Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by RickAgresta, Oct 10, 2007.
Instant Karma for jumping the line.
1 Hen, 76 Ducklings: What’s the Deal With This Picture?
By Sarah Mervosh, www.nytimes.com
July 24th, 2018
Dozens of common merganser ducklings following Mama on Lake Bemidji in Minnesota.Photo by: Brent Cizek
Where she goes, they follow. All 76 of them.
A female duck in Minnesota has about six dozen ducklings in her care, a remarkable image that an amateur wildlife photographer captured on a recent trip to Lake Bemidji, about 150 miles northwest of Duluth, Minn.
“It was mind blowing,” the photographer, Brent Cizek, said in an interview. “I didn’t know that a duck could care for that many chicks.”
It’s not unusual to see many ducklings gathered together. Some 20 or 30have been reported with a single hen. But 70-plus?
“It’s an extraordinary sighting,” said Richard O. Prum, an ornithologist at Yale University.
Experts say the photo, which has been shared among bird conservationists and featured on the National Audubon Society’s website, offers an extreme example of a somewhat common phenomenon in nature. Here’s a look at the story — and the science — behind the striking image.
common merganser, a duck found on freshwater lakes. Females can lay up to a dozen or so eggs, according to the National Audubon Society.
But, in a twist, common mergansers don’t incubate only their own eggs. Experts say females often “dump” their eggs in the nests of other birds in an effort to spread out their offspring and increase the chances of survival.
Still, even if Mama had other birds’ eggs dumped in her nest, Mr. Prum said she could not have managed to sit on so many eggs.
“It’s impossible for this individual to have incubated, you know, 50 eggs,” he said. “That is really too much.”
Why is she caring for so many ducklings?
Some birds, including common mergansers and ostriches, raise their babies in a day care system that’s called a crèche, experts say.
In a crèche, females leave their ducklings in the care of one female — often an older female who is experienced at raising babies, said David Rave, an area wildlife manager who oversees the Bemidji region for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
The females at Lake Bemidji, many of which are related, lay eggs that hatch around the same time, he said. Afterward, he said, the adult ducks go off to molt their feathers, leaving their broods in the care of a matriarchal female.
“She’d be kind of like the great-grandmother,” Mr. Rave said.
While the practice is common for this species, Mr. Rave said, the size of the crèche in the photo is exceptional. “That’s a lot,” he said. “I’ve seen crèches up to 35 and 50 often, but 70 — that would be a very big crèche.”
Mr. Cizek, the photographer, has gone back to the lake several times to photograph the ducklings as they grow. He said he had seen other adult ducks around the brood, but when Mama swims away, the ducklings follow her.
“Everybody is really just amazed,” Mr. Cizek said. “Everybody keeps saying, ‘Mom of the Year.’”
Zoo accused of painting donkeys to look like zebras
July 26th, 2018
An alleged zebra stands nearby Egyptian student Mahmoud A. Sarhan.Photo by: Mahmoud A. Sarhan
An Egyptian zoo is insisting it did not paint a pair of donkeys to look like zebras.
Cairo's International Garden municipal park became a target of ridicule after an Egyptian student, Mahmoud Sarhan, posted images on Facebook of the suspicious beast. Sarhan said that the zoo's two zebras were obviously painted donkeys, a view that has since been embraced by online animal experts.
However, zoo director Mohamed Sultan told a local radio station that his zebras are real, dismissing claims that they are just painted donkeys, according to the BBC.
This is not the first time that a zoo has painted donkeys to look like zebras. In 2009, a zoo in Gaza did the same thing, saying that it could not procure real zebras due to an Israeli blockade.
"The first time we used paint but it didn't look good," the zoo's proprietor told Reuters at the time. "The children don't know, so they call them zebras and they are happy to see something new."
In 2013, a Chinese zoo was criticized for trying to pass off a large dog as a lion. "The zoo is absolutely trying to cheat us," one visitor told Chinese media. "They are trying to disguise dogs as lions."
Zebras and donkeys, despite both bearing a resemblance to horses, are different species. Donkeys are popular beasts of burden in developing countries and were domesticated millennia ago. Zebras, meanwhile, are primarily known for their black-and-white stripes.
Zebras also have black snouts, according to one expert. They are also larger and less donkey-like than the animal in the viral photo, and do not have smudged stripes.
Oh. My. God...just, just click the link…ugh!
Nice sell. Yeah, sure, I'll click that link...
<note to self: scratch 'Sales' and 'Marketing' off the list of 'Good Career Moves'>
to infinity and beyond
The 2 men who were fishing, are friends from high school. The 'passenger' (it wasn't his boat) was the best-man at my wedding…
Cue Roseanne Rosannadanna…
My favorite parts. Besides the fact that no one was injured. It really is a small world, isn't it, RA?
Might belong as its own thread, or not…
How Google’s location-tracking issue affects you
Watching Google watch us.
Violet Blue, 08.17.18
Watching Twitter and Facebook commit reputational suicide over the past 20 months has been as painful as it has been entertaining -- entertaining in the sense that all anyone had to do was let the companies be themselves. The cost has been terrible, on democracy, the free press, at-risk populations and soon, I'll wager, on the economy. Still, it's hard not stay glued to our screens, waiting to see what awful things Facebook and Twitter do to us next.
While we've been perversely absorbed by the epic-scale human rights incompetencies of Facebook and Twitter (and trying not to get, you know, murdered, jailed or exiled as a byproduct of the platforms), we kind of forgot about some of the other born-yesterday stewards of humanity. Like Google. Which has apparently been playing fast and loose with the whole "we don't track your location" thing.
This week, the Associated Press published the findings of its investigation showing that Google tracks your locations even if you've shut off the Location History setting -- which is what the company says to do if you don't want Google tracking you. Google's Manage or delete your Location History page states, "You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored."
"That isn't true," writes the AP. "Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It's possible, although laborious, to delete it.)" Basically, it's the location leakage from almost everything that isn't Location History. To anyone who knows their way around the inherent deceit and data thievery of apps, that isn't a huge surprise when you think about it. Anyway, the AP explained:
For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like "chocolate chip cookies," or "kids science kits," pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude -- accurate to the square foot -- and save it to your Google account.
The report also stated "Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP's request."
Not cool, Google. Not cool.
Separate names with a comma.