Red Kites in the snow today. Superb. https://t.co/6WvsC6FYsw—
Drew Buckley (@drewbphoto) December 08, 2017
This video is from Wales.
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.
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.
This video from the USA says about itself:
FAKE: Fox News Interviews Imaginary “Swedish Defense Advisor”
27 February 2017
Fox News brings on Nils Bildt, a supposed expert on Sweden, to tell Bill O’Reilly‘s audience that there was some legitimacy in Donald Trump‘s claim of a recent Swedish terrorist attack, but actual Swedish national security officials have never heard of him.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Fake news isn’t new, you can ask Zinoviev
Monday 29th May 2017
“It’s been around at least since the 1920s when the Zinoviev letter was invented and propagated in the newspapers to turn an election against Labour,” she said in the session featured on RT programme Renegade Inc.
Cardiff University School of Journalism lecturer Mike Berry reported on analysis of coverage of the banking crisis in newspapers and the BBC radio Today programme.
The White House social media director got in a bit of hot water after tweeting fake news.
This 2015 video is called Puffins Pick the Perfect Home.
From the University of Oxford in England:
Puffins that stay close to their partner during migration have more chicks
Female winter foraging is also critical to puffin pair breeding success
April 7, 2017
Summary: Many long-lived birds, such as swans, albatrosses or indeed, puffins, are known for their long-lived monogamous, ‘soulmate’ pairings. Now a study has found that puffin pairs that follow similar migration routes breed more successfully the following season.
Puffin pairs that follow similar migration routes breed more successfully the following season, a new Oxford University study has found.
Many long-lived birds, such as swans, albatrosses or indeed, puffins, are known for their long-lived monogamous, ‘soulmate’ pairings. Scientists have long understood that in these species, reproductive performance is influenced by pair bond strength and longevity, with long-established pairs usually better at rearing offspring. However, in species like puffins which have to migrate to distant wintering grounds during the non-breeding season, very little is known about how mates maintain their pair-bond and behave. Do they keep in contact to maintain their relationship? Or do they go their own way and abandon their mate until the following spring?
The new study which features in the April 7th 2017 edition of Marine Ecology Progress Series, focused on whether puffin pairs stayed in contact during the winter months or instead headed off and migrated independently, prioritising their individual health and wellbeing, and whether this had any effect on the pairs’ subsequent breeding success.
Over the course of six years, the team from Oxford’s Department of Zoology, in collaboration with the London Institute of Zoology, used miniature tracking devices called geolocators to track the migratory movements and behaviour of 12 pairs of Atlantic Puffins, breeding on Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire. They assessed if and how much pairs’ migratory strategies were related to their future breeding performance and fitness.
While pair members migrated separately, their routes were notably similar during the first part of the winter. Partners would then follow separate paths at the later end of the season, but synchronised their timings of return to the colony in spring.
A key finding of the study is that pairs which followed more similar migration routes bred earlier and more successfully the following spring, showing that there is a clear benefit for puffins to migrate close to their mates. This proximity may make it easier for pairs to synchronise their return to the colony in spring.
The findings also reveal that while migrating close to its partner is key to a puffin’s reproductive success, there are other factors at play. Female puffins were found to forage more than males, proving critical to their breeding success the following season. Female puffins that foraged more over winter were able to lay eggs earlier and rear pufflings more successfully, most likely because they were in a better pre-breeding condition.
Dr Annette Fayet, a Junior Research Fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford and of the Department of Zoology at Oxford University, who is lead author of the study, said: ‘While migrating close to one’s partner leads to more successful breeding in puffins, female winter foraging effort seems to be even more critical to ensure high reproductive success. A likely explanation for this finding is that female puffins which spend more time fuelling up over winter return to the colony in better condition and are able to lay higher quality eggs, rearing stronger chicks. Overall it seems that prioritising individual condition is more important for seabirds’ breeding success than maintaining contact with their partner outside of the breeding season. However, following similar migration routes to one another may help synchronise returns to the breeding colony, which is known to be important for pair bond and breeding success in many migratory birds.’
