White giant panda discovery in Sichuan, China


This January 2018 video is called Panda albino. However, this is not a real albino, as part of its fur is brown, not white; and its eyes are not red.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Completely white panda found in China

In China, conservationists have found a completely white panda. The characteristic black spots of its peers are missing.

The animal was caught in mid-April by a wildlife camera in a nature reserve in Sichuan province; where there are several nature reserves for the animal species. In the past, brown specimens have sometimes been found.

This 2017 video is about Qizai, the only brown panda in captivity.

Because the photo shows that the animal has red eyes, researchers think it is a unique albino specimen. Carriers of that genetic disorder have white fur and red eyes due to a lack of melanin pigment.

Extra cameras

According to the manager of the reserve, this is a young panda, one or two years old. The animal is in good health given its constant pace. The sex could not be determined based on the camera images.

The reserve will set up additional camera traps in the area to monitor the animal and to establish whether it has contact with other individuals in the area.

Advertisements

‘Don’t vote German anti-climate parties CDU, SPD’


This 24 May 2019 video from Germany says, translated:

This is an open letter. A statement. From a large part of the Youtube scene. This weekend are the European Union elections and it is important to vote. But it is equally important to make a rational choice decision that is consistent with logic and science.

There are many important political issues, but according to the risk hierarchy, the potential destruction of our planet obviously has the highest priority. Every other topic is less important.

The irreversible destruction of our planet is unfortunately not an abstract scenario but the calculable result of current policies. We do not say that, that’s the overwhelming consensus in science. The experts clearly say that the CDU/CSU and SPD

the current German coalition government

course is drastically wrong, leading us into a scenario where the earth is constantly getting hotter, no matter what we do. In this world, not only many animal species become extinct, but also many humans. Illnesses will be on the rise for the survivors, trillions of economic losses are being created, and hundreds of millions of refugees will be coming; who will not have to stay in another country for a few years, but forever.

Therein science is certain. This is not about individual expert opinions, because you can always find them. No, it’s an overwhelming consensus among scientists based on countless independent studies and research. Anyone who denies this consensus, like the [extreme right German climate denialist party] AfD, or does not act on it, like the current government, has nothing to do in the leadership of an enlightened country.

There are ‘centre-right’ parties like the CDU/CSU in many countries. Often, they are scared of losing votes to Donald Trump-style far-rightists, like the neo-fascist AfD in Germany. Usually, they don’t say that global warming is a ‘Chinese communist hoax’, like Trump does. But they say: don’t pay too much for solving this problem; don’t make corporations like Volkswagen, Shell or Exxon pay; make instead poor people pay; etc. And don’t go any further than the Paris climate agreement (which is not enough according to most scientists). In the USA, left-wing Senator Sanders says that ‘centrist’ Democrat Biden’s ‘middle ground’ approach to the climate crisis would ‘doom future generations’.

And then, there are ‘centre-left’ politicians like in the German SPD. Who in theory have better climate policies. But who say: we are in a coalition government with the centre-right. And continuing for us to be ministers is more important than stopping global warming disasters.

Maybe ignorance is the reason for this misconduct, maybe they [the German government parties CDU/CSU and SPD] do not have the strength or the decency to put science and reality above the money and influence of big corporations and lobbies. In any case, we must ensure that parties have an incentive to act according to science. And the obvious incentive we can create is that they lose votes in the elections. Because only then would they have a reason to change their behaviour.

Therefore, we ask everyone: Do not vote for the CDU/CSU, do not vote SPD. Do not choose any other party that does little according to logic and science, and, according to scientific consensus, destroys our future. And certainly do not vote for the AfD, which even denies this consensus.

This is not about different legitimate political opinions. It’s about the irrefutable need to do everything to drastically change the course as soon as possible. That’s what more than 26,000 German-speaking scientists call for. This is demanded by the IPCC, which screens and summarizes the thousands of scientific publications. And we stand on the side of the experts. Because if we stay this course for the next few years, we may not have a chance to stop the destruction.

Finally, dear politicians: Of course you now have the opportunity to discredit us again. You can blame us for not having a plan on what we’re talking about. You will say that we are lying. That we participate in fake news campaigns. Are instrumentalized. That we are bought and paid and so on. All of these disrespectful techniques have been used against us, against your own people, this year. And we speak for many citizens when we say: You have not made friends with that.

