Dogs live in the present – they just are! Dogs make the best of each moment uncluttered by the sorts of complex fears and feelings that we humans have. They don’t judge, they simply take the world around them at face value. Yet they have been part of man’s world for an unimaginable time, at least 30,000 years. That makes the domesticated dog the longest animal companion to man, by far!
As man’s companion, protector and helper, history suggests that dogs were critically important in man achieving success as a hunter-gatherer. Dogs ‘teaching’ man to be so successful a hunter enabled evolution, some 20,000 years later, to farming, thence the long journey to modern man. But in the last, say 100 years, that farming spirit has become corrupted to the point where we see the planet’s plant and mineral resources as infinite. Mankind is close to the edge of extinction, literally and spiritually.
Dogs know better, much better! Time again for man to learn from dogs!
As I spoke about yesterday in my introduction, when my mother remarried my sister and I had a new man about the house, so to speak. He was Richard Mills.
I was 13 or thereabouts and already struggling with my school work (the result of my father’s sudden death). And ‘Dad’ as we called him was finding his feet in the strange world of going from having no children to instantly having two step children!
Anyway, Dad found a theme with me that I enjoyed: building a shortwave radio receiver. It was full of learning for me and over the years I became hooked on listening to radio stations both near and far transmitting in morse code. I also joined the Harrow Radio Society and went across to their weekly meetings by tube and bus. (Despite the Society no longer being at the Harrow address it is amazing that they are still going strong.)
It was also a time when there was a great deal of ‘radio surplus’ equipment going for next to nothing and I ‘upgraded’ to an R-1152 receiver.
In time I became sufficiently old to take driving lessons and pass my driving licence. I then got a secondhand car. It helped because then I could drive up to Bushey and spend Sunday mornings at the house of Ron Ray. Ron was a keen amateur. On Sunday mornings Ron had a small group of people who wanted to pass the morse code test and apply for a licence.
I was already a member of the RSGB, the Radio Society of Great Britain, and that surely encouraged me further to study for my amateur licence.
In time, I sat the exam and much to my amazement passed!
So that is the story of me and amateur radio.
Well, almost the full story.
In 1963 I volunteered for the Royal Naval Reserve, London Division. In time I was accepted and chose the join the radio branch, my G3PUK status coming in useful, because I reckoned that when we went to sea, on flat-bottomed minesweepers, it was better to be sick into a bucket between the knees than be sick on deck!
Two days of nostalgia follow! (You have been warned!)
As many of you already know, my father died fairly suddenly on December 20th, 1956. I had turned 12 some six weeks previously.
After about a year my mother remarried. His name was Richard Mills. Richard came to live at the house in Toley Avenue and had the unenviable task of taking on a new ‘son’ and ‘daughter’. (My sister, Elizabeth, some four years younger than I.)
Richard was a technical author in the newly-arrived electronics industry and one day he asked me if I would like to build a short-wave receiver. He coached me in the strange art of soldering wires and radio valves and other components and in the end I had a working receiver. That led, in turn, to me studying for an amateur radio licence. More of that tomorrow.
Simply elegant, Morse code marks 175 years and counting
The elegantly simple code works whether flashing a spotlight or blinking your eyes—or even tapping on a smartphone touchscreen
By Eddie King
Ph.D. Student in Electrical Engineering, University of South Carolina
May 21st, 2019
The first message sent by Morse code’s dots and dashes across a long distance traveled from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore on Friday, May 24, 1844 – 175 years ago. It signaled the first time in human history that complex thoughts could be communicated at long distances almost instantaneously. Until then, people had to have face-to-face conversations; send coded messages through drums, smoke signals and semaphore systems; or read printed words.
Thanks to Samuel F.B. Morse, communication changed rapidly, and has been changing ever faster since. He invented the electric telegraph in 1832. It took six more years for him to standardize a code for communicating over telegraph wires. In 1843, Congress gave him US$30,000 to string wires between the nation’s capital and nearby Baltimore. When the line was completed, he conducted a public demonstration of long-distance communication.
Morse wasn’t the only one working to develop a means of communicating over the telegraph, but his is the one that has survived. The wires, magnets and keys used in the initial demonstration have given way to smartphones’ on-screen keyboards, but Morse code has remained fundamentally the same, and is still – perhaps surprisingly – relevant in the 21st century. Although I have learned, and relearned, it many times as a Boy Scout, an amateur radio operator and a pilot, I continue to admire it and strive to master it.
Morse’s key insight in constructing the code was considering how frequently each letter is used in English. The most commonly used letters have shorter symbols: “E,” which appears most often, is signified by a single “dot.” By contrast, “Z,” the least used letter in English, was signified by the much longer and more complex “dot-dot-dot (pause) dot.”
