Notes & Curiosities

John Swaddle
Bird danger

Bird-human actions can end in tragedy — for bird as well as human. John Swaddle believes technology and a solid understanding of bird behavior can make those tragedies less frequent.

head of a black rail bird
A ‘feathered mouse’

The eastern black rail is small, secretive, mysterious and in trouble. It’s a sparrow-sized marsh bird. It hardly ever flies, and gets around by creeping through dense wetland vegetation.

Brafferton steps stone and drawings
Eye of the beholder

Chuck Bailey says it is some of the ugliest stone he’s ever seen. Bailey has looked at a lot of stone. He’s professor and chair of William & Mary’s Department of Geology.

Chemist Robert Orwoll (left) raps his knuckles on a sample regolith-polymer brick
Bricks on Mars

Moses and Aaron, the Old Testament tells us, had to make bricks without straw before their people could leave Egypt and begin the journey to the Promised Land. Bob and Dick have to figure out how to make bricks from regolith before their people can leave Earth and begin colonizing Mars.

Bryan Watts uses a caliber to take several measurements of an eaglet as Bart Paxton helps to steady the bird.
Leaving the nest

Shane Lawler was taking care of business in a loblolly pine, 90 feet above Gospel Spreading Farm, unfazed by the agitated bald eagles spiraling around his head. "All right!" he yelled to Bryan Watts, waiting at the base of the tree. "I've got one bird in a bag."

Dara Kharabi ’17 demonstrates his hack
At tribeHacks '16

Some visitors to tribeHacks stepped out of Small Hall onto the William & Mary campus on Sunday to enjoy a bit of sun before the presentations got under way. They saw four students, carrying a pair of quadcopters, making their way toward the door.

Physicist Irina Novikova participates in all three aspects of the scientific peer-review process
Peering inside peer review

The peer-review process does for science what the checks and balances system is supposed to do for American government.

Haitao Xu reports for work on the Alibaba corporate campus in Hangzhou, China.
A digital detective

Online ratings and reviews are a helpful, if imperfect, guide for potential customers.

Latin-literate physics student Jackson Olsen ’16 displays William & Mary’s copy of Isaac Newton’s Principia
An open-book mystery

There is a bit of a mystery surrounding a book at William & Mary.

Ellison Orcutt inspects an Ipswich sparrow held by CCB biologist Fletcher Smith
A day of Ipswiching

The subdued color palette of this habitat is reminiscent of west Texas.

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