Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Robin's Nest

P1110244 by P_Linehan
P1110244, a photo by P_Linehan on Flickr.
The second group of eggs has been laid in this nest in the eaves of my terrace.

Here are the three remaining eggs. We found another one fallen on the ground near the nest.

Following a bird's nest.

While pruning this tree we noticed a bird's nest inside. When you think of it, this is an ideal place to put a nest. We stopped doing the pruning so as not to disturb the nestlings inside.

P1110162 by P_Linehan
P1110162, a photo by P_Linehan on Flickr.

Here is a look at the babies on June 8.

And on June 19. They have grown quite a bit. I want to get a picture of the parents at some point.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stranger in a Strange Land

I just finished rereading Robert Heinlein's masterpiece Stranger in a Strange Land. I haven't read it since high school. I hadn't even thought of it in years. I think the story has held up very well. There are some anachronisms that ring strange today. The curmudgeon, Jubal Harshaw, seems to treat his secretaries with 1950's condescension. But in the end we learn that he really loves and respects them.
Heinlein has a reputation as a libertarian. I expected more anti-government diatribes. There are some there. But compared to today's conservatives, he is respectful of government and politicians. After forcing the leader of the Federation to accept Michael, the man from Mars, he asks him to take control to manage Mike's immense fortune.
Of course, no one has really enacted the free love family relationship of the book. Yet, the message of tolerance and respect for people and the differences between people is so strong. This book has had a really important influence in my life, especially in the way I understand religion. It's an important aspect of human life and understanding, even though not factually correct and prone to exaggeration. We can only try to grok the universe and wait patiently. 
I was surprised to learn that there is a full-length original version that was published by Heinlein's widow. I want to get that now.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Senegal tour highlights soil conservation and reforestation problems.

SudOnLine - Le Portail de Sud Quotidien SENEGAL | La problématique de l'eau et du reboisement au cœur du Débat

This article describes a tour of international experts around the Thies and Kaolack regions of Senegal to talk with local farmers about soil conservation and reforestation. Led by the Senegal Eaux et Forets, there were forestry experts from Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Tunisia, and the USA. Curiously, the article didn't give any names.

I have been on and even led many such tours during my time in Africa, including this area. I wonder where they went to eat afterward?

It seems that not much as changed in the nearly 25 years since I worked there. They were talking about spreading peanut shells over soils degraded by salt encroachment. But the village had treated only 290 of 1850 hectares affected. I wonder how much time it took to do this?

At least it was encouraging that people seemed to know what the problem was and how to go about fixing it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Digital Archaeology

Today is the first time I ever heard the term "digital archaeology". I was listening to a podcast of On the Media. The reporter was visiting a museum exhibit where old computers had been loaded with original versions of various web pages. Even thought the web is only twenty years old, it changes so fast that time is accelerated. Can we save it all? Should we save it all? We'll have to see what happens. I know that this isn't the last we shall hear of this term. Here is a link to the story

Posted via email from Black Gap Road

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Fill your bird feeder.

We hadn't filled the bird feeders in several weeks. After providing a new supply of sunflower seeds, these baby cardinals came to sampel the menu.
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