Racism and police brutality

This 29 June 2020 video from Colorado in the USA says about itself:

Police Show Up in Riot Gear at Peaceful Protest for Elijah McClain | NowThis

Peaceful protesters demanding justice for Elijah McClain were met by police in full riot gear.

TRUMP SHARES VIDEO SHOWING PEOPLE SHOUTING ‘WHITE POWER’ President Donald Trump on Sunday shared a video that appeared to show one of his supporters yelling “white power” at a group of people protesting the president in a Florida retirement community. The video, apparently first shared Saturday on Twitter by user @davenewworld_2, captures a series of testy exchanges between Trump supporters and protesters in The Villages, an overwhelmingly white community that describes itself as “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.” [HuffPost]

Trump retweets video of supporter shouting, “White Power”. By Jacob Crosse, 29 June 2020. Seeking to bolster an administration in crisis by appealing to the most backward and reactionary elements in society, Trump left the video on his timeline for over three hours before deleting it.

Donald Trump’s long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2020.

By Linda Pentz Gunter, 29 June 2020:

Native Americans are invisible. So is their suffering

LINDA PENTZ GUNTER highlights how Amerindians are living a Third World existence in the richest country in the world

ON JUNE 8, Ian Zabarte posted a Native Lives Matter sign on his Facebook page. There were no words beside it. Just the simple hashtag, #BLM.

For Zabarte, principal man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation of Indians, the message is self-evident.

But a backlash is underway, in the US, Britain and elsewhere. It is orchestrated by those who, as Burnley FC captain Ben Mee pointed out, “completely missed the point,” after a plane trailing a White Lives Matter banner flew over the pitch before his team’s June 22 home loss.

One person killed in attack on anti-police violence protest in Louisville, Kentucky. By Warren Duzak, 29 June 2020. The suspected shooter, Steven Lopez, had been arrested by police earlier this month and was known to be in possession of a handgun and ammunition.

MISSISSIPPI LAWMAKERS VOTE TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE SYMBOL FROM FLAG Mississippi lawmakers voted Sunday to surrender the Confederate battle emblem from their state flag, triggering raucous applause and cheers more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War. [AP]

Althea Bernstein, 18, Black and Jewish, burned in hate crime.

Sacha Baron Cohen tricks right-wing rally into racist singalong.

Why is the European Union so white?

Corals discovered off Greenland

This 29 June 2020 video says about itself:

Captioned video showing and describing a new soft coral garden habitat discovered deep off the coast of Greenland.

From University College London in England:

Soft coral garden discovered in Greenland’s deep sea

June 29, 2020

A deep-sea soft coral garden habitat has been discovered in Greenlandic waters by scientists from UCL, ZSL and Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, using an innovative and low-cost deep-sea video camera built and deployed by the team.

The soft coral garden, presented in a new Frontiers in Marine Science paper, is the first habitat of this kind to have been identified and assessed in west Greenland waters.

The study has direct implications for the management of economically important deep-sea trawl fisheries, which are immediately adjacent to the habitat. The researchers hope that a 486 km2 area will be recognised as a ‘Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem’ under UN guidelines, to ensure that it is protected.

PhD researcher Stephen Long (UCL Geography and ZSL (Zoological Society London)), first author on the study, said: “The deep sea is often over-looked in terms of exploration. In fact, we have better maps of the surface of Mars, than we do of the deep sea.

“The development of a low-cost tool that can withstand deep-sea environments opens up new possibilities for our understanding and management of marine ecosystems. We’ll be working with the Greenland government and fishing industry to ensure this fragile, complex and beautiful habitat is protected.”

The soft coral garden discovered by the team exists in near-total darkness, 500m below the surface at a pressure 50 times greater than at sea-level. This delicate and diverse habitat features abundant cauliflower corals as well as feather stars, sponges, anemones, brittle stars, hydrozoans, bryozoans and other organisms.

Dr Chris Yesson (ZSL), last author on the study, said “Coral gardens are characterised by collections of one or more species (typically of non-reef forming coral), that sit on a wide range of hard and soft bottom habitats, from rock to sand, and support a diversity of fauna. There is considerable diversity among coral garden communities, which have previously been observed in areas such as northwest and southeast Iceland.”

