Italian billionaire right-wing politician Berlusconi gets COVID-19


This 2017 video is called An Italian economist told us Berlusconi and Trump are the same.

Dutch NOS radio reports today that Italian billionaire right-wing politician and ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is infected with COVID-19.

How heavy were dinosaurs?


This 2015 video says about itself:

Discovery Dinosaurs Europe

From the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada:

How to weigh a dinosaur

September 1, 2020

How do you weigh a long-extinct dinosaur? A couple of ways, as it turns out, neither of which involve actual weighing — but according to a new study, different approaches still yield strikingly similar results.

New research published September 1 in the journal Biological Reviews involved a review of dinosaur body mass estimation techniques carried out over more than a century.

The findings should give us some confidence that we are building an accurate picture of these prehistoric animals, says study leader Dr. Nicolás Campione — particularly our knowledge of the more massive dinosaurs that have no correlates in the modern world.

“Body size, in particular body mass, determines almost at all aspects of an animal’s life, including their diet, reproduction, and locomotion,” said Dr. Campione, a member of the University of New England’s Palaeoscience Research Centre.

“If we know that we have a good estimate of a dinosaur’s body mass, then we have a firm foundation from which to study and understand their life retrospectively.”

Estimating the mass of a dinosaur like the emblematic Tyrannosaurus rex is no small feat — it is a creature that took its last breath some 66 million years ago and, for the most part, only its bones remain today. It is a challenge that has taxed the ingenuity of palaeobiologists for more than a century. Scientific estimates of the mass of the biggest land predator of all time have differed substantially, ranging from about three tonnes to over 18 tonnes.

The research team led by Dr. Campione compiled and reviewed an extensive database of dinosaur body mass estimates reaching back to 1905, to assess whether different approaches for calculating dinosaur mass were clarifying or complicating the science.

Although a range of different methods to estimating body mass have been tried over the years, they all come down to two fundamental approaches. Scientists have either measured and scaled bones in living animals, such as the circumference of the arm (humerus) and leg (femur) bones, and compared them to dinosaurs; or they have calculated the volume of three-dimensional reconstructions that approximate what the animal may have looked like in real life. Debate over which method is ‘better’ has raged in the literature.

The researchers found that once scaling and reconstruction methods are compared en masse, most estimates agree. Apparent differences are the exception, not the rule.

“In fact, the two approaches are more complementary than antagonistic,” Dr. Campione said.

The bone scaling method, which relies on relationships obtained directly from living animals of known body mass, provides a measure of accuracy, but often of low precision; whereas reconstructions that consider the whole skeleton provide precision, but of unknown accuracy. This is because reconstructions depend on our own subjective ideas about what extinct animals looked like, which have changed appreciably over time.

“There will always be uncertainty around our understanding of long-extinct animals, and their weight is always going to be a source of it,” said Dr. David Evans, Temerty Chair of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, senior author on the new paper. “Our new study suggests we are getting better at weighing dinosaurs, and it paves the way for more realistic dinosaur body mass estimation in the future.”

The researchers recommend that future work seeking to estimate the sizes of Mesozoic dinosaurs, and other extinct animals, need to better-integrate the scaling and reconstruction approaches to reap their benefits.

Drs. Campione and Evans suggest that an adult T. rex would have weighed approximately seven tonnes — an estimate that is consistent across reconstruction and limb bone scaling approaches alike. But the research emphasizes the inaccuracy of such single values and the importance of incorporating uncertainty in mass estimates, not least because dinosaurs, like humans, did not come in one neat package. Such uncertainties suggest an average minimum weight of five tonnes and a maximum average weight of 10 tonnes for the ‘king’ of dinosaurs.

“It is only through the combined use of these methods and through understanding their limits and uncertainties that we can begin to reveal the lives of these, and other, long-extinct animals,” Dr Campione said.

Dutch Utrecht footballers infected with COVID-19


This 23 March 2020 video says about itself:

Famous Football Players Tested Positive For Coronavirus! 2 Deaths!

#FootballPlayersCoronavirus #StayHome

List of 11 Famous Football Players Who Tested Positive For Coronavirus!

