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Pigs can play video games with their snouts, scientists find

A pig uses its snout to play a simple video game on a tiny arcade-cabinet-style setup at ground level
image captionHamlet – or perhaps Omelette – hits the arcade, hoping to win big

Pigs can play video games, scientists have found, after putting four fun-loving swine to the test.

Four pigs – Hamlet, Omelette, Ebony and Ivory – were trained to use an arcade-style joystick to steer an on-screen cursor into walls.

Researchers said the fact that the pigs understood the connection between the stick and the game “is no small feat”.

And the pigs even continued playing when the food reward dispenser broke – apparently for the social contact.

Usually, the pigs would be given a food pellet for “winning” the game level. But during testing, it broke – and they kept clearing the game levels when encouraged by some of the researchers’ kind words.

“This sort of study is important because, as with any sentient beings, how we interact with pigs and what we do to them impacts and matters to them,” lead author Dr Candace Croney said.

Ebony pig
image captionEbony the pig operates a joystick

The research team also thought that the fact the pigs could play video games at all – since they are far-sighted animals with no hands or thumbs – was “remarkable”.ADVERTISEMENTnullnull

But it was not easy for them.

Out of the two Yorkshire pigs, Hamlet, was better at the game than Omelette, but both struggled when it got harder – hitting the single target just under half the time.

The Panepinto micro pigs had a bigger gamer skill gap – while Ivory was able to hit one-wall targets 76% of the time, Ebony could only do it 34% of the time.

A composite shows one of the Yorkshire pigs using the apparatus, left, and a close-up of the food dispenser on the right
image captionThe pigs were first trained on a non-functioning joystick to get them used to the idea

But the researchers were still satisfied that the attempts were deliberate and focused, rather than random – what they called “above chance”.

That means that “to some extent, all acquired the association between the joystick and cursor movement”.

Kate Daniels, from Willow Farm in Worcestershire, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that while the scientists might have been impressed, “I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone that works with pigs”.

She added: “They’re not playing Minecraft – but that they can manipulate a situation to get a reward is no surprise at all.”

Dr Candace Croney and one of the pigs
image captionLead author Dr Croney said the pigs’ achievements were remarkable

She paraphrased a quote often attributed to Winston Churchill: “Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you, and pigs look you right in the eye.”

She added: “When you look a pig right in the eye, you can tell there’s intelligence there.”

Still, pigs are no match for humans when playing games – or even less intelligent primates.

The same kind of experiment has been tried with chimpanzees and monkeys, who have the advantage of opposable thumbs, and were able to meet much higher requirements from researchers.

The research paper was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-56023720?fbclid=IwAR0L5FADpk1GL7KPAW_qkqnSWWc0KUZVRs_xZwDWaLHZKTzPQaqxL9OzCYY

“Why Coming Home To Your Dog Is The Best Feeling Ever”

You have the right to remain silent

https://twitter.com/humorandanimals/status/1357712277517053956?s=09

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Time’s up kid

Mountain observatory staff mourns loss of beloved Maine Coon cat who kept them company for 12 years

Published by Farah R. 

Marty the Mount Washington Observatory mascot posing with a staff.

Loving an animal feels entirely different from loving a human being. The former—though without a voice—can speak volumes with their actions.

So when a Maine Coon named Marty passed away, his human companions were devastated. They lost someone who was more than just a pet; they lost a family member.

“As a past observer who lived on the summit for four years I can tell you Marty was a special companion, entertainer and so incredibly loved by observers and state park staff and will be sadly missed,” Mount Washington Summit Operations Manager Rebecca Scholand said in a statement.

Marty was a beloved cat who played a very important role in New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory. The structure is situated 6,288 feet above sea level, making the mountain the highest peak in the Northeast.

The meteorologists who work there say they’ve experienced some of the world’s worst weather.

