Quoth the Raven: “Death to Commies!”


The new issue of Smithsonian magazine features an extensive interview with Bob Bailey, the man who pioneered the Navy’s dolphin program, and invented the sideshow machine that allows you to play tic-tac-toe with a chicken (and lose, because it’s rigged). Turns out it was far more than dolphins that were trained: ravens carried files, cats were rigged to eavesdrop, and we were even able to get some eight-legged assists thanks to a laser pointer…

One day, he was in the bathroom and saw a spider. “I looked down at this spider and said, hmmm.” He took out his laser, turned it on, and gently blew on the spider. “Spiders don’t like wind–it blows their web down,” he says. “They pull themselves down into the smallest size they can get and hunker down.”

Turn on laser. Blow. Turn on laser. Blow. Bailey did this at several intervals during the day. “By the time I finished all I had to do is turn that light on,” he says, and the spider would go defensive. He returned to the classroom where Garrett was lecturing and announced: “You’ve got a trained spider in your bathroom.”

Pretty much the only critters they ruled out were lice, for crawling about too randomly. It’s fascinating stuff that I imagine someone will want to pick up the movie rights to by the end of the day.

So okay, Gallen, maybe this makes your chicken commercial relevant after all…