Tag: BBC News

Say Hello to the New Year!

This was too good to ignore.

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Police diver adopts dog rescued from icy lake

A puppy was saved from a frozen lake by a police diver in Turkey. The rescuer feared the worst but said it was miracle that she survived.

(Now try as I may I can’t embed the video but, please, follow the link to the page.)

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-46709311/police-diver-adopts-dog-rescued-from-icy-lake

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It’s inspiring and beautiful what a human will do for a dog!

Last but not least Happy New Year to you.

Our life-savers – literally

I am speaking of the dogs that saved a Canadian woman from certain death.

This story has been widely reported.

I first saw it as a prominent news item on the BBC News website:

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Three dogs help injured woman survive Canadian wilderness

24 November 2017

The search for Annette Poitras and her dogs lasted three days. COURTESY COQUITLAM RCMP

A Canadian dog walker could not have survived over two days in the wilderness without the help of her border collie, a boxer and a puggle.

Annette Poitras, 56, was walking the three dogs on Monday in the British Columbia backcountry when she fell, injured herself and lost her phone.

She was rescued on Wednesday afternoon after a long hunt by Coquitlam search and rescue.

Her husband says the three dogs helped Poitras stay alive during the ordeal.

Marcel Poitras told Global News that his wife and the dogs – a collie called Chloe, a boxer named Roxy, and Bubba, a pug-beagle mix – took care of each other over two days and two nights, with no supplies and periods of “torrential” rain.

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Newsweek also carried the story on November 25th.

(Continuing on from where I left the BBC report.)

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Her husband, Marcel Poitras told Global News that her three dogs—a collie called Chloe, a boxer named Roxy, and Bubba, a pug-beagle mix—helped her stay alive during the ordeal, during which Poitras had no supplies and endured torrential rain.

He said that she saw one of the dogs dig a hole underground to stay warm, and did the same.

“One of them was cuddling [her] and one of them was on guard and the other one was looking for food,” he said.

She also helped the dogs, covering the short haired boxer with her coat after she noticed it shivering during heavy rainfall on their second night.

He said the dogs did not leave her side.

Poitras was rescued after a two day search by the RCMP, which used helicopters and 100 volunteers to scour the countryside near Eagle Mountain for traces of her.

Some rescuers finally heard faint cries for help and loud barking and tracked down Poitras and the dogs to an area described by the Mounties as “well outside the normal trail system”, according to The Surrey Now Leader.

The rescue team said she was “alive and in good condition” in an area off trail, in dense bush and swamp.

CBC reported Friday that two of the dogs visited her hospital bedside Friday.

Poitras is expected to be released from hospital later in the week. Marcel said that after his wife is released from hospital they are hoping things will get back to normal.

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Back to the BBC item or more specifically two more photographs included by the BBC in their report of the incident.

Chloe, Bubba and Roxy stayed with Annette Poitras for the two days. Courtesy COQUITLAM SAR HANDOUT

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Chloe, Roxy and Bubba being rescued from the bush. COURTESY NORTH SHORE RESCUE

In the words of Mr. Poitras, the husband of the rescued woman, “He says they are looking forward to “quiet, peace, walking dogs, visiting family” now the ordeal is over.”

Dear wonderful Chloe, Roxy and Bubba – life-savers all three of them!

Lucky Mr. & Mrs. Poitras.

What would we do without our dear dogs!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ten

Pictures of Casper.

(All will become clear shortly!)

Dear friend of this place, Margaret K. from Tasmania (MargfromTassie), recently sent me an email with a link to a story that had appeared on the BBC website.

I thought the photographs would make a fabulous Picture Parade.

But first sufficient of the news story for the photographs to be seen in proper context.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

“Casper is my unique selling point,” says Sam Grant, an Edinburgh-based VisitScotland ambassador who spends her spare time travelling the country with her pet.

She adds: “There are lots of travel bloggers out there who are very good writers, but they don’t have the wee white dug.”

