Friday Morning Open Thread: Travelling On

travels w ch nickie

From commentor Travels with Charley:

I am a longtime Balloon Juice lurker (2008) de-lurking to send my favorite dog pics. The large brown poodle is Charley, the small one is Nicky. So far, the traveling has been strictly metaphorical!

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The Always Wrong Oracle has spoken!

So it looks like Trump’s speech will have been effective… at turning out the Democratic vote.

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Apart from admiring a most elegant duo — and girding ourselves for the DNC next week — what’s on the agenda as we wrap up a busy week?

travels w ch duo

travels w ch charley



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Uptown Sophisticates

tweedles anne m

From commentor Anne M:

Meet the Tweedles, a.k.a. Tweedledum and Tweedledee. The picture was taken during a relatively calm moment – these 8-month old kittens go balls-to-the-wall most of the time. They were feral kittens who were rescued when very young. One of my friends says that they “went uptown” from a cage at Petsmart to a 2000 sq. ft. house with a 5-foot cat tree, drinking fountain, and automated litter box (thanks Werebear!).

For the curious, the edgy bodymods are how some trap-neuter-release groups identify the ferals who’ve already been doctored. Since the clipped eartip is obvious even in low light conditions, rescuers don’t have to keep putting those cats through the stress of being trapped & handled. Fortunately these guys were young enough to overcome their aversion to warm beds and modern litterbox technology!

Apart from watching (or not watching) the ongoing RNC meltdown, what’s on the agenda for the day?

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Also, John Williams is a very nice man:


(via)



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Better Than Trump

stinger ThreeDogNight

From commentor Stinger:

Memento of the day all my nights became three dog nights. Murray (L) and Josie (C) were joined by Oliver (R). Among the lessons learned: Never have more dogs than you have hands, because when you start to pet one, the others all come running and elbowing each other aside and then no one has any fun. But otherwise, they’re a pretty tight little pack.

Better together!

Another maize byproduct to deplore — “corn sweat“:

“Corn sweat” is an extremely simple way of referring to evapotranspiration, the process by which moisture in plant leaves evaporates into the air. Plants draw water out of the ground through their roots for photosynthesis, and the water in the plant cells is exposed to the air once it gets above the ground. It evaporates off the leaves just as sweat evaporates off our skin — although it doesn’t take place to keep the plant cool, like it does for us.

So evapotranspiration is not making things hotter. But it is making things more humid — which can certainly be just as bad.

In regions where there are vast swaths of any plant, corn in particular, humidity can be notably higher than it otherwise would be. And the Midwest is covered in corn. Over 94 million acres of corn was planted in 2016, the USDA reported last month, up 7 percent from 2015 and the third-highest corn acreage in the United States since 1944.

These regions are where the humidity is more likely to be higher because of evapotranspiration. During big heat waves, this translates into a higher heat index — or what the temperature feels like to our living bodies. When it’s 90 degrees out but the relative humidity is 40 percent, it pretty much feels like 90 degrees. When it’s 90 degrees and the relative humidity is 95 percent, it feels like an oppressive 117 degrees…

Charts’n’graphs at the link.

Apart from trying not to drown in the RNC schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the day?
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Monday Morning Open Thread: Onwards!

mr mack companions

From commentor Mr. Mack:

Can’t have a preponderance of cat pics, amirite?

Back in the political world, the Washington Post is tired of trying to reason with some people

Both are unpopular. Only one is a threat.
…[T]he two major-party candidates for president are historically unpopular. But if this election is unusually bad, it is not because both parties chose bad candidates. There is no equivalence between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton — as even responsible Republicans should be able to recognize.

