Turtle embryos help determining their own sex


This March 2019 video says about itself:

BABY SEA TURTLE HATCHING

In summer time when the weather is warm, pregnant female sea turtles return to the beaches where they themselves hatched years before. They swim through the crashing surf and crawl up the beach searching for a nesting spot above the high water mark. Using her back flippers, the reptile digs a nest in the sand. Digging the nest and laying her eggs usually takes from one to three hours, after which the mother turtle slowly drags herself back to the ocean.

From ScienceDaily:

Turtle embryos play a role in determining their own sex

August 1, 2019

In certain turtle species, the temperature of the egg determines whether the offspring is female or male. But now, new research shows that the embryos have some say in their own sexual destiny: they can move around inside the egg to find different temperatures. The study, publishing August 1 in the journal Current Biology, examines how this behavior may help turtles offset the effects of climate change.

“We previously demonstrated that reptile embryos could move around within their egg for thermoregulation, so we were curious about whether this could affect their sex determination,” says corresponding author Wei-Guo Du, professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “We wanted to know if and how this behavior could help buffer the impact of global warming on offspring sex ratios in these species.”

Du and his colleagues incubated turtle eggs under a range of temperatures both in the laboratory and in outdoor ponds. They found that a single embryo could experience a temperature gradient of up of 4.7°C within its egg. This is significant because any shift larger than 2°C can massively change the offspring sex ratio of many turtle species, Du said.

In half of the eggs, they applied capsazepine, a chemical that blocked temperature sensors, to prevent behavioral thermoregulation. After the eggs hatched, the researchers found that the embryos without behavioral thermoregulation had developed as either almost all males or almost all females, depending on the incubation temperatures. In contrast, embryos that were able to react to nest temperatures moved around inside their eggs; about half of them developed as males and the other half as females.

“The most exciting thing is that a tiny embryo can influence its own sex by moving within the egg,” Du says.

By moving around the egg to find what Richard Shine, a professor at Macquarie University of Australia and one of the co-authors, calls the “Goldilocks Zone” — where the temperature is not too hot and not too cold — the turtles can shield against extreme thermal conditions imposed by changing temperatures and produce a relatively balanced sex ratio. “This could explain how reptile species with temperature-dependent sex determination have managed to survive previous periods in Earth history when temperatures were far hotter than at present,” he says.

But this behavior has limitations, Du says, depending on the conditions of the egg and the embryo itself. “Embryonic thermoregulation can be limited if the thermal gradient within an egg is too small, or if the embryo is too large to move around or too young to have developed these abilities yet,” he says.

Additionally, the behavior cannot buffer the impact of episodes of extremely high temperatures, which are predicted to increase with climate change, Du says.

“The embryo’s control over its own sex may not be enough to protect it from the much more rapid climate change currently being caused by human activities, which is predicted to cause severe female-biased populations,” he says. “However, the discovery of this surprising level of control in such a tiny organism suggests that in at least some cases, evolution has conferred an ability to deal with such challenges.”

Du says that this study indicates that these species may have some ways not yet discovered to buffer this risk. “Our future studies will explore the adaptive significance of embryonic thermoregulation as well as the other behavioral and physiological strategies adopted by embryos and mothers to buffer the impact of climate warming on turtles.”

Facebook censors photography museum


At the Inland Sea, Japan, by Ed van der Elsken

This 1960 photo is At the Inland Sea, Japan, by famous Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken. It used to be on the Facebook page of the Dutch photography museum. Until Facebook censored it; along with all photos of the museum. One of many cases of Facebook censorship: from a photo showing Vietnamese children burnt by United States napalm to whistleblowing on war crimes to criticism of Donald Trump’s xenophobia. Meanwhile, the Dutch Hitler-worshiping nazis of the Nederlandse Volks-Unie are welcome on Facebook.

Translated from Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad today:

Photo museum: Facebook page offline due to nude photo by Van der Elsken

A photo by Ed van der Elsken is supposedly offensive according to the social network. They then took the entire page of the museum offline.

