Category: Morality

Beware of dog theft

Yet another scary story.

This time via Facebook from Sally McCarthy in England.

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Greenland Chocolate Labradors

February 7th, 2021

We wanted to share this sad and scary experience one of our puppy owners had after collecting their puppy. Picture for reference, not puppy in question. Sharing to hopefully help others.

I had quite an unsettling experience yesterday on my way home with our puppy yesterday. I stopped at a service station to give her a cuddle and a break out of her crate and while I was standing at the back of my car with the boot open with the puppy in my arms a van with Polish numberplates pulled up really close behind me. The man leaned out of his window and said in a tone of voice that came across as really threatening “what a nice little doggy” then “can I ask some advice?

At that point I thought I heard the passenger door of the van open (I couldn’t see the passenger side because of how he had parked). I put puppy back in her travelling crate, slammed my boot and locked my car as fast as I could, and walked to the driver’s side. At that point I realised I couldn’t get into the car, where my phone was, without unlocking the car so had a standoff with the man obviously waiting for me to unlock the car, which I was not willing to do in case he opened my boot.

After what felt like forever, especially as I was parked at the back of the car park away from any other cars, he gave up and sped off through the car park towards the exit with his phone in his hand. I didn’t want to wait around to see if he had called anyone to come so got in my car to drive off only to find him waiting for me at the exit and he started following me.

Fortunately within about 10 minutes the weather was awful so with the reduced visibility on my side I managed to lose him although my heartbeat and breathing didn’t return to normal for quite a while afterwards! As he hadn’t actually managed to take the puppy I wasn’t sure whether to report it to the police however I did submit an online report this morning as I am in no doubt that was his intention and that had I allowed him to distract me it would have given his accomplice enough time to corner me.

I just wanted to share as I have heard the stories of dog nappings and a friend of mine had a dog stolen 2 years ago during a walk but I am really shocked that anyone would consider attempting it in a public place that was hopefully covered with CCTV.

I have had dogs all of my life and have never worried about dog nappers before but now I have come face to face with them I just wanted to let you know that it does appear to be as bad as the media are saying so please keep your little ones close when they are allowed out for walks. I am going to buy a rape alarm to carry with me on dog walks from now on and my sons, who quite often walk our older dog alone, have been told the dog walks have to be done in pairs now and will be carrying an alarm too.x

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What a frightening experience for Sally.

But at least she had the sense in writing this up and I am republishing the event so as to inform the maximum of people.

Please share this!

There’s no substitute to rescuing a dog!

Meet the family that has many dogs!

The joy that comes from rescuing a dog from a shelter, especially a shelter that can’t guarantee a no-kill policy, is beyond measure.

This post by Shelley Blount covers that in spades!

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Woman Goes To Adopt One Dog From Shelter — And Comes Out With Three

Group freedom ride 👏🤗💕

By Caitlin Jill Anders
Published on 10/31/2019.

When Shelly Blount saw a post online last week about a dog who was about to be put down in North Carolina, she called the shelter immediately. To her relief, they told her the dog had just been adopted, but it got her thinking about the other dogs who might be in danger. She asked if there were other dogs scheduled to be put down and they told her a dog named Caleb was next on the list — so Blount got in her car.

Accompanied by a friend, Blount drove four hours from Virginia to the shelter, determined to rescue Caleb. When she arrived, she realized two other dogs were about to be put down as well. Despite having three other rescue dogs already at home, Blount suddenly knew what she had to do.

Shelley Blount

“I asked the limit on how many you could adopt,” Blount told The Dodo. “They said there wasn’t one. So I decided to get all three.”

Blount had arrived at the shelter that day expecting to leave with just Caleb — and instead she left with Caleb, Charisma and Bella.

Shelley Blount

As they began the long drive home, all three dogs were so excited and couldn’t contain their happiness, and Blount knew she had absolutely done the right thing.

Shelley Blount

“Caleb was sooo excited — kept giving kisses from the back seat, and his tail was wagging so fast,” Blount said. “Bella was so content being held so she sat in my friend’s lap and literally didn’t move. Charisma, my sweet little angel, was literally hugging me and slept the entire ride.”

