1156: "Conditioning"

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Eebster the Great
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1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Eebster the Great » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:28 am UTC

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Title Text: 'Why are you standing in the yard wearing a papal hat and a robe covered in seeds?' 'Well, the Pope is visiting our town next month ...'

I don't generally make these threads, but for some reason there wasn't one yet. I actually thought this comic was pretty goddamn hilarious, though mostly just for the title text. I also wonder if there's any chance it could work.


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dalcde
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby dalcde » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:30 am UTC

Was trying to do the same. You're supposed to add your comment, but anyway.

So, what if passing cars played a different song?

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:32 am UTC

That squirrel is an unconditional cutie.

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Kaden
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1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Kaden » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:32 am UTC

Image

Title Text: "'Why are you standing in the yard wearing a papal hat and a robe covered in seeds?' 'Well, the Pope is visiting our town next month...'"

Pavlov's squirrels, anyone? :mrgreen:

As a psychology nerd, I feel it's my duty to point out that Pavlov's classical conditioning was always one of my favorite psychological concepts, especially when I used it to explain why my fish were afraid of the fish net. :P
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Kaden
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Kaden » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:34 am UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:I don't generally make these threads, but for some reason there wasn't one yet.


Aww, man! D: I just posted my first one of these, but you ninja'd me! Darn it!! :x
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Azkyroth
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Azkyroth » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:36 am UTC

Hopefully, having trained animals to jump cars playing loud music, they can be refocused to jump cars playing loud whatever THAT is. >.>

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Mirkwood » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:12 am UTC

dalcde wrote:So, what if passing cars played a different song?


Well, this is just about the bass, which sounds pretty much the same for all songs that are routinely played loudly in cars with open windows.

Fusselwurm
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Fusselwurm » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:15 am UTC

Conditioning your local wildlife to nag people is a nice idea, but wont work this way.

Sadly, critters have the smarts. They'll know to differentiate between your static backyard dispenser and a bypassing car.

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Davidy
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Davidy » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:33 am UTC

This would solve the "problem" of birds and squirrels, but not so much the problem of loud thumping bass music. Or am I missing the point?
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Quicksilver » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:33 am UTC

But does it stop the noise made from the dancing neighbours?

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Carl T » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:49 am UTC

I suspect that the passing cars would just make the animals flock to the device. To get this to work you may also have to move the device around. Also, it depends on the ability of the animals to hear and locate the sound. But the pope thing is brilliant.

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keithl
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby keithl » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:55 am UTC

Rather than bread crumbs, I would dispense raw meat. Why send birds and squirrels to do a job better performed by packs of hungry wolves?

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby RAGBRAIvet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:01 am UTC

The birds, squirrels, etc. will hear the thumping bass from the vehicles .... and will go to the box, where they have been conditioned into getting the food.  The cars will drive by unmolested.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby IvyTheTerrible » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:55 am UTC

Great comic, but you shouldn't feed bread to birds.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby stallitz » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:12 am UTC

A public service announcement from someone who has spent a significant chunk of change repairing rodential damage to automobiles: Dᴏɴ'ᴛ ᴅᴏ ɪᴛ! Packrats here already think that cheesecake lurks in fuel-injection systems. Besides, if I wanted to attract animals to an offending vehicle, I'd forget about Pavlov and start thinking Darwin: just apply rodent/cat/canine lure to the car's tires, mission accomplished.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby slhuang » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:54 am UTC

I'm trying to figure out how to adapt this to apply to my neighbors. I'm sure there's a way. Would a dozen squirrels attacking their sliding doors be crazy-making enough?

(It wouldn't be so bad if I could hear the melody line of the music. But no, it's just the base that vibrates my walls . . .)

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Klear » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:18 am UTC

I'm not convinced that the wildlife would learn when exactly the breadcrumbs are dispensed. They'd probably just discover the food in the few hours long periods between the sound being played.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby NeatNit » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:58 am UTC

Klear wrote:I'm not convinced that the wildlife would learn when exactly the breadcrumbs are dispensed. They'd probably just discover the food in the few hours long periods between the sound being played.

