Category Archives: Birdwatching

Intuition, Logic’s Unacknowledged Twin

“The more time I spend around this guy the creepier vibes I get from him.”

This is that thing called intuition. It’s actually sort of the opposite of logic. It’s all about the feels. It is also what we call “vibes” which is literally short for vibrations. The implication is that we can feel actual vibrations in the air when we are around something or usually someone that makes us feel a certain way.

It also works on something called Gestalt, which is “I know it when I see it.” You can’t put your finger on exactly why you feel that way, but you just feel that way and can’t even figure out how you got to that conclusion. Sometimes the hair on the back of your head will stand up. Sometimes a shiver runs through your body. Gestalt is “the sum is greater than the whole of its parts.” It’s the “smell” of something, without even using your nose. Like “this smells fishy” about a bad deal.

I am into birdwatching, and one of things we use is Gestalt. Sure, we have all sorts of guides and photos and drawings and whatnot that show us how to tell one bird from another by looks, terrain, behavior, song and all sorts of things, but oftentimes, it just boils down to Gestalt. You see a bird, sometimes just for an instant, and you just know it was a “so and so bird.” Someone asks you how or why you reached that conclusion, and you can’t even say. You shrug your shoulders and say, “I don’t know. I just knew it.” Something about it all added up.

Men decry this because it’s not logical thinking, but logical thinking only gets you so far, and a lot of things cannot be figured out with pure logic. You will dead end and stall or need to back out.

I think holistic thinking or “seeing the whole picture” or “putting it all together” may be intuitive also. You don’t exactly see the whole picture by some logical inductive or deductive method. You sort of “put it all together.” You form a picture in your mind, and there it is. The Gestalt. The “whole picture.”

The finest detectives have excellent logic and intuitive skills. Women are much better at intuition than men. We beat them at the opposite, so it all sort of evens out. That’s why men are stereotyped as such social retards, and women often say we just don’t get it. We men go at social interactions via brute force logic like a dictionary attack to break a password, and the result is a bull in a china shop.

So much of social communication works off subtle signals, vibes, small changes in conversational subject or tone, and the whole panoply of nonverbal communication where you can communicate with people merely by looking at their faces and body language. The pure social actor has mastered this whole pantomime. The social retard just doesn’t get it. Asperger’s people simply cannot read nonverbal communication at all. They often don’t get jokes or irony. They do not understand social conventions, and social rules are lost on them. This shows how important intuition is in social communication or what we call “social skills,” a term I despise.

I would like to see more women get into detective work. Looking at this websleuth group, and some of our best sleuths are women who seem to be operating off sheer intuition. We have a few female detectives and they can be quite good, but almost all detectives are men.

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Filed under Asperger's Syndrome, Autism, Birdwatching, Crime, Gender Studies, Hobbies, Law enforcement, Man World, Psychology, Sane Pro-Woman, Women

Analytical Thinkers Adrift in a Concretistic, Illogical World

On the other hand, high IQ is no guarantee of good critical thinking. I know people with genius IQ’s who engage in lousy, erroneous, non-critical thinking all the time. This is because they are emotional. Their emotions override and shut down their critical thinking skills.  Emotion and logic mixes about as well as oil and water. Also many of these people are stuck on their old ideas and they do not wish to challenge or reject the stuff they have been believing their whole life. Challenging long-held assumptions about how the works is probably upsetting to most people and no doubt causes a lot of anxiety. So people just carry on with their same old  erroneous and dumb attitudes because changing them is just too upsetting.

I’m not saying analytical thinking is everything. If anything, it is very alienating because the world operates on concrete thinking. Concrete thinking with its concordant logical fallacies are the norm for most humans. Sure it’s a dumb way to think, but most people think in pretty dumb ways. That’s just how humanity is.

So if you are an analytical thinker, you are always running into people spouting off their erroneous and concretistic bullshit. In addition, concrete thinking is often hateful and it is injurious to other humans.

This is because when you change from concrete to analytical thinking, you realize that people are a lot less contemptible than you thought they were.

