Monday, 18 February 2013

The President's Desk



Many presidents have used the Resolute desk in the Oval Office or the their study in the Residence. It was made from the timbers of HMS Resolute, an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and returned to the Queen of England as a token of friendship and goodwill. When the ship was retired, Queen Victoria commissioned the desk from William Evenden, Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, England, and presented to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880.

The desk has twice been modified. Franklin Roosevelt requested that the kneehole be fitted with a modesty panel carved with the presidential seal (he preferred people not see his leg braces and often placed a waste basket in front of his desks), but he did not live to see it installed. However, President Truman liked the eagle motif and had it installed when he came into office in 1945. Since this was prior to Truman's decision to turn the head of the eagle in the presidential seal to face the olive branch of peace, the eagle in the Resolute's modesty panel faces the arrows of war.

Every president since Hayes—except Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford—has used the Resolute desk, although some chose to use it in their private study in the Residence. The desk was made famous in part by a photograph of John Kennedy at work while his son, John Jr., peeked out the front through the kneehole panel.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Resolute desk

The Resolute desk is a large, nineteenth-century partners' desk often chosen by presidents of the United States for use in the White House Oval Office as the Oval Office desk. It was a gift from Queen Victoria to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and was built from the timbers of the British Arctic Exploration ship Resolute. Many presidents since Hayes have used the desk at various locations in the White House, but it was Jackie Kennedy who first brought the desk into the Oval Office in 1961 for President John F. Kennedy. It was removed from the White House only once, after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, when President Johnson allowed the desk to go on a traveling exhibition with the Kennedy Presidential Library. After this it was on display in the Smithsonian Institution. President Jimmy Carter brought the desk back to the Oval Office, where Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Barack Obama have used it.One of the best known photos of the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office shows John F. Kennedy sitting at the desk with his son, John Kennedy Jr., peeking out from a panel that was installed to hide President Roosevelt's leg braces and wheelchair.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Clark's Nutcracker


Clark's Nutcracker

The most important food resources for this species are the seeds of Pines (Pinus sp.), principally the two cold-climate (high altitude) species of white pine (Pinus subgenus Strobus) with large seeds P. albicaulis and P. flexilis, but also using other high-altitude species like P. balfouriana, P. longaeva and P. monticola. During migrations to lower altitudes, it also extensively uses the seeds of pinyon pines. The isolated Cerro Potosí population is strongly associated with the local endemic Potosi Pinyon Pinus culminicola. All Clark's Nutcrackers have a sublingual pouch capable of holding around 50-150 seeds, depending on the size of the seeds; the pouch greatly enhances the birds' ability to transport and store seeds.

Clark's Nutcrackers store seeds, usually in the ground for later consumption, in caches of 1-15 seeds (average of 3-4 seeds). Depending on the cone crop as well as the tree species, a single Clark's Nutcracker can cache as many as 98,000 seeds per season. The birds regularly store more than they actually need as an insurance against seed theft by other animals (squirrels, etc.), as well as low availability of alternative foods; this surplus seed is left in the cache, and may be able to germinate and grow into new trees, if the conditions are right. Through this activity of caching and over-storing, the bird is perpetuating its own habitat. Closely tied in with this storage behavior is the bird's remarkable long-term spatial memory; they are able to relocate caches of seeds with remarkable accuracy, even nine months later, and even when the cache sites are buried under up to a meter (3 ft) of snow.

The diet also includes a wide range of insect prey, berries and other fruits, small mammals and occasionally flesh from carcasses. Eggs and nestlings are sometimes devoured, and peanuts and suet have become a favorite at bird tables. Food is taken both from the ground and from trees, where the Nutcrackers are very agile among the branches. The birds are able to extract food by clasping pine cones in such a way that the cones are held between one or both feet. The birds then hack the cones open with their strong bills. Rotten logs are also hacked into in order to locate large beetle grubs, and animal dung may be flipped over in search of insects. Clark's Nutcrackers can also be opportunistic feeders in developed areas, and are know to some as "camp robbers".