Back to, yes you guessed it, Unsplash!
These are photographs of dogs looking straight at the camera and picking up on what Jules Howard speaks of in his video.
Beautiful, just beautiful!
A wonderful account!
A friend of the blog recently sent me the following; I quote:
How dogs became our best friend
There are plenty of reasons why we love our dogs – and now science has turned its eye on our furry companions to better understand why we can’t live without them. Animal expert Jules Howard joins host Krys Boyd to discuss advancements in dog research, what we know about dog cognition and emotion, and the decades of study that brought us to where we are today. His book is called “Wonderdog: The Science of Dogs and Their Unique Friendship with Humans.“Jules Howard
The friend included a link to the radio broadcast in which Jules Howard talked on Jefferson Public Radio and you can go there by clicking here and scrolling down the list of podcasts. It is just over 34 minutes long and you can find it from both the title and the date: NOVEMBER 23, 2022.
However, there is a longer video from Jules Howard on YouTube. It is 53 minutes long but, boy oh boy, Jules provides so much evidence that dogs are in tune with us in ways that one can hardly believe. Yes, he is sort of promoting his book Wonderdog but so what! So sit oneself down in an easy chair in front of your large screen and watch the following:
So let me close this post by repeating the introduction that I posted on November 4th that included the photograph of Oliver.
I love all our three dogs but Oliver, below, is so in tune with me that I swear he practically understands what I say!
What a beautiful gaze and something that Jules speaks of in his video
Just watch this after the introduction.
Countless numbers of people have dreamt that they can communicate with animals and I would imagine an enormous percentage of those would have dreamt that they can communicate with dogs.
Certainly of the three dogs we have alive still here at home (we had in the past some fifteen dogs) Oliver below appears to understand much of what is said to him by me and Jean
If one goes to the YouTube website then one is introduced to Anna Breytenbach who has made it her life’s passion to better communicate with animals. Here’s a small piece from the extensive WikiPedia entry:
In her twenties she decided to pursue her passion for wildlife (big cats in particular) by becoming a cheetah handler at a conservation education project. On moving to America, she explored wolf and other predator conservation. She has also served on committees for wolf, snow leopard, cheetah and mountain lion conservation.
Anna Breytenbach and friend
So now we come to this video of Anna and Diablo, more properly called Spirit, (and the video will make that clear).
Arjan Postma explains the background to the film:
I just want to share this message as much as possible without any commercial intent, personal benefit or whatsoever. All used materials and therefore copyrights do not belong to me. I hope you enjoy discovering and watching this story and skill as much as I did: What if you could talk to animals and have them talk back to you? Anna Breytenbach has dedicated her life to what she calls interspecies communication. She sends detailed messages to animals through pictures and thoughts. She then receives messages of remarkable clarity back from the animals. In this section, Anna transforms a deadly snarling leopard into a relaxed content cat. The amazing story of how leopard Diabolo became Spirit… I found the source of this amazing documentary here: http://www.cultureunplugged.com/docum… This is the first full length documentary film on the art of animal communication. Nominated for Best Long Documentary, Best Director of “Jade Kunlun” Awards of 2012 World Mountain Documentary Festival of Qinghai China. Director: Craig Foster | Producer: Vyv Simson | Narrator: Swati Thiyagarajan Genre: Documentary | Produced In: 2012.
P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Maybe it is because of a ‘Great Filter‘.
Like so many others I read many items online. One of the websites that I follow is the EarthSky site because for a long time I have been interested in space.
So when I saw an article on why intelligent life is so rare in our Milky Way I read it fully. And hoped it would be of interest to others.
Here it is:
What is the Great Filter, and can we survive it?
November 17, 2022
This graphic depicts intelligent civilizations as stars. The vertical lines represent Great Filters that civilizations do or don’t survive. This graphic depicts Earth’s human population (the yellow “star”) approaching its own Great Filter. How would we surpass it, and keep going? Image via NASA/ arXiv.
Is intelligent life common, or rare in our Milky Way galaxy? If it’s common, why haven’t we encountered it? While discussing UFOs on a walk to lunch in the year 1950, the physicist Enrico Fermi is famously said to have asked, “But where is everybody?” Scientists today call that riddle Fermi’s Paradox. Now a new paper by NASA scientists explores one possible answer to the paradox. The answer may be what’s called the Great Filter.
