Biggest land snail of the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 July 2017

The Queen Crater Snail or Appalachina chilhoweensis is a rare snail and thought to be the largest native land snail in the eastern US – it is big and beautiful. This one was filmed at about 4,600 feet elevation in the Great Smoky Mountains munching on a large fantail fungus. This is a very wet and dark environment that does not get full sun in summer due to the dense forest canopy.

The video includes a closeup of their huge rasping “mouth” and its amazing ability to literally “swallow” its own head as a defensive maneuver when it bumps into a large beetle – perhaps some sort of stag-horn that was also eating inside the mushroom. When you see its “face” slowly reappear back out of its body you will be amazed. Combined with the music and the stunning beauty of this snail in action you may come to appreciate these wonderful creatures.

G20 summit in police state Hamburg, Germany

Jesse and Cosvin, anti-G20 demonstrators in Hamburg, GermanyFrom the World Socialist Web Site in Germany:

G20 protest participants speak out against police crackdown

By our reporters

10 July 2017

A major demonstration against the G20 summit took place in Hamburg Saturday as the leaders of the world’s 20 major powers met just a few kilometres away. Around 60,000 people marched from Deichtorplatz near the central train station to Heiliggeistfeld. Following brutal police attacks against peaceful demonstrators, the issue of police violence dominated the demonstration.

Jesse and Cosvin reported on how aggressively the police had dealt with youth. The two school students are just 15 years old but have attended several demonstrations over recent days. “Yesterday, for example, we were at a peaceful ‘youth against the G20’ demonstration, which escalated due to the police because they beat us away with batons, claiming we were standing in the way,” Jesse said. In his opinion, the violence was initiated chiefly by the police.

Cosvin agreed. At the demonstration, the police suddenly yelled, “Out of the way!” and then cleared the street. “They didn’t even give the protesters a second to get out of the way, but started striking us immediately. I mean, people were pushing from behind so you can’t retreat, and then they attack.” Cosvin thought it was an unnecessary provocation that the police used water cannon at the youth demonstration. “It could have been avoided,” the student said. “This is always portrayed differently on television,” she added.

Jesse added that he could barely sleep over recent days due to the constant sound of police helicopters. Although they opposed the police violence and the constant presence of the security forces, they were not surprised by it.

Things were quite different for Gero. The self-employed IT specialist drove from Essen to take part in the protest in order to demonstrate against police violence. He took this decision spontaneously after seeing a video of the police assault on a protest camp at Entenwerder. He had stuck a piece of paper on a plastic lid on which he had expressed his outrage in large letters, “Hamburg police: escalate until there are deaths and injuries! Violation of the constitution!”

Gero was completely taken aback by the actions of the police. For 20 years, he had “supported police activities, thought they were right, and did not believe legends that they beat demonstrators.” But then he had seen “how units stormed a field, where there were 11 tents, they must have been incredibly dangerous,” he commented sarcastically. The police then deployed pepper spray against the camp’s residents, without any provocation.

Gero was familiar with the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, which declared the camp, including the tents, to be legal. “If you think it’s over, the police violated a ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court with the decision they made about the gathering.”

The authoritarian actions of the police, which without any inhibitions totally violated the law, was also the main issue for a group of young people who wrote on their placard, “The police chiefs of [capitals of governments participating in the G20 summit] Istanbul, Riyadh and Moscow welcome their ‘democratic’ colleagues in Hamburg!”

Istanbul, Riyadh police sign

Hamburg in fact currently resembles a city under siege. Twenty-nine thousand officers from all 16 states are present in the city, backed up by special forces units from other European countries. Anyone walking through the city centre on Saturday, even away from the protest route, found officers and police vehicles in almost every alley.

The police have also acquired equipment which is obviously designed for civil war-style conflict. Looking out of the demonstration into the side streets, one could see at some distance dozens of heavily-armoured police officers, masked and wearing balaclavas, and some wearing helmets. Water cannon and armoured vehicles were always at the ready. While tens of thousands of people followed the demonstration route, the city appeared like a ghost town beyond the police blockades. Not a single car drove in the side streets or those running parallel to the demonstration, and not even pedestrians were seen.

