Archive for: June, 2005

Birds in the News #16

Jun 24 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

Birds Educating People:

National Public Radio (NPR), which yesterday survived another threat to its continued funding by congress, presents this excellent All Things Considered story about chickadees that would make Doctor Doolittle proud; Chickadee Calls Carry Specifics on Danger. This story, which reports research published in the top-tier journal, Science, by a graduate student at the University of Washington (where I also graduated), includes the streaming NPR news report and three audio files of chickadee alarm calls. Many thanks to four of my pals for these links.

Why are people more creative when they are young? Why is it harder to learn as we age? Are we born with an instinct for language? And, provocatively, can we recover lost memories? This story, birds' chirping might provide clues to human learning and memory, shows how birds are helping us answer these questions.

How do hummingbirds hover? In a story that was published in the top-tier journal, Nature, researchers report that hummingbirds hover a bit like bugs (this MSNBC story includes a related hummingbird link). Research co-author Bret Tobalske said, "We were surprised to find that the up stroke in the hovering hummingbird was much less active than the down stroke. This finding provides new insight into evolutionary trends that led to sustained hovering in birds."

Junk food is for kids .. or is it? This research shows that finches given a poor diet briefly in early life become adults that can’t cope with ageing. In Eat Junk, Look Good, Die Young, researchers at Glasgow University found that birds provided a low quality diet for just two weeks grew into adults with much lower levels of antioxidants in their blood, and they found that such birds have shorter lives.

This week at Hilton Pond, two adult Eastern bluebirds, Sialia sialis, were captured in a mist net, and they are the topic for the 8-14 June 2005 photo essay, featuring a closer look at this bluebird pair -- and an intimate view of the female's belly (scroll down on the linked page).

Birds in Movies and on the Web:

March of the Penguins is a new National Geographic and Warner Independent film that tells the tale of emperor penguins, Aptenodytes forsteri, as they struggle to raise their chick during the Antarctic winter. This film is narrated by one of my favorite actors, Morgan Freeman.

This week on BirdNote, the daily 2-minute radio program featured by KPLU/National Public Radio, you can listen to streaming radio stories about the black-bellied plover, California quail, Steller's jay (the mimic), and two stories about George Divoky's research on the Black Guillemots of Cooper Island. There is an archive of all past shows available, along with a photograph accompanying each day's subject.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker News:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology announced new web pages that will help in identifying ivory-billed woodpeckers and in gathering information from the public about potential sightings of this rare bird. The ivory-billed woodpecker, Campephilus principalis, was thought to be extinct for more than 60 years until 28 April 2005, when researchers announced they had rediscovered it.

People Helping Birds:

The Nature Seychelles Reserve received high praise in an international report that evaluated the effectiveness of the management of protected areas in the East Africa and Western Indian Ocean region. Nature Seychelles manages Cousin Island, where many endangered species live and breed, including the Seychelles Warbler, Acrocephalus sechellensis, whose numbers increased from approximately 30 birds in 1968 when the island was purchased as a reserve to more than 300 out of an estimated total global population of just over 2,000.

Where do the endangered Asian vultures go? This recent research is using "vulture restaurants" and satellite technology to pinpoint behaviour of rare vultures. "By fixing satellite transmitters and monitoring vulture movements, we develop a greater understanding of their range size, habitat preferences, and seasonal movements. This increased understanding of ecological parameters allows us to develop more effective, targeted conservation actions and management guidelines," states Dr. Sean Austin, Programme Manager for BirdLife International’s Cambodia Programme Office.

This is a much-needed opinion piece requesting a ban on Delaware Bay horseshoe crab harvests to save the migratory shorebird, the red knot, Calidris canutus, which feeds on them when they stop during migration. The entire population of these birds has plunged to perilous lows, leading scientists to predict extinction of this once-numerous species within ten years. Will public officials agree? Will they do the right thing and ban the horseshoe crab harvests?

Bird Mysteries:

If a city of 28,000 people suddenly abandonded their homes and disappeared, wouldn't that be cause for intense concern and media attention? If you are like me, you will be surprised to learn that last year, 28,000 American white pelicans, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos -- one-third of the North American population -- suddenly abandoned their nests and unhatched eggs at the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in North Dakota and disappeared: Where did they go? Why did they leave? Will they return? No one knows. Why hasn't this event received more media attention?

