Worms lived on Cambrian seafloor


This 2012 video from Canada says about itself:

Associate Curator Jean-Bernard Caron presents an overview of the fossil collection from the Burgess Shale, B.C., highlighting a number of specimens.

From the University of Saskatchewan in Canada:

500-million-year old worm ‘superhighway’ discovered in Canada

February 28, 2019\

Prehistoric worms populated the sea bed 500 million years ago — evidence that life was active in an environment thought uninhabitable until now, research by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) shows.

The sea bed in the deep ocean during the Cambrian period was thought to have been inhospitable to animal life because it lacked enough oxygen to sustain it.

But research published in the scientific journal Geology reveals the existence of fossilized worm tunnels dating back to the Cambrian period — 270 million years before the evolution of dinosaurs.

The discovery, by USask professor Brian Pratt, suggests that animal life in the sediment at that time was more widespread than previously thought.

The worm tunnels — borrows where worms lived and munched through the sediment — are invisible to the naked eye. But Pratt “had a hunch” and sliced the rocks and scanned them to see whether they revealed signs of ancient life.

The rocks came from an area in the remote Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories in Canada which Pratt found 35 years ago.

Pratt then digitally enhanced images of the rock surfaces so he could examine them more closely. Only then did the hidden ‘superhighway’ of burrows made by several different sizes and types of prehistoric worm emerge in the rock.

Some were barely a millimetre in size and others as large as a finger. The smaller ones were probably made by simple polychaetes — or bristle worms — but one of the large forms was a predator that attacked unsuspecting arthropods and surface-dwelling worms.

Pratt said he was “surprised” by the unexpected discovery.

“For the first time, we saw evidence of large populations of worms living in the sediment — which was thought to be barren,” he said. “There were cryptic worm tunnels — burrows — in the mud on the continental shelf 500 million years ago, and more animals reworking, or bioturbating, the sea bed than anyone ever thought.”

Pratt, a geologist and paleontologist and Fellow of the Geological Society of America, found the tunnels in sedimentary rocks that are similar to the Burgess Shale, a famous fossil-bearing deposit in the Canadian Rockies.

The discovery may prompt a rethink of the level of oxygenation in ancient oceans and continental shelves.

The Cambrian period saw an explosion of life on Earth in the oceans and the development of multi-cellular organisms including prehistoric worms, clams, snails and ancestors of crabs and lobsters. Previously the seas had been inhabited by simple, single-celled microbes and algae.

It has always been assumed that the creatures in the Burgess Shale — known for the richness of its fossils — had been preserved so immaculately because the lack of oxygen at the bottom of the sea stopped decay, and because no animals lived in the mud to eat the carcasses.

Pratt’s discovery, with co-author Julien Kimmig, now of the University of Kansas, shows there was enough oxygen to sustain various kinds of worms in the sea bed.

“Serendipity is a common aspect to my kind of research,” Pratt said. “I found these unusual rocks quite by accident all those years ago. On a hunch I prepared a bunch of samples and when I enhanced the images I was genuinely surprised by what I found,” he said.

“This has a lot of implications which will now need to be investigated, not just in Cambrian shales but in younger rocks as well. People should try the same technique to see if it reveals signs of life in their samples.”

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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First northern lapwing egg, earliest ever


This 2014 video is about a northern lapwing at its nest in Friesland province in the Netherlands. Lapwing eggs used to be sought there for eating; now, not for eating any more.

Translated from regional broadcaster Omrop Fryslân in the Netherlands today:

The first northern lapwing egg of Fryslân was found at Vegelinsoord village. Eduard van der Hoek (34) from Grou found the egg on Thursday morning at 11.45 am in a plot of farmer Henk Hosper. According to tradition Van der Hoek gets the Sulveren Ljip [silver northern lapwing in Frisian; a sculpture] for his discovery.

The Sulveren Ljip was presented at 3 pm by the provincial commissioner Arno Brok. This dod not happen in the meadow, but in Hospers’ farmyard in order to disturb the nest as little as possible.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

It is the earliest date ever that such an egg (in Frisian ljipaai) was found. There are records of finding the first egg ever since 121 years ago. It was always found in March until now.

This 17 March 2018 video in Frisian is about the awarding of last year’s Sulveren Ljip sculpture.

French Islamophobes threaten shop workers with gas chambers


This 19 August 2016 video is called France burqini ban: Muslim swimsuit’s creator speaks out.

