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  • New Book Explains Guidance System

    The latest book is out on Amazon in the World War Three series and it revels the Soviet's guidance system for their Wasserfal and X-4 missiles. I'm anxious to get your views. Someone guess right a while ago.

    Please read the following paper before you comment.

    PIGEONS IN A PELICAN
    This paper was presented at a meeting of the American Psychological Association at Cincinnati, Ohio, September, 1959 and was published in the American Psychologist in January, 1960.

    The origional can be found here...



    B. F. SKINNER
    Harvard University

    This is the history of a crackpot idea, born on the wrong side of the tracks intellectually speaking, but eventually vindicated in a sort of middle class respectability. It is the story of a proposal to use living organisms to guide missiles—of a research program during World War II called "Project Pigeon" and a peace- time continuation at the Naval Research Laboratory called "ORCON," from the words "organic control." Both of these programs have now been declassified.

    Man has always made use of the sensory capacities of animals, either because they are more acute than his own or more convenient. The watchdog probably hears better than his master and in any case listens while his master sleeps. As a detecting system the dog's ear comes supplied with an alarm (the dog need not be taught to announce the presence of an intruder), but special forms of reporting are sometimes set up. The tracking behavior of the bloodhound and the pointing of the hunting dog are usually modified to make them more useful. Training is sometimes quite explicit. It is said that sea gulls were used to detect sub- marines in the English Channel during World War I. The British sent their own submarines through the Channel releasing food to the surface. Gulls could see the submarines from the air and learned to follow them, whether they were British or German. A flock of gulls, spotted from the shore, took on special significance. In the seeing-eye dog the repertoire of artificial signaling responses is so elaborate that it has the conventional character of the verbal interchange between man and man.

    The detecting and signaling systems of lower organisms have a special advantage when used with explosive devices which can be guided toward the objects they are to destroy, whether by land, sea, or air. Homing systems for guided missiles have now been developed which sense and signal the position of a target by responding to visible or invisible radiation, noise, radar reflections, and so on. These have not always been available, and in any case a living organism has certain advantages. It is almost certainly cheaper and more compact and, in particular, is especially good at responding to patterns and those classes of patterns called "concepts." The lower organism is not used because it is more sensitive than man—after all, the kamikaze did very well—but because it is readily expendable.

    Project Pelican
    The ethical question of our right to convert a lower creature into an unwitting hero is a peace- time luxury. There were bigger questions to be answered in the late thirties. A group of men had come into power who promised, and eventually accomplished, the greatest mass murder in history. In 1939 the city of Warsaw was laid waste in an unprovoked bombing, and the airplane emerged as a new and horrible instrument of war against which only the feeblest defenses were available. Project Pigeon was conceived against that back- ground. It began as a search for a homing device to be used in a surface-to-air guided missile as a defense against aircraft. As the balance between offensive and defensive weapons shifted, the direction was reversed, and the system was to be tested first in an air-to-ground missile called the "Pelican." Its name is a useful reminder of the state of the missile art in America at that time. It’s detecting and servomechanisms took up so much space that there was no room for explosives: hence the resemblance to the pelican "whose beak can hold more than its belly can." My title is perhaps now clear. Figure 1 shows the pigeons, jacketed for duty. Figure 2 shows the beak of the Pelican.

    At the University of Minnesota in the spring of 1940 the capacity of the pigeon to steer toward a target was tested with a moving hoist. The pigeon, held in a jacket and harnessed to a block, was immobilized except for its neck and head. It could eat grain from a dish and operate a control system by moving its head in appropriate directions. Movement of the head operated the motors of the hoist. The bird could ascend by lifting its head, descend by lowering it, and travel from side to side by moving appropriately. The whole system, mounted on wheels, was pushed across a room to- ward a bull's-eye on the far wall. During the approach the pigeon raised or lowered itself and moved from side to side in such a way as to reach the wall in position to eat grain from the center of the bull's-eye. The pigeon learned to reach any target within reach of the hoist, no matter what the starting position and during fairly rapid approaches.

    The experiment was shown to John T. Tate, a physicist, then Dean of the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota, who brought it to the attention of R. C. Tolman, one of a group of scientists engaged in early defense activities. The result was the first of a long series of rejections. The proposal "did not warrant further development at the time." The project was accordingly allowed to lapse. On December 7, 1941 the situation was suddenly restructured; and, on the following day, with the help of Keller Breland, then a graduate student at Minnesota, further work was planned. A simpler harnessing system could be used if the bomb were to rotate slowly during its descent, when the pigeon would need to steer in only one dimension: from side to side. We built an apparatus in which a harnessed pigeon was lowered toward a large revolving turntable across which a target was driven according to contacts made by the bird during its descent. It was not difficult to train a pigeon to "hit" small ship models during fairly rapid descents. We made a demonstration film showing hits on various kinds of targets, and two psychologists then engaged in the war effort in Washington, Charles Bray and Leonard Carmichael, undertook to look for government support. Tolman, then at the Office of Scientific Research and Development, again felt that the project did not warrant support, in part because the United States had at that time no missile capable of being guided toward a target. Commander (now Admiral) Luis de Florez, then in the Special Devices Section of the Navy, took a sympathetic view. He dismissed the objection that there was no available vehicle by suggesting that the pigeon be connected with an automatic pilot mounted in a small plane loaded with explosives. But he was unable to take on the project because of other commitments and because, as he explained, he had recently bet on one or two other equally long shots which had not come in.

    The project lapsed again and would probably have been abandoned if it had not been for a young man whose last name I have ungratefully forgotten, but whose first name—Victor—we hailed as a propitious sign. His subsequent history led us to refer to him as Vanquished; and this, as it turned out, was a more reliable omen. Victor walked into the Department of Psychology at Minnesota one day in the summer of 1942 looking for an animal psychologist. He had a scheme for installing dogs in antisubmarine torpedoes. The dogs were to respond to faint acoustic signals from the submarine and to steer the torpedo toward its goal. He wanted a statement from an animal psychologist as to its feasibility. He was understandably surprised to learn of our work with pigeons but seized upon it eagerly, and citing it in support of his contention that dogs could be trained to steer torpedoes he went to a number of companies in Minneapolis. His project was rejected by everyone he approached; but one company, General Mills, Inc., asked for more information about our work with pigeons. We described the project and presented the available data to Arthur D. Hyde, Vice-President in Charge of Research. The company was not looking for new products, but Hyde thought that it might, as a public service, develop the pigeon system to the point at which a governmental agency could be persuaded to take over.

    Breland and I moved into the top floor of a flour mill in Minneapolis and with the help of Norman Guttman, who had joined the project, set to work on further improvements. It had been difficult to induce the pigeon to respond to the small angular displacement of a distant target. It would start working dangerously late in the descent. Its natural pursuit behavior was not appropriate to the characteristics of a likely missile. A new system was therefore designed. An image of the target was projected on a translucent screen as in a camera obscura. The pigeon, held near the screen, was reinforced for pecking at the image on the screen. The guiding signal was to be picked up from the point of contact of screen and beak.

    In an early arrangement the screen was a trans- lucent plastic plate forming the larger end of a truncated cone bearing a lens at the smaller end. The cone was mounted, lens down, in a gimbal bearing. An object within range threw its image on the translucent screen; and the pigeon, held vertically just above the plate, pecked the image. When a target was moved about within range of the lens, the cone continued to point to it. In another apparatus a translucent disk, free to tilt slightly on gimbal bearings, closed contacts operating motors which altered the position of a large field beneath the apparatus. Small cutouts of ships and other objects were placed on the field. The field was constantly in motion, and a target would go out of range unless the pigeon continued to control it. With this apparatus we began to study the pigeon's reactions to various patterns and to develop sustained steady rates of responding through the use of appropriate schedules of reinforcement, the reinforcement being a few grains occasionally released onto the plate. By building up large extinction curves a target could be tracked continuously for a matter of minutes without reinforcement. We trained pigeons to follow a variety of land and sea targets, to neglect large patches in- tended to represent clouds or flak, to concentrate on one target while another was in view, and so on. We found that a pigeon could hold the missile on a particular street intersection in an aerial map of a city. The map which came most easily to hand was of a city which, in the interests of inter- national relations, need not be identified. Through appropriate schedules of reinforcement it was possible to maintain longer uninterrupted runs than could conceivably be required by a missile.

