South American maned wolves, video


This 16 April 2020 video says about itself:

What is a maned wolf? Candid Animal Cam introduces you to the long-legged creature

This week on Candid Animal Cam, we’re talking about an animal that looks like a wolf, fox and dog combined! That’s right, we’re talking about the maned wolf.

Special thanks to Barba Azul Nature Reserve and Asociación Armonía for sharing this footage with us. Every Tuesday, Mongabay will bring you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, so subscribe and hit the bell icon to make sure you never miss a camera trap video again!

And shout out to our writer and biologist Romi Castagnino, who hosted, produced and shot this video!

Coronavirus pandemic news, Britain


This 20 April 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

They Done Everything to Destroy the NHS“. Chris Packham on Coronavirus Crisis

This crisis exposes the fact that the nation’s baby, the greatest institution we’ve got in the UK, has been left very, very vulnerable”

Full 29min Chris Packham interview: here.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain, 20 April 2020:

Boots accused of exploiting lockdown exemption by forcing workers to carry on as normal

Staff tell Star the company is putting their lives at risk for non-essential products like mascara and aftershave

BOOTS staff contacted the Star today accusing the company of “immorality” for forcing shop assistants to carry on working during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pharmacy chain has told shop assistants to keep reporting for duty to sell “essentials” such as mascara and aftershave after the company was exempted from lockdown restrictions so that it can dispense vital medications.

A letter signed by Boots staff who do not wish to be named for fear of disciplinary action accused the firm of exploiting its privileged position by maintaining a “business as normal” attitude towards non-essential shopworkers not involved in the pharmaceutical side of the business.

Labour calls for urgent reform of benefits system to keep workers affected by Covid-19 lockdown afloat: here.

Top 50 wildlife moments, continued


This 20 April 2020 video says about itself:

BBC Earth 50 Top Natural History Moments | 40-31

This Earth Day, stay in and explore the beauty, drama and spectacle of our natural world with 50 incredible natural history moments from BBC Earth based on what you’ve been liking and sharing. This is the second of five videos.

7,000 Giro d´Italia cyclists from 106 countries


This 19 April 2020 video is about yesterday´s Giro d´Italia online cycling race for veterans.

Today, the virtual Giro d´Italia cycling race organisation reports that meanwhile, over 7,000 amateur cyclists from 106 countries from five continents are participating, thus helping the Red Cross fight the coronavirus crisis in Italy.

The five countries from which most participants come are Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Japan and Great Britain.

South American beetles cleaning antennas, new research


This 2016 video says about itself:

Carabid Beetle research in Dutch road verges (re-upload)

This video was made in fulfilment of the Master course Ecological Methods II, from Wageningen University and Research Centre. The assignment was to construct a small, 2-week research and to make a presentation, of which this was the end result.

From ScienceDaily:

Rare South American ground beetles sport unusual, likely multi-purpose antennal cleaners

April 20, 2020

Summary: After 157 years since the description of the South American genus of strange-combed beetles, Nototylus, a second specimen finally has been discovered. The beetle comes to address some over a century-old debates, including whether or not strange-combed beetles possess a feature distinct for ground beetles, why that might be, and whether or not they are indeed ground beetles at all.

For 157 years, scientists have wished they could understand the evolutionary relationships of a curious South American ground beetle that was missing a distinctive feature of the huge family of ground beetles (Carabidae). Could it be that this rare species was indeed lacking a characteristic trait known in over 40,000 species worldwide and how could that be? Was that species assigned to the wrong family from the very beginning?

The species, Nototylus fryi, or Fry’s strange-combed beetle, is known so far only from a single, damaged specimen found in 1863 in the Brazilian State of Espíritu Santo, which today is kept in the Natural History Museum of London. So rare and unusual, due to its lack of “antennal cleaners” — specialised “combing” structures located on the forelegs and used by carabids to keep their antennae clean, it also prompted the description of its own genus: Nototylus, now colloquially called strange-combed beetles.

No mention of the structure was made in the original description of the species, so, at one point, scientists even started to wonder whether the beetle they were looking at was in fact a carabid at all.