Here are almost all of those photographs that the BBC presented.

You will love them.

Please note that all of the photographs were taken by Sam Grant who, I am sure, retains copyright ownership of them. Sam’s blogsite is Scotland With The Wee White Dug and well worth a visit.

The village of Crianlarich is located in Glen Strathfillan to the north of the Trossachs, around eight miles north of the head of Loch Lomond

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The village of Carrbridge, in the Scottish Highlands is famous for its 18th Century packhorse bridge.

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Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran, offers views across to Holy Isle.

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Culzean Castle is perched on the Ayrshire cliffs.

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Culloden Moor in the Highlands is where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1746.

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Iona, Inner Hebrides, is often described as a “tiny island paradise”.

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The Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney, is thought to be more than 5,000 years old.

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North Berwick, East Lothian, boasts many great beaches and coastal scenery.

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“Dolphin Spirit” is a boat to take tourists onto the waters of the inner Moray Firth to see the dolphin pods.

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Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch near Portknockie on the north-eastern coast of Scotland.

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Kilchurn Castle is a ruined castle on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute.

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Snow capped Ben More in Glen More, Isle of Mull, Western Isles.

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Balnakeil Bay is near Durness, Scottish Highlands.

I can’t resist including the rest of the text that the BBC published for the photographs are strengthened enormously by Sam’s words.

Her eccentric website details places of interest in areas including Orkney, Loch Lomond and the Scottish Borders.

It was launched in 2015 after an Instagram account written from Casper’s perspective proved popular with followers.

The social media profile has nearly 4,000 followers, who Sam says “can’t get enough” of the wee white dug’s quirky anecdotes about his travels.

Sam says travelling with Casper has given her lots of insight into Scotland’s best pet-friendly tourist attractions and holiday accommodation.

She says: “There are loads of good places that you can visit nowadays where you can bring along your four-legged friends.”

Sam hopes the blog could encourage more Scots to look around their own country, as well as attracting other visitors.

She says: “If you visit the beaches in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll see there’s really no need to go to the Caribbean – unless you’re a sun worshipper.

“Scotland’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.”

Sam says most traffic to her website comes from the UK and US but she has had visitors from more than 100 countries – including China.

“When I see that I’ve had visitors from far-flung countries, I imagine them on the other side of the world reading about Scotland and the wee white dug,” the writer adds.

Asked if she thinks some people could say her pictures are a bit twee, Sam replied: “I did worry about that at first, so I try to make a joke of it.

“But if people like my pictures and they bring a bit of happiness to someone’s day, then why not?”

I guarantee that all of you dear people who view these photographs will have much happiness brought to you. As was brought to Jeannie and me.

Why Dogs Are Friendly

Yes, we know that they are but the science as to why this is nonetheless is fascinating!

Inevitably when you think about my cultural roots you would not be surprised to hear that I use the BBC News website as a key source of staying in touch with the world. But very rarely would I think of sharing a news item with you via these pages.

One of those rare exceptions greeted my eyes back on July 20th. It was an article published by Helen Briggs of the BBC under the Science & Environment news classification. I can’t imagine any reason why I can’t republish it here.

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Why dogs are friendly – it’s written in their genes

By Helen Briggs – BBC News, 20 July 2017

Some wolves are more sociable than others.

Being friendly is in dogs’ nature and could be key to how they came to share our lives, say US scientists.

Dogs evolved from wolves tens of thousands of years ago.

During this time, certain genes that make dogs particularly gregarious have been selected for, according to research.

This may give dogs their distinctive personalities, including a craving for human company.

“Our finding of genetic variation in both dogs and wolves provides a possible insight into animal personality, and may even suggest similar genes may have roles in other domestic species (maybe cats even),” said Dr Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University.

The researchers studied the behaviour of domestic dogs, and grey wolves living in captivity. They carried out a number of tests of the animals’ skills at problem-solving and sociability.

