A conversation between two university professors
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Listen to a conversation between two university professors.
Dr P: Oh, hello, Frank. Have a break, do you?
Dr Q: Hello, Charlie. Yes. It's been a long morning. A lecture and a lab. So I thought I deserved a cappuccino. Or- what's that?
P: This? It's a macchiato.
Q: A what?
P: A macchiato. It's stronger than a cappuccino, not as strong as an espresso. The Golden Mean.
Q: Oh. Perhaps I'll try one of those, then. Which buttons do I push?
P: Haven't you got the hang of this machine yet? Let me do it for you. Here- just push the one that says 'macchiato', and the machine'll do the rest.
Q: Oh.... Ah, you're a mechanical genius, Frank.
P: (laughs) No, you're just mechanically challenged.
Q: Maybe. I tell my wife that, anyway. Every time she asks me to fix something around the house. It doesn't work very well, though. There we are. (He takes his coffee.)
P: What do you think?
Q: Mmm. Pretty good. Needs sugar, though. How are you plans for your sabbatical coming? When is it you leave, again?
P: July first. I've got to get set up on the coast as soon as possible. Migration will be underway. Some juveniles will've already left the Arctic breeding grounds by late June.
Q: Got everything you need?
P: I've made all the arrangements, yes. That's no problem. I've got my flight booked, and I found an inexpensive summer cottage right on the flats.
Q: And 'inexpensive' means...?
P: It's only two hundred bucks a week.
Q: On the beach? At Cape Cod? That's fantastic- how'd you manage that?
P: Easy- I booked it through October, and they gave me a deal. October's way past the tourist season.
P: And I've got my own gear ready to go, of course- boots and rain gear and waterproof camera and waterproof pens. (laughs)
Q: (laughs) Expecting some wet weather?
P: Bound to be some. But I'm still waiting for the stuff I ordered from Scientific Supply, the stuff that's critical.
Q: What's that, leg rings?
P: Yes, leg bands, crimpers- I broke my old ones- and my new mist nets. Without them, there's no point in going- I can't catch anything...except a cold.
Q: Got your permit?
P: Oh, mine's good for five more years yet there in Massachusetts.
Q: Did you contact Scientific?
P: Yes. They shipped last week, but still no sign. I'm getting worried. I really can't delay my departure. I've got to ring for the whole season if I want to get a, a large enough sample size to be statistically, uh, significant.
Q: The whole migration season?
P: That's right. Shorebird numbers have been very low over the past ten or so years- and they're getting lower . I'll be lucky if I can net as many as a thousand or so birds altogether- and that's for all species. As it is, the only ones that should show up in significant numbers are dunlin and sanderlings.
Q: Why are the, the numbers down?
P: Well, that's what we're trying to figure out.
Q: Global warming?
P: Some ornithologists think so. The warming Arctic is affecting breeding success. Others say it's loss of feeding habitat along the migration routes. Land fills continue to devour the reed beds and mudflats all along the coast, Maine to Florida. It's awful, Frank.
Q: They both sound like reasonable causes. Maybe a combination of both?
P: Probably. To say nothing of the hungry South Americans who eat these guys.
Q: What? Seriously?
P: Well, yes- shorebirds are a delicacy where they winter. Ironic, isn't it?- they fly south to avoid freezing to death, and they get cooked instead. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. But I don't think that's a major cause, really. Environmental awarenesss is seeping southward. So I think that's a lessening problem.
Q: Well, I hope you get some answers this fall.
P: We'll get started at it, anyway. I'm recording body weight, and we should start getting some returns on the leg bands in, oh, December or January, I think.
Q: If your nets arrive.
P: Yes, if my equipment arrives. As a matter of fact, I've got to run. I want to stop by the campus post office once more before my next class, just to see if it's come in.
Q: Won't they ring you when it arrives?
P: Not the US Postal Service! I should've asked them to send it UPS. Save a nickel, spend a dollar. I should've learned that by now.
Q: Well, with the budgets they give us on these grants, we kind of get stuck in that mindset, don't we?
P: I have, anyway, I guess. Talk to you later, Charlie.
Q: OK. Good luck, Frank.
Where does this conversation probably take place?
What is Frank's problem?
What will Frank probably do next?
Why does Charlie have a macchiato?
Why does Charlie say this: "Well, with the budgets they give us on these grants, we kind of get stuck in that mindset, don't we?"