Poor Mr. W…

Nobody really likes Mr. W – and I count myself among that group. But after watching the video I realized, there is a place for Mr. W, a way to harness his energy.

Of course, it wasn’t until the very end that I realized it was a commercial for the wind division of a power company. I’m not the only one who found it to be an ingenuous, inventive, and entertaining bit of advertising. When it was released in 2007 it won a Cannes Gold Lion award and the following year a Creativity Award. This article features an interview with the design team who created the web film for Epuron.

Travelin’ Doggie Style

IMG_2948According to his owner, Sparky loves to feel the wind in his face. It looks like patient Sparky is ready to get moving!

Tucson is a Quiet Place of Resort…

Tucson SignOne hundred and fifty one years later, most folks down here would agree that this sign is more descriptive of Phoenix. Must’ve been quite a rowdy town back then!

Talking Buffelgrass on TV

To be clear, buffelgrass doesn’t talk. I was interviewed* by Domenica Fuller of KVOA news yesterday during one of my buffelgrass removal projects. I appreciated the opportunity since my job is to raise awareness about the hazards of buffelgrass. And the best part? I didn’t make a fool of myself!

Screen shot 2015-05-03 at 2.00.28 PM*To watch the news story: click on the link above, once the KVOA page loads, click on the lead photo to start the video.

Fun Virtual Birding

I just found out about this cool new online birding video game developed by Mr. Nussbaum, a teacher and avid birder. I figured I better spend a few minutes and check it out (ya know, in the interest of research). So far, the game showcases 4 locations back east and uses real bird data. I found it to be well-designed; you can choose between Beginner and Advanced, there are several different views/angles of each species, features different habitats, and includes bird songs. If the game is well-received Mr. Nussbaum promises to add birds and locations. Therefore, I expect it to be growing soon!

I gave each location a whirl and did fairly well, though to be honest, my warbler and sparrow skills need serious work. I dabbled around long enough to rack up over 35,000 points. I was having such a good time it was hard to wren-ch myself away (pun intended).

Give it a try, I think you’ll like it!

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MindCrowd, Check Your Head

Yesterday, my Aunt Coralie and I took a tour of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Arizona. The tour was titled Mysteries of the Brain, it should have been called the Mystery of Memory, but no matter, it was still fascinating. Their goal is to better understand the processes by which the brain records memories and how that changes with age. The premise is that once researchers understand the whys and hows of normal memory and aging they can develop methods to fend off, treat, or possibly cure dementing diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Our 40 person group was split into 4 smaller units and we rotated through labs, receiving an overview of the research. Our first stop was a room full of desktop computers. We were each directed to a computer and asked to try a memory game. It was a sample of MindCrowd, an online memory test research project. For this project, the researchers are shooting for a million participants (an astronomical number, considered impossible pre-internet). The hope is that such a large sample size will help researchers identify trends and factors that aren’t apparent in smaller projects.

I did fairly well on the demo test and was excited to try the real thing. The process took about 10 minutes and it was kinda fun (but then again, I’m a nerd that way). Give it a try – c’mon be one of a million! Screen shot 2015-04-21 at 9.36.39 PM

Pottery Pieces from the Past

Growing up in the Sonoran Desert, with it’s long history of human habitation (extending back at least 9,000 years), I learned early on to look for clues. Whether hiking or horseback riding my eyes constantly scanned the desert floor for lithics or sherds. I scrambled over boulders looking for petroglyphs and metates. I studied the landscape looking for human alterations.

Seldom was I disappointed, this area is rich with hints of those who have gone before. My fascination with those distant lifeways had a profound influence on me, it ultimately led to my degree in Archaeology. While I don’t work in that field I am just as interested as ever.

So imagine how delighted I was to find these sherds in my own backyard! I had always hoped to find something on this property but after six years, I had given up.

Based on the undecorated and unrefined surfaces this was probably plain ware, meant for everyday use. Two slight ridges running parallel suggest the vessel was made using the coil method. My thumb fits perfectly in one of the depressions – did the potter’s thumb fit there, too? We’re separated by hundreds of years yet I can picture the capable hands; coiling and smoothing.

These aren’t the most beautiful fragments, they aren’t large or painted or stylized, but I think they’re wonderful!IMG_2762

All About Nests

A new show by Nature, Animal Homes, airs tonight on PBS focusing on Nests. While that is interesting enough, the best part is that they filmed hummingbirds at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for the show!

I know I’ll be watching. Even better, I get to head over to the Desert Museum this weekend in person. I will not only see hummingbird nests, but eggs and fledglings, too. Not to mention the baby bighorn sheep that was born this week as well as the new black bear cub.

For those of you who can’t visit, watching the show will have to do!

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