This 31 October 2019 video is about bats in South Holland province in the Netherlands.
This 31 October 2019 video is about bats in South Holland province in the Netherlands.
This 29 October 2019 video says about itself:
Watch Saharan silver ants run | Science News
Slowed-down videos of silver ants on a portable runway in the Sahara sun show how the synchronized movements of three legs at a time let the ants achieve high speeds. As an ant runs, a trio of legs (the right front, right rear and left middle circled) touch down only briefly (white circles, ground phase) and then swing forward rapidly (black circles, swing phase). The final video clip shows an ant rushing by in real-time.
By Susan Milius in Science News, October 29, 2019 at 12:26 pm:
Saharan silver ants are the world’s fastest despite relatively short legs
At top speeds, these scavengers basically gallop, with all six legs in the air at once
The world’s newly crowned fastest known ants don’t look as if they’ve got the legs to be champs.
Saharan silver ants (Cataglyphis bombycina) have merely runner-up proportions, with legs about 18 percent shorter than those of a related desert ant (C. fortis). Yet adjusting for body length, video shows silver ants rushing along about twice as fast as their leggier cousins.
Sarah Pfeffer of the University of Ulm in Germany and colleagues took a high-speed video camera to Tunisia to get that video of the shorter ants in their hot and sandy home. At an oasis on the northern edge of the great dunes, the researchers searched for glimpses of silver.
Tiny silver hairs coat the ants, reflecting some of the sun’s glare and shedding heat (SN: 6/22/15). When Pfeffer, an applied neuroethologist, digs out a nest to study, several thousand ants seething in her transport box look “like quicksilver,” she says.
That silvery protection comes in handy because the ants stay in their nests at night and scavenge for food in the furnace of midday. “The sun really burns down,” Pfeffer says. Surface sand temperatures can soar over 60° Celsius (about 140° Fahrenheit). Even at ant heights, the air is still brutal.
Silver ants, however, get two bonuses for foraging in the worst of the heat. It’s a great time to find fresh carcasses of creatures that the sun fried but that heat-averse scavengers haven’t found yet. Also, ant-hungry predators often take shelter from the heat, so silver ants are less likely to become lunch themselves.
To see how those shortish legs can run through hell, Pfeffer set up an outdoor open-topped metal runway dusted with sand. She then offered a free lunch for ants. “They love mealworms,” she says. As ants rushed along the runway, Pfeffer got high-speed film of the step details. The shorter legs compensate by packing more strides into each second, up to 47 for the silver ants running at top speed versus 36 for their taller relatives, the team reports October 16 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Pfeffer clocked speeds as high as 855 millimeters per second. That’s 108 times a silver ant’s body length in a second.
The camera picked up six legs moving in two groups of triplets, like alternating tripods. At higher speeds, an ant gets airborne for just an instant with no legs touching the ground. In horses, that’s galloping. Pfeffer describes it as gliding, since the ants zoom forward smoothly instead of galumphing.
That glide is fast enough to crown the dune dwellers as the fastest ant known so far, though not the fastest insect. They’re beaten, in terms of body lengths per second, by tiny mites in southern California. Young Paratarsotomus macropalpis can zoom across concrete around three times as fast (SN: 6/12/14).
This 28 October 2019 video says about itself:
A computer simulation shows how a head-on collision between two objects in the asteroid belt more than 2 billon years ago could have formed Hygiea, along with thousands of much smaller companion asteroids. After the impact initially obliterated Hygiea’s parent body, most of the fragments clumped back together into Hygiea, and the strength of their collective gravity molded them into the nearly round dwarf planet seen today.
By Maria Temming in Science News, October 28, 2019, at 12:00 pm:
The solar system may have a new smallest dwarf planet: Hygiea
New images reveal the wee world is round, a final criterion for dwarf planet status
The asteroid belt object known as Hygiea may be the new baby of the dwarf planet family.
Hygiea, currently classified as an asteroid, already met three of four requirements for dwarf planet status: It orbits the sun. It isn’t a moon. And it hasn’t swept its orbital path clear of other space rocks, the way fully-fledged planets are able to. Now, new telescope images reveal that Hygiea is nearly spherical, which checks the last box to qualify as a dwarf planet.
If officially reclassified by the International Astronomical Union, Hygiea would join the handful of dwarf planets, including Pluto, in our solar system (SN: 5/25/18). About 430 kilometers across, Hygiea would unseat Ceres, with its 950-kilometer diameter, as the smallest dwarf planet discovered in our solar system, researchers report online October 28 in Nature Astronomy.
High-resolution images from the Very Large Telescope in Chile confirmed that Hygiea is about as round as Ceres — and that its surface isn’t marred by a huge impact basin. That was a surprise for the researchers, led by astronomer Pierre Vernazza of the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille in France. They had expected to see an enormous crater from a collision billions of years ago that formed Hygiea’s entourage of over 6,800 small asteroids. By comparison, the asteroid Vesta sports a huge scar from the formation of its own, smaller asteroid swarm.
