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¿Wappin? La mezcla de viernes / The Friday mix

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Alison
Alison Krauss in Italy 2022. Photo by Earl J. McGehee.

Sounds coming through at The Crossroads of The World
Sonidos que vienen a través de la encrucijada del mundo

Bruce Springsteen – The Promised Land
https://youtu.be/0U5BmSRikl0

Hello Seahorse! – Bestia
https://youtu.be/Lbh9pQ0ls6w

Cienfue – Our Own Devices
https://youtu.be/1BAOiRBE1Qs

Stevie Nicks – Edge of Seventeen
https://youtu.be/nLytJRuUT4g

Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes Of The Brokenherted
https://youtu.be/RQjVIqq8LoI

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – When the Levee Breaks
https://youtu.be/vNkXoS3zutw

Susana Baca – Concierto “Maestra Vida”
https://youtu.be/pHrCTbdUraU

Stephen & Ziggy – Tribute to Bob Marley, Red Rocks 2022
https://youtu.be/jed_1XvaR88

 

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¿En qué andan los tiburones ballena?

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El seguimiento satelital del pez más grande del océano reveló información sobre sus patrones migratorios y de alimentación, pero los sitios donde se reproducen siguen siendo un misterio. El pez más grande del océano, el tiburón ballena (Rhincodon typus), es una especie altamente migratoria en peligro de extinción que requiere programas de conservación centrados en la protección de grandes áreas oceánicas y en el establecimiento de corredores marinos que trasciendan las fronteras nacionales. Foto por Caroline Collatos.

El seguimiento del pez más grande

por STRI

El pez más grande del océano es un trotamundos que puede verse ocasionalmente disfrutando de las aguas costeras del Pacífico panameño. Sin embargo, no se sabe mucho más sobre los hábitos del tiburón ballena (Rhincodon typus) en la región. Mediante el seguimiento satelital del paradero de 30 de ellos, científicos del Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales (STRI), el Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life y la Universidad de Panamá exploraron los factores que influyen en el comportamiento de esta especie en peligro de extinción.

El R. typus, al igual que otros grandes tiburones, puede tardar años o incluso décadas en alcanzar la madurez y reproducirse, lo que los hace vulnerables a las disminuciones poblacionales, especialmente cuando esto se combina con las amenazas humanas. Por ejemplo, pueden quedar capturados en las redes de pesca o enfrentarse al riesgo de colisiones con embarcaciones cuando las rutas de navegación coinciden con sus áreas de alimentación. Para poder proteger mejor la especie, primero es necesario entender y predecir su comportamiento.

El seguimiento satelital de esta especie, dirigido por el ecólogo marino de STRI Héctor Guzmán, reveló que los tiburones ballena se alimentan principalmente en las aguas costeras, los montes y cordilleras submarinas del Pacífico panameño, donde pueden encontrar abundancia de su alimento favorito: pequeños peces y plancton. También fueron ubicados nadando hacia el norte y el sur a lo largo de la costa, hacia México y Ecuador, y hacia el océano abierto para alimentarse.

“Esta especie requiere una clara planificación regional”, dijo Guzmán. “Una vez identificadas las zonas de alimentación y de cría, deberían aplicarse algunas medidas de protección. Las recientes expansiones de áreas marinas protegidas en toda la región ofrecen una plataforma interesante para las prácticas de conservación a gran escala.”

Aunque utilizaron las áreas marinas protegidas, los tiburones ballena también pasaron tiempo en zonas de pesca industrial y de tráfico de buques, lo que podría ponerlos en peligro, según el nuevo artículo publicado en Frontiers in Marine Science.

“El estudio demuestra lo complejo de la protección de los tiburones ballena: los individuos marcados visitaron 17 áreas marinas protegidas de 5 países, pero más del 77% de su tiempo estuvieron en áreas sin ninguna protección”, dijo Catalina Gómez, co-autora del estudio y ecóloga marina de la Universidad de Panamá.

Por tanto, para las especies altamente migratorias y en peligro de extinción, como el tiburón ballena, las medidas de conservación deben ir más allá del establecimiento de áreas marinas protegidas locales.

