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Graphic novel on history of protests in English-speaking countries


This music video from the USA says about itself:

Public Enemy – Fight The Power (Full 7 Min. Version)

From 1990 Album: “Fear Of A Black Planet“. Song first appeared on the 1989 Soundtrack: “Do The Right Thing”.

By Michal Boncza in Britain:

Framed for posterity

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

Fight The Power, a history of popular struggle globally, makes highly effective use of the graphic novel format, says MICHAL BONCZA

Fight The Power: A Visual History of Protest Among English-speaking Peoples, by Sean Michael Wilson, Benjamin Dickson, Hunt Emerson, John Spelling and Adam Pasion (New Internationalist, £9.99)

“FIRST they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you and then you win,” Mahatma Gandhi once remarked about political struggle.

His words come to mind when reading this inspiring book in the graphic novel format, particularly in a period when there’s a dearth of epoch-defining popular struggles in the Anglo-Saxon world. It’s a salutary reminder of what has been achieved so far but which is often and unwisely taken for granted.

Gandhi’s words about the protracted and open-ended nature of struggle are borne out in all the histories recorded here.

As early as 1776 the founding fathers of the US bestowed on its citizenry the largely nominal right to dissent. But it was exercised to spectacular political effect by Rosa Parks in 1955, when she stood up to bus segregation, kick-starting the historic civil rights protests.

In New Lanark in 1817, the socialist Robert Owen propagated a day divided into three eight-hour periods of work, recreation and rest — it would, however, take well over a century for this goal to be achieved.

Other histories include the Peterloo massacre, rebellions in Ireland, the Suffragette movement, the trial of Nelson Mandela and the 1990 poll tax riots.

The concise graphic novel narrative makes each story easy to grasp and as such the book is an ideal teaching aid for the history curriculum in schools or further education colleges.

Graphic novels resemble film shorts where frame management and composition is as important, if not more so, than the words in speech bubbles.

It is the harmonious balance of the two that impacts and Hunt Emerson is in a class of his own in his work on the Luddites, the Swing Riots and Fragging, the practice of enlisted men shooting superior officers which was so prevalent during the Vietnam war.

His attention to detail within the rigorous demands of the larger tableaux, the organisation of movement and a mesmerising ability to render emotions both individual and collective, along with the textures and vigour of line, are outstanding.

In The Battle of Toledo and The Trial of Nelson Mandela, John Spelling’s sparser composition records the action news-camera style, with sudden changes of angles, unexpected “freeze” frames and long-shots that are real page-turners. The sketchbook drawing style aptly mimics the dynamism of those pivotal events.

They’re typical of the stimulating work throughout the book, which is well worth snapping up.

The plant family Corsiaceae, new research


This video is called Liliaceae plant family, description, examples, info.

From the Journal of Biogeography:

Ancient Gondwana break-up explains the distribution of the mycoheterotrophic family Corsiaceae (Liliales)

19 FEB 2015

Abstract

Aim

Many plant families have a disjunct distribution across the southern Pacific Ocean, including the mycoheterotrophic family Corsiaceae, which provides a prime example of this biogeographical pattern. A better grasp of the family’s evolutionary relationships is needed to understand its historical biogeography. We therefore aimed to (1) test the uncertain monophyly of Corsiaceae, (2) define its phylogenetic position, and (3) estimate divergence times for the family, allowing us to assess whether the distribution of the family is the result of vicariance.

Location

Southern South America and Australasia.

Methods

We analysed various combinations of mitochondrial and nuclear data to address the monophyly, phylogenetic position and age of Corsiaceae. To test its monophyly, we used a three-locus data set including most monocot orders, and to infer its exact phylogenetic position, we used a five-locus extended data set. We corroborated these findings using an independent plastome dataset. We then used a two-locus dataset with taxa from all monocot orders, and a three-locus dataset containing only taxa of Liliales, to estimate divergence times using a fossil-calibrated uncorrelated lognormal relaxed-clock approach.

Results

Corsiaceae is a monophyletic family and the sister group of Campynemataceae. This clade is the sister group of all other Liliales. The crown age of Corsiaceae is estimated to be 53 Ma (95% confidence interval 30–76 Ma).

