Tag: Wordpress

What your views mean to me!

Reflections on the results of the survey.

I have approached this by looking at the responses to each question, and the message that it offers, and then speaking of my overall conclusions.

But once again, let me offer my warmest thanks for your feedback. What a great family of readers you are!

Total number of votes

You good people contributed a total of 245 votes. Fully 42% (102) of those votes were responses to Questions Eight and Nine, the survey questions that sought to understand what your reading preferences were.

Question One

For how long have you been reading Learning from Dogs?

83% of you have been readers of this blog for fewer than three years.

I don’t find that surprising because one can only actively engage in a blog for so long before it becomes fairly predictable. I, too, have blog posts that come into my ‘in-box’ that frequently are not read. Yet for some reason I do not want to cancel that subscription.

Question Two:
For how many years have you had a pet animal/s in your life?

86% of you have had pets in your life for more than ten years. That is fabulous.

Question Three:
Do you presently have one or more pet dogs in your life?

73% of you have a dog in your life! Again, that is fabulous.

Question Four:
Please indicate to what extent having a dog improves your life? (Please answer even if you currently do not have a dog in your life but, nonetheless, have a view.)

81% of you declared that having a dog offered a huge improvement to your life.

(Let me jump straight to the results of Question Seven for it connects with Q.4.)

Question Seven:
Please read the following statement and then record your reaction to it: “Having one or more dogs in my life allows me a much better connection with and awareness of my inner self.”

89% of you agreed (56% strongly agreeing) that having a dog in your life offered that better connection.

Question Five:
On the ‘About’ page of the blog, it is stated that: The underlying theme of Learning from Dogs is about truth, integrity, honesty and trust in every way. We use the life of dogs as a metaphor.

85% were comfortable with the blog conforming to that theme. That is very good news for the founder of Learning from Dogs! 😉

Question Six:
Not infrequently blog posts are published that do not refer to dogs. Please indicate your views on these other ‘non-dog’ posts?

80% found this mix acceptable.

Question Eight:
Please indicate, by ticking the relevant boxes, which dog and animal topics you would like to read more of on Learning from Dogs.

The top four categories that you readers desire are:

Animal rescue, 22.72%
Dog training, 20.34%
Humorous animal stories. 20.34%
Specific dog breeds, 15.25%

Question Nine:
Please indicate, by ticking the relevant boxes, which non-animal topics you would like to read more of on Learning from Dogs.

The top four categories that you readers desire are:

Environmental issues, 20.93%
Philosophy, 18.6%
Regional articles from around the world, 16.28%
Technology. 13.95%

Question Ten:
Do you believe the blog could be improved for you?

No 42.86%
I don’t have a view. 35.71%
Yes 21.43%

Now while 43% said the blog could not be improved that left 57% with differing views or no view.

But there were in the end two comments as to a possible improvement.

I enjoy getting LFD very much. However, I also get many other emails and subscribe to various news, politics and lifestyle blogs. (Yes the Internet takes up far too much of my life and my iPad is practically like a conjoined twin! ). I would prefer that LFD came only twice a week.

and

Very interesting feedback, including the comment. Because I have almost 400 blogs I haven’t had time to read and have kept mine to once every week or two, the comment resonates for me as well. I struggle to read anyway but those that post daily won’t always get my time. I have to do two things at once as it is. I do love coming here and “learning from dogs”.

My overall conclusions

  1. Maintain the mix between dog and non-dog posts more or less as it is.
  2. But focus on increasing the number of dog story topics that are about animal rescues and dog training.
  3. Then when it comes to non-dog posts be more selective and choose stories that feature Environmental issues, Philosophy, and Regional articles from around the world.
  4. Last, but by no means least, explore reducing the number of posts published each week.

This last finding is extremely useful. None of you would be surprised to hear that writing or coordinating a daily post is hard work. Extremely rewarding but nevertheless hard work.

Then this coming October I have to keep my head down for a couple of months because I want to finish the draft of my second book by the end of November. Thus, reducing the number of posts published would be a great help in the book-writing department!

However, and this is key, this blog only functions because you, dear reader, read the flippin’ thing!

So let me reflect on a few ways that I might reduce that number of posts and offer those options to you perhaps in a further survey.

Thank you all so very much!

Here are your thoughts!

Thank you all of you for participating in the survey.

I am going to use today and tomorrow to reflect on what your views mean for me.