Police water cannons

Shortly after the beginning of the demonstration, a line of police officers flanked the march on both sides. While families with children, young people and the elderly walked between them in a relaxed atmosphere, the police put on their balaclavas, and on one side even their helmets. Two, sometimes three, helicopters circled permanently over the procession, where people danced to music and laughed. The contrast between a peaceful demonstration and an omnipresent state power could hardly be greater.

For Eugen, a 75-year-old pensioner, the source of the violence was clear. On his sign, which he carried high in front of him in full view prior to the demonstration, he had written, “Those preparing violence are currently meeting in the exhibition centre.” That was a reference to the summit participants, who are all responsible for “all of the misery, that exists and is growing continuously in this world,” as he put it. He was “very fearful of a global war”. He also blamed German policy, which has directly profited from the wars through massive arms exports.

Eugen, with a sign reading: 'Those preparing violence are currently meeting in the exhibition centre'

Eugen, who formerly worked as a shipbuilder, sees the basic problem as capitalism. “One should not strive to tinker with capitalism” and seek small changes, but rather abolish it: “I don’t care what it is called afterwards, but capitalism must be overcome.”

But many banners expressed the hope of a united world; “peace” was one of the words most frequently visible. A common topic of discussion was that Africa, an entire continent, was entirely excluded from the G20 deliberations, which outraged many. Some hoped for a better world through closer cooperation in the United Nations. Cosvin, the 15-year-old student, appealed for a meeting of all nations, “A G194.”

Oliver, with a sign reading: 'Imagine you need asylum and nobody helps you'

The enthusiastic participation of many students and youth was clear to see. Oliver, who travelled from Berlin to participate, thought this was a positive sign. The young teacher carried a sign reading, “Imagine you need asylum and nobody helps you!” His t-shirt declared, “Refugees welcome!

He views the G20 as a “club for the elite,” who are united on most questions: Europe remains a fortress, and the US also wants to protect itself against the flow of refugees from the south. “I worry about world peace,” said Oliver. However, the real conflict is not currently going on between armies, he added, but rather in society. Whether world hunger or climate change, “those who bear the brunt are the people, and this war has been waged for a long time.”

Asked what can be done now, Oliver said, “I am an optimist.” One only needs to look at “how many young people are here. I think that is a big statement.”

Despite cobbling together a unanimous resolution, the G20 summit was, by any measure, the most fractious meeting of major political leaders in the post-war period: here.

Monarch butterflies and their enemies

This video says about itself:

14 August 2016

Monarch butterflies can be parasitized by a tachinid fly. The developing larva interrupts the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Tachinid flies are parasitoids totally killing the host.

This blog post is not about two-legged enemies of monarch butterflies like Monsanto corporation, but about six-legged enemies.

From the Entomological Society of America in the USA:

Monarch butterfly parasitoids brough to light by citizen science

‘Unprecedented view’ of parasitoid presence in monarch larval ecology

July 10, 2017

Thanks to citizen volunteers, scientists now know more than ever about the flies that attack monarch butterfly caterpillars.

Since 1999, volunteers participating in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project have collected and raised more than 20,000 monarch eggs and caterpillars, and they’ve recorded incidents of those specimens being parasitized by fly larvae. They have also collected more than 1,100 specimens of those flies and sent them to entomologists at the University of Minnesota for identification. Findings from this long-running collaboration are published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

“Our paper provides an unprecedented view of monarch-parasitoid associations across space and time. It documents the main parasitoid enemies of monarchs, their relative abundance and impact on monarchs, and how parasitism varies with host stage. This sheds new light on understanding monarch larval ecology,” says Karen Oberhauser, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota and director of the UM Monarch Lab.

Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are well known for their vibrant colors and their incredible migration through North America, but they are also threatened by habitat loss. Fly species that parasitize monarchs aren’t considered a major threat to their survival, but knowing typical rates of parasitism helps scientists better discern between natural and human-driven impacts on monarchs as they continue to monitor their populations.

