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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Purebread Dogs Vs Inbread Dogs

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: Ecovacs Deebot M81 Pro

For the first week that I ran the Ecovacs Deebot M81 Pro, I kept finding it knocked off its base, its battery uncharged. It was aggravating, and mystifying. What could be happening? I've been testing robot vacuums for months by plugging them into this one location.

After a day of observation, I figured out the problem. My eight-month-old son was crawling over to the botvac, and turning it on and off by slapping the glowing blue button. While every other robot vacuum made him wail in fear, this one was unobtrusive and approachable.

Finally, a robot vacuum I can operate while the kids are awake! Success!

Rich Girl

With robot vacuums, you get what you pay for. More expensive models have powerful suction, smarter mapping capabilities, and navigational abilities-but not everyone can pay almost a grand for a household appliance.

With the Deebot M81 Pro, Ecovacs makes a series of acceptable compromises. The suction isn't as powerful as a more expensive botvac, but it's quieter. I measured it at around 60 dB. For some reason, neither my dogs nor my children seemed as bothered by it as by other robot vacuums.

In my cleaning tests, the Deebot M81 Pro took longer to clean the 500 square feet of infant, toddler, and double dog-haired mess I call my house. More expensive vacuums can be counted on to clean the same space in about an hour, but it took the Deebot two. It took two hours to charge the vacuum, and then two hours to run down the battery until it had to return to the charging base.

But-my house was left relatively clean. The floor didn't look as spotless as if I'd run the push vac-fragments remained under cabinets and around table legs. But the more obvious trails of dirt and sand by the front door, and crumbs underneath the kitchen table, were gone. It did its job with nary a navigational snag, either, although it was stumped by wire chair legs.

You can operate the Deebot either with the included remote, which lets you set timers, schedules, or different cleaning modes like spot cleaning, edge cleaning, and intense cleaning. You also use the remote to connect it to your home Wi-Fi-just hit the network setup button, then select the botvac on Ecovacs' companion app. I found this procedure significantly easier to figure out than with competing Wi-Fi enabled vacuums. However, the app can't replace the remote, as–weirdly–it doesn't have a home button to return the botvac to its base. But it does have the same manual directional controls, and you can also check your battery's status.

The Deebot also has an optional wet mop mode that might be more trouble than it's worth, but more on that later.

Don't Get It Twisted

Clearing the floor was annoying. Unlike the Neato or Roomba botvacs, Ecovacs does not provide you with any kind of physical or infrared barrier to cordon off problem areas. As with every house, we have rat nests of cords in certain corners, and my rolled-up-towel-walls didn't keep the Deebot M81 Pro at bay.

The wet mop was an interesting addition, but not necessary. It's an optional attachment that you click onto the bottom of the vac. You fill a reservoir with a minute (about 80 milliliters) amount of water, stick on the optional cleaning mop, and select Auto mode. But, sadly, the botvac can't distinguish between hard floors and carpet, so open kitchens are a no-go. You also have to wait a little while for the water to drain from the reservoir and into the cleaning cloth.

I used the Deebot's manual control to clean up a trail of dried milk barf (sorry, childless folk) that my son left on the hardwood floor in the hall. I filled the reservoir, clicked it onto the bottom of the vac, and used the manual control to direct it back and forth over the dried milk.

It was fun and easy, but as I stood there, steering it back and forth, I wondered if it might've just been easier to grab a wet Swiffer instead. By the eight or ninth pass, with traces of vomit still present, I gave up. You should probably reserve the mop mode for light maintenance cleaning in a small, enclosed area, like a bathroom. Otherwise, it's not an efficient use of your time.

I couldn't make out that much of a difference between the Auto and Intensive cleaning modes; Intensive was only a few decibels louder, and it ran down the battery faster to no noticeable effect. And unlike the Neato or the Roomba models, the Deebot didn't alert me when the bin was full, only when something got stuck. And then there was the roller brush-between me and my long-haired daughter, it regularly wound ropes of hair that were so thick that I'd have to cut them off with a pocketknife. I made it a habit to check the brush whenever I emptied the dustbin.