Today, I will present the ‘raw’ data, so to speak, and tomorrow my analysis of what you good people are saying.

So here are the poll results as at 13:00 PDT yesterday Sunday, 24th September.

Question One:
For how long have you been reading Learning from Dogs?
Less than 1 year, 43.48% (10 votes)
More than 1 year but fewer than 3 years, 39.13% (9 votes)
More than 3 years but fewer than 5 years, 8.7% (2 votes)
More than 5 years. 4.35% (1 votes)
I don’t recall for how long. 4.34% (1 votes)

Total Votes: 23

Question Two:
For how many years have you had a pet animal/s in your life?
More than 10 years, 86.36% (19 votes)
I don’t currently have a pet animal in my life. 13.64% (3 votes)
Fewer than 5 years, 0% (0 votes)
More than 5 years but fewer than 10 years, 0% (0 votes)

Total Votes: 22

Question Three:
Do you presently have one or more pet dogs in your life?
Yes 72.73% (16 votes)
No 27.27% (6 votes)

Total Votes: 22

Question Four:
Please indicate to what extent having a dog improves your life? (Please answer even if you currently do not have a dog in your life but, nonetheless, have a view.)
My dog is …
A huge improvement to my life, 80.95% (17 votes)
I have no view. 14.29% (3 votes)
A moderate improvement to my life, 4.76% (1 votes)
Neither an improvement nor a deterioration to my life, 0% (0 votes)
A moderate deterioration to my life, 0% (0 votes)
A huge deterioration to my life, 0% (0 votes)

Total Votes: 21

Question Five:
On the ‘About’ page of the blog, it is stated that: The underlying theme of Learning from Dogs is about truth, integrity, honesty and trust in every way. We use the life of dogs as a metaphor.

How well does Learning from Dogs conform to this theme?
Very well, 45% (9 votes)
Excellently, 40% (8 votes)
Fairly well, 10% (2 votes)
No view. 5% (1 votes)
Poorly, 0% (0 votes)
Badly. 0% (0 votes)

Total Votes: 20

Question Six:
Not infrequently blog posts are published that do not refer to dogs. Please indicate your views on these other ‘non-dog’ posts?

I find the mix of topics perfectly acceptable, 80% (16 votes)
I would prefer fewer non-dog posts, 20% (4 votes)
I would prefer more non-dog posts. 0% (0 votes)

Total Votes: 20

Question Seven:
Please read the following statement and then record your reaction to it: “Having one or more dogs in my life allows me a much better connection with and awareness of my inner self.”

I strongly agree with the statement, 55.56% (10 votes)
I agree with the statement, 33.33% (6 votes)
I neither agree nor disagree with the statement, 11.11% (2 votes)
I disagree with the statement, 0% (0 votes)
I strongly disagree with the statement. 0% (0 votes)

Total Votes: 18

Question Eight:
Please indicate, by ticking the relevant boxes, which dog and animal topics you would like to read more of on Learning from Dogs.

Animal rescue, 22.03% (13 votes)
Dog training, 20.34% (12 votes)
Humorous animal stories. 20.34% (12 votes)
Specific dog breeds, 15.25% (9 votes)
More articles on cats, 8.47% (5 votes)
Articles on wild animals, 8.47% (5 votes)
Articles on horses, 5.08% (3 votes)

Total Votes: 59

Question Nine:
Please indicate, by ticking the relevant boxes, which non-animal topics you would like to read more of on Learning from Dogs.

Environmental issues, 20.93% (9 votes)
Philosophy, 18.6% (8 votes)
Regional articles from around the world, 16.28% (7 votes)
Technology. 13.95% (6 votes)
Writing and Authors, 9.3% (4 votes)
Space and the Stars, 6.98% (3 votes)
History, 6.98% (3 votes)
Health, 6.98% (3 votes)

Total Votes: 43

Question Ten:
Do you believe the blog could be improved for you?
No 42.86% (6 votes)
I don’t have a view. 35.71% (5 votes)
Yes 21.43% (3 votes)

Total Votes: 14

Finally, if you answered “Yes” to Q. 10, do please write your views in the box below.

There was one comment offered:

I enjoy getting LFD very much. However, I also get many other emails and subscribe to various news, politics and lifestyle blogs. (Yes the Internet takes up far too much of my life and my iPad is practically like a conjoined twin! ). I would prefer that LFD came only twice a week.

See you tomorrow with my sense of what I am hearing from you.

