Tag Archives: bird

A look at raptors – the biology of birds of prey

Raptors are hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, and vultures. They are hunters who prefer to capture their prey alive – swooping out of the sky with fierce claws “made to rip flesh off the bones.” And can come in all sizes, fitting into the palm of your hand or displaying a 9-foot wingspan.

These are a few of the facts pulled from NPR’s – The Biology of Birds of Prey. An interview with raptor specialists and researchers studying the birds in Idaho and saving many from extinction (audio 25-minutes, transcript available). The recovery has been a huge success going from just 22 condors in 1982, to over 400 now.

These condors are not the prettiest animal – looking like remnants of the Dinosaur age – with bald pink faces, black eyes, and a surrounding black mane of hair, like a lion (photo below).

See them in this video:

 

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The Scale of the Universe – a fun, educational animation

An interactive Flash animation titled “Scale Of The Universe 2“, covering everything in the universe from the fabric of space-time to the estimated size of the universe, was posted earlier this year, and it is awesome. A month or so later, it went viral, but why…so popular?

First, the actual scale of the universe is mind blowing as it spans 62 orders of magnitude (that’s multiplying 62 10′s together).

Second, the animation is very well produced and packed with information.

Third, it was created by a 14-year-old, Cary Huang, and his twin brother, Michael, who worked on it for a year and a half as a fun project…

via The Singularity Hub

 

It’s true, it is really fun to play with, especially with all the weird objects they use for comparisons. I snapped a few screenshots below to show you some of them.

The first one is where the animation starts and the second is after scrolling out a bit. In both, you can see the size of a human in comparison to many objects (in the second one, there is a tiny human in the center).

In the last screenshot, you can see how California, Texas, and Italy are about the size of many moons and Pluto!

The Scale of the Universe 2

Man flies like a bird for 100 meters – using “selfbuilt wings”

Subtitles from Dutch

  • I was running…and…(breathing heavy)
  • At one moment you see the ground moving away, and then suddenly you’re free, a really intense feeling of freedom.
  • The true feeling of flying. A **cking magical moment!
  • The best feeling I have felt in my life.

 

From the project website, humanbirdwings.net -

Right here, on this blog I share everything about my crazy plan to build my own wings. My goal? To fly with it! Something Leonardo DaVinci, my grandfather and I dreamed of for a long time. But this summer I decided to really start building it.

 

There was some discussion about the authenticity of this video, but the MythBusters team tackled that:

The video of Jarno Smeets’ flight is cool, and I don’t see evidence that it was faked. It seems reasonable to accomplish, and is something I have wanted to try for a long time.

The still photos of the parts on a table are helpful and the components are appropriate to what the item does in the air. The motors are rare earth magnet low RPM, high torque, outrunners that look in the neighborhood of 3000 watts or so each. So you could have an output of just under 10hp there. The speed controllers look to be appropriate to those motors, and the batteries are lithium ion. This is all appropriate…

via Tested

 

Thx to Don Burke

King for a day: The internet finally takes down books, cd’s, and dvd’s

Rumors are swirling that Borders bookstores is shutting down 400 stores and laying off 11,000 employees. Which may be the kill shot from the internet we have been talking about for years.

First, it stinks that several thousand folks are going to be out of work. I always liked bookstore employees because they are the friendliest in the retail world.

If you look to Barnes and Noble, the titan of bookstores, they too are on the chopping block. Up for sale with a potential buyer, the company is losing money every quarter. The strongest segment of the business is their e-book reader, the Nook, and the corresponding e-book sales.

This all means that book superstores are going the way of the Dodo bird.

The movie business is already done. Blockbuster is in the process of closing 1,000+ stores. Hollywood Video is in bankruptcy and, for me, they even tore down the building at the one I used to work at in Westwood!

The sales of DVD’s also plummeted 20% in the first quarter of 2011.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a DVD.

Music and CD sales have been done for a while. The stores that used to sell CD’s: Wharehouse, Virgin Megastores, Tower Records, and others are now just fading memories. The empty stores they left behind only show a passing resemblance to the hotspots they once were.

Here is a chart that shows 2009 sales of CD’s lowering back down to 1985 levels.

King for a day.

The internet has finally overcome and I say it’s for the better. Music is not dead, movies are still alive, and I’m reading more books than ever.

Perhaps the megastores, big boxes, and local DVD stores are gone. But, in their place I think we can expect more mom/pop used book stores, cult favorite CD stores (Amoeba music), and on-demand movies.

It’s a plus for all of us!

Right?

King for a day: The internet finally takes down books, cd's, and dvd's

Rumors are swirling that Borders bookstores is shutting down 400 stores and laying off 11,000 employees. Which may be the kill shot from the internet we have been talking about for years.

First, it stinks that several thousand folks are going to be out of work. I always liked bookstore employees because they are the friendliest in the retail world.

If you look to Barnes and Noble, the titan of bookstores, they too are on the chopping block. Up for sale with a potential buyer, the company is losing money every quarter. The strongest segment of the business is their e-book reader, the Nook, and the corresponding e-book sales.

This all means that book superstores are going the way of the Dodo bird.

The movie business is already done. Blockbuster is in the process of closing 1,000+ stores. Hollywood Video is in bankruptcy and, for me, they even tore down the building at the one I used to work at in Westwood!

The sales of DVD’s also plummeted 20% in the first quarter of 2011.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a DVD.

Music and CD sales have been done for a while. The stores that used to sell CD’s: Wharehouse, Virgin Megastores, Tower Records, and others are now just fading memories. The empty stores they left behind only show a passing resemblance to the hotspots they once were.

Here is a chart that shows 2009 sales of CD’s lowering back down to 1985 levels.

King for a day.

The internet has finally overcome and I say it’s for the better. Music is not dead, movies are still alive, and I’m reading more books than ever.

Perhaps the megastores, big boxes, and local DVD stores are gone. But, in their place I think we can expect more mom/pop used book stores, cult favorite CD stores (Amoeba music), and on-demand movies.

It’s a plus for all of us!

Right?