Economist Robin Hanson first proposed the Great Filter, in the late 1990s. It’s the idea of that – even if life forms abundantly in our Milky Way galaxy – each extraterrestrial civilization ultimately faces some barrier to its own survival. The barrier might come from without (for example, an asteroid striking a planet, and wiping out all life forms). Or it might come from within (for example, all-out nuclear war).
Hanson proposed that a Great Filter might be at work within our Milky Way galaxy. He argued – from what we can see here on Earth – life expands to fill every niche. And so, he argued, we should see signs of intelligent life beyond Earth in nearby star systems, perhaps even in our solar system. But we don’t see this.
Is humanity facing a Great Filter?
The authors of the new paper take Hanson’s idea further. They explore the idea that humanity may now be facing a Great Filter. The authors wrote:
We postulate that an existential disaster may lay in wait as our society advances exponentially towards space exploration, acting as the Great Filter: a phenomenon that wipes out civilizations before they can encounter each other … In this article, we propose several possible scenarios, including anthropogenic and natural hazards, both of which can be prevented with reforms in individual, institutional and intrinsic behaviors. We also take into account multiple calamity candidates: nuclear warfare, pathogens and pandemics, artificial intelligence, meteorite impacts, and climate change.
And they offer solutions, beginning with, as they say:
… a necessary period of introspection, followed by appropriate refinements to properly approach our predicament, and addressing the challenges and methods in which we may be able to mitigate risk to mankind and the nearly 9 million other species on Earth.
In a sense, the authors of the new paper – including lead author Jonathan H. Jiang of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California – are engaging in a “necessary period of introspection” by the act of writing their paper.
And, with their paper, they’re laying out the challenges we’re facing and methods of addressing them.
We’ve already survived some ‘filters’
The scientists point to life’s resilience. Life on Earth has already survived a number of filters in the form of mass extinction events. The Permian-Triassic extinction – aka the Great Dying – occurred 250 million years ago and nearly ended all life on the planet. This extinction event wiped out about 96% of marine life and 70% of land species. The exact cause of the Great Dying is still a matter of study, but some scientists have said it was a combination of warming temperatures and decreasing oxygen.
But these previous filters, or extinction events, have been natural, arising from the evolution of our planet and solar system, including volcanic eruptions and asteroid impacts.
But now, clearly, humanity may be facing a Great Filter of our own making, and one that other intelligent civilizations in the galaxy have faced … and failed to withstand. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the technological advancements humans have achieved might ultimately lead to our undoing. Perhaps that’s nature’s way. As the new paper said:
It seems as though nearly every great discovery or invention, while pushing back the borders of our technological ignorance, is all too quickly and easily turned to destructive ends. Examples such as splitting the atom, biomedical innovations and resource extraction and consumption come to mind with disconcerting swiftness. Still, some have suggested artificial intelligence (AI) as yet another factor, which, pending substantial technical hurdles, may yet have its chance to prove friend or foe.
Here’s a look at some of the issues that might compose Earth’s Great Filter.
One of the factors Earth faces, according to the paper, is unchecked population growth. Earth just passed a milestone on November 15, 2022, when it reached 8 billion human inhabitants. The paper said with our current population figures, Earth has experienced:
… an exponential rise from about 1.6 billion [people] at the start of the 20th century.
Technological advancements in farming, energy production and distribution have made such a large population possible on Earth. But, as the paper said, these advancements cannot:
… indefinitely offset the multifaceted stresses imposed by an ever-escalating population.
When will Earth’s human population reach its peak size? Some projections report that education in developing nations might allow Earth’s population to peak at 10 billion in the 2060s. But, of course, no one really knows.
While warfare has long been a factor of life on Earth, only in the past century has humanity had a weapon that could destroy all nations, not just those participating in a nuclear war. The scientists said the greater the number of democracies in the world, the better our chances for avoiding nuclear war. The scientist also saw other encouraging signs, including:
Peace agreements in the historically troubled Middle East, a vast reduction in nuclear warheads since the height of the Cold War and a wide coalition of nations rallying their support for the besieged in Eastern Europe.
