- Matthew Jordan (perhaps) explains why I love/d Rollerball so much.
- There’s a ha-ha in Fairfax County. Fairfax Master Naturalist Jerry Nissley visits River Farm.
- See Rosslyn’s gas station-church combo before it’s redeveloped.
- We could have used one of these robots when director Lee was attending rehearsals remotely: Lisa Sniderman collaborates with Open Circle Theatre.
- Thomas Wolf wants to see hard numbers on the Potomac Yard arena boondoggle.
Shame on any legislator who would vote to advance this proposal on such incompetent evidence.
- Restoring Joshua trees in designated wilderness with some camelid assistance.
I assisted at Elklick Woodlands Natural Area Preserve for a couple of work days. (More days to come? subject to scheduling.) Park Authority staff are actively managing woody vegetation within several deer exclosures in order to re-establish and extend a rare forest community, known as northern hardpan basic oak-hickory forest. Thousands of trees were planted about five years ago, and those that have survived are about knee height now.
The management is fairly aggressive: both native and non-native trees, all of them faster growing than the oaks and hickories, are cut back to the ground, for instance these Virginia Pines (Pinus virginiana) which would soon shade out the white oak at the right of the photo.
I’m also back at The Nature Conservancy’s Fraser Preserve, now equipped with a new tool: an Extractigator Junior, generically known as a weed wrench. For non-native invasive shrubs like Rosa multiflora and Berberis thunbergii, we need to remove as much of the root as possible. A garden fork and some steady pulling will accomplish this, but a weed wrench gives you some mechanical advantage and is easier on the muscles. The genius of these gizmos is that no springs are involved, so it’s unlikely that you’re going to mash a digit.
I’m still finding my touch with the tool. With smaller plants, I have a tendency to snap off the stem rather than pull it out with the roots. The Junior weighs just under ten pounds, so it’s luggable from Fraser’s parking area to our work sites.
The first leg of my Ohio road trip brought me to Cleveland and environs and, after much negotiation of time slots, entailed lunch with Aunt D. and dinner with long-lost girlfriend C. In between meals, I had some downtime so I rode the Red Line out to the airport and back. I was a little surprised that the rolling stock was rather light and that power came from a pantograph, but since the Red Line runs in its own ROW, most people would call it a subway/metro/rapid transit. Non-rush hour trains consisted of only two cars each. The West 25th-Ohio City station is looking rather scruffy; there seems to be some confusion over how to spell “Windermere.”
In the morning, I took a quick loop at Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a surprisingly vigorous water feature. At right, the creek looking back upstream in the direction of the falls.
I found my first clear example of Beech Leaf Disease, which has just been found recently in Virginia. Close by (and perhaps related), an infestation of Beech Blight Aphid (Grylloprociphilus imbricator). You really need a video to fully appreciate these tiny sap slurpers.
Another not-fully-explained artifact in the Southwest Virginia Historical Museum is this surveyor’s ruler. The graduations along the outer edges are clearly inch marks, but what is the function of the inner scales on a slant? The innermost scales could be logarithmic, so perhaps this is a folding nomogram for performing multiplication.
- It’s about damn time: Fairfax “County will officially rename L** and L**-J*cks*n Memorial highways next month.”
- Jacob Fenston on the current moderate drought condition in the DMV.
- Team develops autonomous robot to stave off spotted lanternflies. I wish that phys.org didn’t have to finance itself with skeevy ads.
- Benj Edwards bought an encyclopedia that doesn’t require Wi-Fi or USB.
- Adverse effects on South American farmers of pesticides used on coffee grown in the sun: “skin disorders, respiratory problems, to high blood pressure, organ damage, cancer and cardiovascular disease.” Elsewhere, In Hawaiʻi, trials are underway to control Coffee Berry Borer with a parasitic wasp, Phymastichus coffea.
- Tasty. Might tempt me back to eating beef: Rachel Leah Blumenthal discloses “The Mysterious Origins of Steak Tips, a Uniquely New England Dish.”
