Neil Young opposes Trump, supports Sioux protesters


This 4 July 2020 video about the USA says about itself:

Last night, Donald Trump held a rally near Mount Rushmore on the land of the Ogala Lakota Sioux, with the mountain itself being sacred. This angered Neil Young, especially when his song Rockin’ in the Free World and others were played without permission. He tweeted the following: “I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux & this is NOT ok with me”

It’s also the case that the song’s lyrics criticize America, especially from a progressive perspective.

This was part of a scene where Trump’s white base was encroaching on Black Hills Native American land, and absurdly telling those people to go home and go back to where they came from, even though they have lived on these lands for thousands of years in some cases. Trump supporters shouted ‘go home’ at Native Americans protesting Mount Rushmore rally on their land.

This 4 July 2020 video about the USA says about itself:

Chairs Ziptied together at Trump’s Mount Rushmore Rally, Preventing Social Distancing

As it is being reported by CNN’s Jim Acosta, Many of the seats at Trump’s South Dakota Rally and speech tonight at Mount Rushmore are being zip-tied together, guaranteeing no social distancing for scores of people attending the event. This is in addition to the fact that there are no social distancing protocols, and there are no mandatory mask ordinances, meaning masks are optional.

Tying chairs together at Mt Rushmore shows that the Trump campaign doesn’t care about the safety and well-being of attendees, and that they want to have a compact crowd to make for better TV, showing that Trump is putting image and ego ahead of human life.

Trump’s attacks on ‘left-wing cultural revolution’ are an anti-Semitic dogwhistle.

Egyptian footballers refuse unsafe play during pandemic


This 3 July 2020 video says about itself:

Egyptian giant Zamalek to boycott league [Football Planet]

Uncertainty still lingers in the forthcoming 2021 CAF. The cancellation of FIFA dates in September further complicates the CAF’s 2020 games.

In Egypt, after issuing several threats, Zamalek has finally taken action. The frustration of some clubs with the decision to resume the championship takes a dramatic turn. The Cairo-based club has announced that it will not be resuming the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This 3 July 2020 video is called From Scarred Lungs to Diabetes: How COVID May Stick With People Long-Term | SciShow News.

Caecilian amphibians’ snake-like venom, new discovery


This 2017 video says about itself:

On this episode of Breaking Trail, Coyote discovers the most bizarre creature he’s ever found, a Caecilian!

Wait a what?! A Caecilian, while at first glance looks exactly like a giant earthworm, is actually an amphibian more closely related to salamanders. It’s definitely NOT a worm.

These subterranean crawlies live in the loose soils and substrates all over the world. They are very elusive and almost never seen by humans, so even though the rain forced the camera crew to take shelter Coyote just had to share this amazing encounter with the Coyote Pack!

Get ready to see one of the rarest creatures we will ever show you!

From ScienceDaily:

First evidence of snake-like venom glands found in amphibians

July 3, 2020

Caecilians are limbless amphibians that, to the untrained eye, can be easily mistaken for snakes. Though caecilians are only distantly related to their reptilian cousins, researchers in a study appearing July 3 in the journal iScience describe specialized glands found along the teeth of the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), which have the same biological origin and possibly similar function to the venom glands of snakes. If further research can confirm that the glands contain venom, caecilians may represent the oldest land-dwelling vertebrate animal with oral venom glands.

Caecilians are peculiar creatures, being nearly blind and using a combination of facial tentacles and slime to navigate their underground tunnels. “These animals produce two types of secretions — one is found mostly in the tail that is poisonous, while the head produces a mucus to help with crawling through the earth,” says senior author Carlos Jared, a biologist and Director of the Structural Biology Lab at the Butantan Institute in São Paulo. “Because caecilians are one of the least-studied vertebrates, their biology is a black box full of surprises.”

“It is while examining the mucous glands of the ringed caecilian that I stumbled upon a never before described set of glands closer to the teeth,” says first author Pedro Luiz Mailho-Fontana, a post-doctoral student in the Structural Biology Lab at the Butantan Institute.

