Category: Tactics

Goodbye to Facebook.

Our reaction to a video by Carole Cadwalladr.

I have been a user of Facebook for some time. Persons in my family use it but not Jeannie. In fact, Jean is a very low user of all things computing and that has turned out to be a very good act.

Here is the summary of what the talk is all about:

Facebook’s role in Brexit — and the threat to democracy

In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK’s super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters — and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election — Cadwalladr calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair election…

Here is the talk:

So by the time you watch this I shall have deleted my Facebook account. Then it is on to finding a good alternative to WhatsApp!

Oh dear, I meant deer!

A timely reminder from The Conversation.

We live in a rural part of Southern Oregon. The number of deer hit on our roads is appalling. Not infrequently when out cycling I come across a deer that seems uninjured. Often I get off my bike and stroke the animal, or drag it from the centre of the road to the shoulder. But it is dead.

Once recently the deer was still warm. What surprises me is that they are always dead. There never seems to be a deer that has been wounded. Probably just as well as I wouldn’t want to leave the animal.

We feed the deer at home on a daily basis and there is a young stag that has become familiar with me and starts eating the COB (corn, oats and barley mixed together) even before I have finished setting out the six piles of food. They are very dear creatures.

So this article has to be shared with you!

ooOOoo

Fall means more deer on the road: 4 ways time of day, month and year raise your risk of crashes

Deer cross roads whenever they wish, but some time periods are higher risk than others. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Tom Langen, Clarkson University

Autumn is here, and that means the risk of hitting deer on rural roads and highways is rising, especially around dusk and during a full moon.

Deer cause over 1 million motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year, resulting in more than US$1 billion in property damage, about 200 human deaths and 29,000 serious injuries. Property damage insurance claims average around $2,600 per accident, and the overall average cost, including severe injuries or death, is over $6,000.

While avoiding deer – as well as moose, elk and other hoofed animals, known as ungulates – can seem impossible if you’re driving in rural areas, there are certain times and places that are most hazardous, and so warrant extra caution.

Transportation agencies, working with scientists, have been developing ways to predict where deer and other ungulates enter roads so they can post warning signs or install fencing or wildlife passages under or over the roadway. Just as important is knowing when these accidents occur.

My former students Victor Colino-Rabanal, Nimanthi Abeyrathna and I have analyzed over 86,000 deer-vehicle collisions involving white-tailed deer in New York state using police records over a three-year period. Here’s what our research and other studies show about timing and risk:

Time of day, month and year matters

The risk of hitting a deer varies by time of day, day of the week, the monthly lunar cycle and seasons of the year.

These accident cycles are partly a function of driver behavior – they are highest when traffic is heavy, drivers are least alert and driving conditions are poorest for spotting animals. They are also affected by deer behavior. Not infrequently, deer-vehicle accidents involve multiple vehicles, as startled drivers swerve to miss a deer and collide with a vehicle in another lane, or they slam on the breaks and are rear-ended by the vehicle behind.

Car on road during the start of leaf colors with road sign reading: Caution: High Hit Area
A sign warns of deer traffic on Route 16 in Franklin County, Maine. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In analyzing thousands of deer-vehicle collisions, we found that these accidents occur most frequently at dusk and dawn, when deer are most active and drivers’ ability to spot them is poorest. Only about 20% of accidents occur during daylight hours. Deer-vehicle accidents are eight times more frequent per hour of dusk than daylight, and four times more frequent at dusk than after nightfall.

During the week, accidents occur most frequently on days that have the most drivers on the road at dawn or dusk, so they are associated with work commuter driving patterns and social factors such as Friday “date night” traffic.

Over the span of a month, the most deer-vehicle accidents occur during the full moon, and at the time of night that the moon is brightest. Deer move greater distances from cover and are more likely to enter roadways when there is more illumination at night. The pattern holds for deer and other ungulates in both North America and Europe.

Over a year, by far the highest numbers of deer-vehicle accidents are in autumn, and particularly during the rut, when bucks search and compete to mate with does. In New York state, the peak number of deer-vehicle accidents occurs in the last week of October and first weeks of November. There are over four times as many deer-vehicle accidents during that period than during spring. Moose-vehicle accidents show a similar pattern.

That high-risk period is also when daylight saving time ends – it happens on Nov. 7, 2021, in the U.S. Shifting the clock one hour back means more commuters are on the road during the high-risk dusk hours. The result is more cars driving at the peak time of day and during the peak time of the year for deer-vehicle accidents.

Overall, given that most U.S. states and more than 70 countries have seasonal “daylight saving” clock shifts, elevated ungulate-vehicle accident rates caused by clock shift may be a widespread problem.

[Over 100,000 readers rely on The Conversation’s newsletter to understand the world. Sign up today.]

There is a longstanding debate about the benefit of a daylight saving clock shift, given how it disrupts humans’ circadian rhythms, causing short-term stress and fatigue. Risk of deer-vehicle accidents may be another reason to reconsider whether clock shifts are worthwhile.

Deer still cross roads at any time

It’s important to remember that deer-vehicle accidents can occur at any time of day or night, on any day of the year – and that deer can show up in urban areas as well as rural ones.

The insurance company State Farm found that on average, U.S. drivers have a 1 in 116 chance of hitting an animal, with much higher rates in states such as West Virginia, Montana and Pennsylvania. Over the 12 months ending in June 2020, State Farm counted 1.9 million insurance claims for collisions with wildlife nationwide. Around 90% of those involved deer.