Concrete thinking leads to hate and prejudice. One thing concrete thinkers do is to assume the worst about people. Say you observe a behavior, a guy hiking down a trail, or you read an essay someone wrote. If you are thinking concretely, you are much more likely to be suspicious and  believe that the thinker is up to no good.

An example. I used to live in the woods. I often walked down dirt roads with binoculars and a birdwatching book in my pocket. Why? I am a fanatical birdwatcher! There were homes scattered all through these foothill woods, but I never cared much about the people. I was there to look at birds, not people. I did not train my binoculars on a human or a home on even one occasion. I’ve seen plenty of humans and houses. When I am out watching, if you are not a bird, you are “in the way.” You might as well not even be there. The humans and the houses are at best blocking the view of the birds!

A friend later confided in me that a lot of people who lived down those roads really hated me for my birdwatching. Apparently they had no idea that I was birdwatching, probably because they were too stupid to figure out that that is what I was doing. My friend said that many of the residents felt that I was some sort of sexual pervert or criminal who was looking into people’s homes with my binoculars. Why? Just to be a weirdo invading people’s privacy or maybe as a peeper and voyeur looking to get a peek at a naked woman. Funny thing is I never looked inside a home one time. I never trained my binocs on a human even one time.

So you can see that this concretistic, dumb-ass thinking was very injurious to me. It led to me being hated by many of my neighbors for absolutely no reason at all.

If there were analytical thinkers on that road, they would not have thrown so much hate in my direction. Most of them would have probably seen me and come up with different hypotheses about what I was doing. Perhaps some would have entertained the hypotheses that I was a freak or a voyeuristic peeper.

But they would probably entertain other hypotheses too, such as that maybe I was a birdwatcher. For instance, many times I would be looking up in some tree or into some thicket at a bird. There’s no naked humans or humans period up in those trees or those bushes. The analytical thinkers may have tested their hypotheses by carefully observing my behavior. This would be how they tested their various hypotheses. It’s called gathering data. Next they would test the data against the different hypotheses to see which hypothesis explained the data best.  After seeing me mostly looking at trees, forest and thickets where there were no humans and maybe even seeing me reach for my Peterson guide now and again, they would probably conclude that I was a birdwatcher. Then they would shrug their shoulders and walk away.

Because the analytical thinker entertained a variety of hypotheses about what I might be doing, he would be much less likely to conclude that I was some criminal peeper weirdo up to no good.

In addition, concretistic thinking is highly associated with logical fallacies. Logical fallacies are by definition erroneous thinking because they may very well lead to the wrong answer. Logical fallacies are the cause of much misery and even death and injury of other humans. Most of the hate in the world can be traced back to some logical fallacy that some person is engaging in that is driving their hatred of other humans.

Because many higher IQ people prefer analytical thinking to concrete thinking, it is painful to have to be assaulted by tidal waves of concretistic crap and logical fallacy all day long. Pretty soon you start thinking that the world is full of idiots. You get tired of correcting people’s crappy thinking and logical errors and being a scold doesn’t win you many friends anyway. I can barely tolerate a concrete thinker in my presence unless he is in a friendly mood. It is actually physically painful to be around them. We feel it in our bones.

Logical fallacies are by their nature illogical. A synonym for illogical is irrational. if something is irrational and illogical, it doesn’t make sense and it’s usually a lie or a false statement. If you think logically (analytically) it is very trying to stroll through what boils down to an extremely irrational quotidian existence.

You are surrounded all day long by irrational people who can’t think or talk sense. People who can’t think or talk sense are senseless. So analytical thinkers must deal with a daily assault, usually hundreds or thousands of times a day, of utter senselessness. Hence to analytical thinkers, most of the people they meet in their daily existence seem quite senseless. Everywhere they go, senselessness, lies, BS stupid thinking, irrationality, and utter nonsense is punching them in the face. By the end of the day, they’ve been belted in the face by nonsense maybe thousands of times.

You wonder why those 160+ IQ men I discussed in an earlier  post were so disgusted with people that they had become lonely misanthropes who spent most of their time in solitude in small apartments.

There’s your reason.

 

 

 

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Filed under Birdwatching, Hobbies, Intelligence, Personality, Psychology

Adventures in Owling

Repost from the old site.

