Dutch snowy winter animals, video

This 16 December 2018 video is about a snowy winter day in the Veluwe region in the Netherlands. Featuring horses, cattle, and, towards the end of the video, a lesser spotted woodpecker.


Dutch students about pro-climate strike

Mette van Hell, pro-climate striker

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In Belgium, students striking for the climate has been going on for a few weeks, but in the Netherlands there will not be a national climate march during school hours until this Thursday. Pupils from some schools will travel with buses to The Hague, but not everyone will take to the streets. …

Mette van Hell, 17 years old, in Ede, will strike:

“I’m going to the climate march, though I am not allowed to. I asked if the school could meet me halfway, but they said that it was not allowed. So, I’ll be really playing truant. So I’ll be absent and I will have to stay on for hours.”

“I think it’s very important to go. I’ve also read about Greta Thunberg in Sweden who started it. I’m inspired by her, it keeps me thinking. I feel quite helpless, I can take a shower for a shorter time and I can eat less meat. But that does not immediately cause things to change and cause politicians to actually take concrete steps, which is why I think this is a good way: young people have an interest in this. …

Gabriel Nijland

Gabriel Nijland, 16 years old, in Bilthoven:

“I will go with a group of 100 people of my school. We will at first gather at Utrecht Central Station and then we will leave for The Hague, where some supervisors will check if everyone is there.”

“I’m going to strike for the climate because I think it’s important to take good care of the environment. It’s about our future, because young people will play a big part in it. If we do not have a future, then why are we at school now for later on?”

“Some students will not join in. Because they think it is too far away, because they have too much schoolwork, or because they did not get permission from their parents. My parents thought it was a good idea.”

“I think the march already has an effect, I think politicians will think about this and will get a different picture: that we young people think this is important and that they also will have to do their bit.”

And what do the schools do?

The NOS has had contact with 207 schools. Nearly 40 percent of them say that pupils have asked to strike for the climate. …

Only nine schools say they have forbidden pupils to play truant. One school indicated that only the youngest students were not allowed to stay away to participate in the climate march.

Fluorescent pink flying squirrels in North America

This 4 February 2019 video from the USA is called PINK SQUIRRELS?!

From Texas A&M AgriLife Communications in the USA:

Think pink: Fluorescent pink flying squirrel in UV light at night

February 5, 2019

The North American flying squirrel fluoresces pink at night under ultraviolet light, but the purpose of the pink color is still a mystery to researchers.

Allison Kohler, a graduate student in the Texas A&M University wildlife and fisheries department in College Station, helped make this discovery as well as affirm other flying squirrels do in fact fluoresce pink.

Kohler’s undergraduate professor Dr. Jon Martin, associate professor of forestry at Northland College in Wisconsin, was doing an exploratory forest survey with an ultraviolet flashlight in his backyard. Initially, he was looking at different lichens, mosses and plants to see what fluoresced. By chance, a flying squirrel happened to be at his bird feeder. When he saw it under the ultraviolet light, it was hot pink.

A team to investigate this discovery was formed and included Martin, Kohler and two of Martin’s colleagues at Northland College: Dr. Paula Anich, associate professor of natural resources, and Dr. Erik Olson, assistant professor of natural resources.

With access to a museum collection at the Minnesota Science Museum, Martin asked Kohler to take the lead on the project and develop a protocol to help further investigate exactly what it was they had found.

“I looked at a ton of different specimens that they had there,” Kohler said. “They were stuffed flying squirrels that they had collected over time, and every single one that I saw fluoresced hot pink in some intensity or another.”

In order to expand the search, the team went to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and gathered more specimens. In all, they researched over 100 specimens ranging across numerous states, all confirming their “pink theory”. They also looked at five additional live specimens.

“We tested all three of the North American flying squirrel species: the Northern flying squirrel, the Southern flying squirrel and the Humboldt’s flying squirrel, and all three of them fluoresced,” she said.

After comparing the flying species to other squirrels, like the American red squirrel and gray squirrel, the team found that the pink color is unique to the flying squirrel.

The reasons for the squirrels to fluoresce pink is still under investigation, but communication and camouflage are two top contenders for why this might be happening, the team has hypothesized.

