Author: Paul Handover

Please find Albert a new owner! Quickly!

Can’t do better than post the Facebook page!

For some reason when one goes to “See more” it doesn’t stay that way.

So this is provided as follows:

Albert cries a lot and craves people around him. He is often found curled up in his basket but with his eyes open. If we could fix Alberts bereavement we would. Our Albert is a down hearted senior in kennels. This larger Staffy cross is nine years old and we are now working hard to find him a quiet and warm home and a very loving human. Life can be very cruel for hounds and humans and loss is a terrible thing for both. Although a painful story for a senior dog we now work towards finding a new chapter for Albert as soon as possible. We have visions of Albert curled up by an open fire this Christmas next to his new owners slippers. Happy are we that the heartbroken Albert face is gone and back is one happy staffy smile. Please support. Please share. Help us to find Albert the spark that lights his fire this Christmas. More details and applications forms are available at www.goodlifedogrescue.co.uk

I was first alerted to this by Lisa, my son’s partner.

Well done Lisa!

It’s all too much, or it could be!

This year, 2020, has been unlike any other year.

I am not saying anything new but just reiterating what has been said before: 2020 is going to go down as the year from hell! And I don’t think that is too strong a word!

Part of it are the news stories that sweep the world: Covid-19; Brexit; Climate change; up until yesterday what was President Trump going to do in his last few weeks; etc; etc.

Also part of it is the way that news and more news and, yes, more news is flashed around the globe. Most of it bad news as we all know that bad news sells!

Finally, part of it is the new world of social media especially messaging on a smartphone. President Trump isn’t the only one to communicate greatly via Twitter.

Now, speaking personally, I couldn’t have got through this year without Jeannie and our dogs.

Pure bliss!

But, nevertheless, something has changed and Mark Satta has written an article that tries to explain things.

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Three reasons for information exhaustion – and what to do about it

By Mark Satta, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Wayne State University.

November 18th, 2020

An endless flow of information is coming at us constantly: It might be an article a friend shared on Facebook with a sensational headline or wrong information about the spread of the coronavirus. It could even be a call from a relative wanting to talk about a political issue.

All this information may leave many of us feeling as though we have no energy to engage.

As a philosopher who studies knowledge-sharing practices, I call this experience “epistemic exhaustion.” The term “epistemic” comes from the Greek word episteme, often translated as “knowledge.” So epistemic exhaustion is more of a knowledge-related exhaustion.

It is not knowledge itself that tires out many of us. Rather, it is the process of trying to gain or share knowledge under challenging circumstances.

Currently, there are at least three common sources that, from my perspective, are leading to such exhaustion. But there are also ways to deal with them.

1. Uncertainty

For many, this year has been full of uncertainty. In particular, the coronavirus pandemic has generated uncertainty about health, about best practices and about the future.

At the same time, Americans have faced uncertainty about the U.S. presidential election: first due to delayed results and now over questions about a peaceful transition of power.

Experiencing uncertainty can stress most of us out. People tend to prefer the planned and the predictable. Figures from 17th-century French philosopher René Descartes to 20th-century Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein have recognized the significance of having certainty in our lives.

With information so readily available, people may be checking news sites or social media in hopes of finding answers. But often, people are instead greeted with more reminders of uncertainty.

As Trump supporters denounce the 2020 election results, feelings of uncertainty can come up for others. Karla Ann Cote/NurPhoto via Getty Images

2. Polarization

Political polarization is stressing many Americans out.

As political scientist Lilliana Mason notes in her book, “Uncivil Disagreement: How Politics Became Our Identity,” Americans have been increasingly dividing politically “into two partisan teams.”

Many writers have discussed the negative effects of polarization, such as how it can damage democracy. But discussions about the harms of polarization often overlook the toll polarization takes on our ability to gain and share knowledge.

That can happen in at least two ways.

First, as philosopher Kevin Vallier has argued, there is a “causal feedback loop” between polarization and distrust. In other words, polarization and distrust fuel one another. Such a cycle can leave people feeling unsure whom to trust or what to believe.

Second, polarization can lead to competing narratives because in a deeply polarized society, as studies show, we can lose common ground and tend to have less agreement.

For those inclined to take the views of others seriously, this can create additional cognitive work. And when the issues are heated or sensitive, this can create additional stress and emotional burdens, such as sadness over damaged friendships or anger over partisan rhetoric.