Where deer or other ungulates are likely to be present, drivers should always be alert and cautious, especially at dawn, dusk, on bright moonlit nights and during the fall rut.

Tom Langen, Professor of Biology, Clarkson University

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

ooOOoo

Nothing else to say but we drivers need to slow down and extra vigilant. Driving safely means always allowing for the unexpected and never following the vehicle in front too close. The minimum safe distance is one vehicle length for every 10 miles per hour in speed!

This will make you smile!

A lovely tale from The Dodo.

I was looking through my LfD future posts folder and came across this story about a rescue dog in Kentucky River, in Kentucky, a long way from here ( Merlin, OR).

But that doesn’t diminish in the slightest how beautiful this story is and how generous are the management and staff of Home Depot.

Read it and see what I mean. Thanks to The Dodo for publishing it.

ooOOoo

Dog Is Literally The Cutest Home Depot Employee Ever

“She finds who needs her and gives them that smile” 😍

By Lily Feinn

Published on the 11th June, 2021

When Heaven first went to live with Jackie Rakers, she was scared of everything.

The scruffy rescue puppy from Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter had had a rough start to life and was nervous around strangers and loud noises.

Luckily, her mom found the perfect place to help her come out of her shell — Home Depot.

JACKIE RAKERS

“The Home Depot runs started as a way to help her with her fears,” Rakers told The Dodo. “She was nervous about new places and new sounds, so we’d go for five minutes and she’d get all the treats. Then we started going longer and longer and exposing her to more and more things within the store.”

The large, dog-friendly store was the perfect place for Heaven to socialize, and the pup was such a good girl on her visits that she earned her own tiny employee apron.

JACKIE RAKERS

Now, Heaven knows that when the apron comes out, she’s about to go to her favorite place.

“I keep it in the car so we are always ready,” Rakers said. “As soon as she can tell we are in the parking lot, she just quivers until I put [the apron] on her and then she takes off towards ‘work.’”

“She walks around like she owns the place,” Rakers added.

JACKIE RAKERS

Heaven has become a bit of a celebrity at her local Home Depot, where all the staff knows her by name, and there’s even a picture of her in the break room.

And while she may not be an official employee, when she’s at her favorite store, she offers excellent customer service.

“She walks around minding her own business and then suddenly insists on meeting someone,” Rakers said. “She just sits and stares. They always end up saying how they needed that pick-me-up. It’s like she has a sense of who needs to be shown they are loved that day — and one of her favorite places to do that is Home Depot!”

JACKIE RAKERS

Heaven loves running errands with her mom, and everywhere they go, she finds someone having a rough day who needs her smile.

“She was scared of everything, but with a lot of training and patience she learned to trust and now it’s like she pays it forward,” Rakers said. “She finds who needs her and gives them that smile and a cuddle.”

JACKIE RAKERS

The only downside of all their Home Depot runs is that every time they visit, Rakers comes up with a new home improvement project. But all the retail therapy is worth it when she sees how happy Heaven is and how far she’s come.

“She’s the perfect example of what happens when you meet someone where they are at and love unconditionally,” Rakers said. “She went from so scared and so sad to the happiest dog.”

ooOOoo

Thank goodness our local Home Depot here in Grants Pass (Oregon) don’t have a Heaven in the store. For if they did Jean and I would be in the store every day of the year. OK, maybe a small exaggeration but only a small one!

Seriously, Home Depot are to be congratulated. It’s good for the store. It’s good for the employees. It’s good for the customers. But it is fantastic for Heaven!

Just love this story!

Dog aggression!

John Brooks submits another guest post.

To be honest, I much prefer guest posts, even ones with a commercial aspect to them, than the republication of articles from other blogs.

This is an excellent example of what I mean.

John has written down all the key aspects of treating this, luckily uncommon, trait in a dog. It is his second guest post. The first one is here.

ooOOoo

How to Get Rid of Your Dog’s Aggressive Behavior

By John Brooks.

“Dog: a man’s best friend.”

The quote says it all.

A dog is a very lovable four-legged pet that cares and loves its owners. But what stands out the most is the loyalty of the dog towards its owners. You probably have heard of incidents where dogs have saved their owners from many unwanted threats, and even in some cases, they risk their own lives while doing so.

A dog can only do so much for you, so, therefore, it becomes your responsibility too, to take care of your dog as your child. It needs your time and attention, and just like a human being, it can even express emotions of love, sadness, and anger.
But this doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t like you or anything. Dogs can experience different moods depending on many things. If your dog has been aggressive lately, then you need to find out the right reason and treat the cause immediately rather than just putting up a thick dog collar around its neck.

Reasons for Aggression
First of all, you need to find out why your dog is behaving the way it is. There may be many reasons for the cause like:

He may be Afraid
Fear may very well be one of the reasons why your dog is behaving in such a way. He may have a fear of suddenly seeing a lot of strange people at once. Or children might be poking him and irritating him to the point that he has become afraid and has developed aggression to counter that fear.

Lack of Socialism
If your dog fears crowd places, the chances are that he has not been exposed to a lot of crowds, beforehand and now this has made him anti-social and therefore has developed fear as a result.

