1. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has created a computer system that IDs bird photos that you upload. I haven’t tried it but it sounds really cool (now we just need one for wildflowers). Here’s the press release and here’s the tool itself (in beta right now).

2. This is a longer article discussing the essays of Rebecca Solnitt, in particular one about our homes–but it’s full of things to thing about and quotable quotes (“the weather-like volatility of a relationship,” a home as a “Platonic ideal” of our lives):

The house is the stage set for the drama we hope our lives will be or become. And it’s much easier to decorate the set than to control the drama or even find the right actors or even any actors at all. Thus the hankering for houses is often desire for a life, and the fervency with which we pursue them is the hope that everything will be all right, that we will be loved, that we will not be alone, that we will stop quarreling or needing to run away, that our lives will be measured, gracious, ordered, coherent, safe.
[…]Maybe the problem is pictures, that we think in pictures, and we want to: the point of a wedding may be to reduce the weather-like volatility of a relationship into an authoritative picture of cake, happiness, lace, and rented tuxedo. Homes too are imagined as they should be — the Platonic version — before the mail begins to pile up on the table, before the collapsible pool dominating the yard leaves a round ring of brown on the grass, before our bodies leave their imprints in the furniture and their smudges on the walls, before the apple tree took on that strange lopsided shape, before the floor lost its sheen, before the last 117 purchases buried the architecture altogether.
What better thing to read as one starts the planning stages of a bathroom remodel?