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Showing posts from March, 2012

Escaped Melanistic F1 Savannah in Scotland?

There might be an escaped F1 melanistic Savannah cat roaming around Scotland, near St. Andrews. I'll tell you why it is a possibility. The local press is talking about a black "big cat" on the loose (see Fife Today ). The word "big cat" is used loosely to! Because a father and son were out for a walk near St. Andrews when from a distance of 35 feet (fairly close so the sighting was good) they saw "a big black cat". It was the size of a small Labrador they added. There is a difference between a "big black cat" and a "black big cat"! Big cats are usually one of the top four biggest wildcats: jaguar, leopard, lion and tiger. A genuine black big cat is likely to be a melanistic leopard or jaguar (euphemistically called black panthers ). These are large animals considerably larger than a normal or large labrador. Labradors vary in size but at the shoulder a small Labrador might be about 21 inches tall. The world's tallest do

RSPCA Squeezed From All Directions

March 31st 2012: The RSPCA in Great Britain is being squeezed from all directions. In difficult times animals should not be forgotten. These are the factors that are affecting the RSPCA at this time: Reduced donations due to the weak economy and recession. The British people are very generous but the weakened economy is the most serious for a long time. An increase in the number of abandoned animals due to people suffering difficulties financially. Personally, I think that on a lot of occasions people need not abandon their companion animal when things get tight financially. These people keep their cars and TVs etc. The cat goes before the car no doubt. Some people use the recession as an excuse to get rid of a companion animal that they want to get rid of anyway. Sorry if that sounds cynical. Calls to the RSPCA about abandoned animals have risen from 21,481 (2007) to 28,162 (2011). Increased vet bills. This is something we all know about in the UK. Increased fuel bills. Same agai

The Sociable Domestic Cat

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Russian President and Wife Own a Nevsky Masquerade

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The press say the president lost his purebred cat. There may be a little bit of truth in that but president Medvedev says that his cat is just fine. Perhaps there was a temporary moment when this beautiful purebred cat went walkabout in the Moscow suburb where Medvedev lives. I don't know. What is sure is that the Nevsky Masquerade or Neva Masquerade is a pointed Siberian cat . What better cat for the president of Russia? The Siberian cat hails from Russia, of course, and is a very popular triple coated purebred cat of distinction that may have the same origins as the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat . It is one of the great Russian exports (first exported June 28th 1990)! "Masquerade" refers to the pointed face and "Neva" to the river from whence this cat came. The river Neva is in northwestern Russia. "Nevsky" is a reference to Alexander Nevsky a proclaimed Saint of the Russian Orthodox Church, named after the river Neva. The pointed versi

Bird Lobby Still Conspiring Against Cats

Every now and again the bird lobby produce some study that supports their objectives. They use it to promote their objectives one of which is to get rid of the cat from the outdoors anyway possible. The bird lobby people say cats slaughter birds and exterminate species of birds . They tend to exaggerate and to disseminate misrepresentations to further their cause. (see also: Domestic Cats Do Not Decimate Bird Populations ). There is a battle between cat lobbyists and cat lovers . I feel a need to provide some counter arguments in defense of the cat. A recent example is quoting a study by Shannon E. Grubbs and Paul R. Krausman called " Observations of Coyote–Cat Interactions ". The abstract (summary) for this study states that in tracking 8 coyotes (yes just 8) they observed over a period of 790 hours the coyotes interacting with cats on 36 occasions. On 19 of these 36 occasions the cat was killed by the coyote. 790 hours by the way is 33 days. So, on average about one coyo

Serval Kills 4,000 Rodents A Year

The servals of the Serengeti kill 4,000 rodents, 260 snakes and 130 birds each year on average. Servals on average make 0.8 kills per hour in the daytime and 0.5 kills per hour during nighttime (or 1 kill every 2 hours). They do this hunting/killing while covering the territory at 2.5 kills for every kilometer travelled during the day and at 1.9 kills for every kilometer travelled at night. Young servals (juveniles) kill more frequently at 4.2 kills per kilometer. Obviously servals don't kill in a routine manner so there will be extended periods when kills do not take place. The study of kill rates is part of "hunting energetics". Energetics is the study of the transformation of energy. In this instance the amount of energy needed in the form of consumed prey to sustain the serval in his activities including hunting. By comparison the lynx in the north of Sweden make 1.2 kills every 24 hours. That is much less than the serval.  It is less in the south at 0.6 kill

New Species of Leopard?

