This gives me hope for the world

28 04 2005

From CNN.com:
Experts: Woodpecker feared extinct found
Ivory-billed woodpecker last confirmed 60 years ago
Thursday, April 28, 2005 Posted: 10:36 AM EDT (1436 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The ivory-billed woodpecker, long feared extinct, has been rediscovered in a remote part of Arkansas some 60 years after the last confirmed U.S. sighting, bird experts said Thursday.

Several people have seen and heard an ivory-billed woodpecker in a protected forest in eastern Arkansas near the last reliable sighting of the bird in 1944, and one was captured on video last year.

“The ivory-billed woodpecker (Campephilus principalis), long suspected to be extinct, has been rediscovered in the ‘Big Woods’ region of eastern Arkansas,” researchers wrote in the journal Science in an article hastily prepared for release.

“Visual encounters during 2004 and 2005, and analysis of a video clip from April 2004, confirm the existence of at least one male.”

Drumming sounds made by the birds have also been heard, the researchers said.

“This is huge. Just huge,” said Frank Gill, senior ornithologist at the Audubon Society. “It is kind of like finding Elvis.”

Gill said there is little doubt the sightings are genuine. The experts were expected to display some of the evidence at a news conference at the Department of the Interior later Thursday.

“The ivory-billed woodpecker is one of six North American bird species suspected or known to have gone extinct since 1880,” wrote the researchers, led by John Fitzpatrick of the Cornell University Laboratory of Ornithology in New York.

“The others are Labrador duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius), Eskimo curlew (Numenius borealis), Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis), passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), and Bachman’s warbler (Vermivora bachmanii).”

Big but shy
A large, dramatic-looking bird, the ivory-billed woodpecker was known to be shy and to prefer the deep woods of the U.S. Southeast.

“Its disappearance coincided with systematic annihilation of virgin tall forests across southeastern United States between 1880 and the 1940s,” the researchers wrote.

People claimed to have seen it but the bird closely resembles the pileated woodpecker, which is noisy, less shy and quite common.

More reliable sightings were reported in Cuba as late as the 1980s.

“There have been lots and lots of reports and many of them have been off but others have been possible,” Gill said in a telephone interview. “But this time we got it.”

The ivory-billed woodpecker was known to be shy and to prefer the deep woods of the U.S. Southeast.
Gill said the bird was seen just over the border from Louisiana where the last documented ivory-bill was seen in 1944. “As a woodpecker flies it’s not far,” he said.

The birds only live about 15 years so the sightings mean they must be breeding somewhere.

“There has got to be a pretty serious lineage,” Gill said. “It’s got to be more than a few.”

People are likely to flock to the area to try to see the birds themselves but it will be difficult, Gill said.

“It is not something you just go down and see. Your odds are very low,” Gill said. “It is remote, difficult country. This time of year it is getting very buggy and very snakey and there is a lot of foliage.”

But the discovery may help get protection for a larger area of the Big Woods, the nonprofit Nature Conservancy said.

“This area was once the largest expanse of forested wetlands in the country, originally consisting of 21 million acres of bottomland hardwood forests. Today, only 4.9 million acres remain, mostly in scattered woodland patches,” it says on its Internet Web site.

“It’s just the most exciting report in my lifetime. I think we will move … to make this a globally important bird wildlife area,” Gill said.





No regrets

22 04 2005

The plan is to move forward in life, right? So why do we live with so many regets? Why do shit because people tell us that’s the way it’s done? Obviously, that’s the way the system works much of the time, but why follow that line of thinking when you have the free choice to do otherwise? Magh. A strange night…





Awwwwww…

20 04 2005

Oh you… lil’ brudder.





Yee Haw!

17 04 2005

Have you ever looked at a web site and wondered how anyone could make something so shitty? Well, if you have, you should remember that at one time, the standard looked ugly as hell. My instructor in my design class gave us this link which lets you see the way a web site was from around 1998 to now. Just look at them! Aren’t some awful? Even UW has made some serious steps.

Speaking of UW, I have a preview of the new site to be unveiled this summer. I think it’s pretty sweet.

That’s all for now.





MEE-NA-SOH-TAH!

17 04 2005

This is bullshit. I’m 100% Minnesotan. Maybe Wisconsin has tainted me.

