Tag Archives: Bird

Remote Control Hummingbirds!

Mother Jones

It tuns out that one of features of my new camera is the ability to control it remotely with my cell phone. If you have even a gram of nerd blood in you, this should make you insanely jealous.1 It’s the coolest thing ever.

And yet, as cool as it is, it still left me twiddling my neurons trying to figure out what I could do with it. One possibility was situations where I need to minimize camera shake. Put the camera on a tripod and then snap the shutter remotely without actually touching anything. But that would be just another example of using a thousand dollars worth of technology to do what a ten-dollar cable release can do. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Then Marian suggested I could set up the camera by our hummingbird feeder and wait for hummingbirds to fly in. So I did. Here’s what the setup looks like:

Then I went into the living room and watched Roger Federer play Stan Wawrinka at Indian Wells. Every time a bird showed up on my camera, I held down the remote shutter button and shot off a few dozen pictures.

Which did me precious little good. Damn, those little buggers are fast. Even with the shutter speed allegedly set at 1/2000th of a second, the pictures were blurry. Also out of focus most of the time, which was a combination of my fault and the camera’s fault. Still, live and learn. Here are the two best shots I got:

The top one is a male Anna’s hummingbird. The bottom one is, I suppose, a female Anna’s hummingbird. The bird folks can enlighten us in comments.

Anyway, I’ll have to try this again. It’s certainly a way of getting some good nature shots without sitting on my hump for hours on end in a muddy patch of dirt. Then again, since the WiFi range for the camera is about ten feet or so, maybe it just means I get a little better selection of where to sit on my hump for hours on end. I’ll have to think of some way to try this with the cats.

1Unless you already have a camera that can do this.

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Remote Control Hummingbirds!

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Hillary’s Right. Tabasco Sauce Is Great.

Mother Jones

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Hillary Clinton carries around Tabasco in her purse. UPROXX thinks this means she is “trying too hard.” UPROXX is stupid. She has done this for years. She really likes Tabasco. A lot of people don’t and have used this occasion to make jokes about Tabasco. I rise in its defense.

Here’s what you need to understand about Tabasco. It isn’t really a hot sauce. It’s silly to compare it to other hot sauces because it really isn’t that hot, but it is good. It is a vinegar sauce. A delicious vinegar sauce that America loves. It makes almost anything better. What would a Bloody Mary be without Tabasco? What about corned beef hash? Do you like corned beef hash? Of course you do. Everyone likes corned beef hash. But would you like corned beef hash without Tabasco? I am not so sure.

No matter what you call it, it is undeniable that America has chosen Tabasco as its spicy condiment of choice. It is in almost every single restaurant in America. The places that do not have it are flipping the bird to the American people.

Tabasco Tabasco Tabasco. Yum yum yum. Confession: I have been known to take hits of Tabasco straight.

Now let’s go a bit further.

The worst condiment in America is mayonnaise. Mayonnaise offends my senses and makes me want to vomit. However, Americans love mayonnaise. I forgive them for this. America is about choice. Americans should be allowed to have their disgusting mayonnaise. But if we are going to allow people to have mayonnaise when they want, then we need to allow people to have Tabasco without shame.

Here’s the real worst thing about mayonnaise: When you ask a waiter for a BLT with no mayo, they do not respect the no mayo wish. They think in their addled minds, “How could anyone not want mayo?” Well, look, I don’t want mayo. Get away from me.

I would understand people who don’t like Tabasco getting upset if Tabasco were treated with the same assumptions as mayonnaise, but it is not so. Tabasco is never just on something. They give you the bottle and you make your own mind up. You have no reason to be mad about Tabasco. Tabasco isn’t forcing itself on you. Tabasco is just there; if you want to use it, use it.

Your outrage about Tabasco is misplaced. If you want sriracha or Tapatio or whatever, that’s fine! Live and let live, bro. The fact that other people’s enjoyment of Tabasco incenses you so says something about you. Not Tabasco. It is an indictment of your emotional maturity. I don’t know why you can’t let people be happy, but you can’t. Maybe your parents weren’t around. Maybe your dad went to the store to buy some Tabasco and never came back. I don’t care. Take it up with a therapist. Let people who want to indulge in Tabasco without fear of social retribution do so. It is why the pilgrims sailed across a sea.

You know what other condiment is great is mustard. Mustard is great. You know what other condiment is not so great? Ketchup. Ketchup is too sweet! Ketchup is also, like mayonnaise, one of those things that restaurants just assume you want on things. I do not. If I wanted ketchup on something I would ask for it. Be outraged about ketchup and mayonnaise. Not Tabasco.

Tabasco has done nothing to you.

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Hillary’s Right. Tabasco Sauce Is Great.

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NRA attacks “shadowy network” of enviros and zoos fighting to ban lead bullets

NRA attacks “shadowy network” of enviros and zoos fighting to ban lead bullets

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In search of the truth.

You might think the NRA would be busy enough fighting its current battles, fending off crazy ideas like expanded background checks for gun sales. But no. The group is now picking a whole new fight, this one against activists who want to ban lead bullets.

Studies have shown that as many as 20 million birds, including endangered California condors, die each year from lead poisoning after ingesting bullet fragments. Ammunition is likely the greatest unregulated source of lead released into the environment, according to a statement [PDF] from scientific experts in lead and environmental health. Some states, notably California, are now weighing regulations to outlaw the use of lead in bullets.

The NRA isn’t going to stand by and let that happen. The group has launched a campaign called Hunt for Truth to fight back against “the assault on traditional lead ammunition” by targeting the groups and individuals — mostly scientists, nonprofits, and government agencies — behind this unconscionable attack on American values.

But the thing is, requiring hunters to use lead-free bullets wouldn’t cause them any great hardship, the Huffington Post reports:

Lead-free bullets are widely available from top manufacturers, and have not been shown to function any differently than bullets containing the highly toxic element.

So this should be a no-brainer — an easy opportunity for the NRA to toss the bird-huggers a bone and get back to its more important mission of keeping guns less regulated than toys. But since when does the NRA cave that easily?

In order to rally its members to oppose the lead regulation, the NRA described a conspiracy theory involving crooked scientists, phony research, and a shadowy network of nonprofits, zoos and government agencies all conspiring to ban hunting.

According to the NRA, an “activist portion of the scientific community” has formed “a highly organized network of like minded researchers with an agenda to ban lead ammunition.” In order to thwart this looming threat, “Hunt for Truth will expose the researchers associated with ‘faulty science’ critical of lead ammunition,” the gun lobby says.

Scientists aren’t the NRA’s only new targets. Nonprofits like the San Diego Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Team are also on the enemies list. The NRA claims these groups “have considerable influence over many legislators and regulators,” which they use to “capture” the regulatory agencies and bureaucrats responsible for lead ammunition restrictions.

Now that’s rich: the NRA — perhaps the nation’s most powerful lobby, commanding mind-boggling subservience from Congress and other lawmakers — accusing nonprofit environmental groups of controlling the legislative process. The San Diego Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Team can only dream of having even the tiniest fraction of the “considerable influence” the NRA wields. But hey, these are people who think we’d all be safer with more guns, not fewer. I can only imagine the kind of paranoia that must go hand-in-hand with that mentality.

Although I am intrigued by the idea of an underground network of shady zoos; sounds spooky. Someone call M. Night Shyamalan. Or Scooby Doo.

Claire Thompson is an editorial assistant at Grist.

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NRA attacks “shadowy network” of enviros and zoos fighting to ban lead bullets

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