Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bend it like Betty




More about the clever crow ...

Did u think you were smart ? That you are the cleverst, most intelligent species on the planet ???

Well, think again before you call someone a birdbrain. Even though a bird's brain is much smaller compared to a human brain, a young pigeon can recognise patterns and do some basic counting (not exactly counting, but they have some idea about numbers) and that is more than a 3 year old human kid can do !!!

Now about the crow in the picture - She is Betty. Betty Crow if you like (Like Sheryl Crow) (I mean not if U like Sheryl Crow, but similar to Sheryl Crow ... did u get the point ? - I guess not , anyway don't read these stuff in the brackets - they make your head hurt (Actually these type of brackets are called parenthesis - see, I told u your head will hurt)) Did I close all the brackets ?? - I hope so - anyway back to Betty.


Well, Betty here proved that she was no bird brain - she used her tiny brain to make tools - a hook !!! Using metal wire .

Just check out this video !

Betty the tool making crow (http://www.sciencemag.org/feature/data/crow/weirmovie.mov)
Aother link to a video (http://users.ox.ac.uk/~kgroup/trial7_web.mov)


Also these websites about Betty !!

Bend it like Betty - not like Beckham !

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn2651

http://users.ox.ac.uk/~kgroup/tools/crow_photos.shtml
Betty on CNN (http://archives.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/08/09/crow.betty/index.html)
http://www.hinduonnet.com/seta/2002/08/29/stories/2002082900070200.htm
http://www.earthsky.org/shows/edgeofdiscovery_profiles.php?id=48564
Betty and Abel (http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com/Science/Betty.html)
http://www.sciencemag.org/feature/data/crow/
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0808_020808_crow.html

Monday, September 25, 2006

That's the way the crow flies

crow.jpg




One of the cleverest (or should I say cunning ) birds in the whole wide world (www in short) is the Common Crow ! I suppose all of you have read the story of the clever crow and the pot of water. The water level was too low, so the crow dropped stones in the pot till the water rose and he/she could drink it.



Read this article from an Indian newspaper

The remarkable talent of a crow has challenged the chimpanzee's fame as the most proficient toolmaker in the animal world. A crow can make a hook from an ordinary piece of wire. Crows make and use a range of tools including hooks, which they use to extract food from cracks and crevices. But the crow has now shown that it can design and manufacture a tool from materials with which it has no previous experience.

These skills came to light when two crows were given a choice between a straight wire and a hook to extract a bucket of food from the bottom of a plastic pipe. When the male bird made off with the hook, the female bent the tip of the straight wire to make a replacement. To bend the wire, the crows sometimes hold it in their feet, then pulled the tip with the beak.

Crows make hooks from twigs and leaves and generally do not get materials like wires that bend and retain their shape. The bird's ability to make the right tool for the job from unfamiliar materials suggests that crows have some understanding of the properties of the material and what might be achieved with a hook.

Crows seem to have acquired a grip on basic physics and engineering. They have learned that they need to drop walnuts with thicker shells from greater heights in order to break them open. They seem to know that nuts dropped on asphalt and concrete surfaces need not be dropped from a great height, but if the crow is flying above soft earth, it will fly higher before dropping the nut.

Possibly then, the old story of the crow and the pot of water may well be true.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Me, myself and IE ( Internet Explorer 7 and 6 too )


Well, those who have been reading my posts (or atleast the post Funda's Own Zone - FundaZone http://johndasfundas.blogspot.com/2006/08/fundas-own-zone.html ), will know that I'm building a website of puzzles at www.fundazone.com

As I wanted to be a nice webmaster, I tested my pages on various browsers - and what did I find ???

Well, for one : this blog's previous template would come properly on Mozilla Firefox but in Internet Explorer, the sidebar would go down ! ( Or was it that the sidebar stays there but the posts go down - I don't remember exactly )

So, I edited the template to change the page structure. I changed a few numbers here and there and finally, I refreshed the page in IE. I don't remeber how many attempts I made, but finally I made the sidebar come up (or the posts - whichever it was). And all this time, Mozilla Firefox displayed my blog perfectly.