Among the signatories:

[film maker] Julien Bam, [beauty vlogger] DagiBee, Vik, Emrah, Anni the Duck, Mirellativegal, Oğuz Yılmaz, Fynn Kliemann, Rezo, Tim Jacken, Toni Pirosa, DeChangeman, Rick (SpaceFrogs), Steven (SpaceFrogs), Aaron Troschke, Greeen, Katja Krasavice, Malwanne, [gamer] Luca Concrafter, Unge, Jana Nell, Alexi Bexi, Alycia Marie, Diana zur Löwen, Marti Fischer, Jodie Calussi, Mii Mii, Julia Beautx, CrispyRob, Simon Will, Rewi, Taddl, Trymacs, Phil Laude, Izzi, Nia, Fräulein Chaos, Heider, Soja (SophieDoesRandomStuff), Gordon, Aljosha, Jonas (Simplicissimus), David (Simplicissimus), Tilo Jung, OpenMind, Kiko, Gong Bao, Sturmwaffel, Barbara Sofie, Hendrik Rettkowski, David Hain, Fabian Siegismund, Ambre Vallet, LeFloid, Naomi Jon, Klengan, Kayla Shyx, Luna F. Darko, dyzzy, Nhi, Marius (Angeschrien), Sonny Loops, Ischtar Isik, Jonas Ems, Paul (Ultralativ), Fynn (Ultralativ), Danergy, Lenny (Lennyficate), 2Bough, Domino Kati, Marie (Snukieful), EasyAlex, Kelly, GermanLetsPlay, Maxim Markov, Alexander Straub, Jolina Mennen, Firegoden, Keanusworld, Doktor Whatson, Silvi Rockstar, Vincent Lee, Krancrafter, MrTrashpack, Tomary, Masterjam, BinaBianca, Kupferfuchs, Philip Steuer, JF not Kennedy, Mizeb, Ralph Ruthe.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Well-known German youtubers are calling not to vote this Sunday for the country’s two largest parties in the European elections because they do too little about climate change. “We ask all of you: do not vote for CDU/CSU, do not vote for SPD”, almost a hundred of them say in a video. …

The call comes a week after the 26-year-old vlogger Rezo opened the attack on the established parties. Under the title Die Zerstörung der CDU [The destruction of the CDU], he explains in almost an hour what is wrong with current policy.

This is Rezo’s 18 May 2019 video Die Zerstörung der CDU.

In addition to climate change, he also criticizes the growing gap between rich and poor and German governmental help for US American wars. The video has now been viewed almost 9 million times.

Meanwhile, over 9 million.

The CDU ruling party did not have an adequate answer to all these allegations. First, the party’s Secretary-General called the video “a mix of pseudo-facts“, but because that reaction only increased criticism, he admitted the day after that Rezo had used proper sources. …

In addition, the young [CDU] Bundestag [parliament] member Amthor would come up with a reply video yesterday, but that response did not come. …

Coalition party SPD did come up with a response. “Your criticism has reached us”, said Young Socialist Chairman Klingbeil in a video. … Klingbeil, however, also emphasized that compromises are needed in politics.

British students urge ministers to ‘teach the future’ about climate change: here.

Small fish crucial for coral reef biodiversity


This 2018 video is called The Coral Reef: 10 Hours of Relaxing Oceanscapes | BBC Earth.

From the Smithsonian Institution in the USA:

Live fast, die young: Study shows tiny fishes fuel coral reefs

May 23, 2019

Scientists have long sought to understand how coral reefs support such an abundance of fish life despite their location in nutrient-poor waters. According to a new study published May 23 in the journal Science, an unlikely group fuels these communities: tiny, mostly bottom-dwelling creatures called “cryptobenthic” reef fishes.

The study shows that these fishes perform a critical role on coral reefs, supplying almost 60% of consumed fish food by constantly replenishing their populations in a rapid cycle of life and death.

“Scientists have puzzled over coral reefs for centuries, wondering how such productive, diverse ecosystems survive in what is essentially a marine desert,” said lead author Simon Brandl, formerly with the Smithsonian’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network and currently a postdoctoral research fellow with Simon Fraser University. “It’s remarkable to find that these tiny, almost universally overlooked fishes actually serve as the cornerstone of coral-reef fish communities.”

Cryptobenthic reef fishes, such as gobies, blennies or cardinalfishes, are the smallest of all marine vertebrates. Although they vary in size, the tiniest cryptobenthics will never reach 1 inch and weigh almost nothing. Other coral-reef dwellers eat these fishes in large quantities, most within the first few weeks of their existence.

