Tyrannosaurus rex brought to museum this Friday


This is a Dutch June 2016 video, recorded in Montana in the USA. It is about assembling fossil Tyrannosaurus rex Trix for transportation to Naturalis museum in the Netherlands; and about excavating Triceratops fossils not far away.

Dutch NOS TV reports today that on Friday 26 August, a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton will be brought from Schiphol airport to Naturalis museum in Leiden.

The fossil dinosaur is probably an elderly female. Her name is Trix.

Three years ago, Trix was found in Montana in the USA. This animal will make Naturalis the only museum outside the US with a Tyrannosaurus rex.

On 10 September, Trix will be at a special tyrannosaur exhibition.

From the end of 2018 on, she will be part of the regular Naturalis exhibition.

Growing plants on Mars?


This video from Leiden University in the Netherlands says about itself:

A Garden on Mars

22 August 2016

We are the Leiden iGEM 2016 team. In context of the iGEM competition, we are raising money through crowdfunding to support our research! You can support us by donation via the website, or you can support us by sharing this video and spreading the word.

From Leiden University in the Netherlands:

‘A garden on Mars‘ crowdfunding campaign starts today

22 August 2016

Today, 13 students at Leiden University have started a crowdfunding campaign to collect money for research into the possibilities of growing crops on Mars. Their research will contribute to the knowledge of our galaxy. The project is in the context of the iGEM competition.

Food for Martians

Martian soil contains a toxin known as perchlorate, which causes all crops grown to be toxic to humans. If we manage to land men on Mars in the near future, this is a problem that will have to be resolved. It is not possible to take adequate supplies of food, and crops therefore have to be grown as a sustainable source of nutrition. The students are developing a bacterial system that will break down perchlorate and at the same time release much-needed oxygen in the process: a win-win situation for future Martian explorers. The bacteria will do their work in the enclosed environment of a bioreactor with Martian soil.

Students and the public work together to enable research

The project is completely student led and student run. This includes financing their own materials, including perchlorate, simulated Martian soil and laboratory disposables. State-of-the-art techniques are used, including Martian gravity simulation. The students hope to finance a part of the costly project through crowdfunding. Communication is a key aspect of the project and the students are presenting their project at events, including the Night of Art and Knowledge on September 17.

International science competition

The students’ research is part of the world’s biggest competition in synthetic biology: the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, organised by the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In total, over 300 teams are participating in the competition, using synthetic biology to solve a problem of their own choosing. The results will be announced at the end of October 2016 at the Giant Jamboree in Boston.

Crowdfunding campaign

The crowdfunding starts on 22 August 2016 and will continue until the students travel to Boston on 27 October. Their target is €8,600, the amount they need to complete their research.

British children abused as drugs guinea pigs


This video from Britain says about itself:

Schoolchildren given experimental drugs without their parents’ consent in 1960s Home Office experiment

22 August 2016

Disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire were given an anticonvulsant drug in a trial backed by Home Office doctors.

Children at an approved school were given experimental drugs in a 1960s trial backed by the Home Office, it is reported.

Disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire allegedly participated in the trial without their parents’ consent.

They were given the anticonvulsant drug Beclamide for six months in a bid to control their behaviour, National Archive files show.

Home Office doctors also approved a similar trial of the powerful sedative Haloperidol on girls at Springhead Park Approved School in Rothwell near Leeds.

However, it reportedly did not go ahead.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Children used in 60s drugs trials

Tuesday 23rd August 2016

NATIONAL ARCHIVES: Children at a young offenders’ school in the 1960s became unwitting guinea pigs in an experimental drug trial that was approved by Home Office doctors.

National Archive files released yesterday show that disruptive boys at Richmond Hill Approved School in North Yorkshire were given the anticonvulsant drug beclamide, which is no longer widely used, for six months. Dizziness, memory loss and fatigue are some of its common side effects.

The trial went ahead with neither children and parents being consulted. Nor is there any record of outcomes.

MSF leaves bombed North Yemen hospitals


This video from the USA says about itself:

Saudi Arabia Can’t Stop Bombing Hospitals & Schools In Yemen

17 August 2016

After the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition bombed a hospital in Yemen supported by Doctors Without Borders on Monday, the U.S. State Department offered a rare condemnation of the coalition’s violence.

