Deep sea animals video

This video says about itself:

How Much Do You Know About the Deep Sea? | National Geographic

28 August 2017

While the ocean floor makes up most of Earth’s surface, scientists still have much to discover about the creatures that live there.


Grenfell Tower disaster, London rapper El Nino interviewed

This music video from London, England says about itself:

6 August 2017

Grenfell Tower’s Burning is the unrelenting new music video from Latimer/Ladbroke Grove rappers El Nino & CX4.

By Paul Bond in Britain:

Interview with rapper El Nino about “Grenfell Tower’s Burning”: “We had to watch that, so why shouldn’t they have to listen to us?”

28 August 2017

Following our recent review of some locally produced grime tracks about the Grenfell Tower fire the World Socialist Website spoke to one of the artists, El Nino. Our telephone conversation revealed in a small way how the horrors of Grenfell Tower have had an effect on certain witnesses and their art.

I noted in the original review that Grenfell Tower’s Burnin’ was the angriest of the tracks put out by artists from the area to date. The artist’s press release described the track as a “furious response” by eyewitnesses to the tragedy. This remains its greatest strength, and our discussion touched on this.

El Nino Cartel (centre)

This anger is not merely an individual response, and El Nino explained that he also aimed to bring people together around the track. The song was written “like an anthem,” with the aim that people could join in and share it: “The chorus is all there, so everyone can get shouting.”

This led to him being initially concerned that the video had appeared beneath a screenshot of a banner reading “Royal Murderers of Kensington and Chelsea”. That, he said, was only “one part of the message” of the track.

It may be only one part of the track’s message, I said, but it is an important one. He and Cx4 had performed the song in front of that banner at a protest on the steps of the town hall, which was a very powerful message. I asked if people had joined in the chorus then.

“It’s all in the video. Everything you see on the video, with the protest, is real and can’t be faked.” To my comment that the track focused popular anger, he insisted, “No one else is going to bring out a tune like that.”

For him the track is about bringing the community together around that anger, as “something that people want to stand up for… with a lot of meaning to it.”

Our conversation returned repeatedly to the distinction between the victims and the perpetrators, and their different class outlooks. Bringing the community together in the track was driven by the realisation that “Us as people, if we stand together, we can become stronger than the government, who’s at fault.”

Like other local residents, El Nino has seen how the survivors have been treated by the local authorities since the fire, for example, by making survivors bid against one another for properties:

“The survivors were there, and they had no support from the council or anyone. If it weren’t for the community, they would have just been left on the street like homeless people. So imagine if it happened to me, or to my family, after having to watch it happen.”

He is aware that there are limitations to an artistic response (“There’s only so much you can do”), but the song is “to bring people together and stand up for something they believe in.”

“The song’s not just about Grenfell Tower. It’s about what’s going on in the world. The rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer [a point made by Cx4 in the track]. Those type of people are from different backgrounds, they’re never going to understand. The person who’s in charge [Elizabeth Campbell, new head of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea], she’s never even been in a tower block! Completely different backgrounds!”

“We know that with a charge of corporate manslaughter, no one really goes to jail. But had that been any one of us, ordinary people who aren’t earning loads of money—where would we be?”

The track is also “expressing the anger” that complaints and warnings from Grenfell residents were ignored for so long: “These people warned you before it happened and you just ignored them.”

El Nino watched the Tower burn from his window. He is uncompromising about confronting those responsible with the effects of that night. “It wasn’t soft for us to watch, so why should it be soft for them? We had to watch that, so why shouldn’t they have to listen to us? You need to empathise, and actually have feelings towards what’s going on, but they don’t.”

El Nino’s understanding that these are not uniquely local problems is significant. He was interested to hear the responses internationally to our meetings and discussions on Grenfell. He was also aware of a “very positive” response to the track from a wider audience. This may be due to the subject matter, which is strikingly different to El Nino’s usual material.

By his own admission he was “not a conscious rapper.” He is still coming to terms with that shift, commercially as well as artistically. He told me that for the first time he has started to find music platforms that will not take his track.

His description of this as the first “conscious drill tune” is a recognition of a change, and he acknowledges that it is setting him new challenges artistically. “For me, it’s just made me a bit aware about the things I say, my music. That was my first conscious tune over a drill track. I’m going to try and make something else like that, but it depends on the topic. It’s kind of hard to talk like that over that genre of music.”

This is a difficult fix for an artist who has made such a leap. He faces the challenge of “What do I do next? Do I change it up a bit? Make it into what you like?”

He is aware that he can reach “all different types of people if they’re going through the same situation as the majority of people in London, or wherever.” It reflects the possibilities within grime, but the strength of this track lies in its lack of calculation of target audiences and its honesty about reality. That such questions are coming up is an indication of the beginnings of a shift in consciousness.

