firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I should be working on processing the photos I took in Alaska, but there are 14,000 of them and mine and the OH's are all mixed together. So instead I went to a shoreline park in Alameda with [livejournal.com profile] bastette_joyce and a new-to-me camera and took these pix of birds, boats, grass, and freighters.

one photo )
http://www.flickr.com/photos/cat-and-dragon/sets/72157634627559881
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
http://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/Wardens-Go-Undercover-to-Crack-Down-on-Trophy-Animal-Sales-203101781.html
Excerpt:
Online marketplaces such as eBay have made it even easier for international sales of exotic animal parts such as ivory, rare animal skulls, horns, and other items banned for sale under state, federal and international law because they threaten endangered species.

To address the problem, the Peninsula Humane Society partnered with eBay to train volunteers to identify, report, and help investigate these illegal sales. In the first year, more than 2,000 items were removed from eBay after being identified by volunteers. In the first 3 months of 2013, some 1,300 products have been flagged.
Job description: http://phs-spca.org/volunteer/positions.html#InternetExaminer

I can see this program making a difference by watching the way the wording of ebay auction descriptions changes as sellers try to get further under the radar. For example, elephant ivory is illegal to sell on ebay, so sellers advertise real elephant ivory as "faux ivory" (but if you look at the pictures, plenty of the faux ivory is real).
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I failed to record the sources where I found these, but many are from [personal profile] andrewducker and [livejournal.com profile] moominmuppet

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112661209/young-gorillas-observed-dismantling-poacher-snares

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lyapalater/30-awesome-behind-the-scenes-photos-from-old-movie
"Old movies" are now movies made in the 70s and 80s, and in a couple of cases, 90s. Ghod.

http://boingboing.net/2012/07/23/eagle-scouts-stand-up-to-the-b.html
Some Eagle Scouts are returning their medals in protest of Boy Scouts of America homophobia and religious intolerance.

http://www.igda.org/why-crunch-modes-doesnt-work-six-lessons
Complete with equations! Now to get medical schools to also realize that days-long shifts aren't a good idea.

http://vimeo.com/28457062
Video of lightning captured at 7,207 images per second

http://www.salon.com/2012/07/21/paranoid_parents_kill_cities/
This is about how in the US and some other cultures, children are no longer allowed outdoors unsupervised.
"In the Sydney Morning Herald, a writer recently marveled at seeing children wandering unchaperoned all over Tokyo. When she worried to her Japanese colleague about the lack of adult supervision, he responded, “What do you mean, no adults? There were the car drivers, the shopkeepers, the other pedestrians.” In Japan, 80 percent of kids between 6 and 12 walk to school grownup-free."
Note: I don't judge any parents. But I wonder about the consequences of a culture where children are not allowed to have any time to themselves outdoors.

http://www.wired.com/underwire/2012/07/geeks-guide-ursula-k-le-guin/all/
Interview with Ursula K. Le Guin. Includes the cover of an SF Masterworks version of The Dispossessed that strikes me as the most awesome bookcover ever. This interview also links to an article Le Guin wrote for Harpers in 2008 about reading:
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/02/0081907

http://www.buzzfeed.com/whitneyjefferson/dc-and-marvel-superheroes-as-manatees
MANATEE SUPERHEROES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/happiness_is_about_respect_not_riches
Yes I agree, but that doesn't mean people who have survival needs going unmet are happy. So I hope no one uses it as an excuse to continue suppressing the minimum wage and promoting other underpaid work.

http://www.npr.org/2012/07/12/156664337/stereotype-threat-why-women-quit-science-jobs
How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science

And can I just say that I'm disgusted people are criticizing the body of a female swimmer who has won multiple gold medals? (Leisel Jones of Australia). I'm not linking to any of the news articles about it because they quote body hatred, but you can quack it.

http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/fluoride-lowers-your-iq-b.s.-headline-week
Fluoride lowers IQ, or does it? (How science is misreported, especially by people with an agenda.)

http://darkarchive.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/de-gendering-academic-dress-at-oxford/
I approve.

http://scienceinmyfiction.com/2012/07/23/science-fiction-fails-immunology/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/britain-flooded-with-brand-police-to-protect-sponsors-7945436.html
Olympics organisers have warned businesses that during London 2012 their advertising should not include a list of banned words, including "gold", "silver" and "bronze", "summer", "sponsors" and "London", if they give the impression of a formal connection to the Olympics.
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/pot-legalization-is-coming-20120726
Interesting article about the ramifications of various ways to legalize and regulate marijuana.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Recently I dug out my pretty-old-by-today's-standards camera (a Pentax Optio S4, which fits into an Altoid's tin) and took myself to the San Francisco Zoo and, on a day with interesting clouds, to Marina Park in Emeryville, which has great views of the bay and three different bridges. Photos are in the San Francisco set on my Flickr page. A couple of my favorites under the cut.
two photos )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I volunteer for Peninsula Humane Society, which has built a spiffy new center at 1450 Rollins Rd., Burlingame, CA

