Razorbills help measuring ocean currents


This video from Britain says about itself:

Razorbill and Guillemot Birds in the Sea at Hell’s Mouth in Cornwall, UK

Filmed on May 2nd 2016 Video Produced by Paul Dinning – Wildlife in Cornwall

From the European Geosciences Union:

What seabirds can tell us about the tide

November 29, 2018

Summary: Razorbill tag data revealed that, at night, these seabirds spent a lot of their time idle on the sea surface. ‘We saw this as an opportunity to (…) test if the birds might be drifting with the tidal current,’ says one of the researchers. It turns out they were, according to a new Ocean Science study that shows the potential of using seabirds to measure ocean currents.

When the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) set out to tag razorbills, their aim was to track their behaviour and movements along the coast of North Wales. The tag data revealed that, at night, these seabirds spent a lot of their time idle on the sea surface. “We saw this as an opportunity to re-use the data and test if the birds might be drifting with the tidal current,” says Matt Cooper, a Master of Oceanography graduate from Bangor University in Wales. It turns out they were, according to a new study led by Cooper that shows the potential of using seabirds to measure ocean currents. The results are published today in the European Geosciences Union journal Ocean Science.

Using seabirds to tell us about the tide could be especially useful for the marine renewable energy industry. Generating tidal energy requires detailed knowledge of current speeds. Scientists and engineers traditionally measure tides by using radar or deploying anchors and buoys with scientific instruments. However, these scouting methods are challenging and expensive. If tagged seabirds could provide tidal data over a large area, they could help identify sites that would be good sources of tidal energy.

Cooper’s supervisors at Bangor University knew of his interest in tidal energy and data collection, so they suggested he look into seabird data collected by the RSPB to see whether it would be possible to extract tidal information from it. A few years earlier, from 2011 to 2014, a RSPB team had fitted GPS tags on razorbills on Puffin Island, North Wales, to study their distribution and breeding and feeding behaviours. These black and white seabirds, similar to puffins and guillemots, only come ashore to breed. They spend most of their time at sea, foraging or resting on the ocean surface.

The data collected when the birds were sitting on the sea surface for hours on end were interesting in terms of bird behaviour, but the Bangor University researchers saw another potential use. “We took data that was discarded from the original study and applied it to test a hypothesis in a different area of research,” says Cooper. “As far as we are aware, this paper is the first to describe the use of tagged seabirds for measuring currents of any kind,” the researchers write in their Ocean Science study.

The non-invasive GPS tags on the razorbills recorded their position every 100 seconds. With a set of positions and a known time between each of them, the scientists could calculate the speed and direction of the birds’ movements. After the sun set, the birds spent long periods at rest on the sea surface, drifting passively with the current. “[At these times] their changing position would reflect the movement of water at the ocean’s surface,” Cooper explains.

With speeds of more than 1 metre per second, the average tidal currents in the area of the Irish Sea the researchers focused on are very fast, faster than a razorbill can paddle, but much slower than the speeds the birds reach when flying. This means the team could filter out the times when the birds were flying. In addition, the filtered data showed that, when the birds were drifting, the direction of movement changed at the times of low and high tide, when the currents in the area were expected to change from ebb to flow and vice-versa. Therefore, the team could be sure that they were tracking the speed and direction of sea currents rather than the birds’ independent movements.

Using seabirds to measure tidal currents has limitations. “We must remember that these birds are behaving naturally and we cannot determine where they go,” says Cooper. But the Ocean Science study shows there is potential for this inexpensive method to provide crucial tidal information over a wide area. By studying other tagged seabirds, we could learn more about our oceans, especially in more remote regions where it is challenging to collect oceanographic data.

Cooper also hopes the method can reduce the costs of generating tidal renewable energy, “which has been a barrier to the development of this much needed industry.”

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Police face recognition software misidentifies over 2,000 people as ‘criminals’


This video says about itself:

German police tests face recognition software | DW English

25 August 2017

Authorities trial new surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology at a train station in Berlin. Supporters say the new system is needed to prevent future terrorist attacks. But not everyone agrees.

From the BBC:

2,000 wrongly matched with possible criminals at Champions League

4 May 2018

More than 2,000 people were wrongly identified as possible criminals by facial scanning technology at the 2017 Champions League final in Cardiff.

South Wales Police used the technology as about 170,000 people were in Cardiff for the Real Madrid v Juventus game.

