Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Play a Game and Win a Nobel Peace Prize?

I read a NewsBlog on The-Scientist.com about a protein folding game called Fold It.
I thought that was mildly interesting at first and somewhat amusing, but particularly because it combines science, puzzles and games, I became intrigued had to check it out!

My first laugh... It was amusing to find that they chose a domain name of FOLD with the country code (IT) of Italy. But you know how geeks can be. :D

Proteins are complex molecules in long chains that spring themselves into curly folds... and look like messy jumbles of utter chaos. The thing though, is that proteins operate like hardware or software in the body, depending on what the protein is and how it is folded, as well being affected by its environment. It is this manner in which proteins are structured that gives them the ability to react variably in their environment and do such things as keep us healthy, to make us sick, or to cure us of something. :)

I haven't tried the game yet but the ideas behind it are intriguing - as you can see from the beta version of game and site icon at the left.
"Solve Puzzles for Science"
.
Hrm...
"We're hopefully going to change the way science is done, and who it's done by," said Popovic, who presented the project today at the Games for Health meeting in Baltimore. "Our ultimate goal is to have ordinary people play the game and eventually be candidates for winning the Nobel Prize."
Hey, that Nobel Prize sounds a little far fetched but there is truth in the fact that some of us are strong on various types of puzzles. Some people are pretty genius at recognizing abstract patterns immediately in bundles of chaos and others have different strengths in problem solving, which together can crystalize innovative approaches. I see that the game is online and free. Apparently they are keeping track of how the game and its puzzles are played by its players.

The homesite for Fold It is here and more about the science of the game can be read in a FAQ. Here's a question from part of the FAQ...

How does my game playing contribute to curing diseases?

With all the things proteins do to keep our bodies functioning and healthy, they can be involved in disease in many different ways. The more we know about how certain proteins fold, the better new proteins we can design to combat the disease-related proteins and cure the diseases.

A short YouTube movie showing the game in action.


Last minute add, a writer on Gamezebo mentions how games can be more directly helpful in healing and therapy.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/28/2008 12:11:00 AM | Permanent link | (3) Comments

Blogger euthymic sent us a woof // May 28, 2008

i think it is a nice idea to make games that also teach science in such an interesting way. i also like your 2 er... little? dogs   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // May 28, 2008

I agree about games that inspire and motivate.

Haha, about the little dogs. The pics of the dogs with Natalka are certainly impressive!   

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // May 30, 2008

Do you think they would send my Nobel Prize in a bubble gum wrapper?

Mark   

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Natalka Czartoryska!

Natalka with Hisar Yasak (sire: Anadol Yali of Hisar x dam: Havuz Dalga)
Natalka...

Natalka with Anadol Yali of Hisar (sire: Capar of Anadol from Seacop x dam: Korumak Tyana of Anadol)
You are not forgotten.

(mouseover each pic to see the names of the dogs)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/25/2008 05:42:00 AM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Blogger aslanit sent us a woof // May 26, 2008

The Italian descentants of Yali and Jumbo(?) pictured here with Natalka,and of course myself,join in this happy birthday   

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // August 31, 2008

Pretty. The lady's not so bad either.

;)
Mark   

Monday, May 19, 2008

What is a Kangal Dog? And AdorableTakas Anatolian Shepherd Dog Puppies


Anatolian puppy meets Central Asian Ovcharka.

These photos are from when Lilli's recent litter was 3 weeks old. Ah, the epitome of cuteness! :)
You can visit her website here: http://www.takasvolkodav.com/page2.asp


Takas Anatolians, Australia


Takas Anatolians, Australia


Takas Anatolians, Australia


Takas Anatolians, Australia


Takas Anatolians, Australia

All so cute!

Lilli has done a wonderful job creating a brief anthology from different sources, showing similarities and differences between some of the various fawn shepherd dogs of Turkey.

