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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:46 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
In your head, is it a witty practical joke?

Absolutely.

Oh, and once again, do read, would you? He didn't hear a noise; he saw someone going from point A to point B, and based on that observation, executed a plan on the spur of the moment. If he wanted to merely mock-charge, he didn't have to go to all that trouble.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:56 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
s1m0n wrote:
In your head, is it a witty practical joke?

Absolutely.

Oh, and once again, do read, would you? He didn't hear a noise; he saw someone going from point A to point B, and based on that observation, executed a plan on the spur of the moment. If he wanted to merely mock-charge, he didn't have to go to all that trouble.


Sure; point out the part of your post that describes Lester seeing anything, rather than hearing it. And what trouble? that's not explicit, either.

I'm willing to accept that there was some planning, but even a basic hunt takes more planning than "go up the stairs and then charge", unless there's more you've left out of the account.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:03 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
Sure; point out the part of your post that describes Lester seeing anything, rather than hearing it. And what trouble? that's not explicit, either.

I'm willing to accept that there was some planning, but even a basic hunt takes more planning than "go up the stairs and then charge", unless there's more you've left out of the account.

Let's see:
I wrote:
Anyway, one day as I was out in the hall with Lester - he was helping me with the laundry, probably - one of the tenants came home from bicycling, and as she lugged her bike up the stairs, Lester got this look of inspiration - you could almost see the light bulb go on - and immediately he went up the back stairs. Shortly thereafter was the sound of a cat galloping full-blast down the hall above, and a shriek from the tenant. It was hilarious.

Now I think you're splitting hairs. How could I say she was lugging her bike upstairs without having seen it? And if Lester were there with me too, as he was, then he would have seen it as well, which he did. A new body in the hall isn't something a healthy cat misses. And if you need more, I saw him looking. I don't know why the implicit needs to be spelled out in such minute detail. The math might be compressed, but the equation isn't a stretch by any means. Next, "trouble": By that I mean going up the back way for a long charge display when he could have charged her right then and there when he saw her. He didn't.

I really don't get what's so hard to understand. He was having fun, and not just that, he did it with a pretty good theatrical splash. Simple.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:54 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I wrote:
Anyway, one day as I was out in the hall with Lester - he was helping me with the laundry, probably - one of the tenants came home from bicycling, and as she lugged her bike up the stairs, Lester got this look of inspiration - you could almost see the light bulb go on - and immediately he went up the back stairs. Shortly thereafter was the sound of a cat galloping full-blast down the hall above, and a shriek from the tenant. It was hilarious.

Now I think you're splitting hairs. How could I say she was lugging her bike upstairs without having seen it?


There's no way to tell. Sight, hearing and experience are all equally likely.

Edited: After reflection, my judgement is that this episode likely represents an instinctive mock charge coupled with good situation awareness, some advance planning, and good knowledge of the terrain. None of this is remarkable for a cleverish cat. Calling it a practical joke implies more theory of mind than I'm willing to ascribe to a cat. Cats like mock-charges and do them instinctively. Cat instinct is to surprise their targets, when possible. Cats can easily plan out a stalk-and-ambush. When all this comes off successfully, cats are pleased; their instincts have been gratified. None of that is remarkable.

When you call it a joke, however, you imply that Lester was anticipating your neighbour's reaction and acting to elicit it, and that I don't buy. Cats have enough basic theory of mind to be able to make some guesses when another species (ie, humans) is angry, or calm, or a few other emotions from their body language in the moment, but that's about the limit that any animal behaviourist/neurologist/psychologist is willing to go. Anticipating human reactions and understanding humour are a bridge too far.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:11 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
When you call it a joke, however, you imply that Lester was anticipating your neighbour's reaction and acting to elicit it, and that I don't buy. ... Anticipating human reactions and understanding humour are a bridge too far.

Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree then, won't we.

s1m0n wrote:
There's no way to tell. Sight, hearing and experience are all equally likely.

