Bezos’ Washington Post promotes anti-Chinese American xenophobia


This Match 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

The Chinese students fighting racism – BBC News

Last month Chinese students at Columbia University in New York City were targeted by racist vandals who ripped the name tags bearing their Chinese names off dorm doors. So they made a video about what their Chinese name means to them. They explain how it went viral. Filmed by Max Toomey and edited by Joshua Lim.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Washington Post pushes xenophobic campaign against Chinese-Americans

10 September 2019

On Saturday, the Washington Post published an editorial giving its stamp of approval to a report by the Hoover Institution arguing that Chinese nationals and ethnically Chinese Americans potentially pose a national security threat to the United States.

The Hoover Institution declares that “it should no longer be acceptable that scholars, journalists, diplomats, and public officials from the People’s Republic of China be afforded unfettered access to American society.”

The Post’s endorsement of this xenophobic demand comes in the form of an editorial demanding greater restrictions on visas to Chinese journalists wishing to enter and work in the United States. The editorial declares, “For many years, U.S. policy was guided by the logic that it is best to remain open, to showcase a commitment to values and principle.”

But now, the Post endorses the argument put forward by the Hoover Institution that, in response to Chinese limits on the freedom of the press, “the US State Department should respond in kind by restricting visas and access for Chinese journalists in the United States.”

The report calls for “reciprocal” limitations to be put on the actions of Chinese nationals in the United States: that is, for every curtailment of democratic rights in China nominally targeted against Americans, a reciprocal measure should be taken against Chinese nationals.

But given the severe restrictions on the freedom of expression inintoa, including massive internet censorship, this is an argument for nothing less than importing these very policies into the United States, and targeting them on the basis of race.

The report, authored by Hoover instruction fellow Larry Diamond and Orville Schell, the director of the Center on US-China Relations, declares that the Chinese government sees “the whole worldwide Chinese diaspora” as “overseas compatriots”, owing a measure of loyalty to “the Chinese Motherland”, in what the report calls “racial targeting”.

The report declares, “Officials from Beijing have stated clearly that they do not view overseas Chinese as simply citizens of foreign countries”, but rather as “overseas compatriots” who have both historical connections and responsibilities as “sons and daughters of the Yellow Emperor.”

In response to this supposed threat by the “sons and daughters of the Yellow Emperor,” the report calls for “tit-for-tat retaliation”. It demands that “all American institutions—governmental and nongovernmental—that deal with Chinese actors should review their oversight and governance practices and codify and exemplify best standards of practice and due diligence.”

Given that the definition of “Chinese actors” is, according to the report itself, racial, the implications of these statements are sweeping. Every institution, from schools to theaters, must be on the watch for the supposed dangers posed by Chinese nationals and Chinese-Americans.

The Hoover Institution report argues that China is engaged in a “discourse war” through “its surging media presence, the growing number of visits and exchanges of all kinds, the expansion of philanthropic activities.”

In the distorted view of the report’s authors, all cultural, and intellectual exchange between the United States and its largest trading partner is a means of foreign “subversion”.

The authors of the report praise the direction taken by US policy on China, having “a series of new initiatives… issuing forth from both the administration and Congress, suggesting a rapidly changing landscape for US-China relations.”

This “tidal shift now emanated not from Congress alone—where it had strong bipartisan support—but also from the White House and National Security Council, the Pentagon, the Office of the US Trade Representative, the Department of the Treasury, and even the Department of State.”

The report gloats, “As sentiment shifted away from hopes of finding common ways to collaborate,” a spate of new US policy initiatives have ensured that “Chinese influence on Capitol Hill has reached a low point.”

The report praises actions placing restrictions on Chinese Americans, including reductions in the duration of student visas put in place by the Trump administration last year.

The Washington Post, owned by American retail oligarch Jeff Bezos, who operates a network of fulfillment centers notorious for their exploitative conditions, has, over the past two years shifted to an increasingly anti-Chinese position, arguing that the interests of American corporations like Amazon are best served not by cooperation with, but struggle against, their Chinese competitors.

In this, the Post has paralleled the shift in opinion within the Democratic Party and its quasi-affiliated news outlets, including the New York Times, which have largely embraced the anti-China platform pioneered by fascist ideologue Steve Bannon as head of Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

In recent months, the Trump administration has massively intensified its trade war with China, and has withdrawn from the INF nuclear treaty in order escalate its military buildup against China.

The attitude of the Times was summed up in a headline by columnist Roger Cohen: “Trump Has China Policy About Right.”

America has a long and dirty history of ethnic discrimination against its Chinese minority, which was among the most exploited sections of its working class. It is no surprise that, in adopting Bannon’s anti-Chinese policy, the Post is increasingly open to the racist subtext of his fascistic politics.

Newly-elected Liberal Party member of parliament, Gladys Liu, is the latest victim of the McCarthyite witch-hunt against all those in the establishment who are not considered fully supportive of Australia’s alignment with the US-led confrontation with China. In a vicious interview on Sky News on September 10, Liu was asked by right-wing commentator Andrew Bolt: “Are you a spokesman [sic] for the Chinese communist regime in Australia?”: here.

