Red Hot Chili Peppers, other US musicians, support Bernie Sanders


This video from the USA says about itself:

Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer) endorses Bernie Sanders

Tropicana, Las Vegas (January 6th 2016).

From Rolling Stone in the USA:

Red Hot Chili Peppers Headlining Bernie Sanders Fundraiser Concert

Members of Vampire Weekend, Killer Mike, Foster the People scheduled for separate Iowa rally, “Students for Bernie”

By Ryan Reed

January 27, 2016

Red Hot Chili Peppers will “Feel the Bern” by headlining a Los Angeles concert fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders. The rock veterans will perform February 5th at Theatre at Ace Hotel, Loudwire reports.

Tickets, ranging from $40 to $2,700, will go on sale day of show at 10 a.m. PST via AXS. Sanders – who proudly relies on grassroots fundraising and refuses campaign donations from Super PACs or corporations – has earned widespread support from the music community.

In September, all four Chili Peppers signed a letter of endorsement posted on the senator’s website. “Bernie Sanders is the only remotely reasonable candidate for President of the United States,” bassist Flea tweeted the previous month.

Members of Vampire Weekend will join Killer Mike (an outspoken Sanders supporter), Foster the People, Josh Hutcherson and more at “Students for Bernie,” a Sanders rally scheduled for Saturday, January 30th at University of Iowa Field House. The event is free and open to the public. …

The list of “Artists and Cultural Leaders for Bernie Sanders” on the politician’s site also includes Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Will Ferrell, Patton Oswalt, Bonnie Raitt, John C. Reilly, Danny DeVito, the Doors drummer John Densmore and Sonic Youth‘s Thurston Moore.

In December, Killer Mike sat down with Sanders for a wide-ranging six-part interview at the rapper’s Atlanta barber shop, touching on issues like gun control, marijuana, social justice, economic freedom and free health care.

This video says about itself:

23 November 2015

Rapper Killer Mike of Run the Jewels gives a riveting speech to a raucous crowd in Atlanta, Georgia after endorsing Senator Sanders for president.

The Atlanta rapper, a prominent voice in the hip-hop community, is active in politics and explains why he believes in Senator Sanders‘ vision for the country.

Move Over ‘Berniebros’: A Wave of Young Women Is Boosting Bernie Sanders: here.

Ancient big sea scorpion discovery in Iowa, USA


Pentecopterus decorahensis. Image: Patrick Lynch/Yale University

From Vice.com in the USA:

This Prehistoric Sea Scorpion Was the Size of a Person

Written by Becky Ferreira

1 September 2015 // 01:00 AM CET

The fossilized remains of an enormous sea scorpion have been found in a Iowan fossil bed at the bottom of an ancient impact crater. (Take a moment to let all that sink in.)

Named for a Greek warship called the penteconter, Pentecopterus decorahensis is like some kind of evolutionary fever dream. The newly-discovered species was decked out with lethal clawlike appendages and an idiosyncratic, paddle-shaped leg that was likely used for locomotion.

Measuring almost six feet long, Pentecopterus was a veritable giant in the seas of the Ordovician period, some 467 million years ago.

“It was probably the largest animal in its ecosystem,” paleontologist James Lamsdell told me. Lamsdell is the lead author of a paper describing the animal, published today in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

“From what we know, there was nothing else around that would have been likely to consider Pentecopterus prey,” he added. “It seems that Pentecopterus was the dominant animal in its ecosystem.”

This is even more impressive considering this species is the oldest eurypterid—the scientific term for sea scorpion—ever found in the fossil record. Eurypterids were a very diverse group of creatures that flourished for over 200 million years, before dying off at the dawn of the Triassic period. Among their ranks were the largest arthropods that ever roamed the Earth, and their close relatives live on today in the arachnid family.

The discovery of Pentecopterus pushes the evolutionary timeline of these influential animals back about nine million years, though Lamsdell said the eurypterid family tree’s roots run even deeper.

“We know that Pentecopterus is actually a relatively advanced eurypterid,” he told me. “The exciting thing about this is that it means that there must have been a number of other eurypterid groups around at the time too that we have yet to discover.”

“It is clear however that Pentecopterus was one of the earliest large predators in these complex ecosystems,” he added.

What’s more, Pentecopterus left behind the kind of beautifully fossilized remains that most paleontologists only dream about. “It is very rare to find such exquisite preservation in fossils of this age,” Lamsdell said. “I have never seen anything like this before in a eurypterid.”

