The somewhat bad news is that Sir Cliff Richard is about to release his first album for fourteen years. I must say this did not fill me with unalloyed pleasure. I’ve never been much of a fan, but millions are, so good luck to him.

The good news is that I can obviate the need to listen to his new offering. Instead I’ll be placing an order for an album called Paws, Play, Reflect. John McLaughlin (not the 70s jazzrocker) has quite a history. He’s written stuff for Rod Stewart*, Westlife*, and, by odd coincidence, Cliff Richard*. He’s now gone off the musical reservation.

Paws, Play, Reflect has an unusual target demographic. It’s aimed at the owners of troublesome dogs. It was commissioned by the Scottish SPCA, possibly to reduce the number of attack dogs that come through the portals of its animal sanctuaries.

Music can help dogs relax, and this leads to lower levels of stress hormones. I can sort of see that, I suppose. But then we get a professor of integrative physiology, Neil Evans, going wackjob too. Apparently, according to him, dogs prefer soft rock and reggae. Perhaps I’ll give this album a miss too unless they up the reggae content.

Now some more splendidly redundant research from a crew from Queen Mary, University of London. They collaborated with the Buttercups Sanctuary for Goats, and I’d have been first in the queue, because this is something of a sinecure. What they did was show goats two photographs of the same adult face. The subject either looked happy or friendly. Guess what? The goats preferred the happy smiley face over the crosspatch. No shit, Sherlock. And they got a research grant for that.

Another vaguely related story about faces, and them being happy and smiley. Jaguar Land Rover have jumped on the autonomous vehicle bandwagon, and like one of their rivals, Google, have chosen the ‘ground up’ design route, rather than adapting current vehicles, and have chosen to give the front end that exudes niceness. Here the angle though. The JLR design ‘eyes’ can move and the car can ‘make eye contact.’ If the eyes turn to look straight at you and you’re waiting to cross the road, this indicates it’s safe to do so.

Lastly, another sort of animal story. I refer to Alex Jones, well known conspiracy theorist, and so despicable towards trans people his official YouTube channel was taken off air. Apple and Facebook shut him out in the cold too. This has not stopped him persisting with his Info Wars channel, which makes Breitbart look like a bleeding heart liberal.

Unfortunately, while filming a new segment, he inadvertently revealed trans porn on his phone. Oops.

*I didn’t say anything about it being a glorious history.