New pygmy seahorse species discovery


This 15 August 2018 video says about itself:

This New Species of Pygmy Seahorse is the Size of a Lentil | Nat Geo Wild

This pygmy seahorse is tiny—the size of a grain of rice. Researchers recently discovered that the colorful animal is a distinct species. Its name is Hippocampus japapigu, Latin for “Japan pig” seahorse, as some believe it resembles a baby pig.

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Dojo loach fish, new study


This 2015 video is called Dojo Loach: Amazing fish.

From Hokkaido University in Japan:

Fish reproduction: Two times a lady

August 2, 2018

A DNA probing technique clarifies the mechanism behind clonal reproduction of female dojo loach fish, also providing insight into the ancestral origin of the clonal population.

Hokkaido University researchers have developed a technique that allows them to track chromosomes during egg production in dojo loach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus. The study uncovered how female clones double their chromosomes twice to assure clonal reproduction.

The dojo loach is a bottom-dwelling freshwater fish native to East Asia. The majority are sexually reproducing male and female fish. Their ‘somatic’ non-reproductive cells contain a full set of 50 chromosomes — 25 from each parent — while their reproductive egg and sperm cells contain 25 chromosomes.

However, a population of female clones of the species can be found in Hokkaido Island and other areas of Japan. Unlike the sexually reproducing female population, both their somatic and reproductive eggs contain 50 chromosomes, assuring their clonal reproduction. How the reproductive process leads to 50 chromosomes in egg cells has been unclear.

To better understand this mechanism, a research team including Masamichi Kuroda and Takafumi Fujimoto of Hokkaido University’s Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences developed DNA probes to track the chromosomes in dojo loach’s somatic and reproductive cells. Previous studies have suggested that the female clone population arose when two genetically distinct groups within the species, called A and B for simplicity, mated. Kuroda and his colleagues developed a fluorescent DNA probe that binds to specific chromosomal regions derived from type B.

According to the results published in Chromosome Research, the fluorescent signals indicated that somatic cells of the female clones have 25 chromosomes derived from type B, providing evidence that their ancestral origin arose when type A and B mated. They then looked into the process of egg production using the DNA probes. In the sexually reproducing dojo loach, reproductive cells divided through the normal process of meiosis, in which a single cell containing a full set of 50 chromosomes produces one egg containing 25 chromosomes. This requires doubling chromosomes once.

In the female clones, the team found that the chromosomal material doubles twice so that when it divides, each results in an egg cell containing a full set of 50 chromosomes. Fish sperm activates these egg cells to start developing embryos without incorporating their genetic material into them.

Moreover, their data suggested that sister chromosomes doubled from the same chromosome make pairs so that recombination between the chromosomes does not affect their clonality. Such recombination normally occurs between paternally-derived and maternally-derived chromosomes.

“This is the first time that ‘cytogenetic’ evidence has been found for this type of chromosomal duplication in a unisexual, ray-finned fish. Further study could help develop a seedling production that can produce a large population of clone fish with desirable characteristics”, says Takafumi Fujimoto.

Nocturnal coral fish eyes and brains studied


This 2015 video is called 3 HOURS of Beautiful Coral Reef Fish, Relaxing Ocean Fish, Aquarium Fish Tank & Relax Music 1080p HD.

From the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University in Japan:

Bigger eyes but reduced brain power in nocturnal fishes

July 24, 2018

Summary: How does living life in darkness influence the way nocturnal fishes see? A new study finds out.

Coral reefs buzz with activity around the clock. As the day-active fishes retreat at dusk, the night-active or nocturnal fishes venture out to forage and hunt. Equipped with special traits, these fishes are adapted to lead a life in darkness. So how do the dark surroundings influence the way they see?

An international team of scientists led by Dr. Teresa Iglesias and Prof. Evan Economo from Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) set out to investigate this question. They examined how the brains of nocturnal fishes adapt to the low-light conditions they live in. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology.

The retina of the eye has on its surface two types of specialized nerve cells: cones and rods. While cones are activated in bright light, rods work better in dim light. The information captured by these cells is transported by nerves to the visual processing centers in the brain and pieced together into coherent images. In most vertebrates, a brain region called the optic tectum processes visual information, explains Prof. Economo. However, “it is unclear how it should change to maximize effectiveness of low-light vision”, he adds.

To find out, the research team compared the sizes of optic tecta within the brains of fishes that are active during the day and those active at night. More than a hundred fishes from nearly 66 different species were caught from reefs around Hawaii and North Carolina, USA. This catch comprising 44 day-active species and 16 nocturnal species with a wide range of food habits: some ate other fish, others fed on microscopic plankton, and still others were bottom dwelling scavengers. Once caught, the fishes were photographed and their heads preserved in formalin. Later in the lab, the researchers measured the size of each fish’s eye and lens, then scanned the animals’ preserved brains using micro CT scanners.