Shelley Blount

When Blount decided to adopt all three dogs, she hadn’t really had a plan. She knew she couldn’t leave them at the shelter to be put down, but she also didn’t have room for three more dogs at home — but luckily, within days, she’d already found the best new homes for both Caleb and Bella.

Shelley Blount

“Caleb is super happy in his new home with a friend of mine,” Blount said. “She has another Lab who he loves. Bella went to my boyfriend and let’s just say they are inseparable.”

Shelley Blount

Blount is likely going to keep Charisma, as the pair have bonded quite a bit in the days since the rescue. Either way, Charisma would need to stay with Blount for a while — because after a vet visit, she realized the sweet little dog was pregnant.

Shelley Blount

No one at the shelter had told Blount that Charisma was pregnant with five to six puppies, and later said they hadn’t known. Not only did Blount save Charisma that day, but she also saved the lives of her puppies, and for that Charisma is continuously grateful.

“My Charisma girl is very attached to me and we take lots of cat naps because she’s so sleepy,” Blount said.

Shelley Blount

Charisma is due to give birth within the next week, and her new family is so excited for her. In the meantime, she’s enjoying spending lots of time cuddling with her new mom and best friend, thanking her every day for saving her life.

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Shelley is a real star and, indeed, so are all the other people that rescue dogs.

At the risk of blowing our own trumpet, and I don’t intend to, here’s a photograph from home to finish today’s post.

Brandy, to the left, and Pedi. Two ex-rescue dogs that are now so happy.

The above photograph was taken in 2019!

Where is your dog coming from?

Bringing a dog into the USA.

Jean and I had the radio on, BBC Radio 4, yesterday morning and were listening to You and Yours. They had an item on puppies and the fact that at this time of the year, and especially this year, the number of puppies being brought in was very high.

Here is the background to the piece:

Instagram puppies; Gambling Act; Student Stress

You and Yours

There’s been a surge in puppies coming into the UK from oversees and animal welfare charities are worried about it. The Eurotunnel has put limits on the amount of dogs that can come through in one vehicle. We look at how puppies are advertised on social media and bred in countries like Russia and the Ukraine.

The former boss of Skybet, Richard Flint, reacts to the government announcement of a review of gambling laws. What can online betting companies do to make gambling fairer and safer?

We’ve been hearing how students have been struggling with their courses and accomodation in the pandemic – we hear from a father worried about his daughter in her first year, and she joins us too.

And, the number of house sales falling through because mortgage companies have downgraded valuations is rising. Are buyers just offering too much in the housing market boom?

Presenter: Peter White
Producer: Lydia Thomas

So turning to the USA here are the rules and regulations for importing dogs.  From the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

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Where is Your Dog Coming From?

The rules for bringing your dog into the United States depend on where you are coming from. Written or oral statements and any documents must be in English or have an English translation.

Different types of rabies exist in many mammals, but CDC focuses on importing dog rabies into the United States from certain high-risk countries. CDC experts collect and analyze rabies information around the world to determine a country’s risk for rabies.

Dog rabies was eliminated in the United States in 2007 and is under control in some other countries. However, many others do not have it controlled, and dogs coming from these countries can import this disease into the United States.

Dogs coming from a high-risk country will need a rabies vaccine certificate. High-risk countries have the greatest chance of importing dog rabies into the United States.

Photo credit: Audilis Sánchez, CDC
  • Example: Your adult dog lived in the United States (no-known–risk country) and visited Ghana (high-risk country) for any period of time. Before returning to the United States, your dog must have a valid rabies vaccine certificate. Be sure to get your dog vaccinated before you travel and take the papers with you.
  • Example: You are purchasing a puppy from Russia (high-risk country) on the Internet. Before entering the United States, your puppy must have a valid rabies vaccine certificate.

Dogs coming from a low-risk or no-known rabies risk (free of dog rabies) are NOT required to have a rabies vaccination certificate to enter the United States. However, when you enter the United States, you must provide written or oral statements that the dogs lived in a country with low or no risk for at least 6 months or since birth.

