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Buddy Science – Why we love our pets

They are cute. They are lovable. But there’s more to the story why we love pets than just the cuddle factor.

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Why on Earth do we obsess over our pets sooo . . .  much? I’m not talking just about how adorable, innocent and quirky they are. People obsess over their pets so much that today there are cosmetic surgeries to alter their appearances. Pet insurance is a real thing. And, to boot, a whopping 500,000 people purchased testicular implants to restore what was once lost to their beloved pals. In the world of consumerism pet care is one of the fastest growing retail businesses, second only to personal electronics. Billionaire Leona Helmsley left a $12 million trust fund to her dog, Trouble; her grandkids, received nothing. In one questionnaire a participant commented, “I care for them more than for most people I know,” when commenting about his/her dogs. Lloyd Garver, a journalist, said in his article about pets, “But don’t try to turn them into humans. Why would you want to knock them down a notch?” Get this–people who lose their pets display the same level of grief as losing a loved-one; not one but three studies proved this to be true.

Pets or domesticated animals specifically dogs have been around for thousands of years. Dogs as domesticated animals date back to 12,000 years ago. All dogs are descendants of wolves. Good thing their bark is worse than their bite. The adorable Shih Tzu and not so adorable Pug (no offense) all transcended from wolves. This is somewhat shocking to ponder, but it makes sense. Just like people, wolves all have unique traits: some are smart, some have thick fur, some are really large, some have large snouts, etc. Over time humans blended these characteristics to create today’s furry friend. 

Random facts: There is evidence that a dog very similar to the Pekingese existed in China by the first century. Also during the reign of the Roman Empire small breed dogs were believed to help cure stomach aches when sitting on a person’s lap. 

For most people it is common knowledge that the Egyptians held the cat sacred and mummified millions of them, ya millions. The earliest evidence of domesticated cats dates back to 3000 B.C. Cats are sought after for their independent nature and pest control abilities as well as their innate adorableness. 

Over time many other animals became domesticated as well, including the horse, sheep, elephant, camel, pigeon, rabbit, cow, and buffalo to name a few. All of the above served their own purpose; sheep for example provided meat and clothing while cattle provided transportation, clothing, meat, and power for ploughing/hauling. The first domesticated animals served a more primal purpose and aided survival. Today’s domesticated animals especially those who live in first world countries have it easy. Dogs and cats remain by and large as the primary animals to dwell indoors with their owners. 

Exotic animals are on the rise as desirable pets despite, well, their exotic behaviors. Owning exotic pets is banned in many states; some states have partial bans, while others have no regulations whatsoever. The fact that people are willing to risk their lives and well-being to own these animals suggests there is something deeper to humans’ desire to own pets. 

Interesting fact: Did you know that measles came from dogs, mumps from poultry, tuberculosis from cattle, and the omnipresent cold from horses? Additionally, humans are the only species that consistently integrates and builds relationships with other species. 

When you think about it, pets in the modern sense of the word eat, poop, and sleep all at the expense of their owners, sounds rough (pun intended). What could they possibly provide in return to repay the incurring debt? The answer is simple: they provide, “something,” otherwise we wouldn’t continue with this growing and obvious obsession. 

In the United States and Australia approximately 63 percent of households include pets and in the U.S. more people have pets than children.

Most people acquire a pet for comfort and security. Really what’s more comforting than walking in the door after a long day of work to Fido who is incessantly jumping, drooling, scratching, licking, and showering you with unconditional love, right? Those who truly love their pets and view them as members of their family know there’s a lot more to it than that. 

I recently moved to a different state and had to leave my two dogs with friends and family. You know what the toughest part about moving was? Leaving my dogs. I had no idea exactly how much they meant to me. I literally could go on and on about the effects of not having them around has had on me. Seriously, people, I stopped sleeping soundly through the night without Tobers my little Yorkie-Chihuahua next to me, and I couldn’t fully relax without my protector, avenger, and neurotic Lab-mix Marzi. I cried like a little girl every time I thought about them (I don’t cry, for the record), and the list goes on and on.  

For the pet naysayers who believe all pet owners are crazy or lacking the ability to communicate or reach out to people, they’re wrong. John Archer a psychology professor at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom wrote an essay titled, “Why do People Love Their Pets?” in it he provides extensive research citing multiple experts who believe pets better our well-being. Additionally he reiterates that people have owned domesticated animals for thousands of years and that most people who own pets have fulfilling and secure  “human” relationships, therefore the naysayers’ point is moot. What really takes the cake though is that more and more evidence including Archer’s concludes that pets are beneficial to our health and well-being #booya.

Pet owners are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cope with stress better, have fewer psychosomatic symptoms, fewer visits to the doctor’s office and live more active lifestyles. Children benefit from pets too. They provide a constant companion and partner in crime. Children also experience less stress around dogs. In one experiment children who read aloud to a group with a friendly dog present had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t  have a dog present.

This evidence suggests that humans have adapted their behavior to changing needs over time. As lives become more and more stressful people find different ways to cope: drinking excessive amounts of booze, watching TV for hours in one day, eating unabashedly, etc. None of these promotes your health and all are adaptive behaviors due to the increased amount of stress in our lives. Owning a pet on the other hand promotes healthier living and reduces stress. Sure there are those times when you want to strangle your dog for diving into the forbidden treasure commonly known as the trash can or how about those times when he or she unfalteringly insists that the squirrel, cat, rabbit, deer, or any other living, moving thing should either be a best friend or a mortal enemy? Even when they do these silly, albeit irritable things, ya still love them, We just can’t help it. 

Why do people love and obsess over their pets? Simple. They make us happy because we make them happy. We make them happy and they make us happy and this goes on.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet

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Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.


Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.


Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.


Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.


All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days

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There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter

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WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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