After Yemenis, elephants, sharks, Trump attacks wolves

This Associated Press video says about itself:

24 Dec 2018: A man in Kosovo has named one of his four wolves “Trump” as a sign of gratitude to the United States for its assistance to his country.

Hysni Rexhaj, an Albanian farmer in the Kosovo town of Osek Hyle near Gjakova 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of Pristina, keeps birds and wolves on his farm – of which some he claims to have captured on his own “by hand.”

He also loves Donald Trump – so much that he recently decided to name one of the wolves after the US president.

“I have devoted this (wolf) named Trump to America because America has done so much for us (referring to the people of Kosovo),” Rexhaj told the Associated Press. He also claimed wolf “Trump” and Trump share “some almost similar attributes“, adding, “he is so beautiful because of that. I thank America, they have supported us during the war.”

The Donald Trump administration in the USA helps the Saudi bloodshed in Yemen. Donald Trump and his sons endanger the lives of endangered African elephants. Trump has said he wanted to kill all sharks.

And now, it’s the wolves‘ turn.

This 6 March 2019 video from the USA is called Trump administration proposes delisting gray wolf.

From Brooke Still in the USA today:

No time to waste — the Trump administration’s latest move to strip the gray wolf’s Endangered Species Act Protections could destroy the species. Submit an official public comment against this attack »

Trump and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt are risking the survival of the gray wolf species.

Bernhardt just announced plans to gut the Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves — jeopardizing their survival and that of the ecosystems that depend on them. Gray wolves are a vital species that once had habitats throughout the nation. But thanks to over-hunting and development, gray wolf populations have shrunk to approximately 6,000 wolves that only occupy less than 20% of their historic habitat range. We cannot risk losing even more gray wolves with Bernhardt’s plan.

Luckily, the agency can’t move forward without getting input from the people. We’re building a movement to get 20,000 comments into Bernhardt’s office to show Trump and Bernhardt just how opposed the public is to this blatant attack on our wildlife. If everyone reading this message submitted a public comment, we’d blow through this goal in minutes. Can we count on you to add your name?

WILDLIFE ALERT: Trump and Bernhardt are putting gray wolves on the line. Submit an official public comment now and be a hero for this species. Goal: 20,000 comments »

Gray wolves were once bordering extinction but were brought back because of people, like you, who cared enough to speak out. As a result gray wolves received ESA protections and have started to recover throughout the Rocky Mountain region and areas in Oregon, Washington, and California. But the species still has a long way to go. If Trump and Bernhardt’s plans move forward, we could lose all of that progress, and our ability to protect gray wolves could be completely undermined. We should be doing more to support gray wolf recovery, not weakening the most basic protections that this species relies on.

I’m sure you’re wondering who actually benefits from the rollback of these common sense safeguards? The answer is simple: Trump and Bernhardt are catering to trophy hunters and trappers. We cannot allow gray wolf populations to decline for the sake of hunting trophies.

But there’s hope: This will be one of the first acts that Bernhardt does as official head of the Interior Department. After his predecessor left in disgrace, the last thing he wants is to start his tenure at Interior with a major scandal. With the people power of LCV members like you, we can stop his attacks on gray wolves right in its tracks — but only if we’re loud enough. We need to gather 20,000 signatures before the comment period closes in a few weeks — can you speak out to protect these critical wildlife standards?

Speak out now to save gray wolves.

Thank you for fighting for our wildlife.

Brooke Still
Director of Digital Strategy
League of Conservation Voters

TRUMP GUTS ANIMAL PROTECTIONS Three months after leading scientists warned that humans have driven up to 1 million species around the globe to the brink of extinction, the Trump administration has finalized a sweeping overhaul of the Endangered Species Act, weakening one of America’s most important laws for protecting imperiled plants and animals. [HuffPost]


How some dinosaurs became birds, new research

This 2013 video says about itself:

Microraptor | Flying Dinosaur | Planet Dinosaur | BBC

Planet Dinosaur takes to skies, to investigate the perculiarities of winged dinosaurs. Microraptor had feathers for gliding but is it enough to escape from Sinornithosaurus?

