And What’s Wrong with This Picture?

I accidentally hit a site that is promulgating this graph; not the first time I’ve seen it.
Note that it’s perfectly true, and that the vertical scales and start and end points have been carefully chosen to yield a misimpression. Does this constitute lying? To a political or legal mind, I think it doesn’t.

(Update: also note that the two curves have different time filters applied. Consider why this would be so. Hint: it is related to the choice of vertical scale.)

In a blog comment exchange here, I casually mentioned “cherry picking” and “Ted” elaborated:

The summary reference to “cherry-picking” says a lot. What it illustrates, more than anything, I think, is the different sorts of argument that count as acceptable in science and in political discourse.

In science, the assumption is that it’s not okay to treat evidence selectively. You’re supposed to *try* to account for all the evidence.

In political discourse, I’m afraid, the de facto assumption seems to be that it’s fair to pick up whatever data point happens to be handy and throw it at your opponent, while (of course) ignoring and evading the data points they throw at you.

George Will’s recent column was an excellent instance of what happens when you take the norms of political discourse and apply them to science. Will may have thought he was just “spinning” — which is more or less what he gets paid for — but he was spinning a topic where “spin” counts as culpable distortion.

Update: Here’s the same data without the three bugs. Consider plotting the above graph for 1996- 2006 instead of 1998-2008.


Stop the presses, huh?

See also How to Tell Different Stories with the Same Data.

Cassandritis in the Financial Sector

Hats off to Gil Friend for spotting the New York Times’ enthusiasm for Wall Street deregulation a decade ago.

Proponents:

”Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century,” Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said. ”This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy.”


”The world changes, and we have to change with it,” said Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, who wrote the law that will bear his name along with the two other main Republican sponsors, Representative Jim Leach of Iowa and Representative Thomas J. Bliley Jr. of Virginia. ”We have a new century coming, and we have an opportunity to dominate that century the same way we dominated this century. Glass-Steagall, in the midst of the Great Depression, came at a time when the thinking was that the government was the answer. In this era of economic prosperity, we have decided that freedom is the answer.”

In the House debate, Mr. Leach said, ”This is a historic day. The landscape for delivery of financial services will now surely shift.”

The Cassandras:

The opponents of the measure gloomily predicted that by unshackling banks and enabling them to move more freely into new kinds of financial activities, the new law could lead to an economic crisis down the road when the marketplace is no longer growing briskly.

”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. ”I wasn’t around during the 1930’s or the debate over Glass-Steagall. But I was here in the early 1980’s when it was decided to allow the expansion of savings and loans. We have now decided in the name of modernization to forget the lessons of the past, of safety and of soundness.”

Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat of Minnesota, said that Congress had ”seemed determined to unlearn the lessons from our past mistakes.”

”Scores of banks failed in the Great Depression as a result of unsound banking practices, and their failure only deepened the crisis,” Mr. Wellstone said. ”Glass-Steagall was intended to protect our financial system by insulating commercial banking from other forms of risk. It was one of several stabilizers designed to keep a similar tragedy from recurring. Now Congress is about to repeal that economic stabilizer without putting any comparable safeguard in its place.”

The jovial rebuttal, of course, was that the worriers worry too much, and shouldn’t do so much standing in the way of progress:

Supporters of the legislation rejected those arguments. They responded that historians and economists have concluded that the Glass-Steagall Act was not the correct response to the banking crisis because it was the failure of the Federal Reserve in carrying out monetary policy, not speculation in the stock market, that caused the collapse of 11,000 banks. If anything, the supporters said, the new law will give financial companies the ability to diversify and therefore reduce their risks. The new law, they said, will also give regulators new tools to supervise shaky institutions.

”The concerns that we will have a meltdown like 1929 are dramatically overblown,” said Senator Bob Kerrey, Democrat of Nebraska.

Oh yes, and those gigantic super-powerful super-intelligent razor-clawed crabs bred for work at corporate construction sites? Don’t worry about them either. Almost all experts are agreed that they pose no threat.

 

Slicin’ and Dicin’ with Dyson and Bryson

The mantle of lovable old coot of liberal persuasion who thinks global warming is hooey has been passed to a new old generation.

