Birbs are stealing anti-bird spikes and building nests from them

Birbs are becoming ungovernable! They’re using our own weapons agains us, building their own gated communities.

Birds have since long been revered and viewed as having the ultimate freedom in the feat of sky-faring. Ever since man took his first stumbling steps on the savannah he’s been at awe of the avian raptor descendant slowly gliding at unimaginable heights peering down at the club-wielding grunt stuck with his two feets firmly attached to the ground.

The airborne fowl seem to have understood this fact and have decided en-masse to simply become ungovernable. Deconstructing what humans frenetically put up to keep the soaring animals away.

Nature always win.

Source

2024-05-18 11:32

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  • When wolves became man’s best friend

    I think we can all agree on that man’s best friend – the dog – can trace its ancestry back to the wolves. How this came to be is a completely different story that researchers haven’t entirely come to agree on. Was it humans or wolves that took the first s

    Read more

    I think we can all agree on that man’s best friend – the dog – can trace its ancestry back to the wolves. How this came to be is a completely different story that researchers haven’t entirely come to agree on. Was it humans or wolves that took the first step into the interspecies relationship?

    Timeline

    Today’s dogs have wandered quite far from their original form in the wolf. Even today’s wolves have to some extent devolved into a smaller version of their once larger statures. We’re not entirely certain when this process actually began, but some estimates say it started between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago in Europe and Asia. Studies also suggest that this might have happened in different geographical locations.

    Leading theories

    The Self-Domestication Theory suggests that at some point wolves began to scavange near human settlements, attracted to the delicious remains of hunting trophys. Over time, the wolves who wandered further into the presence of man in his camps were rewarded with more spoils, warmth from the campfire, and a true bond of friendship.

    Another theory, Directed Domestication Theory, suggest that the friendship wasn’t mutual but that early humans captured wolf pups and raised them as their own. They were then selectively breeded for desirable traits.

    Whether one subscribes to the theory of mutual benefit or that it was a forced relationship, we can all probably agree that it has been a good one at that!

    Read less

    2024-05-22 11:12 | 0 comments

  • Using AI to talk to whales

    Recently OpenAI released a much improved version of their LLM, called ChatGPT-4o. The main focus seem to have been on language and conversation, where it answers significantly faster, in any language, and with more “human” emotions in speech, text…

    Read more

    Recently OpenAI released a much improved version of their LLM, called ChatGPT-4o. The main focus seem to have been on language and conversation, where it answers significantly faster, in any language, and with more “human” emotions in speech, text, or image. Such an improvement does pose the question where it all ends. Will we be able to translate animal speech with an app on our phones in coming updates?

    Project CETI and Earth Species Project

    Scientists working on Project CETI (Cetacean Translation Initiative) and the Earth Species Project have been working on deepening our understanding of sperm whale language and communication. To this end, they’ve used AI tools in which they’ve created a LLM (Large Language Model) with vast amounts of data on whale talk. The goal is to be able to understand the language of the whales and even to reply to them.

    Whale communication

    Sperm whales apparently have a very complex communication system with sequences of clicks (called codas), of which the researchers have identified several distinct sequences, believed to function like an alphabet. Their language and “way of speaking” also isn’t random, but very dependant on the context of their interaction.

    Conclusion

    If we can learn how to communicate with sperm whales, there’s no reason to believe we cannot learn to communicate with other animals. Or plants and fungi, for that matter.

    The interesting question here is, whether this will open up to new kinds of deeper knowledge about our environment.

    Will we be able to continue to eat animals that we can communicate “meaningfully” with? What does your cat really think of you? Do you really want to know what the crows and seagulls are screaming about?

    Read less

    2024-05-20 11:44 | 0 comments

  • Birbs are stealing anti-bird spikes and building nests from them

    Birbs are becoming ungovernable! They’re using our own weapons agains us, building their own gated communities.

    Read more

    Birbs are becoming ungovernable! They’re using our own weapons agains us, building their own gated communities.

    Birds have since long been revered and viewed as having the ultimate freedom in the feat of sky-faring. Ever since man took his first stumbling steps on the savannah he’s been at awe of the avian raptor descendant slowly gliding at unimaginable heights peering down at the club-wielding grunt stuck with his two feets firmly attached to the ground.

    The airborne fowl seem to have understood this fact and have decided en-masse to simply become ungovernable. Deconstructing what humans frenetically put up to keep the soaring animals away.

    Nature always win.

