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Satellite-Based Laser Hunts Woodpeckers From Space

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the where's-woody dept.

Space 53

University of Idaho scientists have figured out a more effective way to track woodpecker populations than following the incessant laughter. They're using a laser onboard NASA's Icesat spacecraft to determine where the birds might be living. From the article: "NASA's Icesat satellite was initially intended for measuring glacial surfaces at the Earth's poles but has proven to be quite effective in measuring vegetation also. The satellite's laser bounces off of forest canopies, tree trunks and the ground making important characteristics about the forest easily measurable. For example, forest density is determined by the relative amount of light returned versus that which is returned from the ground. Once ideal woodpecker locations are identified 'we actually conduct ground-based woodpecker surveys in these locations as well to verify it,' says team-member Patrick Adam."

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53 comments

looking in the wrong place (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34677678)

If you want to find some peckers, just check Kathleen Fent's cooch.

poor choice of verb (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677684)

I believe "Satellite-Based Laser Surveys Woodpeckers From Space" would have been a more suitable - albeit less provocative - headline.

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677712)

I had this weird mental image of a shark eating woodpeckers

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679962)

With a little more power, they can hunt woodpeckers from space.

Who picks up the game?

Its the Passenger Bison all over again.

Re:poor choice of verb (3, Informative)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677790)

Technically, even that's putting to much room into a headline.. something akin to "Satellite-based Laser helps to conduct Woodpecker surveys" would be more realistic I think. :-D The satellite does not do any surveying of its own. :)

Re:poor choice of verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34679522)

Its perfect how it is.

If only because I want to imagine this:

Scientist: Sir, we have a lockon

*pan to Icesat exposing an ACME logo on the side*

Wile E. Coyote: FIRE!!

Re:poor choice of verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34680796)

Woodpecker != Roadrunner

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34682974)

Satellite: "Mr Woodpecker, if the election were held today, would you vote for the Democratic candidate..."

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

johncalvinyoung (1864782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677828)

more suitable - albeit less provocative - headline.

Quite. I was disbelieving, but excited until I actually read the synopsis...

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679384)

I Dunno. I think something along the lines of "Orbital laser probes plants for peckers" would have been more technically descriptive, more provocative and therefore more hilarious. C'mon editors, how can you possibly miss an opportunity like this?

Re:poor choice of verb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34679566)

How about "Satellite-Based Laser Surveys Forests for Woodpecker Habitats"? Agreed -- not nearly as interesting sounding.

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679714)

I was picturing woodpeckers shooting satellites down using a hand mirror then going ha ha ha HA ha!

Re:poor choice of verb (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34680306)

I believe "Satellite-Based Laser Surveys Woodpeckers From Space" would have been a more suitable - albeit less provocative - headline.

actually, Satellite-Based Laser Surveys Suitable Habitat for Woodpeckers From Space

Woodpeckers from space? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34677686)

How do they fly or breathe up there?

Missing tags (1)

haydensdaddy (1719524) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677716)

What, no "Real Genius" tags?

Re:Missing tags (2)

Faux_Pseudo (141152) | more than 3 years ago | (#34678296)

When I read it I was visualizing Real Genius and hearing "Woodpecker From Mars" by Faith No More. Two great tastes that taste great together.

Re:Missing tags (1)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34679326)

Uninterestingly, "Woodpecker From Mars" is my theme song. It plays in my head whenever I enter a room.

It is also playing on my cheap $12 desk speakers as I type this at work. My coworkers already dislike me so I am not harming my already low office reputation.

Oddly, though, I am the overlord of Mu and not Mars, but they start with the same letter so that must count for something, right?

Everybody knows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34677718)

lasers aren't good enough. You need to nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Pigs...in...SPACE! (1)

Pirate_Pettit (1531797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677772)

Anybody else parse "Woodpeckers from space" the wrong way?

Re:Pigs...in...SPACE! (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 3 years ago | (#34678002)

Is there a wrong way?

Re:Pigs...in...SPACE! (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34678422)

No, and I’m glad somebody’s finally taking some steps to deal with them.

(In all seriousness though*, there’s a theory that life on earth was “seeded” from outer space... so maybe they really are woodpeckers from space! Imma go get my tinfoil now.)

*not really

Re:Pigs...in...SPACE! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34678072)

Anybody else parse "Woodpeckers from space" the wrong way?

You mean, like weird synth-pop from 1984 [google.com] ? (No, really [wikipedia.org] :)

Laser vs. Woodpeckers (1)

thewiz (24994) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677774)

And I was looking forward to seeing the woodpeckers making holes in my house disappear in puffs of smoke.

Damn those woodpeckers!

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34677780)

This story gave me a Woody.

I for one... (1)

NuKe_MoNgOoSe (1941452) | more than 3 years ago | (#34677894)

Welcome our new alien Woodpecker overlords and submit to their authority fully... (alien woodpeckers i had NOTHING to do with any alien woodpecker hunting lasers)

Death to all womp rats. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34677906)

Wedge Antilles (Red 2): That's impossible! Even for a computer.

Luke: It's not impossible. I used to bullseye womp rats from my Android back home, they're not much bigger than two meters.

General Dodonna: Then man your google earths. And may the Force be with you.

Oh look there's one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34677988)

There's one now look it's ZZZZZZZZZAAAAAP oopsie!

Tinfoil hat on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34678166)

Woodpeckers my arse. They are shooting freaking laser beams towards Iranian nuclear warheads and Muslim terrorist bomber asylum seekers.

So what you're telling me is.... (1, Funny)

TehBrando (1332991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34678634)

We've figured out how to attach lasers to satellites but still can't attach them to sharks?

I can see it now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34678992)

Picard: Scan for life forms Mr. Data.

Data: All I can find are woodpeckers sir.

Ion Cannon (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 3 years ago | (#34680172)

I've just been playing Command & Conquer (the Win95 release) again to re-live a waste of time from my youth, and i'm up to the Ion Cannon level. I haven't RTFA (who has time these days? :) but I assume that they are talking about a woodpecker sized Ion Cannon. If you go down to the woods today, be sure you don't look like a woodpecker when viewed from above.

This might be the story... (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34680434)

...that puts the final nail in the /. coffin. I usually feel that if someone doesn't like a story, they should just not read it. In this case, the feeling is more like, if this is the best that the editors can do, then there is truly nothing more to discuss. There is no value here, and this story seems emblematic of the increase rate of decrease in quality over the last several years.

Re:This might be the story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34682500)

It IS idle...

A GIANT FRICKIN LASER? (1)

scarface71795 (1920250) | more than 3 years ago | (#34680820)

When i read the title i got excited Seeing how i'm a fan of giant lasers killing things from space But then i read the article and i was sad

Seattle-Based Loser Hunts Peckerwoods from Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34681380)

That's what I read.
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