New spider species gets fashion designer’s name


This October 2015 video says about itself:

Jotus remus, an Australian species of spider I discovered on 30 December 2014 when I came home from a camping trip and found it sitting on my luggage when unloading the car. Perhaps interesting to note that I had intentionally left my camera gear at home so I would not be tempted to look for spiders.

This spider was named and described in a paper that David Hill and myself published in the journal Peckhamia.

The courtship behaviour of this spider is extraordinary. Both play a kind of cat and mouse game and when I published this video I still did not know why they behaved in that way. It took almost a year to solve the puzzle and it happened when bringing together virgin females and males, you can see what happens then in the sequel to this video, Spid-a-boo2.

I watched female and males engaging in this way for many hours and regardless of how long the male tried a female that attacked him would not mate. This behaviour is NOT to tire out the female, tiredness plays no role here. The aim is to find a female that is receptive, one that has not yet mated. Instead of chasing the male with his paddle receptive females become calm and placid almost immediately when seeing the male’s paddle appearing over the edge of a leaf and it only takes a couple of minutes for them to decide to mate.

The clips I used in this video are only a fraction of what I originally shot. You can find many more scenes in my album on Vimeo.

The music for this clip was composed, played and recorded by cellist Kristin Rule. I love her work and I am glad she agreed to help me with this little clip. Research, camera, editing: Jurgen Otto Camera gear used: Canon C100 and 100mm macro lens For more on my work visit me on Facebook.

And now, newly discovered relatives of this spider species.

From ScienceDaily:

Trendy on eight legs: Jumping spider named after fashion czar Karl Lagerfeld

July 2, 2019

New to science species of Australian jumping spider was named after Hamburg-born fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019) after the arachnid reminded its discoverers of the designer. Intrigued by its distinct ‘downplayed’ black-and-white colours, the Hamburg-Brisbane-Melbourne team likened the spider’s appearance to Lagerfeld’s trademark style: his white hair and Kent collar that contrasted with the black sunglasses and gloves.

Thus, the curious species, now officially listed under the name Jotus karllagerfeldii was described in the open-access journal Evolutionary Systematics by Dr Danilo Harms of the Center for Natural History of the University of Hamburg (CeNak), Dr Barbara Baehr, Queensland Museum (Brisbane, Australia) and Joseph Schubert, Monash University (Melbourne).

When compared with other members in the ‘brushed’ jumping spider genus Jotus, the novel species clearly stands out due to its black-and-white legs and tactile organs (pedipalps), whereas the typical representative of this group demonstrates striking red or blue colours.

“The animal reminded us with its colours of the reduced style of Karl Lagerfeld. For example, we associate the black leg links with the gloves he always wore,” Danilo Harms explains.

In fact, what was to be now commonly referred to as Karl Lagerfeld’s Jumping Spider was identified amongst specimens in the Godeffroy Collection. Kept at CeNak, the historical collection was originally compiled by the inquisitive and wealthy tradesman from Hamburg Johann Cesar Godeffroy, who financed several expeditions to Australia back in the 19th century. Here, the research team identified another link between Australia, Godeffroy, Hamburg and Jotus karllagerfeldi.

Besides the tiny (4 to 5 mm) arachnid, whose pedipalps resemble a white Kent collar, the scientists describe another seven new to science species and add them to the same genus. Two of those, Jotus fortiniae and Jotus newtoni, were also named after inspirational figures for their hard work and creativity: educator, molecular biologist and science communicator Dr Ellen Fortini (Perth College, Western Australia) and keen naturalist and photographer Mark Newton. All novel species were found either in the Godeffroy Collection or amongst the jumping spiders housed at Queensland Museum.

Surprisingly, even though the genus Jotus comprises numerous species found all over Australia, there is not much known about these spiders. An interesting feature, according to the scientists behind the present study, are the huge telescopic eyes, which allow for spatial vision. The Jotus species need this ability in foraging, since they do not weave webs, but rather hunt in the open. Thus, they have evolved into extremely fast and agile hunters, capable of jumping short distances.

