Saturday, April 30, 2005

Podscope - Indexed podcasts searchable via text

Wow. This is cool. The folks over at Podscope are filtering through podcasts and creating an easy to search index for submitted feeds. I did a search for "democracy" and sure enough several of my podcasts came up. Click the + next to each feed to expand the entry with embedded audio to play at the point where the searched keyword is available. Very cool.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ivory-billed Woodpecker not extinct!

David Pescovitz over at BoingBoing writes about the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker::
After more than sixty-years, a rare bird believed to have been extinct has been spotted in the Big Woods of Arkansas. A kayaker first reported seeing the ivory-billed woodpecker last year. Scientists have since spotted the bird several times and even caught it briefly on video. (Seen here is a John James Audobon illustration.) From a Cornell University news release:
 Abpub 2005 04 27 2002255720
While kayaking in the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge on Feb. 11, 2004, Gene Sparling of Hot Springs, Ark., saw an unusually large, red-crested woodpecker fly toward him and land on a nearby tree. He noticed several field marks suggesting the bird was an ivory-billed woodpecker.

A week later, after learning of the sighting, Tim Gallagher, editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine, and Bobby Harrison, associate professor at Oakwood College, Huntsville, Ala., interviewed Sparling. They were so convinced by his report that they traveled to Arkansas and then with Sparling to the bayou where he had seen the bird.

On Feb. 27, as Sparling paddled ahead, a large black-and-white woodpecker flew across the bayou less than 70 feet in front of Gallagher and Harrison, who simultaneously cried out: "Ivory-bill!" Minutes later, after the bird had disappeared into the forest, Gallagher and Harrison sat down to sketch independently what each had seen. Their field sketches, included in the Science article, show the characteristic patterns of white and black on the wings of the woodpecker.

"When we finished our notes," Gallagher said, "Bobby sat down on a log, put his face in his hands and began to sob, saying, 'I saw an ivory-bill. I saw an ivory-bill.'" Gallagher said he was too choked with emotion to speak. "Just to think this bird made it into the 21st century gives me chills. It's like a funeral shroud has been pulled back, giving us a glimpse of a living bird, rising Lazarus-like from the grave," he said.

Link to news release.
Amazing. I'll never forget seeing the Ivory-billed woodpecker in a bird book for the first time and moments later, reading that it was extinct. It was a sad moment for me. I think that was the first time that the reality of extinction hit me in a very real way. Sometime last year I read that the bird was thought to have been sighted again. I had to read it several times to believe it. This is one of those too rare moments when we have good news about a species and the biodiversity of our planet.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Columbine

One of my favorite wild flowers... a native with really delicate foliage and a very interesting flower. Very good for attracting the first spring hummingbirds.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Our oil-based life coming to an end

The Guardian has an excellent story on the early arrival of peak oil production: The end of oil is closer than you think:
Oil production could peak next year, reports John Vidal. Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye

The one thing that international bankers don't want to hear is that the second Great Depression may be round the corner. But last week, a group of ultra-conservative Swiss financiers asked a retired English petroleum geologist living in Ireland to tell them about the beginning of the end of the oil age.

They called Colin Campbell, who helped to found the London-based Oil Depletion Analysis Centre because he is an industry man through and through, has no financial agenda and has spent most of a lifetime on the front line of oil exploration on three continents. He was chief geologist for Amoco, a vice-president of Fina, and has worked for BP, Texaco, Shell, ChevronTexaco and Exxon in a dozen different countries.

"Don't worry about oil running out; it won't for very many years," the Oxford PhD told the bankers in a message that he will repeat to businessmen, academics and investment analysts at a conference in Edinburgh next week. "The issue is the long downward slope that opens on the other side of peak production. Oil and gas dominate our lives, and their decline will change the world in radical and unpredictable ways," he says.

I say, let it crash! I so thoroughly despise this way of life that I welcome the coming disruption. I've come to the conclusion that the vast majority of my fellow citizens are ignorant, selfish twits and the sooner their way of life turns into the pit of hell the better. Enjoy your fucking SUV and house in suburbia, your trips to The Gap and Walmart... it will end soon enough. Idiots. The future is going to punch you in the face.

Whooo.... I'm not angry am I? Guess I need to get back to the flowers and fuzzy bunnies.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Conversations

I'm housesitting for my brother this week so I'm just a half mile from my sister's house. I went down yesterday and ended up staying for dinner and then a nice long conversation which started off on the topic of god/morality/family values. Essentially my brother-in-law was thinking out loud about the role of religion and church in the formation of kids' world view. This, in turn led to a discussion of religion as an evolution of hierarchy and a process of social control. I used it as an opportunity to recall and discuss Murray Bookchin's thoughts on the origins of hierarchy and domination as well as his thoughts on the potential of humans to become nature "self realized." Good fun. Of course this kind of conversation can go all sorts of places and it did. I don't think I want to recount the details here, just wanted to mention how enjoyable conversations can be. I think I need more of these.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Jacob's Ladder


Also known as Polemonium reptans, now blooming on this quiet little hillside in Missouri. These are the days that I close out the rest of the world. Peace and quiet, birdsong and small purple flowers.

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Friday, April 08, 2005

Of blogging and gardening

Wow. Guess I've been on some sort of blog vacation. Not sure why really. I suppose I just have not wanted to post. Life goes on and the planet spins days and nights. I've been outside alot watching the plants begin to slowly grow and the frogs wake up. I've put out a layer of fresh mulch and dug a new bed. I've carried up many, many rocks from the hillside to create a nice "creek" and a waterfall/bog area. Oh, and a spiral garden bed too.

Latest flowers to bloom: Jacobs Ladder, Plox, Bloodroot, and Anemonella. Practically every new plant put in last year has survived and returned which is great because I planted well over 100 plants, most of them native wild flowers.

Pictures soon.

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