Prehistoric North American camels, new research


This December 2e017 video is called Camelops || North American Camel || Facts & Photos.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Extinct camelids reveal insights about North America’s ancient savannas

June 10, 2020

A new study looking at extinct camelids — ancestors of today’s camels and llamas — tells the story of North America’s ancient savannas and highlights how past climatic and environmental conditions influenced the composition of mammalian faunas.

Although savanna habitats (treed grasslands) are only found in the tropics today, around 18 million years ago, during the Miocene epoch, savanna ecosystems, similar to those of modern Africa, existed in the mid-latitudes of North America. At their peak — around 12 million years ago — they were comparable in their mammalian diversity to that of the Serengeti today.

The study, published in Frontiers in Earth Science, is the work of palaeobiologists at the University of Bristol and the University of Helsinki. It provides the first quantitative characterisation of the ecomorphology of a group of large herbivorous ungulates (i.e. hoofed mammals) known as artiodactyls, which includes camels and antelope, from ancient North American savannas and how they compare with their counterparts from the present-day African savannas, such as the Serengeti.

Lead author of the research, Nuria Melisa Morales García from the University of Bristol, said: “The North American savannas housed a vast diversity of camelids. In fact, camelids actually originated and first diversified in North America where they lived for more than 40 million years and were incredibly successful and widespread.”

The researchers measured the skulls, jaws and limb bones of dozens of extinct North American artiodactyls, including camelids, and compared them with those living today in the Serengeti savanna of East Africa. The researchers recorded data on body size and on aspects of the anatomy of the animals that are linked with their ecology.

“The Serengeti mammals are very well known to research: we know how they live, how they eat and we have all their measurements. By using what we know about them, we can make solid inferences on how the extinct artiodactyls of North America were behaving,” said Professor Christine Janis, from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences and supervising author of the study.

The analysis showed that while there was considerable overlap between the ecologies of extinct and modern species, the majority of extinct camelids were most similar to the modern common eland, an arid-adapted antelope with a diet of grass and leaves. This reveals important information about the ecosystem they inhabited and suggests the North American savannas were drier than modern African savannas (a notion supported by other research).

“We also studied how these faunas were affected by the climatic changes of the Neogene: as temperatures dropped and conditions became more arid, these faunas became more depauperate — lacking in number and diversity. Camels still dominated in these faunas, but the diversity of all ungulates took a big hit. Our study shows how ungulate faunas responded to a particular scenario of climate change which, now more than ever, is extremely relevant in understanding what is to come,” said Morales-García.

US police murders George Floyd, worldwide condemnation


This 10 June 2020 video says about itself:

Amsterdam protest: Thousands rally against racism in capital city

More than 10,000 people have rallied in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.

Protesters are highlighting the country’s colonial past, but that is not the only focus of the demonstration.

Activists are demanding an end to systemic racism in the Netherlands.

Al Jazeera’s Step Vaessen reports from Amsterdam.

JEFFERSON DAVIS FALLS Nationwide anger over police brutality and systemic racism has turned toward symbols of America’s troubled past still scattered across the country: statues honoring Confederate figures and colonizers that have long invited heated debate. In Portsmouth, Virginia, protesters covered a large Confederate monument dating to the 1800s with trash bags and spray paint. A crowd of demonstrators later took bolt cutters and sledgehammers to the heads of the statues, removing them as a marching band blasted in the background. In Richmond, Virginia, demonstrators removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. [HuffPost]

Sunny Hostin has no time for Meghan McCain’s “Gone With The Wind” lament.

“Song of the South” trends as fans debate the legacy of “Disney’s most notorious film.”

TRUMP ‘WON’T CONSIDER’ RENAMING BASES NAMED FOR CONFEDERATE GENERALS Trump said he “will not even consider” renaming military bases named for Confederate generals, claiming it would be a disrespect to the armed forces. Trump, in remarks he tweeted and directed press secretary Kayleigh McEnany to read at a White House press briefing, did not acknowledge that the bases are named for men who fought during the Civil War to preserve the enslavement of Black people ― America’s “original sin” that still affects the life of Black Americans today. Meanwhile, NASCAR announced Wednesday that it would ban the display of the Confederate flag at all its events and properties. [HuffPost]

Republican Group Says Trump Just Became The ‘Confederacy’s Second President’. The president is honoring those who fought “to preserve slavery and uphold white supremacy,” the Lincoln Project says: here.

