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 Post subject: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-22 06:03pm
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 22052.htm'

Note: I have not yet read the original paper. Probably will sometime tomorrow.

Quote:
A Whale With a Distinctly Human-Like Voice
ScienceDaily (Oct. 22, 2012) — For the first time, researchers have been able to show by acoustic analysis that whales -- or at least one very special white whale -- can imitate the voices of humans. That's a surprise, because whales typically produce sounds in a manner that is wholly different from humans, say researchers who report their findings in the October 23 issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication.

"Our observations suggest that the whale had to modify its vocal mechanics in order to make the speech-like sounds," said Sam Ridgway of the National Marine Mammal Foundation. "Such obvious effort suggests motivation for contact."

It all started in 1984 when Ridgway and others began to notice some unusual sounds in the vicinity of the whale and dolphin enclosure. As they describe it, it sounded as though two people were conversing in the distance, just out of range of their understanding.

Those unusually familiar sounds were traced back to one white whale in particular only some time later when a diver surfaced from the whale enclosure to ask his colleagues an odd question: "Who told me to get out?"

They deduced that those utterances came from a most surprising source: a white whale by the name of NOC. That whale had lived among dolphins and other white whales and had often been in the presence of humans.

In fact, there had been other anecdotal reports of whales sounding like humans before, but in this case Ridgway's team wanted to capture some real evidence. They recorded the whale's sounds to reveal a rhythm similar to human speech and fundamental frequencies several octaves lower than typical whale sounds, much closer to that of the human voice.

"Whale voice prints were similar to human voice and unlike the whale's usual sounds," Ridgway said. "The sounds we heard were clearly an example of vocal learning by the white whale."
That's all the more remarkable because whales make sounds via their nasal tract, not in the larynx as humans do. To make those human-like sounds, NOC had to vary the pressure in his nasal tract while making other muscular adjustments and inflating the vestibular sac in his blowhole, the researchers found. In other words, it wasn't easy.

Sadly, after 30 years at the National Marine Mammal Foundation, NOC passed away five years ago. But the sound of his voice lives on.


Audio File

As for my commentary... I... I am at a loss. The sound is very similar not just to the sound of human speech, but trying to form actual words as heard through distortion. Then again, the human brain tries to pick those patterns up but... god damn.

What really gets me though, is that doing that took conscious effort and he communicated with other whales normally. This implies that he wanted to say hello.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-22 06:32pm
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Those animals are well known to be intelligent.

This is why I still think Shamo should get the death penalty.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-22 07:51pm
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ryacko wrote:
Those animals are well known to be intelligent.


All the more reason to not pull them out of the ocean and compel them to perform for the amusement of slack-jawed mouth-breathers.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-22 08:02pm
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ryacko wrote:
Those animals are well known to be intelligent.

This is why I still think Shamo should get the death penalty.


Fuck you. If there was a crime, it is the crime of slavery. Any action Shamo might take that kills one of his bipedal captors is an act of self defense and not a crime.

Not sure if it really is slavery, kinda depends on whether Shamo is OK with what is going on. Of course, we cannot ask (yet). However I dont think he is (or would be) OK with how Orcas are captured for marine parks. The orcas captured certainly are not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceLQNl2ZMZQ

Yeah. Fuck. You.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-22 11:57pm
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Whoa, that is one truly mindboggling recording. And I agree wholeheartedly; dolphins and whales do NOT deserve to be kept in captivity for our own sick enjoyment. :x

Excuse my ignorance over this...but does this prove a higher level of understanding for belugas overall, or can they merely mimic human voices just as parrots can? I think that this ought to be examined more thoroughly!



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 12:18am
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Boeing 757 wrote:
Whoa, that is one truly mindboggling recording. And I agree wholeheartedly; dolphins and whales do NOT deserve to be kept in captivity for our own sick enjoyment. :x

Excuse my ignorance over this...but does this prove a higher level of understanding for belugas overall, or can they merely mimic human voices just as parrots can? I think that this ought to be examined more thoroughly!