The fine state of the specimens is due to the unique nature of Iowa’s Decorah crater where the fossils, which include both adult and juvenile members of the species, were excavated.

The crater was formed about 470 million years ago, when a 200-meter-wide meteorite impacted the Earth. The Ordovician oceans flooded the deformation, creating a shallow marine environment of brackish water. Here, Pentecopterus communities flourished, and when individuals died, they were etched into geological history by the crater’s deoxygenated seafloor, which provided perfect conditions for fossilization.

Indeed, according to Lamsdell, some of the fossils have even retained the creature’s hair and skin patterns. “The really exciting thing is that fine details like hair patterns can tell us a lot about the animals’ ecology,” he said.

“For animals with an external exoskeleton, hairs are the primary way in which they sense the world around them, as eyes can only be looking at one place at any one time,” he continued. “From looking at hair patterns we can see which parts of the animal were particularly sensitive.”

“For example, there are many hairs on the margins of the swimming paddle, meaning that it would have been very sensitive to changes in current flow, which would have helped it as a swimmer,” Lamsdell said.

So, to sum up: Paleontologists have inferred intimate details about a monster species of sea scorpion, the oldest yet found, which lived in the cozy fallout of a planetary collision nearly half a billion years ago. If that doesn’t rate high on your wow meter, you need to get it fixed.

See also here. And here. And here.

Manure explosions at United States hog farms


This video from the USA, Iowa State University Extension, is called David Schmidt: Foaming Manure Pits.

From Mother Jones in the USA:

Mysterious Poop Foam Causes Explosions on Hog Farms

—By

Wed May. 15, 2013 3:00 AM PDT

When you hear about foam in the context of food, you might think of molecular gastronomy, the culinary innovations of the Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, who’s famous for dishes like apple caviar with banana foam.

But this post is about a much less appetizing kind of foam. You see, starting in about 2009, in the pits that capture manure under factory-scale hog farms, a gray, bubbly substance began appearing at the surface of the fecal soup. The problem is menacing: As manure breaks down, it emits toxic gases like hydrogen sulfide and flammable ones like methane, and trapping these noxious fumes under a layer of foam can lead to sudden, disastrous releases and even explosions. According to a 2012 report from the University of Minnesota, by September 2011, the foam had “caused about a half-dozen explosions in the upper Midwest…one explosion destroyed a barn on a farm in northern Iowa, killing 1,500 pigs and severely burning the worker involved.”

And the foam grows to a thickness of up to four feet—check out these images, from a University of Minnesota document published by the Iowa Pork Producers, showing a vile-looking substance seeping up from between the slats that form the floor of a hog barn. Those slats are designed to allow hog waste to drop down into the below-ground pits; it is alarming to see it bubbling back up in the form of a substance the consistency of beaten egg whites.

And here’s the catch: Scientists can’t explain the phenomenon.

Check out this amazing 2011 video presentation [top of the post] on the matter by University of Minnesota researcher David Schmidt. He opens by describing a 2009 explosion that lifted a hog barn a “couple of feet off the ground” and blew the farm operator himself 20 feet from the building. (Thankfully, he wasn’t injured, and there were no animals in it.) And check out the footage, starting about 3:19 in, of the foam itself, which must be seen to be believed. At one point , a shovel dips into the mire and scoops up as sample—which jiggles and pulsates, alive, apparently, with microbial activity. Schmidt also does a great job of explaining just how manure foam can cause explosions.

Factory farms fed cows the mess from the bottom of chicken cages: here.

Mammoth bone found on Texel island


This video, recorded in Russia, says about itself:

The story of the discovery of the world’s most complete baby mammoth, as told by the man who found her.

Translated from Blik op Nieuws in the Netherlands today:

Texel – A forester has found a mammoth bone in the dunes of Texel.

The mammoths are from the ice age. When were no Texel dunes there yet.

The bone probably came from the North Sea and beached. Then someone found it and probably left it behind in the dunes.

The bone is a carpal bone from a mammoth’s foreleg.

Another Texel mammoth bone: here.

Iowa Family Finds Mammoth Bones In Backyard: here.

Bald eagle nest webcam


This video is called Bald eagle catches salmon.

By Lisa Grossman in the USA:

Baby Bald Eagles Will Hatch on Live Webcam

March 29, 2011

Three bald eagles are expected to hatch in Decorah, Iowa, between March 30 and April 1 — and you can watch it happen.

