Saturday, 22 February 2014

08:26 – Another science study, this one confirming something that ordinary people have known for about 30,000 years now: Dogs can detect emotion in human voices, study shows

Humans and dogs have lived in mutualistic symbiosis for more than 30 millennia. It’s facultative symbiosis, yes, but at times it approaches obligate in either or both directions. Of course we can understand each other and are each sensitive to the other’s moods and emotions. Without Canis lupus familiaris, H. sapiens sapiens might never have achieved civilization.


10:40 – Talk about inflation. The 56-quart (53-liter) Sterilite bins that we’d been buying at Home Depot back in November and December and early this year for $5.97 each are now $6.97 each. That’s 16.75% inflation. With the eight we brought home today, that takes us up to 23 of them, which should suffice.


11:04 – In Arizona right now, we have some people—mostly religious-right Republicans—trying to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. They’re opposed by another group of people—mostly gay rights groups and Democrats—trying to do the wrong thing for the right reasons. The issue is presented as whether businesses should be forced to serve everyone who wants to buy their products and services, regardless of the personal religious beliefs of the owners. Across the country, there have been numerous prosecutions and lawsuits lately targeting businesses owned by religious people who refuse to, for example, provide a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding. A pending Arizona bill, supported by governor Brewer, would allow such businesses to refuse to provide goods or services to some customers, based on the religious beliefs of the business owners.

As much as I support gay rights, I have to side with Governor Brewer here. But she has not gone far enough. Personal religious beliefs should have nothing to do with it. Any business should be completely free to choose which customers it serves, based on any criteria that business owner chooses. If a restaurant, for example, wants to exclude gays (or straights) or blacks (or whites) or men (or women), that’s the owner’s right. Any owner who exercises such criteria is ignorant and stupid, but we have a Constitutional right to be ignorant and stupid.

The problem, as is nearly always the case, is that most people conflate discrimination by governments with discrimination by individuals and private companies. The government should never be free to discriminate against any citizen for any reason whatsoever. The government should not even be keeping data on age, sex, race, and other labels. Individuals and private companies, on the other hand, should be completely free to discriminate (or not to discriminate) for any reason or for no reason at all. It’s their business, not the government’s.

33 thoughts on “Saturday, 22 February 2014”

  1. TN is considering the same rule.

    Sad day today. We had to put our dog of 12 years down. She was fine in the morning, jumping for food. Five minutes later she refused bread, her favorite. She disappeared and we found her in the bathroom on the floor having difficulty breathing. The exterior bathroom door is where the dog door is located. She was trying to get outside and did not make it. She had urinated on herself.

    A quick trip to the vet and the diagnosis was probably a ruptured spleen. The spleen was enlarged and may have cancer. Surgery was an option but after talking with the vet some more he felt that the odds of her surviving the surgery was not good. Surgery would only extend her life a couple of years at most. We opted for what we felt was the best option for a 12 year old dog.

    Fortunately it was quick, less than an hour from the onset of the issue until the termination. I don’t think she suffered much and my wife and I were with her when the injection was made. This is our third dog we have had put down and I am still amazed at how quickly the drug works. Literally seconds.

    Sad, but it is part of life. Now we start the hunt for a new dog.

  2. I’m sorry to hear that. Dogs don’t live long enough under the best of circumstances.

  3. Ray, sad about your dog, but you made the best decision. I had to put my cat down a couple of weeks ago, but she was only a month away from her 18th birthday. Never easy, though. She was still playing like a kitten the day before she started to falter.

    It doesn’t surprise me in the least that dogs and humans can read each others emotions. It’s why both species have eyebrows. My dog can speak volumes with nothing more than a head tilt and a raised brow. Their vocabulary is a lot larger than science gives credit for, as well. Mine speaks to me with grunts, whimpers and barks, and there is a big difference between “I would like outside” and “I NEED TO PEE!”.

    Cats can read emotions, too. It’s just that most don’t give a shit.

  4. Sorry, Ray. We had the same deal a couple of years ago with a golden retriever we’d had for years; they don’t seem to live very long, either. It takes seconds but it’s still hard.

    I agree with Bob’s analysis of the caper down in AZ; yes, we have a right to be stupid and ignorant, which seems to work OK regardless of the birdcage liner Constitution and Bill of Rights. We’d really all be better off if the country broke up into like-minded political and cultural regions; clearly the Northeast would be one; the Deep South another, and the Northwest yet one more. Like abortion-on-demand-no-apology and mad-dog-rabid and outta-control PC, then Massachusetts and Kalifornia are your homelands. You dig Jim Crow and wanna put the Confederate battle flag on every street corner? Georgia, Mississippi, etc. Left alone to hunt, fish, run a ranch, etc? The Rocky Mountain states. Get Mordor and Wall Street off all our backs and devolve to a loose confederacy; work out international trade agreements, etc, on a level playing field for once; it would be painful for a while, not being on Our Nanny’s apron strings anymore, but it could be done, will have to be done; secede to survive. And eventually it will be secession-by-default, anyway.

