Category: Innovation

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.

There’s no limit to the smartness of dogs!

Dog wants to go to daycare? Then off she goes!

Back when I started this blog, back in July, 2009, I had no idea that there were so many stories about dogs. I mean many stories each day! I called the blog Learning from Dogs simply because when I first met Jean in 2007 she had upwards of 16 dogs. When I went out to be with her in 2008, together with my Pharaoh from England, I very quickly saw there was a huge potential in writing about them.

For example, how about this gorgeous article.

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Clever Dog Walks Herself To Doggy Day Care

“She just couldn’t wait for mom and dad to get up, so she came here herself.”

By Lily Feinn
Published on 10/21/2020

Early Saturday morning, Marty Carriere was getting ready for a busy day at Happy Tails Pet Resort and Spa when he saw someone at the door. He wasn’t expecting anyone quite so early, so he waited — then a wet nose pushed through the gates.

“It was 6:30ish when I saw her nose poking through the gate there,” Carriere told The Dodo. “Normally, I wait for the owners to come in with the dogs and see what happens but she was just poking around out there.”

HAPPY TAILS PET RESORT AND SPA

When Carriere didn’t see any cars or people outside, he wandered over to the door to check things out and found Jem, a 5-year-old shepherd mix, waiting outside. Jem used to visit the day care three to four times a week before quarantine and was clearly eager to see her friends.

“I was pretty shocked when I opened the door and there was a dog there — and one of our regulars, too. So I was like, ‘Come on in, Jem. Let’s play,’” Carriere said. “I opened up the door and she ran right in — tail wagging and she was ready to go.”

HAPPY TAILS PET RESORT AND SPA

Carriere called Jem’s parents, who rushed over to pick her up. It seems the independent pup had broken out of her yard when guests from the night before didn’t close the gate properly.

Jem’s parents brought her home and gave her breakfast, then drove her right back to day care since that was clearly how she wanted to spend the rest of her day. “She was definitely pretty anxious to get here,” Carriere said.

HAPPY TAILS PET RESORT AND SPA

According to Carriere, Jem is a big goofball at day care and loves playing with all the other dogs.

“She comes in and does this little howling thing that not a lot of the other dogs do. She gets in and starts howling right away, she’s just so excited to be here,” he said. “I guess that morning she just couldn’t wait for Mom and Dad to get up, so she came here herself.”

HAPPY TAILS PET RESORT AND SPA

In the three years that Carriere has worked for Happy Tails, he’s never experienced or heard of something like this happening before. But then again, Jem is one of a kind.

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Jem is special. But so are many, many other dogs.

But that doesn’t stop us in the slightest enjoying this story.

What a brilliant idea!

This is a wonderful, innovative way to look after dogs.

It’s not that often that something comes along that is wonderfully refreshing, both as an idea and in practice. I am speaking of a way of housing shelter dogs.

It’s the work of Austin Pets Alive and I’m not surprised in the slightest to read from their website:

Austin Pets Alive! is not your average animal shelter. We pioneer innovative lifesaving programs designed to save the animals most at risk of euthanasia.

They are in Texas.

But back to the article which appeared on the Treehugger website.

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This Rescue is Building Tiny Homes for Shelter Dogs

They offer a calm alternative to the chaos of shelter life.

By Mary Jo DiLonardo, October 1st, 2020

The shelter is building two tiny homes for rescue dogs.
Austin Pets Alive!

The shelter environment can be incredibly overwhelming for any dog. There are strange sights, smells, and sounds, and the presence of unfamiliar animals and people can be constantly changing. Some pets adapt more quickly than others, while some struggle with the frenetic surroundings.

One animal shelter in Texas is building tiny houses as a solution for those anxious dogs that need a calmer place to stay. The non-profit rescue is creating two small cabins on their shelter grounds complete with heating and air conditioning, dog-friendly furniture, and their own private yards. The cabins will also provide workspaces for staff and volunteers.

The tiny homes should be ready for their first guests later this month.

“The idea is to provide more of a home-like environment for the unique population of dogs Austin Pets Alive! cares for as the safety net for shelter animals who need us most — a place for decompression, training, and quality-of-life purposes,” Director of Operations Stephanie Bilbro tells Treehugger. “It seemed like the best opportunity for the investment, and also has the benefit of being a project that can be repeated as many times as we want!”

