A Modest Victory for the IP Good Guys


Patent trolls are leeches on the economics of technological growth. They contribute nothing to technology, suck the economic blood from their victims, and are difficult to eradicate. Especially in some of the swamps of the internet. WC has criticized these miserable parasites before. But, for once, there’s a bit of good news in the Patent…

The Idiot’s Guide to Legislative Ethics


This blog post is dedicated to State Senator Peter Micciche, who may be challenged by the ethics part but has mastered the idiot concepts perfectly. State Senator Peter Micciche is an employee of Conoco Philips, one of the Big Three oil companies in Alaska. He’s in management: the superintendent of a facility in Soldotna. And a…

The Neotropics’ Most Beautiful Bird?


One of WC’s target bird species for photography was the Resplendant Quetzal. They’re a challenge to find, and their tendency to perch high makes the background tend to be bright. Yes, that’s the tail extending all the way down. Yes, the tail was blowing in the breeze. The photo has its flaws, but should give…

River Cruises and Rarities


WC went on a river cruise yesterday. On the Caño Negro, in a wildlife refuge near the Costa Rica – Nicaragua border. In a faux dugout, with a sun roof and few amenities. The birding was very, very good. This handsome bird was skulking in the mangrove roots along the stream edge. The boat operator…

Hummingbird Names


Hummingbirds are always a birder favorite. We don’t get many in Alaska; only the Rufous Hummingbird is regular. And that only in southeastern and southcentral Alaska. In the tropics, however, their size, colors, bills and behaviors are bewildering. And their names are as whimsical as anything in science. Here’s a Green-crowned Brilliant, at five inches…