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There are some research projects that just beggar belief i.e. that money is actually spent on this stuff. The latest case of this is an ‘experiment’ run down at the University of Portsmouth that has reached the stunning conclusion… wait for it… that dogs can understand some of their human’s perspective on things. Now, call me an ignorant non-scientific member of the general herd of sheep known as the dumb public, but you know what, I think you, or I, or even my dog could have told them that.

I know that subjective anecdote is not considered hard evidence in the scientific world but was it really necessary to run the following study. 84 dogs with their owners and a bowl of tempting food (not all in the same room at the same time one assumes); 84 dogs forbidden, in broad daylight, to eat the food. The dogs mainly comply. Then, the lights go off. Left in the dark with the humans that can’t see them: the dogs mainly eat the food. And I bet the dogs wouldn’t have been fooled if the researchers had made them put their paws over their eyes like those silly human babies are… Now you see me, now you don’t… The average poocher ain’t falling for that, no sir.

Any dog owner could have told you the same and the really intelligent ones don’t even wait until it’s dark – merely until your back is turned.

Dogs have a theory of mind? You betcha. Dogs, and other animals, are not the simpletons arrogant humans like to assume they are. Well, who knew? I mean, really.

Science? Have you really nothing better to do?


Rudi and Laddie: Plotting

One look at those faces tells you more about the inner life of dogs than some silly old lights on/off experiment.

Fallen Arches & Frankel

If you look at the word fallen for too long it looks odd, like we should pronounce it with a short ‘a’ sound like in cat.

And I suppose one automatically thinks of feet when thinking of fallen arches. That’s fair enough, apparently twenty-five percent of the American population suffer from them. In some African countries though, it’s a rare phenomenon, that scientists link to the wearing of shoes (bad) not wearing shoes (good). Shoes with arch support paradoxically allow your arches to simply collapse; rather like what happens to one’s middle if you never wear a pencil skirt beyond the age of sixteen and have no need to hold your stomach in…

When I was reading all this about fallen arches, I started getting other imagery coming through.

Destroyed ancient cities with marbled smashed arches crashed to the ground
The broken rainbow I saw last Saturday with the high arc section of its arch missing
A day when the golden arches of McDonalds are a forgotten brand of yesteryear
The American racehorse who was not quite out of the top drawer
Triumphal city architecture to make us shudder
Those unnecessarily sharp comments that we live to regret

And so on.

Saturday is a quiet day for blogging and I imagine there are not many that will read this post so I will also allow myself a fallen arch of narrative thread.

Frankel is due to make his last appearance at Ascot today, but connections report some slight concern about the state of the going. It is currently: soft, heavy in places. He may make a late withdrawal on account of it. I know some people who are going, people who will be devastated if the greatest horse most of us have ever seen is taken out of the race. My own heart prefers that we do not run our national treasure if the ground will be more than a minor inconvenience.

We do not want any fallen arches for the beloved Frankel. It will be an anxious wait.

The fallen arches of a double rainbow, Pawnee Grasslands, Colorado

Original image can be seen here