28 July 2020

Sturdy patio furniture

Rose quartz, posted at Geology Tweets.

Too many Americans just don't "get it"

The photo above shows tour boats in the basin below Niagara Falls.  The one on the bottom is from the American side, the one above is Canadian.  If the difference isn't obvious, here's an infographic cobbled together from screencaps from the video at The Guardian:

“I see it many, many times a day. I look out the window, and there it is again,” said DiMaurizio, the vice-president and general manager of the main Canadian tour company, Hornblower Niagara Cruises. 
His company’s boats can carry up to 700 people, but Ontario’s strict social distancing rules have only permitted them to carry six passengers at a time
In contrast, the US-owned Maid of the Mist boats – which can normally hold around 500 people – are operating at 50% capacity. 
The stark difference reflect radically different approaches that Canada and the US have taken to tackling the coronavirus pandemic – and their dramatically contrasting outcomes. 
The US side of the falls lies within New York state, an area with a population of 19.5 million, and which has seen 414,000 Covid-19 cases and 32,000 deaths.  On the Canadian side, Ontario – with a population of nearly 15 million – has seen 38,000 coronavirus cases and 2,755 deaths.
The disparity is a consequence of many factors, including universal healthcare, early travel bans and quarantine rules, mask wearing and physical distancing measures...  
“We would really like to be in a position to have that [many customers] but you do have to balance it with supporting the province and their measures for keeping everybody safe.  “So, yes, I’d like to be there. But I’m really glad Canada is faring as well as it is.”
Video at the link.

In related news:
Dozens of police officers were called to break up a massive party in Ocean County [New Jersey] with hundreds of people in attendance. The party was advertised on Instagram as a “mansion party” and was held at a home on Mill Pond Road in the Whispering Hills section of Jackson Township Sunday night. The party was reportedly held as a celebration of Liberian Independence Day and featured free food and alcohol and a twerking contest.
And this:
Spurred on by a Facebook post Wednesday from the event’s organizer, rodeo fans are planning to show up anyway to protest, asserting their constitutional right to peaceable assembly
“The North Star Stampede will take place with no spectators,” wrote Cimarron Pitzen, whose family has staged the rodeo since 1955. “If people would like to come and protest against this ridiculous Government Over Reach, feel free to do so, I will not stand in the way of peoples ‘Right to Assemble.’ ” 
Within hours of Pitzen’s post, rodeo fans rallied. “I guess if thousands can protest in downtown Minneapolis we can protest in a field!” wrote Mike Milkovich of Hibbing. 
Who says that you can’t be protesting while sitting in the stands … and a rodeo is just happening to be going on,” replied Janet Chartier Bailey of Andover.
I am not anti-American, but I despair and never cease to be amazed by the ignorance, gullibility, and self-centeredness of a huge number of Americans, as exemplified by a man shown on the national evening news last night stating unequivocally "I'm not going to wear a damn mask just for someone else's benefit!!"

Addendum: This report from Vancouver Island, British Columbia:
Creek has been leading a group of volunteer watchdogs to monitor marine traffic, looking for Washington state boaters who have sneaked across the border into Canadian waters. They then report them to Canadian officials to try to keep them from docking and coming ashore. No hard feelings, he told me cheerily by phone this past week. But every American is seen as a loaded vector of disease
“You need to get the pandemic under control. You need a rational person to take the helm of your country. Until then, all we’re saying to Americans is: Stay away. When you come against our wishes, pardon the expression, it pisses us off.”.. 
“Hard pass on opening the border — we’re a healthy nation with big plans, and you’re a failed society,” one Canadian replied to the congressional letter on Twitter. 
“That border stays CLOSED,” wrote another. “Canadians may be polite but we aren’t CRAZY!” 
And another: “There’s no reason to believe Americans will care about the health of Canadians, given that relatively few seem to care about the health of other Americans.”
Amen.  If it were only the stupid people who were dying, it wouldn't be so bad.

Just to clarify it's still a minority:
The “Million Unmasked March,” which took its name from the social-justice march a quarter-century ago, drew about 250 people.