From PLOS:

Running may have made dinosaurs’ wings flap before they evolved to fly

New evidence suggests that passive wing flapping may have arisen earlier than gliding flight

May 2, 2019

Before they evolved the ability to fly, two-legged dinosaurs may have begun to flap their wings as a passive effect of running along the ground, according to new research by Jing-Shan Zhao of Tsinghua University, Beijing, and his colleagues.

The findings, published in PLOS Computational Biology, provide new insights into the origin of avian flight, which has been a point of debate since the 1861 discovery of Archaeopteryx. While a gliding type of flight appears to have matured earlier in evolutionary history, increasing evidence suggests that active flapping flight may have arisen without an intermediate gliding phase.

To examine this key point in evolutionary history, Zhao and his colleagues studied Caudipteryx, the most primitive, non-flying dinosaur known to have had feathered “proto-wings.” This bipedal animal would have weighed around 5 kilograms and ran up to 8 meters per second.

First, the researchers used a mathematical approach called modal effective mass theory to analyze the mechanical effects of running on various parts of Caudipteryx’s body. These calculations revealed that running speeds between about 2.5 to 5.8 meters per second would have created forced vibrations that caused the dinosaur’s wings to flap.

Real-world experiments provided additional support for these calculations. The scientists built a life-size robot of Caudipteryx that could run at different speeds, and confirmed that running caused a flapping motion of the wings. They also fitted a young ostrich with artificial wings and found that running indeed caused the wings to flap, with longer and larger wings providing a greater lift force.

“Our work shows that the motion of flapping feathered wings was developed passively and naturally as the dinosaur ran on the ground,” Zhao says. “Although this flapping motion could not lift the dinosaur into the air at that time, the motion of flapping wings may have developed earlier than gliding.”

Zhao says that the next step for this research is to analyze the lift and thrust of Caudipteryx’s feathered wings during the passive flapping process.

Neo-nazi networks in United States armed forces

This 18 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

White Nationalists Infiltrating Military

Seven active military members have been discovered to belong to a white nationalist group. John Iadarola and Brooke Thomas break it down on The Damage Report.

Then, still just seven ones had been discovered …

By Jacob Crosse in the USA:

Neo-Nazi networks exposed across US military

4 May 2019

Over the past two months investigations published by Unicorn Riot and the Huffington Post have exposed eleven members of Identity Evropa, an American neo-Nazi organization, operating freely within the US military. The latest exposure reveals the depth to which reactionary forces are allowed to cultivate, fester and recruit within the United States armed forces across all branches and ranks.

In March 2019, independent media outlet Unicorn Riot published more than 770,000 Discord chat messages from chat servers associated with Identity Evropa. Discord is a messaging service popular with computer video game players. Combing through the chat logs, Huffington Post reporters have so far been able to identify eleven members from the white nationalist organization who are currently serving in the US military.

The chat logs reveal that all of the participants are well versed in fascist ideology and are actively recruiting throughout the United States. Members of the group frequently shared anti-semitic memes and glorified Adolf Hitler. Photos posted in the chat logs and on Twitter show members postering on college campuses with racist slogans telling potential recruits that “It’s ok to be white”.

United States snipers pose in front of Nazi SS flag in 2012 (source: Wikimedia Commons)

One fascist exposed in the logs is currently a Master Sergeant in the Air Force named Cory Allen Reeve. Reeve lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he was outed by anti-fascist activists in a flyer that was distributed throughout the community. Reeve frequently posted in the chat, encouraging members to pay more than the $10 monthly membership dues. He also shared photographs of himself at the Aurora Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center & Detention Facility in Aurora, Colorado, where he posted signs thanking the American Gestapo “…for all that you do for our country.”

Two Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) college students were also exposed in the chat. Jay C. Harrison, 20, is currently enrolled at Montana State University at Bozeman and is a member of the Army National Guard. In the logs, he espoused anti-semitic lies, discrediting the veracity of the Holocaust, commenting, “I wish the Holocaust was real.” Another ROTC recruit, 23-year-old University of Rochester student and Army reservist Christopher Hodgman was identified as a member of the group. In the fall of 2018 Hodgman was responsible for posting Identity Evropa flyers and stickers throughout Brighton, New York, including on the Brighton Memorial Library and Town Hall.

