Black birders in the USA

Danielle Belleny holds a scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch in Rotan, Texas, USA in March of 2016

This photo shows biologist Danielle Belleny holding a scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch in Rotan, Texas, USA in March of 2016.

By Jonathan Lambert in the USA today:

A #BlackBirdersWeek cofounder aims to amplify black nature enthusiasts

Wildlife biologist Danielle Belleny hopes to raise the profile of black birders in a hobby often stereotyped as white

A black youngster grins widely while holding a falcon bigger than his head. Beside a beaver pond, a black ecologist in waders inspects a sediment core sampler. A bat wriggles in the hands of a black evolutionary biologist doing fieldwork in Belize.

These photos and hundreds more bird facts, questions and experiences are flooding social media as part of #BlackBirdersWeek, an initiative aimed at recognizing and uplifting black birders and nature enthusiasts. The social media campaign runs May 31 through June 5 and includes Q&A sessions, a Facebook livestream discussion of Birding While Black, and prompts for sharing photos on Twitter and Instagram of birds and being out enjoying nature.

#BlackBirdersWeek comes amid nationwide protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and many other black people at the hands of the police. The protests have elevated the importance and urgency of the campaign for its founders, @BlackAFinSTEM, a Twitter-based group of black individuals who work in science or related fields. They began planning #BlackBirdersWeek in the wake of an incident on May 25 — the same day George Floyd was killed — in which Christian Cooper, a black birder, asked a white woman in New York City’s Central Park to follow park rules on leashing dogs. The woman refused, eventually yelling that she was calling the police “to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”

Cooper’s experience resonated with other black birders. “What happened to him could have happened to any of us,” says Danielle Belleny, a wildlife biologist in San Antonio, Texas, and a co-founder of #BlackBirdersWeek.

She too has had the police called on her while working as a field biologist and while birding. One of her favorite birding memories — the first time she spotted a short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), “a gorgeous bird with brown streaks on its body, striking yellow eyes and these little feather tufts that look like ears on the top of their head” — while in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., is marred by the memory of a stranger trailing her for “looking suspicious.”

“I really hate the stereotype that black people don’t do outdoor activities,” Belleny says. “It’s just not true,” and makes it harder for black nature enthusiasts to recreate, relax and fully develop their interests.

Belleny’s love of the outdoors started early. “There’s a photo of me holding a huge rat snake as a 4-year-old,” she says. Nature shows hosted by people like wildlife conservationist Jeff Corwin further developed her love of nature, but she felt a disconnect because she didn’t see herself represented. “I didn’t know wildlife biology was a job I could have.”

Feelings of isolation as a black woman in wildlife science continued in graduate school at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, and her later work in conservation. “It can be really lonely when you don’t see other people like you,” enjoying and working in the outdoors, she says.

The field sciences are overwhelmingly white. In 2018, individuals who identify as black or African-American received less than 1 percent of doctorates awarded in the fields of ecology, evolutionary biology and wildlife biology, according to data from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Though Belleny loved her work, “I was really upset about my position and considered changing careers to one I could see more black people in,” she says.

Belleny’s doubts disappeared once she joined an online community of black birders and naturalists that would become @BlackAFinSTEM. “It’s just a place for us to hang out and talk to each other,” she says. Feeling part of a community made a huge difference — one they now seek to share with the greater online community.

#BlackBirdersWeek aims to amplify and expand that community by showing “that black people are outdoors, we do this, we love it, and we take up space,” Belleny says. “I hope young people interested in STEM will see it and realize that they belong here, too.”

And that community has solidified Belleny’s plan to continue working as a wildlife biologist focused on preserving biodiversity. Recently she has developed management strategies for species of conservation concern, like the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) or piping plover (Charadrius melodus).

“Ecological communities are more resilient when there’s more biodiversity,” Belleny says. #BlackBirdersWeek aims to show that diversity strengthens birding and the broader field sciences community, too. “We want to advocate for diversity in birding because it will create a stronger and better community for everyone.”