March 28th 2012 : Apparently a leopard with a distinctly different appearance has been spotted in the well known Sunderbans National Park that is situated in West Bengal, India. The Sunderbans (also spelled, "Sundarbans") is well known as one of the better Bengal tiger reserves . The key question is whether the cat that was seen was in fact a mutated version of an existing species rather than a new species. It would be surprising if a new species of leopard was discovered at this stage. Classic examples of wild cats that are mutations of existing species and not therefore a new species are white tigers and black leopards. Other black wildcats such as the serval are simply melanistic cats with almost black coats and ghost patterns. The number of wild cat species is settled (we think) at 36. This is a slimmed down number from 100 years ago when, based on appearance, there was a tendency to assess wild cats as different species when they were not, at least by modern scien

Google Fails To Find the Best Content

Despite Google having dozens if not hundreds of Ph.D. educated boffins working on their mysterious and precious algorithm they continue to make the most fundamental of mistakes in finding the best content on the internet which must be the basic requirement of a search engine. I'll just give one simple example. The search term is: "how many cats die a day" God Bless Good 'Ole Google. It finds Wiki Answers: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_cats_die_a_year_from_abuse The above is the top search result. The answer is complete mumbo jumbo. The idiotic author says that "584 million a year" die from abuse alone.  That is more than the entire world population of domestic and feral cats so the figure is obviously ridiculous. If it were true there would be no domestic, stray and feral cats in the world after a few years. My answer is not the finest but it is at least is based on a modicum of common sense and science: http://pictures-of-catsorgblog.pic

Facebook friendship can be our enemy

Facebook does a great job of connecting people. We know that. It has changed the idea of what socialization means to us.  There are two broad categories of people who use Facebook: People who simply want to socialise and People who want to use Facebook for some purpose. One prominent purpose is to promote a website to enhance the visitor rate. The upsides of Facebook are obvious. The downsides are not so obvious but include: An addictive necessity to be in the loop so as not to miss something. There is a lot of "needy" activity on the internet. Text messaging is another example. You see young people furiously texting, endlessly seeking reassurance. It is painful to see it. This sort of needy behavior can become burdensome to the participant. Eventually some decide to get out as the downside of the process outweighs the upside. Privacy. There is a lot of talk about the big brother nature of Google and Facebook. They collect data on us and sell it. People are waking up to

Trolling a window on our mind and society

Trolling is the thing that trolls do. Trolls are people who disrupt online comments and dialogue with foul language and comments that are hate filled. They are written assaults on people. It is internet bullying. It is common and widespread and website managers don't deal with it properly because there is so much of it that they can't keep track of it especially on the large social media sites. I know that trolling hurts people. The old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" is incorrect. The written word directed at a particular person, who is decent yet vulnerable, will be upset and indeed may become fearful for his or her safety. Trolling is more than just casual written violence it is a window on an increasingly impolite and angry world. It is not simply impoliteness. Trolls are a kind of sociopath. They fail to understand that combative and rude comments are hurtful. People in public normally contain their feelings and a

Google Fusion Tables For Heavy Mapping Tasks

Google Fusion Tables are a great way to map large amounts of information. I won't go over the method in detail. It is fun to explore the process. In essence for people like me, who don't know much HTML code and are not that bothered about learning, Google Fusion Tables is about converting information that has been entered onto a spreadsheet, to a map. The required spreadsheet is very simple. It might have three columns. The first column (A) might be the name of an organisation. Column B would be the address and column C the telephone number or website URL. The spreadsheet that I use on an Apple Mac is Open Office. It creates an ".ocd" file. You can also use Google Docs spreadsheet and lots of others if you wish. Once you have created your spreadsheet, that might have 1000 rows for example, you upload the information from within the Google Fusion Tables application which is part of Google Docs. Thereafter you simply follow instructions. You can alter the way th

Why More Women Are Depressed Than Men

Nancy Schimelpfening of the large website About.com says that "it has been widely documented that women suffer from major depression about twice as often as men..." She gives the reasons as: Genetics Hormones Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Nutrition Medical illness Drugs Stress All but the top two could apply to men.  One reason she omits and which has hardly ever been mentioned is this.. Women live in a man's world. Men create the environment under which we all live. The world is managed by the male of the species. The subjugation of the female is most apparent in certain countries and cultures but is worldwide. The Muslim faith comes to mind with a prejudice against women that is sometimes distasteful. I am thinking of so called "honour killings" - highly sexist and prejudicial male behavior. It must be inherently difficult on occasions and even intolerable on other occasions for women to live in the male world.  Common sense suggests that

