Indian tigers in love


This video from the Sariska Reserve, India says about itself:

Courting Tigers form a Tight Bond | BBC Earth

6 July 2018

Even if it’s just for a few days, tigers form a tight bond when they’re mating.

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American punk bassist Steve Soto, RIP


This music video from the USA says about itself:

Adolescents: Amoeba. Live at the house of blues

16 December 2014

Ripped from Adolescents’ live performance at House of Blues.

Adolescents are:

Tony Cadena: Vocals
Frank Agnew: Guitar
Casey Royer: Drums
Steve Soto: Bass
Rikk Agnew & Steve Roberts: Guitar

By Josh Varlin in the USA:

Punk bassist Steve Soto dead at 54

10 July 2018

Steve Soto, bassist for Agent Orange and Adolescents, passed away June 27. According to his musical collaborators and the Orange County, California coroner’s office, he died in his sleep of natural causes at the age of 54.

During his four-decade musical career, Soto was the bassist and sometime vocalist for several punk bands, including Agent Orange, Adolescents, Legal Weapon, Joyride, Manic Hispanic, 22 Jacks and Punk Rock Karaoke. He also fronted his own band, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts.

Soto was born August 23, 1963, and grew up in Southern California. He grew up listening to the Beatles and Johnny Cash, whose famed live album At San Quentin (1969) he termed “the first punk rock record that I ever listened to.” In the late 1970s he began listening to punk bands like the Ramones, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Damned, who were responding to the more ornate music of the bands that preceded them by stripping their music down and speeding it up.

This musical stripping down was also a social reflex, a reaction to the decline of industry and the increasingly straitened circumstances for wide layers of the working class population. Under these conditions, to a certain stratum of musicians and music listeners, the overblown, orchestral sounds of the mid-1970s now seemed inappropriate and even offensive.

When Soto, whose father’s family emigrated from Mexico, was in high school, he co-founded Agent Orange, which combined surf rock and punk with an especially nihilistic bent. Soto left the band before they released their first album, but the version of “Bloodstains” on which he played bass is included in the 30th anniversary edition of Living in Darkness (originally 1981).

“Bloodstains” exemplifies many of the qualities of Soto’s bands and punk rock more generally: lyrics expressing alienation … fast-paced music, menacing bass and distorted guitar. On it, Mike Palm, who wrote the song when he was 15, sings, “Well, I know they know the way I think / I know they always will / But someday I’m gonna change my mind / Sometimes I’d rather kill.” Despair and nihilism, genuine and exaggerated, were prominent in the music of the Southern California hardcore scene of the early 1980s, which included bands like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, Fear and the Germs.

Soto is best known for his work with Adolescents, a seminal hardcore punk band of which he was the only constant member. In between numerous break-ups and reunions, Adolescents released eight records, with their ninth record, Cropduster, just released July 7. They had just finished a tour of the eastern US and were preparing for a European tour at the time of Soto’s death.

After some personnel changes, Adolescents coalesced into a lineup consisting of Soto on bass, Tony Cadena as lead vocalist, Casey Royer on drums and brothers Rikk and Frank Agnew on guitar. Their debut record, the eponymous Adolescents (1981), was a formative album in the emerging hardcore punk subgenre. Soto was only 16 at the time.

Adolescents is a blistering album, with 13 songs clocking in under half an hour. Like hardcore as a whole, the album expresses the dissatisfaction and restlessness of a layer of working-class and middle-class youth, which only deepened after the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.

However, this generally expressed itself in confused and antisocial ways. Hardcore Punk fans (as distinct from the earlier punks of 1975-80 in Los Angeles) often fought each other, as well as hippies and gays. (They in turn were frequently brutalized by the Los Angeles and other local police forces.) Adolescents protested against this, stopping their shows if fights got beyond the consensual activities of the mosh pit and criticizing senseless violence in their lyrics: “It’s like Clockwork Orange, a bit of twenty on one / Breaking heads, well that don’t sound like much fun” (“Rip It Up”).

This music video is called Adolescents – Rip It Up.

