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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.

Web ivorybills.blogspot.com

"....The truth is out there."

-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

Saturday, June 07, 2008


-- Ponderings --


Been waiting to hear back from a couple of folks about some things, or alternatively, to see a summary report released (but so far just silence on those fronts). So, in the meantime... :

A couple of examples drawn from Nassim Taleb's book "The Black Swan":

In a certain city there are two hospitals, one very large and one very small. One week, 60% of the babies born in one of the hospitals are male. Which of the two hospitals is it most likely to be?

People's gut reaction is often to answer 'the large hospital' or to simply say it's unanswerable, but in actuality (statistically speaking) it is more likely to be the small hospital: the large hospital, assuming more births (larger sample size), is more likely to approach the mean of ~50% for male births; the smaller hospital is more likely, in any single week, to show significant variance from the mean.

And this:

Given these two sentences:

1. Joe seemed happily married. He killed his wife.

2. Joe seemed happily married. He killed his wife to get her inheritance.

Which of the above lines seems more likely? People often instinctively answer line 2, but in fact of course line 1 is the broader (less specific) of the two, and inclusive of far more possibilities than line 2.
Put another way, in all instances where #2 is true then #1 is automatically true, but #1 could be true in many instances where #2 is NOT true.

Some say that 'timing is everything;' some say 'attitude is everything'... often though, inference is everything.

Previously, at this blog I've asked, 'if an Ivory-billed Woodpecker swoops through the forest and no one gets a photograph of it than does the bird exist?' (...and I've offered that for skeptics the answer is apparently, but erroneously, "no").

All of which, leads, finally and necessarily, to a crucial and weighty unresolved question nonchalantly posed by Julie Zickefoose over at her blog awhile back:

If a man says something in the forest and there is no female around to hear it, then is he still wrong???? ;-)))

so much for today's deep thoughts...


"Trust" in birding here:


'Clothes' make the bird here.

Dr. Irene Pepperberg's book "Alex and Me," on her life with Alex the African Grey Parrot, will be out next October, and can be pre-ordered here (proceeds going to aid "The Alex Foundation" :



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