Humans and dogs no longer so different

Coronapanic in the U.S. has enabled humans and dogs to share more experiences. #CovidBringsUsCloser From Palm Beach Gardens, Florida:

(“Dogs are required to be vaccinated and display current licenses.”; compare to “San Francisco’s new rule: Proof of vaccine or no dining in” (AP) and “De Blasio sending workers to see if restaurants follow vaccine mandate” (New York Post))

Separately, is “All Dogs Welcome” hate speech in the same way that “All Lives Matter” is?

Regarding the digging, my Samoyed breeder said “They dig in the winter to stay warm. They dig in the summer to get cool. They dig in the fall and spring to keep in practice.”

Finally, check out the adjacent playground for kids, almost entirely covered by shade structures:

One thing that I have noticed about Florida is the investment in public leisure facilities: parks, bathrooms, playgrounds, water parks, etc. All of these are vastly superior to and better-maintained than their counterparts in Maskachusetts despite the higher percentage of residents’ income consumed by taxes in MA (Tax Foundation). Also, as long as we’re talking infrastructure, the electricity grid here is remarkably robust. Every day or two it sounds like the world is ending via a thunderstorm and yet we have yet to observe even a momentary power glitch.

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Hyundai electric cars actually do have dog mode

Although I have new respect for Elon Musk due to his scorn for coronapanic and his success with SpaceX, I still don’t love the idea of driving a Tesla (no Apple CarPlay, dashboard replaced by an oddly-placed screen, the image of being a climate zealot (like the jet fuel-pumping Bill Gates!)). Hyundai has all of the bones for a good dog mode, so to speak, e.g., a big battery and an efficient heat pump. This presumably extends to Hyundai’s sister car company, Kia, which just released the EV6 (charge for 4.5 minutes to drive 60 miles… after driving 60 miles to the nearest high-speed charging location).

The clever British have figured out that dog mode already exists in Hyundai EVs. It is buried in the menu structure as “utility mode” and locking the car while in this mode requires using the mechanical key (buried inside the electronic key).

I don’t think I would buy one until I had verified at the dealership that this works on a U.S.-spec car.

One good thing about Hyundai and Kia is that they remain eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, unlike Tesla. So if you’re a high-income person you can enjoy the spectacle of low-income Americans being forced to work longer hours to pay for a portion of your shiny new car.

Tesla anecdote: I asked an engineer friend if he still liked his Tesla 3. He said that he did, but his wife (a doctor) hated it, finding the “autopilot” jerky/scary. “I enjoy monitoring the system,” he said. I’m consistently confused by the conflation of attempted self-driving and electrification. Why should we expect an electric-powered car to drive any differently than a Toyota Camry? We used up so much energy plugging the thing in every night that now we’re too tired to turn the steering wheel?

Where will we charge this thing? “Biden’s spending plans could remake the economy, says Nobel Prize winner Stiglitz” As in Aladdin, it will be A Whole New World:

A Nobel Prize-winning economist says he not only endorses President Biden’s expected $4 trillion infrastructure spending plan, but expects that it could break the U.S. out of the low-growth, low-inflation environment that has existed for the past 20 years.

See also “Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan calls for EV rebates, 500,000 charging stations”.

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When someone complains about wearing a mask…

… show them this post from a Facebook breed group:

I am extremely allergic to my golden too. Three or four times a year I was getting sinus infections that turned into pneumonia and kept me sick for MONTHS. We made these changes:

We bought a dyson vacuum and religiously vacuum every other day.

I pull the bed out and vacuum under and behind it because I found her fur actually quickly builds up in those areas “hides” behind places like that and the sofa.

I use a swifter wet jet under the bed and under other surfaces help a LOT because it picks up those micro dust hair particles which affects allergies.

We deep brush her twice a week.

We change the AC filters monthly to the strongest allergic kind.

I’ve not been sick for over a year since we started this routine. (I do still take singulair, levocetrizine and Flonase daily). But this has all really worked. Good luck.

(The gal who posted the above followed up with “I absolutely love love love my dog so much. She’s worth every minute.”)

I feel that this is a contender in the topping competition that one sees regarding coronaplague masks. “Our First Responders do X, Y, and Z, and you can’t simply wear a mask all day?”

