United States art for birds


This video from the USA says about itself:

Carving Memories of Ezra, the Red-tailed Hawk

29 September 2017

Sculptor David Cohen created a beautiful carving of Ezra the Red-tailed Hawk of Cornell Lab Bird Cams fame. When Ezra died in early 2017, Cohen’s work became a tribute not only to the hawk but to the Bird Cams community who had learned and shared so much while watching. “For-Ever Ezra,” the carving featured in this video, is available for sale until October 31, 2017. The artist will donate the proceeds to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. To make an offer, visit here.

A Perfect Day for an Albatross

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

A Perfect Day for an Albatross

Author & Illustrator: Caren Loebel-Fried
Target: 6-13 years
Format: Hard Cover
Pages: 40
Dimensions: 9″ x 11″

First in a new Cornell Lab Publishing Group children’s series that focuses on a fascinating bird species, this story uses native folk art and authentic style, evoking the culture and habitats where the bird lives.

A Perfect Day for an Albatross, by Caren Loebel-Fried, an award-winning author and artist from Hawai’i, sweeps you into an albatross’s world of wind, rolling seas, boisterous dancing, and their intense commitment to one another and their nestlings.

Overview

Set on Midway Atoll, where 72 percent of the world’s Laysan Albatrosses make their nests, Mālie, an albatross, must protect her egg until her mate returns. Join Mālie as she dances, hunts, and soars over the ocean swells. Block print art with flowing watercolors makes this title a glorious treat for the eyes, as well as the heart.

A Perfect Day for an Albatross is compatible with Bird QR for streaming sounds, video, and other content. Back matter includes a Bird QR link to watch live albatrosses on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology HD cam in Hawai’i.

Reviews

A Perfect Day for an Albatross is a perfect book for any child you love, a book of generous, inspired vision. It’s a beautiful story about these legendary birds in their ocean paradise.”

Carl Safina, author of Eye of the Albatross, and Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel.

“A wonderful introduction to a magnificent sea bird, this vibrantly illustrated story belongs on every shelf.”

SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

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New lantern shark species discovery


This video says about itself:

23 December 2015

In the Pacific Ocean, near the coasts of Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua, scientists discovered a new species of shark: Ninja Lanternshark. The species was named Etmopterus benchleyi, in honor of Peter Benchley, author of Jaws. Etmopterus benchleyi is a small shark, growing up to 50 cm, and lives at depths ranging between 836 and 1443 meters. In the darks of the ocean, Etmopterus benchleyi emits a faint glow.

And now, a relative of this small luminescent shark has been found.

From Florida Atlantic University in the USA:

New shark species glows in the dark, weighs about 2 pounds and has a huge nose

July 25, 2017

Summary: Just as “Shark Week” is gearing up, researchers have discovered a new species of shark 17 years in the making. Like finding a needle in a haystack, it was well worth the wait as this elusive creature is yet to be seen in the wild.

Like finding a needle in a haystack, a team of scientists has discovered a new species of shark measuring less than a foot long and weighing under 2 pounds full-grown. This miniature, “glow-in-the-dark” shark is a member of the Lanternshark family (Squaliformes: Etmopteridae), which was serendipitously found 1,000 feet below the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It has taken more than 17 years to identify this new species (Etmopterus lailae) since it was first discovered but was well worth the wait as this elusive creature is yet to be seen in the wild.

It often takes many years to identify a new species from the time it is discovered to the moment the news is shared with the scientific community. Results of the discovery of Etmopterus lailae were published in the journal Zootaxa. Stephen M. Kajiura, Ph.D., study co-author, a professor of biological sciences and director of the Elasmobranch Research Laboratory in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science at Florida Atlantic University, is among the team of scientists who painstakingly worked on this project, which began while he was still in graduate school at the University of Hawaii.

“There are only about 450 known species of sharks worldwide and you don’t come across a new species all that often,” said Kajiura. “A large part of biodiversity is still unknown, so for us to stumble upon a tiny, new species of shark in a gigantic ocean is really thrilling. This species is very understudied because of its size and the fact that it lives in very deep water. They are not easily visible or accessible like so many other sharks.”

At first, Kajiura and his collaborators did not realize that they had discovered a new species until they submitted their research findings to a journal. The reviewer told them that the shark was not what they originally thought it was and that it might be a new species. Kajiura worked with David A. Ebert, Ph.D., study author, a taxonomist and program director of the Pacific Shark Research Center at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in California, to identify this new species, now housed in the Bernice P. Bishop Museum in Hawaii.

