Last night Frontline aired what I feel may go down as the most important documentary of 2010, The Vaccine War. An extremely well made documentary that is as unbiased and factual as possible, this is what I expect and nearly always get from Frontline. On the rare occasion I’ve seen where Frontline messes up, they quickly and thoroughly correct the mistake.
I feel this documentary is important not because it will likely end the problem of the anti-vaccine movement, although I really hope it will. It is important because if we keep heading down this road eventually the avoidance of vaccinations will cause unnecessary illness, pain and death. It may be twenty or more years from now but if it happens we’ll have this documentary to review and see who caused the problem. Then we can rightly blame the irresponsible parties (I’m looking at you, McCarthy, Handley, Fisher, Kennedy and the other out front denialists).
Check your local listing for re-broadcast times, watch the documentary online at PBS.org.
Two years ago a pair of Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) successfully raised two broods on my porch. Three juveniles from the first brood fledged in May (only two show in the picture), and four fledged in July.
Last year momma Phoebe started re-building the nest but then just stopped and I never saw more than one Phoebe around the yard again that summer. I suspect one of the pair died and the other bird didn’t find a new mate in time for breeding. (Note: I only know it was momma building because all the references I found state that only momma builds the nest)
This month a Phoebe tried to get the nest going again, she made a huge mess along the whole porch trying to get mud to stick for a stable base. The ledge the nest clings to and the fledglings are sitting on in the photos above, is just shy of two inches deep so it isnt easy to get the nest started. The moss and pine needles would stick to the mud at first but then fall off as she tried to enlarge it.
With the big mess she was making I decided I needed to either block her from the whole length of the porch or give her a helping hand. I decided to help her out by adding a 1x1x6 inch wood block enlarging the ledge. The block was added on the 19th and two days later she had her nest finished and ready to go. Oh and the porch is staying clean now, any mess should be confined to the far end away from the stairs and door.
I kept trying to see if she had laid eggs by using a mirror attached to a pole, but every time I went to look she was in the nest. Not wanting to disturb her I didn’t scare her away but I kept checking on her a few times every day.
Finally today on my way back inside from a trip to the store momma was not on the nest. Although I didn’t see her, I bet she was taking a break from incubation to catch some yummy flying bugs. Quickly grabbing my mirror to check, I found she’s laid 5 eggs! Looks like I’m in for a fun spring and summer watching these great little birds raise a couple families.
General information on the Eastern Phoebe
Interesting journal articles I found at The Searchable Ornithological Research Archive
- Unusual Actions of a Phoebe (Sayornis Phoebe), H. H. Brimley, Auk: Vol. 51, No. 2, April-June, 1934
- Nesting Habits of the Eastern Phoebe, Wendell P. Smith, Auk: Vol. 59, No. 3, July-September, 1942
- Eastern Phoebes Fishing, Laurence C. Binford, Auk: Vol. 74, No. 2, April-June, 1957
- Frog Captures a Fledgling Eastern Phoebe, Ted R. Anderson, Auk: Vol. 82, No. 2, April-June, 1965
- Eastern Phoebe Nesting in Old Barn Swallow Nest, Harmon P.Weeks Jr., Wilson Bulletin: Vol. 82, No. 4, October-December, 1970
- Abnormal Nest Building in the Eastern Phoebe, Harmon P.Weeks Jr., Auk: Vol. 94, No. 2, April-June, 1977
- Nest Reciprocity in Eastern Phoebes and Barn Swallows, Harmon P.Weeks Jr., Wilson Bulletin: Vol. 89, No. 4, October-December, 1977
- Nesting Ecology Of The Eastern Phoebe In Southern Indiana, Harmon P.Weeks Jr., Wilson Bulletin: Vol. 91, No. 3, July-September, 1979
- Breeding Biology of Eastern Phoebes in Northern Wisconsin, Craig A. Faanes, Wilson Bulletin: Vol. 92, No. 1, January-March, 1980
