V.22 No.22 | 5/30/2013
¡Viva la Science!
When tiny arms became crooked legs
By Lisa Barrow [ Tue May 28 2013 11:00 AM ]
Big Bird is a terrible example to us all, at least when it comes to bird anatomy. Check out those gams and you’ll see why. Like humans, real birds are bipedal, but their legs aren’t straight up and down. Instead, bird legs zigzag in such a way that birds are essentially in a permanent crouch, using their muscles to resist gravity. We humans don’t have to do that―our weight is borne passively on our straighter frames.
But of course, we can’t fly. The crouching posture peculiar to birds, says a recent study published in Nature, has everything to do with their evolution from dinosaur ancestors into animals capable of flight.
Previously, it was believed that the bird stance came about as a way for bird bodies to balance as massive T-Rex-style tails disappeared. Using 3-D digital reconstruction, however, the authors of the study determined that the key change was actually in the size of those adorable dinosaur arms. According to co-author John R. Hutchinson:
The tail is the most obvious change if you look at dinosaur bodies. But as we analyzed, and reanalyzed, and punishingly scrutinized our data, we gradually realized that everyone had forgotten to check what influence the forelimbs had on balance and posture, and that this influence was greater than that of the tail or other parts of the body.
Read more about the evolutionary adaptation that made bird flight possible here.
V.20 No.43 | 10/27/2011
Webgame Wednesday: A Crow in Hell 2
By Devin D. O’Leary [ Wed Oct 26 2011 1:29 PM ]
Halloween is fast approaching, and the season puts us in the mind for certain spooky activities. No reason, then, not to focus this week's Webgame Wednesday on an appropriately "Halloweeny" diversion. A Crow in Hell 2 puts you in the role of a crow that has been killed (again, apparently) and sent to .. well, Hell. (What you've done to deserve such a fate, I cannot speculate.) Your job is to navigate through the increasingly tricky airspace of this deathtrap-filled underworld. Grab enough keys and you might just get out.
V.20 No.10 | 3/10/2011
By John Bear [ Fri Mar 4 2011 2:40 PM ]
V.20 No.5 | 2/3/2011
Bird Art Next Door
Birds. They are among us. Everywhere. Unavoidable.
V.20 No.2 |
The Daily Word 1.13.11: Guv vs. CNM, Target in the air, Tom Hanks' rapper son
By Marisa Demarco [ Thu Jan 13 2011 9:36 AM ]
Obama says America should be as good as 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green imagined it to be. Here's the full text.
What Gov. Martinez has to say about being sued by environmentalists.
The guv is also suggesting the state bleed CNM for cash.
Officials are moving a sex-offender registration location away from a bus stop.
Target wants to build a Target in the air Uptown.
Someone pulled a fire alarm at The Pit, forcing evacuation with one second left in the first half.
These people will name their baby after you if you find their dog.
Romanian birds died of the drink.
NPR photo essay: Then and now, a year after the quake in Haiti.
Landslides kill hundreds in Brazil.
Twin sisters turn 100.
Hard cider is back.
Don't have sex with your mister or mistress in the marital bed.
Tom Hanks' son, Chet, is a rapper who likes to smoke fancy weed in fancy places.
How about a nuclear car?
V.20 No.1 |
Weird Bird Number Six
Lighter Note by Jamie Chase
By John Bear [ Mon Jan 10 2011 4:12 PM ]
V.19 No.51 |
Weird Bird Number Five
Sandhill Crane doing the Crane Technique from Karate Kid
By John Bear [ Wed Dec 29 2010 3:18 PM ]
Weird Bird: Number Four
On top of a strange tower near a film studio
By John Bear [ Fri Dec 24 2010 10:03 AM ]
V.19 No.46 |
Weird Bird: Number One
By John Bear [ Tue Nov 23 2010 7:22 PM ]
V.19 No.43 |
Where are all the sand hill cranes?
In the mean time...
By John Bear [ Sun Oct 31 2010 8:24 PM ]
What can I say, I have a fairly unhealthy fixation on birds the last year or two, in particular, sand hill cranes.
For the last month I have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of the ancient ones to Central New Mexico. I have seen huge flocks of birds flying high above the Rio Grande in recent weeks, coming in for the winter.
They blot out the sky. Some of them look like cranes. I love cranes.
Unfortunately, I am always going 80 mph on the freeway and can’t look too long. For this reason, I cannot confirm whether or not I’ve seen one yet. This is probably how I’m going to die, staring up at the sky trying to identify migrating bird species. I can think of worse ways to go.
