Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Watch



A watch is a timepiece, typically worn either on the wrist or attached on a chain and carried in a pocket. Wristwatches are the most common type of watch used today. Watches evolved in the 17th century from spring powered clocks, which appeared in the 15th century. The first watches were strictly mechanical.

As technology progressed, the mechanisms used to measure time have, in some cases, been replaced by use of quartz vibrations or electronic pulses. The first digital electronic watch was developed in 1970. Before wristwatches became popular in the 1920s, most watches were pocket watches, which often had covers and were carried in a pocket and attached to a watch chain or watch fob. In the early 1900s, the wristwatch, originally called a Wristlet, was reserved for women and considered more of a passing fad than a serious timepiece. Men, who carried pocket watches, were quoted as saying they would "sooner wear a skirt as wear a wristwatch".

This changed in World War I, when soldiers on the battlefield found pocket watches to be impractical and attached their watches to their wrist by a cupped leather strap. It is also believed that Girard-Perregaux equipped the German Imperial Navy with wristwatches in a similar fashion as early as the 1880s, to be used while synchronizing naval attacks and firing artillery.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Skunk


Skunks (in the United States, occasionally called polecats) are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks, together with their closest living relatives, the stink badgers, belong to the "skunk family", the "Mephitidae" and to the order Carnivora. There are twelve species of Mephistids, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis, the (hooded and striped skunks, two species), Spilogale the (spotted skunks, four species), the Mydaus or stink badgers, two species), and Conepatus, the (hog-nosed skunks, four species). The two stink badgers in the Mydaus genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; while all skunks inhabit the Americas from Canada to central South America. All other known Mephistids are extinct and known only through fossils, many in Eurasia

Skunks had been classified as a subfamily within the Mustelidae, or "weasel family", which includes ferrets, weasels, otters, badgers, stoats, and wolverines. However, recent genetic evidence suggests that skunks are not as closely related to the mustelids as previously thought; they are now classified in their own family. The stink badgers had until recently been classified on the basis of physical examination with the other badgers, but genetic testing has proven correct those who believed stink badgers to share a more recent common ancestor with skunks than they do with the weasel family, and so the stink badgers have been transferred from the badger family to the skunk family.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Canyon Towhee


The Canyon Towhee or Brown Towhee, Melozone fusca (previously Pipilo fuscus), is a bird of the family Emberizidae. It is native to lower-lying areas from Arizona, southern Colorado, and western Texas south to northwestern Oaxaca, Mexico, mostly avoiding the coasts.

The taxonomy of the group of towhees to which this species belongs is debated. At the higher level, some authors place the towhees in the family Fringillidae. Within the genus, there has been dispute about whether the Brown Towhee is a distinct species from the California Towhee, Melozone crissalis, found in coastal regions from Oregon and California in the United States through Baja California in Mexico. At present, molecular genetics seems to have settled this issue in favour of separation of the species.


The Canyon Towhee's natural habitat is brush or chaparral. Its skulking habits and nondescript appearance mean that it is not one of the better known birds. It is around 20–25 cm long and plump, and has a noticeably long tail. It is earthy brown in color, with somewhat lighter underparts and a somewhat darker head with a rufous cap (except that birds in central Mexico have the cap the same color as the back); there is also a slightly reddish area beneath the tail. There is little sexual dimorphism.
The Canyon Towhee feeds on the ground or in low scrub rather than in the tree canopy. Near human habitation, it is often seen in parking lots, where it feeds on insects on the cars' grills and takes cover under the cars when disturbed.