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Can A Thousand Tiny Swarming Robots Outsmart Nature? | Deep Look Video

January 18, 2017
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How does a group of animals — or cells, for that matter — work together when no one’s in charge? Tiny swarming robots–called Kilobots–work together to tackle tasks in the lab, but what can they teach us about the natural world?

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.  [Chuck Almdale]

Santa Monica Mountains Program February 7th

January 17, 2017
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photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

photo © James Kenney 2017

 

On February 7th Santa Monica Bay Audubon hosts Dr. James Kenney in a presentation on the birds and flowers of the Santa Monica Backbone Trail. One of the area’s top naturalists and a fine photographer is ours for the evening.

Those old enough to remember the previous century will recall that Jim was the highly-skilled photographer who made nearly 500 species shots for Milt McAuley’s handbook WILDFLOWERS OF THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS. He hiked hundreds of miles in the mountains and witnessed the long process of the piecemeal assemblage of the Backbone Trail that stretches from Point Mugu to the Will Rogers ranch in Pacific Palisades.

Since then, he has published three books of his photos and contributed hundreds of his bird photos to our SMBAS blog.

Jim, a Palisades resident, is a retired dentist who practiced in Santa Monica for over 30 years.

 Our meetings are at Christine Emerson Reed Park, 1133 7th Street. (between 7th St. & Lincoln Blvd., California Ave. & Wilshire Blvd.), Santa Monica. Previously known as Lincoln Park. If you’re coming from outside Santa Monica, exit the #10 Fwy at Lincoln Blvd., turn north  and drive 5 blocks north to Wilshire Blvd.

Link to Google Map
Meeting Room:
 Mid-park in Joslyn Hall, accessible from Lincoln Blvd, California Ave. and 7th St.  Its glass wall faces north towards St. Monica Church on California St.  If you’re walking from Lincoln Blvd., it’s located directly behind (west) of the large Miles Playhouse building. Not accessible directly from Wilshire Blvd.

Meetings begin at 7:30 sharp with a little business, and then our main presentation. Refreshments are served afterward. Please leave your coyote at home, however much they whine to come.

Parking: The entire block between Wilshire and California Ave, 7th and Lincoln, on the sides closest to the park, is metered. Meter enforcement ends at 6PM, so free parking for the meeting!  However, the local natives are engaged in a survival-of-the-fittest scramble for free parking, so the after-6pm free parking spaces disappear quickly.  We suggest that you arrive no later than 7:15 pm.

If all those spaces are filled, go south of Wilshire, not north of the park, as resident-only permit parking zones abound to the north. The east side of Lincoln Blvd. is also by permit parking only. We found plenty of spaces on 7th St. or Lincoln south of Wilshire. Most of those seem to be “until 6PM” meters also. Wherever you park, please read parking signs carefully and avoid a big fat $40+ parking ticket.

[Lu Plauzoles]

What Happens When You Zap Coral With The World’s Most Powerful X-ray Laser? | Deep Look Video

January 14, 2017
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Some corals look like undersea gardens, gently blowing in the breeze. Others look like alien brains. But in their skeletons are clues that promise to give scientists a detailed picture of the weather from 500 years ago. Reading these bones? Easy. As long as you have the world’s most powerful X-ray laser.

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.  [Chuck Almdale]

Antelope Valley Raptor Search Reminder: 7am, Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 11, 2017

This is the trip for the raptor enthusiast.  We will be birding in both the northeastern and northwestern Antelope Valley.  The raptors we are most likely to see are Red-tailed Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Harrier, Cooper’s Hawk, American Kestrel, Merlin, Prairie Falcon and White-tailed Kite.  We hope to see Golden Eagle, Rough-legged Hawk and Sharp-shinned Hawk.  We will be looking for Mountain Plover, Long-billed Curlew, Mountain Bluebird and other species that are year-round residents or winter visitors.

Ferruginous Hawk, Jan. 2014, Loi Nguyen

Ferruginous Hawk, Jan. 2014, Loi Nguyen

Links to prior trips: Jan’15, Jan’14, Jan’13, Jan’12, Jan’11

Family guide:  Mostly driving, under 1/2 mile walking on roadsides.  Probably boring for young children.  Expect cold weather.  The trip will be postponed by one week if rain or high winds are predicted.

Directions:  Carpools will leave the North Hills (San Fernando Valley) area by 7.15 am so we can be in the Palmdale area by 8am.  Allow 1/2-hour drive time from Santa Monica to the carpool meeting place.  For directions to the meeting place or additional information, e-mail leader at: <smbaudubon [at] gmail.com BY THURSDAY EVENING.  This trip is limited to 5 vehicles, with priority given to those who are carpooling.

In the event of adverse weather such as strong Santa Ana winds &/or rain, the trip will be cancelled by the leader no later than Friday evening.  If it is cancelled, it will be reschedule for the following Saturday, the 21st of January.

Bring lunch, drinks, additional water and dress for the weather.  If you have an FRS radio bring it with you.

For additional information, e-mail leader at: <smbaudubon [at] gmail.com> or call the leader at 310-617-8904 and leave a message with your name and phone number.

Saturday, January 21st.  Antelope Valley rainout date.  Everything else is the same as above.   [caniswatch]

The Fantastic Fur of Sea Otters – Video

January 10, 2017
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Sea otters aren’t just cute — they’re a vivid example of life on the edge. Unlike whales and other ocean mammals, sea otters have no blubber. Yet they’re still able to keep warm in the frigid Pacific waters. The secret to their survival? A fur coat like no other.

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.  [Chuck Almdale] 

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