United States political prisoner Chelsea Manning update

This 12 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

HEARTBREAKING: Chelsea Manning Update

Chelsea Manning has been hospitalized after attempting suicide while detained. John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report.

Ms. Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst jailed for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks, was hospitalized, according to her lawyers.”

Chilean government violence against demonstrators

This 10 March 2020 video says about itself:

Chile: Women clash with police and block streets during feminist strike *EXPLICIT*

After the massive march during the International Women’s Day, thousands of women took to the streets of Santiago on Monday as part of the call to join a feminist strike.

People take part in a street performance to protest a ceremony marking Chilean President Sebastian Pinera's second year in office, outside La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday

By Steve Sweeney:

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Chilean authorities respond with violence amid renewed calls for President to resign

CHILEAN authorities responded violently to mass protests yesterday.

The protests came amid renewed calls for the resignation of right-wing President Sebastian Pinera as the country marked 30 years since the fall of the Pinochet regime.

Police used tear gas against the crowds, which consisted of large numbers of students who hold Mr Pinera responsible for human rights abuses and the torture of opponents committed during last year’s anti-government mobilisations.

The protests were marked by violence with at least 34 killed and 30,000 injured as Mr Pinera mobilised the army on the streets of Chile for the first time since democracy was restored bringing an end to 17 years of military dictatorship.

In January authorities announced that investigations had opened into security forces for allegedly violating the human rights of 5,558 people since demonstrations started in October.

Mr Pinera issued a warning ahead of Wednesday’s protests, saying that “a violent march is anticipated and we are preparing to watch over public order.”

Those demonstrating anticipated a violent response after footage of police beating an elderly man during Sunday’s million-strong International Women’s Day demonstration went viral.

The president spoke at an event marking the 30th anniversary of the restoration of democracy in Chile.

But it was largely boycotted by opposition lawmakers who slammed the hypocrisy of Mr Pinera who they blame for the atrocities committed against peaceful protesters.

A counter-protest organised by Chilean students was addressed by Gustavo Gatica, who was blinded in both eyes by rubber bullets in October’s protests.

He was cheered and joined in chants of “Pinera, guilty, your hands are stained with blood” in what was his first public appearance since being injured.

Schools and universities called for occupations across the country demanding the resignation of Mr Pinera on the second anniversary of his election.

At least nine campuses were occupied by students.

Police responded by firing tear gas in violent attempts to regain control.

Demonstrations were also attacked with the authorities seeking to disperse the crowds.

The growing opposition to Mr Pinera’s rule is calling for amendments to the Chilean constitution and a break with neoliberalism.

Opposition senator Alejandro Navarro announced that a motion was to be tabled in the Chilean parliament declaring Mr Pinera “mentally incapable” of rule.

He explained that a committee meeting had agreed to ask the constitution commission how to proceed in such a case and whether Mr Pinera could be removed from office by this mechanism.

‘Star Betelgeuse dusty, not about to explode’

This 29 February 2020 video says about itself:

At the beginning of 2020, the world held its collective breath as a nearby behemoth star, called Betelgeuse, start to dramatically fade. Could this mean the star is about to go supernova? With the recent flutter of news activity settling down, we are now finally starting to understand what might have really happened. Today, we take a deep dive into what makes massive stars like this tick, and then get into how we might have now finally come up with answers to this bizarre event.

An educational video written and presented by Prof. David Kipping.

Chapters 0:00 Teaser 0:53 Massive Stars 7:07 Dying Massive Stars 12:47 Dimming 2020 17:36 Explaining the Dimming

By Lisa Grossman today:

The star Betelgeuse might just be dusty, not about to explode

The red supergiant’s time doesn’t appear to be nigh after all

Betelgeuse, one of the brightest stars in the sky, suddenly faded in late 2019, startling astronomers and prompting speculation that the star was about to explode.

But by the end of February, Betelgeuse had started to brighten again, quashing rumors of its demise. Now a study suggests that the dimming was due to dust recently shed by the star.

“I think some people wanted this to be seen as the death throes of the star, and it’s very much not,” says astrophysicist Emily Levesque of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Betelgeuse, a type of massive, elderly star called a red supergiant, lies about 700 light-years away from Earth and marks the shoulder of the constellation Orion. Astronomers have known for decades that, someday soon, the star is going to run out of fuel and detonate in a brilliant supernova (SN: 2/8/17).

So when the star began dimming in October 2019, astronomers took notice. By December 23, it had slipped from the sixth or seventh brightest star in the sky to the 21st. That didn’t necessarily mean an explosion was imminent, but any strange behavior in a red supergiant is worth watching, Levesque says.

“When people think about stars that are visible in our sky that could explode soon, Betelgeuse is near the top of the list,” she says. “So when people said this star is doing something weird, it caught people’s attention.”

Levesque and astronomer Philip Massey of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., decided to investigate more mundane possibilities than an imminent supernova that could explain the dimming. Those options include the star’s surface cooling off suddenly, as boiling blobs of plasma rise and sink within it (SN: 1/29/20), or a cloud of dust recently puffing off the star, temporarily obscuring starlight and making Betelgeuse appear dimmer than it really is.