The threat of illness and pandemics continues to grow simply because our world is so interconnected. Spreading diseases have a much easier time in our global society. But on the positive side, advancements in medicine have also given us an edge. The scientists said that having current and reliable data is crucial:
… in predicting how future pandemics will spread, how deadly they will be and how quickly and effectively we will be able to leverage our knowledge of the life sciences to counter this manifestation of the Great Filter.
While true artificial intelligence as a separate sentient being is not yet reality, the authors of the paper urge a proactive plan to peacefully share Earth. They project that computer sophistication will one day rival that of the human mind. The scientists said:
As for whether AI would be benign or otherwise, self-imposing a Great Filter of our own invention, that will depend on the evolving nature and disposition of Earth’s first high-tech species.
Here’s an extinction event from the past that could still spell our doom in the future. While large impacts are exceedingly rare, there is, as the scientists said:
… a non-zero percentage [of asteroids or comets] which are large enough to survive passage through the atmosphere and, impacting the surface, cause catastrophic destruction to our sensitive biosphere.
The odds of a mass extinction level event in the coming years is vanishingly small. But, over time periods extending into the very distant future, the odds increase toward 100%. Meanwhile, with projects such as the DART mission, and given enough lead time, humanity has a way of defending itself.
Climate change has become one of the most studied threats to life on Earth. Because the threats from climate change happen on a slower time scale than, say, the time it takes to launch a nuclear weapon, the efforts to curb these effects have not been as rapid as they could have been. The scientists said:
The major impediment to taking more decisive actions, however, are the challenges imposed by transitioning to non-carbon-based energy sources such as solar, wind, nuclear power. Here again, rapidly advancing technologies in areas such as modularized nuclear power plants and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) are among the best hopes for avoiding slow-motion ensnarement by this lulling but lethal Great Filter.
So you see there’s not just one possible Great Filter for Earth, but many. Any one of them could be our downfall. These scientists are suggesting something that sounds simple on its face, but is (apparently) hard to do. That is, in order to avoid the Great Filter, humans must work together and recognize the big picture. As the paper said:
History has shown that intraspecies competition and, more importantly, collaboration, has led us toward the highest peaks of invention. And yet, we prolong notions that seem to be the antithesis of long-term sustainable growth. Racism, genocide, inequity, sabotage … the list sprawls.
Meanwhile, we continue to look outward, peering at the dark depths between the stars, hoping for a sign that we aren’t alone in the universe. Ultimately, our quest to find life beyond Earth is part of trying to understand life on our planet and where we fit in. As Carl Sagan said:
In the deepest sense, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence is a search for ourselves.
Bottom line: Scientists say the reason we haven’t found intelligent civilizations in the galaxy is that they may not have survived the Great Filter. And they say we may be facing down our own Great Filter.
We are a funny bunch! As was said just a couple of paragraphs ago we humans must work together and recognise the big picture. But we do not!
Why do we not do that?
I wish I knew the answer to that conundrum! Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed the article.
Back to Unsplash!
There you go for another week. You all have a safe and gentle week and we will see you again on the 27th November for another Picture Parade.
A guest post from Breanna Alam.
Let me first provide some background to Breanna. She offered the following:
Breanna Alam is a passionate dog-lover who strives to find holistic ways for dogs to live their very best lives. The most recent passing of her 10.5 year old boxer, Santana taught her how to truly understand a dog’s purpose in this world. She always felt a strong emotional connection to dogs, and throughout her life she often noticed that dogs reflect the personalities of their owners. Breanna earned her master’s degree in User Experience Design and utilizes that knowledge to better understand how dogs and owners can enhance their experiences with one another in their everyday lives. This also brought her to the realization that through showing owners how to better understand their dogs, they can better understand themselves. She hopes to spread peace, love, and deeper connections to dogs and their owners all around the world by bringing awareness to the natural ways to plug back into the earth.
I’d love to spread the word about the natural healing power of crystals for dogs!
And what better than this article by Breanna on how crystals help the healing of dogs.
How Crystals Can Help Heal Your Dog
By Breanna Alam.