Here's the problem: the way you teach someone vocabulary is not much different from the way dolphins are trained to understand commands.

However, they can coordinate plans, and relay instructions to eachother. Belugas are pretty closely related. So yes, definitely needs more and better investigation across the board.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 12:19am
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Really the same can be said for a lot of animals out there. They are smarter than we give them credit for. :wink:

And I concur by the way...awesome recording!



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 05:40am
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I'm uncannily reminded of either a small child who really hasn't learned to speak yet singing nonesense sounds, or an old man grumbling about kids these days or something similar. That said I like the idea of a whale trying to communicate with people, gives me the impression its spent a while studying people and one day realised 'holy shit these things are communicating!'

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 06:10am
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Alkaloid wrote:
I'm uncannily reminded of either a small child who really hasn't learned to speak yet singing nonesense sounds, or an old man grumbling about kids these days or something similar.

It made me think of someone imitating or mocking a foreign language they don't understand.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 12:01pm
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ryacko wrote:
This is why I still think Shamo should get the death penalty.


Kindly do the following two things:
a) Learn the correct name of the orca involved
b) Get lost.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 12:03pm
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This to me seems to be one of the most significant breakthroughs in communication. Not as significant as finding out Dolphins can communicate with humans and understand human grammar via signal or have independent logical thought, but very significant and cool nonetheless.

One more reason to go "screw Japan".



Whoever says "education does not matter" can try ignorance
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A decision must be made in the life of every nation at the very moment when the grasp of the enemy is at its throat. Then, it seems that the only way to survive is to use the means of the enemy, to rest survival upon what is expedient, to look the other way. Well, the answer to that is 'survival as what'? A country isn't a rock. It's not an extension of one's self. It's what it stands for. It's what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult! - Chief Judge Haywood

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 01:49pm
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Thanas wrote:
ryacko wrote:
This is why I still think Shamo should get the death penalty.


Kindly do the following two things:
a) Learn the correct name of the orca involved
b) Get lost.

There hasn't been a Shamoo in so long it's not even funny. They just nickname them all Shamoo. Orcas are the dickheads of the seas, though.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 05:46pm
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Alyrium Denryle wrote:
ryacko wrote:
Those animals are well known to be intelligent.

This is why I still think Shamo should get the death penalty.


Fuck you. If there was a crime, it is the crime of slavery. Any action Shamo might take that kills one of his bipedal captors is an act of self defense and not a crime.

Not sure if it really is slavery, kinda depends on whether Shamo is OK with what is going on. Of course, we cannot ask (yet). However I dont think he is (or would be) OK with how Orcas are captured for marine parks. The orcas captured certainly are not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceLQNl2ZMZQ

Yeah. Fuck. You.

This is an animal.

Why do animals have greater rights then humans to hunt and eat?

Also, Shamoo was treated humanely, to my knowledge. He wouldn't be punished for failing to obey.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-23 07:34pm
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This is an animal.


So are we. You are committing a categorical fallacy.


Quote:
Why do animals have greater rights then humans to hunt and eat?


If an animal has intelligence and a capacity to suffer that is equivalent or very close to that of a human child, why is it not OK to eat children? Other than that, 3 things:

1) An orca does not know any better. It is not a "ripe" moral issue for them, in much the same way that slavery was not a "ripe" moral issue back in 3000 BCE. We cannot hold someone accountable for a moral choice they make before the question has occurred to them. Once it has and they start discussing it, then it is possible to evaluate their ethical choices. Once we have the capacity to talk to orca (if it happens, and if they can understand the moral reasoning at all, which is another thing entirely) we might be able to have that conversation with them, and they may conclude that it is wrong to eat smaller dolphins, and make the choice to eat lower on the intelligence chain. Stick to tuna, sharks etc

2) An orca does not really have much of a choice. They eat what is locally available. Humans do have a choice. The japanese do not need to eat them, or baleen whale etc. They can and do eat things such as plants, and (overfished) tuna (which they should not do due to overfishing), or cows, or any number of other things. They do so because of a combination of tradition, spite, and a superiority complex. None of those are ethically valid reasons to do anything.

