How scuba spiders live underwater


This video says about itself:

13 January 2017

The scuba spider is the only arachnid to live exclusively underwater, despite lacking gills. Its secret, like its name suggests, is a makeshift oxygen supply.

Fukushima, Japan, disaster news


This video says about itself:

9 October 2015

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN — Cases of thyroid cancer among children living close to the Fukushima nuclear power plant have increased fiftyfold since 2011, four Japanese researchers said Tuesday in a report.

Since the meltdown in March 2011, annual thyroid cancer rates in Fukushima Prefecture have been 20 to 50 times the national level, said a team led by professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University Toshihide Tsuda.

The findings were based on screenings of around 370,000 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident. The study said the increase “is unlikely to be explained by a screening surge.” The researchers point to radiation exposure as a possible factor in the increase in thyroid cancer cases.

The Fukushima Prefecture Government identified 104 thyroid cancer cases as of late August.

An area extending about 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant has been declared an exclusion zone.

FUKUSHIMA — Ten more people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of late September this year in the second round of a health survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents, which began in April 2014, a committee overseeing the survey disclosed on Dec. 27: here.

Fate of Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant remains unknown — The Japan Times: here.

NRA: Ice wall effects ‘limited’ at Fukushima nuclear plantThe Asahi Shimbun: here.

The future of nuclear energy in Japan, nearly six years after the 2011 Fukushima disaster — ABC News: here.

A maverick former Japanese prime minister goes antinuclear — The New York Times: here.

Threatened moth named after Donald Trump


'Neopalpa donaldtrumpi' and Donald Trump

From the Daily Telegraph in England:

Meet ‘Neopalpa donaldtrumpi’ – the threatened moth named after Donald Trump

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

17 January 2017

With its striking crown of yellow and piercing stare, this newly discovered moth could only have been named after one man.

The new species has been christened ‘Neopalpa donaldtrumpi‘ in honour of America’s 45th president Donald Trump.

The moth is described for the first time by evolutionary biologist Dr Vazrick Nazari in the latest edition of the journal Zookeys, after being discovered hidden in the collections if the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California.

Both Trump and the moth share a similar habitat, stretching across the state of California, USA although it can also be found in Mexico.

Dr Nazari said the new insect, which is a type of twirler moth, bore an uncanny resemblance to Mr Trump because of the yellowish-white scales on its head. The scientists said the tuft reminded him of the incoming president’s hairstyle.

It is hoped that naming the new moth after Mr Trump will highlight the critical need for further conservation in fragile areas such as the habitat of the new species which is under serious threat from urbanisation.

“The discovery of this distinct micro-moth in the densely populated and otherwise zoologically well-studied southern California underscores the importance of conservation of the fragile habitats that still contain undescribed and threatened species, and highlights the paucity of interest in species-level taxonomy of smaller faunal elements in North America,” says discoverer Dr Nazari.

“By naming this species after the 45th President of the United States, I hope to bring some public attention to, and interest in, the importance of alpha-taxonomy in better understanding the neglected micro-fauna component of the North American biodiversity.”

Mr Trump’s flying namesake was announced only a month following after a species of basslet was named after predecessor President Barack Obama. To date, nine creatures after been named after Mr Obama.

The fish is only known from coral reefs in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, NorthwesternHawaii, a nature reserve which the 44th President of the United States of America expanded to become the largest protected marine area in the world.

Planet Venus new research


This video says about itself:

17 January 2017

A Japanese spacecraft has spotted a massive gravity wave in Venus’ atmosphere.

Venus is covered in a thick atmosphere, with clouds of sulphuric acid moving westwards faster than the planet itself rotates.

But among this fast-moving atmosphere scientists have discovered a mysterious ‘sideways smile’ on its surface stretching 6,200 miles (10,000 km) across.

The stationary patch could be a giant wave caused by the gravity from mountains below, the first of its kind to be observed on the planet, according to a new study published on January 16th.

Researchers from the Rikkyo University in Tokyo studied the bow-shaped patch, after it was spotted in December 2015.

