Thursday, October 29, 2015

15 Facts Cat Owners may not know about their Cats

Today, October 29, is a National Cat Day! “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Charles Dickens once mused. Cats are one of the most beloved human companions of all time. They were first domesticated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent as early as 12,000 years ago. When humans relied on hunting as their main source of food, dogs were most useful – but when the first agricultural societies emerged, cats became invaluable. Domesticated cats became responsible for keeping grain stores free of mice and other rodents. Today, cats can be found in 34% of American households, making them the most popular house pet in the United States.

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Here are some amazing facts about cats, you may not been aware:

1. Cats can drink seawater
If you’re ever lost at sea, don’t drink the ocean water. The large amount of salt in the water dehydrates humans. Cats, on the other hand, can drink sea water in order to survive. Cats have crazy kidneys that filter out the salt from the water so they can re-hydrate themselves.

2. Cats sweet through their paws
Cats do not have sweat glands, like humans. Instead, when they want to cool off they sweat through their paws. The sweat glands on cats’ paws secrete a scent that they use to mark their territory. So whenever they are walking or scratching they are actually marking that spot as their own.

3. Cats as sleeping beauties
How much time do you sleep daily? Not enough I guess? Well, if so you would be jealous as your favorite kitty spends 70% of his lives sleeping? That’s 16 hours a day! Cats need an enormous amount of energy to hunt, or pounce on the little toy mouse they have. Sleeping is their way of storing up energy.

4. Kitty Alzheimer’s
Senior cats start to experience something like human dementia or Alzheimer’s when they reach an old age, usually around 8. The cats wander around the house a little dazed and confused, which is why they meow constantly. If your cat is displaying these symptoms, experts say it is best to comfort it and provide an extra blanket at night.

5. Whiskers purpose
Unlike men’s mustache, cats’ whiskers grow to be as long as the cat is wide. Whiskers don’t just make cats adorable they also serve an important purpose. Cats use their long whiskers to make sure their body will be able to fit through tight openings. If the whiskers bend or move, the cat knows it won’t be able to fit.

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6. Survival rates for cats are better when falling from higher heights
It takes some time for cats’ bodies to realize they are falling and properly adjust. Cats are more likely to survive a higher fall because they have more time to prepare their body and decelerate. The death rate for cats falling from a 2 to 6-story building is much higher than falling from a 7 to 32-story building. Some cats have survived falls of over 65 feet (20 meters), due largely to their “righting reflex.” The eyes and balance organs in the inner ear tell it where it is in space so the cat can land on its feet. Even cats without a tail have this ability. Humans are definitely not as good at it. In 1972, stewardess Vesna Vulovic lived after falling over 9,000 meters—30,000 feet—from a damaged plane, but that is kind of a very rare exception.

7. Cats might be allergic of humans
Does your cat cough frequently? You might be to blame. According to a 2005 study, feline asthma—which affects one in 200 cats—is on the rise thanks to human lifestyle. Since cats are more frequently being kept indoors, they’re more susceptible to inflammation of their airways caused by cigarette smoke, dusty houses, human dandruff, pollen and some kinds of cat litters. And in rare cases, humans can even transmit illnesses like the flu to their pets.

8. Cats are sophisticated animals
Sure, their brains are small, accounting for just 0.9 percent of their body mass. But according to Psychology Today, "the brains of cats have an amazing surface folding and a structure that is about 90 percent similar to ours." The cerebral cortex—the part of the brain that's responsible for cognitive information processing—is more complex in cats than in dogs, and cats have some 300 million neurons, as compared to 160 million in dogs. Some research does suggest that dogs are slightly smarter than cats, but cat owners might have a different opinion on that.

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9. Cats don’t like sweets
Cats aren't interested in sweet stuff because of a defect in the gene that codes for part of the mammalian sweet taste receptor. The receptor contains two protein subunits, T1R2 and T1R3, which are each coded for by a separate gene. The defect occurs on the T1R2 protein in domestic cats, as well as in cheetahs and tigers.

10. Cats can’t see food?
Yes, it may be the case: cats can’t see directly below their noses. That’s why they miss food that’s right in front of them. In general, a cat’s eyesight is both better and worse than humans. It is better because cats can see in much dimmer light and they have a wider peripheral view. It’s worse because they don’t see color as well as humans do. Scientists believe grass appears red to cats.

11. Where the cats’ navigation capabilities come from?
Cats’ homing instinct may be due to magnets in their brains. Cats find their way home through a process called “psi-travelling” — experts think they navigate via the angle of sunlight, or that they have magnetized brain cells that act like compasses.

12. Right and left handed cats
Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed. Interestingly, while 90% of humans are right handed, the remaining 10% of lefties also tend to be male.

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13. Cats on diet
Foods that should not be given to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach and gas. Like some humans, as they grow, cats stop making the enzyme lactase, which breaks down their mother’s milk. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants. Feeding cats a dog food or canned tuna that’s for human consumption can also cause malnutrition.

14. Earthquake monitor
Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Cats are said to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.