Volunteers in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project (MLMP) are trained in rearing caterpillars and accurately reporting data, and the pool of more than 1,300 monitoring sites across the United States comprises schools, museums, and other community programs, in addition to individuals.

Participants report monarch larvae collection and rearing outcomes through a data portal, and those who collect parasitoid specimens are asked to wait until the flies hatch and then freeze them until sending them to the researchers.

Oberhauser and colleagues identified seven different species of flies, all from the family Tachinidae, among the parasitoid specimens collected from monarchs by volunteers.

Overall, 9.8 percent of monitored monarchs were parasitized, though frequency increased through larval stages, with a maximum of 17 percent among fifth-stage larvae.

By far, the most abundant parasitoid species (75 percent of tachinid fly specimens collected) was Lespesia archippivora, currently known as a generalist parasitoid of several moth and butterfly species. However, the researchers suspect the species may represent a “complex” of multiple, closely related subspecies, one of which specializes in parasitizing monarchs. This will be a focus of future research, Oberhauser says.

Three of the tachinid species identified had not been previously reported as monarch parasitoids, one of which appears to be a new, previously unknown species.

The third most abundant parasitoid species collected (10 percent) was Compsilura concinnata, a species that was introduced to North America in the 20th century to control gypsy moth. Specimens sent in by volunteers in Texas represent the first recording of C. concinnata in that state.

The researchers found a small number of cases of multiparasitism, in which more than one tachinid species emerged from a monarch host, which had previously never been reported.

“Our large, comprehensive dataset could not have been collected without the participation of citizen scientists spread through monarchs‘ range,” says Oberhauser. Collection continues, and as the researchers accumulate more data, they hope to further analyze patterns in monarch parasitism over space, time and plant habitat, she says. And the ensuing analysis gives volunteers the chance to see the results of their citizen science.

“Contributing to a project like this is not only fun and interesting, but it also is deeply satisfying to contribute to our understanding of the natural world and hopefully make a difference in conservation of that world,” says Ilse Gebhard, a Monarch Larva Monitoring Project volunteer and co-author of the study.

Neonazi bomb terror in Sweden

This Swedish video says about itself (translated):

They are sentenced to jail after the bomb chaos in Gothenburg

7 July 2017

Today, the verdict came against Viktor Melin, 23, Jimmy Jonasson, 51, and Anton Thulin, 20, all sentenced to imprisonment for the attempted murders of Gothenburg.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Neonazi terrorists jailed over series of bomb attacks

Sunday 9th July 2017

THREE far-right terrorists were jailed in Sweden yesterday in connection with a series of bomb attacks.

Gothenburg District Court found Viktor Melin, a member of the neonazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM), guilty of attempted murder and endangering life for three incidents — a home-made bomb left at a campsite accommodating refugees on January 25 which failed to go off, another which blew up at an asylum centre on January 5 and seriously injured an immigration officer and a third which targeted a syndicalist bookshop but fortunately failed to hurt anyone.

Mr Melin, who made all three bombs, was sentenced to eight years and six months behind bars, while Jimmy Jonasson and Anton Thulin, who provided components, were sentenced to five years and 18 months respectively.

All three had ties to the NRM, which has a history of lethal violence, though prosecutors said they had become dissatisfied with its leadership for not being violent enough.

During a neonazi rally in the Finnish capital Helsinki last year, members knocked out anti-fascist protester Jimi Joonas Karttunen, who died a week later of a brain haemorrhage, an episode the NRM called “swift disciplining.”

The fascists received a setback from an unexpected source on Wednesday, when the Swedish Patent and Registration Office ordered them to stop using the term Nordfront, a name of one of their websites often used on promotional materials, after complaints from German deep-freeze company Nordfrost that the names were too similar and could be confused.

From aktuellt Fokus in Sweden:

Porn Addicted Bomb Nazi Mutilated Himself With An Axe


The former so-called ”resistance” leader Viktor Melin is under arrest suspected of having adapted and detonated explosives targeting refugees and political opponents in Gothenburg, Sweden.