Spring starts today, at least in my home latitudes. Spring is something I have mixed feelings toward. It’s nice to be able to go outside in the same clothes you wear inside; it’s nice to see the birds migrating back through; it’s nice to see green return to the trees. But Spring is also a soggy time, and a gray time, at least in Michigan. Around here, it’s the ugliest season.
The first half of the round of 16 has aired. At least, seven of those nine fights aired. A fight lasts, at most, three minutes, which means that nine fights are at most twenty-seven minutes. Given that a BattleBots episode airs over the course of two hours, a lot of people, myself included, are a bit upset that two fights were left unaired, apparently to serve as bonus content for BattleBots financial backers. In any case, they’re on the YouTube channel now. Let’s break the start of the tournament down:
- MALICE v SKORPIOS - The play-in match to determine who would be the first in the tournament to face Endgame went to Skorpios fairly easily.
- SHATTER v RIPTIDE - I had Shatter winning this fight on my bracket, but they just never got a good opportunity to really hit Riptide where it counted. Riptide kept control of the fight and earned a win over a good bot.
- HYPERSHOCK v P1 - I also got this one wrong on my bracket. Hypershock suffered a weapons failure at the end of the fight, which I think is what clinched the judges’ decision to give the win to P1. The driving behind P1 really was excellent in this fight.
- BLOODSPORT v MINOTAUR - Bloodsport is a good bot, but, when filling out my bracket, I didn’t think they were any match for Minotaur. For the first time in the night, I was right.
- SAWBLAZE v HIJINX - The most impressive performance of the night was Sawblaze’s steady, deliberate breaking down of Hijinx. Sawblaze is a terrifyingly effective bot who I predict will win its next fight as well.
- WITCH DOCTOR v MAMMOTH - I had Glitch winning this fight. They were listed on the bracket, but had to pull out due to pre-fight weapons issues. Which I’m actually more upset about than I am about the unaired fights, considering BattleBots is not live TV; season 6 was filmed last August. They could have just listed Mammoth on the bracket, and I obviously would have picked Witch Doctor to win.
- ENDGAME v SKORPIOS - The reigning champs made beating Skorpios look easy, which it isn’t. If Endgame beats Minotaur in the next round, I don’t think there’s another bot with hopes to beat them this year.
And here are those two unaired fights (HUGE v UPPERCUT and LUCKY v COPPERHEAD), which, unlike last Thursday’s broadcast, I won’t spoil, besides to say I was right about both on my bracket.
Bird of the Week
I actually had plans to draw an entirely different bird this past weekend, but then a Carolina wren alit right outside my window and sang “draw-me-please, draw-me-please, draw-me-please”, and I’m nothing if not accommodating.
The Carolina wren is the most brightly colored of the nine species of wren found in North America, which isn’t saying much. There are over eighty species of true wren, with most of those found in Central and South America, and only one found in Eurasia. Wrens are small birds, often among the smallest in their ranges. Their drab appearance and taste for dense bramble and grass make them difficult to spot. Their songs, however, are quite notable, complex and loudly sung. When two wrens are present, they will sing duets.
While some wrens are migratory, Carolina wrens are resident. Their range covers the eastern United States, with very little overlap into Mexico or Canada. Like other wrens, they are roughly egg-shaped, with a gently curved beak extending from the narrow end and a long, thin tail held upright from the wide end. They are distinguished from other wrens by a bold white mark above their eyes, and by the softly golden color of their breasts.
The Carolina wren is the state bird of South Carolina, and was featured on that state's commemorative quarter-dollar coin. The bird was named after the region, which was, in turn, named after Charles I of England. Its scientific name references another state named for another king. Thryothorus ludovicianus means “reed-leaper of Louisiana”.
So Subtle a Catch | Simon Parkin, Harper's
Carp. Held in contempt in America, eaten at Christmas in Poland, and kept as pets in Japan, how those large, freshwater bottom-dwelling fish are perceived varies through their territory. In England, they’re prized targets of catch-and-release anglers, for whom landing one of forty pounds or heavier is a life achievement. But, like much hunting and fishing in Britain, carp catching in the best lakes is an exclusive club with a costly entry fee, and carp poaching is met by armed guards.
Déneigement Montreal | Hillary Predko, The Prepared
In most cities, snowfalls are followed by small battalions of plow trucks shoving snow off to the edges of the roads and laying salt to melt the thin layer that remains. But in Montreal, so much snow can fall that simple plowing isn't enough. Up there, they need to truck the snow away, and that's only the first step.
To Build a Fire | Fx Goby
[VIDEO] [FICTION] An adaptation of the classic naturalistic short story by Jack London. A man sets out alone with his dog across the Yukon.
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