As explained by The Onion


Concussions are not limited to football, as explained in a rather chilling New York Times article about Olympic bobsledders.
On May 3, Pavle Jovanovic, a former bobsledder, rigged a chain to a crane he and his brother kept in the shop of their family’s metal works in Toms River, N.J. He tied the loose end around his neck and hanged himself. 
Jovanovic, an Olympian, was just 43, but already experiencing the shakes and tremors often associated with Parkinson’s disease. He was also the third elite North American bobsledder to kill himself since 2013... 
In recent years, an increasing number of athletes, current and retired, in sliding sports, especially bobsled and skeleton — a sister sport in which competitors slide headfirst on a small sled made of metal and carbon fiber — have said they battle chronic headaches, a heightened sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises, forgetfulness and psychological problems... 
Brain experts who have studied these athletes say the symptoms most likely stem, at least in part, from years of enduring the notorious crashes, routine head banging, brain-rattling vibrations and strong gravitational acceleration forces that are common in their sports
The athletes even have a name for the exhausted fog that even a routine run down the track can leave them in. They call it “sled head,” a term that troubles brain experts because they say it has normalized the classic symptoms associated with concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries familiar to football players and others who participate in high-impact sports.

Much more at the link.

The craters of Siberia - updated x2

In July 2014, news reports appeared of a giant crater appearing in the Siberian tundra.  Salon offered a summary of possible etiologies:
A 250-foot crater of unknown depth mysteriously appeared in Siberia’s Yamal peninsula, the Siberian Times reports, and scientists today are headed over to investigate. Researchers have already ruled out a meteorite as a potential cause. Same goes, presumably, for UFOs, as some suggested. A more likely explanation, according to Anna Kurchatova, with the Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre, could have to do with the thawing of Siberia’s permafrost, a consequence of global warming. The rapid release of gas previously trapped in the ice, she said, could have combined with sand beneath the surface to form an underground explosion...

University of New South Wales polar scientist Chris Fogwill agrees that global warming is the likely cause. In his opinion, provided by the Sydney Morning Herald, he explained that what we’re looking at might be a collapsed “pingo,” a natural geological phenomenon associated with the melting permafrost.
As additional craters developed (or were discovered), the Washington post provided a map of their locations [top].  Since both of those articles cited The Siberian Times, I headed there for followup reports.

The first comprehensive report from The Siberian Times included several dozen ground-level and aerial photos and a video (link now dead), which, if not explanatory at least offered a perspective on the size of this crater.

In November, Russian scientists rappelled down into the crater.
Leader of the new mission, Vladimir Pushkarev, director of the Russian Centre of Arctic Exploration, told The Siberian Times: 'We managed to go down into the funnel, all was successful. We used climbing equipment, and it is easier to do this in winter, than in summer, with the ground now hard.

'We took all the probes we planned, and made measurements. Now scientists need time to process all the data and only then can they draw conclusions.'

The funnel of the crater is about 16.5 metres deep, not including an earthen rampart on the surface, formed in the blowout, of several metres in height.
Photos and a video at the link.
The main element - and this is our working theory to explain the Yamal crater - was a release of gas hydrates. It turned out that there are gas hydrates both in the deep layer which on peninsula is several hundred metres down, and on the layer close to the surface', said scientist Vladimir Potapov before the latest expedition. 'There might be another factor, or factors, that could have provoked the air clap. Each of the factors added up and gas exploded, leading to appearance of the crater.'

He stressed: 'The crater is located on the intersection of two tectonic faults. Yamal peninsula is seismically quiet, yet the area of the crater we looked into has quite an active tectonic life. That means that the temperature there was higher than usual.'
They drew comparisons to the Bermuda Triangle:
The name Yamal means 'the end of the world', which ironically is also a description applied to the Bermuda Triangle for those lost on boats and planes. The areas stretches from the British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean to the Florida coast, to Puerto Rico.

Professor Yeltsov said: 'There is a version that the Bermuda Triangle is a consequence of gas hydrates reactions. They start to actively decompose with methane ice turning into gas. It happens in an avalanche-like way, like a nuclear reaction, producing huge amounts of gas. That makes ocean to heat up and ships sink in its waters mixed with a huge proportion of gas.
And these notes from a December article:
About a third of the crater is filled with water because of its melting walls and rain, and it is thought that within three years it will be almost full. Initially it was thought that by 2024 it will be difficult to see the 40 metres wide and 50 metres deep crater at all as it will be completely submerged by a lake.

