Sunday, March 16, 2008

Online from Fongoli village!

Yes, believe it or not, I am online direct from Fongoli village!

This means that I can now connect via satellite with my Primate Behavior distance education course for teleconferences, etc.

I must say I have been skeptical - as well as frustrated! But, the folks at Center for Distance Ed at ISU - and my T.A., Michael McCoy - kept after me to try again. Finally, with the help of Wally Camara, one of my field assistants, we got connected this morning. He spent about 20 minutes moving around in the sun (it was already in the 90's at 10 a.m. our time), trying to get a signal while I directed him from the computer side of things. Of course, it was before 5 a.m. in Ames, Iowa when I got on the internet, so there was no one awake to share in the excitement, tell me "I told you so", etc.

The next step is to try and transmit from out in the field with the chimps. I'd like to find a computer setup that is a little smaller (lighter!) though - the chimps have been nesting about 5 miles from here, and it is a long walk even without extra baggage - especially after being out in the heat for 15 hours! (The other day I was out for 17 hours after K.L. decided to eat Piliostigma seeds until 9:20 p.m.!!).

On another note, here is a link to the National Geographic article on the Fongoli chimps. It will be coming out in the April issue, but you can read it online and view some videos. You can also read about the photographers' experiences (Frans Lanting and Chris Ekstrom).

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