Studying Atlantic bluefin tuna with a drone


This 2015 video says about itself:

Despite the ability to swim faster than a torpedo, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is under serious threat from overfishing. Photographer Brian Skerry swims with these giant fish to show that they’re more than just a meal—they are the “thoroughbreds of the sea.”

From the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center in the USA:

Measuring Atlantic bluefin tuna with a drone

June 5, 2020

Researchers have used an unmanned aerial system (or drone) to gather data on schooling juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Maine.

This pilot study tested whether a drone could keep up with the tuna while also taking photographs that captured physical details of this fast-moving fish. The drone was equipped with a high-resolution digital still image camera. Results show that drones can capture images of both individual fish and schools. They may be a useful tool for remotely monitoring behavior and body conditions of the elusive fish.

Individual fish lengths and widths, and the distance between fish near the sea surface, were measured to less than a centimeter of precision. We used an APH-22, a battery-powered, six-rotor drone. The pilot study was conducted in the Atlantic bluefin tuna’s foraging grounds northeast of Cape Cod in the southern Gulf of Maine.

“Multi-rotor unmanned aerial systems won’t replace shipboard surveys or the reliance on manned aircraft to cover a large area,” said Mike Jech, an acoustics researcher at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and lead author of the study. “They have a limited flight range due to battery power and can only collect data in bursts. Despite some limitations, they will be invaluable for collecting remote high-resolution images that can provide data at the accuracy and precision needed by managers for growth and ecosystem models of Atlantic bluefin tuna.”

Results from the APH-22 study were published in March 2020 in the Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems. Researchers conducted their work in 2015. They then compared their study results to values in published data collected in the same general area. They also compared it to recreational landings data collected through NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Recreational Information Program.

Atlantic bluefin tuna is a commercially and ecologically important fish. The population size in the western Atlantic Ocean is unknown. Fishery managers need biological data about this population, but it is hard to get. Highly migratory species like Atlantic bluefin tuna often move faster than the vessels trying to sample them. The tuna are distributed across large areas, and can be found from the sea surface to hundreds of feet deep.

Sampling with traditional gear — nets and trawls — is ineffective. Acoustical methods are useful but limited to sampling directly below a seagoing vessel with echosounders or within range of horizontal sonar.

It is also difficult to estimate the number of tuna in a school from an airplane. Both fish availability and perception biases introduced by observers can affect results. Estimates of abundance and size of individuals within a school are hard to independently verify.

Taking precision measurements of animals that are in constant motion near the surface proved easier with a drone that is lightweight, portable, and agile in flight. It can carry a high-quality digital still camera, and be deployed quickly from a small fishing boat.

Short flight times limit a drone’s ability to survey large areas. However, they can provide two-dimensional images of the shape of a fish school and data to count specific individuals just below the ocean surface.

The APH-22 system has been tested and evaluated for measuring other marine animals. It’s been used in a number of environments — from Antarctica to the Pacific Ocean — prior to its use in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Previous studies estimated the abundance and size of penguins and leopard seals, and the size and identity of individual killer whales.

“The platform is ideal for accurately measuring fish length, width, and the distance between individuals in a school when you apply calibration settings and performance measures,” Jech said. “We were able to locate the hexacopter in three-dimensional space and monitor its orientation to obtain images with a resolution that allowed us to make measurements of individual fish.”

As new unmanned aerial systems are developed, their use to remotely survey Atlantic bluefin tuna and other animals at the sea surface will evolve. It may minimize the reliance on manned aircraft or supplement shipboard surveys.

The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas governs tuna fishing. It is entrusted to monitor and manage tuna and tuna-like species in the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas. NOAA Fisheries manages the Atlantic bluefin tuna fishery in the United States and sets regulations for the U.S. fishery based on conservation and management recommendations from the international commission.

Big anti-racism demonstrations in Dutch cities


This 5 June 2020 video is about the anti-racism demonstration in Utrecht 2020, a solidarity action with George Floyd, murdered in Minneapolis, USA.

This video is about today’s protest in Nijmegen. Many people, though the weather was bad.

This video is about today’s protest in Enschede. 500 people, in spite of pouring rain.

Solitary bees in Britain


This 2 June 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Simon King introduces the Interactive Solitary Bee Hive demonstrating its ability to reveal the hidden world of solitary bees. The Interactive Solitary Bee House provides a much-needed resource for solitary bees who can struggle to find somewhere to lay their eggs. Encourage them into your garden by either making your own Bee House or buying a ready-made one and placing it on a south-facing wall where it gets maximum sun in your garden.