Having tiny homes for some of the shelter’s canine residents was a long-time dream of the rescue’s executive director, veterinarian Ellen Jefferson. The rescue put together a committee of staff and volunteers in 2019 to assess the facility and see what improvement could be made.

They decided to build the tiny homes “as a way to provide a better quality of life for some of our longest-stay or most behaviorally challenged dogs”, Bilbro says.

The cabins will house one dog at a time and they will remain there for the rest of their stay until they find a foster or adoptive home. The cabins will primarily be used for dogs who are overstimulated by the standard kennel environment.

Some dogs are scared and overwhelmed by the shelter environment. Austin Pets Alive!

“Overstimulation can lead not only to higher stress in the animal, but can actually be dangerous for a handler, or other animals, if you have a dog who expresses stress by showing impulsive or aggressive behaviors,” Bilbro says.

“Overstimulation is also a big barrier to successful training or behavior modification, so it can be difficult to make progress with dogs like this in a kennel or shelter environment. The cabins will ideally provide a quiet and low-stimulation place for the dogs to decompress and relax in a way that will help our staff and volunteers get through to them easier.”

The rescue is relying on donations to keep saving lives and trying out innovations like these, Bilbro says. When the pandemic first started, the rescue increased its intakes so smaller and more rural shelters that were temporarily closing wouldn’t have to euthanize animals.

The first dogs should be moving into their tiny houses soon. And maybe they won’t be staying long.

“We also hope that the ‘home-like’ environment of the cabins will help us learn a little more about how a dog would act in a home, which could tell us more about what kind of foster or adopter they need for our matchmakers to match them with their forever families,” Bilbro says.

“Would they be calm or anxious, would they be destructive or tidy, are they possibly housetrained, will they let people come into their space without conflict? These are things we would hope to learn from a foster home but without needing to find a foster who is willing to take on a challenging dog, or a dog we don’t know a lot about.”

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I have nothing to do with neither Treehugger nor Austin Pets Alive.

However, I was so impressed with the way they operated that we made a very small donation. So, if there’s anybody else out there who can afford some money then this is the link to donate.

I just donated to Austin Pets Alive!, an organization that serves the animals most at-risk through innovative programs that address the animals’ needs. I’m proud to support a mission that believes that animal shelters should do just that – provide every animal the chance to find their forever home!

Provide every animal the chance to find their forever home.

It doesn’t get any better for our lovely dogs than that.

The fate of the world!

Whichever way you look there are substantial challenges.

This post is largely a republication of a recent post from Patrice Ayme. Because when I read it I was profoundly affected. I thought that it needed to be shared with all you good people because if nothing is done then life as we know it is going to come to an end. Period! That includes our gorgeous dogs as well as us humans! So, please, please read it all the way through!

But before Patrice’s post is presented The Economist this last week came out with a special report entitled Business and climate change. I offer a small extract:


For most of the world, this year will be remembered mainly for covid-19. Starting in Asia, then spreading across Europe and America before taking hold in the emerging world, the pandemic has infected millions and killed hundreds of thousands. And it has devastated economies even more severely that did the global financial crisis which erupted in 2008.

But the impact of covid-19 has also given a sense of just how hard it will be to deal with climate change. As economic activity has stalled, energy-related CO2 emissions have fallen sharply. This year the drop will be between 4% and 7%. But to have a decent chance of keeping Earth’s mean temperature less than 2 deg C above pre-industrial levels, net emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases must fall to more or less zero by mid-century. And such a drop needs to be achieved not by halting the world economy in its tracks, but by rewiring it.

The next section in the special report was A grim outlook and it was, indeed, a very grim read.

So onto Patrice’s article.

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Back To The Jurassic In A Hurry: 500 Part Per Million Of Greenhouse Gases

Greenhouse gases (GHG) used to be 280 parts per million. Now they are around 500 ppm (including CH4, Nitrogen oxides, chlorofluorocarbons, etc.). This is more GHG than in at least thirty  million years, when the Earth was much warmer, and it is similar to CO2 densities during the Jurassic.

So we are presently transiting to a Jurassic climate. The transition to the Jurassic climate is happening at a rate many orders of magnitude faster than changes in the past. This implies that most forests of the Earth , desiccating and incapable to adapt fast enough, are going to burn… worldwide. This generalized combustion has a drastic potential consequence: generalized hypoxia.

