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What dog owners can tell scientists about the nature of the universe

Scientists all over the world are searching for the missing matter in the universe. They know how much there should be from observing they way the galaxies move, but they just can't find it. You may hear this missing stuff called "dark matter", but that is just their way of saying they can't see it, and don't really know where it is.

They have carefully counted all they matter they can find, every galaxy, every plasma could, every atom, every photon of light. (They have the time; they don't get invited to many parties.) Then they will explain, at great length and in great detail, how there just isn't enough matter to match the observed behaviour of the universe. (This is why they don't get invited to many parties.)

I can tell them where the missing matter is. It's dog hair. Have you ever heard a scientist say that they included dog hair when totting up the contents of the universe? No. And what they seem to have missed is that there is an almost inexhaustible supply of it.

Our house is just full of dog hair. It's everywhere. Clean the house of dog hair from top to bottom; not just the ones on the floor, including those under the sofa and the sideboard, and the ones that cling to the upholstery, both the top and the under sides of the seat cushions. Eradicate even the ones that line the inside of your shoe, the couple that are always on the lowest shelf of the fridge, and the really irritating ones that cling to any surface with static such as TV screens. Do all this, and for just a few minutes your house will be hair free, but very soon there will be as much as there ever was, as the natural balance of the universe is restored.

Were dog hair constructed of normal matter, then of course we would just be converting matter in one form (dog food) into matter of another form (dog hair). But this is not ordinary matter. It defies our current understanding of the Law of Conservation of Mass, as the amount of hair produced will always be vastly more than the quantity of food provided, without any risk of the dog becoming bald.

So this is my call to the scientists to lay down their telescopes when looking for the missing mass in the universe, and pick up the vacuum cleaner. (I bet their wives would agree.)

This is not the only area where we dog owners seem to know more than the scientists. For example, any scientist who proclaims with absolute authority that there is no such thing as perpetual motion has never seen a Labrador’s tail.

Similarly, they will tell us that faster than light travel is plainly impossible. I'm afraid that have to inform them that this is simply not true.

Regardless of how far away our dog is when we open his food container, he is suddenly there, waiting attentively at his bowl, without ever having been visible in any of the intervening space. Perhaps I imagine it, but just occasionally I might catch, out of the corner of my eye, a faint blue flash, perhaps from what scientists call 'Doppler shift' where an object is travelling so fast it is actually catching up with it's own light waves, causing it to change colour, the same way an ambulance siren changes it's tone as it passes you.

Sometimes, scientists are on the right track, but they haven't quite got there yet. Take quantum tunnelling. They theorise that because, due to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, atoms don't exist in a particular place, they have a "probability cloud", an area of places the might be. If the cloud happens to cross a barrier, the atom can actually travel though an impenetrable barrier.

This is their theory, and they are looking for ways to prove it experimentally. I can give them one. Take an empty jar. Put a lid on it and seal it tightly, so not even air can get in or out. Now take this jar and put it in a house where a dog lives. Leave it alone for a day. When you come back, you will find it contains a few dog hairs. That's just they way the universe is. And it is a clear indication that quantum tunnelling is a real effect.

These are just a few of the things that we dog owners can contribute to the world of science. Perhaps next time I'll tell you what we can tell the businessmen of the world; perhaps how "Return On Investment" is watching your puppy grow up.

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