Polly Want a Cracker?

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Parrots are fascinating creatures. I have been a fan of parrots ever since I received my talking parrot toy when I was a kid. I would say something to my toy parrot, it would record what I said, and then repeat it back to me. My parrot provided hours of amusement for my friends and I. Some of you probably had this toy as well.

There has been a lot of research done on parrot communication. Do parrots simply mimic, like my toy, or do they understand what they're saying? This question has not been answered fully, but there is evidence that parrots do have somewhat of an understanding of what they say. On researcher spent many years with a parrot named Alex, who was an African gray parrot. He had a vocabulary of 150 words. African gray parrots use language in a more humanlike way. Alex's trainer said that at the time of his death, he had the intelligence of a five year old. The scientific community is skeptical about these findings however, because they point out that Alex's communication skills are due to operant conditioning. Parrots are very intelligent creatures, but it is difficult to gauge how smart they really are.

Virgin Mary Toast

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Humans always have the need to explain what is going on around them. We find assurance when we feel in control and informed. This is why many people believe in different forms of pseudoscience. Chapter 1 discusses what science is, and what science is not. Science is something that can be tested, but many forms of pseudoscience cannot be proven or disproven. People can take pseudoscience too far, especially when it comes to finding meaning in random phenomena. In 2004, a woman sold a piece of toast for 28,000 dollars. Who would pay that much for toast? Well, this toast appeared to have the face of the Virgin Mary singed into it. The woman who sold the toast claimed that it had given her extra luck. We hear stories about food shaped in special ways somewhat often. People are quick to believe that these food items are lucky or hold powers. We must be careful of what we believe in, and not always be so quick to believe in the supernatural. Virgin Mary toast is cool, but in the end, it's just toast.

Toast Article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4034787.stmblessed-virgin-sandwich.JPG

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