October 30, 2008
Dogs are the only animals that can read emotion in faces much like humans, cementing their position as man’s best friend, claim scientists. Research findings suggest that, like an understanding best friend, they can see at a glance if we are happy, sad, pleased or angry.
October 29, 2008
An international team of scientists has just identified what they believe is the world’s first known dog, which was a large and toothy canine that lived 31,700 years ago and subsisted on a diet of horse, musk ox and reindeer, according to a new study.
The discovery could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years, since the second oldest known dog, found in Russia, dates to 14,000 years ago.
Remains for the older prehistoric dog, which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggest to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period first domesticated dogs. Fine jewelry and tools, often decorated with depictions of big game animals, characterize this culture.
If Paleolithic dogs still existed as a breed today, they would surely win best in show for strength and biting ability.
“In shape, the Paleolithic dogs most resemble the Siberian husky, but in size, however, they were somewhat larger, probably comparable to large shepherd dogs,” added Germonpré, a paleontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
For the rest of the article, go here.
October 28, 2008
October 23, 2008
I’ve just discovered a site that has a fantastic collection of public domain Golden Age comics from the 1930s, 40s & 50s that have been carefully scanned and are available for free downloading. It’s called, appropriately enough, Golden Age Comics and you can access their site here. The great majority of these have never been reprinted, anywhere. If you wanted to purchase copies, they would cost you hundreds of dollars, that is if you could even find them for sale.
Of course, reading them on screen does not equal holding a printed copy in your hand, but for most of us this is a close as we’ll ever get. This is a fantastic online resource for the serious researcher or collector as well as the casual fan. And if you’ve never before read a Golden Age book, I think you’re in for a real treat.
Today’s comic marketplace is dominated by a single genre: super-heroes on steroids with skin tight costumes and a bad attitude. If they’re female it seems to be a requirement that each breast is the size of her head, or larger. But during the Golden Age dozens of genres flourished; romance, western, outer space, war, horror, funny animal, crime, parodies, movie and TV star based comics, kid’s comics and more. The variety is amazing compared to what’s on the racks today.
All that’s required is a free registration (password and legitimate email address) and you can browse their archive for such gems as Joe Kubert’s TOR (in 3D), Black Magic, Crime Does Not Pay, Tales of the Mysterious Traveler, The Spirit, This Magazine is Haunted and hundreds more from over 35 different publishers.
October 22, 2008
From the wonderful editors behind Design Tools Monthly, the Executive Summary of Graphic Design news come these three sites with great free stuff for Photoshop; brushes, textures and tutorials.
October 22, 2008
You may remember that melamine was part of the massive Menu Foods recall story from 2007. It was used then, as it is now, to make a product falsely test higher for protein. Manufacturers use it because it’s significantly cheaper than adding a real source of nitrogen protein. This allows their products to pass inspection, be certified by the Chinese Health Ministry’s inspectors and reach the consumer market.
Four infants have died in this latest scandal, along with the 1,500 dogs, raising concerns about the safety of the entire Chinese food supply chain. Additionally, tens of thousands of Chinese children have developed kidney stones from dairy products contaminated by melamine. The Associated Press has the entire story here.
A further sad note in this story is that these ‘raccoon’ dogs were being bred and raised for their fur, just like minks. Though I have strong reservations about PETA this is one issue we can agree on, fur is murder. Given that no one owns a fur coat out of necessity, eliminating this long-standing fashion statement would mean that one less animal breed would be needlessly exploited.
Disclaimer: I’m wearing leather shoes and a leather belt. It is hard for me to accept absolutes in this particular debate.
October 22, 2008
How Stuff Works weighs in on the subject of the health benefits of pet ownership, here. We’ve written about this topic before and there are dissenting opinions of precisely how much of a benefit there may be.
When looking at this I think it is wise to always remember these words of Bertrand Russell from 1959:
“When you are studying any matter never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe, or by what you think would have beneficial social effects if it were believed. Look only and solely at what are the facts.”
October 20, 2008
The New York Times has run an article, (here) about a topic we’ve talked about before: how the financial crisis is affecting pet owners and shelters. As we know, the news is not good. Owners who can no longer afford to keep their pets, shelter adoption rates dropping, shelter workers stressed to the max.
For those who can keep their dogs or cats, Betsy Saul, founder of Petfinder.com offers this hopeful note: “They comfort us; they don’t care if your 401(k) lost money today. They’re one of the few people in the family who are not going to be stressed out about what you did with your money.”
October 8, 2008
“Some people wish for their pets to take as much pleasure in food as they themselves do. For these guests we offer a selection of Bouchon Bakery pet treats. These biscuits, enriched with foie gras, chicken stock and diced bacon, are decadent and delicious.”
It’s so easy to ridicule this given the current economic melt down, you can just make up your own snarky comment. Could I just add that DOGS are not PEOPLE? Does everyone get that? Do I need to repeat it?
October 5, 2008
A recent study claims that two thirds of all Americans aged 18-24 cannot find Iraq on a map; 33% couldn’t identify Louisiana; 47% couldn’t find India; and 75% think English is the most widely spoken language in the world.
Unfortunately, I find it easy to believe this. . .even if it’s true that 47% of all statistics are made up.