[ExI] four seasons tree

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat Dec 17 19:27:21 UTC 2016

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of Brian Manning Delaney
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2016 11:00 AM
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Subject: Re: [ExI] four seasons tree


Very important topic!!

>>... How do we data-fy birds?  Bugs?

>...Well, the birds part has some cool data being gathered right now:


>...eBird is permitting observers to quantify more than species and number
observed as time goes on. Right now it's "breeding codes" (nest building,
mating, territorial defense behavior, etc.), sex, approx. age, and a few
other things. But more options will be added soon...

Cool!  Image recognition for birds.  This is a big step in the right


Overall I am hoping to press for quantization of observations, but it isn't
clear how to it.

Think of medicine and how it advanced after health metrics were quantized.
Can we even imagine doing medicine without numbers or measurements?  I am
hoping to create metrics for nature.

>...Sweden has an amazing system called the Species Portal:


>...It enables people to record data on all life, not just birds...

Coool!  Go Vikings!

>...I became a crazy-avid birdwatcher a year ago, and have used both eBird
and ArtPortalen, and have spoken with people running both projects...

Birds are cool, ja?  Yesterday I saw a robin perched up on a pole cawing.
As I came closer, I think the robin became aware of me (or it could have
been a coincidence.)  He seemed to say "Hey human, watch me hassle this cat"
and down he swooped, cat headed for cover under the car.  Of course I busted
out laughing.  I don't know if the bird was aware of my reaction or if I
imagined it.  If I had the right observation equipment, I could determine if
robins harass and bother cats when no one is watching.  Any theories?

Crows and ravens: they appear to me to be trying to impress their buddies by
letting humans get close.  They sometimes stand in the middle of the road
and play chicken with cars.  But they don't do that unless there is another
one nearby to watch.  Could I be imagining that?

Seagulls love to interact with humans, but I don't really see it as trying
to impress their friends the way ravens seem to do.  They just like to hang
around us it seems.  Three species, three behaviors: robins (possibly)
wanting to entertain humans, ravens challenging humans to gain status with
their own species and peaceful gulls wanting handouts perhaps.

It shouldn't surprise us so much.  Different breeds of dogs have their
collective personalities; they are all the same species.


There's a problem. This is just an empirical observation. The why of it I
don't know. With ArtPortalen, people tend to report rarities only. 
"Cool butterfly! I'll log in to my ArtPortalen account and report it!" 
What's needed are systematic observations of ALL butterflies (and not just
butterflies) in a given area in a given period.

With eBird, people tend to make systematic observations, but only of birds,
of course. Perhaps it's just because it's less overwhelming to do so about
birds only, or perhaps the interface is easier. But if we're going to ditch
the ArtPortalen approached, we'd need to create eBee, eButterfly, eTree,

> Perhaps we could get a jillion citizen scientists doing this kind of
automated observation.

The more automated, the better. We here tend to be optimists, and some
reading this might think: "Forget the citizen! Just ask the NSA, GCHQ, FRA,
all 7-11s, etc. to let us run some recognition algorithms on camera footage
and the like. Surely such algorithms will be good enough by 2020 or

The people at eBird think high-quality automated recognition of both images
and sound is well over a decade away. And using images from surveillance
cameras will be trickier than using images from an observer taking a
high-quality picture. So we might not have a lot of automation soon.

Meanwhile, check out eBird. Lots of fun.

Oh, hey, wait. Maybe image-recognition isn't so far away:


Pardon typos

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