We start this week with a story relegated to the back pages of major news sources of the past week, but containing a fairly major kernel of scientific discovery. The University of Freiburg released findings of a research project which suggests that the human practice of hanging bird feeders actually changes the evolutionary path of birds.
A certain species of Blackcap always migrated further north than others, but in a humanless world they wouldn't have made it because there would not have been enough of the proper kind of food in that time of the year in England. But humans have sustained that species of Blackcap unawares with outdoor bird feeders. With the milder winters of the past few years, temperatures have allowed the birds to migrate all the way to England. With a food source, they will be able to survive the harsher British winters.
But there is a concern of a potential derailer, once again reaching back to greedy banks and mortgage lenders primarily in the United States. Because of the weak global economy, scientists fear Brits may not feed the birds as much this year (they may, instead, choose to have their tuppence patiently, cautiously, trustingly invested in the - to be specific - in the Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank.) To stabilize a species like this would take a very long time, so an interruption in the availability of food could cause this remarkable occurrence to collapse.
But this is the major point I wanted to make sure that everyone came away from this story with. It's a remark on the meaning of the study by Dr. Martin Schaefer who was the head of the research project at the University of Frieburg. He said, "It's positive news for us, because it means not all the changes [humans] produce are necessarily bad."
Good news of that sort is a bit of a novelty and I wanted to share.
I think this is the first time I've put up a local news story, but in the night between Monday and Tuesday of this week a fire broke out in the kitchen of a major restaurant in Chico. Tres Hombres is on the corner of West 1st and Broadway. It's central location downtown and right next to Chico State campus made Tres Hombres one of the more successful restaurants in town.
The fire started in the kitchen late in the night, burned through the wall and completely destroyed Mr. Pickles' Sandwich Shop next door. Tres Hombres, it's said, sustained major damage, but will probably be back up and running very soon. Mr. Pickles, on the other hand, is dead.
I used to deliver to both of those restaurants every day. They were both wonderful people and I am very sorry for their loss.
The building its self is one of the oldest buildings in Chico (which may be why it wasn't completely destroyed in the fire.) It used to be John Bidwell's store and office in the 1860s.
More LHC Watch News:
The Large Hadron Collider set a new record this week. It became the world's highest energy particle accelerator this week when it pushed its particle beams beyond one trillion electron volts. Take that, Tevatron particle accelerator!
Cern's director general Rolf Heuer said, "It is fantastic. However, we are continuing to take it step-by-step, and there is still a lot to do before we start physics in 2010. I'm keeping my champagne on ice until then."
By start physics he means slamming sub-atomic particle beams into one another at near the speed of light in an attempt to recreate conditions similar to the beginning of the universe, but you already knew that.
The Sam Adams Brewery (didn't he used to go by Samuel?) in Boston has unveiled their Utopias beer. It costs $150 per bottle and it boasts 27% alcohol per volume which is the highest beer alcohol content in... ever! The United States lept into action and 13 states have already banned the beer. I'm guessing because the high alcohol content was beyond the wildest imagination of lawmakers, although I would note that the extreme beer probably doesn't pose much of a public health threat outside of the multi-billionaire crowd. But then, considering how the past year has gone for them...
I would also point out that the beer has not yet been banned in California. And Christmas is coming!
Due to the long (15 year) aging process, the beer will only be available every two years (and only in 37 states.) This year, Sam Adams is releasing 10,000 bottles for sale. Of course, the big question is "Is it any good?" Well, Sam Adams says, "The beer is a dark amber color with a tinge of rose. The beer flavor is like cognac and has a hint of vanilla, honey and maple flavors." So if that sounds good to you and you have $150 laying around that you don't need... GO GIVE IT TO A CHARITY OR SOMETHING! Gosh! What're you thinking?!!? $150 for a bottl... I'll tell you what, if I spend $150 on a bottle of beer, it had better be a bottle the size of my garage!
Well, that's all I have this week. Apparently the Classical Music world takes Thanksgiving week off. As well they probably should. The Christmas season, like so many industries, is crunch time for them.
A quick side note for the Book Groupies, the first Classics Reading Group Post will go up late tonight. Stay tuned for that.