Identifying the Etmopterus lailae required an extensive list of measurements, diligent categorization and thorough comparisons with other museum specimens.

“The unique features and characteristics of this new species really sets it apart from the other Lanternsharks,” said Kajiura. “For one thing, it has a strange head shape and an unusually large and bulgy snout where its nostrils and olfactory organs are located. These creatures are living in a deep sea environment with almost no light so they need to have a big sniffer to find food.”

Some of the other distinctive characteristics of this new species are its flank markings that go forward and backward on their bellies, a naked patch without scales on the underside of its snout, as well as internal differences such as the number of vertebrae they have as well as fewer teeth than the other sharks. Like other Lanternsharks, the Etmopterus lailae is bioluminescent and the flanks on the bottom of its belly glow in the dark. These markings on its belly and tail also were specific to this new species.

There are a number of hypotheses for why Lanternsharks glow in the dark including mate recognition to ensure they are mating with the right species, serving as a form of camouflage to protect them from predators in the deep sea and using bioluminescence to act as a lure to attract little fish or shrimp.

“The research team’s discovery of a new shark species is evidence of how much is still undiscovered in our world,” said Ata Sarajedini, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. “This new species is the tip of the iceberg for what else might be out there and the great potential for all of the yet-to-be undescribed species that still need to be explored.”

The team of scientists also include Yannis P. Papastamatiou, Ph.D., Florida International University and Bradley M. Wetherbee, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island.

In 2000, Kajiura and Wetherbee discovered the Trigonognathus kabeyai or the Viper Dogfish in Hawaii, which also is part of the Lanternshark family. The Viper Dogfish’s distinctive feature is its snake-like mouth filled with crooked nail-like teeth that sets them apart from other Lanternsharks.

After Grenfell, Honolulu, more United States fire disasters?


This video from Hawaii says about itself:

Marco Polo building fire kills three in Honolulu, no sprinkler system inside high-rise – TomoNews

16 July 2017

HONOLULU — Fire officials in Honolulu were still trying to determine the cause of a fire that ripped through an apartment building on Friday that killed at least three people.

The fire broke out in a unit on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo Tower on Friday afternoon. The building is next to the Ala Wai Canal and Ala Wai Community Park, near the famous Waikiki neighborhood in Honolulu.

There are 36 floors and 586 units in the building, which was built in 1971 before sprinkler systems became mandatory in high-rises in the city.

The fire only spread to the units next to it and immediately above it on the 27th and 28th floors due to its vast wave shape, CBS News reported.

“Without a doubt if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin,” Reuters quoted Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves as saying.

Two women and a man were found dead. They have been identified as 71-year-old Joanna M. Kuwata and Melba Dille, and 54-year-old Britt Reller. They were all residents of apartments on the 26th floor.

The fire took place about a month after the London Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 80 people. The Grenfell Tower was also unequipped with sprinkler systems.

From Associated Press today:

Some urge sprinkler mandates across US after Honolulu fire

By CALEB JONES and CATHY BUSSEWITZ

HONOLULU — When Moon Yun Pellerin’s parents bought a 27th-floor apartment in a high-rise overlooking Waikiki about 15 years ago, they didn’t realize the wave-shaped building had no fire sprinklers.

“We didn’t even consider it,” Pellerin said.

But a week after a massive fire broke out one floor below her apartment, killing three neighbors, Pellerin and her family “definitely want sprinklers” installed — even if it means spending thousands of dollars.

The Marco Polo Apartments were built in 1971, before sprinklers became mandatory for new construction in Honolulu.

Despite local lawmakers’ efforts to require older buildings to install sprinkler systems, officials estimate about 300 high-rises on Oahu still lack the fire prevention measure.

Across the United States, cities have a mixed bag of laws on whether older high-rise apartment buildings must install fire sprinklers that weren’t required when the towers were first built. Many — including New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco — still have high-rises without the safety measure.

Cost is often cited. But after Honolulu’s deadly July 14 fire, some question whether financial concerns outweigh the potential for tragedy.

Here’s a look at how the sprinkler debate is playing out in several U.S. cities:

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HONOLULU

In the inferno’s aftermath, Honolulu’s fire chief said sprinklers would have contained the blaze to the unit where it started, possibly saving the lives of those who died in nearby apartments. Mayor Kirk Caldwell introduced a bill a few days later that would require all high-rises to have sprinklers, even older ones.

