Pine Nuts: A fish with a bicycle


We have long known that fish can navigate. Who among us has not visited Taylor Creek and stood in awe while witnessing the amazing annual salmon run? But can a fish navigate on land, drive a car? Come to find out, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

Let us update that popular slogan of the 70’s, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” Israeli researchers have not yet taught a fish to navigate a bike, but they have succeeded in teaching a fish to drive a car, and navigate that car toward a cache of food, I kid you not.

These trained Israeli fish cannot drive a Tesla as yet, but they are really good at driving a robotic car designed just for them. There are six of these “fish on wheels” the first six that we know of, and get this, they are each named after characters in Jane Austen’s book, Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley outperforming the rest.

In full disclosure I am not a big fan of Ms. Austen, in fact I agree with Mark Twain, who once opined, “I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that does not contain a volume by Jane Austen.” But I do hope to see the day when I call for an Uber, and a goldfish is driving. I won’t even care if his name is Mr. Darcy.

Hey, the Swedes have taught wild crows to pick up discarded cigarette butts and deposit them in a machine that rewards them with a treat. Their streets are clean, but a few of those crows have been seen smoking.

It occurs to me that my pet jay Huckleberry could drive my car if I were to give him the keys. I dropped a beer nut once and he dived down from the second story deck and caught it midair before it hit the ground. I wonder what Mr. Galileo or the Journal of Behavioral Brain Research, might say about that.

Huckleberry communicates with his eyes. He told me the other day, with eyes flashing, that a cousin of his got swallowed up by a cat. I crossed myself and while I said a silent prayer he bowed his head. No, if a goldfish named Mr. Darcy can drive a car, I guess my pet jay Huckleberry could be taught to drive a minibus over Mt. Rose in a snowstorm.

As it is, Huckleberry chases stray cats off the property, and tells those obstreperous crows to take a hike. He even led a neighbor to his lost dog the other day, and then told me all about it. The next time you’re over I’ll show you some pictures of his kids, born right here on the first deck at Twain Haven. They are so darn cute…

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