Main conclusions

Corsiaceae is an ancient family of mycoheterotrophic plants, whose crown age overlaps with the plate-tectonic split of Gondwana, consistent with a vicariance-based explanation for its current distribution.

See also here.

Long-tailed duck, new species for Dearborn, USA


This is a long-tailed duck video.

From the blog of the Rouge River Bird Observatory at the University of Michigan-Dearborn in the USA:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dearborn adds another new species!

On 1 March 2015, Larry Urbanski found a Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis) in the Rouge River near the Ford Rouge Plant. There is a photo attached to his eBird checklist (sign in may be required for one or both links) and the bird appears to be a male.

Mike O’Leary and I attempted to locate the bird this morning, and found a Long-tailed Duck that appears to be a female, or at least doesn’t look like the bird found yesterday. …

Long-tailed Duck is the 260th species on the Dearborn list.

Most of the Rouge River is still frozen solid. The areas in the Ford Rouge boat slip and adjacent waters stay open all year. Other waterfowl present included a couple hundred Common Mergansers, at least 24 Red-breasted Mergansers, Canvasbacks, a few Ruddy Ducks, Common Goldeneye, Redheads, and Greater Scaup. There were at least 20 Great Black-backed Gulls — a species not recorded in Dearborn until 1987. Ten sort of miserable looking Great Blue Herons hugged the shoreline, as did 10 Black-crowned Night-herons. There is a small pond inside the plant next to the river that accepts warm-water discharge from one of the steel mill facilities, and a bunch of night-herons have wintered there for years.

Many thanks to Larry Urbanski for this great find.

Posted by Julie Craves.

David Cameron forcing militarist propaganda down British five-year-olds’ throats


This video from Britain says about itself:

The British Armed Forces: Propaganda in the classroom?

2 March 2015

A critical review of The British Armed Forces, a “learning resource” produced by the UK government and sent to schools. Read a full analysis here.

By Luke James in Britain:

PM ‘forcing’ pro-military propaganda into schools

Tuesday 3rd March 2015

PEACE campaigners accused the Prime Minister yesterday of forcing teachers to push poor-quality “military propaganda” in school for children as young as five.

Activists published a scathing assessment of the British Armed Forces Learning Resource, which features a smiling squaddie and a pilot giving a thumbs-up on the front page of the document.

Launched by the Tory PM’s office last September, it has been promoted to all English schools by the government.

The lesson plans are described as an “immersive resource” designed to “educate children about the work of the UK armed forces” in history, English or citizenship classes for children aged between five and 16.

But an analysis of the Downing Street scheme by Forces Watch and the Quakers blasted it as a “politically driven” attempt to promote military values in schools.

“We consider that the document amounts to political interference in children’s education and that the Department ofEducation is failing in its legal duty to safeguard education,” said Forces Watch spokesman Owen Everett.

The groups claimed that the resource was penned by former military personnel in a month and that not a single teacher was involved in its production.

According to their report, that is reflected in the “largely one-sided” representation of controversial topics.

“Many of the questions that it asks are introduced in a leading way and the material that would be required to explore them fully is not provided,” the report says.

The Quakers and Forces Watch also raised concerns over the “uncritical history of British involvement in war.”

The Star asked the Department for Education for a comment but did not receive one.

Former Citizenship Foundation director Don Rowe, who contributed to the critique, described the document as “demonstrably biased.”

Calling for its withdrawal yesterday, he said: “This is the kind of resource one gets in countries with less-than-democratic structures where civic education is used by governments to manipulate citizens into an uncritical attitude towards the state.”

Mice in the Netherlands, new research


This video is about yellow-necked mice.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal Society:

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

For years the yellow-necked mouse in the Netherlands was only known from the extreme southeast of Limburg province. Since 2005 from the German border they are expanding to the west. Meanwhile, the species is known from all our provinces bordering on Germany. The question now is: are yellow-necked mice taking over, or may they occur in the same habitats together with common wood mice?

In Northwest Europe two species of wood mice live, common wood mice and yellow-necked mice. The yellow-necked mouse is clearly larger, but in terms of food spectrum it is virtually identical to the ordinary wood mouse.

So far, research has not yet established clearly whether yellow-necked mice supplant wood mice.