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Old 09-02-2010, 07:21 PM   #21
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San Juan Weekend

Eric---

Transponder collars on river otters is not the only offense against wildlife up here.

Many of the marinas in this area are participating in an experimental program being run by the University of Washington Applied Physics Lab to fit seagulls with a sort of diaper device. The problem is that seagulls (apparently---I'm just quoting from the study description) have no conscious control over when they defecate. When there is enough accumulated "stuff" in their system it is evacuated automatically-- the bird doesn't do anything consciously. This is why--- the study says--- that seagulls so often poop immediately after takeoff. The change in their body position and the muscle effort being expended for flight serve to expel the waste from the end of their digestive tract.

Where this is a problem is in marinas and aound piers, container yards, fish processing plants, etc. where the birds tend to perch on the surrounding structures for long periods of time. When they take off they let go, and this lands on the boats, cranes, vehicles, and people working in these locations.

The Applied Physics Lab (don't ask my why they ended up with this project) was contracted to find a way to reduce or elminate the problem without eliminating the seagulls (which are a protected species). The answer was this electronic diaper thing.

It straps to the bird in a way that does not interfere with its ability to fly, walk, or float on the water. It catches and stores a single defecation when the bird is in flight. There is a tiny laser transmitter on the diaper aimed down and slightly ahead of the bird. Somehow this beam and the associated chip coding can determine when the bird is about to fly over open water with no obstructions like boats, etc. in it. When it senses this, the diaper automatically releases the defecation load it has collected and the poop falls into the water without hitting anything or anyone.

A fair number of gulls in Squalicum Marina are fitted with this device. It is made to be very difficult to see, blending in color and shape to the bird itself. I have been told by our marina management that since the electro-diapers as they're called have been fitted to more and more birds, the amount of seagull poo on the marina buidlings and boats has been noticeably reduced.

I was pretty skeptical of the whole deal but maybe there's something to it. We'll see......





-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 2nd of September 2010 07:23:14 PM
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:10 PM   #22
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RE: San Juan Weekend

Thanks for the post Marin but I still say we should leave the birds, animals and fish alone*(unless we're eating them of course). Ha Ha . Kinda makes me think we've got too few problems and too much money to be worried about sea gull crap. Did some politician get his boat crapped on more than once?
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:16 PM   #23
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RE: San Juan Weekend

I'm trying real hard to stay out of this! (LOL)
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:47 PM   #24
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RE: San Juan Weekend

Quote:
nomadwilly wrote:


Kinda makes me think we've got too few problems and too much money to be worried about sea gull crap. Did some politician get his boat crapped on more than once?
Who knows what sparks ideas like this.* Probably lawyers painting a nighmare scenario*of*people slipping on seagull crap and suing the [crap] out of a marina or the Port of Seattle or whatever.**You can imagine the headline...**"Seagull dropping causes Port crane operator fatality."*

I guess one way to look at it*is that no matter how kooky an idea like this*seems it provides employment to a bunch of people.

Here's another one that I just read about that could be beneficial up in your area maybe.* Anyone who's been reading the Seattle papers or watching the local news is probably aware of the increase in black bear encounters in many of the neighborhoods surrounding the city.* So far nobody's been hurt but King County Animal Control has gotten a grant (probably some of Obama's economic stimulus money) to conduct preliminary tests in conjunction with Bose of an audible warning device.* As I understand it, this system is an adaptation of the Bose iPod SoundDock but without the iPod.* Its curved*case has been modified to match the countour of a bear's neck in such a way as to not hinder the animal's movement at all.

A*sensor of some*sort is mounted on the collar holding the*SoundDock and it can detect*the presence of a house from some distance.** I think they said 100 yards but I don't remember.* Nor do*I know what the sensor is tuned into that distinguishes a house from something like a car.

In any event, if the bear wanders within the sensor's range of*the house, the SoundDock, which has a battery recharged by a*small solar wafer, turns on and begins to play "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits at maximum volume.* According to the blurb in the paper, this does two things.* It alerts anyone in the area that there's a bear present, and it scares the hell out of the bear which begins to run away from the sound.* Since the sound is coming from the bear, it will continue to run until it moves beyond sensor range of the house*at which point*the SoundDock shuts off.

According to the article the prototype BearDock, as it's called, had been tested very successfully on a young male black bear that was trucked into a neighborhood*near Bose's headquarters in*Framingham, Mass and released.**A section of the neighborhood had been fenced off to prevent the bear from escaping the control area.

A larger test involving a number of wild black bears in the foothills of King County is planned for next*spring, which is when the bears are most likely to enter neighborhoods in search of food before the ripening of berries and other plants draws them back into the woods.

Who knows what will happen with this idea, but if you're mucking about in your yard and you suddenly hear "Money for Nothing" crank up, head for your front door.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #25
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San Juan Weekend

No, I'm not writing a book on the history of PT boats. There are plenty of those now. I'm writing what for want of a better term is a novel-based-on-a-true-story. It's about a specific mission in WWII that used an Elco PT boat.

I was told about this mission back in the late 1970s when I flew four men who had crewed the boat on an aerial tour of Pearl Harbor (you could do that in those days). We sort of hit it off--- I'd been fascinated with PT boats since I was a little kid and read "They Were Expendable"--- so we hung out for a few evenings before they went home. They told me about this mission they'd been on. It was a hell of a story--- they'd had to sign non-disclosure papers after it but figured after 30 years nobody would care--- and I've been wanting for decades to write it up. Now that my Kenmore book is done and out there I've started on the PT book. I was only told the basics of the mission, so making a readable story out of it requires the bulk of the story, the characters, etc to be created from scratch.

I'm real big on accuracy*so I*researched PTs to learn the details of the boats and life on and with the boats and how to operate them*all through the 1990s when I was working on the Kenmore book.* But I didn't want to get into the PT story for fear I'd abandon the Kenmore story. But I interviewed dozens of PT vets, my wife and I went to PT crew reunions, we were invited to ride on the only restored PT boat powered by the original Packard engines-- it was the wrong kind of PT for my story*but it was the right kind of engine.* I wanted to hear them and smell them and be next to them when they were running full bore and all that.* I got permission one winter in the late 90s to spend an entire afternoon crawling around in the restored Elco PT in Fall River, Mass to get a feel for the boat and the spaces in it, and so on.

My job schedule doesn't give me as much time to work on the book as I'd like but it's so far been an ejoyable experience to write, and the people who've read the first several chapters say they really like it. So we'll see. But don't hold your breath.......

-- Edited by Marin on Friday 3rd of September 2010 09:02:22 PM
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:29 PM   #26
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RE: San Juan Weekend

I read years ago in a Wall Street Journal (I think) article about Clancy that prior to Hunt for Red October, he had had only one thing published in his life and that was a letter to a local newspaper editor. When he completed Red October--- which I still feel is the best book he's written--- nobody was interested in publishing it. Finally the Naval Institute Press agreed to publish it. It went pretty much unnoticed until Ronald Reagan read it and talked about it.
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