Teratorns, big prehistoric American vultures


This 10 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Teratorns – The Monster Birds

Millions of years ago giant birds of prey ruled the Americas – the Teratorns. But our understanding of these animals has changed greatly in the last few decades.

Naomi Klein on coronavirus and capitalism


This 13 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Naomi Klein on How Healthcare Industry & Silicon Valley Plan to Profit from Coronavirus Crisis

As the top infectious disease expert testifies to the Senate that needless death and suffering could result from reopening too quickly, author and journalist Naomi Klein says a “pandemic shock doctrine” is beginning to emerge. The U.S. healthcare industry “sees a potential bonanza” in the coronavirus, she says, which represents “a win for them.” She also details how our lives could be transformed into a “living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future” that benefits tech companies providing the so-called solutions to the crisis, including in healthcare, education and surveillance.

This 13 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Naomi Klein: COVID-19 shows “for-profit medicine does not make any kind of sense

If a COVID-19 vaccine is developed in the U.S., will it be made available to everyone regardless of income? Naomi Klein says the question demonstrates how “for-profit medicine does not make any kind of sense.” The senior Intercept reporter uses the disastrous rollout of COVID-19 antibody tests as a recent indicator of what could come of a healthcare industry that views the pandemic as a money-making bonanza. “We saw something absolutely absurd happen within the Trump administration, where they decided that in order to expedite the rollout of antibody tests, they would not regulate it at all, just create a kind of free-for-all,” says Klein. “The market was flooded with garbage antibody tests. Lo and behold … regulation actually matters. So now people don’t know whether they can trust these tests at all, and we are once again losing valuable time.”

This 13 May 2012 video from the USA says about itself:

In her new report for The Intercept on the “Screen New Deal”, Naomi Klein looks at how the future we’re being rushed into by the coronavirus pandemic could transform our lives by making elements of daily life under quarantine permanent, in order to benefit billionaires in the tech industry. Klein examines the case of New York, where state officials are courting tech billionaires like former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and former mayor Michael Bloomberg to deal with the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis through public-private partnerships. “They see huge opportunities in telehealth, in the educational market in public schools, in supporting us working from home,” says Klein. “They’re not looking for a traditional reopening, but rather a new paradigm where the privileged classes who are able to isolate themselves basically get everything … either delivered through digital streaming or by drone.”

Moths pollinate crop plants, new research


This 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

Moon Flower #7 – Pollinated by Sphinx Moth (Time-lapse)

This 2-minute video is a 4x Time-lapse rendering of the blossoming flower and half-time slow motion of the Sphinx Moth (aka Hummingbird Moth, Hawk Moth, or Luna Moth). Captured on July 16 in Albuquerque, New Mexico at approximately 8:30 PM.

From University College London in England:

Moths have a secret but vital role as pollinators in the night

May 12, 2020

Moths are important pollen transporters in English farmland and might play a role in supporting crop yields, according to a new UCL study.

The research, published in Biology Letters, shows that moth pollen transport networks are larger and more complex than networks for daytime pollinators.

The team found that moths transport pollen from a high number of plants also visited by bees, butterflies and hoverflies, but also interacted with plants not commonly visited by these insects.

The study also shows that pollen transport occurs most frequently on the moth’s ventral thorax (chest), rather than on the proboscis (tongue), allowing it to be easily transferred to other plants. Lead author of the study, Dr Richard Walton (UCL Geography) said: “Nocturnal moths have an important but overlooked ecological role. They complement the work of daytime pollinators, helping to keep plant populations diverse and abundant. They also provide natural biodiversity back-up, and without them, many more plant species and animals, such as birds and bats that rely on them for food, would be at risk.

“Previous studies of pollen transport among settling moths have focused on their proboscis. However, settling moths sit on the flower while feeding, with their often distinctly hairy bodies touching the flower’s reproductive organs. This happy accident helps pollen to be easily transported during subsequent flower visits.”

This pivotal study comes at the time as moth populations are experiencing steep declines across the globe, with worrying implications that we may be losing critical pollination services at a time when we are barely beginning to understand them.

Dr Jan Axmacher (UCL Geography) said: “In recent decades, there has been a lot of science focus on solitary and social bees driven by concerns about their dramatic decline and the strong negative effect this has had on insect-pollinated crop yields.

“In contrast, nocturnal settling moths — which have many more species than bees — have been neglected by pollination research. Our study highlights an urgent need for them to be included in future agricultural management and conservation strategies to help stem declines, and for more research to understand their unique and vital role as pollinators, including their currently unknown role in crop pollination.”