Sweet Escape

The Deebot doesn't have many of the features of more expensive vacuums that I've come to know and love. Its random "go in a straight line until you bounce off something at an angle" method of cleaning seems haphazard once you've seen the methodical navigation style of a Neato or a Roomba. I also didn't see the level of clean that you might expect with a midrange vacuum from the Neato or Roomba line.

But-and here's the thing-it's cheaper, and not by an insignificant amount. If you live in a space with both carpeted and hard surfaces, and you want to buy a robot vacuum and pay off your mortgage this month (who are you, Bill Gates?), the Ecovacs Deebot M81 Pro is a great option.

Even if it doesn't provide as deep a clean, it's more convenient to run it more often. You don't have to wait until your children or dogs are asleep or otherwise occupied. It also won't pester you for attention like many other robot vacuums-even when it probably should, like when a rope of hair has started to disguise itself as part of the cleaning brush.

And isn't that all anyone who needs a robot vacuum wants? A little more time to be left alone? That's well worth three hundred bucks.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

'It is raining stair rods'

Regional slang words for different types of weather are being considered for weather forecasts, the Met Office has said.

Its research found a variety of slang words were used to describe UK weather. Here are some that have been submitted by readers to BBC News.

'It is raining stair rods'

Image copyright Getty Images

I don't know where it comes from but we always said "it is raining stair rods" when it was really heavy. Another which is I assume is more common is "good weather for ducks". As a child I have heard – but not actually used it much in anger – is the term "Noah's day" if it rained or was forecast to rain heavy for all or most of the day. Philip Robinson, Lincolnshire

The analogy for the term "it is raining stair rods" is the rain falling in long, straight streaks.

The German and French languages have words using the imagery of ropes or cord to do the same thing.

'It's looking a bit black over Bill's mother's'

Image copyright Getty Images

An expression in this area; now, I suspect, hardly ever used is "it's black orr Bill's mother's". This was when the sky was darkening ahead of a thunderstorm. I have met people who also knew this who lived in Leicester and another from Humberside. My wife's family from County Durham used the term "it's stotting it down" to describe rain that was so heavy it was bouncing off the ground. Stephen Veasey, Nottingham

"It's a bit black over Bill's mother" – when dark clouds were gathering. This could be from any direction, which initially led me to believe Bill's mother was on the move. Alan, Kent

This is a phrase often heard in the English Midlands. Some believe "Bill" refers to William Shakespeare, whose mother Mary Arden lived in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

But another theory is "Bill" actually refers to Kaiser Wilhelm II, the last German emperor and king of Prussia, who abdicated at the end of World War One. Germany's foreign policy at that time echoed Wilhelm's changeable and blustering character, according to the Open University.

'Mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn' – 'It's raining old ladies and sticks'

Image copyright Getty Images

In Wales we say "Mae hi'n bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn" which literally means "It's raining old ladies and sticks". David Goadby, Pwllheli, north Wales

Used to describe heavy rain, the English equivalent is "it is raining cats and dogs".

Is it 'tipping it down', 'slinging it down' or 'teeming'?

Image copyright Getty Images

I am over 60 and a south-east Londoner but have never heard heavy rain described as "caning it". I have, however, heard on many occasions when there is serious rain the words "totally torrential", "tipping it down" and "inundated", and to a lesser extent "the clouds have materialised". Daphne Cunningham, London

I've lived in London for almost 30 years and have never heard "caning it". Where I'm from in Cheshire, we'd say "slinging it down" or "tipping it down". I wonder if the British have as many words for rain as Eskimos famously have for snow? Paula Dempsey, London

What a splendid way to preserve our dialects and adages. In the Sunderland and Newcastle area heavy rain "teeming down" is the expression – "chucking down" is another. Anthony Bird

'Blowing a hoolie'

We have some excellent terms for weather up here in the north-east of Scotland from "driech", "smirrie rain", "it's fair dinging doon", "blowing a hoolie", "it's minging outside" and probably heaps more. Sarah Kirkwood, Aberdeen

'There's enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers'

Image copyright Getty Images

I grew up and spent most of my life in Kent. My childhood was spent on a farm my father managed and I later went into farming myself where the topic of the weather was never far away.