“I don’t know what it’s going to take for apartment owners as well as associations to see the value of human life,” said Hawaii state Sen. Glenn Wakai, who plans to introduce legislation offering homeowners incentives to install sprinkler systems.

The fire was not the first one at the 36-story Marco Polo building — and not the first time the question of installing sprinklers has come up. After a 2013 fire, the building’s association asked an engineering firm for cost estimates to replace the fire alarm system and install sprinklers.

The company concluded it would be about $8,000 per unit to install sprinklers, or about $4.5 million for the whole building. Sprinklers were never installed.

“It’s a tough issue for these associations because they are grappling with a lot of different costs,” said Evan Fujimoto, president of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii. “When you’re dealing with an association, you might have 500 different people. How do you get people to agree on it?”

Constraints on city and state budgets also play a role.

Wakai first introduced legislation in 2005 after another deadly fire, proposing incentives that would cover 35 percent of the cost. But the budget was tight, and the bill ultimately failed after the incentive was reduced to just 5 percent.

___

SAN FRANCISCO

A pair of deadly 2015 fires in San Francisco prompted city leaders to look at requiring automatic sprinklers in older residential buildings. But the idea faltered after landlords and officials raised concerns about the cost and logistics.

“The sprinklers work — we know that — but the problem is, you’ve got these old buildings, and it’s expensive, and there’s going to be resistance on the part of the landlords,” said Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of counseling programs at the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

In 1993, San Francisco required that high-rise commercial buildings and tourist hotels be retrofitted with sprinklers, but the mandate excluded residential and historical buildings.

___

CHICAGO

In Chicago, a fire that killed six people at a downtown county government building in 2003 prompted officials to enact a host of safety measures.

Just weeks after the fire, in which victims died in stairwells after doors locked behind them, the City Council passed an ordinance requiring that the doors of the high-rises remain unlocked.

Two years later, the city passed what is called the Life Safety Evaluation Ordinance, which requires residential buildings 80 feet (24 meters) or higher that were built before 1975 to be equipped with various safety features such as voice communication systems and fire-rated doors and frames in stairways. But it does not require them to retroactively install sprinklers.

The city requires most of its older commercial buildings to be retrofitted with sprinklers, but not residential buildings.

___

NEW YORK:

New York City requires sprinkler systems in new construction and in older commercial towers. But it mandates residential high-rises to retroactively install sprinklers only if they undergo significant renovations or change the building’s use, according to the city’s Department of Buildings.

Alan Schulkin, 68, lives in a 39-story building in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood that was built in the 1970s and does not have sprinklers.

“If (sprinklers) save lives and there’s one fire, of course it’s worth it,” Schulkin said.

___

DALLAS

The city of Dallas said the fire department has 89 high-rise residential structures on record, and 23 have some but not complete sprinkler coverage.

Three residential high-rise buildings in the city have no sprinklers at all, though they met the requirements of building and fire codes in effect when they were constructed, according to officials.

If a structure’s occupancy use stays the same, and the building has had no significant renovations, the requirements of the code under which it was built continue to stand, the city said.

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Associated Press writers Jennifer Sinco Kelleher in Honolulu, Karen Matthews in New York, Janie Har in San Francisco, Don Babwin in Chicago and Jamie Stengle in Dallas contributed to this report.

‘Grenfell’ fire deaths in Hawaii


This video from Hawaii says about itself:

Marco Polo building fire kills three in Honolulu, no sprinkler system inside high-rise – TomoNews

16 July 2017

HONOLULU — Fire officials in Honolulu were still trying to determine the cause of a fire that ripped through an apartment building on Friday that killed at least three people.

The fire broke out in a unit on the 26th floor of the Marco Polo Tower on Friday afternoon. The building is next to the Ala Wai Canal and Ala Wai Community Park, near the famous Waikiki neighborhood in Honolulu.

There are 36 floors and 586 units in the building, which was built in 1971 before sprinkler systems became mandatory in high-rises in the city.

The fire only spread to the units next to it and immediately above it on the 27th and 28th floors due to its vast wave shape, CBS News reported.

“Without a doubt if there was sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin,” Reuters quoted Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves as saying.

Two women and a man were found dead. They have been identified as 71-year-old Joanna M. Kuwata and Melba Dille, and 54-year-old Britt Reller. They were all residents of apartments on the 26th floor.