    We also undertook a more serious study of the pigeon's behavior, with the help of W. K. Estes and Marion Breland who joined the project at this time. We ascertained optimal conditions of de- privation, investigated other kinds of deprivations, studied the effect of special reinforcements (for example, pigeons were said to find hemp seed particularly delectable), tested the effects of energizing drugs and increased oxygen pressures, and so on. We differentially reinforced the force of the pecking response and found that pigeons could be induced to peck so energetically that the base of the beak became inflamed. We investigated the effects of extremes of temperature, of changes in atmospheric pressure, of accelerations produced by an improvised centrifuge, of increased carbon di- oxide pressure, of increased and prolonged vibration, and of noises such as pistol shots. (The birds could, of course, have been deafened to eliminate auditory distractions, but we found it easy to maintain steady behavior in spite of intense noises and many other distracting conditions using the simple process of adaptation.) We investigated optimal conditions for the quick development of discriminations and began to study the pigeon's reactions to patterns, testing for induction from a test figure to the same figure inverted, to figures of different sizes and colors, and to figures against different grounds. A simple device using carbon paper to record the points at which a pigeon pecks a figure showed a promise which has never been properly exploited.

    We made another demonstration film and renewed our contact with the Office of Scientific Re- search and Development. An observer was sent to Minneapolis, and on the strength of his report we were given an opportunity to present our case in Washington in February 1943. At that time we were offering a homing device capable of reporting with an on-off signal the orientation of a missile toward various visual patterns. The capacity to respond to pattern was, we felt, our strongest argument, but the fact that the device used only visible radiation (the same form of information available to the human bombardier) made it superior to the radio controlled missiles then under development because it was resistant to jamming. Our film had some effect. Other observers were sent to Minneapolis to see the demonstration itself. The pigeons, as usual, behaved beautifully. One of them held the supposed missile on a particular intersection of streets in the aerial map for five minutes although the target would have been lost if the pigeon had paused for a second or two. The observers returned to Washington, and two weeks later we were asked to supply data on (a) the population of pigeons in the United States (fortunately, the census bureau had some figures) and (b) the accuracy with which pigeons struck a point on a plate. There were many arbitrary conditions to be taken into account in measuring the latter, but we supplied possibly relevant data. At long last, in June 1943, the Office of Scientific Research and Development awarded a modest contract to General Mills. Inc. to "develop a homing device."

    At that time we were given some information about the missile the pigeons were to steer. The Pelican was a wing steered glider, still under development and not yet successfully steered by any homing device. It was being tested on a target in New Jersey consisting of a stirrup shaped pattern bulldozed out of the sandy soil near the coast. The white lines of the target stood out clearly against brown and green cover. Colored photo- graphs were taken from various distances and at various angles, and the verisimilitude of the re- production was checked by flying over the target and looking at its image in a portable camera obscura.

    Because of security restrictions we were given only very rough specifications of the signal to be supplied to the controlling system in the Pelican. It was no longer to be simply on-off; if the missile was badly off target, an especially strong correcting signal was needed. This meant that the quadrant- contact system would no longer suffice. But further requirements were left mainly to our imagination. The General Mills engineers were equal to this difficult assignment. "With what now seems like unbelievable speed, they designed and constructed a pneumatic pickup system giving a graded signal. A lens in the nose of the missile threw an image on a translucent plate within reach of the pigeon in a pressure sealed chamber. Four air valves resting against the edges of the plate were jarred open momentarily as the pigeon pecked. The valves at the right and left admitted air to chambers on opposite sides of one tambour, while the valves at the top and bottom admitted air to opposite sides of another. Air on all sides was exhausted by a Venturi cone on the side of the missile. When the missile was on target, the pigeon pecked the center of the plate, all valves admitted equal amounts of air, and the tambours remained in neutral positions. But if the image moved as little as a quarter of an inch off-center, corresponding to a very small angular displacement of the target, more air was admitted by the valves on one side, and the resulting displacement of the tambours sent appropriate correcting orders directly to the servo system.

    The device required no materials in short supply, was relatively foolproof, and delivered a graded signal. It had another advantage. By this time we had begun to realize that a pigeon was more easily controlled than a physical scientist serving on a committee. It was very difficult to convince the latter that the former was an orderly system. We therefore multiplied the probability of success by designing a multiple bird unit. There was adequate space in the nose of the Pelican for three pigeons each with its own lens and plate. A net signal could easily be generated. The majority vote of three pigeons offered an excellent guarantee against momentary pauses and aberrations. (We later worked out a system in which the majority took on a more characteristically democratic function. When a missile is falling toward two ships at sea, for example, there is no guarantee that all three pigeons will steer toward the same ship. But at least two must agree, and the third can then be punished for his minority opinion. Under proper contingencies of reinforcement a punished bird will shift immediately to the majority view. When all three are working on one ship, any defection is immediately punished and corrected.)

    The arrangement in the nose of the Pelican is shown in Figure 3. Three systems of lenses and mirrors, shown at the left, throw images of the target area on the three translucent plates shown in the center. The ballistic valves resting against the edges of these plates and the tubes connecting them with the manifolds leading to the controlling tambours may be seen. A pigeon is being placed in the pressurized chamber at the right.
    The General Mills engineers also built a simulator (Figure 4)—a sort of Link trainer for pigeons —designed to have the steering characteristics of the Pelican, in so far as these had been communicated to us. Like the wing steered Pelican, the simulator tilted and turned from side to side.


    When the three-bird nose was attached to it, the pigeons could be put in full control—the "loop could be closed"—and the adequacy of the signal tested under pursuit conditions. Targets were moved back and forth across the far wall of a room at prescribed speeds and in given patterns of oscillation, and the tracking response of the whole unit was studied quantitatively.

    Meanwhile we continued our intensive study of the behavior of the pigeon. Looking ahead to com- bat use we designed methods for the mass production of trained birds and for handling large groups of trained subjects. We were proposing to train certain birds for certain classes of targets, such as ships at sea, while special squads were to be trained on special targets, photographs of which were to be obtained through reconnaissance. A large crew of pigeons would then be waiting for assignment, but we developed harnessing and training techniques which should have solved such problems quite easily.

    A multiple unit trainer is shown in Figure 5. Each box contains a jacketed pigeon held at an angle of 45° to the horizontal and perpendicular to an 8" X 8" translucent screen. A target area is projected on each screen. Two beams of light intersect at the point to be struck. All on-target responses of the pigeon are reported by the interruption of the crossed beams and by contact with the translucent screen. Only a four-inch, disk shaped portion of the field is visible to the pigeon at any time, but the boxes move slowly about the field, giving the pigeon an opportunity to respond to the target in all positions. The positions of all reinforcements are recorded to reveal any weak areas. A variable-ratio schedule is used to build sustained, rapid responding.

    By December 1943, less than six months after the contract was awarded, we were ready to report to the Office of Scientific Research and Development. Observers visited the laboratory and watched the simulator follow a target about a room under the control of a team of three birds. They also reviewed our tracking data. The only questions which arose were the inevitable consequence of our lack of information about the signal required to steer the Pelican. For example, we had had to make certain arbitrary decisions in compromising between sensitivity of signal and its integration or smoothness. A high vacuum produced quick, rather erratic movements of the tambours, while a lower vacuum gave a sluggish but smooth signal. As it turned out, we had not chosen the best values in collecting our data, and in January 1944 the Office of Scientific Research and Development re- fused to extend the General Mills contract. The reasons given seemed to be due to misunderstandings or, rather, to lack of communication. We had already collected further data with new settings of the instruments, and these were submitted in a request for reconsideration.