Curiously, back in 2017, the team of Barbara and Danilo, joined by Dr Robert Raven from Queensland Museum, described another previously unknown, yet fascinating species: a water-adapted spider, whose sudden emergence at the coastline of Australia’s “Sunshine State” of Queensland during low tide in January brought up the association with reggae legend Bob Marley and his song “High Tide or Low Tide.” The species, scientifically known as Desis bobmarleyi, was also published in Evolutionary Systematics.

Spiders start out social but later turn aggressive after dispersing and becoming solitary, according to a study publishing July 2 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Raphael Jeanson of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, and colleagues: here.

French Islamophobes threaten shop workers with gas chambers


This 19 August 2016 video is called France burqini ban: Muslim swimsuit’s creator speaks out.

By Will Morrow:

France’s ruling parties launch anti-Muslim campaign against sports veil

28 February 2019

On Tuesday evening, the French-based sports clothing retailer Décathlon announced that it could not proceed with plans to place on sale an Islamic sports veil, designed to be worn while jogging, at stores in France. The cancellation came in response to a three-day-long campaign of racist and anti-Muslim hysteria by the French political establishment, demanding the banning of the item. It resulted in the mobilization of fascist layers to threaten the company and its employees.

Lydia Guirgous, a spokeswoman for the right wing The Republicans (LR), launched the campaign on February 24, after a marketing blogger announced the upcoming release of the veil. Guirgous tweeted: “Décathlon is submitting itself to both #Islamism that only tolerates women whose heads are covered by a hijab to secure their place in the Ummah, and to men. Décathlon is thus renouncing the values of our civilization upon the altar of the market and communalist marketing.”

The Tweet triggered a deluge of anti-Muslim statements in the political establishment, some employing the same absurd and fraudulent pretext that they were seeking to defend women by banning the sale of a religious garment.

Valérie Rabault, the Socialist Party (PS) deputy in the National Assembly for Tarn-et-Garonne tweeted: “Boycott Décathlon in France?” …

The PS, the French Socialist Party, collapsed in recent elections because of their policies while in government of austerity and adapting to extreme right xenophobia. A major role in that played Blairite right-wing Prime Minister Valls, with his hatred of Roma and Islamophobic persecution of another sporting garment, the so-called ‘burkini‘. The PS supporters rejected Valls as their presidential candidate. He then tried, and failed, to join the new president Macron‘s party. He then moved to Spain, where he marched jointly with the Vox neonazi party against the social democrat government; joining a right-wing party that wants a coalition with the Vox fascists after the coming elections.

Unfortunately, it seems that the PS has not learned the lesson of their catastrophic election defeat, and that even though Valls is gone, some of his Islamophobic miasma remains.

Valérie Boyer, the LR deputy for Bouches-du-Rhone, said she was “revolted to see this French company choosing to prolong the sexual apartheid imposed on women in public spaces.”

The attacks escalated the next day, after Décathlon tweeted in reply to Guirgous that “the hijab was needed by certain runners, and we responded to this sporting demand.” The item is already on sale in Morocco.

The Macron government publicly joined the campaign on Tuesday morning. Solidarity and Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said, in an interview with RTL, “I would prefer that a French brand not promote the veil. It’s not outlawed, but nonetheless, this is a vision of women that I don’t share. I find that it does not correspond to the values of our country.” Another spokesperson for the governing party in the National Assembly, Aurore Bergé, tweeted that she would “no longer place trust in a brand that breaks with our values.”

The same morning, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, of the right-wing Stand Up France! party, was invited for a TV interview on France2, where he declared that he did not intend to allow his two young daughters to grow up in a country like Saudi Arabia, and demanded a boycott of Décathlon.

