Trilobites: How Do You Count Endangered Species? Look to the Stars

How Do You Count Endangered Species? Look to the Stars
The conversation started over a fence dividing two backyards. On one side, an ecologist remarked that surveying animals is a pain. His neighbor, an astronomer, said he could see objects in space billions of light years away.
And so began an unusual partnership to adapt tools originally developed to detect stars in the sky to monitor animals on the ground.
The neighbors, Steven Longmore, the astronomer, and Serge Wich, the ecologist, both of Liverpool John Moores University in England, made their backyard banter a reality that may contribute to conservation and the fight against poaching.
The scientists developed a system of drones and special cameras that can record rare and endangered species on the ground, day or night. Computer-vision and machine-learning techniques that help researchers study the universe’s oldest and most distant galaxies can now be used to find animals in video footage.


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Opposition Candidate Is Declared Victor in Sierra Leone’s Election

Opposition Candidate Is Declared Victor in Sierra Leone’s Election Photo The opposition presidential candidate in Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, seen above casting his vote last month, was declared the winner on Wednesday after a second round of voting. Credit Issouf Sanogo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images DAKAR, Senegal — A former military commander and rebel leader who later went to graduate school in the United States and Britain was declared the winner of Sierra Leone’s presidential runoff on Wednesday after a campaign season marred by reports of violence and irregularities.
The new president, Julius Maada Bio, was to be immediately sworn in on Wednesday night. The country’s chief justice, Abdulai Charm, said the inauguration needed to be held quickly to avoid a power vacuum and in compliance with the country’s Constitution.
Candidates from 16 parties ran for president, but in the first round of voting last month, no one won the 55 percent required to avoid a second round.
Mr. ..

Herbert Kaiser, 94, Health Care Champion in South Africa, Dies

Herbert Kaiser, 94, Health Care Champion in South Africa, Dies Photo Herbert and Joy Kaiser with Nelson Mandela at Mr. Mandela’s home in Soweto, South Africa, in 1991. The Kaisers founded Medical Education for South African Blacks in 1985. Credit Roger Crawford/Kaiser Family Archives In 1971, an American diplomat named Herbert Kaiser was doing a tour of duty in South Africa when he developed melanoma. It did not escape Mr. Kaiser’s notice that, being white, he received excellent medical attention from a white doctor, while the country’s nonwhite population was chronically underserved by the health system, in part because few medical professionals were people of color.
A decade later, after he had retired from the State Department, Mr. Kaiser and his wife, Joy, thought back on that experience and looked into the disparities.
“We learned that out of a black population of over 20 million in 1984, there were only 350 black doctors, fewer than 20 dentists and less than 120 pharmacists,” Mr…

U.K. Museum Offers Ethiopia Long-Term Loan of Looted Treasures

U.K. Museum Offers Ethiopia Long-Term Loan of Looted Treasures Photo A crown of gold and gilded copper with glass beads from Ethiopia is among the items in the “Maqdala 1868” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Credit Victoria and Albert Museum LONDON — Treasures taken by British troops 150 years ago could be returned to Ethiopia on a long-term loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum, the institution’s director said.
A crown, a chalice, a wedding dress and a selection of jewelry are among the items in the museum’s collection that are included in a new exhibition, “Maqdala 1868,” set to open Thursday.
Ahead of the exhibition, which has been organized in consultation with the Ethiopian Embassy in London to observe the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Maqdala, the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tristram Hunt, told the Art Newspaper that he had made “a clear statement to the ambassador, saying that if Ethiopia is interested in pursuing the long-term loan..

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela reveals South Africa’s uncomfortable truths

In 2010, when Alice Walker was in South Africa to deliver the annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, I was invited to interview the great American writer. It was Walker's first visit to the country, and for reasons I could not fathom at the time, the director of the Steve Biko Foundation presented me with a list of subjects that were off-limits. Top of the list was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.