Computer simulations run by Vernazza’s team offer a possible explanation: More than 2 billion years ago, a space rock about 100 kilometers across completely shattered Hygiea’s parent body. When most of the remnants clumped back together into the space rock now known as Hygiea, they formed the smooth, spherical body seen today. By contrast, Vesta — about three times as massive as Hygiea and struck by 65-kilometer object — merely had some of its material carved out, leaving behind a big divot.
This 17 May 2019 video from France says about itself:
SORRY WE MISSED YOU – Press conference – Cannes 2019 – EV
Press conference of SORRY WE MISSED YOU with Henry Béhar moderator / Rebecca O’Brien producer / Rhys Stone actor / Katie Proctor actress / Kris Hitchen actor / Ken Loach director / Debbie Honeywood actress / Paul Laverty screenplay / Robbie Ryan cinematography.
By Maria Duarte in Britain:
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Film Of The Week
On message for December 12
It comes shortly after his impassioned speech on BBC Question Time in which he slammed the gig economy for killing a white-van driver, for which Loach was hailed as a working-class hero by some social media users.
Penned by Paul Laverty, Loach’s long-term writing partner, Sorry We Missed You tells the story of a loving working-class family struggling to make ends meet and battling debt ever since the 2008 financial crash and the collapse of Northern Rock, which ended their dreams of owning their own home.
But father-of-two Ricky (Kris Hitchen), working endless odd jobs for years, sees an opportunity to get his family’s life back on track by becoming his own boss as a self-employed delivery driver.
He lays a guilt-trip on his care-worker wife Abbie (Debbie Honeywood) and she sells her car so that he can buy a van. That makes getting to her many elderly clients a much more arduous job and, being on a zero-hours contract, she is only paid for the visits she makes.
The film opens with a black screen and Ricky being enticed by his prospective employer (Ross Brewster, a former serving police officer) as to the advantages of working for himself and the company. “You don’t work for us, you work with us,” he tells him as he seals the deal with: “You are the master of your own destiny.”
The stark reality is that Ricky is beholden to the electronic scanner that tracks his every move and delivery. If he needs to take a day off and cannot provide a replacement driver, he is fined and sanctioned, plunging him into deeper debt and putting him in a moral quandary.
Both he and his wife end up working 14-hour-long days, after which they don’t have any time or energy for each other or their two kids who are left to fend for themselves.
Their 16-year-old son Seb (impressive newcomer Rhys Stone) is going off the rails and their wise younger daughter Lisa Jane (a phenomenal Katie Proctor) is the glue that is holding the family together.
With no cinematic frills or gimmicks, just a poignant screenplay brought to captivating life by his remarkable cast, Loach drives home the criminal injustice and inhumane practices of a gig economy, which exploits and penalises people desperately trying to keep afloat. In extreme cases, it costs them their lives.
With another general election looming, let’s hope that the film’s vital message isn’t lost in the melee. It will certainly make you see delivery drivers in a whole new, and compassionate, light.
Thus 2012 video says about itself:
When it comes to feeding, this thumb-sized bat definitely sides with Dracula. Vampire bats are the only mammals on an all-blood diet — and an unsuspecting cow is the perfect prey.
After release into wild, vampire bats keep ‘friends’ made in captivity
October 31, 2019
Vampire bats that share food and groom each other in captivity are more likely to stick together when they’re released back into the wild, find researchers in a study reported on October 31 in the journal Current Biology. While most previous evidence of “friendship” in animals comes from research in primates, these findings suggest that vampire bats can also form cooperative, friendship-like social relationships.
“The social relationships in vampire bats that we have been observing in captivity are pretty robust to changes in the social and physical environment — even when our captive groups consist of a fairly random sample of bats from a wild colony,” said Simon Ripperger of the Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science in Berlin. “When we released these bats back into their wild colony, they chose to associate with the same individuals that were their cooperation partners during their time in captivity.”
He and study co-lead author Gerald Carter of The Ohio State University say their findings show that repeated social interactions they’ve observed in the lab aren’t just an artifact of captivity. Not all relationships survived the transition from the lab back into the wild. But, similar to human experience, cooperative relationships or friendships among vampire bats appear to result from a combination of social preferences together with external environment influences or circumstances.
Carter has been studying vampire bat social relationships in captivity since 2010. For the new study, he wondered whether the same relationships and networks he’d been manipulating in the lab would persist or break down after their release in the wild, where the bats could go anywhere and associate with hundreds of other individuals.
Studying social networks in wild bats at very high resolution hadn’t been possible until now. To do it, Simon Ripperger and his colleagues in electrical engineering and computer sciences developed novel proximity sensors. These tiny sensors, which are lighter than a penny, allowed them to capture social networks of entire social groups of bats and update them every few seconds. By linking what they knew about the bats’ relationships in captivity to what they observed in the wild, they were able to make this leap toward better understanding social bonds in vampire bats.
The researchers found that shared grooming and food sharing among female bats in captivity over 22 months predicted whom they’d interact with in the wild. While not all relationships survived, the findings suggest that the bonds made in captivity weren’t just a byproduct of confinement and limited options. The researcher report that the findings are consistent with the idea that both partner fidelity and partner switching play a role in regulating the bats’ relationships.
