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Showing posts from June, 2009

Reason to Keep Your Cat Indoors

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Here is another reason to keep your cat indoors, permanently. It is all over the cat news. It is the always fatal (although this could be 95% fatality), no cure, bobcat tick disease. The disease is caused by the blood parasite Cytauxzoon felis , which is carried by the American dog tick, which in turn is carried by the American bobcat in America but in Africa, this disease is carried by ungulates (animals with hooves). The parasite does not affect the bobcat, which is widely distributed throughout the USA. The disease is called cytauxzoonosis after the name of the parasite. "The pathogen is spread to domestic cats through the American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis), which can be found in heavily wooded areas and fields. Because of the route of infection, it is most likely that outdoor cats develop the disease. The biggest risk of infection occurs in May through September, but even during that time, it is a very rare disease." (Wikipedia) Above: Range of the American Bo

Iran Protests

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I am doing as asked by the Iranian protestors: spreading the word, doing my tiny bit. I have to do my bit and help the brave Iranians who are fighting against a dictatorship. It takes massive guts and some desperation to risk one’s life. I was amazed at some of the statements by the protestors. There was a women who said that she would put on her makeup and go out to the street to possibly die. I love that woman! These are pretty tough videos to watch though, I warn you. Here are some videos that I have selected. They are all recent either on or close to the date of this post. These are seriously scary movies. You are just waiting for something horrible to happen. It has virtually been proved that the elections were fraudulently manipulated (there were some doubts, amazing as that seems). Even the Iranian government has admitted that in a large number of regions the votes cast outnumbered the number of people in the region (the total electorate). They say it didn’

Bengal Cat at a Cat Show

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  What is it like for a Bengal cat at a cat show. Do they like it? We (that is people) do it to win prizes. Who gets the prizes? The cat. The breeder or both. Well the cat gets the prize but doesn’t care so its for the breeder. This is for breeders to promote their business and have some fun too. Is it fun for the Bengal cat? Well I don’t think it is great because: There is lots of travel to the shows. This can be hundreds of miles in a car or in a plane. Not many cats like that. Then there is the waiting in the cages before they are called to the show ring to be judged. Not that great for a cat. But the cages are very fancy, mind you! Bengal cats are pretty active and to be in a cage for relatively long time seems tough to me. Well here are two short videos. Each features a Bengal cat at a cat show: Young Bengal cat makes fascinating meow/trill and is pleased to see me. And this guy just wanted to something other than be simply looked at and prodded: Bengal ca

Best Image Search Site

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The best image search site in my opinion is Flickr. The point is this. When we do an image search we are not only looking for images to simply look at, a lot of the time we are looking for images to use for our own website. Faced with that objective the images that we are searching for must be useable in terms of copyright. We have no right to use any image on the internet unless we have the author’s permission or the image is in the public domain. We don’t know if an image is in the public domain very often and it can be difficult to contact people. It is not obvious a lot of the time whether a picture is copyright free or licensed. I talk about how copyright elapses with the passage of time on this page by the way:  Expired Copyright and made an attempt at a Definition of Copyright and more as well. The good thing about Flickr ( new window ) is: there are millions of images Flickr members decide whether to share their photos under one of the 5 different creative commons

No Government Compensation for Cats Protection

There will be no compensation for Cats Protection. I am very sad for the hundreds of thousands of cats who would have been helped indeed saved by Cats Protection but for the reckless investment of 11.2 million pounds (GBP) by the charity in rubbish Icelandic banks that have gone bust. It seems that this vast sum of money in terms of cat welfare is now lost as today we hear that the “Treasury rules out any help for charities that lost £120m in failed Icelandic banks” ( Times Saturday June 20 2009 ). Cats Protection had hoped that the government would bail them out. Charities in the UK invested about £120 million in Icelandic banks and have almost certainly lost it (or most of it) when they went bust. The Treasury said that it would set an unrealistic precedent to compensate the charities. Their stance rejects the recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee. That seems to be it. Although charities with a turnover of £6.5 million can seek help under the Government’s Financial Servi