Depression
Depression is a real thing not only for humans but also for dogs. Depression may cause your dog to be frustrated internally, and slowly that frustration might creep and turn into aggression later on. The cause of depression can be anything like being beaten up, fear, etc. But these problems should be addressed as soon as possible.

Punishment
Punishment is the last thing you want to do. Beating your dog will drive it to develop fear against you, and this fear will cause it to express in the form of aggression.
Almost in all cases, fear is the one main factor that drives a dog to be aggressive towards its owner or any stranger. It can be a fear of any previous experience when he was a puppy and had to go through any trauma. A fear of anything that he finds unpleasant or unwilling. He may also face fear when he thinks that valuable resources are being taken away or are under threat.

Signs of aggression
You may see some other sign too like the dog may start to crouch with his tail between his legs, or may develop tension around his mouth and jaw. You may notice him becoming stiff and still. Don’t just assume that if your dog is wagging his tail, it means that it is a sign of friendship. A stiff wagging of the tail or a dog wagging tail in crouched position is all signs of him that he is in a state of confusion or fear.
The last stage before attacking will be growling. It is the final stage of warning after which the dogs are sure to strike if the irritating factor is not removed.

How Do you Counter such Aggressive Behavior?
There are many ways you can do to prevent the aggressive behavior of your dog.

Remove the Cause
Immediately remove the cause of its aggression or the thing that is making him frighten or take your dog away from that situation as soon as possible.

Do not Punish him for Being Aggressive
Punishing your dog for being aggressive in the form of beating, yelling or any other bold tone manner will only make the dog more frightened and more aggressive the next time and may directly bite. The proper way to do this is just to show him that you don’t approve of such behavior either by shrugging your shoulders or by leashing only slightly. This behavior makes your dog believe that the owner doesn’t accept its action.

Train Him
You should train him to face his fear in a more fun and less aggressive way. Train him to be less violent and manage his stress. Try to play with him, hang out, and spend time so that he knows that his owner is always there with him so that he can have more confidence when next time he is around stressful situations.

Consult a Professional Dog Trainer or Veterinarian
Sometimes, even with the hardest of your efforts, things don’t work out and then it is time for you to visit the professionals who have been doing this for so long. They can guide you in many ways and help your dog to be better again.

ooOOoo

John’s bio is as follows:

John Brooks is the Professional Content Marketer. He writes a lot of articles on his carrier. Last one year he is working with Orbeen.com as a digital marketing expert. The company provides various types of Digital Marketing services i.e, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), Social Media Optimization (SMO), Web design & development, Link Building, Content Marketing & blogger outreach.

I found this a most useful article. I hope you did as well.

Personal protection dogs

From someone who knows!

From time to time I have an offer of a guest post. That is a person who wishes to write for Learning from Dogs. In nearly all cases I say ‘yes please’.

So it was with Adrian.

On the 15th January this year Adrian emailed me:

Hi Paul,

My name is Adrian and I am reaching out on behalf of Scott’s Police K9. I’ve followed your Learning from Dogs blog for a while now!

We write content for the family protection dog industry and love to share our expertise.

I’ll keep it short, I think I could be a valuable contributor and I would love to provide additional content to your site!

Please let me know if you are interested, I will send you a couple suggestions to choose from, which I feel would resonate with your readers’ interests. We’re also open to topic suggestions that you might want to touch upon on.

Thanks for your time and we hope to hear back from you soon.

Adrian Brito
On Behalf of Scott’s Police K9
https://scottsk9.com/

I replied to say that I would love a guest post, and here it is!

ooOOoo

How to Get Your New Protection Dog Adjusted to the Family

By Steve Scott

If you’re the new parent of a protection dog, congratulations! You just made one of the best purchases for you and your family’s well being. Personal protection dogs are loyal animals that will happily become one of the “pack” and put all of its training, skills, and intelligence to work in looking after your family.

Should you be on the verge of bringing home your new family member, you’ll likely be wondering how to help them adjust to life at their new home. Read on for the best tips and tricks for a smooth adjustment for your trained K9 companion.

Visits with the Family

Dogs, even intelligent ones, prefer to be familiar with their surroundings, people, and environment. When your protection dog is being raised and trained, it will be beneficial to visit and begin bonding with the dog.

Bring each member of your family, and any important people your protection dog will be in charge of protecting once you take them home. If you have another dog and the trainer or foster allows it, provide some time for your protection dog to play with your current family pet.

Getting to know your protection dog before the big day when you take them home will help them, and you adjust to the new living arrangement. They will begin to associate you with someone they enjoy being around and when it comes time for you to train with the dog and the trainer, you’ll be a step ahead.

During this time, the dog shouldn’t leave the trainer or foster parent to spend time with you. Instead, you should visit the dog in the environment and surrounding it knows best with the trainer present.

Time of Day

When the big day comes, and it’s time to bring your personal protection dog home, plan to do so early in the day. Great protection dogs are raised to protect you and they’ll want to get a good look at their surroundings.

Moving a dog at night will cause a greater sense of unease and anxiety.

Introduce them to unfamiliar territory when there is plenty of daylight and the opportunity to explore together. Show them your house, the surrounding, and if you live in a place with property, walk the land with your new pup.

This will help them get oriented with the place they have sworn to protect and settle them in right away.