The fire took place about a month after the London Grenfell Tower fire that killed at least 80 people. The Grenfell Tower was also unequipped with sprinkler systems.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

One month since the UK Grenfell Fire:

Three die in Honolulu high-rise without sprinkler system

17 July 2017

On Friday, exactly one month since the Grenfell Tower fire in London that led to the deaths of at least 80 residents, three people died in another high-rise blaze that could have been prevented with the installation of an elementary safety measure: an anti-fire sprinkler system.

The latest disaster makes clear that the London fire was not an aberration. All over the world, the lives of working people are treated as expendable in the pursuit of wealth and profits by the financial elite.

Friday’s fire in Honolulu, Hawaii broke out on the 26th floor of the 35-story Marco Polo condominium building, killing Britt Reller, 54, an in-flight manager for Hawaiian Airlines, and his 85-year-old mother, Melba Jeannine Dilley, as well as 71-year-old Joanna Kuwata.

In addition to the lack of sprinklers, several building residents told the Associated Press that they did not hear or see fire alarms, raising the possibility that the fire alarm system was defective.

“Without a doubt, if there were sprinklers in this apartment, the fire would be contained to the unit of origin,” Honolulu Fire Chief Manuel Neves said.

Sprinkler systems are universally recognized as a highly effective method for quickly and automatically suppressing fires and saving the lives of both residents and firefighters. “A single fire death in a sprinklered building is an extremely rare occurrence anywhere in the world… A multiple death is almost unheard of,” said Ronnie King, the former fire chief of Mid and West Wales, UK.

In buildings completely protected by fire sprinkler systems, over 96 percent of fires are controlled by the fire sprinklers alone, while fire sprinklers have been found to reduce overall fire damage by 97 percent.

Yet the United States has no national code mandating the installation of fire sprinklers in buildings and homes. Only California, Maryland and Washington D.C. require the installation of fire sprinklers in new homes.

While Honolulu has required all new high-rise buildings to include sprinklers starting in 1975, the Marco Polo condominium building was constructed four years earlier, and local laws do not require existing high-rises be fitted with them.

A study commissioned in 2005 by the Honolulu City Council found that installation of fire sprinklers in the building would have cost about $4,305 per unit, or less than one percent of the average price of a condo.

Firefighters and their associations, including the National Fire Protection Organization, have for decades fought for laws requiring the adoption of sprinkler systems. But construction companies have lobbied furiously against these measures. Organizations such as the National Association of Home Builders spend millions each year in political donations and lobbying to relax building codes, including codes mandating the use of fire safety devices such as sprinklers.

In the UK, 99 percent of public housing estates are, like Grenfell Tower, unequipped with fire sprinklers.

Meanwhile, the victims of the Grenfell Fire have been treated with conspicuous callousness and indifference. One month after the blaze, only four of the families evacuated from the tower have been given permanent accommodations, according to the Grenfell Response Team. The vast majority have been offered accommodations that are either temporary, unaffordable, or otherwise untenable. Most residents continue to be stuck in motels or shelters.

Officials were warned repeatedly by residents and experts that the building’s shoddy, low-cost cladding material, combined with other numerous fire safety violations created a disaster waiting to happen.

Despite the obvious criminal negligence involved in the Grenfell Fire, investigators have issued no search warrants and have not interviewed anyone as a suspect, much less filed criminal charges.

Anger erupted at a public meeting Wednesday, in which Metropolitan police officials explained that investigations would be dragged out over years, with residents and survivors demanding that those responsible be prosecuted. “They knew categorically that [the cladding] would burn so rapidly. You can identify that person like that, that person needs to be arrested,” declared one resident.

Another resident told the British press outside the meeting, “There is no connection between the upper class and working class whatsoever, and that divide is getting bigger and bigger, and in Kensington and Chelsea [where the fire took place] it’s the biggest divide you’ll ever see.”

Since the disaster, numerous press accounts have detailed the correlation between poverty and fire deaths. Citing a recent study of child injuries in the UK, the Guardian reported that “children whose parents were long-term unemployed were a staggering 26 times more likely to die of fire-related injuries than children whose parents were in higher managerial and professional occupations.”

The treatment of the survivors of the Grenfell Fire, and with the official protection of those responsible for the disaster, is an expression of the fact that the tragedy is an integral part of a systematic policy of subordinating all social needs to the profit interests of real estate speculators and the ruling class as a whole. If working people must die to swell the bottom line of the financial oligarchy, so be it.

