Some argue the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was designed to target The Pirate Bay (if you want to read the Wikipedia page, click stop on your browser before the blackout page loads). The truth is, new behavior develops when you suppress behavior, a simple fact that science has demonstrated time and time again. This means that if The Pirate Bay is targeted and shut down, they will find ways around the law; new technology will develop in response. One website argued legislation like this is free advertisement, does not result in a decrease in infringement, and sites are usually back up and running within a short period of time.
What are the consequences if SOPA or PIPA pass? No one really knows what will happen but it probably won’t be good. Everyone should let their senators and reps know if they don’t like SOPA and PIPA. Wikipedia has made it easy to contact your legislators. Just go to their page (link) and enter your zip code for their contact info. For those in Utah, just follow this link; you can call, email, or Tweet. Tie up their phone lines; letting your representatives and senators know you disagree with SOPA and PIPA will be an important step in preventing some pretty crazy legislation from becoming law.
Many people assume cats aren’t trainable; have you ever seen a cat play dead, roll over, bark on command, or play fetch? And if you don’t believe cats are trainable, would you believe goldfish are trainable?
This isn’t an Onion video! And it isn’t a gimmick to get people to buy a fancy, expensive training kit for their lazy, boring goldfish. Ogden Lindsley, one of B. F. Skinner’s first graduate students, had his students train gold fish. He explains the process here.
Here’s an excellent book by Karen Pryor on training animals (and even people). She describes principles of behavior in understandable terms and how these principles are used to train any animal.
I’ve recently learned just how trainable cats are: After a few days of a several 5-minute clicker training sessions, Misha and Carmen seem to be picking up on target training. Either that or they just like to chase the fuzzy orange pipe cleaner attached to the end of the target stick. I suspect this isn’t the case, though, because most of the time they walk up to the target and sometimes even touch the target with their noses. Maybe I’ll collect and graph data on their performance… Anyway, Carmen seems to be a little more challenging: She’s a picky and slow eater and hasn’t shown much interest in dry treats, which have been easier to use than wet food. When I tried training Misha with wet food he went a little crazy (watching him you’d think he hadn’t eaten in days) and training sessions ended with him covered in pulverized fish guts (i.e., the wet food).
Regardless, I’m excited to continue clicker training our cats Misha and Carmen, and who knows, maybe they can learn to play dead, roll over, and play fetch.
I watched Two Spirits tonight on campus. Two Spirits tells about the life and death of Fred Martinez and the effect of his death on his family and community. Columnist Martha Beck of Oprah magazine says of this documentary “[it] opens the mind and heart so wide they can never close as tightly again”. That was definitely my experience learning about two spirits and the love one mother had for her son.
One of the poignant parts of the documentary is a discussion about the role two spirits play in their communities. Two spirits are known to raise orphans to help sustain the community and promulgate a culture. In fact, some biologists believe homosexual animals contribute to the gene pool in a meaningful way when homosexuals support and nurture the young of relatives.