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Animals
image This software sounds like a joke, but I'm pretty sure it's real, in the sense that it's a product you can actually buy (whether or not it works is another question). It's PawSense, the software utility that catproofs your computer. "PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps." If it senses cat typing, it'll automatically block any further keyboard input and play a loud noise to scare the cat away. So this should deter those cats who like to sneak onto the computer when their guardian isn't looking and work on their own weblogs.
Categories: Animals, Technology
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 09, 2004
Comments (9)
image I realize that flatulence filters are real products (though I have had a lot of people tell me they thought they were a hoax). But I suspect that the Dog Thong Flatulence Filter has to be a joke. I mean, how well could it possibly work? It just doesn't seem large enough to fully contain and filter all the gas a dog can produce. And imagine having to strap it back on Fido every time he comes in from the yard.
Categories: Animals, Gross
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 29, 2004
Comments (7)
I've been getting a lot of emails about Allerca, the company that claims it will start selling genetically engineered hypo-allergenic cats in 2007. It may be that they never manage to do what they claim they will do. Or at least, they never manage to do it in commercially viable quantities. But I'm pretty sure they're very serious about trying to do it. But I think they should lower the price a bit. At $3500 a pop, these cats are only going to be for the very rich, considering that you can pick up a cat for free at the pound, and as they themselves admit, female cats are far less allergenic than male cats anyway.
Categories: Animals, Science
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 28, 2004
Comments (15)
The picture below, which has been spreading around via email, looks like one of those things that's too fantastic to be true. But it's real. The whale is Luna, a killer whale that showed up in Nootka Sound, Canada back in 2001. Luna had lost contact with his pod and didn't seem to know what else to do besides hanging out in the sound, interacting with all the people there. This picture was taken at the docks off Gold River. Scientists want to reunite Luna with his pod, but this is being resisted by members of the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations tribe who claim that Luna is the reincarnation of their late chief. image
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 28, 2004
Comments (22)
Occasionally you see news stories like this one about lost cats who are found hundreds of miles from home, having got themselves locked into moving vans by accident. But watch out. If you lose your cat, then later get a call from movers who say they've found your pet in their van, it can be a scam. As the Crimes-of-Persuasion site details, it's known as the Catastrophic Lost Pet Scam. Those movers don't really have your pet. They're just con artists trying to get you to wire them 'gas money' supposedly to help them return your precious baby to its home. But in reality, Snuggles ain't coming home. At least, not with them. Once they get your money, you'll never hear from them again. (via alt.folklore.urban)
Categories: Animals, Con Artists
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 20, 2004
Comments (3)
If you're curious about how to go about exploiting chihuahuas, then the Center for Chihuahua Exploitation is the site for you. If you dig around the site a bit, you'll discover some interesting facts, such as this: "Most people don't realize that the chihuahua is not a true member of the canine family. In fact, it shares the same ancestor as common rats. This opens up new possibilities for the scientific community as chihuahuas can now legally be used in place of lab rats for experimentation." That reminds me of the old urban legend about the rat that's mistaken for a dog.
Categories: Animals, Websites
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 18, 2004
Comments (3)
imageTake a look at this picture. Is it real or fake? It kind of looks like two cats held up one behind the other. But it's not. The picture is real. It's Octopussy, the 8-legged cat. It's a cat that was born in Norway in 2001. Information about it can be found over at Messybeast.com:
In 2001, I received an email detailing a conjoined kitten which was born in Østfold, Norway in April. Unlike the 1750 six-legged cat which was only doubled from the "waist" down, the Norwegian kitten was doubled from the neck down. It had eight paws, two tails and two chins and was part of a litter of six. The other 5 kittens were normal. The conjoined kitten died shortly after birth, which is not unusual for such grossly malformed offspring. The image indicates two tortoiseshell and white female kittens (incompletely separated twins) which were joined at the belly and which would have shared most of their internal organs. Had such a severely deformed kitten survived, such a gross deformity would have severely compromised its lifestyle and mobility.

Update: I really messed up on my first attempt at this post (I was writing it late at night), confusing the Norwegian cat with an American-born 8-legged cat called Octopussy. Part of the Octopussy story can be found here.
Categories: Animals, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 13, 2004
Comments (16)
image I know that ostriches can't fly. But can they ski? After seeing this video, I'm almost a believer. The rational part of my mind says that it has to be fake, but I can't see how they're doing it. Some kind of cg probably.
Categories: Animals
Posted by Alex on Fri Oct 01, 2004
Comments (12)
Is Norway really going to start promoting seal-hunting tourism? Apparently it is, if this article in Aftenposten can be believed (and I don't see any reason not to believe it). Here in San Diego seals are treated pretty much like royalty, and seal-watching is a major tourist attraction, especially in La Jolla (advice for tourists: the seals at seal island are fun to watch, but they stink to high heaven). So the idea of shipping in tourists to hunt seals seems bizarre... a bit like organizing kitten-hunting expeditions (or raising kittens inside of glass jars). No word yet on whether Norwegians consider seal-hunting to be a religion, but I suppose that's next.
Categories: Animals, Sports
Posted by Alex on Wed Sep 29, 2004
Comments (33)
image Do you suffer from irrational fears, unexplained twitching, or insomnia? If so, then the root of your problems may be childhood goat trauma, probably experienced at a petting zoo. The Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation exists to help you. Their site contains a wealth of information. For instance, did you realize that some malicious goats have learned to climb trees and drop down onto unsuspecting people? Or that there have been reports of roaming urban goats at large? Personally I can't remember ever having been traumatized by a goat... though I can recall a particularly nasty experience involving some geese who mistook my toes for food. (submitted by Terry Austin in the Hoax Forum)
Categories: Animals, Websites
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 28, 2004
Comments (5)
image The opening statement says it all: "I swear by God, I will have this lovely rabbit for New Year's Eve Dinner if my account doesn't show a balance of at least 1'000'000 € by latest 31st Dec 2004!" Wow. It's cute rabbit blackmail. How low can you stoop? One million Euros is a lot. I'm not quite sure of the current exchange rate, but I think that's about a million dollars. But if somehow the world does band together and raise the ransom, then Bernd will be given to a bunny breeding farm "where he can spend the rest of his life as playboy in a way that we would all be jealous of." Will Bernd really be eaten if the money isn't raised? I'm doubtful (which is why I'm putting the site up here), though I should note that Europeans eat rabbit quite often... so maybe Bernd should be searching for ways to escape. The Free Bernd group (in German) is circulating a petition to demand Bernd's release. And Rabbit Company appears to be some kind of German militant group threatening to rescue Bernd by force. The plight of Bernd reminds me of all the fuss about Grendel a year ago. I've actually eaten rabbit once before in my life when I was in France years ago visiting my Aunt. It tasted okay, but I don't think it's something I'd do again. For some reason it's just really hard to stomach eating cute, fluffy animals.
Categories: Animals, Food
Posted by Alex on Tue Sep 07, 2004
Comments (35)
Some guy in Cambodia is claiming that his dog has given birth to a kitten. As he says, "This animal cries like a cat, and its face is like a cat, but its feet are bigger than a cat's and look more like a dog's feet." Uh, yeah. It's feet look like dog's feet because IT IS A DOG! The guy is also insisting that anyone who wants to view the cat-dog thing first must pray to it. Unbelievable. Actually, the really unbelievable thing is that the media even bothers to report things like this. But wait, I'm posting about it too. So scratch that last remark.
Categories: Animals, Birth/Babies
Posted by Alex on Thu Sep 02, 2004
Comments (11)
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