British elections, health, women’s rights


This video says about itself:

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn Rides Leftist Tide in U.K. Election in Rebuke of Austerity & Conservatives

9 June 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a major setback Thursday in an election that saw her Conservative Party lose its majority in Parliament less than two weeks before the country is scheduled to begin talks over exiting from the European Union.

May called the snap election three years early, expecting to win a large mandate to negotiate with European leaders over the terms of the so-called Brexit. Instead, Conservatives were left without a clear majority and a hung Parliament.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who ran on a platform of “For the many, not the few,” said Thursday’s election results show voters are “turning their backs on austerity.” We’re joined by Paul Mason, columnist for The Guardian, and Mehdi Hasan, award-winning British journalist and broadcaster at Al Jazeera English. He is host of the Al Jazeera interview program “UpFront” and a columnist for The Intercept.

This video says about itself:

Theresa May in Election Jitters Caught Lying About Tory Plans to Cut The National Health Service

9 June 2017

Kam Sandhu of Real Media says there is evidence that Tories plan to sell off assets [of the] NHS; this is the first sign of distress and it will lead to privatization.

Theresa May, in spite of losing the election, now plans to cling to Downing Street 10 by patching together a wafer thin coalition with the fundamentalist religious Democratic Unionist Party.

The BBC writes today about that:

Can a Conservative and DUP pact possibly govern for the life of this Parliament? They face a long, precarious high wire act if they attempt to do so, and they – and any alternative alliance – will be beset by troubles and entanglements at every turn.

Armed with a combined majority of three MPs, their pact would also be bolstered by the absence of the seven Sinn Fein MPs who continue to refuse to take their seats, and probably by the support of the independent unionist, Lady Sylvia Hermon.

But those numbers assume all MPs toe the party line in every vote. And that looks unlikely.

DUP election propaganda

Not so likely, if one looks at DUP election propaganda like this.

The DUP are homophobic and anti-women’s reproductive rights and are climate denialists. Will this new coalition government bring back the bad old Margaret Thatcher days for LGBTQ people to Britain?

British general election update, war and healthcare


This video from the USA says about itself:

Poll Finds British Agree that UK Foreign Policy Contributes to Terrorism

1 June 2017

Thomas Barlow, co-founder of Real Media, analyzes latest poll results in light of UK foreign policy, the Manchester bombing, and Thursday’s general election.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Theresa May in Election Jitters Caught Lying About Tory Plans to Cut The National Health Service

2 June 2017

Kam Sandhu of Real Media says there is evidence that Tories plan to sell off assets to service NHS; this is the first sign of distress and it will lead to privatization.

Why Galapagos cormorants are flightless


This video from the USA says about itself:

How did the Galapagos cormorant lose half its wings? | UCLA Health Newsroom

UCLA geneticist Alejandro Burga explains how genetic mutations during evolution shortened the Galapagos cormorant‘s wings, leaving it the only one of the 40 cormorant species that’s unable to fly. The changes affect the same genes linked to a human bone disorder characterized by stunted arms and legs. The UCLA discovery may led to new treatments for people with skeletal ciliopathies.

From the University of California – Los Angeles Health Sciences in the USA:

How the Galapagos cormorant lost its ability to fly

Changes to same genes that clipped the bird’s wings also cause human bone disorders

June 1, 2017

Summary: Changes to the genes that shortened the Galapagos cormorant’s wings are the same genes that go awry in a group of human bone disorders characterized by stunted arms and legs, suggests new research. The findings shed light on the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of limb size and could eventually lead to new treatments for people with skeletal ciliopathies.

The flightless cormorant is one of a diverse array of animals that live on the Galapagos Islands, which piqued Charles Darwin’s scientific curiosity in the 1830s. He hypothesized that altered evolutionary pressures may have contributed to the loss of the ability to fly in birds like the Galapagos cormorant.

In a new study unraveling the cormorant’s DNA, UCLA scientists discovered genetic changes that transpired during the past 2 million years and contributed to the bird’s inability to fly. Interestingly, when these same genes go awry in humans, they cause bone-development disorders called skeletal ciliopathies.

Published June 2 in the journal Science, the findings shed light on the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of limb size and could eventually lead to new treatments for people with skeletal ciliopathies.

“A number of these iconic, salient evolutionary changes occurred in the Galapagos,” said senior author Leonid Kruglyak, chair of human genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Darwin, just by looking at these changes, inferred the process of evolution by natural selection. We now have sophisticated genetic tools to reexamine these classic examples and uncover what happened at the molecular level.”

The Galapagos cormorant, with its short, scraggly wings, is the only one of 40 cormorant species that cannot fly. It is also the largest of the cormorants, and a strong swimmer that dives for its meals of fish.

Researchers, including Darwin, have proposed two evolutionary paths for the loss of flight. In some cases, changes that lead to flightlessness may help birds survive because they enhance their ability to do something else, like swimming — so-called positive selection.

Alternatively, the birds may have lost their ability to fly simply because they didn’t need to migrate or escape from predators. When flying isn’t essential for survival, the mutations that hinder flight can gradually accumulate in the gene pool.

“These two scenarios aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Kruglyak, who is also a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “You can start down the path because of passive loss of flight but then also have positive selection to keep reducing wings.”

A trip to the Galapagos Islands launched Kruglyak’s interest in the cormorants. Together with first author Alejandro Burga, a postdoctoral fellow in Kruglyak’s lab, they contacted Patricia Parker, a professor of zoological studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She had obtained Galapagos cormorant DNA samples for a previous study and agreed to collaborate on this project.

The researchers sequenced the genomes of flightless cormorants and three other cormorant species to zero in on genetic changes possibly linked to flight. They next used a program capable of determining whether the genetic changes they identified were likely to affect protein structure and function.

Their analyses led them to a gene called CUX1, which was previously linked to shortened wings in chickens. The scientists noticed that Galapagos cormorants possessed a different version of CUX1 than its flying relatives.

“We saw a mutation in this gene that we’ve never seen in other animals,” Burga said. The team confirmed that the changes to the CUX1 gene altered the protein’s function, likely affecting wing size.

The team also found that the flightless cormorants have an abnormally high number of genetic mutations affecting cilia — small, hair-like structures that protrude from cells and regulate everything from normal development to reproduction.

Cilia play a critical role in bone growth. People born with skeletal ciliopathies have shorter limbs, narrowed chests and stunted rib cages — as do the Galapagos cormorants. The UCLA results suggest that CUX1 controls many aspects of cilia, some of which influence bone growth.

Future studies, Kruglyak said, will explore whether other flightless birds, like the ostrich and kiwi, share mutations with the Galapagos cormorant, and whether these genes can help biologists better understand evolution and limb development.

“Loss of flight is something that has taken place in birds frequently,” Kruglyak said. “There’s a pretty rich field trying to understand how all these changes happen and whether common trajectories exist between species.”