The campaign has allowed black birders to use their passion and expertise to stand in solidarity as a community against racism. The response has been overwhelming, with hundreds of black birders, scientists and nature enthusiasts sharing pictures and stories of them outside doing what they love. “I’ve shed a couple really happy tears. It’s just so nice to see so many beautiful black faces,” Belleny says. “We deserve to be in this space and we deserve to be safe.”

Big anti-racism protests in the Netherlands

This is a 4 June 2020 music video by Dutch rappers Bizzey & Akwasi. Their song Geen Wedstrijd is about the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in the USA and about racism in the Netherlands. They ask everyone to donate money to Kick Out Zwarte Piet, one of two organisations which had organised the recent big anti-racism demonstration in Amsterdam.

The Hague demonstrators

This photo shows some of the thousands, spatially distanced against COVID-19, on the big Malieveld lawn in The Hague on 2 June 2020.

This 4 June 2020 video is about the anti-racist demonstration in Arnhem. Though it rained, the square was full; but not so crowded that people were unable to spatially distance against the coronavirus.

Dutch NOS radio reports, translated:

Protest actions have been announced for tomorrow in, eg, Utrecht,

From 18.30 to 20.30 on the Jaarbeursplein square. The organisers ask participants to distance spatially and wear face masks and plastic gloves. Thousands are expected.


Van Heekpark, 17.00

and Nijmegen

17.30 to 19.30, Goffertpark. Organisers ask everuyone to follow measures against coronavirus.

. People will take to the streets in Eindhoven

18 Septemberplein

and Tilburg

14.00 Schouwburgring

on Saturday. There will be a demonstration in Leeuwarden next Saturday


, activists report on social media.

An ankylosaur dinosaur’s last meal, new discovery

This 2018 video from Canada says about itself:

Dr. Caleb Brown, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, talks about the world’s best-preserved armoured dinosaur.

In the spring of 2017, a new armoured dinosaur was publically unveiled with the opening of the exhibit Grounds for Discovery. Borealopelta markmitchelli was discovered in the oil sands mines in northern Alberta in 2011 and took nearly 6 years to prepare. Borealopelta is the best-preserved ankylosaur (tank-like, herbivorous dinosaurs) in the world and one of the most spectacular fossilized dinosaurs ever found.

Preserved skin and armour cover the entire skeleton, maintaining the original three-dimensional shape of the animal. Even the animal’s last meal may be fossilized in the stomach. This high level of preservation gives scientists an unprecedented view of what this animal looked like and to how it lived during the Early Cretaceous.

In his presentation, Dr. Brown discusses the discovery, collection, preparation, and current research about this one-of-a-kind fossil. Find out how this specimen has added to our understanding of the evolution and ecology of armoured dinosaurs.

From the University of Saskatchewan in Canada:

Scientists discover what an armored dinosaur ate for its last meal

June 3, 2020

More than 110 million years ago, a lumbering 1,300-kilogram, armour-plated dinosaur ate its last meal, died, and was washed out to sea in what is now northern Alberta. This ancient beast then sank onto its thorny back, churning up mud in the seabed that entombed it — until its fossilized body was discovered in a mine near Fort McMurray in 2011.

Since then, researchers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alta., Brandon University, and the University of Saskatchewan (USask) have been working to unlock the extremely well-preserved nodosaur’s many secrets — including what this large armoured dinosaur (a type of ankylosaur) actually ate for its last meal.

“The finding of the actual preserved stomach contents from a dinosaur is extraordinarily rare, and this stomach recovered from the mummified nodosaur by the museum team is by far the best-preserved dinosaur stomach ever found to date,” said USask geologist Jim Basinger, a member of the team that analyzed the dinosaur’s stomach contents, a distinct mass about the size of a soccer ball.

“When people see this stunning fossil and are told that we know what its last meal was because its stomach was so well preserved inside the skeleton, it will almost bring the beast back to life for them, providing a glimpse of how the animal actually carried out its daily activities, where it lived, and what its preferred food was.”

There has been lots of speculation about what dinosaurs ate, but very little known. In a just-published article in Royal Society Open Science, the team led by Royal Tyrrell Museum palaeontologist Caleb Brown and Brandon University biologist David Greenwood provides detailed and definitive evidence of the diet of large, plant-eating dinosaurs — something that has not been known conclusively for any herbivorous dinosaur until now.

