Sunday, January 23, 2011

American Border Collie Has Largest Known Dog Vocabulary NYT: Chaser, a border collie who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., has the largest vocabulary of any known dog. She knows 1,022 nouns, a record that displays unexpected depths of the canine mind and may help explain how children acquire language. Chaser belongs to John W. Pilley, a psychologist who taught for 30 years at Wofford College, a liberal arts institution in Spartanburg. In 2004, after he had retired, he read a report in Science about Rico, a border collie whose German owners had taught him to recognize 200 items, mostly toys and balls. Dr. Pilley decided to repeat the experiment using a technique he had developed for teaching dogs, and he describes his findings in the current issue of the journal Behavioural Processes. He bought Chaser as a puppy in 2004 from a local breeder and started to train her for four to five hours a day. He would show her an object, say its name up to 40 times, then hide it and ask her to find it, while repeating the name all the time. She was taught one or two new names a day, with monthly revisions and reinforcement for any names she had forgotten. Border collies are working dogs. They have a reputation for smartness, and they are highly motivated. They are bred to herd sheep indefatigably all day long. Absent that task, they must be given something else to do or they go stir crazy. Chaser proved to be a diligent student. Unlike human children, she seems to love her drills and tests and is always asking for more. “She still demands four to five hours a day,” Dr. Pilley said I’m 82, and I have to go to bed to get away from her ; Sit. Stay. Parse. Good Girl! New York Time

Where will you be in 3011? The little red book that swept France
Just as he "cried out" against Nazism in the 1940s, he said, young people today should "cry out against the complicity between politicians and economic and financial powers" and "defend our democratic rights acquired over two centuries. The latest call to (non-violent) arms has turned a 93-year-old war hero into a publishing phenomenon

Take a book of just 13 pages, written by a relatively obscure 93-year-old man, which contains no sex, no jokes, no fine writing and no startlingly original message. A publishing disaster? No, a publishing phenomenon. Indignez vous! (Cry out!), a slim pamphlet by a wartime French resistance hero, Stéphane Hessel, is smashing all publishing records in France. The book urges the French, and everyone else, to recapture the wartime spirit of resistance to the Nazis by rejecting the "insolent, selfish" power of money and markets and by defending the social "values of modern democracy". The book, which costs €3, has sold 600,000 copies in three months and another 200,000 have just been printed. Its original print run was 8,000. In the run-up to Christmas, Mr Hessel's call for a "peaceful insurrection" not only topped the French bestsellers list, it sold eight times more copies than the second most popular book. Mr Hessel, who survived Nazi concentration camps to become a French diplomat, said he was "profoundly touched" by the success of his book. Just as he "cried out" against Nazism in the 1940s, he said, young people today should "cry out against the complicity between politicians and economic and financial powers" and "defend our democratic rights acquired over two centuries".

Missing More than A Finger – Please Help ; [ ; ]
• · The Bell Principles, new guidelines for candidates and elected representatives, have been adopted by the Independent Network (IN). Martin Bell, the former Independent MP and supporter of the Independent Network tabled an initial draft of his principles as guidelines for Independent candidates at the IN’s strategy meeting on 25th September 2009 We have a former politician coming out of retirement to espouse the Bell's principles here in Australia. Good luck John Hatton,you have my support ; John KayeNSW Parliament Bitter Pills To Swallow?
• · · The government has withheld details so it is impossible to do an analysis write Bob Walker and Betty Con Walker Flailing in the dark for answers on electricity sale ; Why isn't the NSW Opposition Leader filling the airwaves with the Government's failures? Andrew Elder takes a closer look at Barry O'Farrell and his unusual media strategy A Gentle Reminder From Barry O'Farrell; Journalists share an uneasy yet cosy relationship with the politicians they use as sources with both sides using available media for their own ends, neither of which usually serve the public good. Journalists and politicians: A double danger to democracy ; If he wins, O'Farrell can pull the plug - on his own term; David Shoebridge
• · · · The erosion of the ALP’s long grip on the working-class vote in NSW has been spectacular NSW Labor – Degeneration versus resilience; NSW The Developer’s State = Some might say that the Greens have not stepped up to the plate and sold themselves as a credible alternative to both Labor and Liberal. Hatton hot to trot ; Parra Mattas covers business and economic activity in the capital of Western Sydney, Parramata, and around a region which accounts for about 40 per cent of the economy of metropolitan Sydney - Australia's global city. Parra Mattas Parliament's poor porn probe exposed
• · · · · A case for voting Labor in NSW?; Mike Carlton At last, a policy from Barry O'Farrell! Nothing to set the world aflame, mind you, not a clarion call to the ballot box policy-free zone ; Mike Carlton ; THE state opposition has allowed the mining industry to rewrite parts of its regional land use policy, deleting commitments to toughen regulatory compliance on miners, leaked documents reveal. Coalition lets miners write lands policy
• · · · · · Public forum - NSW electricity privatisation; The public-relations nightmare is likely to continue next Monday, with eight former power directors refusing to attend hearings because of doubts about their legality, despite being summonsed by the committee. Power sell-off worsens for Keneally ; Poor Kristina Keneally doesn’t seem to be having much luck lately. Keneally insults everyone and is running out of luck.