Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Corn Is Still On

Moxie Exits After a Bolt

Wee Wolf at a Den

One In, and One Observing

More Beef for the Same Feed

Steers and heifers are now adding 150-170 lbs in size with the same time and feed as compared to their brethren just 20 years ago. Hormones, feed, and antibiotics, combined with selective breeding abetted by artificial insemination, are all at work.

Twice the Bird, in Half the Time, With Less Feed

Thanks to unnatural selection alone (no hormones are used) today's meat chickens are more than twice as big, in half the time, at a cost of less than half the feed per pound, and with one fifth the mortality of their brethren 65 years ago.

More Eggs and Less Disease and Death

Unnatural selection has resulted in tremendous gains in egg production, with hens moving from 150 eggs a year in the 1930s, and a mortality rate of about 40 percent, to 250 eggs per year, and a mortality rate of just 5 percent.

Fewer Milk Cows and More Milk

Improved efficiency in milk production has enabled the U.S. dairy industry to produce 186 billion pounds of milk from 9.2 million cows in 2007, as compared to only 117 billion pounds of milk from 25.6 million cows in 1944.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Please Ignore the Metaphor

The Circle of Milk

This is an automatic high-volume cow milking machine. The cows load themselves, automatic milking machines are attached to the udders, and the wheel rotates to load the next cow. By the time one revolution has occurred, the cow is milked, the machine is detached, and the cow leaves happy to have its load taken off.

A single farm can milk 32,000 cows, providing milk to 8 million people. Milk cows live for about 7 years before falling out of milk production to become hamburger and hot dogs (hot dogs are often made from cow udders).

These are veal calfs, which are slaughtered at 4-6 months of age, and are almost always male, as the industry is a by-product of the dairy industry which has no need for 99.9 percent of all male cows produced.

A Brief Spark of Life

As I was taking these pictures, I realized that in a few months these photos may be the only evidence these animals ever existed -- such is the ephemeral nature of all life on the planet.  Later today I will roam field and forest where animals have lived and died for scores of thousands of years, and there will be no evidence at all of their previous existence.  What lasts?  Not much.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Coffee and Provocation

The "Secret" to Successful Weight Loss?
It turns out that smaller dinners and no snacks after dinner is a critical component of successful weight loss.

State Department Abusing Dogs
The US State Department continues to send anti-terrorism dogs to Jordan where they are abused, neglected, and die.

A Narwhal - Beluga Hybrid?
It turns out narwhals and beluga whales can interbreed and occasionally produce offspring.

Birth Control That Works and Works
A contraceptive computer chip that can be controlled by remote control has been developed in Massachusetts with the backing of Bill Gates. The chip is implanted under a woman's skin, and releases a small dose of the hormone levonorgestrel, every day for 16 years. It can be stopped at any time by using a wireless remote control, and is in pre-clinical trials.

Just Don't
Don't put wasps in your vagina.

Sea Hedgehogs?
Sea urchins are called “sea urchins” because hedgehogs were called “urchins” until about the 15th century. Therefore, sea urchins are ocean hedgehogs.

Not Extinct?
Is Schomburgk's deer (Rucervus schomburgki) extincy. It was added to the extinction list in 1938, but apparently it was alive in Laos as late as 1991.

A Freaky Truth
Your skeleton is always floating at least 5 millimeters above the ground.

Altering Human Genes
Doctors altered a person's genes with CRISPR for the first time in the U.S. in order to cure sickle cell anemia.

Heaven's Next Band?
Watching the now-dead Merle Haggard on TV as part of Ken Burn's paean to country music reminds me that Loretta Lyn is 87, Willie Nelson is 86, Charley Pride is 85, George Jones is 81, and Mavis Staples is 80. Bob Dylan is 78 years old and Chet Atkins, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Carole King and Brian Wilson are 77.  Mick Jagger is 76 and Keith Richards, Joni Mitchell, Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, Roger Waters, and Ray Davies are 75. Debbie Harry, Eric Clapton, and Rod Stewart are 74, and Neil Young and Dolly Parton are 73, as is Van Morrison.

Bringing in the Green

Biking to the County Fair

It's a very short bicycle ride from my house to the place I had coffee and breakfast, and then it's down water-lily filled Carroll Creek (pictured) to the County Fair where a midway of rides is surrounded by heart-clogging food stalls that, in turn, are surrounded by pigs, sheep, goats, cows, chickens, horses, and a plethora of baked and sewn goods, collections, and display crops.

Pigs Not in a Poke

‪A drift of baby pigs at the local County Fair today. Baby pigs are hard to contain, and in medieval times were sold in a sack — a “pig in a poke”. Fraudsters were said to sometimes slip in a cat, hence the term, “let the cat out of the bag.”‬

Chickens at the County Fair

Monday, September 16, 2019

Nature or Nurture?

Have you ever noticed that the folks who have been fighting dogs for 20 years or more are focused on breeding lines, while the folks who just got their first Pit Bull are quite sure it's all in how you raise them? 

Richard F. Stratton wrote pit bull columns for the UKC’s “Bloodlines” magazine. Thanks to Heather H. for posting the excerpt from this book.

How Do You Judge Eggs?

Sunday, September 15, 2019