Talking Beaver – Welcome To Canada

Talking Beaver – Welcome To Canada

Talking Beaver - Welcome To Canada

The quest for religious and political freedom is often cited as the reasons Europeans colonized North America, but natural resources were another major draw. These included whales, vast schools of cod, and towering lodgepole pines used for ship’s masts. But the resource that lured explorers across the continent was ACTUALLY the beaver.

After the early European explorers realized that Canada was not the spice-rich Orient, the main mercantile attraction was the beaver, then a population numbering in the millions. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the fashion of the day demanded fur top-hats, which needed beaver pelts. As these hats became more popular, the demand for the pelts grew. Explorers were dispatched deep into the North American wilderness to trap and trade for furs with local natives.

King Henry IV of France saw the fur trade as an opportunity to acquire much-needed revenue and to establish his North American empire. Both English and French fur traders were soon selling beaver pelts in Europe at 20 times their original purchase price.

The first North American coat of arms to depict a beaver was created by Sir William Alexander, who was granted title in 1621 to the area now known as Nova Scotia.

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Driving Dogs in New Zealand

Driving Dogs in New Zealand

Driving Dogs in New Zealand

Rescued stray dogs in New Zealand learn to drive

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IN a world already full of road hogs this is perhaps the last thing you want to see in the rear view mirror. Animal experts are teaching dogs how to drive.

Astonishingly, it took three mutts just eight weeks to master the basics in wooden carts. They then graduated to a modified Mini in which they sat on their haunches in the driver’s seat with their paws on the steering wheel.

Their feet go on extension levers which are attached to the accelerator and the brake while their paw rests on the gearstick.

The experiment was set up by an animal welfare group in New Zealand which wanted to show the public how intelligent dogs are.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will put Porter, a ten-month old beardie cross, Monty, an 18-month-old schnauzer cross, and Ginny, a one-year-old beardie whippet cross to the test in a live broadcast next Monday.

Mark Vette, who is schooling the dogs, said: ‘”We train them to do different actions, touch is the first thing and then we teach them to touch the different objects with the right paw and left paw. They’ve all come through at this point and they’re all going really well”.

Rescued stray dogs in New Zealand learn to drive

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Talking Dogs The Best Ever

Talking Dogs The Best Ever

Talking Dogs The Best Ever

Todays Puppy is Dexter The Pug Mix

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How to Train a Dog to Speak

Short, positive training sessions will serve best when you teach your dog to obey various commands. Some examples of commands are “sit,” “stay” and “speak.” The “speak” command teaches a dog to bark once or twice in response to your verbal cue. Training not only provides mental stimulation for your dog but gives you more control over his behavior. You can combine commands to teach more complicated tricks or tasks, such as “quiet” or “hush” for noisy dogs, after they first understand the command to speak. Use reward-based clicker-training techniques to train your dog to vocalize on your command.

Step 1

Train your dog to associate the sound of a clicker to a reward, using a dog treat. In short, 5- to 10-minute sessions each day, click a training device and give your dog a treat. Wait a minute or so between each click and treat. Continue this training until your dog expects a reward after hearing a click.

Step 2

Say the verbal cue, “speak,” then trigger your dog to bark by waving a favorite toy in front of the dog’s face but not allowing him to obtain it. Other ways to trigger your dog to bark is by knocking on a wall or door, or by withholding a treat from the dog. Once the dog barks, click the device and give your dog a treat.

Step 3

Train your dog for five to 10 minutes with the clicker and treats each day until he responds to the verbal command to speak by giving you at least one bark without your having to provoke him to bark with anything other than the verbal “speak” command.

Step 4

Teach your dog the “quiet” command to limit the amount of time your dog barks after being given the “speak” command. This further specifies the “speak” command to just a couple barks instead of constant barking for a longer amount of time. Give the dog the command to “speak” triggering him to bark, but don’t treat him. Say “quiet” and wait until he is quiet for a few seconds before clicking and treating him. Continue this training giving the commands “speak” and “quiet” during each training session.


Almighty Flood Claims Catching Out Insurers

Almighty Flood Claims Catching Out Insurers

Almighty Flood Claims Catching Out Insurers

FLOODING in Bundaberg shocked more than locals – even insurers offering cover for such inundation were caught out.

It struck last month, with the coastal Queensland town’s Burnett River overflowing to the extent houses washed off stumps.

Suncorp, Queensland’s biggest insurer, logged about 1500 flood claims there. Some were unexpected.

“It was a one in 500-year event, therefore the water was two or three metres higher than anyone thought it was going to be,” Suncorp chief executive Patrick Snowball told The Courier-Mail.

“There are a lot of people who thought their houses would never flood, and we didn’t either. The good thing is we’re fixing them again.”

