Saturday, April 21, 2007

News roundup

Craigslist founder hosts bird video game
On April 23, an online game that features the San Francisco back yard of Craigslist founder Craig Newmark will go live. Two computer engineers -- Ken Goldberg and Dez Song -- at University of California Berkeley and Texas A&M University, respectively, created CONE Sutro Forest in which players take pictures of birds using a remote-control pan-tilt-zoom video camera and identify the birds correctly to earn points.

"My backyard is a small forest. I got lucky and I love nature if it makes itself convenient for me," said Newmark, who said he often watches for birds from his deck overlooking Sutro Forest.

"I put up a bunch of feeders and the birds started coming, and I can identify a couple of dozen."
The free game will become available on Monday the 23rd.

New frogmouth caught in Solomon Islands
For the first time in 100 years, scientists captured a new genus of frogmouth, now named Rigidipenna inexpectata. Ornithologists David Steadman and Andrew Kratter of the Florida Museum of Natural History found the birds with help from local hunters.

"This discovery underscores that birds on remote Pacific islands are still poorly known, scientifically speaking," Steadman said. "Without the help of local hunters, we probably would have overlooked the frogmouth."
More details about the discovery and the predatory bird appear in the April issue of Ibis: The International Journal of Avian Science and at the FLMNH link.

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