American phainopepla birds, nesting and migration


This November 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens) is a gorgeous desert bird often seen alone or in a pair at the top of a tree jealously guarded because of ample food supply in the form of mistletoe berries. It eats other berries as well and occasionally will catch an insect, like the flycatcher that it is. The males are glossy black with red eyes and the females are gray. They both have a ragged crest and white wing patches obvious in flight. Here is a rare sight of a flock hanging out at the top of a mesquite tree. Juicy red hackberries were nearby but I didn’t notice any mistletoe yet.

From the American Ornithological Society Publications Office in the USA:

Rare ‘itinerant breeding’ behavior revealed in California bird

October 15, 2019

Reproduction and migration are the two most demanding tasks in a bird’s life, and the vast majority of species separate them into different times of the year. Only two bird species have been shown to undertake what scientists call “itinerant breeding”: nesting in one area, migrating to another region, and nesting again there within the same year, to take advantage of shifting food resources. New research just published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances provides strong evidence that a third bird species takes on this unusual challenge — the Phainopepla, a unique bird found in the southwestern U.S. and the northernmost member of an otherwise tropical family.

Scientists had known for years that some Phainopeplas breed in the desert in spring, where they feed on desert mistletoe berries, and others breed in woodlands in the summer, where a wider range of foods are available — but could these actually be the same birds? To find out, Princeton University’s Daniel Baldassarre, now an Assistant Professor at SUNY Oswego, and his colleagues captured 24 adult Phainopeplas breeding in the Mojave Desert in March and April 2017 and fitted them with tiny GPS tags. To download the GPS data and see where they went, they had to recapture the same birds. Fortunately, five of the 24 birds returned to the same site that fall, and all five tagged birds had migrated to coastal woodland habitats and back in the intervening months — exactly where and when the itinerant breeding hypothesis predicted.

“Seeing the GPS tracks for the first time was amazing, but the biggest thrill for me was re-sighting the first tagged bird that returned to the capture site,” says Baldassarre. “We were a bit unsure how likely they were to come back to the same spot, so to see that a tagged bird had returned was an exhilarating moment. When he hit the net it was like, okay, we’re in business here.”

Circumstantial evidence has long raised suspicions that Phainopeplas might be itinerant breeders. Phainopeplas are vocal mimics, and birdwatchers had observed individual birds in desert habitats mimicking species found in woodland habitats and vice versa. The GPS data from this study still doesn’t completely prove that Phainopeplas are itinerant breeders because the researchers were not able to directly observe any tagged birds nesting in coastal woodlands. However, Baldassarre and his colleagues were able to further support their conclusions with DNA analysis showing that desert breeders and woodland breeders are not genetically different.

“I approached this just thinking about it being a cool species and a rare behavior, but as I started to consider the bigger picture, I realized that the sort of flexibility that itinerant breeding species like this seem to be capable of is also interesting from a climate change perspective,” says Baldassarre. “It suggests that they might be able to deal with climate change better than other birds. They’re highly mobile, they can modulate their physiology to go between migratory and breeding periods quickly, and they can deal with different physical and social environments. It makes this interesting beyond just being a weird bird behavior.”

Bird love life, new research


This 2918 video from England is about a goldfinch couple feeding.

From the University of Chicago in the USA:

Investing in love and affection pays off for species that mate for life

October 14, 2019

Summary: A new study by biologists explains how sexual cooperation and bonding evolves in bird species that form pair bonds.

The males of species that form long-lasting pair-bonds, like many birds, often continue to make elaborate displays of plumage, colors and dances after they mate with a female. While their time and energy might be better spent taking care of their offspring, these displays also encourage the female to invest more of their energy into the brood.

But why all this attention between mates when the males could just increase their odds of procreating by seeking out as many mates as possible? A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by biologists at the University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina explains how this form of sexual cooperation and bonding evolves.

“Many bird researchers can tell a story like the experience I once had in the UK. I caught a female goldfinch, placed her in a bird bag and carried it back to the banding station. All the way back to the station, her mate followed, calling,” said UChicago biologist Trevor Price, PhD, senior author of the new study. “He waited impatiently in a nearby tree as I banded the female, and when I released her the pair flew off together in close company, twittering. This kind of thing happens in many other species, too, so forming a strong pair bond and emotional attachments between a male and female is evidently not only a feature of humans.”