But Dr Leibman told the Siberian Times that the crater may already be under water from the melting ice by next year. She said: 'Judging by the pace, by the end of next summer it may turn into a lake.

'I once heard a theory that deep Yamal lakes were mostly the result of emissions of gas. Then I just laughed at it. Now I take back my laughter: I think that a lot of deep lakes on Yamal were formed in this way.'
There is still disagreement among the Russian scientists as to whether the heat necessary to intiate this process came from above, via global warming, or from below because of tectonic activity.

Addenda March 2015:

Dozens of new craters have been reported.  These may be previously-existing craters that have been discovered, rather than newly-created ones.  Story also covered by the Washington Post.

Reposted from 2015 to add this impressive BBC video and to delete an old dead video (some of the old links may also be dead).

The lady from the Max Planck Institute is well-spoken and explains the situation concisely.  What impressed me from the video was the immense size of this collapse.  I had seen aerial photos before, but had not appreciated the extent of the slumping because there's no banana for scale.  This video is worth a couple minutes viewing time.

(deleted post)

The item I posted yesterday entitled "Something there is that does not love a wall..." was inaccurate.  It did depict a section of the border wall being blown down, but was old file footage from earlier during a preliminary phase of construction, and not related to the recent storm.  I've deleted the post.

27 July 2020

Laki volcano and the Deccan Traps

"On June 8, 1783, Iceland’s Laki volcano began to smoke. The ground wrenched open “like an animal tearing apart its prey” and out spilled a “flood of fire,” according to an eyewitness’s diary. Laki let loose clouds of sulfur, fluorine, and hydrofluoric acid, blanketing Europe with the stench of rotten eggs. The sun disappeared behind a haze so thick that at noon it was too dark to read. (Unlike the cone-shaped stratovolcanoes from third-grade science class, both Deccan and Laki were fissure eruptions, which fracture the Earth’s crust, spewing lava as the ground pulls apart.) 
Destruction was immediate. Acid rain burned through leaves, blistered unprotected skin, and poisoned plants. People and animals developed deformed joints, softened bones, cracked gums, and strange growths on their bodies—all symptoms of fluorine poisoning. Mass death began eight days after the eruption. More than 60 percent of Iceland’s livestock died within a year, along with more than 20 percent of its human population. And the misery spread. Benjamin Franklin reported a “constant fog” over “a great part of North America.” Severe droughts plagued India, China, and Egypt. Cold temperatures in Japan ushered in what is remembered as the “year without a summer,” and the nation suffered the worst famine in its history. Throughout Europe, crops turned white and withered, and in June, desiccated leaves covered the ground as though it were October. Europe’s famine lasted three years; historians have blamed Laki for the start of the French Revolution
“But that’s just a short-term event from a relatively minor eruption, compared with Deccan,” Keller told me. A single Deccan eruption was “thousands of times larger” than Laki, she said. “And then you repeat that over and over again. For basically 350,000 years before the massive die-off.” 
Laki released 3.3 cubic miles of lava; Deccan unleashed an estimated 720,000 cubic miles, eventually covering an area three times the size of France. It took us five hours of driving, an hour-and-a-half flight from Hyderabad to Pune, and another three hours in the car to trace the lava flows from some of their farthest, flattest reaches back to some of their highest points, in Mahabaleshwar, a vertiginous town crowded with honeymooners. Mountains of basalt 2.1 miles high—nearly twice as tall as the Grand Canyon is deep—extended as far as I could see. Even the geologists, who had visited the Deccan Traps multiple times before, gaped at the landscape. 
“It’s mind-blowing,” Eddy said. “Every time.”
The above excerpted from a very interesting 2018 Atlantic article presenting the argument that the extinction of the dinosaurs was not caused by the asteroid impact at Chicxulub, but rather by prolonged volcanic activity.  Those interested should visit the link.

I had to look up "Deccan Traps."
The term "trap" has been used in geology since 1785–1795 for such rock formations. It is derived from the Swedish word for stairs ("trappa") and refers to the step-like hills forming the landscape of the region. 
The Deccan Traps are a large igneous province of west-central India (17–24°N, 73–74°E). They are one of the largest volcanic features on Earth. They consist of multiple layers of solidified flood basalt that together are more than 2,000 m (6,600 ft) thick.

Photo credit.