No, they're not all equally likely. If I say she took a bike upstairs, visual contact is already implied. This is entirely valid, and it's called compression. Maybe you've heard of it.

Are you even capable of enjoying a good story without flaying it to within an inch of its life, just for the exercise in nitpickery for its own sake?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:52 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:00 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
If I say she took a bike upstairs, visual contact is already implied.


Graph it out for me. Where exactly is that implied?

If it was the first time your neighbour had come home with her bike, then I'd buy that you might have needed to see it to be sure. But when I've spent any amount of time in apartment living beside the same neighbour, I very soon developed the ability to tell exactly what they were doing by sound alone. Hell, I practically developed the ability to tell what they'd been eating from the smell of their f@rts, and my senses in that line aren't nearly as acute as Lester's.

Learning to identify the sound of someone hauling a bike up stairs, again, would be child's play. I've been the guy with the bike; I've been the neighbour listening to the guy and the bike. I've likely even been the guy uttering the f@arts.

~~

You're a human. Sight is your primary sense, but we're trying to understand feline behaviour here. For a cat, sight is the tertiary sense. Far more important to cats is smell - they have more syapses devoted to scent than dogs, btw - followed by sound. Only at very close ranges is sight their go-to sense. Wild cats are frequently completely nocturnal; of course sight isn't their primary sense. I once heard a zookeeper say "for people, seeing is believing, but for bears, smelling is believing." Cats have better eyes, but they're more like bears in this regard than they are like humans.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


Last edited by s1m0n on Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:12 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Are you even capable of enjoying a good story without flaying it to within an inch of its life, just for the exercise in nitpickery for its own sake?


The only reason I'm picking any nits at all is that you began accusing me of not 'reading' information that wasn't contained in your account. We're on the second round because you didn't learn the first time and repeated the accusation.

You'll note than when you were correct about me missing the fact that Lester had moved on, I went back, reread your account, and conceded the point. You've doubled down on a losing play. It's a tactical mistake, I'd have thought.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:53 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
You're a human. Sight is your primary sense, but we're trying to understand feline behaviour here. For a cat, sight is the tertiary sense. Far more important to cats is smell - they have more syapses devoted to scent than dogs, btw - followed by sound. Only at very close ranges is sight their go-to sense. Wild cats are frequently completely nocturnal; of course sight isn't their primary sense. I once heard a zookeeper say "for people, seeing is believing, but for bears, smelling is believing." Cats have better eyes, but they're more like bears in this regard than they are like humans.


(I had posted two pages ago, but made the mistake of going to sleep, so I will continue the argument I was making with where it has come to now.)

But s1m0n, we still don't understand much of how dogs and cats perceive the world. We have ideas and theories regarding their perception of the world, but it is still impossible for us to really understand their perception. So to take a general theory that "sight isn't their primary sense" and then deny when a cat uses sight is just ridiculous.

As I mentioned before, domestic cats have developed different skills than wild cats because they have been raised for thousands of years in environments that require the cat to function in a different manner than say a cat would need to function in a savannah. You acknowledged that cats and dogs do behave differently than other feline and canine species in regards to vocalization. While you called it 'juvenile' and 'adolescent' traits, I call it progress. The traits allowed the animals to better communicate with humans and the traits continued to get bred into the cat and dog gene-pool and have allowed for them to find a prominent place in the world. That being said, I don't think wild cats and domestic cats are a fair comparison since they have had to adapt to their environments and they have had thousands of years to do so.

(In case there is a question regarding the traits being genetic, here is an article from the BBC about Soviet scientists who worked for decades to domesticate foxes. His study also put a priority on these 'juvenile' and 'adolescent' traits so that the foxes would become domesticated.)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:56 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
I'm wondering, s1m0n; what part of all that episode would you say was only instinct?