On small tropical islands, one might think that typhoons are the biggest threat to the bird life, but apparently, this is not true. For example, on Guam, where the native crow population has been declining for 20 years because of snake predation, biologists worried that the recent spate of typhoons would polish off the last few individuals. "B
ut we didn't lose any of the crows and that's just astounding to me," says biologist Bob Beck, the supervisor of Guam's wildlife office. "Did they just hunker to the ground and hang out? We don't know what their adaptations are to typhoons. No one's studied that, and I don't think that I would want to. I'd rather be in a concrete bunker when the winds hit 180 mph."

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No job rejections this week, but also no new job applications. After nearly two years of rejection, I am getting rather sick of it all.

15 responses so far

Failure (Again)

Jun 23 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

Long-term un(der)employment (and flag burning) is dangerous to society: During the course of un(der)employment (I have not yet burned a flag), I magically transformed into a Commie. I am so ashamed of myself.

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Are You A Republican?

5 responses so far

Plea From NOVA

Jun 22 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

I was sent this email message regarding NOVA funding cuts that could potentially be voted on TOMORROW. If you value good science programming such as what NOVA presents, it is crucial that YOU SPEAK OUT NOW: Please contact your congresscritter immediately by telephone, email and FAX to express your outrage regarding this situation.

=======

NOVA usually sends e-mail bulletins only when we have program information to tell you about. However, we thought you might want to know about proposed funding cuts now before the U.S. House of Representatives, which pose a serious threat to public broadcasting, including programs like NOVA.

The House Appropriations Committee is proposing more than $220 million in funding cuts for public broadcasting, effectively a 45 percent reduction of public broadcasting's federal financial support.

The House is scheduled to vote on these cuts this week -- as soon as Thursday, June 23rd -- so it is critical that your members of Congress hear from you today. For many years, we in public broadcasting have relied on our friends and fans for financial support. Now we are asking you to make your voice heard and let your congressperson know how you feel about the proposed cuts. No less than the future of public television and radio is at stake.

For details on how you can help, visit our website.

Please be assured this e-mail represents a special circumstance. As usual, you will continue to receive e-mail bulletins when we have program information to share.

Thank you,
Alan Ritsko
Managing Director, NOVA

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Identity Theft

Jun 21 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

Those of you who read my article Scammed might be interested to read an excellent article that my blog pal, James, posted today about Identity Theft, Credit Cards and You: Part II or; 12 ways to preserve your identity.

One thing that James did not mention (probably because it is so obvious); you should always check your credit card bills, line by line, against your receipts to be sure that you are always charged the correct amount for your purchases, and to ensure that no one else is making any purchases with your card. Discrepancies MUST be addressed immediately (okay, within a week of receiving your bill, at the latest). I also learned that you must be aware of the precise date that your credit card bill is delivered to your mail box each month (I am) and, if you must, write this date on your personal planner or calendar to remind you. Sometimes thieves will change your mailing address for your credit card bills and thereby steal your credit card account that way.

CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

3 responses so far

Crybaby Conservatives

Jun 20 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

I had to share this article from The Nation with you. It's long but well worth the time; The New PC: Crybaby Conservatives. This article asks important questions about the growing furor over the political orientation of college professors; More leftists undoubtedly inhabit institutions of higher education than they do the FBI or the Pentagon or local police and fire departments, about which conservatives seem little concerned, but who or what says every corner of society should reflect the composition of the nation at large? Nothing has shown that higher education discriminates against conservatives, who probably apply in smaller numbers than liberals. Conservatives who pursue higher degrees may prefer to slog away as junior partners in law offices rather than as assistant professors in English departments. Does an "overrepresentation" of Democratic anthropologists mean Republican anthropologists have been shunted aside? Does an "overrepresentation" of Jewish lawyers and doctors mean non-Jews have been excluded?

7 responses so far

Bad Neighborhood

Jun 19 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

"Face it, you live in a bad neighborhood," said the voice in the darkness. "Look, you sound like a nice lady. My advice to you is to get out of that neighborhood as fast as possible."

I sat on my futon in the darkness, straining to hear the policeman's voice on my cell phone over the earthshaking din that screamed out of a ground-floor apartment and rattled the entire building. I was angry that even the police could do nothing to stop the loud party that had been blasting away several floors below my window all evening. I was incredibly depressed to be confronted with the thought of moving at 230 in the morning, especially since I only earn enough to pay my rent, and not one dime more. How could I possibly afford to move? I felt trapped.