Here are some of my favourite descriptions for the weather that I picked up on the way:

  • "Here comes Old Phoebe" – the sun is coming out.
  • "It's damping about a bit" – my father's expression for drizzle, usually meaning it wasn't wet enough to stop outdoor work
  • "It's cold enough for a walking stick" – meaning there would be ice and a walking stick might be useful for the less agile
  • "There's enough blue sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers" – said after rain when the sky starts to clear
  • Fifty words for rain

'Nesh' and 'Nithering'

If you are cold in Nottingham you are feeling a bit "nesh" This can be directed at the weather: "Oh it's gonna be nesh in the morning." Zoe Johnson, Nottingham

I have lived in York for more than 21 years (born in Sussex) and a word which is commonly used to describe the weather being exceptionally cold here is "nithering". York is nithering for much of the year. Claire Sansford, York


In Scarborough, heavy rain is often "siling" – this may have Norse origins. If it's hot, it's "mafting " and you may be said to be "mafted ". And if it's miserable – or if someone you know is – "dowly ". Mat Watkinson, Scarborough

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Airline Cracks Down On Naughty “Emotional Support” Animals

Delta, the world's second-largest airline, has announced new regulations for passengers hoping to fly with service and support animals.

Beginning on March 1, 2018, passengers with furry (or scaly, slimy, or feathered) support animals will need to provide documentation on their animal's health and vaccination history 48 hours prior to departure. As of right now, passengers with emotional support animals (ESAs) must carry a note from a licensed medical professional confirming that the passenger has a mental health-related disability for which they require or significantly benefit from traveling with their animal. Moving forward, these passengers will also have to provide a signed letter confirming that the animal can behave properly while free in the cabin.

According to the airline, Delta flights carry about 700 service animals every day, or about 250,000 per year. Some of these animals are specialized "service dogs" (and apparently service miniature horses) that aid people with various medical conditions. These animals are unlikely to cause a ruckus in public because they are highly trained, and legislation from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ensures that their owners may live with them in any rental housing, bring them into businesses, public areas and hospitals, and use public transport such as buses and trains. Customers traveling with these legitimate service animal will only be required to provide the animal's health record, not the medical note.

A well-behaved good boy can still fly free, only needing some extra paperwork. Stieber/Shutterstock

The real issue that has led to this crackdown is the explosion in popularity of emotional support animals (ESAs). The Department of Transportation, who oversees national travel system policy, is laxer than the DOJ; They lump loosely regulated ESAs (also called assistance animals) together with service animals in the instance of air travel. 

Essentially any animal that is not deemed a threat to public safety (sorry no snakes, spiders, or mongooses) can qualify as an ESA, as long as the owner carries a note as mentioned above. No training is required. 

Because ESA documentation is shockingly easy to obtain and apply to existing pets, people have, of course, been abusing the loopholes.

"Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more," Delta officials wrote in their rather testy public statement. "Ignoring the true intent of existing rules governing the transport of service and support animals can be a disservice to customers who have real and documented needs." 

The company reports that there was an 84 percent rise in animal incidents between 2016 and the present, including peeing or pooping in the aisles and growling or lunging at other customers/airline staff, and even the rare attack. Essentially, they're very tired of dealing with "behavior not typically seen in these animals when properly trained and working."

Prior to these restrictions, airlines already had the authority to remove a passenger and their service animal or ESA if said creature posed a direct threat to the safety of others, or if its presence caused a significant disruption to the flight. Personnel can also move you and your animal to different seats.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Older Couple Caught With 60 Pounds Of Pot Said It Was For Holiday Gifts: Police

A routine traffic stop in York County, Nebraska, on Tuesday turned out to be anything but routine.