    We were given one more chance. We took our new data to the radiation lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where they were examined by the servo specialists working on the Pelican controls. To our surprise the scientist whose task it was to predict the usefulness of the pigeon signal argued that our data were inconsistent with respect to phase lag and certain other characteristics of the signal. According to his equations, our device could not possibly yield the signals we reported. We knew, of course, that it had done so. We examined the supposed inconsistency and traced it, or so we thought, to a certain nonlinearly in our system. In pecking an image near the edge of the plate, the pigeon strikes a more glancing blow; hence the air admitted at the valves is not linearly proportional to the displacement of the target. This could be corrected in several ways: for ex- ample, by using a lens to distort radial distances. It was our understanding that in any case the signal was adequate (o control the Pelican. In- deed, one servo authority, upon looking at graphs of the performance of the simulator, exclaimed: "This is better than radar!"

    Two days later, encouraged by our meeting at MIT, we reached the summit. We were to present our case briefly to a committee of the country's top scientists. The hearing began with a brief report by the scientist who had discovered the "inconsistency" in our data, and to our surprise he still regarded it as unresolved. He predicted that the signal we reported would cause the missile to "hunt" wildly and lose the target. But his prediction should have applied as well to the closed loop simulator. Fortunately another scientist was present who had seen the simulator performing under excellent control and who could confirm our report of the facts. But reality was no match for mathematics.

    The basic difficulty, of course, lay in convincing a dozen distinguished physical scientists that the behavior of a pigeon could be adequately controlled. We had hoped to score on this point by bringing with us a demonstration. A small black box had a round translucent window in one end. A slide projector placed some distance away threw on the window an image of the New Jersey target. In the box, of course, was a pigeon—which, incidentally, had at that time been harnessed for 35 hours. Our intention was to let each member of the committee observe the response to the target by looking down a small tube; but time was not available for individual observation, and we were asked to take the top off the box. The translucent screen was flooded with so much light that the target was barely visible, and the peering scientists offered conditions much more unfamiliar and threatening than those likely to be encountered in a missile. In spite of this the pigeon behaved perfectly, pecking steadily and energetically at the image of the target as it moved about on I he plate. One scientist with an experimental turn of mind intercepted the beam from the projector. The pigeon stopped instantly. When the image again appeared, pecking began within a fraction of a second and continued at a steady rate.

    It was a perfect performance, but it had just the wrong effect. One can talk about phase lag in pursuit behavior and discuss mathematical predictions of hunting without reflecting too closely upon what is inside the black box. But the spectacle of a living pigeon carrying out its assignment, no matter how beautifully, simply reminded the committee of how utterly fantastic our proposal was. I will not say that the meeting was marked by unrestrained merriment, for the merriment was re- strained. But it was there, and it was obvious that our case was lost.

    Hyde closed our presentation with a brief summary: we were offering a homing device, unusually resistant to jamming, capable of reacting to a wide variety of target patterns, requiring no materials in short supply, and so simple to build that production could be started in 30 days. He thanked the committee, and we left. As the door closed behind us, he said to me: "Why don't you go out and get drunk!"

    Official word soon came: "Further prosecution of this project would seriously delay others which in the minds of the Division would have more immediate promise of combat application." Possibly the reference was to a particular combat application at Hiroshima a year and a half later, when it looked for a while as if the need for accurate bombing had been eliminated for all time. In any case we had to show, for all our trouble, only a loft full of curiously useless equipment and a few dozen pigeons with a strange interest in a feature of the New Jersey coast. The equipment was scrapped, but 30 of the pigeons were kept to see how long they would retain the appropriate behavior.

    In the years which followed there were faint signs of life. Winston Churchill's personal scientific ad- visor, Lord Cherwell, learned of the project and "regretted its demise." A scientist who had had some contact with the project during the war, and who evidently assumed that its classified status was not to be taken seriously, made a good story out of it for the Atlantic Monthly, names being changed to protect the innocent. Oilier uses of animals began to be described. The author of the Atlantic Monthly story also published an account of the "incendiary bats." Thousands of bats were to be released over an enemy city, each carrying a small incendiary time bomb. The bats would take refuge, as is their custom, under eaves and in other out-of-the-way places; and shortly afterwards thou- sands of small fires would break out practically simultaneously. The scheme was never used be- cause it was feared that it would be mistaken for germ warfare and might lead lo retaliation in kind.

    Another story circulating at the time told how the Russians trained dogs to blow up tanks. I have described the technique elsewhere (Skinner, 1956). A Swedish proposal to use seals to achieve the same end with submarines was not successful. The seals were to be trained to approach submarines to obtain fish attached to the sides. They were then to be released carrying magnetic mines in the vicinity of hostile submarines. The required training was apparently never achieved. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of probably the most fantastic story of this sort, but it ought to be recorded. The Russians were said to have trained sea lions to cut mine cables. A complicated device attached to the sea lion included a motor driven cable-cutter, a tank full of small fish, and a device which released a few fish into a muzzle covering the sea lion's head. In order to eat, the sea lion had to find a mine cable and swim alongside it so that the cutter was automatically triggered, at which point a few fish were released from the tank into the muzzle. When a given number of cables had been cut, both the energy of the cutting mechanism and the supply of fish were exhausted, and the sea lion received a special stimulus upon which it re- turned to its home base for special reinforcement and reloading.

    ORCON
    The story of our own venture has a happy ending. With the discovery of German accomplishments in the field of guided missiles, feasible homing systems suddenly became very important. Franklin V. Taylor of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D. C. heard about our project and asked for further details. As a psychologist Taylor appreciated the special capacity of living organisms to respond to visual patterns and was aware of recent advances in the control of behavior. More important, he was a skillful practitioner in a kind of control which our project had conspicuously lacked: he knew how to approach the people who determine the direction of research. He showed our demonstration film so often that it was completely worn out—but to good effect, for support was eventually found for a thorough investigation of "organic control" under the general title ORCON. Taylor also enlisted the sup- port of engineers in obtaining a more effective re- port of the pigeon's behavior. The translucent plate upon which the image of the target was thrown had a semiconducting surface, and the tip of the bird's beak was covered with a gold electrode. A single contact with the plate sent an immediate report of the location of the target to the controlling mechanism. The work which went into this sys- tem contributed to the so-called Pick-off Display Converter developed as part of the Naval Data Handling System for human observers. It is no longer necessary for the radar operator to give a verbal report of the location of a pip on the screen. Like the pigeon, he has only to touch the pip with a special contact. (He holds the contact in his hand.)



    At the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington the responses of pigeons were studied in de- tail. Average peck rate, average error rate, average hit rate, and so on were recorded under various conditions. The tracking behavior of the pigeon was analyzed with methods similar to those employed with human operators (Figure 6}. Pattern perception was studied, including generalization from one pattern to another. A simulator was constructed in which the pigeon controlled an image projected by a moving-picture film of an actual target: for example, a ship at sea as seen from a plane approaching at 600 miles per hour. A few frames of a moving picture of the pigeon controlling the orientation toward a ship during an approach are shown in Figure 7.
    The publications from the Naval Research Lab- oratory which report this work (Chernikoff & New- lin, 1951; Conklin, Ncwlin, Taylor, & Tipton,

    The publications from the Naval Research Laboratory which report this work (Chernikoff & Newlin, 1951; Conklin, Newlin, Taylor, & Tipton,


    White, 1952) provide a serious evaluation of the possibilities of organic control. Although in simulated tests a single pigeon occasionally loses a target, its tracking characteristics are surprisingly good, A three- or seven-bird unit with the same individual consistency should yield a signal with a reliability which is at least of the order of magnitude shown by other phases of guided missiles In their present stage of development. Moreover, in the seven years which have followed the last of these reports, a great deal of relevant information has been acquired. The color vision of the pigeon is now thoroughly understood; its generalization along single properties of a stimulus has been re- corded and analyzed; and the maintenance of behavior through scheduling of reinforcement has been drastically improved, particularly in the development of techniques for pacing responses for less erratic and steadier signals (Skinner, 1957). Tests made with the birds salvaged from the old Project Pigeon showed that even after six years of inactivity a pigeon will immediately and correctly strike a target to which it has been conditioned and will continue to respond for some time without reinforcement.