Brisbane-based Suncorp is the only major insurer to divulge this anecdote among players including RACQ Insurance and IAG – companies which introduced compulsory flood cover years after Suncorp. It raises questions about the precision of the sector’s flood mapping, with 2011’s inundation also hitting some unanticipated areas.

But Mr Snowball argued the Bundaberg flooding did not reflect poorly on Suncorp’s pricing accuracy.

“It reflects entirely the effectiveness of the Almighty,” he said, adding insurers did not price on 1-500 year risks, with 1-200 being a standard worldwide.

The issue of pricing for floods comes amid concerns about overall premium affordability.

Profit results this week from IAG, owner of NRMA and CGU, show it reaped a 17.5 per cent rise in home premiums and “rate increases represent most of this growth”.

Suncorp’s more detailed accounts showed average home premium rises of 16 per cent – and some people have seen far larger jumps.

Premium rises affect the likes of Woodridge local Ted Bull, who complained his bill for a non-flood area had gone from $799.15 to $1070.50. That’s a 34 per cent rise, although the value of property protected also rose.

“When you’re on the pension, that’s quite a jump,” he said.

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Christchurch Earthquake Anniversary

Christchurch Catholic Cathedral

Christchurch Earthquake Anniversary

The empty concrete site of the CTV Building collapse has been opened up today for grieving friends and family to pay their respects on the second anniversary of the February 22 earthquake.

After the one-hour civic memorial service in nearby Latimer Square, which was used as an emergency triage centre after the deadly quake hit at 12.51pm, many made the 100 metre pilgrimage to the CTV site.

Crowds gathered in tearful, hugging groups to pay their respects to the 115 people who perished in the six-storey building’s collapse and subsequent fire.

The mourners – many from overseas who came to remember the dozens of people from the King’s Education School for English Language who died – left flowers, hand-written notes and private prayers.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority says the site will be open until 6.30pm.

A sign posted on a security fence says, “Our hearts and thoughts are with you all today.”
Earlier, at the intimate memorial service attended by around 1000 people, Prime Minister John Key said February 22 will always be a poignant day for the people of Canterbury.

Addressing grieving families, he said: “I know it’s a difficult day for you. Your grief is still raw and only time can numb the pain of your loss. The city and country still feels for you.”

He paid tribute to the “strength and resolve of Cantabrians” who have lost homes and businesses and suffered disruption and anxiety.

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Bugger Commercial – Toyota Hilux Truck

Bugger Commercial – Toyota Hilux Truck

Bugger Commercial - Toyota Hilux Truck Hercules

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A series of farming mishaps each provoke the laconic comment — “bugger”.

This was the formula behind one of NZ’s most iconic advertisements. Made by Saatchis to follow up the beloved Barry Crump/Lloyd Scott Toyota ads, and directed by Tony Williams, it attracted 120 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (who ruled that “bugger” was unlikely to cause serious offence).

The shock value of that word, the role of Hercules the dog, and the performance of the hapless farmer (in the tradition of Dagg and Footrot), made for Kiwi pop culture magic.

Bugger Commercial - Toyota Hilux Truck Hercules

Hercules The Star Dog Has Died
26/05/2004 08:50 PM

Hercules, the famous canine star of the infamous Toyota “bugger” ads, has died.

The Huntaway cross, who was 12, lived for some years at the Funny Farm at Clevedon in south Auckland.

He recently moved to the Rescue Zoo at Tuakau.

Hercules was famous for ending up spread-eagled in the mud in Toyota’s ute ads for which he won 17 international awards.

He began his film career in the original Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess series and starred in 35 feature films and 80 ads.

As well as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and What Became of the Broken-Hearted, Hercules was about to take part in the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.

He died while working on a film set in Auckland.

His trainer Mark Vette says the 12-year-old was one of the world’s best known animal stars.



Tesco Everyday Value Beefburgers Contained 29 Per Cent Horse Meat

Tesco Everyday Value Beefburgers Contained 29 Per Cent Horse Meat

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Tesco Everyday Value Beefburgers Contained 29 Per Cent Horse Meat

I went to a Tesco café yesterday and ordered a burger. They asked me if I wanted anything on it, and I said: ‘Yes — a fiver each way.’

Does anyone have a tooth pick? I had a Tesco burger last night and there’s still a bit between my teeth.

My daughter has always wanted a pony, so I’m buying her a Tesco Quarter Pounder for her birthday.

I’ve got some Tesco burgers in the fridge. But . . . THEY’RE OFFFFFFFFF!

My doctor told me to watch what I eat, so I went out and bought tickets for the Grand National.

If you think horse meat’s bad, wait until you try Tesco’s veggie burgers. They’re made of genuine uniQuorn.