Mr Dupont-Aignan: if you don’t like the regime in Saudi Arabia, then you should ask President Macron to stop selling French weapons to the Saudi absolute monarchy for waging genocidal war on the people of Yemen. And you should criticize the right-wing ‘republican’ authorities for closing down a Riviera public beach to the public, reserving it for the Saudi royal family. You should not take it out in women on France who have nothing to do with the Saudi royals; who just happen to like clothes which you dislike. Maybe they dislike your clothes as well; but that should not give them the power to ban your favourite garments.

Just a week ago, Stand Up France! was forced to withdraw the candidacy of Emmanuelle Gave in the European elections, after news outlets published her social media posts, one of which said there were “too many blacks in the 100 meter race” and the other that “Muslims are totally unacceptable as housekeepers or nannies.”

The extreme-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen published a communiqué the same day, denouncing the “latest intrusion of Islamic communalism into public spaces.” While welcoming the anti-Muslim crusade by the Socialist Party and others, it demanded an end to what it called the “policies of massive immigration that are the most undoubted causes of sectarianism.”

The outpouring of filth had its intended effect, with a mobilization of fascistic layers to threaten the company and its employees. Décathlon tweeted that “Our customer services have received over 500 calls and emails since this morning. Our staff have been insulted and threatened, sometimes physically.”

Décathlon published extracts of various anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic messages it received. One stated: “Rotten gang. Money has no smell. You betray the values of the French Republic. Shame on you for contributing to the Islamist invasion. You’ll end up like the riff-raff in the ovens in Poland.”

Meaning that this Islamophobe advocated mass murder of shop workers like happened in World War II to Jews in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor To this French death threat fascist, these Jews were ‘riff-raff’ who deserved mass murder.

Not politicians or neonazis threatening shop workers with mass murder in Auschwitz should decide what clothes women wear. Only the women themselves should decide that. Whether it is about women wearing headscarves, ‘burkinis‘, bikinis, miniskirts, maxishirts, trousers, shorts; about short hair or about long hair; etc. etc.

Another asked whether the company planned on marketing “explosive belts”.

On Tuesday evening, Décathlon announced it was withdrawing the product indefinitely “in the face of the violent polemic it has triggered” and “out of concern to guarantee the safety of our staff.”

The Republicans deputy Lydia Guirons tweeted gleefully in response that the “mobilization of citizens” who uphold “the values of our civilization has won. I am happy that Décathlon is retreating from the sale of the hijab. It is a wise decision. The struggle against Islamism is a fight at every moment.”

This disgusting operation exposes the fraudulent character of the official campaign against “anti-Semitism” mounted by every one of the parties who are whipping up this anti-Muslim propaganda. It has nothing to do with opposing anti-Semitism, and everything to do with slandering growing left-wing opposition to social inequality in the working class as anti-Semitic and fascistic.

An effort is underway to downplay the indissoluble connection between anti-Semitism and fascism, and to associate anti-Semitism with socialist opposition to capitalism. As the past week’s events demonstrate, the campaign over anti-Semitism is being used to strengthen Le Pen’s National Rally and other fascistic forces with the promotion of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The entire political establishment is shifting rapidly to the right in response to a leftward movement of the working class, which has found only an initial expression in the “yellow vest” protests.

In a speech last Wednesday, Macron repeatedly warned about the growth of “radical Islam” and called for stepped up policing of working-class neighborhoods. “This ideology grows like gangrene in certain suburbs”, he said, calling for a “Republican conquest of these territories.”

The French political establishment has long utilized campaigns against the Muslim veil as a means of inciting anti-Islamic xenophobia and justifying attacks on democratic rights directed against the entire working class. In 2010, two years after the onset of the global financial crash and the initiation of austerity across Europe, President Sarkozy introduced a ban on full facial coverings.

Islamophobic death threats against French sports shops workers


The Decathlon track and field hijab

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

A sporty headscarf for jogging Muslim women will not yet come to the shops in France. The plan has been canceled by sports retailer Decathlon because of serious threats.

