Visualize a comic book, in your language, and imagine what would be written in the text balloon coming from the mouth of an animal. Now translate it. Derek Abbott of The University of Adelaide (previously) has compiled "the world’s biggest multilingual list" of animal sounds, commands, and pet names.
What do you get a parrot that has everything except a little car to drive around? You get it... a little car to drive around.
According to a study done at the university of Hiroshima, watching pictures of cute animals makes you more productive. Considering the state many Americans might be in on Monday following a long weekend of turkey and pumkin pie, perhaps watching a few cute videos might be a good idea to get America's productivity up to par. [more inside]
World Memory Champion Ben Pridmore can memorize a deck of playing cards in under 30 seconds. Sometimes he imagines elaborate, on-the-fly tales of absurdity to aid his memorization. One such story was brought to life by DJ Shadow (way previously) and a cast of thousands: Scale It Back (bonus, helpful recall of entire story at end of video)
This parrot enjoys dressing up. His owner reviews these fashion choices in adorably broken English. Sorry, ladies, he's taken.
"...we still can’t tell whether we are all about to die or whether we are being sold a bill of goods."
'The stories about epidemics that are told in the American press—their plots and tropes—date to the 1920's, when modern research science, science journalism, and science fiction were born.' This is the story of how the media back then (January, 1930) helped fuel fears about a parrot-fever pandemic, and the subsequent public backlash. (Via) [more inside]
"The animals all think he's Margaret when he speaks. He loves ordering them around and commanding them – it's very surprising. He's not frightened or scared of them at all.""Parrot mimics owner's voice to boss around her other pets "
Polly wants a Prozac. Fred the Parrot tries to bite his neck off after his owner dies, vets prescribe bird-friendly anti-depressants.
Bytecode-based virtual machines are the Next Big Thing in programming. You can run Lisp, Ruby, Python, OCaml, and yes even COBOL on the JVM. Or if you prefer your languages to be a bit more melodic there's J#, A#, P# and F#. Even C/C++ has a bytecode compiler now. That's not to mention languages that have their own VMs like Erlang or that are writing their own like Parrot or PyPy. [more inside]
Alex, the African Gray parrot who "spoke" over 100 words, has passed away. y2karl introduced MetaFilter to Alex a few years ago. Alex had been the subject of Dr. Irene Pepperberg's research for nearly 20 years. His ability to communicate with people using an extensive English vocabulary demonstrated a level of intelligence previously unthought of in birds, but critics include no less than Noam Chomsky himself. Here's a 1999 NYT article about Alex if you have never heard of this incredible bird, and a video of another gray parrot demonstrating its own talents.
Radical Rodents: Chopsticks, Bunsen, Harry & Curly, surfing mice. An Australian man trained several mice on tiny surfboards. More surfing critters, a surfing dog and another one. Surfing parrot (video repeats in a couple of spots).
The Wild Parrots of Brooklyn. "I'm amazed at how many people living on the island of Manhattan regard these birds as urban legends, just like the crocodiles once reputed to live in the sewers. But these birds are real, they're thriving and yet they're also endangered." Theories, studies, photos and an audio sample of these non-native birds, which are found elsewhere in the US, throughout the world and on film. [prior discussion, first link via memepool.]
The Amazing Einstein This African Grey Parrot was a show stopper on animal Planet's Pet Stars. Lots of other great videos there too
"Face-crushing guitars, head-pounding drums, bass so low you'll vacate your bowels, and vocals so scorching, so extreme they simply can't be human! They're not." You cannot dodge the talons of hate.
So we put a number of differently colored letters on the tray that we use, put the tray in front of Alex, and asked, ''Alex, what sound is blue?'' He answers, ''Ssss.'' It was an ''s'', so we say ''Good birdie'' and he replies, ''Want a nut.'' Well, I don't want him sitting there using our limited amount of time to eat a nut, so I tell him to wait, and I ask, ''What sound is green?'' Alex answers, ''Ssshh.'' He's right, it's ''sh,'' and we go through the routine again: ''Good parrot.'' ''Want a nut.'' ''Alex, wait. What sound is orange?'' ''ch.'' ''Good bird!'' ''Want a nut.'' We're going on and on and Alex is clearly getting more and more frustrated. He finally gets very slitty-eyed and he looks at me and states, ''Want a nut. Nnn, uh, tuh.'' - That Damn Bird - A Talk with Irene Pepperberg. Referential Communication with an African Gray Parrot. Irene Pepperberg says that Arthur, an African Gray parrot, is so smart that she and a group of students at the Media Lab are teaching him to go online. A more subjective take on some more African Grey parrots here. The Alex Homepage. Alex interviewed. languagehat on talking parrots.