Coronavirus disaster in Boris Johnson’s Britain, update


This 1 June 2020 video from Britain is called The People’s Assembly presents… NOT THE SCHOOL RUN!

From daily The Morning Star, about England, 2 June 2020:

A PRIMARY school was temporarily closed today after reporting that seven staff members had tested positive for Covid-19.

Arboretum Primary School in Derby is due to be shut for a week, with all affected parties instructed to isolate for 14 days. …

National Education Union East Midlands said: “This is the risk the government is leading schools into.

Do not open schools until it’s safe. You can not risk-assess your way out of pandemic.”

No worker should be made to return to work in unsafe conditions. Unions from the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group will come together this Wednesday evening from 6.30pm for a major Zoom event. MICHAEL CALDERBANK invites readers to join the rally.

Hundreds of thousands of parents refuse to send their children back to school: here.

More than half of parents defy UK school reopening: here.

MORE than 80% of parents have refused to put their children in harm’s way, scuppering the government’s plan to reopen schools yesterday, a poll released by the GMB union confirms: here.

UK: Allowing mass-attended sporting events to go ahead led to COVID-19 deaths. By Margot Miller, 2 June 2020. Ignoring the WHO’s announcement on January 30 that the emergence of the novel coronavirus represented a “public health emergency of international concern,” the Conservative government made no preparations to stop its spread in Britain.

Racist police murder, condemned worldwide


This 2 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Police Escalate Violence at George Floyd Protests Across the U.S. | NowThis

Police officers were filmed starting or escalating violence at George Floyd protests across the country (warning: distressing).

In US news and current events today, police are being filmed appearing to escalate violence at protests for George Floyd all across the country. Protests have erupted in at least 30 cities across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd during an arrest on May 25.

The National Guard has reportedly been deployed to at least 20 states to assist local police in controlling large crowds. Many protesters, the majority of which have remained peaceful, report police using tear gas and excessive force during the George Floyd demonstrations. A local Minneapolis affiliate interviewed a health care worker who said police shot at her while she was treating an injured protester.

Protests in Louisville continue day after police and National Guard kill local restaurant owner. By Jerry White, 2 June 2020. Claims that David McAtee was killed after police and National Guard troops “returned fire” from protesters fell apart after the Louisville mayor declared there was no body camera footage of the incident.

British photographer Adam Gray arrested and charged in US for covering protests: here.

The “experience of the pandemic has made me more aware that it comes down to capitalism”. Impact of COVID-19 and George Floyd killing on artistic life: An interview with a young artist-actor in Brooklyn, New York. By Clare Hurley, 2 June 2020. Artist and actor Bamoozie (his artist moniker) spoke with the WSWS about the impact of the pandemic on his economic situation, artistic work and political perspective, as well as his thoughts on the police murder of George Floyd.

Trump administration deploys military to the capital as nationwide protests continue. By Jacob Crosse, 2 June 2020. Trump’s dictatorial moves to quash protests against the police murder of George Floyd signal an escalation of state violence.

Thousands rally in Perth, Australia against police violence. By Oscar Grenfell, 2 June 2020. The protest was a rebuke of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s declaration that “There’s no need to import things happening in other countries here to Australia.”

This 1 June 2020 Reuters news agency video says about itself:

Thousands of New Zealanders marched peacefully on Monday chanting “Black Lives Matter” in solidarity with George Floyd, a black American who died in police custody in the United States last week.

Protests across New Zealand over US police murder of George Floyd. By Tom Peters, 2 June 2020. Thousands rallied in solidarity with those protesting police killings in the United States, and many expressed opposition to the further militarisation of the New Zealand Police.

This 2 June 2020 Dutch video is by the Groningen city broadcasting organisation. Includes an interview with an organiser of today’s demonstration in Groningen. About 1000 people participated, NOS radio reports.

These tweets are about today’s demonstration in The Hague in the Netherlands. Thousands participated, taking a knee, like Colin Kaepernick; as this video shows.

Oldest parasitic animals discovered?


This 2016 video is called Top 10 Unique Species of the Cambrian Explosion.

By Jonathan Lambert today:

These tube-shaped creatures may be the earliest known parasites

Animals that lived over 500 million years ago may have stolen food from their hosts’ mouths

Tube-dwelling creatures that spent their lives cemented to the shells of clamlike brachiopods over 500 million years ago may be the earliest known parasites.