3. Misinformation

Viral misinformation is everywhere. This includes political propaganda in the United States and around the world.

People are also inundated with advertising and misleading messaging from private corporations, what philosophers Cailin O’Connor and James Owen Weatherall have called “industrial propaganda.” And in 2020, the public is also dealing with misinformation about COVID-19.

As chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov put it: “The point of modern propaganda isn’t only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth.”

Misinformation is often exhausting by design. For example, a video that went viral,Plandemic,” featured a large number of false claims about COVID-19 in rapid succession. This flooding of misinformation in rapid succession, a tactic known as a Gish gallop, makes it challenging and time-consuming for fact checkers to refute the many falsehoods following one after another.

What to do?

With all this uncertainty, polarization and misinformation, feeling tired is understandable. But there are things one can do.

The American Psychological Association suggests coping with uncertainty through activities like limiting news consumption and focusing on things in one’s control. Another option is to work on becoming more comfortable with uncertainty through practices such as meditation and the cultivation of mindfulness.

To deal with polarization, consider communicating with the goal of creating empathetic understanding rather than “winning.” Philosopher Michael Hannon describes empathetic understanding as “the ability to take up another person’s perspective.”

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

As for limiting the spread of misinformation: Share only those news stories that you’ve read and verified. And you can prioritize outlets that meet high ethical journalistic or fact-checking standards.

These solutions are limited and imperfect, but that’s all right. Part of resisting epistemic exhaustion is learning to live with the limited and imperfect. No one has time to vet all the headlines, correct all the misinformation or gain all the relevant knowledge. To deny this is to set oneself up for exhaustion.

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That last section, What to do?, is full of really sensible advice. In fact, the American Psychological Association has an article at the moment that appears to be freely available called Healing the political divide.

I intend to read it.

It finishes up saying:

Scientists must strive to share their research as broadly as possible. And they don’t have to do it alone. Organizations like More in Common work to conduct research and communicate findings to audiences where it can have the greatest impact.

Advocacy is essential as well. Other countries that have made strides in addressing the political divide relied heavily on government-led reconciliation efforts. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, for example, in South Africa, has been fundamental in addressing disparities and conflict around Apartheid.

Were the United States to consider similar, government-backed efforts, psychologists must be part of the call to do so. And the behavioral expertise of the field would be central to success.

“The collective mental health of the nation is at risk,” says Moghaddam. “Just as we should rely on epidemiological science to tell us when there is a vaccine ready for mass use, we have to rely on psychological science to guide us through these mental health issues.”

And following an election that, for many, has felt like the most polarized of a lifetime, this piece seems critical. “ This is what our profession is all about,” says Moghaddam.

Good advice especially if you can take time off just losing oneself in nature.

Dawn behind nearby Mt. Sexton. Taken from our deck on the 21st August, 2019.

Enough said!

Of dogs and men.

Ancient genomes reveal the common history of human and dog.

At the end of October, 2020 Science magazine published an article about the evolutionary genetics of humans and dogs.

I am not allowed to republish the full text, despite being an AAAS member, but I am sure that selected quotes will be alright.

The article was written by Pavlos Pavlidis and Mehmet Somel.

Dogs likely evolved from a wolf population that self-domesticated, scavenging for left-overs from Palaeolithic hunter-gatherers in Eurasia. However, the exact timing and geographic location where the dog lineage started remain unknown, owing to the scarcity of Palaeolithic dogs in the archaeological record. Analyses of genetic data suggest that dog-wolf divergence took place ~25,000 to 40,000 years ago, providing an earliest possible date for dog domestication.

The last paragraph in the short article is as follows:

For example, there is evidence that pigs were domesticated in both Anatolia and China. For dogs, however, the story is different. Dogs and modern-day Eurasian grey wolves appear as monophyletic groups; that is, any dog is genetically closer to another dog than to a wolf, and vice versa, Monophyly supports a single origin of dogs from a possible extinct wolf lineage.

Absolutely fascinating!

A couple of photographs, courtesy of Pexels, to close the piece.

The wolf

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The dog.

See you tomorrow.

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Sixty-Four

There’s a theme to this week’s Picture Parade.

First of all I must again thank Pexels for providing these photographs. They are from a grouping called Man’s Best Friend.