Be Ready for Their Arrival

When you bring your personal protection dog home, be ready for their arrival. Have their food bowl ready and filled. Ensure they have fresh water and a comfortable place to sleep. Acquaint them with their belongings, toys, dog bed, and everything related to their personal ownership.

Be prepared to spend most of the day with your dog, getting him used to your house, property, and your family. It’s important that you don’t bring your dog home then leave shortly after.

Adjusting your dog to your home and family takes time and is a crucial part of the bonding process.

Establish a Routine

All dogs thrive on routine. Help your new protection dog get to know yours. It’s a good idea to bring your protection dog home when life is normal, and you’re not planning on going on vacation in the following week.

Give them time to adjust to your routine. Protection dogs like knowing what to expect, what type of work they’ll regularly do, and the way your “pack” functions so they can better serve you.

Will you take them with you to work? Start taking them right away and put routines in place, so your protection dog knows this will happen regularly.

Will you leave them with your spouse and child at home? Have a ritual of letting them know you’re leaving and make sure they know that their job is to take care of your loved ones.

Plan regular times of continued training, running and playing daily after work and on the weekends. This will help them smoothly fit into the regular ebb and flow of your family’s work, school, and routine schedules. Also, protection dogs love to remain active.

Supervision Required

As you show your new protection dog around the house, yard, property, and introduce them to friends and family members they haven’t met, keep in mind that supervision is required.

They will still be getting used to their new location and the people they are supposed to protect, and introductions are best done in person with you by their side. Supervision is especially important when it comes to spending time with small children for the first several months.

Are You Ready?

Introducing your protection dog to its new home is an exciting and fun time. You alone have the opportunity to make its first impression the best one possible. How you begin life at home for your protection dog goes a long way in setting the tone for how it lives with you, your family, and your friends.

Are you ready for your protection dog to make its grand entrance?

ooOOoo

I asked for some background and this is what was sent:

Steve Scott – After his service in the Army, Steve pursued a career in Law Enforcement, earning honors as the head trainer of his Police Department’s K9 Unit. Steve’s real-world police K9 experience is what sets Scott’s Police K9 apart from other protection dog companies. With Steve’s dog training expertise and his access to the top European kennels, our Family Protection Dogs and trained Police Dogs are second to none.

This is a fabulous piece of advice. From, I have to say, someone who jolly well knows what he is talking about!

More please!

Dark money.

Back to politics of the bigger order.

I stopped and pondered whether I should share this with you but then I decided to so do. Reason is that this is …. well, let me put it in the words of the essay: “Dark money is among the greatest current threats to democracy. It means money spent below the public radar, that seeks to change political outcomes. It enables very rich people and corporations to influence politics without showing their hands.

Enough said!

ooOOoo

You Want It Darker?

10th December 2018

The remarkable story of how the hard-right Koch brothers funded a Trotskyite splinter group.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 7th November 2018

Dark money is among the greatest current threats to democracy. It means money spent below the public radar, that seeks to change political outcomes. It enables very rich people and corporations to influence politics without showing their hands.

Among the world’s biggest political spenders are Charles and David Koch, co-owners of Koch Industries, a vast private conglomerate of oil pipelines and refineries, chemicals, timber and paper companies, commodity trading firms and cattle ranches. If their two fortunes were rolled into one, Charles David Koch, with $120bn, would be the richest man on Earth.

In a rare public statement – an essay published in 1978 – Charles Koch explained his objective. “Our movement must destroy the prevalent statist paradigm.” As Jane Mayer records in her book Dark Money, the Kochs’ ideology – lower taxes and looser regulations – and their business interests “dovetailed so seamlessly it was difficult to distinguish one from the other.”

Over the years, she notes, “the company developed a stunning record of corporate malfeasance”. Koch Industries paid massive fines for oil spills, illegal benzene emissions and ammonia pollution. In 1999, a jury found that it had knowingly using a corroded pipeline to carry butane, which caused an explosion in which two people died. Company Town, a film released last year, tells the story of local people’s long fight against pollution from a huge papermill owned by the Koch brothers.

The Koch’s chief political lieutenant, Richard Fink, developed what he called a three-stage model of social change. Universities would produce “the intellectual raw materials”. Think tanks would transform them into “a more practical or useable form”. Then “citizen activist” groups would “press for the implementation of policy change.”

To these ends the Kochs set up bodies in all three categories themselves, such as the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the Cato Institute and the “citizens’ group” Americans for Prosperity. But for the most part they funded existing organisations that met their criteria. They have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into a network of academic departments, thinktanks, journals and movements. And they appear to have been remarkably successful.

As researchers at Harvard and Columbia universities have found, Americans for Prosperity alone now rivals the Republican party in terms of size, staffing and organisational capacity. It has pulled ”the Republican party to the far-right on economic, tax, and regulatory issues.” It was crucial to the success of the Tea Party Movement, the ousting of Democrats from Congress, and the staffing of Trump’s transition team. The Koch network has helped secure massive tax cuts, the smashing of trade unions and the dismantling of environmental legislation.

But their hands, for the most part, remain invisible. A Republican consultant who has worked for Charles and David Koch told Jane Mayer that “to call them under the radar is an understatement. They are underground.”

Until now, there has been no evidence that Charles and David Koch have directly funded organisations based in the UK. But a few weeks ago, a reader pointed me to one line he found in a form submitted to the US government by the Charles Koch Foundation, which showed money transferred to a company that appears to be the US funding arm of a UK organisation. Once I had grasped its significance, I set up a collaboration with the investigative group DeSmog UK. We could scarcely believe what we were seeing.