Apple Market Valuation Statistics

At 20th March 2012, Apple is worth an estimated $550 billion (USD). It just went up $50 billion in the last few weeks! It must have been the success of the third generation iPad with the fantastic screen .  The company has cash in the bank of about $100 billion. This is far more than the US government has. How will they spend it? There is one thing they can do and no one has mentioned this: improve the lives of people living near the Chinese factories that make the products ( if the allegations are true ) - see below. Here are some surprising statistics that compare the current market valuation of Apple with aspects of the US and the world economy ( source : Huff Post). Apple is worth more than the "entire USA retail sector". Apple is worth more than the combined GDPs of Iraq, North Korea, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand. The world's entire illegal drug trade valued at $314.7 billion is worth $200 billion less than Apple. The combined worth of Google and Micro

The Veterinarian's Disease

The veterinarian's client is our companion animal not us. As guardian's of our animal companions we need to be vigilant for the greedy veterinarian who has a tendency to over treat an animal for financial profit. There are many great veterinarians, mine is one of them. The best vets just do what is right for the client. That brings the client's guardian (us) back again and again. That is where the profit is. The poorer vets let their motivation for financial profit get the better of them. They think short term. They will find ways to get you back to the clinic for "check ups" or for booster vaccinations even though your cat is full-time indoors and 14 years of age! One veterinary clinic, American Animal Hospital, 8135 Mira Mesa Boulevard San Diego, CA 92126(858) 586-7387, appears to have fallen into the habit of prioritizing their income over their client's health. This assessment comes from the comments left by disgruntled animal guardians . The vet refe

Internet Chat or Internet Crap?

They are very similar sounding words that mean very different things. However, on the internet, they often have the same meaning. Virtually the whole of Twitter is founded on crap....sorry I mean chat. There are some pearls in there somewhere but you have to do a ton of diving to find them.  At October 2011 there were 250 million tweets per day. I wonder many useful ones there were? Tweets are a blizzard of verbal internet confetti. A lot of money is made from this. I suppose that should not surprise us. It was always thus. You know the old north of England saying, "where there's muck there's brass". Maybe it applies to social media. Some people almost move their entire website onto Facebook. I don't see the point unless you have shares in Facebook Inc.. Don't website owners want their visitors to spend time on their site and not support the already super rich social media sites? You can use Facebook to generate hits but you have to be careful that you don

iPad 3 screen crackles and pops

18th March 2012 - Went to the Apple White City store last Friday and having avoided the long queues had a nice chat with an Apple employee and played with the new third generation iPad. You should see this device first hand because it has impact. It changes your perception of what it is like to look at things on a computer screen. This screen crackles and pops. I have never seen images and video on the internet look like this. HD video looks like a high definition film. It makes any website look better because it makes the whole internet look better. If you spend a lot of time on the internet it makes your world look better! Apple call it a "retina display". It has a resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels (3.1 million pixels on the screen), which is higher than 1080 HD televisions. And it shows. For me it is the quality of the display that is selling the new iPad because it really is a game changer. You have never seen stuff on the internet look like this before. Other featu

Cons of Animal Testing

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One objective of animal testing is to establish clinical procedures that are of benefit to humans. What if it was found that in the course of 20 reviews of animal testing, in general, only two of those reviews concluded that animal models (as opposed to alternative methods of testing) led to clinical procedures that met the objective. In other words what if it was established that animal testing had a success rate of 10% in respect of this objective. If that were the case even hardened pro-animal testers would have to question the morality and ethics of the process because even people who are in favour of it must see that it is at the very least borderline acceptable from an ethical and moral standpoint. The only justification for animal testing is that it has a substantial positive impact on the health of people. Well it does not. The fact is that in only 10% of the reviews did the authors of the review consider that animal testing had served its purpose and met its objectives i

Making a living from a website

Date: March 2012 : Having done it myself,  I can confirm that someone totally new to website building can make a living in America (USA) from a single content website , working alone . How much do you have to earn to make living in the US? It depends what your demands are. You can live cheap and have no children or have five kids and send them to expensive schools etc.. Anyway, we are told that a living wage is about $4,000 per month . I am sure you can live off less. Update June 2014 . I earn less (about half) these days from my site because it is impossible to compete after 7 years or so. Also you run out of content. You exhaust the subject matter. You have to evolve as well which is hard. It takes money. I give away all the money earned these days or pay writers with it. You can make $4,000 per month from a single website within about 2 years of starting from scratch without any prior knowledge of how to build a website or make money from it. As I said, I know because I did it

