Category: consciousness

The world of fungi.

A stark contrast to where I was a week ago.

A good friend of mine, Peter McCarthy, back in the UK, said that he had recently gone on to a supplement called Lion’s Mane. It is a supplement for keeping the cognition working and maintaining good brain function. Peter also mentioned a film called Fantastic Fungi that was available on Netflix.

At home we have Netflix and we watched the film. It was incredible, almost beyond words.

If you want to watch the official trailer then here it is:

The film is about the power of Mycelium. Here is an extract from Fungi Perfecti:

The activities of mycelium help heal and steer ecosystems on their evolutionary path, acting as a recycling mechanism to nourish other members of the ecological communities. By cycling nutrients through the food chain, mycelial networks benefit the soil and allow surrounding networks of plants and animals to survive and thrive. 

Increasingly known as the “wood wide web”, mycelium can be found underfoot with nearly every footstep on a lawn, field, or forest floor. It has been concluded that as much as 90% of land plants are in a mutually beneficial relationship with mycelial networks. Without fungi – without mycelium – all ecosystems would fail.

Mycelium and mycological applications have enormous potential to benefit the health of both people and planet. We are committed to continuing our research efforts to find new and innovative ways to build bridges between mycological applications to both human and planetary health.

We can think of it in a way of finding the mother tree.

The film speaks of protecting the old-growth forest trees. So if you have old-growth trees nearby, do everything in your power to protect them.

Here is a report including a video on Suzanne Simard’s New Book.

Forest researcher and university professor Dr. Suzanne Simard has spent years studying trees. Her research led to the discovery that the forest’s plants and trees have an underground communication system, with trees and fungi cooperating. Her Ted talk brought her work to a larger audience, while her 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals shared her research findings with the larger science community. Now, she is releasing her first book Finding the Mother Tree, published by Penguin Random House.

This is not a book about how we can save the trees. This is a book about how the trees might save us’.

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!

Dream on, dear dog!

An article as to whether dogs dream.

James Dean was an American actor. He was killed in a highway accident on September 30, 1955. But he left a quote:

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.

My article today is yet another one from The Dodo. It was published in early August this year and I am surprised that I have not shared it before. It is whether dogs dream or not.

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Do Dogs Dream?

Those little foot twitches 🥺

By Sam Howell, published on the 2nd August, 2021.

There’s nothing cuter than when your dog’s little paws are twitching in her sleep.

But it’s probably made you wonder: Is your dog actually dreaming?

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Megan Dundas, veterinarian and practice owner at Lincolndale Veterinary Center in New York, to find out just what’s going on in your sleepyhead’s sleepy head.

Do dogs have dreams?

For a long time, no one actually knew if dogs could even have dreams.

Since your pup can’t just wake up from a nap and tell you all about the weird dream she just had, scientists had to figure it out by discovering similarities between dogs’ sleep stages and ours (since we know for sure that people dream).

“It is thought that dogs do dream because studies have shown that dogs have sleep stages, including the REM stage, which is when most dream activity occurs in people,” Dr. Dundas told The Dodo.

But just because dogs go through a REM stage, does that mean they actually dream?

Well, scientists studied rats and found that they do, in fact, dream. So, researchers concluded that dogs must dream, too!

How do dogs’ dreams work?

In order to know how your dog’s dreams work, you’ve got to know about how her sleep cycles work.

“Dogs typically sleep anywhere from 9 to 14 hours in 45-minute sleep periods, with the phases of sleep divided into a wakefulness state, drowsiness, non-REM sleep and REM sleep,” Dr. Dundas explained.

REM stands for rapid eye movement, and it means exactly what it sounds like: Your dog is asleep, but her eyes are moving rapidly and her brain is almost acting like she’s awake (even though she’s asleep).

That’s when she’s going to be dreaming.

“During REM sleep, the neurons of the brain are still active,” Dr. Dundas said. “However, there is a ‘switch’ of sorts that disconnects the motor neurons in the spinal cord from the neuronal activity of the brain.”

Basically, your dog’s brain is still going during REM sleep, but that “switch” keeps her legs from moving.

Why do dogs twitch in their sleep?