The organisation the Charles Koch Foundation has chosen to fund is at first sight astounding: a US organisation established by an obscure magazine run by former members of a tiny Trotskyite splinter group. Some of its core contributors still describe themselves as Marxists or Bolsheviks. But the harder you look at it, the more sense the Koch donations appear to make.

The name of the magazine is Spiked. It emerged from a group with a comical history of left factionalism. In 1974, the International Socialists split after a dispute over arithmetic in Volume 3 of Das Kapital. One of the new factions formed the Revolutionary Communist Group. In 1976, it split again, and one of the splinters became the Revolutionary Communist Tendency. It was led by a sociologist at the University of Kent called Frank Furedi. In 1981 it changed its name to the Revolutionary Communist Party.

In 1988, the party launched a magazine called Living Marxism (later LM). By then, it had abandoned many of its former convictions. Among the few discernible traces of its revolutionary past was an enthusiasm for former communists in the Balkans, such as Slobodan Milošević. In 2000, it closed after losing a libel case: it falsely claimed that ITN had fabricated evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims. But as soon as the magazine folded, a network of new groups, with the same cast of characters – Frank Furedi, Claire Fox, Mick Hume, Brendan O’Neill, James Heartfield, Michael Fitzpatrick, James Woudhuysen – sprang up to replace it. Among these organisations were the Institute of ideas, the Academy of Ideas, the Manifesto Club and a new magazine, Spiked. It had the same editor as LM (Mick Hume) and most of the same contributors.

We found three payments over the past two years from the Charles Koch Foundation. They amount to $170,000, earmarked for “general operating support”. The payments were made to Spiked US Inc. On Spiked’s “Donate” page is a button that says “In the US? Donate here”. It takes you to the PayPal link for “Spiked US, Inc”. Spiked US, in other words, appears to be its American funding arm. Beyond a postal address is Hoboken, New Jersey, it is hard to see what presence it has in the US. It appears to have been established in 2016, the year in which the Koch donations began.

When I asked Spiked what the money was for and whether there had been any other payments, its managing editor, Viv Regan, told me that the Charles Koch Foundation has now given Spiked US a total of $300,000, “to produce public debates in the US about free speech, as part of its charitable activities.” She claims the foundation supports projects “on both the left and the right”. The Koch Foundation has funded “a free-speech oriented programme of public debates on campus titled the Unsafe Space Tour” and four live events, the first of which is titled ‘Should we be free to hate?’. She told me “We’re very proud of our work on free speech and tolerance, and we are proud to be part of the programme.”

But I have been unable to find any public acknowledgement of this funding. Neither on the videos of the debates, in the posters advertising them or in reports of the events in Spiked magazine is there any mention of the Charles Koch Foundation. From what I could see of the title slides in the videos, they acknowledged an organisation called the Institute for Humane Studies, but not the Foundation. Spiked has yet to reply to my questions on this matter.

The Koch brothers are famously careful with their money. According to Jane Mayer, they exert “unusually tight personal control over their philanthropic endeavours”. David Koch told a sympathetic journalist, “If we’re going to give a lot of money, we’ll make darn sure they spend it in a way that goes along with our intent. And if they make a wrong turn and start doing things we don’t agree with, we withdraw funding.” So what might have attracted them to this obscure organisation?

Spiked magazine, now edited by Brendan O’Neill, appears to hate left-wing politics. It inveighs against the welfare state, against regulation, the Occupy movement, anti-capitalists, Jeremy Corbyn, George Soros, #MeToo, “black privilege” and Black Lives Matter. It does so in the name of the “ordinary people”, whom, it claims, are oppressed by the “anti-Trump and anti-Brexit cultural elites”, “feministic elites”, “green elites” and “cosmopolitan politicians”.

It repeatedly defends figures on the hard right or far right: Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Alex Jones, the Democratic Football Lads’ Alliance, Tommy Robinson, Toby Young, Arron Banks, Brett Kavanaugh, Viktor Orban. They are portrayed as victims of “McCarthyites” trying to suppress free speech. It demands the hardest of possible Brexits, insisting that “No Deal is nothing to fear”, as it would allow the UK to scrap EU regulations.

But what it appears to hate most is environmentalism. It rails against “climate scaremongering”, and has called for fracking and coal production to be ramped up. It blames the Grenfell Tower disaster on “the moral fervour of the climate change campaign”. It mocks the idea that air pollution is dangerous and has proposed abolishing the planning system. “We need to conquer nature, not bow to it,” it contends. “Let’s make the ‘human footprint’ even bigger”.

Spiked’s writers rage against exposures of dark money. It calls the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr, who has won a string of prizes for exposing the opaque spending surrounding the Brexit vote,the closest thing the mainstream British media has to an out-and-out conspiracy theorist”. It carries numerous articles by writers from the obscurely-funded Institute of Economic Affairs and from the Cato Institute, that was founded by Charles Koch. Its editor, Brendan O’Neill, also writes for Reason Magazine, owned by the Reason Foundation, which has received $1 million from the Charles Koch Foundation over the past two years.