“They could be communicating with members of their own species by showing off their fluorescence to each other, or it might be a sort of mating display,” Kohler said. “The other hypothesis is that they could be using this fluorescence as an anti-predator trait to communicate with other species, avoiding predation by other species by blending in or dealing with their potentially ultraviolet-saturated environments.”

As the research develops, she said, the importance of this find will present itself more clearly. Kohler plans to continue her research while pursuing her master’s degree at Texas A&M. Further research will look firmly at the implications of the team’s find.

“It could potentially help with the conservation of the species or other species, and it could also relate to wildlife management,” Kohler said. “The more that we know about the species, the more we can understand it and help it. This is opening a new door to the realm of nocturnal-crepuscular, or active during twilight, communication in animals.”

Anti-nazism, ‘terrorism’ in the USA?

This 18 November 2014 video from the USA says about itself:

The FBI vs. Martin Luther King: Inside J. Edgar Hoover‘s “Suicide Letter” to Civil Rights Leader

It was 50 years ago today that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover made headlines by calling Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the “most notorious liar in the country.” Hoover made the comment in front of a group of female journalists ahead of King’s trip to Oslo where he received the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest recipient of the prize.

While Hoover was trying to publicly discredit King, the agency also sent King an anonymous letter threatening to expose the civil rights leader’s extramarital affairs. The unsigned, typed letter was written in the voice of a disillusioned civil rights activist, but it is believed to have been written by one of Hoover’s deputies, William Sullivan.

The letter concluded by saying, “King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. … You are done. There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.” The existence of the so-called “suicide letter” has been known for years, but only last week did the public see the unredacted version. We speak to Yale University professor Beverly Gage, who uncovered the unredacted letter.

By Tom Carter in the USA:

FBI conducted surveillance of BAMN in the name of combating “domestic terrorism”

5 February 2019

On January 16, the nonprofit government transparency organization Property of the People published 52 pages of heavily redacted documents relating to an investigation opened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against the By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) group in 2016. The FBI investigation of BAMN was filed under the caption “DT – Anarchist Extremism.” The acronym “DT” stands for “domestic terrorism.”

The documents, which can be viewed here, establish that the FBI targeted BAMN following a June 2016 provocation by neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan in Sacramento, California.

Emboldened by the rhetoric of the Trump administration, including its demand to build a wall on the southern border, a rabble of various white supremacist groups organized a march on the state capital. A group calling itself the Traditionalist Workers Party was joined by the Golden State Skinheads, Blood and Honor, the Traditionalist Youth Network, National Socialist Movement, and the KKK. This provocation was confronted by a much larger counterdemonstration, which included contingents organized by BAMN as well as the anarchist affiliation Antifa.

Armed with knives and other weapons, white supremacists clashed with counterdemonstrators. A total of ten people were injured, including three critically, in a violent melee.

BAMN, a group aligned with the Democratic Party, identity politics, and the trade unions, was formed in California in 1995 as the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary. It has participated in a number of counterdemonstrations against rallies by white supremacists.

The FBI’s invocation of the framework of the “war on terror” to target BAMN for investigation and surveillance is a major attack on democratic rights. While the FBI report glosses over and minimizes the violence and provocations by the far-right, the FBI employs a tendentious legal framework against BAMN that could be used to target and silence dissent on a broad scale.

The newly released documents indicate that the FBI responded to the June 2016 rally and counterdemonstration by opening a “domestic terrorism” investigation into BAMN. The report states: “Captioned investigation is being initiated on BAMN (By Any Means Necessary), a domestic group, based on information that on June 29, 2016 [sic], members of BAMN attended a Ku Klux Klan rally and assaulted a Nazi supporter.”

“In 2016”, the report continues, “law enforcement learned that the Ku Klux Klan would be holding a rally at the State Capitol Building on June 26, 2016. The KKK consisted of members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda. In response, a number of groups mobilized to protest the rally. Flyers were posted asking people to attend in order to shut down the rally.”

