Getting slugs out of gardens

This video from the USA says about itself:

Beneath the towering redwoods lives one of the most peculiar creatures in California: the banana slug. They’re coated with a liquid crystal ooze that solves many problems slugs face in the forest — and maybe some of our own.

Dutch magazine Natura, September 2015, page 3, describes that Ms Prinsen accidentally spilled breadcrumbs in her garden. The breading almost immediately attracted twenty slugs to feed on it.

This led to a way of removing slugs from gardens without killing them.

1. About sunset, scatter breading at various places in the garden.

2. Come back an hour later, and find lots of slugs there.

3. Put the slugs in a bucket and bring them to a place where they will be able to find food, but won’t harm gardens.

California, USA police shoot unarmed 73-year-old man

This video from the USA says about itself:

Unarmed 73 year old man with dementia shot dead by police. Francisco Serna

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – A man is dead after he was shot and killed by Bakersfield Police early Monday morning in Southwest Bakersfield.

According to police, the man, who has been identified by family as 73-year-old Francisco Serna, was brandishing a gun at around 12:30 a.m. in the area of Silver Birch Avenue and Alderpointe Street.

After making contact with Serna, police say an officer fired several shots, hitting and killing him. It’s not known how many shots were fired. Family say eight shots were fired.

Family says Serna had been suffering from the early stages of dementia and had police called to his home several times without incident.

Family members also say Serna did not own a gun. Bakersfield Police say they are searching the scene for the gun that Serna was allegedly brandishing.

No officers were hurt.

UPDATE (Dec. 12, 2016 6:15 p.m.): No gun was found at the scene, according to BPD.

By Shannon Jones in the USA:

Bakersfield, California police shoot unarmed 73-year-old man

16 December 2016

The shooting this week in Bakersfield, California of Francisco Serna, an unarmed 73-year-old man suffering from dementia, is the latest horrifying episode in the continuing wave of police violence in the United States.

The family of Serna said the father of five children left his house late Sunday night for a walk. Shortly afterwards he was shot multiple times by a police officer who claimed he would not take his hands out of his pockets. Afterwards police say they recovered a faux wooden crucifix from the man’s body, but no gun.

Some 150 people participated in a candlelight vigil Tuesday in Bakersfield to protest the killing of Serna. The family of the slain man is demanding a state and federal investigation. “It is difficult to accept that our dad’s life ended so brutally, abruptly and with such excessive violence,” the family said in a statement. “Our dad was treated like a criminal.”

The family spokesman, Cyndi Imperial, said the police treated the family with callous indifference. “Police prevented Francisco’s wife Rubia and daughter Laura to check on him even when they asked to be allowed to be next to him just to hold his hand,” she said.

Family members only learned that Francisco had died from “social media and the 5 o’clock news,” Imperial noted.

Serna had worked at a cotton gin in McFarland, California for many years. He had retired in the mid-2000s. About eight years ago, he moved to Bakersfield to be closer to his children. He lived with his wife and one of his daughters.

According to the police account of events, Serna approached a neighbor and her friend around 12:30am Monday as they were unloading the friend’s car. The man was acting strangely and they were frightened. The friend drove off while the neighbor ran inside her house and contacted police, thinking the man might have a gun.

Again, according to police, when about six officers arrived Serna refused to take his hands out of his pockets and continued walking toward them. When Serna was 15–20 feet away, one of the officers, Reagan Selman, opened fire. Police admitted that Serna never lunged at or threatened officers.

Rogelio Serna, the victim’s son, said the older Serna had showed signs of dementia since 2015 and occasionally experienced delusions. His condition had gotten worse in the last month.

A recording of the call by the police dispatcher shows that police were alerted beforehand that Serna suffered from dementia. Police had visited the home several times in the past when Serna became confused and activated a medical alarm.

A neighbor interviewed by local ABC News reporters said, “They killed that man for absolutely no reason.” Serna’s daughter told ABC, “They all knew this was a man with dementia and my father gets killed. It’s inexcusable… The BPD [Bakersfield Police Department] needs to be held accountable because this is happening to too many people.”

