Carnivorous plants, lecture

This 20 May 2020 video from the Natural History Museum in London, England says about itself:

Plants that bite back | Live talk with NHM scientist

Don’t be fooled by their calm exterior, plants have a dark side.

Join us as we look at the different ways carnivorous plants catch their food and discover the ones you can see growing wild in Britain.

Neo-nazi plot in Germany

This June 2019 video says about itself:

Germany: Counter-protest dwarfs neo-Nazi march in Chemnitz

Far-right activists were met with scores of counter-protesters as they marched through Chemnitz on Saturday, marking ‘The Day of the German Future’. Around 250 neo-Nazi protesters marched through the city centre, carrying flags of Imperial Germany and shouting xenophobic slogans such as ‘Germany for Germans, foreigners out.’ The protest was countered by around a 1,300-strong rally who attempted to disrupt the march, even scuffling with the police at one point.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The German police raided this morning in 25 homes belonging to members of the so-called Reichsbürger movement. They are suspected of, eg, forging passports and driving licenses.

The police raided in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Hessen. It is said to involve 31 supporters of the movement, which is regularly associated with right-wing extremism. …

Members of the Reichsbürger movement do not recognize the current state in Germany because it was imposed by the Allies after World War II. …

They claim that Adolf Hitler‘s Third Reich supposedly is still the legitimate government of Germany.

In 2016, a Reichsbürger shot and killed a member of a German arrest team, and in 2017 police raided members of the group who were preparing attacks on Jews, asylum seekers and the police.

Orange nectar bats at Panama fruit feeder

This video says about itself:

Many Nectar Bats Taking Their Evening Meal At The Panama Fruit Feeder – May 23, 2020

Orange Nectar Bats aren’t the only mammals to visit the Panama Fruit Feeder at night, though they are certainly the most active. These bats have unique mouth physiology that allows them to use their muscles, as well as capillary action, to draw nectar from plants and feeders. Their tongues have a pair of grooves, lined many small muscles, that are used to force the nectar up and into their mouths.

Global action against unsafe premature back-to-work

This 27 May 2027 video says about itself:

Reel News International meeting: June 1 Global Day of Action

Activists from twelve different countries joined a Reel News zoom call of films and discussion to build for a global day of action on June 1, over governments’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “people’s strike” movement, started in the USA after the lockdown was prematurely lifted, is now spreading throughout the world as global struggles over the unnecessary deaths of thousands of working-class people rises dramatically. A number of those struggles are shown in this video, particularly from the Global South.

Among the powerful contributors were Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson (who started the people’s strike movement), Chris SmallsAmazon worker sacked for leading a walkout at the huge Staten Island warehouse, Paola Crozet Sanchez from the workers and youth-led movement for climate and social justice in Switzerland, Nasir Mansoor from the National Trade Union Federation, Pakistan, where there are huge garment worker strikes; Sara from precarious health workers in Spain; parent Jennifer Jones and teacher Kirstie Paton from the campaigns to stop schools reopening in the UK; Enzo Perfetto from SI COBAS in Italy; and Tea Jarc, who joined the call live from an incredible 15,000 strong demo against the far-right government in Slovenia.

As Chris Smalls said, “These billionaires, these one-percenters … want us they’re telling us to go back to work and make the money for them. This is the modern-day slavery – but this is the modern-day breaking of the chains right here. We have to come together all over the globe as one.”

Coronavirus news from Donald Trump’s USA

This 25 May 2020 video says about itself:

Trump White House advisor Kevin Hassett Calls Workers “Human Capital Stock”

Earlier today, Donald Trump White House advisor Kevin Hassett called workers “Human Capital Stock”, as he talked about the plan to reopen America in the midst of this global crisis. This shows how Donald Trump and the Republican Party (as well as some corporate Democrats) think of working-class people: Not as human beings with hopes and dreams, but as livestock to be deployed to help billionaires make even more money.

They are saying that workers only have value insofar as they can put their lives at risk.

DOJ DROPS PROBES OF SENATE VIRUS TRADERS The Justice Department is dropping investigations into three senators who made large stock trades after attending closed-door briefings about the coronavirus threat. Officials informed attorneys for Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that they would not pursue the investigations into transactions that potentially saved lawmakers from substantial financial losses. The probe into North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr’s transactions appears to be continuing. [HuffPost]

Some coronavirus patients are developing dangerous blood clots.

