Aug 042017

Scientists tally the environmental impact of feeding meat to our cats and dogs. It’s huge

Short form: cats and dogs eat a whole lot of meat, and meat requires water and carbon dioxide emissions to make. thus, kitties and puppies are destroying the planet and you should feel bad for enabling the horrible little monsters. Granted, the author of the study specifically says that he’s not advocating getting rid of pets… but you can bet that the environmental whackos *will.* Keep in mind, the Venn diagram covering “environmentalists” has a lot of overlap with “PETA people,” and there have been few organizations more enthusiastic about killing cats and dogs than PETA.

Something that confuses me a bit… yes, animals are turned into kibble, but it’s hardly like this is a wholly separate industry from human food-animal production. The pet food “environmental impact” should therefore be simply a fraction of the agricultural environmental impact that has no doubt already been calculated.

Also: yes, the current process for feeding cows and pigs and such is a major environmental issue. You have to grow corn (or wheat or whatever), which requires tractors and irrigation and the like. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t *need* to. Cows can eat *grass.* Yes, it takes a lot more grass than corn to fatten up a cow, but in many places grass grows for free, on its own. During the “Old West,” grillions of cows roamed the plains gnawing on wild plants. Before them, jillions of bison did the same. So except for the fact that the country is now divided up into itty bitty chunks, this process should still be feasible, and would seem to be reasonably carbon neutral.

So, if we are all agreed that the environment is in danger and we need to do whatever we can to reduce the carbon footprint, perhaps we should consider the use of eminent domain in order to buy up a lot of terrain to turn it over to natural grasslands and cow feeding ranges. The government can use its overwhelming force in this time of crisis to use eminent domain to take the bank accounts and property of environmental activists and pressure groups and use that money to buy land currently used to grow corn.

 Posted by at 7:21 pm
Jul 012017

A USAF film from the early 60’s showing some of the things the Air Force was doing to prepare for spaceflight. Parachute tests, ejection seats, various acceleration tests are shown. At about 3:30 several cats are shown in an aircraft doing zero-g maneuvers. The cats are obviously not happy about this. In general, taking cats along on a zero-g flight is something I’m not opposed to… humans living in space are undoubtedly going to take pets with them, and it’d be good to figure out what species can handle what. But the cats obviously are confused, having no idea whatsoever what’s going on… and the humans are having too much fun screwing with them.

 Posted by at 4:06 pm
May 122017

In this time of chaos, when a barbaric ideology is causing havoc in not only the Middle East but also the civilized world, when the President is clearly delusional and his political opponents are even worse, when we have “anti-fascist” movements proving that fascism is a real threat in the world today by actually being fascistic… we need someone who can clearly and succinctly express how we all feel. And I believe that someone is Raedthinn.


 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Mar 092017


Sage the cat died this afternoon.


This led off the local nightly news tonight.

Clearfield family finds beloved cat shaved, beaten

There are photos that will ruin your mood and, if you’re at all like me, make you want to set up a second reward. The first rewards is $5000 for anyone who can provide tips that lead to an arrest. But I kinda want a second reward set up for *after* the suspect is found, arrested, tried and convicted.

Chances are good that this was done by a kid. If so, I expect to see family members yammering on about “he’s a good kid” or some such factually indefensible rubbish.  Whether perpetrated by a kid or an adult, though, society doesn’t need him among us. If someone can provide a good, valid reason why a jail term followed by deportation to Somalia isn’t a proper response for such behavior, I’d like to read it.

The Humane Society of Northern Utah is paying the vet bills. As of the news report, it was far from clear that Sage the cat would survive. I certainly hope he does… partially just on general principles, partially because this cat, after being tortured and broken and blinded, managed to find his way home and crawl in through the dog door.


 Posted by at 3:36 am
Jan 152017

First there’s this…

First female ringmaster takes reins at Ringling Bros. circus

But then, on the same day…

APNewsBreak: Ringling Bros. circus to close after 146 years


Let me guess: that first female ringmaster was Counselor Deanna Troi. They put her behind the wheel and she promptly crashed the circus.

Seriously: I was almost surprised to find out that Ringling Brothers Circus was still a thing. Don’t they have an app for that?

