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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 147,017

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Tyrannosaurs may have hunted in packs like wolves, new research has found

Paleontologists say a mass grave in Utah shows the dinosaurs may not have always been solitary predators as previously thought

Associated Press
Mon 19 Apr 2021 18.45 EDT

Tyrannosaur dinosaurs may not have been solitary predators as long envisioned but more like social carnivores such as wolves, new research announced on Monday has found.

Paleontologists developed the theory while studying a mass tyrannosaur death site found seven years ago in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, one of two monuments that the Biden administration is considering restoring to their full size after former president Donald Trump shrank them.

Using geochemical analysis of the bones and rock, a team of researchers from the University of Arkansas determined that the dinosaurs died and were buried in the same place and were not the result of fossils washing in from multiple areas.

Kristi Curry Rogers, a biology professor at Macalester College, said this research is a “good start” but more evidence would be needed before determining that the tyrannosaurs were living in a social group.


One of Earth's nearest stars may be a dark matter factory

By Adam Mann - Live Science Contributor 16 hours ago

A hunt for hypothetical axions streaming from Betelgeuse turns up empty but helps physicists set constraints on their properties.

A visual illustration of Betelgeuse's mysterious dimming. A new study suggests it could be a good candidate for finding axions. (Image credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Wheatley (STScI))

Deep in its searing hot belly, the giant red star Betelgeuse could be producing tons of hypothetical dark matter particles called axions that, if they exist, would give off a telltale signal. A recent search for such a tantalizing emission has turned up empty, but helps physicists place new limits on the putative axion’s properties.

Appearing as a bright red dot in the constellation Orion, Betelgeuse is a well-studied star. It is cosmologically close, being only 520 light-years from Earth, and made headlines last year when it started mysteriously dimming, leading some researchers to believe it could be preparing to explode as a supernova.

Because it is such a large and hot star, Betelgeuse might also be a perfect place to find axions, scientists say. These conjectured particles could have perhaps a millionth or even a billionth the mass of an electron and are ideal candidates to make up dark matter, the mysterious substance vastly outweighing ordinary matter in the universe but whose nature is still largely undetermined.

As dark matter, axions shouldn’t interact much with luminous particles, but according to some theories, there is a small probability that photons, or light particles, could convert back and forth into axions in the presence of a strong magnetic field, Mengjiao Xiao, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, told Live Science.


Gladiator arena from Roman era unearthed in Turkey

By Laura Geggel - Editor 16 hours ago

Spectators likely bet on the arena's wild animals fights and gladiator battles.

An aerial view shows the Roman-era arena poking out of a hilly area in Mastaura, Turkey. (Image credit: Courtesy of Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Umut Tuncer/Aydın Provincial Director of Culture and Tourism)

Archaeologists in Turkey have discovered the remains of a "magnificent" Roman-era arena, where up to 20,000 spectators likely cheered and jeered as they watched gladiator matches and wild animal fights, the excavators said.

The 1,800-year-old arena was discovered on the rolling hills of the ancient city of Mastaura, in Turkey's western Aydın Province. Its large central area, where "bloody shows" once took place, has since filled with earth and vegetation over the centuries.

"Most of the amphitheater is under the ground," and the part that is visible is largely covered by "shrubs and wild trees," Mehmet Umut Tuncer, the Aydın Culture and Tourism provincial director and project survey leader Sedat Akkurnaz, an archaeologist at Adnan Menderes University in Turkey, told Live Science in a translated email.


Democrats block Republican bid to censure Maxine Waters over Chauvin remarks

Congresswoman defiant as Republicans condemn her comments in support of protesters

Alexandra Villarreal and Joan E Greve
Tue 20 Apr 2021 20.48 EDT

Maxine Waters remained defiant as Democrats successfully blocked a long-shot attempt by Republicans to censure and expel the veteran congresswoman over comments on the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, which the judge said could provide grounds for appeal.

“I am not worried that they’re going to continue to distort what I say,” Waters, 82, told the Grio. “This is who they are and this is how they act. And I’m not going to be bullied by them.”

Republicans had unleashed fiery criticism against Waters after the California Democrat pledged on Saturday that protesters would become “more confrontational” if Chauvin were acquitted.

House Democrats on Tuesday voted down a resolution from the Republican minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, to censure Waters over her comments, just hours before Chauvin was convicted of George Floyd’s murder.


(My bolding.)

Police killing hundreds in Rio de Janeiro despite court ban on favela raids

The Brazilian state has seen nearly 800 police-caused deaths in nine months, with poor city communities raided almost daily

Sun 18 Apr 2021 07.00 EDT

Nearly 800 people were killed by police in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro in the past nine months, as raids remain a terrifying routine for favela families – despite a supreme court ruling to halt incursions during the coronavirus pandemic.

