Welcome!

Beloved Pharaoh. Born: June 3rd., 2003 – Died: June 19th., 2017. A very special dog that will never be forgotten.

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!

Welcome to Learning from Dogs

There’s something magical about dogs

An incredible true story of a dog rescue!

I haven’t got a great deal of time today (as in yesterday) to write an introduction to this story that was published on The Dodo in December last year. So I am not going to! 😉

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Man Sees Tiny Speck On Cliff In The Distance And Immediately Knows It’s A Dog In Need

“He was funny because I couldn’t see her without my binoculars, and he said he knew the ‘dot’ was an animal because he’s never seen that dot there before.”

By Caitlin Jill Anders

Published on the 16th December, 2021

An elderly man was having his morning coffee outside his motorcycle shop one day when he noticed something unusual on a cliff in the distance. He quickly concluded that the tiny speck he was seeing was actually a stuck animal in need of help, so he contacted the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), and they sent two animal law enforcement officers to check it out.

The officers couldn’t see the dog without a little extra help, but the man never had any doubt that she was there and desperately needed help.

“He was funny because I couldn’t see her without my binoculars, and he said he knew the ‘dot’ was an animal because he’s never seen that dot there before,” Officer Kailie Barker told The Dodo.

The dog was stuck on a small ledge about 150 feet above a creek. They weren’t sure how long she’d been there and immediately started coming up with a plan to rescue her.

“It took two and a half hours total to be able to find out exactly where she was, how we were going to get to her, obtaining the equipment and formulating an exact plan,” Barker said.

The officers were able to obtain some climbing gear, and once they were ready, Barker rappelled down to the stuck dog — who was so excited that someone had finally come to help her.

“She was obviously very scared. She had her body pressed into the dirt, she was wagging her tail quickly and was trying to crawl towards us when she very first saw us,” Barker said. “The dirt kept sliding out from under her, but she kept trying. When I was down on the cliffside with her, she tried crawling towards me again. When I finally got to her, she kept licking my hands and face.”

Once the dog had been brought to safety, they read her collar and discovered that her name was Jessie Lee. They took her back to HSPPR, where the staff was able to find her family’s contact information. It turns out she had been missing for two weeks and was found only a few blocks away from her home. Her family had searched for her every single day and was absolutely overjoyed that someone had found her.

Luckily, Jessie Lee wasn’t injured after her ordeal and was able to head home to her family shortly after being rescued. It was the perfect happy ending, all thanks to the officers who rescued her — and the man who knew that tiny speck in the distance was actually a dog.

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All the photographs are from the HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE PIKES PEAK REGION.

It is a precious story and just goes to show the magic we have in our hearts for dogs.Well done that man!

A heart-rending plea from George Monbiot

It is about global warming.

The article from George Monbiot came into my mailbox quite recently. Now of course Mr. Monbiot has a living to make and him publishing articles in the Guardian newspaper is normal. But I sensed that in this particular post he was worried. Worried about the situation regarding the planet and, by implication, all those who live on it.

I read yesterday on the UK Met Office blog about HILL events.

HILL events go beyond traditional weather extremes, potentially taking the climate system into uncharted territories. For example, much of the UK’s climate is predicated on two large elements of the climate system: the North Atlantic jet stream, a core of strong winds five to seven miles above the Earth’s surface, and the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a system of ocean currents which transports warm water northwards in the Atlantic.

Later on in that Met Office article it was said:

Prof Richard Betts MBE is the Head of Climate Impacts Research in the Met Office Hadley Centre and a Professor at the University of Exeter. Prof Betts, who led the team which prepared the Technical Report for the UK’s 3rd Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA3), is calling for a monitoring, attribution and prediction system that can provide early warning of HILLs. Professor Betts said: “With rising global temperatures, we are edging closer to the thresholds for more and more HILL events. Greater research into these events will help scientists advise policy makers on their thresholds and impacts.”

A week ago I wrote with real pride about the achievements of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Later on I felt some shame that the focus on the real issue, that of climate change, was too low a priority for the US, let alone the world! Then I looked up the US expenditure on the military. Here’s a small quote from WikiPedia: “In May 2021, the President’s defense budget request for fiscal year 2022 (FY2022) is $715 billion, up $10 billion, from FY2021’s $705 billion.”[1] That puts the JWST into perspective. JWST cost ten billion dollars.

Expand one’s mind and just think of the global cost of war!

Here’s George Monbiot. Republished with his permission.

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Losing It

10th January, 2022

Faced with the gathering collapse of the biosphere, and governments’ refusal to take the necessary action, how do we stop ourselves from falling apart?

