Dinosaur age slime mold discovery in amber


This 2015 video says about itself:

Amazing slime mold. Time-lapse of slime mold (mould) behaviour. First, we see the phase where it is actively looking for food and following chemical cues from potential food items. Lastly, we see a phase that somewhat resembles fungoid in nature, ie sporulation. When food has run out or a change in environmental conditions is encountered, these things can trigger sporulation to occur.

Slime molds (moulds) are NOT related to fungi although originally classified within this group but are now placed within the Amoebazoa.

From the University of Göttingen in Germany:

100 million years in amber: Researchers discover oldest fossilized slime mold

Team from Göttingen, Helsinki and New York gets new insights into the evolution of myxomycetes

January 8, 2020

Most people associate the idea of creatures trapped in amber with insects or spiders, which are preserved lifelike in fossil tree resin. An international research team of palaeontologists and biologists from the Universities of Göttingen and Helsinki, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York has now discovered the oldest slime mould identified to date. The fossil is about 100 million years old and is exquisitely preserved in amber from Myanmar. The results have been published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Slime moulds, also called myxomycetes, belong to a group known as ‘Amoebozoa’. These are microscopic organisms that live most of the time as single mobile cells hidden in the soil or in rotting wood, where they eat bacteria. However, they can join together to form complex, beautiful and delicate fruiting bodies, which serve to make and spread spores.

Since fossil slime moulds are extremely rare, studying their evolutionary history has been very difficult. So far, there have only been two confirmed reports of fossils of fruiting bodies and these are just 35 to 40 million years old. The discovery of fossil myxomycetes is very unlikely because their fruiting bodies are extremely short-lived. The researchers are therefore astounded by the chain of events that must have led to the preservation of this newly identified fossil. “The fragile fruiting bodies were most likely torn from the tree bark by a lizard, which was also caught in the sticky tree resin, and finally embedded in it together with the reptile”, says Professor Jouko Rikkinen from the University of Helsinki. The lizard detached the fruiting bodies at a relatively early stage when the spores had not yet been released, which now reveals valuable information about the evolutionary history of these fascinating organisms.

The researchers were surprised by the discovery that the slime mould can easily be assigned to a genus still living today. “The fossil provides unique insights into the longevity of the ecological adaptations of myxomycetes,” explains palaeontologist Professor Alexander Schmidt from the University of Göttingen, lead author of the study.

“We interpret this as evidence of strong environmental selection. It seems that slime moulds that spread very small spores using the wind had an advantage,” says Rikkinen. The ability of slime moulds to develop long-lasting resting stages in their life cycle, which can last for years, probably also contributes to the remarkable similarity of the fossil to its closest present-day relatives.

Cambridge Analytica Facebook privacy scandal update


This 7 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

New details are emerging about how the shadowy data firm Cambridge Analytica worked to manipulate voters across the globe, from the 2016 election in the United States to the Brexit campaign in Britain and elections in over 60 other countries, including Malaysia, Kenya and Brazil. A new trove of internal Cambridge Analytica documents and emails are being posted on Twitter detailing the company’s operations, including its work with President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. The documents come from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Brittany Kaiser, who worked at the firm for three-and-a-half years before leaving in 2018. We speak with Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, co-directors of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary “The Great Hack”; Brittany Kaiser, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower featured in “The Great Hack” and author of “Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’s Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again”; and Emma Briant, a visiting research associate in human rights at Bard College whose upcoming book is titled “Propaganda Machine: Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry.”

This 7 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Propaganda Machine: The Military Roots of Cambridge Analytica’s Psychological Manipulation of Voters

We continue our discussion of data harvesting, targeted advertising and voter manipulation — practices used by firms like Cambridge Analytica. The secretive data firm collapsed in May 2018 after The Observer newspaper revealed the company had harvested some 87 million Facebook profiles without the users’ knowledge or consent to sway voters to support Trump during the 2016 campaign. A new trove of internal Cambridge Analytica documents and emails are being posted on Twitter detailing the company’s operations, including its work with President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton. We speak with Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, co-directors of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary “The Great Hack”; Brittany Kaiser, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower featured in “The Great Hack” and author of “Targeted: The Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower’s Inside Story of How Big Data, Trump, and Facebook Broke Democracy and How It Can Happen Again”; and Emma Briant, a visiting research associate in human rights at Bard College. Her upcoming book is titled “Propaganda Machine: Inside Cambridge Analytica and the Digital Influence Industry.”

South African warthog piglet resists elephant


This 8 January 2020 video from South Africa says about itself:

A young warthog refused to be pushed over by an elephant that wanted to have the waterhole for itself, he kept going back even when the elephant would try and hit him with his trumpet. This sighting was filmed in Kruger national park by Brent Schnupp.