I scored a 77% on the “How Minnesotan are you?” Quizie! What about you?





I know, I know

16 04 2005

I realize when people see these things, it makes them want to read my blog less and less, but I thought that this was interesting. It’s mostly right on:

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Dixie




Where should I live?

14 04 2005
You scored as LOUISIANA. THE BIG EASY IS FOR YOU…LOUISIANA

LOUISIANA

67%

FLORIDA

50%

NEW YORK

50%

UTAH

42%

WASHINGTON

42%

NEVADA

42%

California

33%

WYOMING

25%

What state should you live in?
created with QuizFarm.com





Posted to a friend’s LJ:

14 04 2005

I find it interesting that I rarely see the right protesting anything
unless a) they made up an excuse to protest it or b) the left started
lobbying for it.

Examples of point “a”:
The religious right – Tinky Winky and Spongebob are gay! Isn’t it obvious! Those flamers! They’re teaching our kids to be gay!
Marijuana bashers: Pot kilss people and funds terrorism.
No more to be said on point “a”.

You can see plenty of examples of point “b” on campus. An organization
is started in favor of someone by the left; an organization is started
AGAINST that person by the right. An org is instated to promote
goodwill and kind feeling (or at least tolerance); an group stands up
and says, “This is immoral/wrong/evil.”

It bugs me. Anyways, off the soapbox.

On another note, I don’t know if you set CNN to be your homepage like I
do, but I was amazed to read about this 10,000+ catch in a one-week
Dragnet. I didn’t even know the government did this kind of stuff, but
it freakin’ rocks! I figure, if they caught 10,000, at least 1,000 must
be from the midwest.

The breakdown from cnn.com:
“Among the 10,340 people captured between April 4 and April 10 are 162
accused or convicted of murder, 638 wanted for armed robbery, 553
wanted for rape or sexual assault, 154 gang members and 106
unregistered sex offenders.”

I do wonder how much of this
is to bolster Gonzales’/Bush’s ratings. Note that later in the story,
it reports: “Officials insist the operation was strictly designed to
carry out law
enforcement objectives but acknowledge the scope of the operation was
expected to prompt positive publicity.”

“Hmmmm…” indeed.





Inner Peace

12 04 2005

I should be studying chemistry right now, but I can’t stop thinking about this.

I did something I’m really ashamed of today. I didn’t lie or hurt someone, but I feel like a bad person for what I did. That got me thinking.

I really don’t feel like I’m at peace with myself right now. I accept myself for who I am (for the most part, though we all try to improve ourselves in one way or another.) The problem is that I have a problem with the way others see me and worrying about whether or not they accept me.

I see and hear things all the time that make me feel like I’ll be changing my life for the better in that realm, such as movies like Adaptation, Garden State and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. As cheesy as it might sound, I saw an inspirational speaker who made me feel like I could do anything for about a week.

The problem is, I don’t feel like I’m being extraordinary. I’m not making the best use of my youth, and that bothers me.

A couple posts ago, I put up a site in which people reveal their innermost secrets on postcards. One says, “Psst, here’s a secret… Your last mortal thought will be, ‘Why did I take so many days – just like today – for granted?'” It rings true to me, even though I appreciate the beauty in the world and my good fortune nearly every day. I wonder when I’ll be able to look everyone square in the eyes and smile when I pass them on the street, when I’ll be able to listen to everyone without acting or feeling rushed or nervous.

Sometimes I feel like a dick. Sometimes I feel like a pussy. Sometimes I don’t give people the attention they deserve. Sometimes I feel like people don’t want my attention, even though they may truly welcome it.

I’m wondering if this emptiness, regret and disdain stem from something superficial. I seriously doubt it. I have a couple theories: One is that I’m feeling a lack of joy in my life because of my distance from God at the moment. I haven’t been to real church in a significant amount of time. I pray at least once a week, but that doesn’t signify closeness, only faith.

The other theory is that I’m looking at life the wrong way. Right now it’s a matter of “Do I or don’t I?” and “When should I?” when it should be “My place is here. My time is now.” Seriously. Why can’t I grasp life? Why can’t I love my youth and vitality?

Someone help.





