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Comment: Re:Farmers will be delighted... (Score 1) 108

by Rei (#47800097) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons were not primarily a grain species, although they would eat grain when other preferred foods were in short supply. Part of the reasons the flocks increasingly turned to grain with time is due to the cutting and burning of many of their native forests to make room for farmland (and with an average lifespan in captivity of 15 years, probably half that in the wild, populations don't readjust right away). They were a migratory species, of course, but the habitat destruction was going on all over their range. If you get rid of the oaks and chestnuts in an area and the only other food option is grain, of course they're going to eat that. They also ate insects, mainly when breeding.

When you're talking about reintroducing a species from scratch, obviously the issues of what to do if a billion birds come into the area is totally inapplicable. The forests capable of supporting those numbers are gone. Birds that primarily consume seeds and grains are a much bigger threat to farmers than birds with a primary focus on nuts like the passenger pigeon.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1, Interesting) 108

by Rei (#47800041) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

it would take years for the ground plants to recover

Citation needed. Bird manure is one of the best natural fertilizers in existence. Have you seen what people charge for chicken manure? It's outrageous. Now, it's a concentrated enough fertilizer that you have to use it more like a chemical fertilizer than a soil suppliment - so it's possible that the pigeons would "nutrient burn" a location. But that's short term, in the long term that means leaving the area incredibly lush. And not to mention full of seeds in their droppings.

Trees and many smaller plants primarily cater to birds as their seed distributors.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 1) 108

by Rei (#47799999) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

Passenger pigeons mainly ate tree nuts, particularly acorns, for most of the year. So they had a big effect on controlling tree distribution - in particular red oak has taken over from white oak after their demise in their former habitats (white oak is a slightly more valuable timber tree, FYI). During the summer they would also eat berries. They would sometimes steal grain from farmers but it wasn't a main part of their diet. They additionally consumed insects such as caterpillars and snails, so they did some good for farmers as well.

FYI, honeybees aren't native to the US. And colony populations are totally artificial, as people can raise as many colonies as they want, queens are mass-raised (you can mail order them) and the only limiting factor on the number of honeybees is the number of hives raised by beekeepers. Colony losses are a financial hit to beekepers but they're no threat to the species or the usage of honey bees for pollination (only the economics of their usage). And the increase in the rate of colony loss is way overplayed.

Comment: Re:Ecosystem (Score 3, Interesting) 108

by Rei (#47799907) Attached to: The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction

There were humans living alongside the passenger pigeon for thousands of years before European settlers arrived.

Anyway, this "readapting" of an ecosystem isn't necessarily a good thing. For example, the extinction of the Carolina Parakeet (the only parrot native to the eastern US) coincided with major spreading cockleburs in the US, as it was a major part of their diet. Are you a fan of cockleburs?

Comment: Re:Bah, character-set ignorance. (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797479) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Mér finnst samt pirrandi THegar fólk gerir THetta. THað er ófagmannlegt - Washington Post er mikil fréttasíða, ekki eitthvað skrifað á Facebook. :P

If it's so reasonable to "transliterate foreign proper names", then why is it that they only seem to do it with countries like Iceland? They don't usually transliterate proper names from other countries - for example, German (Düsseldorf) or France (Équipe FLN), just to pick a few quick examples.

Comment: Re:Down Again (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797407) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

The Met Office's decisions have all been perfectly cogent, it's only the poor reporting that's led to confusion from lay people.

In the first case there were all signs of an eruption under the glacier. They issued an alert. Later there were no signs on the surface, so they removed it. Later on, glacial subsidence proved that an eruption had indeed taken place, but stopped. In both cases, correct behavior on their part.

Then there was the 1st Holuhraun eruption. When an eruption begins, theres no way to know how its going to evolve, but since it was just a lava eruption, it was only restricted on instrument-only flight and only to 5000 feet. When it died down, they removed it. Again, right call by the Met Office.

Then there was the 2nd Holuhraun eruption. Again, 5000 foot instrument-only restriction, and when it steadied out, they removed the restriction (yes, the Slashdot article is wrong, the restriction has long been removed). Again, right call by the Met Office.

People need to stop armchair quarterbacking, they're doing the right thing.

Comment: Re:Doesn't affect just people flying to/from Icela (Score 1) 35

by Rei (#47797385) Attached to: Iceland Raises Volcano Aviation Alert Again

Or for an English example volcano, "Yellowstone" (11 letters).

To an Icelandic speaker who knows the component words, it's obvious where they split. Eyja (of islands) Fjalla (of mountains) Jökull (glacier), easy as pie. Their brain automatically cues into the "a"s as context clues for splits to make it even easier.

But picture a person who doesn't speak English at all who sees yellowstone. So they don't know the word "yellow" and they don't know the word "stone". Nor do they know what letter clusters are common together in English - or example, "st" - and which ones are not - for example, "ws". To them it'd be just the same thing, they don't see where to split it, and thus the word looks like a jumble of letters.

Comment: Re:Not worth it. (Score 1) 49

by Rei (#47785193) Attached to: How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

Electric cars wouldn't use half the country's electricity, passenger vehicles' share of total energy consumption is much smaller than that. But I don't disagree with you that it's bad to waste power. Still, for a potential EV consumer whose turned off from EVs because they're lazy, if the choice is between "waste 20% more electricity" and "keep driving a gasoline car", the wireless EV is still the much better option.

Comment: Re:Just stop it with the 'zero emissons' claims (Score 3, Informative) 49

by Rei (#47783897) Attached to: How the World's Fastest Electric Car Is Pushing Wireless Charging Tech

You act like there's no research papers on this subject. There have been tons, and the conclusions in each case are the same:

1) CO2 emissions would decline even on the US's current grid (which is, I should add, getting cleaner every year, while the amount of emissions associated with oil production keep rising)

2) On a generation basis, every region in the US has enough space capacity for a full switchover of the passenger fleet today, without any new plant construction, except the Pacific Northwest. Most charging is done at night when most power plants lie idle, but the Pacific Northwest is an exception because their heavy use of hydro means time of use isn't important, only net consumption.

3) The only thing that there's not enough of at present is simply local distribution capacity, to peoples' homes.

Of course, that's for a complete, instantaneous switchover, which is of course an impossiblity. Your average car is driven for about two decades before it goes to scrap, only a small fraction rotate out of service every year. And that's assuming that everyone bought EVs as replacement, which if course is an impossiblity because even if everyone was suddenly sold on the concept of EVs it'd take a decade or more to ramp up production to that level. And of course everyone is not suddenly sold on the concept of EVs. You're looking at maybe a 30-40 year transition time period here. If power companies can't keep up with a trend that's stretched out over the scale of several decades, they deserve to fail.

Comment: Re:When they don't blame the Chinese ... (Score 2) 98

by Rei (#47773799) Attached to: FBI Investigates 'Sophisticated' Cyber Attack On JP Morgan, 4 More US Banks

Yeah, what evildoers, giving Russia a slap on the wrist for the petty offense of invading and taking over part of another country that had insolently decided to no longer be under Russia's thumb. Next up, the evil tyrants in American and Europe will send Putin a sternly worded letter! Maybe he won't even get a Christmas card from Biden this year!

See: US to sanction Russia over annexation of Virginia

Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith. - Paul Tillich, German theologian and historian