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Online Comics => Escape From Terra => Topic started by: wdg3rd on June 18, 2012, 08:02:42 pm

Title: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: wdg3rd on June 18, 2012, 08:02:42 pm
I mean, I've known wild (usually dead) bobcats, captured and imprisoned in zoos bobcats, and bobcats raised from kittens and "domesticated" (a tricky term with felines, after several thousands of years they revert to feral faster than I can go up to the corner for a six-pack and return).  That's bigger than any mountain lion I've met (same three conditions -- I've never met a live feline in the wild that didn't have recent "domestic" ancestors).  The ones raised in "captivity" tended bigger than their parents (nutrition I assume) but not to anything like that degree.  As the feral descendents of housecats tend to be smaller than theirs.

Canids are different.  They seem to domesticate in one generation.  Coyote pups act like any other dog.  Guess the canine pack structure encourages automatic slavery if you're not the pack leader in the genes.  Probably why I don't like dogs much.  (Cats are anarchists, though many have little use for the zero aggression principle).
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: customdesigned on June 18, 2012, 08:11:11 pm
Cats are anarchists, though many have little use for the zero aggression principle.
ZAP seems to be pretty common with housecats, they strive not to annoy you - *except* they seem to feel it is OK as long as you don't *see* them doing something annoying.  For instance, once I make it clear that I don't want the cat on the table, the cat will *never* go on the table in my presence.  However, I often hear the soft sounds of a cat jumping down from the table as I approach a room.   (So don't count on the table being clean unless you've been watching it since you scrubbed it.)  Kind of like the "angel" monsters in Dr Who.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 19, 2012, 03:03:27 am
Guess the canine pack structure encourages automatic slavery if you're not the pack leader in the genes.

Not sure if that's what you meant, but AFAIK canid leadership isn't genetic. That's ants. Canids negotiate pecking orders just like humans do, also, they're always free to leave. The pack is a survival mechanism, membership is voluntary, but recommended.

Canids do not observe ZAP, they're predators ;D
But among peers, they do observe a "rough it up, but don't use lethal force" code in their negotiations of who's who.

But I first thought that was a European lynx, they're about the size of a German shepherd. Of course, with the talk of AI, it might be a skin-job - so then its size is independent of genetics.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: myrkul999 on June 19, 2012, 03:50:18 am
But I first thought that was a European lynx, they're about the size of a German shepherd. Of course, with the talk of AI, it might be a skin-job - so then its size is independent of genetics.

Oh ho! a Blade Runner reference! Nice.

But I don't think it's synthetic. Maybe modified, but not synthetic. There was mention made in one of last week's strips that "the dangerous ones were 'fixed'," and likewise, she asks Sv. Katz if Sv. Cat is "fixed", as well. I take that to mean the A.I. uplift.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: dough560 on June 19, 2012, 09:51:45 am
What's a little tinkering for size and strength when it's already being done for intelligence, possibly with nano processors and boosters.  At that point, is speech far behind?
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 19, 2012, 01:29:55 pm
What's a little tinkering for size and strength when it's already being done for intelligence, possibly with nano processors and boosters.  At that point, is speech far behind?
And a neural uplink... wouldn't it be fun to explore Clarke's famous statement about technology and magic. A world where all the magic tropes are in effect, right down to bonded familiars, but made with technology?
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: myrkul999 on June 19, 2012, 02:52:50 pm
What's a little tinkering for size and strength when it's already being done for intelligence, possibly with nano processors and boosters.  At that point, is speech far behind?
And a neural uplink... wouldn't it be fun to explore Clarke's famous statement about technology and magic. A world where all the magic tropes are in effect, right down to bonded familiars, but made with technology?

That is a fun thing to do, and a few authors have done similar.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Apollo-Soyuz on June 19, 2012, 09:52:01 pm
http://www.bigheadpress.com/eft?page=470
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: wdg3rd on June 20, 2012, 01:17:19 am
What's a little tinkering for size and strength when it's already being done for intelligence, possibly with nano processors and boosters.  At that point, is speech far behind?
And a neural uplink... wouldn't it be fun to explore Clarke's famous statement about technology and magic. A world where all the magic tropes are in effect, right down to bonded familiars, but made with technology?

