pileated woodpecker nest
Tuesday, April 30 2019
At work today, in among other things like fixing bugs in my Electron app and eating a lunch of pupusas with sauerkraut and pico de gallo for the second day in a row, I tried getting the BME280 temperature and air pressure sensor working on one of the Raspberry-Pi-Zero-based remote surveillance bugs. There's plenty of code available for this, and I tried downloading it and installing it on the bug. But I couldn't get any of it to work. The code was all in Python, and either the libraries had problems or I had trouble copying and pasting Python code from a website. A fundamental incompatibility between Python and trying to provide examples of it on the web (where such examples are most useful) is that, while the presence or absence of white space is essential to the actual lexical meaning of Python, it tends to have no meaning at all in HTML. This means that in HTML, it makes no difference whether two characters are separated by one space or a thousand spaces, they're presented identically. But in Python, whether or not code belongs to the a for or if block depends entirely on how many characters of indentation precede the line. The upshot of this is that it's common for Python copied from a web page to be fail when attempts are made to copy and paste it into an environment where it would be run. Today I even encountered this problem with Python being presented on a webpage as a styled code block, complete with appropriate syntax highlighting. It looked great, but all the lexically-essential indentation had been lost.
When I got home, Gretchen asked if I'd voted and I'd totally forgotten. So I made a special trip down into Old Hurley to vote for Democrat Pat Ryan, who was running against a Trumpian horrorshow of a Republican named Jack Hayes. [Pat won easily.]
This evening Gretchen used Audacity to record her reading text for something like 12 minutes. She did so over the course of three segments that then needed to be stitched together with all transitional noises (such as pops) eliminated. I don't use Audacity enough to be very good at it, and the biggest confusion was figuring out how a pasted chunk of audio could be appended to the end of an existing track versus being placed at the beginning of another track. I'm not sure how one would design a user interface to make this essential difference obvious, but it would be worth the effort.
Twenty-five or so feet from the northeast corner of the house stands the skeletonized remains of a white pine that snapped off about 15 feet above the ground some time around 2010 (the part of that tree that had fallen had missed the greenhouse by only about 15 feet). Recently, I noticed that the standing remains of that pine now had a large (three inch) hole about four feet from the top. Clearly this hole had been made by a pileated woodpecker. I hadn't made the connection, but on the way to the brown house I had scared a pileated woodpecker on at least one occasion recently. Today when this happened, the connection was made. There is a pileated woodpecker nesting in that hole. Since the hole faces the house, I should be able to get good pictures of it in the weeks that follow. Supposedly it takes less than six weeks to go from freshly-laid eggs to adult woodpeckers.
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