learning from the albatrosses

i used to have a rather irrational fear of birds. i don't scream at the sight of birds or show any overt signs but i'll make a large detour if i see one in my path and pray hard that it doesn't come any nearer to me. to me, birds are scary. because they fly, which is a physical movement which i'm not familiar with. insects fly too but they are tiny and they don't have beaks that threaten to peck or beady evil-looking eyes.

i'm still afraid of birds but am just as fascinated by them. this is after attending a level 3000 ecology module on evolution. birds have some of the most interesting courtship and mating rituals and the albatross is one of them (:

the reason for such a random post was because i was reminded of it recently and thought of translating into proper words. this is my way of chillaxing in the face of 3 assignments and 3 presentations due this week. grr.

i digress.

in sexual selection, there is this idea of one being more selective if he/she/it intends to invest more in the offsprings. ie. if i intend to devote my entire time and resources to nurture my children, i better find a good partner that will either help in creating genetically awesome kids or invest just as much effort as i do. the aim is to breed good children. on the other hand, if i don't give a *beep* about what becomes of my children, i'll just make babies with any tom, dick, harry and the ultimate aim is to breed many children. sounds so crude. but the idea is there. hahas :D

albatrosses live much longer than other birds to about 50 years, they delay breeding for longer, and invest more effort into fewer young.

albatrosses reach sexual maturity slowly, after about five years, but even once they have reached maturity, they will not begin to breed for another couple of years, sometimes even up to 10 years for some species. young non-breeders will attend a colony prior to beginning to breed, spending many years practising the elaborate breeding rituals and "dances" that the family is famous for. birds arriving back at the colony for the first time already have the stereotyped behaviours that compose albatross language, but can neither "read" that behaviour as exhibited by other birds nor respond appropriately. after a period of trial and error learning, the young birds learn the syntax and perfect the dances.

the repertoire of behaviour involves synchronised performances of various actions such as preening, pointing, calling, bill clacking, staring, and combinations of such behaviours. when a bird first returns to the colony it will dance with many partners, but after a number of years the number of birds an individual will interact with drops, until one partner is chosen and a pair is formed. they then continue to perfect an individual language that will eventually be unique to that one pair. establishing a pair bond that will last for life.

albatrosses are held to undertake these elaborate and painstaking rituals to ensure that the appropriate partner has been chosen and to perfect partner recognition, as egg laying and chick rearing is a huge investment. in all albatross species, both parents take turns to incubate the egg in stints that last between one day and three weeks. incubation lasts around 70 to 80 days, the longest incubation period of any bird. it is such an energetically demanding process that the adult loses as much as 83 g of body weight a day. the "divorce" of a pair is a rare occurrence, due to the diminished life-time reproductive success it causes, and usually only happens after several years of breeding failure.

learn a thing or two from the romantic albatrosses!
a silly moment at 18:49  
there's bintan and there's universal studios...

a silly moment at 16:45  
list of things i hope to achieve in 2011 - review

travel: 2 destinations.
i trying to plan for one after my practicum! but i'm not sure when are my hols. according to unreliable sources, it's the last two weeks of june. BKK??? (:

healthy lifestyle: work in slow progress. hahas.

materialism manifesto: get a branded handbag.
i still find it hard to part with so much money for a bag that needs alot of tlc. i prefer ones that can take my abuse and not cause me heartache. so instead, i'm making plans for a lasik surgery maybe at the end of this year (: am only at the researching stage though.
a silly moment at 14:08  
bring on the bollywood
part II

the second movie is 3 Idiots.

it's kind of a comedy but it did move me to tears. trust me. it's worth your time (:

'pursue excellence and success will chase you, pants down'

aamir khan is the star of this movie as well :D

it's in hindi but the video has eng subs (:

part 1 embedded here. go to youtube for the rest.

a silly moment at 12:00  
bring on the bollywood
part I

i have a couple of good bollywood movies to recommend (:

i can't seem to embed them together in the same post though :/

the first movie is Taare Zameen Par. it is about this boy called Ishaan that has dyslexia. a so-called learning disability due to the different way one's brain processes information. dyslexics have problems with spelling and reading because they have multiple views of a single letter and have trouble connecting sounds and letters. i'm doing a project on it for my educational pyschology module so i'm pretty familiar.

but i won't consider dyslexia a handicap because some of the most amazing people in world are dyslexics and they include actors and actresses (orlando bloom, keira knightley, keanu reeves, tom cruise etc), scientists (thomas edison, alexander graham bell, albert einstein, pierre curie, michael faraday etc), artists (leonardo da vinci, pablo picasso), politicians (winston churchill, george washington), tommy hilfiger, muhammad ali, walt disney, ingvar kamprad (founder of ikea), henry ford, scott adams, w.b yeats (poet) and agatha christie (writer). the list is long but not even vaguely exhaustive.

this movie is directed by aamir khan! who also stars as the teacher who recognises that Ishaan is dyslexic and helped him to overcome it (: aamir khan is super hot.

this movie is in english. only part 1 is embedded here. go to youtube to see the rest (:

a silly moment at 11:48  
thirteen august baby