Gibson, world’s tallest dog, dies in California

Gibson, who gained fame as the world’s tallest dog has died in California. Gibson, a certified therapy dog dedicated his life to giving comfort and happiness to everyone along his path.
Gibson was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. After the diagnosis his owner and Gibson startted a campaign to spread the awareness of canine cancer, Three Paws for the Cause. One of Gibson’s front legs had to be removed because of the cancer. Last week the cancer spread to Gibson’s lungs and spine. Gibson’s sad owner had to make the hard decision to put his beloved friend down. Gibson was seven years old. NBC Bay Area reports:

“Last week Gibson began having trouble using his back legs,” said Dr. Peter Walsh, Gibson’s veterinarian, in a prepared statement. “X-rays showed that the cancer had spread to his spine and his lungs. Ms. Hall made the very difficult decision based on her concern and love for Gibson to have him humanely euthanized. Gibson died peacefully in the loving arms of Ms. Hall.”

Gibson was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s tallest dog. He was 42.2 inches tall, and when standing on his hind legs is over 7 foot tall. Gibson appeared on the Larry King Live show and worked in the entertainment field. Gibson also released a book, “Gibson Speaks.” His owner Sandy Hall admits that Gibson had help with writing the book of Gibson’s feats. Zoo Too reports:

“Gibson was destined to be, and still is, he’s a certified therapy dog,” Gibson’s owner, Sandy Hall, told Pet Pulse. “He does wheelchair assistance and he does special needs work. But he did nothing but train and go into practical applications for the first two and a half years of his life. “We started off with little nursing homes and our hospital here is only two floors. We live in a small community.”

His memorial site is online.

Women Eat Less When On a Date

Perhaps the best dieting tool for ladies is to eat out with single men. A study by Canada’s McMaster University shows women eat less calories when dining with men than alone or with other women.
Scientists have confirmed what men have known all along, women order a salad instead of a steak when they are on a date. The study was recently published in the international journal Appetite. When women are dining out with men, either alone or in a mixed-gender group they order smaller caloric meals than when they are dining with other women. The less men in the dining picture the more hearty a meal will be ordered by a lady. When dining with men in a group the average woman’s meal was 450 calories compared to the 700 to 750 calories when dining with other women. reports:

“It seems to fit with our intuition. We always hear advice about going on a first date and only eating salad,” said Young, a PhD candidate with the university’s department of psychology, neuroscience and behaviour. “Our hypothesis was that we use food to signal attractiveness: ‘We’re healthy. We’re in good shape. we’re pretty.”

Researchers observed 469 people dining alone, couples and larger groups over four weekdays during one week at three different large cafeterias in Hamilton, Ontario. The observers did scan sampling, observing the room and gathering the data that happens at that moment. The researchers recorded the food items in front of each person other than beverage choice. The teams then converted the caloric information of each meal using data from the dining management of each cafeteria. The researchers at McMaster University believe that this act is a subconscious way to attract a mate. Newslite reports:

“It is possible that small food portions signal attractiveness, and women conform, whether consciously or unconsciously, to small meals in order to be seen as more attractive,” says researcher Meredith Young.

Opinion: Let’s All Get A Kenyan Birth Certificate

Do you have a Kenyan birth certificate? It’s not hard to get one with the Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator. All it takes is a few minutes to fill out the details and you can be Kenyan or make a Birther’s version of President Obama’s birth document.
This past weekend ‘Birther’ Orly Taitz said she had the real birth certificate of President Obama showing Kenya as the nation he was born in. It was a forgery. The real document that she was using was for David Jeffrey Bomford who was born in April 1959 in Australia. Salon reports:

“That is ridiculous. Little old person in Adelaide, the President of the United States. I don’t know whether to laugh about it or not, be worried about it,” Bomford said. “It is interesting, someone from here being involved in a conspiracy — that is so funny …. It’s definitely a copy of my certificate. It’s so laughable it’s ridiculous.”

There is plenty of software on the Internet to produce fake documents. Of course Taitz is not admitting to committing the crime of fraud when it comes to the fake documents that she paraded over the Internet early this week. President Obama’s birth certificate has been public since June 2008. That hasn’t stopped the Birthers from looking into any dark corner to find something that will prove their claims. Each claim gets wilder. Obama is a closet Muslim. Obama is Kenyan. Obama runs with scissors. One day we may even hear a rumor that Obama plays with dolls. Perhaps we should all make our own Kenyan birth certificates and be part of the Birthers’ 15 minutes of fame.

