Friday 1 March 2024

Cosmic Cat on the Celestial Sill - an AI fantasy story

Once upon a starry night, in a distant galaxy far, far away, there existed a peculiar windowsill. This wasn't your ordinary windowsill; it was a portal to the cosmos itself. And on this cosmic sill sat our feline friend, Luna.

Cosmic Cat on the Celestial Sill - an AI fantasy story
Astrophotography photo of a small black and white cat sitting on a windowsill. Image: DALL E (an AI image-maker)

## **Luna's Journey Beyond Earth** 

 ### **1. The Nebula Perch** Luna's fur, a blend of midnight black and stardust white, shimmered under the distant constellations. Her eyes, twin galaxies, reflected the mysteries of the universe. She balanced delicately on the edge, her tiny paws gripping the edge of infinity. 

 ### **2. The Milky Way Stare** Luna gazed out into the cosmic expanse. The Milky Way stretched before her—a river of stardust, swirling with celestial hues. She wondered if other cats in distant galaxies chased cosmic mice or batted at shooting stars. 

 ### **3. Zero-Gravity Purr** As Luna floated, weightless, she emitted a soft purr that resonated through the vacuum of space. The planets listened, swaying in their elliptical orbits. Saturn's rings hummed in harmony, and Mars blushed a deeper shade of red. 

 ### **4. Comet Whiskers** Luna's whiskers twitched as a comet streaked by. She extended a paw, attempting to catch its luminous tail. Alas, comets are elusive creatures, slipping through dimensions like playful phantoms. 

 ### **5. Starlight Nap** The cosmic chill didn't bother Luna; she curled her tail around her body and closed her eyes. She dreamed of interstellar yarn balls and meteor showers. Her cosmic nap was interrupted only by the occasional shooting star zipping past. 


 ## **Conclusion** And so, our celestial cat sat on the windowsill, a tiny astronaut exploring the great unknown. She pondered the meaning of existence, the infinity of space, and whether tuna existed on distant exoplanets. 

 Remember, dear reader, that even in the vastness of the cosmos, a cat's curiosity knows no bounds. So next time you gaze at the night sky, imagine Luna perched there, whiskers catching stardust, and know that somewhere out there, she's still exploring. May your days be as cosmic as Luna's adventures! 🌠🐱✨

Thursday 29 February 2024

Picture of Judge Victoria McCloud with her grey Maine Coon cat

I have made a presumption here that judge Victoria McCloud has been pictured with a Maine Coon cat because the cat does look very much like a Maine Coon cat with that square muzzle and those lynx-tipped ears. The coat is shaggy and medium-long and therefore the cat ticks the boxes in terms of appearance for being a Maine Coon cat.

Picture: Richard Pohle.

The reason why I have stolen this picture from the Internet - and I hope the photographer doesn't mind (the photographer is, I've discovered, Richard Pohle of The Times) - is because this lady is in the news. 

She is the only transgender judge in Britain and she has resigned because, in her words, 
"I have reached the conclusion that in 2024 the national situation and present judicial framework is no longer such that it is possible in a dignified way to be both 'trans' and a salaried, fairly prominent judge in the UK."
I can't add to that. Except to say that the transgender discussion is all over the news media these days. I've recently written about JK Rowling who states that the notorious cat and person killer, Scarlet Blake, should be referred to as a man in the reports about her regarding her trial and imprisonment for 24 years without parole.

JK Rowling is a gender-critical feminist and she feels that writing about Scarlet Blake as a woman denigrates to a certain extent women in general. She wants the news media to refer to her as a man because she's a man who transgendered to a woman. Click on the link below to read about this:


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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

British power plant burns old growth Canadian forest destroying wildlife habitat

The Drax power plant near Selby, North Yorkshire, UK has been receiving a couple of sets of government subsidies worth £6bn because it is claimed that the electricity produced by this powerplant comes from burning plant biomass - trees from ecologically unimportant areas in Canada. 


In this instance, biomass is renewable organic material from trees. It should also be carbon neutral with the carbon produced from burning wood being cancelled out by the carbon absorbed by trees growing.

But the problem with this process is that Drax is receiving subsidies in order to burn wood from old-growth forests which provide a unique habitat for ecosystems in Canada. It's probable, that these forests provide a habitat for the Canada lynx which is my connection to the cat in this article.

In the UK, in 2017, in a sustainability report, Drax promised not to take timber from no-go areas which means protected forests, primary forests, old-growth forests and forests classified as having a high biodiversity value.

Government support for Drax can only be justified because the wood that they use for their power stations has been sourced sustainably and I presume in compliance with good carbon neutral policies. And in compliance with wildlife conservation. That's not mentioned in The Times article: Power plant burns rare forest wood.

The wood comes from primary forests as mentioned and therefore Drax should not receive government subsidies which have amounted to £6 billion as I understand it in the past.

In a letter to The Times British Members of Parliament have said the following: 
"Continued wood burning biomass harms forests, communities and contributes huge amounts of carbon emissions to the atmosphere."
In response, Drax did not deny clearing old-growth forests for its power stations. However Drax said that its 2017 report was "not a policy and is now obsolete." It's been superseded by 2019 document they say. A spokesperson for Drax said: "We are confident our biomass is sustainable and legally harvest and meet the requirement of our 2019 sourcing policy."

