Does anyone else think this dog looks like Vladimir Putin?? pic.twitter.com/7cMKpTpuzN
— Gary Mansfield (@mizogArt) September 22, 2013
It has been suggested to me that my scoop about Stense sitting on a hill with her dog last Thursday was somewhat unsatisfactory, in that it was totally un-newsworthy. I would beg to differ. Hello? It was about Bafta-award-winning Stense, directrix of prime-time TV shows, and a total fox. It even involved a dog. Animal interest, and all that! How much more newsworthy could it possibly be?
But if it’s genuine, no-holds-barred, rock ‘n’ roll gossip you fickle punters are after, try this for size…
Steve ‘Copperhead Road’ Earle has a new drummer:
Apparently, Bill’s going to get Steve to cut back on the mandolins. A bit less Fairport, a bit more E Street.
Once again, remember, you read it first on Gruts.
New Scientist: Fluorescent puppy is world’s first transgenic dog
A cloned beagle named Ruppy—short for Ruby Puppy—is the world’s first transgenic dog. She and four other beagles all produce a fluorescent protein that glows red under ultraviolet light.
Fluorescent puppies, I ask you. What a totally wasted opportunity. If we’re going to genetically engineer dogs, why not engineer them to do something useful?
Yes, that’s right, I’m on about talking dogs again.
Just imagine: a talking dog.
Telegraph: Reptiles now more popular pets than dogs
Calculations by the British Federation of Herpetologists (BFH) indicate that there are now as many as eight million reptiles and amphibians being kept as pets in the UK. This compares to an estimated dog population of 6.5 million.
The growth in reptile numbers is so rapid that within years they will overtake the country’s nine million cats to become Britain’s most popular pets.
Great piece of spin from the BFH, but I feel I should point out that they are confusing the words popular and populous (or, more correctly, as reptiles and amphibians are not people, numerous). If a small handful of nutters suddenly decided to start keeping large ant colonies in their back gardens, the ants might soon outnumber cats and dogs combined, but that would not make them more popular, as only a small handful of nutters would care two farts about the ants.
All of which reminds me of one of my favourite cryptic crossword clues: Woman’s favourite science? . Answer: HER-PET-OLOGY (geddit?).
I found myself in the unusual position of talking with a geneticist the other week, so I decided to seize the opportunity to ask the question on everyone’s lips: how long will it be before we can genetically engineer a talking dog?
Imagine my disillusionment when the geneticist replied to my question along the lines of, “Never. We will never have talking dogs”. Actually, she didn’t reply along those lines at all; those were her exact words: “Never. We will never have talking dogs”.
I think this shows a startling lack of ambition within the geneticist community. If, indeed, geneticists have communities. How are we ever going to engineer talking dogs if they dismiss the very idea as impossible before they’ve even tried? They need to set the bar higher; reach for the stars. We are human beings, and we don’t take impossible for an answer. Splitting the atom was impossible; having a conversation with someone on the other side of the Atlantic was impossible; going to the moon was impossible. But we bloody well did it!
My mum’s dog, an incredibly intelligent young cocker spaniel named Molly, can talk. Well, almost. When I turned up at my parents’ house on Tuesday, I found they had accidentally bolted the door, so I rang the bell:
“WOOF! WOOF! W O O F !” barked Molly, in her scariest, I’m-a-bloody-huge-dog-so-don’t-you-mess-with-me-Mr-Burglar voice.
“Don’t be silly, Molly, it’s Richard!” I heard my mum say as she came to open the door.
“Yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip-yip!!” said Molly, in her here-comes-Richard voice.
If any geneticists out there are interested in engineering a talking dog, and would like a sample of Molly’s DNA by way of a major shortcut, please let me know.