That is a fun thing to do, and a few authors have done similar.

L. Neil Smith, decades ago.  Howell G. Nahuatl.  A coyote, slightly enhanced.  Who we'll see some more of if Neil has the time and leisure (call it income) to finish the other five books of his Brightsuit MacBear series.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: wdg3rd on June 20, 2012, 01:27:36 am
Guess the canine pack structure encourages automatic slavery if you're not the pack leader in the genes.

Not sure if that's what you meant, but AFAIK canid leadership isn't genetic. That's ants. Canids negotiate pecking orders just like humans do, also, they're always free to leave. The pack is a survival mechanism, membership is voluntary, but recommended.


I did not mean pack leadership in the genes, but the instinct to follow the leader if you're not the top dog.  Dog owners always have to be the pack leader (there have been times when that failed, generally ugly incidents).
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 20, 2012, 04:20:44 am
Guess the canine pack structure encourages automatic slavery if you're not the pack leader in the genes.

Not sure if that's what you meant, but AFAIK canid leadership isn't genetic. That's ants. Canids negotiate pecking orders just like humans do, also, they're always free to leave. The pack is a survival mechanism, membership is voluntary, but recommended.


I did not mean pack leadership in the genes, but the instinct to follow the leader if you're not the top dog.  Dog owners always have to be the pack leader (there have been times when that failed, generally ugly incidents).
Yeah, just wanted to make sure - daisy-chaining adverbials (like "in the genes") can be hard to avoid, but it does make for ambiguous reading.
Normal people shouldn't really get dogs larger than a bull terrier, if getting one for security at least. So many people choose retrievers, which is like doubly stupid; retrievers have the wrong set of instincts, they're too big for most people to effectively dominate, and finally, they're bred for cute looks, which means they're also bred for immaturity (and consequently, NOT bred for predictability).

Of course, a bull terrier is pretty awesome protection, it's strong, mentally stable, and it does exactly what a anti-burglary system is meant to: A) look scary, and B) chomp down and hold on. They are also very capable of fighting on even if wounded.

I have pugs myself though, I'm not in it for the security.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: myrkul999 on June 20, 2012, 12:04:01 pm
I have pugs myself though, I'm not in it for the security.

I have a couple of lab mixes, myself... Loyal as all get-out. And pretty smart, too. But I do love pugs. Speaking of which, ever seen Battlepug? It's a pretty nifty webcomic. 8-foot tall pug. I need say no more.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 20, 2012, 01:33:48 pm
I have, and for a Conan caricature, it's actually caught that conan-y vibe pretty well, plus some original features.
From time to time I do an archive crawl, something about it's flow makes it hard for me to read in in little pieces.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: customdesigned on June 20, 2012, 02:22:03 pm
What's a little tinkering for size and strength when it's already being done for intelligence, possibly with nano processors and boosters.  At that point, is speech far behind?
And a neural uplink... wouldn't it be fun to explore Clarke's famous statement about technology and magic. A world where all the magic tropes are in effect, right down to bonded familiars, but made with technology?

That is a fun thing to do, and a few authors have done similar.
I enjoyed the "Beastmaster" series by Andre Norton.    Most of the enhanced animals didn't speak out loud (mouth not the right shape), but communicated telepathically with their bonded partner (typical Norton). 
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: myrkul999 on June 20, 2012, 03:13:24 pm
What's a little tinkering for size and strength when it's already being done for intelligence, possibly with nano processors and boosters.  At that point, is speech far behind?
And a neural uplink... wouldn't it be fun to explore Clarke's famous statement about technology and magic. A world where all the magic tropes are in effect, right down to bonded familiars, but made with technology?