Softball-sized hailstone

From the recent [2010] heartland thunderstorms. "Some of the hailstones that fell on Oklahoma and Kansas were 4-6" in diameter, as large as softballs!"

Found at the best weather blog I know - Paul Douglas' blog at the StarTribune.

Reposted from 2010 to add these interesting hailstones (Calgary, 2020):

Comments at the via were not informative.

Art by Nellie

I never had the chance to take the "Fine Arts 101" course that everyone seemed to take in college.  Perhaps some reader can suggest for me which famous artist my young neighbor is channeling (watercolor on printer paper, 2020).

Updated to add Nellie's latest creation (magic marker on notebook paper, 2020):

Updated once again with a photo of her home gallery:

And now a drawing for Halloween:

The Thanksgiving edition is a stylized, impressionistic creation -

- which to me looks like a cat piloting an interstellar ship entering warp speed.

24 July 2020

Divertimento #182 (gifs)

Nature and science
Hailstorm in Calgary
Tensegrity table (if I ever get transported back in time to Medieval Europe, I will support myself by building these and selling them to nobility).
"Thermal runaway" in a cellphone
Fossilized leaf in shale
Man helps king cobra cool off during heatwave
Showing why you do not look out the window at a tornado coming your way
A pod of dolphins
Field of lupine in bloom

Dogs show two ways to navigate a building site
Cat wants treats
Warthog and mongooses
Silverback gorilla interacts with keeper
Not a leaf

Impressive or clever
Analog clock powered by sliding down an incline
Dragon made from dough
Protest march in Seattle conducted silently in the rain
Specialized equipment for removing rocks from a field
Pivoting belt sorter
Remote-controlled helicopter does stunts
Machine for making beetle-juice perhaps

Bowler fails at cheating
Low intelligence porch pirate
Incident at a boat storage facility
Young man fails the "fire challenge"
Can't make popcorn
Youths assault one another with fireworks

Protests, police, etc.
Officer chokes an unresisting person who was not under arrest
11-year old girl wants to leave school.  ??why not let her go??
Variable application of dress code.  Appropriate corporate response.

Sports and athleticism
Murdered boy makes soccer goal with assistance of friends
It would be hard to do this if you tried
Extreme jumprope
One chance in a million

Humorous or cheerful
John Cleese's rant on extremism
Man steals parking spot and flashes finger; woman provides instant karma
Man retrieves his pet from public pool
"Hedgehog bowling"
Dog barks at small cat.  Cat responds.
CEO explains how he worked his way up the corporate ladder
Woman tells daughter strange man asked to see her boobs.

Figured out those embedded graphics yet??

I need some help understanding this one

How to climb the corporate ladder

Suspicius death sertificate

"The man, Robert Berger, 25, of Huntington, N.Y., now faces up to four years in prison if convicted of the falsification attempt. He also still awaits sentencing for pleading guilty previously to possessing a stolen car and attempting to steal a pickup truck... 
Around the time officials were sorting out those details, in November, Mr. Berger was having a hard time staying dead: He was arrested in suburban Pennsylvania on charges including providing a false identity to law enforcement..."

Negative yields on long-term treasuries

From a July 23 article by John Authers at Bloomberg.  Depicted are "real yields" on 30-year treasuries, graphed over the past 20 years.  This is not the "nominal" yield the treasury is issued at, but the yield adjusted for expected inflation.
In markets, there was a major landmark in the 30-year Treasury bond market. The real yield (accounting for inflation) hit the lowest ever in the period that inflation-protected bonds have been available. They now carry a negative yield that has dropped below its low from the crisis period back in March. 
This implies acute problems for anyone trying to manage money for the long term, such as pension fund managers, as the cost of buying a guaranteed income becomes prohibitive. And the fact that people are prepared to lend to the government for such a long period while expecting a negative real return implies great negativity... 
It isn’t a V-shaped recovery. Covid has seen to that. The weakening dollar and record low bond yields make life easier for the U.S. and its policymakers, but the risk of a mistake, and of a solvency crisis to hit later, are real. Until these immediate policy issues are resolved, risk aversion will probably stay high, while confidence in the U.S. stays weak. 
During the very, very early stages of the pandemic (March), I listened to an interview with John Authers, who offered what I view as the most perceptive comment on the economic effects of the pandemic that I have heard yet.  During the questioning he was asked "What are we misunderstanding about this virus and the effects on the markets?  Are we underestimating the depth of the market drop?  Are we underestimating the duration?  What are we not seeing?"