Valuing A Website

The only true and certain way to value your website is to receive a genuine offer that you agree. The agreed price would be the market value to you at the time of the agreement. The way a website builder feels about his or her site has a major effect on its value. A valuation is not an objective process. If you treat website building as an enjoyable hobby keeping you occupied and making some money along the way, you won't be inclined to sell it unless the price is high; higher in fact than a conventional valuation. Buyers don't pay over the odds for a site so in practice you wouldn't sell it. If you are fed up with your site you will be inclined to sell it cheaply. This is mainly because you will stop building pages and when than happens the site is not being maintained and it will lose value gradually. "Maintaining" a website it not tinkering with it from time to time but actively building it day in, day out. You can value your website online. The range of va

New ways to present information on the internet

We need to look for new ways to present information on the internet. We needn't be stuck in the rut of simply writing about it. I am referring to mapping on this occasion. Google Maps have advanced quite dramatically, recently. We (independent website builders) owe it to ourselves to use Google's free software to our advantage as we are so painfully dependent on this internet giant that dominates us. And it might not be free indefinitely. Almost any information can be presented on a map because almost all information can be referenced to a place. Take cats, my pet subject! I have mapped USA animal rescue , UK animal rescue sanctuaries, tiger reserves and more. A lot of information can be presented more effectively on a map and there are hidden SEO benefits as well, which I touch on below. The map below shows animal rescue sanctuaries in the UK : There are a lot of directory websites that list businesses and other organisations. Some of them provide directions to the l

Google Adsense Revenue Maximized

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I'll tell you how I maximise Google Adsense for western sites reading left to right. Firstly though, you should know that I don't build my website to make money! I do it to keep myself occupied and to have a goal in life. You will understand, therefore, why I like to keep the process of making money from my website as simple as possible so that I can concentrate on achieving my goal; attracting visitors and having fun building the site. That is also a good starting point to make money. On that basis, what I am going to say is simple and based on common sense assessments that are confirmed by Google Adsense specialist trainers whom I have met when attending Google run Adsense seminars . The basic model for me in respect of Adsense is as follows: (1) To let Google decide what adverts to present on my site. They are the experts. I can modify Google's choice and sometimes I feel inclined to do so. For example, I sense that adverts for charities such as the World Wildlife

Visiting Google In London

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As a person who manages his own websites and being dependent to large extent on what Google does in respect of its search engine algorithm, it was nice to be invited to attend a seminar on how to improve AdSense revenue. For a website builder it was like being invited to visit God! I have visited three times now and I'd like to briefly write about the experience as it might interest some people who would like to know what it is like inside Google's offices. Complimentary gift that Google generously gave me. This is a really nice Italian made note pad. I'll tell you right away that it is not the kind of place I worked in all my working life. In fact, Google offices are startlingly different to the conventional office environment. I have a lot of experience working in offices in England as a lawyer. I would have given my right arm to have had the opportunity to work for Google when I was younger. Google didn't exist when I was younger! But hypothetically speaking

Cat Photography For All

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Good cat photography is not limited to gorgeous show cats and tons of high end equipment.  They do help if you know what you are doing but you can get a very decent shot with average equipment and your moggie. What you can't do without is your photographic eye. When you have your camera in your hand, the trick is to look at the world photographically. By that I mean you need to really look with an open mind at the shape, form, composition and color of what is before you. In fact you should be able to switch to this mode of looking at short notice as it allows you to spot the unexpected photograph that quickly develops in front of you. Most of the time our minds are closed to what is in front of us. Alternatively, our mind filters what our eyes see. It is a modified and personalized world. Open your mind and eyes and you might see a good photograph. About 15 minutes ago I saw this: I am not saying that it is a world better. It is not. But it both gives pleasure to the phot

Tiger parts are as profitable as Apple products

Tiger steak washed down with the best tiger bone wine is definitely on the menu in restaurants throughout China. The raw meat might start its journey in tiger farms in China or perhaps in Bangkok, Thailand. Tigers are treated like livestock in many parts of Asia. Half a ton of tiger meat was recently unearthed in Bangkok with bones (for the wine) all destined I suspect for the major restaurants of Shanghai where clients believe it will improve their virility especially if they eat a $6,000 (USD) tiger penis. Man that really does make you feel superhuman....The bones of the tiger's forelimbs are prized too. It is all completely senseless. Burma is a major trader and so are Malaysia and Vietnam. The business, built on corrupt officials, pathetic enforcement of CITES ( the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ) and mafia masterminds, is worth billions of bucks. And you know what? As the tiger becomes rarer and rarer as a result of this se

