Let us begin with the Raven topic. In the area we live there are two possible species of Raven, the Australian Raven (Corvus coronoides) and the Little Raven (C. mellori). Both are firm believers in 'basic-black' as the colour for feathers, and the size is not really much help for distinguishing them. In most situations the key identification variable is the call:
- Australian Raven has a rather deep, long drawn-out call, which I could render as Caaawwwwwwww;
- Little Raven has a somewhat higher and much more rapid and clipped call - Kakk, Kakk, Kakk.
A final feature is the presence of raised feathers on the throat when calling. The Australian has these, known as hackles, while the Little doesn't. Finally a photo-op! I took this when a Raven perched on a tree in our garden and called this morning and it clearly shows the hackles.
The rodent issue is an annoying one. We have had a spate of electrical appliances break on us recently (including a breadmaker - the Good Guys get a bouquet for replacing it willingly under warranty with no fuss). Another failure was our dishwasher. When the service person from Detlef's Electrical (bouquet for turning up on time etc) visited us he took the front off and there was a dead mouse in the switch ware. Unfortunately in dying it also burnt out some of the links on the electronic motherboard. That was going to cost at least $400 to replace and if there was any further damage , much more. There is a new dishwasher in our future!
Other than the annoyance of some dumb mouse costing us a heap of bucks this did stir some memories. While we lived in Dar es Salaam we had various rat stories (as i think does everyone who has ever lived in the Tropics). The one this stirred to mind was coming home after a weekend away and being greeted by a strong stench os something dead. I searched and searched but could find no corpse. The smell then seemed to go away - presumably some desensitisation effect, since it was back in spades when I came in from my run the next morning. By dint of sniffing in circles I decided it was coming from the direction of our fridge. Rather than just looking underneath it as i had the previous night I pulled the appliance out and there, a foot off the ground, was a small rat arced between two contacts for the automatic defroster. That one just killed itself, not the appliance!
Let us move on to ratbags. There may be some commentary of this nature relating to my supplier of mobile phone services, but the jury is still out on that one. It will merit a full post in its own right if that happens. Right now I am on about senders of trash emails. They don't unduly worry me as Google mail does a good job of sending them all off to a special folder from whence they can be trashed. Here is todays crop:
Some weeks back the thought occurred to me to keep a little track of what ended up in the 'trash emails inwards' (I am trying to avoid the term which also refers to inedible luncheon meat, since that might attract more of it). Over 50 days I received 162 bits of junk, typically 3 or 4 per day.
- On 4 days I received none and on 5 days received 8 or more.
- There didn't seem to be any pattern relating to day of the week.
- Very little of it was at all persuasive. Either the English expression was so bad it was obviously bogus or the 'message' so blunt I was not interested to follow up.
- I generally don't open the message in case that triggers something nasty but from the summary in the gmail window the three biggest approaches were a request to hide funds (45); lottery winnings in an event I hadn't entered (31); and telling me that my Gmail or Google accounts were to be closed (21).
Isn't it a pity that people can waste their time and resources sending out stuff like this? I suppose it is better than hacking Wikipedia for Sarah Palin or spruiking for a mining company, but even that is a tough call!