Including Dybala, Fellaini, Maldini and more!

2 Deaths as football is affected more than ever by Covid-19

Today, Dutch NOS radio reports that two footballers of Premier League club Utrecht have become infected with COVID-19.

Today’s match against German team KFC Uerdingen 05 has been cancelled.

Loggerhead turtles and hurricanes


This May 2017 video says about itself:

Loggerhead sea turtle cleaning stations

This is an accompanying video to the scientific article titled “Aerial and underwater surveys reveal temporal variation in cleaning-station use by sea turtles at a temperate breeding area”, by Gail Schofield, Kostas Papafitsoros, Rebecca Haughey and Kostas Katselidis.

The article is available here.

From the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center in the USA:

Loggerhead turtles record a passing hurricane

September 1, 2020

Summary: Caught in an Atlantic hurricane, satellite-tagged loggerhead turtles changed their dive behavior and movement patterns as the storm passed. The tags also recorded changes in the environment.

In early June 2011, NOAA Fisheries researchers and colleagues placed satellite tags on 26 loggerhead sea turtles in the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The tagging was part of ongoing studies of loggerhead movements and behavior. The Mid-Atlantic Bight, off the U.S. East Coast, is the coastal region from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to southern Massachusetts. A little more than 2 months later, on August 28, Hurricane Irene passed through the area, putting 18 of the tagged turtles in its direct path. The researchers were able to track changes in the turtles’ behavior coinciding with the hurricane, and found that they reacted in various ways.

“Hurricanes are some of the most intense weather events loggerheads in the mid-Atlantic experience, and we thought it was worth investigating how turtles in our dataset may be influenced by these dramatic environmental changes,” said Leah Crowe, a contract field biologist at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and lead author of the study published recently in Movement Ecology. “It was a perfect storm situation in terms of location, timing, and oceanographic conditions. We found that the turtles responded to the changes in their habitat in different ways.”

Satellite tags attached to a turtle’s carapace, or shell, transmitted the turtles’ location and dive behavior. They also recorded sea-surface temperatures and temperature-depth profiles for approximately 13 months. This enabled the researchers to investigate the movements of 18 juvenile and adult-sized loggerhead turtles and associated oceanographic conditions as the hurricane moved through the region.

Most of the turtles moved northward during the hurricane, aligning themselves with the surface currents — perhaps to conserve energy. Researchers observed longer dive durations after the hurricane for turtles that stayed in their pre-storm foraging areas. Some dives lasted an hour or more, compared with less than 30 minutes for a typical dive before the storm.

The turtles that left their foraging areas after the hurricane passed moved south earlier than would be expected, based on their normal seasonal movements. This change was also more than a month earlier than the typical seasonal cooling in the water column, which is also when the foraging season for loggerhead turtles ends in the Mid-Atlantic Bight.

“Loggerheads experience environmental changes in the entire water column from the surface to the bottom, including during extreme weather events,” said Crowe. “This study was an opportunistic look at turtle behavior during a hurricane. Their behavior makes loggerheads good observers of oceanographic conditions where they forage.”

The study was conducted by researchers at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center and colleagues at the nearby Coonamessett Farm Foundation in East Falmouth, Massachusetts. The team has tagged more than 200 loggerheads in the Mid-Atlantic Bight since 2009.

This work has created a continuous time-series of data on loggerhead sea turtles. With 10 years of data, researchers can now get a deeper understanding of how turtles behave and what environmental factors drive them. They can also look back at the data and ask new questions, as they did in this study.

Waters in the Mid-Atlantic Bight are highly stratified, or layered, by temperature in the summer. At the surface, water is warm. A cold layer, also called a cold pool, forms beneath this warm layer and is present from May to October. The presence of the cold pool overlaps with the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November. It also overlaps with the presence of foraging loggerheads that are in the area between May and September.