Readers: Agree?

Also from this golden retriever group, an owner with a 6-month-old golden and a 2-month old Chihuahua asked how to prevent the two from breeding. I responded

Every Chihuahua should be neutered! No dog should be smaller than a big rat.

The comment attracted 10 positive reactions (like/laugh). I dug into these. All but one reaction was from a Facebook user with a female-associated first name.

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Togo, the Disney sled dog movie

If there is a dispute in your household regarding whether a big furry dog is allowed to sleep in the bed… Togo is the movie for you! This is a fantastic (in all senses of the word) dramatization of the 1925 dog team relay that brought diphtheria antitoxin serum to Nome.

The best part, from my point of view, is that the growth of a character (and in every Hollywood movie, of course, someone has to grow!) is demonstrated by abandonment of a previous objection to a dog sleeping in the (humans’) bed.

Recommended if you’ve got a Disney+ subscription. (Does it qualify as “the best piece of art in any form that I have ever seen in my life,” as Michelle Obama said of Hamilton? Maybe not, but it has Arctic dogs and, at least when presented on a TV, it holds the viewer’s attention much better than Hamilton.)

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What to do when a family member is an anti-masker?

She walks by “We Believe… Science is Real” signs every day and yet…

I mentioned the need to follow guidance from Dr. Fauci (not last month’s guidance, of course, but this month’s!):

What to do with this household member who puts herself, her family, and the entire country at risk?

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Car/Kennel

Conventional wisdom says “never leave a dog in a car” because he’ll die from the heat.  A modern car, however, has nearly all of the makings of a perfect kennel:  (1) two energy sources:  battery and gas tank/engine, (2) fans that can bring in fresh air, (3) interior temperature sensors (cars where you set “72 degrees” on the dashboard), (4) power windows, (5) clear windows that are coated with high-tech materials that reject IR and UV light.  Plus the car is a familiar place for the dog and most dogs seem to prefer being in their normal car to being tied up somewhere unfamiliar.  With 100 lines of computer programming a car could do the following:


1) blow air in or, ideally, out of the car when the temperature rose above 70 degrees


2) roll down the windows a bit


3) turn the engine on and start the air conditioner, notifying the owner that it was getting a bit roasty out there for Fido [doing this mass-market would require a working wireless Internet infrastructure in the United States, something that has been discussed here earlier but is apparently not a high priority for our politicians]


4) if the gas tank were getting low, roll down all the windows and shut off the engine, notifying the owner that the dog was at risk of escape or theft


The system could be made a bit better if the car had, in addition to the windows, a slideable stainless steel or Kevlar mesh that could roll up and down.  Then the dog and the car could be secure with all the windows up.


Because car makers don’t open their computer systems to programming (I never thought I’d say this but I wish that cars ran Windows XP so that I could add the above features myself in Visual Basic), it isn’t possible to build this right now very easily.  However, I think I have a solution.


Suppose that you don’t really use the back seat of your car.  You can install a stainless steel wire mesh on the inside of the back windows, essentially stapled to the door frame.  Attached to the inside of the mesh on one side put a 12V exhaust blower fan.  You can now roll down the rear windows, put a sunshade across the windshield, and the temperature inside the car should not exceed the temperature outside.  Maybe add a provision for a temporary fine-mesh screen for summer evenings so that mosquitos don’t get into the car.


One issue with the car/kennel idea is that the motor might run the battery down.  However the only time you’d want to use the fan is in the summer when the battery power is at its peak and the power required to start the engine is at its lowest.  You wouldn’t be leaving the dog for more than an hour or two so even the most powerful fans wouldn’t exhaust the battery.


I’m planning to do this with my next car.  I like minivans because it is easy to keep a bicycle in the car (I have trouble walking so like to have a bike available at all times).  There are some new minivans available that have middle windows that roll down, e.g., Toyota Sienna 2004.  Before I trade in my 5-year-old minivan I am hoping that someone will introduce a gas/electric hybrid minivan but if it doesn’t happen by February 2004 I’ll buy a new Sienna and start stapling.


Better ideas anyone?

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