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#118832 - 01/07/04 11:58 AM Re: Jumping sharks  
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Faldage Offline
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I'm still baffled by this 'jump the shark' thing. I also think we should be careful in distinguishing between memes and instinctive responses. I would classify the cat's reactions as instinctive or a result of personal learning. Hunting behaviour might be memetic or a combination of memetic and genetic. There was a great scene in Jurassic Park II when the main bad guy got caught on the ship the were using to ship the T. rex family back to the island; the mommy and daddy T. rex had the baby in tow and one of them picked up the bad guy by the collar and dropped him alive in front of the baby, the other nudging the baby toward the petrified human. It looked just like a mama cat teaching her kittens by dropping a live mouse in front of them.


#118833 - 01/07/04 03:36 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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Jackie, my dear,...you are too kind..it wasn't MY mind you know! Still, I shall treasure the comment!

Faldage, about coyping..As with *anything that is copied, errors WILL happen. One of the beautiful things about genetics is that whilst copying errors are a prerequisite for evolution, it is equally important to maintain copying fidelity. This is not paradoxical; you just have to listen to the gene's side of the story and also to the perspecive of the species. For the GENE to be successful and survive, it must be transmitted in its exacting entirety through to the next generation/s. For the SPECIES however, variation in the form of copying errors or otherwise is essential to successfully evolve. The balance between the two is necessary and crucial for life. Sexual reproduction helps immensely in bringing in variation by intermixing genetic information.

As for memes, the *transmission is key. It must be VERTICALLY transmitted to another generation; till then it cannot qualify. Just horizontal or lateral transmission satisfies only the fecundity rule, and that relegates it to the status of a fad, not a meme! ..says the meme with nose in air and haughty snort

Faldage nailed it on the animal response. Bill, the cat's response is reflex, instinctive or learned. If it has learnt this from its parents or family and if that learning is clearly not associated with a gene and is only acquired, then it qualifies for a meme.

Faldage, you can visualise 'jump the shark'; they have it in a picture there; sort of cresting a pass and everything downhill after that! DOes anyne remember that thread? thanks eta, shall surprise the folk at work tomorrow with that!


#118834 - 01/07/04 04:09 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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wwh Offline
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Fear or avoidance responses do not seem to be learned. All living things have them in some form. They must be genetically transmitted. Same goes for mating activities.


#118835 - 01/07/04 04:14 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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I agree with you Bill. Fear is hard-wired into the amygdala, eh? But the reaction of the cat to your walking around it or talking softly to it is learned. A domestic cat would behave differently from a wild cat if you talked softly to it, wouldn't it? That is what I was referring to.

EDIT:
Dear Bill, I think I misread walking around. I associated it with the anxiety dipping down and assumed that you were walking in a way that made it calmer. I have a finely developed repertoire of eccentric behaviour (to humans at least!) around animals that always seem to calm them down and make them more friendly. I see now, you were only talking about the cat's fear.


#118836 - 01/07/04 04:23 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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And a dog that has been beaten will react differently to the sight of a stick than will a dog that has not been beaten. The fear may be hard-wired but the object to be feared can be learned.


#118837 - 01/07/04 05:07 PM Re: jump the shark  
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How long have you not had TV, Faldage? "Jump the shark" originated with an episode of Happy Days in which The Fonz was surfing and ... literally jumped a shark on his board. That apparently has become accepted as the point where the series lost it and headed downhill. The term has since been extended to any television show which has overstayed its welcome and become too silly, even for willing suspension of disbelief.


#118838 - 01/07/04 05:53 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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wwh Offline
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Dear Faldage: I had a dog that would threaten to bite me when I held a handkerchief covering my face, and made growling sounds. I became a stranger; xenophobia is innate in both animals and humans. And a dog doesn't have to be hit with a stick to avoid a human with one in his hand.


#118839 - 01/07/04 05:58 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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Faldage Offline
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Unless he associates it with 'fetch.'


#118840 - 01/07/04 06:05 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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Dear Faldage: how do you explain the willingness of retrievers to retrieve, and a Border Collie's just acting frighted of a ball in my hand? I never knew a Border Collie, smart as they are to learn to fetch. Given commands they have been taught, they will cut a single desired ewe out of a distant group, and drive it into an enclsure. But though I tried many times, I could never teach a Border Collie to play any kind of game.


#118841 - 01/07/04 06:16 PM Re: book recommendation!!  
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Faldage Offline
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It is, of course, not a simple matter of genetics vs memetics. You can teach a retriever to fetch, but, I'm sure, if you beat one with a stick often enough you can teach it to fear sticks. Maybe you could teach the border collie to herd a giant fuzzy ball.


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