Tell me what you think!

Introduction

Dear Reader of Learning from Dogs,

The first post in this blog was published on the 15th July 2009, now more than 8 years ago. In my wildest imagination, I would not have predicted that I would still be publishing posts today. Or, indeed, that more than 3,300 posts have been published since that day, that the blog has received more than 1.3 million viewings in that time, and that over 2,500 good people now follow this place.

But what that does say to me that it is about time that I listened to what you like and, better still, how this blog could even better communicate with you.

So here’s a short survey that I would dearly love for you to complete. No personal details are being asked for or recorded and the results of the survey will be shared with you all in this place.

By the way, these polls (I’m using PollDaddy via WordPress) will expire in seven days time.

Question One

Question Two

Question Three

Question Four

Please indicate to what extent having a dog improves your life? (Please answer even if you currently do not have a dog in your life but, nonetheless, have a view.)

Question Five

On the ‘About’ page of the blog, it is stated that:

The underlying theme of Learning from Dogs is about truth, integrity, honesty and trust in every way. We use the life of dogs as a metaphor.

Question Six

Not infrequently blog posts are published that do not refer to dogs. Please indicate your views on these other ‘non-dog’ posts?

Question Seven

Please read the following statement and then record your reaction to it:

Having one or more dogs in my life allows me a much better connection with and awareness of my inner self.

Question Eight

Please indicate, by ticking the relevant boxes, which dog and animal topics you would like to read more of on Learning from Dogs.

Question Nine

Please indicate, by ticking the relevant boxes, which non-animal topics you would like to read more of on Learning from Dogs.

Question Ten

Do you believe the Learning from Dogs blog could be improved for you?

Finally, if you answered “Yes” to this last question do please explain how it could be improved via a reply to this post.

I going to leave this as the current post right through to Friday for two reasons:

  1. Your views and opinions are really important and not every reader and follower comes here every day, and,
  2. These polls expire in seven days time.

Thank you all so very, very much!

Subscription process change

Please read this carefully.

Regular followers and readers will have noticed some recent changes in the look and feel of Learning from Dogs. Much of this has been to do with bringing the blog up to speed, so to speak, so that the millions of smartphone and tablet users out there can easily view and navigate their way around the blog.

One of the improvements being implemented is to do with subscribers, both existing and new ones.

At present, when you choose to follow this blog, that process is one of the applications that WordPress provide.

However, I am minded to make some special offers to all of you loyal followers from time to time and not want those offers displayed as an open blog post.  The only way to achieve that is to implement a change to the subscription process.

In a nutshell, within the next few hours the subscription application will be changed from WordPress to MailChimp. The MailChimp ‘app’ is widely used on WordPress blogs.

If you have any queries or questions, please offer them as a comment to this post.

I am certain that the change will be practically seamless to all of you.

Many thanks,

Paul H.

Changes to the Blog

No! It’s not your eyes! 😉

I should have sent this out earlier to you all.

For a few hours ago the WordPress theme I am using on Learning from Dogs was changed.

The change is necessary to allow a number of eCommerce features to be added to the blog in connection with me being able to sell my book, both in paperback and eBook formats, directly to you good people.

Plus there’s a real bonus.

This theme is mobile friendly.

In other words, everything on Learning from Dogs will be much, much easier to read on tablets and smartphones.

Finally, if anyone is within reach of Grants Pass then you have a warm welcome to come along on Saturday, December 12th. There will be some specials available to visitors only.

Layout 1

Writing 101

A bit of a change for the next twenty days or so.

As I’m sure you know Learning from Dogs is written under WordPress. Right from the start, I took the decision to offer a daily post and am so glad I did. (This post is number 2,435!)

However, many bloggers do not subscribe to a daily publication of a post and WordPress, in an effort to encourage more bloggers to so do, have launched Writing 101.  Here’s what they sent out to those bloggers that signed up to Writing 101, as indeed did I.

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Day One: Unlock the Mind

You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen — it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.

– Author Khaled Hosseini, “How to Write,” the Atlantic

On The Daily Post, we try to instill a daily blogging habit in each of our readers. We’ve gotten to know many of you — your avatars, your blogs — and are reminded each day that our community is full of many different stories and voices.

Some of you want to take your craft of writing to the next level — you might be a seasoned daily prompter ready for something more, or want to experiment with different aspects of storytelling, from considering your setting and point of view, to developing your characters and dialogue.

