Buzz rising over local pelican population –

“It was like the Battle of Britain up there,” he said. “We counted up to 50 pelicans in one formation, and boy did they make a mess of our tent and cars, and on a couple occasions hit myself, my wife and my youngest son.”At the Torrey Pines Gliderport, manager Jeremy Bishop is more focused on the birds’ majesty, calling this year’s winged masses “an amazing influx.”“The consensus out here is it’s got to be the food supply,” he said. “It seems like most of them are heading south, especially in the morning. We’re all guessing some type of abundant food supply.”There doesn’t seem to be more fish in San Diego than in years past, said John Hyde, a biologist at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla. But Laird Henkle, an environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Game, said it may be that sardines and anchovies are in short supply in Mexican waters.“The bottom line is the birds go where the food is” — even if that disrupts breeding patterns, Henkle said.Several scientists said the pelicans’ breeding season starts as early as November and runs until June. Many breed in Mexico, then fly north when their young are ready, and one way to guess at whether breeding has a role in any influx is to observe the bird’s bellies and crowns.Young pelicans have brown heads and white bellies, while adults have white heads. A large number of young birds could mean an early successful breeding season, while a large number of adults could mean the opposite.

via Buzz rising over local pelican population –

Time names UCSD scientist (Darwin, Faraday)

Ramachandran cites an unexpected source for much of his success: Charles Darwin.”He had a huge impact on human thought, and on the study of natural selection,” Ramachandran said. “But he did so much more than that. Darwin did elegant, highly-detailed studies in other areas. He was always looking for insight into things that other people thought of as trivial.

“I have tried to emulate him. I hope that style rubs off on my students. I tell them that they need to read about the history of science. They need to know about the grand masters. People like Darwin and English chemist MIchael Faraday. Science should be a grand adventure. A lot of scientists today are 9-to-5ers. And 90-percent of brain science is technology driven. Scientists shouldnt be technicians. They should be thinkers.”

Thats how Time regards Ramachandran — as a thinker.

“Once described as the Marco Polo of neuroscience, V.S. Ramachandran has mapped some of the most mysterious regions of the mind,” the magazine wrote, explaining why he was chosen for the list. “He has studied visual perception and a range of conditions, from synesthesia in which viewing black-and-white figures evokes the perception of color to autism.

via Time names UCSD scientist among worlds most influential people –