By Chris Koenis

The Facebook page of the Dutch photo museum was taken offline by the social network on Wednesday. One of the works of the world-famous photographer Ed van der Elsken is said to be offensive and therefore contrary to the rules of Facebook. They prohibit the posting of “Naked Material or Sexually Tinted Content.”

That photo, entitled At the Inland Sea, Japan is part of the exhibition Lust for life in the Rotterdam museum. The photo was used on the museum’s Facebook page to promote that exhibition.

Museum director Birgit Donker is indignant about Facebook‘s action. “This is a beautiful work of art that is censored by Facebook. That is contrary to their own rules. ”When the museum discovered on Wednesday that the page was ‘grayed out’, the museum reported the matter, but received no response at first.

More and more art offline

Thursday morning, a Facebook spokesperson at last contacted the museum and the corporation said that it would reconsider the decision. Until then, the Facebook page is inaccessible. That Facebook message in which Van der Elsken’s photo could be seen was not placed as an advertisement but as a regular message, the museum says.

Facebook has taken artistic photos offline more often in the past. Last year, eg, the 17th-century painting of the Descent from the Cross by Peter Paul Rubens was removed because Christ -except for his loincloth- is depicted without clothes, just like the famous prehistoric fertility sculpture Venus of Willendorf.

Other social media also sometimes delete messages. Eg, the YouTube channel of the Alkmaar Regional Archive was taken offline in June because there were images from the Second World War on the channel.

YouTube is part of the Google corporation, which does much censorship. Not just at YouTube.

Facebook censors Dutch photographer Thijs Heslenfeld: here.

COMPANIES ‘USED FACEBOOK ADS FOR AGE, GENDER DISCRIMINATION’ Seven companies violated federal law when they excluded women and older workers from seeing job ads they posted on Facebook, according to the nation’s leading employment equality watchdog. [HuffPost]

WHATSAPP IS RADICALIZING THE RIGHT IN BRAZIL Facebook famously bolstered Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 by serving as a force multiplier for wild rumors. But a different culprit (with the same corporate parent) propelled far-right authoritarian Jair Bolsonaro to victory in Brazil’s presidential election last year: WhatsApp. [HuffPost]

Sacha Baron Cohen Slams Mark Zuckerberg For Facebook’s Latest Policy [allowing politicians to tell lies]: here.

OCASIO-CORTEZ STUMPS ZUCKERBERG ON LYING Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg whether she would hypothetically be allowed to run political ads falsely saying that Republican candidates voted for the Green New Deal. ‘I don’t know the answer to that off the top of my head,” Zuckerberg responded. [HuffPost]

Britain: Editorial: Facebook and Twitter cannot be allowed to police our politics: here.

Puerto Rico government crisis news update


This 1 August 2019 video says about itself:

Puerto Rico’s Outgoing Governor Nominates New Secretary of State

From the South: In Puerto Rico, the successor-apparent of outgoing Governor Ricardo Rosselló has been sworn in as Secretary of State. To further discuss the situation in the island we are joined by Heriberto Martinez, the incoming president of Puerto Rico‘s Association of Economists.

The new Secretary of State is Pedro Rafael Pierluisi Urrutia. According to Wikipedia:

In April 2016, while legislation to deal with Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis was being discussed in the House of Representatives, The New York Times published an article covering possible conflicts of interest from Pierluisi’s part.[9] The article covers various corporate clients from Pierluisi’s wife personal firm who would benefit directly from bills proposed by Pierluisi, specifically those amending Chapter 9 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code. These firms had recently invested in Puerto Rican bonds. In addition, the newspaper established that Pierluisi’s wife founded the firm shortly after Pierluisi was sworn into Congress in 2009. In the 8 years since he was elected to as resident commissioner, Pierluisi’s average net worth had increased 27-fold.