I tried to avoid saying anything nasty about Reid Bryson while he was around. Reid was, no doubt about it, a very nice man. He was also the founder of the department that gave me my doctorate, at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. (That is its name. I’d prefer the word “at” to the dash, but nobody asked me.) The meteorology department at UW , later the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, has been a major player through the years so this is no small feat.

Bryson used to say “the proper tool of the climatologist is the shovel” but he wasn’t indulging in crude humor. He thought of climatology as a branch of archaeology. The tradition emerged with a presumption of a steady state climate with periodic oscillations superimposed: a powerful analytic method in some fields, but not, it turns out, in climatology. He did, however, take seriously the idea of the human influence on the environment. He was, in fact, the guy who was most responsible for pushing the “imminent ice age kicked off by human activity” idea. He did get some press in the 1970s, no doubt about that.

But there’s little sign in the literature that his idea was taken very seriously. Even in the 1970s, as Oreskes explains in various places, there was a rough consensus among physical climatologists that long-lived, accumulating CO2 causing warming would eventually outweigh short-lived, quasi-steady particulate cooling.

As such he fell into an uncomfortable hole. His intuition that people would change the climate was right, but he got the sign wrong. Nobody paid much attention to his intuition after that. He never had the physical insight to get a grip on radiative transfer physics to be convinced by it. He ended up trapped into holding to his position that humans could not cause warming, and was much celebrated in that by the skeptic camp, but it wasn’t grounded in any reasoned opinion. And, as he was a very nice man and the founder of the department, and as meteorologists and midwesterners are basically controversy-averse, nobody local ever challenged Bryson too hard on it. He’d appear at various media events, hosted by people who would make an effort not to stress the fact that they were really doing the bidding of the Cato Institute and that sort.

Now he has passed on. And though I didn’t know him well, he was a kind and in many ways admirable man. I was saddened at his passing.

The sadness was tempered by a relief, though, that after a year or so had passed (which it nearly has) one could manage to be frank about Bryson’s understanding of climate physics, which, sadly, was nil, and his ironic role in the much ballyhooed but not so much professionally esteemed ice age scare of the 1970s, which was, pretty much, as its most prominent voice.

(So you see, it was never “the same people” who talked about the ice age scare at all. It was largely the denialists’ hero Reid Bryson all along.)

But one didn’t reckon with the fact that the media would be casting about for a replacement. The year hadn’t fully passed before they found their man in the less credentialed but more famed and more predictably curmudgeony Freeman Dyson.

Dyson, it appears, was part of the Jason team that wrote an early report (1979 I believe) by non-meteorologists, essentially confirming the global warming story. So Dyson has the advantage of having thought about this for some time. His conclusion is that the AGW hypothesis is roughly correct, but that there is plenty of room in the carbon cycle to hide the excess carbon. This, like Bryson’s “human volcano” gets little attention. I am not a geochemist, so I don’t know exactly how impractical an idea it is, but it does seem that Dyson hasn’t worked a lick on the idea in the intervening time, so it’s little wonder this doesn’t come up.

How this justifies Dyson’s incredibly broad-brush attacks on climatology as a whole escapes me. He complains that there is no carbon cycle in GCMs. This mistakes the purpose of GCMs. (*) Now climatology is by no means above criticism, but the principles of how the climate system works are understood to a very substantive and sophisticated level. Bryson didn’t understand them, and was in no position to admit it. Dyson appears like most of the denial squad, having no real idea that they exist at all.

(*) Note: People are trying to build combined carbon/climate models now. They look like they are going to be called Earth System Models or ESMs. I think it’s vastly premature but that’s a topic for another time and place.

But similarities and differences aside, the press has their man. I don’t think Bill Gray is on deck; he’s a little too bitter. I think many people right now are wishing Freeman Dyson a long and healthy old age. I can’t bring myself to say otherwise myself. He seems like such a nice man.

That’s no reason to give him much press, until he actually has something of scientific substance to say on the matter. What we’ve seen so far is just grumbling, not counterarguments. The New York Times has done us another disservice by treating Dyson’s ranting as serious or relevant.