Los esfuerzos deben centrarse en la protección de grandes áreas oceánicas y en el establecimiento de corredores marinos que trasciendan las fronteras nacionales, por ejemplo: la recién expandida Área Marina Protegida de la Cordillera de Coiba, en Panamá, o el Corredor Marino del Pacífico Este Tropical, que conecta Coiba con las islas Cocos de Costa Rica, las Galápagos de Ecuador y la isla Malpelo de Colombia.

“Se debe continuar con un programa de monitoreo satelital periódico por dos razones principales: en primer lugar, aún no sabemos dónde se reproduce la especie y el rastreo puede llevarnos en la dirección correcta”, dijo Guzmán. “En segundo lugar, sabemos que se desplazan por extensas zonas. Hemos identificado posibles corredores o vías marítimas, así como zonas de agregación, que requieren atención para su manejo y normas de protección claras. El seguimiento nos permitirá identificar mejor esas rutas regionales”.

Además, el seguimiento satelital reveló un patrón migratorio del tiburón ballena que parece estar asociado a las corrientes oceánicas circulares o remolinos.

“Los remolinos son potenciales áreas de alimentación para las especies migratorias en los océanos, por lo que pueden nadar en esas áreas durante mucho tiempo mientras se alimentan”, dijo Guzmán. “Sin embargo, los remolinos son sistemas dinámicos y cambian constantemente de velocidad o fuerza, tamaño y ubicación, incluso estacionalmente. Estas zonas de alimentación son importantes para la conservación, sobre todo teniendo en cuenta su dinamismo y los posibles cambios asociados al cambio climático.”

Esta investigación fue parcialmente financiada por la Fundación MarViva (Panamá), la International Community Foundation-CANDEO, la Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación de Panamá (SENACYT) y su Sistema Nacional de Investigación, y el Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales.

Referencia: Guzman HM, Collatos CM, Gómez C. (2022) Movement, behavior and habitat use of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in the tropical eastern Pacific. Frontiers in Marine Science.

Foto por Caroline Collatos.
 

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Jackson, There are US military interventions, and then…

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Army vet
US Army Captain Ashley Hydrick, a veterinarian assigned to the Multinational Force and Observers, Sinai, Egypt, provides a routine check up on a cat. US Army photo from 2014.

More international volunteers are coming to Panama

by Eric Jackson

The COVID plague is still with us, and even if we can estimate that the worst of the pestilence is behind us, many consequences linger. The economy has taken a terrible beating. Our public health care system really isn’t up to the task of diagnosing, monitoring and treating long COVID symptoms. And then, there are all the dogs and cats that were abandoned, mainly by folks who could no longer feed them.

Suddenly unemployed middle class Panamanians would take their dogs or cats on a drive into the Interior, and when confident that they were far enough away so that their pets would never return to them, put them out of the car and drive away. Often there were people to take them in, but then for more than a year the spay and neuter groups’ events were shut down, the animals tended to be let out in places where such activities are not held anyway, and a lot of the people who took the animals in are bus riders who just can’t hop in the car with their new charges in search of veterinary care.

The dog and cat populations are exploding and the spay and neuter events are overbooked and overwhelmed. All available additional help is needed. Meanwhile, Migracion reports for this or that sort of mission, more international volunteers are coming to or through Panama lately.

The US Army Veterinarian Corps began in 1916, as US entry into World War I became ever more likely. Its first mission was the inspection of meat animals to be consumed by the troops, to avoid food poisoning and such. Back then they also used mules and horses to haul caissons full of ammunition to combat posts where the roads were not so good. Over the years the US Armed Forces also employed a lot of dogs — as guards, as trackers, as explosives or drug sniffers, in rescuing people buried in battlefield rubble.

In the wake of the world wars, there were US military bases sprinkled around the globe and army vets would care for the pets of military personnel and their dependent families.

This writer’s first contact? At the edges of the hospital grounds of the old Coco Solo Hospital — now the Policlinica Hugo Spadafora — there would from time to time be these horses tied up just outside the jungle. These would be inspected for which insects and arachnids they might get attached to them, and blood samples were taken to see if any such vectors were spreading tropical diseases that could affect humans. People from the US Army Veterinarian Corps did this work.