Emotional attachment between two females, or two males, is also evidently not only a feature of humans.

In contrast to theories of sexual selection that predict males have the most to gain by seeking out as many mates as possible, evolutionary explanations for the opposite kinds of behavior — loyalty to one mate, teamwork and private displays between pairs — have been harder to explain. The new paper shows how these behaviors often inevitably evolve in species that form pair bonds.

Sticking around and showing off

Many experiments in birds, and some in fish, have now shown that a male that displays more vigorously, makes a sweeter song or carries a more attractive color stimulates his mate to invest more in their brood. For example, in the 1980s Nancy Burley famously showed that placing red color bands on a male zebra finch‘s legs results in his mate working harder for the brood, and consequently raising more of their young.

Findings like this are commonplace. They seem strange, but are readily explained if the extra stimulation by the male exploits the cues a female is already using in other contexts. For example, zebra finches have red beaks already; Perhaps the more of the color red on display, the greater the excitement because it elevates the female’s hormone levels. But while the appearance of the flashy display that stimulates females may be good for the male (he has more offspring), it is likely bad for the female to invest more (she has to work harder, affecting her chances of successfully raising more offspring in the future).

Using a mathematical population genetic model, Price, Maria Servedio, PhD, from the University of North Carolina, and their colleagues show how these scenarios could play out to the species’ advantage by weighing the costs of their investment with the number of hatchlings they can raise over many generations.

For example, say the females of a species usually lay three eggs and their partner helps them to raise the young, but a male with increased blue coloration causes his mate to lay four eggs. The blue males have more offspring than duller males, so blue males become increasingly common over generations.

However, raising the extra young comes at a great cost to the females, so a female who lays only three eggs has an advantage over one laying four, and these females become increasingly common. At the end of this process, all males are blue and all females lay three eggs. But now, if the male does not create a display, females would only lay two eggs, which is not good for either one of them.

In other words, males have to stick around and show off for both the male and the female to get maximum benefits. The evolutionary process can be repeated many times with another color or kind of display. In the end the female can become so dependent on multiple aspects of the male’s display that without the display she barely ovulates, as has been shown for ring doves.

“The models enable us to see the wide ranges of conditions that can cause displays to become stuck in the population, evolutionarily, and that can lead to this result,” Servedio said.

A strong evolutionary footing for fidelity

More than 80 years ago, the British biologist Julian Huxley wrote about bird displays, stating that, “Competition between males for mates, accompanied by any form of female choice is not the common phenomenon postulated by Darwin….in most monogamous birds, display begins only after pairing up for the season has occurred.” He then went on to discuss how these displays contribute to a strengthening of the pair bond.

“Huxley was on to something back then, but his ideas have largely been ignored for a lack of understanding about how this could evolve,” Price said. “We think this new research places affection between members of a pair, and mate fidelity, on a strong evolutionary footing.”

Boris Johnson police arrests 77-year-old pro-climate rabbi


This 14 October 2019 video from England says about itself:

Rabbi, 77, arrested at Extinction Rebellion‘s Bank of England protest

About 100 climate activists from Extinction Rebellion protested on Monday in the City of London, sitting in the road outside the Bank of England from 7am. Police arrested a number of people, including Rabbi Jeffrey Newman, of the Finchley Reform Synagogue. ‘We are in a period of enormous catastrophic breakdown and, if it takes an arrest to try to find ways of helping to galvanise public opinion, then it is certainly worth being arrested,’ he said before being taken away.

Lulav-Wielding 77-Year-Old Rabbi Dragged Away By Police At Climate Protest: here.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists yesterday defied a London-wide ban on protests by the Metropolitan Police (Met). The basis cited for the ban Monday evening was a revised Section 14 order, of the Public Order Act, stipulating that by 9:00 p.m., “any assembly linked to the Extinction Rebellion ‘autumn uprising’…must now cease their protests within London.” The ban was followed by the despatch of hundreds of police to clear tents from Trafalgar Square, the one area where protests have previously been sanctioned after other protests were declared illegal and demonstrators subject to arrest. Four people, who had locked themselves together inside a tent, were cut out of their locks by police. Pamela Williams, 71, had glued herself to where her tent stood. She told the press that protesters were only given 30 minutes’ notice to quit before the 9:00 p.m. deadline: here.