That is a fun thing to do, and a few authors have done similar.
I enjoyed the "Beastmaster" series by Andre Norton.    Most of the enhanced animals didn't speak out loud (mouth not the right shape), but communicated telepathically with their bonded partner (typical Norton). 

Nanotech is a popular explanation for "magic", too... the book There Will be Dragons (http://www.baenebooks.com/p-412-there-will-be-dragons.aspx) uses a high-tech sci-fi setting to build a high-fantasy post-apocalypse world... complete with unicorns, AI "spirits", and yes, Dragons.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: wdg3rd on June 20, 2012, 03:25:32 pm

I enjoyed the "Beastmaster" series by Andre Norton.    Most of the enhanced animals didn't speak out loud (mouth not the right shape), but communicated telepathically with their bonded partner (typical Norton). 

And the less said about the movies and TV series "based" on Norton's work, the better.  After the first movie, Norton would never consider allowing any more of her work to be adapted.  It's a shame, I remember reading a damn fine treatment of "The Time Traders" back in the 80s.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: myrkul999 on June 21, 2012, 01:23:30 am
"however..."

Oh, I'd like to say that was a surprise... but it really wasn't.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Corydon on June 21, 2012, 11:09:05 am
I had no idea that "Beastmaster" was an Andre Norton joint! I did see the movie a whole bunch of times, as it seemed to always be on TV. I heard once that it was the second most played movie on cable, after "Gone with the Wind." (Hence the joke that HBO stood for "Hey, Beastmaster's on!")

I always thought it was sort of silly that dude could speak to animals because he was born in a cow. But was definitely an awesomely silly movie...
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: dough560 on June 21, 2012, 01:20:44 pm
The differences between the Beastmaster movies and the book series don't even bear talking about.  I understand her estate with several unpublished books has been settled.  With any luck there'll be another in the batch.  I'm aware of three published books in the series.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 21, 2012, 03:40:22 pm
"however..."

Oh, I'd like to say that was a surprise... but it really wasn't.
Is that girl cursed or something? She seems to be getting into trouble a lot...
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: ex-Gooserider on June 22, 2012, 02:06:58 am
This one I'd only consider only partially Emily's  fault if at all... 

Yes she brought the exotic animals, but (As far as we are told) the escaped crow was not one of the animals she brought...

The responsible party should be the owner of the crow, who failed to keep her pet under proper control.  Presumably if the crow hadn't gotten loose, there wouldn't have been a problem.

Jeff responded reasonably to the attack by the crow - he defended himself using his available weapons against an initiation of force against him...  8) Again at least from what we are shown, the crow was merely scared off, not killed, and presumably Jeff stopped his response once the crow went elsewhere.

The animals that fled and trashed the place, again responsibility of their owners - and possibly bad AI programming that didn't put a "freeze" command option in any critters big enough that their owners couldn't control them. 

On that basis, I could see holding Emily responsible for damage attributable to her store's critters, but not that caused by others... 

Even given the above, I would tend to say the proper ruling should be non-forseeable accident  / act of God, and the major responsibility of the location's insurance company under the same coverage as it should have for other disasters of unpredictable cause....

There didn't appear to be any wilful negligence, and the stampede was the result of a relatively random train of non-predictable events.  To hold someone seriously liable for something like this would discourage any sort of public activity due to the fact that one can't avoid the risk by taking reasonable care...

This is very different from somebody pulling a gun and shooting a presumed suspicious person, where there was a definite choice to act, and an ability to assess responsibility for that choice...

ex-Gooserider

Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: SandySandfort on June 22, 2012, 06:44:42 am
Excellent analysis. However, the problem with such a clusterfuck is that there is plenty of potential negligence to go around and plenty of victims, as well. Then you have to sort out which negligence caused which damage. In the alternative, you could lump everyone together. Of course, Emily is not the sole responsible person, but she is a nexus and would need to be involved in any arbitration. Sv Rosenberg had Emily in front of him. Other parties would undoubtedly be pulled in as various participants complained and  videos of the event surfaced. As I said, an arbitration clusterfuck.