I'll have to paraphrase his response, because I seem to have lost the link.  He said that what nobody seemed (at the time) to understand is how much this viral pandemic will change the world.  That it would alter not just short-term profits, but human and corporate behavior on where people live, what they buy, whether they travel, how they save, how they plan their futures. 

I think his prediction is still playing out.

Addendum:  Correction (found the link) - it wasn't John Authers, it was Mohammed El-Erian who offered that assessment in an interview with Jonathan Ferro back on March 27. 

Race perception

Discussed at facepalm, where others confirm that many people have a distorted view of what consitutes an "African."

(I'm not sure what to call that first comment.  It's not "race blindness."  Would it be called "gatekeeping?"  I'm blocking on a concise term for that impaired knowledge...)

AOC responds publicly to a Congressman calling her "a fucking bitch"

There are a number of edited versions of this 10-minute speech, many of which beep out the expletives.  I've elected to go with this version which retains the power of the words.

I continue to be impressed by this young woman's coolheadedness and sense of purpose.  She begins her talk by affirming that based on her prior job experience as a bartender in NYC, she was not personally shocked to hear those words.  She then goes on to explain how the incident epitomizes the way men in power use language to abuse and degrade women.  It's a powerful presentation.

Some excerpts and commentary at The New Yorker.

Budding trapeze artist

"Chandelier" etymology from an old French word meaning "playground equipment."

Via Neatorama, where you can read the mommy's report on how this happened.

23 July 2020

Sweet corn and freezer corn - updated

"Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered."    --Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine
For Ray Bradbury, summer was preserved in dandelion wine.  Here in Wisconsin and Minnesota, we preserve summer in freezer corn.

The first step is an early morning visit to a local farm.  They harvest at sunrise and bring it into a barn for processing.  Modern sweet corn is incredibly sweet - much more so than the strains of corn I grew up with 50-60 years ago.  And modern corn holds that sweetness longer, before the intrinsic sugars start turning into starch.  Even so, it's best to obtain, prepare, and eat the corn as soon as possible after it's harvested.  Throughout the summer we go to this farm once or twice a week.

After the shank is chopped and the ear is inspected (top photo), the corn is moved to a self-serve table, and then it's first-come first-served until they run out.  The entire process is done on the honor system.  You take what you want, figure the cost from a chart on the wall (it's about 50c/ear), put your money in the open cashbox and take change if you need it.  Grocery bags are provided, but most people bring their own reusable ones.

Here's the recipe for freezer corn, which is of course a bit different from the heat-and-eat process for regular corn-on-the-cob:

The Stonemans grow a supersweet bicolor corn.  The ears were a little smaller this summer because of unusually cool temperatures during the growing season.

We process about two dozen ears for the freezer, first cutting it off the cobs out in the garage (it can be messy, with kernels and juice flying around).  Note at this point the kernels are ready to eat - and very sweet.

Then to the kitchen to be processed according to the directions in the third photo above.

And finally packed in Ziplock bags and stored in the freezer next to the other essential food groups...

Reposted from last fall to remind locals that Stoneman's is open and has the season's first crop available.  The heavy rains this spring delayed planting, so several of the fields are a week or two behind schedule.  Best to visit their Facebook page to check availability before driving out.

Re-reposted for the same reason.   First corn of the season available this morning is yellow sweet corn; the bicolor should be ready by next week.

Addendum - adding a photo of one ear of the bicolor.

 Husked and ready for the microwave:

Reposted to remind neighbors and locals in the Madison area that the season has started.  This morning the Stonemans have the yellow corn, which grows faster than the supersweet bicolor, which will be ready for harvest next week.

Social distancing is applicable at the shed, so better to bring exact change ($8 for baker's dozen).  You can still bag your own from the pile on the table, and bags are available for those who don't bring their own.

Best to go early in the morning (they open at 8).  Yesterday they sold out their day's harvest of a hundred dozen ears before noon.

Addendum: Here is a remarkably informative video from America's Test Kitchen:

22 July 2020

Can you spot me in this photo?