INSIDE A FEDERAL PRISON WITH A DEADLY OUTBREAK Nine inmates incarcerated at Butner, North Carolina, have died since the pandemic began. The latest was Eric Spiwak, a 73-year-old man … Like most other Butner inmates who died, Spiwak was not brought to the hospital until after he had experienced respiratory failure. “The situation inside Butner is dire,” a new class-action lawsuit filed on inmates’ behalf states. [HuffPost]

WHO SUSPENDS TRIAL OF DRUG TOUTED BY TRUMP OVER SAFETY FEARS The World Health Organization is suspending its international trial of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug repeatedly touted by Trump as a coronavirus treatment, because of concerns that it’s not safe to use on people with COVID-19. “The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the safety data is reviewed,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing. Three other drugs in the trial involving 17 countries will continue to be tested. [HuffPost]

The FDA has canceled emergency use of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. The malaria drug is unlikely to work as an antiviral and its risks don’t outweigh benefits in use against the coronavirus, the agency rules. By Tina Hesman Saey, June 15, 2020.

TRUMP TAUNTS REPORTER FOR WEARING MASK Trump told a reporter to take off his mask during a White House news conference. Trump said he had a hard time hearing Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason. Mason said he would just speak louder instead ― and Trump retorted: “Oh, OK, because you want to be politically correct.” “No, sir, I just want to wear the mask,” Mason replied. Mason later tweeted a link to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Trump’s own task force has recommended face coverings while in public. [HuffPost]

Many Americans would like to keep working from home.

Migratory turtle doves tagged in Malta

This 26 May 2020 video says about itself:

In May 2020, soon after the spring hunting season in Malta came to an end, BirdLife Malta ringed and satellite-tagged three Turtle-doves as part of an international study aimed at investigating the migratory movements of the European Turtle-dove.

The Turtle-doves, two females and a male, were each fitted with a 5-gram solar-powered satellite tag sponsored by our German BirdLife partners NABU.

The birds were captured from the Comino Bird Observatory operated by the BirdLife Malta Ringing Scheme.

Turtle-dove Marija was fitted with satellite tag #345 and was released on 1st May 2020. Turtle-dove Hope was fitted with satellite tag #348 and was released on 4th May. Turtle-dove Virginijus was fitted with satellite tag #349 and released on 5th May.

Following her release, the first Turtle-dove travelled to Gozo where she spent the night. Satellite transmission went dead immediately next morning. Marija’s last position was registered from Gozo at 7:15am. Given reports of illegal hunting on Gozo received from the same day, we very much fear she was illegally shot down before she could continue her journey further north.

The other two satellite-tagged Turtle-doves, Hope and Virginijus, immediately took off on their migratory journeys. One reached Sicily by 11pm on the same day, whilst the other reached Sicily two days later!

We continue to follow them in earnest to see where they will settle for the breeding season!

You too can follow the migratory journeys of these two Turtle-doves along with that of Francesco, who was satellite-tagged in 2017, on a live map developed by our partners NABU (BirdLife Germany).

To read more about our Turtle-dove satellite-tagging project visit here.

Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Nathaniel Attard.

COVID-19 disaster in the Americas

This 26 May 2020 video says about itself:

Brazil deaths may surpass 125,000 by August

As Latin America becomes the new global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization has warned of surging infection numbers in Brazil, Peru and Chile.

Brazil is by far the region’s worst-affected country, with nearly 400,000 confirmed cases, the second-highest number in the world.

Doctors and activists are working around the clock to help the people living in favelas and other densely populated areas, people who say the government has abandoned them.

Al Jazeera’s Teresa Bo reports.

JBS meatpacking plant reopens in Brazil as Latin America becomes COVID-19 epicenter. By Gabriel Lemos, 27 May 2020.

Protests by medical workers grow as hospitals overwhelmed across Mexico. By Andrea Lobo, 27 May 2020. The protests are part of an international wave of unrest among medical workers demanding personal protective equipment, medicines, respirators, testing and staffing.

Quebec Premier accelerates return to work in Montreal—Canada’s COVID-19 epicenter. By Richard Dufour, 27 May 2020. Acknowledging that it is “taking a gamble” with workers’ lives, the Quebec government is intensifying its drive to “reopen” the economy.

Dinosaurs extinct by asteroid, how?

This 2016 video says about itself:

Here’s a look at what might have caused the extinction of dinosaurs approximately 65 million years ago.

From Imperial College London in England:

Dinosaur-dooming asteroid struck Earth at ‘deadliest possible’ angle

May 26, 2020

New simulations from Imperial College London have revealed the asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs struck Earth at the ‘deadliest possible’ angle.

The simulations show that the asteroid hit Earth at an angle of about 60 degrees, which maximised the amount of climate-changing gases thrust into the upper atmosphere.

Such a strike likely unleashed billions of tonnes of sulphur, blocking the sun and triggering the nuclear winter that killed the dinosaurs and 75 per cent of life on Earth 66 million years ago.