Here are some services that PHS offers at the new center:
  • Microchip Mondays --$20 microchip for dogs and cats, no appointment needed.
  • Group Tours -- M-F, 10:30 am- 5:30 pm. Contact Scott Delucchi at 650/685-8510 or delucchi@PHS-SPCA.org
  • Kids' B-Day Parties for ages 6-12, Sundays, beginning soon. Contact Katy Schwarz at 650/340-7022, ext. 308 or kschwarz@PHS-SPCA.org.
  • Meeting Space for Local Groups and Companies. Hold your next meeting, team-builder or brainstormer at our Lantos Center, Mondays and Fridays, 2-5 pm. Meeting space looks directly into a cat condo! Suggested donation of $100. Contact Scott Delucchi at 650/685-8510 or delucchi@PHS-SPCA.org.
  • Furchandise Retail Store. Proceeds benefit shelter animals.
  • 40-45 cats and kittens available for adoption.
  • Watch staff and volunteers working with shelter dogs in our Dog Training/Exercise Park with a retractable roof and water fountain.
In addition:
  • Wing for rabbits, small animals, birds and non-traditional pets
  • Viewing windows for the public to observe our Kitten Nursery and Wildlife Treatment
  • Dog obedience classes
Here are services still offered at the PHS center at Coyote Point:
  • Owners looking for lost pets
  • Owners surrendering unwanted pets
  • Spay/Neuter Clinic and vaccination clinics
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
I take photos of cats for Peninsula Humane Society's adoptable cat web pages. I usually end up taking a few photos that are too weird or silly to go up on the pages—here's this week's batch.
Read more... )
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Periodically, I receive a recorded phone message from PETA (People for the "Ethical" Treatment of Animals...I won't dignify their site by linking to it). I have no idea where they got my phone number; maybe they phone everyone. I usually hang up as soon as I know who it is, but today the machine picked it up.

They are asking people to support a California bill, CA A.B. 1634, that imposes a $500 fine on people who don't spay or neuter their pet dogs and cats by the age of 4 months. There will be some "intact permits" available for a fee.

There are a lot of different claims about what this bill means, so I went to the source. Here's my summary:

Intact permits will be available only for
(1) licensed breeders
or
(2) owners of purebred cats and dogs ("recognized by an approved registry or association") that are currently being "used to show or compete" under the auspieces of such an organization
or
(3) working dogs for "law enforcement, fire agencies, or legitimate professional or volunteer private sector working dog organizations"
or
(4) animals that have a letter from "a California licensed veterinarian stating that due to age, poor health, or illness, it is unsafe to spay or neuter the cat or dog. This letter shall include the veterinarian's license number and shall, if this information is available, include the duration of the condition of the dog or cat, and the date by which the dog or cat may be safely spayed or neutered"
or
(5) "guide dogs, signal dogs, or service dogs".

I think altering your pet cats and dogs is a good idea. I think there are too many unwanted animals. I think puppy mills are bad. (They are already against the law...commercial breeding requires a license.) I have no problem with individual businesses and organizations having rules that require spay/neuter before they'll provide you with an animal.

I also think that it's legitimate to pay a small extra fee if you want to have an intact animal. In San Mateo County the annual fees are $30 for an unaltered dog and $12 for an altered dog. But $500 is too much.

I am really uncomfortable with the idea that only "certified" purebred animals that are currently being shown or worked can be legitimately bred. Mixed-breed pets are just as valuable and useful as purebred ones, and there are lots of organizings sponsoring competitions and training for mixed-breed pets. This bill would legitimize only associations that restrict membership to purebred animals.

I think that purebred cats and dogs are often inbred and not as genetically sound as mixed-breed cats and dogs (I volunteer at an animal shelter, and the purebred animals that come in are on average less healthy than the mixed breed ones). Because of inbreeding, a certain number of purebred puppies and kittens will have genetic disorders that may cause them suffering. So I object to a law that limits breeding only to purebreds.

I think laws should be made with the assumption that people are basically going to do the right thing and should focus on punishing people who do harm, rather than trying to prevent harm by imposing restrictions on everybody. Of course I think some restrictions are legitimate—for example, I think the law that you need to stop at a red light even if the streets seem empty is legitimate even though it's a restriction—but responsibly breeding your non-purebred cat or dog should not be one of them.

As far as PETA is concerned, I know why they are supporting this bill: They would like there to be no pets and no pet ownership at all. I have heard that PETA euthanizes healthy adoptable animals that they received from people who believed they would find homes for the animals. So I think they will support anything that imposes restrictions on pet ownership and on breeding.
firecat: red panda looking happy (Default)
Three photos beneath the cut.

adoptable cat! )

another photo of the dragon's garden necklace )

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