‘The most surprising feature of the bow is that it stayed at almost same geographical position despite the background atmospheric super-rotation, the uniform westward wind of which the maximum speed is 100 metres/second at the cloud-top altitudes,’ researchers say.

But exactly why the bow stayed still when the rest of Venus’ atmosphere moves so quickly continues to puzzle scientists.

From Science News:

Weird wave found in Venus’ wind-whipped atmosphere

10,000-kilometer-long stationary feature may have been the biggest of its kind in solar system

By Ashley Yeager

6:11pm, January 17, 2017

With scorching temperatures and a mind-numbingly slow rotation (one Venus day lasts 243 Earth days), Venus was already a contender for weirdest planet in the solar system. Now add a giant arc-shaped structure to its list of oddities. The mysterious 10,000-kilometer-long structure was so big that it appeared to stretch between the planet’s poles. And it didn’t budge, even as winds in the planet’s upper atmosphere whipped along at a brisk 100 meters per second.

The C-shaped structure, which lasted at least four Earth days, could be a gravity wave, a large disturbance in the flow of a fluid or air, scientists say. It may have formed on Venus when winds in the planet’s lower atmosphere slammed into a mountain range and were pushed into the upper atmosphere, where it got stuck, a team of Japanese researchers report January 16 in Nature Geoscience.

Captured in images taken by JAXA’s Akatsuki spacecraft in December 2015, the structure could be the largest stationary gravity wave ever observed in the solar system. If it did shift from the lower to upper atmosphere, there may be more going on near the surface of the planet than scientists previously thought.

Adolf Hitler’s nazi professors


Hitler’s Professors

By Clara Weiss in Germany:

Hitler’s Professors: A documentation of war crimes by German academics against the Jewish people

16 January 2017

As German academia shifts to the right, expressed in its support for the revival of German militarism, it is important to recall the role played by high-ranking German academics in the Third Reich.

Max Weinreich’s classic study, Hitler’s Professors, first appeared in 1946, with a new edition published in 1999 by Yale University Press. The book presents a thorough account of the participation of leading German academics in the preparation, ideological cover-up and implementation of the murder of European Jews under the Nazis. Professors at Berlin University—the predecessor of Humboldt University, which has recently become an ideological center for the return of German militarism—played an especially important role in the Third Reich.

Max Weinreich was born in 1894, in what is Latvia today, and studied in Germany during the period of the Weimar Republic. Like many of his contemporaries, he was deeply shocked by the Gleichschaltung [Nazification of the state and society] in 1933. Large sections of the academic world voluntarily threw themselves into the arms of the Nazis and placed themselves at the service of National Socialism. Hundreds of intellectuals and academics of Jewish origin, along with those unwilling to adapt to National Socialism, had to leave Germany.

Weinreich is known primarily for his work as a historian and a linguist of the Yiddish language. He wrote his book in Yiddish immediately after the war, on the basis of thousands of documents and publications collected by the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. In this way, he was able to thoroughly document the complicity of well-known and influential German academics, coming from many different disciplines, in preparing the elimination of European Jewry. Weinreich’s study shows that an entire layer of intellectuals placed themselves in the service of German imperialism, sharing responsibility for the greatest crimes in human history.

At the beginning of his study, Weinreich states: “This murder of a whole people was not perpetrated solely by a comparatively small gang of the Elite Guard or by the Gestapo, whom we have come to consider as criminals. … the entire ruling class of Germany was committed to the execution of this crime. But the actual murderers, and those who sent them out and applauded them, had accomplices. German scholarship provided the ideas and techniques which led to and justified this unparalleled slaughter.” (p. 6)

Weinreich emphasizes that practically all academic disciplines were involved: “Many fields of learning, different ones at different times according to the shrewdly appraised needs of Nazi policies, were drawn into the work for more than a decade: physical anthropology and biology, every branch of the social sciences and the humanities—until the engineers moved in to build the gas chambers and crematoriums.” (pp. 6-7)

Most of the academics discussed by Weinreich were “people of long and high standing, university professors and academy members, some of them world famous, authors with familiar names and guest lecturers abroad, the kind of people with whom Allied scholars used to meet and fraternize at international congresses.” (p. 7)