The highest ranking soldier exposed as a member of Identity Evropa in the chat logs is 44-year-old Christopher Cummins, a lieutenant colonel physician in the Army Reserve. Cummins has also registered with the Military Order of Stars and Bars, a neo-Confederate organization. In the log, Cummins extolled the virtues of living in Tennessee because it is “conservative & Christian -implicitly white.”

Identity Evropa was founded in 2016 by Nathan Damigo, a former Marine who participated in two tours of Iraq. The Marines are the least racially diverse branch of the military with over 80 percent of its recruits identifying as “white.”

During Damigo’s two tours in Iraq he became radicalized and suffered from PTSD following the loss of three close friends during his deployments. In October 2007, one month after completing his second tour, Damigo, severely inebriated after celebrating the anniversary of the death of one his fellow soldiers, robbed a taxi driver at gunpoint of $43 for “looking Iraqi”. Damigo was discharged from the military and convicted of armed robbery. He was then sentenced to five years in prison where he was introduced to white supremacist literature including Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s My Awakening.

Upon his release from prison in 2014, Damigo began attending classes at California State University at Stanislaus. While attending college he affiliated with various white supremacist groups before forming his own organization, dubbed Identity Evropa in 2016.

Borrowing the reactionary language and methods of identity politics promoted on campuses by post-modernist professors and the pseudo-left, Damigo was able to cultivate a following with a small membership. He also began to affiliate with prominent racists including neo-Nazi and white supremacist Richard Spencer.

This relationship bore its terrible fruits in the culmination of the fascist riot in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, during which 32-year-old Heather Heyer was murdered by a 20-year-old Hitler admirer who rammed his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators.

Following the fascist rampage in Virginia, Damigo stepped down from his leadership position within the group, which has since passed on to current leader Patrick Casey. In a rebranding attempt following the disclosure of the chat logs, the group is seeking to rebrand itself as the “American Identity Movement”.

The exposure of this latest group of fascists within the military exemplifies an upwards trend in reactionary elements across all branches.

In November 2018, Pro Publica in conjunction with PBS exposed another neo-Nazi network with members who are either active in the military or previously served. This militant fascist organization calls itself the Atomwaffen Division and has focused its recruitment on college campuses and on online message boards. The group gained prominence in 2016 by distributing flyers urging students to “Join Your Local Nazis!”

The Atomwaffen Division has been implicated in five murders dating back to 2017. Its members have also been tied to plots to bomb synagogues and nuclear power plants.

One member of the group, Joshua Beckett, is a former combat engineer with the army from 2011 to 2015. As with Damigo, Beckett’s deployment in the service of US imperialism radicalized his political beliefs. “The army itself woke me up to race and the war woke me up to the Jews,” Beckett wrote online. Upon returning from Iraq, Beckett, who has admitted to suffering from PTSD, put his training to use by offering to build weapons and explosives for fellow fascists.

Finally, this week saw the Marines open another investigation—the second this year—regarding Marines posting Nazi iconography and slogans. Private First Class Anthony D. Schroader posted a picture on Instagram of him and at least four other soldiers forming a swastika with their combat boots. Earlier this year Lance Corporal Mason Mead was put under investigation by the corps after he posted images of himself in blackface along with a swastika he had formed with C-4 plastic explosives.

It is unknown exactly how many of the 2.3 million soldiers currently enlisted in the US military hold fascist sympathies or are active members of a far right organization. However, a 2017 poll conducted by the Military Times found that nearly 25 percent of service members surveyed stated they had encountered white nationalists within their ranks. That same poll found that 30 percent of those surveyed viewed “white nationalism” as a bigger threat to the United States compared to wars in Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq.

The abundance of fascists within the US military verifies what white nationalist terrorists such as Brenton Tarrant had alleged earlier this year in his now censored manifesto. Tarrant travelled throughout Europe and Asia, openly meeting with neo-Nazis. In his travels, Tarrant estimates that there are “hundreds of thousands” who hold similar views as he throughout the police and armed forces.

The cultivation and promotion of far right forces within American society by President Trump, who hailed the rampaging white supremacists in Charlottesville as “good people”, marks a conscious and violent shift of the ruling elite to the right. Similar to disaffected German soldiers following World War I, American veterans and active duty soldiers returning from war who are physically and psychologically broken are being cultivated from the top to serve fascistic interests in the name of preserving bourgeois class rule.

