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eNewsletter August 2015

 Siggraph & the Evolution of Goatsuckers

Quail Hollow

Clockwise Left: Paul Lessard, Chris Creek and Ryverthorn enjoy German Pancakes.

Wow... what a week.  I played host, chef, chauffeur, maid service and held a few other positions as guests descended on Quail Hollow for Siggraph week.  Nerd3d (and wife), Ryverthorn (and BF), Chris Creek and Paul Lessard (3D Cubed) all visited the Hollow. 

Siggraph 2015 was crazy too.  Poor Nerd3d (and I) had to be up at the crack for dawn; he had to drive to downtown LA to prep the Smith-Micro booth everyday and me to make coffee and some breakfast so he could make the drive somewhat alert.  The rest of the guests were able to sleep in a bit since the Siggraph doors didn't open to the public until 9:30am.  The show closed at 6 pm (4pm on the last day).  We got back home around 7pm and sat on the front porch or played games on my network.  Around 8pm, I'd start dinner.  Dinners included: Monday (Chinese take-out), Tuesday (gourmet Chicken and Fish Tacos), Wednesday (Filet Mignon, twice-baked potatoes, tarragon carrots and mint quinoa salad. Dessert: Grilled Watermelon with honey-lime yogurt and grilled pound cake with Whiskey Caramel Sauce and Peaches), Thursday (gourmet Chicken Burgers with kale and roasted bell peppers, and French fries) and Friday night (dinner at the Bleu Bayou at Disneyland).  After dinner, we watched movies, gamed and talked... often until 2am... and then did it all over again the next day.

Surprizingly, the crowd level ay Siggraph was the opposite of usual with the first day being the lightest attendance and the final day being crazy.  I demoed public uses of the Songbird Remix series on Tuesday and Wednesday.  By Thursday, I stayed home simply too tired from all of work of being a host, plus the non-stop work I did to get the house ready prior to the guests arrival.

There were plenty of interesting things to see at Siggraph; Renderosity had a booth, there was a lot of focus on Virtual Reality and 3D printing.  Emerging Technologies had some great VR demos.

There's more photos and stories at the Hivewire Forum Thread.

Frogmouths, Nightjars and Goatsuckers

Frogmouth wip

An early WIP of the Frogmouth model

I've put aside my Asian bird project in order to start developing the models I need for my October release "Frogmouths, Nightjars and Goatsuckers".  They are camouflage experts and often mistaken for a tree limb; they need to because they're day sleepers and active only at night.

In the US, I think most people known them by their common names, poor-wills or whip-poor-wills, though I doubt few have actually seen them. We've been lucky enough to have several common poor-wills visit our yard at dusk. They work with the bats, feeding on flying insects.

Why do I think this is a Halloween release? Apart from being related to owls (which I think is a Halloweenish bird) and hanging out with bats, The name of the set "Frogmouths, Nightjars & Goatsuckers" refers to the bird version of Chupacabra.


Real Birds: New, but famliar hummingbird!

by Cornell Labs

These days, the discovery of a species usually requires treacherous treks into remote jungles untouched by science. But the world’s newest bird species was discovered, not in some remote tropical jungle, but in backyards in the Bahamas. A member of the Bee Hummingbird group, the Bahama Woodstar includes two subspecies which scientists now say should be recognized as two distinct species.

The Bahama Woodstar species contains two subspecies, Calliphlox evelynae evelynae found throughout the northern islands of the Bahamas, and Calliphlox evelynae lyrura found only among the southern Inaguan islands of the chain. Both males and females of the two are strikingly similar, but in this case appearances were deceiving. The females of the Bahama Woodstar and Inaguan Lyretail are nearly identical, but differences in song, behavior, physical measurements, and DNA recently led researchers to conclude these are two distinct species. Photo by Matt MacGillivray via Birdshare.

Physically, males in the two subspecies differ only in their forehead colors and forked tail feathers. These minor differences helped naturalists originally describe the birds as different species in the 1800s. Yet James Peters ignored that precedent when he published the Check-list of Birds of the World in 1949 and lumped the species together as the Bahama Woodstar.

Read more and see photos

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