    The use of living organisms in guiding missiles is, it seems fair to say, no longer a crackpot idea. A pigeon is an extraordinarily subtle and complex mechanism capable of performances which at the moment can be equaled by electronic equipment only of vastly greater weight and size, and it can be put to reliable use through the principles which have emerged from an experimental analysis of its behavior. But this vindication of our original proposal is perhaps the least important result. Some- thing happened during the brief life of Project Pigeon which it has taken a long time to appreciate. The practical task before us created a new attitude toward the behavior of organisms. We had to maximize the probability that a given form of behavior would occur at a given time. We could not enjoy the luxury of observing one variable while allowing others to change in what we hoped was a random fashion. We had to discover all relevant variables and submit them to experimental control whenever possible. We were no doubt under exceptional pressure, but vigorous scientific research usually makes comparable demands. Psychologists have too often yielded to the temptation to be content with hypothetical processes and intervening variables rather than press for rigorous experimental control. It is often intellectual laziness rather than necessity which recommends the a posteriori statistical treatment of variation. Our task forced us to emphasize prior experimental control, and its success in revealing orderly processes gave us an exciting glimpse of the superiority of laboratory practice over verbal (including some kinds of mathematical) explanation.

    The Crackpot Idea

    If I were to conclude that crackpot ideas are to be encouraged, I should probably be told that psychology has already had more than its share of them. If it has, they have been entertained by the wrong people. Reacting against the excesses of psychological quackery, psychologists have developed an enormous concern for scientific respectability. They constantly warn their students against questionable facts and unsupported theories. As a result the usual PhD thesis is a mode! of compulsive cautiousness, advancing only the most timid conclusions thoroughly hedged about with qualifications. But it is just the man capable of displaying such admirable caution who needs a touch of uncontrolled speculation. Possibly a generous exposure to psychological science fiction would help. Project Pigeon might be said to sup- port that view. Except with respect to its avowed goal, it was, as I see it, highly productive; and this was in large measure because my colleagues and I knew that, in the eyes of the world, we were crazy.

    One virtue in crackpot ideas is that they breed rapidly and their progeny show extraordinary mutations. Everyone is talking about teaching ma- chines nowadays, but Sidney Pressey can tell you what it was like to have a crackpot Idea in that field 40 years ago. His self-testing devices and self-scoring test forms now need no defense, and psychomotor training devices have also achieved a substantial respectability. This did not, how- ever, prepare the way for devices to be used in verbal instruction—that is, in the kinds of teaching which arc the principal concern of our schools and colleges. Even five short years ago that kind of instruction by machine was still in the crackpot category. (I can quote official opinion to that effect from high places.) Now, there is a direct genetic connection between teaching machines and
    Project Pigeon. We had been forced to consider the mass education of pigeons. True, the scrap of wisdom we imparted to each was indeed small, but the required changes in behavior were similar to those which must be brought about in vaster quantities in human students. The techniques of shaping behavior and of bringing it under stimulus control which can be traced, as I have suggested elsewhere (Skinner, 1958), to a memorable episode on the top floor of that flour mill in Minneapolis needed only a detailed reformulation of verbal behavior to be directly applicable to education.

    I am sure there is more to come. In the year which followed the termination of Project Pigeon I wrote Walden Two (Skinner, 1948), a Utopian picture of a properly engineered society. Some psychotherapists might argue that I was suffering from personal rejection and simply retreated to a fantasied world where everything went according to plan, where there never was heard a discouraging word. But another explanation is, I think, equally plausible. That piece of science fiction was a declaration of confidence in a technology of behavior. Call it a crackpot idea if you will; it is one in which I have never lost faith. I still believe that the same kind of wide-ranging speculation about human affairs, supported by studies of compensating rigor, will make a substantial contribution toward that world of the future in which, among other things, there will lie no need for guided missiles.

    REFERENCES

    Skinner, B. F., Pigeons in a pelican. American Psychologist, Vol 15 No. 1, Jan 1960, 28-37.

    Ciikbnikofp, R., & Nkwlin, E. P. ORCON. Pari. Ill, Investigations of (argot acquisition by the pigeon. Naval Res. Lab. lett. Rtp., 1951, No. S-36O0-629a/51 (Sept. 10).

    Conkiis, J. E, Newlin, E. P., Jr., Tayeor, F. V. & Tipton, C. L. ORCON. Part IV. Simulated flight tests. Naval Res. Lab. Rep., 1953, No. 4105.

    Searie, L. V., & Staffoih, B. H. ORCON. Part II. Re- port of phase I research and bandpass study. Naval Res. Lab. lett. Rep., 1950, No. S-36O0-I57/5D (May 1).

    Skinner, B. F. Walden two. New York: Macmillan, 1948.

    Skinner, B. F. A case history in scientific method. Amer. Psychologist, 1956, II, 221-233.

    Skinner, B. F. The experimental analysis of behavior. Amer. Sclent., 1957, 45, 343-371.

    Skinner, B. F. Reinforcement today. Amer. Psychologist, Mar 1958, 13, 94-99.

    Taylor, F. V. ORCON. Part I. Outline of proposed research. Naval Res. Lab. lett. Rep., 1949, No. S-3600-157/50 (June 17).

    White, C. F. Development of the NRL ORCON tactile missile simulator. Naval Res. Lab. Rep, 1952, No. 3917.
    www.wwiii1946.blogspot.com
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

  • #2
    It wouldn't work. There are several reasons involved:

    1. Altitude. The birds couldn't survive above about 15,000 feet both on the lack of oxygen and the outside air temperature.

    2. Speed. A high subsonic missile or supersonic missile is going too fast for the bird to make input corrections on what would be a fleeting and tiny target for most of the missile's flight.
    With the Wasserfall going roughly Mach 2, give or take, the time between launch and interception at a max range of about 15 miles is less than 30 seconds. A target bomber moving 300 mph will have moved nearly 2.5 miles in the same time. If the missile is moving on a non-tail chase flight path it needs to be aimed ahead of the target such that it will arrive at the target when it too gets to that point.
    Against a large, slow moving ship from a distance of just a few miles the system might work with a bomb moving 400 mph or less. With a missile as described, never.


    3. G force. If the launch and acceleration exceed about 4G you have serious problems here. This is also a problem if you have to make serious course corrections like hard turns to stay on a target.
    Wasserfall has an initial acceleration of about 8 to 10G given it has a thrust velocity of 1900 m/sec. That's not unusual for ballistic / ground launched missiles.

    4. In an aerial battle the birds couldn't tell friend from foe either. I doubt that you could train a pigeon to know the difference between two aircraft types.

    5. It isn't uncomplicated and it takes considerable room in the missile. The X-4 is really tiny so it would never fit.

    6. Target size. To give you an idea of the size of the target, take a 1/72nd scale model of a B-29 and place it 500 feet from you. That is proportional to an actual B-29 flying at 35,000 feet. It's a mere speck.

    7. It would be limited to clear weather and daytime. Clouds would negate the system.




    Project Pigeon was used with the BAT guided bomb / missile (as a variant sometimes called Pelican). In the bomb configuration it was intended primarily as an anti-ship weapon. Launch would normally be at low altitude by low altitude maritime patrol aircraft like the PB4Y. The bomb was a glide weapon so launch was gentle and the speed of flight low.

    As it was, the system proved impractical and was abandoned.
    Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 12 Oct 15, 01:26.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good stuff T.A.

      1. Pressurized capsule,

      2. Missiles are slowed down.

      3. "Tolerance of small animals to acceleration.
      Chae EU.
      Abstract
      Mice, rats, rabbits, finches, pigeons, and roosters were exposed to +Gz, minus Gz, and minus Gx inertial forces due to acceleration. The range of body weight of all animals was from 14 g to 1.6 kg. The magnitude of G and duration of exposure time were within 130 G and 20 min and the average rate of changes of G was 2.8 G/s. The G tolerances of these animals were compared with one another at 50% mortality. The tolerance of each species was expressed as the area under the tolerance curve. Changes of tolerance were obtained by the changes of direction of G force. The tolerance ratio of minus Gz to +Gz force was 0.58 and that of minus Gx to +Gz was 2.12. Body weight was inversely related to the threshold G-value at which animals are resistant to the prolonged acceleration.
      PMID: 1131134 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]"

      Birds, Bats And Insects Hold Secrets For Aerospace Engineers
      Date:
      February 9, 2008
      Source:
      University of Michigan

      "Select military aircraft can withstand gravitational forces of 8-10 G. Many birds routinely experience positive G-forces greater than 10 G and up to 14 G."