“This new study changes what we know about the diet of large herbivorous dinosaurs,” said Brown. “Our findings are also remarkable for what they can tell us about the animal’s interaction with its environment, details we don’t usually get just from the dinosaur skeleton.”

Previous studies had shown evidence of seeds and twigs in the gut but these studies offered no information as to the kinds of plants that had been eaten. While tooth and jaw shape, plant availability and digestibility have fuelled considerable speculation, the specific plants herbivorous dinosaurs consumed has been largely a mystery.

So what was the last meal of Borealopelta markmitchelli (which means “northern shield” and recognizes Mark Mitchell, the museum technician who spent more than five years carefully exposing the skin and bones of the dinosaur from the fossilized marine rock)?

“The last meal of our dinosaur was mostly fern leaves — 88 per cent chewed leaf material and seven per cent stems and twigs,” said Greenwood, who is also a USask adjunct professor.

“When we examined thin sections of the stomach contents under a microscope, we were shocked to see beautifully preserved and concentrated plant material. In marine rocks we almost never see such superb preservation of leaves, including the microscopic, spore-producing sporangia of ferns.”

Team members Basinger, Greenwood and Brandon University graduate student Jessica Kalyniuk compared the stomach contents with food plants known to be available from the study of fossil leaves from the same period in the region. They found that the dinosaur was a picky eater, choosing to eat particular ferns (leptosporangiate, the largest group of ferns today) over others, and not eating many cycad and conifer leaves common to the Early Cretaceous landscape.

Specifically, the team identified 48 palynomorphs (microfossils like pollen and spores) including moss or liverwort, 26 clubmosses and ferns, 13 gymnosperms (mostly conifers), and two angiosperms (flowering plants).

“Also, there is considerable charcoal in the stomach from burnt plant fragments, indicating that the animal was browsing in a recently burned area and was taking advantage of a recent fire and the flush of ferns that frequently emerges on a burned landscape,” said Greenwood.

“This adaptation to a fire ecology is new information. Like large herbivores alive today such as moose and deer, and elephants in Africa, these nodosaurs by their feeding would have shaped the vegetation on the landscape, possibly maintaining more open areas by their grazing.”

The team also found gastroliths, or gizzard stones, generally swallowed by animals such as herbivorous dinosaurs and today’s birds such as geese to aid digestion.

“We also know that based on how well-preserved both the plant fragments and animal itself are, the animal’s death and burial must have followed shortly after the last meal,” said Brown. “Plants give us a much better idea of season than animals, and they indicate that the last meal and the animal’s death and burial all happened in the late spring to mid-summer.”

“Taken together, these findings enable us to make inferences about the ecology of the animal, including how selective it was in choosing which plants to eat and how it may have exploited forest fire regrowth. It will also assist in understanding of dinosaur digestion and physiology.”

Borealopelta markmitchelli, discovered during mining operations at the Suncor Millennium open-pit mine north of Fort McMurray, has been on display at the Royal Tyrrell Museum since 2017. The main chunk of the stomach mass is on display with the skeleton.

Other members of the team include museum scientists Donald Henderson and Dennis Braman, and Brandon University research associate and USask alumna Cathy Greenwood.

Research continues on Borealopelta markmitchelli — the best fossil of a nodosaur ever found — to learn more about its environment and behaviour while it was alive. Student Kalyniuk is currently expanding her work on fossil plants of this age to better understand the composition of the forests in which it lived. Many of the fossils she will examine are in Basinger’ collections at USask.

The research was funded by Canada Foundation for Innovation, Research Manitoba, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, National Geographic Society, Royal Tyrrell Museum Cooperating Society, and Suncor Canada, as well as in-kind support from Olympus Canada.

COVID-19 pandemic update

This 3 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Health Care Workers Take a Knee During NYC Protests | NowThis

Health care workers at a New York City hospital came out and took a knee as protesters marched down the street — so the protesters began cheering and applauding the health care workers in response.

In US news and current events today, watch as the health care professionals in New York City came together to cheer on Black Lives Matter protesters in NYC.