Moving forward the team hopes to build on the findings and recent technological developments, investigating the movements and behaviour of seabirds when they are at sea. Dr Fayet said: ‘At the end of the breeding season puffins disappear at sea for over eight months before returning the following spring, and scientists have long had questions about where they go during that time. However, until recently tracking devices were too big to use on small birds like puffins. The recent miniaturisation of tracking technology mean we can now study the at-sea movements of puffins and other small migratory seabirds remotely over months and even years. Complex analytical techniques like machine learning can also be used to identify behaviours in tracking data, allowing us to know not only where birds go, but also what they do at sea (e.g. flying, foraging). This will help us study seabirds’ at-sea ecology and behaviour, which is currently poorly understood, but the results will also be invaluable for the conservation of seabirds, which are currently threatened by ocean pollution and overfishing, making them the most endangered group of birds on the planet. This includes puffins, which have been dramatically declining in the last few decades.’
This video says about itself:
7 Wonders of India: Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
6 February 2009
Found in the Indian Ocean along the Bay of Bengal is Orissa. Average weight of the turtles is just over 100 lb (up to 50 kgs). They have a high-domed shell, with a carapace length of only 30 inches (70 cms). Olive Ridleys are omnivorous, feeding on crabs, shrimp, rock lobsters, sea grasses, snails, fish, sessile or pelagic tunocates and small invertebrates.
The Orissa coast is one of the three sites worldwide where mass nesting of the Olive Ridley Turtle occurs. This sea turtle is especially known for its mass nesting when several thousand turtles migrate to the breeding ground to mate and nest simultaneously. Hindu mythology worships sea turtles as an incarnation of one of their gods. Over the past five years, sea turtles have suffered mass mortality along the Orissa coast due to death by drowning as incidental catch in trawl – fishing nets. About 5,000 to 10,000 dead turtles have been washed ashore each year, a total of over 100,000 in the last 10 years.
By Peter Frost in Britain:
A rare visitor washes up on Britain’s shores
Friday 3rd February 2017
AN OVER two-foot long rare olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) came ashore on an Anglesey beach last November.
It was the first ever example of this very rare species to be found alive on a British beach. Local people nicknamed the turtle Menai.
The animal was in poor condition, she was severely hypothermic when found stranded.
She was around 15,000 miles from her usual habitat, warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The aim is to get her fit enough to be returned to the wild. The scans discovered Menai has gas inside her carapace, making it difficult for her to submerge and swim underwater. She is also suffering lung damage.
But experts who are caring for Menai called the results “good news.” “There are no huge worries,” Anglesey Sea Zoo director Frankie Hobro told us.
“We are happy now that we know what the problem is. We can now research what treatment she needs to recover. The next stage is to drain the gas and correct her buoyancy problems.”
Menai is the first olive ridley turtle to be sighted in Britain since records began in 1748. Now olive ridley turtle experts are planning her rehabilitation and hope to release her back into the wild.
The olive ridley is the second smallest sea turtle after the very closely related Kemp’s ridley. Olive ridleys weigh between 75-100 pounds and reach 2-2 ½ feet in length.
They are named for their pale green carapace or shell and are the most abundant of all sea turtle species.
Olive ridleys occur globally and are found mainly in tropical regions of the Pacific, Indian and southern Atlantic Oceans.
They are primarily pelagic, spending much of their life in the open ocean but may also inhabit bays and estuaries.
Some olive ridleys lay eggs on solitary beach sites but some come together for huge and spectacular beach invasions where thousands of females land on the same beach at the same time to lay their eggs. These spectacular mass-egg layings are called arribadas (“arrival” in Spanish).
Strangely there are only a few places in the world where olive ridley arribadas occur. In other parts of the world, they are solitary nesters.