Pic taken today at Badger Prairie County Park, next to the library in Verona, WI.  I hope to assemble some of the photos for a blog post tomorrow, but in the meantime I offer you the chance to prove your visual perspicacity by locating me in the image.  I am not wearing camo or a ghillie suit.


Bat embryo, via.

6 days now without a Trump- or coroavirus- post.  The urge is worse than quitting smoking, but I'll try for one more day.

Postmodern urban architecture

"The Notch Building in Sacramento, California added an audacious feat of mechanical engineering to the mix. Whenever the store opened for business, the corner of the box would break away from the main structure and slide out to reveal an entrance."
Other examples at 99%invisible, including the "tilt building":

Cultural regions of the United States

One person's attempt to create a "summary reference" for terms that are vague and fluid.  But interesting despite the imprecision.  Source.

21 July 2020

An uncommon view of earth

Centered on the middle of the Pacific Ocean; we all know it's immense, but TIL that there are places in the Pacific whose antipode is also in the Pacific.  via.

BTW, I rotated the image 180 degrees so the Kiwis can enjoy being at the top of a map.

20 July 2020


Properly speaking, this is the "East End of Rundle."  Canadians abbreviate and pronounce it as though it were a Winnie-the-Pooh character.

Photo via EarthPorn.  Note the embedded image above is double-clickable to wallpaper size.

Unrealistic but still chuckleworthy


I quite understand that many websites and blogs rely on advertising revenue for their existence, and I presume that it's not always possible for the host to retain control over what ads are embedded at their site.  And I hope that no person with an I.Q. of double digits or higher would click on these links.

But... I'm offended that this kind of clickbait crap (I can't think of a better word) is allowed to exist and is promulgated by host websites.

These examples found at BoingBoing.

Composite image of the far side of the moon

Posted because we never get to see this side from Earth.  Some relevant discussion at the via.

19 July 2020

Thoughts about a bird's nest

I was out doing yard chores the last week of May and found this on the ground under a tree.  We had had thunderstorms the night before, and it was obvious that this bird nest had been dislodged.  This was an unusually impressive nest, in part because of its robustness, as evidenced by that mass of mud which must have included some seeds that had begun to sprout.

Based on our local avifauna, I recognized it as the nest of an American robin (Turdus migratorius) (I know you're giggling; turdus is Lain for "thrush.")  We see these all the time, because these birds have no fear of nesting close to human activity.  Almost every year a robin will build a nest on the rafter supporting our back deck, and once on top of a unused rain barrel under our screen porch:

But back to this year's windfall nest.  In addition to its mass, I was impressed by the construction.  In addition to the mud, there was lots of dried plant material.  On the outside were bits of straw from a bale of marsh hay that we used for garden mulch (also used a previous year for the nest in the photo above). 

But in addition, this robin had incorporated a layer of light brown coconut fiber on the interior surface, which she had extracted from a fiber mat that had been placed on a hillside between the back yard and the woods as part of a reseeding and anti-erosion project: 

The result was a sturdy nest with a comfy interior lining:

Very impressive.  Top marks to this robin.  I bet it's fair to assume that this particular nest was built by an experienced robin (or pair of robins) who have built a nest or two in the past, and now can incorporate new material into their template.

But what I can't quite sort our is how the robin learned nest construction in the first place.  They are born in one, so may have seen relevant materials as a nestling, but they never saw one being built.  And of course there are all sorts of different types of nests depending on the species.

I'm not the first person to ask this question, but I don't ever remember seeing a useful answer.  It's always attributed to "instinct" - which means inherited knowledge.  All living creatures have instincts and reflexes, including humans.  Some of that knowledge resides in whatever part of our brain is the "reptilian" bit.  We retch as a response to the smell of Pseudomonas aeruginosa because early primate ancestors connected that odor to unhealthy rotting food.

So the question that stayed in my mind for the rest of the day was this:  if humans inherit knowledge from parents and ancestors, is it conceivable that such knowledge could be something as specific as musical skills, language skills, fine motor skills?  Can a savant or a phenom of the arts be "channeling" an ancestor with extraordinary development in that area? 

I don't expect to find an answer, but I welcome anyone's thoughts in this matter.

To finish with the robin family.  Several days later as I walked out the driveway to the mailbox, a  robin flew out from shrubbery next to the pole of our security light.  I reached in with my phone and clicked away until I got this image:

One of them survived...

... and later fledged:

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