By Will Morrow:

France’s ruling parties launch anti-Muslim campaign against sports veil

28 February 2019

On Tuesday evening, the French-based sports clothing retailer Décathlon announced that it could not proceed with plans to place on sale an Islamic sports veil, designed to be worn while jogging, at stores in France. The cancellation came in response to a three-day-long campaign of racist and anti-Muslim hysteria by the French political establishment, demanding the banning of the item. It resulted in the mobilization of fascist layers to threaten the company and its employees.

Lydia Guirgous, a spokeswoman for the right wing The Republicans (LR), launched the campaign on February 24, after a marketing blogger announced the upcoming release of the veil. Guirgous tweeted: “Décathlon is submitting itself to both #Islamism that only tolerates women whose heads are covered by a hijab to secure their place in the Ummah, and to men. Décathlon is thus renouncing the values of our civilization upon the altar of the market and communalist marketing.”

The Tweet triggered a deluge of anti-Muslim statements in the political establishment, some employing the same absurd and fraudulent pretext that they were seeking to defend women by banning the sale of a religious garment.

Valérie Rabault, the Socialist Party (PS) deputy in the National Assembly for Tarn-et-Garonne tweeted: “Boycott Décathlon in France?” …

The PS, the French Socialist Party, collapsed in recent elections because of their policies while in government of austerity and adapting to extreme right xenophobia. A major role in that played Blairite right-wing Prime Minister Valls, with his hatred of Roma and Islamophobic persecution of another sporting garment, the so-called ‘burkini‘. The PS supporters rejected Valls as their presidential candidate. He then tried, and failed, to join the new president Macron‘s party. He then moved to Spain, where he marched jointly with the Vox neonazi party against the social democrat government; joining a right-wing party that wants a coalition with the Vox fascists after the coming elections.

Unfortunately, it seems that the PS has not learned the lesson of their catastrophic election defeat, and that even though Valls is gone, some of his Islamophobic miasma remains.

Valérie Boyer, the LR deputy for Bouches-du-Rhone, said she was “revolted to see this French company choosing to prolong the sexual apartheid imposed on women in public spaces.”

The attacks escalated the next day, after Décathlon tweeted in reply to Guirgous that “the hijab was needed by certain runners, and we responded to this sporting demand.” The item is already on sale in Morocco.

The Macron government publicly joined the campaign on Tuesday morning. Solidarity and Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said, in an interview with RTL, “I would prefer that a French brand not promote the veil. It’s not outlawed, but nonetheless, this is a vision of women that I don’t share. I find that it does not correspond to the values of our country.” Another spokesperson for the governing party in the National Assembly, Aurore Bergé, tweeted that she would “no longer place trust in a brand that breaks with our values.”

The same morning, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, of the right-wing Stand Up France! party, was invited for a TV interview on France2, where he declared that he did not intend to allow his two young daughters to grow up in a country like Saudi Arabia, and demanded a boycott of Décathlon.

Mr Dupont-Aignan: if you don’t like the regime in Saudi Arabia, then you should ask President Macron to stop selling French weapons to the Saudi absolute monarchy for waging genocidal war on the people of Yemen. And you should criticize the right-wing ‘republican’ authorities for closing down a Riviera public beach to the public, reserving it for the Saudi royal family. You should not take it out in women on France who have nothing to do with the Saudi royals; who just happen to like clothes which you dislike. Maybe they dislike your clothes as well; but that should not give them the power to ban your favourite garments.

Just a week ago, Stand Up France! was forced to withdraw the candidacy of Emmanuelle Gave in the European elections, after news outlets published her social media posts, one of which said there were “too many blacks in the 100 meter race” and the other that “Muslims are totally unacceptable as housekeepers or nannies.”

The extreme-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen published a communiqué the same day, denouncing the “latest intrusion of Islamic communalism into public spaces.” While welcoming the anti-Muslim crusade by the Socialist Party and others, it demanded an end to what it called the “policies of massive immigration that are the most undoubted causes of sectarianism.”

The outpouring of filth had its intended effect, with a mobilization of fascistic layers to threaten the company and its employees. Décathlon tweeted that “Our customer services have received over 500 calls and emails since this morning. Our staff have been insulted and threatened, sometimes physically.”

Décathlon published extracts of various anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic messages it received. One stated: “Rotten gang. Money has no smell. You betray the values of the French Republic. Shame on you for contributing to the Islamist invasion. You’ll end up like the riff-raff in the ovens in Poland.”

Meaning that this Islamophobe advocated mass murder of shop workers like happened in World War II to Jews in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor To this French death threat fascist, these Jews were ‘riff-raff’ who deserved mass murder.