Safe, quality housing is a basic social right that must be guaranteed to everyone. The technology and resources exist to prevent tragedies like the Grenfell Tower inferno and the fire in Honolulu. Yet the use of these resources to meet the most basic social needs comes everywhere into conflict with the domination of a money-mad corporate and financial elite, which insists that society must be organized to meet its interests, not the interests of the vast majority of the population.

From the plans to slash Medicaid in the United States, to the draconian cuts to social spending by the government of the UK’s Theresa May, to the moves by the Emmanuel Macron government in France to use the state of emergency to push through pay cuts and speedups, the policy of social counterrevolution is being pursued by the ruling classes all over the world.

If workers are to defend their social rights, and ultimately their lives, they must be mobilized and organized on the basis of an international program in the struggle for socialism.

Many new underwater fungi species discovered in coral reef


This video is about a mushroom coral moving. It is not a fungus; it is coral.

This video from the USA says about itself:

This short film introduces one of the coral fungi (Family Clavariaceae, genus Ramaria) which is found in mixed hardwood and coniferous forests in autumn. Filmed at the Rydell NWR, Erskine, Minnesota (10 September 2016).

Coral fungi are fungi that look like coral, but are not coral.

Now, to organisms that are neither marine mushroom coral nor land-living coral fungi: to marine fungi.

This 27 September 2016 video is called ASPERGILLUS & COMMENTS ON MARINE FUNGI.

From the University of Hawaii at Manoa:

Botanists discover hundreds of species of fungi in deep coral ecosystems

July 12, 2017

Summary: Hundreds of potentially new species of fungi have been discovered in the deep coral ecosystem in the ‘Au’au channel off Maui, Hawai’i. These mesophotic coral ecosystems are generally found at depths between 130 – 500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species.

Researchers from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM) Department of Botany have discovered hundreds of potentially new species of fungi in the deep coral ecosystem in the ‘Au’au channel off Maui, Hawai’i. Mesophotic coral ecosystems (MCE) are generally found at depths between 130 — 500 feet and possess abundant plant (algal) life as well as new fish species. The mysteries of these reefs are only recently being revealed through technological advances in closed circuit rebreather diving. Previously overlooked — being too precarious for conventional SCUBA and too shallow to justify the cost of frequent submersible dives — mesophotic reefs continuously disclose breathtaking levels of biodiversity with each dive, yielding species and behavioral interactions new to science.

The UHM Hawai’i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL) used the Pisces V submersible to collect native algae from the mesophotic reefs in the ‘Au’au channel. Using the DNA sequencing facility at the UHM Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology, Benjamin Wainwright, lead author of the study and UHM Botany postdoctoral researcher, and colleagues determined which species of fungus were associated with the native algae.

Fungi have been documented in almost all habitats on Earth, although marine fungi are less studied in comparison to their terrestrial counterparts. Scientists have found fungi in deep and shallow water corals, marine sponges and other invertebrates. The recently discovered fungi, however, were found living in association with algae.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first documented evidence confirming fungi in MCEs,” said Wainwright.

Additionally, the research team discovered that 27% of the species detected in these deep dark environments are also found on terrestrial rainforest plants in Hawai’i.

“Finding such high overlap of fungal diversity on terrestrial plants was surprising. Mesophotic reefs are as dark as it gets where photosynthesis is still possible, so to find the same species of fungi on forest plants illustrates the remarkable ability of some fungi to tolerate, and thrive, in extremely different habitats,” said Anthony Amend, senior author of the study and UHM associate professor of botany. “This ecological breadth is something that seemingly sets fungi apart from other organisms.”

Plant-associated fungi provide many benefits to society. For example, Taxol, a chemotherapy medication used to treat cancers, is produced by a fungus found inside tree bark and leaves. Additionally, research has shown that fungi are useful in bioremediation efforts (for example, oil spill and industrial waste treatment) and capable of breaking down plastic waste.

It is currently not known whether the newly discovered fungal species are pathogens, helpful symbionts or unimportant to their algae hosts.

“Further, we don’t currently know what metabolic capabilities they have that may prove to have medical or environmental applications,” said Wainwright. “We know other undiscovered species are present in these ecosystems. Unfortunately, if we do not look now we may miss our opportunity to benefit from them and conserve them.”

Deep reefs, like those in the ‘Au’au channel, may act as a refuge as Earth’s climate changes, providing habitat for any marine creatures that can take advantage of this deeper habitat. If this is indeed the case, understanding how this habitat functions and how the corals, algae and fungi interact with one another will be vital to preserving the refuge in the deep.

The results of this research are published here.