For the last few weeks here in Coarsegold, California (elevation 2000′ in the Sierra Nevada Mountains), I have been hearing strange “Screech! Screech!” noises at night, often very late at night. I’m hearing them right now, as a matter of fact. I’m an experienced bird watcher, and I assumed they were birds, so I grabbed a strong flashlight (you need a strong flashlight to look at any night birds) and went outside.

Most birds are simply not active at nighttime. Day-active birds will usually just go up into a tree and sleep there at night. I had a rare bird on my property in 1990 in Southern California and I had bird-watchers coming every day to come see it.

It was a Brown Thrasher, common in the Eastern US but very rare in the West. The bird stayed on my property for about three days. At nighttime, I went out looking for it and found it in a bunch of trees on the side of the house. We think that they just go up into a tree and probably sleep up there. I guess they need to sleep too, like everything else.

The only birds active at nighttime are generally owls. There are also some birds like nightjars and whippoorwills that become active at dusk. I’m not sure if they stay active at night or not. So if you hear a bird at night, it’s an owl.

Well, I went outside and the strange screeches kept coming from a huge tree nearby. I shone my light up there and there were some good-sized owls up there. I couldn’t figure out what kind they were because it was night and they weren’t fitting into any known categories. One flew away and I noticed how huge it was in flight. I went back in and did some research on the Net.

At first I was thinking “Screech owl” because we do have Western Screech Owls here. But they are quite small and have a distinctive call. They make this call on hot summer nights, often very late at night, but it’s not a screech, in spite of the name. It’s more of a “bouncing ball” call. It’s hard to describe unless you have heard it.

On the Net I learned that baby Great Horned Owls do make a “Screech!” call. That fit in with my perceptions about the birds’ size. A horned owl is a very large bird. They are so large that they are known to prey on house cats. They are also very common in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

So these were baby Great Horned Owls. I guess they fledge here in July and August. What was interesting was there were around 5-10 of them in a small area, all calling to each other. The size also ruled out Screech Owls , because they are quite small.

You need to understand that “baby birds”, once fledged, are about the size of adult birds and are often indistinguishable from them. Some smaller birds have juvenile plumage, but among larger birds, it’s not common.

In Orange County in the late 1980’s, I saw two crows of about the same size, one feeding the other one with its beak. This is how birds feed each other. I did some research and learned that that is a baby crow. Baby crows are about the same size as adults. Adults will feed them for a while after they fledge and leave the nest, but then they need to take off.

I also had some acorn woodpeckers living in a huge oak tree on my property in the mountains. They live in communal units of multiple adults and even raise the young communally. They may raise more than one clutch in a good year. I noticed that after the young were fledged, they stuck around for a while, and the adults continued to feed them. Then I guess they took off.

This myth, so beloved by American parents with adult kids still at home long past the time to leave, about adult birds “throwing the young out of the nest” as soon as they fledge, is just not true.

First of all, baby birds can’t fly very well as soon as they fledge. Sometimes if you are lucky in Spring you can see baby birds scuttling along the ground trying to fly. I’ve seen this in House Sparrows in Fresno, California. I think they scuttle along the ground and half-fly for a few days or so, then they get it. They fly for a short distance, then they land. They must be extremely vulnerable to predation in this stage.

Keeping baby birds around after they fledge is a positive adaptation in evolutionary terms. Larger birds such as woodpeckers and surely crows are thought to be more evolved, so they seem to keep the young at home for a while after fledging. Tossing the babies out of the nest is evolutionarily stupid, since if they can’t fly well, they will be very vulnerable to predation.

Trust me, they are vulnerable enough in the nesting phase! I had an Ash-Throated Flycatcher nesting on my Oakhurst property one year. My cats figured out the story after a while, and kept trying to climb up to the nest. I’m sure predators like raccoons are even worse. I even understand that snakes can climb trees and raid nests.

I’ve never seen so many owls as I’ve seen up here in the mountains.

Twice I saw Northern Saw-Whet Owls on the road in Oakhurst, once at dusk and once at 9:30 PM on a sleety night in winter – this one had a mouse in its talons! Saw-Whet Owls descend to the Oakhurst area in winter.