REPUBLICANS PUSH ‘RETURN TO WORK BONUS’ OVER UNEMPLOYMENT With Republicans intent on letting expanded unemployment benefits expire at the end of July, a new GOP proposal would instead give workers a bonus for returning to their jobs. The “Return to Work” bonus would give workers up to $1,200 for going back to work. The bonus money would be available until the end of July, when the extra $600 in federal money that Congress added to weekly unemployment checks also expires. More than 40 million Americans have filed unemployment claims since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses across the country. [HuffPost]

Attorneys general say Walmart isn’t protecting customers or workers from coronavirus.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

A secondary school in Rotterdam had to close its doors two days after the reopening. An employee has become infected with the coronavirus.

The Vak College Zuidrand, like other secondary schools in the country, had reopened since Tuesday. …

The lessons are therefore online again from today. It is not clear until when that will be.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 3 June 2020:

Two in five schools defied government order to reopen

NEARLY HALF of primary schools in England defied government orders to open their doors to more children on Monday, the National Education Union (NEU) found today.

A poll by the union found large regional differences on the number of schools reopening to pupils in reception, year one and year six.

Overall, 44 per cent of primary schools did not admit more children on June 1, but in north-west England only 8 per cent of schools opened to all priority year-groups, according to the NEU survey.

British nurse demonstrates in Downing Street, London against Conservative Prime Minoister Boris Johnson

This photo shows a British nurse demonstrating in Downing Street, London against Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, demanding the sacking of johnson’s adviser Dominic Cummings.

British nurses demand better pay and improved PPE: here.

Left-coiling garden snail Jeremy, new research

This 2018 video says about itself:

Jeremy the Lefty Snail and Other Asymmetrical Animals

This is the fascinating story of Jeremy, the one-in-a-million snail whose shell coiled to the left rather than to the right.

From the University of Nottingham in England:

Two lefties make a right — if you are a one-in-a-million garden snail

June 3, 2020

A global campaign to help find a mate for a left-coiling snail called ‘Jeremy’ has enabled scientists to understand how mirror-image garden snails are formed.

The findings, published today in the journal Biology Letters, show that the rare left-spiralling shell of some garden snails is usually a development accident, rather than an inherited condition.

In October 2016, evolutionary geneticist Dr Angus Davison in the University of Nottingham’s School of Life Sciences appealed to the public for their help in match-making for Jeremy, a garden snail with a rare left-coiling shell.

Dr Davison hoped to use the offspring from Jeremy to study the genetics of this condition, because his previous work on snails had given insight into understanding body asymmetry in other animals, including humans. But another left-coiling snail had to be found first. As well as a mirror-imaged shell, Jeremy had genitals on the opposite side making it very difficult for the snail to mate with normal snails.

The science to unravel this mystery was made possible by the involvement of the general public in finding a mate for Jeremy, initially via an appeal put out on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, and then the wider media using #snaillove.

Jeremy became a global sensation and internet ‘shellebrity’. More than 1,000 news, radio, television and science articles, including the BBC and New York Times, highlighted the plight of the lovelorn snail. A graphic novel featuring the snail is now in development.

By bringing together a worldwide group of citizen scientists, and the snails that they had found, Dr Davison used the publicity to understand what makes an exceptional reversed-coiled snail such as Jeremy.

Altogether more than 40 lefty snails were found by citizen scientists, in the wild and from snail farms. Davison and the citizen scientists bred the lefty snails together to test whether their occurrence was due to an inherited condition. Over three years, nearly fifteen thousand eggs were hatched from four generations of snails, including Jeremy.

Initially, Jeremy had been left ‘shell-shocked’ after being given the cold shoulder by two suitors who seemed to prefer each other. Then, shortly before Jeremy’s death, one mate produced a batch of 56 babies, about one-third of which were likely to be ‘fathered’ by Jeremy.

The new evidence shows that rare lefty garden snails are not usually produced due to an inherited condition. Instead, they are mainly produced by a developmental accident.

This finding has relevance to understanding the common factors that define animal asymmetry, including humans, and the origin of rare reversed individuals in other animal groups.