What Mailho-Fontana found were a series of small fluid-filled glands in the upper and lower jaw, with long ducts that opened at the base of each tooth. Using embryonic analysis, he found that these oral glands originated from a different tissue than the slime and poison glands found in the caecilian’s skin. “The poisonous skin glands of the ringed caecilian form from the epidermis, but these oral glands develop from the dental tissue, and this is the same developmental origin we find in the venom glands of reptiles,” says Mailho-Fontana. This marks the first time glands of this kind have been found in an amphibian.

Researchers suspect that the ringed caecilian may use the secretions from these snake-like oral glands to incapacitate its prey. “Since caecilians have no arms or legs, the mouth is the only tool they have to hunt,” says co-author Marta Maria Antoniazzi, an evolutionary biologist at the Butantan Institute. “We believe they activate their oral glands the moment they bite down, and specialized biomolecules are incorporated into their secretions.

A preliminary chemical analysis of the oral gland secretions of the ringed caecilian found high activity of phospholipase A2, a common protein found in the toxins of venomous animals. “The phospholipase A2 protein is uncommon in non-venomous species, but we do find it in the venom of bees, wasps, and many kinds of reptiles,” says Mailho-Fontana. In fact, the biological activity of phospholipase A2 found in the ringed caecilian was higher than what is found in some rattlesnakes. Still, more biochemical analysis is needed to confirm whether the glandular secretions are toxic.

If future work can verify the secretions are toxic, caecilian oral glands could indicate an early evolutionary design of oral venom organs. “Unlike snakes which have few glands with a large bank of venom, the ringed caecilian has many small glands with minor amounts of fluid. Perhaps caecilians represent a more primitive form of venom gland evolution. Snakes appeared in the Cretaceous probably 100 million years ago, but caecilians are far older, being roughly 250 million years old,” Jared says.

Very few groups of land-dwelling vertebrates have serpent-like bodies, and this research suggests there might be a connection between a limbless body plan and the evolution of a venomous bite. “For snakes and caecilians, the head is the sole unit to explore the environment, to fight, to eat, and to kill,” says Antoniazzi. “One theory is that perhaps these necessities encourage the evolution of venom in limbless animals.”

Coronavirus pandemic in Donald Trump’s USA


This 2 July 2020 video from the USA is called NATIVE AMERICAN PROTESTERS BLOCK THE ENTRANCE TO MOUNT RUSHMORE [Trump election rally].

As COVID-19 pandemic explodes out of control. Trump holds Mount Rushmore event in defiance of health experts. By Barry Grey, 4 July 2020. This criminally reckless action, virtually certain to result in a new eruption of infections and deaths, was carried out in defiance of warnings from members of Trump’s coronavirus task force.

Millions in the US face catastrophe as federal unemployment relief set to expire amid surging pandemic. By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2020. The combined economic impact of the raging pandemic and the imminent cutoff of $600 weekly federal assistance is leading to a social catastrophe for millions across the US.

Riverside, California: HCA nurses strike continues as coronavirus takes its toll. By Alex Johnson, 4 July 2020. According to health officials, the confirmed active case count in Riverside bloated to 10,059 on Thursday, compared to 9,532 on Wednesday. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 stands at 465.

Southeastern US continues to mark substantial rise in coronavirus cases. By Cordell Gascoigne, 4 July 2020. As with much of the country, cases continue to rise rapidly across the region as a result of the push to reopen the economy in the middle of the still-raging pandemic.

Meat processing plants spread the coronavirus in North Carolina. By Rosa Shahnazarian, 3 July 2020.

As auto corporations play down the health crisis, workers’ anger is at breaking point as they demand the plants be shut down for their safety: here.

“We are at our breaking point”. FCA Toledo Jeep workers support call for rank-and-file safety committees. By Marcus Day, 3 July 2020

As pandemic accelerates in US, young people made the scapegoat of ruling elite’s malicious return to work policy. By Benjamin Mateus, 3 July 2020.

