Evidence of one of world’s rarest birds found in Australia

The freshness of the zebra finch nest where the night parrot feather was found indicates it may have been collected 'within a few hundred metres in the past few weeks', said expert John Young. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2017
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Evidence of one of world’s rarest birds found in Australia

SYDNEY:A feather from one of the most elusive birds in the world has been found in South Australia, the first proof in more than a century that it lives there, wildlife experts said Thursday.
The “night parrot” ranks among the world’s rarest avian species and was thought extinct until an intrepid Australian naturalist provided photo evidence of one in Queensland state in 2013.
It has since also been spotted in Western Australia.
The expert behind the Queensland sighting, John Young, and fellow ecologist Keith Bellchambers from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy have now shown it is also in South Australia.
The pair found a feather from the small, yellowish-green bird in the nest of a zebra finch around remote Lake Eyre while following up on blurry images from a camera trap in the area.
“Keith and I looked at many zebra finches’ nests before finally an unmistakable small green feather appeared within the fresh base lining of one of the nests,” said Young.
“People show excitement in many different ways, mine was to shake uncontrollably with numbing excitement and Keith’s was sheer disbelief with his hands holding his head. An incredibly emotional time for both of us.
“In my eyes there was no doubt that this was the feather of a night parrot.”
The freshness of the zebra finch nest indicates the feather may have been collected “within a few hundred meters in the past few weeks,” Young added.
The curator of ornithology at the Western Australian Museum confirmed their find.
The next step is to map the distribution of the species, which was last recorded at Lake Eyre in 1883, and assess the population size using song meters and camera traps, said Young.
Researchers feared for decades that the nocturnal, desert-dwelling parrot was extinct, with no sightings between 1912 and 1979 and only a handful since, before the conclusive evidence in 2013.
In 2012, the Smithsonian Magazine rated it at number one among the world’s five most mysterious birds.
Endemic to Australia, it is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which estimates there are about 50-250 in the wild and declining.


More of the same at more of the cost, is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 worth it?

Updated 15 August 2018
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More of the same at more of the cost, is the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 worth it?

  • For a phone that doesn’t seem to look or feel much different to its predecessor, the Note 8, many will ask if it’s worth the splash
  • Samsung does not break out shipments of its smartphone models, but analysts reckon it has shipped around 10 million Note 8 models so far

DUBAI: Through the grand halls of Dubai’s recently opened Habtoor Palace, the region’s tech geeks rejoiced as Samsung Gulf launched its latest Galaxy Note 9 smartphone on Wednesday.

“It is a phone that has all the features you need to work hard and play harder,” said Tarek Sabbagh, Head of IT and Mobile (IM) Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics, adding that “it’s designed for a level of performance, power and intelligence that today’s power users want and need.”

Samsung says the battery will work on a single charge a day. It also boasts a processor that will let users view high resolution movies without having to endure the frustration of constant buffering.

All this for $1,007 for the 128 GB model, while costing almost $300 more for the 512 GB model – for a phone that doesn’t seem to look or feel much different to its predecessor, the Note 8, many will ask if it’s worth the splash.

A tech journalist speaking at the pre-launch lobby certainly didn’t think so.

“I have the Note 8, and apart from the camera and the Bluetooth clicker on the stylus, it’s basically the same,” he told Arab News.

One by one, Samsung’s GCC team made their way up to the stage following snappy, flashy videos introducing the new smartphone’s chic, sexy look – offered in three colors: Midnight Black, Ocean Blue and Lavender Purple.

Probably the most impressive and practical aspect of the new phone is the Samsung DeX. A piece of software that, with the help of a special cable, allows the smartphone to hook up to any screen and run as a desktop, all through the gadget’s processing power. This may prove especially helpful to those who travel often and don’t want to lug a heavy laptop each time.

Another plus for the Note 9 is the dual camera that comes with a dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilization).

The combination of advanced intelligence features and leading premium hardware which allows advanced noise reduction technology, and a lens that adjusts to light just like the human eye, according to the launch data.

Samsung is counting on the Note 9 to outsell the Note 8 to stem a sales slump. It said last month its flagship Galaxy S9 phone missed sales targets, sending profits in the mobile division down by a third in the April-June quarter.

Samsung does not break out shipments of its smartphone models, but analysts reckon it has shipped around 10 million Note 8 models so far.

“The jury is still out if the device can boost sales of Samsung’s premium category,” mobile phone market tracker Counterpoint Research said in a blog, pointing to stiff competition from the iPhone X, Huawei’s P20 Pro and the Find X from China’s Oppo Electronics.

(With Reuters)