This one I'd only consider only partially Emily's  fault if at all... 

Yes she brought the exotic animals, but (As far as we are told) the escaped crow was not one of the animals she brought...

The responsible party should be the owner of the crow, who failed to keep her pet under proper control.  Presumably if the crow hadn't gotten loose, there wouldn't have been a problem.

Jeff responded reasonably to the attack by the crow - he defended himself using his available weapons against an initiation of force against him...  8) Again at least from what we are shown, the crow was merely scared off, not killed, and presumably Jeff stopped his response once the crow went elsewhere.

The animals that fled and trashed the place, again responsibility of their owners - and possibly bad AI programming that didn't put a "freeze" command option in any critters big enough that their owners couldn't control them. 

On that basis, I could see holding Emily responsible for damage attributable to her store's critters, but not that caused by others... 

Even given the above, I would tend to say the proper ruling should be non-forseeable accident  / act of God, and the major responsibility of the location's insurance company under the same coverage as it should have for other disasters of unpredictable cause....

There didn't appear to be any wilful negligence, and the stampede was the result of a relatively random train of non-predictable events.  To hold someone seriously liable for something like this would discourage any sort of public activity due to the fact that one can't avoid the risk by taking reasonable care...

This is very different from somebody pulling a gun and shooting a presumed suspicious person, where there was a definite choice to act, and an ability to assess responsibility for that choice...

ex-Gooserider


Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on June 22, 2012, 09:31:06 am
Excellent analysis. However, the problem with such a clusterfrack is that there is plenty of potential negligence to go around and plenty of victims, as well. Then you have to sort out which negligence caused which damage. In the alternative, you could lump everyone together. Of course, Emily is not the sole responsible person, but she is a nexus and would need to be involved in any arbitration. Sv Rosenberg had Emily in front of him. Other parties would undoubtedly be pulled in as various participants complained and  videos of the event surfaced. As I said, an arbitration clusterfrack.

I would expect an event like this to have video recordings from multiple points of view.  These could be used to untangle the "Gordian clusterfrack" and determine individual negligence and compensation.  I would also expect that they have the technology to do this untangling in an automated fashion, given the state of current state-of-the-art image automated image analysis.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: ex-Gooserider on June 25, 2012, 05:03:09 am
It may be possible to do a sort on who was the victim vs. negligent, but I don't know that it would be all that helpful - not to mention messy cases like the random pet owner who's critter was damaged during the stampede, while causing other property damage...  Or what about the pet owner's critter that damaged another critter?

Note that under current legal theory (as I understand it) a critter is considered not "mentally competent" so the owner is held responsible for it's actions - but again the owners are arguably not negligent since the stampede was not a reasonably foreseeable event...

I don't see a clean way to resolve this even given a microscopic playback and determination of who did what, which is why I'd stick each party (or their insurance)  with responsibility for their own damages, but not hit them for damages to others.

ex-Gooserider
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 25, 2012, 07:32:11 am
What is that situation, anyway:
Annual/Traditional activity gone awry?
Publicity stunt gone awry?
Individual people's oversights leading to individual people's pets getting out of hand?
One way it's the arranging institutions responsibility, the other it's the shop's, the last it's a truly distributive responsibility.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Bob G on June 25, 2012, 09:19:25 pm
What is that situation, anyway:
Annual/Traditional activity gone awry?
Publicity stunt gone awry?
Individual people's oversights leading to individual people's pets getting out of hand?
One way it's the arranging institutions responsibility, the other it's the shop's, the last it's a truly distributive responsibility.

The 'Blessing of the Animals' service/procession is a regular event, and would probably be a big deal on a remote asteroid like Ceres by giving folk a taste of 'home'.