So welcome to Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit. In these twenty days, we’ll dive into the elements of storytelling, help you cut through writer’s block and — as Natalie Goldberg teaches — access the pure thoughts and ideas of your wild mind.

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

Need a helping hand? Head to The Commons. Happy writing!

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So apart from Sundays I shall be posting in accordance with the daily theme for the next twenty days.  On Sundays I shall revert to my usual Picture Parade.

So that’s enough of a preamble (or delaying tactic!) to today’s theme – here we go.

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Just twenty minutes of free writing.

 (Time: 15:10 PDT)

Writing without thinking!

On the face of it that is an absurd notion … and yet? And yet, there is something fascinating in being totally free to let the words spill out without regard to the potential reader – I guess how one might approach writing a daily diary or journal.

Or try exploring the concept of consciousness!

It strikes me that it’s a little like those odd times when one is sitting in a passenger seat on a commercial airliner flight and one starts to ponder about what makes you and all your fellow passengers remain aloft! There is a difference however in that physics does understand the nature of lift that occurs when air flows across the upper and lower surfaces of a wing.

But consciousness!

I’m pretty sure in my guess that while the human brain is well-understood the precise process, for want of a better term, that explains consciousness is not perfectly understood. If I am wrong on that count then so be it. I hope I am not, for there is something incredibly wonderful, even ephemeral, about a conscious human wondering what it is that makes him or her that conscious human wondering just what it is that causes him or her to be that conscious person! (I sense the closeness of a circular argument appearing out of the mists of my own consciousness!)

The way the brain works in terms of thoughts and inner thoughts and even deeper subconscious thoughts is wonderful. Anyone who has had cause to use the services of a counsellor or therapist to delve into the inner workings of the mind could not fail to be in awe of the power of our brains, the way our brains are so deeply ‘wired-up’ during our formative childhood years, and the way that they conduct our behaviours during our years of adult life.

Which leads me nicely to a closing thought (my wrist-watch is telling me that my twenty minutes are up in six minutes time).

Here it is.

Writing is such a wonderful gift. Put no better than in the words of Khaled Hosseini as quoted in that opening of the Writing 101 item above. It strikes me that it is impossible to write on a regular basis without revealing a great deal about one’s own thoughts, inner thoughts and deeper subconscious thoughts.

That is why blogging is such an incredible way of making connections. Connections across countries, cultures, genders and creeds. In my years of writing this blog I feel an incredible family of friends out there.  Those that follow my humble scribblings and, in turn, those that attract my own following.

It would be wonderful to think that this new world of digital writing and the consequential sharing of the thoughts and ideas that drive our writing may one day make this world a very much better place.

And with those words, I stop.

(Time: 15:30 PDT)

Thank you WordPress!

Recognising the incredible contribution made to the world of modern communications.

This blog runs using software called WordPress. The WordPress community is vast. “Over 409 million people view more than 15.8 billion pages each month. Users produce about 43.7 million new posts and 58.8 million new comments each month.”  Millions and millions of websites run under WordPress.

No mistake it is a community in every sense of the word.  I feel fortunate and humbled to have made so many friends across the ‘bloggersphere’ despite not having met a single person face-to-face.  I just can’t imagine a life without my circle of followers and without me, in turn, following so many other bloggers.

Thus it seems entirely appropriate to publish in full a news item sent to all WordPress bloggers in the last twenty-four hours.

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Engaged, Inspired, and Ready to Build a Better Web

One week every year, the entire Automattic staff gets together to connect, work, and laugh. And then, of course, we blog about it! Could you be blogging about your experience with us in 2015?

Automattic is a distributed company — we all work from wherever we are. Right now, “where we are” is 197 cities around the world: New Orleans, USA. Montevideo, Uruguay. Tokyo, Japan. Vilnius, Lithuania.

Once a year, we get together somewhere in the world to meet, work alongside, learn from, and laugh with one another in an exhilarating, exhausting week called the Grand Meetup. This year, 277 Automatticians descended on Park City, Utah, for seven days in mid-September.

Chris Hardie @ChrisHardie
I flew across the country to spend time in a mountain lodge with a bunch of strangers I met on the Internet. And they are wonderful.

We introduced ourselves to new colleagues, reconnected with coworkers we haven’t seen since last year, and worked on ways to make WordPress.com even better. And of course, lots of us blogged about the experience, in words and images.