Stripping away the Facebook mask

Do you understand Facebook? I don't. I don't understand the opaque navigation, how to switch things on and off, the difference between a group and a community and so on. Nor do I understand the privacy policy. One reason, in fact the major reason, why I don't understand is because I can't be bothered to try and understand. All I want to do is connect with someone from time to time. And that is precisely what 90% of Facebook users want to do as well. It is meant to be social media not an obstacle course for geeks. Facebook use this human trait to make money. Perhaps the entire wealth producing model of Facebook is based on our apathy towards detail and complicated, time consuming things that we consider irrelevant. The new Google Plus One button works in a similar way. They changed their search process, the core of their business, in a fairly quiet way by providing a personalised search as a default. This is a completely different way of searching, but did the man on t

Pure Apple tainted by a poison

It could be said that the famous Apple logo is a symbol of the current manufacturing dilemma facing this mighty company, the world's biggest by market capitalisation as at March 2012 (over $500 billion). You know how the Apple logo came about don't you? The partly eaten apple represents the way Alan Mathison Turing is said to have committed suicide by biting on an apple that had been injected with cyanide. Turing, an English scientist, is considered to have been "the father of computer science".  Also the idea of 'biting' fits nicely with computer language - the word 'byte'. This is one reason, perhaps the main reason, why Apple's founders decided on this logo. It is said that Apple components are manufactured in China and that the manufacturing process is poisoning the local environment so profoundly that the river runs black and people are dying of unexplained cancer. There is a nice symmetry in the current situation with the origins of the

Facebook, the fragile pot of gold

Facebook is worth about $100 billion. It must be one of the most valuable businesses in the world. For example Apple is valued at $500 billion but Apple is truly an exception being worth more than Poland! When you think that Facebook exists in the ether, in the form of electrons or whatever you call them it makes you think. Facebook is not tangible. The equipment that stores the website is tangible but Facebook in not tangible in the same way that the stock and equipment at Apple is or the manufacturing base at Apple is. The entirety of the core assets of Facebook are invisible. Without the website there would be no Facebook. All the staff would have to be laid off. The company would have near zero value. As we gradually evolve from hard information on paper to digital information worldwide we are in danger of losing a lot more, a lot more quickly if things go wrong. Apparently there have been complaints about the integrity of Facebook's API. "API" stands for '

Analysing the Egyptian Mau

The Egyptian Mau is one of the ancient cat breeds it is thought. The history is interesting and it spans the four thousand years or so from the time when Egyptians first domesticated the wildcat to the present day in the feral Egyptian Maus wandering the streets of Egypt. How pure are the feral Egyptian Maus and are they similar to the ancient Maus? An interesting concept is that the feral Egyptian Mau in Egypt today are more purebred that the finest purebred Egyptian Maus in the United States and Europe. Moataz Ahmed Abd Elghaffar is a young Egyptian scientist who has a keen interest in answering some fundamental questions about the Egyptian Mau. In a proposed study his objectives are to: Prove that native Maus in modern Egypt are similar to the ancient Maus; Prove that Maus in Egypt are purer than overseas Maus and to Establish the differences and similarities between native Maus and overseas Maus. The good thing is that he lives and works in Egypt. He has first ha

Is Facebook Vulnerable To Terrorism?

Today 7th March 2012 at around 7 am GMT Facebook (FB) was down for about 30 minutes or more. I have no idea why. There are only a few possibilities: maintenance, accident, sabotage, terrorism. The first reason will nearly always be the reason. But what if it was the last reason: terrorism? Sounds extraordinary, I know. And I am not saying that this FB downtime was due to terrorism. All I am saying is that it must be worth considering whether FB is vulnerable to a terrorist attack. How secure are their servers (servers are computers serving large numbers of people)? Are there guards and such-like outside the building? Where are their servers? The location must be an important factor in terms of security. I am talking about physical security. Terrorism could take several forms, hacking or physically damaging the FB computers are the two obvious possibilities. I don't know whether FB has considered the possibility of a terrorist attack on their servers. But it seems to me tha

Facebook Down March 7th at 7 am GMT?!

Is the Facebook website down at this time? Seems that way to me. The Facebook button stopped working so I checked the Facebook website where you get the button code and could not access the site. So I tried the main website and could not access that either. It is not a browser problem my end as everything else works. The time is about 7 am on 7th March 2012 (London, UK). Update: 8:02 am - FB is back up! LOL This is probably just a maintenance session but it is strange that the whole site cannot be accessed.  You would have thought that they could maintain the site piecemeal without interrupting service to 800 million people! Maybe it is available in different countries or different places. I don't know. So many people rely on Facebook that if it is down for even a short time, people will become upset. It is a kind of a monster, actually. Think what would happen if Twitter shut down for a day. There would be rioting in the streets! LOL. The only other reason why it is d