NATOs ‘new’ Libya, refugees raped


This 1 August 2019 video says about itself:

Held in a Libyan detention centre and raped by one of the guards at the tender age of 17 is the horrid tale that Joy shares of her dreams of going to Europe.

Joy is one of more than 14,000 Nigerians who agreed to return to Nigeria after experiencing horrors in Libya.

Faith has a rather similar story, getting pregnant after being sold into sexual slavery by human traffickers in Libya.

Both women, with a third of the other women returnees, carry with them their children born out of rape. A reminder of their torment in the war-ravaged north African nation but also a light that guided them back home.

“When they come with children that are not wanted. Especially children that have been brought back being raped. Their identity is not there. It’s a lot of trauma for the mothers. We have cases where the mothers are very aggressive to these children,” said Jennifer Ero, National Coordinator of the Child Protection Network. …

Libya still holds a majority of migrants that are too scared to return to their families with the extra mouth to feed. The United Nations estimates that about 60,000 Nigerian migrants are still in Libya.

Great Barrier Reef coral trout babies study


This video says about itself:

Coral trout, Plectropomus leopardus, gather to spawn at dusk around the new moon in spring and early summer at Lizard Island on the northern Great Barrier Reef. Substantial research into the biology and ecology of this highly sought-after table fish has been conducted at the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station.

This video was shot just before sunset on 27 September 2011 at about 6 metres depth. Males wear spawning colours – very pale with a black outline – that are quite different to their normal colouration. They shimmy up to smaller females as an invitation to join a spawning rush towards the surface.

In this video, a male shimmies at several females and chases off a rival male before making a really fast spawning rush with a female at about 1 minute into the clip. Each fish emitted a puff of spawn at the apex of the rush.

This 4 December 2018 video says about itself:

Can you identify the fish swimming over the acropora coral?

Here are the fish to look our for:

Scarus ghobban – Blue-barred Parrotfish
Plectropomus maculatus – Bar-cheeked Coral Trout
Acanthurus grammoptilus – Finelined Surgeonfish
Lutjanus lemniscatus – Darktail Snapper
Labroides dimidiatus – Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse

This video was recorded on the 9th of August 2018 at 9:08am AEST in Pioneer Bay, Orpheus Island, Australia.

From the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in Australia:

Tracking baby fish for better reef management

August 1, 2019

Summary: Scientists have created the world’s first computer model to predict the movements of baby coral trout across the Great Barrier Reef. The models are validated by in-depth fieldwork and genetic tracking, and will help managers decide which areas need the most protection to ensure future adult populations of coral trout.

A group of Australian scientists has created the world’s first computer model that can accurately predict the movements of baby coral trout across the Great Barrier Reef. The study confirms the importance of fish larvae produced in no-take zones for the health of fish populations within nearby fishing zones.

Tracking the lives of thousands of tiny baby fish is no easy task. But knowing where they’ll settle and spend their lives as adults is invaluable data for the fishing industry and reef managers.

The accuracy of the model was tested in a recent study — led by Dr Michael Bode from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU) — that validates the computer predictions with field data.

This is a world-first achievement, combining the movement of ocean currents in and around the Great Barrier Reef with the genetic and behavioural data of fish.

“The study is a unique conservation collaboration between marine biologists, geneticists, and recreational fishers,” Dr Bode said.

“This was a major field effort combined with some clever genetic work that involved matching baby fish to their parents to understand their movement,” co-author Dr Hugo Harrison, also from Coral CoE at JCU, said. “The behaviour of fish in their first few weeks after hatching can really influence where they eventually settle.”

The study focussed on coral trout, Plectropomus maculatus, which is one of the most valuable species of fish regularly caught on the Great Barrier Reef.

To test the computer model’s predictions 1,190 juvenile and 880 adult fish were tracked — from spawning locations to settlement — across the reef for two years.

The computer model recreates the movements of baby fish across space and time by considering what depth the coral trout swim at, how fast they swim, and how they orient themselves as they grow older.