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 4th January 2022

No wonder journalists have slated it. They’ve produced a hundred excuses not to watch the climate breakdown satire Don’t Look Up: it’s “blunt”, it’s “shrill”, it’s “smug”. But they will not name the real problem: it’s about them. The movie is, in my view, a powerful demolition of the grotesque failures of public life. And the sector whose failures are most brutally exposed is the media.

While the film is fast and funny, for me, as for many environmental activists and climate scientists, it seemed all too real. I felt as if I were watching my adult life flash past me. As the scientists in the film, trying to draw attention to the approach of a planet-killing comet, bashed their heads against the Great Wall of Denial erected by the media and sought to reach politicians with 10-second attention spans, all the anger and frustration and desperation I’ve felt over the years boiled over.

Above all, when the scientist who had discovered the comet was pushed to the bottom of the schedule by fatuous celebrity gossip on a morning TV show and erupted in fury, I was reminded of my own mortifying loss of control on Good Morning Britain in November. It was soon after the Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow, where we had seen the least serious of all governments (the UK was hosting the talks) failing to rise to the most serious of all issues. I tried, for the thousandth time, to explain what we are facing, and suddenly couldn’t hold it in any longer. I burst into tears on live TV.

I still feel deeply embarrassed about it. The response on social media, like the response to the scientist in the film, was vituperative and vicious. I was faking. I was hysterical. I was mentally ill. But, knowing where we are and what we face, seeing the indifference of those who wield power, seeing how our existential crisis has been marginalised in favour of trivia and frivolity, I now realise that there would be something wrong with me if I hadn’t lost it.

In fighting any great harm, in any age, we find ourselves confronting the same forces: distraction, denial and delusion. Those seeking to sound the alarm about the gathering collapse of our life-support systems soon hit the barrier that stands between us and the people we are trying to reach, a barrier called the media. With a few notable exceptions, the sector that should facilitate communication thwarts it.

It’s not just its individual stupidities that have become inexcusable, such as the platforms repeatedly given to climate deniers. It is the structural stupidity to which the media are committed. It’s the anti-intellectualism, the hostility to new ideas and aversion to complexity. It’s the absence of moral seriousness. It’s the vacuous gossip about celebrities and consumables that takes precedence over the survival of life on Earth. It’s the obsession with generating noise, regardless of signal. It’s the reflexive alignment with the status quo, whatever it may be. It’s the endless promotion of the views of the most selfish, odious and antisocial people, and the exclusion of those who are trying to defend us from catastrophe, on the grounds that they are “worthy”, “extreme” or “mad” (I hear from friends in the BBC that these terms are still used there to describe environmental activists).

Even when these merchants of distraction do address the issue, they tend to shut out the experts and interview actors, singers and other celebs instead. The media’s obsession with actors vindicates Guy Debord’s predictions in his book The Society of the Spectacle, published in 1967. Substance is replaced by semblance, as even the most serious issues must now be articulated by people whose work involves adopting someone else’s persona and speaking someone else’s words. Then the same media, having turned them into spokespeople, attack these actors as hypocrites for leading a profligate lifestyle.

Similarly, it’s not just the individual failures by governments at Glasgow and elsewhere that have become inexcusable, but the entire framework of negotiations. As crucial Earth systems might be approaching their tipping point, governments still propose to address the issue with tiny increments of action, across decades. It’s as if, in 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the global financial system began to sway, governments had announced that they would bail out the banks at the rate of a few million pounds a day between then and 2050. The system would have collapsed 40 years before their programme was complete. Our central, civilisational question, I believe, is this: why do nations scramble to rescue the banks but not the planet?

So, as we race towards Earth system collapse, trying to raise the alarm feels like being trapped behind a thick plate of glass. People can see our mouths opening and closing, but they struggle to hear what we are saying. As we frantically bang the glass, we look ever crazier. And feel it. The situation is genuinely maddening. I’ve been working on these issues since I was 22, and full of confidence and hope. I’m about to turn 59, and the confidence is turning to cold fear, the hope to horror. As manufactured indifference ensures that we remain unheard, it becomes ever harder to know how to hold it together. I cry most days now.

http://www.monbiot.com

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Now there is very little that we folk can do. We can do our best but it all comes to nought. The real change is for governments, especially the governments of the US, China, Russia, the UK, and Europe, to make a difference soon.

Don’t hold your breath!

Please help!

I do not very often post a request, but…

I have known John Zande for quite a few years. It has been, what they call, a virtual relationship for we have never met in person. I do have John’s book The Superstitious Naked Ape and it is a first-rate read.

