What to do if you have found or are concerned about a hedgehog.

Hedghog

If you have found a hedgehog you are concerned about please use gardening gloves to collect it up, bring it indoors and put it in a high sided cardboard box with an old towel or fleece in the bottom for the hedgehog to hide under.

Fill a hot water bottle so that when it is wrapped in a towel there is a nice gentle heat coming through and put that in the bottom of the box with the hedgehog, ensuring it has room to get off the bottle and making sure the bottle is kept warm (if allowed to go cold it will do more harm than good). Put the box somewhere quiet.

Offer meaty cat or dog food and fresh water then call us as soon as possible on 01584 890 801 for further advice and the numbers of local contacts. Note that out of office hours there is an answerphone, if you have a hedgehog, please press option 1 and listen to the emergency numbers, these volunteers are not representatives of BHPS but they will give you advice and numbers of local contacts. 

I could have used this information when a hedgehog found me one evening working in my Bay of Islands workshop in the year 5 BG. I noticed there was a weight on my foot – when I looked down, there was the hedgehog atop my shoe (it was a cold night and my foot was certainly warmer than the ground).

It’s good to know that we got it mostly right – there was no British Hedgehog Preservation Society for us to contact in New Zealand. My deerskin work gloves were just the ticket to carry the hedgehog into the bedroom to show Dorothy. Then back outside to deposit the hedgehog in the garden. Not long after, back in the shop I felt a weight on my foot again…

HT Tyler Cowen who writes “Furthermore the results apply even if you have not “found” a hedgehog but rather are “concerned” about one, the site recognizing appropriately that perhaps he or she has found you).”

Wine Tasting Datapoint of the Day

Today’s chuckle from Felix Salmon:

Robert Hodgson has a paper out entitled “An Examination of Judge Reliability at a major U.S. Wine Competition”. He had the ingenious idea of serving up three identical glasses of wine — poured from the same bottle — to groups of judges; only 10% of the judging panels managed to rank the three identical wines even in the same medal group, even though the wines were served in the same flight. And, as Peter Mitham reports:

One panel of judges rejected two samples of identical wine, only to award the same wine a double gold in a third tasting.

I’m beginning to think there’s really no such thing as a really good wine: there’s just really bad wine, and everything else.

Flying smarter

If you fly a lot around the US then you’ll find Doc Searls toolkit useful:

The more I fly, the more useful, or at least interesting, the NOAA’s AviationWeather.gov service becomes. At any given moment it has dozens of different reports on weather at altitude, across North America. The one above is among the many that show potential or reported turbulence.

I also just discovered TurbulenceForecast.com, with the TurbulenceForecast Blog. There’s a lot of overlap with AviationWeather.gov, since it uses a lot of maps and data from there.

Here’s the FAA’s page on flight delays. Plus FlightAware, the best of a bad bunch — too much flash and other stuff that doesn’t work on too many browsers, especially ones in handhelds. Speaking of which, I’ve lately been appreciating FlightTrack. The list could go on, but I need to move on. See ya in Boston. (At IAD now. The last two paragraphs were written at SFO, where connectivity was minimal.)

Oh, click on the map above and check out the current maximum turbulence potential between here (Washington) and Boston. So far there’s just one pilot report, of moderate turbulence, over Connecticut.

A *New Day*

I liked this advice via Tyler Cowen — though it is a challenge to really do this:

Sometime in the next week – January 1st if you have that available, or maybe January 3rd or 4th if the weekend is more convenient – I suggest you hold a New Day, where you don’t do anything old.

Don’t read any book you’ve read before. Don’t read any author you’ve read before. Don’t visit any website you’ve visited before. Don’t play any game you’ve played before. Don’t listen to familiar music that you already know you’ll like. If you go on a walk, walk along a new path even if you have to drive to a different part of the city for your walk. Don’t go to any restaurant you’ve been to before, order a dish that you haven’t had before. Talk to new people (even if you have to find them in an IRC channel) about something you don’t spend much time discussing.

