10 Comments

  1. American premiere performance of “Songbird Sonata” by Stephanie Ann Boyd. Performed by Gabriela Vargas, flute, and Kuang-Hao Huang, piano. From the series, Dame Myra Hess Memorial concerts.

    I heard this on yesterday’s radio broadcast of the live concert, and was reminded of it when I saw this “Bird and Moon” had come up. I couldn’t remember the composer’s name, let alone the performers, and tried a general Google search — and found several pieces with that title or close to it! None of them correct. Eventually found via the radio station’s website.

    On some music-exploration podcast recently — no, wait, it was a Bob Greenberg video on Mahler — I heard a fun recapitulation of instrumental mimicking of birdsong, and indeed it was mostly flute, but also some use of clarinet and oboe.

  2. I know this isn’t tagged as a CIDU, but I’m not entirely sure I get the whole joke.

    Ironically, I get the last three panels (at least, I think I do), in that they are funny/ridiculous ways that Nature could “improve” upon birds.

    But the first panel confuses me: Tiny Laser Projectors That Indicate Field Marks? I’m not even sure how to begin interpreting that.

  3. “I’m not even sure how to begin interpreting that.”

    Exactly as what is pictured. You see a bird. And you will see it has floating text and lines visible to the naked eye and apparent to everyone spelling out the identifying field marks. (“a visible mark or characteristic that can be used in identifying a bird or other animal in the field”)

    “That could actually perform the educational labelling contemplated in another method here.”

    But she wants 1) it to be done by nature with no additional equipment and 2) that it’d be on every bird on every situation and it’d be infallible. One aspect of bird watching is how subtle and difficult it is to spot and correctly identify these field marks. And programming an augmented reality application to display them would be notoriously difficult if not impossible. Okay, sure anyone can make a museum display where you view a stuffed bird through your phone and you see those markers (but why not just put those markers on the display) but to program a phone the would identify a subspecies from another ant 100 feet while it is moving…. no. just isn’t happening.

  4. J-L that would be for the benefit of birders (bird-watchers), who are trying to identify the bird they are seeing. They busily look up and down between the individual in their binocs and the descriptions / drawings in the field handbook, checking for which key distinguishing features (field marks) are displayed. It would be ever so convenient if those were pointed out for you, say by holographic projection.

    Of course, if you’re doing that, why not go all the way and just project the answer, the correct identification? A flaw in the suggestion!

    The post already mentions another wrinkle, that the artist perhaps wasn’t thinking about. With an Augmented Reality app (from the field guide publishers, say) , you look at the bird thru your phone and the app overlays on the screen the pointers to field marks, and the info from the guide that interprets them.

  5. The other notorious thing about field markers and what this cartoon illustrates hilariously, is that the are often so vague as to be useless. In this case we can identify this particular shorebird from another similar one because this one has a “long bill” (as opposed to a moderate lengthed bill) and a “buffy breast”. It’d be nice if we can say “Would you say that is a long bill?” “Hmm, the green letters and arrows say it is so, yes, let’s call it a long bill”.

  6. “Of course, if you’re doing that, why not go all the way and just project the answer, the correct identification? A flaw in the suggestion!”

    But then you aren’t bird watching!

    (I think that was part of the joke and I suspect the cartoonist considered that.)

  7. “Okay, woozy, I guess I have been over impressed by museum exhibits of AR!”

    They are impressive! I haven’t seen many but I had a friend who used to play that stupid Pokemon Go. It was fun and weird to see a creature spinning around on our bar table…. But I have to wonder if this sensation was similar to the sensation of “Oh no! That train is coming right at me!”.

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