Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nice Dog Evil Dog? Left Dog Right Dog? Red Dog Green Dog?

A Scientific American article by Michael Shermer attempts to offer a helpful insight based on recent scientific findings:

The next time you come face to face with a dog wagging its tail, you can make a quick determination on whether to reach out and pet it or step back in deference: check the tail-wag bias. If the wagging tail leans to the dog’s right, you’re safe; if the tail leans to the dog’s left, don’t move. [emphasis mine]
The quoted text is clear that we're talking about the dog's left (indicates evil) and the dog's right (indicates nice), but the accompanying illustration reverses the perspective.

Or is it simply reversing the convention whereby green = nice and red = evil?

I am now more confused than ever about how to distinguish evil dogs from nice dogs. Moreover this gives absolutely no guidance on dogs that don't have tails or that aren't wagging them. I am suddenly confused about red and green, and don't even get me started on the fact that the illustrator chose to put the dogs side by side, left and right.

Sometimes I hate science.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Actually the best way to detect a dog with bad intentions is to check his party affiliation. If his affliation wags to the left, he'll be okay ... maybe just a little needy sometimes.

If his affilation wags to the right, then he's a republican, and you shouldn't pet him. Some or all the the following will happen:

• You'll extend a hand and come back with a bloody stump.
• The dog will send you a bill for his biting you.
• The dog will send out a press release blaming you for his biting you.
• The dog may reveal that he had a policy of pre-emptive biting. You could have been a threat.
• The dog will also claim that people who expect not to be bitten by friendly-looking but mean dogs are expecting special rights, and introduce bills into Congress demanding that you and similarly-minded people not be allowed to marry.

On a vaguely-related note, I will only point out that a fox is a type of canine, and that's all I have to say about that.

Domestically Challenged said...

What if the dog is dyslexic? I bet God is a dyslexic evil dog. That would explain a lot.