Grey heron causes traffic jam

This photo from the Netherlands today shows a grey heron on the A7 motorway between Zaanstad and Hoorn, near Avenhorn village in the Netherlands.

The bird caused a traffic jam.

Emergency were on their way to remove the heron.

However, the bird flew away itself.


Dutch Foreign Minister mocked on Twitter for lies on Russia

This video shows part of a speech by the present Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra at the 2016 congress of the VVD, his right-wing political party.

In that speech, and also to Dutch media, Zijlstra claimed that he had met Russian President Putin at his dacha (second home) in 2006, when Zijlstra was a Shell employee. Putin supposedly then said he wanted a ‘Greater Russia’, consisting of ‘Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic States, and Kazakhstan was nice to have’.

Today, Minister Zijlstra admitted he had lied: he had never met Putin. However, he apparently had thought this lie would do well at the congress of his party to incite delegates into demanding spending more taxpayers’ money on defence war, leading to more profits for defence merchants of death corporations.

Dutch Official Admits Lying About Meeting With Putin: Is Fake News Used by Russia or About Russia? Here.

Zijlstra’s lies led to much mockery on Twitter.

People made tweets with Halbe Zijlstra’s head photoshopped on photos of various events where he had not been present either. These tweets are at the Twitter hashtag #HalbeWasErbij (Halbe was present). Some examples:

This tweet shows Zijlstra was supposedly present at the murder of United States President John F Kennedy in 1963.

This tweet shows Zijlstra was supposedly present at the ‘I have a dream’ speech by Dr Martin Luther King Junior in Washington DC in 1963.

This tweet shows Zijlstra was supposedly present at the 1944 D-Day invasion of France by allied soldiers.

This tweet shows Zijlstra was supposedly present at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by Roman empire soldiers.

Zijlstra at Winter Olympics

This tweet shows Zijlstra was supposedly present at the Winter Olympics in Korea, winning a short track speed skating race.

Deep-sea rays use hydrothermal vents for incubating eggs

This video says about itself:

Deep-Sea Skates Incubate Eggs Near Hydrothermal Vents | Nautilus Live

8 February 2018

In June 2015, a team of researchers aboard E/V Nautilus made a surprising discovery while exploring the seafloor northwest of the Galapagos Islands. Large numbers of skate egg cases were observed near hydrothermal vents emitting volcanically-heated fluids. Researchers believe the warmer water helps to incubate and speed development of the embryos–the first time this behavior has been observed in marine animals. The Bathyraja spinosissima, commonly known as Pacific white skate, is a relative of sharks and rays. As one of the deepest living skate species, this species is rarely seen but has been documented from the Galapagos Islands to the Pacific Northwest.

The research team from Charles Darwin Research Station, University of Rhode Island, and the Galapagos National Park Directorate collected video surveys and specimens using ROV Hercules, recently publishing their findings in Scientific Reports.

From Penn State university in the USA:

Deep-sea fish use hydrothermal vents to incubate eggs

February 12, 2018

Summary: An international team of researchers have discovered egg cases of deep-sea fish near hydrothermal vents. The team believes that deep-sea skates, a relative of sharks and rays, use the warm water near the vents to accelerate the typically years-long incubation time of their eggs.

Some deep-sea skates — cartilaginous fish related to rays and sharks — use volcanic heat emitted at hydrothermal vents to incubate their eggs, according to a new study in the journal Scientific Reports. Because deep-sea skates have some of the longest egg incubation times, estimated to last more than four years, the researchers believe the fish are using the hot vents to accelerate embryo development. This the first time such behavior has been seen in marine animals.

“Hydrothermal vents are extreme environments, and most animals that live there are highly evolved to live in this environment,” said Charles Fisher, Professor and Distinguished Senior Scholar of Biology at Penn State and an author of the paper. “This study is one of the few that demonstrates a direct link between the vent environment and animals that live most of their life elsewhere.”

Among the least explored and unique ecosystems, deep-sea hydrothermal fields are regions on the sea floor where hot water emerges after being heated in the ocean crust. In their study, an international team of researchers, led by Pelayo Salinas-de-León of the Charles Darwin Research Station, used a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to survey in and around an active hydrothermal field located in the Galapagos archipelago, 28 miles north of Darwin Island.