Instead of disappearing, however, cryptobenthic fish populations somehow flourish in the face of constant predation. The researchers solved this paradox by studying the larvae of reef fishes. While the larvae of most fish species disperse into the open ocean, where only a few survive, cryptobenthics behave differently. Brandl and his team found that most cryptobenthic larvae appear to remain close to their parents’ reefs, yielding many more survivors among their babies. These larvae then rapidly replace cryptobenthic adults eaten on the reef, sustaining the growth of larger reef fishes.

“We found that cryptobenthic fish larvae absolutely dominate the larval-fish communities near reefs, which provides a continuous stream of new generations of tiny fish as a food source for other reef creatures,” said Carole Baldwin, co-author on the study and curator of fishes at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. “It’s incredible that these fishes contribute so much to coral reefs. They’re so small that historically we haven’t recognized their enormous significance.”

Scientists from Australia, Canada, France and the United States contributed to this research. The team studied cryptobenthics in Belize, French Polynesia and Australia, combed decades of data on coral-reef fish larvae and developed a population model to better understand how cryptobenthics contribute to the diet of coral-reef dwellers.

The study began in 2015, when Brandl was a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian’s Marine Global Earth Observatory (MarineGEO), but these tiny fishes are more relevant today than ever. As coral reefs undergo dramatic declines, their fish communities — and the people who depend on them — may be in jeopardy. The researchers hope that the vast diversity of cryptobenthics and their unique way of life can make them a resilient foundation for coral reefs.

Climate change, science and activism


This 23 May 2019 video from New Zealand says about itself:

Students skip school for climate change strike

Thousands of children called on adults to get real about climate change in mass protests around the country today

From Penn State university in the USA:

Marching [against] climate change may sway people’s beliefs and actions

May 23, 2019

Americans have a long tradition of taking to the streets to protest or to advocate for things they believe in. New research suggests that when it comes to climate change, these marches may indeed have a positive effect on the public.

A team including Penn State researchers found that people tended to be more optimistic about people’s ability to work together to address climate change and have better impressions of people who participated in marches after the March for Science and the People’s Climate March in the spring of 2017.

Janet Swim, professor of psychology at Penn State, said the findings suggest that climate change marches can have positive effects on bystanders.

“Marches serve two functions: to encourage people to join a movement and to enact change,” Swim said. “This study is consistent with the idea that people who participate in marches can gain public support, convince people that change can occur, and also normalize the participants themselves.”

Swim added that recent research has shown that marches are becoming more prevalent in the US, not just [against] climate change but for many issues. She and her coauthors, Nathaniel Geiger from Indiana University, and Michael Lengieza from Penn State, were interested in learning more about whether marches are effective at changing psychological predictors of joining movements.

“There are several measures that predict people engaging and taking action in the future,” Swim said. “One of those is collective efficacy — the belief that people can work together to enact change. People don’t want to do something if it’s not going to have an effect. We were interested in whether marches increased this sense of efficacy, that once you see other people do something, you might think yes, it’s possible.”

For the study, the researchers recruited 587 bystanders — people who did not participate in the march but observed it through the media. 302 participants completed a survey the day before the March for Science held on April 22, 2017, and 285 completed a survey several days after the People’s Climate March held on April 29, 2017.

The surveys asked participants how much they knew about the marches, their impressions of the people who participated in the marches, and whether they believed people could work together to reduce climate change, among other measures.

“Activists are often seen negatively — that they’re arrogant or eccentric or otherwise outside of the norm,” Swim said. “There’s a fine line between marchers and other activists expressing themselves and raising awareness of their cause, while also not confirming negative stereotypes. So, one of our questions was whether marches increase or decrease people’s negative impressions of marchers.”

Because the researchers were also interested in how media coverage contributed to outcomes, they also noted the participants’ preferred news sources and coded whether the sources were generally more conservative or liberal.

The researchers found that after the People’s Climate March, study participants were more optimistic about people’s ability to work together to address climate change — referred to as collective efficacy beliefs. They also found that study participants had less negative opinions of marchers after the march.

Additionally, the researchers found that participants who regularly consumed news from conservative media had more collective efficacy beliefs and intent to take action after the marches. Those who regularly got news from liberal media tended to have less negative impressions of marchers, particularly among those who reported having heard about the marches.

Swim said that because they controlled for such factors as political affiliation and beliefs, these changes were likely due to the way their preferred media sources portrayed the marches before and after the events.

“If conservative news sources only talk the march after the fact, that might be why their viewers have more efficacy afterwards, because they didn’t know about it before,” Swim said. “Additionally, a more liberal news source may portray marchers as more sympathetic, which may be why their viewers had more favorable impressions of marchers.”