This is the theme. That dogs are our closest and longest animal companions by far. Indeed, the era that humans befriended wolves is so long ago that an exact time is far from settled. Here’s a piece in the August 2020 issue of Scientific American magazine:

In the 14,000 to 40,000 years during which this domestication process occurred, wild wolves were probably doing better than dogs in terms of numbers – after all, our dogs were probably another food source for humans when times became lean. The first written record of a wolf hunt was recorded in the sixth century B.C.E., when Solon of Athens offered a bounty for every wolf killed.

So in all these photographs today there is a human with the dog!

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Fabulous even though I say it myself!

Scams – both sides of the Atlantic

One has to be so careful these days.

I was prompted to write about this aspect of our modern lives by coming across a UK resource called BogusBuster. But these days we live in such a wired-up international world that BogusBuster has a much wider appeal that just the United Kingdom. This is what their home page says:

Not sure if an item you have found is fake? Think a site is dodgy? Submit a URL and we will use our fake-detecting software to establish if it is real or safe

Just off the top of my head I would say that at least 25% of the incoming calls we receive on our home telephone number are from scammers. I am also getting the odd call from a scammer on my mobile phone.

A lot of the calls are from women who purport to want to advise me about my investments. They appear to be out of the country. Tempted as I am to engage in the call in an attempt to find out more about them I resist and promptly put the telephone firmly down.

Anyway, a little more about BogusBuster from their About page.

BogusBuster is an independent resource that will guide you through everything scam related. Whether it’s tips to spot fake products on the internet or reporting a dangerous product being sold online, consider us your one-stop resource to being a smart shopper.

BogusBuster is co-funded by Innovate UK  which launched a business competition in May 2020 to seek solutions to problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. As the virus spread, and communities ‘locked down,’ the spike in online shopping was significant. With this came a rise in those being scammed, so there’s never been a more important time to stay safe online. BogusBuster was created to keep consumers informed, ensuring they get exactly what they paid for.

BogusBuster is powered by SnapDragon, an award-winning brand protection company that’s been helping businesses across the world to fight fakes for over five years. SnapDragon founder’s experienced, first-hand, the damage caused by fake products when her own product was counterfeited. Fighting back, she founded SnapDragon to help protect and safeguard businesses, and consumers, from counterfeit crime. As the ‘Head Dragon’, she has built an expert and passionate team dedicated to identifying and removing fakes from sale, all over the world.

With scammers becoming more sophisticated, consumer safety is at the top of our agenda at BogusBuster; our regular updates, news, tips and advice will help to keep you safe and secure.

Hopefully others will find BogusBuster valuable.

Then there is a Common Scams and Frauds on the official USA Government website, from which I republish:

Coronavirus Scams, Rumors, and Price Gouging

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, scammers may try to take advantage of you through misinformation and scare tactics. They might get in touch by phone, email, postal mail, text, or social media. Protect your money and your identity by not sharing personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth. Learn more about these scams and how to report them.

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This online world can be quite tricky at times!

Obsessed with food!

Doodle is not the only one we can think of!

Here at home our latest dog, Sheena, is rather obsessed with food. Actually not only Sheena but also Pedi.

But here’s another example of a dog who is led by their tummy! Once again, taken from The Dodo.

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Woman Can’t Find Her Dog Anywhere — Until She Checks The Food Container

“I knew that crunching sound was her but I didn’t know where it was initially coming from.”

By Caitlin Jill Anders>
Published on 11/12/2020

Doodle is a super happy, loving tripod dog who is absolutely obsessed with food. Her family has to keep an eye on her when she’s around food, because she’s always on a mission to try and steal it.

BRANDY STENZEL

One day, Doodle’s mom was doing laundry when she suddenly realized that she had no idea where Doodle was.

“I first noticed she was missing after I didn’t see her next to me which she’s normally pretty close to me when I’m home,” Brandy Stenzel, Doodle’s mom, told The Dodo.

For the next half hour, Stenzel searched everywhere for Doodle. She ran all around the house, searching from top to bottom, and even checked outside to see if she’d somehow escaped. She was at a loss and starting to panic — when suddenly, she heard a crunching sound.

“I knew that crunching sound was her but I didn’t know where it was initially coming from,” Stenzel said.

Finally, the crunching sound led her to the food bin, and there was Doodle. She had somehow squeezed herself inside and was very happily eating to her heart’s content.

