WBEZ | monkeys http://www.wbez.org/tags/monkeys Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Killing Pigeons Softly in Oak Park http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-05/killing-pigeons-softly-oak-park-99478 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/piegeon.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 391px; " title="(Flickr/Thomas Hawk)" /></p><p>Oak Park, the town &mdash; or, excuse me, village &mdash; I proudly call home, is known for a few things.</p><p>For starters, there&rsquo;s Frank Lloyd Wright. People come from all around to take the &ldquo;See the Homes that Frank Lloyd Wright Was a Jackass in&rdquo; Tour.</p><p>Oak Park is also the boyhood home of Ernest Hemingway; if it weren&rsquo;t for Oak Park schools teaching him the alphabet, he never would have written any books.</p><p>More importantly, the village has also long been known for being a warm and inclusive community.</p><p>Now that wonderful and well-deserved reputation is being threatened. Don&rsquo;t get me wrong: People of all kinds are still welcome and encouraged to make Oak Park their home.</p><p>But . . . this week, the village board considered an ordinance that calls for KILLING &mdash;&nbsp;or, excuse me, euthanizing &mdash;&nbsp;pigeons.</p><p>It appears that there is, to quote the <a href="http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/05-22-2012/Oak_Park_pigeons_at_Marion_Street_could_face_capital_punishment">Wednesday Journal&rsquo;s Anna Lothson, &ldquo;a continuing presence of a flock of pigeons under the newly upgraded Marion Street el viaduct.&rdquo;</a></p><p>Don&rsquo;t these pigeons realize how perilously close they are to the <a href="http://marionstreetcheesemarket.com/">finest wine and cheese shop</a> the village has to offer?????</p><p>As someone who moved to Oak Park at least in part for the pigeons, this obviously has me enraged. Not enraged enough to have attended the village board meeting, but enraged.</p><p>To me, pigeons are one of the telltale signs of a great city. Name a great city and I&rsquo;ll show you pigeons slightly ruining the quality of life.</p><p>Now, name a, well, not so world-class city. You won&rsquo;t find any pigeons, I guarantee. When was the last pigeon that called Toledo (sorry, Mom and Dad) home? They&rsquo;d only improve the quality of life, so what would be the point?</p><p>Some, like Oak Park trustee Bob Tucker, might wonder why Oak Park can&rsquo;t just move the pigeons someplace else, like to Berwyn.</p><p>Again, to quote the Wednesday Journal, Mike Charley, environmental heath supervisor in the village, &ldquo;said it&rsquo;s proven pigeons return home.&rdquo;</p><p>So, the answer is to just kill them? What&rsquo;s next, Mr. Charley? Doing the same to our <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/14/pf/boomerang_kids_move_home/index.htm">kids upon graduating college without jobs</a>?</p><p>Instead of seeking to humanely remove as many pigeons via death, Oak Parkers should be thankful. <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/23/world/asia/fed-by-indians-monkeys-overwhelm-delhi.html">Thankful that we don&rsquo;t have kleptomaniacal monkeys roaming the streets, like they do in New Delhi</a>.</p><p>This, according to The New York Times, mere hours after the Great Pigeon-Killing Ordinance meeting: &ldquo;The monkey population of Delhi has grown so large and aggressive that overwhelmed city officials have petitioned India&rsquo;s Supreme Court to relieve them of the task of monkey control.&rdquo;</p><p>The Hindu religion, the article reports, says that people should feed monkeys on Tuesday and Saturdays.</p><p>&ldquo;(Veterinary Services Director R.B.S.) Tyagi expresses impatience with residents who feed the monkeys one day, then complain to the city when the monkeys steal their clothes on another day.&rdquo;</p><p>One solution in New Delhi is to hire a bigger kind of monkey to urinate around your home. The urine repels the smaller monkeys causing all the problems. The one drawback: The urine also repels people.</p><p>In any event, the official vote on whether to destroy pigeons is coming June 4. Write your congressman.</p><p><em>(The next Interview Show is Friday, June 1, at The Hideout, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Guests include chef Michael Kornick and author Rich Cohen.)</em></p></p> Wed, 23 May 2012 13:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/mark-bazer/2012-05/killing-pigeons-softly-oak-park-99478 Clever Apes #28: The critter economy http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-20/clever-apes-28-critter-economy-97474 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-20/THUMBNAIL_Gorrilla.png" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Dario Maestripieri studies how humans behave compared with primates." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-20/DARIO pic for post.png" style="width: 600px; height: 484px;" title="Dario Maestripieri studies how humans behave compared with primates. (WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)"></p><p>It seems like economics is a purely human invention, far removed from the jungle. But scientists say our ancestors were spending and investing for millions of years. So our behavior when we manage our portfolio or climb the corporate ladder resembles nothing so much as the interactions of apes or monkeys. In the latest installment of Clever Apes, we consider how our financial activity has deep parallels in the primate world. And furthermore, many of our most important financial decisions come from even more primitive impulses, deep in our lizard brains.</p><p>The University of Chicago’s <a href="http://primate.uchicago.edu/dario.htm">Dario Maestripieri </a>is a professor of comparative human development, evolutionary biology, neurobiology and psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience. (I usually abbreviate titles, but his makes me happy). He studies the intersections among our minds, our primate cousins, and evolution. In his new book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Games-Primates-Play-Investigation-Relationships/dp/046502078X">Games Primates Play</a>, he details how the mechanisms of economics have their origins in our deep past.