    Fracking, drilling in the Arctic, invading Kanaduh for their oil sands and water, endless warring in the Middle East, etc., are only temporarily staving off the inevitable; the supply of fossil energy resources is drying up; it’s getting harder to find and harder to extract, no matter what the media flacks for the energy corporations and banks tell us.

    Along with that we have a snowballing financial debacle in progress, to the tune of several dozen-trillion dollars. That cannot be sustained forever. No matter how much they print and how much fat is left in the country to plunder.

    And rumors abound concerning possible events and situations in the next six months to a year. We’ll see, but I think we have a ten- to fifteen-year decline ahead of us which will accelerate in the last five years, at which point we will be on entirely new historical terra incognita. I hope I’m wrong, and we can all just muddle along somehow; but picture a gigantic country of 330-million people which has just defaulted on its financial obligations, its currency now worthless, with the Grid down and its cities and suburbs collapsed. And half a billion to a billion firearms. It will make central Europe between and after the great wars and Depression look like a day at the beach.

    We’re seeing the very beginning of the end, and our kids and grandkids will be smack in the middle of it all. God help them.

    http://news.yahoo.com/plan-split-california-six-states-gains-ground-222139687.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26299670

  5. Cheer up, OFD. Some day we might wake up to find that an epidemic virus with a 90%+ mortality rate is raging across the world.

  6. Well, the flu is picking up. More deaths. Maybe it’ll rush through DC and take out the crooks there.

    Sorry about your dog Mr. Ray. I always blubber when I have to put one down. Love those dogs. At least the dogs pain and suffering is over.

  7. Oh, I’m not talking about influenza. Even at its nastiest at the end of WWI, the mortality rate was only something like 5%. I’m talking about a virus that kills more like 90% of those infected, and 99% is not out of the question.

    People think it can’t happen, but history says otherwise. Our modern medical infrastructure will be useless within days at best, and more likely hours. We’ll be worse off than during past epidemics because the whole planet is so connected. The nightmare is a virus with extremely high mortality combined with long latency, which could mean essentially everyone on the planet would be infected before anyone started to show symptoms.

  8. Peeps think a lotta stuff can’t happen. But it does. One look at the history and science books tells us otherwise.

    Let’s see; 99% mortality worldwide would still leave us 60-70-million, amirite? Enuff to staht ovuh? I expect most would be concentrated in remote and isolated regions? Or would it all just be totally random? And if survivors ventured out to affected areas, would they then be in danger?

    I’ll cheer up when I start seeing evidence that more folks are waking up in this country and ready to deal with it.

  9. And here is your map of North America II:
    http://rpnamerica.com/?page_id=64

    I sourced that for the graphic, not the verbiage. I have no idea what these people are up to but it looks to revolution.

    And definitely sorry about the dog. I have a 12 year british cocker spaniel that I am starting to worry about. It will be great weeping and sackcloth around here when she goes.

  10. There are no isolated regions these days. A virus like that I mentioned would infect everyone who was not naturally immune. By the time anyone realized there was a problem, even the remotest villages in Africa, Asia, South America, and so on would have been exposed.

    Yeah, there might be 60 or 70 million survivors world-wide, but that doesn’t count the follow-on effects. No more power, no more food distribution, no more natural gas, no more nothing. Things would become pretty primitive pretty quickly.

  11. Hmmm. I think I’ll re-read Todd Rider’s paper about producing what amounts to a general-purpose hunter/killer virus. In animal tests, it hunted down and killed every pathogenic virus tested.

    In my opinion, this guy should win the Nobel Prize for this work. Isn’t it odd that so few people have even heard of it?

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/todd-rider-has-a-kill-switch-for-viruses-11032011.html

    Not bad for an electrical engineer, huh? The truth is, Todd is a universal genius and a modern-day renaissance man.

  12. Get Mordor and Wall Street off all our backs and devolve to a loose confederacy;

    Get real OFD. What makes you think that mordor will lay off the states when mordor cannot even keep their noses out of the business of other countries. Apparently mordor thinks they know what is best for the states and the country. If Obama self appointed himself king of the world it would not be a surprise.

  13. If Obama self appointed himself king of the world it would not be a surprise.

    Do it for the children!

