Dog people and cat people have long argued over a basic question:
Which pet is smarter, dogs or cats?
We may finally have an answer to this enduring question. A new study from Vanderbilt University confirms that dogs are brainier than cats. In fact, dogs have more neurons in their brains than animals with much larger brains, including lions and tigers and bears. Researchers have found that among carnivorous animals, the larger the brain, the “brainier” the animal. Dogs have larger brains than cats, and more thinking power. But animals that are larger than dogs, with much bigger heads, don’t have more brain power.
Why should that be?
Animals that have to outsmart other animals to eat them, such as both dogs and cats in the wild, tend to be naturally intelligent. A cat has more neurons than a turtle. A dog has more neurons than a koala.
But brain power in the animal kingdom, aside from humans and other primates, tends to max out with dogs. That’s probably because most dogs have humans who hunt for them. They have reliable sources of food. They don’t undergo starvation. They don’t experience any kind of canine anxiety over where their next meal is coming from. Having lower levels of stress from puppyhood to old age, they develop more connections in their brains.
Dogs have brains that could make them fierce hunters, but they develop even better brains when they have humans to take care of them.
It’s natural to ask if maybe one of the reasons that dogs have such highly developed brains is that they have to devote a lot of brainpower to pleasing their humans. In terms of evolutionary biology, this is highly probable. Smart dogs are a less likely to get spayed or neutered, so they are more likely to pass down their big-brain genes to offspring.
Cats, on the other hand, aren’t temperamentally inclined to think of ways to please their humans. A cat usually thinks it owns you, rather than the other way around. Cats don’t need the learning ability of dogs because their humans value them for their good looks. Beautiful cats are far less likely than ugly cats to avoid being spayed or neutered, so they can pass their good looks down to their kittens, but just about nobody is trying to breed cats that do circus tricks.
Dr. Suzana Herculano-Houzel of Vanderbilt University has taken on the task of actually counting the number of neurons in dog and cat brains. Dogs have about 530 million neurons. Cats usually have about 250 million. (Humans, by comparison, usually have about 16 billion neurons, 30 times as many as their dogs, and 60 times as many as their cats.) Dr. Herculano-Houzel offers the observation that more neurons in the brain offers more brain power to respond to changing conditions in the world.
Dogs are just smarter than cats. They can adjust to new conditions more easily. They can learn tricks. They find novel ways to express affection to their owners.
But cats may still have the upper hand. What they lack in brainpower they make up with, well attitude. Dogs are smarter than cats, and far more able to bond to humans than cats, but cats have the personality that clearly establishes them as the rulers of their household domains.
The Ockendon Solar Farm’s Remarkable Transformation
A once-neglected trash dump in England has undergone a breathtaking transformation into one of the United Kingdom’s largest solar farms. The Ockendon solar farm, as it is now known, is set to provide electricity to an impressive 15,000 homes. With its 100,000 gleaming solar panels, it proudly stands as the third-largest solar farm in the entire UK.
This remarkable journey from waste ground to green energy oasis reflects the nation’s growing commitment to renewable energy and sustainability. Frank Gordon, the director of policy at the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, highlighted the importance of projects like Ockendon solar farm in addressing the climate crisis. He told The Guardian, “We urgently need more solar in the UK to help meet our legally binding net-zero goals, and this summer’s extraordinary global weather has further underlined the need for climate action.”
The Ockendon solar farm is a shining example of the UK’s transition to cleaner energy sources. Since 2020, nearly half of the nation’s power has been sourced from a combination of wind, solar, bioenergy, and hydroelectric sources. This shift towards renewable energy not only reduces harmful emissions but also bolsters energy security and creates jobs in the burgeoning green energy sector.
The transformation of the Ockendon site is nothing short of inspirational. What was once a symbol of waste and environmental neglect has become a symbol of hope for a more sustainable future. As solar farms like Ockendon continue to sprout across the UK, they bring us one step closer to achieving our net-zero emissions goals and safeguarding the planet for generations to come.
Norwegian Metal Detector Enthusiast Strikes Gold
In a tale that combines the thrill of discovery with a newfound hobby, a Norwegian man named Eriend Bore embarked on a metal-detecting adventure and unearthed a treasure trove of ancient Norwegian gold jewelry. Bore’s remarkable find has shed light on a fascinating chapter of Norway’s history.
