Horses have all kinds of ways of showing they’re unhappy, Pajor said. They might move back and forth, chew their lips, swish their tail, defecate, roll their eyes, paw the ground, toss their head, or rear up in protest.
The researchers found that the more people were around them, the more likely the horses were to show unease. That’s probably because they spend most of their time in fields and pastures and aren’t used to the bustle, Pajor said.
The other factor that affected behaviour was experience. If it wasn’t their first rodeo, the horses were much less likely to act up.
“We didn’t see a lot of attempts to escape. We didn’t see a lot of fear-related behaviours at all,” Pajor said. “The animals were pretty calm.
“The animals that had little experience were much more reactive than the animals that had lots of experience.”
There could be different reasons for that, he suggested.
“We don’t know if that’s because they’re used to the situation or whether that’s because of learned helplessness — they realize there’s nothing they can do and just give up.”
Pajor suspects the former.
“When the cowboys came near the horses, they would certainly react and you wouldn’t really see that if it was learned helplessness.”
The researchers also noted that the horses’ bucking performance, as revealed in the score from the rodeo judges, didn’t seem to be reduced by repeated appearances as it might be if the animals had become apathetic.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the horses are having a good time, said Pajor, who’s also on the Stampede’s animal welfare advisory board. There are a couple of ways of interpreting active behaviour in the chute, he said.
“An animal might be getting excited to perform. Or an animal might be having a fear response.”
“Understanding if animals like to do something is a tricky thing to do.”
Pajor knows there are different camps when it comes to rodeos and animals.
“People have very strong opinions on the use of animals for all kinds of reasons. I think no matter what we’re going to use animals for, we really need to make sure that we treat them humanely.
“My job is to do the research to understand the animals’ perspective.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021.
— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter
The Canadian Press
To help chart the cosmos, Western space researchers turn to crowd sourcing – CBC.ca
Western University researchers have tapped the help of hundreds of amateur and professional astronomers in an effort to make sure no meteor is unable to slip by the Earth undetected.
To do that, they’re relying on the observations taken from 450 cameras in 30 different countries manned by “enthusiastic amateur astronomers” made up of professional and citizen scientists.
That data is then sent to Western University as part of what’s called the Global Meteor Network (GMN), headed by Denis Vida.
“So we have a lot of enthusiastic amateur astronomers, citizen scientists and also professionals that build, operate and maintain these cameras,” Vida told CBC’s Chris dela Torre during Afternoon Drive. “And every night they inspect the data set and send their data to a central server here at the University of Western Ontario.”
It’s not just about observing meteors – it’s about tracking what’s left of the ones that make it to the earth’s surface too.
“So we also observe a meteorite dropping fireballs,” said Vida. “They’re quite rare over an area of let’s say the country the size of France or Spain. Could only expect two to three of those fireballs a year that drop more than, let’s say, 300 grams of meteorites on the ground.”
“So because these events are very rare, it is important to observe 24/7.”
Vida explained that when one of their cameras spot one of them, they collect the data and find its location so they can retrieve what’s left for analysis – and analysis needs to happen quickly.
“There are certain things in them, like some radionuclide to decay very quickly, but those can tell us how old the meteorite is, how long it was after it was ejected from the parent asteroid that it fell on the ground,” he said.
Vida explained that what ends up on the ground are just “several kilograms of materials” by the time they reach the earth’s surface. They aren’t hot either. They cool down on their descent.
Global push to monitor meteor showers led by Western University – CTV News London
MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. —
London, Ont.’s Western University is leading a worldwide effort to monitor meteor showers and meteorite falls.
The Global Meteor Network (GMN) includes more than 450 cameras in 23 countries – hosted by amateur and professional astronomers.
The goal of the project, led by Denis Vida, a postdoctoral associate at Western, is to ensure unique or rare space events are not missed.
Vida explained in a statement, “Other astronomers can pool their resources to build a big telescope on top of a mountain where the skies are dark and clear year-round, but meteor astronomers need spatial coverage most of all.”
Meteors can occur anywhere in the world, happen close to earth and often burn up at around 100 km above the surface — so they can only be well observed from within about 300 km and need to be seen by cameras in at least two places to get the exact location.
That’s where the Global Meteor Network comes in.
In March, the network helped locate a rare portion of a meteorite that landed in Winchcombe, England on Feb. 28 and figure out where in space it originated.
“Its role in the recovery and analysis of the Winchcombe meteorite fall is proof positive that GMN works,” said Vida.
The first system to observe meteorites was installed at Western in 2017, and it continues to grow as the cost of meteor cameras has declined.
GMN also publishes the orbits of all observed meteors around the world within 24 hours of observation. The location of cameras and meteor data can be seen here.
The network also hopes to better understand flight patterns and flux capacities of meteorites, and even predict future events.
MDA gets $35.3 million contract from Canadian Space Agency for Canadarm 3 components – Times Colonist
BRAMPTON, Ont. — The Canadian Space Agency has awarded a contract worth $35.3 million to MDA Ltd. to design a key component of Canadarm 3.
The funds will be used to design Gateway External Robotics Interfaces or grapple fixtures for Canadarm 3, which is Canada’s contribution to the United States-led Lunar Gateway, a small space station that will orbit the moon.
The contract is a follow-on to the first phase of interface work awarded in August 2019. A construction phase will likely be awarded in about a year.
The first elements of Gateway will launch in 2024, with Canadarm 3 scheduled to launch two years later.
The contract is the third awarded to MDA for the multi-phase Canadarm 3 program valued at more than $1 billion.
Canadarm flew on 90 space shuttle missions after debuting in 1981. Canadarm 2 has been operating on the International Space Station for more than 20 years.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2021.
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