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Sunday March 27, 2022
Some magpies in Australia proved themselves smarter than a group of scientists. Magpies are known for their intelligence; they belong the corvid family which also includes crows and ravens.
A month ago, Australian ornithologists hoped to learn more about how wild magpies socialize. So they devised miniature backpack transmitters, weighing less than a gram, that they could strap onto individual magpies.
They designed the backpack so that the magpie carrying it couldn’t possibly remove it.
They reckoned without the intervention of other magpies.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: altruism, Magpies, Australia
While I worked in Toronto, a group from our office made regular trips downtown to give blood.
On one of those trips, I saw a man I knew walking aimlessly along the street. “Don!” I called. “Come and join us. We’re going to give blood.”
I knew Don McCallum from his time as a minister in Newfoundland. I had visited him twice in Baie Verte; he had written articles for the magazine I edited, the United Church Observer. As we lay in adjoining tiltback chairs, filling our bags of blood, he told me that he had felt that he was in Toronto because he felt that God was calling him to move on.
He didn’t mention that he had been in Toronto for several weeks already. He hadn’t found a church that needed him. He was broke, despondent, and homeless. He had just 23 cents left in his pocket.
“I was about to give up,” he told me years later. “I thought I had nothing left to give. And then you showed me that I did still have something. I could give some of my blood to someone who needed it.”
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: blood, blood donors, Canadian Blood services, Dalai Lama, altruism