The study was conducted during the growing seasons (March-October) of 2016 and 2017 at the margins of nine ponds, located within agricultural fields in Norfolk, eastern England (UK).

Nocturnal moth communities and daytime pollinators were surveyed once a month to see which plants they visited and how frequently.

Of the 838 moths swabbed, 381 moths (45.5%) were found to transport pollen. In total pollen from 47 different plant species was detected, including at least 7 rarely visited by bees, hoverflies and butterflies. 57% of the pollen transported was found on the ventral thorax of the moths.

In comparison, daytime pollinators, a network of 632 bees, wasps, hoverflies and butterflies, visited 45 plant species, while 1,548 social bees visited 46 plant species.

Dr Walton (UCL Geography) concluded: “While bumblebees and honeybees are known to be super pollinators they also preferentially target the most prolific nectar and pollen sources.

“Moths may appear to be less effective pollinators by comparison, but their high diversity and abundance may make them critical to pollination in ways that we still need to understand. Our research sheds light on a little known world of nocturnal plant-insect interactions that might be vital to the look and smell of our precious countryside and to the crops that we grow.”

The research was funded by the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service and the Norfolk-based farming charity The Clan Trust.

United States slaughterhouses, COVID-19 death traps


This video from the USA says about itself:

The Death March, Slavery, Meat Plant Workers & Covid-19

Workers at meat plants throughout the country have been ordered to go back to work that may kill them because of the pandemic and lack of protection. Trump using the Defense Production Act has ordered the plants to re-open without requiring proper health and safety protection for the workers. Joe Enriquez Henry who is LULAC Council 308 president in Des Moines, Iowa talks about the conditions of meat plant workers and how they are being coerced to go back into the plants where they are getting sick and dying.

According to Joe Henry, the use of undocumented and immigrant workers has allowed the companies to brutally exploit these workers who have no human rights on the job.

He also reports on the refusal of hospitals and clinics to test and treat meat plants and the fact that many workers cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars for their medical costs.

He discusses the conditions of their families and the racist discrimination by the state. The Iowa governor Kim Reynolds had met with Trump and Pence and promised to open up the state despite the growing epidemic. She herself is now in quarantine from the virus.

He also reports there have been no OSHA investigations of the conditions in the plants and that the conditions are even worse than in the period when The Jungle by Upton Sinclair was written.

Henry also discusses the role of multi-national corporations Tyson, Smithfield, JBS on how they not only have attacked workers right to organize but have also passed state laws allowing full deregulation and vertical integration which is now threatening growers of beef, pork and other meat products.

This interview was done on 5/11/20 by WorkWeek host Steve Zeltzer.

Giant orchid, new species in the Netherlands


This 2018 video from Cyprus about Himantoglossum robertianum, giant orchids, says about itself:

Plant is found growing on grassy hillsides and woodland areas of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, Balearic Islands, France, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Italy, Yugoslavia, the Aegean Islands, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey at elevations of 0 to 1100 meters.

And this spring, this biggest orchid species in Europe, for the first time in the Netherlands.

Translated from Nature Today in the Netherlands:

Six beautiful specimens of the giant orchid were discovered on March 11 in the coastal sand dunes near Noordwijk. It is a new species, never seen before in the Netherlands. It is a great surprise to the experts that the giant orchid has reached the Netherlands.

Esmee Winkel, botanical artist and one of the illustrators of the new Heukels’ Flora of the Netherlands, immortalized the first specimen found in the Netherlands on a watercolour (see image). The giant orchid is shown in full size and in detail.

Esmee Winkel draws the giant orchid, photo by Casper Zuyderduyn

COVID-19 disaster in Trump’s USA, continued


This 13 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Dr. Fauci Tells Senator Sanders True Coronavirus Death Toll | NowThis

Watch Dr. Fauci respond to this question from Bernie Sanders on the real death toll of the coronavirus and how likely new outbreaks are in the fall.

In US news and current events today, Dr. Fauci told Senator Bernie Sanders that the number of COVID-19 U.S. deaths is higher than 80,000. Watch their discussion about coronavirus in the U.S. here.