I'm not sure what you're getting at. Lester heard a noise in the hall and mock-charged it? That's the play instinct. Any cat'll do that. In your head, is it a witty practical joke?
Lester observed someone going up the front stairs. Rather than charge directly, he went up the back stairs to execute an ambush. Instinct doesn't suffice for that level of planning.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:28 am 
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AaronFW wrote:
(In case there is a question regarding the traits being genetic, here is an article from the BBC about Soviet scientists who worked for decades to domesticate foxes. His study also put a priority on these 'juvenile' and 'adolescent' traits so that the foxes would become domesticated.)


I think you'll find that I posted about Belayev's domesticated foxes a page or so ago.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:42 am 
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Tunborough wrote:
Lester observed someone going up the front stairs. Rather than charge directly, he went up the back stairs to execute an ambush. Instinct doesn't suffice for that level of planning.


Once again, any cat is capable of observing prey, stalking it indirectly, and planning an ambush. This is not inexplicable behaviour. Cats are ambush hunters. One that lacks the ability to anticipate prey would starve. If you know that the zebra is headed for the water hole, an obvious and instinctive tactic is to get ahead of it by another route and cut it off.

And we know that Lester wandered the building enough to have the two-stairways-to-the-same-hallway floor plan sussed.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:52 am 
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AaronFW wrote:
But s1m0n, we still don't understand much of how dogs and cats perceive the world. We have ideas and theories regarding their perception of the world, but it is still impossible for us to really understand their perception. So to take a general theory that "sight isn't their primary sense" and then deny when a cat uses sight is just ridiculous.


Right, but I didn't do that. Nano narrated a scene in which none of the cat's sensory data was provided at all, and declared that I should have understood he was talking about sight, because what else could it have been? Well, it could have been sound.

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And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:20 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
AaronFW wrote:
(In case there is a question regarding the traits being genetic, here is an article from the BBC about Soviet scientists who worked for decades to domesticate foxes. His study also put a priority on these 'juvenile' and 'adolescent' traits so that the foxes would become domesticated.)


I think you'll find that I posted about Belayev's domesticated foxes a page or so ago.


Ah, I tried to read the two pages but my eyes and brain started to glaze over and zone out.

I’ll try again soon to make sure I can argue sufficiently informed.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 2:22 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
If I say she took a bike upstairs, visual contact is already implied.

Graph it out for me. Where exactly is that implied?

I said from the outset that I was in the hallway. I said it numerous times. No graph needed. You cannot continue to ignore this and say you are making a case of any kind.

But in the event you still cannot comprehend without needless overcomplication of the uncomplicated: When one is IN THE HALLWAY and someone who wasn't there before shows up, one takes visual notice (stipulating of course that I am sighted, since we're splitting hairs so thin they have only one side). After all, who is this person? Might be an intruder. So you look. This needn't be "graphed out"; there's not even any call for it. And - but perhaps this doesn't apply to your concept of a social contract - upon encountering one's neighbor, the usual thing that follows is a greeting. Do you say Hello to your neighbor with your back turned? Of course not. For that matter, how would you even know it's your neighbor, then? So, yeah. Visual. Same goes for the cat. When there's a line of sight involved, sight's going to be used. Hearing, smell, and air pressure sense are all very fine and no doubt in play, but when someone walks in lugging a bike, it's not a matter of sussing out hidden prey. Both you and the cat can see, you both do see, and it's jolly good information all on its own. It's as simple as that.

Now remind me again: Which part of "in the hallway" is irrelevant?

s1m0n wrote:
But when I've spent any amount of time in apartment living beside the same neighbour, I very soon developed the ability to tell exactly what they were doing by sound alone.

I was in the hallway. The hallway. It's quite simple, really. H-a-l-l-w-a-y.

s1m0n wrote:
... we're trying to understand feline behaviour here.

What? We? Don't know where you get this "we" business, because I'm not in the dark about it. I could tell you loads, not that you'd listen. Here's what I think: Just stay clear of being a cat owner, and you'll be fine. I daresay it'll be better for the cats, too.

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