Jeff Bezos’ Whole Foods slashes medical benefits for nearly 2,000 part-time workers: here.

‘New’ Permian mass extinction discovered


This 23 August 2019 video says about itself:

Here Dr. Mike Day talks to us about the Guadalupian extinction event that occurred about 8 million years before the End of the Permian mass extinction event.

From New York University in the USA:

Researchers unearth ‘new’ mass-extinction

New analysis brings total of species extinctions to six

September 9, 2019

A team of scientists has concluded that earth experienced a previously underestimated severe mass-extinction event, which occurred about 260 million years ago, raising the total of major mass extinctions in the geologic record to six.

“It is crucial that we know the number of severe mass extinctions and their timing in order to investigate their causes,” explains Michael Rampino, a professor in New York University’s Department of Biology and a co-author of the analysis, which appears in the journal Historical Biology. “Notably, all six major mass extinctions are correlated with devastating environmental upheavals — specifically, massive flood-basalt eruptions, each covering more than a million square kilometers with thick lava flows.”

Scientists had previously determined that there were five major mass-extinction events, wiping out large numbers of species and defining the ends of geological periods: the end of the Ordovician (443 million years ago), the Late Devonian (372 million years ago), the Permian (252 million years ago), the Triassic (201 million years ago), and the Cretaceous (66 million years ago). And, in fact, many researchers have raised concerns about the contemporary, ongoing loss of species diversity — a development that might be labeled a “seventh extinction” because such a modern mass extinction, scientists have predicted, could end up being as severe as these past events.

The Historical Biology work, which also included Nanjing University’s Shu-zhong Shen, focused on the Guadalupian, or Middle Permian period, which lasted from 272 to about 260 million years ago.

Here, the researchers observe, the end-Guadalupian extinction event — which affected life on land and in the seas — occurred at the same time as the Emeishan flood-basalt eruption that produced the Emeishan Traps, an extensive rock formation, found today in southern China. The eruption’s impact was akin to those causing other known severe mass extinctions, Rampino says.

“Massive eruptions such as this one release large amounts of greenhouse gases, specifically carbon dioxide and methane, that cause severe global warming, with warm, oxygen-poor oceans that are not conducive to marine life,” he notes.

“In terms of both losses in the number of species and overall ecological damage, the end-Guadalupian event now ranks as a major mass extinction, similar to the other five,” the authors write.

American salamanders and climate change


This video from the USA says about itself:

Plethodon montanus – courtship

Filmed and edited by James A. Organ in the 1960s. Animals are from the Whitetop/Mt. Rogers area, Grayson & Smyth counties, Virginia. See Organ (1958, Copeia, pp. 251-259) for a description of courtship in this population, then known as Plethodon jordani metcalfi. Film provided courtesy of Sylvia Organ.

From Clemson University in the USA:

How salamanders harness limb regeneration to buffer selves from climate change

September 10, 2019

Looking like a cross between a frog and a lizard, the gray cheek salamander has thin, smooth skin and no lungs. The amphibian breathes through its skin, and to survive it must keep its skin moist. As environmental conditions grow hotter or drier, scientists want to know whether and how these animals can acclimate.

Researchers from Clemson University’s College of Science have shown for the first time that these salamanders inhabiting the southern Appalachian Mountains use temperature rather than humidity as the best cue to anticipate changes in their environment. Significantly, the researchers observed that salamanders actually harness their unique ability to regenerate limbs to rapidly minimize the impact of hot temperatures.

The findings, which are described in the paper, “Thermal cues drive plasticity in desiccation resistance in montane salamanders with implications for climate change,” may have implications for other animals and even plants. The paper was published in Nature Communications on Sept. 9.

A major issue for these salamanders each day is the potentially fatal risk of drying out. Biological sciences associate professor Mike Sears and his research group have shown over the years that these animals tolerate dehydration by regulating their water loss through physiological changes. But the researchers didn’t fully understand how they did that until now.

“We’re the first to look on the molecular level at salamander physiology with respect to the environment,” said Sears, whose team conducted acclimation experiments and gene expression analysis. “We figured out from the genetic perspective how they do this.”

Lead author Eric Riddell, who earned his doctorate at Clemson in 2018 and is now a postdoctoral scholar at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, collected about 150 salamanders from the mountains near Highlands, North Carolina, and brought them back to Sears’ Clemson lab, where he gave them a month to get used to their new environment.

He then divided the animals into four groups that would be exposed to different climate conditions they might experience currently or in the future. Because the animals are nocturnal, he and his undergraduate assistants moved the salamanders from a moist rehydration chamber each night into an activity chamber, where they walked for several hours in soil in the open air as they were exposed to different levels of temperature and humidity.

The researchers repeated this routine over several weeks, while also measuring how quickly the salamanders dried out and how much oxygen they consumed by calculating the vapor pressure deficit (VPD).

