Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Risks of Taking a Puppy Home Too Young

Dogs are truly the mans best friend. Having a pet dog at home is really a blessing, not just for your family's security but also having someone to play with at home relaxes you. But there are times that our pet or friend has some attitude problems especially when we had them on their early age.

Most veterinarians and dog breeders agree that puppies shouldn't be separated from the rest of their litter for adoption before 2 months of age. A new study corroborates that advice, showing that puppies removed from their broods earlier were more likely to develop behavioral problems as adult dogs.

It's an important issue, the authors note, because pets' behavioral problems affect their relationships with owners and the risk of later abandonment.

Veterinary researchers in Naples, Italy, interviewed the owners of 140 dogs, ages 18 months to 7 years. Half of the dogs had been removed from their litters and adopted between 30 and 40 days, while the other half were not adopted until they were 60 days old.

The owners, who were all clients of veterinary practices around Naples, participated in telephone surveys that asked about their pets' provenance, breed and observed problematic behaviors.

About 50% of all dogs included in the study were purchased at pet shops, while 33% came from friends or relatives and 16% were acquired from breeders. None were adopted from shelters, nor had any been traumatized as puppies.

Overall, the researchers found, attention seeking and reactivity to noises were the most commonly reported problem behaviors. Younger dogs (under 3 years old) were also significantly more likely to be destructive and to tail-chase than older animals.

But the dogs that had been separated from their litters early  regardless of breed, size or whether they had been neutered  were significantly more likely to exhibit most of the problem behaviors that the researchers asked about. These included:

* Destructiveness
* Excessive barking
* Fearfulness of walks
* Reactivity to noises
* Possessiveness of food and toys
* Attention seeking
* Aversion or aggression toward strangers
* Play biting
* Tail chasing
* Soiling the house

The researchers did not determine exactly why early removal from a litter may cause dogs to act out as adults, but they surmised that some dogs may have a genetic predisposition to certain conditions, including fear, anxiety and phobia of noises, and that early environmental experiences may increase the likelihood that they will develop these conditions or go on to have disordered behavior.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Table Tennis Racquets: Important Basic Facts to Know

If you are just a beginner and would like to enter the exciting world of table tennis or ping pong, one of the most vital things you should familiarize yourself with is the basic knowledge about table tennis racquets. That is the term given by the International Table Tennis Federation. In America, they fondly call it a paddle while in Europe, the term being used is table tennis bat. Other names are blade, table tennis rubber blade, etc.
There are many types of table tennis racquets. What a newbie should do is to invest in several kinds of these bats or paddles. It has been proven that the more expensive and quality wise your racquet is and if it really suits you, your performance in each session or game will be better. You should therefore get a low priced, medium priced and expensive type. This is the investment you should consider if you are really serious in getting into the game for hobby and competition. Make if your goal to purchase a top brand custom made table tennis racquet.
What you should do is go to the net and study the different paddles and brands available and their performance ratings. There are paddles with better rubbers, sponge and better wood. The ones which are scientifically designed, developed and built are your best gunners. Get into the business of knowing what brands and types of paddles champions are using. After you have done with your research, decide to buy your beginner paddle. Get 2 or 3 outstanding branded ones if your funds will allow. When you try them out, the best paddle will be the one where you can deliver a more accurate ball spin.
If your perception happens to be that all table tennis racquets are the same and everything depends upon the skills and luck of a player, then, you are in trouble. They are not the same. If you let a friend use a paddle that gives you winning performance, you will be surprised to find out a different result and reaction from your buddy. Maybe he is not holding it properly or the paddle is not the suitable one for him. Grip also plays an important role. If you have a firm grip and control, it is most likely that you will perform better with such racquet.
As soon as you have your beginner paddles, maintenance and take care of them are vitally essential. You should know if it is time for you to replace the rubbers. Bottom line is you should keep your table tennis racquets in tip top shape and condition. Nonetheless, even if you are just a beginner, it is worthwhile to get inspiration from the professional competitors. World champions come from Sweden, China and Japan. You will be encouraged to get serious with the game as an excellent type of exercise and sports hobby by reading and viewing championship games.
Just to give you some basic knowledge about these bats, paddles or racquets. Players have personal preference when it comes to the rubber. An aggressive offensive player selects a rubber which can give them their desired overall speed like 70 and above speed. Another player may go for the 50 or below speed. The thickness of the sponge is another matter because it determines your control and speed. If you want better control, get a thinner sponge and thicker, if you prefer more speed. With regards the blade, everything depends on your style. You can choose the all around blade first. As you progress, you can get a straight which is the one preferred by many professional players. You can opt also for the anatomic, conic or flared type. If offense is your forte, get the 7-9 ply blade. Again, all depends on your style.
It will take some time for you to determine which paddle is best suited for you. Grip control is very important to consider when you are deciding on which table tennis racquets to buy. Get the bats you are most comfortable and relaxed with. Knowing these basic facts will aid you greatly as you take your game upwards to each level.