Another reflection of this alienation was self-destructive behavior, including the widespread use of drugs and alcohol. (Soto struggled with alcoholism for years.) One of Adolescents’ best known and most musically ambitious songs, “Kids of the Black Hole,” deals with this.

This music video is called Adolescents – Kids of the Black Hole.

At its best, Adolescents expressed youthful discontent in a musically innovative way. Soto’s co-written lyrics on tracks such as “Who Is Who” and “Democracy”, as well as his relentless bass playing, were part of this, along with the interplay of the Agnew brothers’ guitar playing.

Adolescents was one of the first Southern California hardcore albums sold widely out of the region, selling over 10,000 copies. However, the band broke up shortly after the record’s release, before they even toured outside of California.

While they reformed and broke up again multiple times over the years, Adolescents’ later material doesn’t reach the heights of their self-titled debut, although some songs dealt more directly with political matters, especially opposition to war, including “Babylon by Bomb”, “Brats in Battalions” and “Wars Aren’t Won, Wars Are Fought.”

Also noteworthy is the song “A Dish Best Served Cold”, from their 2014 album La Vendetta. Soto explained in an interview that the song was about the police murder of Kelly Thomas, a young homeless man with schizophrenia who was beaten to death by Fullerton, California police in 2011. “We were coming out to peaceful protests in front of the police department”, Soto said. After the police officers who killed Thomas were acquitted, band members continued their involvement with the issue, including working with Thomas’ father on changing laws protecting police from legal accountability.

This music video is called Adolescents – A Dish Best Served Cold.

Soto’s other projects were more lighthearted. He was active in Manic Hispanic, a supergroup of Hispanic punks who cover punk songs while changing the lyrics to discuss Chicano life, including dealing with immigration authorities. Soto also toured with Punk Rock Karaoke, which features audience members as lead vocalists.

… Adolescents put out anti-war songs during the Obama years, something relatively rare in the punk genre.

In the weeks before Soto’s death, Adolescents’ Twitter account retweeted articles on the separation of immigrant children from their parents and posted statements opposed to war, police violence, the bombing of Syria and the Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

Soto’s impact on music is indicated by the reaction to his death, with the Offspring, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, the Vandals, Suicidal Tendencies and Frank Turner lamenting his passing in social media statements.

YouTube favouritism for Murdoch, other corporate media


This December 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

For Some Reason Nobody Trusts Corporate Media Anymore

A recent poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows that trust in corporate media has never been lower. Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down. …

From NBC News on that poll:

And, of course, there’s that particularly reviled group: The news media. Only a dismal 14 percent give the national media high marks, compared to 48 percent who said they have little or no faith in the Fourth Estate.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

YouTube wants to fight disinformation with
authoritative news sources

The video platform will highlight videos of media that it describes as “authoritative” in big news search results and on the front page. That concerns media that have signed up for the Google News platform, the function also works equally in the Netherlands. From screenshots that YouTube shared it can be seen that they mean the US, eg, CNN, Fox News and The New York Times.

So, YouTube is giving corporate Big Media an unfair advantage over news sites with less money (blogs, small news agencies, etc.).

While what YouTube calls ‘authoritative’ media very often have ‘fake news’; though usually in a different sense of the abuse of that term by Donald Trump, the United States Democratic party or the European Union.

CNN is supposedly ‘authoritative’. When the Bahraini absolute monarchy massacred its pro-democracy opponents, they had a correspondent in Bahrain who reported that. However, CNN is part of the United States establishment. The United States establishment is really chummy with the torturing royal dictatorship in Bahrain. So, CNN did self-censorship. They sacked their correspondent Amber Lyon for reporting about the crimes of the Bahraini autocracy. So CNN might be called ‘authoritarian’ instead of ‘authoritative’.

Fox News is supposedly ‘authoritative’ as well. Like the rest of the Rupert Murdoch empire, they so often have fake news that they are called Faux News. And I am not even mentioning their incitement to racist violence, their sexual abuse scandals and their anti-Semitism.

And then, the ‘authoritative’ New York Times. When the George W Bush administration was preparing their war on Iraq, and lied at least 935 times to justify that war, the New York Times gave Bush a helping hand by publishing completely fake reports on Iraq supposedly importing uranium from Niger to make ‘weapons of mass destruction‘, nuclear weapons.