One of those arrested was Ellie Chowns, a Green Member of the European Parliament (MEP). She said in a video posted on Twitter, “Yesterday, public protest was banned throughout our capital city. This is a completely unjustified and disproportionate measure. … The rules have been changed. … No longer is any space in London allowable for peaceful democratic protest.”

Australian governments, Labor and Liberal-National alike, and police authorities across the country have responded to Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate demonstrations over the past week with vicious denunciations and police-state measures. Thousands of people have taken part in various protest actions in the major cities. In some cases, they have blocked traffic and carried out other stunts, as they have condemned the refusal of successive governments to take any action to mitigate or resolve climate change: here.

Researchers have developed a method for statistically predicting impacts of climate change on outbreaks of tularemia in humans. New results show that tularemia may become increasingly common in the future in high-latitude regions: here.

Threatened Bermuda petrels of Nonsuch Island


This 14 October 2019 video from Bermuda says about itself:

Nonsuch Island: An Oasis For The Bermuda Cahow

Once thought to be extinct for over 300 years, the Bermuda Petrel or “cahow” is one of the world’s most endangered seabirds. In 1951, seven pairs were rediscovered nesting secretly in deep rock crevices on islets near Bermuda’s Castle Harbour. This recluse population was clinging to life after Bermuda’s colonization eradicated the cahows from the main islands.

In 1960, David Wingate started the Cahow Recovery Program, aiming to protect and repopulate Bermuda’s national bird. Over the years, hurricanes threatened many of the natural nesting cavities located on the surrounding small islets, and Nonsuch Island was chosen as a future sanctuary for a new cahow breeding population.

From 2004 – 2008, Wingate’s successor Jeremy Madeiros translocated 102 Cahow chicks from the original eroding islets to Nonsuch. These were hand-fed and allowed to imprint on their new home before they fledged out to sea. This technique proved successful and after several years at sea, almost half of the now mature Cahows returned to inhabit the artificial nesting burrows built at the translocation site on Nonsuch. Since the first chick “Somers” was produced by returned translocated Cahows in 2009, a total of 79 fledged chicks have been produced by the new Nonsuch colony by 2019.

To this day, Madeiros manages the entire cahow population, monitoring each nest from egg to fledge. Thanks to these efforts, dozens of cahows now fledge from the new colonies on Nonsuch Island each year. Across their range, the cahow breeding population has increased to a record 131 pairs producing 73 chicks in 2019.

Continue to follow the recovery of the world’s most storied seabird live on the Bermuda Cahow cam. The Cahow cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nonsuch Expeditions. You can watch the cam live here; and learn more about Nonsuch Island’s environs (including the cahow) here.

Big anti-nazi demonstrations in Germany


This 13 October 2019 AFP video from Berlin, Germany is about the big ‘Unteilbar’ demonstration protesting against the nazi murders in Halle.

From the World Socialist Web Site in Germany:

Large Berlin solidarity protests against anti-Semitism and right-wing terrorism.

By our reporters

14 October 2019

Some 13,000 people protested in Berlin on Sunday against anti-Semitism and right-wing terrorism. After a rally at Bebelplatz, the demonstrators marched to the New Synagogue.

In addition, more than 2,000 people protested in Halle, where a heavily-armed right-wing extremist sought to storm a synagogue last Wednesday and massacre those participating in the observance of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. The neo-Nazi, Stephan Balliet, fatally shot two people outside the synagogue and wounded several others.

The protests on Sunday followed anti-fascist rallies in cities across Germany on Saturday.

The Unteilbar (Indivisible) initiative called for the demonstration in Berlin under the slogan “Don’t yield an inch! Anti-Semitism and racism kill.”

The statement from the alliance, which is made up of various groups and civil rights organisations, declares: “Right-wing terrorism threatens our society!” The gunman in Halle is not a lone wolf, it continues, explaining that his attack is connected to “fortified militant Nazi structures, the NSU (National Socialist Underground) network, and right-wing networks in the intelligence agencies.” It condemns the “lack of will for transparency” of the police and “non-stop attempts to trivialise the right-wing threat” on the part of politicians and the media.

This weekend’s protests showed once again the widespread opposition that exists to the return of fascism in Germany. The Berlin protest took place on the first anniversary of Unteilbar’s first demonstration, in which 250,000 people gathered at Alexanderplatz following the right-wing extremist rampage in Chemnitz. That rally denounced the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the right-wing, anti-refugee policies of the major parties.