The picture of Bryson in his emeritus office at 1225 West Dayton in Madison, an architecturally dreadful building where I spent many hours of my own life, was lifted from denialist site moonbattery.com who probably lifted it from the department or the Madison local media.
The Dyson picture is the Wikipedia one.


Government as Them vs Government as Us

Globe and Mail on Red River flooding (h/t Kathy Austin @kdaustin):

Mr. Shaefer moved to higher ground in the north part of the city. Yesterday, the Red was lapping at a sandbag dike in his backyard. “We guessed this place would keep us clear of the river,” he said. “Maybe we guessed wrong.”

Downriver in Manitoba, authorities have taken some of the guesswork out of the Red equation. Starting with the construction of the Red River Floodway in 1962 – informally named Duff’s Ditch for Premier Duff Roblin – provincial governments have consistently taken a longsighted approach to flood protection. The floodway diverts overflow from the Red around Winnipeg. In 37 years, the floodway has been opened 20 times, saving $10-billion in flood damages, according to government estimates.

“It’s an amazing piece of engineering,” said Dr. Schwert, one of North Dakota’s foremost flood experts. “In 1997, if you were in downtown Winnipeg you were oblivious to the fact that there was a flood going on.”

Since 1997, various levels of government in Manitoba have invested more than $800-million to nearly double the capacity of the floodway and erect ring dikes around small towns capable of keeping out 1997-level waters plus .6 metres.

But the political culture in North Dakota resists such solutions.

Earlier this week, one homeowner 15 minutes north of Fargo talked with pride about the flood-protection measures he’d erected with his neighbours. “That’s how it should be,” he said, trudging through knee-deep water inches from flowing into his home. “We don’t need government in here screwing things up.”

North Dakota hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since Lyndon Johnson, and Libertarian Ron Paul nearly beat John McCain in last year’s Republican primary.

“We have a lot of individualism here – that’s just the North Dakota way,” Dr. Schwert said.

(For the benefit of those from far away, this is not the Red River of cowboy lore, by the way.)

Dr. Austin tweets “Parable for climate change?”


Image of 1997 Red River flood from usgs.gov


Corn Ethanol Disaster

My current position is strongly pro-biofuel for two reasons:

1) Biofuels are the only path to carbon neutral jet fuel. I think if we give up international travel we will lose far more than we gain. Nothing fuels xenophobia more than not having a clear idea of who the foreigners actually are.

2) Biofuels plus CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) is, as far as I can tell, the only plausible path to near term reduction in atmospheric CO2. I hear a lot of talk about 350 and that’s interesting, but most people with “350” hats don’t seem to have a plan to move the number down from the 450 we have already bought.

But things aren’t easy, and despite the fact that global warming looms over everything, we can’t be indifferent to other problems, especially other global problems.

I have heard no sensible defenses of corn-based ethanol, even though politicians from the “aah” states (including President Obama) continue to champion it. But here is a side of it that is terrifying. Via Minnesota Public Radio via Big Biofuels Blog (h/t David Benson):

Mark von Keitz with the University of Minnesota’s Biotechnology Institute said in ethanol production, the main enemy is a bacterial bug that makes lactic acid.

“What these organisms do is they also compete with the yeast for the sugar,” said von Keitz. “But instead of making alcohol, they make primarily lactic acid.”

“What people operating these plants are trying to do is to keep these lactic acid bacteria in check,” said von Keitz. “And one way of doing that is with the help of antibiotics.”

Ethanol producers use penicillin and a popular antibiotic called virginiamycin to kill bacteria. And that raises two potential concerns.

One is that these treatments might promote the growth of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. The development of these “superbugs” is a major concern in health care because they reduce the effectiveness of medicines.

Mark von Keitz found some bacteria that were, in fact, resistant when he sampled bacteria at four Midwest ethanol plants several years ago.

The second concern is that the antibiotics could find their way to humans through the food chain.

Distillers grain is a major source of low-cost livestock feed. Any restrictions on its sale and use as feed will hurt the profit-scarce ethanol industry and the livestock farmers who rely on it.

Charlie Staff, executive director of the Distillers Grain Technology Council, said distillers grain is one of the few dependable moneymakers left for the ethanol industry.

“If they didn’t have distillers grain as a revenue, many more of them wouldn’t be able to operate,” said Staff.