We were blown away by the brilliance and generosity of our colleagues…

I’m grateful to have met so many Automatticians from around the world who brought such kindness, curiosity, patience, fierce intelligence, creativity and humor to the time we had together. I’m grateful to have learned about their hobbies, families, personal journeys, quirks, pet peeves, amazing skills, unmitigated geekiness, and brilliant senses of humor.

– VIP Wrangler Chris Hardie

We marveled at the range of conversations we had, from the sublime to the absurd…

Here are some of the things I talked about this week:

  • Scottish independence
  • Taylor Swift
  • Goats
  • Sexism
  • My children
  • Other people’s children
  • Infertility
  • Tattoos
  • Swing dancing
  • Whiskey
  • Javascript
  • Waffles (lack thereof)
  • VideoPress
  • Houston
  • Leadership
  • Fake morning talkshows
  • Mario Kart

Happiness Engineer Zandy Ring

We soaked in the natural beauty of Utah…

Early morning takeoff, by yours truly.
Early morning takeoff, by yours truly.

And some of us got up close and personal with the wide Utah sky…

Happiness Engineer Jeremey DuVall realizes he’s just jumped out of an airplane.
Happiness Engineer Jeremey DuVall realizes he’s just jumped out of an airplane.

We learned from one another, and had fun doing it…

I learned how to analyze data in Python with Carly, and went skydiving with Prasath. After discussing common security vulnerabilities with Anne, Cami and I plotted a podcast about absolutely nothing, and recorded part of our first episode…

If you asked me four years ago if I thought it were possible to enjoy working, I’d be dubious. If you asked me whether one could ever genuinely love and respect all their coworkers, I’d hesitate.

Over the past four years, the people of Automattic have demonstrated to me that it’s possible to do work you love with people you love. It’s not common — not yet — but it’s possible.

– VaultPress Eclectic Happiffier Chris Rudzki

We burned the midnight oil…

We worked, we played, we ate, we drank, we slept very little. We tried to make the world a better place, and if you think that’s me being dramatic you don’t know the people I have the honor of working with.

– Dot Organizer Cami Kaos

We took a lot of photos

On the final day, Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg led us in a toast that summed up the reason we’re all here…

I’m really grateful that I get to work with the people I do, and on the problems that we work on together. It’s far from easy, in fact each year brings new challenges and I make mistakes as often as not, but it is worthwhile and incredibly fulfilling. A few hours ago I gave a closing toast and teared up looking around the room. So many folks that give their passion and dedicate themselves to jobs both large and small, visible and unseen, to help make the web a better place.

– WordPress co-founder and Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg

And when the week was over, heading home was bittersweet…

This morning was filled with so many hugs (and maybe a tear or two). I told myself that I was looking forward to returning home. To my own bed (although the sleep I got in the silence of the Park City night was the best I may have ever experienced). To regular exercise and home cooking. To the routine of my everyday life. And I was looking forward to that. And even though I knew I would miss my colleagues (it’s happened every time I return from a trip), the weight of the fog of sadness still surprises me when it descends.

I read their blogs. I like their Facebook posts. I retweet their Tweets. And I miss them.

– Happiness (w)Rangler Lori McLeese

If you think you might want to work with this motley crew and join us in 2015’s mayhem…

2014-company-animated

we’re hiring. (And yes, you’ll get to make up your own job title, too.)

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Seriously, if you think there is any way you can contribute to the success of WordPress, then do go across to this page – from where I note the following employee benefits:

BENEFITS

  • Open vacation policy (no set number of days per year). We encourage our employees to take the time they need to take vacation, develop interests, and spend time with friends and family.
  • Health, dental, & vision insurance for US and Canadian employees, their spouses or domestic partners, and children.
  • 401(k) plan and match for US employees and RRSP matching plan for Canadian employees.
  • We cover all costs of company travel.
  • We happily provide or reimburse hardware and software you’ll need, as well as books or conferences that promote continued learning.
  • Home office setup stipend, and co-working office allowance.

Well done the team!

Support Net Neutrality

Please be aware of the threat to the original concept of the Internet.

As received from WordPress at 14:30 PDT today; September 9th, 2014.

(Even if you are not a ‘blogger’, please read the following and sign by using the link right at the end of the post.)

