Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Let's Look at Dog Eye Movements

Some researchers from the Department of Equine and Small Animal Medicine at the University of Helsinki conducted a study on the effect of oxytocin in domestic dogs.  Oxytocin is a neuropeptide that effects social behavior and emotional reactions in mammals.  It is commonly called the "affection hormone".

To see what adding more oxytocin might do, the researchers taught a bunch of dogs to rest their chins on a little bar (like at the eye doctor) so their eye movements and pupil dilation could be measured while they looked at pictures of unfamiliar human faces- some angry, some happy.  One group of dogs were given a placebo of nasal saline, the other group was given nasal oxytocin.

Dogs that snorted saline reacted more strongly to the angry faces.  Dogs that snorted oxytocin reacted more strongly to the happy faces.

The researchers concluded that oxytocin, when snorted "changes the allocation of attention and emotional arousal in domestic dogs".

What does this mean?  Well, similar studies were done with humans and monkeys but the results were not the same as with dogs.  The oxytocin caused the dogs to focus on the happy faces while the other species only reacted less strongly to both the happy and angry faces when under the influence of oxytocin.  Researchers think this selective response in dogs will maybe "facilitate communication between humans and dogs" (and monkeys and dogs, presumably).

It's clear to see, that there's still some kinks to be ironed out.  For one thing, in general, monkeys and people don't consider looking into someone's eyes as threatening as dogs do.  Does this skew the results?  It is difficult to imagine that it wouldn't.  Maybe the researchers will look into it.

Read the study here.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Seasonal Music

Spring is on the way.  Birdsong fills the air.

  Have you ever wondered about birds that cannot sing?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 66

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Our question today is about Daylight Saving Time.

What is it?

We set our clocks ahead one hour.
It was to "gain" an hour in the evening so
 kids wouldn't have to walk home from
school in the dark. 

Since kids don't walk home from school
anymore, why do they still do it?

So people can play softball after work.

The effects of Global Warming
 cause the sun to shine less.  We must 
preserve it.

Poppycock. Daylight Savings Time
is like cutting a strip off the top of a 
blanket and sewing it onto the bottom. 
It's one of those -let's pretend we're
 doing something meaningful- contrivances. 
 Inconveniencing  millions of people makes
 the myth easier to believe.

Hostmaster:  whose idea was Daylight Saving Time?

 Ben Franklin was first to suggest it
 to save lamp oil.

Early to bed, early to rise makes
a man healthy, wealthy and wise!

So let the early birds pay for
the extra hour of lamp oil!

can afford it.

Spring Forward!  
Fuddy-duddies must pay 
their fair share!

Do roosters sleep in
 after the Spring Forward?

Hostmaster:  no.  Most crow at will anyway.  However, many roosters crow even earlier after Spring Forward.   Revenge.  People aren't the only ones inconvenienced by this twice a year messing with the clocks stuff.

Many Amish people eschew 
Daylight Saving Time.

Hawaiians too.

And Arizonians, except
for Indian reservations.

We can't save light.
It comes from God.
We should all eschew 
Daylight Savings Time.

 Sorry Molly. Unless the end of the world
comes first, most of us will lose an hour on March 11th.
This round is over. 

Round 66
Fluffy/Molly  33
Bryan/Cyndi  30

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Case of the Missing Turkey

Do you know anything about the missing turkey?

What missing turkey?

You were seen.

That wasn't me.

Who was it?

This is a frame up!

Do you think it's a frame up too?

I can't talk with my mouth full.  Oh wait. I mean, no comment.

You just drove the getaway car, is that it?

In a manner of speaking.  I mean, no comment.

What was your cut?

Badgering the witness!

Say, is that turkey grease on your chin?

Who squealed?  The rabbit?  Eh, probably not, he's too busy with his riffs.

I'll bet it was that double crossing rat!

He got his cut.  I knew he couldn't be trusted!  Er, nothing.  Never mind.

I know.  It was that yellow bellied feathered freak!

He sang like a canary, didn't he?

I going out for some lunch.  You want anything?

No thanks.  I'm not hungry.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Are Neurotics more Bite Worthy?

Most dog bite studies are taken from hospital records of people being treated for dog bites.  Realizing that not all people seek medical treatment after being bitten by a dog, some researchers at the University of Liverpool took a different approach.

I may be an English Bulldog but I am in no way connected to this study.

A bunch of people were asked about their history of dog bites as well as general questions such as age, sex, etc.  Additionally, they were asked a series of questions to determine such personality characteristics as conscientiousness, extroversion-introversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

Hmm, so agreeableness and all that are flavors.

They found that children were at greater risk of being bitten than were adults.

We're too young for this.

55% of bite victims never saw the dog that bit them.

Stealthy biters or clueless victims- you make the call.

I just wish blood didn't stain.

Men are bitten by dogs more often than women.

If you wrestle with dogs, you better know the rules.

Emotionally stable people are less likely to have been bitten.

Choose your friends wisely.

I hunt neurotics.

Bad news for neurotics, we are a tag team.

One in three dog bites received medical attention.

Don't ask, don't tell.

People with multiple dogs are more likely to be bit.

Shut up and mush.

Since the researchers concluded that neurotics are at greater risk of being bitten, let's look at some of the problems linked to neuroticism.

Drug and alcohol problems are one example.

Do not neurotic and drive.

Neurotics are also at risk for developing panic disorder.

Don't panic or I'll have to bite you.

Neurotics are more likely to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome than non neurotics.

Clearly, being a neurotic is no picnic.

I am indifferent to studies of all kinds.  By the way, this leash is not secure. 

Read about the study here.