Monday, November 15, 2010

NY Times disses dogs twice on front page!

I'm steaming: two articles demeaning dogs on the Times' front page in the same day! Above the fold!

The first, Doubts Rise on Bedbug Sniffing Dogs, about dogs who mistake other bugs, such as rodent mites, for bedbugs, casts doubt on the ability of my sniffing cousins to detect these miniscule but horrible creatures.  What's the problem? asks Mom. Are dogs expected to identify each bug by genus and species?  Besides, any bug inside the house is a bad bug in Mom's book. Wouldn't you be grateful if a dog identified some rodent mites in your house?

Demeaning piece #2: a story, Cats Lap With Just Tip of the Tongue, trumpeting the amazing physical abilities of cats to lap up their milk. No kidding. The story even had stop-motion photographs to demonstrate this apparently incredible feat. Not only that, the author felt compelled to compare it with the water-lapping technique of dogs. Writer Nicholas Wade calls the sound accompanying my slurps "unseemly" and "crude." He even goes so far to write: "Cats, both big and little, are so much classier," attributing this judgment to several engineers.

Now, dear reader, do you really think these scientists made that evaluation in their report in Science? Or is the value judgment simply one made by this seemingly biased writer?

I went to the source, Science's November 11 issue.  I learned quite a bit about lapping kinematics, including "gravitational collapse," "pinch-off" and "mouth closure" factors, as well as the suction abilities of horses and sheep. This fascinating reading aside, the scientists do mention the "elegance" of the cat's method but make no invidious comparisons. Dogs scoop water into their mouths. And what, exactly, is wrong with that? Works for me.