    Source

    Read less

    2024-05-18 11:32 | 0 comments

  • Angolan witch trials

    In Angola 50 alleged sorcerers was recently forced to drink a mysterious herbal potion to prove they where not witches. Unfortunately they we’re all found to be witches and died as a result.

    Read more

    In Angola 50 alleged sorcerers was recently forced to drink a mysterious herbal potion to prove they where not witches. Unfortunately they we’re all found to be witches and died as a result.

    Witchcraft in Angola

    Belief in witchcraft remain in parts of Angola, more specifically, Camacupa, where this tragic event took place, but have been opposed by the Catholic church for quite some time. While there are no specific laws against witchcraft, traditional healers “marabouts” often handle such allegations by administering a secret brew called “Mbulungo”. If the alleged witch dies as a result of drinking the toxic concoction it is seen as evidence of guilt by the tribe.

    The practices are explained by the socio-economic challenges in Angola, driving individuals towards resorting to witchcraft to escape poverty.

    Tangena in Madagaskar

    Similar practices have been common in rural Africa for quite some time and dome even continues to this day. In Madagaskar, e.g. a criminal, alleged or otherwise could be forced to partake the ordeal of tangena.

    “The accused would be fed the poison along with three pieces of chicken skin: if all three pieces of skin were vomited up then innocence was declared, but death or a failure to regurgitate all three pieces of skin indicated guilt. Those who died were declared sorcerers.”

    Source

    It is estimated that 20-50% of those who underwent the ordeal died as a result, averaging roughly 3,000 death per year before it was outlawed in 1863.

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    2024-05-16 11:27 | 0 comments

  • The inner (conscious?) life of insects and animals

    The inner life of animals and plants have fascinated us for a long time, probably since man first emerged on the biological scene. The question of whether or not they possess forms of consciousness have been debated tirelessly by scientists and the…

    Read more

    The inner life of animals and plants have fascinated us for a long time, probably since man first emerged on the biological scene. The question of whether or not they possess forms of consciousness have been debated tirelessly by scientists and the average man alike, and the more we learn about our distant (alleged) relatives, the more it seems they actually are conscious. In their own kind of way.

    Mammals and birbs

    There’s been quite a lot of research done on animals and birds like crows, octopi, dogs, dolphins, etc., while we’ve been disregarding the possibility for insects, reptile and fish having consciousness.

    Crows, for example, have been showing impressive results in different tasks, ranging from learning actual human words and speech, playing games, to using tools to achieve goals, to actual self-awareness in mirror tests. They have been known to spread information among themselves, holding grudges for generations against wrong-doers.

    Defining consciousness

    While running tests can show impressive results about our animal friends, some people still are skeptical about the results. This stems mostly from the difficulty in actually defining consciousness. We assume ourselves as humans to be conscious so we have a baseline of what we perceive consciousness as. When we try to define it animals, however, there’s too many unknown. Consciousness doesn’t equal intelligence, necessarily. Neither do we really know if consciousness is a spectrum or if it’s binary as in it’s either present or not.

    Some people point out that when animals react to environmental stimuli, it doesn’t necessary mean they are acting consciously, but rather following pre-programmed directions imbedded in their genetic code responding to environment.

    The problem with a lot of this skepticism can be applied to humans as well as can be seen in a lot of arguments from those arguing for determinism. There are a lot of humans that mostly follow a pre-programmed route and reacting to stimuli; are these people less conscious than others, or not conscious at all? Are a person like Sherlock Holmes, who takes in every single bit of information and process it consciously, conscious? Is he more conscious than others?

    This is the beauty of consciousness, we’ll probably never be able to define it fully.

    What about the insects?

    With these difficulties in mind we do have some interesting examples of how insects display forms of consciousness. Bees, for examples, have been found to engage in play with each other. This could be indicative of “phenomenal consciousness”, according to some.

    This type of behavior include pushing small wooden balls around with no apparent connection to survival or mating, but seemingly just for the heck of it.

    My 2 cents

    Personally, I believe all, or at least, most organisms do possess some form of consciousness. Consciousness is something we can tap into, like attention. When we actively pay attention to something we’re exhibiting higher levels of consciousness. Of course, our physical biology set the limits on what we can pay attention too, and how, and thus, I think, it’s rather connected with intelligence.

    The less intelligent the lifeform, the less it can act consciously, while most larger animals that have larger brains and are considered more intelligent, may display higher forms of consciousness.

    Do you think all animals possess consciousness? Or just some?

    Read less

    2024-05-14 11:20 | 0 comments

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