So, this is part of censorship of critical voices on the Internet, practiced not just by YouTube, but also by its parent corporation Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and other Internet corporations, working hand in hand with governments undermining free speech.

British anti-ISIS fighters against Islamophobia


This video says about itself:

We Met The British Right-Wing Bigot Trump Retweeted (HBO)

29 November 2017

Donald Trump has made what could be his most controversial tweets yet — and that’s saying something.

The Twitter fanatic, who is also President of the United States, hit the retweet button early Wednesday, circulating three tweets from extreme-right group “Britain First”.

The tweets, from the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen, show unverified videos with the titles: ‘Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!’, ‘Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!’, and ‘Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!‘. Jayda Fransen has already been convicted of hate crimes in the UK, and is facing more charges.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is currently in Iraq, but a spokesman for Downing Street said it was “wrong” for President Trump to have retweeted Fransen. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the tweets, saying: “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about.”

Britain First“ was launched in 2011 by former members of a failed nationalist political party [the neonazi BNP]. It’s mainly known for its flag-waving marches and publicity stunts outside mosques – all in the name of campaigning, in its own words, for “patriotic resistance” and against “the rapid growth of militant Islam”.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Monday, July 9, 2018

We oppose the far right‘s attempt to co-opt our fight against Isis jihadism

Five former YPG volunteers pen this open letter in support of those standing up to Tommy Robinson’s fascists

‘Tommy Robinson‘ is NOT the real name of that racist. This former member of the neonazi BNP, sentenced for violent crime and later for fraud, is called Stephen Yaxley-Lennon … err … that sounds too Irish, as neonazis hate not only Muslims, Jews, Africans, etc. etc. but Irish people as well. So, he prefers calling himself the more Germanic “Tommy Robinson“.

AS FORMER members of the armed forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) who left Britain and volunteered to fight the Islamic extremist group Isis, we wish to make it clear we oppose attempts by the far right to co-opt the fight against Isis and jihadism, and we support the counter-demonstration against the upcoming right-wing [pro-Donald Trump] mobilisation on Saturday July 14.

Demonstration against neonazi Yaxley-Lennon

As those that fought against Isis and had many friends who died in that fight, including some of the eight British citizens who have died, we want to make it clear that Tommy Robinson, the English Defence League (EDL), Generation Identity and the Football Lads Alliance (FLA) are not part of the fight against Islamic extremism and are only trying to make things worse.

Like the whole of the far right, Robinson offers no solutions, only more divisions.

He is a right-wing career politician who started out in the neonazi BNP, founded the EDL, British Freedom Party and Pegida UK, and is only now presenting himself as some kind of independent journalist.

He is not; he is movement-building, and the kind of movement he wants is clear from his past groups listed here and from his current association with Generation Identity, a group made up of “former” neonazis.

Violent Islamic extremism, as in Isis and al-Qaeda, is not part of traditional Islam. It is a recent development that only took shape after the 1950s.

Similarly, what is commonly called Islamic fundamentalism is also not part of traditional Islam, is just over 100 years old, and only started to become prevalent in the last 50 years.

Although we need to oppose these reactionary backward movements, Islam itself is no better or worse than any other major religion in its doctrine.

When we oppose Islamic fascism we need to be very specific about which groups or individuals we oppose.

The far right has no interest in this. It deliberately tars all Muslims as supporting jihadist terrorism and wanting to conquer non-Muslim countries.

The far right whips up tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims for racist ends — as Muslims are overwhelmingly non-white — and they intend to use this tension and distrust to build a right-wing movement that scapegoats first racial minorities, then others.

This is the same pattern followed by far-right movements across the globe. By creating societies where ordinary Muslims feel unwelcome and unsafe, they will only help recruit for extremists.

If you have genuine concerns over segregated communities, place the blame on the New Labour and Tory governments that allowed and encouraged segregation, and support a socialist solution of united and equal communities and secular (non-religious) education.

If you have genuine concerns over grooming gangs, place the blame on the New Labour and Tory governments that allowed and encouraged disregard for working-class women and girls, and support a socialist answer to classism and neglect, and proper funding for social services.

