Birds of prey in Yellowstone National Park, USA


This 24 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

LIVE with Raptors in West Yellowstone | Yellowstone Live

Meet an owl named Acadia and see bald eagles in action LIVE from West Yellowstone, Montana. Naturalist Leanne Schuh from the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center and National Geographic Explorer Rae Wynn Grant are here to take your questions!

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Painter Frida Kahlo and saxophonist Melissa Aldana


This 2017 video is called Frida Kahlo: A collection of 100 paintings (HD).

By Chris Searle in Britain:

Monday, June 24, 2019

Interview: Connecting with Kahlo

Jazz saxophonist MELISSA ALDANA talks to Chris Searle about the influence of the Mexican artist on her new album

BORN in the Chilean capital Santiago in 1988, Melissa Aldana has saxophone music in her blood.

Both her father and grandfather were eminent Chilean saxophonists and Aldana grew up listening to the records of Sonny Rollins,
Charlie Parker and Cannonball Adderley. She took up the horn aged six and by her early teens was already a working musician as a tenor saxophonist.

By 2009, having moved to the US and graduated from top jazz academy Berklee, she won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Award at the age of just 24.

“I just knew at some point I was ready to leave Chile and come to New York,” she tells me. “If I wanted to be the best as a musician and keep learning, New York is the city that pushes you to do that.

“It’s a hard place to live but it keeps you moving and growing. I have the freedom to be myself and do what I love and, thankfully, I get recognition for that — which doesn’t happen to everyone.”

Her quintet now plays around the world but her new album Visions takes her back to her young days in Chile when she was deeply affected by the communist Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

“Frida to me was an artist who embraced who she was through her art. She talks about beauty, ugliness, being a female, religion, politics, love affairs and sexuality but mostly accepting herself as an individual. This is a big part of how she engendered me to write this music,” she explains.

Her record, she says, reflects Kahlo’s struggles: “The album became a path for my own identity and expression, experimenting both harmonically and rhythmically with moments of frantic movement interspersed with order and structure.

“This is how I conjure the messiness, struggles and heartbreaking contradictions present in those visions of identity and self-worth.”
Her horn sounds create new elements, based on Kahlo’s own visions, which respond to the challenging questions which bubbled up while she was immersed in her paintings. “I felt connected to her personal struggles on an intuitive level — opposing forces in Kahlo’s life that have had a direct impact on my own music, my own self-identity.”

As soon as her album begins, with Sam Harris’s rolling piano, Pablo Menares’s bass, Tommy Crane’s sprinkling drums and Joel Ross’s vibes, you can sense that deep connection with Kahlo in a charged empathy with the Americas.

The track La Madrina is Aldana’s sonic reincarnation of Kahlo’s choice of “either living with inescapable pain due to childhood polio and a horrific bus accident, gangrene and miscarriages or dying and finding peace,” she says.

“To capture the complexity of our life choices, I’ve written layers of tension and resolution into the music. There are tightly arranged sections but also extended improvisation.”

It’s a unique musical excursion into the mind of a sister artist, with Aldana’s beautifully fluid sound sometimes floating, elsewhere delving into the Mexican artist’s consciousness with a keening insight and intimacy.

And it’s an album which shows that Aldana, despite her global achievements, has never artistically left Latin America.

“I usually go back to Chile every year,” she says. “People there are very supportive and proud of me. I have always felt that since day one.”

Visions is released on Motema. Melissa Aldana plays Pizza Express Jazz Club in London on July 9.

This video, recorded in the USA, says about itself:

Visions for Frida Kahlo (2018) Melissa Aldana
orch. Alan Baylock

I. Frida
II. Diego
III. Godmother

Melissa Aldana, saxophone
UNT One O’Clock Lab Band
Recorded live November 20, 2018 Winspear Hall, College of Music University of North Texas

Soloists: Drew Kilpela, Melissa Aldana, Michael Clement Sam Cousineau, Ethan Ditthardt, Michael Clement Gregory Newman, Alex Souris
Guest Instrumentalists: Eugen Kim, violin & Destin Wernicke, vibraphone

Capuchin monkeys’ stone-tool use evolution


This June 2018 video says about itself:

White-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus imitator) stone tool use in Coiba National Park, Panama

Higher Quality Supplemental Video from the paper “Habitual stone-tool aided extractive foraging in white-faced capuchins, Cebus capucinus.” Currently up on BioRxiV as a preprint and in peer review.

Preprint available here.

By Bruce Bower, 11:00am, June 24, 2019:

Capuchin monkeys’ stone-tool use has evolved over 3,000 years

A Brazilian site shows the animals’ long history of selecting various types of pounding devices

Excavations in Brazil have pounded out new insights into the handiness of ancient monkeys.

South American capuchin monkeys have not only hammered and dug with carefully chosen stones for the last 3,000 years, but also have selected pounding tools of varying sizes and weights along the way.