The pair observed the star on February 14 — when it was nearly at its dimmest — looking for signs of titanium oxide molecules in the star’s outer layers, a clue to its temperature. Comparing those observations with similar ones that Levesque had taken in 2004 showed that the temperature had dropped by about a measly 25 degrees Celsius.

“To our surprise, Betelgeuse didn’t look that different,” Levesque says. “The temperature couldn’t explain how much dimmer Betelgeuse had gotten in the last few months.”

That leaves the dust explanation, the scientists report in a study to appear in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. “It’s partly process of elimination,” Levesque says. Red supergiants like Betelgeuse are known to puff out clouds of gas which condense into dust. And the star did dim uniformly over all wavelengths of light that Levesque measured, which supports the idea that dust from the star is to blame. By contrast, dust that lies in the spaces between stars would block certain wavelengths of light more than others.

The study “is a first step to a better understanding of what is happening to Betelgeuse,” says astrophysicist Miguel Montargès of KU Leuven in Belgium, who wasn’t involved in the research.

Montargès and colleagues have observed Betelgeuse with the Very Large Telescope in Chile. The star looked markedly dimmer in December 2019 than it did when the telescope observed it in January 2019, before the fade-out began. But the dimming seemed to appear only in the star’s southern hemisphere, not uniformly across Betelgeuse, according to an image the team released February 14. That could be explained by an asymmetrical dust cloud, although the situation may be more complicated. Montargès plans to observe Betelgeuse again the week of March 16 and publish the results later this year.

If the dimming is due to dust, that will give astronomers an opportunity to watch a nearby star losing mass in real-time. “There’s that famous quote, we are stardust,” Montargès says, paraphrasing a line spoken by the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan. “Perhaps the atoms we are looking at will one day be part of a planet, and perhaps sentient beings. That’s why it’s really exciting.”

Other astronomers are holding out for more information. “The dust model is viable, but it also doesn’t rule out changes in the star itself,” says astronomer Edward Guinan of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, who has also been observing Betelgeuse since the fall. Betelgeuse naturally dims and brightens on a 420-day cycle, and although the dimming is not usually this extreme, it could still be nothing out of the ordinary. “I think the jury is still out.”

Puerto Rican deep-sea fish’s mouthbreeding discovery

This 17 January 2020 video says about itself:

Deep sea fish Parazen pacificus feeding behavior: NOAA Okeanos Explorer

Taken during the NOAA Okeanos Explorer expedition to the Caribbean Sea.

By Jake Buehler, March 10, 2020 at 2:50 pm:

This is the first deep-sea fish known to be a mouthbreeder

Scientists found over 500 eggs attached to the inside of a parazen’s mouth

Most fish are broadcast spawners, casting their eggs and sperm in clouds and leaving their young to develop alone. But a tiny minority — about 2 percent — are “mouthbreeders”, keeping their fertilized eggs (and sometimes hatchlings) protected in their mouths. Now, a study reveals the first fish known from the deep sea to mouthbrood, researchers report February 27 in Scientific Reports.

In 2015, ichthyologist Randy Singer, now at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology in Ann Arbor, was identifying fish spotted by a remotely operated underwater vehicle for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Okeanos Explorer ship. A red-glinting fish flashed by the vehicle’s camera some 500 meters deep, near Puerto Rico.

Later, Singer identified the fish as a parazen (Parazen pacificus), a poorly known species found in the deep West Atlantic and West Pacific. Upon learning about parazens’ disjointed range, Singer suspected these fish were actually multiple species, not just a single species. He started examining and comparing museum specimens from both oceans.

When examining one specimen from a fish market in Taiwan, Singer peeled back its gill cover to count structures on its gills, and got a surprise. “There was just this big, gnarly clump of something in its mouth,” Singer says.

Initially thinking the female parazen had gobbled up another fish’s eggs, he looked closer and saw that the membrane-enveloped masses were attached to the inside of the mouth by “alienlike tendrils.” Clearly, Singer says, the eggs were being held in the mouth deliberately. He and his colleagues used CT scanning to count an estimated 530 developing embryos.

Deep-sea fishes normally spawn externally, and their young migrate to more productive shallow waters before returning as adults to the food-scarce deep. But mouthbrooding is a comparatively costly investment. Some shallow-water mouthbreeders eat with a mouth full of eggs, which is more difficult and costs more energy, and others abstain from eating entirely as the young develop, draining energy reserves. That parazen would invest so much in protecting their young in such scarcity begs for further investigation, Singer says.

Ashley Robart, an evolutionary biologist at Occidental College in Los Angeles, agrees that this appears to be the first deep-sea fish to mouthbrood. She points out that the fish seems to live in a sandy bottom area with little refuge from predators. “This [environment] may also favor mouth brooding since eggs or free-swimming larvae would be difficult to defend in such an exposed habitat”, she says.

For Singer, the discovery shows that there’s a greater diversity of reproductive strategies in the deep than have been appreciated. But scientists are on the cusp of unveiling far more about how fishes have adapted to deep-sea living (SN: 6/5/19).

“We’re kind of in a renaissance for deep-sea exploration right now,” Singer says. “I would expect people to see many more new discoveries coming rapidly in the future.”