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Programming Collective Intelligence by Toby Segaran

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Colophon

The animals on the cover of Programming Collective Intelligence are King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus). Although named for the Patagonia region, King Penguins no longer breed in South America; the last colony there was wiped out by 19th-century sealers. Today, these penguins are found on sub-Antarctic islands such as Prince Edward, Crozet, Macquarie, and Falkland Islands. They live on beaches and flat glacial lands near the sea. King penguins are extremely social birds; they breed in colonies of as many as 10,000 and raise their young in crèches.

Standing 30 inches tall and weighing up to 30 pounds, the King is one of the largest types of penguin—second only to its close relative the Emperor penguin. Apart from size, the major identifying feature of the King penguin is the bright orange patches on its head that extend down to its silvery breast plumage. These penguins have a sleek body frame and can run on land, instead of hopping like Emperor penguins. They are well adapted to the sea, eating a diet of fish and squid, and can dive down 700 feet, far deeper than most other penguins go. Because males and females are similar in size and appearance, they are distinguished by behavioral clues such as mating rituals.

King penguins do not build nests; instead, they tuck their single egg under their bellies and rest it on their feet. No other bird has a longer breeding cycle than these penguins, who breed twice every three years and fledge a single chick. The chicks are round, ...

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