Emphasis added.

Yikes! An object lesson that everything is connected. Plus another argument against agribusiness-produced meat.


Knit your own woolen corncob from a pattern at kimberlychapman.com


Evolution in Schools: TFN calls it a draw (but AGW?)


Bulk email from the Texas Freedom Network:

Dear Michael,

Just a short while ago, the Texas State Board of Education voted on new public school science standards that publishers will soon use to craft new science textbooks. This long-awaited decision is the culmination of TFN’s two-year Stand Up for Science campaign.

The good news is that the word “weaknesses” no longer appears in the science standards — this is a huge victory for those of us who support teaching 21st-century science that is free of creationist ideology.

The bad news is the final document still has plenty of potential footholds for creationist attacks on evolution to make their way into Texas classrooms. Through a series of contradictory and convoluted amendments, the board crafted a road map that creationists will almost certainly use to pressure publishers into putting phony arguments attacking established science into textbooks. As TFN Communications Director Dan Quinn told the New York Times: “The State Board of Education pretty much slammed the door on ‘strengths and weaknesses,’ but then went around and opened all the windows in the house.”

What’s truly unfortunate is that we will have to revisit this entire debate in two years when new science textbooks are adopted in Texas.

While we did not succeed in ending this debate once and for all, I am extremely proud of the work we did together on this Stand Up for Science campaign. Your testimony, calls and e-mails over these past months really made a difference in the outcome of this science debate — and the students of Texas are better off for it.

I sincerely hope you will consider participating in the last day of our Stand Up for Science matching gift challenge. Double your gift’s impact to TFN Education Fund by contributing today!

As you know, hostility toward science persists in our state. From stem cell research to responsible sex education, crucial public policies hang in the balance. As always, TFN will carry your support for mainstream values and sound science to our elected leaders.

Sincerely,
Kathy Miller

But from where we’re sitting it’s pretty disastrous:

the board added the following standard: “Analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.”

The Environmental Defense Fund sent out the following press release:

Indicating doubt about the existence of global warming, today’s final vote on textbook language by the Texas State Board of Education flouts leading scientific consensus as well as the board’s own scientific advisors.

Surprising environmentalists, the board’s last-minute decision Wednesday changed the language in a school textbook chapter on Environmental Systems to include the phrase “analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming.”

Dr. Ramon Alvarez, senior scientist with Environmental Defense Fund, said that to deny the existence of global warming is not only an affront to the board’s own advisors, but also to established science, citing agreement by the National Academy of Sciences, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and even one of the state’s premier academic institutions, Texas A&M University. “In a last-minute assault on science and sensibility, the board appears to be supporting its own ideological views rather than those of proven science,” Alvarez said. “Experts around the country, including the tenured faculty of Texas A&M’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences, agree that our climate is warming and that humans are responsible.”

The new textbook language also positions Texas children behind regions already addressing global warming. “The tragedy of this ruling is that it places Texas children at a competitive disadvantage in science education, thus failing them as they prepare to compete in the global marketplace,” said Jim Marston, regional director of Environmental Defense Fund.

As usual, TFN has the scoop.

Update: unfortunately the comments to this posting got out of hand and comments are now closed. I recommend going to the TFN site to discuss the present topic.

Update: Bad Astronomer is not happy. PZ isn’t happy either. Even somebody called AstroEngine is on the case. Others?

Update Mar 29: Salon has an article: the creationists, apparently are happy. h/t @BadAstronomer


Image from PoliTex, a blog of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.


Avant Garde Biofuels

An aggie fellow (that is, from Texas A&M, our rivals), Robert Avant is apparently a big player in biofuels. He came and gave a talk today at the Pickle campus on the outlook for biofuels.

He’s the kind of authentic, down-to-earth Texan that I like but it tends not to be mutual. (Think Boone Pickens.) Thick Texas drawl, refering to the “aah” states (meaning Illinois, Indiana, and “Aahwah”, you know, the corn belt states whose names all happen to start with the letter “aah”) when talking about corn ethanol, which he didn’t talk about much. He was wearing beige pants, a pale blue button down shirt, and a loud, wide tie featuring bluebonnets (the state flower) and a huge,lone star flag image, but no jacket. He’s a professional engineer and exudes competence if not exactly sartorial elegance. He said he had recently given a talk in Belgium; I was amused to imagine a roomful of Euros trying to decode his accent.