</p><p>Apes and monkeys play the market by choosing whom to groom and whom to attack, whom to sleep with and what food is worth risking a fight for. As Yale psychologist Laurie Santos explains, the psychology that governs those decisions didn’t begin with humans. So we see monkeys making the same kinds of classic mistakes that humans make, like “loss aversion,” where we work harder to avoid losses than to achieve equivalent gains. (<a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/laurie_santos.html">check out her TED talk </a>for a great explanation.)</p><p><img alt="(WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-20/THUMBNAIL_Gorrilla.png" style="width: 250px; height: 188px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Gabriel Spitzer)">We’re also subject to the same quirks of biology as many non-human primates. Biologists have found that <a href="http://www.biologicalpsychiatryjournal.com/article/S0006-3223%2895%2900675-3/abstract">monkeys with high levels of testosterone and lower levels of the brain chemical serotonin </a>tend to take more risks: taking longer leaps between trees, challenging unfamiliar males, and so on. Maestripieri and his colleagues set up a <a href="http://insight.kellogg.northwestern.edu/index.php/Kellogg/article/the_biochemistry_of_financial_risk">similar experiment with business school students. </a>There too, those with higher levels of testosterone were more likely to make long-shot investments or go into a riskier profession.</p><p>Finally, we check in with neuroeconomist <a href="http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/kuhnen/htm/">Camelia Kuhnen </a>of Northwestern University. She finds that our investment decisions are heavily influenced by some of the most ancient parts of our brains. She and a colleague did an experiment where they <a href="http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/faculty/kuhnen/htm/RESEARCH/KWKW_2008.pdf">activated the brain’s reward center </a>using something that had nothing to do with money – in this case, it was sexy pictures. In males, anyway, this led them to make riskier bets in an investment game. Just the whiff of reward was enough to make these guys high-rollers … something we can thank our reptilian ancestors for.</p></p> Tue, 20 Mar 2012 20:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2012-03-20/clever-apes-28-critter-economy-97474 Clever Apes #13: Origin stories http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-05-24/clever-apes-13-origin-stories-86999 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/Kipunji.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="The only known specimen of rungwecebus kipunji is locked away at the Field Museu" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-25/Kipunji 1.jpg" style="width: 595px; height: 335px;" title="The only known specimen of rungwecebus kipunji is locked away at the Field Museum. "></p><p>Say the original <a href="http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/">Declaration of Independence </a>burned up. No problem, you might think – we have pictures of it. But then say someone discovered that a word had been scratched out and replaced. Without the original document to examine, we might never know what that discarded word was … or how close we came to being a nation founded on the right to pursue “life, liberty and the pursuit of waffles.”</p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483509-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Clever_Apes_13_Origin_Stories.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>There’s power in the original – whether it’s a document, the mold of a famous sculpture, or the standard of a common measurement, like <a href="http://www.bipm.org/en/practical_info/faq/faqs_mass.html">the kilogram.</a></p><p>Scientists who name a new species keep an artifact of its origin. It’s called the holotype – the standard by which a new species (or genus or subspecies) is designated. It turns out there are a whole bunch of these <a href="http://fieldmuseum.org/explore/our-collections/mammal-collection">locked away in secure cases in Chicago</a> – more than 500 just for mammals. It’s like a tiny National Archives of biology.</p><p>On this round of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cleverapes">Clever Apes, </a>we consider origins, from the concrete example of a <a href="http://www.wcs.org/saving-wildlife/small-primates/kipunji.aspx">monkey holotype</a>, to the murk of the beginnings of consciousness. On that point, we check in with Malcolm MacIver of Northwestern, whom we visited last year to hear a choir of singing fish he helped create. Those fish inspired his theory on the origins of consciousness, which he first laid out in <a href="http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/sciencenotfiction/2011/03/14/why-did-consciousness-evolve-and-how-can-we-modify-it/">several blog posts.</a> He dates it back to our emergence from the primordial oceans, when all of a sudden we could begin to see much farther. That meant more time to plan, to consider possible futures. And that, by at least one formulation, is the essence of consciousness.</p><p>As always, subscribe to the Clever Apes&nbsp;<a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><p><img alt="Alas, poor Kipunj: Bill Stanley and the skull of a new genus he helped identify." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-25/Stanley and skull 1.jpg" title="Alas, poor Kipunj: Bill Stanley and the skull of a new genus he helped identify." width="600" height="337"></p></p> Wed, 25 May 2011 04:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-05-24/clever-apes-13-origin-stories-86999