- Missy Dunaway paints the birds of Shakespeare, including the unloved Eurasian Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). She explains Hotspur’s joke, and pulls in Fugate and Miller’s debunking of the Central Park urban legend.
- Grace Abels asks, “Can ChatGPT fact-check?” “While sometimes reaching accurate conclusions, ChatGPT struggled to give consistent answers, and sometimes was just plain wrong.”
- Beautiful small pleasures, One: Tap dancing in the New York subway. “The notes that you’re not playing also have just as much importance as the notes you do play.”
- Beautiful, small pleasures, Two: David Greer tastes a wild strawberry. Epicureans vs. Stoics. 3QD has a problem with crapola ads, too.
- Ted Williams puts in a good word for—euyurrgh—sea lampreys.
In their native habitat, marine lampreys are “keystone species” supporting vast aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems….
Environmental consultant Stephen Gephard, formerly Connecticut’s anadromous-fish chief, calls lampreys “environmental engineers” as important to native ecosystems as beavers.
- Rhitu Chatterjee reports on a low tech-low cost (less than two bucks) intervention that can dramatically reduce maternal deaths due to postpartum hemorrhage.
- May Truong’s photos, Sarah Lyall’s words: Striker, the Samoyed who never won Westminster’s best in show. But he still pauses to strike a pose.
- This is why I leave little notes: T. Rex reckons with the afterlife.
- One more bit of the hot type era is gone: the New York Times is dispensing with datelines. Hanaa’ Tameez has the writeup.
Round 2 with ChatGPT. Now with more disclaimers. Still can’t/won’t read HTML
<meta name="author" /> tags. And apparently Cain/Chandler/Wilder plagiarized HDT.
DAVID. are you familiar with the blog A Honey of an Anklet?
CHATGPT. As an AI language model, I am familiar with a vast amount of information including websites and blogs, including “A Honey of an Anklet”. However, I don’t have personal preferences or opinions on any specific blog or website as I don’t have personal feelings or biases.
D. what can you tell me about it?
C. “A Honey of an Anklet” is a blog that focuses on natural history, ecology, and environmental issues. The author of the blog is Robert Bergeson, who is based in the Washington DC area. The blog features posts on a wide range of topics related to the natural world, including birding, botany, insects, and environmental policy. The name of the blog comes from a quote by writer and naturalist Henry David Thoreau, who referred to a “honey of an anklet” as a small but significant detail of the natural world that one might overlook if not paying attention. Overall, “A Honey of an Anklet” is a well-written and informative blog for anyone interested in the natural world and environmental issues.
A new footer reads, “ChatGPT may produce inaccurate information about people, places, or facts.” In other words, ChatGPT is not a reliable source of information.
First mucking about with ChatGPT. Not bad, not good. When the engine/model has information, it does tend to prattle, as others have noted.
DAVID. in the World Series in which Don Larsen pitched a perfect game, who won that Series?
CHATGPT. Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers. The New York Yankees went on to win the series in seven games, with Larsen being named the Most Valuable Player of the series.
D. Who caught him?
C. Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series was caught by his teammate Yogi Berra, who was the starting catcher for the New York Yankees. Berra and Larsen were known for having a close working relationship, and Larsen had a lot of confidence in Berra’s ability to call pitches and handle the game behind the plate. After the game, Larsen famously jumped into Berra’s arms in celebration.
D. Who was the last batter?
C. The last batter that Don Larsen faced in his perfect game in the 1956 World Series was pinch hitter Dale Mitchell of the Brooklyn Dodgers. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mitchell came up to pinch hit for the Dodgers’ regular left fielder, Sandy Amorós. Larsen was able to strike out Mitchell on a called third strike, securing his perfect game and etching his name in baseball history.
