A study published in the journal Biology Letters this week claims that dogs are highly sensitive to catching human yawns. Of the 29 dogs tested, 72% yawned after observing a human doing so. Apparently, this strongly suggest that they are capable of a rudimentary form of empathy. Interesting. I decided to pursue a parallel study using my four little furry couch potatoes as test subjects. At the risk of giving away my findings, you can find the video, titled 0% of Dogs Tested Sensitive to Human Yawns, at the bottom of this entry. Ultimately, I think that what both studies prove is that dogs, in general, do display an empathic nature as manifested in their mirroring of human behavior while my dogs, specifically, just don’t give a shit.
To all those of you asking: No, I didn’t watch any of the Olympics coverage. Nor did I stab myself in the eyes with cocktail fork or set my shoes on fire yesterday. I did, however, sample some dehydrated miniature crab from a Chinese specialty store (see the Weird Food Purchase of the Day video, also at the bottom of today’s entry).
Well, after much back and forth, I’ve finally booked our trip to Asia. We’ll be visiting both Hong Kong and Shanghai and, in preparation, I’ve started to learn Mandarin. Among the many useful things I now know how to say “Why are you too busy to see me?”, “I am not well because your teacher can’t read a book.” and “I don’t like electricity.” will undoubtedly serve me well once I’m actually in China. Hopefully, the timing of my holiday will mesh with whatever will be happening on the work front come winter but, at this point, there’s really no way to tell what I’ll be up to. Choose from among the following:
1) Working on Stargate Atlantis season 6.
2) Working on Stargate Universe season 1.
3) Working on a Stargate Atlantis movie.
4) Any two of the above.
5) All three of the above.
6) None of the above.
Reminders! Reminders! I’ll be taking questions for actress Lexa Doig (aka SG-1’s Dr. Carolyn Lam) until tomorrow, so if you have any burning questions you want to ask her, now would be a great time.
Now would also be a great time to finish up Cordelia’s Honor and start composing your thoughts and queries. Discussion begins Monday, July 11th and author Lois McMaster Bujold will be swinging by later in the week.
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to early birthday gals kdvb1 and Mackenziesmomma.
PG15 writes: “Meanwhile, got a bit of a health problem happening here.”
Answer: Get well soon, you sickly thing you.
Clementine from France writes: “When will be shot the other episodes with the beloved Dr Carson Beckett ? Did you write them ?”
Answer: The character of Carson Beckett will be appearing in five episodes this season. They are – The Seed (written by Paul Mullie), Whispers (written by me), Outsiders (written by Alan McCullough), Identity (written by Carl Binder), and episode #20 (written by Paul Mullie).
Freidag writes: “I understand that a lot of fans like this “ship” and I’m happy for you. But for some fans who just want good sci-fi without all the loving, and enjoy all the characters and the team as a whole, this season is shaping up to be a nightmare.”
Answer: First of all, this season will have more “team” episodes than any other. Fully half season 5’s episodes can be classified as such.
Freidag writes: “YES ARC! I know someone else on the blog once mentioned “romance arc” once and was kind of maligned for it.”
Answer: I suppose it depends on what you consider an arc. The pairing in season 5 is an arc in the same way as Teyla’s adjustment to motherhood and Woolsey settling in to the command position can be considered an arc.
SusantheTartanTurle writes: “Joe – you moderate the comments. Do you actually get comments that you have to trash? Are they genuine, but unacceptable, comments or just SPAM?”
Answer: My anti-spam folder handles most of the spam – as well as some legitimate posts as well. It’s very rare that I’ll have to delete a post from a fan.
Linzi writes: “I too am disappointed Sheppard only gets one episode, right at the end of the season, and is rarely mentioned in spoilers, and so are many Sheppard fans I know.”
Answer: Actually, Sheppard gets one, alongside Beckett, in Whispers and another, alongside Woolsey, in Remnants.
Cheeky lil Devil writes: “Now i’ve not held a focus group, or conducted a poll to assess her liking amongst the fandom, and i’m sure there’s a fair few that like her, but equally it seems that there is a fair few that dislike her… something i’ve never seen before in a fandom… although ti could be argued that this is the only fandom I play in.”
Answer: I suppose it can depend on where you’re sitting. If you were sitting in the audience during the Comic Con panel, for instance, you would have noted that Jewel’s fan reception was the most enthusiastic of all.
Muddypiddypop writes: “ Joe, The writing staff seems a very collaborative bunch. However, how much contibuting to a script gets a writing credit and how much is helping out the team.”
Answer: Every writer in the room is involved in building a story before it goes to script, and then helping to fashion said script once it’s been written. Regardless of how much of a contribution they make to the process, the writer who writes the script is usually the one to receive sole credit for a given episode.
Aqualegia writes: “I heartily dislike Keller – I really can’t get past the dithering and the constant whiny voice…”
Answer: Well, see, it’s because certain fans are so vocal about their dislike for the character that we’re really making a concerted effort to redeem the character in their eyes. If everybody had liked her, then we probably would have redirected our efforts elsewhere. Like, say, Sheppard for instance.
Herbertsommeffeld writes: “…do you ever feel that your creative genius is stifled at all with thoughts about production expenses or do you let the others on the team edit out the expensive parts?”
Answer: My creative genius remains unstifled, thanks for asking. Rather approaching a script with a no-holds-barred attitude, you have to go in with a realistic sense of what is and is not producible and take it from there.
Jess writes: “ We see him willing to sacrifice himself for pretty much anyone, even Keller whom he only knows for a few months, and his almost suicidal tentancies are put into place once more. But still we never get any reason behind his actions.”