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Two facts. One, fish are (to an extent) trainable. Two, gold is
valuable and often lies around in tiny pieces in rivers.
These two nuggets of information have formed the basis of
We have trained, in the MaxCo. aquaria, a group of carp to pick
small gold grains
and deposit them in a collection box. An optical
sensor on the mouth of the box detects the characteristic
of gold, and releases a single food pellet every time a gold grain is
For a long time, we had many hungry carp. After a few weeks,
however, one member of the school picked up the technique, and
now about 50% of the fish have learned by imitation.
In a few more weeks, we will release these fish into a secret
location - a bendy river in a certain part of Wales. Collection
identical to that in the MaxCo. aquarium and primed with
carp-food, will be dotted along the margins of the river.
We believe that our initial cohort of trained carp will breed, and
that their descendents, as well as their wild counterparts, will
continue to collect the small grains of gold which are otherwise
dispersed to be worth panning for.
MaxCo. is also seeking to recruit a tropical fish expert and a
geologist with a working knowledge of the distribution of alluvial
"Ask a scientist!"
[normzone, May 01 2009]
Joshua Klein's work with crows
[jutta, May 01 2009]
||MaxCo this is pure hogwash. Ooops I used the
word hog. Oh well.
||YOU can't train fish. At all Not at all. I tried.
Remember Sparky??? The office Beta fish who died
while I was online at the bakery? Wayyyyy back
when. He wouldn't do his tricks when I asked him
to. (that's not my bone though...I don't bone).
||Perhaps Sparky was simply not a very 'stute fish? Watson,
who lives in my lab (Crick, sadly, died) is doing quite well,
and the MaxCo. carp do SuDoKu in their spare time.
||...and they bring their own scales.
||Oh god, here we go again.
||To save time: yes, it sounds fishy to me too; sorry to keep
carping on about it, hope it's not giving you a haddock. If
it works, we'll have a whale of a time, and in any case it's
an eel wind that blows no good. You may crab, but people
would sell their soles for a plaice in this business, so don't
be koi - join now, if only for the halibut: you're guaranteed
to make at least sick squid. You'd best go elver leather if
you want to get there before salmon else does.
||There. That should take care of most of it. Carry on.
||Ok. Seriously then.
There is a TED talk video where Joshua Klein trains crows to hunt for coins in order to pay for their peanuts from a vending machine.
|| I'm thinking of trying this out but with jewelry instead of coins...I'll probably shut it down if the earrings start showing up with little bits of ear left on them.
||I'd be careful what you say there, unless you know a damned
fine cosmetic sturgeon.
||Inspired by the Animal Planet show River Monsters, BUNGCO has acquired a contingent of trained giant Goonch catfish which will lurk in said rivers and snort up any goldladen Maxco carp which cross their path. These Goonches would do that anyway, but the training trick is that they will barf them up for us on command, then return to their work.
||I'm urchin you to keep going. The worst that could happen would be that somebody might kick your bass.
||Too small to pan for is pretty small - probably too small to sea.
||I just knew this would happen. A half baker is just not the
sort of manta resist a fish-based pun.
||Using similar training logic, I wonder if bears could be induced to carry out "non-mauling type muggings", returning every so often to their Fagan-like lair, dragging sacks of crumpled up cash, that has been flung at them in desperation by their terrified victims?
||I'm most attracted to ideas about harvesting animal/insect behaviour. [+]