20 Photos A spider’s erection, and other cool things trapped in amber Tick’s ‘worst day ever’ frozen in amber for 100 million years Tailed spider found in amber will crawl into your nightmares Tags Comments Enlarge ImageThe newly described millipede (Burmanopetalum inexpectatum) stuck in amber. Leif Moritz A tiny millipede stuck in amber has had 99 million years to contemplate its sticky predicament. The itsy insect didn’t live to enjoy its 2019 coming-out party as a scientific curiosity, but the rest of us can marvel at the remarkable specimen.The millipede is trapped in Cretaceous-era amber found in Myanmar. Researchers determined the millipede is the first fossil found from the order Callipodida, but it was strange enough to require a new suborder. It’s now called “Burmanopetalum inexpectatum,” with the latter word meaning “unexpected” in Latin.Enlarge ImageThe researchers created this 3D model of the millipede. Leif Moritz The team created a 3D model of the 0.3-inch (8.2-millimeter) millipede to more closely study its anatomy.”With the next-generation micro-computer tomography (micro-CT) and the associated image rendering and processing software, we are now able to reconstruct the whole animal and observe the tiniest morphological traits which are rarely preserved in fossils,” said zoologist Pavel Stoev of the National Museum of Natural History in Bulgaria.Stoev is the lead author of a paper on the millipede published this week in the journal ZooKeys. The Callipodida order of millipedes still exists today, with over 100 species crawling around the planet. This particular fossil was the only one of its order found among over 500 millipede specimens trapped in the same amber deposit. Paleontology Sci-Tech Fossil arthropod expert Greg Edgecombe from the Natural History Museum in London welcomed Burmanopetalum inexpectatum to the club of ancient amber-encased millipedes. “In the past few years, nearly all of the 16 living orders of millipedes have been identified in this 99-million-year-old amber,” Edgecombe said. Congratulations, little millipede, you’re a trailblazing representative for your order. Share your voice 2 Trapped in amber
A known terror suspect shot dead a French policeman and wounded two others Thursday on Paris’s Champs Elysees in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group days before a presidential election.Observers had long feared bloodshed ahead of Sunday’s vote in France following a string of atrocities since 2015 and the violence is likely to thrust security to the front of voters’ minds.The shooter opened fire with an automatic weapon on a police van on the world-famous boulevard at around 9:00 pm (1900 GMT), prompting tourists and visitors to run for their lives.After killing the officer and injuring his colleagues just a few hundred metres from the Arc de Triomphe, the gunman was shot dead in return fire while trying to flee on foot, police sources told AFP.A statement from the Islamic State group published by its propaganda agency Amaq said the attacker was “one of the Islamic State’s fighters.”The killer, identified as a 39-year-old French man, was known to anti-terror police, sources told AFP, and raids took place at his address in a suburb to the east of Paris.He was arrested in February on suspicion of plotting to kill officers but was released because of lack of evidence.He had been convicted in 2005 of three counts of attempted murder, with two of these against police officers, sources said.The impact on the outcome of the French election is unclear — Sunday is the poll’s first round — but far-right leader Marine Le Pen, her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron, and scandal-hit conservative Francois Fillon cancelled campaign events planned for Friday.Up until now, surveys showed voters more concerned about unemployment and their spending power than terrorism or security, though analysts warned this would change in the event of violence.The shooting comes two days after the arrest of two men in southern Marseille with weapons and explosives who were suspected of preparing an attack to disrupt the campaign.French President Francois Hollande promised “absolute vigilance, particularly with regard to the electoral process” and paid tribute to the police.Hollande, who said he was convinced the shooting was a “terrorist act”, cancelled a trip to Bretagne and will chair a security cabinet meeting Friday.Security in campaignAnti-immigration contender Le Pen earlier welcomed security moving to the heart of the campaign as she took part in a prime-time interview show alongside 10 other presidential candidates.”We are suffering the consequences of a laxity that has continued for years,” she said shortly before the shooting, promising to take a hard line against extremists and anyone suspected of being an Islamist.For weeks, former banker Macron and Le Pen have been out in front but opinion polls now show there is a chance that any of four leading candidates could reach the election’s second-round runoff on May 7.Conservative candidate Fillon and far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon have closed the gap substantially in the last two weeks.”The first responsibility of the president is to protect,” Macron said on the interview show. “This threat will be part of our daily lives in the next years.”Fillon, who penned a pre-election book called “Beating Islamic Totalitarianism”, declared that “the fight against terrorism must be the absolute priority of the next president.”As the first details of the attack filtered through, US President Donald Trump said that “it looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It just never ends.”German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her condolences.State of emergencyThe bustling Champs Elysees lies in the heart of Paris and is lined with shops and restaurants. It was immediately blocked by armed officers after the attack and nearby metro stations were closed.”We had to hide our customers in the basement,” Choukri Chouanine, manager of a restaurant near the site of the shooting, told AFP, saying there was “lots of gunfire.”A spokesman for the interior ministry paid tribute to the fast reflexes of police at the scene who managed to kill the gunman and prevent further bloodshed on a busy spring-time evening.A foreign tourist was slightly wounded in her knee by shrapnel during the shooting.France is in a state of emergency and at its highest possible level of terror alert, with jihadist-inspired assaults killing more than 230 people in recent years.The Charlie Hebdo magazine was hit in January 2015, sites around Paris including the Bataclan concert hall were targeted in November the same year, and families at a fireworks display in Nice in July 2016.There have also been smaller attacks, often aimed at security forces.Thousands of troops and armed police have been deployed to guard tourist hotspots such as the Champs Elysees or other potential targets, including government buildings and religious sites.
