Ancient sea scorpions, new research


This video says about itself:

13 September 2016

Today we examine the amazingly bizarre group of prehistoric arthropods, the Eurypterids or sea scorpions of the Paleozoic. We answer questions like: Where they really scorpions? How large did they get? And what are they exactly?

From the University of Alberta in Canada:

Sea scorpions: The original sea monster

Sea scorpions used serrated tail spine to dispatch their prey, researchers suggest

April 18, 2017

Summary: Related to both modern scorpions and horseshow [sic: horseshoe] crabs, sea scorpions had thin, flexible bodies. Some species also had pinching claws and could grow up to three metres in length. New research that the sea scorpions had another weapon at their disposal: a serrated, slashing tail spine.

Four hundred and thirty million years ago, long before the evolution of barracudas or sharks, a different kind of predator stalked the primordial seas. The original sea monsters were eurypterids — better known as sea scorpions.

Related to both modern scorpions and horseshow [sic: horseshoe] crabs, sea scorpions had thin, flexible bodies. Some species also had pinching claws and could grow up to three metres in length. New research by University of Alberta scientists Scott Persons and John Acorn hypothesise that the sea scorpions had another weapon at their disposal: a serrated, slashing tail spine.

Armed and dangerous

“Our study suggests that sea scorpions used their tails, weaponized by their serrated spiny tips, to dispatch their prey,” says Scott Persons, paleontologist and lead author on the study.

Sparked by the discovery of a new fossil specimen of the eurypterid Slimonia acuminata, Persons and Acorn make the biomechanical case that these sea scorpions attacked and killed their prey with sidelong strikes of their serrated tail.

The fossil, collected from the Patrick Burn Formation near Lesmahagow, Scotland, shows a eurypterid Slimonia acuminata, with a serrated-spine-tipped tail curved strongly to one side.

Powerful weapons

Unlike lobsters and shrimps, which can flip their broad tails up and down to help them swim, eurypterid tails were vertically inflexible but horizontally highly mobile.

“This means that these sea scorpions could slash their tails from side to side, meeting little hydraulic resistance and without propelling themselves away from an intended target,” explains Persons. “Perhaps clutching their prey with their sharp front limbs eurypterids could kill pretty [well] using a horizontal slashing motion.”

Among the likely prey of Slimonia acuminata and other eurypterids were ancient early vertebrates.

World’s oldest amphibian fossil in Scotland?


This video from the USA says about itself:

13 September 2016

In this lecture I will highlight five Devonian fossils that represent steps along the transition to a fully terrestrial tetrapod. You should be able to arrange a cladogram of Devonian tetrapods and illustrate the changes in anatomy that occurred during the transition toward living on land.

By Anna Buckley, BBC Science Radio Unit in Britain:

The most important fossil you’ve never heard of

10 April 2017

It’s not a household name, but an ancient creature found in the Scottish borders fills a crucial period in the evolutionary record. It sheds light on how four-limbed creatures became established on land.

An ancient animal found in rocks from the Scottish borders is thought to be the earliest known example of an animal with a backbone to live on land.

The fossilised remains of this highly significant creature, called Tiny, shed light on a key period in our evolutionary history.

Tiny has four limbs, a pair of lungs and up to five fingers (the fossil evidence is unclear exactly how many).

“It was one small step for Tiny, one giant leap for vertebrates,” said palaeontologist Dr Nick Fraser in an interview on the BBC Radio 4’s Life Scientific.

“Without Tiny, there would be no birds, no dinosaurs, no crocodiles, no mammals, no lizards and obviously we wouldn’t be around.”

“So that one step is crucial”, Fraser said. “And this fossil is right here on our doorstep in the Scottish Borders.”

There are infuriatingly few fossils from this important period in our evolutionary history, known as Romer’s Gap.

Previously, some palaeontologists had argued that this gap in the fossil record was due to lower than average oxygen levels in the earth’s atmosphere.

But the recent discovery of several four-limbed creatures like Tiny suggests many terrestrial tetrapods were thriving on land about 360 million years ago.

The late Stan Wood, a field collector, spent several decades looking for fossils to fill Romer’s gap, convinced that it didn’t really exist. In the late 2000s, he began to uncover a number of important fossils near the Whiteadder river in East Lothian.

He phoned Nick Fraser, director of natural sciences at the National Museums in Scotland, to alert him.

Members of the Tw:eed Project then collected rocks from this area and analysed them using CT scans.

Many ancient tetrapods were the size of dogs. So, with a skull just 4cm long, this one was dubbed Tiny.

So why isn’t this important fossil better-known? Perhaps because it is so small.

Or perhaps because, to this day, Tiny remains trapped in a rock and hidden from view.

Anti-nazi demonstration in Scotland


This video from Scotland says about itself:

25 March 2017

Hundreds of people turned out to protest a “White Pride” demonstration staged by the far-right National Front group in Edinburgh, Saturday.