“During REM sleep, most muscles are immobile with the exception of some facial muscles, the larynx, paws, tail, diaphragm and muscles of the ribs,” Dr. Dundas explained. 

That means that when your dog’s neurons are firing — signaling her to chase that car she’s dreaming about — only her paws, tail or nose will twitch, since those muscles aren’t immobile like her legs are.

It’s also the reason why you can hear your pup whimpering in her sleep.

“What seems like whining could be attributed to the movement of the muscles of the diaphragm pushing air through the larynx or voice box,” Dr. Dundas said.

And sometimes, that neuron switch that’s supposed to keep your dog’s legs from moving doesn’t actually shut off her motor functions, which is why you might feel like you can see your dog dreaming super intensely.

“The brain’s activity is then allowed to become motor activity, and the dog’s movements can become vigorous or even violent,” Dr. Dundas explained. “The behaviors seen in these situations are thought to be similar to humans acting out dreams.”

“I think it’s fair to say that it is similar to sleepwalking in humans,” Dr. Dundas said. “We can’t know what dogs are dreaming about, and we are making the assumption that they are dreaming in the first place. So we’re assuming that if they are running in their dreams that the coordinated foot movements seen when sleeping, or growling/gnashing behavior, is a sign that the dog is acting out a dream.”

What do you do when your dog is dreaming?

Honestly, nothing.

“As the old saying goes, it is usually best to let sleeping dogs lie,” Dr. Dundas said.

Even if you think your dog is having a nightmare, you’re going to want to let her ride it out.

“If you suspect your dog is having a bad dream, wait until the outward signs of the dream have ended and you can then wake your dog to give some comfort,” Dr. Dundas explained.

That’s because it could be super startling for your pup if she’s suddenly woken up out of nowhere — just like how you feel really weird when you abruptly snap awake in the middle of a nightmare.

“The combination of the excited state of a bad dream and being woken up from a deep sleep could lead to an inadvertent bite,” Dr. Dundas explained.

So if your dog is dreaming, just let her dream! Besides, it’s super cute to watch those teeny toes twitching away.

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Cleo, our female German Shepherd is a great one for moving her legs when she is asleep. So, too, is our Brandy. There are times when Brandy is sleeping on his side against one of our walls and his leg movements can be incredibly loud as his paws hammer against the wood wall.

But in one way or another all our dogs can move their limbs when in a deep sleep.

It is a shame they cannot report to us humans what they were dreaming about!

Eating out with your ….

…. dog!

The last few days have been sidetracking me from writing the blog. Apart from editing my third book The One We Feed and dealing with critical fire conditions and hoping with all our hearts for the rain due on Friday night to materialise, and … You get the message!

Anyway, The Dodo came up with a lovely snippet on the 20th August. Here it is:

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Diner Spots A Guy Out On The Sweetest Date With His Dog

Relationship goals 💞 

By Stephen Messenger, Published on the 20th August, 2021.

The other day, Gemma Colón stopped by a restaurant in New York City to grab a bite. But the visit ended up satisfying more than just her appetite.

“I was presented with one of the most unexpectedly heartwarming views,” Colón told The Dodo. “I noticed this dog seated across from his owner, perched up on a chair, acting like an absolute proper gentleman.”

The dog and his owner were apparently on a date.

GEMMA COLÓN

Colón was fortunate enough to be seated in view of the adorable pair — basking the sight of the good thing they have going.

“[The man] was doing a crossword puzzle and sipping a glass of red wine with his meal. His date (the dog) was enjoying his own bowl of water, which he slurped politely,” Colón said. “It was really amazing how well-behaved the pup was. I saw better table manners displayed by this dog than I’ve seen from some humans.”

While the man and his dog dined, Colón saw other patrons smile at the sweet scene as well. No one had the heart to interrupt their meal to comment on their cuteness, but Colón did overhear an exchange with their server — revealing that this wasn’t just a one-off outing.

“I heard a waitress comment on how good the dog was at one point, and the man replied saying he brings the dog with him everywhere,” Colón said. “It definitely seemed like a very pleasant date, with lovely company.”