Bizarrely, Spiked still uses Leon Trotsky to justify its positions. It claims to have built its philosophy on his objective of “increasing the power of man over nature and … the abolition of the power of man over man”. This means, it says, that “we should fight for greater human dominion over the natural world”, and that regulatory power should not be used to prevent anyone from exercising their agency. The result appears to turn Trotsky’s objective on its head: without constraint, those with the greatest agency can exercise uninhibited power over others.

Its enthusiasm for Trotsky is highly selective. As one of Spiked’s writers noted in 2002, his central message was that “the retreat behind national boundaries is a recipe for reaction”. Yet the magazine’s defence of both Brexit and Viktor Orban, Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, is founded on the notion of national sovereignty. Spiked seems to have remembered everything Leon Trotsky wrote that could be recruited to the cause of corporate capital and the hard right, and forgotten all his, shall we say, less enthusiastic musings about those forces.

Above all, its positions are justified with the claim to support free speech. But the freedom all seems to tend in one direction: freedom to lambast vulnerable people. The Unsafe Space tour that the Charles Koch Foundation financed was heavily slanted towards this line. Yet, when I exercised my freedom of speech in sending my questions to Spiked, I was denounced on the front page of the magazine as a “McCarthyite”. This is its favourite insult, which it uses prolifically to dismiss legitimate inquiries and critiques. The usual term for asking awkward questions about powerful interests is journalism. Open information and transparency are crucial to free speech: the more we know, the freer we become. Spiked has also called for schools, universities and governments to be “cleansed” of “the malign influence” of green NGOs, which it denounces as “the environmentalist enemy within.” Some friends of free speech, these.

The Kochs are mentioned in several Spiked articles, but no corresponding interests are declared. An article in 2016, when Spiked received $170,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation, attacked the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, in which the Koch brothers have a major interest.

Is this the extent of the Koch brothers’ funding of groups based in the UK? Who knows? I have not yet had a response from the Charles Koch Foundation. But I see these payments as part of a wider pattern of undisclosed funding. Democracy without transparency is not democracy.

http://www.monbiot.com

ooOOoo

If I was a younger man I would be very active in trying to stop this threat to our open society.

But I am not!

All I can do is to republish this insightful essay by George Monbiot and hope that a few of you didn’t realise this thing was going on, and are concerned!

Lateral thinking

In debt to Edward de Bono.

One of the great differences between us humans and our beloved dogs is that frequently we think too much! But it’s worse than that. We think too much and get caught up in some spiral from which we can’t think ourselves back out. Perhaps that can be likened to a dog worrying away at something that the dog thinks is being overlooked by it’s human friend, or over-licking a wound or such.

A very quick web search will bring up the background information on Dr. de Bono who was responsible for overturning the way we think. It was de Bono who attended an IBM Office Products management course that I was attending, far too many moons ago, when I was promoted from being a salesman to the first rung of the management ladder; the position of Marketing Manager. It was during de Bono’s talk that I first learned of lateral thinking and what de Bono called the “PO” moment.

Just watch the first minute of this talk to get an appreciation of what the PO moment is. Seriously, the video starts with Simon Middleton defining a PO moment. It’s relevant to the rest of this post.

As you all know Jean has Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We have come to understand that PD affects different people in different ways, albeit there are some aspects that many PD sufferers share.

Take this symptom as described on the APDA website:

Many individuals report difficulties in multitasking and organizing daily activities.

In recent weeks I noticed I was becoming frustrated because although I was suggesting to Jeannie a number of what I thought were pleasant things to do in and around our property they weren’t being done.

As much as I tried to say to myself to chill out, this is all down to Jean’s PD, I couldn’t push out of sight the growing frustration that my help was being rejected, and I know I have a problem dealing with rejection! I really didn’t want my frustration to build up to anger.

Eventually, one morning last week after I came back to the bedroom from having fed the horses and the deer I blurted out, rather clumsily I admit, this frustration that was close to becoming a real annoyance.

At first Jean was upset by what I said, understandably so, but then we settled down to examining each suggestion of mine and where I was coming from. Then the conversation became very productive and in a moment of creative thinking I suggested what turned out to be a ‘PO’ moment. In other words, we had both agreed that while we acknowledged the fact that Jean was not motivated to do the things I was suggesting nonetheless it was important that we choose another day and time to discuss how I should remind Jean of these ‘overlooked’ suggestions and, more importantly, how it could be done in a loving and constructive manner.

It was a fascinating outcome and I immediately jumped out of bed, went to my office room next to the bedroom, grabbed a new, unused notebook and came back to the bedroom.

“Jean, let’s write this down in the book as a reminder of something we need to return to and resolve in a creative way! Let’s call these reminders Pharaoh moments!”

Jean very happily agreed!

I then explained to Jean that this felt very much like one of de Bono’s PO moments and calling it a Pharaoh moment was a beautiful way of remembering our wonderful dog.

It was beyond doubt an example of Jean and me thinking laterally.

So thank you, dear Edward, your legacy still endures.

I will close today’s post by inviting you to watch either or both of these talks by de Bono.

The first is a little over 4 minutes long.

Or a longer video that is still highly recommended:

Published on 22 Oct 2015

Edward de Bono is the originator of the concept of Lateral Thinking, which is now a firm entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. Dr de Bono was born in Malta. As a well-established academic, de Bono was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and holds an MA in psychology and physiology from Oxford. He is a Professor at many leading institutions around the world. He is an author of many best-selling books, and is known as the world’s leading authority on thinking.
I write this post as a very happy man who has lived the value and benefits of not bottling up one’s feelings!

