Thursday, May 28

Do the dance!

Watch this video, first alex and now snowball.
What do you see- well a parrot gone crazy, yes...but also the fact that the bird moves its body to the different beats it hears- it is called rhythmic entrainment, which us humans took pride of as a unique gift bestowed only upon us. Clearly how much more egotistical can we get. Apparently we are not so unique anymore...
Anyway scientifically it is a very interesting aspect because apparently there are no videos of dogs or other mammalian pets doing the moves!

Here is what the author of the dispatch section had to say

" it also raises fascinating questions about the species that aren't on the list. The most obvious gaps are domesticated animals like dogs or horses: despite their pervasive exposure to music, not a single convincing demonstration of mammalian pet dancing was found. This negative evidence supports the everyday observation that dogs can't dance, and the outstanding question is why not. What is lacking?

Another group conspicuous by its absence are nonhuman primates. The absence of any true ‘dancing chimpanzees’ is surprising, not just because chimpanzees are our closest relatives but because they naturally engage in ‘drumming’ in the wild [7]. Chimpanzees often drum with their hands or feet on rainforest trees in the wild, generating far-carrying, quasi-rhythmic signals. Similarly, gorillas beat their bodies, and occasionally objects, with a rough ‘beat’. Thus, our nearest living cousins exhibit a behaviour suggesting that some form of propensity to drum was present in our common ancestor, making the lack of evidence for ape entrainment surprising. But given that most humans do not interact with chimpanzees regularly, and that most chimpanzee owners (in entertainment or science) do not post videos online, this negative evidence does not yet provide compelling evidence of absence. An open mind concerning apes remains warranted."

Biology of Music: Another One Bites the Dust, Volume 19, Issue 10, 26 May 2009, Pages R403-R404

They also go on to acknowledge the fact that one cannot rule out the possibility that pet-dancing may simply have not been uploaded to YouTube! Nevertheless it is an interesting evolutionary question. So next time you see your pet dancing away to rock and roll music, film it and put it on YouTube, someone might actually use it for something useful!

Below are the references of the two papers

A.D. Patel, J.R. Iversen, M.R. Bregman and I. Schulz, Experimental evidence for synchronization to a musical beat in a nonhuman animal, Curr. Biol. 19 (2009), pp. 827–830.

A. Schachner, T.F. Brady, I.M. Pepperberg and M.D. Hauser, Entrainment to music requires vocal mimicry: Evidence from non-human animals, Curr. Biol. 19 (2009), pp. 831–836.

Monday, May 25

Looking to rent..

I had to obviously write about it when I saw it, "Rent a room in someone else's life?" That statement is big, innit. The character Sai in "The Inheritance of Loss" ruses about this when she sees she has missed out on some grand childhood. To me it is big because I feel it sometimes, when I see people who are smarter, more creative, much more nicer and have a distinct identities (Note: need not be anyone famous, I use my discretion to define these values!!). But think about it- how cool would it be to rent, even for just a little while, a room in someone else's life!!

Tuesday, May 19

What am I

What am I? I think about this more often these days, you know. What do people mean when they say "I am an Indian or I am American or whatever". I mean are they identifying who they are with where they are from? I am not belittling the fact that where you are shapes you up as a person but that cannot be the whole story, can it? May be it does but for me that is not all. I don't think I can associate a country and its traditions with who I am, it is mostly a mixture of the ideals, principles, and traditions that I have garnered from various parts of the world. Of course some by being in those parts of the world and some, you may not believe it to be true, some from books I have read over the years. What is interesting is that I have taken this thought a step that has led to me being more and more saddened by the existence of boundaries between countries. I don't understand why we need them. I know I know, governance issues, cultural issues, and whatever other issues one can think of....but I can still wonder about it, can't I? Is it that hard of people from a gamut of cultures and geographical locations to be together....won't it be fun? We can learn so much...think about it!!!

Thursday, May 7

A beautiful read

Rebecca- a beautiful read indeed. But I must admit I read half of the book yesterday while I doted on the first half for about a month, not because I was in love with it or anything, might I add! Somehow there seems to have been a "I-can't-believe-so-much-detail" threshold that I never crossed in the first half or may be because I was too dumb to understand the beauty of Daphne Du Maurier's writing. Contrary to the first few hundred pages, the second half of the book was amazing. In fact, yesterday, there were parts of the book where I was almost in tears. It is a romance-mystery novel of sorts. Although the book is just ridden with too many words (duh..!!) there were a lot of catchy, interesting and rhetorical phrases. Like this one below

"I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end."

My verdict: go ahead it is a masterfully crafted suspense novel but you have to bear through the first 100 pages!!

Wednesday, May 6

Guys seriously why could'nt you?

Guys, come on! Why could'nt I get a job like this? Anyway this led me to think- what are some of the best jobs around, like living on an island and making friends? Let me know if you can think of any- may be I can switch my profession!