Dr Davison said: “After a long search for a mate, and several mishaps along the way, Jeremy finally produced offspring, which delighted me — and the rest of the world. We were then able to use Jeremy’s offspring and the offspring from other lefties to discover how these mirror-imaged individuals are produced. Our findings showed that it is usually a developmental accident, rather than an inherited condition, that makes a lefty garden snail.

“We helped solve one of nature’s puzzles, which was very satisfying. There was also a happy ending for Jeremy, the snail, in finding love and producing offspring, albeit just before dying. None of this would have been possible without the public’s help.

“We have learned that two lefties usually make a right, at least if you are a garden snail. In other snails, being a lefty is an inherited condition, but we still don’t really know how they do it. If we are able to find out, then this may help us understand how the right and left side of other animal bodies are defined, including ourselves.

“You could say that we tried to recreate what made Jeremy different, but this was not possible. Jeremy was special.”

Racism, anti-racism, authoritarianism in Trump’s USA

This 4 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Man Gives Powerful Speech to Black Protesters in Houston | NowThis

‘You are proud, intelligent, committed African American people. And don’t you let nobody steal that from you tonight.’ — Listen to this man’s emotional speech to Black protesters in Houston, Texas.

In US news and current events today, here were some inspiring words shared at the Black Lives Matter protest in honor of George Floyd in Hoston, Texas.

BILL BARR’S SECRET POLICE Just a few hundred feet north of the White House on Wednesday afternoon, armed agents of the federal government clad in a patchwork of colors and protective gear stared down peaceful protesters demonstrating for Black lives. Yet what was perhaps most alarming was what was not visible: any insignia revealing their identity or even the name of the agency they work for. Attorney General William Barr is commanding this fearsome and anonymous alphabet soup of law enforcement agencies to guard federal property and suppress unrest. [HuffPost]

TRUMP WENT FULL FASCIST FOR A PHOTO OP. WHAT’S HE WILLING TO DO TO STAY IN POWER? Authoritarianism experts who worried about Trump’s tendencies during his campaign and his first years in office are now sounding fresh alarms following the clearing of a park adjacent to the White House using gas, flash-bang grenades, pepper pellets and other aggressive tactics ― all so he could stand in front of a church he does not attend and be photographed holding a Bible. “It was everything that an autocrat is,” said Gail Helt, who watched for signs of democratic decay in Asian countries during her dozen years as a CIA analyst. Trump has defended the photo op, calling it “symbolic.” [HuffPost]

Trump is already rewriting the history of his botched response to protests.

New York Times staffers slam paper for publishing GOP senator’s send in the troops op-ed.

Memo to the NYT: Black lives aren’t up for debate.

Philadelphia Inquirer apologizes for “deeply offensive” headline on protest editorial.

Rubber bullets may be “nonlethal” — but they can still maim and kill.

What to wear to a protest to keep yourself protected.

32 powerful signs from anti-racism protests around the world.

NYPD GETS AGGRESSIVE WITH PEACEFUL PROTESTERS Thousands of demonstrators stepped out in Manhattan and Brooklyn during the third night of a citywide curfew. But the gatherings quickly escalated as the 8 p.m. restrictions set in. Jumaane Williams, New York’s public advocate, shared footage of police officers aggressively moving demonstrators, some using batons, away from a gathering outside Brooklyn Borough Hall. He slammed the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, saying he did not expect the behavior after the mayor “came into office pledging to reform the type of aggressive policing I experienced tonight.” [HuffPost]

DEMOCRATIC LEADERS PLAY CATCH-UP ON BLACK LIVES MATTER Joe Biden’s remarks about George Floyd’s killing at a historically Black church in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday, weren’t what protesters wanted to hear. “Instead of standing there and teaching a cop, when there’s an unarmed person coming at them with a knife or something ― you shoot them in the leg instead of in the heart, is a very different thing,” Biden said. “There’s a lot of different things that could change.” The comment sparked anger among the most progressive activists, who call for defunding the police, ending racist law enforcement practices and holding police accountable at a federal level. [HuffPost]

Lili Reinhart comes out as bisexual, supports LGBTQ for Black Lives Matter protest.

Karamo Brown of “Queer Eye” urges LGBTQ people to call out racism.