3) Scale. Orca do not drive other species to extinction. People fuck up entire ecosystems, which is wrong in itself. Hunting top predators like sharks and orca on the scale humans do creates trophic cascades that cause entire foodwebs to collapse.

Quote:
Also, Shamoo was treated humanely, to my knowledge. He wouldn't be punished for failing to obey.


So... slavery is OK provided you are nice to the slaves?



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 02:16am
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Bafflingly I feel like I dealing with an anti-abortion argument.


Quote:
If an animal has intelligence and a capacity to suffer that is equivalent or very close to that of a human child, why is it not OK to eat children? Other than that, 3 things:

Oh okay. You're drawing the line at intelligence and capacity to suffer.
May I eat human vegetables? May I steam one like a lobster?

Quote:
1) An orca does not know any better. It is not a "ripe" moral issue for them, in much the same way that slavery was not a "ripe" moral issue back in 3000 BCE. We cannot hold someone accountable for a moral choice they make before the question has occurred to them. Once it has and they start discussing it, then it is possible to evaluate their ethical choices. Once we have the capacity to talk to orca (if it happens, and if they can understand the moral reasoning at all, which is another thing entirely) we might be able to have that conversation with them, and they may conclude that it is wrong to eat smaller dolphins, and make the choice to eat lower on the intelligence chain. Stick to tuna, sharks etc

This is assuming that Orcas are capable of the inane anthropomorphic empathy some of our kind possesses for lesser lifeforms.

Quote:
2) An orca does not really have much of a choice. They eat what is locally available. Humans do have a choice. The japanese do not need to eat them, or baleen whale etc. They can and do eat things such as plants, and (overfished) tuna (which they should not do due to overfishing), or cows, or any number of other things. They do so because of a combination of tradition, spite, and a superiority complex. None of those are ethically valid reasons to do anything.
Agreed, Orcas can't even trade with human civilization due to a lack of thumbs, so we cannot even trade with them humanely derived food.

Quote:
3) Scale. Orca do not drive other species to extinction. People fuck up entire ecosystems, which is wrong in itself. Hunting top predators like sharks and orca on the scale humans do creates trophic cascades that cause entire foodwebs to collapse.

People are a cancer on Gaia. Afterall, a cancer is simply an evolution of a tissue, forming a new organ growing out of control and eventually spreading, sucking the host dry.

But even so. Gaia suffered worse, she turned into a snowball, got hit by meteors. Life will go on after us, even after we turn the oceans into soda water and ruin all else.

It doesn't excuse humanity, but, how can I complain in my comfortable home typing away using electricity?

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So... slavery is OK provided you are nice to the slaves?

Slavery is okay as long as non-violent resistance is not punished, as that is the true marker of freedom.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 05:01am
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ryacko wrote:
This is assuming that Orcas are capable of the inane anthropomorphic empathy some of our kind possesses for lesser lifeforms.


Dolphins are very much capable of doing so. Whales are too and the two species have been observed playing with each other for fun.

Quote:
Quote:
2) An orca does not really have much of a choice. They eat what is locally available. Humans do have a choice. The japanese do not need to eat them, or baleen whale etc. They can and do eat things such as plants, and (overfished) tuna (which they should not do due to overfishing), or cows, or any number of other things. They do so because of a combination of tradition, spite, and a superiority complex. None of those are ethically valid reasons to do anything.
Agreed, Orcas can't even trade with human civilization due to a lack of thumbs, so we cannot even trade with them humanely derived food.


Point > your head.


Quote:
Slavery is okay as long as non-violent resistance is not punished, as that is the true marker of freedom.


GTFO



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 05:21am
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Alyrium Denryle wrote:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121022122052.htm'

Note: I have not yet read the original paper. Probably will sometime tomorrow.



this part is more intresting then orca amorality. anything Al?