When the US military bases here were closing ahead of the 1999 deadline, the army’s vet clinic in Corozal was busy getting all stray dogs and cats on the bases neutered and adopted out, so as not to leave problems for Panama. I adopted a kitty there.

So, does “US military intervention” mean that to please right-wing exile groups in Miami, US forces ought to use Howard as a springboard for intervention against fairly elected or otherwise put into power left-wing regimes? Like, for example, that “humanitarian coup” fiasco on the bridge between Colombia and Venezuela a few years back? That we don’t need.

But all along, Panama also gets visited by US Navy hospital ships and other American medical missions, which are both goodwill builders and valuable instruction in diseases that medical personnel would not likely see in the USA. Looking at US Department of Defense media, one will notice that army veterinarians also look after cattle, camels, goats and so on. If the United States is backing a nomadic herding society that’s menaced by jihadis or the like, protection of allies’ herds against natural or induced diseases in part of the defense effort.

The periodic multinational “canal defense” war games take on often fanciful scenarios. The apparent main purposes are the military officer corps of the Americas getting to know one another and “equipment standardization” — multinational arms sales, really. (I don’t think that they have had any maneuvers predicated on little blue Smurf nazis in tiny yellow submarines attacking ships on the approaches to the canal, but you never know.)

But at the moment Panama does face a special situation. A bit of US military assistance for the nation’s spay groups would meet a real and enhanced need at this moment. It would be a much smaller and more fruitful investment than, say, an invasion of Colombia. If the troops go back to the USA having adopted some vicious Panamanian attack cats to bolster US defenses, that would just be gravy.

 

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US Supreme Court limits EPA’s power to regulate carbon emissions

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Ohio
A coal-fired power plant on the Ohio River west of Cincinnati. One Democratic senator warned the right-wing majority’s ruling “could unleash a new era of reckless deregulation that will gut protections for all Americans and the environment.” Photo © 2013 Robert S. Donovan Licensable under the Creative Commons license.

US Supreme Court drops carbon bomb on the planet

by Jake Johnson — Common Dreams

The US Supreme Court’s right-wing majority handed down a decision Thursday that will severely limit the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, undermining the federal government’s ability to combat the climate emergency.

In its 6-3 ruling in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, the court’s conservative justices—led by Chief Justice John Roberts—sided with the coal industry and Republican attorneys general who sought to curb the EPA’s rulemaking powers under the Clean Air Act.

Amy Coney Barrett, one of the right-wing justices who voted to limit the EPA’s authority, has family ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan warned in her dissent that “today, the court strips the Environmental Protection Agency of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time.'”

Environmentalists echoed that assessment in response to the majority’s decision, the latest in a series of hugely consequential rulings over the past week. According to EPA data, the power sector represents the United States’ second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

“A Supreme Court that sides with the fossil fuel industry over the health and safety of its people is anti-life and beyond broken,” said John Paul Mejia, national spokesperson for the youth-led Sunrise Movement. “We cannot and will not let our Democratic leaders stand by while an illegitimate court and the GOP goes on the offense.”

Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement that the court’s ruling is “part of a broad-based assault on the ability of regulators to protect our air, water, and climate.”

“Long-sought by corporate polluters, industry-backed think tanks, and politicians who serve monied fossil fuel interests, this decision strikes at the heart of federal experts’ ability to do their jobs,” added Hauter, who stressed that “while this ruling intends to hamstring the federal government’s ability to regulate dangerous emissions, it does not signal the end of climate action.”

“The climate movement must and will continue to pressure agencies and elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels to enact policies that ensure a swift reduction in climate pollution and an end to the fossil fuel era,” Hauter said. “The Supreme Court will not stand in the way of the fight for a livable planet.”

The court’s ruling spells serious issues for President Joe Biden’s vow to put the United States on a path to 100% clean electricity by 2035. Meanwhile, the administration is moving ahead with oil and gas leasing on public lands, drawing backlash and legal action from climate groups.