The discovery is particularly significant given that the deep sea is the most poorly known habitat on earth, despite being the biggest and covering 65% of the planet. Until very recently, very little was known about Greenland’s deep-sea habitats, their nature, distribution and how they are impacted by human activities.

Surveying the deep sea has typically proved difficult and expensive. One major factor is that ocean pressure increases by one atmosphere (which is the average atmospheric pressure at sea level) every 10 metres of descent. Deep-sea surveys, therefore, have often only been possible using expensive remote operating vehicles and manned submersibles, like those seen in Blue Planet, which can withstand deep-sea pressure.

The UK-Greenland research team overcame this challenge by developing a low-cost towed video sled, which uses a GoPro video camera, lights and lasers in special pressure housings, mounted on a steel frame.

The lasers, which were used to add a sense of scale to the imagery, were made by combining high-powered laser pointers with DIY housings made at UCL’s Institute of Making, with help from UCL Mechanical Engineering.

The team placed the video sledge — which is about the size of a Mini Cooper — on the seafloor for roughly 15 minutes at a time and across 18 different stations. Stills were taken from the video footage, with 1,239 images extracted for further analysis.

A total of 44,035 annotations of the selected fauna were made. The most abundant were anemones (15,531) and cauliflower corals (11,633), with cauliflower corals observed at a maximum density of 9.36 corals per square metre.

Long said: “A towed video sled is not unique. However, our research is certainly the first example of a low-cost DIY video sled led being used to explore deep-sea habitats in Greenland’s 2.2million km² of sea. So far, the team has managed to reach an impressive depth of 1,500m. It has worked remarkably well and led to interest from researchers in other parts of the world.”

Dr Yesson added: “Given that the ocean is the biggest habitat on earth and the one about which we know the least, we think it is critically important to develop cheap, accessible research tools. These tools can then be used to explore, describe and crucially inform management of these deep-sea resources.”

Dr Martin Blicher (Greenland Institute of Natural Resources) said: “Greenland’s seafloor is virtually unexplored, although we know is it inhabited by more than 2000 different species together contributing to complex and diverse habitats, and to the functioning of the marine ecosystem. Despite knowing so little about these seafloor habitats, the Greenlandic economy depends on a small number of fisheries which trawl the seabed. We hope that studies like this will increase our understanding of ecological relationships, and contribute to sustainable fisheries management.”

China bans Dutch pork because of COVID-19

This 1977 live music video from England is Siouxsie and the Banshees – Carcass.

The lyrics are about a slaughterhouse worker falling in love with a dead pig‘s carcass, leading to his self-mutilation and death.

Today, with COVID-19, slaughterhouse workers’ health and lives are endangered in a different way.

Not only the health and lives of slaughterhouse workers; also of people they may come into contact with.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

China has temporarily stopped importing pork from four Dutch meat corporations that have had coronavirus infections. China is holding back imports from multiple countries following the recent upsurge of the coronavirus in Beijing, the capital. According to the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture and the meatpacking sector, China may see imports of fish and meat from slaughterhouses where employees are or have been infected with the coronavirus as a source of infection.

The ministry is trying to change China’s minds.

Strokes and mental state changes hint at how COVID-19 harms the brain. New clues emerge about relatively rare, but potentially severe, neurological symptoms: here.

How ‘flying’ snakes fly, new research

This 29 June 2020 video says about itself:

Watch a flying snake slither through the air | Science News

Scientists captured the undulating motion of paradise tree snakes as they glide through the sky. A computer simulation based on high-speed video shows that the undulation is necessary for stable flight.

By Emily Conover today:

Here’s how flying snakes stay aloft

Scientists captured the undulating motion of paradise tree snakes gliding from tree to tree

The movie Snakes on a Plane had it wrong. That’s not how snakes fly.

Certain species of tree snakes can glide through the air, undulating their bodies as they soar from tree to tree. That wriggling isn’t an attempt to replicate how the reptiles slither across land or swim through water. The contortions are essential for stable gliding, mechanical engineer Isaac Yeaton and colleagues report June 29 in Nature Physics.

“They have evolved this ability to glide, and it’s pretty spectacular,” says Yeaton, of Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md. Paradise tree snakes (Chrysopelea paradisi) fling themselves from branches, leaping distances of 10 meters or more (SN: 8/7/02). To record the snakes’ twists and turns, Yeaton, then at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and colleagues affixed reflective tape on the snakes’ backs and used high-speed cameras to capture the motion.