That's because officers found 60 pounds of pot in the vehicle, which was occupied by an older couple traveling on Interstate 80, according to the York News-Times.

Deputies in York County stopped a Toyota Tacoma after it crossed the center line and the driver failed to signal. Deputies said they immediately smelled what appeared to be raw marijuana.

When drug-sniffing dogs confirmed their suspicion, officers searched the pickup and found the weed in boxes inside the pickup topper, the newspaper reported.

York County Sheriff's Department
Deputies in York County, Nebraska, stack evidence that they say came from inside the pickup they stopped on I-80.

York County sheriff's Lt. Paul Vrbka told the paper he estimated the confiscated cannabis to be worth about $336,000.

Patrick Jiron, 80, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and having no drug tax stamp, both felonies.

York County Sheriff's Department
Patrick Jiron, 80, was arrested in Nebraska.

Jiron was released after he posted 10 percent of his $100,000 bond, according to the York News-Times.

His wife, 70-year-old Barbara Jiron, was cited but not jailed due to what Vrbka described as "some medical issues."

Vrbka said the couple told police they were traveling to Vermont from Clearlake Oaks, California, and intended to give out the weed as Christmas presents, according to

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Will Pets Feel The Winter Solstice? Here's What You May Expect From Your Fur Bae

The shortest day of the year is almost here. Yes, that's right - The Winter Solstice is happening on Thursday, Dec. 21. It's the one day of the year where the Northern Hemisphere is most distant from the sun, which means it receives the least amount of daylight hours. Say hello to the darkness, because it'll be here before you know it. The Winter Solstice marks the astrological first day of winter. If you happen to have a pet at home, you know how a change in weather can affect them, so will pets feel The Winter Solstice?

You might not see a drastic change in your pet's behavior, but there will be a slight difference. Though, it's nothing you wouldn't see happening in yourself. For instance, if you've been noticing that you need that extra afternoon coffee during the winter, it can all lead back to the season. Daylight matters to us as humans, and it also matters to other mammals. According to Live Science, we rely on light to let our internal clocks know what time of day it is. If there is less light out, our internal clocks are thrown way off. It's like when someone wakes you up before your alarm clock goes off, and you have no idea what time it is.

It's Officially Time To Take A Cat Nap


Just as you will be needing more naps in the winter, you will be finding that your cat or dog will also be needing more naps. For any cat owner, you can't imagine your feline friend needing sleep time. Domesticated cats already sleep up to 16 hours a day.

The Winter Solstice will provide us with a little less than 10 hours of daylight, depending on where you are in the Northern Hemisphere. So, on average, your cat may very well be sleeping more hours in the day than there are hours of daylight.

You might even notice your pup is a little less active than normal, but who can blame them? It's cold and dark. I would want to curl up in my cozy bed and sleep, too. The winter is when you really notice your pet acting a little less peppy than usual.

Will The Longest Night Of The Year Make Your Pet Sad?


According to Live Science, people who have seasonal affective disorder, aka SAD, harbor melatonin for longer amounts of time throughout the winter. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that clues your body in on when it's time to head to sleep. Your body produces more of it at night, so you can blame the longest night of the year for why you'll be feeling a little sleepier on Winter Solstice day.

If you have SAD, your pet can actually suffer from it as well. According to Psychology Today, The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals conducted a survey that discovered about 40 percent of dog parents noticed their pets were a little more sad in the winter time. So, if you notice your pet needing to sleep more, this could be why.

What You Can Do With Your Pet For The Winter Solstice?


You can totally cheer your pup up if he's dealing with any wintertime blues. Spending more time with your dog or cat during The Winter Solstice will definitely make them happier. With the darkness outside, it's an easy excuse to stay at home and relax with your pet.

The Winter Solstice is a great night for watching a movie at home. Pick out something you know your dog or cat will enjoy watching as well. You can even make some festive winter treats for your pet that you know they will love.