OVER 1,250 EX-DOJ WORKERS DEMAND PROBE OF A.G. BARR More than 1,250 former Justice Department workers have signed a letter calling for an independent investigation into Attorney General William Barr’s role in last week’s violent removal of anti-racism demonstrators near the White House. The letter addressed to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz called Barr’s role in the protesters’ June 1 removal ahead of Trump’s photo-op at a nearby church “disturbing” as well as a likely violation of the demonstrators’ constitutional rights. [HuffPost]

A security fence erected around the White House has become a massive, makeshift art project that demands equal protection for all Americans.

WHITE HOUSE DOUBLES DOWN ON TRUMP’S SMEAR AGAINST PROTESTER White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s tweet that falsely accused a 75-year-old anti-racism protester who was shoved to the ground by police of being an “ANTIFA provocateur.” During an interview with “Fox & Friends,” McEnany said Trump was simply raising questions based on a report he saw. The president’s tweet appeared to reference a segment that aired on OANN, a right-wing network that routinely disseminates conspiracy theories. [HuffPost]

TRUMP BELIEVES ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’ IS A POLITICAL GIFT While Trump’s unhinged tweets may have already stepped on the message, senior White House aides are betting that his conspiracy theories about a 75-year-old Buffalo, New York, protester will fade quickly while “defund the police” could be a key campaign flashpoint for months to come. “The Democrats are giving a wink and a nod to the ‘defund the police’ movement all on their own ― even if Biden was hedging all over himself,” a senior White House aide told HuffPost, referring to Joe Biden’s careful statement on Monday. [HuffPost]

LEBRON JAMES IS FIGHTING FOR BLACK VOTERS’ RIGHTS Spurred by the death of George Floyd, NBA superstar LeBron James said he’s launching a new initiative with a group of other renowned African American athletes and celebrities aimed at protecting Black voting rights. James said Floyd’s death convinced him that he needed “to get out and do a little bit more” to empower and inspire African Americans across the nation to vote in the November election — and also to draw attention to efforts to suppress the votes of minority groups. [HuffPost]

A racial trauma therapist breaks down the Black Lives Matter protests.

L’Oreal dropped this model for commenting on systemic racism. Now it wants her back

Listen: How Gen Z and Millennial Jews are talking to their parents and children about George Floyd.

Auschwitz survivor voices support for Chicago protesters.

Scribe | I protested in DC — in my tallis.

Giant jellyfish’s dangerous stings


This 2009 video is called Nemopilema nomurai.

From the American Chemical Society in the USA:

What makes a giant jellyfish’s sting deadly?

June 10, 2020

With summer on the way, and some beaches reopening after COVID-19 shutdowns, people will be taking to the ocean to cool off on a hot day. But those unlucky enough to encounter the giant jellyfish Nemopilema nomurai (also known as Nomura’s jellyfish) might wish they had stayed on shore. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Journal of Proteome Research have identified the key toxins that make the creature’s venom deadly to some swimmers.

Found in coastal waters of China, Korea and Japan, Nomura’s jellyfish can grow up to 6.6 feet in diameter and weigh up to 440 pounds. This behemoth stings hundreds of thousands of people per year, causing severe pain, redness, swelling, and in some cases, even shock or death. The jellyfish’s venom is a complex brew of numerous toxins, some of which resemble poisons found in other organisms, such as snakes, spiders, bees and bacteria. Rongfeng Li, Pengcheng Li and colleagues wanted to determine which of the many toxins in the jellyfish’s venom actually cause death. The answer could help scientists develop drugs to counteract jellyfish stings.

The researchers captured N. nomurai jellyfish off the coast of Dalian, China, and collected their tentacles, which contain the venom. They extracted venom proteins and separated them into different fractions using chromatography. By injecting each protein fraction into mice, the team identified one that killed the animals. Autopsies revealed damage to the mice’s heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. The researchers used mass spectrometry to identify 13 toxin-like proteins in this lethal fraction. Some of the jellyfish proteins were similar to harmful enzymes and proteins found in poisonous snakes, spiders and bees. Instead of any one toxin being lethal, it’s likely that multiple poisons work in concert to cause death, the researchers say.