Our beautiful planet.

It is the only lovely planet that we all have.

That ‘we’ being all the animals, plants, insects and humans there are.

I’m not saying anything new and not making this plea for the first time in this place.

But just take a few minutes out of your busy day to reflect that for you, for me, for everyone wherever they are in the world, physically and culturally, doing nothing is not an option.

More of that in a minute.

First I want to share with you a few autumnal photographs of our home here in Oregon.

Below was taken at 9am on October 24th showing the  mountain mist right down to the tops of our trees that mark the edge of our driveway from the house to our Hugo Road entrance.

Next, a sunrise photograph with the camera pointing to the East. The tree line follows the ridge of some hills the other side of Hugo Road. The picture taken on the 19th October at 07:20.
Now a close-up of the remains of a very old tree trunk with the trees that border Bummer Creek, that runs through our land, just showing through the morning mist. Taken on the 24th October at 09:05.

Final photograph I wanted to share with you is this beautiful sight of the moon taken from our property at 16:05 on the 25th. October.

Regular readers will know that Jean and I are not believers in any religion; we are atheists. But to my way of thinking that puts even more pressure on me and Jean to try to make a difference. We do all that we can but there’s no doubt that we can do more.

Yesterday, I referred to Bill Ripple, or to give him his full signature: William J. Ripple, Distinguished Professor of Ecology, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

I sent Bill an email:

Dear Bill (and forgive the over familiarity if that offends),
I am a Brit, just turned 73, living with my beautiful wife, Jean, London-born as I was, down in Merlin, Oregon.

We live on 13 wonderful acres of rural property with 6 dogs (down from 12 when we moved here 5 years ago) and 4 horses, the majority of whom are ex-rescues.

I am the author of the blog Learning from Dogs and want to publish a post highlighting that viewpoint article. Because I believe with every neuron left in my ageing brain that the political changes that this world so urgently needs can only come when 99.9% of the public are screaming out “enough is enough”!

But there’s another saying that comes to mind, the one about being the change you want to see or something like that.

Is there information anywhere online that spells out, almost in words of one syllable, what lifestyle changes each of us can and need to commit to today? Changes that are as appropriate for elderly authors living in the country as young people seeking their first job or those up to their necks in working and raising families?

For that is what I want to publish on my blog!

If it would be easier for me to make an appointment to call you and take notes over the phone then I am just as happy to do that.

Sincerely,

Paul Handover
Hugo Road, Merlin,

Bill promptly replied:

Hi Paul, how long of a list of lifestyle changes do you want to make? Would three or four be enough? Bill

then followed that up with another email:

Paul, Consider suggesting that if people want to help, they could have fewer children, reduce energy consumption such as driving autos and flying, avoid meat and eat mostly plant-based foods and avoid wasting food. Below are quotes from our paper. Bill

“It is also time to re-examine and change our individual behaviors, including limiting our own reproduction (ideally to replacement level at most) and drastically diminishing our per capita consumption of fossil fuels, meat, and other resources ….

… reducing food waste through education and better infrastructure; promoting dietary shifts towards mostly plant-based foods

Now watch this video

I will close this post by listing out all the things that you and I can do now!

  • Set a target for reducing your car mileage next year compared to 2017,
  • If you are a regular aircraft passenger, then set a target for flying fewer hours in 2018 compared to 2017,
  • reduce or stop eating meat,
  • do not waste food,
  • reduce the use of heating and cooling in your home/s for next year,
  • commit to a dietary change away from meats and processed foods to a plant-based diet.

Then for younger couples who want a family around them, limit the number of children to a “replacement level” at most. Adopt??

Protecting our dogs from being stolen!

Can you imagine anything more awful!

I’m not sure if we are out and about with our dogs more frequently in the Summer but one would assume so.

But whatever the season, the number of people that do take their dogs with them when they are out is very significant.

So a recent article published by Care 2 about how thieves do steal dogs seemed timely.

ooOOoo

5 Ways Thieves Could Steal Your Dog

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on January 1, 2013. Enjoy!

Sergeant Kenneth Chambers was playing Frisbee with his dog in the parking lot of a Jacksonville, Florida, grocery store recently when lightning struck out of the clear blue sky. The young American veteran, in recovery for post traumatic stress disorder, rolled down the car windows and placed his Australian Shepard/Blue Heeler Mix inside the vehicle just briefly, while he went inside to help his mother with the bags. When he came out moments later, Adalida was gone.

Unfortunately for Sergeant Chambers, and for Adalida, the parking lot scenario placed them in two of the top five high-risk situations for pet theft. And while Sergeant Chamebers’ search continues for Adalida, there are measures that all of us can take to prevent a similar tragedy.

Here are five of the top high-risk pet theft scenarios to avoid: 

1. Dogs in cars

In the blink of an eye, a partially opened window can be forced down or smashed. It takes 20 seconds or less to abduct a dog, and by the time a pet owner returns to the car, their dog is long gone. The American Kennel Club reports a 70 percent rise in dog theft in 2012 and a 40 percent rise the year before. A weak economy has fueled financially motivated dog-napping — and a dog in a car is, quite simply, a sitting duck.

