Dog walkers face increasing menace from large cows

Wait till he tries for the gate and cut him off!

Dog walkers who take their pets on countryside strolls have been warned that they face a growing menace from temperamental continental cows.

Hard-pressed farmers have been gradually replacing more docile native breeds in favour of the larger and more profitable – but potentially more aggressive – Limousin and Charolais.

Over the past two decades, with supermarket customers demanding ever cheaper meat, the rather more docile Hereford, Aberdeen Angus and British Friesian have started to be phased out. It means that, while walkers out with their dogs would be wise to be wary of any breed, the character of the animals they are likely to come across in farmers’ fields may be very different from what they had experienced in the past.

Bryan Jones, a former vice president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales, said the Limousin and Charolais tended to be “more temperamental, more highly strung”…

His warning came after retired school secretary Marilyn Duffy, 61, was trampled to death by a herd of cows as she walked through a field just yards from her home in Radyr, near Cardiff.

The animals involved were believed to be Friesians and Mr Jones said that in general all breeds of cattle “don’t like dogs”.

Dog owners whose pets are attacked by cows are advised to let the dog go as when let off the leash it should be able to outrun its pursuer.

Consideration of this problem is nothing new for folks like me who lives places where the law defining fences – for example – is that you are fencing something out not something in. That’s because until recently the county where I live in New Mexico was classified as open range. You don’t want cows in your front garden? It’s your responsibility to keep them out.

As for breeds like Limousin? Coming upon just a few of these critters while out on a stroll – with or without Fido – is like casually waltzing back into the days when wooly rhinos dotted the mesa tops. They are huge! I would be afraid of one stepping on me just by accident.

Genetically engineered virus kills tumor cells – alone!

Researchers have shown for the first time that a single intravenous infusion of a genetically engineered virus can home in on cancer, killing tumor cells in patients without harming healthy tissue.

Scientists have been intrigued for decades with the idea of using viruses to alert the immune system to seek and destroy cancerous cells. That interest has taken off in recent years as advances in genetic engineering allow them to customize viruses that target tumors…

In a study published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, scientists at institutions including the University of Ottawa and privately held biotech company Jennerex said a small, early-stage trial of experimental viral therapy JX-594 found that it consistently infected tumors with only minimal and temporary side effects.

The experimental virus will next be tested in a mid-stage trial of patients with liver cancer.

With chemotherapy you get drastic side effects,” said Dr. John Bell, chief scientific officer at Jennerex and senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. “Patients on this treatment only had 24-hour flu symptoms, and nothing after that.”

The trial, which involved 23 patients with various types of advanced cancer, was designed to assess the safety of JX-594. It also found that six of the eight patients given the two highest doses saw their tumors stabilize or shrink…

He also said that because the Jennerex virus can be given intravenously, spreading throughout the body, it may hold promise for limiting the ability of cancer cells to metastasize and spread.

Bravo. Especially in the dramatic reduction of side effects.

Ikea branch in Shanghai offers matchmaking corner

A branch of Ikea in Shanghai has set up a special “match-making corner” after its cafeteria became a favourite spot for amorous Chinese singles.

For the past year, large groups of middle-aged Chinese men and women, typically aged between 40 and 60, have gathered at Ikea’s branch in Xuhui in the hope of finding love.

The singles parties have taken place every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, when the Swedish furniture store offers free coffee to holders of its membership card…

Ikea said it was forced to set up a special area for the would-be lovers to stop them from being a nuisance to other customers.

“Before we set up an isolated area for them, they occupied the seats in the dining area for a long time, and thus other guests could not find a seat,” said Shen Jinhua, an employee, to the Shanghai Daily newspaper. “And sometimes our business went down by 15 per cent on their ‘party’ day.”

The marketplace of commerce has long been a useful place for like-minded singles of any age to find each other. Though usually it takes a certain level of maturity for the idea to even occur to someone.