In 1865, the International Telecommunications Union changed the code to account for different character frequencies in other languages. There have been other tweaks since, but “E” is still “dot,” though “Z” is now “dash-dash-dot-dot.”
The reference to letter frequency makes for extremely efficient communications: Simple words with common letters can be transmitted very quickly. Longer words can still be sent, but they take more time.
The communications system that Morse code was designed for – analogue connections over metal wires that carried a lot of interference and needed a clear on-off type signal to be heard – has evolved significantly.
The first big change came just a few decades after Morse’s demonstration. In the late 19th century, Guglielmo Marconi invented radio-telegraph equipment, which could send Morse code over radio waves, rather than wires.
The shipping industry loved this new way to communicate with ships at sea, either from ship to ship or to shore-based stations. By 1910, U.S. law required many passenger ships in U.S. waters to carry wireless sets for sending and receiving messages.
Aviators also use Morse code to identify automated navigational aids. These are radio beacons that help pilots follow routes, traveling from one transmitter to the next on aeronautical charts. They transmit their identifiers – such as “BAL” for Baltimore – in Morse code. Pilots often learn to recognize familiar-sounding patterns of beacons in areas they fly frequently.
There is a thriving community of amateur radio operators who treasure Morse code, too. Among amateur radio operators, Morse code is a cherished tradition tracing back to the earliest days of radio. Some of them may have begun in the Boy Scouts, which has made learning Morse variably optional or required over the years. The Federal Communications Commission used to require all licensed amateur radio operators to demonstrate proficiency in Morse code, but that ended in 2007. The FCC does still issue commercial licenses that require Morse proficiency, but no jobs require it anymore.
Because its signals are so simple – on or off, long or short – Morse code can also be used by flashing lights. Many navies around the world use blinker lights to communicate from ship to ship when they don’t want to use radios or when radio equipment breaks down. The U.S. Navy is actually testing a system that would let a user type words and convert it to blinker light. A receiver would read the flashes and convert it back to text.
Perhaps the most notable modern use of Morse code was by Navy pilot Jeremiah Denton, while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In 1966, about one year into a nearly eight-year imprisonment, Denton was forced by his North Vietnamese captors to participate in a video interview about his treatment. While the camera focused on his face, he blinked the Morse code symbols for “torture,” confirming for the first time U.S. fears about the treatment of service members held captive in North Vietnam.
Navy pilot Jeremiah Denton, a prisoner of war, blinks Morse code spelling out ‘torture’ during a forced interview with his captors.
There are still many ways people can learn Morse code, and practice using it, even online. In emergency situations, it can be the only mode of communications that will get through. Beyond that, there is an art to Morse code, a rhythmic, musical fluidity to the sound. Sending and receiving it can have a soothing or meditative feeling, too, as the person focuses on the flow of individual characters, words and sentences. Overall, sometimes the simplest tool is all that’s needed to accomplish the task.
I do hope you read this article in full because it contains much interesting information. Many people will not have a clue about The Morse Code and, as you can see above, it is still relevant.
Finally, I can still remember the The Morse Code after all these years!
Eating Your Veggies Is a Better Way to Get Your Vitamins Than Taking Supplements, Study Shows
Vitamins in some supplements were actually harmful at high doses, while exceeding the daily nutritional limit in food didn’t show the same risk.
By Jason Daley
smithsonian.com, April 15, 2019,
Dietary supplements, including daily vitamins, have been a part of life in the United States for decades. In fact, people spend $30 billion per year on various pills, powders, gummies and tinctures to help improve their health, boost their brain, lose weight, build muscle and strengthen their immune system.
But a new extensive study suggests many people may be better off spending all that disposable income at the farmer’s market or grocery store produce section to buy spinach, tomatoes and other vitamin-packed veggies instead, according to a paper published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed data from 27,725 participants in the Centers for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Each volunteer, all over the age of 20, logged what they ate for 24 hours and what supplements they took in the previous 30 days. The data was collected between 1999 and 2010.
Linda Carroll at NBC News reports that during the study’s six-year follow-up period, 3,613 participants died, including 945 from cardiovascular disease and 805 from cancer. Using that data, the study team found that getting enough vitamin K—found in leafy greens—and magnesium—found in legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish and meat—were associated with a lower mortality rate. Getting the recommended dose of vitamin K, zinc and vitamin A was linked to lower mortality rates associated with cardiovascular disease.
And it turned out that taking 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day in supplement form was associated with increased cancer risk, while getting excess calcium from food did not seem to increase those risks.
“Our results support the idea that, while supplement use contributes to an increased level of total nutrient intake, there are beneficial associations with nutrients from foods that aren’t seen with supplements,” Fang Fang Zhang of Tufts University, the study’s senior author, says in a statement. “This study also confirms the importance of identifying the nutrient source when evaluating mortality outcomes.”