Their job entails collecting weather data every hour of the day. The work they do is important, it becomes especially crucial during the cold winter months. Both interns and meteorologists stay at the summit for a week to make sure the instruments don’t collect ice and remain usable.

The observatory is housed inside a concrete structure built into the mountain. While the meteorologists value their work, the relative isolation they experience can sometimes take a toll on them. That’s where Marty the cat comes in.

The black Maine Coon became Mount Washington’s mascot in 2008. He lived in the observatory for 12 years before succumbing to an “unexpected illness” in November 2020.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of Marty the Cat. For many years he has provided summit staff with companionship and love. Due to an unforeseen illness he passed peacefully in my arms. To Marty the Cat, thank you for all your silliness, snuggles, and companionship not only to the summit staff, but to everyone who ever met you,” a worker from the observatory wrote in an emotional Facebook post. https://53552aae085eca50690c128bd0e49c87.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Marty was around 14 or 15 years old when he passed away. He served as the staffs’ comfort and connection to the outside world whenever they braved their lengthy and tiring shifts. null

Marty would sit on their laps or rub his body against their legs while they toiled away. Amid their heavy workload, the cat was a constant reminder for them to breathe, smile, and relax.

But just like most cats, Marty was unpredictable. He could be all sweet and cuddly this week and distant the next. Nevertheless, his family in the observatory loved him just the same.

Most cats arrive at a unique location by chance, but not Marty. He was deliberately chosen as the Mount Washington Mascot. The observatory has always had cats since it was established in 1932, and Marty’s tenure was part of that long-held tradition.

The observatory held its first “Mascot Primary” in 2008, and after counting over 8,000 votes, Marty ended up winning as the “Top Cat.” null

Mediavine

He was originally adopted from the North Conway Area Humane Society and moved to the summit in January 2008.

The cat was always featured in the observatory’s social media pages. And in honor of his memory, one of the two 2021 calendars sold by the observatory will feature photos of the feline and be called “Marty on Mount Washington.”

Marty was supposed to retire as the mountain’s mascot in early 2021. In keeping with custom, the observatory will appoint Marty’s successor, although it’s unclear when.

“The summit feline tradition will continue,” the group said in a statement.

But one thing is for sure – that cat will have big paws to fill.

https://mypositiveoutlooks.com/mountain-observatory-staff-mourns-the-loss-of-beloved-maine-coon-cat/

Feel Good Sunday: Video ~ Dog Becomes Obsessed With A Newborn Donkey

Straight from the Horse's Heart

Courtesy of The Dodo-Odd Couples

“Please, wash your hearts and souls out with this…” ~ R.T.

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Have a Story to Share? We Want to Hear From You! ;) – Katzenworld

katzenworld.co.uk

Marc-André 2-3 minutes

Hi everyone,

Have you or your feline friend ever wanted to appear in the news? Now is your chance! We still have space in our editorial calendar for the rest of the year.

And remember we cover everything cat related from events and poetry to a day in the life of your companion!

No story is too small and none is too big! If you’ve got one you’d like to share with us and our readers do get in touch via info@katzenworld.co.uk

If you are looking for inspiration on what you could write about why not check out our previous Saturday Guest Star of the week posts.

You could even write a ghost story for Oliver to read it out to our readers.

As for guidelines for the content:

  • There is no word limit. Do what works best for your story. Some stories need more and some need less text. If your story is very very long it might be good to post it as a 2 part story though.
  • Include as many images as possible! The minimum amount of photos should be 2.

Any questions just let us know in the comments or drop us an email.

Nubia is awaiting your entries to convert them into posts on her cat-laptop.

Thanks,

Marc

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We regularly write about all things relating to cats on our Blog Katzenworld! My partner and I are owned by four cheeky cats that get up to all kind of mischief that of course, you’ll also be able to find out more about on our Blog If you are interested in joining us by becoming a regular contributor/guest author do drop me a message.

https://katzenworld.co.uk/2020/08/09/have-a-story-to-share-we-want-to-hear-from-you/