July 18 at the Zoo

This July is shaping up to be the coolest July on record for St. Louis. I took advantage of the cooler weather last weekend to visit the St. Louis Zoo on Saturday, Shaw Nature Center on Sunday. Following is some photos from the Zoo trip.

The lake at the Zoo attracts its share of wild birds. I was surprised to see this Wood Duck with three ducklings, as I thought the breeding season was over.

mother wood duck and three babies

The mother wood duck was particularly wary of the American white pelicans in the lake, and for good reason. We noticed that the pelicans were dipping their beaks into the water in unison, a behavior the bird keeper called “driving”— as in driving fish into shallow waters for easy picking. Except in this case, the lead pelican was “driving” a small duck. Evidently, according to the keeper, the pelicans don’t hurt the ducks, and it’s a form of play for them.

A bit rough for the duck, though.

driving white pelicans

If you look at the photo, you can just barely make out the duck in the pelican’s mouth.

I ended up with some decent photos of the zoo’s elderly cougar. She has a decided limp, and it was difficult just to watch her slow, painful climb up the hill. However, the trip seemed worthwhile to her, as she found a nice patch of sunshine at the top of the hill to enjoy.

old cougar making her way up the hill

old cougar laying in sun

Had a nice photo of the Zoo’s male ostrich, Nelson. Also shown is a photo of the female ostrich the Zoo brought in recently. Her name is Stella.

male ostrich

female ostrich Stella

The cooler weather was also enjoyed by several of the cats, most of which come from cooler climates. Among them was this beautiful Snow Leopard, as well as Sofiya, the Amur Leopard, shown here looking across the path at her father.

snow leopard

amur leopard

Legal, Laws, and Regs Money

The arbitration death march

If you’ve been following my ramblings for any length of time, you know that I love cephalopods, and hate mandatory arbitration agreements. Well, the Humboldt squid have got the divers on the run in the waters off the California coast, and the consumer protection advocates now have the major arbitration firms on the run in the rest of the country.

I missed the story about the Minnesota Attorney General filing a lawsuit against NAF, the National Arbitration Forum, the worst of the mandatory arbitration firms. As part of the settlement, NAF had to pull completely out of arbitrating any consumer arbitrations. Luckily, I caught up with the news when the C & P weblog announced that the AAA is following the NAF, and this before Congress has ruled on the Fair Arbitration Act.

Sometimes, we win one.

update If you’re curious as to why I’m so down on mandatory arbitration, read this story at NPR.


Let loose the hounds of war

The space around HTML 5 just got more active, though whether what will follow will be an improvement in conditions is hard to say.

Because of a series of discussions in the W3C 2 cents emails list, a process is underway to provide a procedure whereby people can now act as their own editors of their own version of the HTML 5 specification. Eventually they’ll either be able to move their documents into Working Draft status, or petition to have sections in the current Editor’s draft replaced with their own sections. If consensus can’t be met on the petition, a vote will occur. Needless to say, you have to be a member of the HTML WG, but anyone can become a member. Just sign up for an account, answer a small questionnaire and you’ll be in. There’s even a FAQ for joining.

Much of the fervor around this move could be seen as a way of correcting the W3C’s chartering mistakes. Much of it, though, is also by people who are, they say, “tired of the complaints”, and see this as an effective approach to shutting up the complainers.

Though there’s nothing formally specified about numbers of participants on a new draft or draft section, Sam Ruby has requested that at least three people get behind any one work, just so the group, as a whole, can see there’s enough interest in the work to make the discussion and/or vote a good use of the group’s time.

Ian Hickson, the editor of HTML 5, has said that he’s asked for new editors in the past. Asked, and asked again. Well, now his request is being answered.