The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

My bête noir strikes again

The only real benefits of ending daylight saving time are getting an extra hour of sleep the first Sunday in November and having the sun already up when you awaken for the first time in weeks.

This morning, Parker, not knowing anything about clocks or sleeping in, nudged me awake at 6:45. Sure, my Fitbit says I got almost 8 full hours of sleep, but dammit, dog.

Plus, it's a gray, damp, cool morning in November. Sleeping just a little longer would have been nice.

Back

Wow, do I have stories to tell. Two days in San Antonio and I've got a lot to digest.

Right now, dog and man both want dinner.

The perils of travel

It's not really that perilous to travel from the US to the UK, unless you're in a step challenge.

This past week, I was traveling for almost 40 hours—including 14 yesterday thanks to ordinary aviation delays. When you're on a plane, it's pretty hard to get steps. Fortunately the time change from the UK back to the US is in my favor, so I got 6 extra hours in which to walk, and I also got Parker back. Still, I barely squeaked in with 10,689 for the day and an unusually low 81,638 for the week (helped immensely by Wednesday's 18,319).

The nadir, of course, was last Sunday, when I flew to London. The lost 6 hours occurred right in the middle of the day, so not only did I get the fewest steps (7,407) since June 11th (7,044), but also this happened:

Sheesh.

So naturally, I walked to work today. I'm already at 9,770 and heading towards 20k (assuming I walk home, too).

New hints about dog domestication

Via Deeply Trivial, a new study published last week provides new evidence that only a few genetic changes made wary wolves into friendly dogs:

Not much is known about the underlying genetics of how dogs became domesticated. In 2010, evolutionary geneticist Bridgett vonHoldt of Princeton University and colleagues published a study comparing dogs’ and wolves’ DNA. The biggest genetic differences gave clues to why dogs and wolves don’t look the same. But major differences were also found in WBSCR17, a gene linked to Williams-Beuren syndrome in humans.

Williams-Beuren syndrome leads to delayed development, impaired thinking ability and hypersociability. VonHoldt and colleagues wondered if changes to the same gene in dogs would make the animals more social than wolves, and whether that might have influenced dogs’ domestication.

The team notes, for instance, that in addition to contributing to sociability, the variations in WBSCR17 may represent an adaptation in dogs to living with humans. A previous study revealed that variations in WBSCR17 were tied to the ability to digest carbohydrates — a source of energy wolves would have rarely consumed. Yet, the variations in domestic dogs suggest those changes would help them thrive on the starch-rich diets of humans.

I hope they're not barking up the wrong tree here.

Friday afternoon link round-up

While I'm trying to figure out how to transfer one database to another, I'm putting these aside for later reading:

Back to database analysis and design...

Spring is here

A combination of really nice weather, a shift in my project at work, and a loyal dog (who is now loyally pooped) has let me get some serious Fitbit steps recently:

That 7-day total is my best since I got a Fitbit in October 2014. The previous record was 129,249 set on June 16th last year—the day I walked 40,748 steps over 35.6 km.

Also on June 16th I set a 30-day total step count record of 507,849, which I'm unlikely to beat soon. As of yesterday, my current 30-day count is 435,763, so I've got a lot of steps to get to hit 508,000.

That said, today's steps might set a new 7-day record. I just need 19,300 for the day to do so. We'll see.