The FBI’s report is remarkable for the way it minimizes the actions of the far-right provocateurs while it scrutinizes and impugns the actions of the counterdemonstrators. The FBI agent’s description of the KKK as consisting of “members that some perceived to be supportive of a white supremacist agenda” leaves no doubt about where that agent’s sympathies lie.

The FBI’s version of the riot all but justifies the conduct of the neo-Nazis, attempting to shift blame onto the counterdemonstrators: “On June 26, 2016, the rally took place as scheduled. Counter-protesters were also present, and violence broke out amongst the crowd. Several people were stabbed and hospitalized; others suffered more minor injuries.”

The FBI opened a “full investigation” against BAMN based on two alleged federal crimes: “riots” and “conspiracy against rights.” In other words, turning reality on its head, the FBI opened an investigation into whether BAMN had “conspired” to violate the rights of the KKK and into whether BAMN was responsible for the riot.

The report indicates that special agents “conducted physical surveillance at 2020 Bonar Street, Berkeley, CA 94702” on a redacted date. This is the address of the Berkeley Unified School District, where BAMN was presumably holding a demonstration.

The notes of the surveillance include the following entries: “Several children observed sitting outside 2020 Bonar Street with signs next to them;” “Several adults observed standing outside 2020 Bonar Street with several children. [Redacted] observed speaking [Redacted] observed holding a sign;” and “Group observed walking toward 1231 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94702.”

This surveillance apparently did not yield any plausible evidence of criminal activity. The agents grudgingly admit that “the individuals being observed may have been engaged in protected First Amendment activity.”

Significant portions of the report are too heavily redacted to decipher. However, it is possible to make out that on October 5, 2016, an FBI special agent, whose name is redacted, met with “University of California Berkley [redacted],” who “provided” the agent with redacted material “concerning” a redacted subject. It is not clear whether this is a meeting with a university administrator or campus police. It is also not clear whether the information being provided to the FBI concerned any particular students.

FBI agents obtained copies of BAMN leaflets and appended them to the report. The agents also reviewed YouTube videos and monitored internet posts. The FBI devoted special attention to slogans in BAMN materials such as “no ‘free speech’ for fascists!” and calls to “shut down” the neo-Nazi rally.

The unnamed FBI special agent “acknowledges that individuals and groups named in this [report] have been identified as participating in activities that are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Their inclusion here is not intended to associate the protected activity with criminality or a threat to national security, or to infer that such protected activity itself violates federal law. However, based on the alleged actions of BAMN [long passage redacted] it is possible the actions of certain BAMN members may exceed the boundaries of protected activity and could constitute a violation of federal law. In the event no such violent activity occurs or is discovered, FBI policy and federal law dictates that no further record be made of the protected activity.”

To translate this into plainer language: BAMN members have not violated any laws and are exercising their right to free speech, but the FBI investigation is justified anyway because BAMN members “could” do things that “may” violate the law in the future. Notwithstanding the repeated statements of deference to the First Amendment and the right to free speech, this logic would justify FBI surveillance of any political activity at any time, since any lawful organization’s members “could” do something that “may” violate the law in the future.

The report states that an FBI special agent “researched BAMN and discovered that it was a national organization. The group had been active in the Berkeley, California and Oakland, California areas.” The special agent, whose name is redacted, “researched some historical activity of the group by reviewing police records and open source information from various events. In some, the group members lawfully exercised their First Amendment rights by engaging in peaceful protests. In other instances, the members engaged in other activity by refusing to disperse, trespassing in closed buildings, obstructing law enforcement, and shouting during and interrupting public meetings so that the meetings could not continue.”

Without endorsing such methods, disrupting meetings with shouting hardly equates to “domestic terrorism,” especially given that this report was generated in the context of a violent provocation by neo-Nazis and the KKK. Nor can any plausible argument be made that refusing orders by police officers to disperse is “domestic terrorism.”

The vague crime of “obstructing law enforcement” is frequently invoked by American police officers to justify arbitrary arrests and to cover up the use of excessive force. The FBI’s report takes it a step further, essentially implying that this ambiguous term equates to “domestic terrorism.”

