WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?

Freud:       An die andere Seite zu kommen. (Much laughter)

Hamlet: That is not the question.

Thomas de Torquemada: Give me ten minutes with the chicken and I’ll find out.

Jack Nicholson: ‘Cause it (censored) wanted to. That’s the (censored) reason.

Very practical answers, but for deeper meaning we must turn to:

Plato:    For the greater good.

Kafka:     Hardly the most urgent enquiry to make of a low-grade insurance clerk who woke up that morning as a hen.

Karl Marx: It was a historical inevitability.

Machiavelli: So that its subjects will view it with admiration, as a chicken which has the daring and courage to boldly cross the road, but also with fear, for whom among them has the strength to contend with such a paragon of avian virtue? In such a manner is the princely chicken’s dominion maintained.

Hippocrates: Because of an excess of light pink gooey stuff in its pancreas.

Jacques Derrida: Any number of contending discourses may be discovered within the act of the chicken crossing the road, and each interpretation is equally valid as the authorial intent can never be discerned, because structuralism is DEAD, DAMMIT, DEAD!

Nietzsche: Because if you gaze too long across the Road, the Road gazes also across you.

Timothy Leary: Because that’s the only kind of trip the Establishment would let it take.

Douglas Adams: Forty-two.

B.F. Skinner:         Because the external influences which had pervaded its sensorium from birth had caused it to develop in such a fashion that it would tend to cross roads, even while Jean-Paul Sarttebelieving these actions to be of its own free will.

Carl Jung:            The confluence of events in the cultural gestalt necessitated that individual chickens cross roads at this historical juncture, and therefore synchronicitously brought such occurrences into being.

Jean-Paul Sartre:     In order to act in good faith and be true to itself, the chicken found it necessary to cross the road.

Ludwig Wittgenstein:  The possibility of “crossing” was encoded into the objects “chicken” and “road”, and circumstances came  into being which caused the actualization of this potential occurrence.

Albert Einstein:      Whether the chicken crossed the road or the road crossed the chicken depends upon your frame of reference.

Aristotle:            To actualize its potential.

Buddha:               If you ask this question, you deny your own chicken-nature.

Howard Cosell:        It may very well have been one of the most astonishing events to grace the annals of history.  An historic unprecedented avian biped with the temerity to attempt such an herculean achievement formerly relegated to homo sapiens pedestrians is truly a remarkable occurence.

Salvador Dali:        The Fish.

Darwin:               It was the logical next step after coming down from the trees.

Emily Dickinson:      Because it could not stop for death.

Epicurus:             For fun.

Ralph Waldo Emerson:  It didn’t cross the road; it transcended it.

Johann von Goethe:    The eternal hen-principle made it do it.

Werner Heisenberg:    We are not sure which side of the road the chicken was on, but it was moving very fast.

David Hume:           Out of custom and habit.

Henry David Thoreau:  To live deliberately … and suck all the marrow out of life.

Ernest Hemingway:     To die. In the rain.

Pyrrho the Skeptic:   What road?

Mark Twain:           The news of its crossing has been greatly exaggerated.

Oliver North:         National Security was at stake.

Ronald Reagan:        I forget.

John Sununu:          The Air Force was only too happy to provide the transportation, so quite understandably the chicken availed himself of the opportunity.

The Sphinx:           You tell me.

Mr. T:                If you saw me coming you’d cross the road too!

Molly Yard:           It was a hen!

Zeno of Elea:         To prove it could never reach the other side.

Chaucer:              So priketh hem nature in hir corages.

Wordsworth:           To wander lonely as a cloud.

The Godfather:        I didn’t want its mother to see it like that.

Keats:                Philosophy will clip a chicken’s wings.

Blake:                To see heaven in a wild fowl.

Othello:              Jealousy.

Macbeth:              To have turned back were as tedious as to go o’er.

Dr Johnson:           Sir, had you known the Chicken for as long as I have, you would not so readily enquire, but feel rather the Need to resist such a public Display of your own lamentable and incorrigible Ignorance.

Mrs Thatcher:         This chicken’s not for turning.

Supreme Soviet:       There has never been a chicken in this photograph.

Oscar Wilde:          Why, indeed? One’s social engagements whilst in  town ought never expose one to such barbarous inconvenience – although, perhaps, if one must cross  road, one may do far worse than to cross it as the chicken in question.

Swift:                It is, of course, inevitable that such a loathsome, filth-ridden and degraded creature as Man should assume  to question the actions of one in all respects his superior.

Whitehead:            Clearly, having fallen victim to the fallacy of misplaced concreteness.

Donne:                It crosseth for thee.

Pope:                 It was mimicking my Lord Hervey.

Constable:            To get a better view.

via http://philosophy.eserver.org/chicken.txt

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

douglas adams inspired "Hitch hikers guid...
Image via Wikipedia

As Douglas Adams told us , dolphins are a lot smarter than we think.

Here’s proof in an article from Anuschka de Rohan writing in http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/jul/03/research.science/print

At the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, Kelly the dolphin has built up quite a reputation. All the dolphins at the institute are trained to hold onto any litter that falls into their pools until they see a trainer, when they can trade the litter for fish. In this way, the dolphins help to keep their pools clean.

 

dolphins-rampant-001
Photograph: Stephen Frink/Getty Images

 

Kelly has taken this task one step further. When people drop paper into the water she hides it under a rock at the bottom of the pool. The next time a trainer passes, she goes down to the rock and tears off a piece of paper to give to the trainer. After a fish reward, she goes back down, tears off another piece of paper, gets another fish, and so on.

This behaviour is interesting because it shows that Kelly has a sense of the future and delays gratification. She has realised that a big piece of paper gets the same reward as a small piece and so delivers only small pieces to keep the extra food coming. She has, in effect, trained the humans.

Her cunning has not stopped there. One day, when a gull flew into her pool, she grabbed it, waited for the trainers and then gave it to them. It was a large bird and so the trainers gave her lots of fish. This seemed to give Kelly a new idea.

The next time she was fed, instead of eating the last fish, she took it to the bottom of the pool and hid it under the rock where she had been hiding the paper. When no trainers were present, she brought the fish to the surface and used it to lure the gulls, which she would catch to get even more fish.

After mastering this lucrative strategy, she taught her calf, who taught other calves, and so gull-baiting has become a hot game among the dolphins.

OK, I grant you this is not exactly breaking news, as it first appeared in July 2003. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely story.

Thanks to Tyler Cowen, who brought it to my attention in Marginal Revolution.