Il ne faut jamais toucher un oisillon tombé du nid. Info ou intox ?

babybird« Si vous touchez un oisillon tombé du nid, il s’imprégnera de votre odeur et ses parents le laisseront mourir de faim »

On a tous entendu cette histoire étant gamins… Et dans la mesure où on n’est pas vraiment concerné, peu d’entre nous auront pris la peine de faire des recherches pour vérifier si cela tient la route ou pas. Pour ma part, je me posais la question depuis plusieurs décennies, mais n’ai vraiment cherché la réponse que parce que je devais répondre au quiz.

J’ai donc gaillardement lancé ma recherche et en lisant les premiers résultats, je me suis dit « cool, ça va être vite fait pour une fois, la réponse semble évidente ! » : Intox.

– Mon idole Dr Karl l’a écrit noir sur blanc en 2005 dans son livre « Dis Information and Other Wikkid Myths »  Intox car l’odorat des oiseaux n’est pas leur sens le plus développé

– Le très sérieux Scientific American dans un article de 2007 signé Robynne Boyd  nous dit intox également pour les mêmes raisons. Impossible pour l’odorat sous-développé d’un oiseau de détecter les traces d’odeur des grands primates que nous sommes sur leur délicate progéniture

– Le populaire Livescience tient le même discours : 1 c’est faux. 2 c’est parce que leur odorat n’est pas développé.

– Et d’autres sites démontent le mythe avec le même argument http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/babybird.asp , http://birding.about.com/od/birdbehavior/a/Bird-Senses.htm. Tandis que d’autres sources très sérieuses confirment que l’odorat des oiseaux est très limité https://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Avian_Sense.html

C’est marrant parce que pratiquement tous ces articles citent au moins une étude ou un chercheur pour étayer la première partie de la réponse (le bout qui dit « non, ce n’est pas vrai… On n’a observé précisément le contraire. Les oiseaux tiennent à leurs petits et font beaucoup d’efforts pour les récupérer »). En revanche, la partie de l’argumentaire qui tente d’expliquer pourquoi (le bout qui dit « le sens olfactif des oiseaux est moisi »), eh bien, celui-là ne semble jamais s’appuyer sur rien de concret. Comme si tout le monde savait que les oiseaux ne sentent pas et qu’il n’y a plus à se poser la question.

audubonEt effectivement, tout le monde le sait. Mais pas depuis toujours. Depuis 1820. Lorsque l’ornithologue américain John James Audubon (ou français, Jean-Jacques Audubon, question de perspective… C’était effectivement un français naturalisé américain), bref, Audubon, donc, démontra que les urubu à tête rouge (également appelés vautours Aura) se tapent complètement d’une odeur toute proche de cochon en stade avancé de décomposition, alors qu’ils foncent tête baissée sur un cerf empaillé qui ne sent rien. Il faut lui laisser qu’il a fait l’expérience. Sûr de ces conclusions, Audubon a donc déclaré une bonne fois pour toutes il y a bientôt deux siècles que les oiseaux ont un odorat insignifiant et tout le monde a joyeusement accepté l’idée sans broncher. Enfin pas tout à fait tout le monde… Il y a toujours des scientifiques qui challengent les savoirs que l’on croit intangibles. En 1960, Kenneth Stager a démontré pourquoi les vautours d’Audubon n’avaient pas touché au cochon : son était de décomposition était juste trop avancé. Le vautour est raffiné, vous comprenez, il aime que ses cadavres n’aient pas plus de quatre jours. Exit donc les conclusions d’Audubon. Stager a même pu montrer que cette même espèce a sens de l’odorat si développé qu’on pouvait compter sur eux pour détecter des fuites de gaz dans les pipelines (source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/69837/can-birds-smell). De nombreuses autres études depuis les années 1960 sont venues confirmer que les oiseaux ont bien un odorat plus ou moins développé selon les espèces. Certaines familles d’oiseaux dépendent même de leur odorat pour survivre, notamment les étournaux et autres sturnidés (http://www.nwf.org/news-and-magazines/national-wildlife/birds/archives/2013/bird-smell.aspx)

Mais bon, revenons à nos moutons… C’est bel et bien une intox. Les oiseaux ne vont pas rejeter leur petit parce qu’un humain les a remis dans le nid. Mais ce n’est pas forcément parce qu’ils ont un odorat sous-développé. C’est peut-être juste parce qu’ils tiennent à leurs petits.

Et encore un mythe de débunké, un ! Merci à toutes et à tous de votre participation. Du coup, je vous propose un nouveau quiz : « le coca est tellement acide qu’on peut s’en servir pour récurer les toilettes. Info ou intox ? »

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links for 10/22/2016

  • “Action verbs in action
    So next time you update your CV, consider using some of these verbs to bring your successes front and centre. For example, instead of writing that you managed a team, try verbs such as ‘directed’, ‘guided’, ‘motivated’, ‘recruited’ or ‘united’. I.e. ‘I united and motivated a team of five underperformers. After one year our customer service scores had increased 55%.’