The People vs. Fossil Fuels coalition, made up of more than 1,000 -based environmental groups, called on Biden to use his still-existing authority to “declare a climate emergency and stop new fossil fuel leases, exports, pipelines, and other infrastructure today.”

“Using authorities under the National Emergencies Act and the Defense Production Act,” the coalition noted, “the president could also halt crude oil exports, stop offshore oil and gas drilling, restrict international fossil fuel investment, and rapidly manufacture and distribute clean and renewable energy systems.”

 

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Editorials: Panama’s unfolding crisis; and The Truth

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Chiriqui
Partial roadblock at the bridge over the Chiriqui River. From a video on the Palabra Pública Twitter feed.

Something of a social explosion

Strikes, disruptive roadblocks, weighty political questions up in the air, the country swirling down into a sinkhole of debt, a widespread crime wave and mutual disrespect the growing norm – Panama is in trouble. Were there some program of action, some confidence building move, it would likely fail because there are too many interests in conflict and people have been betrayed too many times.

A jobs program? Reasonable enough. For those with PRD connections only? We see that already and it does not impress.

A rollback in fuel prices? We see that announced, but it’s little, it’s late and global forces are at work to prevent all that much relief on that front. The same applies to the prices of foods that are based on imports, or locally grown using imported materials.

Let’s not go looking for super-villains, nor sly conspiracies. Yes, we have both villains and plots but we have structural and cultural faults that are widespread within Panama, and some folks with good or bad intention applying their pressures from without.

This “everyone for themselves” attitude has to go. So does the “what’s in it for me?” mindset. So does the search for scapegoats who are different from ourselves. So does the search for some foreign savior.

We need to govern ourselves differently, at all levels. Easier said than done, but nobody else is going to save Panama.

 

An email exchange with Melania on January 6, 2021 – a bit of circumstantial evidence that also suggests the thinking in the Trump entourage that day.

The rules

The basic rule is that the majority rules in a democracy, and the minority carries on as the opposition to make itself the majority the next time around.

Yes, in the USA there are distortions of that, the biggest one the Electoral College, and then at state and local levels there are all sorts of gerrymandering and vote suppression tactics, some of which reach into the makeup of the federal Congress and the overall popular vote for all offices.

But the rule of thumb is about who got the most votes, and those who didn’t need to adjust their activity to change it the next time, if they can. That was the big rule that Donald Trump violated.

Now the MAGAs cry foul that a congressional committee that lacks the power to fine or imprison anybody is, through witnesses and documents, unfolding the story of an attempt to thwart both the 2020 popular and Electoral College vote. They demand an adversarial procedure, with all sorts of disruptions, to keep the American people from following the story. They intimidate and vilify witnesses. They cherry-pick little incongruities to deny elephant-in-the-room truths.

It’s time to defend the United States of America and its constitutional order against all enemies foreign and domestic. Against Donald Trump and his thugs.

Some of them already have been to trial, but let those who have not get the full panoply of defendants’ guarantees – the exclusion of hearsay from the evidence, the right for to have lawyers who pester with objections, the right to a disinterested jury. But the congressional investigation isn’t one of those. It’s a truthful explanation to the American people and to the world, and the committee has been giving us that.

 

If you miss a shot, you missed it. You can’t go back. You can only try to not make the same mistake twice. I’ve won a lot in my career, and I’ve lost a lot. You take the good with the bad. Also, it’s not only about winning. It’s about the process and the journey, the people you’re with, continuing to grow and learn, and getting better every day.

Megan Rapinoe

 

Bear in mind…

 

The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.

Katherine Mansfield

 

Fame and wealth without wisdom are unsafe possessions.

Democritus

 

The closer the collapse of the Empire, the crazier its laws are.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

 

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Convergencia Sindical, La vaina de MedicSol

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labor on another privatization
 

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Economy: Again, the non-scientific view from Coronado survey

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C1
Off in the distance, you might barely be able to pick them up, there are more empty billboards than there are outdoor ads promoting this or that good or service. It’s a sign of a weak economy, imprecise but very real. The signs in front of stores, for beer and for telecom services tend to be exceptions.