Crystals are a natural way to connect to the earth. They often form when magma hardens and cools slowly or when water evaporates from a mixture. This can take a few days to several years! Most crystals are naturally formed while others can be man-made or manipulated to exude a certain color or shape. Since crystals are composed of natural elements from the earth, they contain grounding properties that allow us to feel centered and calm. But the power of crystals doesn’t stop at humans, dogs can benefit from them too!
If you’re concerned about negativity, black obsidian is perfect for you. While other crystals tend to enhance positive attributes and surrounding energy, black obsidian will absorb the negative! This works well in conjunction with other crystals, but also works perfectly fine on its own. If your dog has a dark or painful past, black obsidian can help draw out the toxic energy that is no longer serving purpose in your happy home. Along with drawing out negativity, this powerful stone has the ability to help heal old wounds and traumas. Place black obsidian in any area your dog frequents to reap the benefits of this powerful stone.
Does your precious pooch have trouble sleeping? Howlite might do the trick! This powerful stone promotes a better sleep cycle to allow you both to wake up feeling refreshed each morning. It’s also known to encourage expression, which can help boost the confidence of shy dogs. When a dog feels more confident, they are less likely to excessively chew or exhibit destructive behavior. Howlite is a dreamy white and grey color combination and one that could benefit from staying near your dog’s bed.
New owners should definitely consider adding rose quartz to their shopping list. It’s well known for attracting feelings of unconditional love, within and without. An increase in self-love allows dogs to see an increase in love all around. This can especially come in handy with opening a dog’s heart to its new owner. It also helps to heal old wounds, which could benefit those suffering from a traumatic past. Rose quartz is a soft pink color, and you can place it anywhere near your dog to amplify all the loving energy around you both!
If you’ve been curious about how crystals can help strengthen your relationship with your dog, we hope this article helps. Always be sure to keep crystals in an area where your dog can’t accidentally (or purposely) eat them. Check with SpaDog weekly for more tips, tricks, and useful information on spoiling your dog in healthy and fun ways!
Thank you, Breanna, I am sure that will find many readers who see where you are coming from. That last sentence says it all for dog-lovers: “Check with SpaDog weekly for more tips, tricks, and useful information on spoiling your dog in healthy and fun ways!”
Thank you once again!
A recent article in The Conversation
I was short of time yesterday when I turned my mind to Tuesday’s post. So I hope you won’t mind if I leave you with this very interesting article.
Herman Daly had a flair for stating the obvious. When an economy creates more costs than benefits, he called it “uneconomic growth.” But you won’t find that conclusion in economics textbooks. Even suggesting that economic growth could cost more than it’s worth can be seen as economic heresy.
The renegade economist, known as the father of ecological economics and a leading architect of sustainable development, died on Oct. 28, 2022, at the age of 84. He spent his career questioning an economics disconnected from an environmental footing and moral compass.
In an age of climate chaos and economic crisis, his ideas that inspired a movement to live within our means are increasingly essential.
Herman Daly grew up in Beaumont, Texas, ground zero of the early 20th century oil boom. He witnessed the unprecedented growth and prosperity of the “gusher age” set against the poverty and deprivation that lingered after the Great Depression.
To Daly, as many young men then and since believed, economic growth was the solution to the world’s problems, especially in developing countries. To study economics in college and export the northern model to the global south was seen as a righteous path.
But Daly was a voracious reader, a side effect of having polio as a boy and missing out on the Texas football craze. Outside the confines of assigned textbooks, he found a history of economic thought steeped in rich philosophical debates on the function and purpose of the economy.
Unlike the precision of a market equilibrium sketched on the classroom blackboard, the real-world economy was messy and political, designed by those in power to choose winners and losers. He believed that economists should at least ask: Growth for whom, for what purpose and for how long?
Daly’s biggest realization came through reading marine biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book “Silent Spring,” and seeing her call to “come to terms with nature … to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature but of ourselves.” By then, he was working on a Ph.D. in Latin American development at Vanderbilt University and was already quite skeptical of the hyperindividualism baked into economic models. In Carson’s writing, the conflict between a growing economy and a fragile environment was blindingly clear.
After a fateful class with Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Daly’s conversion was complete. Georgescu-Roegen, a Romanian-born economist, dismissed the free market fairy tale of a pendulum swinging back and forth, effortlessly seeking a natural state of equilibrium. He argued that the economy was more like an hourglass, a one-way process converting valuable resources into useless waste.