Photo credit: Michelle Decenteceo, CDC
  • Example: Your adult dog lived in the United States (no-known–risk country) and visited Mexico (low-risk country). This dog does NOT require a rabies certificate, because Mexico is low risk for dog rabies.
  • Example: Your puppy has lived in Germany since birth and is coming to the United States. This dog does NOT require a rabies certificate, because Germany has no-known risk for dog rabies.

In addition to CDC regulations, you must comply with US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and your destination state’s regulation, which are often more strict than federal regulations. Please be aware that dogs imported for commercial (resale or adoption) purposes have additional requirements from USDA.

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Going back to that item on BBC Radio there was reference to a YouTube video of an illegal import from Russia.

Here it is:

Last week Love Island’s Molly Mae and Tommy Fury posted photos of their new pomeranian puppy from Russia, Mr Chai. But just a few days later they announced the devastating news that Mr Chai had died following health complications and it’s an all too common problem, when dogs from puppy farms are sold to unsuspecting families. Vet Dr Scott Miller joins us to make sure you know how to spot the signs of a reputable breeder if you’re thinking of getting a pet, alongside Sadee Slater – the victim of an irresponsible breeder.

Staying safe is more than luck; it requires research and care, and a whole lot more!

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.

Open All +
This online world can be quite tricky at times!

Purple Mountains

This is a film that all should watch!

Now again this has nothing to do with dogs and I would be the first person to say that there are still some people out there who are not convinced that global warming is a major result of human activity.. But none other than the Union of Concerned Scientists are persuaded that humans are the major cause. See their website here. (From which the following is taken.)

Every single year since 1977 has been warmer than the 20th century average, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001, and 2016 being the warmest year on recorded history. A study from 2016 found that without the emissions from burning coal and oil, there is very little likelihood that 13 out of the 15 warmest years on record would all have happened.

And further on in the article, this:

Scientists agree that today’s warming is primarily caused by humans putting too much carbon in the atmosphere, like when we choose to extract and burn coal, oil, and gas, or cut down and burn forests.

Today’s carbon dioxide levels haven’t been seen in at least the last 800,000 years. Data assembled from Antarctic ice core samples and modern atmospheric observations.

So on to the film.

My son, Alex, sent me the following email on the 7th October.

Hi Dad

This is a really interesting film about climate change in the west coast mountains, USA.  A bit skiing related but a good watch !

Lots of love

Alex

Included in the email was a link to the film available on YouTube.

The film is just under one hour in length and a great film to watch as well as having a clear, fundamental message: All of us must act in whatever ways we can if our children and grandchildren are to have a future. Indeed, do you believe you have another twenty or more years to live? Then include yourself as well.

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About The Film
Professional snowboarder and mountaineer Jeremy Jones has an intimate relationship with the outdoors. It’s his escape, his identity, and his legacy. But over the course of his 45 years in the mountains, he’s seen many things change: more extreme weather, fewer snow days, and economic strain on mountain towns.
Motivated by an urge to protect the places he loves, Jeremy sets out on a physical and philosophical journey to find common ground with fellow outdoor people across diverse political backgrounds. He learns their hopes and fears while walking a mile in their shoes on the mountain and in the snow.
With intimacy and emotion set against breathtaking backdrops, Purple Mountains navigates America’s divide with a refreshing perspective: even though we may disagree about climate policy, our shared values can unite us.

Please, please watch the film!

Thank you!

Twelve on twelve!

A look, courtesy of my daughter, at Sarah Nicolls’s 12 Years project.

Again, this is not about dogs, well not in a direct way. But, indirectly, it affects all of us, young and old, and, inevitably, it affects our dear dogs.

I’m writing this in response to something that came my way as an email sent from my daughter’s company, SOUND UK. The company holds to the view that: Sound UK produces extraordinary musical encounters for all.

Sarah Nicolls has her own website and on her About page this is what she presents.

My name is Sarah Nicolls. I am a visual artist who makes pictures with language, books with pictures, prints with type, and animations with words. I combine image, visual narrative, and time in prints, books, and ephemera that are often research-based. I am interested in urbanization, local history, climate change, the history of science and technology, alternative economies, found language, and the history of publishing. I have written a collection of self-help aphorisms, I publish a series of informational pamphlets, and I organize a range of participatory walks and programs around the series.

