Titles are so Limiting...
First, thanks to all who signed the guestmap!
This is one of the most intriguing toys I've come across since the hit tracker.
It's in beta-release, so there's no support; there is however a help page where I found out the following:
If you don't leave a message along with the dot and your name, it's supposed to delete you within hours.
It only tracks forty dots at a time; so there's no covering the map. If more than forty sign, the oldest ones fade out.
Forty is still cool. I have just over twenty at the moment so keep 'em coming! (please?)
Long-time readers have seen this whine before:
The one about the U.S. media systematically ignoring all things Canadian.
(Pause to allow Stephanie and others to roll their eyes.)
just over a year ago, a highway overpass in my neighbourhood collapsed.
No warning, just *boom*...
onto a car, killing one and injuring two.
I didn't feel the U.S. media covered it adequately.
I also remember ranting a little about the (non) coverage of the Canadian election, which took place (most of the campaign, the vote, and the aftermath) while the Florida votes were being counted.. (or not).
The rant was actually in a pre-election entry, which I located now with the aid of the freefind search engine I recently added to the weblog (aka Inertia Lite, aka the Scratching Post) After over 250 entries, it's not always practicable to zoom in on the one I have a vague memory of.
The point was, the U.S. media did an abysmal job of informing the citizenry about Canadian affairs.
I say "did" because I now must admit, there's been a drastic change.
Canada has hit the U.S. wire services with a vengeance - we're all over the place.
What put us on the map?
This, on the ABC News website.
For archival purposes I'll paste it here:
Cat Mauls Man Showering Parrot*
Elderly Man Loses Pint of Blood in Cat Attack
Q U E B E C C I T Y, Canada, July 13 — An elderly Canadian man was recovering Thursday following a savage attack by his pet cat, which drew four carloads of police, two ambulances and an animal control officer.
Gerard Daigle, 80, lost a pint of blood and required stitches after his cat Touti, a diminutive roughly meaning Tiny, launched a frenzied attack after Daigle, who was giving his pet parrot a shower, inadvertently sprayed the cat with water.
"I have never seen anything like this in all my career," said Guy Theriault, an animal control officer at the Society for the Protection of Animals in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, half way between Montreal and Quebec City.
"It was a real carnage: there was blood all over the place — on the ceiling, the floor and the walls. The cat was really traumatized by the water," Theriault added.
He said the cat has since been euthanized and had had a troubled past.
Daigle, who lives in Trois-Rivieres, could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The animal control officer said Daigle was saved by his 81-year-old wife who wrestled the cat away, only to have it turn on her.
"The cat wanted to eat her, too," one newspaper quoted Daigle as saying.
The couple managed to chase the cat into the bedroom and slam the door. Police responded in force because they thought they were dealing with a domestic emergency.
It is not known why Daigle was giving his parrot a shower.
Well if it were me, it would be the parrot drawing blood, not the cat. In fact the cat would probably come to my aid like Lassie and make lunch of the rebellious bird, leaving only a pile of brightly coloured feathers.
Cats generally like me, or at worst, ignore me.
I make birds very nervous.
I base this observation on my experiences at the pet store.
The cats will play, claw, bite, and stop just short of causing pain. They will also meow and try to tell me stories.
The birds only try to bite off my fingers.
Everyone else can handle the birds. They pick them up, kiss them, cuddle them, hang them over their shoulders like a parent burping a baby.
If I so much as extend a hand (meekly, of course) the beak is lunging toward it.
If I try to stroke a feather from behind, the head swivels around so fast the poor thing is likely to slip a disc.
Stephanie claims she upsets birds too, even more so than I do. I'll ask her to tell me the stories again or maybe she'll be nice and post them to the forum.
(And while I think of it.. did you ever notice how small a bird's head is? Not much room for a brain in there. Maybe that's where the expression "bird brain" comes from...)
In conclusion, I applaud the wire services that astutely picked up this story and look forward to reading and hearing much more about Canada from the U.S. media.
Our time has come.
*Copyright 2001 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Speaking of Canada...
It seems we are the place on earth that most resembles Mars.
At least, according to NASA, which calls us a "Mars Analog":
Mars analogs are sites on the Earth where environmental conditions, geologic features, biological attributes, or combinations thereof approximate in some specific way those possibly encountered on Mars at present or earlier in that planet's history.
OK, not all of Canada; specifically, a meteorite impact crater
way, way, WAY up into the Canadian Arctic. (Reference maps are linked from here.) For the last few summers NASA has been sending research teams there...
to support studies in exploration research, to investigate the technologies, strategies, humans factors and hardware designs relevant to the future exploration of Mars by robots and humans.
The website has almost daily updates and outlines of the research concepts and goals. There are supposed to be webcams (which aren't online yet) and you can even email the researchers.