The results highlighted the interconnectedness of reefs, and how important no-take zones are when considering future adult fish populations.

“Our results prove that the Great Barrier Reef’s no-take zones are connected with invisible threads,” Dr Bode said.

“Knowing how reefs are connected to one another means fishers and managers alike can identify which areas are likely to be most productive and need protecting,” Dr Harrison said. “It’s the babies from these protected areas that will continue to restock fish populations on neighbouring reefs where fishing is allowed.”

Dr Bode said establishing the accuracy of these models is an important breakthrough.

“Our match between models and data provides reassuring support for using them as decision-support tools, but also directions for future improvement.”

German neo-nazis imposing eating pork by violence


This German TV video says about itself:

Death threats against Leipzig child care centres

Two weeks ago, two kindergartens in Leipzig wanted to take pork off the menu. Then they got massive threats. Some of them have been published by Mayor Jung.

MDR TV of 31 July 2019

From daily The Independent in Britain, 31 July 2019:

Far-right racists threaten to burn down German kindergartens because they stopped serving pork

Mayor speaks out against far-right threat to freedom

By Jon Stone

Europe Correspondent

Far-right racists in Germany have threatened to burn down two nursery schools and kill their management if they do not reintroduce pork to their lunch menus.

Two daycare centres in the city of Leipzig were criticised by right-wing politicians for removing pork, apparently out of consideration for Muslim children who attend.

Burkhard Jung, Leipzig’s social democratic mayor, said the criticism had sparked a tirade of hate and threats against the kindergartens and city authorities from people with far-right and Islamophobic views.

In an emotional post on social media Mr Jung recounted threats that had been received by the nursery in the past week, including pledges to burn it down if pork was not introduced before a certain date, threats to kill those responsible for the menu with a “knife in the heart”, and others to beat up its staff “until [they] are unable to work”.

He said the threats, of which he had only recounted a “small selection” had been received both in writing and in person, adding: “I’m speechless”.

The mayor said the menu change was “nothing unusual” and that reasons for changing the food offer could have been “diverse” – including cultural, taste, or nutritional reasons.

He said the change was “a free decision in a free country” and not a subject for cultural debate.

Mr Jung criticised politicians from the far-right AfD party for allegedly contributing to the hysteria by name, pointing the finger at the “Gaulands, Weidels and Höckes who continue to verbally beat up on those weaker than them”.

“In 2019, kindergartens are threatened when they change their menu, because it does not fit a small-minded picture of the world,” the mayor said.

“The sinking of western civilization and the danger to our enlightened freedom is not the result of those who, for whatever reason, have a different food culture than it is common at the traditional German regular table, but because of those who have lost their moral compass.

“We must not look away, not keep quiet, not hide away: Freedom, equality and empathy are also at risk in our country.”

Earlier this month the board of the two daycare centres announced “in consideration for a changing world” that they would develop a pork-free menu, though they did not specifically mention Islam as the reason.

The daycare centres were given a police guard earlier in the week following the threats.

These people who threaten death are, of course, murderous Islamophobes. But their violent imposition of eating pork is also a threat to Jews, many Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians, atheists and others who are vegans or vegetarians.

From DPA news agency in Germany, 24 July 2019:

Two neighbouring nurseries in the eastern German city of Leipzig have backtracked on their decision earlier Tuesday to remove pork from the children’s lunch menu after a fierce debate ignited online.

The head of both nurseries, Wolfgang Schaefer, said he had decided to reverse the decision – at least for now. The management plans to hold a series of discussions on the matter with parents in mid-August, he told dpa. Police were deployed to protect the facilities earlier in the day, while Schweinefleisch, the German word for pork, became the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Germany on Tuesday. “We’re overwhelmed by the whole thing,” Schaefer said.

Local newspaper the Leipziger Volksstimme quoted an employee of one of the day-care facilities as saying that they had received threats in the wake of the decision from people opposed to changing the rules for Muslims. About two weeks ago, parents received a letter from the nurseries’ management saying that “out of respect for a changing world, only pork-free food and snacks will be ordered and given out starting July 15.”