Slowly, but surely, they will learn.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:09 pm UTC

stallitz wrote:Besides, if I wanted to attract animals to an offending vehicle, I'd forget about Pavlov and start thinking Darwin: just apply rodent/cat/canine lure to the car's tires, mission accomplished.


The point is to target specifically cars that blast bass at absurd levels, and applying something directly to the car without being caught is generally going to be impractical then. Though I agree with those who say the idea in the comic is flawed, because the animals would just hear the bass and head to the contraption, not the car blasting it.

Klear wrote:I'm not convinced that the wildlife would learn when exactly the breadcrumbs are dispensed. They'd probably just discover the food in the few hours long periods between the sound being played.


They would absolutely learn eventually, there can be no doubt. But it would probably take longer to condition them than the author would probably be willing (or even able) to commit to the project.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby NoOutlet » Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:30 pm UTC

I think the animals would learn to attack bass-pumping cars the way Randall suggests if not for a different flaw: raccoon would figure out that device in a matter of minutes and tear into it invent speakers of their own to play constant bass-pumping music near the devices.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:47 pm UTC

OK, for all you naysayers, put the bass-thumper inside a bright shiny can, mount on a scale railroad track, and have it make circles around your lawn with a tray of goodies on top. Extra points for hanging fuzzy dice just over the food.
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby The Owl » Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:50 pm UTC

RAGBRAIvet wrote:The birds, squirrels, etc. will hear the thumping bass from the vehicles .... and will go to the box, where they have been conditioned into getting the food. The cars will drive by unmolested.

They might not be directly molested in the way originally intended, but I'd imagine the car might suffer a different effect. If enough birds fly over the car to get to the box, there's at least a chance that, um, something will land on the car, no? Probably not quite as off-putting as having a mob of animals attack the car, but not pleasant either.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby stallitz » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:47 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
stallitz wrote:Besides, if I wanted to attract animals to an offending vehicle, I'd forget about Pavlov and start thinking Darwin: just apply rodent/cat/canine lure to the car's tires, mission accomplished.


The point is to target specifically cars that blast bass at absurd levels, and applying something directly to the car without being caught is generally going to be impractical then. Though I agree with those who say the idea in the comic is flawed, because the animals would just hear the bass and head to the contraption, not the car blasting it.


A Google search for "paintball animal lure" indicates that several retailers offer pre-made pellets filled with a variety of animal attractants. Moreover, even without visiting a hunting supplier, it would be trivial to inject an easily-acquired scent (varmint musk or urine) into some paintballs with a syringe and sealant, or to load a squirt gun with a diluted mix of the same, or to just walk by and subtly brush it onto a local repeat offender's stuff. Much more "practical" than a Rube Goldberg operant-conditioning device, and it wouldn't invoke a bitey plague on every low-Hz noise source in the area OR contribute to the local noise pollution.

Understand, I get the joke. However, after having to rewire my truck a half-dozen times in a decade, plus having to replace the pump in my spa after packrats chewed into the housing and ruined the motor itself, I cringe at the mere notion of actually making vermin more invasive than normal.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby armandoalvarez » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:51 pm UTC

This comic, together with http://xkcd.com/1152/ makes me wonder if Randall has decided to do more religion comics, or if maybe some Catholic said something particularly stupid to Randall personally or something like that. Maybe I'm remembering XKCD wrong, but usually off the top of my head, when XKCD deals with religion it's more like a Pythonesque God shows up as a character as here http://xkcd.com/224/ or http://xkcd.com/709/or http://www.xkcd.com/258/ or using religion as a jumping off point for a joke about absurdity in general: http://xkcd.com/774/, http://xkcd.com/900/, or http://xkcd.com/1102/. I can't remember any South-Park-like jokes about particular religions, say, Joseph Smith discovering the Book of Mormon, televangelists, child molestor priests, etc. XKCD even showed a "Let them have their ridiculous beliefs as long as it doesn't affect policy" view about people who think the world is 6,000 years old http://xkcd.com/154/, and such beliefs would seem to be the most obvious target in religion for an XKCD joke.
Not that there's anything wrong with making fun of religion, I'm just surprised that after so few jokes about religion in general, there are two comics poking fun at Catholicism nearly in a row.
Last edited by armandoalvarez on Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby endolith » Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:53 pm UTC


Daggoth
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Daggoth » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:04 pm UTC

You would be undergoing several steps in an elaborate plan to solve the ongoing problem, so i don't think this qualifies as a "problem solving itself".

