Our fence in the late afternoon April sun—Tucson, Arizona.

Our fence in the late afternoon April sun—Tucson, Arizona.

(Side note: taken straight, no edits, from my phone camera. Android Nexus 5 with 8MP camera and “Optical Image Stabilization”.)

How to Find Things Out: Bird Names

I absolutely love this blog post where expert birder Rick Wright describes how to properly find out the origins of bird names. Not only for the valuable information he provides—you should read and bookmark it if you love birds and words—but also for how it illustrates the valuable trait of having an investigative mind.

I love reading what other people think about birds and words and bird words. I love it even more, though, when they’ve taken the time to do a little homework.

“Do a little homework” is especially relevant to me. That’s what I recently wrote about in my work context: The Investigative Mindset. Knowing where to look is vital to the act of finding things out. Solving that curiosity itch.

Rick concludes with:

Next time the question comes up—in a “trivia quiz” or in the car on the way home from a birding trip—you’ll know the answer. More importantly, you’ll know how to figure out the next nomenclatural puzzle somebody poses: no more guessing.

Agreed.

Passenger Rail Study in Arizona

Eying the projected doubling of the population here in the Grand Canyon State by 2050 our forward-thinking Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is studying the feasibility of passenger rail service connecting our two main population centers, Tucson and Phoenix.

Giddy with excitement we participated in the first survey back in late 2012. We imagined whizzing through the desert in comfort without the hassle and danger of driving: haboobs, semis, congestion. After arriving in the Phoenix area one could speak their mind at the Governor’s office, explore a museum, attend a professional game, or catch a concert and then return home safely.

So we sent off our surveys and… (crickets chirping)… heard nothing. Figuring the idea had suffered a slow and torturous death we went on with our lives.

Good news! The next part of the survey is now here. ADOT has winnowed through the 6,500 plus comments and narrowed the route options down to three. After reading the background information I am even more impressed by the concept and hopeful that it will get built.

Sure, there are major obstacles such as funding but to ignore the existing traffic problems won’t make them go away, it will only make them worse. Trust me, we’ve tried doing nothing, and that hasn’t worked out so well.

If you live in Arizona please make your voice heard, take a few minutes, and fill out this survey.