Monday, 21 July 2014

Description of the duck

Male Description

Altogether smooth dark, aside from white fix on temple and bigger white triangle on scruff. Bill expansive and swollen at base of upper bill. Bill designed with white, red, yellow, and a dark fix close base, showing up primarily orange at a separation. Eyes pale blue-ash or yellowish white. Feet rosy orange with dim networks.

Female Description

Plain dull blackish. Crown darker than rest of head and neck. Two crudely characterized light territories on side of head: one close to the bill, and the other behind the eye close to the top. Little pale scruff patch could conceivably be available. Bill just somewhat swollen, green-dark with undefined dark patch encompassed by light black at base of upper bill. Eyes pale tan, may be pale ash or yellow. Feet yellow to earthy red, with dull dark networks.

Juvenile Description

Like grown-up female however with white stomach and more different face patches. Eyes dim tan

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Epistemological validity of faith

There is a wide spectrum of opinion with respect to the epistemological validity of faith. On one extreme is logical positivism, which denies the validity of any beliefs held by faith; on the other extreme is fideism, which holds that true belief can only arise from faith, because reason and physical evidence cannot lead to truth. Some foundational, such as St.

Augustine of Hippo and Alvin Plantinga, hold that all of our beliefs rest ultimately on beliefs accepted by faith. Others, such as C.S. Lewis, hold that faith is merely the virtue by which we hold to our reasoned ideas, despite moods to the contrary.

William James believed that the varieties of religious experiences should be sought by psychologists, because they represent the closest thing to a microscope of the mind—that is, they show us in drastically enlarged form the normal processes of things. For a useful interpretation of human reality, to share faith experience he said that we must each make certain "over-beliefs" in things which, while they cannot be proven on the basis of experience, help us to live fuller and better lives.

Sunday, 12 August 2012


Depending on the religion, faith is belief in a god or gods or in the doctrines or teachings of the religion. Informal usage of faith can be quite broad, including trust or belief without proof, and "faith" is often used as a substitute for "hope", "trust" or "belief". Some critics of faith have argued that faith is opposed to reason. In contrast, some  advocates of faith argue that the proper domain of faith concerns questions which cannot be settled by evidence. This is exemplified by attitudes about the future, which (by definition) has not yet occurred.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Surf Scoter

The Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) is a large sea duck, which breeds in Canada and Alaska. It is placed in the subgenus Melanitta, along with the Velvet and White-winged Scoters, distinct from the subgenus Oidemia, Black and Common Scoters.

It winters further south in temperate zones, on the coasts of the northern USA. Small numbers regularly winter in western Europe as far south as Great Britain and Ireland. Some birds may over-winter on the Great Lakes. It forms large flocks on suitable coastal waters. These are tightly packed, and the birds tend to take off together.

The lined nest is built on the ground close to the sea, lakes or rivers, in woodland or tundra. 5-9 eggs are laid. An egg may range from 55-79 grams (1.9-2.8 oz) and average 43.9 mm (1.7 inches) in breadth and 62.4 mm (2.5 inches) in length. Occasional (and likely accidental) brood mixing between different females occurs in areas with high densities of nests. Growth is relatively rapid and the incubation period is about 28 to 30 days. The offspring will fledge independently at about 55 days.

The adult female averages about 900 grams (2 lbs.) and 44 cm (17 inches) in length, while the adult male is on average 1050 grams (2.3 lbs.) and 48 cm (19 inches) in length, making this the smallest species of scoter on average. It is characterised by its bulky shape and large bill. The male is all black, except for white patches on the nape and forehead. It has a bulbous red, yellow and white bill. The females are brown birds with pale head patches. The wedge-shaped head and lack of white in the wings helps to distinguish female Surf Scoters from female Velvet Scoters.