So we should talk about climate catastrophe rather than climate change, and global heating rather than global warming: recent fires got helped by temperatures dozen of degrees higher than normal, in part from compression of the air due to record breaking winds. This is why parts of the Pacific Northwest which never burn are now burning. This will extend to Canada, Alaska, Siberia and already did in recent years. The catastrophic massive release of frozen methane hydrates could happen any time (it already does, but not as bad as it is going to get). It has up to one hundred times more warming power than CO2 (fires release it by billions of tons).

What is the way out? Well, hydrogen is the solution, in two ways, but has not been deployed as it could be. A decade ago, thermonuclear fusion, on the verge of becoming a solution, was starved for funding, and so was green hydrogen (the then energy secretary, Obama’s Steven Chu, prefered investing in batteries, it was more lucrative for his little greedy self).

Green hydrogen enables to store energy for renewables, avoiding blackouts which cut electricity to pumps to fight fires.

We, Spaceship Earth, went from 275 ppm of GreenHouse Gases (GHG) in 1750 CE to 500 ppm in 2020. That doesn’t mean we double the Greenhouse, because the main GHG gas is… water vapor (H2O). What we can guess the best at this point is the EXCESS radiative forcing since 1750 CE, and that’s already nearly 3 Watts per square meter… Equivalent to a million and a half nuclear reactors at full power…

Climate forcing is a fascinating subject, with vast areas without a high level of scientific understanding (LOSU). However we know enough to realize forceful mitigation has to be engaged in immediately.

Joan Katsareas from Philadelphia, PA wrote back: “Thank you @Patrice Ayme for sharing your knowledge of the causes and extent of the climate crisis. I will be seeking out more information on hydrogen as a solution.”

@Joan Katsareas Thank you for thanking me, that is much appreciated. Hydrogen is indeed the overall solution we need at this point. Actually Australia, in collaboration with Japan, is building a gigantic, 15 Gigawatts, project in north west Australia, AREH, the Asian Renewable Energy Hub, to convert renewables from sun and wind into hydrogen products which will then be shipped to Japan. The same needs to be done all over, it would collapse the price of “green hydrogen” (99% of the US hydrogen is from fossil fuels).

In the case of thermonuclear fusion, the  international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) being built in France was slowed down by ten years, from reduced funding, and uses obsolete magnets (superconducting, but not High Temperature Superconductors, which can now be engineered with more compact and powerful fields). A massive effort would bring a positive energy thermonuclear reactor within 10 years… But that effort has not been made… except in China, the usual suspect, where a project, the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR), aims at an energy gain of 12 and a total power equivalent to a fission nuclear reactor. Its detailed engineering has been launched for a while (it’s supposedly symbiotic with the European DEMO project, which will produced as much as a large power station and will be connected to the grid. That too has been delayed, to the 2050s, although it’s feasible now).  The USA needs to launch a similar project, right away.

We face ecological constraints incomparably more severe than those of the Roman state. Rome did not solve its paltry problems, and let them fester: they had to do mostly with a dearth of metals, and the Franks solved them readily. This hindered the Roman economy. The situation we are facing, the threat of a runaway greenhouse is a terminal existential threat.

Look at Venus, we can look at our sparkling neighbor when the forests have finished burning, and the smoke dissipates (we were told it could be months). Once Venus probably had a vast ocean, and probably, life. But it died from a brutal greenhouse generated by Large Igneous Provinces (LIP). The same happened on Earth, on a smaller scale, more than once, in particular with the Permian Triassic mass extinction, which destroyed 95% of known species..

Now the rumor has it that indeed some life may have survived in the atmosphere.  This is not a joke. Consider: Life on Venus? Astronomers See a Signal in Its Clouds. The detection of a gas in the planet’s atmosphere could turn scientists’ gaze to a planet long overlooked in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Life on Venus? Ah, science, all those possibilities… We never imagined we would ever think possible.

Patrice Ayme

***

P/S: I argued in the past, before anybody else, that the dinosaur-pterosaurs-plesiosaurs extinction, and extinction of anything bigger than 20 kilograms was due to volcanism (I was at UC Berkeley when the two Alvarez were, and they seemed too full of themselves with the iridium layer, and I like to contradict certainties…)

How would LIP volcanism set forests on fire? Well, by the same exact mechanism as now: through a massive CO2 driven greenhouse, what may have terminated the Venusians…

In this perspective climate cooling, for millions of years, visible in the graph above, would have disrupted those species which were not equipped to generate enough heat, and then the LIP accelerated into a vast holocaust…

The end with general burning and acidic oceans is hard to duplicate with a bolide, so the impactophiles have argued that the bolide magically impacted the most CO2 generating rock imaginable… Maybe. But an enormous LIP does all that CO2 production/destruction of the oceans, effortlessly… A friend of mine who is the biggest of the big in this academic domain, he decides who publishes, replied to me that the 66 million year old Dekkan LIP is too small… To which I replied that we don’t know what lays below the ocean…

What on earth?

