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

Fin-ancially viable.
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,

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 MaxCo.'s latest venture.

We have trained, in the MaxCo. aquaria, a group of carp to pick up small gold grains and deposit them in a collection box. An optical sensor on the mouth of the box detects the characteristic reflections of gold, and releases a single food pellet every time a gold grain is received.

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 boxes, identical to that in the MaxCo. aquarium and primed with succulent 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 too 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 diamonds.

MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2009

"Ask a scientist!" http://www.ccmr.cor...index.html?quid=295
[normzone, May 01 2009]

Joshua Klein's work with crows http://www.wireless.is/projects/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).
blissmiss, May 01 2009

       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.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2009

       ...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.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2009

       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.   


MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2009

       I'd be careful what you say there, unless you know a damned fine cosmetic sturgeon.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2009

       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.
bungston, May 01 2009

MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2009

       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.
normzone, May 01 2009

       I just knew this would happen. A half baker is just not the sort of manta resist a fish-based pun.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 02 2009

       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. [+]
xenzag, May 02 2009


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