Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Inchworm Army Message Board

Completely ridiculous, yet informative
 
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The door to the tiny box on the wall springs open and out ventures an inchworm. It immediately discovers a tiny bit of Oak tree leaf attached to the wall in its path and devours it. After wandering the area for a brief while, the inchworm returns to the box to notice that there is now a piece of Oak leaf in there as well. The door closes behind the worm.

Once every hour during the day this repeats, with the Oak leaf placed in the exact same location every time. Soon enough the inchworm learns to go straight to that spot, then straight back to the box. After even more training, the initial Oak leaf is no longer needed. The box opens, the inchworm travels to his spot, finds nothing and returns to the box, where he is finally rewarded.

An entire inchworm army is trained in this manner, with each inchworm learning to go to a specific spot in relation to his box. They are subjected to distractions and fatigue, but never abuse. They become the most reliable inchworm army this world has ever known.

When a suitable level of precession has been attained by the inchworms, they are shipped out for active duty. Hundreds of the tiny boxes are positioned on the wall, forming a large rectangle. The electronics make sure that the proper doors open at the proper time and the creation is born! The bugs come and go, focused only on getting to their spot, loitering for a while, and returning to their boxes. The wall is constantly transformed from a jumbled mess of inchworms-in-transit to a recognizable message (spelled out by their bodies, when they all reach their spots), which again fades out of focus to a jumbled mess.

It sure would make the office a bit more entertaining, especially when the doors open and hundreds of moths are released into the hallway…

luecke, Jun 22 2004

Caterpillar Fax http://www.halfbake...a/Caterpillar_20Fax
Applied use of this to the military... [goff, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

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       When I got to the word "office", I started laughing out loud :) Drop a suggestion like this in your suggestion box someday and see what happens.
phundug, Jun 22 2004
  

       Top Quality. I would like the idea to be adapted for a clock face though.
gnomethang, Jun 22 2004
  

       Cool, my Zen Ant Painting has competition now.   

       Some religious cult leader could use some similar animal training technique to gain followers. I can see it now: some naive potential cult member shouts to no one in particular 'God, if you're out there, show me a Sign!' and an army of trained animals responds on que 'Follow the way of Sun Myung Moon...'   

       Perhaps this is what lostdog / FarmerJohn / et al. are doing to us in secret? Should I avoid drinking the custard-flavored Kool Aid?
RayfordSteele, Jun 22 2004
  

       Pity the inchworms assigned to Times Square.
RayfordSteele, Jun 22 2004
  

       Fatter inchworms = bolder font
robinism, Jun 22 2004
  

       [RayfordSteele] - You got me all excited about reading your Zen Ant Painting idea, but I cannot find it here on the halfbakery. Could it actually be baked, or are you just making crazy talk?
luecke, Jun 23 2004
  

       Completely useless, probably not possible, but rather whimsical. I like it. (+)
Freefall, Jun 23 2004
  

       Sorry, I titled it 'Tibetan Ant Painting.' Click on my username.
RayfordSteele, Jun 23 2004
  

       How long do inch worms live?   

       I say you get them at noon to spell out 'Lunch'.
Cheekio, Jun 24 2004
  

       nice+. And that gives me an idea.....
goff, Jun 24 2004
  

       "Hey, don't bring that robin in here! What the ****s the matter with you?"
phundug, Jun 24 2004
  

       Some inchworms would reach their destination sooner than others and would start back while the others were still on their way. Could you train them to sit still for an hour before starting back?
ConsultingDetective, Jun 24 2004
  

       Part of the idea is that you know how long it takes each inchworm to get to his spot, so you open his door accordingly. Theoretically that takes care of the timing issue, but as long as we are assuming that inchworms are as highly trainable as this idea requires, we may as well train them to stick around for a period of time.   

       On a side note, I’m pretty sure that you couldn’t even train an inchworm to look green, but when the thought came to me, I just had to post it. I guess it falls under the “works best in cartoon format” category…
luecke, Jun 24 2004
  

       ///"Hey, don't bring that robin in here! What the ****s the matter with you?"//   

       Mmmm, yummy inchworms.
robinism, Jun 24 2004
  
      
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