Captive wolves gave humans only brief attention.

These showed that wolves were as good as dogs at solving problems, such as retrieving pieces of sausage from a plastic lunchbox.

Dogs, however, were much more friendly. They spent more time greeting human strangers and gazing at them, while wolves were somewhat aloof.

DNA tests found a link between certain genetic changes and behaviours such as attentiveness to strangers or picking up on social cues.

Similar changes in humans are associated with a rare genetic syndrome, where people are highly sociable.

Dr Elaine Ostrander of the National Institutes of Health, who was a co-researcher on the study, said the information would be useful in studying human disease.

“This exciting observation highlights the utility of the dog as a genetic system informative for studies of human disease, as it shows how minor variants in critical genes in dogs result in major syndromic effects in humans,” she said.

Wolves playing at Yellowstone.

Dogs were domesticated from wolves between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

New story for domestication of dogs

This process began when wolves that were tolerant of humans sneaked into hunter gatherer camps to feed on food scraps.

Over the course of history, wolves were eventually tamed and became the dogs we know today, which come in all shapes and sizes.

The finding of genetic changes linked to sociability in dogs shows how their friendly behaviour might have evolved.

“This could easily play into the story then of how these wolves leave descendants that are also ‘friendlier’ than others, setting the path for domestication,” said Dr vonHoldt.

The research is published in the journal, Science Advances.

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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When it comes to sociability in dogs, try this one for size!

Brandy – as pure as it gets!

New ideas about our relationship with dogs.

What a delight to read this latest scientific news.

There’s so much ‘doom and gloom’ to be seen on the news services across the world that a genuine discovery that enlarges the mind is always a treat. Now make that a discovery about our dogs. Better still, let the BBC do it for you.

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How did dogs become our best friends? New evidence

19 July 2017

Dogs most probably evolved from wolves at a single location about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago, a study suggests.

Previously, it had been thought that dogs were tamed from two populations of wolves living thousands of miles apart.

Researchers studied DNA from three dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany and Ireland that were between 4,700 and 7,000 years old.

The ancient canines share ancestry with modern European dogs.

By looking at the rates of change to the DNA from the oldest specimen, scientists were able to place the timing of the domestication of dogs to between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Krishna Veeramah of Stony Brook University in New York is a researcher on the study.

He said the process of dog domestication began when a population of wolves moved to the outskirts of hunter-gatherer camps to scavenge for leftovers.

”Those wolves that were tamer and less aggressive would have been more successful at this,” he explained.

“While the humans did not initially gain any kind of benefit from this process, over time they would have developed some kind of symbiotic relationship with these animals, eventually evolving into the dogs we see today.”

DNA was obtained from the skull of an ancient dog.

The story of how dogs came to be tamed from wolves is complex and hotly debated.

Scientists believe dogs started moving around the world, perhaps with their human companions, about 20,000 years ago.

By 7,000 years ago, they were pretty much everywhere, although they were not the kind of dogs that we would consider pets.

”They would likely have resembled dogs we today call village dogs, which are free-breeding that did not live in specific people’s houses and have a similar look to them across the world,” said Dr Veeramah.

The dogs were later bred for their skills as hunters, herders or gundogs, eventually creating hundreds of modern breeds.

The research, published in Nature Communications, suggests even the dog breeds and village dogs found in the Americas and Pacific Islands are almost completely derived from recent European dog stock.

This is probably due to prolific dog breeding in Victorian times.

The dog skull inside an ancient burial chamber.

”In this regard, it appears therefore that our 7,000-year, Neolithic-old dog from Europe is virtually an ancestor to most modern breed dogs found throughout the world,” said Dr Veeramah.

”This ancestral relationship may even stretch back to the oldest dog fossil we know of, which is approximately 14,000 years old from Germany.”

Previous evidence suggested that the first domestic dogs appeared on opposite sides of the Eurasian continent more than 12,000 years ago.