In future, Swim said she would like to further study how news and other media sources contribute to people’s beliefs about climate change. For example, a content analysis that helps tease apart whether it is how much coverage a march gets that contributes to changes in beliefs or whether it is how the marches and marchers are portrayed that matters.

Nathaniel Geiger, Assistant Professor of Environmental Communications from Indiana University, Michael L. Lengieza, graduate student in Psychology from Penn State, and also participated in this work.

This video is called Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment. Documentary 2018 HD.

From the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center in the USA:

GRACE data contribute to understanding of climate change

Expanded investigation through 2021 to be highly dependent on TACC supercomputing systems

May 23, 2019

The University of Texas at Austin team that led a twin satellite system launched in 2002 to take detailed measurements of the Earth, called the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), reports in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Climate Change on the contributions that their nearly two decades of data have made to our understanding of global climate patterns.

Among the many contributions that GRACE has made:

  • GRACE recorded three times the mass of ice lost in the polar and mountainous regions since first beginning measurements — a consequence of global warming.
  • GRACE enabled a measure of the quantity of heat added to the ocean and the location for said heat that remains stored in the ocean. GRACE has provided detailed observations, confirming that the majority of the warming occurs in the upper 2,000 meters of the oceans.
  • GRACE has observed that of the 37 largest land-based aquifers, 13 have undergone critical mass loss. This loss, due to both a climate-related effect and an anthropogenic (human-induced) effect, documents the reduced availability of clean, fresh water supplies for human consumption.
  • The information gathered from GRACE provides vital data for the federal agency United States Drought Monitor and has shed light on the causes of drought and aquifer depletion in places worldwide, from India to California.

Intended to last just five years in orbit for a limited, experimental mission to measure small changes in the Earth’s gravitational fields, GRACE operated for more than 15 years and has provided unprecedented insight into our global water resources, from more accurate measurements of polar ice loss to a better view of the ocean currents, and the rise in global sea levels. The mission was a collaboration between NASA and the German Aerospace Centre and was led by researchers in the Center for Space Research (CSR) in UT’s Cockrell School of Engineering.

UT’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) has played a critical role in this international project over the last 15 years, according to Byron Tapley, the Clare Cockrell Williams Centennial Chair Emeritus in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics who established the Center for Space Research at UT in 1981 and who served as principal investigator of the GRACE mission.

“As the demand for the GRACE science deliverables have grown, TACC’s ability to support these demands have grown. It has been a seamless transition to a much richer reporting environment,” he said.

By measuring changes in mass that cause deviations in the strength of gravity’s pull on the Earth’s various systems — water systems, ice sheets, atmosphere, land movements, and more — the satellites can measure small changes in the Earth system interactions.

“By monitoring the physical components of the Earth’s dynamical system as a whole, GRACE provides a time variable and holistic overview of how our oceans, atmosphere and land surface topography interact,” Tapley said.

The data system for the mission is highly distributed and requires significant data storage and computation through an internationally distributed network. Although the final data products for the CSR solutions are generated at TACC, there is considerable effort in Germany by the Geophysics Center in Potsdam and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The final CSR analysis at TACC starts with a data downlink from the satellites to a raw data collection center in Germany. The data is then transmitted to JPL where the primary measurements are converted into the geophysical measurements consisting of GPS, accelerometer, attitude quaternions, and the high accuracy intersatellite ranging measurements collected by each satellite during a month-long observation span.

“The collection of information from this international community are brought together by the fundamental computing capability and the operational philosophy at TACC to undergo the challenging data analysis required to obtain the paradigm-shifting view of the Earth’s interactions,” Tapley said.

Despite being a risky venture operating on minimal funding, the GRACE mission surpassed all expectations and continues to provide a critical set of measurements.

“The concept of using the changing gravimetric patterns on Earth as a means to understanding major changes in the Earth system interactions had been proposed before,” Tapley said. “But we were the first to make it happen at a measurement level that supported the needs of the diverse Earth-science community.”

One of the remarkable benefits of working with TACC, according to Tapley, is the ability to pose questions whose solutions would have not been feasible prior to TACC and to find the capability to answer the questions.

“As an example, when we began the GRACE mission, our capability was looking at gravity models that were characterized by approximately 5,000 model parameters, whose solution was obtained at approximately yearly analysis intervals. The satellite-only GRACE models today are based on approximately 33,000 parameters that we have the ability to determine at a daily interval. In the final re-analysis of the GRACE data, we’re looking to expand this parameterization to 4,000,000 parameters for the mean model. The interaction with TACC has always been in the context of: ‘If the answer to a meaningful question requires extensive computations, let’s find a way to satisfy that requirement,'” Tapley said.