The counter protesters carried banners with slogans like “Scotland says nae to Nazis” and chanted “Nazi Scum” as they marched through central Edinburgh.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) who organised the counter protest said “We won’t stand for their racism, their Islamophobia, their scapegoating of migrants and refugees.”

The White Pride demonstration was scheduled to coincide with the Sikh religious festival of Nagar Kirtan in city which involves a procession and traditional display of martial arts and music.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Edinburgh anti-fascists drown out neonazi noise

Monday 27th March 2017

OVER 400 anti-fascists faced down a pathetic motley crew of 29 neonazi thugs in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The Scottish Defence League and the National Front staged a “white pride” march in the city.

Many wore balaclavas or masks to hide their identity. They were able to march only with heavy police protection.

The 400 counter-protesters carried placards stating: “Nae Nazis, Refugees Welcome here,” and the simple message to the racists: “F… Off,” while chanting: “Master race — ha ha ha!”

Unite Against Fascism organised the counter-demonstration, which was fenced off from the white pride marchers by metal barriers. There were sieg heil salutes from the pitifully small band of right-wing extremists.

UAF Scotland’s Margaret Woods said: “We are delighted at today’s brilliant turnout for the UAF demonstration against the nazi National Front.

“There is no place in our society for fascists and we will always oppose any attempts they make to assemble or march.”

Scotland against National Front nazis


This 2014 reggae music video is called Al Campbell – National Front. It is a song against the British nazi party of that name.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Scotland: Anti-racists to protest against neonazi march

Saturday 25th March 2017

ANTI-RACIST campaigners will gather in Edinburgh today to protest against a march called by the National Front during a Sikh festival taking place in the city.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) Scotland warned that the “tiny and vicious group of fascists” in seeking to capitalise on the horrific attacks in Westminster this week to promote their hatred and division.

UAF Scotland spokeswoman Margaret Woods said that the far-right had been stopped by mass movements in the past and that “the fascists are small in the UK as anti-fascists have been on guard.”

Scotland has a proud history of organising against the far-right, and only recently campaigners ensured that a neonazi Blood and Honour gig due to take place in Edinburgh was cancelled.

Ms Woods said: “UAF Scotland stands with all who oppose fascism and their engine of racism,” and called for mass mobilisation against the fascists.

SNP MP Tommy Sheppard, who will be speaking at the event said the fascists “can fuck off,” and said it was vital to “confront racist ideology wherever it raises its head.”

Syrian refugee artist donates work in Scotland


This video from England says about itself:

27 August 2014

‘Syria’s Apex Generation’, an exhibition featuring recent works by artists Nihad Al Turk, Abdul Karim Majdal Al-Beik, Othman Moussa, Mohannad Orabi, and Kais Salman. Curated by art historian and Ayyam Gallery Artistic Director Maymanah Farhat, the exhibition will spotlight a new school of Syrian painting in the midst of expansion despite the disintegration of the Damascus art scene, its original centre. This multi-venue group show will be held at Ayyam Gallery’s London location from 7 August until 12 September.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Syrian artist donates work to thank supporters

Thursday 23rd March 2017

A SYRIAN artist who came to live in Scotland as a refugee has donated some of his work to a charity auction to thank those who helped him.

Nihad Al Turk, who had won awards for his artwork in Syria, came to Edinburgh in 2015 on the first flight for refugees from Lebanon.

With support from The Leith School of Art (LSA), Mr Al Turk created a mural to mark Refugee Week.

His work features mythological creatures, used as metaphors for his experiences of war in Syria.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “I worked hard for many years to build my career as an artist at home. But the war meant all that was lost and it became too dangerous to stay there.

“My aim is to start all over again and build my reputation in this new country that has been so kind to us.”

He has donated three works to an auction to raise funds for LSA outreach programmes.

Scotland demonstrates against Donald Trump


This video says about itself:

Scotland Against Trump: Edinburgh Meadows – Pre March Speeches

11 February 2017

Pre March Speeches including Maggie Chapman co-convener of the Scottish Green Party & and brief few words from David Jamieson from Commonspace.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thousands of Edinburgers tackle Trump on the street

Monday 13th February 2017

THOUSANDS of people took to the streets of Edinburgh at the weekend in protest at the politics and policies of US President Donald Trump.

Saturday’s demonstration saw banner-carrying protesters, who had been bussed into the city from all over Scotland, chanting: “Stop deportation” and carrying placards bearing slogans such as: “No to racism, no to Trump.”

Organised by Scotland Against Trump, the colourful march started from the Meadows before crossing the Royal Mile and continuing over North Bridge.

It was expected to continue along Regent Terrace, past the US consulate, but police prevented marchers from approaching the building. The march ended at the Scottish Parliament, where the demonstrators held a rally.

