Toby forwarded me a link to a BBC story
on Snapshot Serengeti
, which is a scientific project crowd-sourcing identifying animals in pictures taken by camera traps in the Serengeti National Park. I've been entertaining myself with it for a while, and indulging in nostalgia.
If you're new here and don't know: my family lived in the Serengeti for 2 years as a kid while my dad gathered data for his PhD. It was something about birds and grass heights; I don't know the details as I was only 5 or so at the time. But it involved occasional camping trips out into the Serengeti* where he'd measure grass heights and set up nets to capture, inventory, band, and release birds. If you go to the site and look at pictures and see the grasses and trees and animals and such? That's all intimately familiar to me: often from the camera's P.O.V., because at the time I wasn't much taller than the cameras are set up! No telling if I was ever in the specific locations that the cameras are in, as the Serengeti is big
, but it's got similar habitat all over, the short-grass and long-grass plains.
Anyway, with Snapshot Serengeti, sometimes you'll get awesome pictures of animals, sometimes you'll get nothing at all as the camera was set off by grasses in the wind, and sometimes you'll get a giant nose
as something investigates the camera. XD
Alas, I have to mark that one as "nothing here" because it's impossible to identify, even to the point of not knowing if it's an antelope-like thing, or a dog- or cat-like thing. The forums are filled with people unhappy that there's no "can't tell" feature, and the project leaders are patiently explaining over and over again to give your best guess, as they can usually narrow down a rough idea of the thing from the constellation of guesses surrounding it. I did take the advice of one guy, and for night shots where all I see is eyeshine, I put the image into Photoshop and mess with the levels, which sometimes lightens it up enough to give an outline, or even a decent picture of the thing.
Anyway, you should all GO AND DO SCIENCE!!
ETA: Oh, this picture
? RIGHT IN THE FEELS, MAN. That tree silhouette, the rain in the rainy season... NOSTALGIA TIME. If I'm not careful I'm going to get Toto's "Africa" earwormed and start sniffling. *sigh
* THE LANDSCAPE OF MY SOUL
* The idea of camping in the Serengeti amongst the lions and leopards and whatnot fazes me not one bit, and yet the idea of camping in the U.S. in bear country gives me the willies. I will say that we set up a tent and used it to store stuff in and cook in (it was the 70s, such things as "safety" hadn't been invented yet KEROSENE STOVES INDOORS FTW!
) and slept in the car. We were not totally stupid. :D