From the outset, Weinreich argues that the integration of these academics into the Nazi apparatus was by no means an accident. Many of them had already harbored right-wing nationalist and conservative views during the period of the Weimar Republic. He observes: “German scholarship in the post-Versailles period played exactly the same role in supporting Germany’s drive to world domination as in the days of the Kaiser…” (p. 11)

Weinreich names several of the best-known examples of researchers with right-wing nationalist sympathies and National Socialist party membership credentials:

• The Nobel Prize winner for physics, Philipp Lenard, supported the failed Nazi putsch in 1923 in Munich, and was one of the best-known representatives of the so-called “German physics,” which militantly opposed Jewish natural science researchers and called the theories of relativity and quantum physics “Jewish” theories.

• Johannes Stark, also a Nobel Prize Winner in physics and a representative of “German physics,” became a member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP—National Socialist German Workers’ Party) in 1930 and participated in the research and development of an atomic bomb for the Third Reich.

• The philosopher and sociologist Erich Rothacker was a member of the German People’s Party (DVP) before he became a member of the National Socialists in 1930.

• Karl Alexander von Müller, history professor at the Munich Ludwig Maximilian University from 1928 to 1945, had been a Nazi supporter since the 1920s. He taught several of the most despicable Nazis and right-wing ideologists, including Hermann Göring; Baldur von Schirach, who headed the Hitler Youth; Hitler’s later deputy, Rudolf Hess; and the Nazi historians Walter Frank and Wilhelm Grau.

At Berlin University, there was an especially large number of well-known academics who worked with the National Socialists. These included:

• Eugen Fischer, rector of Berlin University and the most famous pseudo-theoretician of so-called “eugenics,” who was also an advocate of the Nuremburg race laws.

• Viktor Bruns, worked at Berlin University as well, and was one of the best-known international law experts of the Weimar Republic. Bruns represented the Nazi government before the permanent international court in The Hague.

• Theodor Vahlen, a mathematician at Greifswald University, had been a national socialist since the 1920s and is considered one of the founders of the so-called “German Mathematics.” Under the Nazis, he subsequently became president of the Prussian Academy of the Sciences and was yet another employee of Berlin University. He later joined the SS.

One could add to this list Konrad Meyer, Professor for Agricultural Science at Berlin University, who played a central role in drafting the Generalplan Ost [General Plan East] which formed the basis for Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union and for the Nazis’ occupation policies in the East.

Researchers in physical anthropology, biology and law were, according to Weinreich, especially ready to embrace national socialism. Among the legal experts, Carl Schmitt was the most famous. As a legal theoretician, he provided the ideological foundation for legitimizing National Socialist legislation, and took part in numerous Nazi conferences on the “Jewish question.” During the Second World War his works were used to justify the German National Socialists’ claim for world domination.

“Research” on the “Jewish Question”

Weinreich spends several pages explaining in detail how the National Socialists made a conscious effort to connect their anti-Bolshevism with anti-Jewish propaganda and substantiate both with pseudo-research. In this, they were basing their views on those of anti-communist Russian immigrants, who fled to Germany after the October revolution and maintained close connections with right-wing nationalist and anti-Semitic circles.

For instance, Weinreich quotes a secret memorandum written by the Jurist Dr. Eberhard Taubert on February 1934, in which he sketched the outlines of anti-Bolshevik and anti-Jewish propaganda. It declared: “Any anti-Bolshevist propaganda is directly in our favor, especially if conducted along these lines: (1) Bolshevism is the gravest danger menacing the world’s security and culture; (2) we have saved the world from this danger; (3) our defense action against communism had to be directed against Jewry too, because they are allied … (6) we are the pioneers of a real understanding of peoples on the basis of mutual respect of nations … If this propaganda is consistently carried through, one must come to understand the new Germany abroad, particularly the authoritarian regime, the concentration camps, the regulation of the Jewish question …” (pp. 113–14)

Taubert, a member of the Nazi Party from 1931, provided the ideas behind the infamous Nazi propaganda film The Eternal Jew, and occupied a high ranking position in Goebbels’ propaganda ministry. After the war, he became an employee and advisor of the leading Christian Social Union politician, Franz Josef Strauß.