I guess this story is real!

I am not normally a sceptical person.

But when I read the latest article from The Dodo about a corgi that freaked out when she saw a bush made to look like a dog I did wonder. But whatever it makes a nice story.

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Corgi Freaks Out When She Sees A Bush That Looks Just Like Her

“She looked confused and concerned” 😂

Lily Feinn
Published on 8/28/2020.

Luna isn’t usually scared of other dogs — in fact, she’s kinda bossy.

“Luna, like a lot of other corgis, has a big dog attitude in a smaller package,” Matt, Luna’s dad who asked that his last name not be included, told The Dodo. “She loves policing other dogs at the dog park.”

INSTAGRAM/LELUNABERRY

So it came as a surprise when the little dog freaked out when she met a larger, greener version of herself.

Luna and Matt were visiting a friend earlier this year when they spotted an adorable topiary in the neighbor’s yard. “I just thought it was hilarious ’cause I instantly thought it was a corgi-shaped hedge,” Matt said. “Maybe that’s just what my brain defaults to ’cause my dog is a corgi.”

INSTAGRAM/LELUNABERRY

Matt placed Luna in front of the hedge for a photo and it became clear she was not interested in making friends.

“I think she was afraid cause it was so large and maybe the way I reacted to it,” Matt said. “She looked confused and concerned.”

Matt was surprised to learn that his tough dog is actually a bit of a scaredy cat — when it comes to large plants, at least. “She has a pretty expressive face so it feels like I know what she’s thinking,” Matt said.

INSTAGRAM/LELUNABERRY

Matt snapped the photo of Luna and posted it to Twitter, with the caption: “Neighbors are a big fan of Luna apparently.”

People were so impressed by the likeness that the post quickly went viral. However, all the attention didn’t change Luna’s mind when it came to topiaries.

After eight years of living with Luna, Matt appreciates her now more than ever.

“She’s been great to have around,” Matt said. “The neighbors love her as well and I’m glad I can appreciate her more right now, having to stay home more often.”

But, to keep Luna happy, they haven’t walked by the bush since.

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It takes all sorts!

Haircut!

How hard could it be, really? Just a few snips here and there should do it.

I hadn’t intended to publish a post for today. But then I saw Stephen Messenger’s post over at The Dodo and I thought that it was far too good not to share with you.

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Well-Meaning Mom Decides To Try Cutting Dog’s Hair Herself

“I fell on the floor laughing.”

By Stephen Messenger
Published on 8/15/2020

How hard could it be, really? Just a few snips here and there should do it.

That, apparently, was what one well-meaning dog mom thought when she decided to cut her dog’s overgrown hair herself at home.

And, well, you’ll see how that turned out.

SUSANA SOARES

The other week, Susana Soares was hanging out with her dog, Mano, when she realized his hair had gotten rather overgrown. It’d been a while since Mano had been to the groomers, and his shag was becoming a bit of an issue.

“Hair was getting in his eyes,” Soares told The Dodo.

Mano wasn’t loving it.

SUSANA SOARES

Soares, who’s actually worked as a hair stylist for humans, figured that taming Mano’s unruly mane would be no sweat.

“I decided to cut his hair at home,” she said.

So, Soares grabbed some scissors and got down to business — and this is what resulted:

SUSANA SOARES

Soares had solved Mano’s hair-in-the-eyes issues sure enough.

She gave him bangs — bangs that inadvertently gave Mano a questionable new look.

It was almost as if the little dog had cut his bangs himself. Without a mirror.

SUSANA SOARES

Mano didn’t have to ask Soares how she thought his new ‘do’ turned out.

“I fell on the floor laughing,” she said.

SUSANA SOARES

Did the cut look ridiculous? Yes, of course it did. But Mano’s not vain. He could see clearly again, after all.

“He likes it,” Soares said.

Fortunately, when tussled, Mano’s haircut looks less silly. If only slightly so.

SUSANA SOARES

Despite how things turned out, Soares did have the best intentions — and that’s what matters most.