New spider, wasp, lizard species discoveries


This 1 July 2020 video is about a new spider species called after Joaquin Phoenix.

From the University of Turku in Finland:

New species described in 2020

July 1, 2020

It is estimated that 15 million different species live on our planet, but only 2 million of them are currently known to science. Discovering new species is important as it helps to protect them. Furthermore, new species can also produce compounds that could lead to the development of new medicine.

“Biodiversity is declining at an accelerating rate and, according to estimates, even a million organisms are in danger of becoming extinct in the next few decades. If we want to protect nature’s biodiversity as efficiently as possible, we have to discover as many species as we can,” says Professor of Biodiversity Research Ilari E. Sääksjärvi from the University of Turku, Finland.

Discovering new species enables, for example, studying their habits and defining their geographical distribution.

So far this year, the researchers of the Biodiversity Unit at the University of Turku have described 17 new spider species, 23 insects, one bristly millipede, and one monitor lizard. The new species have been discovered from the Amazon, Europe, India, the Middle East, and the Pacific islands. In addition to the species, the researchers have also described four new genera previously unknown to science.

The Amazing Beauty of Spiders

In one of the most recent studies from the Biodiversity Unit, Doctoral Candidate Alireza Zamani described a new spider species Loureedia phoenixi from Iran.

“The discovery was amazing as the new species belongs to the genus of velvet spiders, of which only few species have been known so far. They are very shy in their habits so discovering a new species was a great and welcome surprise. The species in this genus are amazingly beautiful and colourful so I wish this new discovery can make people understand the beauty and importance of spiders. We discovered the species from an area that is about 1,500 kilometres outside the known geographical distribution of the Loureedia genus,” describes Zamani.

Zamani and Sääksjärvi say that the Loureedia phoenixi spider was named after actor Joaquin Phoenix. The colourful pattern on its back resembles the face paint of the movie character Joker.

The researchers of the Biodiversity Unit have also described tropical parasitoid wasps belonging to the Acrotaphus and Hymenoepimecis genera. These wasps are parasitic on spiders and manipulate the host in complicated ways. The parasitoid wasp lays its egg on the spider and then manipulates it into spinning a special web instead of a normal web for catching prey. The wasp’s pupa nests safely inside this special web while developing into adulthood.

Species Discoveries Support Conservation Efforts

New discoveries increase our information about the history of species and can therefore affect their conservation in the future. A good example is the Varanus bennetti monitor lizard described this year, as the importance of the species’ conservation was concluded only after close field and laboratory studies.

“The monitor lizard species that was first considered an invasive species to Micronesia turned out to be two separate species native to the islands. We described one of these as new to science,” say researchers Valter Weijola and Varpu Vahtera who discovered the species.

Discovering, classifying, and describing a new species is a long process. New discoveries often require challenging field studies in remote places. Before conducting the field study, the researcher has to make sure that the required permits for collecting specimens and taking them out of the country are in order. The studies are conducted together with local scientists as often as possible.

After the field study, the other research work begins: the species is examined in a laboratory, described, named, and classified and then the research article is published in an international journal.

In the last few years, the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku has profiled itself especially in describing the biodiversity of unknown ecosystems. Each year, the unit describes dozens of new species which is a great amount even by international standards.

“Our goal is to discover new species and tell their story to the world. At the moment, we are in the process of describing even more new species and genera. Many of these animals live in areas that might transform or even disappear in the next few years. Describing new species to science is a race against the clock. We hope that our research draws people’s attention to the life of these unique species and thus promotes the conservation of biodiversity,” conclude Sääksjärvi and Zamani.

Angela Davis on Black Lives Matter, election


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

Angela Davis on Abolition, Calls to Defund Police, Toppled Racist Statues & Voting in 2020 Election

Amid a worldwide uprising against police brutality and racism, we discuss the historic moment with legendary scholar and activist Angela Davis. She also responds to the destruction and removal of racist monuments in cities across the United States, and the 2020 election.