Not all parents were opposed to the move, however. A 37-year-old father of a boy who attends the nursery said: “In principle, we approve of this decision – you won’t be able to keep my son away from sausages, but he will just have to have them at home.”

The conservative CDU’s Saxony branch waded into the debate, saying on Twitter that “The ban on pork at two day-care centres in Leipzig is unacceptable.” …

A lawmaker for the far-right AfD party, Beatrix von Storch, spoke of “cultural subjugation”, noting that 300 children in both facilities would now have to change their diets and customs to appease two Muslim children.”

So, unfortunately, the witch-hunt against the nurseries was not limited to the violent AfD neo-fascists, and to the corporate tabloid Bild daily, with its lying xenophobic right-wing record. The ‘centre-right’ Saxony ‘Christian’ ‘Democrat’ CDU joined in. These ‘Christian’ ‘Democrat’ Saxons should be ashamed of themselves; as they are, figuratively speaking, urinating on the grave of fellow CDU member Walter Lübcke, murdered by a neo-nazi for opposing xenophobia.

“Ancient Greek warriors” and “Pork BBQ” provocateurs against asylum-seekers: here.

Racist protest with a “pork bbq” against refugees near the detention center in Diavata: here.

USA: STEVE KING: FORCE MUSLIMS TO EAT PORK Rep. Steve King (Republican-Iowa), whose bid for a 10th term has been left high and dry by donors following his continuing series of racist and misogynistic remarks, added yet another offense to the list, endorsing efforts to force Muslims to eat pork. [HuffPost]

Studying harbour seals in Oregon, USA


This 1 June 2015 video from the USA is called Harbor seals in Waldport, Oregon.

From PLOS:

Mapping Oregon coast harbor seal movements using wearable devices

July 31, 2019

Wearable devices fitted to harbor seals reveal their movements around the Oregon coast, for a population that has been increasing following the implementation of marine reserves and protection acts. The study publishes July 31, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Sheanna Steingass from Oregon State University, USA, and colleagues.

Approximately 10,000-12,000 harbor seals, Phoca vitulina richardii, make the Oregon coast their home year-round — but there’s little data on these seal populations. The authors of the present study investigated the ranges and habitats of these seals.

Steingass and colleagues fitted external satellite transmitters to 24 adult harbor seals from Alsea Bay and Netarts Bay in Oregon between September 2014 and April 2015. They collected location data every other month (in order to extend battery life) to evaluate and model the seals’ movements, calculating each seal’s home range (the area within which they spent 95 percent of their time) and core area (the smaller area where they were especially likely to stay). They also examined how seals used specific habitat and how frequently the seals spent time in five newly-established Oregon marine reserves.

The authors found the average home range for these seals was approximately 364 km2, though individual seals’ home ranges varied greatly. The average calculated core area for seals encompassed on average 29.41 km2, though this also varied greatly.

Seals spent approximately 50 percent of their time in rivers, estuaries and bays, and were in the water (versus dry land) about 70 percent of the time. While they generally stayed close to the shore, when they did make open ocean trips, these lasted an average of around 22 hours. The seals in this study tended to use the marine reserve areas within their range only rarely, visiting them less than 2 percent of the time — the authors suspect this is due to the reserves’ specific habitats.

As the first major documentation of space use of Oregon coast harbor seals in the last 30 years, this study enables further hypotheses and modelling of harbor seals in a future where marine areas are subject to frequent change.

The authors add: “Satellite tracking reveals at-sea habitat use for the first time for Pacific harbor seals in Oregon. Results from 24 seals demonstrate individual differences in behavior, with some study animals ranging hundreds of miles and few spending time within Oregon’s marine reserves.”