The shooting of Serna continues an epidemic of police violence, which to date has claimed the lives of 912 people in the US this year, according to the Washington Post. The relentless procession of police killings crosses all ethnic and geographic boundaries.

On Thursday, a former Milwaukee police officer, Dominique Heaggan-Brown, was charged with murder in the death of Sylville Smith last August. Smith was lying on the ground when he was shot by the officer in the chest. The killing sparked days of angry protests in the city. Smith was African-American, as is Heaggan-Brown.

While Smith was initially armed, he had thrown his gun away before he was fatally shot. A video taken by police body cameras show that at the time Heaggan-Brown fired the fatal shot, Smith had his hands near his head.

Indictments of police officers are rare, and the conviction of a police officer is even less common. Philip Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University, told the Associated Press that he knew of only one cop convicted of murder by a jury for an on-duty shooting since he began compiling statistics in 2005. During that same period there have been multiple thousands shot and killed by police, many victims unarmed.

In Reno, Nevada 14-year-old Logan Clark remains in extremely critical condition in a medically induced coma after being shot December 7 in the chest by a campus police officer at his high school.

Campus officers said the boy, who was white, was wielding a large knife (which turned out to be two dull butter knives). According to the boy’s father, Justin Clark, the youth had been punched hard several times in the face by an upperclassman just before the shooting. Cell phone video taken by classmates seconds before the cop fired show that Justin’s mouth had indeed been bloodied.

“My son wasn’t a knife wielding psychopath,” said Logan’s father, “He wanted to make sure he wasn’t beat up and robbed.”

A friend of the family pointed out that the shooting took place in the midst of a crowd of students, who could have been hit by the officer’s bullet. “They should actually be writing formal apologies to every single student’s parents there for putting all their children in danger.”

Supporters of the shooting victim have collected a petition with over 1,000 signatures decrying the use of lethal force. A group of 100 classmates, family and friends marched two miles to school district headquarters to deliver the petition. Meanwhile, police and school officials have praised the actions of the officer involved.

Other recent police shootings include:

December 12, Kenneth Robaldo, a 28-year-old black man in Philadelphia who police say was armed with a gun and was wanted on an arrest warrant.

December 11, Jose Angel Vallarta, a 30-year-old Hispanic man in Laredo, Texas. Police were called to his house after a report of domestic violence. They say Vallarta had a knife.

December 11, Timothy Case, race not recorded, shot in Lincoln, Nebraska. Police were called to a hospital where the man reportedly had threatened staff with a knife.

December 10, Samson Varner, a 36-year-old white male from Greenwood, Indiana who police say was armed with a knife and refused police orders to drop it.

The continued police shootings across the United States point to deep and festering social tensions. The city of Bakersfield has been hammered by the slump in the oil industry, a product of the collapse in petroleum prices. Bakersfield and surrounding Kern County is the largest oil producing area in the United States, making up 10 percent of US oil production. Widespread layoffs have decimated employment in the oil industry, impacting sales tax collections and school and municipal budgets.

A report issued earlier this year cited Bakersfield as a US city with a high level of concentrated poverty, with 32 percent of residents living in what are defined as “extremely poor” neighborhoods where the poverty rate is 40 percent or greater. This is nearly double the pre-2008 level of 17 percent.

What is happening in Bakersfield is happening all across the US, where there has been no recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and where levels of social inequality are rising as wages and incomes fall and stagnate. These conditions will only be aggravated when the administration of Donald Trump takes office in January. Trump is pledging to dismantle what remains of social programs while opposing protests against police violence and pledging full support to the cops in their murderous attacks on workers and youth.

Charlotte, USA anti-police brutality protesters in jail

This video from the USA says about itself:

California Cop Who Shot Unarmed Black Man Was Demoted in 2015 for Sexually Harassing Female Officer

29 sep. 2016

The El Cajon police officer who shot Alfred Olango dead has been at the center of controversy before. Last year, Richard Gonsalves was sued for sexual harassment after making lewd propositions and texting explicit photos to his subordinate officer. He was demoted to officer from sergeant. Gonsalves was just served with a second suit in August of this year, after the harassment continued. Despite the lawsuits, Gonsalves remained on the force. We speak to Dan Gilleon, attorney for the family of Alfred Olango and Officer Christine Greer, the plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit against Richard Gonsalves.

