Friday, April 29, 2005

Barbie vs. Ken's Truck

Mars vs. Venus, Donnie vs. Marie, blah blah blah…
The sex and brain differences debate has become pretty boring in my opinion. Most of what I've read—the watered and dumbed-down sort of information meant for the masses of non-sciencey people like me-- states something like "there are differences." Duh... really? What are we, idiots? Scientists: quit wasting paper, and our time with things we already know.

Well, I’m happy to report things have changed and for that I'd like to give a shout out to Larry Summers for bringing some drama to the topic, and to the Scientific American for publishing this very interesting article .

Okay, I’ll confess…at first it wasn’t the science that compelled me to read this article, it was the childish humor hiden here and there.

For instance:

" . . . male monkeys spent more time playing with the "masculine" toys than their female counterparts did, and female monkeys spent more time interacting with the playthings typically preferred by girls. Both sexes spent equal time monkeying with the picture books and other gender-neutral toys. "


"Male rats are more likely to navigate mazes using directional and positional information, whereas female rats are more likely to navigate the same mazes using available landmarks. (Investigators have yet to demonstrate, however, that male rats are less likely to ask for directions.) "

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

April Showers Bring These Flowers

May Day is coming, and with it comes fond memories of leaving flowers on neighbors' doorsteps. Does anyone still do that?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Evidence For Sophisticated Mental States In Members of the Anatinae sub-family of Anseriformes, by Dr. Alexander Mallard

Members of the species Anser anser domesticus [commonly known as the domestic goose], a species belonging to the Anatinae sub-family of Anseriformes, were observed in a partially artificial environment.

Our results indicate that geese exhibit heretofore-unsuspected behaviors commonly associated with highly sophisticated thinking patterns not usually ascribed to birds, such as waiting for a train, urging partners away from dangerous areas and patrolling boundaries in pairs. This could be interpreted to mean that birds have more highly evolved brains than has been assumed so far, and that the popular derogatory phrase 'bird brain' is at least partially inaccurate.

The Habitat and Research Lab

Doing the Jig


The Proud Artist


Wake-up Call


Morning Yoga

Anser anser domesticus Dispute



The Master at Work

The Mallard Research Lab

Scientific Photography by Christina Mallard

Again, Aggression

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Random Questions, Sightings and Thoughts

What will the 3 winners of the Boston Marathon do with their $100,000 prize money?
Was Pope John Paul a virgin?
What happens up in the sky to make it 80 degrees today and the rest of the week it's supposed to be in the 50s?

I fear the MIT professorial type I saw at the subway station yesterday, commited suicide.

I wonder this because he:

  • yelled at the train ticket guy
  • opened his wallet and threw a wad of cash on the tracks
  • and stood with his eyes closed and fists clenched, while standing way too close to the 'do-not-cross-line'.
It seems that if you wanted people to think your death was an accident, you'd throw something worth retrieving on the tracks so suicide would be the farthest from anybody's mind.

Saw an adult male eating kiddie cupcakes on the train, complete with colored sprinkles. Then saw a photography book at the COOP featuring vintage looking toys shot in Kodachrome. Who thinks Kodachrome photos of cupcakes and their wacky colors and toy decorations would be cool?


Monday, April 11, 2005

Photography Project II: Goose Ghetto

A photo essay--that's my next big photography project. The story told in 10-20 images, can be constructed in a number of ways, from photojournalistic, to conceptual, to a compare & contrast; really, it’s up to me.

I’ve decided to do my project on this very strange and little known goose ghetto in Cambridge. I came upon this place while running. I really hate running and am always looking for a good reason to stop, this place fit the, pardon the pun, bill.

Saturday, Alex and I spent a good hour or so there. Picture me splayed on my belly in goose droppings, approaching very portly geese military-ambush-style. I got about 100 shots—most really good exposures, so I’ll likely have to return only once more.

I’m not going to go in to the merits of this locale’s appeal because I think the picture above gives you a pretty good idea.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Meowing Bird

Spring has sprung here in Bean Town--the birds are amazing. I'm quite taken with Cardinals--prior to moving here, my experience with Cardinals was limited to major league baseball and the porcelain statue my mother had of one. I thought their Technicolor representation, completely candy apple red, was just that, Technicolor, it's not and it's very cool.

The latest bird to captivate my attention is the meowing bird, also known as the European Starling (yes Chuck, the invasive species). Yesterday, I spent a good part of dusk looking for a kitten stuck in the tree; the kitten turned out to be a Starling meowing the daylight away. Check out these audio files, posted by a woman who has 3 pet Starlings--kind of spooky.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Boy on Tracks, Rajasthan 2001

Kids with Cameras

Last night in class we took a field trip to the Embassy Theater to see Born Into Brothels. If you haven't seen it, I recommend you do--it won the 2004 Oscar for Best Documentary. It's a story about the founder of Kids with Cameras attempts to rescue, through photography, a group of children whose mothers are prostitutes and live in Calcutta's red light district. The kids, like a lot of kids living in extraordinarily bleak conditions, are wise beyond their years. The movie reminds me of Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay, which is about street children in Bombay--what's interesting about this film is she casted actual street kids.

India, with its extreme beauty, poverty, color, and chaos, has got to be the best photo opportunity on the globe. I need to return, as stated HERE.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The 'Invisible' American Family

Maquinna's rant about the group of American religious zealots, who also happen to be politicians known as 'The Family', is well worth your time, as is the Harpers article she references (Warning: If you weren't already scared, you will be after reading this). If your 'Family' interest is piqued, check out this interview with Jeffrey Sharlet, the author who went inside the Family's bowels. Be afraid, very afraid.