Eriend Bore, a Norwegian with a penchant for exploration, took up metal detecting as a hobby, following his doctor’s advice to spend less time on the couch and more time in the great outdoors. Little did he know that this new pursuit would lead to an extraordinary discovery that would capture the imagination of historians and archaeologists alike.
Bore’s remarkable journey began when his trusty metal detector signaled a hidden treasure buried beneath the earth’s surface. At first, he mistook the find for something far more common—a piece of chocolate wrapped in gold foil. However, upon closer inspection, Bore’s excitement grew as he realized that he had stumbled upon something truly extraordinary.
To his astonishment, the “chocolate” turned out to be a collection of nine pendants, three rings, and ten exquisite gold pearls, all believed to be remnants of ancient Norwegian jewelry. These stunning artifacts, which might have adorned someone as fancy jewelry some 1,500 years ago, paint a vivid picture of a bygone era.
The location of this remarkable discovery was near the city of Stavanger, situated on the southern island of Rennesoey. Ole Madsen, the director of the Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger, described the find as “extremely unusual” due to the sheer quantity of gold uncovered at once.
The gold jewelry, which includes flat, thin, single-sided gold medals known as bracteates, dates back to around 500 AD, a period known as the Migration Period in Norway. This era, spanning from 400 to about 550 AD, was marked by widespread migrations in Europe and is of great historical significance.
Håkon Reiersen, an associate professor at the archaeological museum, explained that the pendants and gold pearls formed “a very showy necklace” crafted by skilled jewelers. These opulent pieces were likely worn by individuals of great influence and power in ancient Norwegian society, offering a glimpse into the cultural and social dynamics of the time.
As per Norwegian law, any objects dating back to before 1537 and coins older than 1650 are considered state property and must be reported to authorities. Bore dutifully adhered to this regulation, ensuring that his remarkable discovery would be preserved for future generations.
The Archaeological Museum in Stavanger, located approximately 300 kilometers southwest of Oslo, plans to showcase this astonishing find in an exhibition, providing an opportunity for people to connect with Norway’s rich historical past. Eriend Bore’s passion for metal detecting has not only transformed his life but has also enriched our understanding of the country’s cultural heritage, reminding us that hidden treasures can be found just beneath our feet, waiting to reveal their secrets to those with a keen eye and a sense of adventure.
Quebec Company “Mon Technicien” Boosts Employee Happiness with Private Island Getaway
In a surprising and exciting move, a company based in Quebec, known as “Mon Technicien,” has taken employee perks to a whole new level by purchasing a private island. This remarkable decision aims not only to enhance the happiness of its employees but also to attract potential new team members with an enticing and unique benefit.
The private island boasts a charming 2-bedroom cabin that can comfortably accommodate up to 8 people. This inviting retreat provides employees with a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But that’s not all – the island comes fully equipped with exciting amenities such as a barbecue for outdoor cooking, a pedal boat for leisurely rides on the water, and a dinghy for further aquatic adventures. For those who love water sports, there’s an array of equipment available to ensure a thrilling experience.
One might wonder why a company would go to such lengths to provide its employees with access to a private island. The answer lies in Mon Technicien’s commitment to fostering a positive work environment and enhancing employee satisfaction. By offering employees the opportunity to book stays on the private island, the company is giving them a chance to unwind, relax, and rejuvenate in a truly unique setting.
What’s even more remarkable is that this incredible perk comes at no cost to the employees. Stays on the private island are fully covered by the company, showcasing Mon Technicien’s dedication to its workforce’s happiness and well-being. This gesture undoubtedly reflects the company’s belief that a happy and content workforce is a more productive and engaged one.
In a world where work-life balance and employee happiness are gaining increasing attention, Mon Technicien’s initiative is a shining example of how companies can think outside the box to create a positive and enjoyable work culture. As the employees of Mon Technicien bask in the beauty of their private island getaway, they are not only benefiting personally but also becoming ambassadors for a company that truly cares about its team’s happiness and success.