Bright environments are rich in visual information such as colors, patterns and textures, and deciphering them requires more complex processing than deciphering poorly-lit environments. Take photographs, for example: the latest camera can capture rich colors and minute details of a person or an object. On the other hand, the black and white photographs from an old family album do not reveal as much. Likewise, optic tectum in the brain must be able to process color, pattern and brightness.

The eyes of squirrelfish (Holocentrus rufus), a common nocturnal inhabitant of coral reefs, are almost three times larger than the eyes of day-active fishes of similar body size. Other nocturnal fishes also follow this design pattern. The optic tecta in nocturnal fishes might adapt to darkness by expanding, in order to process the larger volume of information that larger eyes might take in, or it could shrink if the information from low light environments is reduced. Initially, the researchers speculated that retina in such fishes would be loaded with more rods and cones than the day-active fishes, and thus require larger optic tecta to process it.

To their surprise, however, they found that the optic tecta of squirrelfish and other nocturnal fishes were smaller than those of day hunters, suggesting that their brains have sacrificed capabilities that are not as useful at night. Since color is not visible in light-deficient environments, these fishes have limited color acuity and limited depth of vision, but instead, they are adept at detecting movement.

The study also suggests that behavioral traits like the ability of some fishes to camouflage can influence the size of the optic tecta. Among the 66 species of fishes that the scientists sampled, the peacock flounder (Bothus mancus) was found to have the largest optic tectum amongst all. Peacock flounders dwell on sandy floors of reefs and are active during the day, though they prefer to hunt at night. Like chameleons, they are masters of camouflage, and can mimic their surroundings to blend in. This trait, according to the scientists, may explain why peacock flounders possess such highly-developed optic tecta. “Their visual centers may be important for adopting the correct camouflage, but they are also important for detecting predator movements in both bright and dim light”, says Dr. Iglesias.

We still have much to learn about how the environment and behavior of a species can shape the evolution of its brain, the scientists say. However, they believe these findings may help understand how changes in habitat due to human activities, such as light pollution, can interfere with the neuro-sensory capabilities of fishes and other organisms.

Unique Japanese painting discovered


This video from the Netherlands says about itself (translated):

July 4 2018

An unknown and completely unique masterpiece by the Japanese artist Kawahara Keiga (c.1786-c.1860) was recently discovered and purchased by the National Museum of World Cultures. Conservators found the human height folding screen (eight panels of almost 5 meters wide) of great artistic and historical significance in private possession. The work of art shows the bay of Nagasaki with the Dutch trading post on the island of Dejima in 1836. It will be a key piece in the Japan collection of Museum Volkenkunde [in Leiden, the Netherlands].

See also here.

Militarist Japanese government sabotaging Korean peace process


This 27 April 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Korean War Finally Ending, in Huge Victory for Peace Activists

North and South Korea have agreed to sign a peace deal, after nearly 70 years of war. Christine Ahn says this is thanks to dedicated activism inside and outside of the Korean Peninsula. In conversation with TRNN’s Ben Norton.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

‘Complete denuclearisation’ – Trump signs agreement with Kim Jong-un

US PRESIDENT Trump announced he has agreed to suspend ‘war games’ with South Korea in return for a commitment to the ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula’.

Speaking at a press conference in Singapore after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for the first time, Trump said: ‘The sanctions will come off when we are sure that the nukes are no longer a factor.

‘I hope it’s going to be soon. But they’ll come off – as you know and as I have said, the sanctions right now remain but at a certain point I actually look forward to taking them off and they’ll come off when we know we’re down the road where it’s not going to happen, nothing is going to happen.’

… He announced: ‘We have done war exercises with a long period of time working with South Korea and we call them war games.

‘… They’re tremendously expensive. The amount of money that we spend on that is incredible. …’

In response to a question regarding the value of the agreement he signed with President Kim, Trump answered by implying he has his sights set on dealing with Iran.

Only months ago, Trump threatened nuclear war on North Korea. Now, the prospects for peace in Korea have brightened. That is not thanks to Trump and his militarist administration. It is thanks to the peace movement in Korea and worldwide. Earlier this year, that caused rapprochement between North Korea and the new South Korean government, elected after their militarist right-wing predecessors had been impeached for corruption. Rapprochement, eg, at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Trump and his new war-minded ‘security’ adviser John Bolton tried to sabotage that peace process. However, apparently Trump came to the conclusion that he still wanted to do warmongering, but that warmongerring all over the world at the same time would be self-defeating.