New plesiosaur species discovery in Germany

Skull reconstruction of Lagenanectes richterae. Credit: Jahn Hornung

From Uppsala University in Sweden:

New ancient sea reptile found in Germany, the earliest of its kind

August 28, 2017

A previously unrecognized 132 million-year-old fossilized sea monster from northern Germany has been identified by an international team of researchers. Findings published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The bizarre sea creature was a plesiosaur, an extinct long-necked aquatic reptile resembling the popular image of the Loch Ness monster, which dominated the seas during the Age of Dinosaurs.

The remains of the eight-meter-long skeleton were collected in 1964 by private fossil collectors. The perfectly preserved bones were rescued from heavy machinery excavating a clay-pit at Sarstedt near Hannover.

Despite being discovered nearly half a century ago, a group of international scientists was only recently invited to study the specimen by the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hannover. “It was an honor to be asked to research the mysterious Sarstedt plesiosaur skeleton” says Sven Sachs from the Natural History Museum in Bielefeld, Germany, and lead author on the study. “It has been one of the hidden jewels of the museum, and even more importantly, has turned out to be new to science.”

The new plesiosaur was named Lagenanectes richterae, literally meaning ‘Lagena swimmer’, after the medieval German name for the Leine River near Sarstedt. The species was named for Dr Annette Richter, Chief Curator of Natural Sciences at the Lower Saxony State Museum, who facilitated documentation of the fossil.

The skeleton of Lagenanectes includes most of the skull, which had a meshwork of long fang-like teeth, together with vertebrae, ribs and bones from the four flipper-like limbs.

“The jaws had some especially unusual features.” says Dr Jahn Hornung a palaeontologist based in Hamburg and co-author on the paper. “Its broad chin was expanded into a massive jutting crest, and its lower teeth stuck out sideways. These probably served to trap small fish and squid that were then swallowed whole.”

Internal channels in the upper jaws might have housed nerves linked to pressure receptors or electroreceptors on the outside of the snout that would have helped Lagenanectes to locate its prey.

The bones also showed evidence of chronic bacterial infection suggesting that the animal had suffered from a long-term disease that perhaps eventually claimed its life.

“The most important aspect of this new plesiosaur is that it is amongst the oldest of its kind” says Dr Benjamin Kear from the Museum of Evolution at Uppsala University in Sweden and senior author on the study. “It is one of the earliest elasmosaurs, an extremely successful group of globally distributed plesiosaurs that seem to have had their evolutionary origins in the seas that once inundated Western Europe.”

Elasmosaurs had spectacularly long necks — the longest of any vertebrate — including up to 75 individual vertebrae. Not all of the neck vertebrae of Lagenanectes were recovered but it is estimated that around 40 or 50 must have originally been present.

Elasmosaurs flourished during the Cretaceous period but went extinct with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. Lagenanectes lived in a shallow sea that covered northern Germany around 132 million years ago. It thus predates the last elasmosaurs by nearly 70 million years.

The skull of Lagenanectes will be displayed as a centerpiece in the ‘Water Worlds’ exhibition at the Lower Saxony State Museum in Hannover.

A new study has shed light on the swimming style of plesiosaurs by creating a robot to mimic its movements: here.

Neonazis, including policemen, plot murder of German leftists

This video from the USA says about itself:

Undercover Nazi Michael German: Police Inaction Encourages White Nationalist Groups | MSNBC

13 August 2017

As a former undercover Nazi for the FBI, Michael German relates his covert experiences to the outbreak of white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, VA, this week.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In the German state Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, police have invaded the homes and workplaces of two right-wing extremists, including a police officer. The Public Prosecutor believes that they were planning to kidnap and kill left-wing politicians.

The suspects are said to have been afraid that Germany’s refugee policy would destroy the country. According to the public prosecutor, they therefore stored food and ammunition and had begun preparing for abductions.

“The suspects wanted to seize the dreaded crisis to kidnap politicians from the left-wing spectrum and kill them with their weapons” stated a of justice department statement. The men are said to have made a list of potential victims.

Other incidents

The suspect police officer worked in Ludwigslust town, about 150 kilometers northwest of Berlin. According to the Ministry of the Interior of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, disciplinary measures have been taken against him.

The German public prosecution service has also searched people who are not themselves suspects but who were in contact with the suspects. One of them also works at the police.

Barcelona demonstrators denounce terrorism, government’s militarism

This 26 August 2017 video shows Barcelona anti-terror demonstrators booing King Felipe VI of Spain, holding signs saying Felipe, if you love peace you should not sell arms [to Saudi Arabia]; while shouting Get out!

By Alex Lantier:

Anger at war, government complicity with terrorism erupts at Barcelona march

28 August 2017

The official march called Saturday after the August 17 terror attack in Barcelona turned into an unprecedented demonstration of public hostility to imperialist proxy wars in the Middle East that spawned the Islamist networks now carrying out terror attacks across Europe.