by Jan Soriano

Monday, August 8, 2011

Billboards: Menace to the City

Numbers Don't Lie
August 1, 2011, 4:33am

MANILA, Philippines — As far back as December 21, 1915, Supreme Cour t Justice Cayetano Arellano passed a decision outlawing billboards in our cities.

In his final verdict, Arellano affirmed that every citizen had the right to enjoy the view of the sky, the landscape and the architecture of the city as it enhances one’s quality of life. He further stated that the Filipino people deserve a beautiful capital to advance their sense of national pride. Justice Arellano’s judgment was written almost a hundred years ago.

Even then it was acknowledged that billboards are a menace to the city and do nothing to enrich the lives of the people living in them.

Fast-forward to 2011 and the fears of Justice Arellano have been realized in its most grotesque form. Manila has become a cluttered mess of graphic ugliness due to the uncontrolled proliferation of billboards. There are more than two thousand of them in Edsa alone— that’s 90 billboards per kilometer! And since size matters in outdoor advertising parlance, some billboards measure up to 500 square meters.

As it is, Metro Manila is an overcrowded city choking on its own pollution. Billboards exacerbate the situation by blocking our airspace and trapping carbon dioxide from flowing out of our city byways. As a citizen of our nation’s capital, I take issue that the interests of the few who benefit from billboards have taken precedence over the health and wellbeing of the public.

We, the citizenry, should not be deprived from enjoying the city’s architectural progress and whatever greeneries are left. Neither should we be bamboozled at every turn with semi-nude people peddling cup noodles, underwear and face-lifts. In terms of health and safety, we should not be made to suffer the hazards brought about by the billboards’ greenhouse effect. Neither should we be made to bear the safety risks of these structures trampling down on us as we have seen during typhoon Milenyo.

The billboard menace in our city has spun out of control. Clearly the time has come for stricter regulations on the industry, one that holds the public’s wellbeing primarily over all.

The Culprit: Corruption

The billboard industry is regulated by both the local government units and, until recently, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). In separate capacities, they ensure that each billboard complies with the national building code, city zoning laws and regulations on content, among others.

Given the stringent specifications of the law, records show that a great number of billboards in the city are in technical default, and thus, have no clearances. Yet they are allowed to operate. We can only conclude that corruption and the “padrino system” plays a big part in the equation.

Sources confirm that only 18 out of the several hundred billboards in a major city north of the Pasig River are legit; the rest operate illegally. In fact, some of them are identified on the MMDA website. Their location, ad space booker, advertisers and type of violation are specified for public view.

There’s a lot of money to be made in outdoor advertising and so those that directly benefit from it (the ad space bookers, building and airspace owners, as well as the advertisers themselves) naturally pursue every opportunity to expand. It’s a free market and they have every right to do so. But we are where we are because the very institutions mandated to protect the health and wellbeing of our city and its residents have failed us.

A Chance for Redemption

In a recently signed memorandum of understanding, the task of regulating billboards within Metro Manila has been transferred from the DPWH to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

The MMDA, headed by Chairman Francis Tolentino, has since been consumed with the physical audit of every single billboard in the city to ascertain technical and legal compliance.

The good Chairman is doing everything by the book, and for this I feel a sense of hope. In keeping with this administration’s tenet of “Matuwid na Daan,” Chairman Tolentino is determined to crack down on billboards that operate without permits and sever the money trail of bribe leading to government officials who look the other way.

Recently he ordered the dismantling of billboards that promote sexually questionable content. It is, after all, prohibited according to a set of regulations ratified in 2004. Those that promote liquor, tobacco, underwear and sanitary products are prohibited as well, and so we can also expect a crackdown on these billboards in the near future.