Now that the GRACE Follow-On mission, which the CSR will continue to play a role in, has launched successfully, the chance to continue the GRACE record for a second multi-decadal measurement of changes in mass across the Earth system is possible. Engineers and scientists anticipate that the longer data interval will allow them to see an even clearer picture of how the planet’s climate patterns behave over time.

Bee-eaters, swallow, sea of Tilos, Greece


This Associated Press video says about itself:

Greek island set to get all its energy from renewables

Plaka, Tilos island, Greece – 6 August 2018

1. Aerial shot turbine

2. Various of wind turbine

3. Cutaway of Greek, EU and Eunice Energy Group flags

4. Various of on-site project manager Spyros Aliferis opening container with batteries

5. Mid of batteries that store energy and later deliver it to the grid of wind turbine on northern tip of Tilos island ++MUTE++

6. Tilt down of cables connecting batteries

7. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Spyros Aliferis, on-site project supervisor for Eunice Energy Group: “The innovation of this program and its funding lies in the batteries, the energy storage, that’s what’s innovative. The energy made by the wind turbines and the photovoltaics will be stored in batteries so that this energy can be used for the grid when there is demand.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS Tilos island – 5 August 2018

8. Aerial of solar panels installed as part of the renewable energy storage project ++MUTE++

9. Mid of solar panels ASSOCIATED PRESS Plaka, Tilos island, Greece – 6 August 2018

10. Aerial of Aegean Sea, underwater cable bringing electricity to Tilos island from neighbouring islands Kos and Nisyros runs below ++MUTE++

11. Various of electricity poles connecting underwater cable to Tilos grid

ASSOCIATED PRESS Megalo Chorio, Tilos island, Greece – 6 August 2018

12. Various of Tilos mayor Maria Kamma working in her office

13. Cutaway of EuroNatur Prize 2009 certificate

14. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Maria Kamma, Mayor of Tilos: “Another factor that prompted us to proceed with this project is that we do believe in renewable sources of energy, and our ability to totally end our dependence on gasoline as a fuel for electricity, which is very harmful for the environment. For many years now, Tilos has plotted a course that is dedicated to protecting the environment. We are seeking visitors, tourists actually, people who will visit our island who love the environment and want to protect it and nature as it was given to us.”

ASSOCIATED PRESS Livadia, Tilos island, Greece – 4 August 2018

15. Aerial of entrance to Livadia harbour ++MUTE++

16. Aerial of rooftops in Livadia with solar panels and solar-powered water heaters ++MUTE++

17. Owner of Sea View Hotel Sevasti Delaporta walking into restaurant to get breakfast ready

18. Various of Delaporta getting things ready for guests

19. SOUNDBITE (Greek) Sevasti Delaporta, owner of Sea View Hotel: “I’m very optimistic about this project because there are few negative consequences, as a business, and for the guests of the hotel that I run. People are pleased with the service because they have no problems with their fridges and they have no problems with their air conditioning. They are happy, things are ok.”

20. Hotel guests having breakfast at the terrace

ASSOCIATED PRESS Livadia, Tilos island, Greece – 5 August 2018 ++MUTE++

21. Aerial of hotels and houses along the seaside

22. Aerial of sea and small boat

23. Aerial of town of Livadia

24. Aerial of surrounding mountains, sun going down

ASSOCIATED PRESS Livadia, Tilos island, Greece – 5 August 2018

25. Wide of main street with tourists and locals

26. Shop sign in main street

27. Various of main square with bars and restaurants

28. Man walking in the street

29. Wide of restaurant outdoor tables

30. Dutch visitor Eva Lemaier, who has been coming to Tilos every summer for 25 years

31. SOUNDBITE (English) Eva Lemaier, Dutch tourist:

After 9 May 2019 on Tilos came 10 May.

In the morning, the sound of bee-eaters on spring migration.

We went from Megalo Chorio to Livadia.

Livadia, 10 May 2019

The photos from Livadia in this blog post were made, as an experiment, with a ‘lensbaby‘: a kind of camera lens enabling to make photos in which some parts are focused while other parts are not.

Hooded crows flying along the coast.

A cuttlefish bone and a dead sea star on the beach.

Aegean sea, 10 May 2019

And, of course, the Aegean sea with its stones along the coast.

A barn swallow passes.