But out of the 2,470 potential matches with custody pictures – 92% – or 2,297 were wrong … according to data on the force’s website. …

But civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch called for the system to be scrapped, adding it was “outrageous” that more than 2,000 at the event had been wrongly identified.

“Not only is real-time facial recognition a threat to civil liberties, it is a dangerously inaccurate policing tool”, said director Silkie Carlo.

“The tech misidentifies innocent members of the public at a terrifying rate, leading to intrusive police stops and citizens being treated as suspects.”

Misleading, incompetent and authoritarian: the [British] Home Office’s defence of facial recognition: here.

It looks like that British police software is as ‘reliable’ as the fraudulent software of Volkswagen and other car corporations mismeasuring exhaust pollution. And as dangerous to human rights as the ‘Palantir’ Big Brother software of United States Donald Trump-loving and women’s suffrage-hating billionaire Peter Thiel.

Face recognition at Dutch private businesses: here.

An AI Lie Detector Is Going to Start Questioning Travelers in the EU: here.

Anti-Welsh racism in Murdoch media


This video says about itself:

Racism against the Welsh….. in Wales

27 November 2017

Numerous incidents of Welsh people, in particular, Welsh-speakers, being treated like unwanted foreigners in their own country.

By Bernadette Horton in Wales:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

No place for any anti-Welsh bigotry

BERNADETTE HORTON takes Rod Liddle to task over his latest column which is insulting to the people of Wales

RIGHT-WING hack Rod Liddle decided to give his extreme personal views in the recent edition of the [Rupert Murdoch-owned] Sunday Times on the naming of the second bridge across the river Severn linking Wales with England.

The background to the story is that First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones and Tory PM Theresa May decided jointly to name the crossing as The Prince of Wales Bridge in honour of Prince Charles.

Many people in Wales are unsurprisingly annoyed and angry at this decision and feel the Welsh people should have been consulted and perhaps a choice of names submitted and a public majority vote made.

The days of people doffing their caps to royalty are long gone and it irks proud Welsh people the bridge is being named after the heir to the English throne when we could have named the bridge after the last real Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr or perhaps someone like the inspirational Aneurin Bevan, father of the NHS, or distinguished writer Dylan Thomas. Some people suggested Tom Jones and Shirley Bassey would be much higher on the list than Prince Charles.

Deciding to capitalise on the growing discontent and petitions being started in Wales to change the bridge’s name, Liddle wrote in the Sunday Times: “The Welsh, or some of them, are moaning that a motorway bridge linking their rain-sodden valleys with the First World is to be renamed The Prince of Wales bridge in honour of the venal, grasping, deranged (if Tom Bower’s new biography is accurate) heir to the throne.

“That Plaid Cymru woman who is always on Question Time, has been leading the protests. They would prefer it to be called something indecipherable like Ysgythysgymlnggwchgwch Bryggy.

“Let them have their way. So long as it allows people to get out of the place pronto, should we worry about what it’s called?”

Liddle is straight out of the 1970s Jim Davidson book of casual racism that died a death back in the era with good reason.

The Irish were always the topic of such jokes, as were the Scots and the Welsh, portrayed as “Paddies, Jocks and Taffs”.

Never the English. The 1970s were also a time of racist “humour” against black people, with comedians mocking the accents of Caribbeans.

But these too became tired and shoddy. Regionally, people from Birmingham have been portrayed as slow, people from Liverpool as thieves, people from the north-east as incoherent, people from London as wide boys.

But Liddle and his ilk of middle-class, middle-aged white men need to grow up and understand that this form of casual regional prejudice fuels an undercurrent of social media abuse that can then take the form of physical attacks out on the streets in 21st century Britain.

There is a moral duty not to print racist remarks in newspapers and the Sunday Times is culpable by allowing this diatribe to be printed.

We all know the sick and disgusting online remarks that spew forth from the likes of failed Apprentice applicant Katie Hopkins, who tries to shock simply in order to garner headlines.

But she crossed the line so far even the Daily Mail got rid of her as a columnist, as did The Sun.

Liddle crosses a few lines in his piece. His sexism is blatant, as he well knows the name of Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood but refers to her as “that Plaid Cymru woman” in order to belittle her in print.

Wood is a serving assembly member and leader of her party and should be referred to as such.

His allusion to Wales as some backward country behind the supposed First World country of England reeks of imperialism and a Little Englander attitude that is entrenched in the far-right political parties he probably admires.

Liddle obviously knows nothing about Wales, Welsh people or Welsh history and should refrain from public comment until he is better informed.