Because the area where Fry’s strange-combed beetle had been found was once Southern Atlantic Forest, but today is mostly sugar cane fields, cacao plantations, and cattle ranches, scientists have feared that additional specimens of strange-combed beetles might never be collected again and that the group was already extinct. Recently, however, a US team of entomologists have reported the discovery of a second specimen, one also representing a second species of strange-combed beetles new to science.

Following a careful study of this second, poorly preserved specimen, collected in French Guiana in 2014, the team of Dr Terry Erwin (Smithsonian Institution), Dr David Kavanaugh () and Dr David Maddison (Oregon State University) described the species, Nototylus balli, or Ball’s strange-combed beetle, in a paper that they published in the open-access scholarly journal ZooKeys. The entomologists named the species in honour of their academic leader and renowned carabidologist George E. Ball, after presenting it to him in September 2016 around the time of his 90th birthday.

Despite its poor, yet relatively better condition, the new specimen shows that probable antennal grooming organs are indeed present in strange-combed beetles. However, they looked nothing like those seen in other genera of ground beetles and they are located on a different part of the front legs. Rather than stout and barely movable, the setae (hair-like structures) in the grooming organs of strange-combed beetles are slender, flexible and very differently shaped, which led the researchers to suggest that the structure had a different role in strange-combed beetles.

Judging from the shapes of the setae in the grooming organs, the scientists point out that they are best suited for painting or coating the antennae, rather than scraping or cleaning them. Their hypothesis is that these rare carabids use these grooming structures to cohabitate with ants or termites, where they use them to apply specific substances to their antennae, so that the host colony recognises them as a friendly species, a kind of behaviour already known in some beetles.

However, the mystery around the strange-combed beetle remains, as the scientists found no evidence of special secretory structures in the specimen studied. It turns out that the only way to test their hypothesis, as well as to better understand the evolutionary relationships of these beetles with other carabids is finding and observing additional, preferably live, specimens in their natural habitat. Fortunately, this new discovery shows that the continued search for these beetles may yield good results because strange-combed beetles are not extinct.

Coronavirus update, Donald Trump´s USA


This 19 April 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

’Keep your voice down’: Trump berates female reporter when questioned over Covid-19 response

US President Donald Trump told a female reporter to keep her voice down and to ‘relax’ when she asked about what his administration had done to prepare for the coronavirus in February.

CBS reporter Weijia Jiang asked Trump why he waited so long ‘to warn people the virus was spreading like wildfire’ in February ‘instead of holding rallies with thousands of people’? An irritated Trump touted his China travel ban as proof he acted fast. Jiang persisted with her point and said: ‘When you issued the ban, the virus was already here,’ to which Trump said: ‘Do your research.’

ECHOES OF CHARLOTTESVILLE President Donald Trump defended right-wing, pro-gun and anti-vaccination protesters who weren’t following social distancing guidelines in demanding the end of coronavirus restrictions, saying they were “great people.” His response echoes his handling of the 2017 deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. [HuffPost]

PRO-GUN ACTIVISTS STIR THE POT Three pro-gun activist brothers appear to be behind Facebook groups pushing for anti-quarantine protests in several states. According to polls, most Americans don’t want to reopen the economy too soon, but online activity engineered by right-wing activists makes it seem like there’s more grassroots opposition. [Washington Post]

HEALTH CARE WORKERS BLOCK DENVER PROTESTS A small group of medical workers in Denver stood in intersections and blocked hundreds of protesters in their cars calling for an end to stay-at-home orders, resulting in some dramatic scenes. [HuffPost]

TRUMP TESTING CLAIMS ‘DELUSIONAL’ Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) disputed Trump’s claim that states had the necessary testing capacity to reduce social distancing. Multiple governors have criticized the testing capacity, and health officials have warned against reopening too early. “It’s not accurate to say there’s plenty of testing out there and the governors should just get it done,” said Hogan, who heads a national group of governors. [HuffPost]

Piers Morgan lashes out at his pal Trump.