“We found that salamanders anticipate the risk of drying out by using temperature and not humidity,” said Riddell, noting that while humidity does play a role in the rate of dehydration, it’s not as reliable a cue for the animals.

Riddell also conducted gene analyses of tissue samples from the salamanders’ skin to understand what physiological changes were occurring at the cellular level that enabled the animals to hold water in their bodies rather than have it evaporate through their skin.

According to Riddell, as temperatures increased, the salamanders were able to break down and subsequently rebuild blood vessel networks in their skin. “This temperature-sensitive blood vessel regeneration suggests that salamanders regulate water loss through regression and regeneration of capillary beds in the skin,” Riddell said.

In the long term, Riddell said, this blood vessel development might help scientists understand a salamander’s unique ability to regenerate or regrow limbs, a model system for understanding regenerative medicine in humans.

“By just focusing on how they regrow this one single type of tissue, these blood vessels, researchers might be able to understand the process of regeneration better,” Riddell said.

This fall, Sears plans to explore what happens as salamanders become more tolerant of warmer temperatures. He and his students will conduct experiments at various elevations to determine the maximum temperature the animal will tolerate voluntarily. Since temperature changes with elevation, the amphibians will select an elevation with an acceptable temperature range.

“Ultimately we want to know how genetically adaptable animals are to changes in the future climate,” Sears explained. “One of the big questions in our field is whether animals can keep up with the rate of climate change through evolution. By leveraging these genomic tools as we did in this study, we can begin to answer such ecological questions.”

In addition to Riddell, other members of Sears’ team contributing to this study included Christina Wells, Clemson associate professor of biological sciences; Kelly Zamudio, Cornell University ecology and evolutionary biology professor; and Emma Roback, a Grinnell College undergraduate summer research intern.

This current study builds on Sears’ groundbreaking research, published in July 2018, which demonstrated the adaptability of seven species of mountain salamanders in adjusting to their changing environment.

Work was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation’s Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (grant number 1601485) and Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Science Foundation. The Highlands Biological Station provided additional opportunities to collect data through its Grant-in-Aid program.

Big pterosaur discovery in Canada


Cryodrakon boreas. Credit David Maas

Artist’s depiction of Cryodrakon boreas, featuring Canadian colours in honour of where the fossils were found. The true colours of the species aren’t actually known. Illustration: Davis Maas

This is artist David Maas’s depiction of Cryodrakon boreas, featuring Canadian colours in honour of where the fossils were found. The true colours of the species aren’t actually known.

From Queen Mary University of London, England:

New flying reptile species was one of largest ever flying animals

September 10, 2019

A newly identified species of pterosaur is among the largest ever flying animals, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London.

Cryodrakon boreas, from the Azhdarchid group of pterosaurs (often incorrectly called ‘pterodactyls‘), was a flying reptile with a wingspan of up to 10 metres which lived during the Cretaceous period around 77 million years ago.

Its remains were discovered 30 years ago in Alberta, Canada, but palaeontologists had assumed they belonged to an already known species of pterosaur discovered in Texas, USA, named Quetzalcoatlus.

The study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, reveals it is actually a new species and the first pterosaur to be discovered in Canada.

Dr David Hone, lead author of the study from Queen Mary University of London, said: “This is a cool discovery, we knew this animal was here but now we can show it is different to other azhdarchids and so it gets a name.”

Although the remains — consisting of a skeleton that has part of the wings, legs, neck and a rib — were originally assigned to Quetzalcoatlus, study of this and additional material uncovered over the years shows it is a different species in light of the growing understanding of Azhdarchid diversity.

The main skeleton is from a young animal with a wingspan of about 5 metres but one giant neck bone from another specimen suggests an adult animal would have a wingspan of around 10 metres.

This makes Cryodrakon boreas comparable in size to other giant azhdarchids including the Texan Quetzalcoatlus which could reach 10.5 m in wingspan and weighed around 250 kg.

Like other azhdarchids these animals were carnivorous and predominantly predated on small animals which would likely include lizards, mammals and even baby dinosaurs.

Dr Hone added: “It is great that we can identify Cryodrakon as being distinct to Quetzalcoatlus as it means we have a better picture of the diversity and evolution of predatory pterosaurs in North America.”

Unlike most pterosaur groups, Azhdarchids are known primarily from terrestrial settings and, despite their likely capacity to cross oceanic distances in flight, they are broadly considered to be animals that were adapted for, and lived in, inland environments.

Despite their large size and a distribution across North and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe, few azhdarchids are known from more than fragmentary remains. This makes Cryodrakon an important animal since it has very well preserved bones and includes multiple individuals of different sizes.

United States warmonger Bolton, buh bye again!


This 10 September 2019 video is called John Bolton Fired.

So, after warmongering United States President George W Bush sacked warmonger Bolton in 2006, today warmongering United States President Donald Trump dumps Bolton again.

Buh bye! What should really happen now is the whole Trump administration following Bolton to the political dustbin.

However, I suspect that Trump will now make another warmonger Bolton‘s successor.