New figures show that between June 2020 and March 2021, 797 people were killed in Rio state, 85% in the city of Rio and surrounding metropolitan region.

The court ruled to suspend police raids in Brazilian favelas in June 2020, amid public outcry following the death of 14-year-old João Pedro Matos Pinto, who was shot in the back during a police incursion.

Between June and September, police raids plummeted 64% compared with the average for the same period in previous years, according to a report by Geni, a research group at the Federal Fluminense University (UFF).

But incursions resumed in October, one month after the acting governor, Cláudio Castro, took office and rapidly doubled to 38 in October, compared with the previous month. In the following nine months, the communities of Greater Rio saw an average of nearly one raid every day, the report showed.


Governor of Rio Janeiro

Cláudio Castro

Cláudio Castro

Big improvement Cláudio Castro

Mobs Rioted in Washington 173 Years Ago Monday to Defend Slaveholders

April 19, 2021

The violence on April 18-19, 1848, which targeted the abolitionist press, followed one of the largest attempted escapes from slavery in U.S. history, Michael David Cohen recounts.

An abolitionist lithograph of the slave trade in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Capitol in the background.
(Library of Congress)
By Michael David Cohen
American University

The summer of 2020 was not the first time America saw protests and violence over the treatment of African Americans.

Long before the demonstrations over Black Lives Matter, long before the marches of the civil rights era, strife over racism convulsed the nation’s capital. But those riots in Washington, D.C., were led by proslavery mobs.

In the spring of 1848, conspirators orchestrated one of the largest escapes from slavery in U.S. history. In doing so, they sparked a crisis that entangled advocates for slavery’s abolition, white supremacists, the press and even the president.

Daniel Bell, a free Black man in Washington, wanted to liberate his enslaved wife, children and grandchildren. Citing a promise of freedom from their onetime owner, he tried but failed to do so through the courts. So he started planning an escape. A lawyer he consulted knew of others eager to flee lives of bondage. He and Bell decided to help them all.


CIA Assassination Plot Targeted Cuba's Raul Castro

As Castro Retires on 60th Anniversary of the Bay of Pigs, National Security Archive Posts Declassified Top Secret CIA Cables, Reports from 1960

Agency Officials Willing to Pay Over $10,000 For ‘Fatal Accident’

Another Assassination Plot against Fidel Castro Was Part of Bay of Pigs Invasion Strategy

Washington D.C., April 16, 2021 – In the earliest known CIA assassination plot against leaders of the Cuban revolution, high agency officials offered the pilot of a plane carrying Raul Castro from Prague to Havana “payment after successful completion of ten thousand dollars” to “incur risks in arranging accident” during the flight, according to formally TOP SECRET documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The pilot, who the CIA had earlier recruited as an intelligence asset in Cuba, “asked for assurance that in event of his [own] death the U.S. would see that his two sons were given a college education.” “This assurance was given,” his CIA handler in Havana, William J. Murray, reported.

According to TOP SECRET cables between the CIA headquarters and the CIA Havana station, and debriefings Murray later provided on "questionable activities," the plot quickly evolved after the Cuban pilot, Jose Raul Martinez, advised Murray that he had been selected to fly a chartered Cubana Airlines plane to Prague to pick up Raul Castro and other high-ranking Cuban leaders on July 21, 1960. When Murray informed his superiors at Langley headquarters, as he later told the Rockefeller Commission on the CIA, “headquarters cabled back that it was considering the possibility of a fatal accident and asked whether the pilot would be interested.”

The cable, classified “TOP SECRET RYBAT OPERATIONAL IMMEDIATE” and signed by CIA Deputy Director of Plans Tracy Barnes, and J.C. King, the head of the CIA’s Western Hemisphere Division, informed Murray that “possible removal of top three leaders is receiving serious consideration at HQS” and asked if the pilot had “motivation sufficient to incur risks of arranging accident during return trip” from Prague. To provide sufficient motivation, Barnes and King offered $10,000, or “a reasonable demand in excess of that” as well as to arrange rescue facilities for the pilot after the “accident” took place.

Murray discussed the proposal with Martinez in a car as the pilot drove to the Havana airport to fly to Prague. “Subj willing to take calculated risk but limited to foll[owing] possibilities which can pass as accidental: A. engine burnout on take off to delay or harass trip. B. Vague possibility water ditching approx. 3 hours out from Cuba,” Murray reported to Langley after the meeting. “Subj rules out engine failure in flight due [to] imminent danger [of] fire and lack of opportunity to save any passengers or crew … Doubts ability perform real accident without endangering lives of all on board.”