Morning finally arrived, hot and sweaty, and it was greeted by yet another impressive display of bone-breaking sound, except this time, it pounded out of an open car sitting by the sidewalk near the subway entrance.

What was going on? My suddenly peaceful block has been transformed overnight into a hellish envelope of deafening stereos and firecrackers and screaming kids and shouting adults that never stops. The cop had told me that the drug dealers, robbers, rapists and murderers had just returned to the area and the police could do nothing to control the situation because they only had six cars covering the entire precinct, which encompases a fairly large area and many thousands of people.

After last night, I feel incredibly unsafe in my own neighborhood, where I have lived for nearly two years. According to recent statistics, even though burglaries have decreased 8.3 percent across NYC, they rose by 19.8 percent this year in my neighborhood and robberies increased by 14 percent even though the rest of the city enjoyed a 8.2 percent decrease. What will happen to me if I am confronted by a robber? Will I be killed because I don't have any extra cash? Should I should get another cat sitting job so I can earn enough money to carry with me so I can buy my life from a robber? Or is my life even worth that added effort? (honestly, I'd prefer to spend the money on a nice meal, some laundry supplies or even a pair of shoes).

Even Mayor Bloomberg doesn't care; he showed up 25 minutes late to a recent neighborhood meeting, and when there, he gave his usual preprogrammed spiel about "modern New York is a place where a diverse population enjoys improving schools [as a college professor, I can tell you that our schools are shockingly bad], a recovering economy [uh, yeah, right, you're smoking crack, Mr. Mayor] and falling crime." He then tries to placate us with a host of ridiculous comments such as "We have to bring it [crime] down more, and we have a little problem in the 34th Precinct, which is actually where you are now."

Well, duh. We are (suddenly) painfully aware of where we live. The police tell us which precinct we are talking to every time we call them with a problem, which is increasingly often. At this neighborhood meeting, my neighbors complained to Bloomberg about serious issues; drug dealing, prostitution, robbery, burglary, car thefts, drag racing, menacing packs of pit bulls, and unresponsive police. Even though no one complained about porno shops, the mayor appears to be more worried about the porno shops in the Village than murder: a woman was murdered in my neighborhood a year ago and that crime remains unsolved. She was murdered while jogging early in the morning in one of the two neighborhood parks that are located two blocks from where I live, the very same parks where I have been told I should go bird watching early in the morning "because they are safer than Central Park".

Yeah, right. I never felt comfortable in those parks, so I always avoided them. But now I feel unsafe in my own neighborhood, even walking home from the subway on the sidewalks. What will I do when I have to return home after dark from teaching this autumn? Will I be assaulted on the train as that woman was a week ago? Or maybe I will instead be assaulted as I walk home in the dark from the subway terminus? If I am assaulted, how will I afford the medical bills, since I have no health insurance? Who can I trust to take care of my birds if I am hospitalized -- or worse?

I can't believe I sacrificed everything and worked so hard for my entire life only to find myself living near the poverty level, working as a part time temp while supplementing my meagre income as a cat sitter, with no friends or family or really, anyone to turn to. What was I thinking? Or maybe the better question is; was I thinking at all?

On the other hand, it is doubtful that my life is significantly different from what it would have been had I not struggled for my education.

9 responses so far

Le Scholar Oblige (Another Book Meme)

Jun 18 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

I was tagged by Phila at Bouphonia with another book meme! I was tagged quite awhile ago, in fact, and I apologize for being such a slowpoke to respond, but you'll soon read more about why it took me so long. Anyway, in honor of Phila's choice, I chose a variation on Phila's blog entry title for as my own title.

Number of books I own

I currently own about 2500 books. My book population was cut in half when I moved from Seattle to NYC, and I have purchased few books (maybe 50) since I arrived here, almost three years ago.

Last book I bought

Books, that should say "books". I am currently waiting (endlessly waiting) for my copy of the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by JK Rowling and while I wait, I suffered a moment of desperation so I purchased some books for the first time in over one year (being broke on your ass is a terrible fate for a bibliophile).

I purchased two evolution/dinosaur books;

Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo by Sean Carroll

Terrible Lizard: The First Dinosaur Hunters and the Birth of a New Science by Deborah Cadbury

two epidemiological books;

The Fever Trail: In Search of the Cure for Malaria by Mark Honigsbaum, and

Federal Bodysnatchers and the New Guinea Virus: Tales of Parasites, People, and Politics by Robert Desowitz

and two works of subversion that I do not yet own;

a photoreproduction of Darwin's The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex

and Margarget Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa (I barely resisted adding her Growing up in New Guinea to the pile).