Later, the eastern dogs moved with migrating humans and bred with those from the west, according to this theory.

Dr Greger Larson of the University of Oxford said it was great to see more ancient dog genomes being published.

“There is a fascinating story here and we’re only just scraping the surface,” he said.

“The more we get the more we might have a shot at finally unravelling the story of how we became such good friends over such a long time.”

Follow Helen on Twitter.

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Once read, it was but a moment to do a web search for Dr Veeramah and bring up the news of his research on the Stony Brook Newsroom.

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Study Reveals Origin of Modern Dog Has a Single Geographic Origin

Reported in Nature Communications, the finding counters previous research that suggested two domestication events led to the modern dog

Stony Brook, NY; Stony Brook University: Department of Ecology and Evolution Assistant Professor Krishna Veeramah. His research will be published in Nature and his study reveals origin of modern dog has a single geographic origin.

STONY BROOK, N.Y., July 18, 2017 – By analyzing the DNA of two prehistoric dogs from Germany, an international research team led by Krishna R. Veeramah, PhD, Assistant Professor of Ecology & Evolution in the College of Arts & Sciences at Stony Brook University, has determined that their genomes were the probable ancestors of modern European dogs. The finding, to be published in Nature Communications, suggests a single domestication event of modern dogs from a population of gray wolves that occurred between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago.

Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated by humans. The oldest dog fossils that can be clearly distinguished from wolves are from the region of what is now Germany from around 15,000 years ago. However, the archeological record is ambiguous, with claims of ancient domesticated dog bones as far east as Siberia. Recent analysis of genetic data from modern dogs adds to mystery, with some scientists suggesting many areas of Europe, Central Asia, South Asia and the Middle East as possible origins of dog domestication.

(L to R) Shyamalika Gopalan, PhD Candidate, Dean Bobo, Bioinformatics Scientist, and Krishna Veermah, Assistant Professor of Ecology & Evolution. (F) Four-legged friend, Joci

In 2016, research by scientists using emerging paleogenomics techniques proved effective for sequencing the genome of a 5,000-year-old ancient dog from Ireland. The results of the study led the research team to suggest dogs were domesticated not once but twice. The team from Oxford University also hypothesized that an indigenous dog population domesticated in Europe was replaced by incoming migrants domesticated independently in East Asia sometime during the Neolithic era.

“Contrary to the results of this previous analysis, we found that our ancient dogs from the same time period were very similar to modern European dogs, including the majority of breed dogs people keep as pets,” explained Dr. Veeramah. “This suggests that there was no mass Neolithic replacement that occurred on the continent and that there was likely only a single domestication event for the dogs observed in the fossil record from the Stone Age and that we also see and live with today.”

In the paper, titled “Ancient European dog genomes reveal continuity since the Early Neolithic,” Veeramah and colleagues used the older 7,000 year old dog to narrow the timing of dog domestication to the 20,000 to 40,000 years ago range.

They also found evidence of the younger 5,000 year old dog to be a mixture of European dogs and something that resembles current central Asian/Indian dogs. This finding may reflect that people moving into Europe from the Asian Steppes at the beginning of the Bronze Age brought their own dogs with them.

“We also reanalyzed the ancient Irish dog genome alongside our German dog genomes and believe we found a number of technical errors in the previous analysis that likely led those scientists to incorrectly make the conclusion of a dual domestication event,” added Veeramah.

Overall, he emphasized, their new genomic analysis of ancient dogs will help scientists better understand the process of dog evolution, even if the exact geographic origin of domestication remains a mystery. He expects further sequencing of the ancient genomes from Eurasia will help to eventually solve the issue.

The study and findings are a collaboration between scientists at Stony Brook University; the University of Michigan, Johannes Gutenberg-University, Germany; University of Bamberg, Germany; Trinity College, Ireland; and the Department of Monumental Heritage in Germany.

The research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.