At first glance, the data suggested that supplement users might have better outcomes than non-vitamin takers. But Beth Mole at Ars Technica reports that supplement users tend to be wealthier and more educated than non-users, smoke less, exercise more, and have an overall healthier diet. When those factors were accounted for, the benefits of supplements disappeared. (It’s possible that supplements are helpful for portions of the population that suffer from certain nutritional deficiencies.)
The study has some limitations. Mole reports that the NHANES data relies on participants self-reporting what they eat and what supplements they take, which means the data might not be entirely accurate. The study is observational, meaning any relationship between nutrients in food and certain diseases is merely an association and does not imply causation.
Still, the study’s overall message is that supplements are not a silver bullet for health.
“I don’t think you can undo the effect of a bad diet by taking supplements,” Rekha Kumar, an endocrinologist at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, who was not involved in the study tells NBC’s Carroll.
This isn’t the first study to question the power of nutritional supplements. A paper last year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that using multivitamins did not provide any apparent benefits but did not cause any harm either.
In fact, taking some supplements have negative consequences. A 2011 study found that taking vitamin E, which was hypothesized to help prevent prostate cancer, actually increased the chances of developing the disease in men instead.
Zhang and her colleagues say that much more research needs to be undertaken to confirm and understand these findings since there are so many other factors that play a role in overall health.
H’mmm. It would be a braver person than I to come off the range of supplements that I take. And we are vegan as well!
A delightful story of one man’s bravery for another – dog!
This was published on The Daily Dodo a week ago and really does need retelling.
It shows how much we love our dogs.
Man Jumps Into An NYC River To Save A Drowning Dog
Ever since she was adopted from North Shore Animal League in March 2017, Harper has been absolutely head over heels for her mom, Erin O’Donnell, but is definitely a little nervous in new situations and can take some time to warm up to new people.
“She is a sweetheart but very anxious outside and around strangers,” O’Donnell told The Dodo.
On Saturday, O’Donnell was performing with the Brooklyn Irish Dance Company in Manhattan and left Harper in Brooklyn with friends and a trusted dog walker. Harper and her dog walker were out taking a stroll when a cab recklessly ran a stop sign and hit both the dog walker and Harper.
Both were OK and only sustained minor injuries, but poor Harper was so scared and shaken up that she ran and ran and ran — until she reached the East River, and jumped right in.
Still in a panic, Harper swam with determination and ferocity, and while at first onlookers thought she was just a dog with an owner nearby going for a swim, they soon realized that wasn’t the case at all.
“I was at the Brooklyn Barge celebrating my B’day when we saw a dog ‘going for a swim,’” Gabe Castellanos wrote in a post on Instagram. “The day grew hot and we all figured a nice swim could do us all a service. We assumed the owner was on shore keeping a watchful eye until a patron ran up to the north side of the Barge with a panicked voice saying that the dog, Harper, had run away.”
It was around that time that everyone began to notice Harper losing speed. The river was incredibly cold, and with the amount of energy Harper was exerting in her panicked state, it was likely that she wouldn’t be able to keep herself afloat for very much longer. This fact settled in for Castellanos, and he immediately knew he had to do something about it.
Castellanos happens to be a graduate of SUNY Maritime College and has extensive water survival skills knowledge — and so he decided he was going in.
“Since there was no sign of her making an attempt to swim back to shore, I knew something had to be done,” Castellanos told The Dodo. “I looked on the barge for any type of floating device to use if I were to jump from the end, but then I noticed there was a life vest, so I grabbed it.”
At this point, a crowd of about 300 people had gathered, invested in Harper and her well-being, and as soon as everyone realized what Castellanos was about to do, they all broke out into cheers of encouragement. Lorenzo Fonda, a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and artist, was hanging out at the Brooklyn Barge when he suddenly realized what was happening, and quickly began recording the entire ordeal.
Knowing the water was going to be cold and the conditions less than ideal, Castellanos strategized quickly with those around him as he prepared to jump into the water. He stripped down to his underwear, climbed over the rails, and then lowered himself as close to the water as he possibly could before letting go and diving in.
“There was a grand cheer when I entered the water,” Castellanos said. “After that, I was no longer focused on the crowds and my surroundings but focused on my breathing and swimming over to Harper. The crowds went mute during my swim. I’m sure they were still cheering, but I could not hear anything other than the water.”
Harper was still swimming at a steady pace, and Castellanos had to work hard to catch up with her. As soon as she realized someone was swimming towards her, she became even more panicked and tried as hard as she could to swim away from him.
Castellanos was persistent, though, and even though Harper struggled and lashed out a bit out of fear when he finally reached her, he stayed calm and determined and was finally able to secure her.
