New tarantula species named after singer Johnny Cash


Aphonopelma johnnycashi. Image credit: Hamilton C.A. et al.

From Sci-News.com in the USA:

Aphonopelma johnnycashi: Newfound Tarantula Species Named after Johnny Cash

Feb 5, 2016 by Enrico de Lazaro

A team of researchers, directed by Dr. Chris Hamilton of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, has discovered a previously unknown species of tarantula that lives in the plains and foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains, the United States, and named it after the famed American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author Johnny Cash.

The newly-discovered species, Aphonopelma johnnycashi, has a distribution running along the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and can be found inhabiting the following regions: Sierra Nevada, Central California Foothills and Coastal Mountains, and Central California Valley.

“The specific epithet, johnnycashi, is in honor of the country music legend, Johnny Cash,” Dr. Hamilton and co-authors explained in a paper in the journal ZooKeys.

“This species can be found near the area of Folsom Prison in California (famous for Cash’s song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’), and like Cash’s distinctive style of dress, where he was referred to as ‘the man in black’, mature males of this species are generally black in color.”

The breeding season of Aphonopelma johnnycashi, when mature males abandon their burrows in search of females, occurs during the fall (generally September-November).

“More than 50 different species of tarantulas had been previously reported from the United States, but that many of them were poorly defined and actually belonged to the same species,” Dr. Hamilton said.

To gain a better understanding of the diversity and distributions of these spiders, he and his colleagues spent more than a decade searching for tarantulas throughout scorching deserts, frigid mountains, and other locations in the American Southwest.

The team studied nearly 3,000 specimens, undertaking the most comprehensive taxonomic study ever performed on a group of tarantulas.

Because most species of tarantula in the United States are very similar in appearance and cannot be distinguished from each other using anatomical features alone, the researchers implemented a modern approach to taxonomy by employing anatomical, behavioral, distributional, and genetic data.

Their results indicate there are 29 species in the United States, among which Aphonopelma johnnycashi and 13 other species are new to science.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Johnny Cash – Man in black with lyrics

Recorded February 16, 1971; Nashville, Tennessee

Trump, stop abusing my music, Adele says


This 2010 music video from Britain is called AdeleRolling in the Deep.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Adele didn’t give Donald Trump permission to use her music at rallies

Adam Sherwin, Media Correspondent

Adele has told Donald Trump that he does not have permission to use her songs at campaign rallies after fans expressed their anger that the Presidential hopeful was using the singer’s hits as his warm-up music.

The Republican frontrunner has consistently played Adele’s smash hit “Rolling In The Deep”, with its “we could have had it all” refrain, to stoke up the atmosphere at campaign events before his appearance.

Trump, an Adele fan who attended her New York concert last year, has also played Skyfall, the singer’s James Bond theme (“when it crumbles, we will stand tall, face it all together”) after delivering his apocalyptic stump speech about America’s future.

Adele’s fans have expressed anger at Trump’s appropriation of her music for his campaign. “Don’t suppose he asked for her endorsement. Hopefully she’s objected,” tweeted one.

“Noooooo!! Not Adele!! Must Trump ruin that too?!,” asked one fan. “I think she’s cringing as much as we are … wish he would drown in the deep. The bigot,” wrote another. Others asked if Adele was being paid for the use of her music by Trump.

Adele has now broken her silence over the association and made it clear that she does not endorse Trump’s use of her music. …

Trump’s rival for the Republican nomination, Mike Huckabee, has also tried to cash in on Adele’s popularity. Huckabee, trailing the field, posted a cover of Adele’s “Hello” on Twitter and YouTube, featuring lyrics about the Iowa caucus and his rivals. Due to a claim from the copyright holder of the song, the audio for the post has been muted.

Adele has preferred to stay out of political debates, since making a 2011 statement that she was a “Labour girl.”

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has ordered Trump to stop using the power ballad Dream On at campaign events.

Attorneys for Tyler sent a second cease-and-desist letter to Trump’s campaign committee. It said that Trump does “not have our client’s permission to use Dream On” or any of Tyler’s other songs and that it “gives the false impression that he is connected with or endorses Mr Trump’s presidential bid”.

Adele has yet to go that far. Fans noted that her songs were hardly appropriate for the Trump campaign. Some noted the “You’re gonna wish you never had met me” line in Rolling In The Deep. “This is the end,” quoting the opening line of Skyfall, wrote one Twitter user, after the song was played at Trump’s Iowa event.

