Tag Archives: Berkeley

All weekend long! #SPARCS2015

Once a year or so, there's a canine science conference, and it's happening again this weekend. You can live stream the whole thing FOR FREE!!! DO IT!! Or at least drop in for a few talks. This year's speakers include Katheryn Lord, Hal Herzog, James Ha, and my friend @DogSpies will be there too!

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Power outages

Squirrels contributed to two power outages in Portland, OR in one week, and PG&E crews there are considering "wildlife guards" to prevent squirrels from entering substations, since 18% of power outages there can be blamed on animals. One of these power outages was blamed for two car accidents. Squirrels were also later falsely accused of a power outage in nearby Clackamas County, but it turned out to be an equipment failure.

In Nebraska City, a squirrel "put his feet where they shouldn't have been," leaving residents without power for an hour. One squirrel caused inconveniences for over 4000 people in Indiana, and a squirrel in Springfield, IL made contact with the power equipment "in the wrong way" (I think that is a euphemism for the squirrel's passing). Grand Rapids, MI also experienced a squirrel-related loss of power.

And finally, in Leatherland (somewhere in the UK), a squirrel started a fire after he "fried his brains out," and the short circuit triggered a fire in leaves nearby.

In case you are wondering, it's not squirrels' running on single power lines that causes the problems; it's almost always contact with two lines at the same time (even a paw on one, and a touch of the tail to the other) that causes the outages. A nice description of the problem here.

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Variable schedules of reinforcement are powerful, and keep us crushing candy

I can't decide if I love or hate Candy Crush, but I am definitely hooked. Here's why: intermittent and unexpected rewards lead to a bigger dopamine rush (when the reward center of your brain is activated). It also doesn't hurt that the images are of candy. Read more here.

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Squirrels cause power problems...

sanjoseA Bay Area squirrel caused a power outage which ultimately disrupted Caltrain service for commuters and cause phone problems for 42 local schools. Sources say the squirrel did not survive.

 

 

 

A squirrel also caused a power outage in Anderson, Indiana.

...and fire

A squirrel nested in a North Carolina attic, but then set its nest on fire after chewing on electrical cords. The second story of the home was damaged, but no humans were injured.

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