Cheers erupted from all over when Castellanos finally had Harper safely in his arms, and the pair quickly returned to shore. Both were exhausted and needed medical attention to make sure everything was OK, but luckily they were both completely fine, and are now recovering at their respective homes.
O’Donnell was in the middle of a performance when all of this occurred, and didn’t find out until later about Harper’s river adventure and the man who saved her life.
“Her paws are in rough shape, so she will need some trendy boots for a few weeks, but otherwise she’s in great spirits,” O’Donnell said. “It is definitely so refreshing to see the positive responses from people at the Brooklyn Barge and on social media expressing their sympathy for Harper and praising Gabe, who definitely saved the day.”
As an innocent onlooker that day, Castellanos didn’t have to do anything to help. He could have just sat by and watched and let someone else handle it, but instead he took a leap of faith and ended up saving Harper’s life, making him a true hero.
I take my hat off to Gabe Castellanos. It’s something that 99.9% of us wouldn’t do yet Gabe didn’t think twice. OK, he had specific training but still there was a degree of risk. But he took it!
Here is the text of an email that was received yesterday morning.
Dear Fellow Dog Lover,
Because you signed up on our website, I’m sending you this recall update report. If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please click the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of this message.
Over the past 60 days, the FDA has announced 2 dog food recalls:
Thogersen Family Farm recalled its raw frozen pet food due to contamination with Listeria bacteria (4/8/2019)
Hill’s Pet Nutrition recalled multiple lots of Prescription Diet and Science Diet wet dog foods due toxic levels of vitamin D(3/20/2019)
A week ago I was casually reading a copy of our local newspaper, the Grants Pass Daily Courier, and inside was a piece by Kathleen Parker, a syndicated columnist, entitled It’s the end of everything – or not.
I found it particularly interesting especially a quotation in her piece by Robert Watson, a British chemist who served as the chair of the panel of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The IPBES had recently published the results of the three-year study by 145 authors from 50 countries.
So I wrote to Kathleen Parker asking if I might have permission to quote that excerpt and, in turn, received her permission to so do.
Here it is:
Robert Watson wrote in a statement that:
“the health of ecosystems on which we and all species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundation of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”
But, Watson also said, it’s not too late to repair and sustain nature – if we act now in transformative ways.
It is time to change our habits both at an individual level and the level of countries working together.
Moreover we haven’t got decades. We have got to do it now!
How killing for fun is not only a Christian Right, but a value
By Jim, August 5th 2018.
Christian vulgarity has reigned it’s bullets down on the North American coyote for over 100 years. The longest standing extermination order in history has killed millions of coyotes and continues its bounty program in most states. Competitive hunts sponsored throughout the nation each year with cash prizes and trophies instill to our kids the right obligation to kill for fun.
“One morning in the late 1930s, the biologist Adolph Murie stood near a game trail in Yellowstone National Park and watched a passing coyote joyously toss a sprig of sagebrush in the air with its mouth, adroitly catch it, and repeat the act every few yards. At the time, Mr. Murie was conducting a federal study intended to prove, definitively, that the coyote was “the archpredator of our time.” But Mr. Murie, whose work ultimately exonerated the animals, was more impressed by that sprig-tossing — proof, he believed, of the joy a wild coyote took in being alive in the world” (1)
The majority of politicians have failed to address this with any passion, and being the good, high moral standard western value Christians that they are, continue the killing spree. A useless torture that drives the coyote without mercy and without effect. “Under persecution, the biologists argued, evolved colonizing mechanisms kicked in for coyotes. They have larger litters. If alpha females die, beta females breed. Pressured, they engage an adaptation called fission-fusion, with packs breaking up and pairs and individuals scattering to the winds and colonizing new areas. In full colonization mode, the scientists found, coyotes could withstand as much as a 70 percent yearly kill rate without suffering any decline in their total population”.
Hunters have their ultimate victim to hunt—one that can outbreed the continued onslaught. How fun is it? While the coyote is hunted for sport, they die in earnest. Leave them to experience their joy, and populations will mitigate in their own necessary way.
Christian values and morals once again are superior delayed in common decency and way off the mark—unless your talking killing for sport.
I want to add a couple of comments that were left on the post:
Not many christians are bothered by this. Why should they, when you hear them quote from their holy book, that god commanded them to subdue the earth.
It is for this very reason that many christians are nonchalant when we talk about climate change
The price paid for pointlessly killing predators is a dear one. Moreover, all needless killing of animals is wrong, says the immoral, convinced atheist.
(to which Jim replied)
Part of the doctrine is to subdue and have dominion. To hell with inferior, soulless life. The ripple effect of what was once naturally flowing is tragic and painful.