Capuchin stone implements recovered at a site in northeastern Brazil display signs of shifts during the last three millennia between a focus on dealing with either relatively small, soft foods or larger, hard-shelled edibles, researchers report. These discoveries, described online June 24 in Nature Ecology & Evolution, are the first evidence of changing patterns of stone-tool use in a nonhuman primate.

“It’s likely that local vegetation changes after 3,000 years ago led to changes in capuchin stone tools”, says archaeologist Tomos Proffitt of University College London. The new findings raise the possibility that chimpanzees and macaque monkeys, which also use stones to pound and dig, have shifted their tool-use styles over the long haul, perhaps in response to climate and habitat changes, Proffitt says.

Archaeological sites linked to apes and monkeys are rare, though. Previous excavations in West Africa unearthed nut-cracking stones wielded by chimps around 4,300 years ago (SN: 11/21/09, p. 24). Present-day chimps inhabiting the same part of Africa crack nuts with similar-looking rocks.

Evidence of long-term changes in tools used by wild capuchins (Sapajus libidinosus) comes from a site in Brazil’s Serra da Capivara National Park. Excavations there have also yielded ancient human stone tools (SN: 10/18/14, p. 14). But the newly unearthed artifacts more closely resemble stone tools used by modern capuchins at the same site (SN: 11/26/16, p. 16), rather than Stone Age human implements, the researchers say.

Primatologist Tiago Falótico of the University of São Paulo, Proffitt and their colleagues recovered 122 capuchin stone artifacts from four sediment layers. Radiocarbon dating of charred wood bits in each layer provided age estimates for the finds. Excavated tools consisted of partial and complete pounding stones, rocks used as platforms on which to pound objects, and pieces of rock that detached from pounding stones and platforms during use.

Relatively small, heavily damaged pounding implements from between around 3,000 and 2,500 years ago were likely used to smash open tiny foods such as seeds or fruits with soft rinds, the researchers say. Similar tools uncovered at the site date to around 600 years ago. Larger pounding stones from overlying sediment appeared about 300 years ago. The appearance of bigger capuchin tools by around that time denoted a shift to eating hard-shelled fruits and nuts that required high-impact pounding to open, the team says.

Then starting roughly 100 years ago, capuchins downsized pounding stones slightly to crack cashews efficiently, the researchers suspect. Capuchins living near the site today like to eat cashews that the animals crack with similar pounding stones.

Either of two scenarios accounted for the variety of stone artifacts found at the Brazilian monkey site, Proffitt says. Different capuchin populations may have visited the location at various times, each using particular types of stones to crack or open preferred seeds, nuts or fruits. Or, a single capuchin population may have regularly returned to the site and changed its tool use over time in order to exploit different types of foods.

Stone tool modifications that occurred over the last 3,000 years among Brazilian capuchins are comparable to those observed among West African chimp communities today, says University of Oxford primatologist and archaeologist Susana Carvalho. These chimps use large, heavy stones to crack hard Panda nuts as well as small stones to break open softer palm oil nuts. “What’s novel is that a stone tool pattern we had already seen in chimps today is now recognizable from the archaeological evidence for capuchins.”

Still, differences between large and small capuchin and chimp tools are modest relative to contrasts among ancient hominid tools, such as simple chopping implements and oval hand axes, Carvalho says. Hominids began making and using stone tools at least 2.6 million years ago.

Far-right German policemen hoard ammunition


This November 2014 Ukraine Today video says about itself:

German Hoards Weapons Fearing Russian Invasion: Bavarian police uncover arsenal

German police have uncovered a vast weapons cache in Bavaria. Crime fighters said they were ‘astonished’ at the size of the haul, which included around 150 weapons, thousands of rounds of ammunition and 20kgs of explosives.

Then, that hoarding of weapons was not by police officers. But now …

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting in Germany:

Far-right German police arrested for hoarding ammunition

24 June 2019

The arrest last week of four police officers in the East German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania confirms the existence of an extensive far-right network inside the German police and army (Bundeswehr), which is being covered up by the authorities.

Last Wednesday, the prosecutor of Schwerin, the state’s capital, ordered a search of 13 homes and police departments and arrested four police officers. Three of those arrested are members of the Special Task Force (SEK) of the state criminal police (LKA), the fourth, a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), Marko G., is a former SEK officer.

Ten thousand rounds of ammunition and an Uzi machine gun were found at the home of Marko G. The three active SEK policemen are said to have handed over the stolen cartridges to him. The four are now being investigated for violating the War Weapons Control Act and the Weapons Law, as well as for collective fraud.

The arrests raise a number of disturbing questions.

The house of Marko G. had already been searched for 11 hours in the autumn of 2017 by the GSG9 anti-terror unit of the federal police. At that time “a considerable amount of weapons and ammunition were found” to which Marko G. was not entitled, the Schwerin public prosecutor declared last week.

