March 7th, 2007

Ann Vole

Raccoon conservation dream B4i4get

Lately I have had a few dreams where I was a conservation specialist looking for ways to preserve a unique raccoon subspecies. A chief of police has a thing against "tree-hugger" types and was obviously instructing the local officers to give me a hard time. I was driving a converted Greyhound bus and there were to people on the bus with pet dogs, one a Pomeranian and the other a mutt with Doberman markings, Labrador-like head shape and about 130 pounds in lean muscular weight. (can't remember why they were on the bus but I was worried that the big dog would injure the small one and being that the big dog was used to being on raccoon hunts, would likely go nuts about the dozen or so raccoons in cages). The police had brought a police tow truck and hooked up to the bus and so nobody could get in or out of the normal door. While I was arguing with the police officer about whether this was legal and my fears for the dogs when a very big white tow truck with no name on it hooked up to the police's tow truck and drove off with the bus and the police's tow truck and had a snow plow on the front and as it sped off, it flipped over two police cruisers and a half a block if parked cars with the plow and disappeared into the dark of the prairie (on the edge of a small town) with no lights on the bus (it was parked) or other lights (the police issue tow truck hooked up in secret and the white tow truck had no lights on). I said "I've got work to do" and left to check some raccoon traps thinking this was all the police's stupid antics like in previous dreams. The police officer got real scared and asked "where are you taking them?" "I have nothing to do with any of this... Just me and my raccoons and legal activities. You better figure out what to tell all those bar patrons when they see their souped-up trucks and sports cars flipped on their sides. If I was not in such a hurry to deal with dozens of trapped animals without my bus, I would love to see how you handle this one. Do you have a beef with the FBI or CIA? You have to answer for those trespassers on my bus and the welfare of all those animals being that you hooked up to the bus... You better find out what's up real quick."
Ann Vole

Use local brains

I am reading a book called "Building Without Borders: Sustainable Construction For The Global Village" in which the authors constantly tell of foreigners bringing great ideas and building technologies which are rejected by the locals or turn out to be real poor houses due to local ways of thinking, materials, and traditions. In the course I just took on ventilation, the various building codes were compared and categorized into two types of code: "prescriptive" and "performance". Prescriptive codes tell you exactly how to do things with the expectation that if it is all done this particular way, it will be up to the standards desired (meaning plans need to be scrutinized for design "flaws" before building starts but testing the building is not required because if the plans are approved and the builders certified, the building must be good). Performance code just tells you how the building system is supposed to perform and leaves the builder to decide on the methods to achieve that performance (usually accompanied by rigorous testing of each building before approval of the final structure is aquired and problems in the test results require repair and retesting)

The "performance" way of doing things requires the brains of the local builders but the "prescriptive" way relies on the brains of the designers which will not reflect the mindset of the people who are going to live in the buildings in question. The more I look at building ideas, the more I realize that my teaching materials I wish to make need to be "performance" based and show people what sort of things need to be designed for and why rather then show a specific method. Comparing various methods for achieving desired standards for the different aspects of the building will be helpful for builders to decide which methods would most suit their situation and cultural tastes and practices and then I can also provide instruction in testing these methods so an acceptable method and people skilled at achieving the desired results can be found in the local area.

The same goes for my animal ideas... People keep training animals and designing animal cages and environmental enhancements and even foods with their own human ideas of how to make the best life for the animals. I hope to instead make the most use of the animals' brains to have them decide what the prefer and provide them with the tools and materials to make their own environment and foods. This requires constant interaction with the animals on an individual basis which would be impossible for a human and not financially feasible to hire people to do... Instead I will use computers that the animals can interact with to have all the changes they desire in their life be granted on an individual and minute-by-minute basis.

For aid organizations and disaster relief and government funded organizations seeking to improve the lives of disadvantaged people, they too have limited manpower to deal with the people they wish to help on a personal basis. Sometimes a majority of an aid organization's budget is spent bringing in foreigners to an area to build a foreigner's idea of a better thing and then leave only to have their work be ignored by the locals due to it being unsuitable, culturally strange to them, not maintainable due to lack of skills, materials, or interest. I propose that these organizations can get more bang for their donated bucks if they send over computers full of "performance" based information on buildings and life-improving systems and have them develop their own local experts and innovators and resulting designs of homes and systems. With internet links, good ideas for specific local problems and cultural preferences can be shared to increase the speed of getting good ideas in the heads of the people who need good ideas the most.

With animal training for animal actors, the trainer has to figure out how to get the desired "acting" to happen by "tricking" the animal into doing the right behaviors on command. I figure it would be so much more effective if the animal was made to understand exactly what was going on... to know it is going to be an actor in a show and what the scene requires. This requires the high level of communication you get from a complex language. The imparting of such a language on a population of animals is the challenge I wish to embark on. The only way this can work is if the animals and the computer programs to all the thinking and language development and teaching. Most rodents do most of their life learning before their eyes open and even before their ear pathways open so they learn most of their life knowledge from their mothers. The only way to effectively teach them a language is if their mother is teaching it to her young from birth. The computer has to monitor this language learning, especially the mistakes made by those learning the language so the language can be adjusted to be more like the mistake commonly made because that common mistake is closer to the way that species' brains think naturally.