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0204172203.htm


      4. Missiles are shot a bomber stream of US B-29s. No foes to be confused with and a pigeon can tell the difference of aircraft types especially when one is huge and silver.

      5. A one pigeon setup would not take up that much room. X-4 could be enlarged.

      6. If anti-aircraft, fighters, etc. can see the bombers so can a trained bird. Contrails would be a dead give away. Being shot in the general direction then picking up on bombers as they got closer etc.

      The pigeon pecks at over 2 times per second and is not distracted by noise, lights, explosions or even a female in pigeon in heat. They are totally focused on getting the hemp seed. Yes hemp.

      7. Yes, Yes it would. if the US bomber command found out that the missiles were visually guided that would limited their use. But the US doesn't know that until one of the characters in the book figures it out. Then they have to convince a person like you that it is pigeon guided. You can see the problem with that I'm sure.

      If you read the paper you would discover that it was not "proved" impractical by any means. One evaluator decided that the data had been "too good" to be real. He had no proof what so ever he just decided that a pigeon guided missile could not produce the simulated hit rate that was amply demonstrated by Skinner...dozens of times. The clown shut down the project because he "thought" it was too good to be true. No proof, just conjecture.
      www.wwiii1946.blogspot.com
      http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hairog View Post
        Good stuff T.A.

        1. Pressurized capsule,
        That requires supplying oxygen and having a pressurization system installed, along with heating, etc. Also, that system has to be sufficiently large that it can remain operational from insertion of the animal on the ground until termination after launch. That might be hours, even days.
        That brings up another problem: How long is the system viable for? After all, if the defenders don't know when a raid is coming they would have to prepare the missiles sometime in advance.

        2. Missiles are slowed down.
        That will greatly decrease their accuracy. Post WW 2, subsonic AAM's were found to be nearly worthless and quickly replaced by sonic ones. That doomed the JB-3 Tiamat for example as it's accuracy was very low being slow. Shortening the intercept time means less time for the attacked to respond as well as less time involved in movement of the target. Slowing a Wasserfall for example would reduce the intercept range which is already short.
        Everybody (US, Britain, USSR, everybody) figured out that fast = more probability of a hit.

        3. "Tolerance of small animals to acceleration.
        Chae EU.
        Abstract
        Mice, rats, rabbits, finches, pigeons, and roosters were exposed to +Gz, minus Gz, and minus Gx inertial forces due to acceleration. The range of body weight of all animals was from 14 g to 1.6 kg. The magnitude of G and duration of exposure time were within 130 G and 20 min and the average rate of changes of G was 2.8 G/s. The G tolerances of these animals were compared with one another at 50% mortality. The tolerance of each species was expressed as the area under the tolerance curve. Changes of tolerance were obtained by the changes of direction of G force. The tolerance ratio of minus Gz to +Gz force was 0.58 and that of minus Gx to +Gz was 2.12. Body weight was inversely related to the threshold G-value at which animals are resistant to the prolonged acceleration.
        PMID: 1131134 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]"
        Birds, Bats And Insects Hold Secrets For Aerospace Engineers
        Date:
        February 9, 2008
        Source:
        University of Michigan

        "Select military aircraft can withstand gravitational forces of 8-10 G. Many birds routinely experience positive G-forces greater than 10 G and up to 14 G."

        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0204172203.htm
        None of that has anything to do with those animals performing a complex function like these pigeons would be. Simple survival isn't enough. They have to function and do complex reasoning. Ain't happening with 8G's put on them.


        4. Missiles are shot a bomber stream of US B-29s. No foes to be confused with and a pigeon can tell the difference of aircraft types especially when one is huge and silver.
        Unless there are clouds when the intercept range would diminish anything up to less than a mile, maybe down to zero. The same is true if the bombers came at night. I know, you won't let that happen but it very well could be the case.
        There are also escorts. If anything, contrails would just confuse the problem as these are clouds restricting visibility of targets behind or beyond them.
        If the visual range decreased to under a mile for a Wasserfall you are talking less than 1 second to correct for targeting error.

        5. A one pigeon setup would not take up that much room. X-4 could be enlarged.
        Now you don't have an X-4. You have a larger missile requiring more engine to produce more thrust to push more weight and drag. That means more fuel and then with pressurization of the bird compartment more equipment to make that happen. So, you might end up with something the size of a JB-3 Tiamat (600 to 900 lbs. and about quadruple the size of an X-4).
        That's start over on design time...


        6. If anti-aircraft, fighters, etc. can see the bombers so can a trained bird. Contrails would be a dead give away. Being shot in the general direction then picking up on bombers as they got closer etc.
        Not necessarily. We don't know what a pigeon's visual resolution is. We also don't know when the bird is going to actually spot the potential target in the firing sequence.
        How, for example, is the missile initially aimed at the target? That is, a Wasserfall is launched vertically and ballistically. That means the bird is looking up at essentially nothing in the boost phase. What gets the missile heading at the target more or less before the bird tries to home on it?

        The pigeon pecks at over 2 times per second and is not distracted by noise, lights, explosions or even a female in pigeon in heat. They are totally focused on getting the hemp seed. Yes hemp.
        How does that translate into course corrections? How does the bird initially pick up the target? What happens if multiple birds decide on the same target?

        7. Yes, Yes it would. if the US bomber command found out that the missiles were visually guided that would limited their use. But the US doesn't know that until one of the characters in the book figures it out. Then they have to convince a person like you that it is pigeon guided. You can see the problem with that I'm sure.
        I can see SAC in such a case deciding on cheap and quick counter measures to this too. One would be extremely bright flares designed to obscure the target by light. Another would be painting the planes in low visibility camouflage paint. I could come up with lots of other, even weird, means to defeat this that are simple and were tried for some reason or another against other systems at the time.
        Of course, coming at night pretty much ends the whole program's usefulness.


        If you read the paper you would discover that it was not "proved" impractical by any means. One evaluator decided that the data had been "too good" to be real. He had no proof what so ever he just decided that a pigeon guided missile could not produce the simulated hit rate that was amply demonstrated by Skinner...dozens of times. The clown shut down the project because he "thought" it was too good to be true. No proof, just conjecture.
        Yea, it was such a good idea it was adopted... NOT! The proof is in historical choices. I don't think the people evaluating this idea were idiots. They figured out that it was impractical for any number of reasons and dropped it because of that.

        Comment


        • #5
          Now, if I were doing this, the RIM 8 Talos is the way to go. That missile started in 1944 as Project Bumblebee.

          The missile itself is a ramjet with a solid fuel booster to get it up to speed.

          It flies a ballistic trajectory to target using a very tight telemetry radio system and the missile for most of its flight is not electronically visible to the target. That is, there is no terminal fire control radar painting the target and the telemetry system is not aimed at the target but rather a ballistic flight path that puts the missile falling on the target in the terminal phase.

          Terminally, the target is painted by radar and the missile uses four antenna and an interferometer to correct flight path. That is, the signals are received unequally at the antennas when the missile isn't pointed at the target and equal when it is. This is determined by a simple Wheatstone bridge circuit.

          It worked well for its era.

          Comment


          • #6
            Another counter measure (more tongue in cheek than serious as this whole idea is a joke anyway) would be for the Allies to train predator birds to prefer lighting near missiles and aircraft such that they terrorize the pigeons in much the same way those owl decoys people put on their roofs would.

            Another would be to introduce avian disease into the pigeon population by releasing your own pigeons to mix with the ones the enemy is using.

            Of course, since it takes up to 3 pigeons to operate one missile and the rate of fire would easily exceed a thousand that means you need to set up a huge training program, train handlers, set up pigeon coops at bases using them, add veterinary staff, potentially have to retrain or periodically refresh the birds, the cost and complexity of just training them to begin with would be a massive undertaking.

            Comment


            • #7
              Pheromones, ...