One in Four Tweets Created by Bots?

As many as one in four tweets on Twitter are sent by automated bots but most of those tweets are not spam. Around 32 per cent of all tweets made by the most active Twitter users were generated by machine bots
With most Tweets made by actual humans the social network is not going anywhere soon. It’s estimated that by 2010 there will be over 18 million people worldwide using Twitter. Most Twitter users hail from the United States with 60.6 percent of tweets. The United Kingdom comes in a far second place with only 6.91 percent of users. Japan, Canada and Brazil round out the top five twitter usage. Almost half of those that use Twitter have more than 100 followers. Mashable reports:

We found that 32% of all tweets made by the most active Twitter users were generated by machine bots that posted more than 150 tweets/day. The actual percentage of machine-generated tweets among the most active users is probably higher than 32% because there many bots that update less than 150 times/day.

With over 3 million Tweets a day Twitter users appear to actively use the social network a lot. The average user sends 15 messages a day.

Ontario Living Pink Balloon Event is Slated for September 5

On September 5 The Living Pink Balloon Event will take place at Alderville First Nation Ball Diamond. The goal is 500 people wearing pink t-shirts forming a giant pink balloon in order to give Sick Kid’s Foundation $10,000 for brain research.
The Living Pink Balloon comes from two families dealing with the effects of brain disorders and their want to give back to Sick Children’s Hospital. Last September Hollie Gray, 10, was found unresponsive at her home. Her parents called for help and paramedics quickly took the little girl to the hospital. On route to Northumberland Hills Hospital Hollie’s heart stopped. Hollie was revived. At the hospital a mass was found on her brain. That discovery lead to a quick transfer to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto where her parents were told that their little girl was brain dead. The parents were approached by Trillium Gift of Life to discuss organ donation. Hollie’s parents decided that her spirit had to live on in others. Tanya Gray told Digital Journal that the day before her daughter Hollie died from a brain aneurysm she was joking and laughing while watching television with her family. “She had a mild headache the day before. I thought maybe she had the flu. Hollie was such a go-getter kid. She went to bed and just never woke up.” Brenna was diagnosed with craniopharyngioma or pituitary tumor in 2008. She had early symptoms that were unexplained until she had a CT scan after a third seizure. The little girl was taken to Sick Children’s Hospital in Toronto. There she received treatment and is living a near normal life today. The families are asking people to purchase a pink t-shirt by August 20 from The Scissors Edge (1-905-352-2211) and Our House Snack ‘n’ Go in Alderville and at Herbal Magic in Cobourg, Ontario that will be on hand at Sick Kids on September 5 at the hospital. The goal is that 500 people in the t-shirts will help to form a human pink balloon to show recognition for the staff at the hospital. All proceeds will go to brain and behaviour research. Daryl Crowe says, “We understand that there are many causes and people are stretched thin but Sick Kids has touched everyone in some way. So please come out and help us give back.” On September 5 The Living Pink Balloon is hoping to gather 500 people in one place as a symbol of solidarity of support for Sick Kids Foundation wearing pink t-shirts. One giant pink balloon. The September 5 event will feature prizes, BBQ and Pony Rides. The cost is $25.00 a person which includes a Living Pink Balloon T-shirt. The shirts will be available for pick-up at the event. Please reserve your spot by August 20. Tanya Gray is encouraging companies to have teams register along with individuals. All proceeds from the event will go to Sick Kids Foundation.

Central Park Hosts Bed-In For World Peace

The World March for Peace and Nonviolence is holding a bed-in on August 16 for world peace. The celebration is the 40th anniversary of Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s famous bed-in.
The August event is a tribute to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s cause for world peace. The event will take place at the Cherry Hill Fountain in Central Park at 1 PM. A “Peace Bed” will be in place for musicians and those in attendance to express their thoughts on peace and violence the same way Lennon and Ono did 40 years ago. Yoko Ono has endorsed the project.