I purchased these books at the Natural History Museum at a substantial discount. Incidentally, I was most pleased to notice that the Natural History Museum bookstore is crammed full of copies of evolution books, including several more that I plan to purchase as soon as I have the money; SJ Gould's Wonderful Life and his monstrously huge tome, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. I wonder if the Smithsonian bookstore has such a wide variety of evolution books available?

Last book I read

Since I have four hours to read in air-conditioned comfort on four days per week, I have made good use of this time. I just finished zooming through Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy again. This is the first time I've read the "trilogy" in approximately one decade (I say "trilogy" with quotes because I actually started by reading The Hobbit). I liked these books more this time than I did the last time I read them (and I liked them a LOT the last time I read them). I wish I had reread them more often!

I am currently reading Endless Forms Most Beautiful. This book describes how some genes act as "on/off" switches that control the expression of many other genes and goes on to discuss how changes in the function of these "controller genes" provides so much of the evolutionary variety in form and function that we see, while using so few genes. This was old news to me (a molecular biologist and former cancer researcher), but I wonder how many non-scientists understand what Carroll is talking about?

I am also wading through the very dry and needlessly dense tome, Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education by David Kirp, a book that discusses how American education is being destroyed (or helped, if you can believe that) by the new educational philosophy of modeling universities after corporations. It's too bad that most universities are being modeled after Enron or Tyco, but you'll read more about my opinions on this matter soon enough.

Five books that mean a lot to me

I find this question nearly impossible to answer and in fact, I have been "stuck" trying to answer this one question for almost two weeks! There are so many books out there that I love that I simply cannot easily choose "just five" that mean something to me (I guess that I have approximately 300 meaningful books that I can list). But here are five that I finally managed to think of this past week or so;

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. It is difficult for me to choose just one Steinbeck work to be most impressed with, but this is one of his that truly affected me longest (the other was Of Mice and Men) and, because I first read this when I was approximately 13 or 14 years old, it gave me my sense of justice, decency and perseverence that my parental units could never provide and yes, it did hone my cynicism to a certain degree as well.

The Malay Archipelago, the Land of the Orang-Utan and the Bird of Paradise; A Narrative of Travel, With Studies of Man and Nature by Alfred Russell Wallace. I also read this when I was approximately 12 or 13 years old, and it absolutely changed my life. It is beautifully, almost poetically, written. I was immediately charmed by the Indonesian islands and her amazing animals and plants, by Wallace's scientific ideas as well as his prose, and I was sympathetic with the natives and their terrible treatment at the hands of the Dutch and British invaders. But more than anything, this book hinted about evolution and biogeography and I believe this was where I gained such an early appreciation for the logical beauty of these concepts. I never again looked at a map the same way after reading this book.

The Call of The Wild by Jack London. Even though this is a book about a dog, I keenly felt Buck's life as if it was my own, primarily because of similar events that occurred in my life and in that of London's fictional hero. I related to Buck's courage and determination because he persevered despite almost unbearable adversity and cruelty, and as a result, Buck comes to know who he truly is. I also really appreciated that, in spite of everything, Buck was able to truly love his last owner, John Thornton. I grieved that his great love resulted in his last, greatest, and most painful transformation. Nevertheless, Buck not only survives but also adapts to his situation beautifully.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. When I first started to read this book, I thought it was science fiction, especially after I read this; Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change. Some evil spell had settled on the community... Everywhere was a shadow of death. But the book goes on, with astonishing, lyrical prose that I truly wish I could emulate, to describe the consequences of one of humanity's actions; indiscriminate use of DDT (and also other pesticides that were not yet invented in those days) and its effects upon both the environment and people. It also reveals that the intended targets, insect pests, evolve resistance to these chemicals , which leads to an ugly no-win arms-race scenario. Ugly topic, beautiful prose, impeccable logic. Quite a stark contrast, huh? This book revealed the urgency of the terrible and widespread effects of pesticides and other poisons while it also opened my eyes to the profound effects that words can have upon an entire country and its policymakers.

Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner. This is one of the most beautifully written books I've read about evolution. Not only does it describe how evolution occurs, but it tells the story of Rosemary and Peter Grant, two evolutionary biologists who live part time in the Galapagos, and the finches who share their island with them. I loved this book because it so eloquently showed how evolution occurs through the generations due to changes in the environment, and from there, it is easy to deduce how other challenges
(especially sexual selection) could also result in huge, rapid evolutionary changes in a short period of time. The author does a good job describing evolution and the historical development of this theory by quoting Darwin. But most beautiful and powerful was the Grants' lifetime of work; small measured differences in beak size of these little finches ultimately make one of the most powerful and accessible descriptions of evolution as it occurs, every day, before our eyes. Weiner apparently agrees because he wrote; The beak of the finch is an icon of evolution the way the Bohr atom is an icon of modern physics, and the study of either one shows us more primal energy and eternal change than our minds are built to take in. Yet like the vista of the atoms, the vista of evolution in action, of evolution in the flesh, has enormous implications for our sense of reality, of what life is, and for our sense of power, of what we can do with life.

Pass it on to five more bloggers

Most of the bloggers whose words I follow have already been tagged with this meme. Probably because I was such a slow-poke about finally answering it, but there you go. But I am going to take a risk that a few of them have not yet been tagged by this and I will tag fellow bird lovers PMBryant and nuthatch, Joseph at Corpus Callosum, Dr. Charles whose words I admire greatly, my funny pal at The Hanging Stranger and because I think at least one of these good people has already been tagged by someone else, I will choose a sixth person to make up for my oversight on the matter; my librarian pal, Joe. I can hardly wait to read what you all have to say! But please don't be as slow about answering as I was, okay?

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2 responses so far

This Poll is a No-Brainer

Jun 18 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

This live MSNBC poll shows that 94% out of 42641 responders think that bush and company mislead the American people regarding his desire to bomb the shit out of Iraq. Dare anyone utter the phrase I am thinking, dare you, dare you?

IMPEACH THE BASTARDS

If Congress thought they were doing their duty by impeaching Clinton for lying about that cigar even though no one died as a result, then why are they hesitating about impeaching bush and cronies for lying about a war that resulted in wholesale slaughter and maimings of many thousands of innocent people?

4 responses so far

Birds in the News #15

Jun 17 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

Birds in Science:

The linked photo is from this short story (sent to me by a reader!) about convergent evolution between a bird and a plant species; African Plant Grows Perch for Birds.

Five additional species of moa have been identified by evolutionary biologists at Massey University in New Zealand. The researchers say they now have evidence that increases the number of known moa species from 10 to 14. One of the four additional species appears to be a giant moa of well over 140 kg – about the size of the largest moa, Dinornis. Their paper was published in a recent issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). This story also includes links to a picture of the new moa phylogeny and an interview with the scientists that is available in several different streaming formats.

National Geographic and National Public Radio (NPR) have teamed up to produce yet another wonderful story about birds, Searching Out 'The Singing Life of Birds'. This story discusses how Don Kroodsma, an avian song expert, studies birds and collects their songs. The story includes interviews, photos, the Radio Expeditions story (complete with lots of bird song!) and there are more links at the bottom of the story so you can learn more. You can also purchase Don Kroodsma's very affordable new book (with its own birdsong CD), The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong. (I do not receive anything for mentioning Don's book here, but if I do end up finding a copy of his book in my mailbox, gratis, I would happily review it on my blog).

Egg collecting, as a hobby, was responsible for driving many bird species perilously close to extinction. However, some egg collectors were responsible people who balanced their destructiveness by making careful notes that remain with their eggs to this day. This story describes how one family is trying to find a way to preserve their egg collection and allow the public to access it (museum egg collections are rarely on public display due to damage from light, heat and humidity).

Ivory-billed Woodpecker News:

This story was just sent to me by a reader, Ivory-billed Woodpecker viewing station goes up in smoke, probably as the result of arson. A reward is being offered for information leading to arrest and conviction of the perpetrator(s) and contact information is provided. This story also has a few photographs.

Streaming Birds:

Last week's BirdNote discusses the song and song dialects of the white-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys, tells about pigeon guillemots, Cepphus columba, having fun, how nestlings leave their nests, and it also focuses on the barn owl, Tyto alba. Each news story is 2 minutes long. You can also access the BirdNote archive for all the shows, along with a photograph accompanying each day's subject.

People Helping Birds:

This story, endangered condors soar over Arizona skies, is a heartening update on the California condor, Gymnogyps californianus, project that has been ongoing since the early 1980s, when this species' population reached an all-time low. I fell in love with California condors when I met them at the Los Angeles zoo a few years ago and I look forward to the day when I, too, can see them soar above me on desert winds.