Ms. Clinton is a knowledgeable politician who has been vetted many times over. She understands and respects the U.S. Constitution. She knows policy. She can cite accomplishments in the public interest, such as pressing through an important children’s health insurance program during her husband’s administration. As a senator, she was respected by colleagues on both sides of the aisle. She completed four years as secretary of state to generally positive reviews. She began her presidential campaign by rolling out a series of serious policy papers…

Mr. Trump, by contrast, has waged a campaign based on bigotry, ignorance and resentment. He has no experience as a public servant, and his private record of bankruptcies and exploitation should be disqualifying. He regularly circulates falsehoods. He has no dis­cern­ible interest in or knowledge of policy…

…[T]o equate the two candidates as indistinguishably unqualified products of a rigged or failed system only feeds public cynicism while blurring distinctions that should not be blurred. Ms. Clinton is a politician, long in the arena, whom you may or may not support. Mr. Trump is a danger to the republic.

Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, what’s on the agenda for the start of another week?



Smile and Wave Boys, Smile and Wave: Dogs and Penguins Edition

A pair of Maremma Sheepdogs in Australia have become the protectors of a waddle of penguins Down Under.

These two dogs are an Australian penguin’s best friend — with skills that have saved as many as a two thousand birds in the last ten years.

Foxes had nearly decimated the population of ‘little penguins’ on Middle Island — killing nearly 200 a year.

But, since 2006 when Eudy and Tula started guarding the species, which is the smallest type of penguin in the world, there hasn’t been any evidence of a predator attack.

After the dogs started patrolling the island, the flock grew from a low of just 10 birds to more than 150 today.

It was a local chicken farmer, Swampy Marsh, who first suggested using the large, white Maremma sheep dogs as penguin guardians because they were so good at protecting his free range hens.

The community of Warrnambool sponsored the dogs’ training and still provides homes for them through the winter.

During the penguins’ mating season, the dogs patrol the island five days a week, spending their days off at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, where they meet visitors and help educate people about conservation.

(H/T: to a commenter in one of yesterday’s posts at Little Green Footballs)

And because its in the title:



Friday Night Open Thread: Cats Who Are Not People Persons

via JJMcNabb’s twitter feed
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The average cat is not interested in the media spotlight — especially when they can’t be confident they’re looking their best. Read the whole thing.

Yes, I am (also) a mean heartless person, but keep in mind all these cats are at least alive & in safe hands. Heavily gloved hands, one hopes.

What’s on the agenda as we start a badly-needed, hopefully-low-news-impact weekend?



Monday Morning Open Thread: Happy Independence Day!

Too late for this year, but they’re working on a drug for that. Per the Washington Post:

As dog owners may know, roughly a third of dogs are susceptible to what veterinarians call noise aversion. When exposed to loud sounds, the pooches may shake, whine or, worse, scamper free from their leashes and homes in search of safer havens. Fireworks are a powerful trigger.

With training, like the techniques used to turn gun-shy pups into hunting dogs, pets can learn to stop fearing fireworks. There are a number of temporary solutions, too, recommended by groups like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Some owners transform a tub or closet into a pup-friendly refuge. Or they try to tucker their pets out in the hours before the festivities begin so the animals snooze through the blasts. (The ASPCA also has an app to track lost pets.)…

And if Fido is not appropriately mellowed out despite being confined in a tub, secured in a ThunderShirt or spiked with melatonin, there is now a drug specifically meant to treat dogs with noise aversion. Approved by the FDA in November under the trade name Sileo, the drug is an oral gel containing a pinch of a chemical called dexmedetomidine. Squeeze a bit of the gel onto a dog’s gums before fireworks, and as the drug is absorbed it dulls the effects of norepinephrine.

Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter with similar effects to adrenaline, and when suppressed it curbs the flight-or-fight response. Dexmedetomidine works a similar way in us, too, as doctors have used the drug to relax humans undergoing colonoscopies. The goal, according to Zoetis, the animal health company marketing Sileo in the United States, is to calm spooked dogs without stupefying them…

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Apart from keeping an eye on the four-foots (and possibly enjoying the sparkly boom-claps your own self), what’s on the agenda for the day?