Another time, also in Oakhurst at dusk, I saw small birds “mobbing” something just before dusk. When you see that, it’s generally a predatory bird like a hawk or an owl. It was dusk. I ran inside, got my binoculars, and went back. After a while, I saw that they were mobbing a Northern Pygmy-Owl .

It’s a pretty cool little bird, with fake eyes in the back of it’s head! Nice evolutionary trick to fool you into thinking it’s looking at you when it’s not. I think that this trick evolved to help this small owl avoid predators, because there I’m not sure there is an advantage for a predator to seem like it has eyes in the back of its head.

A couple of years ago, in Oakhurst near some apartments at dusk, I saw a huge bird swoop down on some bare ground in front of some apartments, grab something and take off back up to a Ponderosa Pine tree, where it was promptly mobbed by a bunch of small birds. I stopped and looked long enough to see that it was a Great Horned Owl with a mouse (probably a deer mouse) in its talons.

Mobbing is an interesting tactic. Small birds with fly in large numbers at a hawk or an owl. Often these hawks or owls are the same ones that kill and eat these same small birds. Accipter hawks such as Goshawks are mobbed, but I have never seen a Buteo such as a Red-tailed Hawk mobbed.

Buteos typically subsist solely on small mammals and reptiles and seldom if ever eat other birds. But accipters are bird hawks. They prey on other birds. I once saw a Goshawk being mobbed by small birds, fly out of some underbrush, and over to a post where it sat for a bit while the others continued to mob it.

The idea of mobbing is strength in numbers. Although they attack predators known to prey on them, if you have enough small birds, it will confuse and upset the predator enough to so it won’t attack them. It’s also an early warning system for any other small birds in the area that a predator is in the area. In addition, by mobbing, the small birds try to drive the predator away from them and off to somewhere else.

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Filed under Animals, Birds, Birdwatching, California, Hobbies, North America, Owls, Regional, Reposts From The Old Site, USA, West, Wild

T-Rex As Super Chicken, More on the Birdosaur Thing

If you follow paleontology, you are probably aware of a theory that says that dinosaurs turned into birds. So Tyrannosaurus Rex is sort of like that strutting, stuttering, John Wayne spouting Super Chicken Foghorn Leghorn in the cartoons (Remember him)? “I say…I say…I say…I say…BOY!

Anyway, there’s a problem with the theory. That is, dinosaurs, the first, second and third digits develop and this is what the dino walks on. In birds, the second, third and fourth digits develop, and this is what birds walk on. You can do this with your own hand and put your hands on the ground to see what it would be like to have structures like that. The 1-2-3 dino digits do not correspond to the 2-3-4 bird digits. The theory moved into fail territory in the late 1990’s, where it’s been ever since.

However, in China, a new species has been discovered called Limusaurus inextricabilis. It is the only known ceratosaur to be found in Asia so far. Interestingly, L. inextricabilis is one of those things the Creationists say does not exist, that is, a Missing Link. In L. inextricabilis, the first digit of the dino 1-2-3 is very weakly developed, as if it is on its way out evolutionarily. Along with that, it has a dramatically enhanced fourth digit, clearly coming into its own. It looks like dinosaur was on its way to dinobird.

I used to be an inveterate birdwatcher, until most of the birds left. It was a lot of fun in the early 1990’s, but I swear there are so many fewer birds since then. Why is that? Anyway, birdwatching is not much fun unless there are lots of different cool birds around. Birds look a lot different through binocs.

One time I was watching with my brother and I looked at a Robin through the binocs. It was as if I was seeing it for the first time. I put down the binocs and looked over at my brother. “Damn that Robin is one ugly looking bird! That thing looks like a…lizard!” My brother is really smart, way too smart. “Yeah,” he nodded sagely, knowing what I was getting at. “It’s supposedly a really primitive bird.”

Lizard = reptile = dinosaur = birdosaur = bird. Life is full of little epiphanies, if you only take the time to glance up and think a bit.

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Filed under Animals, Anthropology, Birds, Birdwatching, Dinosaurs, Hobbies, Paleontology