“Our finding adds to a growing body of evidence that vampire bats form social bonds that are similar to the friendships we see in some primates,” Carter said. “Studying animal relationships can be a source of inspiration and insight for understanding the stability of human friendships.”
The researchers say they’ll continue to work on individual differences in cooperativeness among vampire bats and exploring how individuals go from being strangers to cooperation partners. Taking advantage of their newfound abilities to measure relationships in the wild, they’re also looking into social foraging and whether bats that cooperate within their day roost also go hunting together at night.
This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, a Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Awards grant, and a National Geographic Society Research Grant.
See also here.
Bats face many threats — from habitat loss and climate change to emerging diseases, such as white-nose syndrome. But it appears that wildfire is not among those threats, suggests a study from the University of California, Davis, published today in the journal Scientific Reports. It found that bats in the Sierra Nevada appear to be well-adapted to wildfire: here.
This April 2013 video says about itself:
The horsemeat scandal UK government now says “needs crime unit”
Horsemeat Scandal: Tracing the beginnings of widespread horsemeat selling to Ireland
This shocking report into the Irish roots of the horsemeat scandal goes undercover to reveal a systematic criminal harvest of thousands of horses, which netted millions and stretches well beyond Ireland’s borders.
“Nobody bothered asking the question, where are all the Irish horses going?”, says animal rights activist Stephen Philpott, who ran a surveillance operation on gangs smuggling thousands of unwanted horses across the border for illegal slaughter.”Five years ago horses like that were everywhere.” It was all an unexpected consequence of the global financial crisis. When the bubble burst in Ireland, expensive horses were dumped and left to fend for themselves in parks, fields and by the side of the road. It wasn’t long before criminal gangs got in on the action.
One whistle-blower, who is now in fear of his life, admits forging passports for the horses to get them across borders. He says these fakes were never checked. He also reveals how horses too weak to travel were routinely drugged to make sure they arrived at the abattoir still alive. “If you could get it up the ramp it would be on”, he says. Alan Reilly, CEO of the Food Standards Authority, explains how “there are over 26 countries in Europe who are now involved”. But in this scandal, nobody – from the supermarkets to the suppliers – is accepting blame.
Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:
How horse meat transformed into beef (at least, on paper)
Against meat trader Hans W. from Breda, the public prosecutor has demanded three years in prison. He is said to have sold tons of horse meat as beef, together with the main suspect in the fraud case, Jan F. W. is suspected of participating in a criminal organization and forgery.
It was the largest European meat scandal in 2013. Ravioli, spaghetti bolognese, moussaka and other frozen meals in various European countries turned out to contain horse meat, while according to the labels they contained beef. Dutch companies appear to have played a crucial role.
At the court in Breda today the case against a number of companies involved was dealt with. The court case showed how meat was dragged around and how fraud was committed on a large scale.
Made up data
Tens of thousands of kilograms of horse meat were shipped by boat from Canada to Breda. The meat ended up in a cold store where labels were changed – coincidentally opposite the court in Breda where the case was being dealt with today. The origin of the meat was no longer visible and slaughter dates were made up.
It was then delivered to a French corporation, as so-called beef from Romania. It ended up in frozen meals. Horse meat from Belgium and Ireland was also sold as more expensive beef from Romania. Only after checking meals in Great Britain and Germany did it become clear that there was horse DNA in the beef meals.
Main suspect Jan F. – also called the horse king of Breda – was not present at the trial. He is under arrest in Spain for a similar case and, according to his lawyer, did not dare to come to Breda. Afraid of being arrested because of a European investigation order and of then being extradited to France. There he was sentenced to two years in prison for other meat fraud.
“The label must match the content,” said the public prosecutor. “If you order beef, then you must get beef. Trust comes on foot and runs away on horseback. It will take a while before consumers will be able to trust their bolognese again.”
W. claims to have been used by Jan F. and denies having known anything about the fraud. He also believes that the corporation in France could have known that they were getting horse meat. “There is a completely different air in a cold store if it contains horse meat than in a cold store with beef”, says W .. “And the colour of the fat is different. Horse meat is much yellower.”
The court will rule on Hans W. in four weeks. A new date is being sought for the case against Jan F.
This video from Bermuda says about itself:
Adult Cahow Makes First Visit of the 2020 Breeding Season — Oct. 23, 2019
An adult [male] cahow returned to the Cahow cam nesting burrow on October 23, meaning the November courtship period will likely soon be underway for the pair inhabiting this nest site. Now we wait for its mate to return!
Both the 2017-2018 cam burrow and the original 2013-2014 burrow are visible, as well as two different views of Nonsuch Island (where the cams are based).
and learn more about Nonsuch Island’s environs (including the cahow) here.
The Cornel Lab of Ornithology writes:
The cahows will spend the next few weeks courting, copulating, and preparing their nest scrape for what’s to come. Watch while you can, because they won’t stay for long. Both adults will head back out to sea near the start of December before the female ultimately returns to lay a single egg in early January.