Thursday, December 04, 2008

Wildlife and tangents

While driving home at 6:30 last night from Carrefour Angrignon, Child Three and I spotted a canid run across the road in front of our car. I thought it was a red fox, although the more I think about it, the more I suspect it was a coyote. It seems big for a fox, although the tip of the tail was light. Both red foxes and coyotes inhabit the Island of Montreal. Of one thing I'm certain: it was not a dog.

Speaking of driving, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied has published yet another study on mobile-phone use while driving. Research has already established that using a mobile phone impairs driving whether or not you hold the phone or use a hands-free system. Got that? Speaker phones or earpieces do not help.

This study looked at why live conversation does not have the same effect and concluded that passengers simplify their conversations and/or stop talking according to driving conditions. Passengers are on the scene and can adjust to environmental clues; people on the phone cannot.

Getting back to wildlife.... Wayne P. Armstrong runs Wayne's Word. Armstrong started teaching biology courses in the Life Sciences Department of Palomar College in 1966, and he has transferred his coursework to a stupendous Web site. He teaches three online courses, Biology 101 and two botany courses whose credits you might be able to count towards your undergraduate degree.

Interested in AP course credits, in biology or some other subject? HippoCampus (I love that name) offers full-blown courses that will prepare you for AP exams. Being Canadian, I have no idea how the AP system works. For me, the attraction is HippoCampus's utility as a study guide or tutoring aid. What an amazing free resource.

Bonus healthy Mac:

Apple replaced the malfunctioning ATI X1900XT with the rev. 2 version of the same card and all is perfect once again.


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