  14. I’m real. What happens when Mordor can’t pay for stuff anymore, like their troops, cops and military toyz? They’ll hang on until the very last, I’m sure, but eventually a whole lotta chickens are coming home to roost.

    “I have no idea what these people are up to but it looks to revolution.” Rather than revolution, evolution. Setting up a political framework for when the shit has truly hit the fan and somebody is around to pick up the pieces and start again. This is, as I said before, probably ten to twenty years off. And anything really huge can throw the whole idea off-track; a cataclysmic natural event of some sort, a pandemic, several countries throwing nuke warheads at each other, as may occur over Kashmir, for instance, who knows? But if the metropoles and surrounding areas are going or gone, we will indeed arrive at secession-by-default and a whole new ball game. People like Obummer, the Bush Dynasty, the Klintons, et. al. will be long forgotten. We’ll be dealing with contemporary versions of Genghis, Attila and Napoleon and their lesser variants.

    Mordor will empty of its current political/social/economic elites and return to the dismal swampland it once was, probably looking a lot like classical Greek and Roman ruins abandoned in the Congo or Nigeria.

    But Ray is correct; they’ll hold onto power and wealth as long as they can and they’ll make brutal and public examples of those sectors of the population who become any kind of threat to that. We can see the police practicing on individuals for when that day arrives; and the troops conducting exercises in their simulated model cities they’ve been building. So we’re in for a very long and rough ride, even in the best of circumstances and the most hopeful thoughts.

  15. Dr. Rider most definitely ought to have a Nobel for just the work he’s done so far, but they don’t give that out to guys like him; he pisses people off. And I hope he has some kind of security detail taking care of him and his family, too, 7×24.

  16. the supply of fossil energy resources is drying up; it’s getting harder to find and harder to extract, no matter what the media flacks for the energy corporations and banks tell us

    Not really. A friend that works in the “all bidness” tells me that they are finding oil in places that they never expected. And fracking has made huge gas reservoirs tappable. Peak oil might come in a while, but that’s because natural gas is picking up the slack. And if the Japanese really have found a way to produce from methane hydrates under the sea, there’s more natural gas than we could use in hundreds of years.

  17. One of our own possible futures:

    “The passive population of Kiev is still quietly drinking beer and poking around with social networking apps. They don’t understand what’s happening yet. But if the unofficial state of emergency (including limitations on access to the city) last a few more days—and food and drink running out—then they will end up in a state of shock more serious than anything they have ever experienced.”

    http://cluborlov.com/

  18. Sorry to hear about the dog, Ray. Man, that was quick! I had an Irish Setter who was the smartest dog I was ever exposed to. She got lymphoma and had to be put down at 14. That dog and I were so close, I never want another. They just do not come that smart.

  19. First, it is pretty clear that — with a few exceptions — generally, an individual’s personal demeanor has little to do with their value to civilization. From all accounts, Henry VIII was a despicable human being, but he contributed more to the common man than just about anyone else in history, if history begins after the fall of ancient Rome. What kind of a personality Perot was/is, is of little matter to me (except that in this era, they MUST possess a certain level of media charisma to get elected, which Dole, McCain, Romney, Paul, and Buchanan do NOT have and never will). I am quite sure he would have addressed the things that matter most to me, regardless of the fight necessary to the issue. In that regard, I think he would have been much more doggedly agressive than we imagine — much like Truman.

    Separately, I could not disagree more with the idea that businesses should have the right to discriminate in any way for any reason. Clearly that is not consistent with modern interpretations of ‘all men are created equal’ from the Declaration of Independence. (BTW, a US District Court Judge in Norfuck, Virginia [Boston pronunciation] maintained in a recent ruling that the “all men are created equal” clause was in the Constitution at the beginning of her ruling

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/207144807/2-13-cv-00395-135

    later amended to correct that error, but WOW — a Federal judge who does not know what is in the Constitution vs. Declaration vs. Bill of Rights?)

    I cannot imagine arguing FOR discrimination of any sort. I have long maintained that government sets the standard for business: whatever is allowed/prohibited by government law or policy, should be law and policy for business. When business opens its doors to the public, it takes on a public role that removes itself from the protection of being an exclusively private bedroom where it can have its way with anybody who enters. If it is legal to walk down the street with a concealed weapon in a particular district, then it should be legal to enter anyone’s open-to-the-public premises — government or private enterprise — carrying that force.

    History is quite clear that given the opportunity to discriminate, discrimination WILL occur. This is one area where there is definitely a need for governmental intervention to stop it. Discrimination of any sort is anathema to me. And that is why the Libertarian view in this area — just as with their desire to be rid of the UN — will lose them votes and elections. The right to inflict discrimination is just no longer an accepted mainstream view. Fortunately.