Quality Content is King on the Internet

Staying at number one in Google search can be fraught with anxiety. We know how hard it can be to get to the number one position on a search engine results page (SERP). It can take a hell of a long time and the best SEO that you can apply or you just might get lucky but, frankly, there is no luck on the internet as it is all controlled by those algorithms. What is particularly interesting is how, do you stay at the top once you are there and if you got to the number one position quite quickly but then disappeared, what happened and why? In my experience the key is this. Google can track what we do off the page. Here is a possible example. Say your web page is at the top of page one of SERP. You built it a few days before it hit page one number one. Then after two weeks it has gone to page 5. What is happening, in my opinion, is that Google is measuring the amount of time people stay on the new page. Google measures what happens before, during and after the visit to the page in questio

Divorce Rates In The UK

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These are a few of my thoughts about the divorce rates in the UK. It is probably well known that divorce rates have increased in the UK over many years. The National Statistics website shows us that over period 1971 to about 2003 divorce rates went up from 6 per one thousand married couples to about 13 per one thousand, more than doubling. Over the last 4 years or so the rate has consistently fallen to the 1981 level of about 12 per 1000, still double the old rates. However, the actual levels of divorce are relatively low. People in the late twenties have the highest divorce rates at 26.6 divorces per 1000 in the age bracket 25-29 (men) and slightly higher for women in the same age bracket at 26.0. This may be due to an increasingly casual approach to marriage from “modern people”. What this tends to hide is the fact that in 2009, for the first time, there were more single or cohabiting people in the UK than married people. This was an historic moment. There is no doubt that there

Expired Copyright

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Here are some rules on expired copyright, which are quite complicated. In the USA the rules would seem to be as set out below in the table , which has been produced with the permission of the author. It comes from this web page (there is no more on this page than is here: http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm ). I am constantly concerned about expired copyright or waived copyright. A lot of authors, creators, waive copyright totally or partially under a creative commons license (see video below). This is a good way of using work that would otherwise be copyrighted (see http://creativecommons.org/ ) - opens in new window. DATE OF WORK PROTECTED FROM TERM Created 1-1-78 or after When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression Life + 70 years 1 (or if work of corporate authorship, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation 2 Published before 1923 In public domain None Published from 1923 - 63 When published with notice 3 28

Zoo Tiger Attack

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Sometimes we hear of a zoo tiger attack. It is not that uncommon. I guess it is bound to happen not too infrequently despite the best efforts of the zoo management and keepers. This is because of the circumstances. And the circumstances are fundamentally highly dysfunctional and a sad reflection on how we (people) behave on this planet. The tiger is a large wild cat that demands a large range in which to hunt prey. This is hard wired into the cat’s brain. Humans are not the usual prey of tigers but sometimes tiger attacks in the wild do take place (increasingly so) when tiger and people are forced into close proximity because of human activity, human population growth, unethical business practice, unsustainable business practices, short term thinking and planning, constant economic growth; in short all things unthinkingly human. Or a person injures a tiger so that it has to hunt people (easy prey). Basically, in whatever guise it comes, we cause the tiger attacks on us. Of cours

Stop Poaching of Wildcats

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As the governments of the countries where the wildcats are found do little that is effective in stopping poaching for body parts, the next best thing is for customers to stop buying the products. I know it is simplistic and a kind of dream but if the demand for wildcat body parts completely dried up there would simply be no more killing of wildcats and their existence in the wild would be ensured. It is the market place, big business, that drives the wildcats to extinction. It could be argued that the two biggest factors in wildcat deaths are: poaching for the body parts of the animal for decorative and medicinal purposes habitat loss, the classic example being deforestation because of logging for paper; yes, photocopying paper! It is shocking to think about it. One major culprit is Asian Paper & Pulp (APP) a company with an allegedly murky history and an alleged lack of business ethics – see Deforestation in Indonesia for example. What crossed my mind was, “who ar

Deforestation in Indonesia

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We know that deforestation in Indonesia is rapid and vigorous because the destruction of Indonesian rain forest accounts for about 4% of greenhouse gas emissions made by humankind at the date of this posting. Why does this bother me particularly? Because it is probably the single biggest cause of the gradual extirpation of wildcats in the wild. Many of the small wildcats live in forest: African Golden Cat Asian Golden Cat Clouded Leopard Bornean Bay Cat Asian Leopard Cat Flat Headed Cat This is just an example. In this post, though, I would like to mention the very rare Sumatran tiger whose presence in the wild will be severely jeopardized by plans that are being finalised to log 124,000 acres or 50,000 hectares of forest in Indonesia. What is particularly galling is that trees that can take hundreds of years to grow will be converted to photocopying paper that will be used in seconds and thrown away in minutes. I am talking about an area of for

