# Thread: My cat is a mathmatical genius !!!! (emphasis on the exclamation points)

1. ## My cat is a mathmatical genius !!!! (emphasis on the exclamation points)

absolutely true~

I see her hunker down with her ears flattened to her back as she peers upward at the window ledge, eyeing the distance from her to to her destination. She only has her memory to let her know the state of the landing point which is just outside of her visual reference point.

she traces the rout with her eyes and positions her hind legs to set up a potential flight path. as her butt wiggles she shifts her weight to balance the load all the while her brain is calculateing the force needed to propel her mass at the needed velocity to achieve her desire to get from here to there.

The final solution is realized and the brain triggers a shower of electrical charges that control all of the muscles needed to generate and implement such exacting physical force.
all the while watching her termination looking for change, ready to reposition her body in mid flight if the need should arise.
A graceful descent from her most energetic position proves to me in my opinion that my cat is really really good at math.

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Originally Posted by sabianq
absolutely true~

I see her hunker down with her ears flattened to her back as she peers upward at the window ledge, eyeing the distance from her to to her destination. She only has her memory to let her know the state of the landing point which is just outside of her visual reference point.

she traces the rout with her eyes and positions her hind legs to set up a potential flight path. as her butt wiggles she shifts her weight to balance the load all the while her brain is calculateing the force needed to propel her mass at the needed velocity to achieve her desire to get from here to there.

The final solution is realized and the brain triggers a shower of electrical charges that control all of the muscles needed to generate and implement such exacting physical force.
all the while watching her termination looking for change, ready to reposition her body in mid flight if the need should arise.
A graceful descent from her most energetic position proves to me in my opinion that my cat is really really good at math.
My lizard is just as keen.

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Your cat is rubbish at maths. Can't even count. However, she can calculate a ballistic trajectory, take into account the force applied by her legs, and relative motion of the target. She doesn't use anything we would consider maths for this, however.

Your brain hasn't evolved mechanics and calculus areas to let you catch a ball, it works more on qualitative guesswork. The closest maths to your motor functions is probably Bayes theorem.

4. Both of mine have fallen off the half-wall at one of the higher points over the stairs a combined three times within the same a 12 hour period. Only Kaylee fell the whole way down. Both cats managed to catch the edge with their claws and climb back up.

Thankfully, Kaylee was quite a bit bigger this time, and she landed better. Again, no injuries, still seven lives to go by my reckoning.

5. Again, no injuries, still seven lives to go by my reckoning

Is it really TRUE that cat have Nine(9) Lives?

6. Originally Posted by Whirlpool
Is it really TRUE that cat have Nine(9) Lives?

Merely a commentary on their agility and ability to get out of tight situations.

7. And that they're pretty tough. One day, one of my cats (an indoor/outdoor cat) didn't show up. I finally found him curled up and hiding in the yard. Cats will tend to hide from everyone when they're hurt. Anyway, he could barely move his back legs and it was clear that it hurt badly to do so. I took him for a visit to the vet for x rays, who said there wasn't anything broken, but his spine was definitely bruised. Most likely he'd bounced off a car, and, according to the vet, if this had been a dog, he would have had a broken back and probably would have died.

It took him a month to be able to walk any distance, and three months to walk without a limp. From there, he was soon back to climbing trees and doing impressive leaps.

He did become much more cautious around cars (just the sound of a car starting would send him running) which was a good thing.

That was definitely one of his "9 lives."

8. heh, i had forgot about one of the lives lost to my cat. Shortly after moving into a new house we were in the habit of leaving the garage door open. The cat got in the habit of sleeping on top of said open garage door. One day we closed the garage door and the screaching howling sound that followed was horrid. She didn't move in time and was squished between the door and the roller. Took her to the vet and they said no broken bones but there is probably some tendon damage might be permenant. Several months later she was back to normal not even a limp any more.

9. Originally Posted by Hugh Jass
Several months later she was back to normal not even a limp any more.
...but did she go back to sleeping on the door?

10. Speaking of tough. The same cat that fell into the aquarium had a much more serious incident when he was run over by a 4400 lb (2000 Kg) car! The amazing thing is the car ran over his head and all it did was crack his jawbone. The only long term effect was that he purred louder because he couldn't completely close his jaw.

11. Originally Posted by Damburger
The closest maths to your motor functions is probably Bayes theorem.
Hmm... I never considered that our motor function is just a probability equation..

nope... I am sorry, I really dont consider our motor function a function of probability...

anyone know how to derive the force needed to push a skin full of cat 4 feet up at a 45 degree angle?