My recent books include an examination of the history of greenhouses, and a study of the stories we tell ourselves about disappearing islands, both real and imagined. My  limited edition artist books are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Stanford, UCLA, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others.

For twelve years, I ran the studio programs at the Center for Book Arts in NYC, organizing classes, public programs, readings, and talks, coordinating publications, running residency programs, and teaching interns. I learned everything I know about letterpress and bookmaking while I was there. Now I teach at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design, and work on a variety of projects.

I also do illustration and design work for individuals and institutions. Do you have an interesting project in mind? Contact me here, I welcome commissions and collaborations.

Well back to Sound UK. This is Sarah.

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“What she does should be happening every week of the year” The Guardian

Acclaimed pianist and composer Sarah Nicolls’ new Inside-Out Piano project 12 Years was inspired by the 2018 IPCC Special Report saying we had just 12 years to radically change our behaviour to save the planet. Starting on the second anniversary of the report, 8 October, Sarah launches 12 nights of online performances.

With her striking vertical grand piano, Nicolls combines original music and recorded speech in an absorbing performance. Piano melodies and textures interweave with phone calls between three fictional characters challenging each other to either worry less or do more. We hear from environmental experts, survivors escaping from a wildfire and a glacier melting, eloquent speeches from Greta Thunberg and finally the sound of hope emerging. There is humour and humanity as well as time for reflection.

On selected nights leading climate scientists will also join Sarah for exclusive post-show discussions online, specifically to talk about what we can all do.

See list of speakers below.

“This should be prescribed viewing/watching/listening for anyone even remotely concerned with the welfare of our planet.” Ciaran Ryan, Galway Jazz Festival

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Plus, if you would care to listen to a track on Sarah playing her piano, then feel free:

I’m bound to say that I am reasonably hopeful of living another twelve years but, at the same time, reasonably expectant that life could become very interesting indeed!

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…

Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree.

For the last day of August a very special post.

I came upon Elizabeth when she left a comment to my post on the 26th August, The science of dog learning.

This is what she wrote:

Reblogged this on The Last Chapter and commented:
Please visit Paul’s website, something new to read and learn each day. Thank you Paul for bringing your site to the blogging world.

Naturally, I replied:

Elizabeth, thank you for leaving your response, and thank you so much for your republication of my post. I read a little about yourself and, I must say, found it fascinating. And your poem The Last Chapter – wow!

Now I will hopefully republish The Last Chapter for another day. (And I have now heard that I have permission to republish it!)

But today, I want to publish the words of Elizabeth in writing about her dear, dear, recently departed dog.

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Mason Murphree

A tribute

Mason Murphee

Mason Murphree was born on January 31, 2012; what can one say about Mason, I bought him off the back of a pick-up truck, only two pups left out of the litter I held both in my hands as they lay upon my chest; one yellow and the other white.  I did not see their mother or father; I was told that the father was Bichon Frise and his mother Shih Tzu.  The white one instantly begins to crawl into my sports bra, nuzzled himself against my warm flesh and I was instantly in love.

I did not believe that he was six-weeks-old he was still wobbly on his feet when trying to walk.  I made him what the old folks call a “Sugar Tit”, a rag rolled on the end tightly and the tip soaked in warm sweet milk.  I fed him laying on his back in my hand for a week, the second week I started him on baby food.  Then, what I thought to be the seventh-week, he begins to walk with unsteady confidence and I thought was ready for the big world around him.

I found quickly that he had a set of razor-sharp teeth, yep, time for the hard bits of puppy food.  I took him to the Vet when I brought him home, and he was given an “A” in health.  But, I am getting ahead of myself.  When I brought him home I sat him on a potty pad he used until he was six-months-old, then he discovered grass.  I might add that in the nine years he was with me he never did his business in the house.