As an aside, the strip of the stampede shows a male lion running away in an 'instinctive response' to an enraged large cat. I'm sorry, but one of the two major biological functions of a male lion is 'dealing with' other large cats (the other being impregnating 'his' females). As I see it, the lion's instinctive response to "GROWRR MRROWR" would be a "ROAR" and a pounce.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: ex-Gooserider on June 26, 2012, 01:57:34 am
What is that situation, anyway:
Annual/Traditional activity gone awry?
Publicity stunt gone awry?
Individual people's oversights leading to individual people's pets getting out of hand?
One way it's the arranging institutions responsibility, the other it's the shop's, the last it's a truly distributive responsibility.

I would say, "all of the above"....

Per strip 978 it is an annual event - the Feast Day of St. Assisi, with reminiscence by Libby of past events.  Presumably organized by the Catholics, but apparently an "all are welcome" social occasion regardless of the event.  We are not told if the venue is property of a church, or some other entity(ies) that it is rented from, or donated (good deal for area businesses, as it's cheap PR, and brings in extra traffic (customers))

Libby and Anton  want to take advantage of the event for publicity - no evidence they asked the organizers for permission, but no evidence they didn't either.  Would have been nice if they did, but presumably not required.  It isn't just one-sided in any case, as they are making the parade a better show, for whatever that's worth....  Per strip 981, other businesses also show off their animals in the parade.

It isn't clear if the Crow was part of Libby's stock, or not, (would be worse for her if it was since she is responsible for her critters) but my working assumption is that it wasn't; the person it seemed to have escaped from didn't look familiar and she wasn't in fancy costume like the other FF animal handlers.  Jeff the bobcat was NOT part of her stock, he owns Sv. Katz ;) (per strip 979)  It appears in strip 983 that at least some of Libby's stock, particularly the elephant she was riding, did NOT participate in the stampede, and that many of the privately owned pets DID.

I would agree the stampede as drawn did seem a bit odd - most of the animals portrayed as fleeing were predators - less likely to be scared, and more likely to want to check out the action to see if there are any leftover snack-bits laying around...  Also many of the shown animals are big - again less likely to be scared...  OTOH a stampede of pet mice just isn't impressive (not to mention less likely to be destructive...) call it "artistic license"  ::)

I can't see any signs of negligence on the part of the organizers / venue owners.  Yes, they put on the event, but that shouldn't be grounds for liability

I also don't see any signs of negligence on the part of Libby and friends - they had no reason to expect the stampede situation, and appeared to have adequate handlers to deal with the expected normal sequence of events...

With the exception of the crow's owner, I don't see all that much evidence of negligence on the other pet owners either.  Even the crow lady is marginal, since she had no reason to expect the crow to attack Jeff (or any of the other felines in the parade) as opposed to flying off in search of the nearest corn field...

Tough situation to deal with...

ex-Gooserider

Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Bob G on June 26, 2012, 05:29:02 am
I don't see the crow 'attacking' Jeff. Looks to me like it was just flying along (at a regrettably low altitude) minding its own business, maybe making some noise (as crows are wont to do), and triggered a predator response.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: SandySandfort on June 26, 2012, 08:04:20 am
I don't see the crow 'attacking' Jeff. Looks to me like it was just flying along (at a regrettably low altitude) minding its own business, maybe making some noise (as crows are wont to do), and triggered a predator response.

In the prose story, the crow did tease the bobcat with a peck. Either way, though, Jeff got pissed off by the crow. Probably, it would be better to think of the animals that stampeded as just being "spooked." Once one started to run, they all panicked and joined in.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: Andreas on June 26, 2012, 08:41:47 am
Venue owners/Event instigators...
That's interesting. If we look at the big music festival tragedies, there is some kind of justification for a event holder liability, but of course, those are for-profit events. This one isn't even a "by invitation" event, so the event holders can't control the numbers attending (which might be seen as the major crux for liability in the festival cases).
But yeah, this is a case where the absence of a state nanny makes things interestingly different. No "inspector fiat" to define "safe", for instance.
Title: Re: BIG damn bobcat
Post by: customdesigned on June 26, 2012, 11:05:20 am
Humans stampede also - even over something as stupid as a Black Friday sale - and damage things and even trample other people to death.