Holy Grail, Batman!
There are some dog lovers and fanciers that go on about how the Kangal Dog is pureblood, and emphasizing that the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is more generic. In fact there are several books written by laymen who love these Turkish dogs and who have a variable collection of theories. Many actually speak of purity without looking at the source of the 'kangal' dogs they are observing or merely generalizing about -- and then they argue among themselves, "What is a Kangal Dog?", in an effort to make it distinct from the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

The Truth? Both have had the same rough start with preconceived ideas based on limited numbers of dogs observed; where dominant colors and coats suddenly produced recessives and somehow had to be explained. While one group, the Anatolian Shepherd folks simply accepted the diversity en route to achieving various kennel embraced ideal forms or others adopted an 'anything goes if the dog works' approach (wildlife conservation efforts, protection of livestock from predation), the other group (Kangal lovers) emphasized that their version is 'more pure'.

Somehow?

And they embraced a narrower standard within which they defined the color of their ideal dog.
Color is an important characteristic of the Kangal Dog. In Turkey, non-standard colors or patterns are indicators that the dog is not a purebred Kangal Dog. The true Kangal Dog color is always solid and ranges from a light dun or pale, dull gold to a steel gray, depending on the amount of black or gray in the outer guard hairs and in the soft, cashmere-like undercoat. This basic color is set off by a black mask which may completely cover the muzzle and even extend over the top of the head...

...Disqualifications: Solid black, white, or chocolate colored dogs; dogs with piebald, brindle, or other parti-colored patterns; white markings on the face other than the small white spot on the chin.
Faults: Poorly defined black mask.
A stricter standard is a useful tool in the artificial race to accomplish 'purity', to make it appear as though it has always been there. Compliance ensures removal of healthy genetic diversity via the route of eugenics/culling. A good demonstration of this loss of healthy diversity is that such strains of dogs tend to have more health problems than the more diverse group. Here are some breed stats from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Kangal Dog Registry Rank Evaluations Percent Abnormal Percent Normal
ELBOWN/A650.050.0
HIPSN/A2630.869.2

Anatolian S.D. Registry Rank Evaluations Percent Abnormal Percent Normal
CARDIACN/A20.0100.0
ELBOW492674.195.9
HIPS89140110.388.8
THYROID20596.881.4


Most anyone will probably not consider it normal for animals to have the ball of their hip located too far outside of its socket. Some affected dogs hold it together by being muscular in their youth, while others lacking in this compensation, may never make it to their first birthday.

It has only been in recent years that some of the new age Turks (not the traditional working shepherds) have begun to embrace this Western concept of "purity". Amusing when one realizes that such a concept of purity is only about 200 years old based on the work of breed specialists and enthusiasts of the Kennel Club. The Turks didn't invent it, but some have adopted the system somehow believing that it is superior and many do not realize that many breeds have developed problems because of narrow breeding.

Certainly, historically, distant villages of the sprawling Ottoman Empire never had meetings to decide what color their dogs should be. They were probably too busy fighting each other? --or surviving somehow, until Mustafa Kemal Ataturk came around and tried to nationalize them all.... But that's another story. However, National Pride is a big thing... the concept of purity in the Kangal has become such an urban legend that national pride is associated with this, and some people no longer question it.

At least the genetics of the dogs themselves speaks volumes, as you will see below. And many old shepherds embrace the truthfulness of variety that they have always known. They did not breed to a standard, they bred what they liked, or more accurately, the dogs that they liked and kept, bred themselves. They did not register dogs and often they kept no pups or just a few in a given litter. What is really changing however, is that the population that has been so dependent on the working dogs is disappearing. It is now easier for the well-to-do, to turn to the dogs as a hobby and to embrace new ideas, and entertain national pride.

The history of the breed as told by the Ministry of Turkey makes it clear that there has been no historical documentation:
History

When we studied history of Kangal Dog, we could not find any documents about Kangal dogs. There are several rumours about Kangal dogs. According to one rumour, the dog was derived from lion and tiger during Asur and Babil periods and were petted in order to provide protection against wild animals and use in wars and were grown up with great care...

Kangal foundation stock
Above is a Kangal Dog imported by David Nelson as foundation stock.
Purity!?