Physicists had previously discovered that the tree snakes flatten their bodies as they leap, generating lift (SN: 1/29/14). The new experiment reveals that the snakes also exert a complex combination of movements as they soar. Gliding snakes undulate their bodies both side to side and up and down, the researchers found, and move their tails above and below the level of their heads.

Once the researchers had mapped out the snakes’ acrobatics, they created a computer simulation of gliding snakes. In the simulation, snakes that undulated flew similarly to the real-life snakes. But those that didn’t wriggle failed spectacularly, rotating to the side or falling head over tail, rather than maintaining a graceful, stable glide.

If confined to a single plane instead of wriggling in three dimensions, the snakes would tumble. So snakes on a plane won’t fly.

COVID-19 disaster in South America

This 29 June 2020 video says about itself:

Brazil COVID-19: Protests over Bolsonaro’s handling of outbreak

Groups of protesters in more than 20 countries and in Brazil’s main cities have called for the resignation of President Jair Bolsonaro, saying he is a threat to democracy.

The protesters called their international day of protest “Stop Bolsonaro”.

They criticized his erratic response to the coronavirus pandemic and what they see as threats against democracy.

Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti reports from the Colombian capital, Bogota.

Health care collapses in Bolivia after coup regime reopens economy. By Tomas Castanheira, 29 June 2020. COVID-19 cases have tripled in Bolivia since the country began reopening economic activities less than a month ago.

Fish eggs survive being eaten by ducks

This 2009 video is called Mallard Duck – HD Mini-Documentary.

By Carolyn Wilke today:

Fish eggs can hatch after being eaten and pooped out by ducks

In the lab, only a few carp eggs survived the dangerous trip through birds’ innards

For fish eggs, getting gobbled by a duck kicks off a harrowing journey that includes a pummeling in the gizzard and an attack by stomach acids. But a few eggs can exit unscathed in a duck’s excrement, possibly helping to spread those fish, including invasive species, to different places, a new study finds.

It’s been an “open question for centuries how these isolated water bodies can be populated by fish,” says fish biologist Patricia Burkhardt-Holm of the University of Basel in Switzerland, who was not involved with the work. This study shows one way that water birds may disperse fish, she says.

Birds’ feathers, feet and feces can spread hardy plant seeds and invertebrates (SN: 1/14/16). But since many fish eggs are soft, researchers didn’t expect that they could survive a bird’s gut, says Orsolya Vincze, an evolutionary biologist at the Centre for Ecological Research in Debrecen, Hungary.

In the lab, Vincze and her colleagues fed thousands of eggs from two invasive carp species to eight mallard ducks. About 0.2 percent of ingested eggs, 18 of 8,000, were intact after defecation, the team found. Some of those eggs contained wriggling embryos and a few eggs hatched, the team reports June 22 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It’s not clear yet whether eggs survive in this way in the wild.

Most of the viable eggs were pooped out within an hour of being eaten, while one took at least four hours to pass. Migratory ducks could travel dozens or possibly hundreds of kilometers before excreting those eggs, the scientists suggest.

Though the surviving egg count is low, their numbers may add up, making bird poop a possibly important vehicle for spreading fish. A single carp can release hundreds of thousands of eggs at a time, Vincze says. And there are huge numbers of mallards and other water birds throughout the world that may gorge themselves on those eggs.

Mallards usually eat plants. They have trouble eating meat, even an ‘easy’ small dead fish, as I have seen.

COVID-19 and right-wing politicians, France and Britain

This 29 June 2020 video says about itself:

France ex-PM Fillon awaits verdict over corruption case

A verdict is expected in the corruption trial of former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

He faces up to five years in jail but says the scandal is a political smear campaign.

Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler reports from Paris.

UPDATE: today, Fillon was sentenced to five years imprisonment, of which three years are on probation. His wife got three years on probation.

Now, to Fillon’s equally right-wing successor, Edouard Philippe.

Why scientists say wearing masks shouldn’t be controversial. Cloth face coverings help curb the spread of the coronavirus, studies suggest.

This French tweet is about right-wing Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at an election meeting.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who helped shape the coronavirus policy, surrounded himself in a room with supporters, without anyone wearing a mask. Then he called for ‘a party’.