 Posted by at 1:51 am
Jan 042017

A number of years ago I blathered on about an Idea-with-a-capitol-I that I had: drain the Great Salt Lake, scrape the muck out of the bottom, use blasts and bulldozers to dig it a hundred feet deeper, then run vast pipelines from the ocean to re-fill it with ocean water. Stock it with ocean life, in particular species that are being fished to extinction, set in place some *vast* recirculation and filtration systems, and shazam, now Utah becomes a paradise for both ecologists and fishermen. It was of course a ridiculous notion. but there ain’t no harm in dreaming big.

In the years since… there has been no progress on this idea. Oh well.

But something there *has* been progress on is land-locked aquaculture, raising food-fish in giant farms. Such as here:

Can farmers in Iowa help save the worlds seafood supply?

Where we read about a former hog farm that has been transformed into a fish farm. The waste water is not truly wasted… it goes to irrigate the same farmers corn fields, and the fish poop in the water becomes fertilizer. It seems to be a pretty good system, except that the fry (baby fish) are all flown in from Australia, not made on-site. As vast as the place is, it’s still pretty small compared to a conventional ecosystem.

Converting the Great Salt Lake into a living inland sea would be a chore, but the end result *should* be large enough to successfully host the complete life cycles of many species of ocean fish (and crustaceans, cetaceans, etc.). One advantage that making this a salt-water environment would have over fresh water aquaculture is that in the event of rains and floods, if the salt water critters get into surrounding rivers, they are unlikely to become an invasive species and damage the native system.

Still, good to see Flyover Country  expanding its economic base to aquaculture. With the rise of wind power, solar power, small-scale manufacturing/rapid prototyping, the need for high-density peoplefarms will hopefully decrease.


 Posted by at 10:14 pm
Dec 312016

Here’s an interesting – if a little sad – video showing a cat after the owner leaves.

It’s usually inappropriate and very likely highly inaccurate to anthropomorphize the critters in out lives. What seems like an expression of sadness or joy might very well mean something entirely different… for example, my cat Fingers occasionally makes this horrifyingly mournful sound, as if she was grievously wounded. And it’s always associated with her carrying around a toy (or, on occasion, an actual mouse). What sounds like “woe is me” is apparently more like “look what I caught.”

With dogs, their emotions are likely more readily understood for the simple reason that we have spent the last 15,000 or so years hammering them into creatures that conform to our worldview. What appears to be a happy dog is almost certainly a happy dog. But a cat? Their reactions are not ours. And like any good higher animal, the reactions of one cat are not necessarily the same as another cat… they are individuals. So I can state with reasonable confidence that while my cats are likely satisfied cats, only Buttons would I rate as a usually “happy” cat. That feller really does enjoy life on a level most humans would envy.

But the fact that I cannot necessarily promptly read a cat doesn’t mean that their happiness is irrelevant. There are times I come home and find them waiting for me… and they are *not* out of food. So perhaps cats do miss their humans. Cats are more social than a lot of people give them credit for being. That’s why I will probably always have two or more cats if I have any cats. If there’s even the slightest chance that the cats in the videos are as lonely as they seem to human eyes and ears, it would be cruel to force that loneliness upon them.

 Posted by at 6:59 pm
Dec 052016

In Britain, trespassing doesn’t seem to be a crime. Heck, it seems that trespassing is specifically *legal,* with “roamers” being given extraordinary protections under the law while they are clambering around on property that is not their own.  Witness:

Cow attack farmer given suspended sentence over walker death

In short: someone decided to go wandering around on a farmers property, property that had cows on it. You know, those big-ass thousand-pound bundles of muscles, anger and dumb. This someone took his dog with him… you know, those yappy little bundles of energy that cows Just Don’t Like. In the end, the cows stomp the dude to death.

So how does the British legal system respond? Not by admonishing the walkers family for having raised a dumbass, too stupid to recognize that other people property is, you know, not his, and too stupid to avoid animals that *individually* could easily kill him – and which come in herds. Instead they punish the farmer for not having somehow made his farm idjitproof.

 Posted by at 11:55 pm