TEXAS LT. GOV.: RACISM WON’T STOP UNTIL WE ‘ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST’ Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick claimed that the root of America’s racial problems was the lack of faith by “the left. ”Speaking after more than a week of demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd, Patrick tried to pin the nation’s long and deep-rooted racial problems on people not being religious enough ― and more specifically, “the left” not accepting Jesus Christ. Patrick said on Fox News that Floyd’s killing and the unrest breaks his heart and that it’s an issue of “loving God.” Patrick also said laws can’t fix racism, only Jesus and God can. [HuffPost]

3 MORE COPS CHARGES IN GEORGE FLOYD’S KILLING Three more now-former Minneapolis police officers have been charged in the killing of George Floyd. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison charged Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng with aiding and abetting Floyd’s murder. Ellison’s office is also upgrading the charges against Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck, to include second-degree murder without intent. Chauvin’s bail, which was previously set at $500,000, is now $1 million. [HuffPost]

CALIFORNIA BLOCKS FACIAL RECOGNITION BILL California lawmakers blocked a bill that could have expanded the use of facial recognition technology by companies and government, including law enforcement, as protesters nationwide continued to call out racism and unjust policing. The legislation didn’t garner enough votes to move forward in the legislative process. Assemblymember Ed Chau, who introduced the bill, wrote in a CalMatters opinion article that it was meant to “regulate the use of facial recognition technology by commercial, state and local public entities.” [HuffPost]

Five recovered birds freed in Malta

This 4 June 2020 video says about itself:

Three birds of prey and two turtle-doves rehabilitated and released back into the wild

On the 15th May 2020, BirdLife Malta was able to release five rehabilitated birds back into the wild. They had all suffered gunshot injuries during their spring migration back to their breeding grounds further north in Europe.

The birds released were a Common Kestrel which was illegally shot in Girgenti and picked up on 29th March, an illegally shot Lesser Kestrel found on 5th April at Mtarfa, an illegally shot Marsh Harrier retrieved on 16th April from Salina, and two illegally shot Turtle doves picked up on 20th and 21st April from Binġemma and Armier, Mellieħa.

All of these protected birds were retrieved by BirdLife Malta after initially being found by members of the public. The birds were then examined by the government veterinarian, who confirmed the cause of their injuries and recommended rehabilitation as the next best step for their recovery. The birds spent between three and seven weeks in rehabilitation, but the work is worth it as it results in birds such as these ones having a second opportunity of reaching their breeding grounds.

All of the birds were fitted with a BirdLife Malta ring beforehand, in order to track their movements if they’re seen or found again. Ringing can help guide conservation work as we can learn important details, such as where they may migrate through, settle to breed, where they may overwinter, longevity of the species, and so on.

15th May was also Endangered Species Day, and to mark this occasion, the two Turtle doves were released at Għadira Nature Reserve whilst streamed live on Facebook! Turtle doves are classified as ‘Vulnerable’ according to the IUCN, so every bird counts when it comes to ensuring that this species does not reach ‘Endangered’ status.

All of the birds of prey were released on Comino, which is a designated bird sanctuary and provides them with an ideal place to get accustomed back in the wild, before restarting their migration.

BirdLife Malta would like to thank the people who contacted us after finding these birds. The work that we do would not be possible if it was not for the support from members of the public.

Footage by BirdLife Malta, editing by Nathaniel Attard.

Anti-racism among footballers, Jews, worldwide

This 4 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Police Arrest Kneeling Protester for Giving Speech | NowThis

In US news and current events today, one of the most iconic and disturbing moments to come out of the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd occured in Charleston, South Carolina, when 23-year-old Givionne ‘Gee’ Jordan Jr. was arrested by police for giving an impassioned plea for peace and unity.

Every peaceful protester arrested may be an affront to the 1st Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech from the Government. The George Floyd protests have shined a spotlight on police brutality and police violence, and this example is one of the most chilling ever recorded of a peaceful protest being shut down by police overreach. BLM protests continue across the nation, while the ACLU has pledged to investigate the case of Mr. Jordan and other peaceful protesters and journalists who have been attacked by police.