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This is really a delightful story but it isn’t surprising. Because dogs that are loved and cared for by us humans are so loving and caring in return. As the waitress heard the man brings his dog everywhere. He is never separated from the dog.

Perfect!

The big question!

That I wonder if it will ever be answered?

For the first day of September I wanted to change the topic to an item that was recently published by The Conversation.

Space has always been fascinating to me. One of my enduring memories was standing on the roof of my Land Rover in 1969 during a long journey around the interior of Australia. We were in the Nullabor desert and it was flat, and lonely, for miles and miles. This particular night I clambered up onto the roof and just took in the night sky. There was not a single spot of human-caused light pollution and the night sky was beautiful beyond words.

Later on when I was sailing I used to regard the North Star as my friend.

Anyway, here’s a little question for this day.

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Does outer space end – or go on forever?

It can stretch your mind to ponder what’s really out there. Stijn Dijkstra/EyeEm via Getty Images

Jack Singal, University of Richmond


What is beyond outer space? – Siah, age 11, Fremont, California


Right above you is the sky – or as scientists would call it, the atmosphere. It extends about 20 miles (32 kilometers) above the Earth. Floating around the atmosphere is a mixture of molecules – tiny bits of air so small you take in billions of them every time you breathe.

Above the atmosphere is space. It’s called that because it has far fewer molecules, with lots of empty space between them.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel to outer space – and then keep going? What would you find? Scientists like me are able to explain a lot of what you’d see. But there are some things we don’t know yet, like whether space just goes on forever.

Planets, stars and galaxies

At the beginning of your trip through space, you might recognize some of the sights. The Earth is part of a group of planets that all orbit the Sun – with some orbiting asteroids and comets mixed in, too.

A diagram of the solar system, showing the sun and its orbiting planets.
A familiar neighborhood. Mark Garlick/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

You might know that the Sun is actually just an average star, and looks bigger and brighter than the other stars only because it is closer. To get to the next nearest star, you would have to travel through trillions of miles of space. If you could ride on the fastest space probe NASA has ever made, it would still take you thousands of years to get there.

If stars are like houses, then galaxies are like cities full of houses. Scientists estimate there are 100 billion stars in Earth’s galaxy. If you could zoom out, way beyond Earth’s galaxy, those 100 billion stars would blend together – the way lights of city buildings do when viewed from an airplane.

Recently astronomers have learned that many or even most stars have their own orbiting planets. Some are even like Earth, so it’s possible they might be home to other beings also wondering what’s out there.

An image showing detail of one galaxy, but visually implying there are many more.
A galaxy among many other galaxies. Michael Miller/Stocktrek Images via Getty Images

You would have to travel through millions of trillions more miles of space just to reach another galaxy. Most of that space is almost completely empty, with only some stray molecules and tiny mysterious invisible particles scientists call “dark matter.”

Using big telescopes, astronomers see millions of galaxies out there – and they just keep going, in every direction.

If you could watch for long enough, over millions of years, it would look like new space is gradually being added between all the galaxies. You can visualize this by imagining tiny dots on a deflated balloon and then thinking about blowing it up. The dots would keep moving farther apart, just like the galaxies are.

Is there an end?

If you could keep going out, as far as you wanted, would you just keep passing by galaxies forever? Are there an infinite number of galaxies in every direction? Or does the whole thing eventually end? And if it does end, what does it end with?

These are questions scientists don’t have definite answers to yet. Many think it’s likely you would just keep passing galaxies in every direction, forever. In that case, the universe would be infinite, with no end.

Some scientists think it’s possible the universe might eventually wrap back around on itself – so if you could just keep going out, you would someday come back around to where you started, from the other direction.

One way to think about this is to picture a globe, and imagine that you are a creature that can move only on the surface. If you start walking any direction, east for example, and just keep going, eventually you would come back to where you began. If this were the case for the universe, it would mean it is not infinitely big – although it would still be bigger than you can imagine.

In either case, you could never get to the end of the universe or space. Scientists now consider it unlikely the universe has an end – a region where the galaxies stop or where there would be a barrier of some kind marking the end of space.

But nobody knows for sure. How to answer this question will need to be figured out by a future scientist.