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 06:13am
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ryacko wrote:
This is assuming that Orcas are capable of the inane anthropomorphic empathy some of our kind possesses for lesser lifeforms.
If we can't communicate with them, it seems foolish to assume that we know one way or the other. How can you say "this intelligent being must be a sociopath-like creature" without having ever spoken to it?

Quote:
Slavery is okay as long as non-violent resistance is not punished, as that is the true marker of freedom.
...Why do you say this thing? It seems loathesome and dumb.

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 06:18am
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May I eat human vegetables? May I steam one like a lobster?


Yes. Though I would not recommend it for health reasons, and chances are you would be reviled as a cannibal.

Quote:
This is assuming that Orcas are capable of the inane anthropomorphic empathy some of our kind possesses for lesser lifeforms.


Ok. This needs to be unpacked.

1) They are social creatures. Empathy is the backbone of complex social interactions, and orca grieve for their dead. There is nothing to indicate that they dont feel empathy in some form. Now, it may be the case they they cannot expand that to other species. It is certainly possible that their cognitive capacity is insufficient and too child-like to be able to extend their empathy that far. However considering how dolphins in general interact with people who they have accepted into their social group, that possibility seems remote.

2) There is absolutely no difference inherently between a human and any other intelligence, save perhaps for the magnitude of intelligence and emphasis on specific aspects of cognition. There is in fact no such thing as a lesser life form, because that implies some sort of scala natura. The 14th century called, it wants its conception of nature back. Animals with sufficient cognitive capacity feel the same emotions we do. So there is no reason to call empathy inane. It is perfectly valid, unless you want to continue in your categorical fallacy. If you want to do that, I can just sit back here with some popcorn and watch you impale yourself through the rectum with your own stupidity.

Quote:
Agreed, Orcas can't even trade with human civilization due to a lack of thumbs, so we cannot even trade with them humanely derived food.


No trade is required. Different groups of orca specialize on different food items. Some pods on seals, others on fish etc, depending on what is locally available and what other pods are eating (two different pods in the same area specialize on different prey to avoid competition). Eating of other fully sapient beings is generally rare.

Oh and um... you know, there is nothing saying we cannot just... you know, give the affected pods food should we eventually learn to speak orca and convince them that eating other dolphins is probably wrong. We could also stand to stop over-fishing so that they can more easily merge pods. I figure if things progress that far, we should be able to deal with that issue.

Have moral hazard you want to deal with? Find a fucking solution. The solution to moral hazard is not to complain about how hard it might be to deal with it. You be an adult, and you deal with it.

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It doesn't excuse humanity, but, how can I complain in my comfortable home typing away using electricity?


Wait, so because you live a cushy life, you have no right to say "hey, maybe it would be a good idea if we stop raping the oceans" and instead must simply assent to every fucked up things people do?

I am sitting here using electricity. Electricity that is 100% renewable. I also restrict my fish intake to sustainably farmed fish (read: lower trophic level freshwater fish that are not fed other fish) and well-regulated alaskan salmon. Other meat intake is limited to a fraction of the typical american diet. I drive a fuel efficient car.

With even that small amount of effort, I have managed to mitigate both my carbon footprint, and my impact on the world's oceans. It is not even the limit of the various things I do.

What you are is a contemptuous lazy moral coward, worthy of nothing but contempt.

Quote:
Slavery is okay as long as non-violent resistance is not punished, as that is the true marker of freedom.


Go fuck yourself, you slavery-apologist sack of shit.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 07:28am
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Boeing 757 wrote:
Excuse my ignorance over this...but does this prove a higher level of understanding for belugas overall, or can they merely mimic human voices just as parrots can?

There is actually some substantial evidence that parrots do more than just "mimic" human voices (along with the sound of car alarms, alarm clocks, ringing phones, and quite a few other noises). There are other bird species who mimic human voices, including ravens which have been documented as having the ability to use tools. Birds, also, are smarter and have a "higher level of understanding" than people usually give them credit for having.