Not politicians or neonazis threatening shop workers with mass murder in Auschwitz should decide what clothes women wear. Only the women themselves should decide that. Whether it is about women wearing headscarves, ‘burkinis‘, bikinis, miniskirts, maxishirts, trousers, shorts; about short hair or about long hair; etc. etc.

Another asked whether the company planned on marketing “explosive belts”.

On Tuesday evening, Décathlon announced it was withdrawing the product indefinitely “in the face of the violent polemic it has triggered” and “out of concern to guarantee the safety of our staff.”

The Republicans deputy Lydia Guirons tweeted gleefully in response that the “mobilization of citizens” who uphold “the values of our civilization has won. I am happy that Décathlon is retreating from the sale of the hijab. It is a wise decision. The struggle against Islamism is a fight at every moment.”

This disgusting operation exposes the fraudulent character of the official campaign against “anti-Semitism” mounted by every one of the parties who are whipping up this anti-Muslim propaganda. It has nothing to do with opposing anti-Semitism, and everything to do with slandering growing left-wing opposition to social inequality in the working class as anti-Semitic and fascistic.

An effort is underway to downplay the indissoluble connection between anti-Semitism and fascism, and to associate anti-Semitism with socialist opposition to capitalism. As the past week’s events demonstrate, the campaign over anti-Semitism is being used to strengthen Le Pen’s National Rally and other fascistic forces with the promotion of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The entire political establishment is shifting rapidly to the right in response to a leftward movement of the working class, which has found only an initial expression in the “yellow vest” protests.

In a speech last Wednesday, Macron repeatedly warned about the growth of “radical Islam” and called for stepped up policing of working-class neighborhoods. “This ideology grows like gangrene in certain suburbs”, he said, calling for a “Republican conquest of these territories.”

The French political establishment has long utilized campaigns against the Muslim veil as a means of inciting anti-Islamic xenophobia and justifying attacks on democratic rights directed against the entire working class. In 2010, two years after the onset of the global financial crash and the initiation of austerity across Europe, President Sarkozy introduced a ban on full facial coverings.

Nazi in United States Marines


This 27 February 2019 video from the USA is called Marines Investigating Troop’s Ties to Nazi-Loving Twitter Account.

By Samantha Grasso in the USA, 27 February 2019:

Marines Investigating Troop’s Ties to Nazi-Loving Twitter Account

Two weeks ago, authorities arrested Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, who allegedly had white supremacist connections, an arsenal of firearms, and a hit list of media personalities and liberal politicians. Now, the Marines are investigating a service member in their own ranks whose Twitter presence allegedly boasted racist, anti-Semitic ideology and posted Nazi propaganda, the Marine Corps Times reported on Tuesday.

The Twitter account, @Jacobite_Edward, was allegedly run by Lance Cpl. Mason Mead, a 20 year old infantry Marine stationed in Kaneohe Bay, HI, according to the publication. While the account has since been deactivated, screenshots show it posted Nazi propaganda, such as images of Nazi collaborators and men with their arms raised in a Nazi salute.

One photo from the account also showed a person arranging military explosives into the shape of a swastika. The poster captioned a photo of a Marine wearing dark camouflage face paint as, “Hello, fellow black men”, which the site Task & Purpose reported was a photo of Mead. Other posts reportedly referenced Mead’s unit, with some photos revealing part of his name taped to military gear.

1st Lt. David Mancilla, a Corps spokesman for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, told Task & Purpose the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the matter. NCIS told the Times it wouldn’t comment on ongoing investigations, and Mead did not return the Times’ request for comment.

“The Marine Corps is aware of the derogatory online comments attributed to a Marine with 1st Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division,” Mancilla said. “The Marine Corps takes every instance of misconduct seriously, whether on duty, off duty, or online. Any form of racism or discrimination undermines the core values of the Marine Corps and is not tolerated. NCIS is thoroughly investigating this situation and the command will address any misconduct at the appropriate judicial or administrative level.”

Hasson and Mead are just the latest troops whose racist behavior has been revealed. In August 2018, Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis was kicked out after he was unmasked as a member of a neo-Nazi group who bragged about attacking a woman at the deadly Charlottesville white supremacist rally in 2017. The same year, two other Marines, Sgt. Michael Chesny and Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning, were arrested for flying a white supremacist banner at a Confederate Memorial Day rally in North Carolina.

Two Marines stationed near San Diego are being investigated after posting a video that appears to show them in blackface.

House wren feeding in Panama


This video says about itself:

House Wren Busily Gleaning On The Feeder – Feb. 25, 2019

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Canopy Family, and explore.org.

I have fond memories of house wrens in Suriname and in Costa Rica.