Alas, it was his six-month birthday, and his first time to the groomer, which I found that he had to be calmed down by medicine to get groomed.  It was not too long until the Vet announced that he was out of this world’s atmosphere with anxiety.  He had “MaMa” withdrawal big time when he was not with me.  He would bark for half-an-hour before settling down to wait for me to come back from the store, gym, or anywhere I had gone!  He disliked children, anyone less than teenagers.  He loved every adult he met.  He begins life attached to my hip and me to his.

Mason loved paper products; he would wait patiently to see if anyone would drop a Kleenex, paper towel, or napkin.  The pursuit would begin chasing a four-legged speed demon around the floor, me never winning.  We called him the Tasmanian devil, and he looked like it when he tried to defend his catch of the day.  It was impossible to go on vacation without him; he would stay with one of his two-legged siblings.  Of course, that was only for one day, he would accept his situation for about twenty-four-hours, then once again turn into the Tasmanian devil, the telephones would ring trying to find him another place to stay, he traveled back and forth from house to house until my return.  A chore to his brothers and sisters, but finally he must have thought he had caused enough trouble for me to return home, and he did.

He loved everyone he met except children, let me explain; when he was six-months-old I took him to the park.  On the playground were about a dozen small children, when they spied him, they came running.  He jumped up for me to protect him, and that was that.  He loved his favorite human friends and his family.

He was the best companion anyone could have; his personality was so individual those who would see him thought he would start talking at any moment.  He look intently at you when you were talking, always smiling.  He thought he was a Great Dane when in his protection mode, but a clap of lighting and boisterous thunder would send him under my feet.  He loved to walk; he loved all the trees on his block and several other blocks.

I won’t describe Mason’s death other than it was quick and painless, he got to spend one day saying good-bye to his two-legged brothers and sisters.  We covered our faces and our tears and sadness until we walked away, he knew.  As his MaMa, I watched him go from a lively, wonderful, sweet little dog to one that was holding on to every minute waiting for his family to arrive.  There are not enough words for me to describe the heartache and loneliness with him gone.

My heart feels much like a patchwork quilt, many little pieces sewn back together after being shattered.  Saying good-bye, he took a piece of my heart and soul with him.  I know that I will see him again, that is the only thing I have to hold on to this moment.   And, that is how I am living my life one moment at a time until I see my four-legged fur baby again.  He loved and he was loved.

Sweet dreams little boy.

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How we become so attached to our dogs. Elizabeth not only was beautifully attached to Mason but also wrote perfect words in her tribute.

So who is Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Murphree?

This is her biography but it doesn’t really tell me who she is; in a feeling, living, emotional sense. I suspect one has to read her writings to learn more.

Born in Alabama to a Native American father and an emotionally absent mother.
Raised by her father, her Native American Great-grandmother, her Aunt, and an African-American woman, all magnificent storytellers.  Her childhood was filled with listening to the stories her great-grandmother would tell about the grandfathers and grandmothers that perished on the Trail of Tears, of she and the grandmother living in the slave quarters in northern Alabama.
Aunt Francis needed a home when her son went to prison, she would tell the stories of her parents being slaves and how she survived the Civil War.  Aunt Vina, her father’s sister a fantastic storyteller; she could bring together characters and build a story that would have you at the edge of your chair, only to find it was all fiction.
As a child, Elizabeth ran free in the woods, fields, and the caves below Burleson Mountain where she grew up.  Elizabeth has been writing all of her life, seriously since 2010.  She has published a memoir about her daughter who passed in 2010; a small coffee table book filled with pictures of her precious Mason, and ten books of poetry.  Her poetry is filled with happiness, sadness, spirit, and anger. The memoir is the private life of her daughter, living with bipolar, and schizophrenia.  The books of poetry range from light to darkness that appeared during the creation of each book.

That is a special post, as I said at the start.

I look forward immensely to sharing with you Elizabeth’s poetry.

Who are you? How did you get here?

That is to the United States of America.

We tend to watch many of the TED Talks that come our way.

But this one had me riveted to my seat. It’s a very powerful, nearly 9 minutes long, talk given by a person who doesn’t have legal citizenship.