From the Charlotte Uprising site in North Carolina, USA:


We demand an immediate end to repression of demonstrators in Charlotte!

Call/Email CMPD, Mecklenburg County Sheriff, Mayor Roberts, Attorney General Roy Cooper, & Governor Pat McCrory

Jail Liaison – Karla Gary
OFFICE PHONE: 980-314-5550

Public Information Manager – Anjanette Flowers Grube
OFFICE PHONE: 980-314-5170
CELL PHONE: 704-634-5072

Mayor Jennifer Roberts
Phone: 704-336-2241

Governor Pat McCrory
Phone: (919) 814-2000

Attorney General Roy Cooper
Telephone: (919) 716-6400

Since demonstrations began against the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott, police in Charlotte have been mass arresting protesters & legal observers, using chemical weapons, and violating their most basic rights.

Jamil Gill (aka King Mills), who many around the country and the world know for his on the ground livestreams from the first nights of protest, has been a particular target of police repression ever since the protests began. He was arrested and issued an outrageous bond of $320,000, which the movement fought and reduced to a still obscene amount of $162,000.

He was bonded out early in the day on September 28, and subsequently REARRESTED by police as he ate lunch! This is a clear attempt to intimidate and harass Gill, and an attempt by the state to silence and have a chilling effect on the rest of the movement.

During demonstrations on September 21, police attacked the protests and killed 26 year old Black man Justin Carr. Continuing their targeting Black and Brown people and a total lack of transparency by the CMPD, they are falsely accusing Raquan Borum for Justin’s death.

The police have continued to violate arrestee’s legal rights by:

Instructing the National Guard and police to blockade the jail (at least three times since the uprising began) to prevent the release of arrestees whose bond was paid
Using bogus excuses like fire drills, ‘suspicious packages,’ and even characterizing our jail solidarity team gathering at the jail as a ‘protest’ to lock down the jail for hours
Intentionally delaying the release of arrestees
Not publishing arrestees’ names online, impeding our ability to provide them legal support

We need you to call and email the jail, Charlotte and state officials and demand that they stop violating arrestees’ rights!

Script for call or email –

“Hello –

My name is _______ and I am a resident of ________. Can I speak to ?

I am calling to demand that you stop the repression of demonstrators in Charlotte.

We demand an end to the attacks on Jamil Gill! Stop the arrests of all protesters!
We demand that an independent investigation of the killing of Keith L Scott and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Dept!
We demand that you stop purposefully obstructing the release of arrestees!
We demand that all the charges against those who have been arrested are dropped!

Hands off #CharlotteUprising! The whole world is watching, and we won’t stop until our demands are met and the people get justice!

By Charlotte Uprising – 09/29/2016

Louisiana police release video of officers killing six-year-old Jeremy Mardis in 2015: here.

California police kills unarmed African American

This video from the USA says about itself:


27 September 2016

A black man was shot in an encounter with police in southern California Tuesday afternoon prompting angry community members to gather around the scene demanding answers as his sister stood by crying hysterically.

El Cajon Police say they were called to a parking lot at the Broadway Village Shopping Center at 1pm after being told a 30-year-old man was acting ‘erratically,’ NBC San Diego reported.

Rob Ransweiler, El Cajon Police spokesman, said the man did not comply with officers demands and the encounter ended with an officer-involved shooting. It’s unclear if more than one officer opened fire.

The unidentified man was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital and is listed in critical condition. …

A video shared to social media by Rumbie Mubaiwa shows a woman, identified as the victim’s sister, crying hysterically in the parking lot after witnessing her brother being shot.

She can be heard saying: ‘I called you to help me but you killed my brother.

‘Why couldn’t you guys tase him? Why why why why?’

Police officers can be seen approaching the woman in the video to question her.

‘I called so many times to help him,’ she said. Maria Medina, an employee at Los Panchos in El Cajon, which is located about 15 miles east of San Diego, said that she was inside the eatery working when she heard the shooting happen.