    Rather than stating you have strong communication skills, use verbs like ‘wrote’, ‘published’, ‘edited’ or ‘swayed’.

    As opposed to writing that you have good organisation skills, try ‘facilitated’, ‘programmed’, ‘coordinated’, ‘allocated’ or ‘arranged’.

    And rather than writing that you always achieved your target goals, try ‘reached’, ‘surpassed’ or ‘accomplished’.

    Here’s are some action words to help you bring your achievements to life on your CV:

    Examples of action verbs
    Demonstrate your creativity: built, crafted, devised, implemented, pioneered, initiated, established

    Demonstrate your efficiency: enhanced, advanced, capitalised, maximised, leveraged, improved

    Demonstrate your leadership skills: headed, coordinated, executed, managed, operated, organised

    Demonstrate improvements made: refined, remodelled, strengthened, upgraded, transformed

    Demonstrate your management skills: guided, fostered, motivated, recruited, enabled, united

    Demonstrate bottom line contributions: reduced, decreased, consolidated, saved, yielded, increased

    Demonstrate overall achievements: awarded, exceeded, outperformed, surpassed, earned, granted”

    tags: cv hr resume tips

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links for 08/18/2016

  • “we examined return on investment for communication expenditures for “most-excellent” and “least-excellent” programs. 6 In the survey, CEOs were asked to estimate benefits that their organizations received from the dollars or pounds invested in communication. If the CEO said the organization received one dollar back for each dollar spent on communication, then communication benefits were even with costs. If two dollars in benefits were received for each communication dollar spent, then communication provided the organization with a positive return on investment. The CEO’s evaluation of return on investment is, admittedly, subjective. But consider this: The CEO’s judgments about costs and benefits are the very judgments that will determine if your budget and staff increase or decrease next year! Further, no other manager in the organization has the same vantage point as the CEO. The average return on investment from the CEOs in organizations with most-excellent communication programs was $2.66 for every dollar invested in communication. In contrast, CEOs of organizations with least-excellent communication programs reported only a $1.46 average return on investment for each dollar spent on communication. CEOs with most-excellent communication programs—as defined by the Excellence Study and as isolated in the Excellence Factor—see greater return on investment for communication expenditures than do CEOs with least-excellent programs.””

    tags: ROI communication 2.66

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Book review: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay AliveReasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A stunning insight into depression and anxiety. What they are, what they feel like and how amazingly incredible it is that this book was even written.

Reading this book is not depressing for one second. The author’s style is brilliant, witty, ironic, and reminds me a lot of Douglas Adams.

Maybe it’s the contrast, I don’t know, for I had just read an American self-help/personal-improvement book, but this one is so profound and authentic… And it contains marvelous quotes:

“Things people say to depressives that they don’t say in other life-threatening situations ‘COME ON, I know you’ve got tuberculosis, but it could be worse. At least no one’s died.’ ‘Why do you think you got cancer of the stomach?’ ‘Yes, I know, colon cancer is hard, but you want to try living with someone who has got it. Sheesh. Nightmare.’ ‘Oh, Alzheimer’s you say? Oh, tell me about it, I get that all the time.’ ‘Ah, meningitis. Come on, mind over matter.’ ‘Yes, yes, your leg is on fire, but talking about it all the time isn’t going to help things, is it?’ ‘Okay. Yes. Yes. Maybe your parachute has failed. But chin up.’”

“We use ‘depressed’ as a synonym for ‘sad’, which is fine, as we use ‘starving’ as a synonym for ‘hungry’, though the difference between depression and sadness is the difference between genuine starvation and feeling a bit peckish.”

“Maybe love is just about finding the person you can be your weird self with”

“If you are the type of person who thinks too much about stuff then there is nothing lonelier in the world than being surrounded by a load of people on a different wavelength”

“If you are the type of person who thinks too much about stuff then there is nothing lonelier in the world than being surrounded by a load of people on a different wavelength”

“Anxiety takes away all the commas and full stops we need to make sense of ourselves.”

“Being good feels good because it makes us remember that we are not the only person that matters in this world. We all matter because we are all alive. And so kindness is an active way in which we can see and feel the bigger picture. We are ultimately all the same thing. We are life. We are consciousness. And so by feeling part of humanity, rather than an isolated unit, we feel better. We might physically perish, like a cell in a body might perish, but the body of life continues. And so, in the sense that life is a shared experience, we continue.”

“Reading and writing are the most nourishing forms of meditation anyone has so far found”

And so many more…

Reasons to Stay Alive is definitely a book I want to read again, and I’ll get as many people I can to read it as well 🙂

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links for 08/07/2016

  • “Betty bought a bit of butter, but she found the butter bitter, so Betty bought a bit of better butter to make the bitter butter better.

    Bill had a billboard.
    Bill also had a board bill.
    The board bill bored Bill,
    So Bill sold his billboard
    And paid his board bill.
    Then the board bill
    No longer bored Bill,
    But though he had no board bill,
    Neither did he have his billboard!

    tags: diction exercices

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