COVID-19 news, USA


This 4 June 2020 video from the USA is called Hospital staff applaud George Floyd protestors in New York. Demonstrators shout back ‘Thank You’.

USA: How to prepare for hurricane season during the pandemic.

AIRLINES ARE SETTING THEIR OWN RULES AND PACKING FLIGHTS Like most industries, the coronavirus has hit airlines hard, and they are eager to return to normal. But unlike many others, the companies have received billions in dedicated relief funding with very little federal oversight on how to ramp up operations safely. Most airlines suggest but don’t require that passengers wear masks. Some have encouraged social distancing by not filling middle seats. But ultimately, the need to fill seats, combined with limited regulation, means the number of people traveling on planes is rebounding. [HuffPost]

COVID-19 can last for several months.

New beetle species named after Beatles


Ptomaphagus thebeatles, newly discovered beetle species, © Menno Schilthuizen, Taxon Expeditions

Translated from Taxon Expeditions in the Netherlands, 4 June 2020:

Researchers announced today that they have discovered a new beetle species and named it after The Beatles. The insect was found during a citizen science ‘expedition’ in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam – near the Hilton Hotel where John Lennon and Yoko Ono did their “Bed In For Peace” fifty years ago.

Insects are sometimes named after famous musicians: Lady Gaga was given a cicada, Beyoncé a fly, and four species of damselflies were named after all Queen band members. But strangely, a beetle (beetle) has never been named after the Beatles. This has now been rectified in a new publication in the scientific journal Contributions to Zoology.

A team of insect researchers took a group of local residents on an ‘expedition’ in the Vondelpark. There they discovered a new beetle species (only 2 mm long and living in the soil) and decided to call the animal Ptomaphagus thebeatles. …

During the research in the Vondelpark, the group previously discovered a new parasitic wasp, which they called Aphaereta vondelparkensis.

Racist police brutality in Donald Trump’s USA


This 5 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

PROTESTER RIGHTS: By ACLU Lawyer Emerson Sykes | NowThis

Heading out to a protest this week? Know your rights.

In US news and current events today, it’s your constitutional right to protest on public sidewalks, streets, and parks. This includes the right to picket, march, and hand out pamphlets or other printed material. Sometimes a permit is required — ACLU lawyer Emerson Sykes explains protester rights.

TRUMP SHARES LETTER CALLING PROTESTERS ‘TERRORISTS’ President Donald Trump shared a letter on Twitter from one of his attorneys that describes protesters outside the White House as “terrorists”. Trump said the letter from John Dowd was “of interest to the American people.” Dowd’s letter was about the use of force against largely peaceful demonstrators in Lafayette Square, across from the White House, before Trump’s Bible-holding photo-op. [HuffPost]

Trump’s church photo has no American precedent. Does it have one in fascism?

What Trump (and Masha Gessen) can teach us about autocracy.

CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS SUE BARR, TRUMP The American Civil Liberties Union and Black Lives Matter sued the Trump administration for what the groups called an “unconstitutional” and “frankly criminal attack” on protesters outside the White House this week ahead of Trump’s church photo-op. The federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of five demonstrators, comes after law enforcement used gas canisters and flash-bang grenades to disperse largely peaceful crowds gathered in Lafayette Square on Monday to protest the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. [HuffPost]

WHITE HOUSE SECURITY BANNED CLERGY FROM HOLDING VIGIL  Federal security forces blocked clergy from having a prayer vigil in front of a Washington church on Wednesday ― the same church that President Donald Trump freely strode up to days earlier for his photo-op with a Bible. More than 100 interfaith clergy answered a call to gather outside St. John’s Church at Lafayette Square, directly across from the White House, for a prayer vigil on Wednesday afternoon. But an expanded security perimeter around the White House prevented the faith leaders from congregating on church property. [HuffPost]

The White House is now so heavily fortified it resembles a faraway autocrat’s compound.

LAW ENFORCEMENT SEIZES MASKS MEANT TO PROTECT PROTESTERS Law enforcement agents have seized hundreds of cloth masks that read “Stop killing Black people” and “Defund police” that a Black Lives Matter-affiliated organization sent to cities around the country to protect demonstrators against the spread of COVID-19, which has had a disparate impact on Black communities. The Movement for Black Lives spent tens of thousands of dollars on the masks. It’s not clear what law enforcement entity seized the masks or why. [HuffPost]

‘IT WAS A TRAP’: NYPD ROUGHS UP NEW YORKERS Just before New York’s 8 p.m. curfew Thursday, heavily armored NYPD officers on bicycles rushed a group of protesters in the Bronx who were demonstrating against police brutality. The officers charged with their batons out, Jake Offenhartz, a Gothamist reporter, tweeted. “Multiple people hit. Someone bleeding from the head,” he reported. “This wasn’t even a confrontation it was a trap.” The protesters were reportedly not violent, but with the 8 p.m. curfew in place, NYPD officers took it as their mandate to arrest everyone in sight, using brutal force to make sure they got the message. [HuffPost]

Jewish protestor, staples in head and arm broken on New York City streets, tells his story.