Trump previously annoyed Adele fans after he “cut the line” to get to his seat, when he attended her exclusive performance at the Radio City Music Hall last November.

Musicians have frequently had cause to complain over politicians hijacking their music. REM frontman Michael Stipe objected to the use of the band’s 1984 song It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by Trump and the Texas senator Ted Cruz, another 2016 candidate. Bruce Springsteen objected to Ronald Reagan’s use of Born in the USA in 1984.

Meanwhile indie band Vampire Weekend have publicly endorsed the Democrat hopeful Bernie Sanders. The group joined Sanders on stage at an Iowa students rally and sang a cover of Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land with the left-leaning Vermont Senator.

The Huffington Post writes:

Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynistbirther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, other US musicians, support Bernie Sanders


This video from the USA says about itself:

Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer) endorses Bernie Sanders

Tropicana, Las Vegas (January 6th 2016).

From Rolling Stone in the USA:

Red Hot Chili Peppers Headlining Bernie Sanders Fundraiser Concert

Members of Vampire Weekend, Killer Mike, Foster the People scheduled for separate Iowa rally, “Students for Bernie”

By Ryan Reed

January 27, 2016

Red Hot Chili Peppers will “Feel the Bern” by headlining a Los Angeles concert fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. The rock veterans will perform February 5th at Theatre at Ace Hotel, Loudwire reports.

Tickets, ranging from $40 to $2,700, will go on sale day of show at 10 a.m. PST via AXS. Sanders – who proudly relies on grassroots fundraising and refuses campaign donations from Super PACs or corporations – has earned widespread support from the music community.

In September, all four Chili Peppers signed a letter of endorsement posted on the senator’s website. “Bernie Sanders is the only remotely reasonable candidate for President of the United States,” bassist Flea tweeted the previous month.

Members of Vampire Weekend will join Killer Mike (an outspoken Sanders supporter), Foster the People, Josh Hutcherson and more at “Students for Bernie,” a Sanders rally scheduled for Saturday, January 30th at University of Iowa Field House. The event is free and open to the public. …

The list of “Artists and Cultural Leaders for Bernie Sanders” on the politician’s site also includes Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Will Ferrell, Patton Oswalt, Bonnie Raitt, John C. Reilly, Danny DeVito, the Doors drummer John Densmore and Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore.

In December, Killer Mike sat down with Sanders for a wide-ranging six-part interview at the rapper’s Atlanta barber shop, touching on issues like gun control, marijuana, social justice, economic freedom and free health care.

This video says about itself:

23 November 2015

Rapper Killer Mike of Run the Jewels gives a riveting speech to a raucous crowd in Atlanta, Georgia after endorsing Senator Sanders for president.

The Atlanta rapper, a prominent voice in the hip-hop community, is active in politics and explains why he believes in Senator Sanders‘ vision for the country.

Move Over ‘Berniebros’: A Wave of Young Women Is Boosting Bernie Sanders: here.

Rare spider named after singer David Bowie


This video is about a Heteropoda davidbowie spider feeding.

From The Star in Malaysia:

Monday, 11 January 2016 | MYT 11:58 PM

Rare Malaysian spider named after late rock star David Bowie

PETALING JAYA: You may not know this, but a rare yellow-coloured spider that is only found in parts of Malaysia was named after the late rock star David Bowie.

The spider, discovered seven years ago by an individual named Peter Jager, is called Heteropoda davidbowie, according to a 2009 report by British newspaper The Telegraph.

The spider is distinguished by its large size and yellow hair.

Bowie was selected for the honour because of his musical contribution to [the ] arachnid world – the 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

Jager said that naming spiders after celebrities drew attention to the near extinct species whose habitats are being destroyed due to human activity.

Bowie, who churned out era-defining hits like “Space Oddity“, “Young Americans” and “Let’s Dance”, died at the age of 69 Monday after battling with cancer.

This music video is called David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust, taken from ‘Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)’.

Paul Robeson 40 years dead.


Birmingham Clarion Singers

90933644-Page_Headers_Spring16_PRobeson

Presented by Tayo Aluko & Friends

Paul Robeson, the great African American actor, singer and political activist died on January 23, 1976. 40 years to the day, Tayo Aluko, writer and performer of the award-winning, internationally touring monodrama Call Mr. Robeson presents a concert in tribute to Mr. Robeson. Featuring the Liverpool Socialist Singers and the Birmingham Clarion Singers (Robeson was their Honorary President and Tayo Aluko is the current one!.)