FAUCI COLD WATER: ‘SERIOUS RISK’ FROM RUSHED REOPEN Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, told the Senate Health Committee that the true coronavirus death toll is “certainly” higher than what has been reported and cautioned Americans that going back to normal life too soon could lead to major spikes in cases. “If you think we have it completely under control, we don’t,” he said, contradicting President Donald Trump’s assertion that the virus is “well contained.” [HuffPost]

ADMINISTRATION TELLS STATES TO YANK BENEFITS FROM THOSE WHO WON’T RETURN TO WORK Congress created special unemployment benefits so that laid-off workers could stay home while the coronavirus pandemic rages outside, but the Trump administration wants states to make sure that nobody’s getting benefits if they could be at work. The U.S. Department of Labor has told states, which implement unemployment insurance programs according to federal rules, that they should ask employers to notify the state if someone turns down an offer to come back to work. [HuffPost]

Activists Leave Body Bags In State Capitals To Protest Reopenings. The demonstrations occurred in states where Republican governors have started reopening businesses during the coronavirus pandemic: here.

CDC REOPEN ADVICE VASTLY DIFFERS FROM WHITE HOUSE PLAN Advice from the nation’s top disease control experts on how to safely reopen businesses and institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic included detailed instructive guidance and some more restrictive measures than the plan released by the White House last month. The guidance, which was shelved by Trump administration officials, also offered recommendations to help communities decide when to shut facilities down again during future flareups of COVID-19. [AP]

CALIFORNIA CHURCH PLEDGES TO REOPEN DESPITE ORDERS Several California pastors have pledged to reopen their churches on May 31 “or sooner”, regardless of whether their plan lines up with a schedule put forth by Governor Gavin Newsom. The pastors released a letter arguing that churches are “essential” during the pandemic and that people of faith have a right to worship in person. Dan Carroll, the senior pastor of Fontana’s 20,000-member Water of Life Community Church, said he thinks Californians of faith feel like they’ve been “kicked to the curb” and “marginalized.” [HuffPost]

From ‘Water of Life’ to Water of Death by COVID-19 …

5 Stocks That Are Thriving In The Coronavirus Economy. Certain industries aren’t just growing despite the coronavirus pandemic, they’re growing because of it: here.

Dinosaur age reptile had mammal-like teeth


Priosphenodon avelasi reconstruction

From the University of Alberta in Canada:

Ancient reptile had mammal-like tooth enamel

Priosphenodon specimens found in Argentina show the Late Cretaceous reptile evolved to have resilient tooth enamel similar to that in mammals

May 12, 2020

A new study by University of Alberta paleontologists shows that one type of ancient reptiles evolved a special type of tooth enamel, similar to that of mammals, with high resistance to wear and tear. The study is the first to report this kind of enamel in a fossil reptile.

The reptile — known as Priosphenodon — was a herbivore from the Late Cretaceous period that was about one metre in length. Part of a group of reptiles called sphenodontians, these reptiles are unique in that they lost their ability to replace individual teeth. Instead, sphenodontians added new teeth to the back ends of their jaws as they grew.

“Priosphenodon has the strangest teeth I have personally ever seen,” said Aaron LeBlanc, postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Science Department of Biological Sciences and lead author on the study. “Some aspects of their dental anatomy are reminiscent of what happened in the evolution of early mammal teeth.”

The specimens were found in Argentina’s Río Negro province as part of ongoing collaborative fieldwork and research between Michael Caldwell, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and Argentinian paleontologist and fieldwork leader Sebastián Apesteguía. In order to look more closely at the teeth of Priosphenodon, the researchers cut open pieces of jaw and examined tissue-level detail preserved inside the teeth. They also used non-invasive CT scans to examine more complete jaw specimens.

“Priosphenodon enamel is not only thicker than that of most other reptiles, the enamel crystals are ‘woven’ into long threads that run through the whole width of the enamel. These threads are called enamel prisms, and they are almost exclusively found in mammals,” said LeBlanc, who is working under Caldwell’s supervision. “Our results suggest that strong selective pressures can force reptiles to come up with some very innovative solutions to the problems associated with tooth wear and abrasive diets — some of which mirror what happened in our earliest mammal ancestors.”

The scientists also note that there is one kind of lizard alive today that has prismatic enamel, like Priosphenodon — the spiny-tailed lizard of Australia. Like Priosphenodon, it mostly eats plants and has lost the ability to replace its worn teeth. However, the two reptiles are not closely related.

Collaborators on this study include Sebastián Apesteguía from Universidad Maimónides and the Fundación de Historia Natural Félix de Azara in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Hans Larsson from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Funding for this research was provided by the Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica in Argentina, National Geographic, and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

European COVID-19 news update


This 13 May 2020 video from England says about itself:

Shocking Footage of Packed London Bus Begs Question: Is UK Heading for Second Coronavirus Wave?