Two new cameras positioned above the eagles’ nest provide an unprecedentedly clear window into eagle domestic life. The expectant parents built their nest 80 feet up a cottonwood tree near the Decorah Fish Hatchery in 2007, and all 8 of their children have entered the world under a filmmaker’s gaze.

But the new cameras, plus a computer upgrade, will bring a sharper view to more people than ever before. One camera runs automatically and streams footage of the nest 24/7, switching to infrared at night. The other is remotely controlled from a nearby equipment shed, where bird conservation expert Bob Anderson, executive director of the non-profit Raptor Resource Project, will pan, tilt and zoom in on the nest.

According to Anderson, viewers will be able to see tiny cracks lacing through the eggs before they hatch. The zoomed-in view gets so close, you can count the scales on the eagles’ feet.

The mother eagle laid the eggs on Feb. 23, Feb. 26 and March 2. All three were caught on camera and are up on YouTube.

Last year, the eaglecam received more than 325,000 unique visitors from 125 countries. All the attention maxed out the bandwidth of nearby Luther College, which had been hosting the site.

The eagle family made their cinematic debut in a 2008 PBS documentary called “American Eagle.”

See also here.

Update: All three eaglets visible on the EagleCam right now: here.

3 bald eaglets born at American Eagle Foundation center – survived severe storms that passed through East Tennessee: here.

Aquatic ecologist studies silent killer of bald eagles: here.

Salmonella eggs cartoon


Salmonella egg scandal in the USA, cartoon

This cartoon about the salmonella egg scandal in the USA is by Stephanie McMillan.

Sick from recalled eggs? Egg industry says it’s your fault: here.

US salmonella scare: farm inspections reveal manure, mice and maggots: here.

Government inspectors have found deplorable conditions at the two Iowa egg farms at the center of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened thousands in the US in recent months: here.

Salmonella at Egg Farm Is Traced to 2008: here.

US company that sickened thousands knew eggs carried Salmonella: here.

Food Inc., now out in DVD, is a damning indictment of the inability of the profit system to provide safe and healthy food for everyone. Its political conclusions are terribly weak: here.

USA: plover and tern on the verge of extinction in Iowa


This video is called bald eagles in Iowa city; in Iowa, USA.

From Animal science blog:

Two Iowa Birds on the Verge of Extinction

There are a number of wildlife species that have not fared well in the changing Iowa landscape and have been listed as endangered or threatened.

Endangered species are animals and plants that are in danger of becoming extinct and threatened species are animals and plants that are likely to become endangered in the near future.

No doubt that bald eagle which was once listed in the endangered species list is flying off the list. But still there are a number of species that remain on the list.

The Interior Least Tern and the Piping Plover are among the two species that are there in the list of endangered species and are facing the challenges. This means if steps are not being taken, they can become extinct.

Interior Least Tern:

Interior least tern is the interior population of the least tern which tops the list of endangered species. Dams, reservoirs, and other changes to river systems have eliminated least tern habitat. Least terns prefer the wide channels dotted with sandbars and these have been replaced by narrow forested river corridors.

Piping Plovers:

A resident of sand-flats and shorelines east of the Rocky Mountains, the population of Piping Plovers has declined dramatically due to human actions. There have been continuous loss of habitat and predation of their young.

California Least Tern population recovering but still fragile in Alameda Co.: here.

USA: juvenile giant sloth from Ice Age


Megalonyx jeffersoni

From the University of Iowa (USA):

June 26, 2006

Bones Of Baby Ice Age Sloth Carefully Reconstructed

For the past three years, students, staff and volunteers from the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, UI Department of Geoscience in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Office of the State Archaeologist have been excavating, analyzing and carefully reconstructing the bones of an ice-age giant sloth from a site near Shenandoah, Iowa.

Like detectives at a 12,000-year-old crime scene, the team has been attempting to piece together a life history of this extinct, furry, SUV-sized mammal.

What did it eat? Why did it die?

And why did sloths mysteriously become extinct along with over three dozen other large ice age animals?

The mystery has suddenly gotten much more complicated.

The museum has announced the research team has recovered more than 30 smaller bones which have been confirmed as belonging to a juvenile version of the same species “probably about one year old,” according to Greg McDonald, the world’s foremost giant sloth authority and senior curator of natural history at the National Park Service in Ft. Collins, Colo.

“With 30-plus bones I would rank this the second-most complete juvenile Megalonyx ever found.”

The bones were found about 10 feet away from where the first adult bones were discovered.

“This is the first time an immature sloth of this species has been found associated with an adult,” said David Brenzel, curator of the UI Museum of Natural History.

Ground sloths: here.