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 About Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

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Even better than the University providing the link to the above, it also gave me the good Doctor’s email address. I shall reach out to him and see if there is more that I can share with you!

One very lucky dog!

Don’t try this yourself!

(NB: For much of the next three days I am going to have my attention diverted elsewhere. So, apologies in advance if I am not as attentive as I try to be.)

This was seen on the BBC News website last Sunday.

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Dog survives after chasing stone off 150ft cliff

A cocker spaniel has survived a 150ft (46m) fall from a cliff in Somerset.

The dog, called Indy, plunged off Hurlstone Point, near Porlock, while chasing a stone during a walk with her owners.

Minehead’s lifeboat crew was scrambled to rescue her and found her among boulders at the foot of the cliff.

A spokesman said: “She had a few scratches and bumps and was very shaken up, but it could have been much worse.” (Ed: Understatement of the year!)

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A quick search brought up this item on Wikipedia:

Hurlstone point (grid referenceSS898492) is a promontory of land between Porlock Weir and Minehead in the Exmoor National Park on the coast of Somerset, England.

Hurlstone Point marks the boundary between Porlock Bay and Blue Anchor Bay in the Bristol Channel and is on the South West Coast Path.[1] There is a coastguard lookout shelter on the point.[2]

The rocks, including a large slab known as “coastguard wall” are popular with climbers.[3]

In 2007 a cyclist was rescued after falling 40 feet (12 m) down the cliff.[4]

References

  1. “Bossington to Selworthy”. Official Guide to the South West Coast Path. Natural England. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  2. “Coastguard’s lookout at Hurlstone Point, Selworthy, Somerset”. Viewfinder National Monuments Record. English Heritage. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  3. “Hurlstone point”. UK Climbing.com. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
  4. “Cyclist rescued after cliff fall”. BBC News. BBC. 2007-05-03. Retrieved 2008-08-09.

Plus this photograph that only underlines how very lucky was Indy.

A Hop, Skip and a Jump!

Actually it’s just about skipping! A dog skipping!!

This was seen on the BBC News website yesterday and I am delighted that the video clip is on YouTube.

Here’s how the story was reported by the BBC.

Devon dog sets skipping world record

3 April 2017 Last updated at 12:17 BST

A skipping Jack Russell and her owner have set a new world record.

Eight-year-old Jessica and her owner Rachael Grylls, from Lewdown in Devon, clocked up 59 skips in one minute.

The owner of a skipping Jack Russell dog says she is “really, really, really pleased” she and her pet have set a new world record.

Rachael said: “It’s quite hard to keep jumping, talking and rewarding her at the same time. I think I’m more unfit than Jessica!”

Lovely to see this news item from my old County of Devon.

You see, I used to live just a few miles out of Totnes in Devon; in the village of Harberton. Lewdown is also in Devon, as the news item reported, but it is the other side of Dartmoor. In other words, North-West of Dartmoor as opposed to Totnes being to the South-East of Dartmoor.

But if any of you dear readers fancy a vacation in the UK you should make a point of going to see Dartmoor. It’s a very beautiful place. (Sue, you have probably been to Dartmoor? Yes?)

Classic Dartmoor view

 

The Cave of Crystal Giants

This will take us away from the daily beat of life!

On the 18th. February the BBC News website carried an article that I found incredible. It was the story of Naica’s crystal caves in Mexico.

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Naica’s crystal caves hold long-dormant life

By Jonathan Amos, BBC Science Correspondent, Boston, 18 February 2017.

 The caves were discovered by miners 100 years ago
The caves were discovered by miners 100 years ago. Picture credit: Penelope J. Boston

It is a remarkable discovery in an amazing place.

Scientists have extracted long-dormant microbes from inside the famous giant crystals of the Naica mountain caves in Mexico – and revived them. [Ed: my emphasis]

The organisms were likely to have been encased in the striking shafts of gypsum at least 10,000 years ago, and possibly up to 50,000 years ago.