Daly became convinced that economics should no longer prioritize the efficiency of this one-way process but instead focus on the “optimal” scale of an economy that the Earth can sustain. Just shy of his 30th birthday in 1968, while working as a visiting professor in the poverty-stricken Ceará region of northeastern Brazil, Daly published “On Economics as a Life Science.”
His sketches and tables of the economy as a metabolic process, entirely dependent on the biosphere as source for sustenance and sink for waste, were the road map for a revolution in economics.
Daly spent the rest of his career drawing boxes in circles. In what he called the “pre-analytical vision,” the economy – the box – was viewed as the “wholly owned subsidiary” of the environment, the circle.
When the economy is small relative to the containing environment, a focus on the efficiency of a growing system has merit. But Daly argued that in a “full world,” with an economy that outgrows its sustaining environment, the system is in danger of collapse.
While a professor at Louisiana State University in the 1970s, at the height of the U.S. environmental movement, Daly brought the box-in-circle framing to its logical conclusion in “Steady-State Economics.” Daly reasoned that growth and exploitation are prioritized in the competitive, pioneer stage of a young ecosystem. But with age comes a new focus on durability and cooperation. His steady-state model shifted the goal away from blind expansion of the economy and toward purposeful improvement of the human condition.
The international development community took notice. Following the United Nations’ 1987 publication of “Our Common Future,” which framed the goals of a “sustainable” development, Daly saw a window for development policy reform. He left the safety of tenure at LSU to join a rogue group of environmental scientists at the World Bank.
For the better part of six years, they worked to upend the reigning economic logic that treated “the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation.” He often butted heads with senior leadership, most famously with Larry Summers, the bank’s chief economist at the time, who publicly waved off Daly’s question of whether the size of a growing economy relative to a fixed ecosystem was of any importance. The future U.S. treasury secretary’s reply was short and dismissive: “That’s not the right way to look at it.”
But by the end of his tenure there, Daly and colleagues had successfully incorporated new environmental impact standards into all development loans and projects. And the international sustainability agenda they helped shape is now baked into the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals of 193 countries, “a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.” In 1994, Daly returned to academia at the University of Maryland, and his life’s work was recognized the world over in the years to follow, including by Sweden’s Right Livelihood Award, the Netherlands’ Heineken Prize for Environmental Science, Norway’s Sophie Prize, Italy’s Medal of the Presidency, Japan’s Blue Planet Prize and even Adbuster’s person of the year.
Today, the imprint of his career can be found far and wide, including measures of the Genuine Progress Indicator of an economy, new Doughnut Economics framing of social floors within environmental ceilings, worldwide degree programs in ecological economics and a vibrant degrowth movement focused on a just transition to a right-sized economy.
I knew Herman Daly for two decades as a co-author, mentor and teacher. He always made time for me and my students, most recently writing the foreword to my upcoming book, “The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming Our Future from the Fairytale of Economics.” I will be forever grateful for his inspiration and courage to, as he put it, “ask the naive, honest questions” and then not be “satisfied until I get the answers.”
I found this to be absolutely fascinating and I am sure many besides me agree.
The breed has come full circle!
We have had a couple of pit bull mixes here at home and they have been nothing but fabulous dogs.
So just three weeks ago The Conversation published an extensive account of the recent history of the breed. It is republished for you all today.
As recently as 50 years ago, the pit bull was America’s favorite dog. Pit bulls were everywhere. They were popular in advertising and used to promote the joys of pet-and-human friendship. Nipper on the RCA Victor label, Pete the Pup in the “Our Gang” comedy short films, and the flag-wrapped dog on a classic World War I poster all were pit bulls.
With National Pit Bull Awareness Day celebrated on Oct. 26, it’s a fitting time to ask how these dogs came to be seen as a dangerous threat.
Starting around 1990, multiple features of American life converged to inspire widespread bans that made pit bulls outlaws, called “four-legged guns” or “lethal weapons.” The drivers included some dog attacks, excessive parental caution, fearful insurance companies and a tie to the sport of dog fighting.