Today, Dutch NOS radio reports that Denzel Dumfries, footballer of PSV Eindhoven, will train separately from his teammates for the time being.

That is an anti-coronavirus precautionary measure. It is because Dumfries yesterday was one of thousands of demonstrators in Rotterdam city against the murder of George Floyd and other racism. The demonstration was near the Erasmus bridge, where it was expected that there would be enough space for spatial distancing. Still, so many more people came than expected, that for some demonstrators keeping one meter and half distance became impossible. That did not happen to Dumfries. Still, as a precaution, he will now train separately.

Not only Dumfries, also Memphis Depay, Dutch player in French football club Lyon, was at the Rotterdam demonstration. Two days earlier, he had also been at a big demonstration in Amsterdam.

What happened at that Amsterdam demonstration? It was organised by two small organisations, an anti-blackface movement and an organisation of African Dutch transgender people. Both used to less than 100 people coming to their events. On Facebook, 300 people said that they intended to come. But often, people on Facebook say they will come, and then they don’t come. Police estimated about 250 people would join the anti-racism demonstration on Dam square.

The organisers painted signs on the Dam square to enable spatial distancing.

Amsterdam George Floyd demonstation, ANP photo

The Dam square is big enough for thousands of demonstrators. However, very many more people joined the protest than the organisers and the police expected; as this ANP photo shows. So, spatial distancing became impossible. And both the Dam square and the streets around it became crowded.

UPDATE, 18 June 2020: So far, only one person present at the Dam demonstration is known to have coronavirus. It is not known where the infection of that person happened.

Today, Amsterdam municipality has decided that during the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no more demonstrations on the Dam. Demonstrators will go to the much bigger Museumplein square.

After Amsterdam, there were also anti-racist protests with thousands of participants in Groningen and The Hague. There, there was enough space for everyone to safely adhere to anti-COVID-19 measures.

Translated from NOS radio:

“I see what is happening in the world and what is happening in the Netherlands,” said Depay on Wednesday evening in the television program Beau about his presence at the protests against racism. “I experienced it from an early age. I thought it was my duty to stand there.”

Depay also said that he personally still faces racism. “Recently I was called banana picker. It is not said face-to-face, but on the internet.”

Jewish antifa

This ‘Antifa’ group was also Zionist, pro-Palestinian and Yiddish-speaking — and it’s trending.

Your top 9 Yiddish antifa anthems: a revolutionary playlist.

Rumor that a Los Angeles Chabad [Hasidic Jewish religious orgamisation] is fueling Antifa gets spread by White House.

Jewish history shows the consequences of tolerating police brutality.

A history of anti-fascism: here.

How Humboldt penguins nest, new research

This 2014 video says about itself:

The Humboldt penguin is found only along the rugged Pacific coast of Peru and Chile. Although most people think of penguins as cold-weather birds, most live in temperate or even tropical habitats. The Humboldt penguin lives where one of the earth’s driest deserts meets one of the coldest ocean currents.

The Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Center for Conservation in Punta San Juan, Peru, and its partners are working to protect penguins and other marine life in this area.

Read more about Humboldt penguin conservation here.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, News Bureau in the USA:

Blood markers predict Humboldt penguin nest type, reproductive success

June 2, 2020

Summary: Researchers looked at metabolic markers in the blood of 30 Humboldt penguins nesting in the Punta San Juan Marine Protected Area in Peru. The scientists discovered metabolic differences between penguins nesting in sheltered burrows and those in more exposed areas. Nesting success is critical to the Humboldt penguins’ survival as a species.

From March to December every year, Humboldt penguins nest in vast colonies on the Peruvian and Chilean coasts. The lucky ones find prime habitat for their nests in deep deposits of chalky guano where they can dig out sheltered burrows. The rest must look for rocky outcrops or other protected spaces that are more exposed to predators and environmental extremes.

In a new study, researchers looked at metabolic markers in the blood of 30 Humboldt penguins nesting in the Punta San Juan Marine Protected Area in Peru. The scientists wanted to know if there were metabolic differences between penguins nesting in the guano-rich burrows and in the exposed areas.