Yoko Ono sent this message to the organizers, “Remember, each one of us has the power to change the world. Power works in mysterious ways. You don’t have to do much. Visualise the domino effect. And just start thinking PEACE. The message will circulate faster than you think. It’s Time For Action. The Action is PEACE. Spread the word. Spread PEACE.“

Press representative for World Peace March Nicole Myers told Digital Journal that a new peace song will be recorded live at the event. We Want Peace on Earth will be performed by Mark Lesseraux. The song will be in a special double CD of peace songs being produced by Sony, Myers said. “The new song was written and dedicated to the World March for Peace,” said Myers. Myers was very excited about the event and the upcoming global march for peace. She said that there will be music at the Central Park event. The World March will be held in seven continents starting October 2 in New Zealand. It will go around the world ending on January 2, 2010 in Argentina. If you’re in New York City on August 16 check out this special and timely event.

Opium addictions plague Afghanistan

Afghan families are dealing with a double problem when it comes to poppy fields. With a governmental ban on the production they face prison or poverty. They also have to deal with the huge addictive nature of opium, made from the milk of the plant.

It’s a race against the calendar for British and United States to convince Afghan farmers to replace their yearly poppy crops with another seed. The planting season starts in October. In a nation where the population has become addicted to the drug made from poppies, opium, that will be a hard sell. Farm workers make double the money in poppy fields than when working with other crops. While using lower prices for wheat seeds could have a short term affect for some poppy farms the long term could be an additional problem. As poppy fields are replaced by wheat and fruit fields those who stay in the business will make even more money. When there is less of a product that is desired the price can be jacked up. Opium is part of the Afghan culture. Many areas used it as the common currency. It is grown in most family plots. That has changed as the government enforced a ban on the production of opium though. That ban has put many in this struggling nation in deep debt. reports:

“Now we don’t even have 10 Afghanis ($0.25) to give our children to buy bubble gum,” opium farmer Abdul Hay says. “Before they would go into the field and collect the money themselves.”

With the ban working well in most of the county now only seven of the 34 provinces have large fields. The rest of the nation is dealing with the poverty that the ban put into place with growing anger. Those farmers who could easily take care of their families with one crop of poppies struggle with reduced crop productions. The newer crops that the government suggested require fertilizer and water, two things that poor farmers can not afford.

“See this mustard? It can take care of my family for one month,” says 25-year-old farmer Abdul Saboor, pulling up a shoot of the green plant and snapping it open with his teeth. “When we planted opium in this same plot, it took care of all our expenses for an entire year.”

In many areas of the county entire families are addicted to the drug. Nationwide there are one million addicts according to the United Nations. That number say local drug counselors is at least double. Almost a quarter of the addicts are children and their mothers. Children grow up inhaling the smoke as their parents pass around the pipes. The government has buried their heads in the plentiful sand. CBS reports:

“Even Afghans aren’t aware of this problem, most people thought we were producers not consumption,” said Mohammad Zafar, Deputy Minister of Counter-Narcotics.

Families will use their last coins to buy more opium instead of food. Dirty, hungry children stumble around in an opium daze. The more remote villages are baring the brunt of the addictions. There are no treatment centers around the corner to contend with the effects of the addiction. In most of these small villages it is over a day’s walk to medical help. Opium is their medicine. The Toronto Star reports:

“Opium is our doctor,” says Beg, an addicted villager. “When your stomach hurts, you take a smoke. Then you take a little more. And a little more. And then, you’re addicted. Once you’re hooked, it’s over. You’re finished.”

Opium addictions quickly spread like wildfire through villages. Those addicted have no money to feed their families. Their neighbours provide for them but as they feed more and more they too become poorer. One mother Najiba started to feed her family the powerful drug to keep them from shivering in the cold winter. She brews the opium as a tea, its cheaper than food and she says brings her hungry family some happiness. Families sell their children for another fix. It is an endless cycle for these families. The Star reports:

Mohammad Asef, a health worker at the clinic taking care of Zaihar Pari, says he is worried about the boy’s chances of recovering. “In America people go and get high in the park. In Afghanistan, they do it in the home,” says Asef. “They bring it inside. They burn it on the family stove. Everyone sees. So everyone is affected.”

There is no quick or easy fix for Afghanistan’s poppy problem. Without crops that make more money the farmers will continue to be in debt. Without hundreds of treatment centers focusing on the most remote locations addiction will continue to multiply. Both issues needed to be addressed in the beginning of the ban of poppy production not in the midst of a crisis.