A little bird’s courage against a predator

An amazing series of photographs has been published, showing a kingbird attacking and fending off a red-tailed hawk that ventured too close to its nest. For copyright reasons, I won’t reproduce them all here, but I’ll show one in smaller scale as a ‘fair use’ example of the others. There are more photographs and a description of the fight at the link. Highly recommended. Peter

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A British perspective on the Afghanistan situation

I posted on Wednesday about Matthew Hoh and his views on Afghanistan. Tonight I read in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, about that country’s Centre for Policy Studies and its perspective on the conflict. The two reports are very similar, and draw the same conclusions. Here’s an excerpt from the Daily Mail article. All too many senior officers at the Ministry of Defence have looked like politicians in uniform, pretending that it is business as usual when in reality the situation is deteriorating. If we are to achieve anything in Afghanistan, I believe we must end this kind of

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More on the Internet’s 40th birthday

Yesterday I posted an article about the 40th birthday of the Internet, which was ‘born’ on October 29th, 1969. A couple more interesting items have come to light today. The Daily Mail has published pictures of the computer used to send those first Arpanet messages, and interviewed Prof. Leonard Kleinrock, one of the ‘founding fathers’ of the Internet. Here’s the computer in question, with Prof. Kleinrock: There’s more at the link. Very interesting reading. Then, the Defence Advanced Research Project Agency, or DARPA, has launched a competition with a $40,000 first (and only) prize, to commemorate the Internet’s 40th birthday.

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Parkour FAIL!

I’m sure readers are familiar with the sport of parkour (a variant is known as free running, but enthusiasts regard them as the same discipline in different forms). Wikipedia defines parkour as follows: Parkour (sometimes also abbreviated to PK) or l’art du déplacement (English: the art of moving) is a physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible, as if moving in an emergency situation, using skills such as jumping and climbing, or the more specific parkour moves. The object is to get from a Point

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Doofus Of The Day #285

Today’s award goes to Matthew Allan McNelly and Joey Lee Miller of Iowa. CNN reports: Police received a call Friday night that two men with hooded sweatshirts and painted faces had tried to break into a man’s home in Carroll, Iowa. When police stopped a vehicle matching the caller’s description blocks away, they were stunned by the men’s disguises. There were no ski masks or stockings pulled over their heads; instead, Matthew Allan McNelly, 23, and Joey Lee Miller, 20, streaked their faces permanent black marker. Carroll Police Chief Cayler told CNN the strange disguises made it easier for his

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The reality of losing a child

There’s a heartrending story on MSNBC about the death of a young child from cancer, and her parents’ efforts to give her the best and most meaningful life they could during her dying, and their experience of her loss. It brought me to tears, and I think it may be very valuable in helping others to face such tragedies. Here’s a brief series of excerpts to whet your appetite. Elena Desserich was diagnosed with brain cancer at 5 years old. She began to hide hundreds of little notes around the house — in sock drawers, backpacks and tucked between the

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Happy birthday to the Internet!

Forty years ago today, on October 29th, 1969, the first link in what was to become ARPANET (the first packet switching network, that later grew into the Internet, and formed the backbone of today’s World Wide Web) was tested. The BBC reports: It has often been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. For the internet, that first step was more of a stumble. At 2100, on 29 October 1969, engineers 400 miles apart at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) and Stanford Research Institute (SRI) prepared to send data between the

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He won’t be the last

I felt great sympathy today at the news that a State Department representative has resigned in protest at US policies in Afghanistan. When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan. A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed. But last

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