"Eureka !" , I shouted. Actually I didn't. I was in a library and shouting is not a good habit in a library. Therefore, I shouted it in my mind I guess.

But .... when I scrolled down , ......


.


. .


. . .

. . . . .

. . . . . . . .


. . . . . . . . . . . . .


Scrolled enough ....

And saw that

There were huge ugly white spaces in between the posts section and sidebar section !!!



And, sad to say, Mozilla Firefox showed the whitespaces too ... All because of IE !

Note that this was the currently most used version of IE (IE6)

For days, I left my blog like that - whitespace and all (because I was very busy with offline work - means work in the non-virtual world aka real world)

When I came back, I set to work on the template.

Realizing that I didn't have time to figure out why the mysterious white matter ( as opposed to dark matter - that is really not very mysterious ) appeared in the page, I changed the template.

Changed the template !!!

Please note that you have to make a backup of the template when you change the template.
i.e. (IE again ha ha ha - means that is) go to edit template and copy everything that you see in the textarea and paste it into a text file in your computer and save it (obviously)
because changing template means all the customisations will be lost - all those sidebar thingies and stuff) Later u can find those bits of code and copy-paste into the new template.

And so I did change my template.

More on firefox vs IE later ... (about IE 7 and how it messed up my forums on www.fundazone.com )


Go firefox go ! (I mean come firefox come !!!)

Download Mozilla Firefox browser from the link on this page ( I think it's there somewhere on the sidebar )

Late … almost …





He gobbled down the food – like one who has never seen it before. He had to hurry … It was time… With one eye on the watch – he saw the seconds blinking away (ticking is for non-digital watches- hah a retronym) Washing down the food with a glass of water, he ran … Within seconds he was on the open road – looking for something… Still running – but eyes searching … He knew that he had to be fast – only during a small stretch of the long road could he really hope to find what he was looking for.

He heard various vehicle sounds – each time his eyes located the sound maker to note that this was not what he wished for. The road was almost ended – if it did, then he was alone … That’s when he heard it.. his ears pricked up to locate the sound and eyes darted to it – Yeah ! Exactly what he wanted ! He reduced his pace to almost a stop and then jumped on as his target came close. “Thanks da !” , he shouted in relief, as the vehicle sped on to the class…

Thank you all my buddies who give me a lift to class when I'm late (",)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why should we walk on the right side of a path ?




What I'm talking about here is NOT why we should walk on the right path - what I try to explain here is why it is a better idea to walk on the right side of a road or street in a country like India. Rather than on the left.

The explanation is like this. In India, the vehicles have to go on the left side of the road - one of the customs the Britishers left behind for us when they finally let go of their prized empire.

Also, people have to walk on the road in many places because there is no space left for any footpath. Even if there was a footpath, it would be broken down with no slabs left. That is really dangerous because the footpaths are actually slabs covering the roadside drains - and there have been several instances of people falling into the drains through the missing footpaths.

Now, even if there was a good footpath, roadside hawkers and illegal shops would be set up there and there would be no space left for pedestrians . . .

So finally, the point is - U have to walk on the road - u have no choice.

And now that we are on the path - which side of it should we walk on ?

Now - take the left side . . . What if we walk on the left side ?

Imagine a speeding car - no, no noise (seen the latest car ads - these cars make no noise at all ) - Which way does it come if you are on the left side ?

From behind ! A silent speeding car may come up from behind and hit you ! And there will be nothing left of you ! Surely u don't want that to happen !

So which side is left ? The right side . So imagine u are walking on the right side. A silent speeding car comes. Which side ?

From in front of u ! U can see the car from afar and there is enough time left to jump to your right into safety.

So that is why u should be on the right side of the path .
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