Jack Singal, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Richmond

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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“But nobody knows for sure. How to answer this question will need to be figured out by a future scientist.”

I wonder if that future scientist will ever be able to answer the question.

Then there’s the thought that the universe may be infinite. That is an astounding idea, that it goes on forever.

There’s only one way to close this post. With this photograph from Unsplash.

Another loving dog story!

It just goes on and on!

Here’s another article by Lily Feinn about a rescue dog. Once again it was on The Dodo and once again I am republishing it.

I make no apologies for doing this as we can’t have too many stories of loving dogs in our lives. So without further ado here it is.

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Abandoned Dog Has The Best Reaction To Finding A Loving Family

He slept right in between us the first night we got him, and from then on, we knew in our hearts he was our dog.

By Lily Feinn

Published on the 1st July, 2021.

Mikayla Sengle and her boyfriend, Anthony Noto, weren’t planning on adopting a dog. But when Wylie suddenly came into their lives, it seemed meant to be.

Last month, Noto was on his way home from work when he passed by a dog park near an apartment complex. In the back of the park, a white and brown pittie sat all alone, looking confused. 

As Noto approached the dog, he noticed that he wasn’t wearing a collar and looked a bit banged up. 

“He looked lost, but at the same time, he seemed like he was on a mission to find something,” Noto told The Dodo. “When I walked over towards where my work truck was, he came up [to me] all innocent with his head down, seeing if I’d accept him.”

“Maybe I was what he was looking for,” he added.

Noto slipped a loose rope around the pup’s neck and walked him around the area trying to find his owner. But when no one recognized the dog, Noto put him in his truck and drove him home.

The pup didn’t seem to want to upset his new friends and was determined to show Sengle and Noto that he had the best manners.

“With people, he would wait for them to give the OK to lick and pay attention to people,” Sengle told The Dodo. “He seemed extremely relieved and happy. He got a bath and some treats as soon as he came home.”

“He instantly would look at my boyfriend for permission for everything,” Sengle added. “When he got home and ran in the yard, he was thrilled. It seemed like he never experienced the opportunity to be free and fun.”

The first night, Wylie slept in bed between his rescuers, as if to make sure they wouldn’t leave him. And he’d never been more comfortable and happy in his life.

Sengle posted on social media searching for the dog’s family, but when she finally received a response, it broke her heart.

“A young girl reached out to us and basically said that it was her friend’s dog and [her friend] had seen the post and said she no longer wanted him anymore because he was annoying,” Sengle said. “She even begged us not to give him back if they did reach out to us because they used to hit him and were not nice to him.”

Sengle and Noto kept Wylie for the five-day stray hold, giving the owners time to claim him. But when the week was up, there was no question that he was staying with them — forever.

Sengle and Noto thought their family was complete, but now they can’t believe that they got so lucky.

“He is a very sweet dog and a great companion,” Sengle said. “My boyfriend and him grew a bond almost instantly. He slept right in between us the first night we got him and from then on, we knew in our hearts he was our dog.”

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All photographs by Mikala Sengle.

It shows again how quickly a dog can open up the heart strings of us humans. As Single and Noto remarked above, they now can’t believe they were so lucky. It’s how we feel about our dogs. It’s how countless others feel about their many, many four-legged loved ones!

Picture Parade Three Hundred and Ninety-Four

More memories of Pharaoh!

The first day that Pharaoh was passed across to me. He is being held by Sandra Tucker of Jutone Kennels, Bovey Tracy, Devon, Pharaoh was born on the 3rd June 2003. I picked him up on the 12th August.

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Pharaoh settling in at home soon after he was collected from Jutone. This is about mid-August, 2003. Home being Upper Barn, Harberton, Devon, just three miles from Totnes.

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At the other end of the scale! Pharaoh just turned 14 outside our house in Merlin, Oregon. The date June 3rd, 2017.

Dear, dear Pharaoh.

A tribute

To my dear Pharaoh.

I was sorting through some papers over the weekend and I came across something that I wrote on the 14th September, 2007.

Let me explain.