Drawn from a combination of 3D numerical impact simulations and geophysical data from the site of the impact, the new models are the first-ever fully 3D simulations to reproduce the whole event — from the initial impact to the moment the final crater, now known as Chicxulub, was formed.

The simulations were performed on the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) DiRAC High Performance Computing Facility.

Lead researcher Professor Gareth Collins, of Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, said: “For the dinosaurs, the worst-case scenario is exactly what happened. The asteroid strike unleashed an incredible amount of climate-changing gases into the atmosphere, triggering a chain of events that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This was likely worsened by the fact that it struck at one of the deadliest possible angles.

“Our simulations provide compelling evidence that the asteroid struck at a steep angle, perhaps 60 degrees above the horizon, and approached its target from the north-east. We know that this was among the worst-case scenarios for the lethality on impact, because it put more hazardous debris into the upper atmosphere and scattered it everywhere — the very thing that led to a nuclear winter.”

The results are published today in Nature Communications.

Crater creation

The upper layers of earth around the Chicxulub crater in present-day Mexico contain high amounts of water as well as porous carbonate and evaporite rocks. When heated and disturbed by the impact, these rocks would have decomposed, flinging vast amounts of carbon dioxide, sulphur and water vapour into the atmosphere.

The sulphur would have been particularly hazardous as it rapidly forms aerosols — tiny particles that would have blocked the sun’s rays, halting photosynthesis in plants and rapidly cooling the climate. This eventually contributed to the mass extinction event that killed 75 per cent of life on Earth.

The team of researchers from Imperial, the University of Freiburg, and The University of Texas at Austin, examined the shape and subsurface structure of the crater using geophysical data to feed into the simulations that helped diagnose the impact angle and direction. Their analysis was also informed by recent results from drilling into the 200 km-wide crater, which brought up rocks containing evidence of the extreme forces generated by the impact.

Peak performance

Pivotal to diagnosing the angle and direction of impact was the relationship between the centre of the crater, the centre of the peak ring — a ring of mountains made of heavily fractured rock inside the crater rim — and the centre of dense uplifted mantle rocks, some 30 km beneath the crater.

At Chicxulub, these centres are aligned in a southwest-northeast direction, with the crater centre in between the peak-ring and mantle-uplift centres. The team’s 3D Chicxulub crater simulations at an angle of 60 degrees reproduced these observations almost exactly.

The simulations reconstructed the crater formation in unprecedented detail and give us more clues as to how the largest craters on Earth are formed. Previous fully 3D simulations of the Chicxulub impact have covered only the early stages of impact, which include the production of a deep bowl-shaped hole in the crust known as the transient crater and the expulsion of rocks, water and sediment into the atmosphere.

These simulations are the first to continue beyond this intermediate point in the formation of the crater and reproduce the final stage of the crater’s formation, in which the transient crater collapses to form the final structure. This allowed the researchers to make the first comparison between 3D Chicxulub crater simulations and the present-day structure of the crater revealed by geophysical data.

Co-author Dr Auriol Rae of the University of Freiburg said: “Despite being buried beneath nearly a kilometre of sedimentary rocks, it is remarkable that geophysical data reveals so much about the crater structure — enough to describe the direction and angle of the impact.”

The researchers say that while the study has given us important insights into the dinosaur-dooming impact, it also helps us understand how large craters on other planets form.

Co-author Dr Thomas Davison, also of Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, said: “Large craters like Chicxulub are formed in a matter of minutes, and involve a spectacular rebound of rock beneath the crater. Our findings could help advance our understanding of how this rebound can be used to diagnose details of the impacting asteroid.”

The work was supported by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP), (STFC) DiRAC High Performance Computing Facility and the Natural Environment Research Council.

COVID-19 disaster, Britain and Sweden

This 27 May 2020 video says about itself:

Dominic Cummings fuels British anger after flouting lockdown

In the United Kingdom, a political storm is intensifying over a top government adviser’s cross-country trip, taken while he thought he might be infected with COVID-19 and while the entire country was in lockdown.

Dominic Cummings has enraged the public further with his unapologetic response to the outcry over his actions, instead justifying what he did. Conservative party leaders have also defended Cummings.

Meanwhile, other European countries are starting to open up after their lockdowns and to figure out what life will look like from now on.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports from London, UK.

UK: Johnson government crisis worsens after Dominic Cummings press conference. By Thomas Scripps and Chris Marsden, 27 May 2020. Cummings has emerged as the near-universally despised embodiment of a hated and crisis-wracked government.

Sweden’s “herd immunity” policy produces one of world’s highest fatality rates. By Jordan Shilton, 27 May 2020. Sweden’s policy has been praised by reactionary political forces and the corporate media internationally to bolster their criminal back-to-work campaigns.