Another rare North American bird appears to be making a comeback. The least Bell's vireo, Vireo bellii pusillus, which breeds in the Central Valley in California, was seen raising chicks in a patch of restored habitat near the San Joaquin River for the first time in 60 years.

In this nice story about the apparent rapid recovery of the endangered Asian Black-faced Spoonbill, Platalea minor, as new wintering sites were identified for this species. Several points for concern; this species congregates in large groups in few wintering sites so this makes the entire population very vulnerable to disease and pollution along with other man-made disturbances. I hope we don't lose this species to avian influenza or to the resulting fear-driven and misguided eradication programs in many Asian countries, especially in China.

In a remarkable example of the potential value for "sustainable use" practices to prevent overexploitation of parrots, this story explores both sides of the controversial program initiated by the Venezuelan government.

People Hurting Birds:

The incredible stupidity and arrogance that people can exhibit never ceases to amaze me. This time, the US Army Corps of Engineers is destroying a small sandy island they built near the mouth of the Columbia River because Caspian terns are nesting on this island and feeding their chicks on rare or endangered salmon species smolts that migrate past. This island houses the world's largest Caspian tern, Sterna caspia, colony, along with many other avian species, such as the endangered brown pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, and a large mixed-species gull colony. So the Army Engineers plans to pursue their plan, despite the facts; that dozens of dams along this river and its tributaries are known to decimate wild salmon populations to near zero; that uncontrolled cattle farming has polluted and destroyed salmon spawning beds; that industrial and agricultural wastes have poisoned essential waterways; that clearing streamside trees that provide valuable shade to young salmon so one more "waterfront" house can be built; that overfishing remains unchecked .. no, nevermind any of those things! Instead, humans, Homo hubris militarensis, in their infinite er, "wisdom", have decided to destroy an artificial island that the Corps stupidly built when they dredged the Columbia River to make it suitable for ocean-going vessels. This is another example of the typical "blame the victim" mentality that short-sighted people are so eager to indulge themselves with.

Birds Hurting People:

As the result of a shocking display of avian aggression, London officials issued a warning over crow attacks occurring in London, UK, parks. "I thought they were very nasty, sinister things," said one frightened survivor. "Two o
f them focused in on me as I walked past. I couldn't help thinking of that Hitchcock film."

This story about avian attacks on humans was sent to me by a blog pal, Rexroth's Daughter (RD) at the blog, Dharma Bums. RD says this story of avian aggression is occurring in her old neighborhood in California. Incidentally, has anyone noticed that only black colored birds are receiving press coverage for attacking people, whereas other birds, such as owls, who also show similar levels of zeal when protecting nestlings, are not being reported?

Birds Hurting Car Mirrors:

This is a unique story about a male pileated woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus, in Syracuse, NY, who attacked his reflection in car rear-view mirrors, breaking them. Complete with pictures!

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Academic Job Rejections: 1 (Adjunct Assistant Professor at the best school I've ever interviewed with. I am sooo bummed about this).

Non-academic job Rejections: 1 (web editor/writer for one of the finest avian websites known to humanity. I am bummed about this, too).

7 responses so far

Blog Carnivals That I Think You Should Read

Jun 16 2005 Published by under Uncategorized

(Just because I can't .. yet!)

The Carnival of Education, #19. I liked this entry; How to Make the Most of Your Summer Vacation: A Guide for Elementary Teachers that sounds oh so familiar, even though I don't teach elementary school and would never do so under any circumstances. I am breaking rule number 4, although it's not because I want to, it's because I like living in an apartment instead of a refrigerator box that I have stuffed under the stone bridge in Central Park.

The Tangled Bank, #30 is also available. The emphasis of this issue of TB is mathematically-oriented science. I am especially interested to read this essay, Borneo's lowland forests may disappear because my research birds are endemic to this area (although, not to the island of Borneo). I also am interested to read this three-part series of articles about the building of the Tacoma Narrows bridge (I drove over that bridge thousands of times before I finally escaped the disgusting town of Tacoma).

Smarter than I is an unusual blog carnival where readers (instead of authors) nominate particular blog entries for inclusion in each issue. I am especially interested to read this article that discusses the debate that the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in order to seize control of that nation's subsoil resources.

Grand Rounds #38, hosted by another of my blog pals, Red State Moron. I am especially interested to read this essay that discusses the recent study showing that frequent users of the popular pain reliever, ibuprofen, are more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Alas, but for now, I have to write (and then grade) my students' midterm exam.

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