Spanish King Felipe VI, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other top officials were greeted with booing, honking car horns, and shouts of “Your policies, our dead”. Others at the 500,000-strong march denounced Spanish weapons sales to Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, shouting, “Felipe, if you want peace you don’t do weapons trafficking” and “Mariano, we want peace not weapons sales.” As the King and Rajoy marched, they were repeatedly met with catcalls and shouts of “Get out, get out.”

Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party (PP) government and regional authorities in Catalonia had called what they hoped would be a right-wing protest, denouncing terrorism and calling for peace and unity behind the police and the state. This backfired, however, as large numbers of protesters denounced war and official complicity with terrorism.

As the conservative Internet daily El Español confessed, pre-prepared, official “blue signs calling for peace were overwhelmed by others, that blamed the heads of state and of government for weapons trafficking, and connected the Spanish monarch to Saudi Arabia, a country accused of financing the Islamic State,” which carried out the Barcelona attack.

Protesters held pictures of King Felipe meeting Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, or of former PP Prime Minister José Maria Aznar meeting with US President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair as they led the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Protesters also cited evidence of state foreknowledge or even complicity in the attack, as Madrid-Barcelona rivalries grow before the scheduled October 1 Catalan independence referendum. One man, who told El Pais that “the King cannot come to a pacifist demonstration and sell weapons to Saudi Arabia,” added that “the government hid information about the terrorists to the Mossos d’Esquadra”, the Catalan regional police.

On Sunday, Rajoy was compelled to respond to press reports of his debacle at the march. He refused to address any of the protesters’ criticisms, but arrogantly declared, “The insults of certain people, we didn’t listen to them,” and added: “Yesterday we were where we had to be and with those we had to be with, expressing our support for terror victims and showing our solidarity with the immense majority of sensible and moderate Catalans.” He called on Catalonia to abandon the scheduled October 1 independence referendum and “plans for rupture.”

Catalan officials, shocked by an outpouring of antiwar sentiment, tried to downplay it. “We should not exaggerate it,” Carles Puigdemont, the president of the Catalan Generalitat, said of the booing of the King, adding, “People expressed themselves in liberty, in conviviality, and in peace.”

Fifteen people are dead and over 100 wounded in a horrific attack in Barcelona—the latest in a spate of Islamist attacks since 2015 that have killed hundreds and wounded thousands across Europe, from Paris to Brussels, Berlin and Manchester. Imperialist wars are not a supplementary issue to terrorism, but the driving force in the eruption of Islamist terror attacks in Europe, that must be halted if these attacks are to cease.

Washington and the European powers relied on Islamist militias in the 2011 war in Libya and then in the now six-year-old war in Syria, working with Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms like Saudi Arabia to plunge billions of dollars into Islamist terror networks. They recruited tens of thousands of fighters in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia to carry out shooting or bombing raids against regimes targeted by the NATO powers. In 2012, the Pentagon designated one proxy militia, Al Nusra, as a terrorist group and Al Qaeda affiliate, though it has continued to receive NATO support.

The events in Barcelona point to explosive class conflicts now building up in Spain and across Europe. Since 2015, the ruling class has continued to tolerate terror networks as a foreign policy tool, while using the attacks these networks carried out in Europe as a pretext to press for police-state measures—imposing a state of emergency in France, placing Brussels on lockdown, or putting armed law enforcement on the streets in Britain—based on the lie that Europe was waging a “war on terror”. This lie is now wearing thin, however.

Workers, facing high unemployment and waves of social cuts imposed by the financial aristocracy across Europe, are deeply hostile to the pro-war and antidemocratic policies of the political establishment. This opposition is all the more significant and explosive in that it brings the workers objectively into conflict with the entire ruling establishment, including its nominally “left” factions.

This 26 August 2017 video from Barcelona is about anti-terrorist demonstrators booing the king of Spain Felipe VI and Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy.

A spate of news reports last week raised questions about US and European government foreknowledge of the August 17 terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils that killed 15 people and wounded more than 100, and how this attack was allowed to proceed. It is ever clearer that the Islamic State (IS) [ISIS] terror cell was under close surveillance by multiple intelligence services of NATO powers, including France, the United States, and Belgium: here.

Spanish media have confirmed that Abdelbaki es-Satty, the mastermind of the August 17 Islamic State (IS) terror attacks in Barcelona, was a police informant: here.

Spain’s Constitutional Court announced the suspension of the “transition” to independence law passed by Catalonia’s regional parliament last Friday. This comes after roughly 1 million people marched in Barcelona last Monday on Catalonia’s national day, and less than three weeks before the Catalan independence referendum scheduled for October 1: here.