12. Originally Posted by ginnie
ROFl

HA!

you know, I haven't actually seen her miss unless there is an unexpected obstacle in her landing site. although I have seen her stumble while running up the stairs.

13. Originally Posted by Kaptain K
Speaking of tough. The same cat that fell into the aquarium had a much more serious incident when he was run over by a 4400 lb (2000 Kg) car! The amazing thing is the car ran over his head and all it did was crack his jawbone. The only long term effect was that he purred louder because he couldn't completely close his jaw.
When we lived in town our cat came home one morning with a broken jaw,my wife calls the vet in a panic,says he's been in a fight,I tell her "Cats rip each others eyeballs out,they don't break each others jaws".The vet told us he'd probably been runnin' from a dog & ran in front of a car.

Then we moved here & got dogs,to his dyin' day he always hated dogs,I figure the vet was right & Zork always associated all that pain with dogs.

14. Originally Posted by Neverfly
My lizard is just as keen.
Mine wasn't. Oh, he'd do all that stuff. Line up, plot his course across the various items in the room. I could see him looking form the chair to the desk, to the shelf to the bookcase.

He'd line up for that first jump to the chair about 3 feet away and a foot below him, and push off, only to come up about a foot short.

He'd hit the ground, look around and see me, then do the head bob thing to let me know that he is still the king of the bedroom jungle.

I miss him sometimes.

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Headbob... Must have been an Iguana.

Gral was never much of a Jumper. But at 3 feet not including the tail, I didn't blame her. Especially when she was carrying eggs.
But she was a climber. She also liked to chase the cat around. It wasn't unusual to wake up and find her sitting on your chest looking at you.

Worf, although a bit larger than Gral, was leaner and a Jumper and Climber to make Iguanas everywhere proud.
I never once saw him miss a jump. And it was rare he lost his grip in climbing.
Gral did so frequently. She was a lizard brain.
Sadly, Gral held her eggs one laying season. The very expensive surgery was beyond the budget- and that was the end of Gral.

And it seems that it was the end of Worf too. He spent most his time moping. It may seem surprising that a lizard would act that way, but he did. His appetite lessened as well. Lost one 'love' but relied on his other love- climbing, which ironically proved the end of him as well.

Very High maintenance. They couldn't be caged or boxed in lest they harm themselves beating on the enclosure, required special conditions for egg laying and had to be fed the right way. Worf would have beaten himself to death if he saw a mirror. In the end they had free run of the entire house. Weren't allowed outside though. They were fun and even hysterical at times but

Never Again will I live with Iguanas

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I forgot, I meant to address the OP...

If I go to toss a ball to my son, my intention is not so much to throw the ball somewhere (he's only five years old...) but rather, to throw the ball so that it lands in his hand

So I look at the distance, feel the weight of the ball and then I make a guess.
This is not the process of my brain doing complex calculations in my subconscious.
It's trial and error.
Even Millions of years worth of trial and error.

Since early childhood, my brain has been absorbing knowledge on distances, judging depth or trajectories. Even now, 30 years later, I'm liable to misjudge.
It's because it's all trial and error based on my own lifetime of experience and all the lifetimes before me- through Genetic Encoding.

Genetic? What? What is this idiot talking about?

Take a spider, an orb weaver maybe, and watch is she spins a delicate and beautiful web. It's symmetrical, the strands are each the perfect distance from eachother.
Now, the spiders tiny brain is ...uh...well... tiny
Is that tiny bundle of nerves calculating complex mathematics that the spider does not know about?
Nope.
It's inherent behavior. Trial and error. Millions of years worth.
Take that spider and blast her with cold (So that the spinarettes stop producing silk) and she will continue the motions of weaving the web even though no silk is coming out. Poor dumb thing is following its programming.

We are like that too to some degree.
Like jumping out from behind a corner at someone and yelling. Their eyes get wide, some will scream. That's genetic encoding at work.
Some is more subtle, how a person walks or moves- but still genetic encoding. They don't think about it- the brain comes prewired that way from genes that have evolved from trial and error.

So the cat is relying not on mathematics, but on the experience of that cat, that cats genetic encoding and trial and error.

17. Yeah. as much as miss him, I'll never have another. At the time, "Ig" had the run of the house, but mainly stayed in my room where we fought for territory all the time. I also had a Ball Python, a Leopard Gecko and a pair of Chinese Water Dragons.