Across the country, there were busy meetings where people cheered and cheered and where local winners took off their masks in sweaty rooms in front of the cameras.

When President Macron cast his vote, he was closely surrounded by crowded people. Macron‘s party, however, lost a lot of votes in the municipal elections.

Also from NOS radio:

Johnson: Now no investigation into what went wrong

British Prime Minister Johnson does not yet think it is the time for an investigation into what went wrong with tackling the coronavirus. … In the United Kingdom, after the United States and Brazil, most people died from the effects of a Covid-19 infection.

Johnson, who was in intensive care with a coronavirus infection, called the outbreak a disaster and a nightmare. Last week, he was criticized by a group of leading health care experts. They warned in an open letter that the country is insufficiently prepared for a second wave of contamination.

The call came a day after Johnson announced that from Saturday, July 4, the British will be allowed to go to restaurants, pubs and hairdressers’ again. The distance measure is also relaxed from two to one meter.

THE ONE-METRE distancing rule is to be abandoned in schools when they open in September, the Tory government announced yesterday to the alarm of teachers, pupils and parents alike. Yet, if parents refuse to send their children back to school, because they feel it is unsafe to do so, they will be fined: here.

Monkey grammar, similar to humans?

This 2014 video says about itself:

How to speak monkey: The language of cotton-top tamarins – Anne Savage

The cotton-top tamarin is a very vocal monkey — the species communicates using a sophisticated language of 38 distinct and grammatically structured calls! Anne Savage teaches a few of these chirps and whistles, taking us through a day in the life of Shakira the tamarin (using sounds pulled from the wild) as Shakira signals to her family, talks to her food and warns against potential predators.

Lesson by Anne Savage, animation by Avi Ofer.

By Bruce Bower, June 26, 2020, at 2:00 pm:

Monkeys may share a key grammar-related skill with humans

A capacity for recursion evolved early in primate evolution, a contested study suggests

An aptitude for mentally stringing together related items, often cited as a hallmark of human language, may have deep roots in primate evolution, a new study suggests.

In lab experiments, monkeys demonstrated an ability akin to embedding phrases within other phrases, scientists report June 26 in Science Advances. Many linguists regard this skill, known as recursion, as fundamental to grammar (SN: 12/4/05) and thus peculiar to people.

But “this work shows that the capacity to represent recursive sequences is present in an animal that will never learn language,” says Stephen Ferrigno, a Harvard University psychologist.

Recursion allows one to elaborate a sentence such as “This pandemic is awful” into “This pandemic, which has put so many people out of work, is awful, not to mention a health risk.”

Ferrigno and colleagues tested recursion in both monkeys and humans. Ten U.S. adults recognized recursive symbol sequences on a nonverbal task and quickly applied that knowledge to novel sequences of items. To a lesser but still substantial extent, so did 50 U.S. preschoolers and 37 adult Tsimane’ villagers from Bolivia, who had no schooling in math or reading.

Those results imply that an ability to grasp recursion must emerge early in life and doesn’t require formal education.

Three rhesus monkeys lacked humans’ ease on the task. But after receiving extra training, two of those monkeys displayed recursive learning, Ferrigno’s group says. One of the two animals ended up, on average, more likely to form novel recursive sequences than about three-quarters of the preschoolers and roughly half of the Bolivian villagers.

Maid of Ace, English women punk rockers

This live music video says about itself:

Maid of Ace – 01.11.2019 – Collosseum Music Pub, Košice, Slovakia (Full Concert)


Alison C Elliott – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Anna C Elliott – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Amy C Elliott – Bass, Vocals
Abby C Elliott – Drums

Maid of Ace are an all-women punk rock band from England.

In that, they are a bit similar to other British bands. Like Nancy and the Dolls.

But the difference is that Nancy and the Dolls mainly play covers from other bands. Until recently, they were called the Sex Pissed Dolls, playing, eg, Sex Pistols covers, like this 16 May 2019 Anarchy in the UK.

Maid of Ace are also somewhat similar to the British Ramonas. The Ramonas play their own songs, but very often, covers of their role models, the Ramones. Like this 2019 Sheena is a punk rocker, recorded in Bilbao in the Basque Country in Spain.

