Monday 23 November 2009

Cats are Nice or Horrible

The domestic cat polarizes people. Some people say cats are nice and some say they are horrible. Some people love cats and some people hate them. The truth is that the cat is always the same.

The domestic cat is a very predictable animal. They have their instincts and their routines and by and large these are always the same from breed to breed and wild cat species to wild cat species. They do have distinct characters, yes, but these are distinct not in terms of being good or bad but in terms of preferences.

What varies is us and our attitude and behavior towards cats. I love animals and cats. This will always mean that cats come to me and are nice to me. Cats are nice in my world. Sure, they have their own innate characteristics that must be respected but if we respect the cat and behave warmly towards the cat the domestic cat will be nice.

Conversely when people say cats are horrible it is because people are horrible towards the cat. The cat's behavior is a reflection of ours within the framework of their natural behavior.

So the polarization of views about cats is actually the polarization of human behavior. We know that a lot of people behave badly and a similar number behave very well. So the next time a person says he hates cats and explains how horrible they are have a good look in his eye and know that he is no damn good!

Cats are Nice or Horrible to Home Page main site.

Sunday 15 November 2009

Tiger Skins For Sale

Tiger skins for sale are almost the norm in China. It seems to entirely accepted and the ban on trade of tiger parts is largely unenforced. The profits are so large that they create high levels of motivation for the traders. And the profits are getting larger as the tiger becomes scarcer. It is all about supply and demand of course. It the demand side is maintained or rises and the supply side diminishes than prices rise, obviously. As prices rise the the trade becomes more profitable encouraging more traders so the trade becomes harder to stop.

And so as the tiger edges towards extinction in the wild the process of extinction speeds up. It is almost too late unless a massive effort is put in place and that effort must come from the Chinese authorities. Demand must dry up because it is all but impossible to protect the tiger in the wild.

View Larger Map

The video below was taken in Linxia, China, where an employee of the Environmental Investigation Agency, a UK based charity went undercover to act as a buyer

One thing that jumps of the page is that videos about this trade are hardly watched. People are not interested, really; it is true and it is this background apathy that allows the trade to continue. The burden to stop falls on a relatively small number of people. There really needs to be a ground swell of dissent at the loss of the tiger in the wild and tiger skins of sale is just one part of the problem.

The whole of the tiger is used as a product. Tiger bone is more valuable than its skin and particularly the forelimbs. It is sick.

Apparently one route for this obnoxious trade is that poached tigers in India where protection is lax are transported via Nepal to China (and other countries in Asia) where they like to eat the tiger for medicinal purposes.

A big push to preserve the tiger has been instigated by Russia, surprisingly. Something big needs to happen to save the tiger.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Retired Vet Says Declawing is Horrible

A retired Vet says declawing is horrible -- Yes, we are at last beginning to get the truth from veterinarians who have so callously and cynically misrepresented the effects of declawing on cats.

At the recent Berkeley City Council meeting to decide whether there should be a ban on declawing (which did in fact result in a ban) retired veterinarian, Jean Hofve, says that she regrets the time that she declawed hundreds of cats.

She described the procedure as "
horrible, cruel and inhumane". She also said that it is unconscionable to cause a cat to bite more readily, which is one of the behavioral effects of declawing. Thank you very much for doing the right thing in speaking up for declawing. It is very refreshing to hear a vet tell it as it is and not give us the usual mumbo jumbo.

Of course the California Veterinary Medical Association wheeled out one of their spokesmen, this time it seems Dr. Nunez was not there (it seems), to say the same old platitudes that a ban would take away decision making from the vet and client.

That is the whole point. Decision making has to be taken away from the veterinarian because they have routinely over decades made the wrong decisions. They cannot be trusted to make a decision that is for the cat's well being, which they are obviously under oath to do.

So the public through their representatives at Berkeley City Council banned declawing. That as far as I remember makes 6 cites that have banned it in California to beat the ridiculous deadline imposed by state wide legislation that forbids cites passing such legislation after Jan 1st 2010.

These cities including Berkeley have now all voted to ban declawing of cats.
  1. West Hollywood 2003
  2. Santa Monica Oct 27th 2009, who voted 6 to 1
  3. San Francisco November 3rd 2009, who voted 9 to 2
  4. Beverly Hills November 5th 2009, who voted 5 to 0
  5. The city of Los Angeles voted 11 to 0 November 6th 2009 to Ban Declawing of All Animals
I think the vets should start to get a bit scared. They now know officially that what they do is unacceptable. It is a massive slap in the face. Their credibility is being dramatically eroded. They say they are doctors. Doctors are meant to be admired, respected and looked up to but the greed of the vets in perpetuating and promoting the money spinner of declawing cats has undermined all that. They should be worried.

