Tag Archives: cats

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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Friday Cat Blogging – 13 January 2017

Mother Jones

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I’m alive. Barely. My congestion decided to migrate up into my ear canals yesterday, so every time I cough my right ear blocks up and the world starts spinning. Unfortunately, I cough a lot. It doesn’t last too long, but it happens often enough to keep my stomach in a permanent state of mild nausea. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Anyway, the cats are all fine. Here’s Hilbert camping out on the fence.

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Friday Cat Blogging – 13 January 2017

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Friday Cat Blogging – 9 December 2016

Mother Jones

For years we’ve had a regular feline visitor to our house. However, a few days ago, for the first time I can remember, he visited during daylight hours. This caused considerable alarm, and in the ensuing dustup both of our cats somehow ended up on the roof. I’m not quite sure how or why, but after it was all over they roamed around for a while and then settled down on the patio cover. As you can see, Hilbert is keeping a watchful eye out for any further invasions of his territory.

Speaking of territory, the Downing Street mouse problem has still not been solved. So now, in addition to Larry, Palmerston, and Gladstone, the staff has added a mother and son pair of cats, Evie and Ossie. We now have an army of five cats on Downing Street patrol. Would you like to see them and hear about all the inside dirt? (Turf wars! Dog terrorizing! Tarantulas!) This is the kind of thing for which tabloids are really and truly your best source. Forget the Guardian. I recommend the Sun or the Mirror for this story.

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Friday Cat Blogging – 9 December 2016

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Would You Eat an M&M That Fell on the Floor?

Mother Jones

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News you can use from Aaron Carroll:

Perhaps no one in the United States has spent more time investigating the occurrence of bacteria on public surfaces than Charles Gerba.

According to Carroll, Gerba’s research tells us that it’s just fine to eat food that you’ve dropped on the floor. This sounds suspiciously like motivated reasoning to support the stereotypical male point of view, and I’m a little curious to learn what Mrs. Carroll thinks of this. I suppose we’ll never know. In any case, the argument here is that your average floor is no more germy than any other surface in your house, and less than many. Kitchen floors, for example, have about half the bacteria of kitchen counters.

That’s all fair enough, but what about ordinary old dirt and dust? My kitchen counters have almost none of that. My kitchen floor has lots, thanks to the fact that I walk on it, the cats walk on it, the dust accumulates until I vacuum it, and so forth. It may be that dirt and dust aren’t likely to make you sick, but it’s still a little disgusting to have it all over your food. Or am I being a little too fastidious here?

Of course, it also depends on the food item. If a peanut M&M fell on the floor, I’d have no qualms about rubbing it clean with my shirt and then eating it. But a leftover piece of chicken? Probably not.

I wonder what Donald Trump would think of all this? He’s a famous germaphobe, but he also apparently thinks that fast food is safer than other foods because it’s highly processed and standardized. So what would he think about an M&M that fell on the floor?

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Would You Eat an M&M That Fell on the Floor?

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Friday Cat Blogging – 12 August 2016

Mother Jones

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As everyone knows, the best cat toy is also the cheapest: a three-foot piece of string. But everyone also knows that you can make anything better by putting it on a stick. Hot dogs. Grilled peppers. Ice cream bars. Three-foot pieces of string.

With that in mind, yesterday we drove by the animal shelter and picked up a few new toys for the cats. One of them, of course, was the ever-popular feather-on-a-string-on-a-stick. So behold, Hilbert and Hopper at play. Note the color commentary from Marian at the beginning and Hilbert’s graceful belly flop on top of Hopper at the end.

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Friday Cat Blogging – 12 August 2016

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