2. Highly prized breeds or dogs with special abilities

A purebred dog or a dog with special skills is a bit like a gold watch. Thieves see dollar signs, and that’s more than enough temptation. Any dog left unattended can be taken, but there is far greater motivation for criminals to walk off with a dog who can bring in a large sum of cash.

3. Pets left in fenced backyards

Everyone loves the convenience of a doggy door — especially criminals. Homeowners who let their pet explore the fenced yard without supervision maintain the illusion of safety, but police departments across the country will tell you that this isn’t enough.

In broad daylight on a single Saturday in November, Corning Animal Shelter Manager Debbie Eaglebarger documented the theft of four Dobermans, four Australian shepherds and two Rottweilers. One neighbor witnessed a man and a woman lure one of the dogs out of a backyard and into their vehicle. All dogs taken that day were purebred, but that is not always the case.

4. Pets left tied in front of businesses

This one may sound like a no-brainer, but particularly in urban areas where pets accompany their owners on errands, it’s not uncommon to find dogs tied up in front of a bank or grocery store. Typically, these are dogs with a gentle demeanor — and that makes them highly susceptible to the commands of a would-be thief.

“Leaving your dog tied up in front of a store is about as ludicrous as leaving your child out front and saying, ‘Wait right there, I’ll be back in 10 minutes,” explains Howard Simpson of Integrated Security and Communications in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. “Do yourself a favor and realize that there are security risks in even the safest of neighborhoods. Being naive makes you a target.”

5 Strangers in the neighborhood

Any strangers on your property can be a risk to your pets. Whether they are invited contractors, deliverymen or political campaigners, visitors could easily grab a pet during a moment when the homeowner is distracted. In some cases, they are making a mental note of homes with valuable breeds or easy-to-subvert home security that will facilitate a quick dog-napping at a later time. It bears mentioning that it’s not uncommon for cats to jump into the back of truck beds for a snooze and to be unwittingly carried off at the end of the day.

Which breeds are most likely to be stolen?

According to the American Kennel Club, the most stolen dog of 2011 was the Yorkshire terrier, followed by the Pomeranian, Maltese and Boston terrier. Small breeds are targeted by thieves because of their size but also because of their value on the market — a single dog can fetch well over $1,000! Among the large breeds, Labrador retrievers are a frequent target, as well as pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes – perhaps for a much more sinister purpose.

Why do thieves target pets?

1. Bait dogs and laboratory dogs

This is every dog guardian’s worst nightmare. Indeed people involved in dog fighting will gather “bait” dogs to be used as training tools for fighting dogs. It happens in both urban and rural areas, and there has been no measurable decline in dog fighting in recent years. Despite some legislation intended to stop the sale of undocumented dogs to research laboratories, under-the-table sales continue — and, in some countries, these exchanges are not considered a crime.

2. Financially motivated theft

“For the first time ever we’ve seen a trend now where shelters are being broken into and purebred and mixed breed dogs are being stolen,” said Lisa Peterson, spokesperson for the American Kennel Club. In fact, any purebred dog, particularly puppies, is considered a high-value commodity. Even with a microchip, it’s often too late when a pet buyer discovers that they have purchased a stolen dog.  By then, the thief is long gone.

3. Emotionally driven theft

What’s often overlooked are the emotionally motivated crimes that rob dogs of their families. This can happen because the perpetrator feels that a dog is not being properly cared for. Some animal lovers will feel justified in stealing a dog that is tied in front of a store or who gets  loose one day. Other times it’s an act of revenge, and, in many cases, a former romantic partner is considered the prime suspect.

Whatever the scenario or the motivation, dog guardians can best protect their dogs with watchfulness. Never leave a dog unattended. Secure your home, including all doors and windows, to the best of your ability and budget. And be wary of strangers in your neighborhood at all times.

Brought to you by the Harmony Fund, an international animal rescue charity.

Now this is having a head for heights!

Not your usual Father’s Day outing!

Think you have a head for heights??

Well try this …. (first seen on the NatGeo website.)

ooOOoo

First Interview With the Climber Who Scaled El Capitan Without a Rope

Honnold approaching the top of El Capitan on Saturday, June 3rd. The historic event was documented for an upcoming National Geographic feature film and magazine story. Photograph by Jimmy Chin

Writer and climber Mark Synnott took Alex Honnold on his first international climbing expedition to Low’s Gully in Borneo back in 2009, and subsequent trips to Chad, Oman, and Newfoundland. Over the years they’ve kept up a running dialogue about the finer points of climbing and debated the dangers of free soloing—climbing alone, without ropes or other safety gear.

It seems fitting that in the first moments after Honnold had become the first person to free solo Yosemite’s El Capitan, the greatest pure feat of rock climbing in history, that he’d sit down with his old friend at the Manure Pile, a popular climbing spot at the foot of El Capitan. He ate an apple, listened to the birds, and described the experience of a lifetime. Their conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

ooOOoo

The rest of this story including the interview with Alex may be read here.

I’ll close with another photograph from that NatGeo piece.

Rock climber Alex Honnold sits atop Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan after nearly four hours of climbing alone, without ropes or any other equipment or safety gear.

El Capitan is only 500 miles drive from our home. Maybe next year’s Father’s Day outing? ( I jest, of course!)

Subsequently, I have come across a longer documentary that some may enjoy (??) watching.

Watch where you walk, good people!