Neelix (cat) Fetching, Flash Video Quality Again, and Human (Technological) Evolution and Computers

One of our kittens consistently fetches toys. Geordi (one of our other cats) and Katie (my father’s cat) will do this also, but they get sick of it quickly and they were more into it as kittens.

Neelix will do it over and over for long periods, and will even drop it when told to. His brother picked up on what he was doing, by watching a few times and did the same, but rarely will most of the time. Their sister has no interest in fetching whatsoever, only playing with what I throw.

See video below (excuse the slight mess, we’re still cleaning up after the remodel of the other room so we still have a few things scattered around).

The more you play and work with a cat (or any animal) the more and quicker they seem to be able to learn. Hmmm, just like humans.

This morning we saw a story on chimps that could consistently remember numbers flashed on a screen better then an adult human (the researchers mentioned that children would probably be able to do it better than adults). Makes you think.

But I do think that a possibility is that this may have to do with a more specialized part of their evolution, possibly survival-related, that makes them better at this particular thing then the sign of a larger ability and intelligence. Just playing devil’s advocate.

Flash Video Quality

As mentioned in a previous post, video quality suffers when converting to Flash video and the high-compression involved in it.

The original high-res video the size was around twenty-three megs, conversion to mono audio with a medium bitrate, and medium quality video in Windows Media Video format knocked it down to about 1.32 meg.

After uploading here using Blogger’s video upload and hosting the quality suffered immensely.

Again, I still prefer to host a video directly, instead of via YouTube, Google Video or (as I did here) Blogger’s video storage. But it’s quick and convenient to do so when the video doesn’t have to be high quality.

Human (Technological) Evolution and Computers

I sometimes wonder though – are complex and moderately complex things like recording a video, connecting the camcorder, camera, or phone to a computer, and then uploading and hosting it on the Internet increasing the intelligence of humankind?

I’m a history buff, and it seems to me that some simple advances in primitive technology were so ludicrously basic that any modern kid would be able to have figured out better ways of doing things. Maybe it’s just hindsight, it’s easy to say that. But I suspect not.

Gene Roddenberry took this idea to a new level in a way that maybe some SF and Star Trek fans may not notice or realize and critics passed off as “bad science” or just a story vehicle.

If you watched the episodes at all you might notice that a number of his characters; adults and children alike, in various episodes of the all of the series – were able to almost intuitively use both alien instruments as well as those they weren’t familiar with in general, or from the past or future. It always bothered me a bit.

But, even on a small-scale, I’m able to sit down at unfamiliar software, computers, and other devices and figure them out in a short while; almost without thinking and on an intuitive and subconscious level. I’ve always been able to do that with machines and electronics, and I know others do also. And you see kids doing it all the time.

Can you imagine human evolution and affinity for technology evolving over hundreds of years? There’s really no imagining what the species will be like or what it can do, maybe ol’ Gene had something figured out there.

If you look at modern kids, even very young ones, they are able to make leaps of logic (when it comes to technology) that I wouldn’t have been able to at their age, nor most of my peers. Yet some of the other life decisions of young people might be more questionable to those older than them.

I often wonder though, if the giant strides we’ve made in computer technology have meant that we haven’t made consistent advances in other fields of human evolution, as well as other areas of technological evolution in general.

Where’s our space habitats, our space-base manufacturing and zero gee medicine. Why are we still using internal combustion and burning fossil fuels when we have massive amounts of more energy available – solar, wind, geothermal, hydrogen, etc – to power the US without using a drop of oil (except in the manufacture of the plastics and polymers for doing this)?

I wonder also, in some fields of computer-related items – why are some still very behind? Is it because something like artificial intelligence really is hard to achieve, or because money and immediate demand drives research and innovation?

Think of personal aircraft. What’s needed to make this happen? I believe that computer control, both of the individual aircraft as well as a network of traffic control would have to be in place for this to even begin to happen. Computer controls both in using the network (able to make automated decisions outside of what the network is telling it to do – like an uncontrolled aircraft heading in its direction, or emergency procedures) as well as when the personal aircraft must be under the individuals own control. Big uphill battle to make any of this happen.

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