Hurricane modeling is especially difficult in the Mid-Atlantic Bight because of the cold pool. In this study, it was unclear which aspect of the environmental changes prompted behavioral changes. Previous studies have found that loggerhead behavior appears to be sensitive to changes in water temperatures throughout the water column. Hurricanes cause the water layers to mix, which creates cooler surface temperatures. The mixing also disrupts the thermocline — the boundary layer between warm surface waters and colder, deeper waters.

Ocean temperature data recorded by the turtles’ satellite tags are consistent with observations from weather buoys and autonomous gliders operating in the region. Depending on how many tags are deployed, data from tagged turtles can cover a more extensive area within a season than other oceanographic data sources.

More measurements of water temperatures throughout the water column in the region could help improve oceanographic models. Researchers say data from the turtle tags are an underused resource that has the potential to improve weather models, including hurricane models.

Many of the natural and human-induced impacts on sea turtle behavior, or the environments that sea turtles live in, are still unknown.

Previous studies indicate that sounds from dredge operations, seismic activity,offshore wind farm development, and marine recreation may also impact sea turtle distribution and dive behavior. Turtles might be impacted directly or through habitat alterations. While studies have looked at how tropical storms and hurricanes affect some marine species, there are few examples of examining sea turtle interactions with large storms.

In this study, turtle behavior did not return to pre-storm behavior within 2 weeks after the storm.

“The long-term cumulative effects of a changing climate and the increase in intensity of hurricanes and other storms is something that needs to be looked at. Changes in sea turtle movements and behavior can affect abundance estimates and management decisions,” Crowe said. “This study reminds us that turtles live in a dynamic environment, and we cannot assume their behavior will be consistent throughout space and time.”

The study was supported by funds from the Atlantic Marine Assessment Program for Protected Species and the New England/Greater Atlantic Region’s Research Set-Aside Program.

Trump and the United States extreme right


This 13 August 2020 CNN TV video from the USA says about itself:

Trump praises GOP candidate despite her QAnon support

President Donald Trump praised a QAnon supporter who is on the verge of becoming a Republican member of Congress, tweeting that Marjorie Taylor Greene is “a real winner” after her primary victory. CNN’s Manu Raju reports some Republicans who criticized her extreme and racist remarks are now supporting her.

PREZ VEERS OFF THE RAILS IN WILD FOX INTERVIEW President Donald Trump spouted numerous baseless conspiracy theories and attacked Black Lives Matter protesters while claiming his own supporters are peaceful demonstrators during a lengthy interview with Fox News on Monday. When asked if his supporters should confront Black Lives Matter protesters ― as they have been doing in various cities ― Trump said that should be left to law enforcement. He then proceeded to call his base “wonderful, hardworking, tremendous” people who were shocked by the violence. [HuffPost]

TRUMP COMPARES POLICE SHOOTING OF BLAKE WITH GOLFER WHO ‘CHOKES’ DURING PUTT The president compared the Wisconsin police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back seven times to a golfer who “chokes” by missing an easy putt. The shooting was caught on video and has kicked off a new wave of protests against police violence. Trump defended the police, saying they’re the ones “under siege.” “They can do 10,000 great acts … and one bad apple ― or a choker,” he said. “Y’know a choker. They choke.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP DEFENDS RITTENHOUSE’S DEADLY SHOOTING President Donald Trump defended Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old Trump supporter who fatally shot two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. The president also blamed mounting civil unrest on “left-wing political violence.” Speaking at a White House coronavirus update, Trump called Rittenhouse’s attack at a Black Lives Matter demonstration, held days after Kenosha police wounded Jacob Blake, a Black man, an “interesting situation.” “He was trying to get away from them, I guess … and he fell,” Trump claimed, citing videos of the Rittenhouse attack. “And then they very violently attacked him.” This comes as the president prepares to visit Kenosha. [HuffPost]

MARYLAND STATE OFFICIAL FIRED FOR SUPPORT OF KENOSHA SHOOTING SUSPECT Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) administration dismissed a top official for a series of social media posts in which he expressed his support for the teen suspected of killing two men last week in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Arthur “Mac” Love IV had served as deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives since 2015. According to the Baltimore Sun, one of Love’s posts showed an image of suspect Kyle Rittenhouse cleaning graffiti with the caption, “I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.” [HuffPost]

U.S. Faces A ‘Perfect Storm’ Of Political Violence Heading Into November Election. Law enforcement and other authorities used force while intervening in nearly 400 Black Lives Matter protests since police killed George Floyd in May, according to new data that paints the clearest portrait yet of the historic unrest that’s swept across the U.S. this summer.