The veterinarian associations must begin to listen to what the people of California are saying and start to find alternative and honest means of generating revenue. It cannot be that hard to think of something that will substitute declawing and which is solely for the cat's welfare.

It is time the veterinarians stopped using their energy to justify the unjustifiably horrible and inhumane practice of declawing cats and start using it to make cats healthier.

From Retired Vet Says Declawing is Horrible to Home Page

Thursday 5 November 2009

Youtube Partner

I am a YouTube partner. My channel is called broadsurf. As of today it is the top pets and animals channel for the month according to the Channel stats (it will change downwards for sure!) -- (update 25-11-09: it is no longer the top for the month but as it is now featured as one of the top channels it attracts attention, which helps to sustain traffic levels - it is sort of self perpetuating, to a degree).


Above a screenshot as at 5th Nov. 2009 for the month. It is top! Great but I am realistic. Update 14-11-09: As at this date it is on page 3 of the all time number of hits -see below:

Youtube all time number of hits for broadsurf channel

My name is Michael Broad. I make videos about cats to publicize my website:

I don’t actually think that my videos on my YouTube channel have made a massive difference to hits to my website despite plastering my web address over the videos! And of course YouTube allows you to put a link to your website on your channel (your home page at YouTube).

Although Alexa (an Amazon web traffic measuring site) tells me that YouTube brings in 7.92% of the traffic to my website (see below). Incidentally this blogger site is not my main website. It is a Blogger subdomain that feeds some traffic to Pictures of Cats org, the main site.

youtube clickstream

Update 17-11-09: The upstream sites have changed showing more supply from YouTube. Although these figures are a bit wild and not to be completely relied upon. We should not be numbers reliant - use commonsense more:

POC stats

So what are the advantages of being a YouTube partner and how do you get accepted?


When I first made an application I got a pretty fast response to tell me that it would be unlikely to succeed. So I didn’t follow through. That tells me that if you don’t get such a response you are likely to succeed, which proved to be the case.

I made my second application when I had posted some videos of an F1 Savannah cat called MAGIC. This changed the dynamics a lot. The hits built as this cat was named the Guinness World Record tallest pet cat. Korea got hold of it and the video was embedded in some of their high hitting websites. One video in particular caught their attention:

magic savannah cat and Andeas video stats

These extra hits made all the difference. OK, the first thing for a successful application would seem to be the obvious; a considerable number of lively hits going on at the time of the application. Even with 30,00o hits per day I was only ranked No. 39th amongst all the UK partners (all divisions). The numbers are big in YouTube.

In order to get good hits the video has to have something different but it need not be a good video. There are a lot of poor videos getting massive hits. The more extreme the better seems to be the method, which is not my style and I think YouTube should promote pure quality as well (which it may do incidentally – I just have not noticed).

Next and most importantly all your videos must be your copyright. When you apply this is scrutinised. YouTube have been criticised over the way they have turned a blind eye (or at least that is what some people think and say) to breaches of copyright by people who upload videos. They probably can’t keep track of the uploads. But when a person applies to be a YouTube partner it means that they (YouTube) are directly involved and they can’t be seen to be partners with a person or persons who flagrantly breach copyright. So the application process contains a lot of references to copyright. It focuses heavily on that to the point where YouTube say that they will delete a video if a partner uploads one that has a breach of copyright problem on any media issue: still images, music, video, anything.

So, your videos must be free of copyright breaches. No not quite actually. If you disclose a breach they might still accept you as a partner. After all a breach of copyright is not actionable until the copyright holder takes action and sometimes the copyright holder might actually approve the breach because it helps them. And in any case copyright is not black and white. It is complicated and their is such a thing as fair use. Plus few people sue on breach of copyright as it is so bloody expensive to sue and the outcome is so uncertain. All that said keep the videos clean of copyright violations. Do it right and YouTube will like you.

OK, you have plenty of hits and your vids are clean: GO HERE to apply.

The Benefits

The first benefits I am going to mention are the ones in my mind, the outstanding ones: Monetisation and Customisation. There are others.

You can make money with Adsense. You need an Adsense account. I already had one. If you haven’t it is pretty easy to apply but it takes a bit of time. I would expect that if you are accepted as a YouTube partner you will also be accepted for an Adsense account.