She said that officers came into the restaurant and confiscated everyone’s cell phone after the shooting.

Median added that one of her coworkers who had her phone taken by police had recorded video of the shooting.

However, El Cajon police tweeted that no phones were ‘confiscated.’

An employee working at a hair salon inside the shopping center told 10News that they heard the gunfire and went outside to see what had occurred.

‘I heard three gunshots – there was a black man on the ground and two officers standing around him,’ the witness said.

Some witnesses claimed that the man had his hands up in the air at the time of the shooting, but El Cajon police tweeted: ‘The investigation just started, but based on the video voluntarily provided by a witness, the subject did NOT have his hands up in the air.’

Dozens of people who gathered at the strip mall where the shooting happened began chanting ‘Black Lives Matter‘ and ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’

In May, El Cajon City Council members approved the purchase of 88 body cameras. However, the El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis said that he was hoping to have the cameras in use by the start of 2017.

San Diego City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole tweeted: ‘My heart goes out to the family & loved ones of the victim at the El Cajon shooting today. I pray that he survives.’

The shooting in El Cajon comes just three days after the video showing the September 20 police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina was released.

A police officer in Tulsa, Oklahoma shot and killed 40-year-old Terence Crutcher six days after Scott’s shooting.

In the Tulsa shooting, officer Betty Shelby has been charged with manslaughter and if convicted, she faces up to life in prison.

Crutcher’s and Scott’s deaths have sparked protests across the country, as people question the law enforcement officers’ actions.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

From Reuters news agency in the USA:

Police Fatally Shoot Black Man In San Diego Suburb, Sparking Protests

The man later died after being taken to the hospital.

09/28/2016 04:48 am ET

An unarmed black man has died after being shot by a police officer in El Cajon in southern California on Tuesday, the local police department said, appealing for calm as local media reported crowds had gathered at the scene of the shooting.

The death comes less than two weeks after black men in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, were shot dead by police, sparking protests. In Charlotte, rioting prompted the authorities to impose a state of emergency.

Similar deaths have added to a torrent of accusations over racial bias in U.S. law enforcement and calls for greater police accountability for the killings of black people.

The El Cajon Police Department said two officers had responded to a call regarding a man walking in traffic. He refused their instructions to remove his hand from his pocket and then pulled out an object from his pants and pointed it at them, the department said in a statement.

The officers then simultaneously shot and Tasered the man who died after being taken to the hospital, the department said.

During a news conference hours after the shooting, El Cajon Police Department Jeff Davis said no weapon was found on the scene. He did not say what exactly the man pointed at the unidentified officers.

The incident prompted crowds of people to gather throughout Tuesday night at the scene and at the El Cajon Police Department, where they demanded information about the shooting, according to local media.

Video emerged on social media purportedly showing the moments after the incident at the scene. In the video, a woman, who claimed to be the man’s sister, is heard saying that she called police.

“Oh my God. You killed my brother. I just called for help and … you killed him,” the unidentified woman said as she sobbed.

A bystander voluntarily provided investigators cell phone video that captured the incident, police said.

Police released a still photo from the video that depicted what appeared to be two officers pointing weapons at an individual who was pointed an object at them. At least one of the officers in the photo appeared to be white.

A study released in July shows police used force on black people at rates more than three times higher than for whites.

THE RAMPANT ABUSE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT DATABASES “Police officers across the country misuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists and others for reasons that have nothing to do with daily police work, an Associated Press investigation has found.” [AP]

USA: The federal government will finally start collecting nationwide data on police shootings.

“The Police Killings No One Is Talking About”: Native Americans Most Likely to Be Killed by Cops: here.

Strange mammoth discovered in California, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Strange Mammoth Skull Discovered In California Baffles Scientists

18 September 2016

A unique fossil discovery has baffled scientists as they dig through a California Island looking for clues about human migration and mammoth extinction.

Deep within centuries of dirt, the team uncovered a well-preserved complete mammoth skull on Santa Rosa Island that they say exhibits features unlike any of its kind.