I don’t want to say I’ve seen them until I’m sure I’ve seen them. Speculating will get you into trouble fast in this business. For this reason, I’m waiting until the three-foot-tall, dinosaur-like creatures are standing on the ground in a field somewhere, the crimson feathers on their heads plainly visible.
I can’t wait.
In the mean time, here is a picture of some pelicans in Chile, graciously sent by Mr. Paul Rust of Lawton, Okla. Thanks, Paul. You are tiding me over.
V.19 No.43 | 10/28/2010
The Fat Man Cometh: Hitchcock at the KiMo
Halloween: spooky, creepy, blah, blah, blah.
If you don’t have kids to take trick-or-treating and don’t feel like getting drunk, what to do can be a real quandary.
I’ve got you covered.
V.19 No.35 | 9/2/2010
Walk on these wild life refuges
Three nature-filled trips that are close to home and far from ordinary
By John Bear
Get out and see some wildlife before it’s all gone. New Mexico is home to seven federal refuges, two of which are fairly close to Albuquerque. Visit fws.gov/southwest/refuges/nmrefuges.html for a full list of federal preserves in New Mexico.
V.19 No.30 |
The Belen Marsh
A really cool short trip south of Albuquerque
By John Bear [ Tue Aug 3 2010 1:16 PM ]
The jewel of the City of Belen is nestled behind a Taco Bell.
It’s the Belen Marsh, an accidentally made salty wetland where nearly 100 species of birds come to entertain bored photojournalists.
Legend has it the Belen Marsh was created when road crews dug out a large amount of earth to build a freeway bypass. They ended up hitting the water table and brackish water filled the hole in the ground, forming an ideal place for shorebirds to hang out.
Many amazing birds can be found in the marsh: Snowy Egrets, Ibis, Black-necked Stilts, American Avocets, Kill Deer and a bizarre duck called Ruddy which has a turquoise bill. There are also muskrats in a nearby irrigation canal and a clutch of burrow owls is roosting in a nearby field. It’s a great place to take children who will find the large shorebirds reminiscent of dinosaurs.
The marsh has, unfortunately, been used as a dumping ground, but a local environmental organization has gone out and cleaned up some of the wreckage. It sits on private property so it is probably wise to stay on the street, unless, of course, you are daring.
It has been a source of contention, as one group wants to see the marsh drained and filled to make way for a parking lot. Another wants it left alone as it is a unique miniature ecosystem.
To get to the marsh, take I-25 south to the first Belen exit. Head east. Once you see the Taco Bell, take a right. It is to your left. It’s buggy down there so bring mosquito repellent. A camera wouldn’t hurt either, and it’s a good place to practice taking action shots. Those birds move.
V.19 No.8 |
The Daily Word 02.26.10: Beer, traffic, coffee party
By Marisa Demarco [ Fri Feb 26 2010 10:40 AM ]
Doug Vaughan of the Vaughan Company was arrested, and the state is investigating the bankruptcy of his real estate firm.
Albuquerque ranks 54th in worst traffic congestion.
The way deputies got ahold of 300 child porn videos was unconstitutional, judge says.
Beer might make your bones healthy.
Albuquerque Journal runs mugs of suspected burglars. Some are arrested, but most end up back on the street.
Rep. Harry Teague is behind Steve Pearce in early polls.
One senator from Kentucky is blocking a 30-day extension that would stop 1.2 million Americans from losing unemployment benefits next month. He says, "Tough shit."
Lefty coffee party forms in reaction to the tea parties.
The world's largest Arabic robe.
Some women can own property in Swaziland.
Malaysian opposition leader on trial, accused of engaging in sodomy with 25-year-old man.
V.18 No.50 | 12/10/2009
Camino del Pueblo and U.S. 550
By Devin O’Leary
Camino Real Antiques & Collectibles
Step through the door of this teeming antique shop and the squeak of the wood floors alone is enough to send you back in time. Wander the free-flowing aisles and you're guaranteed to trip over (maybe literally) some bygone goodies—most dating from the middle of the 20th century or so. You won't find a lot of Victorian clothing or Federalist furniture here, but there are plenty of pop cultural gems, from the big (a full-size Pepsi-Cola cooler) to the small (a tidy selection of classic 45 records). You can spend a little ($2 for rustic, decorative kitchen utensils) or a lot ($3,000 for an actual juke box). Alongside your standard Americana (old advertising signs, rusted license plates, collectable salt-and-pepper shakers) are some sharp Western items. Ornate, hand-tooled saddles will run you upwards of $400. Professional branding irons go for $145. Indian blankets range between $85 and $125.
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