They all stayed in cages though. Well, they were supposed to. I had some issues with the snake.

Water dragons head bob too, so do anoles, but they do it differently. Both start out really low and raise their head up very quickly, then let it slowly settle for the next one. The dragons would follow it up with a slow circle with one front foot. It would shake a little too, so it looked like on old kung-fu movie master building chi for the death blow.

Ig actually two of the cutest things I ever saw an animal do. The first was when I gave him spinach. He tasted it, then spit it out, wiped his mouth on everything he could find, then dropped to the floor and started eating the carpet.

The other was the time I had a turkey sandwich and a bit of the skin fell off onto the floor. He ate it, then sat up on his back feet and tail and tried to claw his way through the air at the rest of my sandwich.

The waking up to him testing my ankle to see if it was food, again, I don't miss so much. I had a sheet of plexiglass around the bed since I slept days then too.

I also don't miss spring, when he'd get "confused". For about three weeks, I'd come home from work and toss him my shirt. He'd grab it and run off to some corner of the room to defile it.

18. Originally Posted by Neverfly
I forgot, I meant to address the OP...

If I go to toss a ball to my son, my intention is not so much to throw the ball somewhere (he's only five years old...) but rather, to throw the ball so that it lands in his hand

So I look at the distance, feel the weight of the ball and then I make a guess.
This is not the process of my brain doing complex calculations in my subconscious.
It's trial and error.
Even Millions of years worth of trial and error.

Since early childhood, my brain has been absorbing knowledge on distances, judging depth or trajectories. Even now, 30 years later, I'm liable to misjudge.
It's because it's all trial and error based on my own lifetime of experience and all the lifetimes before me- through Genetic Encoding.

Genetic? What? What is this idiot talking about?

Take a spider, an orb weaver maybe, and watch is she spins a delicate and beautiful web. It's symmetrical, the strands are each the perfect distance from eachother.
Now, the spiders tiny brain is ...uh...well... tiny
Is that tiny bundle of nerves calculating complex mathematics that the spider does not know about?
Nope.
It's inherent behavior. Trial and error. Millions of years worth.
Take that spider and blast her with cold (So that the spinarettes stop producing silk) and she will continue the motions of weaving the web even though no silk is coming out. Poor dumb thing is following its programming.

We are like that too to some degree.
Like jumping out from behind a corner at someone and yelling. Their eyes get wide, some will scream. That's genetic encoding at work.
Some is more subtle, how a person walks or moves- but still genetic encoding. They don't think about it- the brain comes prewired that way from genes that have evolved from trial and error.

So the cat is relying not on mathematics, but on the experience of that cat, that cats genetic encoding and trial and error.

yes, I agree that animals are in general dyscalculic, but this does not preclude a biological neural network from being able to do calculations. While trial and error have a lot to do with learning, calculations have to be direct result of the processing power attributed to such a large neural network.

I have a direct question for you neverfly?

Can I program a computer to process the information from two channels of ultra high quality audio, two HD video inputs, Billions of physical sensors designed to detect pressure, thermoception with the ability to further detect temperature variations, chemoreception of chemical compounds and kinesthetic sense? Can one further have the computer use the stereo video inputs along with a kinesthetic sense and transfer that information to provide Equilibrioception all the while using part of the processor to maintain a clock rythym, coordinate of thousands of motor servos, and maintain an extensive memory?

I would suspect that even the most powerful computer would overload from to much information given the case above.

I have to ask, Which has more computing processing power, a desktop computer or a biological brain?

Lets actually look at the spider.
the jumping spider:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumping_spider

Physiological experiments have shown that they may have up to four different kinds of receptor cells, with different absorption spectra, giving them the possibility of up to tetrachromatic color vision, with sensitivity extending into the ultra-violet range.
This in itself is a feat, the ability to process visual information from wavelengths of light that extend way past our own visual acuity.

A weird and interestingly creepy truth is the fact that jumping spiders will look you directly in the eyes.

Jumping spiders capture their prey by jumping on it from several inches away, and they may jump from twig to twig or leaf to leaf.
this is also a good example of a neural net doing on the fly calculations, no trial and error here, these animals can do this from day one.

They can carry out complex maneuvers such as detours around obstacles in order to reach their prey.
One jumping spider (Evarcha culicivora) is even known to only capture mosquitos full of blood, using their eyesight and smell.
Could you argue that there is a basic thinking process going on here?

can a super computer carry out these tasks? let alone one that fits on the the head of a pin?