Though arribadas are not well understood; the timing may coincide with weather events such as strong winds or cloudy days, or with moon and tide cycles.
The turtles congregate in large groups offshore of nesting beaches and then simultaneously come ashore to nest.
Females may remain offshore near nesting beaches throughout the nesting season.
These turtles eat a variety of prey including crabs, shrimp, lobster, urchins, jelly fish, algae and fish.
Despite their relative abundance in comparison to other sea turtles, olive ridleys are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List and are listed as threatened in the US.
Although they are still the most abundant species, their numbers have decreased by approximately half since the 1960s.
Historically, the olive ridley has been hunted for food, bait, oil, leather and fertiliser.
The meat is not considered a delicacy. The eggs however are said to be delicious and have always been a valuable commodity. Egg collection is illegal in most of the countries where olive ridleys nest, but these laws are rarely strictly enforced.
Legal egg harvesting has been allowed in several localities. Perhaps the biggest is in Ostional, Costa Rica, where villagers have been able to harvest and sell around three million eggs each year.
Over 27 million eggs are left un-harvested and villagers claim they play a large role in protecting these nests from predators, thereby increasing hatching success.
In most other regions, illegal poaching of eggs is considered a major threat to olive ridley populations and attracts much criticism from conservationists and sea turtle biologists.
As well as egg digging, other major threats to the turtle include degradation of nesting beaches, particularly in India where large commercial coastal developments threaten traditional turtles nesting sites.
Many of their nesting beaches have already been destroyed by coastal development and subsequent erosion.
Other threats include the direct harvest of turtles and eggs for human consumption and the accidental capture of turtles in commercial fishing gear.
It is estimated that more than 60,000 sea turtles, mainly olive ridleys, are caught and drowned in commercial shrimp trawl nets each year.
Over the last few years, winter storms have led to a steep rise in the number of turtles being washed up on our British beaches.
Last winter, a total of 16 warm-water turtles — some critically endangered — were found on the British shoreline, the highest total since 2008 according to environmental groups.
Most of the comatose turtles washed up are juveniles, less able to cope with strong waves, and they are usually starving and suffering from hypothermia.
Here is some advice for those taking winter walks on our beaches who may find a sea turtle washed up by recent gales.
The reptiles can’t stand the cold weather, which shuts them down and they eventually wash up on our shores.
When they wash up they are so moribund that, to the casual observer, they may appear to be dead but actually they may still be alive, and with expert care can be rescued and nurtured back to health to make a full recovery.
Under no circumstances should turtles be put back into the sea, as the thermal shock from the cold waters would certainly kill them.
You should immediately report any stranded animals to the RSPCA.
This video says about itself:
3 November 2016
Women and children are among those killed in the operation – which was called in to protect US and Afghan Special Forces battling the Taliban.
At least two US soldiers have died and four others were injured in the fighting.
Al Jazeera’s Richard Martin reports.
Warning: you may find some of the images in report disturbing.
From daily The Morning Star in Britain:
Bid to stop deportation of Afghan national fails
Friday 27th january 2017
A BID to stop the deportation of an Afghan national from the Welsh city he has called home for a decade appeared to have failed last night.
Bashir Naderi, 20, has lived in Cardiff since he was 10, after his mother paid traffickers to bring him to Britain.
The case against his deportation became a cause celebre with senior politicians and high-profile individuals, including local MP Jo Stevens and singer turned DJ Cerys Matthews who gave Mr Naderi their backing.
His deportation was temporarily halted by a judge at the 11th hour in October and opposition was further bolstered by a 14,000-signature petition handed to the Home Office in January.
Mr Naderi’s partner Nicole Cooper said they were “devastated” his leave to remain has been refused.
She said the couple’s solicitor delivered the news on Wednesday but that they were still waiting to see the Home Office documents.
Some 393 refugees & migrants locked up in the UK tried to take their lives in 2015: here.