Inclusionary Housing reform for Baltimore is in the pipeline at City Hall. This past week, the City Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee held its first public hearing on a new ordinance which would expand Baltimore’s Affordable and inclusionary Housing programs.City agencies, housing advocates and economic development representatives weighed in on the city’s first major attempt to expand the current inclusionary housing law passed in July 2007. Councilman Bill Henry, a co-sponsor of the new ordinance, has repeatedly noted the limitations of the current law, one that has yielded only 32 units of affordable housing.The first draft of Henry’s Inclusionary Housing ordinance includes the following: Reduces the affordable housing requirement from the current 20 percent to 10 percent for developments of more than 30 residential units that require major public subsidies. Eliminates the City’s legal obligation to provide additional subsidy to developers to meet inclusionary housing requirements and eliminates waiversCreates a Baltimore City Affordable Housing Fund, through a combination of general obligation bonds and an increase in the transfer and recordation tax.Replaces a developer’s option to substitute off-site inclusionary housing for on-site units and instead provides an option or payment of a substantial offset fee into the Affordable Housing fund if the developer chooses not to build inclusionary housing. Extends the time period for which affordable housing units provided under the new law must remain affordable from 30 to 40 years. Transforms the Inclusionary Housing Board into a Fair Housing Board.Both pro-development and affordable housing advocates expressed concerns about the proposed ordinance. Andrew Kleine, the City’s Budget Director said he opposes using an increase in transfer and recordation taxes to fund the proposed Affordable Housing Fund.Baltimore Development Corporation Vice President Kimberly Clark, who serves on the City’s Inclusionary Housing Task Force, submitted testimony expressing concern that the law should apply only to rentals and not sale housing.“While Baltimore Development Corporation has some concerns about the legislation in its current form, our objective is to work with the Task Force until we can establish a product that is supportive of development,” Clark told the AFRO.Also concerned about the proposed ordinance, however, were affordable housing advocates. “There are aspects of this bill that do plug some of the current loopholes,” said Barbara Samuels, Fair Housing Attorney with the Maryland ACLU, in testimony for the bill. “But it doesn’t plug all of them and in some ways takes a step backwards in lowering the percent affordable from 20 percent to 10 percent and omitting projects that benefit from zoning actions. Two steps forward and one step back.”Mary Pat Clarke, a co-sponsor of the bill, said she thought there was more work to do, but said the bill stood up to feedback expressed in the hearing.“It doesn’t sound fatal. It sounds like things we can work on in the next week,” she said.Henry said he wants the new inclusionary housing ordinance passed before this year’s council session is over. He wants to ensure the proposed Port Covington redevelopment project will have a legal mandate, rather than simply a memorandum of understanding, setting requirements for the inclusion of affordable housing as part of the project’s planned residential units.The city exempted the Port Covington Project from a requirement to build affordable housing because under current law, the city must purchase the affordable units built by developers receiving subsidies at market rate. Because the city’s Affordable Housing Fund can’t afford to pay for the housing, an exemption from the Affordable Housing requirement was given to the Port Covington project.Sagamore Development signed a memorandum of understanding with Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake to voluntarily create a 10 percent goal for inclusionary housing if they can find funds from state or federal sources to pay for the housing.However, the Baltimore Business Journal, citing sources familiar with negotiations between the Sagamore developers and the city, reported Friday that Sagamore had agreed to provide 20 percent of the project’s residential units as affordable housing. The guarantee would be part of an updated memorandum of understanding with the city expected to be signed next week, the newspaper reported.