Friday, January 30, 2004

more candidate selectors

This is getting weird. A candidate selector from AOL gave me the results:
1 Kucinich Score: 100%
2 Sharpton Score: 99%
3 Kerry Score: 90%
4 Clark Score: 87%
5 Dean Score: 85%
WBUR has another selector, with actual statements by the candidates, but I find it hard to find the key differences in the statements quoted.

Another interesting site is FactCheck--with corrections of statements by candidates.


There is a candidate selector here. The results I got were:
2. Dean, Gov. Howard (83%)
3. Sharpton, Reverend Al (79%)
4. Clark, Retired General Wesley K. (79%)
5. Kucinich, Rep. Dennis (74%)
6. Edwards, Senator John (67%)
7. Kerry, Senator John (64%)
(#1 is an ideal.) I am puzzled how I can have Sharpton and Clark tied for second. If their views come out as that similar how good is the selector?

I found another selector that is somewhat more specific about the issues. It gives me:
#1 Carol Mosley-Braun
#2 Howard Dean
#3 Al Sharpton
#4 Dennis Kucinich
#5 John Kerry

Most of the people I've talked to here are focused on who can win, but I'm inclined to vote my own views in the primary, among the four who have a chance, anyway. The selectors are interesting because I thought I knew who I agreed most with but wasn't sure I had been following the issues closely enough.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Timothy Burke has a thoughtful post about evil, based on the New York Times Magazine article about sex trafficking. I didn't find the article surprising or hard to believe and am disturbed by how it is being questioned.


We get snow maybe once a year here; I told my daughter that a particular machine worked like a snowplow and then realized she had never seen a snowplow. We had slush that froze Sunday and two days off from school.

Monday when it was still very cold with a little freezing rain my daughter spotted a bluejay in a tree outside our window. The tree-trunk was covered with ivy and the bluejay was sitting on the very base of a small branch up against the trunk, surrounded by ivy. His feathers were all fluffed up so he looked like a baby bird. Bluejays live in much colder climates than this, but this one was cold.

Friday, January 23, 2004


For gentleness with myself.
To find a way out of the trap of blaming myself for things that happened when I was a child.
To be able to believe in change.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


A student came by asking for ideas for a paper (for another professor's class) on women in science. She is a wildlife biology major, so I suggested women in conservation. I wonder what she will make of reading Caroline Merchant?

Wildlife biology is a major started by schools of forestry so they could train B.A. wildlife specialists for natural resources management jobs. There is an emphasis on managing to goals, whether those goals be the needs of hunters or requirements to protect endangered species. We need to hope that endangered species are good indicator species for the functioning of an ecosystem (as they often are, since that is why they became endangered in the first place), since they tend to drive management.

And yet to say we should be concerned about the balance of an ecosystem instead of about a few species doesn't work either. Ecologists have moved away from the concept of a balance of nature because ecosystems change, they don't stay in stable balance. One of the concerns in the Galapagos is overfishing of certain marine resources, for example sea cucumbers. But how do you see the effect of that in a very complex ecological network in an environment that is subject to big variations? was wondering why predator populations are so small on the Galapagos; we saw a small number of endemic hawks and what seemed like a lot of possible food. I suspect that the population of prey regularly crashes, ue to a year with no rain or el Nino, so growing predator population can't be sustained.
Galapagos Hawk:

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Return to the moon

Yesterday I got a chance to read the text of Bush's speech at NASA. It feels to me like he is inspired by the moon colony in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I can't imagine there is the political will to increase the NASA budget. And I wonder if there is even a conceptual design for a new vehicle to go to the moon. Much less a cost estimate--Bush wants to spend 11 billion over 5 years but that covers only the period before any construction starts. What is the connection to his father's proposal?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


Much to do to get back and into the swing of the semester (I missed a few days). I have added more pictures to the page linked below.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

More pictures

are here (caution--large page)

Saturday, January 10, 2004

We're back!

Too tired to say much except to post this picture from the open-air restaurant at the airport on the way home. The Galapagos National Park is very careful to keep people from changing the animals' behavior, but the airport restaurant is one place where the Darwin's finches have learned a new source of food.