Muddled Tiger Conservation in India

I feel despair for the safety of the tiger. Every time we read local news stories about tiger conservation we notice clear signs that despite genuine attempts by many parties to the objective of saving the tiger in the wild, there is a lack of coordination at the least, which is weakening and diluting the efforts. And I intend no criticism but I feel it must be said as the number one party in all this is the tiger and he or she is going down the plug hole unless things change. Here are some examples of what I mean. Please, I do not want to hear from people who say it is none of my business what happens in another country. The tiger belongs to the world. All people should be concerned and all should, I think, do their bit to help In the Hindu News update Service we have a report of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) deciding to work more closely with the state governments to ensure proper use of central government funds in conserving the tiger in the states concerned. Th

Picasa 3

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Picasa 3 is fantastic. It is typically Google; highly functional, easy to use and attractive, all at the same time. And it makes a great companion to Google Blogger. You know, it is easy to use a product like Picasa and then leave it for a while. Life moves on. But in the case of Picasa I was delighted when I revisited it after being away for about a year. It was good in 2008. It is fabulous now. And it’s all free. If this was 1999 or even 2005 someone would be charging a good price for this software. After purchase, it would have come in a package in the form of a CD, maybe after a week’s wait. Now you can find it, download it, use it all in the space of under ten minutes. Picasa 3 does a fabulous job of sorting and filing your photographs and if you have a lot, this is important. It does such a good job that if you have a lot of photographs you are almost bound to discover photographs that you forgot you had. That happened to me with some fabulous Norwegian Forest Cat photogr

Tiger Reserves Ban Tourists

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Well, at last the Indian government, in the form of the National Tiger Conservation Authority, are doing something about the inexorable decline in the tiger population in their country. This is happening at the eleventh hour, when the tiger is possibly within as little as 10 years of becoming extinct in the wild. They are going to ban tourists from the 37 reserves. The reasoning is that the presence of large numbers of tourists (as many as 40 vehicles surrounding one tiger in a reserve at one time) are habituating tigers to human presence thereby making it easier for poachers to kill the remaining estimated 1,411 (at 2008) tigers in India. Big business, which has always been in charge is fighting back. The tourism business will be damaged and tigers are big tourism business in the form of hotels and excursions. However, it is argued that the tourism business has behaved irresponsibly, trying to get too much of the action after the body parts traders have had their first share. It

Cat Catches Bubonic Plague

When a cat catches the bubonic plague in the Truckee area of Nevada as reported by the County Health Department last Friday I hope that this time cats generally are not going to be unjustly persecuted. When the famous bubonic plague (“black death” as it was called because black patches formed on the skin) hit London (from where I write this) in 1665 cats were slaughtered as it was thought they carried the disease. In August of 1665 in London, 31159 people died of the plague and in all 15% of the population of London died because of it. There were probably a large number of feral cats in those days. There still are, in fact. We are wiser these days (are we?) and now know that it is flea infested rats and rodents that carry the disease. In the modern era, bubonic plague still occurs where rats are present in large numbers or are not successfully controlled. In the USA where there are 10-15 cases a year ( src: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ) and these u

Picasa Web Slide Show for Your Blog

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Picasa Web Slide Show for Your Blog. Picasa Web has improved significantly over the years. I just went back to it after many months without using it and it is mightily impressive now, very powerful and quick. It would be as it is made by Google. That’s enough Google worship. I have used Google Picasa Web for some time. I use it to store the pictures and in fact all the pictures that are uploaded to Blogger blog are saved in Picasa Web under a new folder automatically created. And that even applies to posts for your blog made with Windows Live Writer. I was surprised at that. But it is good news as images stored on Picasa Web Albums are included in a Google image search so this spreads the word a bit and gets you known a bit more on the internet. Making a Picasa Web slide show for your blog is simplicity itself (as is, by the way, creating code to place images in your blog from Picasa Web). The code for the slide show and images are generated automatically. First create a Picasa W