Planet Venus, life discovered?


This 14 September 2020 video from Columbia University in the USA says about itself:

Did We Just Detect Life on Venus?

The announcement of the detection of a possible biomarker in the atmosphere of Venus has shook up the field of astrobiology and grabbed headlines across the world. Today, we explore why Venus could plausibly host life, how this detection was made, and whether it really means that we’ve finally found extraterrestrial life. Written and presented by Prof Kipping, featuring guest Dr Caleb Scharf.

From National Geographic today:

BREAKING NEWS

An ‘extraordinary’ find in the clouds of Venus could point to the presence of life

Scientists say they’ve detected a gas called phosphine in the atmosphere of Venus—a gas thought to be impossible to make on planets like Earth or Venus without the presence of life. If this finding is confirmed, one of two possibilities could exist on the planet long considered Earth’s twin: an exotic chemistry we don’t understand; or life.

LIFE ON VENUS? Astronomers have found a potential sign of life high in the atmosphere of neighboring Venus: hints there may be bizarre microbes living in the sulfuric acid-laden clouds of the hothouse planet. Two telescopes in Hawaii and Chile spotted in the thick Venutian clouds the chemical signature of phosphine, a noxious gas that on Earth is only associated with life, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Astronomy. Several outside experts — and the study authors themselves — agreed this is tantalizing but said it is far from the first proof of life on another planet. [AP]

Alfred Wallace and Taiwanese butterflies, new research


This 2007 video says about itself:

Seen at the butterfly garden at Waalre, the Netherlands: Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas).

From ScienceDaily:

Over a century later, the mystery of the Alfred Wallace’s butterfly is solved

September 10, 2020

An over a century-long mystery has been surrounding the Taiwanese butterfly fauna ever since the “father of zoogeography” Alfred Russel Wallace, in collaboration with Frederic Moore, authored a landmark paper in 1866: the first to study the lepidopterans of the island.

Back then, in their study, Moore dealt with the moths portion and Wallace investigated the butterflies. Together, they reported 139 species, comprising 93 nocturnal 46 diurnal species, respectively. Of the latter, five species were described as new to science. Even though the correct placements of four out of those five butterflies in question have been verified a number of times since 1886, one of those butterflies: Lycaena nisa, would never be re-examined until very recently.

In a modern-day research project on Taiwanese butterflies, scientists retrieved the original type specimen from the Wallace collection at The [Natural] History Museum of London, UK. Having also examined historical specimens housed at the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, in addition to newly collected butterflies from Australia and Hong Kong, Dr Yu-Feng Hsu of the National Taiwan Normal University finally resolved the identity of the mysterious Alfred Wallace’s butterfly: it is now going by the name Famegana nisa (comb. nov.), while two other species names (Lycaena alsulus and Zizeeria alsulus eggletoni) were proven to have been coined for the same butterfly after the original description by Wallace. Thereby, the latter two are both synonymised with Famegana nisa.

Despite having made entomologists scratch their heads for over a century, in the wild, the Wallace’s butterfly is good at standing out. As long as one knows what else lives in the open grassy habitats around, of course. Commonly known as ‘Grass Blue’, ‘Small Grass Blue’ or ‘Black-spotted Grass Blue’, the butterfly can be easily distinguished amongst the other local species by its uniformly greyish-white undersides of the wings, combined with obscure submarginal bands and a single prominent black spot on the hindwing.

However, the species demonstrates high seasonal variability, meaning that individuals reared in the dry season have a reduced black spot, darker ground colour on wing undersides and more distinct submarginal bands in comparison to specimens from the wet season. This is why Dr Yu-Feng Hsu notes that it’s perhaps unnecessary to split the species into subspecies even though there have been up to four already recognised.

Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist, biologist and illustrator, was a contemporary of Charles Darwin, and also worked on the debates within evolutionary theory, including natural selection. He also authored the famed book Darwinism in 1889, which explained and defended natural selection.

While Darwin and Wallace did exchange ideas, often challenging each other’s conclusions, they worked out the idea of natural selection each on their own. In his part, Wallace insisted that there was indeed a strong reason why a certain species would evolve. Unlike Darwin, Wallace argued that rather than a random natural process, evolution was occurring to maintain a species’ fitness to the specificity of its environment. Wallace was also one of the first prominent scientists to voice concerns about the environmental impact of human activity.

More mink fur industry COVID-19 infection


This July 2020 video says about itself:

WHO confirms COVID-19 transmission from people to minks in Netherlands, Denmark

In a media briefing on COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there were minks that had been “found positive for coronavirus” in the Netherlands and Denmark.

Today, Dutch NOS radio reports that at two more mink fur farms, in Wilbertoord and in Overloon, the animals have become infected with coronavirus. Earlier, that had happened at 52 businesses.

More cats might be COVID-19 positive than first believed, study suggests. Study shows cats are fighting off the virus with naturally developed antibodies; however, they could be at risk of reinfection: here.