John recently sent me an email. It read:

Hi Paul — How are you both, and the clan? Weather station up and going? Still has not stopped raining here. The ground is beyond saturated, and many of our big old trees around here are just falling over, which is horrible.
Just got sent this link (below), and G asked me to send it on to people I know. To celebrate Betty White’s work with animals (and her 100th birthday, which sadly she’ll not have) her sister (in Australia) just started a short Gofundme for G and me here in Brazil. She’s good like that, and at this time of year (heaps of dumped dogs and cats after Christmas) everything helps. 

This is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-vista-verde-animals-fund

If one opens the link then one reads the following:

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On 17/01 Betty White would turn 100 years old. Most of her life she was an advocate for the health & welfare of animals. As a tribute to her legacy, there’s a global movement to send monies to all animal shelters (thanks to my amazing friend Heather C who brought that to my attention). My sister and her husband John live in Brazil and have been working tirelessly to take stray cats & dogs off the streets for over 15 years.

Their amazing work, as much as is rewarding & noble have absolutely no financial help from the local Government. Stray animals are definitely a public health issue and depend practically solely on the private initiative.

So I’m asking my friends here to donate (any amount will help) to my sister’s VISTA VERDE ANIMAL FUND. Every cent in this campaign will go towards helping fund rescuing stray cats & dogs in the city of Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil – where my family lives – have them spayed/neutered, nurtured back to health with whatever operations/medicines/treatment they need, house them, and, with luck, get them adopted out into loving homes.

As Betty White herself summed it up best: “Take responsibility and breathe kindness.” Thank you in advance. YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

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To view the photographs and, more importantly, to Donate! go here

We have joined thousands of others in making a modest donation!

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)

A beautiful example of humans in the supreme invention and deployment of JWST.

(A reminder that Tuesday is a ‘non-doggie’ day.)

JWST is astounding. It will look back to the beginnings of the universe, just 200 million light-years after the Big Bang, or possibly further back in time. Because of the way that the universe stretches out and causes light to go red, as it were, JWST will be searching for images from the cosmos in the infrared.

I recently listened to a 30-minute programme on BBC Sounds. It was a BBC Discovery episode about the JWST. Recorded before the launch it was, nonetheless, a deeply fascinating programme about what JWST will be looking for.

Now the link is here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct1m8t

Please listen to it!

Then there is the NASA website that has many videos about the progress of JWST. I selected this one.

Finally, YouTube also have many videos and I selected this one to share with you.

I feel very grateful to be alive when this is happening.

Picture Parade Four Hundred and Nineteen

Yet more dogs from Unsplash!

I cannot believe that it was just week ago that we had quite a lot of snow. Because just seven days later there’s no snow at all on the ground and if one looks up at the peaks then one can see some remnants of it!

So back to dogs not in the snow!

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That’s it, good people.

See you on Tuesday.

A new weather system

I only finished at around 4pm.

Apart from being at the Club Northwest from midday for a couple of hours, yesterday morning was taken up by me making a sensor pole and installing it. Then when we returned from the Club it was a case of mounting the sensor, aligning it to the north, and making sure it was level and all in working order.

I had chosen a system from Ambient Weather, the WS-2902C, that we have high hopes for. My previous weather station, from Accurite, was windows compatible only and I have an iMac.

We shall see!

The Isle of Mull

and the White-tailed Eagle.

This is a story about one of the islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. But more than that it is an opportunity to share with you all a video that my son, Alex, and his partner, Lisa, took on a recent trip to that part of the world.

But first a few words about Mull from the Scotland Info Guide.

Isles of Mull and Iona

The Isle of Mull is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland in the council area of Argyll and Bute. Mull is the fourth largest Scottish island and has an area of 338 square miles. The coastline of Mull is almost 300 miles long. The population of Mull, Iona and Ulva is around 1,800 people which is probably doubled in the summer because of the many tourists that visit Mull each year. Much of the population lives in Tobermory, the only burgh on Mull until 1973, and its capital. Mull is surrounded by the Sound of Mull in the north, the Firth of Lorn in the south and east and the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

History of Mull

Mull has been inhabited since around 6000 BC. Bronze Age inhabitants built menhirs, brochs and a stone circle. In the 14th century Mull became part of the Lordship of the Isles. After the collapse of the Lordship in 1493 the island was taken over by the clan MacLean, and in 1681 by the clan Campbell. During the Highland Clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries, the population fell from 10,000 to less than 4000.

Wildlife on Mull

The island is home to over 250 different bird species including the White-tailed Eagle, which was reintroduced in the nearby Island of Rùm and migrated to Mull, where they now have a stronghold. Minke whales, porpoises and dolphins are among the sea life that can be seen on boat tours from Mull.

Now here is the video.

It is a beautiful review of what must be a magical place!