Wed 4/15/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Animal in woods

Can you find the animal in these woods I photographed on King Street? if you do.

I think this is an appropriate picture for Tax Day, because, like animals in the woods, tax deductions are easy to overlook.

For example, did you remember to deduct as a medical expense what you paid for DietPower? You can do so as long as you are using our program against a health condition identified by your physician. Details.

One reason animals are so good at camouflage is that their coats have evolved to cancel the shading caused by overhead lighting. That's why their backs are darker than their bellies. In fact, this reverse shading is so precise that it even takes into account the curvature of their sides. "Obliterative shading," as zoologists call it, makes the animal appear flat against the background, instead of three-dimensional.

Obliterative shading and other visual marvels are amply illustrated in a classic monograph, Adaptive Coloration in Animals, originally published in 1940 by Hugh B. Cott, a British zoologist whose work strongly influenced the development of camouflage in World War II. I still remember what a wonder it was to read this book in my youth. It is now out of print, but I see a few copies for sale on Amazon.

One rare exception to obliterative shading is the skunk. Its belly is coal black, and its back is emblazoned with a pair of white stripes—exactly the opposite of camouflage. There's a simple reason for this: Every animal, including man, gives the skunk a wide berth because of its offensive chemical spray. Since it gains a strong advantage from being seen, the skunk has evolved markings that make it eminently visible even in twilight, when it is most active. (Animals who roam and feed at dusk or dawn are termed crepuscular. I've always liked that word. It's so much fun to say.)

No, the animal in this picture is not a skunk. If it were, you'd have seen it by now. Keep looking.

Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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