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby TimXCampbell » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:06 pm UTC

armandoalvarez wrote:This comic ... makes me wonder if Randall has decided to do more religion comics ...

Considering the way your post quotes, in perfect context, comic after comic by chapter and verse, I'm starting to suspect Randall has created his own religion, and the comic strips are our Bible.

I don't know how you managed to come up with that list. Do you have an xkcd concordance?

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby armandoalvarez » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:10 pm UTC

TimXCampbell wrote:I don't know how you managed to come up with that list. Do you have an xkcd concordance?

I remembered vaguely a few of them (that's what I meant by "off the top of my head"), and then I just googled "xkcd god" and "xkcd religion." There's also apparently some sort of website called explainxkcd.com that had a whole section on religion.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:27 pm UTC

stallitz wrote:
blowfishhootie wrote:
stallitz wrote:Besides, if I wanted to attract animals to an offending vehicle, I'd forget about Pavlov and start thinking Darwin: just apply rodent/cat/canine lure to the car's tires, mission accomplished.


The point is to target specifically cars that blast bass at absurd levels, and applying something directly to the car without being caught is generally going to be impractical then. Though I agree with those who say the idea in the comic is flawed, because the animals would just hear the bass and head to the contraption, not the car blasting it.


A Google search for "paintball animal lure" indicates that several retailers offer pre-made pellets filled with a variety of animal attractants. Moreover, even without visiting a hunting supplier, it would be trivial to inject an easily-acquired scent (varmint musk or urine) into some paintballs with a syringe and sealant, or to load a squirt gun with a diluted mix of the same, or to just walk by and subtly brush it onto a local repeat offender's stuff. Much more "practical" than a Rube Goldberg operant-conditioning device, and it wouldn't invoke a bitey plague on every low-Hz noise source in the area OR contribute to the local noise pollution.


No, it is not. Some random car drives down the road with its bass thumping while you're in your living room, and it is a mile away before you can even think about doing anything about it. All of your ideas would involve getting close to the car while it is moving, which is why I said doing it "without being caught is generally going to be impractical."

The animal thing is better in theory because if you could somehow train the animals to do it over a big enough radius, you could target cars that aren't close enough to even be bothering you at the time the animals flock to it.

Both ideas are of course impractical though.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Patrik3 » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:45 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
No, it is not. Some random car drives down the road with its bass thumping while you're in your living room, and it is a mile away before you can even think about doing anything about it. All of your ideas would involve getting close to the car while it is moving, which is why I said doing it "without being caught is generally going to be impractical."

The animal thing is better in theory because if you could somehow train the animals to do it over a big enough radius, you could target cars that aren't close enough to even be bothering you at the time the animals flock to it.

Both ideas are of course impractical though.


- What if the paintball gun was wired up to an audio detector which triggered when it heard nearby low frequency music? And just in case the (probably stoned anyway) driver happens to notice a paintball come flying out of the side of the road onto his car, you can put the paintball machine in your neighbour's garden instead?

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:49 pm UTC

IvyTheTerrible wrote:Great comic, but you shouldn't feed bread to birds.

What if it was only tupence a bag?

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby stallitz » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:07 pm UTC

blowfishhootie wrote:
No, it is not. Some random car drives down the road with its bass thumping while you're in your living room, and it is a mile away before you can even think about doing anything about it. All of your ideas would involve getting close to the car while it is moving, which is why I said doing it "without being caught is generally going to be impractical."

The animal thing is better in theory because if you could somehow train the animals to do it over a big enough radius, you could target cars that aren't close enough to even be bothering you at the time the animals flock to it.

If we're talking about cars on a busy road, a similar criticism applies to the original idea -- even assuming the conditioning worked, the odds of any conditioned vermin actually finding the specific nuisance cars that pass by are remote beyond plausibility, surely far worse than the odds of someone who's even a vaguely competent shot hitting a car with a paintball gun. On the other hand, setting a watch with a paintball thrower is tedious, but very plausible. Take a computer or a good book outdoors at rush hour or the ordinary time of the nuisance, practice a couple times with ordinary ammo to find a clear shot and learn the timing, then commence to the hobby/work. When the woofers approach, prepare the peashooter, then mark the nuisance -- remember, they're blasting >100dB noise and traveling quickly; they probably won't properly hear a little thwack hitting their fender/wheel.

