Halloween Sheep

We certainly didn't intend this, but our barn is the perfect horror venue for sheep on this All Hallows Eve...

We have three sheep currently in our medical stall - one belongs to my friend Tim: we're keeping 16 of his sheep for a month to give his pasture a break.

She ripped off most of the skin on her snout, right down to the skull. This happened about four weeks ago, so the wound itself is healed, but her skull bone is still visible, and probably always will be. We nicknamed her "Scarface".

About a week ago we brought Jihad in - at first we thought it was mastitis, but finally came to the conclusion that Neo the mini-horse had trampled her. Neo has a new home now - we couldn't tolerate that kind of behavior no matter how cute he was. She's pretty beat up and sore, and when sheep get that way they tend not to eat. We've practically had to force feed her - we think she'll recover but right now she's positively skeletal.

And finally, what did we find this morning but Stubby, our oldest ewe and a Horned Dorset, literally covered with blood. She had removed one of her horns! Probably either got it caught in the fence or (more likely) by butting heads with another ewe or wether. She'll be fine, but horns have a lot of blood vessels, and she looks like an extra in one of the chainsaw massacre movies.

The rest of the flock keeps coming over to the gates and gawking at the three wounded girls, then moving on out to the paddocks, just like people do when they visit a seasonal "haunted house". I wonder if they know it's Halloween?

20:43 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Irrational Decisions – Anchoring and Arbitrary Coherence

Now this is absurd - but apparently quite accurate. Scary and fascinating ...

Professor Ariely describes some experiments which demonstrated something he calls “arbitrary coherence”. Basically it means that once you contemplate a decision or actually make a decision, it will heavily influence your subsequent decisions. That’s the coherence part. Your brain will try to keep your decisions consistent with previous decisions you have made.

(link) [The Rat Race Trap]

20:26 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

This Is Your Brain on Kafka

Q: How many Zen monks does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Two - one to prepare the dinner and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly colored machine tools.

Tomato guppy!

Does absurdist literature make you smarter? Giraffe carpet cleaner, it does!

(link) [Miller-McCune News Blog]

20:22 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

How Terahertz Waves Tear Apart DNA

We never seem to learn, do we? We are monkeying about with forces that we just barely understand, and are bound to pay a price. I wonder who'll will be the next group of radium girls?

Great things are expected of terahertz waves, the radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and the infrared. Terahertz waves pass through non-conducting materials such as clothes, paper, wood and brick and so cameras sensitive to them can peer inside envelopes, into living rooms and 'frisk' people at distance. That's not to mention the great potential they have in medical imaging. Because terahertz photons are not energetic enough to break chemical bonds or ionize electrons, it's easy to dismiss fears over their health effects. And yet the evidence is mixed: some studies have reported significant genetic damage while others, although similar, have reported none. Now a team led by Los Alamos National Labs thinks it knows why. They say that although the forces that terahertz waves exert on double-stranded DNA are tiny, in certain circumstances resonant effects can unzip the DNA strands, tearing them apart. This creates bubbles in the strands that can significantly interfere with processes such as gene expression and DNA replication. With terahertz scanners already appearing in airports and hospitals, the question that now urgently needs answering is what level of exposure is safe.

(link) [Slashdot]

19:42 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

How dangerous are coyotes?

In the humble opinion of this heathen farm boy, the article is both right and wrong. Right in the sense that coyotes are naturally human avoiders, and we (humans) are certainly in more danger from pit bulls and other feral dog breeds. My sheep are in danger of both.

It's wrong in that feral domestic dogs, which are dumped in the country with amazing frequency, can and do breed with coyotes. "Coy-dogs", they're called around here, and they can and have attacked people and livestock. That's the real danger. Packs of these half-breed critters have cut and brought down grown bulls as well as kids on bicycles.

The problem would be solved if only city folks would stop driving out to the country and dumping litters of unwanted puppies. But that, of course, would mean wholesale reform of our animal welfare system.

I'm not holding my breath, but I am buying more ammo.

Coyote populations are growing, in the wild as well as in populated areas where they hunt for pets and garbage. But attacks are rare and, statistically speaking, coyotes are far less of a threat than pit bulls.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor]

19:36 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Snake-smuggler fails to slip past customs

Snakes alive! They only found him because of the tarantula! I wonder if Samuel L. Jackson was on that ferry?