Signs of the times — still HARD times

photos and captions by Eric Jackson

Look around you. See which business premises are vacant, are smashed up by maleantes, are under construction, seem to be working fewer hours. Taken along with other indicators as a visual whole on this day late in June, these add up to signs of a weak economy.

Go into a store where you regularly shop, and see how much space is devoted to alcohol as compared to other things, and the balance of cheap versus expensive food products.

And then pay attention to the advertising business, even as you rationally take all advertising to be lies. Empty billboards? Online hype for crypto investments or other forms of gambling? The few industries that are doing well duking it out for market share, but otherwise a lot of empty advertising space?

The food court upstairs from the Super 99 — itself deserted except for the Bamboo Express — whose hsiu mai dumplings the editor endorses as a cheap and good lunch deal — is a good observation point. Especially when coupled with the bus rides between Coronado and rural Anton district.

2
The telecom industry is going through a concentration under the monopoly-friendly Cortizo administration and the typical gouging is well underway. But notice the cell tower atop empty billboards.

The gym is open. The church is still there. Nothing happening at the playground and only one business running in the food court. And nobody wants to buy these ad spaces from the Martinellis.
 

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Castro-Rodríguez, Miami Spanish broadcast blackout on damning testimony

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PBs
Proud Boys marching in Washington on January 6, 2021, prior to the assault on the US Capitol. Wikimedia photo by Elvert Barnes. Since then they have marched into leadership positions within the Republican Party in Miami.

In Miami no Spanish-language radio or TV coverage of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony

by Manuel Castro-Rodríguez

The congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, has established that it thinks at least some of the attackers, such as leaders of the far-right Proud Boys and Oath Keeper groups, premeditated the attack on the Capitol, but:

• 1- Mr. René García, who is the chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, Miami-Dade County Commissioner and former state senator, refuses to denounce seven Proud Boys that are on Miami-Dade GOP exec committee.
• 2- Senator Marco Rubio refuses to denounce seven Proud Boys that are on Miami-Dade GOP exec committee.
• 3- No radio or television station in Spanish in Miami has broadcast this news about Senator Marco Rubio and the chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, René García.

The congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection held a surprise hearing Tuesday that featured a key witness: Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

Hutchinson is not a household name, but she’s become central to the committee investigation — she sat for four recorded interviews and was the only live witness at the Tuesday hearing. In her live testimony, Hutchinson provided an intimate and detailed look inside the West Wing — and at the president, specifically — on the day of the attack:

• 1. Trump knew some of his supporters had weapons — and encouraged them to march on the Capitol. And he tried to go, too.
• 2. Trump wrestled with his Secret Security agent as he sought to go to the Capitol
• 3. Trump didn’t want to call off the rioters
• 4. Trump threw dishes

No radio or television station in Spanish in Miami has broadcast this news about the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a top aide to President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, Mark Meadows. Miss Hutchinson said, among other things:

I just had an interesting conversation with Rudy, Mark. Sounds like we’re going to go to the Capitol,” she told Meadows. “He didn’t look up from his phone and said something to the effect of, ‘There’s a lot going on, Cass, but I don’t know, things might get real, real bad on January 6th.

Me? Every day I comply with the naturalization oath of allegiance to the United States of America that I made: “I promise that I will protect the Constitution and all laws from all enemies, from other countries, or from inside the United States,” even if the enemies are Senator Marco Rubio and the chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party, Miami-Dade County Commissioner and former state senator René García.

 

 

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Trump hit hard by January 6 witnesses

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Bennie
January 6 committee chair Bennie Thompson meets with labor leaders several years ago. AFGE photo.

‘Bombshell after bombshell’ dropped as testimony homes in on Trump guilt

by Brett Wilkins – Common Dreams

Democracy defenders responded to Tuesday’s testimony by a former Trump administration aide before the January 6 committee by demanding that the former president and his co-conspirators be held to account in the face of increasingly incriminating evidence of their culpability for the 2021 insurrection.

Cassidy Hutchinson, who served as a special assistant to Mark Meadows, former President Donald Trump’s last chief of staff, revealed what the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen described as “bombshell after bombshell” during her in-person testimony to members of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.