BRANDY STENZEL

The lid had shut behind her, and while Doodle could have easily pushed it off and hopped out again, she was enjoying herself way too much. If her mom hadn’t found her, she may have never stopped eating.

“The food bin was hinged on one side so she easily could have hopped right out if she wanted to, but she’s a pork chop so she didn’t want to,” Stenzel said.

BRANDY STENZEL

As soon as Doodle saw her mom, she knew she was in trouble, but of course, it was still worth it.

“She knew she got caught so when that happens she puts her ears back and it makes her look like Dobby the house elf of ‘Harry Potter,’” Stenzel said.

BRANDY STENZEL

To avoid losing Doodle in the food bin again, her family got one that locks, much to her dismay. Whenever someone forgets to lock it, she’ll try to hop in and repeat her great food bin feast, but her mom is now always close by to stop her.

Doodle loves food, and she’ll never stop trying to steal it, no matter what.

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Yes, that’s a duplication of our Sheena.

Here’s a photograph of Sheena looking very serene and relaxed.

Sheena

Sheena is the most friendly of dogs and while we are uncertain of her age that is of no consequence.

On your bike!

Some videos of Alex, my son, and others taking a bike tour.

Now I would be the first to admit that the following videos will not be to everyone’s taste.

But there is a strong link to my son and his bike riding, and to my own bike riding. For over 5 years ago Alex persuaded me to get a better cycle than I already had. I chose the Specialized Sirrus and have been delighted with it ever since. I purchased it from the local Don’s Bike Center. There is a photograph of the bike below.

To be honest, riding the bike more or less every other day has been crucial in me staying as fit and healthy as I am.

On to the videos.

I was speaking to Alex recently and he was talking about the tour of the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England that he and friends took. That was Alex and Darren and Claire and their 14-year-old son Tom.

He mentioned the YouTube videos that had been taken and I asked Alex to forward them to me.

I reckoned that a few of you would be interested!

They are a total of 26 minutes spread across the 4 videos

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Enjoy!

Finally, Alex and I still stay connected with our riding courtesy of Strava.

This uses a small GPS, in my case a Garmin EDGE 20, to upload and show the route to the Strava dashboard. We each give each other what is known as Kudos for our respective rides.

The following is my afternoon ride of a little under 13 miles around the local roads, grabbed when the rain ceased for a while. It shows me taking our driveway, a quarter-mile long, to Hugo Rd; about 10 o’clock in the diagram below. I then turned left and two miles later turned right into Three Pines Rd. then a further right into Russell Rd. and down to Pleasant Valley Rd. and back home with a small diversion along Robertson Bridge Rd. and Azalea Dr. and to the bottom of Hugo Rd. Precisely 3 miles up Hugo Rd. and back to our driveway.

That will be shared automatically with Alex when he wakes in the morning.

And this below was Alex’s recent ride; all 83.78 miles!

Technology, eh!

Dog food alert!

Yet another one.

This came in yesterday afternoon, Pacific time, and it is shared with you all.

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Albright’s Raw Dog Food Recall

November 13, 2020 — Albright’s Raw Dog Food of Fort Wayne, Indiana, is voluntarily recalling 67 cases of Chicken Recipe for Dogs because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

What’s Being Recalled?

The product is labeled Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs and is packaged in 2-pound chubs/rolls (see image above).

Each chub/roll is printed with:

  • Lot number C000185
  • Best By 19 May 2021

Product was sold frozen, and was distributed from the company to distributors from 7/8/20 to 8/27/20.

One animal illness has been reported. No human illnesses have been reported to date.

Where Was It Sold?

Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs was distributed in CA, FL, IL, IN, NH, NJ, NV, NY, PA, and TN.

The affected product was also distributed through retail stores, mail order, and direct delivery.

What Caused the Recall?

The problem bacteria was revealed after testing conducted by the FDA.

The problem was confined to this batch and the company has ceased the distribution of the batch as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.

About Salmonella in Humans

Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Healthy people infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever.

Rarely, Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

About Salmonella in Pets

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting.

Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.

Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans.

If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.

What to Do?

Due to the frozen condition of the product, it is possible that retailers and end users may still have the product in their freezers.

Consumers who have purchased Albright’s Raw Dog Food Chicken Recipe for Dogs are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund.

Consumers with questions may contact the company at 260-422-9440 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 4 PM ET.

U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to the FDA’s “Report a Pet Food Complaint” page.

Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.

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Once again, please share this as far and wide as you can.