Rich vs poor: Peru's Castillo lays down socialist marker for election runoff

April 18, 2021
11:34 PM CDT
Marco Aquino

3 minutes read

Pedro Castillo of Peru Libre party looks on after casting his vote, outside a polling station in Cajamarca, Peru April 11, 2021. Vidal Tarqui/ANDINA/Handout via REUTERS

Peruvian socialist Pedro Castillo, the shock winner of Sunday's presidential election first round, has laid down a marker as the defender of the poor ahead of a run-off vote in June.

The little-known union leader and teacher, who rode on a horse to vote and often wears a cowboy hat, rose from the back of the pack in pre-election polls to finish first. He has around 19% of the vote with of ballots 96% counted.

He will face conservative Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of ex-President Alberto Fujimori - imprisoned in 2009 over human rights abuses - and the heir of a powerful family that dominated Peru's political scene for decades in the presidency and in Congress.

"This is a battle between the rich and the poor, the struggle between the ... master and the slave," Castillo told reporters from Peru's north in comments broadcast on local TV channels.


Editorial from 4 days ago: The will of the Ecuadorian people is under threat

The world should watch Ecuador’s April 11 presidential runoff closely to ensure no foul play, whether internal or external, disrupts the election or subverts the will of Ecuadorian voters.

Luis Ortiz
Political analyst, development consultant former counselor for Ecuador, Colombia, and Chile at the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Development Bank (2009–2017)

Ecuador's presidential candidate Andres Arauz gestures as he attends a closing campaign rally, in Guayaquil, Ecuador April 7, 2021 [Santiago Arcos/Reuters]

On April 11, the small South American nation of Ecuador – home to the Galapagos Islands and one of the oldest civilisations in the Western Hemisphere – is set to hold a presidential runoff pitting a greying member of the country’s financial elite, Guillermo Lasso, against 36-year-old Andrés Arauz, a progressive US-trained economist.

Arauz won the election’s first round with a 13-point lead over Lasso, and recent polling suggests that he could win the runoff by a landslide. Yet a fraught electoral process, foreign interference, and an avalanche of fake news threatens to derail Arauz’s candidacy and imperils the runoff election.

That Arauz won the first round by a wide margin is hardly surprising. While still in his 20s, the young economist played an important role in developing and executing popular government programmes during the administration of Rafael Correa (2007-17), which oversaw a period of dramatic social progress. Under Correa, poverty was reduced by 38 percent, extreme poverty by 47 percent, and inequality by almost 10 percent (as measured by the Gini coefficient).

Correa’s confrontational style and numerous clashes with the owners of large media companies and private banks earned him powerful enemies and a steady stream of negative media coverage, but did not seem to dampen his popularity. He was re-elected twice in massive landslides. In his last election, in 2013, he won by a margin of nearly 35 points against the runner-up, who happened to be Guillermo Lasso, a conservative banker.

It now appears that history will repeat itself, with Arauz widely expected to trounce Lasso at the polls. After four years of austerity and the repression of popular movements under President Lenín Moreno, the majority of Ecuadorians appear eager to support a return to progressive governance. Moreover, Arauz has a less confrontational approach to politics than Correa, and has reached out earnestly to Indigenous groups and to those who voted for the rival left-leaning Social Democratic Party. His plan to build an inclusive national coalition to tackle climate change, poverty, and social exclusion seems to have resonated with much of the population.

But dark clouds are gathering over Ecuador’s elections. A leading Ecuadorian newspaper recently published a call for the military to intervene to prevent the victory of a “Correista”, and some prominent public figures have echoed these appeals. This is particularly troubling in a country that has suffered numerous military coups, and in a region where military involvement in politics has been making a comeback (see, for instance, the role of the Bolivian military in the removal of Evo Morales in 2019, and the Brazilian military’s current involvement in the government of Jair Bolsonaro).


Ecuador to choose between socialism and free markets in presidential runoff


By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuadoreans on Sunday will choose between a conservative banker and a left-wing economist in a presidential runoff that follows months of debate over whether the country’s economic malaise can be best treated through socialism or market-friendly policies.

Polls broadly indicate socialist Andres Arauz, a protege of former President Rafael Correa, with a lead over rival Guillermo Lasso, with many showing a quarter or more of the electorate either undecided or planning to spoil their ballot.

A victory for Arauz would further consolidate a string of leftist electoral victories in South America in the last year, while a win for Lasso would leave Ecuador in the political and commercial orbit of the United States as he seeks to create jobs through foreign investment.

Investors are closely watching the outcome because Arauz has promised to renegotiate the terms of a financing deal with the International Monetary Fund and to vastly expand social welfare spending despite precarious state finances.


Ecuador fared so well with leftist President Rafael Correa. Voters expected far better when Correa's Vice President ran next, not knowing he would turn 180 degrees as soon as he was elected, and the country suffered. There shouldn't be a question about electing a progressive President this time.
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