Tag Archives: animals

Can Dogs Sniff Out Cancer? Can Rats Sniff Out Tuberculosis?

Rat Sniffing

I know what you’re thinking – “dogs can sniff out cancer? What a bunch of nonsense!” And do you really want to trust rats with detecting a disease, when they were responsible for so much of the spread of disease throughout history? Well don’t hold it against them, because these animals didn’t know anything about it. In fact, these animals are now used for medical diagnoses, and people’s lives depend on them. It appears that dogs actually can sniff out cancer, and rats can sniff out tuberculosis (TB). Astonishingly, their amazing abilities to smell don’t even stop there.

Posted in Medicine & Health, Science, TED | Tagged | 1 Comment

Possessed by Demons, Animals, and Nonsense

m4s0n501

Green Snake hand art

“Japan doesn’t have that stuff. That’s more of a Western thing.” Just like I constantly have to remind Westerners how they’re horribly wrong about the bizarre and ridiculous stereotypes of Japan, I had to show my Japanese friend that she was totally wrong in her idea about “us” and “them.” The notion that only Westerners believe in exorcisms and demonic possessions is simply wrong. In addition to the many stories I mentioned in an earlier post about exorcisms in Japan, yet another case occurred recently in Japan where the belief in possessions reared its ugly head.

Posted in Abnormal & Clinical Psych, Culture, Japan, Psychology, Science, Skepticism | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is Preserving the Panda Doing More Harm than Good?

Everyone loves pandas – how could you not? They’re adorable, they’re interesting, and the media has proportionally few stories of pandas being dangerous to humans – probably more a reflection of their lack of numbers rather than lack of aggression. But for the last few years, people have been raising the question… should we not just let them die? Maybe, they say, it would actually be in our best interest to simply let them become extinct. Everyone sympathizes, but some believe that we have to be realistic, which means leaving pandas for the history books.

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My (animal) Kingdom for a Horse… or bull

Many alternative medicines use parts from various animals, regardless of their actual effectiveness. Animals are also sacrificed for the sake of magic rituals, and there are always buyers somewhere. Unfortunately, that means that such pseudoscience is being funded at these animals’ expenses. We need animals. We eat them, wear them, keep them as pets, use them in medicines and cosmetics, and even stuff or skin them and call them art. This is the way of life most of us are used to, and I’m not going to preach the extremist PETA dogma or pass any judgment. The issue is about wasting limited resources. For example, as I mentioned before, killing a single alpha-male lion disrupts the entire pride, resulting in the death of the slain male’s cubs, as well as all those who try to protect them. So what makes the gradual extinction of multitudes of species truly deplorable is that the demand for these animal parts is highly driven by pseudoscience – the biggest waste of them all.

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The Orange and Black Market

The illegal trade in wildlife parts is now worth 10 billion dollars a year, making it the third most valuable illegal commodity in the world, following drugs and weapons. On the Chinese calendar, the next Year of the Tiger is 2022, which is ironic for the country who uses the tiger as a cultural symbol, because it may be the year in which the feline becomes extinct.

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