COVID-19 pandemic disaster, worldwide


This 11 June 2020 video says about itself:

Inside a Mexican intensive care unit battling COVID-19

Mexico has reported a record daily rise of more than 4,800 cases of the coronavirus and more than 15,300 people there have died.

Doctors and nurses on the front lines have been protesting over the lack of training and protective equipment as they treat patients.

Al Jazeera’s John Holman reports from an intensive care unit in Mexico City.

Young maquiladora factory workers dying in droves in US/Mexico border towns. By Norissa Santa Cruz, 11 June 2020. Defying the myth that COVID-19 primarily kills the elderly, young people who work in US-owned maquiladora factories in border towns such as Tijuana and Juarez are dying at alarming rates.

Lockdowns may have averted 531 million coronavirus infections. In the United States alone, an estimated 60 million infections were avoided, researchers say: here.

Report finds European lockdowns saved millions of lives, ending it threatens millions. By Thomas Scripps, 11 June 2020. The report is an indictment of governments’ initial delays in implementing public health measures and a warning of the terrible consequences of the return to business as usual.

USA: Growing anger among US workers as COVID-19 rips through workplaces. By Tom Hall and Jerry White, 11 June 2020. As plants and factories have become major centers of COVID-19 transmission, meat processing workers in Utah and sanitation workers in Philadelphia protested to demand safe working conditions.

As company becomes world’s most valuable automaker. Six Tesla workers test positive for coronavirus at Bay Area factories. By Jonathan Burleigh, 11 June 2020. Less than a month after Tesla strongarmed local government into allowing a premature restart of production, six factory workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.

TRUMP IS ACTING LIKE CORONAVIRUS IS GONE AS 2ND WAVE HITS On Wednesday, the number of U.S. coronavirus cases leapt passed 2 million, with outbreaks growing in 21 states and more than a dozen states seeing record surges. But President Donald Trump’s latest messages on the pandemic are almost indistinguishable from the one he was sending at the very beginning: Everything is under control.  Meanwhile, Trump planned a June 19 campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where there are no restrictions on large gatherings. [HuffPost]

Eight states that are the new coronavirus hot spots.

Arizona reactivates hospital emergency plans as COVID-19 infections rise in 19 states. By Benjamin Mateus, 11 June 2020, The pandemic in the United States sees surges in southern and western states as stay-at-home orders have been rescinded and back-to-work campaigns pushed through.

England: Transport for London refuses Freedom Of Information requests into bus and transport COVID-19 deaths. By Laura Tiernan, 11 June 2020.

‘Mild’ coronavirus infection is not mild: here.

How beavers benefit other wildlife


This 24 January 2020 video from Scotland says about itself:

Did you know that beavers have a ripple effect on the biodiversity of their habitat? The way they change and manage the landscape creates a haven for wildlife and the ecosystem as a whole, including small mammals, birds of prey, plants, trees and lichens, invertebrates and water-dwellers. Thanks again to Louise Ramsay and the Bamff Estate in Perthshire.

A film for WoodlandsTV by Jemma Cholawo.

From the University of Eastern Finland:

Beavers are diverse forest landscapers

June 10, 2020

Beavers are ecosystem engineers that cut down trees to build dams, eventually causing floods. Beaver-induced floods make forest landscapes and habitats increasingly diverse, but very little is known about the long-term effects of beavers on European landscapes. Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Helsinki examined the history and occurrence of beaver-induced floods and patch dynamics in southern Finland. They used a unique dataset of field observations from 1970 to 2018.

Floods caused by beavers over the course of history form a network of different habitats that remain interconnected even for long periods of time.

“Beavers can help to restore wetland ecosystems and entire boreal forests, and they also help in conserving the biodiversity of these environments,” Researcher Sonja Kivinen from the University of Eastern Finland says.

The European beaver was hunted to extinction in the 19th century Finland. Nowadays, the study area is home to the American beaver, which was introduced there in the 1950s. The American beaver builds similar dams as the European one.