“All women have the right to exercise, regardless of their culture”, said the store chain earlier. In the meantime, Decathlon has reversed that decision because of threats received by (shop) workers. “We suspend the project to guarantee the safety of our employees”, a statement says.

On Twitter, the store chain showed examples of what threats it got. “You are contributing to the invasion by Muslim extremists and should all die in the ovens in Poland“, someone wrote.

Meaning that this Islamophobe advocated mass murder of shop workers like happened in World War II to Jews in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor.

Previously, most French politicians had reacted disapprovingly to the intention to include a sporty hijab in the collection. …

The socialist opposition publicly wondered whether Decathlon should not be boycotted. …

The PS, the French Socialist Party, collapsed in recent elections because of their policies while in government of austerity and adapting to extreme right xenophobia. A major role in that played Blairite right-wing Prime Minister Valls, with his hatred of Roma and Islamophobic persecution of another sporting garment, the so-called ‘burkini‘. The PS supporters rejected Valls as their presidential candidate. He then tried, and failed, to join the new president Macron‘s party. He then moved to Spain, where he marched jointly with the Vox neonazi party against the social democrat government; joining a right-wing party that wants a coalition with the Vox fascists after the coming elections.

Unfortunately, it seems that the PS has not learned the lesson of their catastrophic election defeat, and that even though Valls is gone, some of his Islamophobic miasma remains.

That idea even got support from the right-wing radical Nicolas Dupont-Aignan: “I do not want my two daughters to grow up in a country where the place of the woman will soon be the same as in Saudi Arabia.”

Well, Mr far-rightist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, if you don’t like the regime in Saudi Arabia, then you should ask President Macron to stop selling French weapons to the Saudi absolute monarchy for waging genocidal war on the people of Yemen. And you should criticize the right-wing ‘republican’ authorities for closing down a Riviera public beach to the public, reserving it for the Saudi royal family. You should not take it out in women on France who have nothing to do with the Saudi royals; who just happen to like clothes which you dislike. Maybe they dislike your clothes as well; but that should not give them the power to ban your favourite garments.

Not politicians or neonazis threatening shop workers with mass murder in Auschwitz should decide what clothes women wear. Only the women themselves should decide that. Whether it is about women wearing headscarves, ‘burkinis‘, bikinis, miniskirts, maxishirts, trousers, shorts; for short hair or for long hair; etc. etc.

The ruling party LREM of President Macron said they no longer have confidence in the sports retail chain. …

The sports headscarf is not new anymore. Sports brand Nike produced it already in 2017, that is for sale in France.

But now that a French brand wanted to sell the garment in a large sports chain and the sports headscarf would become more visible to the French public, many politicians considered it a step too far.

Egyptian actress five years in jail for dress?


Egyptian actress Rania Youssef in 'illegal' dress, AFP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

An Egyptian actress has to appear in court because of immorality. During the closing ceremony of a film festival in Cairo, Rania Youssef wore a dress whose skirt was translucent. As a result, her legs were completely visible.

That is considered obscene in Egypt …

One might think that the Egyptian military dictatorship is so indebted to the money of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that they not only give Egyptian islands away to Saudi Arabia and help the Saudi absolute monarchy in its bloody war on the people of Yemen, but that they also copy the Saudi government’s oppression of women by denying them the freedom to dress the way they want as well.

On the other hand, there is a similarity to other friends of the Egyptian dictatorship: NATO countries like France. In France, mainly Muslim women are persecuted for wearing, eg, ‘burkinis’ or maxiskirts. Which seems different at first: but is based on the same denial of women’s rights to wear what they want as in Saudi Arabia or Egypt.

Youssef may get up to five years in prison. Her trial starts on 12 January.

See also here.

TV PRESENTER JAILED FOR INTERVIEWING GAY MAN An Egyptian court has sentenced a TV presenter to a year in prison for interviewing a gay sex worker on his show. [AP]