Chairman Tolentino has a reasonable vision for the billboard industry. He intends to rationalize billboard sizes, regulate zoning, ensure better spacing and conform to higher standards of building specifications to ensure structural integrity.

Stakeholders of the billboard industry need not worry, as the chairman has every intent to respect their rights. But under his watch, the law will be followed to a tee and the welfare of the city will come first, as it should be.

Given the tremendous lobbying power of the billboard industry, Chairman Tolentino is up for one of the toughest fights of his career. He can assure, however, that we the general public are behind him. No doubt, even Justice Arellano will be cheering him on from the heavens.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

one good reason to love our freedom

Rape as a Weapon of War: Men Suffer, Too

Posted by Emily Rauhala

It's talked about in whispers, if at all. But men and boys are all-too frequently subjected to sexual violence, particularly in times of conflict, forced confinement or war. The problem is persistent and global. For the most part, though, nobody wants to talk about it. Over the last few months, however, a handful of reports from West Africa show that rape and sexual violence are being used as a weapon against men and boys, as well as women and girls. In a dispatch for the Observer, British journalist Will Storr chronicles the stories of men raped during the conflict in Congo. In Kampala, Uganda, he meets a refugee who was kidnapped and then raped three times a day, every day, for three years. "There are certain things you just don't believe can happen to a man," he said.

Indeed, sexual violence against men and boys, though common, is little understood or studied. One notable exception is the work of UCLA's Lara Stemple, who looks at the phenomenon of male rape through the prism of international human rights. Though females are certainly more likely to be raped in conflict, she finds, males comprise a "sizable minority" of victims. There are documented cases in conflicts in Chile, Greece, Iran, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other places, too. At a torture treatment center in London, 21% of Sri Lankan Tamil males said they'd experienced sexual abuse during the war, she notes. One study of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia found that 80% of the 6000 inmates at a prison camp in Sarajevo reported rape.

The Abu Ghraib fiasco was a high-profile example of sexual violence in a military detention center. However, rape is also prevalent in civilian facilities. One in five male inmates in America said they'd had a pressured or forced sexual encounter while incarcerated, one study found. In South Africa's overcrowded, under-funded prisons, rape and sexual violence are used to define and maintain a strict social hierarchy in which "victims are humiliated, dominated and feminized," Stemple writes. Here, as elsewhere, men who identify as gay, or are perceived to be 'feminine' are particularly susceptible to abuse. (See also Ross Kemp's investigation of sexual violence in one South African prison.)

Shame and social stigma silence many survivors. They are often plagued by injury, ashamed and wary of speaking out. Here's Storr's account of one survivor's life after surviving gang rape and sexual torture in Congo:

Today, despite his hospital treatment, Jean Paul still bleeds when he walks. Like many victims, the wounds are such that he's supposed to restrict his diet to soft foods such as bananas, which are expensive, and Jean Paul can only afford maize and millet. His brother keeps asking what's wrong with him. "I don't want to tell him," says Jean Paul. "I fear he will say: 'Now, my brother is not a man.'"

It is for this reason that both perpetrator and victim enter a conspiracy of silence and why male survivors often find, once their story is discovered, that they lose the support and comfort of those around them. In the patriarchal societies found in many developing countries, gender roles are strictly defined.

Though patriarchy and homophobia are certainly not limited to poor countries, Storr rightly highlights the ways in which stigma prevents men from getting help. Survivors are often assumed to be gay, which is a crime in 38 of 53 African nations and carries considerable social stigma elsewhere. Also, relatively few groups are able, or willing, to help male survivors. In her paper for Hastings Law Review, Stemple notes that of the 4000+ organizations that address rape as a weapon of war, only 3% mention the men in their informational materials. And few doctors, anywhere, are trained to recognize signs of male rape, or counsel survivors, she says.

There is concern, too, that highlighting male rape will somehow take away from efforts to stop sexual violence against women. I understand the fear, but think it short-sighted. Talking about sexual violence against men and boys helps shatter stigma, which, hopefully, will result in more support for survivors. It also challenges rigidly-defined gender roles that cast men as hyper-masculine sexual aggressors and women as passive victims. Tackling this narrative is one step toward ending violence against women, as well violence against men.

Monday, August 1, 2011


by Rico Lopez Taytay on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 7:06am

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways ,but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbour. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete...

Remember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn't cost a cent.

Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

by Rico Lopez Taytay on Monday, June 20, 2011 at 7:06am

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