As at last year’s mass demonstration, the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP) had a strong presence at Sunday’s rally in Berlin. SGP members joined the march, distributed a leaflet headlined “Who is responsible for right-wing terrorism?” and sold copies of the book Why are They Back?, which traces the rise of far-right and neo-Nazi forces and its connection to the turn by the German bourgeoisie to militarism and aggressive imperialist policies. The book also exposes the complicity of the traditional parties of rule in Germany—the Christian Democrats and Social Democratic Party— … in the elevation of the far-right AfD, and the role of far-right academics and university administrations in trivializing the crimes of the Nazis.

SGP supporters at the rally explained how the ruling class has in recent years created the ideological climate and political conditions for right-wing extremist terrorism. They stressed that as in the 1930s, the struggle against fascism requires the independent mobilisation of the working class and a socialist perspective.

World Socialist Web Site reporters interviewed protesters who joined the demonstration out of concern and anger over the attack in Halle.

Jörg, a 51-year-old from Berlin, told the WSWS: “I’m shocked about the murders in Halle. After the attacks in New Zealand and [US] America, it’s now happening in Germany.”

Like many others, Jörg was concerned about the presence of fascist networks in the police, military and intelligence agencies. “It’s certainly significant that the NSU was able to carry out murders in Germany without the domestic intelligence agency doing anything about it. It makes you suspect that something wasn’t right.”

He added that one “cannot rely on the politicians who are now making widely publicised media appearances. Only the people who are gathered here today and the many millions who don’t want fascist terrorism can stop it.”

Angela showing her poster

This poster by Angela says, translated: I am sick of the ‘lone wolf‘ theory. Where are the accomplices, the inspirators, the networks?

Angela, from the group “Grandmothers against the Right”, explained, “I’m here because I find that this tradition, to do nothing against the far-right structures, is unfortunately a tradition with a terribly long history. After every attack, they talk about a turning point, but then nothing changes. I can no longer tolerate it.”

In Germany of all places, she stressed, where Hitlerite fascism raged from 1933 to 1945, carrying out the worst crimes in history, one cannot remain silent. “If we stay silent, we become accomplices. My parents were born in 1904 and 1911 and supported the Nazi Party. I got into conflicts over this. ‘Didn’t you see anything? Why did you stay silent? What was the matter? Even if you lived in small villages, there must have been Jews there as well.’ I don’t want to hear that from my daughter.”

Angela also criticised the established parties and state authorities. The issue is not “lone wolves”, she said, but “right-wing networks”. The “accomplices” and “inciters” sit in government. She said she was “shocked by the right-wing developments for a long time. Since the 1990s, I have protested against the hardening of immigration law, the abolition of the right to asylum, and the watering-down of our Basic Law.”

Camille, a 25-year-old student, expressed the fear that “as a refugee, foreigner or left-winger, you can’t be safe in this country if Nazis can do those sorts of things. Above all, I am furious at the politicians, who are doing nothing to oppose the AfD and other right-wing forces.”

Asked about the role played by the grand coalition parties and other established parties, which have essentially embraced and implemented the AfD’s policies, she remarked, “Yes, that’s right. That’s why demonstrations like today’s are so important. You can’t rely on the parties.”

Leo

Leo studies art in Mannheim and was visiting Berlin. He said he came to the demonstration to express his horror over the attack in Halle and show his solidarity with the victims. “I think it’s great that this demonstration was organised at such short notice and that so many are here and supporting it,” he said. “Today, the issue for me is to send a message in opposition to everything that has happened over recent years, beginning with the NSU murders. As tragic as last week’s attack was, we have to be clear about the fact that it wasn’t the only one.”

Caro, who lives and works in Berlin, also pointed out that Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has close ties to right-wing extremist terrorist structures and protects them. “There is no question that the Secret Service was closely tied to the NSU,” he said. “Some files were destroyed, others were locked away from the public for decades.”

He noted that the former head of the intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, has made clear in his statements that he sympathises with the far-right. “I find Maassen’s political views shocking. This man led the domestic intelligence service for years. In addition, there is the fact that the intelligence agency had large numbers of informants operating in the network around the NSU, just like with the NPD (National Democratic Party). What were they doing there?”