As a professor of humanities and law, I have studied the legal history of slaves, vagrants, criminals, terror suspects and others deemed threats to civilized society. For my books “The Law is a White Dog” and “With Dogs at the Edge of Life,” I explored human-dog relationships and how laws and regulations can deny equal protection to entire classes of beings.
In my experience with these dogs – including nearly 12 years living with Stella, the daughter of champion fighting dogs – I have learned that pit bulls are not inherently dangerous. Like other dogs, they can become dangerous in certain situations, and at the hands of certain owners. But in my view, there is no defensible rationale for condemning not only all pit bulls, but any dog with a single pit bull gene, as some laws do.
I see such action as canine profiling, which recalls another legal fiction: the taint or stain of blood that ordained human degradation and race hatred in the United States.
The pit bull is strong. Its jaw grip is almost impossible to break. Bred over centuries to bite and hold large animals like bears and bulls around the face and head, it’s known as a “game dog.” Its bravery and strength won’t allow it to give up, no matter how long the struggle. It loves with the same strength; its loyalty remains the stuff of legend.
For decades pit bulls’ tenacity encouraged the sport of dogfighting, with the dogs “pitted” against each other. Fights often went to the death, and winning animals earned huge sums for those who bet on them.
But betting on dogs is not a high-class sport. Dogs are not horses; they cost little to acquire and maintain. Pit bulls easily and quickly became associated with the poor, and especially with Black men, in a narrative that connected pit bulls with gang violence and crime.
That’s how prejudice works: The one-on-one lamination of the pit bull onto the African American male reduced people to their accessories.
Dogfighting was outlawed in all 50 states by 1976, although illegal businesses persisted. Coverage of the practice spawned broad assertions about the dogs that did the fighting. As breed bans proliferated, legal rulings proclaimed these dogs “dangerous to the safety or health of the community” and judged that “public interests demand that the worthless shall be exterminated.”
In 1987 Sports Illustrated put a pit bull, teeth bared, on its cover, with the headline “Beware of this Dog,” which it characterized as born with “a will to kill.” Time magazine published “Time Bombs on Legs” featuring this “vicious hound of the Baskervilles” that “seized small children like rag dolls and mauled them to death in a frenzy of bloodletting.”
If a dog has “vicious propensities,” the owner is assumed to share in this projected violence, both legally and generally in public perception. And once deemed “contraband,” both property and people are at risk.
This was evident in the much-publicized 2007 indictment of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick for running a dogfighting business called Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia. Even the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – two of the nation’s leading animal welfare advocacy groups – argued that the 47 pit bulls recovered from the facility should be killed because they posed a threat to people and other animals.
If not for the intervention of Best Friends Animal Society, Vick’s dogs would have been euthanized. As the film “Champions” recounts, a court-appointed special master determined each dog’s fate. Ultimately, nearly all of the dogs were successfully placed in sanctuaries or adoptive homes.
This 2010 report describes the successful rehabilitation of dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz dogfighting operation.
Pit bulls still suffer more than any other dogs from the fact that they are a type of dog, not a distinct breed. Once recognized by the American Kennel Club as an American Staffordshire terrier, popularly known as an Amstaff, and registered with the United Kennel Club and the American Dog Breeders Association as an American pit bull terrier, now any dog characterized as a “pit bull type” can be considered an outlaw in many communities.
For example, in its 2012 Tracey v. Solesky ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals modified the state’s common law in cases involving dog injuries. Any dog containing pit bull genes was “inherently dangerous” as a matter of law.
This subjected owners and landlords to what the courts call “strict liability.” As the court declared: “When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.”
Dissenting from the ruling, Judge Clayton Greene recognized the absurdity of the majority opinion’s “unworkable rule”: “How much ‘pit bull,’” he asked, “must there be in a dog to bring it within the strict liability edict?”
It’s equally unanswerable how to tell when a dog is a pit bull mix. From the shape of its head? Its stance? The way it looks at you?
Conundrums like these call into question statistics that show pit bulls to be more dangerous than other breeds. These figures vary a great deal depending on their sources.
Any statistics about pit bull attacks depend on the definition of a pit bull – yet it’s really hard to get good dog bite data that accurately IDs the breed
Prince George’s County, Md., is negotiating with advocates suing to revoke the county’s pit bull ban.