              ... or rather, pigeon pheromones in a highly concentrated form, sprayed over the enemy missile guidance training facilities. Why? Because really, REALLY smart people, like science types, and the most brutal of warriors, go gaga over pigeons:

              'Tesla used to take walks to the park to feed the pigeons. He developed an unusual relationship with a white pigeon which used to visit him every day.

              "I loved that pigeon as a man loves a women, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life," Tesla once said.

              Source: Tesla Society and Tesla Universe'



              Remember,

              "Make pigeon love, not war" (in a high squeaky voice)
              - Mike Tyson




              Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
              Another counter measure (more tongue in cheek than serious as this whole idea is a joke anyway) would be for the Allies to train predator birds to prefer lighting near missiles and aircraft such that they terrorize the pigeons in much the same way those owl decoys people put on their roofs would.

              Another would be to introduce avian disease into the pigeon population by releasing your own pigeons to mix with the ones the enemy is using.

              Of course, since it takes up to 3 pigeons to operate one missile and the rate of fire would easily exceed a thousand that means you need to set up a huge training program, train handlers, set up pigeon coops at bases using them, add veterinary staff, potentially have to retrain or periodically refresh the birds, the cost and complexity of just training them to begin with would be a massive undertaking.
              "I am Groot"
              - Groot

              Comment


              • #8
                Maybe this was not the answer he was looking for...

                Comment


                • #9
                  Maybe ...

                  Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                  Maybe this was not the answer he was looking for...
                  ... maybe not, but the truth had to be told.



                  Oh alright, I'm just messin' with ya!
                  Last edited by Marmat; 20 Oct 15, 11:33.
                  "I am Groot"
                  - Groot

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This kind of thing is why a ridged mentality could not comprehend a good idea when it was presented. Skinner could not get through exactly the kind of type of mind set you are presenting.

                    Did you read the paper? This is exactly why Billy Mitchel was court-martialed. This is exactly why the Gatling gun and the Spencer did not end the American Civil War 2 years earlier. This is exactly the kind of thinking that lost Singapore, created the conditions for Pearl Harbor and The Blitzkrieg.

                    “That requires supplying oxygen and having a pressurization system installed, along with heating, etc. Also, that system has to be sufficiently large that it can remain operational from insertion of the animal on the ground until termination after launch. That might be hours, even days.
                    That brings up another problem: How long is the system viable for? After all, if the defenders don't know when a raid is coming they would have to prepare the missiles sometime in advance.”
                    Come on T.A., you really can’t conceive of how easy this would be??!?!??! If you read the paper you would have known that the birds retained their training for years and were cooped up by Skinner for up to 36 hours and still preformed perfectly… yes perfectly. During his presentation the evaluators even opened the capsules to see what the birds were doing. The birds did not miss a beat and kept on pecking ignoring the intruding light and humans. READ the paper and you’ll see how ridiculous your objections are.

                    In my story the Soviets had advanced knowledge of the first couple of raids which set the stage for the preparations.

                    Quote:
                    2. Missiles are slowed down.

                    That will greatly decrease their accuracy. Post WW 2, subsonic AAM's were found to be nearly worthless and quickly replaced by sonic ones. That doomed the JB-3 Tiamat for example as it's accuracy was very low being slow. Shortening the intercept time means less time for the attacked to respond as well as less time involved in movement of the target. Slowing a Wasserfall for example would reduce the intercept range which is already short.

                    Everybody (US, Britain, USSR, everybody) figured out that fast = more probability of a hit.
                    I would conjecture that a closing rate of 600 mph from the rear would do just fine aimed at a bomber stream. Yes the birds could be taught to approach from the rear or any other angle and even what particular bomber in a normal bomber box to target. I have them concentrating on the leaders of the bomber boxes.



                    Quote:
                    3. "Tolerance of small animals to acceleration.
                    Chae EU.
                    Abstract
                    Mice, rats, rabbits, finches, pigeons, and roosters were exposed to +Gz, minus Gz, and minus Gx inertial forces due to acceleration. The range of body weight of all animals was from 14 g to 1.6 kg. The magnitude of G and duration of exposure time were within*130 G and 20 min*and the average rate of changes of G was 2.8 G/s. The G tolerances of these animals were compared with one another at 50% mortality. The tolerance of each species was expressed as the area under the tolerance curve. Changes of tolerance were obtained by the changes of direction of G force. The tolerance ratio of minus Gz to +Gz force was 0.58 and that of minus Gx to +Gz was 2.12. Body weight was inversely related to the threshold G-value at which animals are resistant to the prolonged acceleration.
                    PMID: 1131134 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]"
                    Birds, Bats And Insects Hold Secrets For Aerospace Engineers
                    Date:
                    February 9, 2008
                    Source:
                    University of Michigan

                    "Select military aircraft can withstand gravitational forces of 8-10 G. Many birds routinely experience positive G-forces greater than 10 G and up to 14 G."

                    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0204172203.htm

                    None of that has anything to do with those animals performing a complex function like these pigeons would be. Simple survival isn't enough. They have to function and do complex reasoning. Ain't happening with 8G's put on them.
                    Who said anything about 8Gs? Where did you get that figure and guess what, they were tested and performed very well.

                    Are you trying to tell me that a jet, going mach 2, piloted by a human could not collide into a B-29? Could Such a suicidal pilot could be trained to follow a flight path that would take him on a slow half roll and hit the bomber from behind? Of course he could and so can a pigeon. Operative conditioning is very powerful and the pigeon is very capable of learning all manner of complex actions and retains them for years.

                    “Skinner then added a new tactic. He found he could feed the birds at regular time intervals or after a certain number of pecks. After a while, the pigeons learned to rap out as many as four pecks a second for more than two minutes without a break, and would work feverishly to prevent the target image from moving off dead center.

                    In one final test, Skinner put each bird into a hand-operated trainer. A person sat behind each pigeon and moved a color photo projected on the screen, at the same time operating the food magazine. The pigeon had to peck correctly or he got no food at all. According to the report on these experiments: ‘There wasn’t a single washout in the entire class of 64. Every bird earned his wings with an A grade.’

                    Other experiments followed to test the birds’ psychological fitness for battle. Target pistols were fired only a few inches from a bird’s head. The pigeons didn’t miss a peck, didn’t even look up. Other extremely loud noises were introduced. Again, the pigeons stayed at their task. Skinner also put the pigeons in a pressure chamber, setting the altitude at 10,000 feet. They were also whirled around in a centrifuge, put on pure oxygen and exposed to bright flashes, simulating shell bursts. High vibrations were also introduced, and the birds were subjected to massive G forces without harmful effects.

                    Following the success of those experiments, pigeons were placed in three, five and seven tandem positions in a missile to see whether, if one or more birds became obstinate or lazy, the majority could override any incorrect signals and keep the missile on course. The final test was to see whether a male pigeon placed alongside a female would abandon his task or vice versa. Once more, the birds’ dedication to the mission was paramount. They pecked away at the target; hunger overcame any other desires. Skinner also learned that pigeons were seemingly fearless when feeding on hemp seed. They worked faster when it was used in place of the standard grain.”


                    Quote:
                    4. Missiles are shot a bomber stream of US B-29s. No foes to be confused with and a pigeon can tell the difference of aircraft types especially when one is huge and silver.

                    Unless there are clouds when the intercept range would diminish anything up to less than a mile, maybe down to zero. The same is true if the bombers came at night. I know, you won't let that happen but it very well could be the case.
                    There are also escorts. If anything, contrails would just confuse the problem as these are*clouds*restricting visibility of targets behind or beyond them.
                    If the visual range decreased to under a mile for a Wasserfall you are talking less than 1 second to correct for targeting error.
                    Yes the birds would need fairly clear weather and as soon as the US found out the missiles were optically guided then they would be fairly limited in their use. That is why it is such a closely guarded secret in my story and why the Soviets planted dummy rockets full of old German radio direction gear to fool the US that they were guided by radio control etc.

                    Quote:
                    5. A one pigeon setup would not take up that much room. X-4 could be enlarged.