Caro pointed out that the German-Turkish journalist and publicist Denis Yücel has described the intelligence agency as “the most dangerous agency in Germany” and called it “unreformable.” He said, “I agree with that. In my opinion, a ‘state within the state’ is emerging here, just like in many other countries. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) has for years contributed nothing to the protection of the constitution, but has rather undermined its fundamentals. This tendency strengthens the far-right. The media also plays a role.”

Aradiana and Guillermo

Guillermo and Aradiana from Argentina joined the protest after hearing about the attack in Halle. “We fully agree with this demonstration in terms of its condemnation of right-wing extremism, and we support the people who are here,” they said. They pointed out that the rise of the far-right is an international phenomenon. “Right-wing extremism is also a danger in Argentina,” said Guillermo. “We experienced how that led to the violation of democratic rights. Under the military dictatorship in particular. They killed political opponents. The present government under Macri thinks in a very similar way.”

This video is about the Berlin demonstration.

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

Thousands protest in Germany against right-wing violence following fascist Yom Kippur attack

14 October 2019

Last Wednesday’s attack in Halle, in which a heavily armed fascist and anti-Semite sought to enter a synagogue in order to commit mass murder on the Yom Kippur holiday, has evoked horror and a wave of solidarity protests against right-wing violence. The attacker, 27-year-old Stephan Balliet, was unable to gain entry to the synagogue, where some 50 worshippers were gathered on the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. He proceeded to fatally shoot two people and wound several others in the immediate vicinity.

On Friday, thousands of people demonstrated against fascism and right-wing terrorism in cities across Germany. Masses of flowers were placed in front of synagogues accompanied by messages reading “Fight the beginnings” and “Together against the Right”. Passers-by stopped in groups in front of mosques, and in Halle, hundreds gathered to form a human chain around the synagogue.

The anti-racist initiative #unteilbar (#indivisible) called for a protest rally at August Bebel Square in Berlin-Mitte on Sunday. Last year the group organized a demonstration against xenophobia, the racist and anti-Semitic agitation of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the grand coalition government’s right-wing policies, in which nearly a quarter-million people participated.

The appeal for the demonstration states, “Right-wing terror threatens our society!” It points out that the Halle assassin was not a lone offender. His terrorist attack was linked to “established militant Nazi structures, the NSU [National Socialist Underground] network and right-wing networks in the security agencies.” Added to this was the police’s “lack of willingness to investigate” and “a non-stop trivialization of the right-wing danger” in political circles and the media.

The massive expression of solidarity with the Jewish population and opposition to the far-right demonstrates the falsity of claims that the rise of the AfD and growth of right-wing terrorism reflect a rightward shift within the general public. The opposite is taking place. In the face of growing left-wing sentiment and opposition to military rearmament, restrictions on democratic rights and the strengthening of the police powers of the state, right-wing and neo-fascist cliques are being formed within the state apparatus. The cadres of the AfD come from the establishment parties and are supported and celebrated by “mainstream” politicians and media.

The Halle assassin, Stephan Balliet, was shaped by this milieu. On Friday, he filed a confession before an investigating judge in Karlsruhe in which he admits to racist and anti-Semitic motives in his deadly attack. According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, he is charged with two counts of murder and nine counts of attempted murder.

He should have been charged with over 50 counts of attempted murder. Balliet attempted to carry out a massacre in the Halle synagogue and kill as many Jews as possible. When he failed to do this, he shot a passer-by and shortly thereafter a construction worker at a kebab kiosk. He also seriously injured other passers-by.

The authorities have repeatedly claimed that Balliet was unknown to them and that he acted as a lone offender. However, Balliet was active on the internet, participating in worldwide, networked right-wing terrorist circles. During his interrogation, he reportedly testified that an “unknown person” with whom he had communicated on the internet had transferred money to him.

German Synagogue Attacker Reportedly Had Financial Help: here.

Balliet filmed the entire course of his cold-blooded murders and attempted murders, streaming everything on the gaming platform Twitch. Although his video has been deleted on Twitch, right-wing chat groups have been able to redistribute it. In the footage, Balliet addresses a global right-wing extremist audience to which he speaks in English.

He was clearly taking his lead from mass murderers such as Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand and Anders Breivik in Norway. In 2011, Breivik murdered several dozen young people and children belonging to the Norwegian Workers’ Youth. Tarrant shot and killed 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, 2019, injuring dozens more, and streamed the entire bloody assault live. Like these two, Balliet wrote a manifesto, which he posted on the internet. In it he states the following goals: “To kill Jews… to burn down a synagogue and a mosque, to kill a communist, to behead people …” He had also in mind targeting an Antifa centre.