If your pooch wants some fresh air, take him outside for a walk if it's not too cold out, and enjoy all of the holiday decorations. The Winter Solstice is signifying that winter is here, and you wouldn't want to spend it with anyone else but your furry best friend.

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Foster Mom Refuses To Put Her Tiny Pit Bull To Sleep After It Was Born A Little Bit Different

When a nurse practitioner in Westchester County, New York, welcomed a tiny newborn pit bull just barely clinging to life into her home, she knew there was an uphill struggle ahead of her. Marie DeMarco loved little Sasha all the same, though, and that love is what's pulling both of them through.

Born in early September with an obvious cleft lip and palette, Sasha was unable to nurse, and was already at risk of death on her very first day of life. Animal rescuer Courtney Bellew was called, and after recognizing Sasha's need for urgent care, she brought the poor thing to DeMarco, who had extensive experience nursing ill kittens. It was then discovered that Sasha also suffered from hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the skull), an upper respiratory infection, a urinary tract infection, and orthopedic issues.

"She has an amazing will and determination," DeMarco told The Dodo. "Through all this, she really shouldn't be here."

Despite Sasha's harrowing first 3 and a half months, she's getting stronger every day, and even gets to wear adorable dresses and sweaters to stay warm. Scroll down to learn more about Sasha's story, and keep track of her progress on the official Facebook pages for FURRR 911 (Marie DeMarco's rescue agency) and SNARR Animal Rescue Northeast.

Meet Sasha, a 3-month-old pit bull who is defying all odds in her struggle to stay alive

Image credits: furrr911

Little Sasha's life got off to a rough start, as she was born with cleft lip and palette, making her unable to nurse

Image credits: S.N.A.R.R Animal Rescue Northeast

Animal rescuer Courtney Bellew saw her need for urgent care, and placed her with nurse Marie DeMarco

Image credits: S.N.A.R.R Animal Rescue Northeast

The bad news? Sasha also had fluid in her brain, as well as respiratory, urinary and orthopedic issues

Image credits: Penny The Peanut Pibble

The good news? DeMarco, who was experienced in caring for ill kittens, was prepared to help

Image credits: Penny The Peanut Pibble

3 and a half months into her life, Sasha is getting stronger by day, and has even gained weight

Image credits: furrr911

She even gets to wear fabulous dresses and sweaters to keep her warm!

Image credits: furrr911

"She has an amazing will and determination," DeMarco said. "Through all this, she really shouldn't be here"

Image credits: furrr911

Perhaps the most important element in Sasha's recovery has been the unconditional love surrounding her

Image credits: furrr911

"When I hold her and I'm kissing her, if I hold her near my face, she licks my nose"

Image credits: furrr911

Though Sasha has a long road ahead of her, she has all the support she needs to live as happily as other dogs

Image credits: furrr911

"She was dealt some bad cards in life… Boy, is she loved"

Image credits: furrr911

Some people left less-than-sensitive comments…

But DeMarco was quick to defend the bond between her and Sasha

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

Woman Rescues And Bathes The 'Cat' She Found…But It's Definitely A Mountain Lion

Sometimes I think I've reached the limit of people's stupidity, but something always proves me wrong.

It's admirable to help lost or stray animals you find while going about your daily business, but it's pretty important to know the difference between the domestic and wild critters wandering around outside. One woman on Facebook recently claimed she had taken in a "cat," and the internet was stunned when she posted the picture.

"Found Lost cat Panhandle near Hudson Trail," she writes. "He was a little dirty so we are cleaning him up." And that's cute and all, BUT IT'S A MOUNTAIN LION.

She kept up the ruse, posting a picture of the cat "looking sad outside" in the comments section of her post. Not all is as it appears, though. This is a prank that's become common to copy and paste in areas where mountain lions live. The real one can be seen in this video from Russia.

This is iconic. At least I can maintain my belief that people are usually not stupid enough to bring dangerous big cats into their houses at night. This prank is getting big laughs. Would you post it to see what your friends and family would say? Let us know in the comments.

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