“The spread of the beaver in our study area has created a diverse and constantly changing mosaic of beaver ponds and beaver meadows of different ages,” Kivinen says.

In 49 years, the number of beaver-induced flood sites grew 11-fold.

The researchers observed that the number of beaver-induced flood sites grew by more than 11-fold over the study period. In addition to creating new flood sites, beavers also often use old sites to cause new floods. The duration of an individual flood and the frequency of floods can vary greatly between different flood sites, resulting in an abundance of habitat patches with different environmental conditions.

“Thanks to beaver activity, there is a unique richness of wetlands in the forest landscape: flowages dominated by bushes, beaver meadows, and deadwood that can be used by various other species,” University Lecturer Petri Nummi from the University of Helsinki says.

Indeed, beaver-induced disturbances are more predictable in diversifying the forest landscape than for example forest fires or storms.

Black Lives Matter in France


Assa Traore, the sister of Adama Traore addressing a 20,000-strong demonstration in Paris, France demanding justice for her brother, murdered by police and in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US last week

This photo shows Assa Traore, the sister of Adama Traore addressing a 20,000-strong demonstration in Paris, France demanding justice for her brother, murdered by police and in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in the US last week.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

‘We are fighting for our brother in the US George Floyd and for Adama’ as 20,000 march in Paris defying ban

IN THE WAKE of last week’s mass Black Lives Matter protests against police racism and brutality in France, the Macron government has announced a ban on the chokehold method of arrests.

On the eve of his election to the French presidency, Emmanuel Macron promised to lead an ‘uncompromising’ fight against police violence and impunity.

‘I want to change the culture, the management and the recruitment of French police,’ the future president told news website Mediapart on May 5th, 2017, ahead of his victorious run-off against the far right’s Marine Le Pen.

‘When there is manifestly a problem, the police hierarchy must be challenged,’ he added.

Three years on, the only visible change is the widened gulf between French police and large swathes of the public, spurred on by riot police violence against the Yellow Vests movement.

On Monday, Jacques Toubon, France’s human rights ombudsman, raised the alarm over a ‘crisis of public confidence in the security forces.’ In a wide-ranging damning report, Toubon urged a reversal of what he described as a ‘warring mentality’ in law enforcement.

Defying police orders, tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Paris and other French cities last week to protest against police racism and impunity. Demonstrators voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter protests and demanded justice for Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old French Malian black man who, like George Floyd in the US, died while in police custody in the Paris suburbs in 2016.

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people across France continued to pay homage to both Traoré and Floyd, denouncing systemic racism and police brutality in a dozen cities including Lyon, Lille, Nice, Bordeaux and Metz.

Fearing violence, French police banned protests in front of the US Embassy and on the Champ de Mars lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday.

In response, the Elysée presidential palace on Monday said in a statement that Macron had spoken to cabinet ministers over the weekend, urging them to come up with proposals to rapidly improve policing practices.

Hours later, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner unveiled a first batch of measures, including a ban on the controversial chokehold method of arrest that has been blamed for past fatalities.

‘It will no longer be taught in police and gendarmerie schools. It is a method that has its dangers,’ he told a press conference.

Castaner said too many officers ‘have failed their republican duty’ in recent weeks, as several instances of racist and discriminatory remarks were revealed.

The minister said he would request the suspension of officers involved in suspected racism, referring to an investigation into racist messages allegedly exchanged by police officers in a private Facebook group of nearly 8,000 members and that the use of body cameras would be beefed up.

Castaner told reporters: ‘Racism has no place in our society and even less in our Republican police. I will not let the hateful actions of some officers stigmatise the police as a whole.’

However, he added: ‘I refuse to say that the police institution is racist, but yes some police officers are racist.’

Last week, during last Tuesday’s (June 2nd) protests in Paris, Assa Traoré, Adama Traoré’s older sister, drew parallels between Floyd and her brother, saying the two black men died the same way at the hands of police.

‘Tonight, this fight is no longer just the fight of the Traoré family, it’s everyone’s struggle,’ she said. ‘We are fighting for our brother in the US, George Floyd, and for Adama.

The French capital alone saw crowds of more than 20,000 people defying a ban on large gatherings …

That same day Castaner had defended the police, criticising peaceful protests that turned violent. In a tweet, he said that violence has no place in a democracy. And he congratulated the police for ‘their control and composure’.