Weinreich also documents the numerous institutes devoted to “research on the Jewish question,” which were founded under the National Socialists and ideologically prepared the Holocaust. In addition to Berlin and Munich, Frankfurt-Main became an important center for the ideological preparation of war and genocide.

Among the most influential institutes, which often competed with one another, were:

• The Reichsinstitut für Geschichte des Neuen Deutschlands, [Reich Institute for the History of the New Germany] headquartered in Berlin. This institute systematically supported and carried out pseudo-historical research to provide a theoretical basis for the Nazis’ antisemitism. Physics Nobel Prize winner Johannes Stark and Rudolf Mentzel, president of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) [German Research Foundation], took part in its work and participated in various conferences that it sponsored. Institute conferences were also attended by such high-ranking Nazi officials as Julius Streicher, publisher of the infamous propaganda paper Der Stürmer, and Hans Frank, later governor general of occupied Poland. The Reich Institute published the widely-known series Forschungen zur Judenfrage [Research on the Jewish Question].

• Alfred Rosenberg’s Institut zur Erforschung der Judenfrage [Institute for Research on the Jewish Question], founded in 1939 shortly before the beginning of the war, with its headquarters in Frankfurt-Main. It quickly developed into a leading Nazi anti-Jewish institute. Its library of anti-Jewish literature comprised several thousand volumes. Despite war-time depravations, the Institute received 160,000 Reichsmark during the war to expand its library. Members of the institute, most notably the “expert on Eastern Europe,” Peter-Heinz Seraphim, played a central role in the development of the Nazis’ political orientation towards the Jews in occupied Europe and in the Soviet Union. At a conference in May 1941, academics such as Seraphim and Walter Grau demanded a “definitive solution to the Jewish question,” even before its detailed planning at the Wannsee Conference in January, 1942.

Alfred Rosenberg’s journal Der Weltkampf [The World Struggle], one of the most important ideological organs of the NSDAP since 1925, published contributions from no fewer than 13 professors and 26 Doctors of Philosophy until its last issue in 1944. Among their number were Dr. Klaus Schickert, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the “Jewish Question in Hungary,” and Peter-Heinz Seraphim, who took over the editorship of the journal. Recent research has revealed that Seraphim’s work on the Jews in Eastern Europe and their movement into ghettos had a significant influence on Nazi planning during the occupation, in particular on the founding and institutionalization of the infamous ghettos.

The Nazis also opened various anti-Jewish institutes in the occupied territories of Europe. For instance, the Institut d’Études des Questions Juives [Institute for the Study of the Jewish Question] was founded in Paris, France, in May 1941, and was led by Dr. George Montandon. It began semiweekly publication of La Question Juive en France et dans le Monde [The Jewish Question in France and in the World] in 1942. In November 1942, a chair for “Jewish history” at the Sorbonne University in Paris was founded, and handed to the right-wing historian Henri Labroue. Institutes were also established in Lithuania, Hungary, Croatia, Romania and Denmark.

Based on the pseudo-research of academics at these institutes, guidelines were produced for teachers to use in Reich schools, along with literature for Wehrmacht soldiers, aimed at preparing them to carry out massacres on the eastern front.

War preparations and the development of National Socialist occupation policy

The geopolitical strategist Karl Haushofer, who had been friends with the Führer’s later deputy, Rudolf Hess, since the 1920s, and had known Adolf Hitler personally since the mid-1920s, played an especially influential role in planning the war in Europe and against the Soviet Union. Haushofer was president of the German Academy from 1934 to 1937. However, in 1939 he distanced himself from the regime and retired. Nevertheless, his fundamental strategic conception, according to which eastern colonization by the German Reich was necessary in order to conquer colonies overseas, was adopted … alongside the General Plan East.

