One day we could all shit Clorox courtesy of SCIENCE! »
If you couldn’t tell by my disco PSA, I love the pigeons. They usually pretend to be aloof but I can tell they love me too. This is why I keep up on the pigeon news—always looking out for my pals! And let me tell you, there is some pigeon news! It’s kind of freaky news—frews, if you will. Not only do pigeons have to eat your trash, now people want them to poop bleach! Go team science!
Well it’s not actually bleach, that’s just some decorative language I added because I’m an artist and my new medium is lying. They want to make pigeons shit “biological soap” through the magic of synthetic biology. I looked up synthetic biology and in this case it means, “the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes.” And since animals exist to make our lives easier, let’s biologically synthesize some damn pigeons already! Or as Tuur van Balen, the brains behind this, puts it, “add new functionality to what is by many seen as flying rats” (oh daaamn, are you rat-lovers going to take that?). This is awesome because while I already love pigeons, functional pigeons sound so much better! GOD I already can’t STAND all these dysfunctional pigeons I have to deal with everyday! With their drinking problems and abusive relationships—I’m over it!
So what’s the plan?! Well, they are going to feed pigeons a special bacteria with their food. Van Balen claims this bacteria is—get ready for this!—“as harmless to them as eating yoghurt is to us.” UM EARTH TO VAN BALEN! Dairy is the devil! DUH. But the bacteria will somehow change their metabolism and ta dah! Soap poop.
The article goes on to discuss the other implications this kind of thing could have. He’s working on synthetic immune systems where it’s totally tailored to your body. And guess what! The example he gives is for vegetarians! The synthetic immune system could monitor your B12 levels and produce some more if they are low. Hold up, that’s kind of BADASS. But the pigeon stuff, I don’t know. I don’t think we should go around fucking with animals just because we can. And when you add new things to the environment, there’s always potential for disaster. Like the salt we use to melt snow, now it’s all in the rivers and what not, screwing things up.
My final vote: Leave the damn pigeons alone. Freaks.
Hello all! This is a little PSA I made because I love pigeons and everyone is so mean to them! They are a thriving immigrant community! And I’m like, jeez, sorry deforestation hasn’t killed them off. Good work with the other animals though. I love squirrels too but what makes them so much better than pigeons? Everybody is all nice to squirrels—why not pigeons? EVERY TIME I bring up pigeons, people are immediately like, “Ew! They’re dirty!” Hmm, why would pigeons be dirty? MAYBE BECAUSE YOU PEOPLE ARE DIRTY! If pigeons are dirty, it’s because their environment is dirty, and that’s all on us.
Anyway, hope you enjoy the video! And be nice to pigeons.
What’s the difference between a pigeon and an art critic? »
Answer: not much! According to Keio University psychologist Shigeru Watanabe, pigeons can differentiate between “good” and “bad” art after having been taught to recognize the “concept of a stimulus class that humans name ‘good’ pictures.” What?
At this university in Tokyo, Watanabe showed the pigeons a set of children’s paintings, which had been judged “good” or “bad” by a group of adults. Through positive reinforcement, the pigeons learned how to recognize “good” and “bad” art—he gave them seeds when they chose (whatever that means in this case, “chose”) the “good” art. He then repeated the experiment with 10 new paintings by adults, and had the pigeons choose which were “good” and which were “bad.” The pigeons picked out the “good” art “twice as often” as the “bad.” Amazing!
The article doesn’t say whether the number of pigeons who deemed a painting “good” or “bad” corresponded with the work’s critical reception or popularity, which is too bad because that would be interesting; nor does it say what kind of pigeons they were. Regardless, if a pigeon can have the same opinion as an expert art critic, maybe we should all be going to more museums and galleries. It’s a lot more rewarding to see art than read about what someone else thinks about it.
If a pigeon wrote a column, though, I would definitely read it.