How does the dog above, compare to these other fawn dogs also called 'Kangal Dogs' below?

What is a Kangal Dog
Young Kangal at a show in Istanbul.

What is a Kangal Dog
Kangal puppies at the Ulas breeding center.

What is a Kangal Dog
A blind, unweaned, 2 week old puppy being shown at a Turkish Kangal Dog Festival.

What is a Kangal Dog
A collection of Kangals headed to the showring at the Festival.

What is a Kangal Dog
Another dog shown as a Kangal at the same Festival.



What is a Kangal Dog?
Well then, what kinds of dogs are these?
--- To find out, see Lilli's pages on these dogs here and here.

The latter link is a special page primarily discussing issues in Australia where what basically happened is truly astounding.

Registered Anatolian Shepherd Dogs were first microchipped and then they were lined up to be judged by persons with no expertise in Turkish dogs. After this day, they were to be here on forward as either Anatolian Shepherd Dogs or as Kangal Dogs. Dogs were split into a new registry that was formed for the Kangal in Australia.

Isn't that amazing? Appointed judges viewed each dog and arbitrarily decided on the breed each dog would be. Some dogs ended up in a different breed categorization than their parents or littermates. (Hey Vern, let's put the blonde children on this side of the bus and the brunettes on the other!) In Australia, as it continues to happen in Turkey, some of these 'pure' Kangal Dogs still produce longer coated dogs or variations that do not satisfy the purists. Rather than concede the dogs are "Anatolians" all along, they simply call these dogs 'mismarks'. The name "Anatolian Shepherd Dog" has been made into a media target of scorn and this evolves from the vendetta of some Brits, who continue to rail against a person who realized the diversity of these dogs, namely Natalka Czartoryska. Whether one embraces her opinions or not, the dogs continue to produce so called "mismarks" nevertheless, and we can safely say that most of them never knew the lady.

But record keeping and pedigrees are only as honest as the people that keep them, and large numbers of these dogs are being bred, particularly in Turkey. The FCI requires a certain quota of registered dogs before a country's application to be FCI recognized can be accepted.

The off colored dogs and the ones with rough coats are apparently initially registered as kangal, to boost the numbers in order to rapidly meet the FCI quota. No DNA testing is necessary. This sort of paper play has occurred in the United Kingdom as well. Individual dogs that are not culled immediately, can be sold with false pedigrees to hide the identity of the supposedly pure parents (and mask the dishonesty of the breeder). While some may feel that these lies do not hurt the humans, in the long run, these will hurt the dogs. We are already seeing that rough coated dogs from Turkey in Kangal enthusiast areas, are getting the rough end of the stick when they are placed.

In the USA, despite that some Kangal Club members have been on genetics lists for a few years, they still insist on this peculiar purity that is only found in Kangal Dogs. They continue to explain away their own mismarks and poor orthopedics with various arguments, avoiding the fact that the same patterns have been recorded for thousands of Anatolians, long before Turks began to document their dogs and discover the same variations.

My high school genetics teacher would probably have flung a chalk board eraser at their blank heads for this stubborn pursuit of some Holy Grail. Alas, while claiming historic purity is a cool thing, it sure isn't honest or even genetically realistic in these dogs.

Boz, Giller Calendar
Boz, another beautiful Kangal Dog. This one from 2005 Giller Turkish calendar.

Dozer in Turkey
Dozer, a nice solid dog for sure!
How do these dogs compare to each other? Same breed, ya think?

Go figure!
Check out Lilli's pages above! :)
She's much more succinct!

Dec18-2012-Edited to add: see dolforums for more detailed discussion on the Australian situation with the kangal

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/19/2008 01:56:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Friday, May 16, 2008

Semavi Vasi Marlow, Early 2008 Update

Helmut's brother, Marlow, in Idaho is looking really good. The photo above, showing him in January at about 15 months, can be clicked to enlarge.