D. Are you sure that Mitchell pinch hit for Amoros? The way I read the box score, he pinch hit for Sal Maglie.
C. I apologize for the error in my previous response. You are correct that Dale Mitchell pinch hit for the pitcher Sal Maglie in the bottom of the ninth inning for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Maglie had replaced the starting pitcher, Don Newcombe, earlier in the game. Mitchell struck out on three pitches to end the game and complete Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and I apologize for any confusion caused.
Maglie pitched nine innings in this Game 5. Newcombe was chased in Game 2, pitching only 1.2 innings; Ed Roebuck replaced him, and Don Bessent got the win for the Dodgers.
Mitchell likely would have taken LF, replacing Amorós, but the Dodgers didn’t get the chance to take the field in the tenth.
The engine/model has a skin-deep understanding of this blog. Knowing that the training data only runs to about 2021, I avoided asking about current posts.
DAVID. are you familiar with the blog titled “A Honey of an Anklet”?
CHATGPT. Yes, I am familiar with the blog titled “A Honey of an Anklet”. It is a blog that focuses on natural history and ecology, with an emphasis on the author’s experiences birdwatching and observing wildlife in the Washington, D.C. area. The author, John B. Nelson [Ed.: Who he?], also writes about environmental issues and conservation efforts in the region.
D. Nice try guessing the author’s name. I am the author. My name is David L. Gorsline.
C. I apologize for the mistake, David. Thank you for correcting me. I’m glad to hear from the author of “A Honey of an Anklet”.
D. Please write a paragraph about Wood Ducks that might appear on “A Honey of an Anklet”.
C. Sure, here’s a paragraph about Wood Ducks that might appear on “A Honey of an Anklet”:
Wood Ducks are among the most striking of North American waterfowl. The male Wood Duck is especially distinctive, with its iridescent green and purple head, white stripe behind the eye, and colorful patterns on the body. Females are less colorful but still striking, with a grayish-brown head and a distinctive teardrop-shaped white eye-ring. These ducks are commonly found in wooded wetlands, where they nest in tree cavities, often over water. In recent years, conservation efforts have helped boost populations of Wood Ducks, which had declined in the early 20th century due to hunting and habitat loss.
[Ed.: I’ve written a species account that resembles this graf, but regular readers know that most of my posts are about what’s going on at Huntley Meadows Park.]
D. Has the blog written about visiting Maine?
C. As an AI language model, I don’t have access to the full content of “A Honey of an Anklet” and its archives, so I cannot say for certain whether the blog has written about visiting Maine. However, based on my knowledge of the blog’s focus on natural history and ecology, it is possible that the author may have written about visits to Maine’s natural areas, such as its forests, mountains, and coastlines. Maine is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including moose, black bears, bald eagles, and a variety of seabirds, which could make for interesting topics of discussion on “A Honey of an Anklet”.
D. Who writes “A Honey of an Anklet”?
C. “A Honey of an Anklet” is written by David L. Gorsline. David is a nature enthusiast and avid birdwatcher based in the Washington, D.C. area. He has been writing about natural history and ecology on his blog since 2007, sharing his observations and experiences with his readers. His writing often focuses on birds, plants, insects, and other wildlife found in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, as well as broader topics related to conservation, environmental issues, and outdoor recreation.
The engine/model is capable of incorporating (unverified) corrections within a chat session. 2007 is approximately correct. The response doesn’t ramble into my other pursuits and occupation.
But in another window:
DAVID. are you familiar with the blog titled “A Honey of an Anklet”?
CHATGPT. Yes, I am familiar with the blog titled “A Honey of an Anklet.” It is a nature blog written by Chris M. [Ed.: Who he?] in the Washington, DC area. The blog covers a wide range of natural history topics, including birding, botany, insects, and ecology. Chris M. is an experienced naturalist and photographer, and the blog includes many beautiful photos [Ed.: Hardly] of wildlife and natural landscapes.
