Dinosaurs, male or female?

This video says about itself:

Dinosaur mating rituals | Walking with Dinosaurs in HQ | BBC

Watch the savage and deadly mating rituals that signaled which Diplodocus had earned the right to mate.

Broadcast in 1999, Walking with Dinosaurs set out to create the most accurate portrayal of prehistoric animals ever seen on the screen. Combining fact and informed speculation with cutting-edge computer graphics and animatronics effects, the series took two years to make.

From Queen Mary University of London in England:

Can we really tell male and female dinosaurs apart?

May 12, 2020

Scientists worldwide have long debated our ability to identify male and female dinosaurs. Now, research led by Queen Mary University of London has shown that despite previous claims of success, it’s very difficult to spot differences between the sexes.

In the new study, researchers analysed skulls from modern-day gharials, an endangered and giant crocodilian species, to see how easy it is to distinguish between males and females using only fossil records.

Male gharials are larger in size than females and possess a fleshy growth on the end of their snout, known as a ghara. Whilst the ghara is made from soft tissue, it is supported by a bony hollow near the nostrils, known as the narial fossa, which can be identified in their skulls.

The research team, which included Jordan Mallon from the Canadian Museum of Nature, Patrick Hennessey from Georgia Southern University and Lawrence Witmer from Ohio University, studied 106 gharial specimens in museums across the world. They found that aside from the presence of the narial fossa in males, it was still very hard to tell the sexes apart.

Dr David Hone, Senior Lecturer in Zoology at Queen Mary University of London and author of the study, said: “Like dinosaurs, gharials are large, slow-growing reptiles that lay eggs, which makes them a good model for studying extinct dinosaur species. Our research shows that even with prior knowledge of the sex of the specimen, it can still be difficult to tell male and female gharials apart. With most dinosaurs we don’t have anywhere near that size of the dataset used for this study, and we don’t know the sex of the animals, so we’d expect this task to be much harder.”

In many species, males and females can look very different from each other. For example, antlers are largely only found in male deer and in peacocks, males are normally brightly-coloured with large, iridescent tail feathers whereas females are much more subdued in their colouration. This is known as sexual dimorphism and is very common within the animal kingdom. It is expected that dinosaurs also exhibit these differences, however this research suggests that in most cases this is far too difficult to tell from the skeleton alone.

Dr Hone said: “Some animals show extraordinarily high levels of sexual dimorphism, for example huge size differences between males and females. Gharials sit somewhere in the middle as they do possess these large narial fossa that can help with identification. Our study suggests that unless the differences between the dinosaurs are really striking, or there is a clear feature like the fossa, we will struggle to tell a male and female dinosaur apart using our existing dinosaur skeletons.”

The new research also challenges previous studies that have hinted at differences between the sexes in popular dinosaur species such as the Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex), and led to common misconceptions amongst the general public.

“Many years ago, a scientific paper suggested that female T. rex are bigger than males. However, this was based on records from 25 broken specimens and our results show this level of data just isn’t good enough to be able to make this conclusion,” Dr Hone added.

COVID-19 update, Europe

This 12 May 2020 video says about itself:

Italy fears second wave of Coronavirus after lockdown eased

Italy began to ease its lockdown last Monday but in the north fears of a second wave are growing.

We’re in Bergamo, the worst affected place in Europe, where the epidemic peaked in March, and had been subsiding. International Editor, Lindsey Hilsum reports.

The mass return to work underway across Europe is in line with the criminal policy being pursued by the Trump administration in the United States: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Overwhelming majority of parents want schools to remain closed, poll suggests

AN OVERWHELMING majority of parents believe that schools should remain closed during the continuing coronavirus lockdown, a poll found today.

More than 1,000 parents were contacted for the National Education Union (NEU) survey, which was carried out after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that schools could reopen as early as June 1.

Eighty-six per cent of parents said that they support the general closure of schools, while 81 per cent said that schools should be open to disadvantaged children.

A third said that they do not plan to send their children back to school immediately after the current measures are relaxed.

When asked when schools should be reopened, a majority of respondents said that it should only be when there are fewer new cases of Covid-19, when “extensive arrangements” for testing and contact tracing are in place and when testing of children and staff for the virus is being conducted in schools.

NEU joint general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: “Now that the Prime Minister has set himself on a course out of lockdown, he needs to act fast to reassure unions, school staff and parents that when schools do open, it will only be when our shared and widespread concerns for personal safety are fully met.”

UK COVID-19 death rate far higher in working class. Millions of workers employed in what the ONS terms “elementary” jobs, including cleaners and low-skilled construction workers, had the highest risk of death: here.

As the German government is effectively ending its coronavirus lockdown, reports about people dying of COVID-19 in retirement and care homes are increasing: here.