Avant’s outline slide mentioned carbon benefits but he pretty much avoided the question. His motivation was all “energy security”. When asked about long term climate change he shrugged and said he sure hoped Austin wouldn’t end up lookin’ like El Paso while he was still around to see it, but he made no claim that his efforts might have anything to do with it.

Probably the most interesting thing he said was “I’m an engineer. If you want America to be energy independent I believe we can do it, but you might not like how it would work out.” He referred to ubiquitous windmills and solar installations, nuclear plants, and energy restrictions.

Of course, carbon independent is even harder. Yup. This is not going to be easy.

Avant sees a modestly significant role for biofuels but not a dominant one; perhaps replacing 15% of the oil supply in the US. (He very much has a national focus. The only other country mentioned was Brasil, in admiration of their sugarcane program.)

He was pretty clear that biofuels can’t replace gasoline. He says that nobody will tolerate a new demand on irrigation water, so crops have to grow mostly where there is abundant moisture and sun. His focus then was on east Texas and points east.

He also stressed the enormous scale of the operation. If all the shipments travel by truck, even the 15% replacement would require a fleet of over 100,000 18-wheelers running full time. He seemd to think that was impractical. I wonder how big the truck fleet is now. If I read this right, about 1.5 million tractor-trailer type truck engines, so we’re talking maybe a 10% increase in truck traffic. much of it on remote rural roads. I don;t know if the road quality is a problem. Much as I’d like to see a new freight infrastructure this seems doable.

Avant points out a daunting problem: switchgrass miles (or miles from energy sorghum, pictured, note also pale blue button down shirt with sleeves rolled up) matter a lot. You can’t put so much energy into moving the plants to a processor as to wipe out your energy return. This means in practice that the first stage of processing must be close to the farm, some tens of miles. This is good news and bad news; moving jobs out to rural areas tends to be favored by most sectors, but it means infrasturcture commitment is very localized and thus vulnerable to weather issues and climate shifts not to mention other local issues. This makes for a riskier venture than might otherwise be the case, making financing difficult.

Another interesting business point is that various subsidies now go to landowners who grow food and feed crops. This puts energy crops at a systematic disadvantage. However, this needs to be reconciled with the fact that many people don’t want food crops replaced by energy crops.

No biofuel source is currently price competitive.

As a speculative note, perhaps the most promising thing on the horizon is the prospect for salt-tolerant energy crops. If these can be bioengineered, they can use ground water that other water consumers will not compete for. Of course, in the end this is another nonrenewable energy source, but at least it is a carbon neutral one.


Another exciting prospect is energy from algae farming. There is considerable movement on this front in Texas, since sunlight, a major input, is something we have in ample supply. Many of us will find the world much more appealing if there is carbon neutral jet fuel, which they can now produce in small quantities at outrageous prices. Their production cost needs to fall by a factor of ten to be competitive at foreseeable market conditions. Avant referred to eight technical efforts, five in energy engineering and three in genetic engineering.

All biofuel production is water intensive, on the order of 1400 gallons of water per gallon of gasoline.

On the whole, in short, things are possible but not easy.

Let me make clear that my final thought is not Avant’s, nor probably anyone’s who would wear a Texas flag tie without a hint of irony: many things seem much easier to me if we simply give up eating beef. Most of the “aah” states are covered in cattle feed, you know, not in actual food. If we just eat the soy directly 90% of the time we’d ordinarily have beef, a lot of land would be cleared for biofuels. I understand that it takes 10 calories of cattle feed to produce 1 calorie of beef.


the algae farm from an export promotion site of the Israeli government, though I’m willing to bet the site shown is near El Paso, TX

The Problem and the Problem with the Problem


The prolific (and arguably indispensable) Joe Romm has a terrifying summary about global warming which appears to me to be pretty much on the mark.

Joe believes that people who understand the situation in this way should stick together. Given the scope of the problem, and the vast difference between the perspectives of those few who understand it and those many who don’t, you’d think we ought to stick together through thick and thin.

