E-scooter companies are desperate for repo men to stop impounding their vehicles

E-scooter companies like Bird and Lime have sued Scootscoop -- a self-financed startup that tickets and impounds e-scooters that have been abandoned on private property -- claiming that the repo men are violating the same traffic laws that the same companies also say don't apply to scooters, a belief that is their basis for filling the sidewalks, streets, lawns and alleys of every city with e-waste that blocks wheelchairs, strollers and pedestrians. Read the rest

Bird Scooter reportedly lost $100m in three months, needs more capital to stay afloat

Bird Scooter really is the Uber of scooters: vastly overcapitalized, vastly overvalued, incapable of turning a profit...ever. Read the rest

This is Birdpunk, the intersection of DIY, environmentalism, and birdwatching

Birdpunk is the quite natural intersection of two subcultures, punk and birding. From a feature article by Steve Neumann in Audobon:

The overlap between birding and punk might seem strange to outsiders, but for birdpunks like Croasdale, the Do-It-Youself (DIY) values that shape punk living feed perfectly into low-frills activities such as birding. The DIY aesthetic and mentality is a core philosophy for punks, who thrive on independence and individualism. Their music bucks the profiteering industry of labels and promoters and travels over a homegrown network of venues and websites. The ethic also spills over to visual media, politics, economics, and social philosophy. Hospitality, trust, and authenticity are key traits in the community.

When you consider these principles, it’s clear why many punkers are drawn to birding and its rustic qualities. Or vice versa: why their early love of birds steers them straight into the throes of punk. It’s a two-way street that draws out the best of both worlds, forming a distinctive subculture that’s holistic, aware, and expressive...

Raquel Reyes, who lives in San Francisco... (had) always been interested in biology, but she credits her volunteer work at a wildlife hospital with making the discipline more personal. Similar to the others, Reyes discovered punk in her teens; she found self-esteem in a community where being a “weirdo” was a badge of honor.

“Mainstream views about punk culture characterize it as self-absorbed and nihilistic,” Reyes says, “but there are many sub-categories immersed in ecological concerns.” The rejection of capitalism and mainstream consumerism spurs the need for self-sufficiency and self-discovery, through sewing, carpentry, gardening, and, of course, birding.

Read the rest

Clever bird adapts to pecking order

Sometimes life comes at you fast, and you just have to make the best of a challenging situation. Read the rest

At least 1,500 people were injured in e-scooter-related crashes in America since late 2017 — Consumer Reports

Bottom line: If the new Consumer Reports study is accurate, far more people have been killed or seriously hurt by electric scooters from Bird, Lime, and other dockless scooter-share companies than anyone realized.

Scooter injuries plague the helmet-less

Scooter companies like Bird and Lime do not currently provide helmets for their riders. A recent UCLA study shows riders without helmets suffer the worst injuries.

LAist:

During a year of study, doctors identified 249 people who were admitted for scooter-related injuries. They did this by looking through medical records and identifying any that contained notes with the word "scooter," or that mentioned Bird or Lime — the top two operators in the market.

The study found "helmet use was low and a significant subset of injuries" were documented in patients under 18, which is the legal age required by scooter operators to ride.

Researchers also studied scooter riders' habits by observing a pair of "busy intersections" in Sept. 2018 — one in downtown Santa Monica, the other near UCLA's campus.

The vast majority of riders (94 percent) didn't wear helmets, which were required under California law during the period of study, though they no longer are. Nearly 8 percent were riding with a passenger, which is a violation of the vehicles terms of use (and local law). More than a quarter of the observed riders were seen zipping along on the sidewalk, which is also prohibited.

Read the rest

Bird nonpologizes: "we accidentally sent you a threatening letter"

Last week, our lawyers at the Electronic Frontier Foundation sent a reply to Bird, the scooter company, which had sent us an intimidating letter seeking to censor this post on Bird conversion kits, which let you unlock the hundreds of Bird scooters that are auctioned off by cities after Bird fails to claim them from their impound lots. Read the rest

Bird Scooter tried to censor my Boing Boing post with a legal threat that's so stupid, it's a whole new kind of wrong

Last month, I published a post discussing the mountains of abandoned Bird Scooters piling up in city impound lots, and the rise of $30 Chinese conversion kits that let you buy a scooter at auction, swap out the motherboard, and turn it into a personal scooter, untethered from the Bird company. Read the rest

$30 plug-and-play kit converts a Bird scooter into a "personal scooter"

When scooter companies like Bird started illegally deploying their gadgets in city streets, there was intense interest in both the street value of the components to be found within each of these VC-backed ewaste-in-waiting devices, and tactics for hotwiring them. Read the rest

Homeless people in San Francisco are hotwiring electric scooters

San Francisco's giant fleet of semi-illegal electric scooters have come to symbolize the tech industry's worst excesses, inspiring all kinds of creative resistance Read the rest

Super-fancy bird may comprise a second species

Sharp-eyed ornithologists noticed that some specimens of Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise that they observed looked different enough that they may be a separate species. They captured video of the other kind for comparison. Read the rest

Baby peacock shows off its tiny feathers for the first time

Did you know a baby peacock is called a peachick? I didn't until I started writing this post up. I'm not even sure I had ever even seen a baby peacock, er peachick, before in my life. This peachick's name is Drew and he was rescued by the folks at Hairy Farmpit Girls in White Oak, Georgia. Last week, they captured him strutting around with his new big-bird feathers for the first time and it's really, really cute.

News4Jax reports:

"Drew was thrown in a garbage can out in Douglas, Georgia," Jennifer Evitts, owner of Hairy Farmpit Girls... "Someone saw what happened, grabbed him and then reached out to us to see if we would take him as she didn't know what to do with him."

...In addition to providing a safe haven for abused or neglected animals, the farm sells a range of goat milk-based products, from soap to lotion to lip balm, to support their cause.

View this post on Instagram

Meet the internet sensation, Drew Peacock, today at the Peach Stand of St. Simons! He will be with us all day, puffing and vibrating for his fans! Photo credit, @lollybayphotography

A post shared by Hairy Farmpit Girls (@hairyfarmpitgirls) on Jul 6, 2018 at 4:13am PDT

(reddit) Read the rest

A guide to the valuable electronics inside Bird's illegal-in-San Francisco scooters

On the occasion of Bird being ordered to remove its scooters from the streets of San Francisco, JWZ has published the beginnings of a costed teardown of the key components of any you find lying around after they become illegal litter: Read the rest

Study: birds can sense earth's magnetic fields thanks to a fancy eye protein

It's long been known that birds possess magnetoreception, or ability to sense earth's magnetic fields. Now researchers are narrowing down a specific eye protein called Cry4 that appears to allow birds to sense magnetic waves in the presence of blue light. Read the rest

Watch how to draw with colored pencils on black paper

Artist Kathleen Darby takes viewers through her step-by-step process of drawing a colorful bird on black paper. Start at the beginning for more details. It's interesting as well as relaxing, as there are some important differences when starting from negative space. Read the rest

Round birds

Finnish photographer Ossi Saarinen has gotten quite adept at taking photos of birds facing directly to camera, making each bird look adorably round, like the cute shot above. Read the rest

Meet UCLA's hummingbird whisperer and her 200 colorful friends

Researcher Melanie Barboni studies geology for a living, but as a side gig, she is known as The Hummingbird Whisperer Read the rest

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