Tag Archives: Every

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.

Originally posted here: 

Remote Control Hummingbirds!

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A $1 Billion Foreign Investment in the US Happens About Once Per Day

Mother Jones

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We’re going to be seeing a lot of this over the next four years:

How do I know? Because Trump sounds like Dr. Evil here. ONE! BILLION! DOLLARS! For comparison, here is total foreign direct investment since the start of the century:

Every year, there are hundreds of investments of a billion dollars by foreign companies in the US. The Fiat Chrysler announcement is entirely routine.

Still, that’s hundreds of opportunities every year for Trump to blather about how he’s making America great again. Just keep in mind that it’s all nonsense. I figure trend FDI should reach about $3.9 trillion in 2017. Wake me up if Trump manages to get it significantly higher than that, but please don’t insult me by trumpeting every piddling contribution along the way as if he were raining pixie dust over the entire economy.

UPDATE: The original headline and text way overstated the flow of new FDI each year. Sorry. It’s fixed now.

Taken from: 

A $1 Billion Foreign Investment in the US Happens About Once Per Day

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Show Us the Replacement!

Mother Jones

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Hmmm. Congressional Republicans might have a problem on their hands. Here’s one of the findings of the latest Kaiser Family poll on health care:

That little orange pie slice at the bottom—the one that says 20 percent—represents the number of people who support the idea of repeal and delay. About half the respondents don’t want to repeal Obamacare at all, and another 28 percent, showing the common sense that heartland Americans are famous for, don’t want to buy a pig in a poke. They may not be thrilled with Obamacare, but they sure want to see what’s going to replace it before it’s ripped apart.

This is the mantra Democrats should be hawking every second of every day. We don’t want a white paper, we want to see the real replacement. Does it really protect people with pre-existing conditions? Does it really keep premium costs down? Does it really reduce deductibles? Is it really a better deal for most working-class folks than Obamacare? Does it really keep the Medicaid expansion in place? Does it really guarantee that no one will be worse off than they are under Obamacare? And will it really cost less than Obamacare?

Every single person in America deserves an opportunity to look at the Republican plan, compare it to Obamacare, and figure out which one is a better deal for them personally. No one should support any kind of repeal plan until they’re allowed to see this.

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Show Us the Replacement!

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Trump’s pick to head the federal budget questions whether the government should fund science.

No, it isn’t ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, named to serve as ambassador to China, is in favor of wind energy and policies that promote it. Like, really in favor.

“Our leadership in green energy not only makes us a leader in renewables but also powers job growth,” the Republican said in his 2016 Condition of the State address in Iowa. “Every wind turbine you see while driving across our state means income for farmers, revenue for local governments, and jobs for Iowa families.” As governor of the No. 2 wind state, he’s also in favor of federal incentives for wind energy like the production tax credit.

Branstad may experience some whiplash as he represents an administration that is particularly antagonistic to wind energy to a country that has invested billions of dollars in wind and solar.

On climate change, Branstad is not a denier but he buys into his party’s reasoning for not acting. “We need to recognize this climate change issue is a global issue,” he said in 2011. That’s the excuse many Republicans use to argue that the U.S. shouldn’t clean up its act until developing economies like China and India do.

But if he doesn’t know it already, Branstad will soon learn that China is doing plenty to fight climate change right now.

Read this article: 

Trump’s pick to head the federal budget questions whether the government should fund science.

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We Really Should Not Be Encouraging a Twitter Presidency

Mother Jones

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I suppose this is about 157th on the list of things to worry about from a Trump presidency, but I still have to wonder: Are we going to continue giving Trump’s tweets the same banner treatment that we gave to the Hindenburg disaster? Shouldn’t the press have a little more self-respect than that? If the guy won’t talk to them, and instead relies on tweets that sound like they were written by a fourth grader (“The failing @nytimes story is so totally wrong on transition. It is going so smoothly. Also, I have spoken to many foreign leaders.”)—well, maybe they should be given no more than the attention they deserve. Which is to say, about the amount that the press gave to Barack Obama’s tweets. Which is to say, none.

UPDATE: Here’s an idea. Instead of going crazy over every Trump tweet, maybe the Washington Post should inaugurate a regular feature: Today’s Presidential Tweets. Every day, on page A14, they could have a box that reprints all of Trump’s tweets for the previous day, along with a fact check for each of them. Something like this:

Pretty good idea, huh?

Excerpt from: 

We Really Should Not Be Encouraging a Twitter Presidency

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