Matt Yglesias makes a similar point:

Where he goes wrong is that he seems to see this primarily as a political calamity in terms of the administration’s standing both domestically and in the eyes of international participants at the coming Copenhagen conference. That’s all true enough, but I think it’s important for people not to write about this issue without mentioning that failure to start reducing carbon emissions in the very near term is a substantive human and ecological catastrophe. Absent emissions reductions, the globe will continue to warm. That will, year after year, keep altering weather patterns around the world. A world inhabited by six billion people based on patterns of settlement established under existing climactic patterns. Climate change means drought and famine, flood and forest fire, all in new and unprepared places. People will die.

Well, people will die anyway, but let’s not split hairs. This is starting to look like the whole world is a complete idiot and will march over the cliff in some sort of hypnotic trance.

The problem with the problem is that people don’t actually believe it. They think we are, not to put too fine a point on it, making shit up. Why they think that is obvious enough. Some people are trying very hard to confuse matters. And being very effective at it.

The question that immediately follows, the motivating question of “In It” is “so what should we do about it“? And here we have a problem: the confusers have managed to convince the public that people who express deep concern do so for personal gain. In my own case, it has been nothing of the sort, at least insofar as personal gain reduces to wealth.

I very much appreciate and enjoy any encouragement I get form my readers. It has been one of the nicest aspects of the past couple of years. Indeed, I would like to be able to get a tiny amount of personal gain from doing what I do here. While not everybody could do the work I currently do for pay, I’d have to admit I’m replaceable. I could make a much better contribution given the time.

But that leads to an interesting problem of credibility. Lawrence Lessig, at a very impressive talk at SXSW, argued that a big problem with government nowadays is the corrupting power of money which mostly flows through issue advocacy. Once you associate yourself with a position for pay, your opinion, your arguments, even your soundest unassailable proofs, automatically lose value in the discourse.

Unfortunately we have entered a period when the truth itself “has a liberal bias”. Things are really serious.

Does that mean that one has to toe the line for fear of injuring one’s allies? Many people seem to think so.

But I’d like CSS on the table, and nuclear, and also reduced growth and economic decline. All of these options are anathema to the engine of green politics. And as for the cap and trade vs carbon tax thing, I’m just completely dazed and confused. I’d like to take it up as a neutral party.

I am no longer interested in debating the “Ravens” of the world on their terms. They are a problem but I find it odd that people persist in engaging them as if they had any intention of examining their beliefs. But we have to find some way to make it visible to the world that they are not actually the real thing.

To do that we need credibility, and to gain credibility we have to avoid lining up behind ideas that make little sense.

For instance? I’m glad you asked.

I am interested in debating the proposition that “green jobs” will “revive the economy” in the short run. It’s considered heresy to question this in some circles, but there’s a simple argument that in traditional economic terms it just can’t be true, else it would have happened already.

Yes, it will cost. The longer we wait the more it will cost. We have to get started regardless of the cost; there is no limit to the cost of never shifting to sutainability. No limit short of the end of life.

Does it really help matters to pretend that there is some conspiracy behind the use of coal instead of wind and solar? How shall we think about these things if nobody is allowed to say anything other than the most cheerful nonsense on their side?

Well, it’s not disallowed, it just doesn’t have much presence in the “marketplace of ideas”. Scientists are funded to talk to scientists. Anti-scientists are funded to talk to the public. Even the political parties aligned with the science scowl furiously at any effort to publicly think things through.

So how to fund a voice that is perceived as intelligent and independent, that engages with politics while representing science? The traditional structures of science and of politics and of journalism all fail us: not just me, who really would like to do that sort work if it existed somehow, but all of us, who need to think our way out of our quandary collectively.

Like Lyndon Johnson, we should recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: “Come, let us reason together.” That doesn’t mean ignoring the seriousness of our predicament, but on the other hand it doesn’t mean marching in lockstep either.

We have to butt heads or we won’t get anywhere. There’s my paraphrase of Isaiah 1:18.


I am going to try to do better with image credits, but I can’t track down the page the excellent drought photo was on. It is from a government site in New South Wales, Oz.
The grackle is available at Stuffed Ark .