U.S. CASES TOP 750,000 The death toll from the novel coronavirus rose above 40,000 in the U.S., the highest in the world, with more than 750,000 confirmed cases. Although it’s home to about 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. now accounts for more than 30% of the world’s total COVID-19 cases. [Reuters]

NO WATCHDOGS ON CORONAVIRUS FUND The Treasury and Federal Reserve are spending hundreds of millions of dollars of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law without meaningful oversight due to sabotage by the Trump administration and congressional apathy and deadlock. [HuffPost]

Detroit doctor applies lessons from Hurricane Maria.

Broadway star Nick Cordero has leg amputated due to COVID-19 complications.

Coronavirus crisis update, Europe


This 19 April 2020 video says about itself:

Swiss Graffiti Artist Creates Murals to Honor COVID-19 Essential Workers | NowThis

This graffiti artist is creating murals of essential workers, honoring the ‘everyday superheroes’ on the front lines of COVID-19.

In US news and current events today, essential workers around the world are risking their lives to be on the front lines of COVID-19. Swiss graffiti artist David Perez, who goes by S.I.D., is trying to honor those coronavirus essential workers who are still working during the coronavirus pandemic, from the health care workers to the supermarket cashiers to anyone else helping COVID-19 patients or those in coronavirus quarantine or coronavirus lockdown.

In Gland, Switzerland, S.I.D. is highlighting essential workers of all kinds with his graffiti art to show his appreciation. ‘Today, I will especially pay tribute to cashiers. They are on the front line with nurses and others. So, it is for our everyday superheroes,’ S.I.D. said. In the coming weeks, artist S.I.D plans to create more portraits of coronavirus essential workers like construction workers, garbage collectors, and more.

Europe’s pandemic death toll passes 100,000. By Robert Stevens, 20 April 2020. The five major states in Europe—Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK—account for around 85,000 of the 100,000 plus deaths.

Spanish workers strike against being forced to work without protection. By Alejandro López, 20 April 2020. Telepizza workers are striking as the government orders millions of workers back to work facing unsafe conditions.

French prime minister outlines end to quarantine as coronavirus deaths reach almost 20,000. By Will Morrow, 20 April 2020. Neither Philippe nor Health Minister Véran provided any rational scientific or medical basis, during this health crisis, for the reopening of the economy planned on May 11.

Over 1,000 sailors on French carrier Charles de Gaulle sick with COVID-19. By Anthony Torres, 20 April 2020. The French Navy refused to allow the ship’s commanding officer to stop its mission while the coronavirus spread like wildfire among the crew.

How German CEOs are profiting from the coronavirus crisis. By Peter Schwarz, 20 April 2020. An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung details how the executives of major German corporations are raking in millions from the COVID-19 crisis.

How Facebook makes billions for boss Zuckerberg


This 14 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Facebook ‘Fact Checkers’ Include Science Denying Right-Wing Propagandists

Last year, Facebook announced that it would partner with The Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, to “fact check” news articles that are shared on Facebook. At the time, ThinkProgress expressed alarm at this decision.

The Weekly Standard has a history of placing right-wing ideology before accurate reporting. Among other things, it labeled the Iraq War “A War to Be Proud Of” in 2005, and it ran an article in 2017 labeling climate science “Dadaist Science”, and promoted that article with the phrase “look under the hood on climate change ‘science’ and what you see isn’t pretty.”

Read more here.

From the Marx Memorial Library in London, England, 19 April 2020:

Just how does Facebook make its profit?

Despite its tiny staff, the company has enormous wealth. This has as much to do with data-scraping its users as it has to do with another concept Marx detailed: religion

ONE of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a huge increase in social media use. Facebook alone has seen an increase in total messaging of over 50 per cent in countries most affected by the virus, and use of WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has grown by 40 per cent.

Facebook isn’t a big employer. It has just under 45,000 employees in total — up from just seven individuals when it was launched 15 years ago. But its profits are vast — about $22 billion (£17bn) last year.

And that’s despite its $5bn (£3.8bn) fine for allowing Cambridge Analytica, consultants to President Trump’s electoral campaign, to harvest the data of its users.