PROTESTER, 75, SHOVED BY THE POLICE, HITS HEAD ON CONCRETE Disturbing footage taken during a Buffalo, New York, protest shows police pushing a lone 75-year-old protester to the ground, causing him to hit his head on the concrete and bleed from the ear. Video shows the man approach the officers and speak to them. Two of the cops moved toward him, and at least one shoved him with his hand. The protester fell to the ground and audibly hit his head on the concrete, where he lay still and began to bleed from his ear. The officers stopped to look at him until another officer stepped in and directed them to keep walking. The man was later hospitalized in serious condition. Two cops were suspended. [HuffPost]

What to do if you’re hit by tear gas or pepper spray.

POLICE BUDGETS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN UNTOUCHABLE. THAT COULD CHANGE. Chants to “Defund the police!” have reverberated around the country, as thousands of people protested racist police violence this past week. The phrase is an acknowledgment of the fact that police departments typically have far more money than other government services that could better serve communities without subjecting them to brutality and violence. Black Lives Matter and other anti-police violence groups have been working to defund the police by cutting agencies’ budgets for years. And these efforts have gained momentum in the wake of recent outcries. [HuffPost]

MINNEAPOLIS CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT WANTS TO DISMANTLE THE POLICE The Minneapolis City Council will vote on a temporary order today to institute immediate changes to the police department that may include increased accountability and shifts in use-of-force policies. Council President Lisa Bender and Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison said they hoped to replace law enforcement with a “transformative new model of public safety,” calling such changes long “past due.” [HuffPost]

Cut LAPD by $150M, says L.A. mayor who sees struggle against police brutality as ‘Jewish’ one.

AIPAC hasn’t made a public statement about George Floyd. Activists are outraged.

AL SHARPTON ANNOUNCES MARCH ON WASHINGTON The Rev. Al Sharpton and George Floyd’s family are planning a march on Washington on Aug. 28. Sharpton announced the plan Thursday while delivering a eulogy for Floyd. “We’re going back to Washington,” Sharpton told the crowd, specifically addressing Martin Luther King III, who was in attendance. “That’s where your father stood in the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial and said, ‘I have a dream‘… This is the era to deal with policing and criminal justice,” he added, noting the march would specifically be used to call for a federal policing equality act. [HuffPost]

HISTORIC ANTI-LYNCHING LEGISLATION BLOCKED BY RAND PAUL On the day of George Floyd’s funeral, as American cities continued to fill with protesters demonstrating for Black lives, Congress sought to pass a bill that would make lynching a federal crime. But one man, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (Republican), stood in the way. The bill, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, named after the 14-year-old Black teenager who was brutally murdered in 1955, has broad bipartisan support. [HuffPost]

America’s legacy of lynching isn’t all history. Many say it’s still happening today.

George Floyd murdered, not forgotten


This 5 June 2020 Reuters news agency video from the USA says about itself:

GRAPHIC CONTENT: Video shows police in Buffalo, New York, shoving 75-year-old to ground

Two Buffalo, New York, police officers were suspended without pay on Thursday after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground, as protests over the police killing of George Floyd continued into their tenth night.

The victim is now, seriously injured, in a hospital.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today on this:

During last night’s protest, the elderly white man was brutally knocked to the ground. He sustained a head wound.

Police first said the man had stumbled. But when the video went public, police announced that an internal investigation would be conducted. …

After the man was knocked to the ground, the officers walked on and left him lying.

Austin, Texas police critically injure young protesters with “less lethal” beanbag rounds. By Matthew Taylor, 5 June 2020. College student Justin Howell was hospitalized on Sunday with a fractured skull and brain damage after being shot in the head while participating in a demonstration against police violence.

Anger over US police assault on Australian journalists in Washington DC. By Oscar Grenfell, 4 June 2020.

Georgia police officers charged after brutal assault on college students returning from protest. By Dan Conway, 4 June 2020.

Ten thousand people have been arrested across the US as protests against police violence continue to expand. By Kevin Reed, 5 June 2020. Protests have taken place in more than 500 cities and towns across the US over the past ten days in the face of the deployment of riot police, the National Guard and Trump‘s threat of military intervention.