I got several photos of him back then when I was sick with the flu and I never got around to blogging them. So here are some of his pics from that time frame with a few showing Matty as well. Matty is from Cindy Bristow's 2005 litter, out of her Sabrina, by Clearlake Time on My Side (brindle). Marlow is from my October 2006 litter, sired by Old Glory Boone and out of Semavi Kadinsi Zor.

MatildaMarlow
Matty (L) and Marlow (R)

Marlow
Marlow surveying his Idaho wilderness.

Marlow
Another view.

Marlow
Doesn't he look handsome! :)

Marlow and Matty
There's more news on Marlow's homefront now. Marlow's family has a baby boy! Coen was born earlier this month. Maybe we'll get to see some pics of Matty and Marlow with baby Coen in future months. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/16/2008 05:04:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Farewell to Akin, the Magnificent

Karen wrote earlier this month that Akin has passed on although I didn't get to to it in my inbox until recently. What timing too, as his Johnny Johnston photo above, graces the May page of the Anatolian Calendar which A.S.D.I. Inc sells to raise funds for rescue.

Go see Karen's wonderful tribute to Akin at her blog.

Midilli
Above is a baby picture of Midilli, a little Anatolian girl at Karen's place, who (currently 5 months) has big shoes to fill. Isn't she beautiful. :)

My heartfelt condolences to Karen and the family.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/13/2008 07:19:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Family Dog, Helmut

Geno sent some fun photos of Helmut from another ski trip that the family did recently. Above shows him taking up a lot of the back seat. He looks like he really enjoys road trips.

Helmut in April 2008
Having fun in the snow.

Helmut in April 2008
In the back of the truck with the boys, he looks so solemn.
Paolo, the young man hugging Helmut, is a friend of the family and he really enjoys Helmut. :)

Helmut in April 2008
Another nice, testosterone filled picture. Heehee :D

Helmut in April 2008
Here's Helmut after having had a bath. The look on his face is adorable.

Helmut in April 2008
What can I say? Boys will be boys!

Helmut in April 2008
Helmut on the road; snuggling time with Paolo.

Helmut in April 2008
L-R: Dom, Paolo and Helmut. Three handsome young guys!

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/13/2008 04:29:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chaiten Volcano, Chile

Awesome pic of electrical activity above erupting Chaiten Volcano, Chile. Click pic to enlarge.
Some media sources are reporting that the plumes of smoke and ash are going 20 miles high into the atmosphere.

Apparently these are accepted estimates as Smithsonian reports the following as sources:
Based on observations of satellite imagery and pilot reports, the Buenos Aires VAAC reported that during 3-6 May ash plume rose to altitudes of 7-10.7 km (23,000-35,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted SE, E, W, and NE. News sources indicated that about 4,000-5,000 people were evacuated from the town of Chaitén and surrounding areas as the eruption continued. On 5 May, ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia - Ministerio del Interior) reported that evacuations took place in Futaleufú, about 65 km ESE, where about 30 cm of ash accumulated. One elderly person died during the evacuation efforts. On 6 May, ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN reported that the eruption became more forceful and generated a wider and darker gray ash plume to an estimated altitude of 30 km (98,400 ft) a.s.l. All remaining people in Chaitén were ordered to evacuate, as well as anyone within 50 km of the volcano.
A geology link with lots of info http://geology.com/events/chaiten-volcano/

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/12/2008 09:16:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pretty Zoey

Ruya's sister Zoey poses in a couple pics from her ranch home in Oregon. She looks so much like Ruya. And what a sweetheart she is too. Here she is with a friend (above) and they both look happy to me. :)

Here's another pic of her below, just looking beautiful.
Zoey

You can see more pics of her on the label below "Zoey".

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/10/2008 05:09:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Critical Thinking, Mandatory Spay/Neuter, & Computer Security

A little of everything in the above subject.