“We do face, not so much a second wave but a continuation of the first wave & maybe even an exacerbation of the first wave”.

Watch the full interview with Professor John Ashton CBE here.

33 London bus drivers killed by COVID-19: “We are expendable like diesel”. Workers fear infections will soar following Sunday night’s “phased exit” announced by the Johnson government: here.

UK COVID-19 related deaths top 60,000, according to the Financial Times. The true COVID-19 death toll in Britain is more than 60,000—almost double the figure claimed by the Johnson government—according to studies based on new data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS): here.

UK: Exercise Cygnus leak confirms Tory government’s criminal inaction over pandemic threat. The publication of a version of the report in the Guardian makes clear that the Johnson government tried to hide evidence of its criminal lack of preparation: here.

Today Dutch NOS radio reports that two refugees, arrived by a small boat from Turkey on Lesbos island in Greece, tested positive for COVID-19.

They also say (translated):

Workers of the Dutch Railways are scared for June 1, the day that the trains will return to normal service. Conductors and drivers are worried that it will get too crowded, which can lead to situations where the coronavirus can easily spread again. They told so this morning to Prime Minister Rutte and State Secretary Van Veldhoven, who spoke to them at The Hague Central Station.

Not the fact that there will be more trains on June 1 and later is really the problem. The problem is that there may be more non-essential workers on these trains, making them crowded. The Dutch government has re-opened and will re-open non-essential businesses. Eg, making cars (very few cars are sold now). And tattoo shops, where social distancing is impossible. Eg, car workers and tattoo shop workers who are compelled to work and to travel by train, risk spreading COVID-19 among railway workers and other railway passengers.

Spain’s Oldest Woman Survives Coronavirus, Says Humanity Needs ‘A New Order’: here.

German politicians and media laud right-wing demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions. The ruling elite is now mobilising the right-wing dregs of society in the “corona” demonstrations to intimidate the population and enforce their back-to-work campaign: here.

Failure to halt COVID-19 spread leads to mass deaths in Swedish elder care homes. Sweden’s high fatality rate is due to official opposition to a lockdown and mass testing, and to decades-long austerity policies that devastated health care and other key services: here.

Ahmaud Arbery murdered in Georgia, USA


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

White Man Runs with TV to Prove Racism Killed Ahmaud Arbery | NowThis

This white man ran around shirtless holding a TV without getting stopped to prove that racism killed Ahmaud Arbery.

In US news and current events today, people across the country were outraged when a video of Ahmaud Arbery’s shooting death surfaced. Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man, was shot and killed by a father and son while he was jogging in Georgia. Months later and only after public outcry, the men responsible for Ahmaud Arbery’s killing were arrested.

Richard Demsick from Vero Beach, Florida, posted this video to TikTok on May 8, which would have been Ahmaud Arbery’s 26th birthday. Demsick ran 2.23 miles through his Florida neighborhood as part of the #IRunWithMaud movement. He ran shirtless and with a TV to prove that racism is what killed Ahmaud Arbery.

Georgia autopsy report shows Ahmaud Arbery shot three times. The autopsy report of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed in Brunswick, Georgia, while jogging in February, was released Tuesday showing that he was shot three times, twice in the chest: here.

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

Wall Street Is Profiting From Police Brutality

Taxpayers are paying double for police brutality settlements thanks to cities and towns buying bonds from Wall Street to finance payouts for officer misconduct. San Diego cop watcher Kat from Irate Productions discusses recent police harassment of unarmed residents.

KENTUCKY GOV. DEMANDS PROBE OF BREONNA TAYLOR KILLING Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear is calling for an investigation into the police killing of a Black first responder shot dead in her own home. Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot eight times by Louisville Metro police officers on March 13 after they entered her apartment with a drug warrant looking for someone else. “The commonwealth’s attorney, the U.S. attorney and the Kentucky attorney general should carefully review the results of the initial investigation to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind,” Beshear said. [HuffPost]

4 POLICE OFFICERS FIRED OVER KNEE CHOKE DEATH Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday, a day after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after an officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground, shouting that he couldn’t breathe. “It is the right decision for our city,” Mayor Jacob Frey said of the firings. “We’ve stated our values and ultimately we need to live by them.” Hundreds gathered last night to protest Floyd’s death. [HuffPost]