How much can you make from Adsense? It is a numbers game, pure and simple. You need lots of hits because the number of people who click on an advert are small in percentage terms. I have 66 videos. I enabled ads for about 6 (10%) and made about £70 (GBP) in one month.

Customisation is good. You can place customised bits here and there, the most noticeable of course being the header. The process of customisation is straightforward.

What else? I am not that commercially minded but people who make videos to make money can do things like utilize their sales to sell their own ads.

The full set of benefits as declared by YouTube are here: Benefits.

Uploading Videos

When you upload a video you are given the option to monetise inside the video. The upload screen is different. Some viewers don't like inline Adsense as it can be irritating and I don't like it myself but it is more effective. You have to be in-your-face with advertising there is no doubt about it. And bottom line it is about making money.

If you select to have Adsense inside your video you have to complete a form in which you explain why your video is clear of all copyright breaches. You have to do this in 4 - 1000 characters. This is tight if the video has a lot of material from different sources in it. I have fallen foul of this, once.

The video concerned (shown above) is completely legal but I failed to explain fully that the images in the title sequence were creative commons images reproduced under license. That was my fault and monetising was rejected by Youtube (I was told in an email). I decided to respond to the email thinking that I would not get a response but I did (good on Youtube). It seems that one of the advantages of being a Youtube partner is that they do communicate with you if needs must. But they prefer, I suspect, that you don't.

Anyway, I explained the position but they have not allowed inline advertising in the video to this day. Moral: get the thing right first time and take your time. I have prepared a text that relates to most of my recent videos which I might need to modify a bit an d then I cut and paste it in the box.

Update 11-10-09: Maybe the YouTube team saw this post as I got an email today saying that the video might have a breach of copyright in respect of the audio content. This is incorrect (as it happens) as the audio was purchased from (a very good source of high quality music that can be used legally! And it is not that expensive at about $29 for a track). I had explained this earlier to YouTube when uploading the video as I remember it (no criticism intended by the way, these things happen).

Anyway I was pleased to see that the inline Adsense is now in place for this video. So all is well. I think the moral as I stated is for us to get it right first time, which means going a bit slower than one wants sometimes. Everything is high speed and instant on the internet and you gotta keep building the god content but there are times to slow down and just get it right and to make it better. You make it slower but it sticks around longer once published.

YouTube are constantly upgrading and expanding the partner programme. I notice that the peoples of ten countries can participate in the YouTube partner program and the latest countries to join the list are Spain and Brazil. The full list of countries are (I believe this is accurate - source Yahoo Answers): Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, U.K and USA.

Here is a video made by YouTube Partner support about the partner program:

Further Update 12-10-09: I uploaded another video (the one below) and fully explained the copyright issues to make sure that there would be no problems in YouTube accepting the video for inline Adsense (embedded in the video) and low and behold it was refused! I have no idea why. The people at YouTube email you and link to the standard guidelines which I have read more than once. I emailed back to say that the video is not in breach of copyright. Every angle has been covered by me. Here is the video. The music was bought and is licensed for use in a video. The video is mine and the title was paid for by me. The images in the video are licensed under creative commons or expressly by the photographer. There is nothing wrong that I know of yet it was refused for revenue sharing. But don't misunderstand me; no criticism is intended as I think YouTube do an amazing job to keep all the balls in the air with the kind of expansion that they have undergone over the years but I feel that the degree of expansion has caused some problems.

I guess every video uploaded by a partner that requests revenue sharing has to be reviewed by a person as opposed to a machine. I don't know how many partners there are but it must be above 5,000 and if they upload one video a month that makes a lot of people doing very boring work checking that the videos don't breach copyright. I think the speed at which they are checked causes problems if there is a lot to take in and digest as is the case with my videos as they are made up of several sources of material.

From YouTube Partner to Home Page

Savannah Cat Charms the Children

Titan is a wonderful, young boy Savannah cat in this video. He is so tolerant and adaptable to human activity and conditions. He takes it all in his stride. We know how children can be a little over enthusiastic with animals and the domestic cat. But this has no effect on Titan.

Titan is an F1 (first generation) Savannah cat of great quality both in appearance and character. Perhaps his great quality is his character. This is because he was raised at A1 Savannahs by the Stuckis. They take a great deal of time over socialising their cats.

You can see this video in large format with some more information on this page:

TITAN Charms the Children

From to Home Page

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