  20. The State has zero business interfering in private businesses and organizations short of preventing or punishing criminal activities. Now the State is in every nook and cranny and making it impossible for small businesses to even get off the ground, let alone stay operative. And the sooner we tip the UN into the East River, the better; ditto the World Bank and IMF and NATO.

    “…a certain level of media charisma to get elected, which Dole, McCain, Romney, Paul, and Buchanan do NOT have and never will).”

    I beg to differ on Buchanan; he’s been a TV personality for decades and a very popular one, too, and well-liked by even his libtard colleagues, who defended him repeatedly when he was accused of anti-Semitism. But he was also sandbagged repeatedly by his own Repub Party and they made sure, like they did with Paul, that he wouldn’t ever again have a genuine leg to stand on, politically, in this country; Perot scared them a little. He remains a loyal soldier, though, and still a believer that the whole mess can be saved, because, of course, to despair is a sin.

    “….Henry VIII was a despicable human being, but he contributed more to the common man than just about anyone else in history…”

    What?? Huh?? I’m racking my brain here…coming up short….; he was one of the most evil rulers to walk the earth. His contribution to the common man was that monarchic rule is supreme; that civil liberties are a complete joke; that serial adultery and murder are acceptable when done by the monarch; and he destroyed, in the space of just a few years, with his evil henchman Thomas Cromwell, centuries of the Church in England and untold great art and architecture forever. I am gobsmacked, stunned, astounded, that anyone would make such a statement about this guy. And not only all that, but his reign facilitated the ongoing onslaught of Puritanism and Calvinism which eventually reached North American shores and is the source of much of what liberals and libertarians complain about.

    Yikes.

  21. Well, OFD isn’t always wrong!

    Henry VIII was one of the most evil men in history. He was a glutton, got in to too many wars, and destroyed a lot of wonderful architecture when he dissolved and plundered the monasteries.

  22. Nah. I’m talking about the 8th Henry of England. Look at it from his point of view. He was a good RCC boy. Heck, he was even awarded the title Defender of the Faith. Then the pope turned around and screwed him for political reasons. I don’t blame him for being pissed. I’d have thrown out the RCC and shut down and looted the RCC churches and monasteries myself. Of course, I’d have done that on general principles.

    The guy couldn’t catch a break. His first wife was a hand-me-down from his brother, and turned out to be barren. His second wife blatantly cheated on him. He let that go on privately because he really did love her, but when she started to flaunt it publicly, what choice did he have but to cut off her head? His third wife died in childbirth. His fourth wife, he never wanted to marry, but was forced to do so for political reasons. That one was annulled, and he treated her very well after the annulment. His fifth wife was a twinky who blatantly cheated on him during their honeymoon. He initially refused to believe the reports about her infidelity, but there was overwhelming evidence to support those allegations. Again, what choice did he have?

    Henry treated his wives well if they treated him well. And he treated the RCC as it deserved to be treated. And, I don’t care what anyone says, he did compose Greensleeves, which should count for something and was pretty obviously written about Anne Boleyn.

  23. Yeah, I know. That’s just speculation. Henry probably devised the style that they attribute to the Italians/Elizabethans.

  24. Bob, congratulations on your excellent example of why people need to read at least two dissenting history books to get a clear picture of what really happened.

  25. I’ve read a lot more than two dissenting histories of 16th century England. I make up my own mind based on the preponderance of the evidence, always keeping in mind that the losers don’t write the histories.

    Speaking of that general period, we’re currently watching the final two seasons of The Borgias, which is really a hatchet job. It seems to me that Rodrigo was actually a pretty admirable guy, for the times, and certainly one of the less despicable popes. And there is zero evidence, other than claims by mortal enemies of the Borgias, that Lucrezia was anything but a sweetheart. There is certainly no evidence that she ever poisoned anyone, let alone engaged in incest.

  26. Speaking of The Borgias, it also does a hatchet job on Caterina Sforza, who seems to me to be an extraordinary woman, and one that I’d like to have known.

  27. One of the good things Henry VIII did was to write the words for Mandy.

    And to think that I always thought he wrote the words to “I’m Henry the Eighth”. Thanks for the correction.

    I’m Henry the eighth I am
    Henry the eighth I am, I am
    I got married to the widow next door
    She’s been married seven times before
    And every one was an Henry (Henry)
    She wouldn’t have a Willy or a Sam (no Sam)
    I’m her eighth old man, I’m Henry
    Henry the eighth I am

Comments are closed.