It was also revealed at the time that Marko G. was the founder and administrator of a chat group “Nordkreuz”, which communicated via Messenger Telegram. The group of around 30 members were so-called “preppers”, who were hoarding supplies and weapons and carrying out target practice in preparation for a “Day X”, when a state crisis was expected to take place.

Two members of this chat group, the police officer and AfD member Haik J. and the lawyer and city parliament deputy Jan-Hendrik Hammer, were under investigation by the authorities on “suspicion of preparing a serious act of subversive violence.” They were alleged to have regarded an impending state crisis as an opportunity “to use their weapons to apprehend and kill representatives of the left-wing political spectrum”, according to the 2017 judicial search warrant.

The searches, which focused on a total of six men, yielded 30,000 cartridges and a list of thousands of names and dates of political opponents. These include Left Party and Green Party state and federal politicians, representatives of refugee associations, of a workers’ welfare organisation and of trade unions. However, only Haik J. and Hammer were charged, the other four, including Marko G., were assessed to be mere witnesses.

The case was reported in the media at that time. Marko G. even gave “Panorama”, a news magazine on ARD public television, a detailed interview, in which he reported on the activities of the prepper group “Nordkreuz”. He admitted that the group met for shooting practice, but denied any plans to kill political opponents.

Commenting on the composition of the group, Marko G said: “Everything from bankers to doctors and athletes. We have technicians, engineers, self-employed craftsmen, policemen.” The group also included several army reservists.

Despite the weapons deposits found and the list of political opponents, the raid had no consequences for Marko G., who was not even subjected to a disciplinary procedure. He was able to continue his activities without harassment for another two years as well as his chat group, which is networked to far-right groups throughout Germany.

It is unclear why a second raid against Marko G., which led to his arrest, has taken place now. It is remarkable, however, that it took place just 10 days after the murder of the Kassel district president Walter Lübcke and three days before the arrest of his alleged murderer, Stefan E. Stefan E. is a neo-Nazi with a long criminal record and a man with close links to far-right networks throughout Germany.

Is there a possible connection? Was Marko G. taken out of circulation before his contacts with circles involved in the Lübcke murder became known, thereby avoiding a scandal for the government in Schwerin and its interior minister Lorenz Caffier (CDU)?

Caffier has awarded Marko G. a certificate as a sport shooter and was a regular guest at a shooting range where the LKA organised training for special units of the police and the army. This shooting range has also been searched in the recent raids, because its manager is alleged to have been active in the Nordkreuz group. Despite requests from state politicians, Caffier also omitted to inform and warn the people whose names were included on the 2017 “hit list.”

Marko G. was networked nationwide. Nordkreuz was just one of several chat groups in which he exchanged views with like-minded far rightists. The main administrator of the network of chat groups was André S., a soldier attached to the KSK special forces army unit, who was also known as Hannibal.

André S. is the central figure in a far-right network of former and active Bundeswehr soldiers. Details of the network were published in the Focus magazine and taz newspaper last November. In terms of personnel and organisation, it relies on “Uniter”, an association of former elite soldiers founded by Hannibal in 2012. It maintains close relations with other parts of the state apparatus, including the military intelligence service (MAD), domestic intelligence agency as well as reservists, police officers, judges and other civil servants.

The right-wing extremist soldier Franco A. is said to have participated at least twice at meetings organised by Hannibal in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Franco A. had registered as a Syrian refugee in an apparent attempt to attack high-ranking politicians and personalities and then put the blame on refugees.

According to the taz newspaper, Marko G. also met Hannibal in person at a weapons fair in Nuremberg and near Schwerin. In early 2017, the two men discussed whether they could use Bundeswehr trucks on Day X to overcome roadblocks—and on the shootings to be carried out.

The taz has also exposed a direct connection between “Uniter” and the Baden-Württemberg State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (state intelligence agency, LfV) as well as an indirect connection to the far-right terrorist group, the National Socialist Underground, NSU.

State authorities have held a protective hand over this huge right-wing network in the police and army and have no interest in uncovering it. Schwerin Interior Minister Caffier claims up to this day that SEK officers involved in the Nordkreuz group are individual cases.

At the same time, soldiers and police officers who speak out against the far-right extremists are being victimised. One example is Sergeant Patrick J. who was due to be “dishonourably” dismissed from the Bundeswehr after he handed over to military intelligence a dossier of almost 150 pages with information on the right-wing activities of Bundeswehr soldiers.

Among other material, the 30-year-old lawyer had collected right-wing extremist statements from more than 100 of his comrades. He had also reported that one soldier had built a copy of Auschwitz concentration camp with Lego bricks, working together with fellow far rightists via Facebook. Military intelligence, however, concluded that his evidence was “exaggerated and groundless.”

The Bundeswehr Personnel Office sought to dismiss Patrick J. on the grounds that he lacked “suitable character”. Only after the affair became public did the defence ministry backtrack. It invited Patrick J. to a conversation and has suspended his dismissal “until further notice.”

German politician’s murder raises spectre of far-right attacks. By Jenny Hill, BBC Berlin correspondent.