Dancing Chickens, Pumps and 3G

There was a case of a psychology experiment in which the scientists left some chickens over the weekend with an automatic feeder that periodically dispensed food. When they returned on Monday they found the chickens were performing some very odd dances and moves. It turned out to be a case of partial reinforcement with the chickens repeating any action that had preceded the appearance of food. Eventually more food would appear, reinforcing their repetitive actions.

Where does that leave me.

Well, at a cottage in the Quebec wilderness with a misbehaving pump and a sketch 3G service.

The pump seems to be acting up, shutting off after about 5 seconds of pumping and then coming on again a few minutes later. Sometimes, anyway. And sometimes it just works. But one of the times it just worked was when the cistern was already pretty full. The message: “pump the water frequently when the cistern is full”. So, we kept running it frequently and it started working better. Just like a dancing chicken.

That was last year. This year it acts up even when the cistern is almost full. There goes that theory.

Similarily my 3G service, while better than dial-up, is somewhat strained, often dropping from 3.1 Mbs to 153.6 kbs. And there I am, like a dancing chicken, holding the dongle in just the same way as the last time I got a better signal; or pushing my laptop to the edge to the table where I had got a better signal, or maybe pecking at the floor while flapping one wing in the air.

We’re all just eventually dancing chickens.

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