There is a reasonable and valid explanation why Lady Justice is often depicted wearing a blindfold in addition to hefting the scales of justice and brandishing a sword. It's to proclaim to the populace the idea that the law will be meted out objectively and without prejudice; a noble ideal indeed and one difficult to fully achieve in practice. There are other areas beyond law that spend considerable energy trying to rid bias from their midst. Science comes immediately to mind. Studies done in the name of science go to great lengths to nullify the influence of human prejudices.
Sometimes they come in bunches, often they are singles. Some are neatly packaged in a tight, folded tuck piercing the air like a missile while others are in full sail displaying to the world beneath their every feature. Some fan the air with their wings rather lazily, others frantically. Pete Dunne calls these migrating birds "wind masters." Most folks refer to them simply as hawks. Let's be clear on definitions. The term "hawk" can be loosely tossed about and mean different things to different people.
The passing years tend to dull memories somewhat. This is no less true with our schooling as well. I probably couldn't pass a statistics test today nor could I stand a chance in organic chemistry. But certain classes taught by certain instructors somehow defy this notion of lost information. For whatever reason, I actually remember a few of these classes with some clarity. I think it's the right mixture of an interesting subject, a dynamic and capable instructor, and course material that grabs the student a certain way. So it was with Dr.
The nesting season is all but over for the vast majority of birds in the Northern Hemisphere. Many finished the business of gene perpetuation some months past. About a week ago, songbirds began to show movement away from territory, starting the process of migration. But for birders, the star attractions during this late summer lull have been shorebirds.
Type the word "birding" into the popular Google search engine and hit the enter key. The results show about nine million web pages available to users of the Internet. No one can possibly view them all. A recent survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says there are about 47.7 million birders in the country, or about one of every six of us. It's estimated this subgroup spent $36 billion in the most recent surveyed year pursuing their hobby; quite a little cash for a seemingly non-productive interest.
You are what you eat. Or at least that's what we've heard all our lives. Of course it's not meant in a literal sense. I don't consider myself a pizza although I indulge in the vegetable, meat, and cheese pies with some regularity. A quick Internet search of the phrase's origin reveals a 19th century French origin. We English borrowed it sometime later and it's come to represent the notion that food controls our health according to phrases.org.uk. Good enough. Every organism obviously depends upon a steady diet of whatever it is that keeps it going.
The concept itself can be identified as far back as Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War,' although he didn't use the term. It purportedly stemmed from WWI aviators. But it was air crew members fighting in Korea and Vietnam who are mainly given credit for mainstreaming the short phrase.
Collections mean things to people. I'm no psychologist but I suppose they represent order for folks; some way of making sense of disparate items by lumping them together in a tidy package. My neighbor has some Hummel's for instance. Walk into my mother's home and a person will find boxes of Precious Moments. People will collect just about anything and everything from matchbooks to classic cars. In a way, birdwatchers collect too. But it's normally in the form of lists (which I've addressed before in this space).
One of the appeals of destinations such as Yellowstone National Park is the better-than-even chance of seeing any of a number of spectacular species of wildlife amidst the backdrop of grandiose scenery. On any visit there a family might witness elk, moose, bison, gray wolves, or bighorn sheep. For things like grizzly bear or mountain lion the odds fall off rather quickly. Those animals - for various reasons - are quite a little more secretive. A similar scenario plays out with watching birds as well. There are the in-your-face species a person absolutely cannot miss.
Just a couple weeks ago an interesting little story caught my eye on the front page of the Forum. Dave Olson's piece described a certain peregrine falcon which had spent the night in south Fargo, presumably on its way to its nesting area on Baffin Island. But what made it intriguing was the fact that this bird - nicknamed Sparrow King - was fitted with a small GPS transceiver. Therefore its whereabouts, from winter grounds in Chile to its nest site in the Arctic, is easily ascertained. The tools available to the biological sciences keep growing every day it seems.