A few good articles that got my attention this week.
Thinking outside the box. Here's a read on that at Ishmael.org

After reading that; the concept of critical thinking and lucid comprehension of issues take focus again with the reader -- Yet, back to real life, we continue to witness the the most juvenile and fundamentalist/extreme thinking that is driving MSN proponents everywhere (mandatory spay & neuter). Including California's truly UNHealthy Pets Act. So focused on their own limited perception of reality that they do not see, for example, how this type of legislation adversely affects grassroots efforts at wildlife conservation, the production of food and natural fiber on the farm and issues of population genetics in our pets. Health issues in animals are simply written off as well with broad blanket assumptions, with these people blowing off the experts, as if they have degrees in veterinary science and realize the difference between long term prospective and short term retrospective data. Furthermore, these bills will NOT affect the popularly demonized, commercial mass pet producers, yet the MSN proponents continue to make disingenuous references in that direction. And the sheep continue to follow.

Somewhat related: Newsweek on PeTA and Euthanasia: http://www.newsweek.com/id/134549. Euthanization is actually the cop out of MSN proponents to address the shortcomings in their logic and both HSUS and PeTA encourage killing animals rather than rehoming them. Since they are so busy killing animals, analyzing the status of the problem as encouraged in the first link is simply beyond their acceptance. I highly recommend Nathan Winograd's book, Redemption - a good take on it is here. It does encourage facing the history and issues that have compounded the lack of progression on logical solutions.


Getting away from animals for a bit... and along the lines of perhaps encouraging a new way of thinking, see this article about some indigenous people of Mexico who "live forever", from which article I gained the idea that many of our modern foot and leg problems seen in our society could be benefited from taking some core ideas regarding letting our footwear be more natural, so that leg strength and flexibility are natural benefits.


And tonight, I just discovered a new blog which covers issues that affect everyone using the internet - see Spyware Sucks. I've found that many people continue ignore the serious implications of HTML in email - especially as malware gets more sophisticated and do not understand that surfing and reading web pages results in thousands of downloads to their computer. From another source, Scott Dunn writes about security, "Visitors to USAToday.com last Thursday got more than they bargained for. A hacked Flash advertisement meant that merely viewing a page in your browser was capable of triggering a malware attack on your PC. According to an alert on the security site Websense, the ad can take control of the browser without any user interaction at all."

I'm using Firefox as my principal browser with "NoScript" which stops scripts in their tracks and another extension "AdBlock" that blocks ads which can sometimes be malicious. The combination makes some busy pages download for reading quicker since I am not getting all that garbage and it makes pages look a little different too. For example, ubiquitous links such as 'google ads' just do not show up on my Firefox browsing. NoScript does allow me to choose which sites I trust as does AdBlock.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/08/2008 01:23:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Monday, May 05, 2008

Italian Anatolian Blog

Umberto, Nino's son, with some rascally puppies (in Italy).

Nino (in Italy) has started blogging! :)
I've added him to the Anatolian blogroll -- testing to see if it will "roll" if I use a translation link (probably won't but it might be handy for me anyway).
His blog has some pics and comments about his Anatolians. It is in Italian but machine translations from Italian are not nearly as bad as some. (Turkish machine translations are horrid!). ;)
See his blog here and use your favorite Italian to English translator. Here's one I use.

His current blog comment mentions Hakim (above) who is going to South Africa to help his new owner in the effort to protect flocks from predators and thereby assist in wildlife conservation. (here... for the translated Italian link)

Nino has the above handsome Anatolian, named Kartal, who was born on a goat farm in Texas. Kartal rated perfect hips normal elbows at maturity and will be a very important part of the future Anatolians in Europe and looks like Africa too. Kartal represents an infusion of new bloodlines in Europe. Kartal's registered name is Old Glory Kartal. :)

This is Ayri, the mother full sister of the mother of the litter (Frida). She is a first generation homebred of Nino's foundation stock.

Here is Hakan, a Kartal x Ayri son. Isn't he cute!

More pups! I love this expression! The rough coat is awesome!

And here's Umberto with one of the little guys.


Here is Nino's website.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/05/2008 11:03:00 PM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Blogger aslanit sent us a woof // May 06, 2008

nice to see Umberto and my dogs on your blog
thank you   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // May 06, 2008

Thanks Nino. And thanks so much for sharing the photos!