I am not arguing that animals are not dyscalculic, rather that a nature made brain is a computer processor and carries out complex calculations in order to achieve the means to an end.

does my logic support my argument?

19. We had a cat when I was growing up named Doris (she was named for a family friend who hated animals). Doris (the cat) was just not right in the brain, there were serious wiring problems. She was the only cat I ever knew that was a klutz. She would try to jump onto things, like the kitchen counter, and miss and fall to the floor. She would try to playfully stalk our other cat and miss and run into the wall. She liked to sleep on top of the TV (nice and warm), but would roll over in her sleep and fall to the ground.

She also ate the strangest stuff, like peas and Ajax cleanser (she would sit by the kitchen sink and lick the top of the can).

One of her favorite toys was a tiny little cactus (about 2 or 3 cm in diameter) that she would constantly pull out of its pot and carry around in her mouth (spines and all).

None of this seemed to do her any harm, she lived to be about 18 years old.

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Just because you've seen something get from A to C doesn't mean it necessarily went through B. If you pardon the horrible pun, there are more than one ways to skin a cat.

It is a consensus amongst cognitive scientists (based on my experience on an AI degree anyhow) that biological neural nets do not employ mathematics to calculate trajectories of objects, its more like clever guesswork based on lots and lots of experience.

21. Originally Posted by ginnie
Oh, lord, that first one made me laugh. That brief pause in midair just before he flips over the gate...

22. Originally Posted by SeanF
Oh, lord, that first one made me laugh. That brief pause in midair just before he flips over the gate...
Yep; that one was a bit different than the myriad of missed cat jumps I've seen.
Originally Posted by SeanF
There's nothing like incentive, is there.

And to think, I usually avoid cat threads. It's amazing how everyone loves to talk cats, even if they hate them.

I only came here because of the redundancy in the title.

23. Down here cats are said to have seven lives [probably having to do with the mystique of the number 7].

My cat is very un-cat. Having grown up with dogs, he can barely jump out of the window, the poor thing. And he does everything the dogs do. But he looks smart to me [I like to believe that].

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Originally Posted by Whirlpool
Is it really TRUE that cat have Nine(9) Lives?

Mine had at least four before he bought the farm.

25. Originally Posted by Damburger

It is a consensus amongst cognitive scientists (based on my experience on an AI degree anyhow) that biological neural nets do not employ mathematics to calculate trajectories of objects, its more like clever guesswork based on lots and lots of experience.
That makes little sense, could you please cite a source that suggests that there is a "consensus amongst cognitive scientists that biological neural nets do not employ mathematics to calculate trajectories of objects"

As I understand it, the very discipline of Cognitive science (which is the study of intelligence) works on the very basic tenant that the brain is analogous to a Computer CPU.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_science
A simple analogy often used to describe LOA [level of analysis] is to compare the brain to a computer. The physical level would consist of the computer's CPU, the behavioral level represents the computer's output to a monitor or printer, and the functional level would be the computer's operating system, which allows the CPU and peripheral components to communicate.
I have to wonder if you are defending mathematics as a system or systems only justified with reference to axioms as a change in or function of also called formal mathematics. Just because something happens on a subconscious level and is not expressed in symbols, does not mean that a calculation is not being made.

a calculation has to be made in order for the brain to execute a command.
please tell me how this is wrong
thanks

26. Originally Posted by sabianq
As I understand it, the very discipline of Cognitive science (which is the study of intelligence) works on the very basic tenant that the brain is analogous to a Computer CPU.
Very basic. Yeah, AI research in its infancy proceeded under that assumption. It never really held, though. Computers simply aren't analogous to the brain.

Computer processors function more like a pair of hands. You can pick something up in either hand, put something down you're holding, do one of a number of things to an object, combine two held objects, etc. The computer does very simple things, can do them using more hands, but always only one thing at a time. Just pretty fast.

Recent innovations change very little about how the basic computer processor works. It changes how work is organized (threading, preemptive multitasking), adds "warm bodies" to share the work (multi-core systems), or how many objects you can do the same operation on at the same time (parallel processing). And it tends to do them faster with each system revision. But ultimately, each core does one thing and one thing only.