                    Now you don't have an X-4. You have a larger missile requiring more engine to produce more thrust to push more weight and drag. That means more fuel and then with pressurization of the bird compartment more equipment to make that happen. So, you might end up with something the size of a JB-3 Tiamat (600 to 900 lbs. and about quadruple the size of an X-4).
                    That's start over on design time...
                    You’re just being contrary again. The setup for one bird is minimal about the size of a liter bottle of soda. CO2 sized cartridges would give plenty of air and pressure etc. Until launch air could be fed through a valve and hose. It would be one third the size of the following and probably lighter than the wire guidance system it would replace…




                    Quote:
                    6. If anti-aircraft, fighters, etc. can see the bombers so can a trained bird. Contrails would be a dead give away. Being shot in the general direction then picking up on bombers as they got closer etc.

                    Not necessarily. We don't know what a pigeon's visual resolution is.
                    Yes we do and it is several time better than a human.

                    We also don't know when the bird is going to actually spot the potential target in the firing sequence.
                    How, for example, is the missile initially aimed at the target? That is, a Wasserfall is launched vertically and ballistically. That means the bird is looking up at essentially nothing in the boost phase. What gets the missile heading at the target more or less before the bird tries to home on it?
                    Shooting in the general direction of the bomber stream like the V2 system. Camera like shutters covering the contact plate timed to open when the missile hits a certain altitude, birds take over and start to search for targets.

                    Quote:
                    The pigeon pecks at over 2 times per second and is not distracted by noise, lights, explosions or even a female in pigeon in heat. They are totally focused on getting the hemp seed. Yes hemp.

                    How does that translate into course corrections? How does the bird initially pick up the target? What happens if multiple birds decide on the same target?
                    Pigeons can be trained in pattern recognition and are very good at it. Each could be trained to look for a certain pattern and home in a particular position in a bomber box.

                    The following link is everything you’d ever want to know about the amazing pigeon and it visualization prowess.

                    http://www.pigeon.psy.tufts.edu/avc/

                    Quote:
                    7. Yes, Yes it would. if the US bomber command found out that the missiles were visually guided that would limited their use. But the US doesn't know that until one of the characters in the book figures it out. Then they have to convince a person like you that it is pigeon guided. You can see the problem with that I'm sure.

                    I can see SAC in such a case deciding on cheap and quick counter measures to this too. One would be extremely bright flares designed to obscure the target by light. Another would be painting the planes in low visibility camouflage paint. I could come up with lots of other, even weird, means to defeat this that are simple and were tried for some reason or another against other systems at the time.
                    Of course, coming at night pretty much ends the whole program's usefulness.
                    Agreed but first someone would have to convince someone like you that the missiles are pigeon guided.


                    Quote:
                    If you read the paper you would discover that it was not "proved" impractical by any means. One evaluator decided that the data had been "too good" to be real. He had no proof what so ever he just decided that a pigeon guided missile could not produce the simulated hit rate that was amply demonstrated by Skinner...dozens of times. The clown shut down the project because he "thought" it was too good to be true. No proof, just conjecture.

                    Yea, it was such a good idea it was adopted... NOT! The proof is in historical choices. I don't think the people evaluating this idea were idiots.
                    No, all it proves is that as usual stagnant, ridgid, minds and the usual unimaginative thinkers who cannot see outside of the box where in control of the decision. At least one of them was pretty stupid. He chose to ignore the facts and go with his gut feeling and he convinced the group that Skinner’s data was “too good” to be true. It wasn’t. It was dead on accurate.

                    They figured out that it was impractical for any number of reasons and dropped it because of that.
                    Not one project stopping, practical reason was ever given. They just thought it was silly, like many of you and probably cost thousands of American lives. Imagine having a guided bomb in 1944.

                    The evaluation team exhibited the same kind of mirth presented here. That does not mean it wouldn’t have worked.

                    Edwards Deming https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming presented his ideas of quality control to every American car manufactured and they all showed him the door and laughed behind his back. The Japanese listened and started kicking our butt. Toyota became the biggest car manufacturer and GM went bankrupt. Sorry to tell you but the world is round and the earth revolves around the sun, both ideas that took centuries to become common knowledge. There are literally hundreds of ideas that took a long time to be adopted and hundreds more that were never adopted because different or more timely options came along.
                    www.wwiii1946.blogspot.com
                    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hairog View Post
                      This kind of thing is why a ridged mentality could not comprehend a good idea when it was presented. Skinner could not get through exactly the kind of type of mind set you are presenting.
                      That doesn't address the previous objections, it is simply an ad hominem.

                      Did you read the paper? This is exactly why Billy Mitchel was court-martialed. This is exactly why the Gatling gun and the Spencer did not end the American Civil War 2 years earlier. This is exactly the kind of thinking that lost Singapore, created the conditions for Pearl Harbor and The Blitzkrieg
                      .

                      Yes, not impressed by it.

                      And, you are wrong on the rest.

                      Billy Mitchell was court martialed for disobeying orders. The tests on the Ostfriedland were carefully designed to allow the observers to discover exactly what kind of damage a battleship could and would take from aerial bombing. Nobody present thought that bombing the ship could never sink it. That's a myth.
                      Mitchell, instead of following orders decided on his own to load much larger bombs than called for and sink the ship as a publicity stunt. He was court martialed for it because his arrogant desire to "prove" air power over came his duty to do his job.
                      The Ostfriesdland incident got him demoted to Colonel. His court martial came later as a result of continued outspokenness and arrogance towards higher command. The actual court martial was for insubordination.

                      The Gatling was turned down because the early models regularly jammed in use, used non-standard cartridges, and had other design issues. Once these were cleared up the US Army (and other militaries) bought the guns for use.

                      The Spencer was, like the Sharps, and Henry Volcanic, an expensive and difficult gun to manufacture. Ammunition cost much more and most arsenals and manufacturers couldn't make it as it required dies and stamping / forming machinery to make the cartridges. Post war the Spencer was taken out of service for several reasons, not all justified. As for your statement "ending the civil war two years earlier..." that is pure speculation without any foundation.
                      About 700,000 M1861 Springfield rifled musket were manufactured during the war. 900,000 Enfield rifled muskets were imported. Against that about 95,000 Spencer rifles and carbines were manufactured and issued, not an inconsequential amount. But, it also shows there is no way it could have become the predominant arm of the Union simply because they couldn't have made enough.
                      Singapore was lost primarily because of two reasons: First, the Commonwealth troops there were almost all very green recruits with little training beyond their basic skills. Second, the command was hidebound and bureaucratic not taking all precautions against attack.
                      The Blitzkrieg in France succeeded mainly because the French had an incredibly poor military doctrine. In Poland it was simply overwhelming the Polish Army. The "Blitz" really made no difference.
                      Pearl Harbor was a case of a peacetime military being surprised attacked.


                      Come on T.A., you really can’t conceive of how easy this would be??!?!??! If you read the paper you would have known that the birds retained their training for years and were cooped up by Skinner for up to 36 hours and still preformed perfectly… yes perfectly. During his presentation the evaluators even opened the capsules to see what the birds were doing. The birds did not miss a beat and kept on pecking ignoring the intruding light and humans. READ the paper and you’ll see how ridiculous your objections are.

                      In my story the Soviets had advanced knowledge of the first couple of raids which set the stage for the preparations.
                      No, I can't because it won't work for reasons already given. Beam riding AAM's and SAM's were tried all the way into the 60's and uniformly found to have a low Pk. The US, French, British, and Russians all figured that out.