GOP SEN. RON JOHNSON PROMOTES ‘CITIZEN SOLDIERS’ TO ‘OVERWHELM’ RIOTERS Sen. Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, said that “citizen soldiers” should mobilize to “overwhelm rioters” on the streets of America. As for the fatal shooting of protesters in Kenosha last week, he said in a CNN interview Sunday: “Two people died because citizens took matters into their own hands. I’m not for vigilantism; I’m not sure that’s what was happening.” Johnson declared that “the way you stop the violence, the way you stop the rioting, is you surge manpower and resources, citizen soldiers, National Guard, and you overwhelm the number of rioters.” [HuffPost]

QAnon Cultists, Emboldened By Trump, Rally In Hollywood To Spread Dangerous Conspiracies. QAnon believers follow the postings of “Q”, an anonymous individual who claims to be a high-ranking official working with Trump to take down a supposed cabal of Satanic-worshipping pedophiles who have breached the highest levels of government, media and entertainment.

The anti-Semitic backstory of QAnon.

Portland Police Are Giving Up On Policing The Far-Right. The Portland Police Bureau appears to have all but given up on policing the far-right factions brawling in the Oregon city’s streets, despite a recent escalation in violence that has seen those extremists throw explosives, brandish guns and in one case fire them at other protesters: here.

She Called Muslims ‘Savages’ And Islam A ‘Cancer’. Now She’s A GOP [Republican party] Nominee. [HuffPost]

Leopards of Serengeti, Tanzania, new research


This 11 June 2019 video is called Leopard kills Warthog – Safari Serengeti.

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

Serengeti leopard population densities healthy but vary seasonally, study finds

Camera-trap study yields insights into what drives leopard population density

August 31, 2020

A study of camera-trap data from Serengeti National Park in Tanzania found that leopard population densities in the 3.7-million-acre park are similar to those in other protected areas but vary between wet and dry seasons. The fluctuations appear to be driven by the abundance of prey and how this affects interactions with other large carnivores like lions, researchers report.

Despite the long history of wildlife research in the Serengeti, this is the first peer-reviewed study of leopard densities in the park, said Max Allen, a carnivore ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign who led the research. Allen and his team analyzed data from Snapshot Serengeti, a large collaborative effort that uses hundreds of camera traps to collect data on large cats and other wildlife in the Serengeti. The team published the new findings in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation.

“In the wet season, when potential prey species like Thomson’s gazelle and impala are available in abundance, leopards appear at higher densities,” Allen said. “In the dry season, leopards seem to work harder to avoid other large carnivores that compete with them for less abundant food.”

The team used advanced analytical techniques called Bayesian statistics to estimate leopard densities for each camera-trap site and for the study area overall.

“We found 5.72 and 5.41 leopards per 100-square-kilometers in the wet and dry seasons, respectively,” Allen said. “These densities suggest the leopard populations are at moderately healthy levels in the Serengeti. This reflects the importance of large conservation areas for large carnivores, as leopard populations are generally declining across their range.”

The results also highlight the importance of citizen-scientist projects for the conservation of wild species, Allen said. Snapshot Africa is one of the most effective citizen science projects in the world, he said.

“Large carnivores at the top of the food chain play important roles in ecosystem regulation, and disease and population control,” Allen said. “The human-induced changes to habitat availability and quality are accelerating the decline of large carnivores, which are already vulnerable because they have naturally low population densities at birth.”

Understanding how carnivore populations are faring and what factors contribute to their success is essential to conserve them and the other wildlife in their ecosystem, Allen said. Capturing data about their habits through unobtrusive camera traps can lead to better management of the wild areas on which they depend.

The INHS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the U. of I. The INHS, U. of I. and Slovenian Research Agency supported this research.