I do have a question regarding whale capture, once that I first heard when the Shedd Aquarium acquired their beluga whales:

Beluga whales are typically acquired by purchasing them from North American Inuit who still have the legal right to catch them for food (I realize that that is also controversial, but note that this is subsistence hunting, not commercial whaling. Sometimes, rather than saying they whales are "bought" institutions say they "compensate the Inuit for the costs of capture" for a legal nicety). The whales caught, if not "acquired" by a marine park or other institution, would have been eaten. Is it better to be imprisoned, or eaten? And who gets to decide that?



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 09:16am
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The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.


Assuming Orca have humanlike sapience, this applies to their behavior towards their captors too.

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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 09:44am
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Alyrium wrote:
Once we have the capacity to talk to orca


Heh, jumping the gun just a wee bit there. Have you been able to get a hold of the paper yet? I unfortunately have not found a copy, and I am interested to read about this case in more detail. I am fairly confident that orcas/dolphins/belugas are capable on the order of dogs, birds, and primates are communicating with humans. Heck, I have heard anecdotes from friends who work with cetaceans about their intelligence and sociability (I have also heard some great stories about the dolphins outsmarting researchers in a series of experiments where they were trying to determine the acuity of their sonar, but that's for another day). But I am hesitant to either mark this case as a major breakthrough without more information: it could be mimicry of an arbitrary sound; social animals in captivity do strange things like that sometimes. I once encountered a budgerigar, another intelligent social animal, that had been raised without contact with other birds that had begun mimicking the sound of a dripping water pipe in the room that it was kept in, for example. It could also have nothing to do with intelligence or mimicry, and it could just be a weird animal (we've all seen those YouTube videos of animals like, say, goats that for whatever reason make sounds that are perceptually similar to human vocalizations).

I also am hesitant to say "talk". It implies a certain complexity of interaction which I am not convinced is possible, not because orcas are "less" intelligent or anything, but simply because their cognition does not necessarily parallel ours closely enough on a higher perceptual level to allow for "talking." Communication, yes ... we already CAN communicate with them, and those methods will get increasingly sophisticated and complex with more research, but I am skeptical it can ever really reach the level of "talking."

Broomstick wrote:
There is actually some substantial evidence that parrots do more than just "mimic" human voices (along with the sound of car alarms, alarm clocks, ringing phones, and quite a few other noises). There are other bird species who mimic human voices, including ravens which have been documented as having the ability to use tools. Birds, also, are smarter and have a "higher level of understanding" than people usually give them credit for having.


Yes, many birds are capable of more than simple mimicry. I refer Boeing 757 to the case of Alex the African Gray. Although many of the "findings" of that research are disputed (the methodologies were a little suspect, in all honesty), Alex was capable of performing some pretty amazing conceptual feats in relation to language and other cognitive faculties. Ravens and crows have been shown capable of complex problem solving and math. Heck, I believe it is starlings (I forget the exact bird species, but it begins with an "s", heh) that have demonstrated the ability to learn context-free grammars.

Broomstick wrote:
The whales caught, if not "acquired" by a marine park or other institution, would have been eaten. Is it better to be imprisoned, or eaten? And who gets to decide that?


And, indeed, many marine parks and similar institutions are not just the Disney-esque entertainment parks you often think of, and are actually quite involved in conservation and research efforts.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 10:52am
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While we're sort of on the topic, Alyrium, do you consider yourself an abolitionist? I lean that way tentatively.



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 12:29pm
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ryacko wrote:
Alyrium Denryle wrote:
So... slavery is OK provided you are nice to the slaves?

Slavery is okay as long as non-violent resistance is not punished, as that is the true marker of freedom.


:wtf: No, asshole, it is not "okay." How would you like it if YOU were made a slave?



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 Post subject: Re: Beluga's Attempt at Talking to People. PostPosted: 2012-10-24 02:19pm
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Alerik the Fortunate wrote:
While we're sort of on the topic, Alyrium, do you consider yourself an abolitionist? I lean that way tentatively.


Is that website a joke? I didn't even get through it all, but after the section talking about how all unpleasant stimuli can be eliminated by a combination of genetic engineering, drugs, and brain wiring I couldn't help but assume it is trolling. Either that or just criminally stupid.



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