SUSANA SOARES

Bad haircuts come and go. And thankfully, in time, Mano’s bangs will grow back into a more natural look.

When it comes time to trim them again, Soares plans to keep her scissors in the drawer and leave it to the pros.

“I will not be repeating that!” she said.

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See what I mean. This was a delightful story and I really have nothing to add other than joining in with the laughter!

Magnetic rivers!

Yes, you heard that correctly.

There was an article on the website EarthSky News yesterday that, literally, took me out of this world. It described the role of magnetic rivers in newly forming star clusters.

There’s not a dog in sight but nevertheless I wanted to share this article with you.

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Magnetic rivers feed star birth

Astronomers have learned that the pull of gravity can sometimes overcome the strong magnetic fields found in great star-forming clouds in space. The resulting weakly magnetized gas flow can feed the growth of new stars.

See the lines – called streamlines by scientists – in this composite image of the Serpens South star cluster? They’re from magnetic fields in this great star-forming cloud. Notice the lower left, where magnetic fields have been dragged into alignment with a narrow, dark filament. In that area, astronomers say, material from interstellar space is flowing into the star-forming cloud and fueling star formation. Image via NASA/ SOFIA/ T. Pillai/ JPL-Caltech/ L. Allen/ USRA.

Astronomers have known for decades that stars like our sun form when giant clouds of gas and dust in space – sometimes called molecular clouds – collapse under their own gravity. But how does the material from interstellar space flow into these clouds, and what controls the collapse? The image above helps illustrate an answer to these questions. It’s a composite, made with data from SOFIA – an airborne telescope designed for infrared astronomy – overlaid on an image from the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope. This composite shows that the pull of gravity can sometimes overcome the strong magnetic fields found in great star-forming clouds in space. And it shows that, when that happens, weakly magnetized gas can flow – as on a conveyor belt – to feed the growth of newly forming star clusters.

A statement from the Max Planck Institute in Bonn, Germany, explained:

A major finding in the last decade has been that extensive networks of filaments permeate every molecular cloud. A picture has emerged that stars like our own sun form preferentially in dense clusters at the intersection of filaments.

Now look back at the image above, which shows the Serpens South star cluster, a star-forming region located some 1,400 light-years from Earth. In that image, you see a dark filament in the lower left. Now notice the “stripes” on the image, which astronomers call streamlines. They represent magnetic structures, discovered by SOFIA. The astronomers said these magnetic structures act like rivers, channeling material into the great star-forming cloud.

As you can see in the image, these magnetic streamlines have been dragged by gravity to align with the narrow, dark filament on the lower left. Astronomers say this configuration helps material from interstellar space flow into the cloud.

This is different from the upper parts of the image, where the magnetic fields are perpendicular to the filaments; in those regions, the magnetic fields in the cloud are opposing gravity.

Astrophysicist Thushara Pillai led the study showing that magnetic rivers feed star birth in the Serpens South star-forming region.

The scientists said in a statement from Universities Space Research Association (USRA) that they are:

… studying the dense cloud to learn how magnetic fields, gravity and turbulent gas motions contribute to the creation of stars. Once thought to slow star birth by counteracting gravity, SOFIA’s data reveals magnetic fields may actually be working together with gravity as it pulls the fields into alignment with the filaments, nourishing the birth of stars.

The results were published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Astronomy on August 17. The lead author of the new study is Thushara Pillai of Boston University and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany.

In 1835, the French philosopher Auguste Comte wrote of the unknowable nature of stars:

On the subject of stars, all investigations which are not ultimately reducible to simple visual observations are … necessarily denied to us. While we can conceive of the possibility of determining their shapes, their sizes, and their motions, we shall never be able by any means to study their chemical composition or their mineralogical structure … Our knowledge concerning their gaseous envelopes is necessarily limited to their existence, size … and refractive power, we shall not at all be able to determine their chemical composition or even their density…

He was, famously, wrong.

He couldn’t have envisioned the range of tools available to modern astronomers. It’s a beautiful thing that, nowadays, astronomers can not only learn about the compositions of stars via their studies of their spectra, but also probe the deeper mysteries, going all the way to the births of these colossal, self-luminous balls in space.

SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. The HAWC+ polarimeter on board SOFIA was used for the observations of the magnetic field in the Serpens South star-forming region. Image via NASA/ C. Thomas/ Max Planck Institute.

Bottom line: Astronomers have learned that the pull of gravity can sometimes overcome the strong magnetic fields found in great star-forming clouds in space. The resulting weakly magnetized gas flow can feed the growth of new stars.