It is another demonstration of the ability of life to adapt and cope in the most hostile of environments.

“Other people have made longer-term claims for the antiquity of organisms that were still alive, but in this case these organisms are all very extraordinary – they are not very closely related to anything in the known genetic databases,” said Dr Penelope Boston.

The new director of Nasa’s Astrobiology Institute in Moffett Field, California, described her findings here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

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I was delighted to find more details in many other places on the ‘web’.

Such as this one on the National Geographic website:

By Victoria Jaggard

PUBLISHED February 17, 2017

Boston, Massachusetts

Creatures that thrive on iron, sulfur, and other chemicals have been found trapped inside giant crystals deep in a Mexican cave. The microbial life-forms are most likely new to science, and if the researchers who found them are correct, the organisms are still active even though they have been slumbering for tens of thousands of years.

If verified, the discovery adds to evidence that microbial life on Earth can endure harsher conditions in isolated places than scientists previously thought possible. (See “Life Found Deep Under Antarctic Ice for First Time?”)

“These organisms have been dormant but viable for geologically significant periods of time, and they can be released due to other geological processes,” says NASA Astrobiology Institute director Penelope Boston, who announced the find today at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. “This has profound effects on how we try to understand the evolutionary history of microbial life on this planet.”

Then there’s another article on that NatGeo website: (Apologies for some duplication in the message.)

By Neil Shea, National Geographic Staff
In a nearly empty cantina in a dark desert town, the short, drunk man makes his pitch. Beside him on the billiards table sits a chunk of rock the size of home plate. Dozens of purple and white crystals push up from it like shards of glass. “Yours for $300,” he says. “No? One hundred. A steal!” The three or four other patrons glance past their beers, thinking it over: Should they offer their crystals too? Rock dust on the green felt, cowboy ballads on the jukebox. Above the bar, a sign reads, “Happy Hour: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.”

This remote part of northern Mexico, an hour or so south of Chihuahua, is famous for crystals, and paychecks at the local lead and silver mine, where almost everyone works, are meager enough to inspire a black market. “Thirty dollars.” He leans in. “Ten.” It’s hard to take him seriously. Earlier in the day, in a cave deep below the bar, I crawled among the world’s largest crystals, a forest of them, broad and thick, some more than 30 feet long and half a million years old. So clear, so luminous, they seemed extraterrestrial. They make the chunk on the pool table seem dull as a paperweight.

Nothing compares with the giants found in Cueva de los Cristales, or Cave of Crystals. The limestone cavern and its glittering beams were discovered in 2000 by a pair of brothers drilling nearly a thousand feet below ground in the Naica mine, one of Mexico’s most productive, yielding tons of lead and silver each year. The brothers were astonished by their find, but it was not without precedent. The geologic processes that create lead and silver also provide raw materials for crystals, and at Naica, miners had hammered into chambers of impressive, though much smaller, crystals before. But as news spread of the massive crystals’ discovery, the question confronting scientists became: How did they grow so big?

It takes 20 minutes to get to the cave entrance by van through a winding mine shaft. A screen drops from the van’s ceiling and Michael Jackson videos play, a feature designed to entertain visitors as they descend into darkness and heat. In many caves and mines the temperature remains constant and cool, but the Naica mine gets hotter with depth because it lies above an intrusion of magma about a mile below the surface. Within the cave itself, the temperature leaps to 112 degrees Fahrenheit with 90 to 100 percent humidity—hot enough that each visit carries the risk of heatstroke. By the time we reach the entrance, everyone glistens with sweat.

That article continues here.
Finally, lose yourself in this video. (If the voice doesn’t get to you!)

How to close today’s post?

Both by embracing the power of the natural order of things, life and death, and by reminding us all that there are in the order of over two billion stars in this universe.

That universe must be teeming with life, current and dormant, and the day when we truly confirm that will put everything into perspective!

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Talk about synchronicity!

