Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Laballrynth

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Give purpose to the aimless wanderings of your little rodent buddies while they are in their hamster balls with this scaled up version of the marble maze game you enjoyed as a kid.
Lock the maze in the level position and see if they can navigate their way to food on their own, or go interactive with the yaw and pitch knobs.

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A visual for those who give a rat's ass. http://s68.photobuc...ent=Gerballcopy.jpg
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Sep 20 2008]

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       <off topic> I recently watched an episode of Qi (Stephen Fry's gameshow) that detailed a missile guidance system reliant upon pigeons pecking on a window with crosshairs, due to imprinted behavior. I.e. pigeon pecking at the target told the missile how far it was off target. This method was not used in missile targeting (for reasons more to do with marking the target than actual love of pigeons), but did in fact get used as a search and rescue tool (If Stephen's researchers are to be believed). </ot>   

       This might have some reference to the idea in terms of // Give purpose to the aimless wanderings of your little rodent buddies// if we can just find something useful for them to work on... Perhaps, the factorisation problem?
4whom, Sep 21 2008
  

       ///Perhaps, the factorisation problem?/   

       Care to elaborate. I am not familiar with this.   

       The integer factorisation problem, most used by the merchants of very large semi-primes.   

       Decomposing any number into its constituent prime factors proves very easy (Eratosthenes) but laborious, more (more than exponentially) difficult if the number is large and the factors are few, e.g large numbers that are the product of two prime numbers. The complexity (computationally) is unclear, unless we operate Shor's Algorithm (unfortunately this relies on certain quantum principles). This is where the rodents come in.   

       Perhaps, by clever placing of reward/s in the maze, and putting the rodent in a closed (unobservable) system with a stochastic process controlling the environ, we could run several rodents through several mazes, simulating a qubit processor. Unobserved rats in mazes are easier to procure than the rather expensive qubits. This may of course result in the destruction of the Earth, for an intergalatic highway. Requires more deep thought. Appologies to Douglas Adams RIP.
4whom, Sep 23 2008
  

       This would be much more fun if it were on gimbals and it rotated on three axis randomly as the rodentia moved about....destroy their sense of gravity, I say.
Blisterbob, Sep 23 2008
  

       Can you promise me that under no circumstances will David Bowie's Morse Code eyebrows make an appearance?
shapu, Sep 24 2008
  

       This maze would have to be tremendous, given the size multiple of a hamster vs. a marble. What slippery substance would the board be covered with so that the hamster cannot grip the surface with its little toes?
phundug, Sep 24 2008
  

       4whom I've got to watch that movie all the way through some time.
Blisterbob I agree. Man I can't wait for space tourism.
shapu you have my word on it, which contrary to opinion, is good.
Teflon phundug, teflon.
  
      
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