Scientist: ‘Sir, we’ve discovered horse meat in your burgers.’
Tesco boss: ‘Why the long face?’

I won’t eat Tesco burgers. They may be low in fat, but they have a very high Shergar content.

Tesco are giving treble points on your Clubcard for all burgers and petrol, starting today. The deal’s called Only Fuel and Horses.

They’ve found horse meat in Tesco burgers? It’s an unbridled disaster.

A Tesco burger walks into a bar. ‘A pint please.’
‘I can’t hear you,’ says the barman. 
‘Sorry’ replies the burger. ‘I’m a little bit horse.’ 

I selected some burgers on the Tesco website. And then clicked ‘Add to cart.’

What do you call a burnt Tesco burger?                             Black Beauty

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Black Beauty Burger

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Sony PS4 Announced – IGN Daily Fix – IGN Video

The Sony PS4 will hit shelves this year – Holiday 2013 – but the look of the device is still firmly under wraps, with no hardware being revealed at its launch event in New York beyond the new DualShock 4 controller and a stereo camera.

Sony PS4 launch – hardware and specs

However, the Sony PS4 isn’t a total mystery – Sony was plenty forthcoming with features and specs for its next-gen gaming console. The Sony PS4 will pack in an X86 processor with eight CPU cores, an “enhanced PC GPU” and 8GB GDDR5 RAM.
What does that mean for gamers? Sony claims an “exponential leap over its predecessors” in terms of processing power, with the Sony PS4 able to suspend and resume gameplay simply by hitting the power button; the console will boot up immediately when you switch it on and restore your game state. The Sony PS4 will also be able to upload and download games in the background – even when the power button’s off – while you’ll be able to play downloaded games as soon as you purchase them, as the game files are downloading.

The Sony PS4 will also feature always on video compression and decompression – letting you seamlessly upload gameplay recordings. The idea, according to Sony, is to make sharing videos of gameplay as ubiquitous as screenshots are now. You’ll also be able to share live streams of ongoing games – more on that later.

Sony PS4 launch – DualShock 4 controller

The one piece of Sony PS4 hardware that Sony was willing to share was the DualShock 4 controller. Closely resembling the layout of the current PS3 controller, the DualShock 4 adds enhanced rumble capabilities, a Share button and touch pad along with a headphone jack and light bar. The latter lets the PS4’s stereo camera track and identify the controller in 3D – the console will also play nice with existing PlayStation Move controllers.

Visit IGN for more.

PS4 Announced, PS News Overload, IGN Daily Fix – IGN Video

Young Indian Sisters Raped And Murdered

Young Indian Sisters Raped And Murdered

Young Indian Sisters Raped And Murdered

POLICE say three sisters aged between six and 11 were raped and murdered before their bodies were dumped down a well in western India.

The bodies of the three schoolgirls were found last week, two days after they went missing on February 14 from their home in the Bhandara district of Maharashtra state, police Superintendent Aarti Singh said.

“The bodies of the three young girls were found in a well, with their schoolbags and footwear,” Supt Singh said by phone from Nagpur, adding they were aged six, nine and 11.

“The post-mortem has confirmed that the girls were raped and then murdered.”

No arrests have been made but Supt Singh said four people had been detained for questioning and investigations were still under way.

Family members said the girls went to look for their mother who was out of the house and no one heard from them again.

The incident led to protests by villagers, Supt Singh said, echoing angry rallies in the capital New Delhi after the brutal gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a bus in December.

That incident sparked a nationwide debate about the treatment of women and girls and their safety in India.

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Nick Cave and the Bad (Twitter) Feed

Nick Cave and the Bad (Twitter) Feed

Nick Cave and the Bad (Twitter) Feed

NOTORIOUSLY grouchy indie rocker Nick Cave has lived up to his reputation, giving fans a piece of his mind during a Twitter Q&A session.

Like a shotgun wielding outlaw from his AFI-winning Aussie western, The Proposition, Cave opened fire when answering questions about his new album.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds have just released their 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away, to a mixed reception.

Cave made no secret of the fact he was dragged onto Twitter, kicking and screaming – probably by his agent – because he started by tweeting: “Whatever it is I’ve been roped into doing, I’m starting now” and described the process as “bulls***”.

Highlights of Nick Cave’s furious ‘bad feed’ include telling a fan he’d have ‘your wife for dinner’, and telling numerous Tweeps to “f*** off”.

Don’t feed the trolls, Nick. Just don’t.

Fans understandably asked, what had him so riled up?

“You have no f***ing idea. Morose? I’m just getting started.”

Other highlights from #AskNickCave:

  • “I’m hating this… beyond measure and I haven’t even started yet.”
  • “Lower your expectations.”
  • “This is bulls*** and you can join all the others that live in my attic.”
  • “Yawn….”

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