Archive for the ‘felis silvestris catus’ Category
With Radio Shack filing for bankruptcy, lots of geeky toys may go with it. Yes, the TRS-80 may be long gone, but so have most computers of that era. The thing I remember playing with was their electronics kits. These were simple introductions into circuits. Using spring terminals, you could build an AM radio, or morse code key, or 150 other projects (or more, depending on the exact set you got). About half mine actually worked, but it was a good way to spend an afternoon.
The spirit of this lives on, however, in Snap Circuits, which my daughter is even more fascinated with than I was the Radio Shack kits. Rather than a box of loose parts and springs you have to connect, each component is encased in plastic, with connections made with snaps. While it means you don’t actually get to hold a resister, you’re less likely to lose the part, and the projects seem to have a higher success rate–it’s not as finicky as the spring terminals. Many of the old projects of the Radio Shack kit are present, and some versions even have a computer interface. It’s a great toy to encourage an interest in STEM fields, not that I have much trouble encouraging that with my daughter.
My wife related a story where she was not the only one exploring electrical engineering.
Beso is a watcher. He likes to sit off to the side and observe what my daughter does. I often wonder if he has a notebook in which he jots his observations about life, in a manner like Thoreau. A week or so ago, my daughter was playing with her Snap Circuits. As pictured, Beso sat in the box lid, intently watching what she was up to. She made a circuit which had a switch, and an electric motor that turned a fan. She flipped the switch a few times, and had the fan spin, then stop. She then got up for a minute, leaving her project.
Beso took the opportunity to walk over and examine the breadboard. He sniffed around the motor, then put his paw on the switch and pushed. He wasn’t quite catching it, but it was clear he was paying enough attention to determine that’s what made the fan go. He tried from one side, then the other, only giving up when my daughter returned.
I’m not sure you’ll have the same result with Snap Circuits with your cats. However, I can certainly endorse it as a great education toy for the girls they love.
If you have the I Can Has Cheezburger page-a-day calendar may recognize a familiar face. A picture of Eddy made it in! He's quite proud.
My wife and daughter do storytime. Since Luna moved in nearly three years ago, she has joined them. Presently, they’re working their way through Harry Potter. She lays there, listens, and occasionally purrs.
She skips some days. Other days, she’ll realize she missed it, and run in and chirp. Once in a while, another chapter is read, just for Luna.
My wife related to me today that Luna enlisted Beso in trying to get out the current book. He’s bigger, and better able to help. I wonder what she would do once they got it out–I’m not sure she can read herself.
Ten years ago today, a friend talked me into doing a bike ride I twice swore I’d never do again. As it turns out, it was a good thing: it was on that ride I found Eddy! It’s hard to imagine life without that little cat.
Eddy is spending the day lounging, of course.
When we found Eddy, the vet estimated he was twelve weeks old. Counting backwards, that put his birthday at June 6!
Happy birthday, Eddy! You’ve made our house a much more interesting and fun place!
The are no longer kittens, though we still refer to them as such. Beso and Luna are three years old. Beso has deep thought sometimes.
Luna is still a hacker-ninja-princess, bounding through life.
It’s hard work to look this good. Don’t you just love her pedicure?
Beso is also a handsome cat.
Happy birthday, kitties!
One of the fascinating things about house cats is that, while genetically identical to some wild subspecies (felis silvestris), they have adapted to live with humans. They did so not because man thought they’d be useful and bred them to accentuate such traits, but because cats chose to live with us. While selection favored traits that made them more suited to live with humans–cuter, tamer, fonder of boxes–it was not, until relatively recently, something man did.
It is generally held that cats domesticated themselves relatively recently. While dogs were domesticated as much as 15,000 years ago, cats have been living with us for roughly half that time. However, recent studies have pushed that out a bit:
Archaeologists once believed that cats were domesticated in the time of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt, approximately 4,000 years ago, between 2310 B.C. and 1950 B.C. But in 2004, researchers reported a 9,500-year-old joint burial of a cat and a human on the island of Cyprus.
Ancient Egyptian Kitten Skeletons Hint at Cat Domestication”
I think this is fascinating, both because it suggest humans have been living with cats for longer than previously thought, but also because the location. While most people associated cats with the Egyptians, these remains were found in Cyprus. Same general part of the world, but an island. I suspect the cats were brought with settlers.
It’s Mardi Gras! Time for the annual photo session for the cats. Luna checked out the beads.
Eddy is ready. “Throw me something, mister!”
Luna, of course, looks good in anything.
I look…goofy (perhaps because I’m not a cat).
But Beso just isn’t in the spirit.
Happy Mardi Gras!!!
This weekend, I set about taking a new profile picture for all my internet presence.
I got a couple options.
I kept goofing around with that…
…when Beso showed up.
Let’s face it: he’s cuter than me.
Luna also appeared, and I took a picture with her, too.
She was thrilled!
They wandered off. Luna checked out the snow.
Beso hung out on the bed, annoyed I was still taking pictures of him.
I try to pull out my camera once a week and take pictures. This was an interesting session, with fun results.
We started the Christmas Snow Leopard tradition for our cats two years ago. I had ordered a couple of plush mice from the Snow Leopard Trust. The Snow Leopard Trust works with folks living in areas where snow leopards like to roam. They provide income through the production of a variety of things, such as the felt mice, in exchange for protecting the cats. Where before the snow leopards were viewed as a threat to their flocks to be killed on sight, now they are guarded by the herders.
A good example of the effects of this program was recently demonstrated. A snow leopard cub was found on the roof of a home in Mongolia. Before it would have been shot and killed on sight. Now, the only shooting took place with cell phone cameras. The cub was safely relocated to the mountains. I think it is great that this organization looks at how to look at the impact the endangered species is having on the humans it shares a territory with, and helping solve problems to minimize conflict, rather than dictating what should be done.
Last year, I gave to the Snow Leopard Trust through work, as the cats still had their mice. The Christmas Snow Leopard still came, bringing new Beastie Bands for the cats. This year, my wife actually adopted Devekh, a radio-collard wild snow leopard, for me. I have my very own snow leopard!
That’s not Devekh but another snow leopard on the cover of the folder–there was a good picture of him inside. Naturally, our new plush friend now shares that name.
The cats, however, got three cool gifts from a local store called Confetti Cats, specializing in cat toys and products. They had a grand time unwrapping everything.
One, a “Luna Loop,” was a small, simple toy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good pictures of it. The other two were well received and photographed.
My wife noticed Eddy really liked this shaggy plume on te top of one of the other toys, which also had a big base. We sound something similar but lighter.
He loved it!
We also got a Cat Crib, a hammock designed to attach under chairs. The box was the first part of that toy.
Then they each took a turn sitting in it.
Beso eventually figured out he could play with both toys at once, while Eddy sat up top.
It was a great Christmas, and a fun continuation of our little tradition.