I contacted North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones about Liddle’s article and he is looking into it, alongside North Wales Police.

We have to report newspapers and their reporters who think casual racism towards a country and its people is OK because it quite frankly is not.

There are some warped idiots out there who see emblazoned headlines about Muslims, refugees and immigration and are acting out assaults, murders and hate crime because they are being psyched up to do so by our right-wing media.

Some people will laugh and say Liddle’s article isn’t casual racism but a light-hearted skit on Wales and the Welsh. Well, we don’t see it quite that way in Wales and think attacks in print by national newspapers should not go unpunished.

I sincerely hope the Sunday Times acts and issues a public apology for allowing this article to be printed and that Liddle apologises and makes an effort to learn there is no place for his casual racism in modern Britain.

Here in Wales the issue of the naming of the second bridge will not go away. Welsh people have a right to be part of a process to name such landmarks and, as online petitions are racking up large numbers of signatures, the hope is the bridge can be renamed.

In future when new buildings and structures are built, people should be fully included in the naming of them and not have some royalist name imposed upon us simply because our government’s leaders say so.

Australian Newspaper [Herald Sun, owned by Rupert Murdoch] Doubles Down On Racist Serena Williams Cartoon: here.

How zebrafish get their stripes


This video from the USA says about itself:

6 November 2014

In the clip, a 10-day-old zebrafish gets its stripes in this series of images taken one a day for 30 days. Credit required: D Parichy Lab/University of Washington.

From Cardiff University in Wales:

How do zebrafish develop their stripes?

Cardiff University mathematician discovers key aspect underlining distinctive patterns of the zebrafish

September 28, 2017

A Cardiff University mathematician has thrown new light on the longstanding mystery of how zebrafish develop the distinctive striped patterns on their skin.

In a new study, Dr Thomas Woolley has simulated the intricate process that sees the pigmented skin cells of the zebrafish engaged in a game of cat and mouse as they chase after each in the early developmental stages before resting to create a final pattern.

Dr Woolley discovered that a key factor is the angles at which the cells chase after each other, and these angles can determine whether a zebrafish develops its distinctive stripes, broken stripes, polka-dot patterns or sometimes no pattern at all.

The findings have been presented in the journal Physical Review E.

Rather than have a pattern ingrained in their genetic code, zebrafish start their lives as transparent embryos before developing iconic patterns over time as they grow into adults. As is often the case in nature, many possible mutations exist and this can dictate the pattern that develops in the zebrafish.

Several researchers have studied how and why these pattern form and have concluded that it’s a result of three types of pigment cells interacting with one other. More specifically, black pigment cells (melanophores), yellow pigment cells (xanthophores) and silvery pigment cells (iridophores), chase after each other until a final pattern is reached.

As hundreds of these chases play out, the yellow cells eventually push the black cells into a position to form a distinct pattern.

Dr Woolley, from Cardiff University’s School of Mathematics, said: “Experimentalists have demonstrated that when these two types of cells are placed in a petri dish, they appear to chase after each other, a bit like pacman chasing the ghosts. However, rather than chase each other in straight lines, they appear to be chasing each other in a spiral.

“My new research has shown that the angle at which the cells chase after each other is crucial to determining the final pattern that we see on different types of zebrafish.”

In his study, Dr Woolley performed a number of computer simulations that took a broad view of how cells move and interact when the zebrafish is just a few weeks old. Different patterns were then spontaneously generated depending on the chasing rules.

By experimenting with different chasing angles in his simulations, Dr Woolley was able to successfully recreate the different patterns that are exhibited by zebrafish.

A new type of zebrafish that produces fluorescent tags in migratory embryonic nerve precursor cells could help a Rice University neurobiologist and cancer researcher find the origins of the third-most common pediatric cancer in the U.S.: here.

Jeremy Corbyn speeches in Wales


This 7 June 2017 video from Wales is called Jeremy Corbyn appeared to a vibrant crowd at Colwyn Bay. Colwyn Bay is a town with a local authority area o about 30,000 people.

This 7 June 2017 video from Wales is called Jeremy Corbyn speaks to a large crowd at Weaver Vale; around 3,000 people. Weaver Vale is a constituency which voted Conservative last time.

Britain goes to the polls tomorrow at the end of an election campaign like no other. In the space of a few weeks, a predicted Conservative landslide has given way to speculation about a reduced majority, a hung parliament or even a Labour victory: here.