Over the past decade, awareness has grown that breed-specific legislation does not make the public safer but does penalize responsible owners and their dogs. Currently 21 states prohibit local government from enforcing breed-specific legislation or naming specific breeds in dangerous dog laws. Maryland passed a law reversing the Tracey ruling in 2014. Yet 15 states still allow local communities to enact breed-specific bans.
Pit bulls demand a great deal more from humans than some dogs, but alongside their bracing way of being in the world, we humans learn another way of thinking and loving. Compared with many other breeds, they offer a more demanding but always affecting communion.
That is a very interesting account of the breed and shows the complexities of owning Pit Bulls in certain States, or rather local communities enacting breed-specific bans.
However, in our experience, we have found them to be smart, loving animals, and we know we are not alone in having those thoughts.
Today we focus exclusively on German Shepherds, again courtesy of a section on Unsplash.
This last one looks so much like Pharaoh, the GSD that came with me in 2008 from Devon to Mexico when Jeannie and I wanted to be together. So my last photo is of Pharaoh.
My beloved Pharaoh. Born the 3rd June, 2003 – died 19th June, 2017.
A rather gloomy analysis about the next few years!
One makes decisions all one’s life. But too few of us are making decisions that will prevent our planet from over-heating.
Patrice Ayme wrote a comment in a recent post that said (in part): “However we are tracking to a much higher temperature: + 7 (seven) Celsius in some now temperate parts… imminently. That is going to be catastrophic.”
There is a terrible change going on right now. From the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest to the unseasonable heat in Europe, as reported in the Guardian newspaper: “The result of this advection has been anomalously warm temperatures across large parts of Europe – in particular across France and Spain, where temperatures soared to over 10C above normal. Maximum temperatures widely exceeded 30C in parts of Spain on Thursday, with 35.2C measured at Morón de la Frontera, south-east of Seville.“
One would think that our governments would be pulling together in order to have a co-ordinated global plan. But there’s no sight of that yet. What we do have is a sort of craziness of Governments that causes me to lament over our, as in a global ‘our’, distractions. We are running out of time!
To this end I am republishing in full the latest George Monbiot essay. I hasten to add with Mr Monbiot’s permission.
The Oligarch’s Oligarch
Published 30th October 2022.
Just as we need to get the money out of politics, we have been gifted a Prime Minister who represents the ultra-rich.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 26th October 2022
Before we decide what needs to change, let’s take stock of what we have lost. I want to begin with what happened last week. I don’t mean the resignation of the prime minister. This is more important.
Almost all the media reported a scripted comment by the newly reinstated home secretary, Suella Braverman, about the “Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati”. Astonishingly, scarcely any of them reported what she was doing at the time. She was pushing through the House of Commons the most repressive legislation of the modern era.
Under the public order bill, anyone who has protested in the previous five years, or has encouraged other people to protest, can be forced to “submit to … being fitted with, or the installation of, any necessary apparatus” to monitor their movements. In other words, if you attend or support any protest in which “serious disruption to two or more individuals or to an organisation” occurs, you can be forced to wear an electronic tag. “Serious disruption” was redefined by the 2022 Police Act to include noise.
This is just one of a series of astounding measures in the bill, which has been hardly remarked upon in public life as it passes through Britain’s legislature. What we see here is two losses in one moment: the final erasure of the right to protest, and political journalism’s mutation from reporting substance to reporting spectacle. These are just the latest of our losses.
So extreme has inequality become, and so dangerous is the combination of frozen wages, lagging benefits, rising rents and mortgage repayments, soaring bills and food inflation, that millions of people are being pushed towards destitution. Unless something changes, many will soon lose their homes. In the midst of this crisis, we have been gifted a prime minister who owns four luxury “homes”. One of them is an empty flat in Kensington that he reserves for visiting relatives.
While Rishi Sunak was chancellor, the government repeatedly delayed its manifesto promise to ban no-fault evictions. Landlords are ruthlessly exploiting this power to throw their tenants on to the street or use the threat to force them to accept outrageous rent rises and dismal conditions. Had Sunak’s “help to buy” mortgage scheme succeeded (it was a dismal flop), it would have raised house prices, increasing rents and making ownership less accessible: the opposite of its stated aim. But this, as with all such schemes, was surely its true purpose: to inflate the assets of existing owners, the Conservative party’s base.