“Parasitism is an integral part of life on Earth, but it’s been hard to determine when it emerged,” says Tommy Leung, a parasitologist at the University of New England in Armidale, Australia. But, he says, it likely arose early, in part because today “practically every living thing has some kind of parasitic thing living on or in them, even down to parasites themselves.”

Sometimes, scientists get lucky and find parasites preserved with their hosts in amber (SN: 12/10/19). But usually, parasites don’t fossilize well because their bodies are often small and soft, Leung says. And even if two organisms happen to be entombed in the same fossil, it can be difficult to discern whether their relationship was parasitic, mutualistic or somewhere in between. Fossils of tongue worms from 425 million years ago represent a clear early example of parasitism, but previously found older fossils from the Cambrian only hint at possibly parasitic relationships.

Now, a 512-million-year-old bed of tube-encrusted brachiopods in Yunnan, China offers compelling evidence of a parasite-host relationship, Zhifei Zhang, a paleontologist at Northwest University in Xi’an, China and his colleagues report June 2 in Nature Communications.

In a tan-colored outcropping in southern China, researchers discovered thousands of brachiopods clustered together. Hundreds of them had numerous tubelike, tapered structures affixed to the exterior of the shells. Those structures were arrayed like the spines of a fan with the mouthlike parts positioned along the open edge of a shell. The tubes appeared only on brachiopods, never alone or associated with other fossils, suggesting that the organism couldn’t survive on its own.

The brachiopods were likely filter feeders, catching whatever food happened to drift into their open shells. Zhang and his colleagues hypothesized that these tubes might have snatched food from the edge of the shell before the brachiopod could eat it, making them kleptoparasites.

If that were true, tube-covered brachiopods should be lighter than their tube-free brethren, since they’re getting less food. The researchers estimated the mass of brachiopods with and without tubes, finding that the tube-free brachiopods were almost always heavier than their tube-laden brethren, though the number of tubes didn’t have any effect

The study “demonstrates these organisms had an intimate association,” says Leung, who wasn’t involved in the study. But he isn’t so sure that the relationship was antagonistic. If the relationship were truly parasitic, brachiopods with more tubes should be worse off, he says, but that wasn’t the case. While brachiopods with tubes were smaller, Leung says this might not reflect a cost of parasitism. Instead, the tube creatures might just prefer to affix to smaller shells.

Whether a relationship is parasitic or not can depend on the ecological context. Tube-laden clams might become stressed by tubes only if food becomes scarce. Or, perhaps tubes catch food too small for the brachiopods anyway. “With these kinds of relationships, the answer isn’t always that this is good or bad,” Leung says. “Interactions are usually more complicated than that.”

COVID-19 danger for children and adults


This 1 June 2020 video says about itself:

Kids, Kawasaki Disease, and COVID-19: What Parents Should Know

While children are only a small minority of those who test positive for COVID-19, we’re starting to see evidence of a rare, but serious, complication in children that resembles a condition known as Kawasaki disease. Here’s what doctors say we should watch out for.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The Socialist Party wants an emergency debate about a corona outbreak in an Arnhem care home

The SP in Arnhem wants an emergency debate about a coronavirus outbreak in a care center in the city. According to the opposition party, fourteen employees are sick at home.

Two healthy employees have reported to the SP because they are concerned. They are not allowed to wear face masks at work, while a number of residents have died from the coronavirus. They also are banned from speaking out. …

According to the SP, the care homeis trying to cover up the outbreak. The party wants the municipality to intervene.

Sambar deer in Asia, video


This 2 June 2020 video says about itself:

This week on Candid Animal Cam, we’re talking about the sambar deer, a species of deer found in the Indian subcontinent, South China, and Southeast Asia.

Did you know that male adult sambar deer and pregnant or lactating females have a hairless red spot located mid-way down their throats that sometimes oozes a white liquid? Biologists suggest the sore spot may be linked with glandular activity.

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

George Floyd murdered, police, protests and poetry


This 2 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Police Repression Backfires As Protests Multiply

Professor Lester Spence argues America is facing two pandemics: COVID-19 and political policing.