Lisa Gilbert, executive vice president of Public Citizen and co-chair of the Not Above the Law Coalition, said in a statement that “in the reams of evidence against Trump and his allies, Hutchinson’s testimony of the deeply detailed plans of January 6 and the inaction of those in the White House in response to the violence show just how close we came to a coup.”

“Her testimony comes at a critical point in the hearings, showing the conspirators knew what they were doing was illegal, and knew it could result in violence, yet they proceeded anyway,” she added. “And that once the violence was ongoing, the president refused to act.”

Among other things, Hutchinson testified that:

• Trump knew that heavily armed supporters were in Washington, DC to attend the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the January 6 attack and was infuriated that Secret Service agents were trying to bar them from the event;
• When Secret Service agents told Trump they would not take him to the Capitol, he became physically aggressive with one of them, telling him “I’m the fucking president” and grabbing the steering wheel of the presidential limousine;
• Despite pleas from top aides—including White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s warning that “people are going to die, and blood is going to be on your fucking hands”—Trump refused to act as the Capitol was overrun; and
• Meadows and attorney Rudy Giuliani sought preemptive presidential pardons for their roles in Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

“Trump and his chief of staff Mark Meadows were warned repeatedly of anticipated violence on January 6th yet did nothing,” Common Cause president Karen Hobert Flynn said in response to Hutchinson’s testimony. “They were informed of semi-automatic rifles and pistols—AR-15s and Glocks—being carried by members of the audience on the Ellipse, hours before his speech, yet Trump incited the crowd and called on his heavily armed audience to march on the Capitol and ‘fight like hell.'”

Hobert Flynn continued:

The armed and vicious mob he sent to the Capitol on January 6th was the final desperate act in a months long, multi-layered criminal conspiracy by former President Trump and his henchmen to ignore the will of the American people and overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election by any means.

His actions and inaction as the insurrection unfolded, outlined in sworn testimony to the January 6 select committee, [are] jaw-dropping, un-American, and yet another warning to us all. Just when we think accounts of the actions of the former president and his inner circle can get no worse, we learn that in fact it can.

Gilbert of Public Citizen said that “Hutchinson’s testimony blows any notion of plausible deniability surrounding January 6 out of the water. She said Trump knew his rally crowd was armed, but said they weren’t there to hurt him. He encouraged an armed crowd to go to the Capitol, and told them that he would be with them.”

Progressives said Tuesday’s testimony underscored the imperative for accountability for Trump and members of his inner circle.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) tweeted that Trump “knew dangerous weapons were headed to the Capitol. He knew Congress was the target. He said the VP deserved to be hung for upholding the Constitution. He attacked a member of his Secret Service. He incited an insurrection.”

Common Cause’s Hobert Flynn asserted that “the former president and his co-conspirators must be held accountable by the Justice Department and any other authority with jurisdiction, including by state or local officials where parts of this scheme were plotted and carried out.”

Echoing Hobert Flynn, Gilbert said that Hutchinson’s testimony “makes it absolutely clear that Donald Trump remains a danger to our democracy and to our nation.”

She added, “There must be accountability for the criminal conspiracy to steal our votes that ultimately led to the violence on January 6 that we now know the administration anticipated, and that Trump encouraged.”

 

 

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Las científicas de STRI: Sol Parra y sus mariposas

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La joven entomóloga Sol Parra utiliza tecnología de edición genética para comprender cómo el mimetismo de patrones de color evoluciona en mariposas. Patrones dentro de patrones: la investigadora Sol Parra ha estado trabajando en este proyecto desde enero 2022, editando la genética de mariposas Heliconius y analizando los patrones de color resultantes en sus alas, buscando patrones que puedan indicar cómo exactamente estos genes determinan cómo lucen estas mariposas. Foto por Jorge Alemán — STRI.

¿Cómo los genes de las mariposas hacen posible
que imiten los patrones de color de alas de otras?

por STRI

Especies diferentes de las deslumbrantes y coloridas mariposas Heliconius son conocidas por su habilidad de desarrollar patrones de color de alas casi idénticos, una defensa evolutiva contra aves insectívoras, las cuales reconocen que mariposas con ciertos patrones de alas tienen mal sabor. Mientras más parecidas las mariposas, más rápidamente las aves aprenden a evitar comer cualquiera de ellas.