And most of all, if you become aware of yourself musing on any thought you’ve thunk before, then muse on something else. Rehearse no old grievances, replay no old fantasies.

That is Eliezer. He concludes:

If it works, you could make it a holiday tradition, and do it every New Year.

What You Can Do

Economist James Kwak offers some excellent holiday suggestions:

On one level, recessions are about numbers, like the post I just wrote about the November statistics. On another level, recessions cause enormous hardship and misery to real families. I know most of us have less wealth than we did a year ago, since two major sources of household wealth – stocks and housing – have fallen steeply in value this year. But even if you don’t feel like you can afford to donate as much as usual to charities, there is still something you can do.

Most middle- and upper-income American households have lots of stuff. Many of us, particularly adults, have lots of clothes and other things we rarely or no longer use. You can think of this either as a behavioral phenomenon (people don’t like to get rid of things, even if they cause more disutility by taking up closet space than any utility they will ever provide) or as a market failure (it’s too much of a hassle to get rid of things, so we keep them). But if you just take a day, identify the things you will never use again, put them in bags, and drive them to a local shelter, you can help allocate those goods to the people who value them most. Or, as non-economists put it, you can help people. And, of course, you can get a tax deduction (the shelter in my town recommends using the Salvation Army valuation guidelines), which is itself probably worth more to you than those clothes you will never wear again.

"Smiling Moon" as seem from Manilla

The Flickr image at left is a composite of two digital time exposures, captured in Manilla, Philippines.

The smiling moon phenomenon happens every 48 years, so don’t miss it! “Astronomers say Venus and Jupiter and a crescent moon will form a smiley face tonight, with the planets forming the eyes and the moon forming the mouth. Venus and Jupiter have appeared side by side in the evening sky over the last week or so, but tonight will be the best night to see the “face” appear, astronomers say.”

The best beef in the world?

Tyler Cowen:

There is a new winner and yes it is Kobe Beef in Kobe, Japan. It lives up to the hype, if you are in Kobe just try any of the better beef establishments in town. My personal list now reads as follows (in order, of course):

1. Kobe Beef, Kobe, Japan.

2. Dry-aged beef in Hermosillo, Mexico.

3. Southern Brazil, near Curitiba.

4. Lockhart, Texas, most of all the brisket at Schmitty’s.

Maybe Argentina is next in line and it might place higher if I had consumed countryside barbecue there.

And yes, Michael Pollan and Mark Bittman are right: you should eat less beef. But Kobe is not the place to abstain. The reality is that eating beef in Kobe will make it very hard for you to eat beef almost anywhere else again.

The bandana game

Dolphins are very efficient hunters so they have lots of free time to play — e.g., games like “keep away”. Some dolphins will engage in play with humans. Jonathon Bird filmed a group of dolphins in the waters of Sand Ridge, Bahamas — playing “keep away” with the skipper’s bandana. Video here. The bandana game begins at about 6:50 in the video. Enjoy…

Picnics are the apex of sensible living

Conor Friedersdorf is guest blogging for Megan McCardle — contributing this wonderful bit:

…the best passage ever written about picnics, penned by the estimable James Michener for his nonfiction masterpiece Iberia.

I have never bothered much about whether or not people will remember me when I am dead; but I am sure that as long as my generation lives, in various parts of the world someone will pause now and then to reflect, ‘Wasn’t that a great picnic we had that day with Michener?’ I have lured my friends into some extraordinary picnics, for I hold with the French that to eat out of doors in congenial surroundings is sensible: in Afghanistan we ate high on a hill outside Kabul and watched as tribesmen moved in to attack the city; at Edfu along the Nile we spread our blankets inside that most serene of Egypt’s temples; in Bali we picnicked on the terraces and in Tahiti by the waterfalls; and if tomorrow someone were to suggest that we picnic in a snowstorm, I’d go along, for of this world one never sees enough and to dine in harmony with nature is one of the gentlest and loveliest things we can do. Picnics are the apex of sensible living and the traveler who does not so explore the land through which he travels ought better to stay at home.

More…