Macron met Castaner and the prime minister Edouard Philippe, last Sunday a day after 23,000 people protested in several French cities to demand justice for victims of crimes allegedly committed by police.

For the first time since Traoré’s death in 2016, Macron asked Minister of Justice Nicole Belloubet to look into the case.

While France famously doesn’t compile official statistics based on faith, ethnicity or skin colour, racial discrimination by law enforcement has been widely documented.

A study conducted by France’s National Centre for Scientific Research has shown that blacks are 11.5 times more likely to be checked by police than whites, and those of Arab origin are seven times more likely.

In a landmark 2016 case, France’s highest court ruled for the first time that police had illegally stopped three men based on racial profiling, setting more specific rules to ensure ID checks are not discriminatory.

France’s social and racial inequalities were once again exposed during the nationwide lockdown imposed in mid-March to stem the spread of Covid-19.

On the first day of confinement, the Seine-Saint-Denis department northeast of Paris – home to France’s poorest and most immigrant-rich districts – accounted for 10 per cent of all fines handed out for breaching the lockdown, despite comprising just over two per cent of the country’s population.

Over the subsequent weeks, videos of heavy-handed and racially-charged arrests circulated widely on French social media, prompting outrage.

Last Friday, June 5th, human rights ombudsman Toubon published his report.

His office said in a press statement: ‘Following the IPCAN (Independent Police Complaints Authorities’ Network) seminar organised by the Defender of Rights and the FRA (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights) last autumn, the Defender of Rights publishes today the account-report of two days of exchanges on police-population relations.

‘Reporting on the latest research, studies and numerous examples of national practices, the document synthesises the words of more than a hundred practitioners from France and Europe.

‘This publication is accompanied by a joint declaration by several members of the IPCAN network, who call for the implementation of some twenty recommendations in order to improve relations between the police and the population.

‘Organised on October 17 and 18, 2019, the 5th IPCAN seminar entitled “Police-population relations: issues and practices” was held in the offices of the Defender of Rights in Paris in the presence of representatives of the police force, public authorities, external control bodies of the police, lawyers, victim assistance services, and researchers as well as representatives of international organisations and institutions of the European Union.

‘Bringing together 150 experts over two days, this meeting aimed to analyse the moments of interaction between the police and the population, situations that can lead to tensions, as well as the actions implemented to strengthen relations between the police and the population.’

Plenary sessions and round tables focused on three themes:

  • Discrimination and profiling, especially during identity checks;
  • Managing public events;
  •  Reception and protection of victims, in particular vulnerable groups.

Ants as flower pollinators


This 2018 video is about ants pollinating flowers.

From Edith Cowan University in Australia:

Bees? Please. These plants are putting ants to work

June 10, 2020

In a world first, Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers have discovered a plant that has successfully evolved to use ants — as well as native bees — as pollinating agents by overcoming their antimicrobial defences.

ECU PhD student Nicola Delnevo discovered the trait in a group of shrubs found the Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia.

Mr Delnevo said ant pollination of plants was incredibly rare.

“Ants secrete an antimicrobial fluid that kills pollen grain,” he said.

“So ants have traditionally been considered to be a menace — nectar thieves whose aggression keeps other potential pollinating insects at bay.

“However this group of plants in WA, commonly known as the Smokebush family (Conospermum), has evolved a way to use ants to their advantage.”

Mr Delnevo tested the effect of the antimicrobial secretion from three ant species found locally on the flowers of six WA plant species, with startling results.

“We found evidence that Conospermum plants have adapted the biochemistry of their pollen grains to cope with the antimicrobial properties of the ants.

“This is the first plant species found to have adapted traits that enables a mutually beneficial relationship with ants,” Mr Delnevo said.

“About 46 examples of ant pollination have been documented around the world, but these have been due to the ants producing less toxic secretions that allow them to pollinate.”

No help from honeybees

Mr Delnevo said the pollination by ants was particularly good news for these plants as they were unable to rely on honeybees.

“Conospermum plants have unscented tubular flowers that are too narrow for honeybees wriggle inside to pollinate,” Mr Delnevo explained.