Baby turtles benefit from coronavirus lockdown

This 12 May 2020 video says about itself:

With beaches clear of tourists amid ongoing closures, millions of baby turtles are making their way to the sea 🐢❤️

In US news and current events today, millions of baby Olive Ridley Turtles have hatched on the shore and are making their way back to the ocean in larger numbers than previous years.

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted worldwide lockdowns, effectively clearing beaches of tourist foot traffic.

Footballers oppose Russian roulette with their lives

This 2017 video from England says about itself:

Danny Rose | The Ultimate Compilation | Tottenham 2016-17 (HD)

Video of some of the best passes, assists, tackles, interceptions, goals (you name it), from one of our excellent full-backs, Danny Rose.

From daily The Morning Star un Britain today:

ENGLAND and Tottenham defender Danny Rose has again criticised the level of punishment that countries receive for racist abuse, describing it as “bollocks”.

And England defender says that people are at risk if league returns

In an Instagram Live discussion with musician Don E, the left-back, currently on loan at Newcastle, said that he would try and “write someone off” if racism occurred when his side was losing a match.

It was just one of a number of issues that the outspoken Rose talked freely about. On the prospect of a Premier League resumption, he admitted: “I don’t give a fuck about the nation’s morale, people’s lives are at risk.”

A reaction to British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson wanting to play Russian roulette with the health and lives of footballers; and of workers.

Rose has spoken out before about the racist abuse he received when playing for England in Montenegro last March, when he and several team-mates were subjected to monkey chants.

The Montenegro FA received a €20,000 (£17,253) fine and were ordered to play a game behind closed doors; Rose says not enough is being done. …

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Rose, a 29-time England international and hired by Newcastle from Tottenham Hotspur, was particularly angry about a remark by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He said that the return of football would provide a “much-needed boost to the nation”.

32,000 corona deaths

“I don’t give a fuck about the nation’s morale, people’s lives are at risk”, Rose fumed in conversation with singer Don-E via Instagram Live. “There shouldn’t even be talk of a return of football until the COVID-19 numbers drop.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many victims in the United Kingdom. In fact, with over 32,000 deaths and 223,000 infections, the British are the hardest hit country in Europe.

On Sunday, Raheem Sterling also expressed his concerns about a restart of the competition. The Manchester City and English team attacker insisted that the decision about a return of the Premier League should not be made just for football reasons.

This 10 May 2020 video shows Raheem Stirling on the coronavirus crisis.

The intention is to rapidly complete the remaining 92 Premier League matches on neutral ground from June. Players would be tested extensively, but club doctors do not think they can guarantee the health of the footballers.

Aston Villa and England defender Tyrone Mings and Norwich City talent Todd Cantwell also made themselves heard on social media. Mings with a sarcastic post on Twitter, while Cantwell once again pointed out that footballers are human too.

UK rail worker dies of coronavirus after being spat at while on duty. Family of Belly Mujinga, a ticket officer in London, voice concerns over lack of PPE: here.

COVID-19 news from the USA

This 12 May 2012 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Snaps at Asian American Reporter, Storms Out of Briefing | NowThis

‘Don’t ask me, ask China’ — Trump snapped at an Asian American reporter before storming out of a press conference.

In US news and current events today, President Trump stormed out of this coronavirus press conference after a reporter asked about his claims that the ‘U.S. is doing better than other countries.’ Watch the exchange between Trump and the press here.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated his warnings Monday that a premature return to work without adequate measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic risks a second wave of infections: here.

Detroit autoworkers oppose rush to reopen plants as COVID-19 death toll rises. Auto parts suppliers reopened plants in Michigan and other states Monday as GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler prepare to recall nearly 200,000 autoworkers to their North American factories by May 18: here.

In criminal pursuit of profits, Tesla CEO Elon Musk restarts production at California facility. In open defiance of local public health authorities, Musk sent 10,000 workers back to work Monday, dramatically increasing the likelihood of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. … With a net worth of $40.1 billion, Musk is the 22nd richest person in the world. He has accrued $12.6 billion since the start of this year and has become increasingly unhinged in his relentless pursuit of wealth: here.

Nurse fired by Detroit Sinai-Grace Hospital for refusing to work in unsafe conditions. Sal Hadwan, a nurse who participated in a job action along with five other co-workers at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit last month, was fired by the company in retaliation for speaking out against management policies: here.

From the World Socialist Web Site today:

Nevada nurses protest lack of protective equipment to prevent coronavirus infection

Registered nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital in Reno, Nevada held a protest May 7 to demand management provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to all health care workers at the facility to protect against the coronavirus. The nurses, affiliated with National Nurses United, are also complaining management is not providing them with sufficient information.