The FBI has a long history of operating as a political police force aligned with reaction. This history includes the infamous wiretapping and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr., as dramatized in the recent film Selma. The 2016 investigation of BAMN for allegedly conspiring to violate the rights of the KKK certainly resonates with this history, as BAMN itself was quick to point out.

Nevertheless, the most significant aspect of the FBI’s report is the invocation of the framework of the “war on terror” against domestic dissent.

The US government, after all, has asserted that alleged “terrorists” can be deemed “unlawful enemy combatants” who can be subjected to abduction, torture, and even secret assassination anywhere in the world. The entire globe as well as the interior of the US have been designated as the “battlefield” of the “global war on terror.” Under these conditions, the practice of labeling domestic dissent—in this case, opposition to a rally of neo-Nazis and the KKK, or even merely “refusing to disperse”—as “domestic terrorism” has ominous implications.

There is no reason to doubt that the FBI is targeting left-wing political dissent in the US more broadly with investigations, surveillance, and infiltration. In 2011, a FBI agent was exposed who had spent two and a half years infiltrating the Anti-War Committee (AWC) and later the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) in Minneapolis and Chicago. This agent’s activity preceded a series of government raids and subpoenas to 23 activists to testify before a grand jury based on allegations of providing “material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

Deaf moths’ sounds to escape from bats

This 2010 video says about itself:

Development of the Orchard Ermine (Yponomeuta padella) from caterpillar to moth. Filmed at the Wollenberg, Hesse, Germany.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Deaf moth evolves sound-production as a warning to outwit its predator

February 5, 2019

A genus of deaf moth has evolved to develop an extraordinary sound-producing structure in its wings to evade its primary predator the bat. The finding, made by researchers from the University of Bristol and Natural History Museum, is described in Scientific Reports today [Tuesday 5 February].

It’s already known that some species of moth have evolved a range of defensive mechanisms to evade insectivorous bats’ highly-tuned echolocation (biosonar) detection skills. The discovery of a wingbeat-powered sound producing structure in the wings of a deaf moth is completely new.

Many larger species of moth use ears tuned to detect the echolocation calls of bats to provide an early warning of approaching bats allowing them to perform evasive manoeuvres. While others, such as some silk moths, have hindwing tails that produce salient echoes which act as false targets to bats — like the towed decoys fighter planes use against radar guided missiles.

The team of researchers from Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences and the Natural History Museum, London, were studying a group of smaller British moths known as the small ermine moths (Yponomeuta species), and discovered that despite their lack of hearing they were making continual clicking sounds whenever they fly. Unlike other species of moths, that produce sound in response to detecting an approaching bat, small ermine moths have evolved to produce continual warning sounds.

The sounds these moths produce are very similar to sounds produced by larger moths, such as the tiger moths, which warn bats of the moth’s distastefulness or toxicity (known as acoustic aposematism). At night an unpalatable moth cannot provide a bat with a conspicuous warning colour, so instead it warns its predator acoustically. The team suggest that small ermine moths are acoustically mimicking unpalatable, sound producing moths, to warn bats of their own distastefulness.

Typically, anti-bat sounds are produced by structures called tymbals, small areas of thin cuticle on a moth’s body, which are connected to a muscle. As the muscle contracts, the tymbal buckles and produces a click, then as the muscle relaxes, the tymbal snaps back to its resting state and produces another click. However, the wing-based tymbals of small ermine moths are not connected to a muscle, instead sound production is initiated by the moth’s wingbeat during flight.

Liam O’Reilly, the study’s lead author and a PhD student at Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Bat defences in larger moths are well studied, however, the defences in smaller moths are not.

“Many animals use a conspicuous visual signal such as bright colouration to warn their predators of a defence, but at night an unpalatable moth cannot provide a bat with a visual warning signal, so instead it warns its predator acoustically through a clear sound — loud high frequency (ultrasonic) clicks.

“The fact that sound production in these moths has remained undiscovered for so long reminds us of how little we know of the complex acoustic world of bats and moths.”

Following this discovery, the team are working with material scientists to find out the exact mechanism by which the small ermine moth tymbal produces sound. Specialists in buckling mechanics are working on modelling the system to artificially recreate the sounds of these moths.