Thursday, July 30, 2009

Coffee and Provocation

  • Scientists Discover The Most Obvious Thing About Dogs:
    Science Daily reports
    : "Dog breeds selected to work in visual contact with humans, such as sheep dogs and gun dogs, are better able to comprehend a pointing gesture than those breeds that usually work without direct supervision." Follow up research is expected to show that almost anyone can train a retriever.

  • Worst Veterinary Offer Not in a Godfather Movie:
    Back in February, Bayer was bribing gave out $20 "discount coupons" for "preventative" veterinary care to people who clicked on an online offer. Eh? A discount on what, you might wonder? Why, for whatever unnamed problem, test or disease the veterinarian could come up with on the spot. Oh, and don't worry: there would be no upcoding or price-gouging. Promise! It reminds me of the woman who spent $5 a day on lottery tickets. I would have told her she was a loser for only $3 a day.

  • NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg Try to Confiscate a Flintlock
    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Police Department say a man needs to register his smoke-pole flintlock, despite a New York City law that says he most definitely does not have to register it. Terrierman wants to see Mayor Bloomberg's original birth certificate.

  • Idaho's Wide-Stance Consultant:
    Former Senator Larry Craig, of "dollar-tug-job" fame (allegedly) is back in business.

  • How the British See the Republican Party:
    From The Independent: "What leadership there is, so it seems to this ignorant observer across the ocean, comes from the grass roots ... the sort of God fearin', gun-totin', sister-shaggin' sweethearts who screeched 'terrorist' and 'kill him' when John McCain mentioned Obama on the stump."

  • The Continuing Crisis:
    Oral Sex Cause of Throat Cancer Rise.

  • The $64 Tomato:
    This looks like a book I might enjoy, but best of all, there's a
    free NPR summary with a nice audio interview of the author telling how he battled a groundhog which took 10,000 volts from an electric fence and kept on coming. Nice. Check it out.

  • Organic is Not Healthier for You:
    There is no evidence that organically-produced foods are nutritionally superior to conventionally produced foods, according to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
    Left unasked is whether dumping vast quantities of bug-damaged fruits and vegetables while employing large numbers of illegal alien to do the weeding, is better for the environment than pesticide and herbicides.

  • Got Farm Workers?
    Dairy farm jobs are as steady as a clock, but The Wall Street Journal reports that farms are hiring illegal aliens because most Americans find hard physical work in a rural setting for $11.38 an hour not all that appealing. Says dairy man Ray Souza: "I haven't had a non-Hispanic want to do this work in 10 years." Souza and his fellow dairy men are now lobbying Congress for more foreign workers. They claim year-round dairy work is "a job an American won't do." Meanwhile, agricultural economist Phil Martin at the University of California at Davis says if labor costs go up a little more (i.e. if we enforce our immigration laws a little better), higher wages might spur the kind of investments in dairy technology needed to attract American workers.

  • Hell Freezes Over at the U.S.-Mexico Border:
    The Center for Immigration Studies
    reports that "Our best estimate is that the illegal alien population declined 13.7 percent (1.7 million) from a peak of 12.5 million in the summer of 2007 to 10.8 million in the first quarter of 2009."

  • Small Signs of Hope:
    Nepal reports that they have 121 breeding tigers left -- more than many experts expected. In Cambodia, researchers have discovered that the extremely rare white-shouldered ibis does better with some human activity around, as these birds prefer to forage in open and accessible sites with low vegetation and bare soil.

Order your coffee mug with your breed.


Gina said...

"Follow up research is expected to show that almost anyone can train a retriever."

HEY! I represent that remark!

Rocambole said...

HA! I heard the "organic food isn't so great" on the BBC NewsHour this morning on NPR and knew you would be all over it.

However, did you hear the follow-up interview with the organic lady who had read the report?

The audio file is here:

BBC NewsHour

Also available

(The audio file for the report I heard is in this line.)

Clashes in Iran as opposition remembers slain protestor, and is organic food a con?

Supposedly, the appendix says that organic foods had more anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. I can't find the report, but if you do, post a link and then we'll diccuss it more! :-)


retrieverman said...

The interesting thing about that study wasn't that gun dogs and herders are good at following gestures.

The finding that dogs with long muzzles and widely placed eyes can't follow the gesture is more interesting.

That's why people think sighthounds are stupid. They definitely are not. Afghan hounds are actually rather clever dogs.

It's just they don't exist in the same visual environment that retrievers and collie-types experience.

I have had experience with scent-hound, spitz, retriever, and terrier puppies. The main thing about retriever puppies is they pay attention to your voice from a very early age, much more so than the other types do.

It's kind of disconcerting to have 9 or 10 retriever puppies staring at you while you are talking to someone. Its this attention to the human voice, I think, that makes them easy to regiment.

That said, I'm very leery of the suggestion that retrievers and herders are "smarter" than other breeds. They are "smarter" than other breeds at the task for which they are bred. And a lot of it has to do with innate wiring towards paying attention to the human voice and the innate predatory motor patterns.

Christine said...

Is it just me, or are those coffee mugs sort of creepy?

PBurns said...

No, I think you are right: kinda creepy. :)


Gayle said...

"Follow up research is expected to show that almost anyone can train a retriever."

As a breeder of working retrievers, I can assure you that statement is NOT true.

Gayle Watkins
Gaylan's Golden Retrievers