I remember back in the day haunting the baking aisle of better supermarkets – knowing that a conversation about using a biga as the foundation for bread-baking versus following a same-day recipe would likely offer as much potential for a date with a sophisticated someone – as just another variation on focaccia.

Republicans want cuts to hurricane research – Duh!

C-130J-30 and WC-130J flying over Katrina repairs in progress

The National Hurricane Center says it successfully predicted Hurricane Irene’s North Carolina landfall over the weekend and its destructive route up the U.S. East Coast.

But if members of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives wielding the budget ax in Washington have their way, future accurate forecasting may not be guaranteed and even curtailed, critics including hurricane experts say. Proposed cuts in the budget of the U.S. weather agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and in funding for new satellites to help improve severe storm warnings, could undermine the NHC’s forecasting ability.

“There are certain people that think all we have to do is cut spending,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, told reporters in a visit to NHC headquarters in Miami on Thursday.

Nelson said that defunding NOAA programs that provide “hurricane hunter” aircraft for researching the intensity and track of hurricanes was “like cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

Well in advance, the Miami-based hurricane center came within about 10 miles of pinpointing the location where the center of Irene came barreling across North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Saturday in its first U.S. landfall.

This remarkable precision, especially given the massive size of the storm, has been credited with reducing costs by preventing unnecessary evacuations and other preparations, and probably saving lives…

Cuts proposed by a committee of the Republican-controlled House include a 42 percent reduction in funding for NOAA’s “hurricane hunter” planes, Nelson said.

Bill Read, the National Hurricane Center director, called the instrument-packed aircraft the “backbone” of storm surveillance and one of the big reasons the United States consistently does a much better job forecasting the track of a storm than any other country around the globe…

“It is our only real tool to know exactly what’s going on at the time we put out our advisory on the structure and the intensity of the storm,” Read added, referring to the closely watched hurricane forecast updates issued by the Miami center.

I can’t think of anything polite to say about Know-Nothing Congress-Creeps who would cut science budgets that provide specific life-supporting services as an immediate result of their research. The economic benefits alone are significant and should be – even to dimwits whose idea of weather forecasting is wetting one finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind is blowing.

Journal editor resigns over failure to verify crap he published

The editor of a science journal has resigned after admitting that a recent paper casting doubt on man-made climate change should not have been published.

The paper, by US scientists Roy Spencer and William Braswell, claimed that computer models of climate inflated projections of temperature increase. It was seized on by “sceptic” bloggers, but attacked by mainstream scientists.

Wolfgang Wagner, editor of Remote Sensing journal, says he agrees with the criticisms and is stepping down.

“Peer-reviewed journals are a pillar of modern science,” he writes in a resignation note published in Remote Sensing. “Their aim is to achieve highest scientific standards by carrying out a rigorous peer review that is, as a minimum requirement, supposed to be able to identify fundamental methodological errors or false claims.

“Unfortunately, as many climate researchers and engaged observers of the climate change debate pointed out in various internet discussion fora, the paper by Spencer and Braswell… is most likely problematic in both aspects and should therefore not have been published…”

In essence, Dr Wagner, a professor of remote sensing at Vienna University of Technology, is blaming himself for this failing. But he also blames the researchers themselves for not referencing all the relevant research in their manuscript.

“The problem is that comparable studies published by other authors have already been refuted…, a fact which was ignored by Spencer and Braswell in their paper and, unfortunately, not picked up by the reviewers…

Scientific papers that turn out to be flawed or fraudulent are usually retracted by the journals that publish them, with editorial resignations a rarity.

But Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said Dr Wagner had done the decent thing. “It was a mistake, he’s owned up to it and taken an honourable course, and I think he’s to be commended for it,” he told BBC News.

“I think it remains to be seen whether the authors follow a similar course.”

Since the authors of the crap article have their strongest commitment to right-wing politics and a “Christian” view of science – I think there is little or no likelihood of honor and ethics straying into their path.