Maid of Ace sometimes do play covers. Like this Happy House, originally by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Recorded on 23 November 2013 in Maid of Ace’s native Hastings.

But they mostly play their own stuff. And while the Ramonas, similarly to the Ramones, all have the surname Ramona on stage, Maid of Ace all have the same surnames because they really are sisters.

Maid of Ace interview: here. And here. And here. And here.

By Ged Babey in Britain, July 31, 2016:

Album Review

Maid of Ace: Maid In England (Maid of Ace Records) …


All-girl all-sister band from Hastings. New Breed Punk Rock’n’Roll. Ged Babey thinks they are ace…. For fans of the Distillers, the Runaways and Hole

I blame the parents.

If you have four girls why would you name them Alison Cara, Anna Coral, Abby Charlotte, and Amy Catherine? Well because if your surname was Elliott, you’d have, initially: Four ACE’s. A good hand and a great band.

The Ramones, as we know, were not brothers, and there are a few bands with sisters in, but I can’t think of any others who have FOUR sisters in. Apart from the Shaggs

The best thing about Maid of Ace, apart from their biker-rock’n’roll punk-tunes, is the fact they don’t sell themselves as a tits’n’ass chick band or a preachy feminista-sista act. They just get on with it. They play hard and fast and loud and dirty. They have a blood-ties gang mentality and their mission is to have fun. The photo on the album cover captures their essence, as do their promotional videos. Maid of Ace’s brand of rebellion is about living now, getting pissed, having a laugh and kicking ass, rockin’ out … on a budget and in-spite of the bad-times, grey-skies, hell-in-a-handcart end-of-days we’re living through. That said,
it’s not possible to be ‘a punk band’ and not have ‘something to say’.

Raise the Minimum Wage’ is one song which touches on the daily grind. A brilliant imitation of a robo-computer-voice saying ‘You-have Zero-pounds, zero-pence’ is blow-torched by Alison’s throaty roar. Her voice shreds!

This is the 2018 video of that Minimum Wage song.

A song called ‘Fight’ is a manic manifesto of basic punk rock ideals “Fight for what you believe in…. Take Control …Follow your heart ’n’ feed your soul!” It is the most-hardcore track on the album and reminds me of Conflict, whereas the rest of the album is more street punk meets biker-rock.

‘Greed’ is an anti-capitalism rant you can have a good vent to when you sing-a-long. But targets poverty-porn too: “Somebody else’s tragedy is entertainment for you and me. Ignore!”

This video shows Maid of Ace playing Greed and Spittin Blood live in York, on 20 July 2019.

The title track is more about feeling homesick when on tour rather than any kind of flag-waving nationalism. The Oi! Oi! Oi! chorus will go down well at Rebellion no doubt.

Here is the video of that title track, Made in England.

Maid of Ace don’t really do ‘love songs’. The relationship songs, shall we say are just as raging. The people in their sights are either ‘Boring’ or a ‘Monster’. Even a song called ‘For You’ seems to be more about the romance of getting fucked-up together.

Maid of Ace are one of a bunch of bands who have female members who play a heavy but melodic, grunge-influenced kind of punk rock. Brassick, Trioxin Cherry, Army of Skanks, Hands Off Gretel … all of whom can out drink and outplay or holler their male contemporaries.

This is MOA’s second album -the highlights from the first, Dickhead and Bone Deth have played-to-death videos on Youtube. They were great statements of intent and Maid In England is a solid follow up; Hollywood Rain and Disaster of Noise show musical progression but with none of the rawness smoothed off. Superficial similarities to the Distillers and the Runaways aside, they actually have the feel of a band whose influences probably cover everything from Oi!, Goth, Greebo, Punk, Anarcho, Thrash and Metal. …

I would say that they were Lemmy‘s bastard offspring but that would be casting aspersions on their mum and dad who have raised them well, a ready-made sisterhood of rockers who raise Hell!

Like with musicians all over the world, the COVID-19 disaster now causes problems for Maid of Ace. Certainly in Britain, where Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s mismanagement causes infection after infection. Maybe it takes the removal of the Conservative government to make it possible for Maid of Ace to play safely with audiences again.

Here are their future concerts (if possible).

This 12 June 2020 video says about itself:

“REPENT” performed by “Maid Of Ace”

The second single off their forthcoming third album, due August 2020.