This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
My digital camera is actually sensitive to infrared (at least if you push the button on a remote control and point it at a camera, you can see the light flashing).
Has this IR sensitivity in birds been documented?
Do the birds have some other integrating mechanism along the lines of ...
"Hey guys, ice if forming on the water and has for the last 6 days.. It time to get the flock out of here!"
As to finding their direction, do they need something more exciting than the sun's relative altitude (i.e. This time of year is a pain in the eyes for me because afternoon has sun shining directly in my window, since my window faces south).
I am sure it is much more complicated that this, but why make it more complicated unless absolutely necessary.
Your question; “has IR sensitivity in birds been documented”
It certainly has in Owls along with UV sensitivity in Humming Birds, Insects, Kestrel Hawks. Magnetic sensitivity in Pigeons and Electro-Magnetic Field sensitivity in Robins etc. etc. etc.
Your very good point; “but why make it more complicated than absolutely necessary”. Well, in my studies I have found that Nature, through Evolution, never ever misses a trick where survival of a species is concerned. Every species possesses an array of sensors with wide variations in sensitivity to suit their operational niche. And in most cases these sensors offer double and triple redundancy.
If I may digress for a moment and give an example from my own life. When I was six years old, I lost the auditory nerve in my right ear, however, because I had started to play a musical instrument when I was just four, I carried on to study and practice towards a musical career. This I achieved to symphony orchestral standards, ( and here, I am not 'playing my own trumpet', honest!). The point is, by the time I was sixteen very few people could detect that I was stone deaf in one ear. I could pinpoint sounds with precision, not just position, but the true sound level. Absolutely essential in an orchestra, otherwise balance would be impossible.
This is Nature at work, my hearing is stereophonic because, my hearing has coupled with my haptic (touch) sense to detect micro levels of phase difference. Our acoustic sense is,of course, a specialised extension of the haptic sense. (I am sure that John could give us the numerical definition of this phenomenon). Blind people develop a similar sense: echo location.
My original Post about bird migration was really to bring, through extrapolation of the IR theme, the fact that Long Wave IR radiation at all levels is the primary energy transfer/transport system in the atmosphere. IR radiation is ubiquitous and all pervading. It would be very strange if Nature had failed to exploit just this part of the electro-magnetic spectrum, would it not?
Extrapolating from the Carbon and Energy posts through Atmospherics and Climate, add in the influence of IR Radiation, and we can see the appalling ignorance which Climate Scientists ( seancetists), and their silly Computer Models express. They half-heartedly acknowledge the Sun, and thats it. Mind you, only because they can't miss it, it's big, bright, and HOT!
Hopefully back on track
Thank you for such an excellent response. My first reaction to your critique was, “whoops', what have I said to upset you”. On immediate reflection, I realised that I had inadvertently created a misunderstanding, for which I apologise.
I was alerted to the error of my ways by your first words, “let's play the game of textual analysis”. This is an activity for which I am ill equipped to indulge in as I perceive textual analysis as an important academic pursuit and I am not an academic. I am an engineer thoroughly schooled in the discipline of 'contextual analysis', be it written or verbal, especially verbal, e.g. 'in the context of what you say'. Engineering or Applied Science is fundamentally about problem solving. We have a problem solving philosophy that brings us to the conclusion that, '90% of the solution to a problem lies in its definition'. Hence the need for informed critical analysis.
The misunderstanding that I refer to stems from the fact that I am very new to participation in Public Forums. The need for brevity imposes many restraints, not the least of which is to use a vocabulary which is inclusive to the majority of members. We cannot be patronising, pedantic, or arrogant, because we are members of a Forum which specifically seeks to challenge the world of political obfuscation and all its evils. It is very easy for informed 'argument' to deteriorate into uninformed altercation which can destroy our credibility.
So, John, please accept some definitions of my words, and clarification of my contextual purpose:--- When I say “I believe” or “It is my belief that”, this is my short-hand for saying, “to the best of my perceptions and observations of the empirical facts and theoretical evidence, my conclusion is that we should proceed on this basis in order find a workable hypothesis”.
In the hard tough world of Industrial engineering decision making, time is always of the essence, 'Rome is always burning'! Given that premise, dialogue is always brief, (why do we call it a 'Brief'?). When a production line is broken down and 'standstill' is costing £1000 per minute we think on the hoof', we design on the hoof', and decisions are made on the hoof'. If we get it wrong, we get the 'chop'. You only rise in the profession by not getting it wrong. 99% of the time, getting it wrong is caused by a failure of Communication. We avoid failures in communication by adopting a vocabulary and terminology that is shorn of all redundancies, we do this to achieve concision, to avoid ambiguity, and to keep the team focussed. There is only one problem with all this, it does not translate into the public arena because we have to explain too much, and the public at large do not have our insights.
John, I must do better and trust that you will accede to allowing me to return to this theme at a later date because I have used up my self imposed quota of words.
Fascinating article by Tom Scheffilin of the California Air Resources Board: "Global Warming Causes Carbon Dioxide". Go to (www.designnews.com), use their Search---enter author's name or article title.
Sound science,sound numbers, and impressive supporting qualification.(How did Californian Bureaucracy let this one out of the bag)?
A must read, especially the 900&1800 year cycles of the Earth/Moon system!!!
Er, I remember the "Jupiter Effect" which claimed planetary lineouts caused all sorts of disasters.
I just mean that I treat such claims with caution.
There are a lot of books out there (anything to sell a book) from Von Daniken to Byrd about Kyrilan photography, ley lines,the secret of the pyramids, you name it.
Nice ideas... but do they have a foundation in fact? are the effects significant? I note the phrasing is:
"causes changes in massive movements of underwater ocean water,..." Note the placing of the word "massive".
Tom Scheffillin and Earth/Moon Tidal Forces
JMW, Fair comment, but how else can one convey a sense of the enormous forces involved when
around 300,000,000 cubic miles of water have a periodic 'slop'. (My error, correction, not 1800/900 years but a big heave every 1800 years with minor surges every 9 years).
So, MASSIVE, it must be. Oscar Petterson,a Marine Scientist discovered it 80 years ago! And it has since been confirmed by other authorities. The entire air/water exchange CO2 modelling scenario is based on the assumption that the oceans are not 'stirred'. No way could Climatologists handle this anomaly. It could 'blow them out of the water' (sic'). Which is probably why it has been kept safely buried in a Swedish academic library all this time. ---I would be interested to see how the numbers pan out on this 9 year cycle, 1800/9 = 200, could the prescessional cycles of the earth's axis be involved I wonder?
By following the links, I found William Shepherd's site and his very interesting on-line book “England's Climate and Energy Politics”. Also, Michael Crichton's “Science Policy in the 21st Century”. All worth reading. --- The only part of Tom Scheffillin's article that I could not agree with was at the end:- “Finally, put your trust in God, the world is in his hands”. --- But not since the dawn of the Nuclear Age, now compounded with Environmentalism!