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For all their visual splash and cartoon familiarity, parrots have long been given scientific short shrift in favor of more amenable subjects like, say, zebra finches or blue tits. But through a mix of rugged and sometimes risky field work, laboratory studies and a willingness to shrug off the frequent loss of expensive tracking equipment, researchers are gaining insights into the lives, minds and startling appetites of parrots. Parrot partisans say the birds easily rival the great apes and dolphins in all-around braininess and resourcefulness, and may be the only animals apart from humans capable of dancing to the beat.

Toft and Timothy F. Others have been reported in journals or demonstrated through online videos, which have gone viral or deserve to.

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Studying the yellow-naped Amazon of Costa Rica, Dr. Wright and his colleagues have discovered that different populations of the parrot communicate with one another in distinct dialects that remain stable over decades, like human languages. While falcons are predators in the conventional sense, hunting and devouring other animals, parrots turn out to be no less bloodthirsty in their approach to feasting on plants. Forget about symbiosis or some happy tit-for-tat between flora and this particular fauna.

Parrots pooh-pooh the fruit pulp and home in on the seeds, crushing the casings to extract the plant embryos and the cache of fats and proteins intended to help those embryos germinate. Wright said. It goes right in through the fruit and eats the plant baby. Or the entire herbaceous brood. Researchers have found that when a flock of parrots alights on a fruiting tree, a veritable seed massacre can ensue. Not a single whole seed could be found on the ground.

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The psittacines are a midsize club of about species, ranging in size from the pygmy parrots of New Guinea, which are smaller than house sparrows, to the bulky, flightless kakapos of New Zealand, which can weigh up to nine pounds. Most parrots live in the tropics or subtropics, where a mix of habitat loss and the depredations of the international pet trade now threaten a third of all species with extinction, Dr.

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Masello said. At the same time, some parrot species are proving flexible to the point of invasiveness. Residents of Los Angeles County may spot enclaves of more than a dozen different feral parrots, including lilac-crowned Amazons, rose-ringed parakeets, macaws and cockatiels.

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Why some parrots thrive in anthropocentric landscapes while others are on the cusp of oblivion has yet to be determined. The curved points of the bill act rather like lobster picks, ideal for scooping out seed meat. Parrots can similarly clip apart leg bands, satellite holsters and other animal-tracking devices, which is one reason most researchers have avoided them.

Super Reviewer. View All Photos 3. Movie Info. A fast-talking rainmaker, his wealthy acquaintance, and an unemployed aerospace engineer forge an unusual partnership that hastens the deterioration of their relationships while forever altering the course of their lives in director Paul Schneider's minimalist tale of American entrepreneurialism. Curtis Prentiss Billy Crudup is a terminally optimistic dreamer who rolled into a small town with little more than an enthusiastic sales pitch and an unusual set of blueprints. When Curtis' unique plans for a personal "rocket belt" that he claims will revolutionize personal travel captivates the imagination of a gifted but out-of-work engineer Paul Giamatti , all three men embark on an ambitious quest to raise the capitol needed to finance their endeavor and make flight more accessible to the masses.

While the results are indeed promising, the stress of both the task at hand and some unexpected success soon takes an unhealthy toll on the venturesome partnership. Comedy , Drama. Paul Schneider. Jun 29, Paramount Home Entertainment. Billy Crudup as Curtis.

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Paul Giamatti as Rick. Kristen Wiig as Mandy. David Hornsby as Kenny. Garret Dillahunt as Carson. Anna Camp as Becca. Denis O'Hare as Chuck. Elizabeth Marvel as Tonya. View All Critic Reviews 5. Jul 17, The clash of their mismatched personalities soon dissolves the business into a morass of recriminations and retaliations, kidnapping, and murder in this parable of American dreams and delusions.

The great idea is a working rocket belt, something neither of them know anything about. What they have instead is an abundance of business models, motivational pep talks and winning slogans. For the actual rocket belt they succeed in hiring an actual unemployed rocket scientist who begins to develop a prototype. Much of the humor is Gogolesque, treading a fine line between absurdity and apparent success. They are successful in raising money from dreamers like themselves. There is a broad satirical implication that "the money people" are a class apart requiring to be spoon fed a certain formula unrelated to business realities.

But the project is satisfyingly rejected by the big-time investors, summarily dismissing it as needing "more science" itself a business euphemism. The film is thus very amusing from the outset and I was prepared for more amusing developments.

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But the story takes some unfunny turns. The rocket belt becomes the focus of in-fighting which is carried almost to the point of bloodshed. This is probably because it is based on a true story, but that does nothing for poetic justice. This film turns into one focusing on male bonding or the lack of it. The two original entrepreneurs are best friends with a bond that supersedes anything, including reason.

The third partner, the rocket scientist, engages with the two to gain recognition, but in the long run the original promoter is implacable. At issue is the prototype rocket belt itself which he has hidden. You aren't supposed to ask the seemingly reasonable question why the scientist, who is the only one who knows how the thing works, doesn't just build a second prototype--maybe this time one capable of better than 30 seconds flight time.

So much is this an all-male film that what might otherwise have been a romance developing between the original promoter and Kirsten Wiig's character is simply dropped, as if for lack of interest. It all adds up to a flick which starts out very funny and is worth watching to the end, but with a little let-down so far as humor is concerned. Lorenzo v Super Reviewer. May 14, So, he goes to his best friend Kenny David Hornsby who has a successful mattress business and therefore the necessary capital.

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The next step is an aerospace engineer, and somehow without alerting several government agencies, he contacts Rick Paul Giamatti , very much out of work and badly in need of something to occupy his time. The problem of how to add life and verisimilitude to monochrome engravings had plagued artists for centuries. To be precise, in total, there seem to be only ten held in collections around the world and only seven coloured, lettered copies like that belonging to the National Library.

The vogue for mezzotints flourished. He depicted murderer the Rev. James Hackman who, obsessed with Martha Ray, the talented opera singer and mistress of the fourth Earl of Sandwich, shot her and then attempted, unsuccessfully, to kill himself. It seems a strange arc for one artist to encompass.