Read more here.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Monday, 22 August 2016

MSF EVACUATING STAFF FROM HOSPITALS IN SAADA AND HAJJAH PROVINCES

FOLLOWING the 15th August aerial bombing of Abs Hospital in Yemen’s Hajjah Governorate, which killed 19 people and injured 24, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has decided to evacuate its staff from the hospitals it supports in Saada and Hajjah governorates in Northern Yemen.

Concretely these are Haydan, Razeh, Al Gamouri, Yasnim hospitals in Saada and Abs and Al Gamouri hospitals in Hajjah. MSF said: ‘The attack on Abs hospital is the fourth and deadliest on any MSF-supported facility during this war and there have been countless attacks on other health facilities and services all over Yemen.’

GPS coordinates shared with all parties

It continued: ‘Since the suspension of the peace talks between the Saudi-led coalition (SLC) and the Houthi forces in Kuwait 11 days ago, the SLC has resumed an intensified campaign in north Yemen. Over the last 8 months, MSF has met with high ranking SLC officials on two occasions in Riyadh to secure humanitarian and medical assistance for Yemenis, as well as to seek assurances that attacks on hospitals would end.

‘Aerial bombings have however continued, despite the fact that MSF has systematically shared the GPS coordinates of hospitals in which we work with the parties involved in the conflict. Coalition officials repeatedly state that they honour international humanitarian law, yet this attack shows a failure to control the use of force and to avoid attacks on hospitals full of patients. MSF is neither satisfied nor reassured by the Saudi-led coalition’s statement that this attack was a mistake.’

Unsafe for patients and staff

MSF stressed: ‘Given the intensity of the current offensive and our loss of confidence in the Coalition’s ability to avoid such fatal attacks, MSF considers that the hospitals in Saada and Hajjah governorates are unsafe for both patients and staff. The decision to evacuate the staff, which include obstetricians, paediatricians, surgeons and emergency room specialists, from a project is never taken lightly.

‘But in the absence of credible assurances that parties to a conflict will respect the protected status of medical facilities, medical workers, and patients, there may be no other options. This is the case in Hajjah and in Saada governorate based on recent events. While an independent investigation remains necessary, we must highlight that previous military coalition investigations related to MSF facilities have not been shared with us.’

Joan Tubau, the General Director of MSF, said: ‘This latest incident shows that the current rules of engagement, military protocols and procedures are inadequate in avoiding attacks on hospitals, and need revision and changes.

‘MSF asks the Saudi-led Coalition and the Governments supporting the Coalition, particularly US, UK and France, to ensure an immediate application of measures geared to substantially increasing the protection of civilians.’

The health charity added: ‘The hospitals that MSF supports in Saada, Haydan, Razeh, Abs, Yasnim, and Hajjah will continue to operate with the staff from the Ministry of Health (MoH) and volunteers. These hospitals are already struggling to keep up with the medical needs caused by the renewed bombing campaigns and the acute needs created or exacerbated by the numerous shortages Yemenis are trying to endure.

‘MSF asks all parties to ensure the safety of these hospitals and to allow them continue to provide medical care with neutrality and impartiality. MSF deeply regrets the consequences of this evacuation for our patients and our MoH Yemeni medical colleagues who will continue to work in the health facilities under unsafe conditions.’

Inhuman war

MSF continued: ‘We hope that the security situation will improve so that the population will have some respite and MSF teams will be able to return to providing the much needed medical care. MSF regrets the collective failure to protect the Yemeni civilians from military action and also the failure to help them with adequate humanitarian response.

‘MSF wants to once again offer its most sincere condolences to the families of our staff and the patients that died during the attack. That medical staff and sick and injured people are killed inside a hospital speaks of the cruelty and inhumanity of this war.’