At the universities, so-called “military science,” which was, in fact, nothing less than “the science of war,” was massively expanded. The Hochschule für Politik [Higher School for Politics] in Berlin—predecessor of today’s Otto Suhr Institute at the Berlin Free University—played an especially important role in the war preparations. In 1937, after the majority of its instructors were forced to emigrate in 1933, the government turned it into a Reich institute. After the war began, it became directly affiliated with Berlin University, where it worked out the Nazis’ war policy as the Schule für Auslandswissenschaft [School for Foreign Studies]. This was led by Franz Alfred Six, Adolf Eichmann’s superior in the Reich Security Main Office and one of the central figures in the organization of the holocaust.

Also active in Berlin was the Society for European Economic Planning and Greater Space Economy. It was founded in January 1941, in order to theoretically prepare and legitimize the Nazis’ occupation policy in Europe. Law professor, Carl Schmitt, mathematician Theodor Vahlen, and Dr. Fritz Rörig, president of the History Department of Berlin University, all participated in its work.

The society was connected with the so-called “Führerring” (a ring featuring a Nazi symbol worn by the closest NS collaborators) through several different Reich ministers. Hermann Backe, among others, belonged to the “Führerring.” Backe was the author of the infamous hunger plan for the Soviet Union, which planned the murder and deportation of approximately 30 million Slavs.

The president of the society, Werner Diatz, wrote in the Institute’s first publication: “The thing to do today is to overcome the mental and physical principles of the last two millennia, to revolutionize the European continent as a Teutonic-German continent and to strengthen and complete it as the bulwark of the new idea of national socialism.” (p.126)

To this day, Weinreich’s study remains a standard work and helps explain the role that German universities played in the greatest crimes in the history of humanity. It is thus remarkable that it has never been translated into German, although it became available in English in 1946 and was reprinted, again in English, in 1999.

Weinreich wrote the book during the Nuremburg trials, in the hope that the evidence he presented would aid in the pursuit of the Nazi academic criminals. However, there was never any reckoning with their Nazi past. Only in a few cases were “Hitler’s Professors” forced to give up or change their positions, and even then only temporarily. A few convinced Nazis, like Walter Frank, committed suicide in 1945. In most cases, however, nothing happened. High ranking Nazi academics like Johannes Stark were allowed to live out their retirements undisturbed. Even more, several of the worst ideological criminals continued their careers after the war in the German Federal Republic.

Peter-Heinz Seraphim, like many employees of Rosenberg’s Institute and the Organization Gehlen, joined the newly-founded Federal Intelligence Service (BND). Until the end of his life, Seraphim authored anti-communist pamphlets under the auspices of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. In 1954, he became leader of the Management and Economics Academy in Bochum, an educational institution for Germany’s economic elite.

As already mentioned, Eberhard Taubert became an important ally of Christian Social Union (CSU) politician Franz-Joseph Strauß and was active at the highest levels of German politics into the 1970s.

After his forced retirement in the late 1940s, Karl Alexander Müller again became a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts in the 1950s, and received the Bavarian Order of Merit in 1961.

Konrad Meyer became a member of the Regional Studies and Planning Academy, and his work continued to be funded—as it had under National Socialism—by the German Research Association (DFG).

Fossil invertebrates, new study


This vido says about itself:

12 January 2017

For 175 years, a cone-shaped, shelled prehistoric creature called a hyolith has been waiting to be assigned a proper place on the tree of life. Thanks to a recent research effort, the hyolith’s wait is over.

From Science News:

Ancient oddball invertebrate finds its place on the tree of life

by Cassie Martin

2:30pm, January 11, 2017

Hyoliths are evolutionary misfits no more.

This class of ancient marine invertebrates has now been firmly pegged as lophophorates, a group whose living members include horseshoe worms and lamp shells, concludes an analysis of more than 1,500 fossils, including preserved soft tissue.

The soft-bodied creatures, encased in conical shells, concealed U-shaped guts and rings of tentacles called lophophores that surrounded their mouths. Fossil analysis suggests that hyoliths used those tentacles and spines, called helens, to trawl the seafloor more than 500 million years ago, researchers report online January 11 in Nature.

For years, paleontologists have argued over where on the tree of life these bottom-feeders belonged. Some scientists thought hyoliths were closely related to mollusks, while others thought the odd-looking creatures deserved a branch all their own. This new insight into hyolith anatomy “settles a long-standing paleontological debate,” the researchers write.