Columns for my tryout

12 04 2005

Below are the three columns I submitted for purposes of trying to be a
DC columnist. They are exactly as I submitted them, so if you see any
typos, I fucked up. Thanks to everyone for their comments. They really
did help a ton.

#1
     Welcome class of 2009! My name
is Jake, and I’ll be your UW – Madison
freshman orientation guide for your first few days here on campus!
     You’ve probably already noticed that the
campus here isn’t the same as your high school. I’m here to help you make a
smooth transition to college and all that a life here at UW has to offer.
     First off, let’s talk about the dorms. If
you move into your dorm room before your roommate, make sure you get all the
perks of the room before he or she does. Claim the bottom bunk, fill the
mini-fridge with your food, and take
both of the free pizza coupons that housing leaves in the room for you and your
roomie.
     If he or she gets to the room before you,
nag and whine until you get what you want. It’s not a very hard thing to do,
and it establishes a rapport with your roomie that tells him or her that unless
you get your way, you’ll be like this for the rest of the year. If you do this,
you shouldn’t have any problems with your roommate for the rest of the nine months
you’re together.
     Regarding relationships with the rest of
your floor, make a name for yourself. One way to do this: make a mess in a
conspicuous place (the bathroom is best,) then claim responsibility for it.
This will ensure people will know your name, and it’s a great icebreaker.
     The next thing to worry about is getting
wasted in a timely manner. A sacred tradition on campuses across the nation,
inebriation can help you have great times you’ll never remember.
     Getting a hold of alcohol appears to be a
daunting task, but it’s really not tough at all. Your most reliable source is
your house fellow. Ask him or her to buy you a bottle of low-grade vodka or a
case of classless beer. Most house fellows will cheerfully agree and procure
what you need. Note: the going price for a liter of vodka right now is about $50.
Don’t let anyone overcharge you.
     Once you’ve gotten your alcohol, down it
as fast as you can. Just so you know, guys, excessive drinking impresses the
ladies. When you vomit on your shirt and pass out on her floor, it tells a girl
you are committed to drinking and so can also be committed in a relationship.
     If drinking in the dorms isn’t your scene,
there are a number of parties on the town, never more so than during your first
week of school. Everyone knows about the best parties, so take your new friends
from the dorms, and head out on the town. Look for another big group of kids
your age that looks like it knows where it’s going and join up with it.
     This process is known as herding.
Eventually, one herd of freshmen will know where a kickass party is, and all 40
in your group will make your way there. Cups usually cost about $7, but the
money is well worth it. The beer flows freely from kegs, and it never runs out…
ever.
     The remainder of the night amounts to
stumbling back to your room and passing out. When you wake up the next morning,
nurse your hangover well. It should be done by about 3:00 pm, the perfect time for you to get a head start on
the next evening.
     As
far as school work goes, that all falls into place around this schedule, so
don’t worry about it until mid-December when finals hit.
     In conclusion, have a safe, fun kickoff to
your semester. Eat, drink, be merry and all that good stuff. Just be sure to go
to lecture in moderation.