This production will be based at The Quaker Meeting House, just ten minutes walk from Unity by the Blue Coat School

Dates: Sat 23 Jan 2016
Time: 7:30pm

Prices:  £8adult | £6 concession

More details here.

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Singer David Bowie dies


This music video is called David BowieSpace Oddity.

From the David Bowie Facebook site:

January 10 2016 – David Bowie died peacefully today surrounded by his family after a courageous 18 month battle with cancer. While many of you will share in this loss, we ask that you respect the family’s privacy during their time of grief.

DAVID BOWIE DEAD AT 69 The world is paying tribute to the legendary artist, who died of cancer at 69. Take a look at his groundbreaking career in music, his style evolution and The New York Times’ 1971 prediction of Bowie’s superstardom. [Stephanie Marcus, HuffPost]

British rock icon David Bowie died January 10, just two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his final album Blackstar. Bowie had been diagnosed with liver cancer 18 months before, something the singer chose not to reveal publicly. He was married to Somali fashion model and actress Iman, whom he married in 1992, at the time of his death: here.

Britain: Callous Government Policy Will See One in 10 Cancer Patients Face Homelessness. CANCER-STRIKEN Britons face homelessness as the Tories prepare to cut a vital benefit, Macmillan Cancer Support has warned: here.

Japanese musicians protest against nuclear energy


This video from Japan says about itself:

Iconic signs praising nuclear power taken down in town near Fukushima plant

22 December 2015

FUTABA, FukushimaRemoval of signs dating back around 25 years that praise nuclear energy began here on Dec. 21, with authorities having judged that the signs have overly deteriorated from age.

After taking the signs down, the Futaba Municipal Government intends to preserve them as remembrances of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Starting at around 10:30 a.m., workers carefully set about removing the two signs while confirming their state of damage. The work is planned to be finished by around early January. The signs will be stored temporarily in a warehouse on the town office premises.

The signs are located in a restricted area that is presently uninhabitable due to radiation danger from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster. The municipal government had planned to dispose of the signs after taking them down.

One sign, which reads “Nuclear power: Energy for a bright future,” was installed in 1988 along National Route 6 in front of the town gymnasium.

The other, which reads “Nuclear power: A prosperous future and hometown development” was installed in 1991 near the entrance to the town office.

Both signs were set up by the municipal government, which took applications from the public for pro-nuclear slogans in order to push for more nuclear reactors.

Thirty-nine-year-old Yuji Onuma, who thought of the slogan for the sign in front of the gymnasium as a child, however, argued that they should be kept in place as a memorial in order to show future generations the mistakes of the past.

In June of this year, Onuma submitted 6,902 signatures for his cause that had been collected from people including participants at anti-nuclear gatherings to the Futaba government. The municipal government has responded by considering a relocation of the signs to a park being planned by the prefectural government in Futaba and the adjacent town of Namie.

Following the disaster, Onuma, who grew up in Futaba, evacuated to Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, where he has started a solar power business to help bring about a society free of nuclear power. He showed up to watch the beginning of the removal work on Dec. 21, commenting, “I’m very disappointed” that the signs were not being kept in place. He added, “To make sure we aren’t manipulated by national policy again, I want them to be sure to put the signs on display after taking them down.”

On Dec. 21, Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa released a comment saying, “We will take down the signs due to their deterioration, but we will preserve them as the town’s valuable property. Once Futaba has recovered, we are thinking of newly restoring and displaying the signs as disaster memorial.”

December 21, 2015 (Mainichi, Japan)

By James McNair:

Book review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima

January 7, 2016 01:17 PM

In July 2012, famed Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto spoke at a rally in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park organised by the anti-nuclear organisation Sayonara Genpatsu. When the Academy Award-winning composer expressed his sorrow at the re-opening of Oi Nuclear Power Plant, which had taken place two weeks earlier, his words caught the imagination of his fellow campaigners: “Why is it necessary to expose life to danger, just for the sake of electricity?” he wondered to loud applause.

As Noriko Manabe underlines, Sakamoto obviously wasn’t demonising electricity; rather he was flagging up the dangers of using nuclear fission to produce it in the light of the specific nature of Japan’s infrastructure as exposed at Fukushima. Nonetheless, Japan’s pro-nuclear Twitter users erupted, wondering how Sakamoto’s techno-pop group The Yellow Magic Orchestra would have faired unplugged, and circulating photos of him mid-speech, his microphone and iPhone circled in red.

Soon, national newspaper the Sankei Shimbun, daily circulation 1.6 million, had a pop at Sakamoto, too: “Having become popular by using lots of electricity, you live in a high-end condominium in New York”, it foamed. As with Sakamoto’s Twitter-based critics, the inference was that to use electricity and be anti nuclear-power was inherently hypocritical, inconsistent.

