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"One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time." Carl Sagan

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Telecomunication in the animal world
I am continuing with the review of  Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home... by Rupert Sheldrake. It is listed on the Old Sudbury Bookstore under the section on Dogs. http://oldsudburybookstore.com/id16.html

This book continues with case studies of not only dogs but parrots, chimps, cats, and even chickens that can seem to predict when their owners or caretakers are coming home. What is amazing about these stories is that somehow the animals seem to get a sense at the precise moment that the owner forms the intention to head for home. A number of controlled experiments have verified the anecdotal evidence for this.

Sheldrake also refers to the fact that this should in theory work with humans. He presents stories of African tribes who actually take this type of communication for granted. In these ancient cultures the passing of messages over great distances from for example a hunting party returning with food to the main settlement is seen as normal and reliable. Somehow Sheldrake feels that along the way to civilization we have lost the ability. He continues this thread with some modern cases of human to human telepathy. Apparently in Norway this type of telegraphing of messages about a spouse on the way home to the household has some validity in the culture of Norway.

A very important subgroup of the data base that Sheldrake is compiling deals with the empathy that animals share with their human companions. Many stories claim that cats and dogs will go out of their way from their normal routine to ensure that their humans are not alone when they are feeling down or ill. There are more than a few documented cases of dogs actively intervening in a suicide attempt and actually saving the persons life. The data also shows that pet owners enjoy better health, faster recovery from illness, longevity, social benefits, recovery from bereavement, more stable family, and more general happiness. -sak
10:23 am edt 

Friday, May 23, 2008

The friend of everyone!
I have begun Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home... by Rupert Sheldrake. It is listed on the Old Sudbury Bookstore under the section on Dogs. http://oldsudburybookstore.com/id16.html This is a very serious book written by a very reputable scientist. Rupert Sheldrake studied at Cambridge University in England and held many impressive research leadership positions worldwide. He begins the book with an overview of the history of the domestication of dogs. There is an interesting reference in here stating that the relationship benefited both dogs and humans. It is a situation where you wonder who is training who and who is domesticating who. After hearing many stories about dogs who were sensitive to when the owners would arrive his research has led him to rule out sound and smell as the method of communication. It seems that when random times are chosen in a carefully done experiment and the dog is monitored for a sign of excitement that their owner is on the way the dog reacts almost instantly when the owner actually has the intention of returning home. -sak
1:11 pm edt 

Friday, May 16, 2008

Mission to Tierra Del Fuego
I am almost completed Three Men Of The Beagle by Richard Lee Marks listed on the Armchair Adventure section of the Old Sudbury Bookstore. Set in the early to mid 1800's this story presents the intertwined stories of the voyages of the HMS Beagle. This adventure story has come a long way. A second mission attempt is underway with a base camp on one of the Falkland Islands at Keppel Island. A number of the Yaghan natives visited the base camp to learn English and Religion. On a subsequent attempt to setup a station among the Yaghan natives tragedy strikes. The Yaghan natives seem to take exception to being searched for stolen trinkets and slaughter the missionaries all except for the cook who escapes into the woods. He is later camouflaged to look like a Yaghan by some of the good Yaghans and survives to tell the tale. This story is quite remarkable and Richard Lee Marks has certainly gone the distance in researching this book. The story flashes between different places and times and compares and contrasts the lives of Charles Darwin, Captain FitzRoy, and the Yaghan Native Jemmy Button. -sak
10:01 am edt 

Friday, May 9, 2008

Adventure at Cape Horn
I just started reading Three Men Of The Beagle by Richard Lee Markslisted on the Armchair Adventure section of the Old Sudbury Bookstore. Set in the early to mid 1800's this story presents the intertwined stories of the voyages of the HMS Beagle. A different scale of time seems to exist in this era as presented by Marks. From a freighter that Richard Lee Marks and his wife are on bound for Tierra del Fuego to research this very book, to a trip by a misionary to Zulu Land, to moody Victorian England, to the Galapagos Islands, and to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego natives this book is set in many colorful places. Marks research presents a unique introspection into the minds of Captain Fitzroy and Charles Darwin. The accounts of the missionaries in this area also paints a bleak picture in terms of how difficult it must have been to try and communicate in totally different cultures where there existed no words to translate the ideas of the modern world of the time. The Yaghan tribes of Tierra del Fuego are introduced in this book and some amazing insights into their ways are presented. I knew nothing of this area except for Patagonia. It is amazing that the Yanghans even come up in recent books such as Sailing Alone around the World by Joshua Slocum. Apparently according to a Wikipedia article the last full blooded Yaghan died in 1999.

"Three Men of the Beagle: Charles Darwin...Captain Robert FitzRoy...Yahgan Indian Jemmy Button...Their tangled relationship is the basis for this rich story filled with blood, violence, starvation, ship-wrecks, and all the other wonderful stuff of a great adventure yarn. But this yarn is true." Robert Kanigel, Los Angeles Times Book Review
9:58 am edt 


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