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Join Us in the Fight For Net Neutrality

by Paul Sieminski

“Net Neutrality” is the simple but powerful principle that cable and broadband providers must treat all internet traffic equally. Whether you’re loading a blog post on WordPress.com, streaming House of Cards on Netflix, or browsing handcrafted tea cozies on Etsy, your internet provider can’t degrade your connection speed, block sites, or charge a toll based on the content that you’re viewing.

Net neutrality has defined the internet since its inception, and it’s hard to argue with the results: the internet is the most powerful engine of economic growth and free expression in history. Most importantly, the open internet is characterized by companies, products, and ideas that survive or fail depending on their own merit — not on whether they have preferred deals in place with a broadband service provider. Unfortunately, the principle of net neutrality, and the open internet that we know and love, is under attack.

Net Neutrality under attack

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed rules that would, for the first time, expressly allow internet providers — like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T — to charge internet companies like Automattic, Netflix or Etsy for access to their subscribers. This means there could be “fast lanes” for companies who are able to pay providers for preferred internet access, while everyone else gets stuck in the “slow lane”…which means applications won’t perform as quickly, webpages will load slowly, and of course, buffering. A slow “still loading” spinner will be an unfortunate, but common sight on the new, closed internet that the big providers want.

Unsurprisingly, the large telecom companies who stand to benefit from the FCC’s proposed rules fully support their passage. They have nearly unlimited funds and hundreds of lobbyists in Washington to promote these harmful new rules.

But what they don’t have is you.

What can we do to fight back?

Automattic strongly supports a free and open internet. After all, WordPress.com, and the WordPress open source project are living examples of what is possible on an unthrottled internet, open for creation, collaboration, and expression. Over the last few months, we’ve joined 150 major tech companies in sending a letter to Washington in support of net neutrality, and met with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to urge him to preserve the internet we’ve always known.

Now it’s your turn.

Automattic, along with many other companies and digital rights organizations, is proud to participate in the Internet Slowdown on September 10. For this day of action, we’ve built a “Fight for Net Neutrality” plugin that you can enable now on your WordPress.com blog to show support for this important cause.

You can turn the plugin on by going to your Dashboard, Settings → Fight for Net Neutrality.

Net1

When you enable the plugin, we’ll replace a few of the posts on your site with a “Still Loading” spinner…to show what life will be like on an internet that features dreaded slow lanes.

Net2

The plugin will also display a banner that shows your support for Net Neutrality, and links to battleforthenet.com, where visitors to your site can sign a letter to the FCC about this important issue.

Please take a few minutes to enable the Fight for Net Neutrality on your site today, and visit battleforthenet.com to send a message to Washington that net neutrality must be preserved. Together we can make a difference, and we hope you’ll join us in this important battle for the open internet!

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Note: When I turned on the plugin and ran the preview for this new post, it made it very confusing in my opinion.  Thus as much as I support the campaign, and have signed accordingly, I have turned off the plugin for the time being.

So please all readers and followers of Learning from Dogs go to the BattleForTheNet website and sign to indicate your support for this important campaign.

Oh, and please click Like if you support the campaign.  Thank you very much.

New LfD followers.

I write because of you!

Over this day, the number of subscribers to Learning from Dogs has gone from 1,048 to 1,052!

Usually when a new person opts to follow these scribblings of mine, I have the opportunity to email them or go to their own blog and leave a note of grateful thanks.

But for reasons unknown, these recent new subscribers have signed up ‘anonymously’!

So whoever you are, I want you to know that readers and subscribers are the only reasons this blog has gone on for more than five years.

I write because of you!

Thank you!

 

Five years old!

A part of me really can’t believe it!

Yes, on the 15th July, 2009, I published my first post!  Five years ago today!  That first post was called Parenting lessons from dogs; a shortish post that I republish now.

Much too late to make me realise the inadequacies of my own parenting skills, I learnt an important lesson when training my GSD (who is called Pharaoh, by the way).  That is that putting more emphasis into praise and reward for getting it right ‘trains’ the dog much quicker than telling it off.  The classic example is scolding a dog for running off when it should be lots of hugs and praise for returning home.  The scolding simply teaches the dog that returning home isn’t pleasant whereas praise reinforces that home is the place to be.  Like so many things in life, very obvious once understood!

Absolutely certain that it works with youngsters just the same way.