In The Revolution Will Not be Televised, Manabe explores how musicians post-Fukushima have protested against nuclear power despite censorship of their work and against powerful social mores. These include koe o dasanai, which translates as the built-in Japanese reluctance to speak up, and kuki, the prevailing atmosphere of compliance that tends to characterise wider Japanese society.

If the book’s title name-checks the 1970 poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron, it’s also appropriate shorthand for the Japanese media’s general reluctance to report on the activities of the anti-nuclear movement. But as Manabe explains, “the government doesn’t explicitly censor the media. The industry imposes it upon itself in deference to its advertisers, and the nuclear industry is among the biggest.”

Manabe is a professor of music at Princeton University with a doctorate in ethnomusicology and music theory, so naturally this is an academic book. Its musicology-imbued chapter on Japanese protest music at demonstrations won’t be for everyone, but for all its recherché infographics and specialisms, The Revolution Will Not be Televised is clearly and engagingly written.

It’s somewhat strange, the author argues, that the country that suffered the horrific atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remained so accepting of nuclear power. It was only after March 11, 2011 – when the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – that public sentiment began to turn and many of the country’s 48 reactors were shut down.

Public opinion polls had reflected a clear surge in anti-nuclear feeling, with about 70 per cent of the population favouring a phase-out of nuclear power. But in August, Japan restarted its reactor at the Sendai Plant in Kyushu, and operators of some 25 other reactors have reportedly applied for restart permits.

Japan is the world’s second-largest market for pop music, and given the genre’s traditional alliance with protest of all kinds, one might expect the country’s anti-nuclear musicians to be highly visible and transparently vocal. But Manabe’s book shows that things aren’t that simple – and for many reasons. For one, the lyrics of all commercial recordings have to be cleared by the Recording Industry Ethics Regulatory Commission, aka Recorin. Established in 1952, Manabe calls it a group mindful of music’s “powerful influence on the psychological state, spirit and behaviour of the nation’s people”.

An even more taxing hurdle, Manabe explains, is the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters, a body that prohibits attempts – or perceived attempts – “to disgrace the authority of the government or its agencies”.

Unsurprisingly, any commercial recordings with an anti-nuclear sentiment have had to be codified to slip through the censor’s net. The concept album 2012, by Osaka’s Acid Black Cherry, for example, is an original fairy tale about the Fukushima accident. Even beyond “official” censorship, artists have sometimes been rapped on the knuckles by their record companies. Manabe records how, back in 1988, Kiyoshiro Imawano, leader of rock band RC Succession, wove some blatantly anti-nuclear lyrics into his versions of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender and Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues.

When the then-director of Japanese music at Toshiba EMI demanded that Imawano drop the songs from his forthcoming album Covers, Imawano refused. Toshiba EMI pulled the album, and later placed a notice in Japan’s three biggest newspapers stating that the record had been “too wonderful” to release.

Manabe’s book also has a fascinating chapter on how Japanese anti-nuclear music/protest functions in cyberspace. For campaigning musicians both professional and amateur, the internet’s attractions are manifold. The lack of censorship and the anonymity offered are key, but as the author explains, cyberspace also allows protesting musicians to collaborate freely, and to mobilise and sometimes even educate like-minded followers. She also notes that the Web has become “a repository of [protest] music that the recording industry would not normally release”.

It was via YouTube, in April 2011, for example, that pop star Kazuyoshi Saito chose to launch It Was Always A Lie, one of the Japanese anti-nuclear movements key anthems. The song panned the Japanese media’s claims that nuclear power was safe, and when Kazuyoshi sang it online, his face obscured by a cowboy hat and dark glasses, it went viral.

Kazuyoshi’s representatives eventually conceded that he was behind the song, but his record company declined to release the track commercially, arguing that “considerations for related companies”, and “the existence of many different opinions on nuclear power” had to be taken into account.

The Revolution Will Not be Televised also explores anti-nuclear demonstrations at music festivals, and via music-fuelled street protests, and one of the key points Manabe makes is that brushes with the law can be far more damaging and stigmatising for the individual than in the West. Protesters arrested in Japan can be held for up to 23 days while the police decide whether to indict them, and there is no bail. “If you’re held for several days, you’ll lose your job,” notes Hajime Matsumoto, leader of the band Shiroto no Ran.

James McNair writes for Mojo magazine and The Independent.