Friday, January 19, 2007

We really didn't have a winter last year, and it has been about five years since we've seen near to this amount of snow. It is still snowing at the moment, but what is on the ground is already melting. The quail didn't show up for their daily handout until around noon. View Slideshow

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Why do we see as we do? Dogs and horses get by in a black and white world. Color images do not seem to serve the interests of either predator or prey. Perhaps color would be a distraction where the senses of smell and hearing have great importance.
For birds, the selective advantage of color seems to outweigh the risks. The color sensitivity of the human eye seems not to be an evolutionary response aimed at reproductive advantage; we are, after all, a rather drab species. Perhaps it is that we are fundamentally omnivores with a need to discern many subtle differences in which color is one important component.
I think some insects and birds may respond to light polarization. Are there creatures that would perceive my house as my camera does when equipped with an infrared filter?
View an IR slide show

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The village of Doña Ana is rather like a pile of pickup sticks with the streets intersecting at unexpected angles. In the old part of town, the adobe houses are clustered around a small, mission-style church. There is a new plaza with a fountain and a statue beside the church, and some renovation of the old houses in progress. Around that small island of hope to rescue the past, however, is a spreading sea of new houses. The train track runs straight past the west side; a lot of freight flows by, but there's no reason to stop as there was when the train was the main way for people to move quickly up and down the Rio Grande valley. At the east end of town are three gas stations, a dollar store in a little strip mall, and a new highway overpass.