Before this evacuation, MSF was active in 11 hospitals and health centres in Yemen, and providing support to another 18 hospitals or health centres in eight governorates: Aden, Al-Dhale’, Taiz, Saada, Amran, Hajjah, Ibb and Sana’a. More than 2,000 MSF staff are currently working in Yemen, including 90 international staff. The Saudi-led troops’ central command expressed ‘deep regret’ over the MSF’s decision and said it was trying to set up ‘urgent meetings’ with the medical aid group.

Yemen has been under Saudi military strikes since late March 2015. The war was launched in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to reinstate Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who stepped down as Yemen’s president but is now seeking to grab power by force.

The aerial campaign, carried out without any international mandate, has killed about 10,000 people, most of them civilians, according to local Yemeni sources. …

Locals meanwhile, reported that a Bahraini trooper fighting alongside the Saudi forces had been killed during border clashes between the Yemeni forces and the Saudi military in north western Yemen. The soldier has been identified as Issa Abdullah Badr Aid.


Meanwhile, Saudi jets pounded residential buildings in Bani al-Harith district north of the Yemeni capital Sana’a, leaving two women and two children dead.

Seventeen people were also injured in the Saudi airstrikes against Bani al-Harith.

The incident came just one day after a Saudi airstrike hit the hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in the same province, killing at least 25 people.

Tyrannosaurus rex quest on video


This 17 August 2016 Dutch video shows how scientists of Naturalis museum in Leiden went to the USA to look for Tyrannosaurus rex fossils.

Lead kills birds and people


This video says about itself:

Lead Poisoning: Kills Babies, Birds, and Beethoven

16 Oct 2013

Lead is a heavy metal that hides in paint chips and bullets, just waiting to be ingested by some poor sucker, or baby….or bird. Pick Your Poison Safety Tip #293 – Don’t put things in your mouth that aren’t food, you weirdo!

From BirdLife:

Lead: bad for birds and people

By Wouter Langhout, 22 July 2016

Lead is bad for you.

Already in Roman times, people were apparently experiencing the harmful effects of consuming lead, which was then used as a sweetener for wine. Logically, over time, the use of lead has become more and more restricted, and its use in gasoline and jewellery is banned in the EU. However, other uses of lead persist. As always there is a strong resistance from the industry against regulation that they feel interferes with their business model, even when that business model involves releasing tonnes of toxic material into the environment.

Birds are one of the main victims of the continued use of lead. For birds, like for people, lead is highly toxic. If they are exposed to lead, it could lead to a gruesome death – the lead paralyses their digestive system so the birds basically die of starvation, having limped around for days and days.

The main way most species are exposed is though ‘grit’. Grit are the small stones that many birds use in the wild to help them digest their food. In a fascinating quirk of evolution, birds have learned that by ingesting grit in their gizzard (part of the digestive tract) they can grind their food more easily, as the stones help them do the munching.

Unfortunately, lead shotgun pellets are often the same size as grit, so many birds often mistakenly ingest the pellets instead of stones. To make matters worse, in some wetlands there are more shotgun pellets in the sediment than natural stones, a legacy of years of hunting with lead. This is taking its toll on ducks, waders and terrestrial birds. The dead or dying birds also regularly get eaten by predators such as eagles and kites, which then in turn also suffer from lead poisoning.

Lead has been linked to population declines of the Common Pochard, the White-headed Duck and the Egyptian Vulture, all of which are threatened with extinction. The last two species are at precariously low population levels, and we cannot afford to lose even a single bird.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has consulted experts on the risks of lead shot in wetlands. BirdLife Europe has together with the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) submitted a pile of evidence which shows the need for banning lead shot.

The evidence also shows that a ban in wetlands only, which is currently proposed by ECHA, is not enough. Many birds such as Grey Partridges and Whooper Swans die from lead shot they ingest outside wetlands. In addition, experience with past bans shows that you really need to act on the sale and possession of lead shot, as the enforcement in many EU Member States is too limited and it gets very messy when you only ban the lead shot for some species or in some areas.

There is nothing unimaginable about banning lead shot. The Netherlands and Denmark have already done it. The only sector that would need to adapt is the ammunition industry, but that is a poor argument to continue harming birds and the people that love them.

We are looking to the European Union to save the birds from a gruesome death. ECHA and the EU Member States together can make this happen, if they have the vision and the will to do what is needed.