2007 was a very important year for me. I had barely got over the fact that my ex-wife had walked out on me the previous December 20th but had been given the revelation that my fear of rejection had been brought into my conscious state after having been unconscious for 50 years. This was a fantastic outcome from just one visit to a local psychotherapist.

I had been out to California in the summer to see Dan. His sister, Suzanne, had called by and invited me to come to Mexico for Christmas. I was unaware that this trip to Mexico was to change my life for the better in every imaginable way!

Anyway, back to my writings.

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I am your dog and have something I would love to whisper in your ear. I know that you humans lead very busy lives. Some have to work, some have children to raise, some have to do this alone. It always seems like you are running here and there, often too fast, never noticing the truly grand things in life.

Look down at me now. While you sit at your computer. See the way my dark, brown eyes look at yours.

You smile at me. I see love in your eyes. What do you see in mine? Do you see a spirit? A soul inside who loves you as no other could in the world? A spirit that would forgive all trespasses of prior wrong doing for just a single moment of moment of your time. That is al I ask. To slow down, if even for a few minutes, to be with me.

So many times you are saddened by others of my kind passing on.

Sometimes we die young and oh so quickly, so suddenly that it wrenches your heart out of your throat. Sometimes, we age slowly before your eyes that you may not even seem to know until the very end, when we look at you with grizzled muzzles and cataract-clouded eyes. Still the love is always there even we must take that last, long sleep dreaming of running free in a distant, open land.

I may not be here tomorrow. I may not be here next week. Someday you will shed the water from your eyes, that humans have when the grief fills their souls, and you will mourn the loss of just ‘one more day’ with me. Because I love you so, this future sorrow even now touches my spirit and grieves me. I read you in so many ways that you cannot even start to contemplate.

We have now together. So come and sit next to me here on the floor and look deep into my eyes. What do you see? Do you see how if you look deeply at me we can talk, you and I, heart to heart. Come not to me as my owner but as a fellow living soul. Stroke my fur and let us look deep into the other’s eyes and talk with our hearts.

I may tell you something about the fun of working the scents in the woods where you and I go. Or I may tell you something profound about myself or how we dogs see life in general. I know you decided to have me in your life because you wanted a soul to share things with. I know how much you have cared for me and always stood up for me even when others have been against me. That gift from you has been very precious to me. I know too that you have been through troubled times and I have been there to guard you, to protect you and to be there always for you. I am very different to you but here I am. I am your dog but just as alive as you.

I feel emotion. I feel physical senses. I can revel in the differences of our spirits and our souls. I do not think of you as a dog on two feet; I know what you are. You are human, in all your quirkiness, and I love you still.

So, come and sit with me. Enter my world and let time slow down if only for a few minutes. Look deep into my eyes and whisper in my ears. Speak with your heart and I will know your true self. We may not have tomorrow but we do have now.

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The anniversary of Pharaoh’s death in 2017 in this Friday, June 19th. He is still missed badly.

Another beautiful poem

Again by Bela Johnson

You don’t want me waffling on so I’m going straight over to Bela’s poem. It is called River Thoughts and was published on Bela’s website on the 24th May, 2021. With Bela’s permission, I should add!

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River Thoughts

The river thunders, to no applause
in particular; rolls along, rippling
and eddying without thought
or expectation of feedback,
though I can’t help but think
all of nature thrives under
an appreciative gaze;

We once watched endangered
river otters cavorting in plain sight
just under the bridge of a much
larger river, we told no one;
fishermen dislike that they are forced
to share with these sleek creatures
we thought dolphins, when first
they caught our eyes,
out of context, having come
from Hawaii only recently;

Our smaller Vallecitos river is
magnificent in its own right,
rushing lifeblood to this struggling
ranching community, altitude
too high to receive much precipitation
in liquid form, preferring the snows
of winter, and those have been
in shortfall for years now, water levels
everywhere having dropped
precipitously, and with the decline
comes the invariable unrest
in people dependent on the bounty
of the land;

And so this rainy day is particularly
welcomed while the dampness
is in marked contrast to the bone dry
of the region, and as a fire blazes
in the hearth, ranch dogs lie fidgety
like grammar school children forced
inside for recess in inclement weather.

Mr. Peanut awaits what’s next!

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Perfect!