Trump intensifies campaign to brand domestic opposition as terrorism. 5 June 2020. The White House’s planned use of anti-terrorism units to apprehend “agitators” is aimed at criminalizing opposition to police violence and the policies of the oligarchy: here.

Trump administration deploys unmarked paramilitary units in Washington, D.C. By Zac Thorton, 5 June 2020. The appearance of largely unmarked paramilitary units in Washington, D.C., has underscored the growing threat of a military takeover in the United States.

Thousands of US medical workers join protests against police violence. By Clara Weiss, 5 June 2020. Protests by health care workers expanded significantly Thursday, with more demonstrations planned for Friday and Saturday.

The rich are concerned with keeping their power and keeping the race thing going”. American workers voice support for mass protests against police brutality. By Evan Blake, 4 June 2020.

In this video, American football players protest against American football Big Business bosses not denouncing the murder of George Floyd and other racism, while punishing players for protesting against it (contrary to the bosses of FIFA, the world soccer league).

New details emerge in hearing for three charged in murder of Ahmaud Arbery. By Matthew MacEgan, 5 June 2020. The judge in the Arbery case found probable cause against all three defendants and declared that all of their cases would move forward to trial.

Thousands protest in London against police killing of George Floyd. By Robert Stevens, 4 June 2020.

London demonstrator (credit: PoliticsJoe--twitter)

Protests erupt in France against police violence and Trump’s coup d’état. By Alex Lantier, 5 June 2020. After the anti-constitutional threats by Trump to deploy the military against protests in the United States, 20,000 people demonstrated in Paris on Tuesday.

German protests in solidarity with George Floyd and against police violence. By Jan Ritter and Noah Windstein, 5 June 2020. The brutal video-recorded murder has shocked people in Germany and many have taken to the streets in protest.

Coronavirus worldwide news update


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

Health Over Profits!” Where The Hell Is OSHA At? Oakland Speak-out For Health Safety On The Job

Northern California workers spoke out at the California-OSHA offices on June 1 about the failure of Cal-OSHA to have any health and safety inspectors. There are less than 200 inspectors in California and many of them are over 60 and unable to do physical inspections.

Governor Gavin Newsom and former governor Jerry Brown starved Cal-OSHA of staffing and now are incapable of protecting California frontline essential workers.

The rally called for the immediate hiring of 1,000 inspectors and for criminal prosecution against bosses who fire workers in retaliation for making health and safety complaints. The protest also was part of the massive protests against the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The speakers also discussed the fact that frontline workers who are bearing the brunt of covid are forced to work without proper PPE and when they call OSHA it is ignored and they are also retaliated against.

Speakers from Tesla, San Francisco General Hospital, Highland Hospital, UCSC and gig workers spoke about the lack of health and safety and the attacks on worker union and human rights.

This caravan and rallies were part of national actions by the People’s Strike.

Mass reopenings worldwide have accelerated the coronavirus pandemic. By Bryan Dyne, 5 June 2020. There are now more than 100,000 new cases of the coronavirus around the world each day, and at least 3,000 new deaths.

Doctors and nurses kneel in front of Downing Street in London, Thursday, May 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Nearly half a million health care workers worldwide infected with coronavirus. By Patrick Martin, 4 June 2020.

US nurses speak on dangers of COVID-19 exposure at their workplaces. By Katy Kinner, 4 June 2020.

USA: Louisville Ford worker tests positive for COVID-19: here.

Use of tear gas by US police may exacerbate COVID-19 pandemic. By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 4 June 2020.

Alberta’s hard-right premier dismisses coronavirus as “influenza”. By Janet Browning, 5 June 2020. Kenney’s callous remark is part of his government’s reckless back-to-work policy, and underscores the broad support within Canada’s ruling elite for a criminal “herd immunity” strategy.

Swedish health officials admit “herd immunity” policy led to “too many” deaths. By Jordan Shilton, 5 June 2020. Sweden’s policy has been lauded internationally by mouthpieces for the financial elite and big business, who were determined to force working people back to their jobs as soon as multi-billion bailouts for the financial oligarchy were completed.

Opposition builds to re-opening of UK schools. By Tania Kent, 5 June 2020.

Nearly 65,000 COVID-19 deaths in UK according to Financial Times. By Barry Mason, 4 June 2020.

Survey exposes COVID-19 dangers facing call centre workers: here.

Philippines begins lifting lockdown despite rising infection rates. By Owen Howell, 5 June 2020. President Duterte is seeking to suppress any opposition to the premature reopening through the extension of his emergency powers and a new anti-terrorism bill.