US President Richard Nixon was a war criminal, who had United States peace activists killed and who attacked press freedom in reporting on the Vietnam war. Still, Nixon came to the conclusion that it was undesirable to wage cold war on the Soviet Union and on China at the same time. So, the stopped the Cold War policy of not recognizing China. Though done by a crook of a president, that was in itself positive. Even though Nixon did it to concentrate warmongering on the Soviet Union.

It looks like Donald Trump’s recent handshake with North Korea’s Kim Jung-un is somewhat similar to Nixon’s 1972 handshake with Chairman Mao in China.

From News Line daily today:

TRUMP COURTS NORTH KOREA TO AVOID A WAR ON TWO FRONTS …

Trump bending over backwards to make a deal with North Korea contrasts starkly with his conduct towards Iran, where he has ripped up a negotiated deal that kept Iran from producing a nuclear weapon, and where the US has threatened sanctions against its onetime allies, now in a G6 set-up that signed the Iran deal – as did the US – and now refuse to break it off, and thus face US sanctions. …

However, not even the US can take on the entire planet at the same time. This is why Trump has temporarily changed his tune in relation to North Korea.

However, other militarist politicians are not changing their tune in relation to North Korea. Especially so the right-wing revanchist government in Japan. Consisting of members of the ‘Liberal Democratic’ party. A beautiful name. Like the name ‘Freedom Party of Austria‘ sounds beautiful. However, both parties were founded after the second world war by ex-allies of Adolf Hitler. And at present, there are still echoes of Hitler-like ideas in both parties.

Instead of an all-out effort to clean up the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the right-wing Shinzo Abe administration is in denial about that disaster. Instead of stopping cancer causing nuclear pollution, they rather spend Japanese taxpayers’ money on militarism.

Peace between North Korea and South Korea and the USA would make it harder for Japanese warmongers to sell to the taxpayers more and more spending on war, with the North Korean bogeyman as the pretext.

It is time for Shinzo Abe to resign, and to give peaceful people in Japan the chance to repair the damage he caused.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Japan: war games are of vital interest

The Japanese Defense Minister says that the presence of US military personnel in South Korea and the joint war games are vital for security in East Asia.

Who is minister of war … sorry, I am supposed to use the euphemism ‘defense’ in the right-wing Abe administration?

It used to be Ms Tomomi Inada.

Pictures from Japanese neo-Nazi Kazunari Yamada’s website show him posing with Shinzo Abe’s internal affairs minister, Sanae Takaichi, and his party’s then policy chief, Tomomi Inada

These pictures from Japanese neo-nazi leader Kazunari Yamada’s website show him posing with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s internal affairs minister, Sanae Takaichi, and Abe’s party’s then policy chief, Tomomi Inada. Ms Inada later became minister of war … sorry for forgetting to use the euphemism ‘defence’ … of Japan.

In July 2017, Ms Inada resigned as war minister. Not because of her nazi scandal, but because of other scandals.

Ms Inada’s successor became Mr Itsunori Onodera. Wikipedia writes about him:

He was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in December 1997 from Miyagi Prefecture No. 6,[2] but resigned in 2000 in the wake of an electoral donation scandal.[3]… Like Abe, the majority of his government, and many predecessors as defense ministers, Onodera is affiliated to the openly revisionist lobby Nippon Kaigi.[6] Onodera supports Japan having the ability to launch a first-strike attack against enemy bases.[7]

The word ‘revisionist’ has lots of meanings. In Onodera’s context, it means denying that the 1930s-1940s Japanese imperial government, allies of Hitler and Mussolini, did anything wrong. Korea was then a Japanese colony. The Japanese occupiers then kidnapped teenage girls in Korea (and in China, the Philippines, Indonesia, etc.) to be raped as ‘comfort women’ in military brothels. Today, Japan’s ‘Liberal Democrat’ ‘revisionists’ deny this war crime and other war crimes.

The NOS article continues:

Minister Onodera responds to President Trump’s unexpected intention to stop the annual war games of South Korea and the USA on the border with North Korea. …

US President Trump said yesterday at the summit with [North Korean] Kim that he will stop the war games because they are expensive and provocative. …

Japan states that it intends to continue to conduct war games with the US and to work together to defend against missiles from North Korea.

Unfortunately, not only in Japan there are right-wing politicians trying to out-Trump Trump on militarism. Like in the USA: Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican-South Carolina) was less pleased, calling Trump’s reasoning for halting the military exercises “ridiculous”. [Reuters]

Trump under pressure from US intelligence agencies over North Korea: here.

The Singapore summit and the growing war threat: here.

The massive war games send a regular threatening message to China, which is the true target of US and Japanese aggression. … The disagreements in Washington are over how best to proceed with planning for war against China and Russia: here.

The elderly are consistently the most affected victims of heat waves, floods, and other disasters, pointing to the social neglect of the aged by the Japanese government: here.