The celebrity oystercatcher

If you are an oystercatcher and decides to place your nest on top of the science building of the university of Bergen you are up for some fame. A pair of oystercachers has decided that this is a good idea. They have been there several years and the very scientific people at the university distributed the hatching through a web cam last year. New this year is high quality live video streaming.

Due to the very long days during the Norwegian summer you will get quite nice shots even late evenings and early mornings. The picture in this article is from 10:42 PM.

The students and the people working at the university are serious about this, so both the webcam snapshot quality and the video streaming are of very high quality.

The eggs are estimated to hatch in the end of May / beginning of June. You’ll have to be there frequently because the kids leave their nest after a couple of days.

Link to the main page with web cam and instructions for the live streaming (english).

Link to a Norwegian article about the show.

Link to the wikipedia entry for oystercatcher

The live streaming is available on all platforms through the free VLC media player. Both as multicast and as unicast.

Digg this story here.

(Thanks to my mother for pointing me to this. Yes, my retired mother! Is that cool or what?)

The celebrity oystercatcher

Could YOUR computer help scientists look into the future?

A while ago, I read about The Global Consciousness Project over at RedNova News. Being a quite sceptical engeneer I usually don’t find experiments like these very interesting, but this one tickled my brain…

From RedNova:

“One of these new technologies was a humble-looking black box known was a Random Event Generator (REG). This used computer technology to generate two numbers – a one and a zero – in a totally random sequence, rather like an electronic coin-flipper.

The pattern of ones and noughts – ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ as it were – could then be printed out as a graph. The laws of chance dictate that the generators should churn out equal numbers of ones and zeros – which would be represented by a nearly flat line on the graph. Any deviation from this equal number shows up as a gently rising curve.

During the late 1970s, Prof Jahn decided to investigate whether the power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with the machine’s usual readings. He hauled strangers off the street and asked them to concentrate their minds on his number generator. In effect, he was asking them to try to make it flip more heads than tails.

It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.

Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations on the graph, ‘forcing it’ to produce unequal numbers of ‘heads’ or ‘tails’.”

Read the story at RedNova and think about it. If you find it even remotely interesting then start experimenting with the idea that the data from random number generators could actually say something about global events when analyzed properly.

If the nodes are simple random number generators then you could easily turn your computer into a node. Someone should make a project like Seti out of this. A software that you could download to your computer and turn it into a node for this project. You would have millions of computers generating data to the project. It would be possible to add location to the data and see if changes are greater near the events that will make a change in the flow of numbers.

I also immediately start thinking about another wild project that I have suggested here before:
Everything you would ever want to see

Even for a sceptical engeneer it is important to sometimes let go of physics and what I base on current knowledge. If not for anything else, for creativity alone…

Could YOUR computer help scientists look into the future?