Some of Balliet’s equipment (helmet, bullet-proof vest) apparently came from German Army (Bundeswehr) stockpiles and the police. It is quite possible that Balliet made his first contact with the far-right scene in the Bundeswehr. As is now known, in 2010 and 2011, shortly before the abolition of conscription, he underwent six months’ military service at the Panzergrenadierbataillon 401 in Mecklenburg-Pomerania, where he acquired training in weapons and shooting.

While hundreds of thousands have reacted with shock and spontaneous solidarity with the victims, politicians of all stripes have indulged in boundless hypocrisy. Their protestations of concern are meant to distract from their own responsibility for what has happened.

The central political responsibility of the German government for this act of murder is undeniable. For years, the grand coalition government of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) has been implementing the xenophobic policies of the AfD, from which it is now trying to dissociate itself. The government has systematically built up the capacity of the Bundeswehr for the next major war, providing the tens of billions of euros it requires by squeezing them out of the working class through ever more brutal austerity policies. In order to contain social opposition and divide the working class it has promoted nationalism and xenophobia, including the witch-hunting of Muslims.

On the eve of the Halle attack, the federal interior ministry, headed by Horst Seehofer (CSU), ordered the deportation of 44 men to war-torn Afghanistan. It was the 28th such charter flight to land in Kabul. Seehofer has also set up the notorious “anchor centres”, where refugees who have committed no crime are detained.

Decades of right-wing politics have led to the spread of a dangerous far-right network within the police, Bundeswehr and Secret Service. The AfD is the political figurehead of this “state within the state”, which, to an increasing extent, sets the political tone.

Right-wing war propaganda is being promoted at universities. Those who criticize such racism and war-mongering are persecuted and harassed by the government. The Verfassungsschutz (Secret Service) has placed the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP—Socialist Equality Party) under surveillance and branded it a “left-wing extremist” organization on the explicit grounds that the SGP opposes capitalism, nationalism and the AfD and fights for a socialist programme against fascism and war.

The motives of the Halle assassin are reminiscent of the “Nordkreuz” group, which is infamous for its special cruelty. The group has hoarded weapons, ammunition and supplies and trained in shooting in order to kill political opponents, including refugee aid workers and “left-wing” politicians. Its ranks include policemen, intelligence agents and Bundeswehr soldiers. The penetration of right-wing extremist organizations deep within the state became clear with the recent fascist murder of Kassel’s regional president, Walter Lübcke. His murderer had been known to the Hesse state intelligence service for years.

All this is so obvious that journalists who interviewed Seehhofer on television Friday evening asked him why his government had retained Hans-Georg Maassen for five years as head of the Verfassungsschutz despite his close links to the AfD. They asked if that meant the German state was “blind in the right eye”.

Seehofer once again defended Maassen. “I’ve never seen him as radical right-winger”, said the interior minister, downplaying the right-wing network within the state: “The number of cases is marginal. We are acting consistently there.”

In the same program, Seehofer acknowledged that some 12,000 violent right-wing extremists circulated freely in Germany, and that they were characterized by “a high degree of affinity for weapons and a high degree of readiness to use violence.”

His conclusion was that he needed “a few hundred extra people” in the Federal Criminal Office (BKA) and the Verfassungsschutz, and he argued for more stringent government control over social media such as Facebook. He justified the censorship of social media, saying, “We have to learn in Germany that the new media spreads hatred.”

The German government is reacting to the Halle attack in familiar fashion—building up the apparatus of an authoritarian police state and shielding far-right extremists.

‘Graffiti Grandma’ Fined For Painting Hearts Over Swastikas In Germany: here.

Megalodon, glyptodon fossil discovery in Florida, USA


This 14 October 2019m video from the USA says about itself:

Finding a Megalodon Shark Tooth & Glyptodon (Giant Armadillo) Fossils in a Florida River!

The best of both worlds! In this video we got out for some Megalodon shark tooth hunting, but also found some incredibly nice Glyptodon scutes! Glyptodon is a giant armadillo-like animal from the Pleistocene (1.8 million to 10,000 years ago) the size of a Volkswagen Beetle! This was definitely an adventure as the water was very low and we had to drag the canoe all through the swamp.