Nesting success is critical to the Humboldt penguins’ long-term survival as a species. Decades of aggressive guano harvesting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries — a practice eventually replaced with more sustainable methods — depleted the Peruvian coastline and near-shore islands of their historical bird guano deposits that provided habitat for nesting penguins. Guano mining, climate change and other threats have led to a dramatic decline in Humboldt penguin populations across their range. Today, there are only about 32,000 of the birds — down from hundreds of thousands less than a century ago — and their numbers continue to fall.

“Punta San Juan and other protected marine areas and reserves along the coast of Peru still provide some protected sites with good guano deposits that the penguins are able to dig into to make their nests,” said Dr. Michael Adkesson, the vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo.

Adkesson led the research with David Schaeffer, a professor emeritus of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Jeff Levengood, a researcher with the Illinois Natural History Survey.

“We know from studies by Peruvian biologists that penguins produce more chicks with higher survival rates when they are able to dig burrow nests into guano deposits,” Adkesson said. “So we wanted to see if we could detect — based on the blood of these birds — metabolic differences that would indicate the penguins nesting in less ideal nest sites were using more energy to deal with the fact that they’re more exposed to the weather and predators.”

The task was a challenge because few studies have analyzed blood metabolites in birds and the researchers did not have a hypothesis about what they would find, said Schaeffer, who, with Levengood, conducted the statistical analyses of 19 saccharide metabolites.

Their work revealed that penguins in sheltered and unsheltered locations had consistent — and distinct — patterns of several sugars in their blood. The blood sugars that best predicted the birds’ nesting habitat included arabinose, maltose, glucose-6-phosphate and levoglucosenone.

That last sugar is a metabolic byproduct of exposure to a pollutant, levoglucosan, which is generated by the burning of cellulose. Setting fire to agricultural waste is common in regions near the nesting colony. Forest fires also generate levoglucosan. This metabolite was higher in the birds in exposed nests.

“This unexpected finding is one of the few indicators that we have that the unsheltered penguins are being exposed to more air pollution than their counterparts in burrows,” Schaeffer said.

The differences in the other saccharides likely reflect the extra metabolic stresses the penguins in exposed nest sites experience, the researchers said. More research is needed to tease out the relationships between these metabolites and their health.

“This is another tool in the toolbox of understanding what’s going on with the penguins in this region,” Adkesson said. “We know the penguins can adapt to the lack of good nesting habitat to some extent, but it’s not ideal for the long-term survival of the species. We hope that by looking at what’s going on in their blood we can better predict how changes in the environment will affect their health and reproductive success, with the ultimate goal of shaping conservation strategies that protect the penguins and their habitat.”

Dutch ambassador to Nigeria helped Shell corruption

This 27 November 2018 video says about itself:

We are just working to die, say Shell workers in Nigeria

[Trade union federation] IndustriALL’s mission to Port Harcourt, Nigeria, found Shell workers living in shocking conditions with poverty wages, no job security and inadequate medical cover that is costing workers’ lives. Find out more here.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Dutch ambassador to Nigeria leaked information to Shell

At the end of 2017, the Dutch ambassador to Nigeria leaked confidential information about a major corruption investigation into Shell to the oil corporation. NRC daily writes this based on an integrity investigation into Robert Petri. He was prematurely replaced as ambassador to the Nigerian capital Abuja in early 2019.

A criminal investigation into Shell was underway at the end of 2017 because the oil company, along with the Italian oil corporation Eni, is said to have used nearly $ 1 billion in kickbacks for developing a big Nigerian oil field. Just before the FIOD Dutch tax investigative service left for Nigeria to gather information about the case, the ambassador and his wife visited the local Shell CEO. Petri is said to have admitted that he has ‘revealed’ the arrival of FIOD.

The ministry only intervened after two consecutive inspections: an integrity investigation into Petri, at the end of 2018, and subsequently a specially inserted investigation into the working climate at the embassy, ​​at the beginning of 2019.

The initial investigation was prompted by a complaint about the ambassador’s integrity. It was about a trip he made with his wife in May 2018 on an aeroplane of a Nigerian gas company partly owned by Shell.

The two internal investigations revealed, eg, a sick working atmosphere at the embassy.