The event included speeches by human rights groups, trade union representatives and anti-racism campaigners.

After the arrival at Holyrood, Scotland Against Trump said it was time to fight back against Mr Trump’s policies.

USA: HOW THE GRAMMYS GOT POLITICAL The 59th annual Grammys had a political undertone, from host James Corden’s jokes and Katy Perry’s “Persist” armband to Busta Rhymes’ commentary.

Donald Trump, a Scottish poem


This video from Scotland says about itself:

A Scot’s Lament fur her American Fellows (Oan their election of a tangerine gabshite walloper)

29 January 2017

Scathing Trump poem – winner of New Zealand poetry competition

Lorna Wallace (Kilmarnock, Scotland) hopes “President Donald Trump” reads her poem in Burns style.

By Lorna Wallace in Scotland (in Scots language):

A Scot’s Lament fur her American Fellows (Oan their election of a tangerine gabshite walloper)

America, aw whit ye dain?!
How could ye choose a clueless wain
Ti lead yir country? Who wid trust
A man sae vile?!
A racist, sexist eedjit
Wi a shite hairstyle?

Yet lo, ye votit (michty me!)
Ti hawn’ this walloper the key
Ti pow’r supreme, ti stert his hateful,
Cruel regime
.
A cling ti hope that this is aw
Jist wan bad dream.

But naw, the nightmare has come true,
A curse upon rid, white an’ blue,
An’ those who cast oot Bernie
Must feel sitch regret
Fur thinkin’ Mrs. Clinton
Was a safer bet
.

So noo we wait ti see unfold
Division an’ intolerance, cold;
A pois’nous bigotry untold
Since Hitler’s rule

As the free world’s hopes an’ dreams
Lie with this fool.

Alas, complainin’ wullnae change
The fact this diddy has free range
Ti ride roughshod ow’r human beings
That fall outside
The cretinous ideals borne of
His ugly pride.

Awch USA, we feel yir woes
An’ pour oor wee herts oot ti those
Who ken this oarange gabshite isnae
Who they chose,
But jist sit tight; Trump’s cluelessness
Will time expose.

Fur sittin’ there beside Obama
Efter the election drama,
Trump looked like reality
Had finally hit:
Aboot the role of president
He knew Jack shit.

Poutin’, glaikit through this farce,
His mooth wis pursed up like an arse,
His Tangoed coupon glowin’ like
A skelped backside.
Despite all his bravado
Trump looked keen ti hide.

Let’s therefur no despair an’ greet,
Or see this outcome as defeat.
Let’s wait an’ watch this bampot
Flap his hawns an’ squirm
When presidential pressures
Crush him like a worm.

Hawd oan ti values you hold dear,
Don’t let this numpty bring yi fear,
His chants of hatred don’t speak fur
The human race.
Love will endure despite this
Oarange-faced disgrace.

So USA, in ma conclusion,
Know we Scots feel your confusion:
We are also chained ti those
Not of oor choosin
’.
Stand firm fur unity will break
Through Trump’s delusion.

This poem won the Robert Burns Poetry Competition in New Zealand.

Lorna Wallace is 24 years old and currently work in her mum’s fabric and wool shop. She studied English with Journalism and Creative Writing at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, and in her third year (at the beginning of 2014) she decided to set up a poetry blog to go along with her coursework.

Lorna has always loved Robert Burns’ work and can’t think of anything more expressive and heartfelt than the Scots dialect. For her, it conveys a warmth and honesty unlike any other.

In January 2014 Lorna wrote her first ever Burns inspired poem, ‘Tae A Selfie’, which went viral on Facebook and Twitter overnight and was published in the small poetry magazine, ‘Poetry Scotland’. Excerpts were also published in The Times. Since then it’s also been published in the poetry anthology, ‘Funny Ha-Ha: Funny Peculiar’ by Bloodaxe Books.

Lorna’s interest in Burns stems from learning about him in primary school and falling in love with the dialect and rhythm of his writing. She also thought it would be fun to imagine the things he’d write about if he were alive today (cue her poems about selfies, social media, student living and politics).

On Tuesday and Wednesday, protests continued across the US against the policies of the twelve-day-old administration of Donald Trump … The demonstration in Washington surrounded the Supreme Court building. In New York, protesters marched on Trump Tower, where 11 were arrested, including Gwen Carr, mother of the late Eric Garner, who was murdered by New York City police in 2014 for selling individual cigarettes on the street: here.

Screen Actors Guild award winners, artists, athletes and others protest US travel ban: here.

Immigration Ban Separates Breastfeeding 11-Month-Old From Mother For Hours At Airport: here.

CIA’s New Deputy Director Is A Veteran Spy Who Oversaw Black Sites Where Detainees Were Tortured. Her selection for the role may mean Trump is ready to move back to harsh treatment of detainees: here.