Source: Magnetized filamentary gas flows feeding the young embedded cluster in Serpens South

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Just read that paragraph just before the end of the article: “He couldn’t have envisioned the range of tools available to modern astronomers. It’s a beautiful thing that, nowadays, astronomers can not only learn about the compositions of stars via their studies of their spectra, but also probe the deeper mysteries, going all the way to the births of these colossal, self-luminous balls in space.”

What a long way we have come from just, say, 50 years ago.

It would be easy to get lost in the article in a scientific manner, and that would be entirely appropriate.

But there’s another beautiful way to get lost in the article; by dreaming of outer space and forgetting just for a moment or two this Earthly planet we all live on!

 

Creative thinking!

Now that’s what I call a good idea!

And not one that would immediately have occurred to me. For I am not the world’s greatest thinker in the sense of thinking around the problem.

So this post captures the essence of that ‘alternative’ view; for and on behalf of their dog.

It comes from the Daily Dodo.

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Family Decorates Dog’s Special Spot To Entertain All The Neighbors

“People walk up and take selfies with the fence and Burger.”

A few months after he was adopted last year, Burger started digging under his family’s fence. He wanted to be able to watch all the people going by, and after thinking about it for a while, his dad came up with the best idea.

He decided to cut a hole in the fence to make a little window for Burger so he could watch the world go by, and Burger instantly fell in love with it.

BRIAN STANLEY

“As soon as I was done, Burger had his head through it and immediately stopped digging,” Brian Stanley, Burger’s dad, told The Dodo. “Best decision ever!”

Now, every time he goes outside, Burger goes straight to his little window. He loves greeting people as they pass by, and he definitely brings a smile to all his neighbors whenever they see his little head peeking out through the window.

BRIAN STANLEY

When the coronavirus pandemic forced things to shut down in March, Stanley and his family noticed that there were suddenly a lot more people out and about walking past their fence than there had been before. The family hoped that seeing Burger would help bring a smile to everyone’s faces during such a hard time — and then Stanley had an idea to take it to the next level.

Brian Stanley

“At first it started as a joke with my wife that I was going to paint something on the street side of the fence around the dog window, but then the idea of painting an actual picture and hanging it up to frame the hole started to form in my mind,” Stanley said. “The shutdown brought an obvious black cloud along with it. Even though more people were out on the street walking or biking, we knew it was due to job loss and uncertain times. I first talked about it to my son who was 100% behind the idea of putting something up on the fence to hopefully bring a smile to people’s faces.”

BRIAN STANLEY

With the idea cemented in their minds, Stanley and his 7-year-old son Cameron got to work on their first painting. They decided to create a version of the famous painting “The Scream” and call it “The Bark.” They hung up the painting and admired their work. They hadn’t been planning on making any more paintings, but after the first one, the ideas just kept coming — and now the artwork framing Burger’s window is constantly changing.

So far they’ve done “Paws” …

Brian Stanley

… “Jurassic Bark” …

BRIAN STANLEY

… and even a Pac-Man-themed painting.

BRIAN STANLEY

Every time his family puts up a new creation, Burger is always right there, and quickly sticks his head out of his window to admire their work.

Of course, the initial goal of the paintings was to help brighten people’s days, and so far that’s absolutely been achieved.

BRIAN STANLEY

“People have told us that they plan their walks and bike rides to go by our fence and some people will even alter their drives so it takes them past it,” Stanley said. “I have been outside on multiple days with the dogs and see people walk up and take selfies with the fence and Burger. People bring treats to him and he just soaks up the attention. Both my wife and I have been stopped by people when they see us outside so they can tell us how much they love what we are doing and that they hope we don’t stop.”

BRIAN STANLEY

Stanley and his family currently have new painting ideas planned all the way through January 2024. They’re so happy that their paintings and Burger are able to bring a little joy to their community. Of course, Burger probably loves the paintings most of all, because they’ve brought so many new people to his fence who he can watch and say hello to.

“All in all, it’s brought us closer to the community and the community closer to us while making everyone happy … it doesn’t get much better than that,” Stanley said.

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This post comes with a good number of fabulous photographs. Makes one really think of Burger as the dog next door. And it shows the ingenuity of Brian Stanley and his wife and son, Cameron; first class!

It is a very nice article. A’hh, that’s too tame. It’s a brilliant article! Much better.