Despite being a very dominant dog, Pharaoh showed his teaching ability when working with other dogs.  In the UK there is an amazing woman, Angela Stockdale, who has proved that dogs (and horses) learn most effectively when being taught by other dogs (and horses).  Pharaoh was revealed to be a Beta Dog, (i.e. second in status below the Alpha Dog) and, therefore, was able to use his natural pack instinct to teach puppy dogs their social skills and to break up squabbles within a pack.

When you think about it, don’t kids learn much more (often to our chagrin!) from other kids than they do from their parents.  Still focusing on giving more praise than punishment seems like a much more effective strategy.

As was read somewhere, Catch them in the act of doing Right!

According to my stats page, Learning from Dogs has accumulated 1,000,624 viewings, with a ‘best-ever’ of 3,980 for Trust me, I’m an engineer, courtesy of Bob Derham in March, 2013. A total of 2,125 posts have been published.  Plus, it has been a wonderful journey for yours truly with ever so many great connections made across the world of blogging over these last five years.  As evidenced by the rest of today’s post.

Regular readers will have seen comments from Alex Jones.  He is a Brit living in Colchester, Essex in England and is the author of the blog The Liberated Way.  He and I follow each other’s blogs.

Recently, Alex posted under the title of Relating business to planet earth and these are Alex’s last two paragraphs.

I discover my values and personal insights from how I react to what I see and experience in the world around me. I reacted in anger at the greed and vanity of money investors in business ideas in the US reality television series Shark Tank on YouTube. I reacted in dismay at the wasteful stupidity portrayed in a video on consumerism: people queuing for a week to get hold of the latest iPhone, whose only enhancement from the last was its colour; IKEA marketing telling consumers to throw out perfectly good possessions; Apple designing a new type of screw on its smartphones in order to prevent people repairing damaged phones, thus encouraging waste; the extensive scams brands go to called obsolescence to make objects the consumer buys break quickly increasing waste and needless replacement. The contempt the modern economic paradigm has to this planet is at odds with our human ancestors, and at odds with my worldview.

I am part of a new business paradigm, where I can compete against rivals on equal terms with innovation and clever strategies, but where I care for the planet earth in the same manner as I cared for the grasshopper this morning and my oak saplings. In thinking on these matters in the garden this morning, my garden fox Amber appeared, yawned, then went to sleep in the sun.

Two days ago, another blogger signed up to follow this place.  He writes under the name of Cully and his blog is Ahaa. As I always do, I went across to take a look at Cully’s blog, liked what I saw, especially this ‘header’ post on Gaia.  Very promptly I was given permission to republish that post here.

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Gaia

It’s Time To Stop Living On The Earth and Start Cohabitating With Her – The Earth is a Sentient Living Organism

We are saturated with information and we are used to clipping and selecting segments of what news is thrown our way every day. We can process very little of it for use later on and it is well known that we only see ‘pertinent’ information as information that already supports our existing belief system. This narrow mindset is one of the main reasons why things don’t change. It is why we are happy to listen to shallow news, we simply don’t have time to do anything else. In this we kid ourselves we really don’t need to know which celebrity is dealing with addiction or changing partners.

On this page we hope to introduce a topic that will inspire you to contemplate, even meditate on its importance.

Gaia is more widely accepted now than when it was first introduced, and you’re not being asked to believe it wholesale and certainly not see it as a part of the New Age or hippy movement. Hopefully though whatever you think about our planet you will find it to be a useful platform to consider AND TAKE ACTION on the health of the environment that we are leaving our children.

It is easy …as with all the other scares that we hear about every day to think that we are too small, or that it is a governmental or corporate problem, so why spend any time considering it.

Whatever your particular mindset, Gaia related activities will become increasingly connected and important to leaving a beautiful world behind us. The study of planetary habitability is partly based upon extrapolation from knowledge of the Earth’s conditions, as the Earth is the only planet currently known to harbour life

The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.

The hypothesis, which is named after the Greek goddess Gaia, was formulated by the scientist James Lovelock and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. While early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, later refinements have resulted in ideas highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in subjects such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and climate science. In 2006, the Geological Society of London awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal largely for his work on the Gaia theory.

It will take an enormous amount of time to create a menu that covers everything related to Gaia, please be patient or if the time help out in any small way that you can 🙂

respect

[If you haven’t watched this BBC programme about James Lovelock and his history of scientific understanding about how our planet works then settle down and watch it.  I assure you that you will be entranced. PH]

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What can I say!

Other than to be extremely grateful for the opportunity to ramble on and make so many good friends, WordPress style, over these last five years.

Thank you.