News Round Up 372

Deutsche Welle reports that, on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a German group, Die Offene Gesselschaft (The Open Society), is sending a not-so-subtle message to President Trump. In what they have called “The Wall against Walls initiative”, they are sending a 2.7-ton remnant of the Cold War relic.

The concrete slab is engraved with a message to the president reminding him of “America’s commitment to build a world without walls.”

The message says:

“We would like to give you one of the last pieces of the failed Berlin Wall to commemorate the United States’ dedication to building a world without walls,” and is signed “Citizens of Berlin.”


According to the BBC Russian scientists, who were tracking migrating eagles using SMS transmitters, ran up a huge bill in data roaming charges when some of the birds flew over the border into Iran and Pakistan.

The team started a Crowdfunding campaign to pay the bills, but there is a happy ending: Russian mobile operator Megafon, has offered to cancel the debt, and put the team on a cheaper tariff.

I wish my mobile operator were that generous.


Another clever use of technology as reported on in the BBC, is that scientists are developing techniques to track great whales from space in order to monitor whale strandings.

In a mass stranding in 2015, 343 sei whales were reported to have been stranded, but an analysis of high-res satellite images has now identified there were many more bodies.

It would be great if there were an early warning system, whereby we could help these wonderful creatures.


According to The Cumberland News, Britain’s first black police officer has been honoured with a plaque on the site of Maryport’s former jailhouse: John Kent was the son of Thomas Kent, a slave bought by the Senhouse family and subsequently freed in the UK. Mr Kent, who died in 1888, was born in Cumbria in 1805, and became a police officer in 1835.


The Independent reports that a beetle that was first found in Kenya in 1965, is to be named after climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The beetle which is less than 1mm long, and has no wings or eyes, was discovered in a collection at the Natural History Museum by Dr Michael Darby, who said: “I chose this name as I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner and wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.”

Seemingly the beetle has two long antennae, which in the right light might look like two long pigtails. The name? Nelloptodes gretae.


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