Sunday, January 15, 2012

More strange birds

The eastern rivers of Virginia are apparently a gathering place for funny-headed birds. After yesterday's kingfishers, today I saw two types of mergansers. The flock of 14 red-breasted mergansers dove for long times and distances. I only saw one pair of hooded mergansers, but they are even stranger looking to me. The bright white on the side of the male's head is quite striking, and the halo of brown on the female's is also intriguing.

The red-breasted merganser:

by Hilary Chambers via Flickr

The hooded merganser:

by Mr. T in DC via Flickr

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Slate breaks my brain

I caught earworms from Slate podcasts today.

Vulture capitalist - It's catchy. Having spent so much time hearing about venture capitalists in silly valley, I am particularly entertained. And, according to the first definition I could find (Investopedia), that's the genesis of the term. I wonder if its application to "agents of creative destruction" signals the breakdown of the support of conservative poor for the financial agenda of the conservative rich (i.e. if presidential candidate Rick Perry believes that breakdown is possible and wants to exploit it by criticizing Mit Romney of being an ally of the wealthy and not the poor).

Brainsicles - A brain on a stick, someone who is unaware or indifferent to their body.

Female belted kingfisher

I saw a belted kingfisher in the late afternoon today on the Chesapeake Bay. I didn't get a photo, but she was kind enough to stay in place for a while. Apparently only the females have the brown on the chest. The mohawk on the one I saw was pretty dramatic, and her head was black all over. Very cool. Photo by Len Blumin

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Surprised by fowl longevity

Banding studies show that many species of ducks and geese live to be twenty years old.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

When yarn attacks

That's aversion therapy, not advertising.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Ill-timed bad news

Is 20 minutes after New Year the time you want to be telling your customers you're likely to decrease the quality of their service?