Thursday, June 11, 2015

The CIA Training Ravens...?

I always knew that there must be a few bird-brains in the CIA, but I never figured them to be real birds.

Now just so I don't get in trouble for calling the CIA bird-brains, let me say that this article is one I picked up from Listverse, so I'm merely repeating it and not making it up, OK?

CIA-Trained Spy Ravens

B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning (a generic example of which would be giving a dog food in exchange for doing a trick) has proven to be a very useful principle. Many applications have been derived from operant conditioning, including a seemingly innocuous tourist attraction that sprung up in Hot Springs, Arkansas in the 1960s. Called the I.Q. Zoo, this theme park featured animals trained to perform humanlike activities, such as chickens playing baseball, pigs playing the piano, and raccoons playing basketball.

The cheerful I.Q. Zoo was also a government-funded testing ground for other applications of animal training such as espionage research. Ravens proved to be a particularly good subject in this regard. In addition to being able to carry surprisingly heavy loads, the ravens’ intelligence enabled them to be trained to do surprisingly specific tasks, even opening file drawers and carrying file folders.

It was therefore a simple matter to teach ravens to fly to a certain location indicated with a laser pointer and deposit objects, including surveillance devices. Ravens could even be trained to take pictures with a special camera carried in the bird’s beak. The animals would again be directed to a window with a laser pointer where they were trained to press the little spy camera against the window. Each press took a picture.

I'm thinking that with all these trained ravens around, why do we need those highly paid cloak and dagger types. Seems to me that the ravens working for dog food and treats is a much better deal financially, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio again today!


Mamahen said...

Just looking at this picture makes me cringe....If I saw one near my window I would probably have heart failure....patio sounds good but no ravens please :))

Sixbears said...

Heck, the ravens probably applied to work at the CIA. It's just their sort of gig. There is too much going on behind those beady little eyes.

Chickenmom said...

Ravens are very smart birds. (always wanted one for a pet)Going to be hot here today.

linda m said...

So how do we know for sure the Ravens aren't still working for the CIA. I have quite a few of those pesky guys flying around my house. Should I maybe be on the look out for spy's ?

JO said...

these birds are highly intelligent and fascinating to watch.

Less humid today but haven't checked to see what the temps will be.
Coffee out on the patio it is

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
Sorry...forgot about your feelings toward birds! Still, if you consider what they could be trained to do, it's pretty wild!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Now that you mention it, it seems like something they would do!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
I heard that the reason they are used in the movies so often is that they could actually take direction!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Linda...
They could very well be, ya know. Are ya into something they should know about?

Hey, thanks for the visit today!

Hey Jo...
Just remember that while you are watching them, they are also watching you! Feels funny, doesn't it?

Thanks for coming by this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

All of God's creatures have intelligence of some kind and at some level. Just because some of them can not communicate with us, doesn't mean that they are not intelligent.

Imatreetopflyer said...

Smoke and mirrors... This is the real story of the Ravens of the CIA.

The pilots, known as Ravens, are unique because they were among some 130 Air Force pilots who volunteered to risk their lives to fly highly dangerous covert missions in unarmed single engine Cessna O-1s. They were part of what was known as the Steve Canyon program, which was created in 1966… Their job as FACs was to locate and call in airstrikes against the North Vietnamese during its occupation of Laos… They (the enemy) knew that if they shot down a fighter there would be more fighters coming. So, they shot down the air controllers. It was dangerous because you were flying a prop airplane, low over the jungle, looking for the enemy. And if you found him and they didn’t shoot you down, then they were going to get blown away. Christopher Robbins said some 30% of the unit died from combat injuries. (San Antonio Express-News, Oct. 26, 1987)

Nuff said