This is absolutely not how the brain functions. The parts of your brain that handle sight, sound, motion, smell, interpretation, and decision making all function simultaneously and nearly independently. And while we've figured out how individual neurons work, and which region handles which functions, we're still figuring out the brain works.

Bluntly, AI developers have made much better progress since they (mostly) stopped working under the assumption that an AI should work similarly to the human brain.

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Originally Posted by sabianq
That makes little sense, could you please cite a source that suggests that there is a "consensus amongst cognitive scientists that biological neural nets do not employ mathematics to calculate trajectories of objects"
Damburger is absolutely correct. As far as citing sources go, it would end up being a matter of sending you at least a hundred links to biology papers in which you could sift through and see for yourself. Because I doubt there is one neat little paper handy that sums it all up under the pretense that someone might ask. But there may be one I just don't know about it.

ABSOLUTELY, the brain has awesome processing power!
Our computers aren't even close to competing with the raw processing power of the brain.
But that does not change the fact that "the brain" is a work in progress that has been doing trial and error for millions of years to get to where it is today.
We have only recently begun to work on computers, what would be a drops of water in the ocean in comparison to the time scale.

Originally Posted by sabianq
this is also a good example of a neural net doing on the fly calculations, no trial and error here, these animals can do this from day one.
Yes, there is trial and error. That trial and error, as I already said, has taken place for generations upon generations upon generations. Over millions of years. The spider and the fly are following their programming.
This does not mean that is all they are doing, but primarily, it is.
But spiders and flies can both also learn and react to new situations too. But they still, primarily, fall back on programming.
Brains do not do complex mathematics and calculations to determine a jump. This statement does not detract from how amazing the brain is.

Originally Posted by sabianq
I have to wonder if you are defending mathematics as a system or systems only justified with reference to axioms as a change in or function of also called formal mathematics. Just because something happens on a subconscious level and is not expressed in symbols, does not mean that a calculation is not being made.
This entire statement is all wrong.
For one, there is no reason to defend math. I don't think anyone is getting defensive. We are just saying that that is not how the brain works.
For two, biology has studied this, these things we are saying are not based on opinion. They are based on the demonstrated workings of the brain.
For a third, just because something happens on the subconscious level and is not expressed in symbols doesn't mean that a calculation isn't being made-ok- but it doesn't mean that one is either That statement is nothing more than a circular argument.

Originally Posted by sabianq
a calculation has to be made in order for the brain to execute a command.
please tell me how this is wrong
thanks
A calculation is not necessarily made.
The reason that statement is wrong is because you may as well say that a river must calculate it's course to the ocean, or a volcano must calculate when is the best time to erupt. although these two statements apply to inanimate objects, you can still use the same persuasive arguments to claim them with. But when it's shown to you as equally applicable to things without brains- it demonstrates exactly where the misleading thought occurred for you.

You can balance a monthly budget by using guesswork. But that is not the same as making calculations at all. You can even get pretty good at guessing each month- but it's still not the same as performing the calculations necessary.

Besides, if brains did do subconscious calculations, then the cat would never miss a jump. Because calculations lead to direct answers and guesses lead to estimates.

One more thing:
A.I.
If I build a computer to act like a brain, and I program it with advanced calculus and differential equations and vector analysis... and then set it loose to behave like a brain, it will not only just burn up before concluding anything, but it will also be unable to function without using matrices.
That's really the kicker- It is BECAUSE our brains don't do calculations that enable us to function as efficiently as we do!
A quick and accurate guess is much more efficient than mathematical plotting. Even if you occasionally miss, over-all it's preferable.

Originally Posted by sabianq
I am not arguing that animals are not dyscalculic, rather that a nature made brain is a computer processor and carries out complex calculations in order to achieve the means to an end.

does my logic support my argument?

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Originally Posted by Moose
Bluntly, AI developers have made much better progress since they (mostly) stopped working under the assumption that an AI should work similarly to the human brain.
I've constructed an artificial neural network driven robot that would disagree with that. Or at least, avoid the walls of its enclosure in a fairly pointed manner.

29. That's not to say, Damburger, that "recreating the human brain" artificially isn't the holy grail of AI. Just that there's been considerably more progress developing AIs that aren't constrained by the desire to make them as biologically-similar as possible. That's very much an upstream swim.

Your neural net, after all, doesn't use chemical diffusion as a driving mechanism, nor does each neural node process simultaneously, and they only process independently at the abstract level.

[Edit: I've always found learning and efficient pathfinding two of the cooler areas of AI.]

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