Today, at Reston Writers Review, we had a major Zoom snafu. One of our writers was having a dickens of a time trying to communicate through the Zoom interface when we were reviewing her piece. We had a similar problem on Sunday with The Hourlings but were able to solve that with the person being reviewed just shutting off her video and only using the microphone.
Today, even that didn’t work. One member had to leave the meeting, the connection was so bad and even when the woman being reviewed turned off her video, her voice was still astoundingly choppy.
The only thing for it was to use the backdoor option provided by Zoom: the telephone interface. I hastily logged into the Zoom account provided to me, copied the full meeting info from the Zoom side—including the dial in numbers for connecting to Zoom on the telephone—and, finally, our author was back in the meeting.
Overall, it took about 10 minutes for us to fix all the difficulties listed above, but fortunately we only had five more folks who wanted to give their review, and we were still done by 21:00, our normal meeting end time.
All in all, it was a great and successful meeting despite the glitch. It’s more than likely Internet bandwidth is getting frayed due to an upswing in online meeting. But we adopted and adapted, and improved, just like the motto of the round table suggests.
Once again, I finished this book just in time, despite starting it right after The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance in a Universe of Planets and Probabilities. Only this time, it’s because my commute went from an hour each way to five seconds each day to nothing because I’m on Weather and Safety Leave. Again, that’s a long story that, like yesterday, I’m punting for another day. Such is life with SARS-CoV-2, but in this respect I’m quite luck and still have my health. However, it does mean without that long commute, my reading time has become a fraction of what it was. But, I made it!
Noah Strycker spins a fascinating tale of the secret lives of birds. Clearly, the author loves class Aves and is an avid birder himself. His love of all modern dinosaurs shines through. Each chapter and section is set with a distinct theme and a story that focuses one one of our fine, feathered friends and how it relates to we mammals. So, without further à Deux, let’s dive in like a bunch if timid penguins!
Corvidae are smart! I’d never heard of any creature outside of the mammals passing the Mirror Test. The fact that some Magpies can utterly blew my mind. Heckle and Jeckle would have been proud! Damn, that bird family is cleaver! And the way Nutcrackers can remember where they cached food photographically is astounding! If we leave, I bet they’re taking over!
Hummingbirds are crazy violent. But Chickens take the cake, they are hierarchical. I mean, keeping track in your ranking up to thirty birds deep. Of course, it does break down with more than thirty and there’s still the triangle problem. Who knew chickens weren’t condorcet?
It was fascinating to hear that dummers can keep better time than Parrots. Which is to say, a Cockatoo can keep good time, but it isn’t good at noticing a change in tempo. It makes me wonder why they’re not as coordinated as Boirds or their prototype Starlings. Parrots still may have good hearing, but one thing’s for sure, Vultures have excellent eyesight. However, only Turkey Vultures can smell you from a meter away with its great, big nostrils, though not much more.
The main takeaway for me is how similar some bird behaviors are to humans. Bowerbirds males try to impress female birds to find a mate, and humans try to impress other humans in order to get a date. The birds build little shrines, complete with vanishing perspective, and we humans buy clothes, and cars, and houses, and do sports, or just become smart by reading lots of science books. And when you get the mate, being as faithful as a Fairy Wren could mean success. Then again, female Fairy Wrens who fool around do tend to live longer? 🤔
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