 feet long (14 m).

Crocodyliforms are extinct reptiles that are distant relatives of modern crocodiles and alligators.

“We’re starting to flesh out the fauna that we have from there,” said study author Alex Hastings, a graduate student at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Specimens used in the study show the new species, named Cerrejonisuchus improcerus, grew only 6 to 7 feet long (about 2 m), making it easy prey for Titanoboa.

Clearly this new fossil would have been part of the food-chain, both as predator and prey,” said Jonathan Bloch, a Florida Museum vertebrate paleontologist and associate curator. “Giant snakes today are known to eat crocodylians, and it is not much of a reach to say Cerrejonisuchus would have been a frequent meal for Titanoboa. Fossils of the two are often found side-by-side,” added Bloch, who was part of the fossil-hunting expeditions.

Indeed, anacondas have been documented consuming caimans — reptiles in the same family as crocodiles — in the Amazon.

The new croc species is the smallest member of Dyrosauridae, a family of now-extinct crocodyliforms. Dyrosaurids typically grew to about 18 feet and had long tweezer-like snouts for eating fish. By contrast, the newly discovered species had a much shorter snout, indicating a more generalized diet that likely included frogs, lizards, small snakes and possibly mammals.

“It seems that Cerrejonisuchus managed to tap into a feeding resource that wasn’t useful to other larger crocodyliforms,” Hastings said.

The study reveals an unexpected level of diversity among dyrosaurids, said Christopher A. Brochu, a paleontologist at the University of Iowa, who was not involved in the study.

Scientists previously believed dyrosaurids diversified in the Paleogene, the period of time following the mass extinction of dinosaurs. But this study reinforces the view that much of their diversity was in place before the mass extinction event, Brochu said. Somehow dyrosaurids survived the mass extinction intact while other marine reptile groups, such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, died out completely.

The study was published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

See also here.

Thought to be a distant relative of the anaconda and boa constrictor, the snake – named Titanoboa – was not venomous. Instead, it crushed its prey with the constricting force of 400lbs per sq inch – the equivalent of lying under the weight of one and a half times the Brooklyn Bridge: here.

Are Anacondas Really Capable of Devouring a Human? Here.

Population Structure and Gene Flow of the Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus) in Northern Argentina: here.

The reticulated python is (barely) the world’s longest snake, but the green anaconda is almost 2x as heavy: here.

New snake identification guide can help Florida residents enjoy the outdoors: here.

Discarded Burmese pythons hunt Florida mammals to brink of extinction: here.

May 2013. A Miami man has caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in Florida, measuring 18 feet, 8 inches. The python was a 128-pound female that was not carrying eggs, according to University of Florida scientists who examined the snake. The previous record length for a Burmese python captured in the wild in Florida was 17 feet, 7 inches: here.

Smooth green snakes in the USA: here.

Georgia alligator spotted 20 miles out to sea: here.

Smooth snake: here. And here.

Devon project boosts rare smooth snake: here.