Particularmente intrigados por dos especies, Heliconius erato y Heliconius melpomene, los investigadores quieren saber por qué cada especie tiene tantas subespecies que imitan los patrones de alas de su contraparte en la otra especie.

Los científicos que trabajan en el Laboratorio Heliconius de Gamboa del Instituto Smithsonian de Investigaciones Tropicales descubrieron qué determina el fenotipo (características observables) en las mariposas, causando los patrones de color de alas casi idénticos: un gen en la secuencia de ADN de las Heliconius llamado WntA.

Utilizando la tecnología CRISPR de edición genética, los investigadores inyectaron huevos frescos de mariposas con una proteína llamada CRISPR-Cas9, la cual se adhiere al gene WntA y lo saca de la secuencia de ADN, cortando la cadena. Las células rellenan el espacio y reparan la cadena, pero sin la plantilla que trae el gen WntA, las mariposas adultas frecuentemente desarrollan patrones de alas asimétricos aparentemente aleatorios, lo cual prueba que el gen contiene la información que determina los patrones de color.

Pero ¿por qué este gen siempre es expresado con los mismos resultados? ¿Por qué los pares miméticos aún lucen casi idénticos, a pesar de ser diferentes especies, viviendo en diferentes regiones y condiciones?

Sol Parra, graduada de biología de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia y pasante de investigación en el laboratorio, comenzó un proyecto a principios de 2022 para estudio la región en la secuencia del ADN que precede el gen WntA, la cual puede ser la reguladora de la actividad de este gen.

“Las zonas reguladoras son áreas en la secuencia del ADN a las cuales otras proteínas se pueden adherir, y estas proteínas promueven o inhiben la expresión del gen,” explica Parra. En otras palabras, sin estas redes que regulan al gen WntA, las alas de una mariposa pueden no lucir como se espera.

Cada mañana, Parra y el equipo recolectan huevos recién puestos por las mariposas en las plantas hospederas. Cuidadosamente pegan los minúsculos huevos a una lámina de vidrio, y los colocan bajo un microinyectador; una aguja microscópica de cuarzo inyecta los huevos con una guía de ARN, una molécula parecida al ADN, la cual lleva a la proteína CRISPR-Cas9 directo al gen WntA y lo remueve.

El equipo cuida los huevos inyectados mientras comienza el ciclo de vida de las mariposas Heliconius: dentro de tres a cuatro días una larva (oruga) sale del huevo y crece por dos a tres semanas, alimentándose de las espirales de la planta Passiflora y sintetizando alcaloides, los químicos que le dan a las mariposas su mal sabor cuando son adultas. La larva forma entonces una crisálida (pupa), donde pasa una semana hasta que una mariposa completamente desarrollada emerge; los adultos viven entre 4 a 6 meses.

Una vez que tienen una mariposa adulta, el equipo analiza cambios en los patrones de las alas y los comparan con los patrones en mariposas silvestres. “A veces se nota a simple vista,” dice Parra. “Cuando las diferencias no son tan cuantitativas, utilizamos fotografía de alta calidad para comparar, o un programa computacional que analiza patrones de color.”

Parra continuará este estudio hasta Julio, inyectando huevos y estudiando los resultados, con la esperanza de comprender cómo exactamente las regiones reguladoras en el ADN de las mariposas trabajan sobre este gen.

“He trabajado con insectos desde el principio, y me interesa cómo el mimetismo ha evolucionado en las Lepidópteras (polillas y mariposas), y los fenómenos que explican el mimetismo desde la genética,” Parra declara. Debido a que las mariposas son organismos modelos para estudios evolutivos, los resultados de esta investigación podrían revelar mucho sobre cómo se adaptan en un mundo altamente cambiante.

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“Cuando las diferencias no son tan cuantitativas, utilizamos fotografía de alta calidad para comparar, o un programa computacional que analiza patrones de color.” Foto por Jorge Alemán — STRI.

 

 

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