Speaking on a personal basis, I was a person who went through the Citizenship test, successfully I might add, in March, 2019. So I watched this video with more than just academic interest.

See if you sense the feelings I had.

At age 16, journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas found out he was in the United States illegally. Since then, he’s been thinking deeply about immigration and what it means to be a US citizen — whether it’s by birth, law or otherwise. In this powerful talk, Vargas calls for a shift in how we think about citizenship and encourages us all to reconsider our personal histories by answering three questions: Where did you come from? How did you get here? Who paid?
Jose Antonio Vargas, author of “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen,” is the founder of Define American, a nonprofit organization that uses stories to shift the narrative on immigrants.

In the 10th July issue of Science magazine there was an Editorial written by Sudip Parikh, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

I am taking the liberty of republishing that Editorial here. For I think it needs to be widely shared.

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Immigrants help make America great

Sudip Parikh

Science  10 Jul 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6500, pp. 120
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd6868

I am a scientist. I am an American. And I am the product of special expert visas and chain migration—among the many types of legal immigration into the United States. On 22 June, President Trump issued a proclamation that temporarily restricts many types of legal immigration into the country, including that of scientists and students. This will make America neither greater nor safer—rather, it could make America less so.

The administration claims that these restrictions are necessitated by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak to prevent threats to American workers. This reasoning is flawed for science and engineering, where immigrants are critical to achieving advances and harnessing the resulting economic opportunity for all Americans.

For decades, the United States has inspired both immigrants and nonimmigrants to make substantial contributions to science and technology that benefit everyone. Preventing highly skilled scientists and postdocs from entering the United States directly threatens this enterprise.

My uncle, a geologist, came to the United States in the 1960s to work at NASA. He then taught at Appalachian State University in North Carolina and later served as lead geochemist for the state of California. He sponsored my father to come to America in 1968. Leaving Mumbai, a city of millions, and arriving in Hickory, a town of thousands in North Carolina, my father came home to a place he had never been before. My parents worked in furniture factories and textile mills to put us though college and ensure we had opportunities. Today, my sister works at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and I have the privilege of leading the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the publisher of Science). We exist because of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 and our parents’ belief in the vision of the United States as a shining city on a hill. My family’s story is repeated by thousands of American scientists.

These stories include uncertainty when an immigrant’s status in America is in question. This uncertainty causes stress and the possibility that immigrants will leave and take their skills, talents, and humanity elsewhere. For the successful, these stories culminate with relief, celebration, and the pride of becoming a naturalized citizen. As President Reagan said, the United States is the one place in the world where “anybody from any corner of the world can come…to live and become an American.” Naturalized citizens love the United States deeply because they chose to be American. They and other immigrants make huge contributions to science and engineering.

According to the National Science Foundation, more than 50% of postdocs and 28% of science and engineering faculty in the United States are immigrants. Of the Nobel Prizes in chemistry, medicine, and physics awarded to Americans since 2000, 38% were awarded to immigrants to the United States. I don’t know the number of prizes given to second-generation Americans but Steven Chu—current chair of the AAAS Board of Directors—is among them. The incredible achievements of the American scientific enterprise speak volumes about the vision and forethought of the American people who have worked to create a more perfect union.

Suspending legal immigration is self-defeating and breaks a model that is so successful that other nations are copying it. As Thomas Donohue, chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said regarding the administration’s proclamation, “Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses, and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back. Restrictive changes to our nation’s immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation.”

To develop treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, cure cancers, go to Mars, understand the fundamental laws of the universe and human behavior, develop artificial intelligence, and build a better future, we need the brain power of the descendants of Native Americans, Pilgrims, Founding Mothers and Fathers, Enslaved People, Ellis Island arrivals, and immigrants from everywhere. The United States has thrived as a crossroads where people are joined together by ideas and contribute by choice to the freedom and opportunity provided by this wonderful, inspiring, and flawed country that is always striving to live up to its aspirations.

Scientists, look around your labs and offices. Think about your collaborations and friendships. We must ensure that this “temporary” restriction on legal immigration does not become permanent. Now is the time to speak up for your immigrant colleagues and for America.

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I hope you read it!