A man has been arrested in Norway for attempting to smuggle snakes about his person in a case that has brought a very literal meaning to the term "trouser snake".

(link) [The Guardian]

21:27 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

Governator in acrostic 'f**k you' outrage

I'm not a fan of Conan the Republican but I have to admire the general cleverness of this veto message ...

Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger has told Democrat San Francisco assembly member Tom Ammiano just what he thinks of him and his "infrastructure financing districts" bill in a letter which explicity slams the latter, while firing a delicious acrostic broadside at its author.

(link) [The Register]

19:22 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

Islamic countries push a global 'blasphemy' law

A test of the Obama Administration ... based on their (admittedly short) track record, I'm not holding my breath.

As a new member of the UN Human Rights Council, the US must persuade other countries not to go along.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

19:30 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Ahead of their time

The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese ...

This list should serve as a warning to those who think that being the first to think of something will lead to any easy road to success.

(link) [IT World]

via CodeProject

07:16 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Clean Smells Promote Ethical Behavior

So a bean supper would be the most unethical place on the planet?

A recent study is suggesting that moral behavior may be encouraged with nothing more than clean smells. The Brigham Young University professor found a "dramatic improvement in ethical behavior with just a few spritzes of citrus-scented Windex." "The researchers see implications for workplaces, retail stores and other organizations that have relied on traditional surveillance and security measures to enforce rules. [] Perhaps the findings could be applied at home, too, Liljenquist said with a smile. 'Could be that getting our kids to clean up their rooms might help them clean up their acts, too.' The study titled "The Smell of Virtue" was unusually simple and conclusive. Participants engaged in several tasks, the only difference being that some worked in unscented rooms, while others worked in rooms freshly spritzed with Windex."

(link) [Slashdot]

22:19 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

Christians 'should wear crosses'

And Heathens should wear Hammers ...

Do You Wear Your Hammer?

Do you wear your Hammer
Around your neck each day?
Does it say 'I'm Asatru!'
Or is it tucked away?

Does your speech do credit
To Asatruar kind
Or do your friends have cause to doubt
Your cleanliness of mind?

Will you answer truly
When asked your state of faith?
Do you, in face of Christendom
Vanish like a wraith?

Do you search for knowledge
And credit Odhinn's aid?
Do you show Frigg's charity
and love that will not fade?

Have you defended clan and kin
Against the sland'rer's edge?
Or have you, by your nod,
Helped to drive the wedge?

Are you fost'ring hatred
In breast that should be clean?
Are you worthy of the task
Or are your motives mean?

What you do today, my friend,
Is how you shall be known.
And by inference, all of US
By your actions, shown!

And thus do Asatruarfolk
All, each other represent!
In thought, and word and action.
In garb and temperament.

And we ALL represent the Gods
For from Them, we descend!
My Asatruar friend!

Do you wear your Hammer
For Asatruar Kind?
You must wear it on your clothing
    ©1995 Sylvia Stevens

A bishop calls for Christians to wear their crosses to work to show Christianity is not going to 'disappear quietly'.

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

22:11 /Asatru | 1 comment | permanent link

Banker bonuses minute, says Duke

I suppose if I were a hereditary welfare recipient on the scale of the Duke of York, I'd think a few measly millions of bonus money paid by taxpayers was minute, too.

The Duke of York defends bonuses paid to bankers, telling a newspaper they are "minute" in the scheme of things.

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

21:54 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Henge with no stones

Continuing my fascination.

Archaeologists have discovered Stonehenge's little sister - just a mile from the famous monument.

(link) [Daily Mail]

21:02 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Apple Seeks Patent On Operating System Advertising

The future is here, brought to you by ...

If anybody actually implements this, it will insure that Linux on the desktop gains unstoppable traction.

On April 18, 2008, Apple Computer applied for a patent relating to an 'invention' that allows for showing advertisements within an operating system.

(link) [Slashdot]

17:14 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Musicians demand Guantanamo Bay playlist

OK, it's torture.

A coalition of musicians is demanding the US government cough a list of tracks allegedly used to torture inmates of Guantanamo Bay, as former prisoners claim they were subjected to the Bee Gees, Britney Spears and Sesame Street at "ear-splitting level"

(link) [The Register]

08:24 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link