The multi-billion dollar US spy apparatus is more than capable of identifying and rooting out public and private communications. The fact that so many of these fascists have been outed by independent reporters speaks to the complicity of the US government in shielding these forces from exposure.

After A HuffPost Investigation, 4 White Nationalists Out Of U.S. Military — But Others Allowed To Remain. Months after a series of reports exposed a dozen known or suspected members of white nationalist groups in the U.S. military, several have separated from the armed forces. But just how seriously is the military taking extremism? Here.

Migrating wagtails reuniting, partridges, wheatear, flowers

Path, 29 April 2019

After 28 April 2019 on Tilos island in Greece came 29 April. When we went on this footpath to Skafi beach.

Path, on 29 April 2019

An Alpine swift flying.

A snake-eyed lizard on a wall.

A migrating red-footed falcon flying.

Skafi, 29 April 2019

As we continued to walk, the Skafi coast became visible.

A sling-tailed agama again, on the same big rock as last time. This time, a juvenile individual.

On a shrub, a woodchat shrike.

A clouded yellow butterfly.

Skafi flowers, 29 April 2019

Near the coast, these small pink flowers.

Skafi purple flowers, 29 April 2019

And these bigger flowers.

Skafi white flowers, 29 April 2019

We arrive at the Skafi coast.

On a rock, a male black-eared wheatear.

A few minutes after the wheatear was gone, another bird landed on a rock nearby. it was a Balkan wagtail.

For about ten minutes, the wagtail sat there quite still. Every now and then, it turned its head to look around. Was it waiting for something? For what?

Another five minutes with the bird still on the same rock. Then, it turned out what it had been waiting for. Two fellow Balkan wagtails on spring migration north sat down on a rock next to the first arrived individual. They celebrated their reunion, tweeting excitedly. Reminiscent of refugees from wars in Afghanistan, Syria or elsewhere, reuniting with years of joy on a Greek island with relatives or other travel companions whom they had temporarily lost contact with during their Odyssey.

Poppies, 29 April 2019

We walked back along these common poppies.

Walls, 29 April 2019

And along these walls.

As we walked back, two Chukar partridges crossed the path, flying.

Just before arriving back in Megalo Chorio, a red admiral butterfly.

Why acorn woodpeckers share nests

This October 2017 video says about itself:

The Anomalies: The Acorn Woodpecker | bioGraphic

These highly social birds defy the typical two-parent family structure, proving that cooperation can make good evolutionary sense.

From Cornell University in the USA:

What drives multiple female acorn woodpeckers to share a nest?

Study explores the possible benefits of rare behavior

May 2, 2019

Summary: In some acorn woodpecker family groups, related females lay eggs in the same nest and raise the chicks cooperatively with one or more related males

Acorn Woodpeckers live in close-knit family groups and have one of the most complex breeding systems of any bird in the world. In about 20 percent of family groups, up to 3 related females may lay eggs in the same nest. They raise the chicks cooperatively with one or more related males. This behavior is known as joint nesting or “cooperative polyandry”. Only five other species of birds worldwide are known to do this. The reasons that may be driving the behavior are outlined in a study recently published in The American Naturalist.

Lead authors Sahas Barve at Old Dominion University (Cornell Ph.D. ’17), and Cornell Lab of Ornithology scientist Walt Koenig, used demographic data collected during 35 years (1982-2016) at the Hastings Natural History Reservation in central coastal California. They analyzed the costs and benefits of joint nesting, hoping to explain why some woodpecker females exhibit this rare behavior.

They found that joint nesting was more common in years when Acorn Woodpecker population density was high, all the breeding territories were occupied, and opportunities for a female to nest on her own were very unlikely.

Although nesting with others reduces the number of offspring each female can produce compared to when she nests alone, Barve says such females make the “best of a bad situation” by nesting jointly with their mother or sister rather than not nesting at all because of the lack of real estate.

Females that decide to nest jointly do so in groups where there are two or more breeder males, thus increasing the number of caregivers and the total number of chicks that females can successfully raise. Years of population boom may have therefore been an important mechanism driving the evolution of such highly social behaviors like joint nesting among Acorn Woodpeckers.