Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bird's eye view

That was always so annyoing about Mr. Spock. Everything was "fascinating" with him. Scotty's in the engine room yelling about Di-lithium crystals, the Starship's fixing to crash into some planet and Spock says it's fascinating.

Go through an ion storm, wind up in a parallel universe, and it's fascinating. You'd think a guy that smart could manage "Well this sucks!" every now and then? Still, sometimes "fascinating" is the only word that fits.

I'm not the least perturbed that researchers in Japan have taught pigeons to be art critics. This because:
A.) My tax dollars probably weren't involved (for once!)
2.) Already knew pigeons like art, mostly sculpture I thought.

But yeah they did it. Pigeons have been taught now to distinguish between poor and good painting techniques, and also identify whether a painting is watercolor or oil. Now me, I say nothing of the sort actually. Pigeons have been taught to peck at paintings correctly and get snacks is all.

To be kind, the research is about finding pigeons are able to discern shapes, color patterns and two dimensional textures, every bit as well as humans do. Professor Watanabe (shouldn't he be trying to destroy Mothra or something?) said, "This research gives valuable insight to the way a pigeon's brain works."

Now right here Mr. Spock, is where it is entirely appropriate. The situation fairly screams for it! Fascinating.

Much as I respect that pigeon brain mechanics are a vital concern to everybody I know, the research provides valuable insight to how human brains work.

How in the world did anybody come up with that grant request? And what proposed research got rejected? Did they originally want to teach pigs to fly an F-15 and pigeon art critics was the fallback position? Where Professor Watanabe lives, this is the crossroads of all that is best & worst about our species! We can think up some whacky shit to do!

Sure, I don't like the idea of pigeons wearing little berets and having loud arguments in coffee houses about whether Monet was a genius, hey who would? But I like Professor Watanabe! I find him, well, fascinating.

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