German warmongering corporate journalist criticized


This video from Britain says about itself:

Dr Geoffrey P. Megargee: A Blind Eye and Dirty Hands: The Wehrmacht’s Crimes

After the Second World War,a myth arose to the effect that the German military, the Wehrmacht, had been an essentially anti-Nazi institution that had fought honourably against overwhelming odds, albeit under criminal leadership. Thus, any crimes were the fault of Adolf Hitler, a small circle of fanatical yes-men around him, and Nazi organizations such as the SS.

In this talk, Dr Geoffrey Megargee demonstrates that the Wehrmacht’s leadership shared most of Hitler’s goals and methods. The Wehrmacht launched a war of conquest and, especially in the east, aided and committed acts of genocide.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

A reply to Die Zeit editor Jochen Bittner

1 August 2019

On July 31, the WSWS published the articleZeit editor Jochen Bittner condemns ‘German pacifism’”. Following the publication, Bittner wrote to the WSWS requesting the contact information of the author of the article, WSWS editor Johannes Stern. We document the following e-mail exchange between Bittner and Stern.

***

Dear Mr. Stern, Thank you so much for sending me your contact information. I have just one short question: How old are you?

It seems unlikely to me that you grew up under the Nazi dictatorship. But perhaps you have a career in the SED (East German) regime behind you, for example in the MfS [Ministry for State Security – Stasi]? Or are you very young and historically blind?

I ask because the designation of politically-dissenting people as having a “malignant mentality” was a characteristic of both German dictatorships.

Yours sincerely,
Jochen Bittner

Dr. Jochen Bittner
Die Zeit
Political editor

***

Dear Dr. Bittner,

You want to know how old I am? I see no reason to give you my exact date of birth. But I will tell you this: I am old enough to remember the German reunification and all the solemn proclamations that this would mark the dawn of a new era of peace and democracy. Since then, like many others of my generation, I have seen all these promises refuted by endless wars, the rise of militarism and, to my great horror, the increasingly aggressive demands for a new German war policy.

My criticism of what you have written is not personal, but political. You use your influence as the political editor of Die Zeit and a writer for the New York Times to propagate militarism and war, which have horrific consequences. This is the lesson of the two world wars, of the 20th century and the illegal wars of aggression in the Middle East in this century. Your condemnation of pacifism and anti-militarism as “moral arrogance”, especially in the context of German history, is not simply the opinion of a “political dissident.”

As you should know, the first two charges at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials in 1945/46 were “Crimes against Peace” and “Participation in the Planning, Preparation, Unleashing, and Conduct of Wars of Aggression.” This was also taken into account in the German Basic Law. Article 26, for example, states that all “Acts tending to and undertaken with intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations shall be unconstitutional. They shall be criminalized.”

What your commentary expresses is a now-advanced tendency in politics and the media to openly advocate aggressive foreign and great power-politics and war. This includes the systematic trivialization ofthe crimes of German imperialism in the First and Second World Wars, spearheaded by the Humboldt University Professors Herfried Muenkler (“It is hardly possible to carry out a responsible policy in Europe if one takes the view that we were to blame for everything”) and Jörg Baberowski (“Hitler was not vicious”).

Finally, allow me to ask you a question. In the course of your numerous strategy discussions with representatives of the foreign policy establishment and think tanks—such as the German Marshall Fund and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik [German Institute for International and Security Affairs]—have you ever discussed the consequences of your war-mongering? What would the world look like if it had to “fear” German militarism once again? How many countries are to be attacked this time and how many human lives are to be sacrificed for the interests of German imperialism and capitalism? What would be the consequences of a war against Iran or even the nuclear power Russia, for which you and Die Zeit agitate so diligently?

“Historically blind” describes someone who deals with these questions in a cynical and provocative manner and who, 80 years after the beginning of the Second World War, is once again War propaganda in German media agitating for war.

Yours sincerely,

Johannes Stern

The German grand coalition government, consisting of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats, intends to continue its military operations and participation in the US offensive in the Middle East in the aftermath of Washington’s January 3 drone missile assassination of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, a clear violation of international law: here.