Paris Reopens Seine River for Swimming After a Century-long Ban
Paris, the City of Light, is reclaiming its historic connection to the Seine River as it reopens its waters for swimming after a ban lasting for a hundred years. This significant decision comes as the River Seine has undergone a remarkable transformation, with cleaner waters and reduced pollution levels, making it safe for recreational activities like swimming. The upcoming Olympics in Paris played a crucial role in driving this effort to clean up the river and bring back a cherished tradition that dates back centuries.
The Seine River has been an integral part of Paris’s history and identity for over two millennia. Flowing gracefully through the heart of the city, it has witnessed countless significant events, from the construction of iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame Cathedral to the rise of the French Revolution. However, for the past century, the Seine’s waters were off-limits for swimming due to concerns about pollution and water quality.
In the early 20th century, urbanization and industrialization took a toll on the Seine’s water quality. Untreated sewage, industrial waste, and other pollutants found their way into the river, making it unsuitable for swimming and potentially harmful to human health. As a result, city officials implemented a ban on swimming in the Seine to protect the public from potential waterborne diseases and dangers.
Over the past few decades, the City of Paris has made significant efforts to revitalize the Seine and improve its water quality. Stricter environmental regulations and advanced wastewater treatment technologies were introduced to mitigate pollution sources. Additionally, community awareness and participation in preserving the river have been instrumental in the cleanup process.
The opportunity to host the Olympics in 2024 provided Paris with a powerful incentive to expedite the Seine’s revitalization. The river will be the stage for three Olympic and Paralympic events – triathlon, marathon swimming, and Para-triathlon – scheduled to take place in central Paris. This momentous occasion prompted authorities to redouble their efforts in cleaning up the river to meet the rigorous health and safety standards required for such international events.
Thanks to these extensive cleanup efforts, swimming in the Seine will once again become a reality. By 2025, three designated open-air swimming areas will be accessible from the quayside, allowing Parisians and visitors to dip into the historic waters. The revival of this age-old tradition aims to foster a deeper connection between the people and their iconic river, rekindling the spirit of the past and shaping a healthier and more sustainable future.
Canadians Embrace Wolves: From Villains to Valued Members of Ecosystems
For a long time, wolves have been depicted as villains in stories, fairytales, and cartoons. However, a recent survey conducted in Canada reveals a shift in perception, with the majority of people now supporting and valuing these magnificent creatures. The survey indicates that 7 out of 10 Canadians hold a “very positive” view of wolves, marking a significant change in public opinion. Aaron Hofman, the director of advocacy and policy for The Fur-Bearers, expressed surprise at the results.
Wolves have a complex history in Canada, having been targeted with bounties in the past and treated as vermin or pests. However, the survey shows that 83 percent of Canadians recognize the importance of wolves as integral members of ecosystems and advocate for their protection. While 60 percent of respondents agreed that wolves pose a threat to farm animals, more than two-thirds agreed that killing wolves, even if it is to save another species, is ethically wrong.
Interestingly, the survey also revealed that approximately half of the participants felt comfortable living near wolves, while 16 percent expressed their willingness to live in close proximity to these remarkable creatures without any concerns. The findings from this survey provide valuable insights into the attitudes and perceptions towards wolves in Canada.
Aaron Hofman highlights the significance of this survey, emphasizing that wolves are vital members of Canadian ecosystems and hold great value for the country. It aims to bridge the gap in understanding public attitudes towards wolves and foster a deeper appreciation for their ecological role.
The changing perspective towards wolves in Canada reflects a growing understanding of the importance of biodiversity and the intricate balance within ecosystems. Wolves play a critical role as apex predators, helping to regulate populations of prey species and contributing to overall ecosystem health. Recognizing their ecological significance, Canadians are increasingly embracing the presence of wolves in their natural habitats.
This shift in public perception also signifies a desire for coexistence and a recognition that wolves are not inherently evil or deserving of their historically negative portrayal. Rather, they are seen as integral components of the natural world that deserve protection and respect.
As attitudes continue to evolve, it is essential to support initiatives that promote education and awareness about the value of wolves in ecosystems. By fostering a greater understanding of these magnificent creatures and their ecological importance, we can work towards creating a harmonious balance between human activities and the natural world.
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