Saturday, May 23, 2009

Birds and brains and mind and body.

A few films about the topics we've been talking about recently.

1. The intelligence of crows.

2. Catalyst, the ABC's science show, on how the mind-body loop can be easily broken.

3. On why games might be a good idea for animals:
A 137 pound orang-utan with a history of mischief short-circuited an electric barrier, then built a makeshift ladder to escape from her enclosure, forcing Adelaide Zoo to be evacuated on one of its busiest days of the year.

Karta, a 27-year-old female, jammed a stick into wires connected to the barrier, then piled up shrubs, roots and debris to create a platform. Using it as a stepladder, she climbed up onto the concrete and glass wall surrounding her enclosure, where she was spotted by a member of the public who raised the alarm.

Rest here.
Zoos spend millions of dollars on keeping animals entertained, and bored animals may become depressed, aggressive or sick. Animals with active minds and bodies are happier and healthier. Zoos already use puzzle games as a substitute for predators' hunting instinct, such as this otter with his fish-flavoured ice-cream:

or use toys to keep them active, like these cats and their pumpkins:

TIGERS LEOPARDS Vs Pumpkins! - The best video clips are right here

So games for animals may actually save zoos money and help conservation efforts.

4. Aimee Mullins and her 12 pairs of legs.


  1. Goddamn I hate it when the internet drops out. I wrote up a long ass reply but it got destroyed when I tried to preview.

    Anyway, the basic gist was:
    Kim, your videos are fantastic. Especially the one about crows, I knew they were smart (having seen that car-nut documentary before), but I didn't realize could learn from one another, and that knowledge was passed through generations.
    The cat video is super cute.
    It also displays an important point - why make games for animals when they are entertained by things us simple as pumpkins?
    Any type of videogame will go unregistered by *animals, as they have difficulty understanding objects in a 2D plane like humans can, and any sort of physical game will require them to learn processes and steps, something beyond most of their ability.
    Like the squirrels in Klien's video- they'd just get bored and walk away.
    *Many more intelligent animals can understand screens - like dolphins and monkeys. Dolphins have even made their own games - see 'seaweed tag', which sort of makes it irrelevant for us to make games for them.

    This is an article about making competitive games between humans and animals. However, I must ask, are they making games for animals, or making a game that uses animals as AI? It states that they want animals to experience digital games like humans do, but really it's the same as any sort of hunt - the 'player' tries to catch moving prey.

    Wow! I didn't even realize Mullins had prosthetic legs until like 4 minutes in. Her point about disability vs. beauty is really fantastic.

  2. Well one point i see in making games for pets, is to entertain both of us, walking a dog isn't always fun, feels like a chore sometimes, that's when we whip out them animal games. Sure you can throw em a glowing ball and they'd be ecstatic, but when we want to play with our animals, and just don't find catch attractive, there's animal games. Who knows, next time animal talent shows could have Halo as a category, but i digress, maybe Halo woudn't be suitable for pets, your pet monkey might point a gun at your friend or you.

    One problem in this is, different animals have different eyesights i presume, and different hearing, so you might have to give em their own screen and ear phones for each specific animal. Like how dogs are color blind, your fish might need some help playing etc.

  3. I love the crow video, thank-you so much!!! I always knew that animals are alot smarter than humans give them credit for and hey look...PROOF!!! Also, 100th monkey principle also seems to come into play with the teaching, and fast spread of learning... just a thought.