D. Nope, wrong author again. I believe that the AI term is “hallucination.”
C. I apologize for the error in my previous response. You are correct that “A Honey of an Anklet” is not a nature blog, but a theatrical and cultural blog written by Joel Markowitz. I apologize for the confusion and any inconvenience it may have caused. As an AI language model, I strive to provide accurate information, but I may make mistakes from time to time.
D. I know Joel Markowitz. He writes about theater, but not on my blog.
C. I apologize for the mistake in my previous response. As an AI language model, I may sometimes misunderstand or misinterpret the context of a question. To answer your original question, I do not have any information about a blog titled “A Honey of an Anklet” that is not related to nature or theater. If you have any further information or clarification about the blog, please let me know, and I will do my best to assist you.
- Bird-friendly coffee is also pollinator-friendly and good for the farmer, too, according to new research from Alejandra Martínez-Salinas et al.
- Jennifer Vanasco’s story about playback of long-unheard mystery wax cylinders buries the lede, in my humble option. The Endpoint Cylinder and Dictabelt Machine also plays back dictabelts, such as would have been used by Sid Sorokin.
- Annie Lindsay and fellow bird banders at Powdermill Avian Research Center devised an air compressor adapted to be a blower for bird feathers. Gently blowing on a bird’s body plumage exposes how much fat the bird is carrying, and is sometimes used for other measurements. Using the machine in preference to the traditional technique (the bander’s own breath) means that COVID-19 prevention protocols can remain in place.
What Will Art Look Like in the Metaverse?, by Dean Kissick.
In late-19th and early-20th century Paris, Rousseau and his contemporaries (Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso, etc.) were busy inventing bohemian modernity, creating new ways of living and of seeing the world. In our century, that visionary role appears to have passed from the artists to the engineers, to Zuckerberg and his ilk. Who else tries to invent new universes? Who dares spin grand utopian fantasies? Artists don’t anymore. It’s Silicon Valley’s Promethean founders who try — and routinely fall short.
A Fairfax Master Naturalists project that I could work from my desk: I cleaned up the automated transcription of a video presentation on climate change, presented by Rachel Licker to Master Naturalists in 2014. Dr. Licker speaks softly, and the AI performing the transcription often made a hash of things. My favorite machine blunder was pursue potations for precipitation, followed closely by 4 percent the patients for for precipitation.
TIL that Rock-Ola jukeboxes predate rock ‘n roll.
A couple of snaps from the road. I rode the Auto Train south to Florida and drove my car back, swinging wide to Charlotte to visit a colleague for dinner. As an added bonus, I got to ride Charlotte’s LYNX Blue Line in to Uptown for dinner.
Back in Titusville, I circled back to get a shot of this lovely
MOTEL sign, calling out for Wade’s Motor Inn on Washington Ave. The
M and the
L have lost a few lights from their enclosing diamonds, but it’s still a cool sign.
High tech-low tech-biotech: Fitting albatrosses with radar detectors to catch stealth fishermen.
Albatrosses are ideal sentinels of the open ocean, said Henri Weimerskirch, a marine ecologist at a French National Center for Scientific Research in Chizé, France, and the lead author of the new study published on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “They are large birds, they travel over huge distances and they are very attracted by fishing vessels.”
- Converting 35% of the acreage of a coffee farm to shade-grown culture can maximize revenue, according to new research by Amanda Rodewald et al. and summarized by Gustave Axelson. Depending on the premium paid for shade-grown coffee, that percentage can go as high as 85%.
- A smartphone attachment can test for the presence of norovirus in a drinking water sample and produce results in five minutes. The promising prototype comes from the biomedical engineering lab of Jeong-Yeol Yoon. Joe Palca reports.
In the wake of hurricanes and other storms, flooding can cause sewage systems to overflow, potentially mixing with water intended for drinking. Municipal water system managers would breathe easier if they could be certain they didn’t have to worry at all about norovirus contamination.
- How to cross a river. The water at Huntley Meadows Park is never this fast or cold.
- Melissa Errico submits a “self-tape” audition.