Comment: the company is wriggling out of their responsibilities. Sorry by entirely typical of big business.

Secondly, it seems extraordinary to me that Drax and the UK government can even contemplate chopping down forests and burning them in power stations in the UK. How can that be a good policy? 

That would seem to go totally against the fundamental principles of being carbon neutral. In preserving nature. In preserving habitat for wildlife. In doing the right thing. In protecting the planet. How does this Drax policy in partnership with the UK possibly enhance sustainability, nature, and protect the planet?

The UK government should be as ashamed as Drax. Typical of double talking big business in league with unethical British politicians. I hate them all.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Why does the no-kill cat shelter policy mean that 10% of the cats are killed?

You may have wondered why the much vaunted no-kill animal shelter and cat shelter policy results in 10% of the cats being killed. Surely "no-kill" means no killing whatsoever? I'm afraid not. 

What it does mean is that there is no killing i.e. euthanasia of healthy cats but exceptions are made for cats with severe medical conditions that cannot be treated causing significant pain and poor quality of life and cats with severe behavioural issues that pose a danger to life to humans or other animals and where rehabilitation efforts are unlikely to succeed.


These cats are euthanised. The term euthanasia would genuinely apply to a chronically ill and terminally ill cat but under any other circumstances it wouldn't really apply. We have to use the word "kill" under circumstances where the cat is euthanised because of behavioural issues.

There is a muddying of the waters in terms of the language used at cat shelters. However, the no-kill movement - which is the brainchild, as I understand it, of Nathan Winograd, American's greatest advocate of saving the lives of shelter animals in America - has reduced unnecessary euthanasia.

The no-kill philosophy focuses on saving all healthy and treatable animals and with that in mind it can dramatically reduce the number of animals euthanised due to the limits of space at shelter facilities and time limits.

The concept is there to focus the minds of managers and workers to use their best possible practices and imagination to find ways to save lives. And there's been a quite dramatic - I think it's fair to say - increase in the number of no-kill shelters in America over the past decade.

The euthanasia rate has dramatically dropped in America over the past decade too. It's still pretty high but much better. There is still work to do.

Some people decry the no-kill movement. I've read quite a lot about PETA but once again there is misleading language used against them in my view. But they seem to believe that killing feral cats is preferable to looking after them and putting them back on the street under TNR programs. 

I think that is a misleading idea about PETA. But ironically Nathan Winograd is in a running battle with PETA about saving cats and killing cats. Nathan Winograd hates PETA as he thinks that this very high-profile animal charity kills too many cats. Either they promote the idea of killing feral cats or they kill themselves and he consistently says this. It's a shame because both of great animal advocates. We don't want people on the same side fighting each other over policy decisions.

I'm told that in 2017 a milestone was reached when for the first time the total number of dogs and cats euthanised in US shelters fell below 1 million. The actual number is estimated at 800,000. I'm also told that it is difficult to obtain accurate data on the number of cats killed 10 years ago compared to the number of cats killed today at shelters. There's been a reduction though so no-kill has worked to a good extent but more work needs to be done.

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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

UK parents don't do toilet training. Cats are better toilet trained than kids!

I have decided that it is possible or probable that the UK's domestic cats are better toilet trained than reception-aged schoolchildren in this country. The shocking headline from The Times is that parents 'don't do toilet training' with the result that 90% of teachers of reception-age children say that nine in ten had a child in their class who wasn't toilet trained.




What do these kids do? Do they poop and pee where they sit at their desks? Or do they put their hand up and asked teacher something like this: "Teacher, I want to have a pee. Can you tell me how to use a toilet?"

It's completely bonkers. A survey by the early years charity Kindred found that of 50% parents believe that they should not have full responsibility for toilet training their children. It would appear that these parents need or want to rely on others, usually teachers to help train their children how to use the toilet. What is going on in the UK?

Equally shocking is the fact that 16% of parents think it is their job to teach their children how to read. Only 16%! Surely it's a fundamental responsibility of parents to do both these chores? That's what being a parent means.

Cats

Domestic cats including kittens hardly need to be trained to use the litter tray. Some might but the majority won't in my view provided the litter tray is positioned in a good place and the substrate (the litter material) is acceptable to the cat which can be assessed through trial and error.


The reason why kittens and cats automatically use a litter tray if it is in an accessible position (quiet and away from the food and water) is because the substrate is the best material in which to go to the toilet. And therefore instinctively they use it. They go in search of something which is like the earth; the soil outside and the cat litter substrate is exactly that.

If they don't find and use the litter tray easily or are reluctant to use it then they can be trained with common sense by placing them in the litter tray and then praising them with a treat when they go to toilet in it.

The tray should be about one and a half times the length of the cat excluding the tail. It's probably safer to provide a cat with an open tray rather than one that is covered because some cats might be reluctant to go into a covered one as going to the toilet places them in a vulnerable position and they want to escape easily.

That's a minor point. If a cat is peeing and or pooping outside of the litter tray it will always be something to do with the caretaking provided by the human companion or a health problem which may itself be caregiver related.

It might be the environment that is too stressful because a cat is bullying and guarding resources or it might be because the cat has cystitis because they are too stressed. It'll be something like that. They might be spraying urine but that is not peeing. That is marking territory.

I have concluded, as mentioned, that it's probable that cats are better toilet trained than young school kids or cats are better at using their toilet than children are at using theirs!
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P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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