- Unusual Nest Attentiveness of An Eastern Phoebe, Helmut C. Mueller, Nancy S. Mueller, Kenneth D. Meyer, Journal of Field Ornithology: Vol. 53, No. 4, Autumn, 1982
- An Exceptionally Tall Eastern Phoebe Nest, James R. Hill III, Wilson Bulletin: Vol. 99, No. 3, July-September, 1987
- Relationship Of Age And Sex To Size And Color Of Eastern Phoebes Kelvin F. Conrad, Raleigh J. Robertson, (Wilson Bulletin: Vol. 105, No. 4, October-December, 1993
- Pre-Laying Nest Roosting In The Eastern Phoebe: An Energy-Conserving Behavior?, Harmon P.Weeks Jr., Journal of Field Ornithology: Vol. 65, No. 1, Winter, 1994
- Breeding Patterns Of Eastern Phoebes In Kansas: Adaptive Strategies Or Physiological Constraint?, Michael T. Murphy, Auk: Vol. 111, No. 3, July-September, 1994
- Frequency of Extrapair Young Increases in Second Broods of Eastern Phoebes, Kelvin F. Conrad, Raleigh J. Robertson, Peter T. Boag, Auk: Vol. 115, No. 2, April-June, 1998
May 20th is the 4th annual World Metrology Day sponsored by the Bureau international des poids et mesures (BIPM)(International Bureau of Weights and Measures) and the Organisation Internationale de Métrologie Légale (OIML)(International Organization of Legal Metrology).
Metrology is the science of measurement so it’s used everywhere, from cutting edge laboratories to most everyone’s home. I’d be hard pressed to think of any scientific endeavor that didn’t involve metrology at some level. From a simple scale (ruler) to measure the length of a leaf by a botanist to the atomic clocks that make astronomical observations so precise, metrology is everywhere.
On a personal level, metrology is my favorite branch of science I’m a metrology geek. I love to create new measuring instruments and techniques and of course just simply measure. I’m in awe of the cutting edge research done by fine organizations around the world such as the NIST in the USA.
If you don’t know what it’s all about read here, here and here. The July 2001 Super Best Friends episode has been taken down too :-(.
On this day 207 years ago Adin Ballou was born.
Adin Ballou Statue photo details on its album page.
See more Hopedale photos on the Hopedale pages of my photo albums.
You may also be interested in my review of the Hopedale walking tour.
Photo details on its album page.
See more Insects on the Insects pages of my photo albums.
Photo details on its album page.
See more on the Introduced Wild Flowers pages of my photo albums.
The Itawamba County School District School Board Members, Eddie Hood, Jackie Nichols, Harold Martin, Clara Brown & Tony Wallace must be very proud today. Their promotion of bigotry against a lesbian student has encouraged expansion of the bigotry to the learning disabled as well. The parents and students have taken the lead and shown their hatred for not only LGBT persons but also the learning disabled by sending them to a separate prom away from all the good Mississippi bigots.
See more of this story at Human Rights Campaign and sign their petition today.
I’m sure the entire staff of the high school is very pleased with the way the community has learned to treat the learning disabled and LGBT teens. It’s the same way they treated non-white people less than fifty years ago, confederate states pride in action.
Itawamba Agricultural High School
11900 Hwy. 25 South
Fulton, MS 38843
Mr. Trae Wiygul, Principal
Mr. Rick Mitchell, Assistant Principal
Mrs. Pam Wheeler, Office Administrator
Mrs. Cindy Johnson, Office Administrator
And the teachers:
Mrs. Bridgett Cash
Mrs. Patricia Coker
Ms. Candi Cross
Coach Benji Ewing
Mr. Jeff Gray
Mrs. Kristin Holley
Mr. Chris Johnson
Mr. Joseph Jones
Mr. Danny Oswalt
Ms. Debra Ramey
Mrs. Cindy Tomlin
Mrs. Dedra Thomas
Mrs. Linda Woods
If any of the listed officials publicly denounces this situation then please contact me and I will remove your name from this list of Itawamba County government employees who encourage bigotry.
Other reports of this story:
Another SpectroMagic Parade photo, it started its second run on this day in 2001 (Wikipedia).
Photo details on its album page.
See more SpectroMagic Parade photos on the Disney World pages of my photo albums.