Public services are collapsing at breathtaking speed. Headteachers warn that 90% of schools in England could run out of money next year. NHS dentistry is on the verge of extinction. Untold numbers are now living in constant pain and, in some cases, extracting their own teeth. The suspicion that the NHS is being deliberately dismembered, its core services allowed to fail so that we cease to defend it against privatisation, rises ever higher in the mind.
But Sunak appears determined only to hack ever further. Sitting on a family fortune of £730m, he seems unmoved by the plight of people so far removed from him in wealth that they must seem to exist on another planet. He is the oligarch’s oligarch, ever responsive to the demands of big capitaland the three offshore plutocrats who own the country’s biggest newspapers, oblivious of the needs of the 67 million people who live here.
After 12 years of Conservative austerity and chaos, the very rich have taken almost everything. They have even captured virtue. They now appropriate the outward signs of an ethical life while continuing – despite or because of their organic cotton jackets and second homes, their electric cars and pasture-fed meat, their carbon offsets and ayahuasca retreats, philanthropy and holidays in quiet resorts whose palm-thatched cabins mimic the vernacular of the people evicted to make way for them – to grasp the lion’s share of everything.
Corruption is embedded in public life. Fraud is scarcely prosecuted. Organised crime has been so widely facilitated, through the destruction of the state’s capacity to regulate everything from money laundering to waste dumping, that you could almost believe it was deliberate. Our rivers have been reduced to sewers, our soil is washing off the land, the planning system is being dismantled, and hundreds of environmental laws are now under threat. We hurtle towards Earth systems oblivion, while frenetically talking about anything but.
In other words, it’s not just a general election we need, it’s a complete rethink of who we are and where we stand. It’s not just proportional representation we need, but radical devolution to the lowest possible levels at which decisions can be made, accompanied by deliberative, participatory democracy. It’s not just new lobbying laws we require, but a comprehensive programme to get the money out of politics, ending all private political donations, breaking up the billionaire press and demanding full financial transparency for everyone in public life. We should seek not only the repeal of repressive legislation, but – as civil disobedience is the bedrock of democracy – positive rights to protest.
All this now feels far away. Jeremy Corbyn offered some (though by no means all) of these reforms. Keir Starmer offers none. Though Labour MPs voted against the public order bill, his only public comment so far has been to endorse its headline policy: longer sentences for people who glue themselves to roads. But if the Labour party or its future coalition partners can persuade him to agree to just one aspect of this programme, proportional representation, we can start work on the rest, building the political alliances that could transform the life of this nation. Without PR, we’re stuck with a dysfunctional duopoly, in hock to the billionaire press and the millionaires it appoints to govern us. We cannot carry on like this.
So much is really telling but I just want to draw your attention to this sentence: In other words, it’s not just a general election we need, it’s a complete rethink of who we are and where we stand.
It is not just in England and Wales but also in the USA. Indeed, most of the countries in the world.
Here is an excerpt from the latest email from The Economist. It presages the COP27 to be held in Egypt next week.
By burning fossil fuels, humans have altered Earth’s atmosphere, which has consequences for almost everything on the planet. It is reshaping weather systems and coastlines, transforming where crops can be grown, which diseases thrive, and how armies fight . Rising temperatures affect geopolitics, migration, ecosystems and the economy. Over the next century and beyond, climate change—and the responses to it—will remake societies and the world.
And a paragraph later:
This week I wrote about the seven texts I recommend as an introduction to the climate crisis—and explained why each is worth turning to—as a part of our “Economist reads” series. They range from Bill Gates’s assessment of technological solutions to a discussion of international justice by the former UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. One book I find myself recommending over and over again is “What We Know About Climate Change” by Kerry Emanuel, an atmospheric scientist at MIT. At 88 pages, it is a blessedly short, readable primer on the science, history and economics of climate change. The climate crisis touches everything. Understanding it, even a little, is essential for anyone who is engaged with the world and its future. This is a good place to start.
Please follow this advice because it is an excellent place to start.
I wish with all my heart that I am wrong and maybe, just maybe, I am having a ‘down in the dumps’ day. Whatever, my judgement is that we have a few more years at most to find out.