“They rely on native insects carrying a suitable pollen load from visiting other flowers for pollination to occur.

“They have co-evolved with a native bee (Leioproctus conospermi) that has evolved as a specialist feeder of these flowers.

“This relationship is mutually beneficial, but it would be risky in an evolutionary sense for the plant to rely solely on the native bee for pollination.”

Future research will explore how common ant pollination is amongst the flora of south-western Australia and exactly how this trait of overcoming ant defences has evolved.

Qatar World Cup stadium construction, without pay


This September 2013 video says about itself:

Qatar World Cup 2022: migrant workers forced to work for no pay

Qatar, one of the richest countries on the planet, will be hosting the World Cup in 2022. But much of the Gulf state’s expansion is being built by some of the poorest migrant workers in the world.

In the worst cases, employees are not being paid and work in conditions of forced labour. Each month dozens of young Nepalese migrant workers are returning home in coffins.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Stadium builders in Qatar work for seven months on World Cup stadium without salary

Stadium construction workers in Qatar worked for seven months without getting paid for it. That reports human rights organization Amnesty International.

It is said that about a hundred foreign workers are building the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor. The World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022. The opening match is on November 21. The final is four weeks later, on December 18.

The workers told Amnesty about the hardships they endured working for months without receiving a salary.

“They are concerned about their families”, said Steve Cockburn, head of the Economy and Social Justice Department at Amnesty International. “Their families depend on the money they send home from Qatar.”

Partly paid

The human rights organization recently raised the matter with the Qatari authorities, the world football association FIFA and the local organizing committee. Amnesty says that a number of employees have now received part of their salary, but that many salaries still need to be paid. …

“This case shows how easy it is still to exploit workers in Qatar, even when building one of the crown jewels of the upcoming FIFA World Cup,” said Cockburn. “For years we have urged Qatar to reform the system, but the change has clearly not come quickly enough.”

Cockburn thinks FIFA might have brought about those changes. “If FIFA had held its World Cup partners to account for the past decade and used its power to push Qatar to completely reform its systems, we wouldn’t hear the same stories of workers’ suffering.”

Monk parakeets’ social networks, new research


This 2012 video is called Monk Parakeets In The Wild – (Myiopsitta monachus).

From the University of Cincinnati in the USA:

Twitter fight: Birds use social networks to pick opponents wisely

Biologists are studying dominance hierarchies in monk parakeets

June 9, 2020

Summary: Researchers say animals such as monk parakeets seem to understand where they fit in a dominance hierarchy and pick their fights accordingly. This high-level social information helps animals improve or maintain their status.

Knowing when to fight and when to flee is a big part of many animal societies, including our own.

University of Cincinnati biologist Elizabeth Hobson says some animals make the call based on a sophisticated understanding of social standing and their place in it.

“We have a phrase: Choose your battles wisely. Animals do that. People do that,” said Hobson, an assistant professor in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

In a new article published in the journal Current Opinion in Psychology, Hobson says animals such as monk parakeets seem to understand where they fit in a dominance hierarchy and pick their fights accordingly. This high-level social information helps animals improve or maintain their status.

Dominance hierarchies are common social organizations in nature. They’re found in everything from hermit crabs to human society, Hobson said.

“Understanding how information is perceived, processed and used by individuals in hierarchical systems is critical to understanding how animals make aggression decisions because different types of information can underlie different kinds of aggression strategies,” she said in the article.

The most basic understanding comes from firsthand experience.

“The low-information case is when animals only perceive and remember things that happened to them. A good example of this is if you are beaten in a fight. You remember that you lost but not to whom you lost,” she said.

Biologists say these battles can have a lasting impact on the combatants called winner effects and loser effects. Winners are more likely to be aggressive in future conflicts while losers are less likely to meet aggression with aggression or pick a new fight.

“With a strong loser effect, if you got beaten, you’re less likely to fight again in the future,” Hobson said.

Other animals might remember losing to a particular foe and be less inclined to challenge that foe in the future.

“What if you don’t just remember the outcome but you remember who beat you? You can build on that,” she said. “Going forward, you’ll be less aggressive with the individual who beat you. It’s a different social dynamic.”