The skull is not large enough to be identified as a Columbian mammoth, yet not small enough to qualify as a pygmy – experts hope the creature’s fossilized teeth will reveal its true identity.

‘This mammoth find is extremely rare and of high scientific importance,’ Just Wilkins, a paleontologist at The Mammoth Site in South Dakota, said in a statement.

‘It appears to have been on the Channel Islands at the nearly same time as humans.’

‘I have seen a lot of mammoth skulls and this is one of the best preserved I have ever seen.’

Mammoths roamed North America some two million years ago, with Columbian mammoths appearing a million years later.

It is believed that the Columbian mammoths migrated to the Channel Islands during the past two ice ages when sea levels were lower and the island land mass was closer to the mainland coast.

Over time, descendants of the migrants downsized from approximately 14 feet to a six feet tall pygmy form, becoming an endemic species known as Mammuthus exilis.

The scientific team is particularly curious about the newly-discovered mammoth’s tusks.

The right tusk protrudes 1.4 meters in a coil characteristic of an older mammal, while the shorter, sloped left tusk is more typical of a juvenile.

From Science Alert:

Palaeontologists can’t explain the strange mammoth skull found in a California park

Its tusks don’t make sense.


19 SEP 2016

An exceptionally well preserved fossil of a complete mammoth skull has been unearthed on a tiny island off the coast of California, and it’s got palaeontologists rethinking how these massive animals might have lived alongside humans.

Dated to 13,000 years ago, the skull was uncovered near a stream on Santa Rosa Island – part of California’s Channel Islands National Park. That date is important, because it happens to coincide with the age of the Arlington Springs Man – the oldest human skeletal remains found in North America.

“This mammoth find is extremely rare and of high scientific importance,” said one of the team, Justin Wilkins, a palaeontologist from the Mammoth Site museum in South Dakota.

“It appears to have been on the Channel Islands at the nearly same time as humans,” he adds. “I have seen a lot of mammoth skulls and this is one of the best preserved I have ever seen.”

Based on an analysis of the skull, the team suggests that new type of mammoth could have been roaming the Channel Islands with some of its earliest human inhabitants.

The remains of the Arlington Springs Man were also discovered on Santa Rosa Island – about 42 km (26 miles) off the coast of Santa Barbara, California.

Archaeologists have placed his life at the end of the Pleistocene, when the four northern Channel Islands formed one mega-island called Santarosae.

We know from previous evidence that mammoths roamed the continent of North America approximately 2 million years ago, and a species called the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) managed to swim to Santarosae between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

But this skull doesn’t look like a Columbian mammoth’s.

Over several thousand years, these Columbian mammoths rapidly evolved to suit their new island lifestyle, and shrunk from 4.2 metres tall to 1.8 metres, and their features became so different, a new species arose – the more diminutive pygmy mammoth (Mammuthus exilis), the smallest mammoth in the world.

But this skull doesn’t look like a pygmy mammoth’s either.

The team explains that the skull is not large enough to be a Columbian mammoth’s, but it’s not small enough to be a pygmy mammoth’s. So the two most likely explanations is that this is a juvenile Columbian mammoth, or it could represent a transitional species that was partway through evolving from Columbian to pygmy.

Of course, the juvenile scenario would be a whole lot easier to explain, except for the fact that its tusks are all weird.

“The right tusk protrudes 1.4 metres (4.5 feet) in a coil characteristic of an older mammal, while the shorter, sloped left tusk is more typical of a juvenile,” they explain.

Instead, this could be the first evidence that there were two sets of Columbian mammoth migrations to Santarosae.

“The discovery of this mammoth skull increases the probability that there were at least two migrations of Columbian mammoths to the island – during the most recent ice age 10 to 30,000 years ago, as well as the previous glacial period that occurred about 150,000 years ago,” says one of the team, Dan Muhs, from the US Geological Survey.

It’s important to note that this is pure speculation right now – the team has only done preliminary measurements and analyses on the skull, and will need to prepare their findings for peer-review in the coming months.

But this strange skull could be our first glimpse into how these incredible extinct creatures used their trunks as snorkels not once, but twice, to get a taste of that sweet, sweet island life.