If you have genuine concerns over Islamic extremism:

Call on the government to break all ties with Saudi Arabia (whose laws are almost identical to Isis’s doctrines) and exports extremist ideology worldwide.

Call on the government to break all ties with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has nurtured and allied with Isis to attack the Kurds, supports jihadists in Syria, and is enforcing more and more reactionary fundamentalist laws in Turkey itself.

Look for solutions and allies from within the Muslim and migrant communities who are most affected by Islamic extremism.

The YPG did not defeat Isis by promoting one religion over another or one race over another, but through its ideology of secular, democratic, multi-faith, multi-racial, socialism.

Left-wing ideas and policies brought an end to Isis in northern Syria, and the same will be true fighting other extremist movements like it here in Britain too.

Alexander Norton
Callum Ross
Josh Walker
Brace Belden
Tirpan Cudi

Green Day’s “American Idiot” is topping the U.K. charts just in time for Trump’s visit.

Bale monkeys, new research


This video says about itself:

Bale Monkey (Cercocebus djamdjamensis), Harenna Forest, Bale, Ethiopia, 7 November 2011. This monkey lives in bamboo or mixed bamboo forest and eats bamboo.

From BioMed Central:

Bale monkeys living in different areas have very different DNA

July 9, 2018

Bale monkeys that live in continuous bamboo forests have different mitochondrial DNA to Bale monkeys living in fragmented forests, according to a study published in the open access journal, BMC Evolutionary Biology.

Dr Addisu Mekonnen and colleagues at The University of Oslo, Norway, looked at the genetic diversity of the two populations of Bale monkeys. Analysis of mitochondrial DNA suggested strong genetic differences between the Bale monkeys who lived in continuous forests or fragmented forests. The researchers found that the populations of Bale monkeys were so different from each other that the Bale monkeys from fragmented forests were more similar to vervets and grivets than Bale monkeys from continuous forests.

Dr Addisu Mekonnen, corresponding author of the study, explains: “Remarkably, our phylogenetic analysis showed that Bale monkeys in fragmented forests are more closely related to their sister species, vervets and grivets, than Bale Monkeys from continuous forests. This suggests that hybridization had taken place between Bale monkeys from fragmented forests and vervet and grivet monkeys, but not with bale monkeys in continuous forests. This hybridization could be due to habitat fragmentation and close proximity to similar monkeys.”

The authors explain that Bale monkeys, similar to giant pandas and bamboo lemurs, are particularly vulnerable to changes in their habitat as they rely heavily on bamboo and inhabit a small geographic area and are assumed to be less flexible at adapting to a changing environment than a species who don’t rely so heavily on one food source and one area.

Bale Monkeys are severely affected by habitat fragmentation and have the most restricted range of all green monkeys. The results of this study suggest that the altered gene pool of Bale Monkeys in fragmented forests has made them less dependent on bamboo lifestyle. “Similar to other bamboo specialist mammals, such as giant pandas and bamboo lemurs, Bale monkeys are currently at high risk of extinction in the wild because of habitat alteration. They are classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species with a general trend of population decline.”

Bale monkeys are one of the least studied African primates so collecting baseline data on population genetic structure and evolutionary history are crucial for assessing their conservation status and protecting them. In terms of advising conservation, because of two isolated populations (with one cluster consisting of hybrids) 2 separate management structures should be defined to preserve the unique genetic diversity of the species and the evolutionary potential. For the CF population they recommend special protection as these represent what are thought to be typical Bale monkeys.

Improved protection from logging of bamboo could help them. For the FF population they recommend connecting forest fragments to increase gene flow between isolated groups.

Faecal samples were collected from May to December 2013 at three localities in Continuous Forest and nine localities in Fragmented Forest. Mitochondrial DNA was extracted from these samples and analysed.

The authors note that the genetic analysis should be interpreted with caution because they used a single and maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA locus that tells only the maternal history. The researchers explain that further future research focusing on bi-parentally and paternally inherited genetic markers, as well as morphological and ecological studies is needed to further understand the evolutionary history of this unusual and rare species.