But some animals can make judgments not just through their own direct interactions but by observing other animals and making inferences about where those would-be opponents stand in the hierarchy.

This ability, known as transitive inference, goes like this: If animal A beats animal B and animal B beats animal C, you know animal A can beat animal C. It’s a logical conclusion some animals seem to understand, Hobson said.

“Maybe they never have to fight C or they’ll know they can beat C,” she said.

Hobson is putting her ideas to the test with captive parakeets.

“This paper is setting up a perspective I want to push in my research program. It will be an exciting time,” Hobson said.

Racist capitalism, Edward Colston’s statue and beyond


This 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

Boots Riley – How Capitalism Needed Racism To Operate

Official 247HH exclusive interview with Oakland based Hip Hop artist Boots Riley, where you’ll hear about how capitalism used racism in order to gain a power. Check out how he explains how this is still relevant today in this time.

Malcolm X on capitalism

From daily News Line in Britain, 11 June 2020:

THE TORY leadership reacted in fury this week after the statue of the notorious slave trader

and Tory (Conservative) Member of Parliament

Edward Colston was torn down and dumped in Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter march in the city on Sunday.

Johnson condemned it as ‘criminal act’ while Tory Home Secretary Priti Patel condemned those responsible as ‘thugs and criminals’.

Labour leader Keir Starmer was quick to say that it was ‘completely wrong’ to topple the statue but, in an effort to avoid the anger of millions of workers and youth who have risen up against racism and British imperialism, added that he thought it should have been ‘brought down properly, with consent.’

This fear of alienating themselves from the mass movement that is sweeping Britain, America and the world, triggered by the murder by police of George Floyd, has prompted Labour’s right-wing London Mayor Sadiq Khan to announce a review of all London statues and street names saying that any with links to slavery ‘should be taken down’.

The Local Government Association’s (LGA) Labour group has also announced that Labour councils across England and Wales are to review ‘the appropriateness’ of monuments and statues in their towns and cities.

Even the police have attempted to hitch themselves to this mass movement, with Neil Basu, London assistant police commissioner, saying he was ‘horrified’ by George Floyd’s murder and in a message to police officers throughout the country, urged them to ‘stand up to racists, inequality and injustice’.

What drives the right-wing of the Labour Party, who have supported the Tory attacks on the working class and refused to lead any real struggle against them, is the fear of losing control over the movement that has erupted against the repression by the capitalist state against every single worker.

Blatant attempts have been made to keep the movement confined to issues of statues and avoid the main issue that lies at the heart of all the racist attacks and war conducted by the state against the entire working class.

While the News Line and WRP support the right to throw statues of slave traders and other historic representatives of British imperialism into the sea, this is not the decisive issue. It may satisfy some but it doesn’t address the burning issue of today – putting an end to capitalism in its final stage of imperialism once and for all.

The British working class have a long and proud history of anti-imperialism and anti-slavery going back to the American civil war.

When war was raging between the Northern Union led by Abraham Lincoln and the slave-owning Southern states of the Confederacy, a blockade of slave-picked cotton was imposed by the north.

The massive cotton mills in Lancashire were closed as a result of the blockade and thousands of mill workers thrown out of work and into crushing poverty.

With the mill owners and shipping companies demanding that the British navy smash the blockade and come to the rescue of the Confederacy, the working class stood absolutely firm despite the hardship and starvation.

At a mass meeting in Manchester Free Trade Hall in 1862, the workers voted for solidarity against slavery and support for Lincoln’s embargo. Their resistance made it impossible for the British ruling class to intervene, as they wanted, on the side of the slave owners.

In a letter sent to the ‘working men of Manchester’, Lincoln praised them for their act of heroism ‘which has not been surpassed in any age or in any country.’

This history is reasserting itself today, as weak imperialism plunges into its greatest historic crisis, a crisis from which it cannot hope to escape except through waging war on its rivals and war against its own working class.

The mass movement that has erupted cannot stop at gestures aimed at the symbols of imperialism that are used by the right-wing of the Labour Party as a cover for their support of the Tory government.

Instead, the fight must be built up to the overthrow of British and US imperialism and the establishment of socialism.

Dutch art historian Wieteke van Zeil supports the removal of slave traders’ statues: here.