Unlike the conditioning, this specifically targets the offending noisemaker. Moreover, animal lure does demonstrably attract animals -- whether it was rat musk or cat urine, the target car would suffer sharp-toothed rodents or caterwauling felines in short order. A good shot of canine musk would turn the car into every passing mutt's favorite urinal. Ask anyone who's had a dog hike its leg on their ride -- once it has happened, it just doesn't stop.
Both ideas are of course impractical though.

This discussion is of course incredibly silly, and while I say that my idea would be less impractical, both ideas are probably illegal. So, yeah.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby armandoalvarez » Fri Jan 04, 2013 4:40 pm UTC

Wouldn't the simplest and most effective way to condition them be to drive around blasting your own bass and feeding them? Then you could insure that they were responding to the right stimuli (to cars blasting bass, not boxes in your yard) and ensure that animals are conditioned in a large enough radius for this to be effective.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby PHDrillSergeant » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:50 pm UTC

JudeMorrigan wrote:
IvyTheTerrible wrote:Great comic, but you shouldn't feed bread to birds.

What if it was only tupence a bag?


All around the cathedral, the Saints and Apostles look down as she sells her wares. They also look down as she gets arrested for feeding the birds cyanide-laced bread crumbs.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby keithl » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:52 pm UTC

One better than birds (or wolves). We gene-engineer giant godzilla-like reptiles, with thumping bass mating calls and sexual organs the size and shape of gang-banger drivers.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby just john » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:53 pm UTC

Holy crap, finally, an explanation for Hitchcock's The Birds!
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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby endolith » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:13 pm UTC

stallitz wrote:surely far worse than the odds of someone who's even a vaguely competent shot hitting a car with a paintball gun.


Somewhere I read something about sentry guns mounted discretely on the sides of city buildings, with microphone arrays that would locate gunshots and shoot back at them. Maybe just an art concept project or something. Anyway, I've often wished someone did the same thing with paintball guns and car horns. Anyone who honks gets hit by paintballs from automated guns hidden on distant rooftops or in trees. Probably not legal, though.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby fernie » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:15 pm UTC

Could the problem of bird "picking" the right target be solved by involving a handful of willing neighbors with a shared disdain for the thumping music? Set up 3-10 different stations to go off randomly to prevent patterns from forming. This way the sound triggers the reaction of following the sound for the food. Add the train-track-moving-target thing as well and birds at least should be quick enough to track and rush the source.

Regarding speed, I figure in a main street with fast traffic the sound isn't as big a nuisance anyway, low frequency won't carry as far on a car going relatively fast. The annoying part is in smaller streets or heavy slow traffic where your living room windows vibrate for 2 minutes until the light change.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:28 pm UTC

endolith wrote:
stallitz wrote:surely far worse than the odds of someone who's even a vaguely competent shot hitting a car with a paintball gun.


Somewhere I read something about sentry guns mounted discretely on the sides of city buildings, with microphone arrays that would locate gunshots and shoot back at them. Maybe just an art concept project or something. Anyway, I've often wished someone did the same thing with paintball guns and car horns. Anyone who honks gets hit by paintballs from automated guns hidden on distant rooftops or in trees. Probably not legal, though.

Gunfire Locators are quite real, but I've never heard of them being connected to a return-fire ability. As far as I know they're just used to find a shooter.

However, I would pay you good money to walk around shooting paintballs at any car that honks its horn when its door is locked. Those things are more annoying than subwoofers.

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Re: 1156: "Conditioning"

Postby Klear » Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:32 pm UTC

NeatNit wrote:
Klear wrote:I'm not convinced that the wildlife would learn when exactly the breadcrumbs are dispensed. They'd probably just discover the food in the few hours long periods between the sound being played.

Slowly, but surely, they will learn.


The comic says "Leave this device in your yard for a week."

Besides, the power of evolution is against you in this - the extra food is not enough advantage to offset the suicidal tendency to run (fly) towards moving cars.


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