15. Cats and depression
The latest studies revealed the strange correlation between the cats’ ownership and level of depression. Unlike expected, the correlation is positive, and claims that having a cat at home puts the owner on higher risk of depression and suicide. That is not right! Cat is the most therapeutic pet, being able to calm down the distressed owner. So what is the catch? While it is still under investigation, the common consensus is that the guilty is parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, commonly found in cat feces, which might be infecting the brains of cat owners, causing the depression (well, that  theory works well for the specialists who believe that infection is the main source of the clinical depression). Another research claims that owning a cat can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than a third.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Last Moment Halloween Costume Selection

Well, the Halloween is coming really soon, and you got it under control – your costume is ready to final details, and you expect to have a lot of fun. But, if you need emergency fix, and you still have not decided in favor of particular character, stop and check this site! You may find that you do not want to choose whatever most people may shoot for, having the similar ideas.

Google's new Frightgeist map allows you to see exactly, what are the most popular costumes around the country... just to avoid using them.  You can check the popularity of the particular costumes on multiple levels – nationwide, state, city you – all based on Google searches.

Just to give you an idea, here are the top nationwide leaders:
1. Harley Quinn
2. Star Wars
3. Superhero.

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But who cares if most of the costumes in New York will be from Star Wars, as soon as no one will be in these costumes at your party in Denver? That is correct, check locally and avoid crowds.

For example, the most popular costume in Alaska is Pirate, In Montana, that is Batman and Batgirl, and it is Dinosaur in Austin, Texas.

Get the fresh Google creature – Frightgeist:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Who cares if Russian missiles aimed at Syria killed civilians in Iran?

After distinctive failure in Ukraine, Russian military forces shifted their disastrous criminal activities to the Middle East, in efforts to restore its downgraded reputation for having strong and efficient forces and to save its long-term ally Assad from being overpowered by the opposition.  

Russian involvement in Syrian bloodshed is getting deeper and more distinctive, and yesterday, it was outlined from somehow unexpected angle.  Yesterday, Russia fired at least 26 Kalibr cruise missiles from their ships in the Caspian Sea, aimed at the predefined 11 targets in Syria. Because of their launching location, the missiles had to fly through northwest Iran and northern Iraq to make it to their targets in Syria. Based on the CNN reports, at least four of the launched cruise missiles indeed crashed in Iran, harming several Iranian civilians.

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It is not exactly clear if these crashes occurred during a new round of attacks today or if officials are referring to yesterday’s launch, although they say there may have been casualties associated with the wayward missiles. Yesterday, Russian officials claimed that all the missiles they fired made their way to their targets precisely, over a range of almost 1,000 miles. This is unlikely as even the highly proven American BGM-109 Tomahawk, with over 2,000 uses, still experiences an occasional failure.

Therefore, the mere use of cruise missiles, launched from Caspian Sea against targets in Syria, is quite a questionable subject. Russia has sufficient air force, deployed in Syria and capable of striking harder than a Kalibr cruise missile ever can. Since there is no anti-air threat aimed at Russia in Syria, they could simply use their fighter and attack aircraft to strike these targets instead of sending expensive missiles through two of countries to do so. So, experts suggest that the only reason for such peculiar act is to show off its capabilities in the region and to fly over Iraq in defiance of the United States and its coalition partners. Additionally, all the ships and missiles used in these attacks are for sale. In other words, demonstrating their capability on the world stage is great marketing.

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Well, missiles hitting the supposedly friendly country to the spot, located extremely far from the original targets, cannot be considered as a successful marketing campaign. The same as Putin’s efforts to show that Russia is “wild and dangerous player” on the World political arena has turned into farce.

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Iran's Irna news agency reported on Wednesday that an unknown flying object had crashed in the village of Ghozghapan in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan, said to be under the missiles' flight path. But conservative Iranian media described the reports of missiles landing in Iran as "psychological operations by the US against Moscow". Iran has huge hopes on Putin to save Assad presence in Syria, so destroying a single village is not a sufficient reason to spoil relationship with one of the few Iran’s supporters in the World.

As you may guess, Moscow, meanwhile, denied the U.S. allegations, with Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov saying the accusation "more than vividly characterizes a current level of political culture of certain representatives of U.S. administration. More precisely it characterizes their level of cynicism as regards to the rest of the world."

Russia inadvertently revealed problems with seaborne missiles this summer when its navy conducted an errant launch. The episode happened during a military parade in Sevastopol, the Crimean port city annexed from Ukraine in 2014, when a missile blew apart on a ship during a demonstration firing. Spectators wondered aloud what had happened after pieces of the missile flopped into the sea.

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Some Russian analysts say the Kremlin is using the conflict in Syria to test a new generation of weaponry from a major procurement program that military officials began in 2010 after years of oil-boom profits.

There is one more theory, which you may consider as far-fetched, but do not waive it right away, no matter how strange it may sound today. Several experts mentioned that Russia deliberately goes to the open conflict with the West in Syria (incidents with Turkey, American Drones, and Israeli war planes) trying to create the situation when its military plane can be shot down by the coalition forces. The reason – to divert World attention from the independent report on the responsible for the Boeing destruction over the Ukrainian skies. The informational leaks suggest that the main responsibility for the terrorist act will be ultimately put on the Russia-supported rebels in Eastern Ukraine, at least, or direct involvement of the Russian military in the terrorist act might be pointed out. That would be extremely dangerous development for Putin as it may lead to the new round of sanctions against Russia, and could bring him and his circle one step closer to the Hague Tribunal.

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