By Fran Lock in Britain, 2 June 2020:

Breath by Fran Lock

On the murder of George Floyd

inside this symmetrical fiction of skins, we do not court
the carnivore attentions of a cop with eyes like bullicante
glass. we do not wear our reservoirs. we do not bear our
freight of names upon the face; find a dirty jest of us in all
the ugly campaign prosodies of power. death, persistent
and repeating. our dying, sanctioned by habit. this habit
of skin. yes, we’ve felt our paddy slanguage also choked.
but no: that cop will never twist our workaholic wrists
behind our back because. and just because. such luxury,
this silence. to breathe. if breath could split this pidgin
midnight into mercy. if poems could. if meter weren’t this
proxy skin, a creditable flesh, i’d breathe. and breathe this
swift and futile morning out. whose name is not a slogan.
whose skin is not a flag. whose saying should be supple
love. this poem, that takes up more space on the page
than some people do in the whole wide world. white
space of the page. white space of a lung. could open
this pieta! into seeming air.

Fran Lock’s most recent collections are Contains Mild Peril (2019) and Raptures and Captures (2019).

This 2 June 2020 video from the USA is called Los Angeles Police Union Lawyer Tweets “SHOOT PROTESTORS!”

All living hyena species, video


This 31 May 2020 video says about itself:

All (Extant) Hyena Species

Hyenas or hyaenas are any feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae.

With only four extant species, it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, and one of the smallest in the class Mammalia.

1- Spotted Hyena
(Crocuta crocuta)
It is also known as the laughing hyena. It is the largest hyena (extant) species.

2- Striped Hyena
(Hyaena hyaena)
It is the smallest of the ‘’true’’ hyenas.

3- Brown Hyena
(Hyaena brunnea)
It is currently the rarest species of hyena.

4- Aardwolf
(Proteles cristata)
It is also called “Maanhaar jackal” or Civet Hyena, based on its habit of secreting substances from its anal gland, a characteristic shared with the civet.

Music: Night Driver (YouTube Audio Library)

Brazilian Bolsonaro scandals, update


Violent: Police in Sao Paulo fire at anti-government protesters yesterday

This photo shows Police in Sao Paulo, Brazil firing guns at anti-Bolsonaro government protesters on 31 May 2020.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 1 June 2020:

Pressure mounts on Bolsonaro over political interference after weekend of police attacks on protests

PRESSURE is continuing to mount on Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro after the country’s federal police (PF) demanded he be summoned by the Supreme Court over allegations of political interference.

The PF is demanding a formal statement regarding his sacking of police chief Mauricio Valeixo and allegations that the president pressed for the removal of other figures to protect his family from investigations.

Leaked footage from an April 22 cabinet meeting have proved damning for Mr Bolsonaro, who has consistently denied the allegations against him.

One of his sons, Senator Flavio Bolsonaro, is under investigation over allegations of money laundering and embezzlement.

The other, Rio city councillor Carlos Bolsonaro, is accused of “running a criminal disinformation campaign” targeting critics.

The two-hour expletive-ridden video of the meeting appears to show the president suggesting he can replace ministers and officials as he sees fit.

“I’ve tried to change our security people in Rio de Janeiro officially, and I wasn’t able to. That’s over. I won’t wait for my family or my friends to get screwed,” Mr Bolsonaro said.

“If you can’t change [the official], change his boss. You can’t change the boss? Change the minister. End of story. We’re not kidding around,” he added.

The spat that followed led to the resignation of former justice minister Sergio Moro, once a key ally of the Brazilian president.

He himself is embroiled in a scandal in which he allegedly directed the prosecution in the case against left-wing former Brazilian president “Lula” da Silva, who was jailed and subsequently banned from standing in the 2018 presidential election.

The PF insisted that “Bolsonaro’s statement is necessary for the proper course of the investigation” and urged the Supreme Court to consider the video footage and an “analysis of the mobile-phone messages” between him and Mr Moro.

Mr Bolsonaro also faces possible impeachment charges over his handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Crocodiles, from dinosaur age till today


This 2 June 2020 video from England says about itself:

Crocodiles Rock | Live Talk with London Natural History Museum Scientist

This live talk with palaeontologist Lorna Steel answers these croc questions and more: How ancient are these creatures? What was the earliest croc and how have they changed throughout history?