#2

     Let’s get it out
in the open. I have a confession. I’m having a love affair. My mistress:
tobacco. For the sake of brevity, we’ll call her Smoky.
     Smoky and I first
met when I was seven. My dad and his buddies had a softball team, and I was
their bat boy. Half of the guys on the team, along with each of their wives in
the stands, smoked. The sweet second-hand scent of Camel Lights filled my
nostrils weekly. I didn’t have a care, except to grab and organize bats. Ever
since, Camels have reminded me of those summer nights.
     Always the guilty
pleasure, Smoky made her return my junior of high school, right around the time
my friends made up their minds to develop serious relationships of their own
will Pall Mall, Newport
and Virginia Slim.
     During the summer
before my senior year, my buddies and I would waste the days disc golfing at a
course by my high school. Smoking bummed cigarettes every round was a ritual.
     On the weekends,
we would camp on a friend’s land in the country, start a bonfire, crack open a
case of Busch Light and light up.
     The occasional
cigarette became an integral part of my summer experience, and as ashamed as I
was of her, Smoky was back in my life. Every pull of my cigarette was bliss in
that last lazy summer.
     A year later, I was clean again. When I left
for college, Smoky was as much a part of my past as those frolfing friends.
     College was a
fresh start, a chance to reform. That’s exactly what I did. When others in my
dorm headed outside for a smoke, I stayed resolute. My late-night rendezvous
with Smoky were over. That was that.
     I went a whole
year without Smoky, but she caught up to me. Like a meddling bitch, she pleaded
for me to come back, to have one more night of hazy bliss and relive the glory days,
even if for just a few minutes.
     I caved, and now
she’s back in my life.
     I smoke in spurts,
now. Sometimes I’ll buy a pack, and it will sit, unused and stale, on my shelf
for months at a time. All at once, I’ll get a craving for a cigarette and pull
one out of the pack. The rush I get from having one makes me think about having
another later in the day. Soon the pack is gone, and I’m on the way to the
store for another.
     I certainly don’t
mean to glorify cigarettes. Smoking is an awful habit that has killed millions.
I know this, and I agree with people when they tell me how bad it is for me.
     But when friends
ask, “Why would someone do that to themselves?” I have an answer that makes
perfect sense, if to no one other than me. I’m not addicted to cigarettes, but
like a secret lover, the attraction eats at me.
     Cigarettes remind
me of simpler days and good times. I long to relive the days when I didn’t have
to worry about midterms, work or even what I was doing tomorrow. Now, every day
is filled with some new challenge to overcome, which is the way it should be.
     Still, when I
feel myself getting anxious over homework or a semester-long project, I’ll
sneak away to light up a cigarette. Smoky, my lady in waiting, reminds me where
I came from and who I am.

#3
     It all starts
with a frisbee. Next comes a hacky sack. Soon ladies are wearing less clothing
and guys are noticing. Spring is back on campus.
     Happiness is an
easy thing to find when spring first hits Wisconsin.
Leaves start popping out of buds on the trees, shorts become reality instead of
wishful thinking, and the thermostat can finally be shut off.
     On one
particularly beautiful Wednesday, I resolved to head to Library Mall to sit and
study. In the back of my mind, I knew I shouldn’t kid myself. I knew I was
going to nap, but I justified the trip by filling my backpack with heavy
textbooks and a couple notebooks.
     When I reached
the mall, it looked a bit crowded. I scanned the area and eventually found a
small corner of grass to sit in. I brushed some litter from a previous group,
and then plopped down. Three little kids were walking around and barking orders
to their mom, but I was content to tune them out.
     I unzipped my bag
and pulled out my chemistry book. I opened it up and began scanning the pages,
finally settling into the peace that was spring.
     Just as I hit my
groove, a sharp popping sound broke my concentration. Three sandal-clad guys
with hemp necklaces had taken up the hand drums and were working on a groove of
their own.
     I recognized one
of the drummers. He was known as a pretty crazy kid when he lived in the dorms,
and now he and his cohorts were shouting nonsense words to accompany the drum
beats.
     No problem, I
thought. I have headphones. I pulled them over my ears, but I could still catch
glimpses of dancing girls out of the corner of my eye. They were spinning to
the beat of the drums and flailing their arms to announce just how happy and
mellow they were. Their expression was not
making me feel the same way.
     As I tried to
settle back into my book, another sound caught my attention.
     “Yeah Dad,” it
announced to everyone in a 20-foot radius, “Yeah. We were fishing on the yacht
on the gulf coast the whole time … Yeah, the fish were, like, huge! We ate so much fish! … What? … Yeah, I’m
sitting out on the grass right now. There are a ton of people here.”
     I cringed,
knowing that this one-sided conversation was going to last a while.
     As a second chorus
of drummers joined the first, a small dog started yipping at the children who
were trying to play with it. I finally came to grips with the reality that
everyone else had come out to enjoy the weather just like me. My serene, early
spring study session was definitely not happening.
     It seems that we
all get a little crazy when we have to spend the majority of our waking hours
inside, speaking in hushed tones. When we finally have the chance to get
outside without countless layers of clothing, we jump at it. All that pent up
energy comes out at once, and our lounging and shouting is just a way to say, “Damn,
it feels good to be out again!”
     Resigned to the
fact that even a nap was unlikely, I packed up my books and trudged off to the
dark chasm that is College Library to hibernate indoors for one more week.