Tamara Erickson told KOLO News that when the pandemic broke out they were assured by the hospital that it had sufficient PPE. But with time, that changed. “We’re told we’re going to be doing things differently and that only certain departments would have certain types of equipment and by the end of March they’re saying, aren’t you glad the community is making us gowns.”

Prime Healthcare, which owns St. Mary’s along with another 44 hospitals in 14 states, replied with the usual boilerplate that it “is committed to protecting the safety of patients, providers and the community …”

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat, has begun the partial reopening of the state economy, which will inevitably deepen the spread of COVID-19 within workplaces and lead to a surge in the number of deaths in the state. Last Friday, Wolf lifted restrictions on 24 counties located in the north-central and northwestern parts of the state, with plans to extend this reopening to the 13 counties in the southwest quadrant of the state this coming Friday: here.

Murder of Ahmaud Arbery in the USA

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

Ahmaud Arbery’s Father Speaks Out About Son’s Killing | NowThis

‘I want them to see my son’s face every day they do time’ — Ahmaud Arbery’s father spoke out about his son’s killing and what he hopes happens to the father and son charged with his murder.

In US news and current events today, people across the country have been calling for justice for Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. The father and son who killed Ahmaud Arbery were recently arrested on charges of murder.

During an interview with Chris Cuomo, Ahmaud Arbery’s father Marcus Arbery called the attack on his son a ‘lynching by a racial mob.’ Watch the full interview with Chris Cuomo.

JUSTICE DEPT. WEIGHS HATE CRIME CHARGES IN ARBERY KILLING The Department of Justice is considering whether to bring federal hate crime charges against two white men who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, while he was jogging through a suburb in Glynn County, Georgia. In a gruesome video that only recently surfaced, Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son, are seen shooting Arbery in the street with a shotgun and a .357 Magnum on Feb. 23. [HuffPost]

The killing of Arbery by a former police officer and public investigator must be seen in the context of the unending wave of police killings in the US, which claim more than 1,000 lives every year: here.

COVID-19 disaster in the USA, update

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

Trump denies America’s need for vaccines. John Iadarola and Francesca Fiorentini break it down on The Damage Report.

“President Donald Trump contradicted his own health experts to tell astonished reporters on Friday that COVID-19 will “go away without a vaccine.”

“I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests. This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again, hopefully, after a period of time,” Trump said at the White House after meeting with Republican members of Congress.

Read more here.

FAUCI’S ALARM ON REOPENING: ‘NEEDLESS SUFFERING AND DEATH’ Dr. Anthony Fauci plans to warn lawmakers on Tuesday that the country could face “needless suffering and death” should the American economy reopen too soon. “The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely,” Fauci wrote to The New York Times’ Sheryl Gay Stolberg. He added that reopening too soon “would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.” [HuffPost]

TESLA REOPENS CALIFORNIA CAR FACTORY, DEFYING COVID-19 ORDERS Car company Tesla restarted production at its factory in Fremont, California, on Monday, going against Alameda County’s restrictions for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Tesla founder Elon Musk, who railed against “fascist” COVID-19 shutdown orders in an earnings call last month, tweeted that his company was reopening “against Alameda County rules.” “I will be on the line with everyone else,” the billionaire businessman wrote. [HuffPost]

TRUMP STORMS OUT AFTER FEMALE REPORTERS CHALLENGE HIM Trump abruptly ended his coronavirus press briefing on Monday after getting visibly angry with two female reporters. CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang asked him why he so often claimed the U.S. was “doing far better than any other country when it comes to testing” when so many Americans are still dying. “Ask China that question,” he replied to Jiang, who is of Asian descent. Trump then called on another female reporter, who paused to let Jiang ask: “Why are you saying that to me specifically?” Trump fired back that she was asking a “nasty question.” [HuffPost]

Trump accused of racism after clash with Asian American reporter. President appears to continue confrontation on Twitter seemingly in response to incident involving CBS News reporter Weijia Jiang: here.

WHITE HOUSE DIRECTS WEST WING STAFF TO WEAR MASKS The White House has directed staff working in the West Wing, where the daily operations of Trump’s administration are carried out, to wear masks at all times in the building, except when they are at their own desks. With Trump’s valet and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary both testing positive for the coronavirus last week, pressure is growing to take further steps in protecting the health of country’s 73-year-old president. Trump has refused to wear a mask himself. [Reuters]

MICHIGAN GOP STONEWALLS CAPITOL GUN BAN Late last month, protesters carrying high-capacity, semi-automatic rifles shouted from the Michigan State Capitol galleries while lawmakers on the floor below debated an extension of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order. At least one state representative wore a bulletproof vest. The shocking display of weaponry sparked a strong push to ban guns at the state legislature in Lansing. But the GOP controls both the legislature and the Michigan State Capitol Commission — the two entities that could enact a ban — and neither appears willing to act. [HuffPost]