For yesterday, around 10am PST, the BBC News website carried this big news item: Earliest evidence of life on Earth ‘found’.

Here’s how that article opens:

Earliest evidence of life on Earth ‘found’

By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News
Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth.
They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 billion years old.
That is a time not long after the planet’s formation and hundreds of millions of years before what is currently accepted as evidence for the most ancient life yet found on Earth.

The researchers report their investigation in the journal Nature.

As with all such claims about ancient life, the study is contentious. But the team believes it can answer any doubts.

The scientists’ putative microbes from Quebec are one-tenth the width of a human hair and contain significant quantities of haematite – a form of iron oxide or “rust”.

Matthew Dodd, who analysed the structures at University College London, UK, claimed the discovery would shed new light on the origins of life.

Do read the full article including viewing some wonderful photographs.

Yet another incredible hero!

The wonderful, inspiring story of what Janey Lowes is doing for dogs in need.

Janey Lowes loving a strteet dog in Sri Lanka
Janey Lowes caring for a street dog in Sri Lanka.

More accurately what Janey Lowes and a whole team are doing for the street dogs of Sri Lanka.

Jean and I saw this story featured on the BBC News website.

The English vet saving Sri Lanka’s street dogs

22 January 2017 Last updated at 00:17 GMT

A vet has left behind her home in England to care for Sri Lanka’s street dogs.

Janey Lowes from Barnard Castle, County Durham, has spent the past two years caring for the neglected animals.

There are about three million street dogs on the island – about 60% of puppies born on the street do not survive to adulthood.

The 28-year-old set up charity WECare Worldwide to raise money to buy the equipment needed to treat the animals and to set up her own clinic in Talalla.

I am pleased that the video clip that was included in the BBC News story has found its way to YouTube.

Inevitably the charity WECare Worldwide has its own website: the home page is here. Then you can read on the charity’s ‘About’ page: (Note: CNVR is the acronym standing for catch-neuter-vaccinate-release.)

CNVR

CNVR is carried out as it is the most humane way to reduce roaming dog populations and reduce the number of unwanted puppies that are dumped on the streets at a very young age. It also allows the females that would inevitably spend their whole lives pregnant to only have to worry about number one when thinking about limited food resources and shelter options, which transforms their lives.

Vaccinating the dog population against Rabies is the most effective way to eliminate the disease in the human population. As an island nation, eradication of Rabies in the near future is a very real possibility and will change the future of both animals and humans here, allowing improved relationships between the two.

CNVR is the backbone of everything we are trying to achieve in Sri Lanka.

But that’s only one part of what they do. Again, as the website sets out:

 

We focus on 3 main areas here in Sri Lanka.

  • CNVR (catch-neuter-vaccinate-release)
  • Treatment of sick and injured animals
  • Education and training

 

I shall be making contact with the charity very soon .

Not only to pass on our respect and admiration for what she has accomplished but to see if there are other ways we can help them in what they are doing. I use the word ‘we’ to cover not only Jean and me but also all of you who are close to this blog and who, so frequently, show how much love you have for dogs!

WECare Worldwide will help by providing free veterinary treatment, alongside love, compassion and respectful care of the Ceylon dogs, who make up such a huge part of Sri Lankan heritage and culture, both in the past and the current day.

Thinking about Winter!

At home with Canadian sled dogs.

There was an item on the BBC News website that I saw over the weekend that prompted me to do a YouTube search for the film clip. This is what I read on the BBC website:

Until the 1970s, it was impossible to travel around Canada’s Yellowknife region in the winter if you weren’t travelling by dogsled.

Even though transportation options have increased, sled dogs are still prized and prominent in this Arctic region.

Matt Danzico of BBC Pop Up was invited to visit with some sled dogs during the team’s trip to Canada.

Film by Matt Danzico.

Unsurprisingly, that BBC video wasn’t available on YouTube.  But I did find this:

Dog Sledding in Banff, Canada

Enjoy!