“The first place the ROV landed on the sea floor was on a ridge, in the plume of a nearby hydrothermal vent that we had specifically come to investigate — a black smoker,” said Fisher. “When we panned the camera down, we found something we did not expect: These giant egg cases, also known as mermaid purses. And we found several layers of them, indicating that whatever was laying these eggs had been coming back to this spot for many years to lay them. As the dive progressed, we saw more and more of these egg cases and realized that this was not the result of a single animal, but rather a behavior shared by many individuals.”

The researchers found 157 egg cases in the area and collected four with the ROV’s robotic arm. DNA analysis revealed that the egg cases belonged to the skate species Bathyraja spinosissima, one of the deepest-living species of skates that is not typically thought to occur near the vents. The majority — 58 percent — of the observed egg cases were found within about 65 feet of the chimney-like black smokers, the hottest kind of hydrothermal vents, and over 89 percent had been laid in places where the water was hotter than average. The researchers believe that the warmer temperatures in the area could reduce the typically years-long incubation time of the eggs.

While several species of reptiles and birds lay their eggs in locations that optimize soil temperatures, only two other groups of animals are known to use volcanically heated soils: the modern-day Polynesian megapode — a rare bird native to Tonga — and a group of nest-building neosauropod dinosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.

Because of their long lifespan and slow rate of development, deep-water skates may be particularly sensitive to threats to their environment, including fisheries expanding into deeper waters and sea-floor mining. Understanding the development and habitat of the skates is vital for developing effective conservation strategies for this poorly understood species.

“The deep sea is full of surprises,” said Fisher. “I’ve made hundreds of dives, both in person and virtually, to deep sea hydrothermal vents and have never seen anything like this.”

European Union Brexit negotiations parody song

This 12 February 2018 parody music video from Britain is called Barnier the Dinosaur – “I Love EU”.

“The European Union‘s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier now comes as a purple dinosaur.”

It is a parody of a song from the United States children’s TV show Barney & Friends. The original song is ‘I love you’, sung by the title character Barney, a purple Tyrannosaurus rex.

The lyrics are:

I love EU, EU love me
We’re the best economy
With a single market and customs union
We won’t miss Britain when they’re gone

I love EU, EU love me
We’re the biggest trade bloc, see
We’re a neoliberal Eurodisney park
Great Britain can get to fuck

Turkish regime arresting more pro-peace people

This 2 February 2018 video says about itself:

Stop war in Afrin اوقف الحرب في عفرين

In the video, people from Vietnam and several other countries call for stopping the war in Afrin.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

New wave of arrests in Turkey of critics of armed forces operation

Today, 15:47

In Turkey, 93 people were arrested in one week because of criticism of the military operation in Syrian Afrin. They are suspected of spreading terrorist propaganda. 666 Turks have been arrested since the start of the operation, the Ministry of the Interior has announced.

The majority of the detainees had criticized [the war] on social media. 192 Turks were also arrested during protests. …

The Turkish judiciary also focuses on the Turkish Kurdish HDP, the second largest opposition party in parliament. Against one of the two party leaders, Pervin Buldan, the justice department is starting a terror investigation because of her statements at a conference on the Turkish military operation.

Buldan said yesterday that the Afrin operation involves an attack on Kurdish civilians. She also said that her party would not be complicit in “this dark and lawless period in the history of Turkey”.

The arrests in Turkey due to criticism of ‘Afrin‘ are in addition to the wave of arrests that Turkey initiated after the failed coup in 2016. Tens of thousands of soldiers, policemen, judges and teachers were arrested because they were said to have links with the Gülen movement.

In the eyes of the Turkish government, this is a terror organization that is behind the coup. Some 150,000 Turks have been dismissed or suspended for the same reasons.

Blue jay relationships, video

This video from the USA says about itself:

Blue Jay Relationship Drama – Did You Know Birding?

6 February 2018

The behavior of Blue Jays is so interesting. They often mate for life but sometimes single males may steal another male’s mate!