                      I would conjecture that a closing rate of 600 mph from the rear would do just fine aimed at a bomber stream. Yes the birds could be taught to approach from the rear or any other angle and even what particular bomber in a normal bomber box to target. I have them concentrating on the leaders of the bomber boxes.
                      I would state that you don't get to choose the engagement angle most of the time, particularly with the SAM's. But, since for roughly 70 to 80% of the flight of a Wasserfall clone the bird won't even see the target, it is unlikely it's going to hit anything anyway. At 15 miles (about the max possible range for such a missile) the target is the same as viewing a 1/72nd scale B-29 model at 1100 feet, nearly a quarter of a mile.
                      That assumes clear atmosphere. Haze, clouds, sun position, will all shorten that viewing range substantially. It's not like Russia has nice sunny weather most of the year.
                      For example, your story has the US attacking Leningrad. Cloud cover there is almost a certainty. The median cloud cover there is overcast with 97% cloud. Therefore, your missile system is dealing with the attackers being invisible to ground observation and would be for most of a missile's flight.

                      https://weatherspark.com/averages/33...ian-Federation


                      Who said anything about 8Gs? Where did you get that figure and guess what, they were tested and performed very well.
                      From data on the V2 which performed ballistically very similarly. It pulled 8G's during its boost phase of flight. Nike Ajax, the world's first operational and successful SAM pulled 25 G's on launch for the 3 seconds of boost by the solid fuel first stage. It then continued to accelerate to maximum speed at about 10 G's on the liquid fuel second stage.

                      Are you trying to tell me that a jet, going mach 2, piloted by a human could not collide into a B-29? Could Such a suicidal pilot could be trained to follow a flight path that would take him on a slow half roll and hit the bomber from behind? Of course he could and so can a pigeon. Operative conditioning is very powerful and the pigeon is very capable of learning all manner of complex actions and retains them for years.
                      This is just a mis-mash of logical fallacies. Taking real examples: A Sagger missile operator with thousands of training launches simulated and real hits a stationary tank at 3000 meters just 80% of the time and a moving one less than 40% of the time. Slower target, slower missile, larger sight picture.

                      So, yes, I'm trying to tell you that a mach 2 missile closing on a target moving several hundred miles an hour and from a range of say a mile or two which it will cover in a matter of under 5 seconds is going to miss using optical control, particularly an optical system with a very limited field of view.

                      The SA-2 Guideline SAM in Vietnam against maneuvering aircraft had about a 6% success rate. Against non-maneuvering aircraft it was about 15%. In the face of countermeasures it fell to about 1%.

                      So, what I'm saying is your missile has about the same probability of hitting as an unguided one does since for 80% + of it's flight it is unguided.


                      Yes the birds would need fairly clear weather and as soon as the US found out the missiles were optically guided then they would be fairly limited in their use. That is why it is such a closely guarded secret in my story and why the Soviets planted dummy rockets full of old German radio direction gear to fool the US that they were guided by radio control etc.
                      Too bad you have crappy weather over the targets you picked for your story nearly every day of the year...

                      The US and Britain aren't stupid. They'd know what the planted stuff was in short order and determine it couldn't do what was being observed.

                      You’re just being contrary again. The setup for one bird is minimal about the size of a liter bottle of soda. CO2 sized cartridges would give plenty of air and pressure etc. Until launch air could be fed through a valve and hose. It would be one third the size of the following and probably lighter than the wire guidance system it would replace…
                      You are simply brushing aside the technical issues to make the idea workable. PFM is fine in fiction, if you are willing to admit it's PFM.

                      Shooting in the general direction of the bomber stream like the V2 system. Camera like shutters covering the contact plate timed to open when the missile hits a certain altitude, birds take over and start to search for targets.
                      And in the meantime, flight control is by what means...? A vertical launch and ballistic flight path alone won't get the missile to the target. Wasserfall has a maximum range of about 15 miles. This gives a launch site about a 6 minute window at absolute maximum to fire on a bomber. As you decrease the engagement range the time you have to take on a target decreases too.






                      Agreed but first someone would have to convince someone like you that the missiles are pigeon guided.




                      No, all it proves is that as usual stagnant, ridgid, minds and the usual unimaginative thinkers who cannot see outside of the box where in control of the decision. At least one of them was pretty stupid. He chose to ignore the facts and go with his gut feeling and he convinced the group that Skinner’s data was “too good” to be true. It wasn’t. It was dead on accurate.
                      All this whole thread proves is that crazy ideas when examined in detail are just crazy ideas. PFM is fine for fiction as I said, but you have to accept it's PFM not reality involved.

                      Not one project stopping, practical reason was ever given. They just thought it was silly, like many of you and probably cost thousands of American lives. Imagine having a guided bomb in 1944.
                      The US had several. AZON, BAT, GORGON, among others.

                      Gorgon in various configurations:





                      BAT: Used in the Pacific in late 1944 - 45



                      USAAF radio guided glide bombs: The GB 1 in 1942 - 43.



                      AZON guided bomb used in Burma 1944.




                      The evaluation team exhibited the same kind of mirth presented here. That does not mean it wouldn’t have worked.

                      Edwards Deming https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming presented his ideas of quality control to every American car manufactured and they all showed him the door and laughed behind his back. The Japanese listened and started kicking our butt. Toyota became the biggest car manufacturer and GM went bankrupt. Sorry to tell you but the world is round and the earth revolves around the sun, both ideas that took centuries to become common knowledge. There are literally hundreds of ideas that took a long time to be adopted and hundreds more that were never adopted because different or more timely options came along.
                      Deming is the tip of a enormous iceburg on the subject of manufacturing and industrial engineering, my degree background. GM failed in the 70's and 80's primarily through over application of automation on assembly lines. They did this to reduce labor costs because the UAW had overpriced autoworker labor. Toyota (and other manufacturers) continued to use more manual labor in the assembly process getting higher reliability.
                      GM went bankrupt primarily because of the cost of union retirement plans. That is what Obama's bail out of them was primarily for.

                      Sorry to tell you, but your marginal grasp of these subjects just doesn't cut the mustard outside of fictional stories.
                      Last edited by T. A. Gardner; 21 Oct 15, 20:29.

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                      • #12
                        Damn. lost track of this one.
                        I’ll bite and take on a few of these before getting to the meat of the matter.
                        Singapore was lost primarily because of two reasons: First, the Commonwealth troops there were almost all very green recruits with little training beyond their basic skills. Second, the command was hidebound and bureaucratic not taking all precautions against attack.
                        Why were there only green recruits and bad command assigned to the empires premier fortress in the Pacific? Answer: It was racism pure and simple. The British establishment, along with the US, just couldn’t wrap their minds around the threat Japan posed. “Caricatures of them began to display disproportionately large heads, distinctly small and squinted eyes, improbably large glasses, and laughably prominent front teeth.”












                        The Blitzkrieg in France succeeded mainly because the French had an incredibly poor military doctrine.
                        Caused by failure to recognize a good idea when it was presented to them by their own Charles de Gualle.

                        In Poland it was simply overwhelming the Polish Army. The "Blitz" really made no difference.
                        Same reason as above for France.

                        Pearl Harbor was a case of a peacetime military being surprised attacked.
                        Racism once again along with the British.

                        Let's simplify this set of statements.

                        Are you are contending that there are every idea is rejected solely on a logical and factual basis? That such things as politics, other agendas, religion, stupidity, racism, lack of imagination etc. have no bearing on the rejection of innovative ideas? If you are, you are dead wrong.

                        I would state that you don't get to choose the engagement angle most of the time, particularly with the SAM's. But, since for roughly 70 to 80% of the flight of a Wasserfall clone the bird won't even see the target, it is unlikely it's going to hit anything anyway. At 15 miles (about the max possible range for such a missile) the target is the same as viewing a 1/72nd scale B-29 model at 1100 feet, nearly a quarter of a mile.
                        Are you saying that a pilot closing at a rate of 600 mph could not ram a B-29? Happened close to a hundred times over Japan near the end of the war when the Japanese were on their last legs. Russians had a special unit to do just that. Best angle to attack a B-17 was from 12 o'clock high. If you wanted to survive you had to fire at between 800 and 300 feet and then evade. If you wanted to hit the bomber you could do that.

                        For shits and grins I created a mission in IL2 1946 Flight Simulator.

                        I know…I know T.A. will dismiss this out of hand. He will disregard all the factors that the new modded simulator has incorporated, denigrate it and dismiss it out of hand. I personally trust a bunch of anal retentive programmers more than a fellow who cherry picks facts and occasionally makes them up so he never has to admit he’s wrong. For others who know how much time and effort it took the programmers to get the physics correct, you will appreciate this.

                        At a closing speed of 1500 kph I was able to hit a B-29 with a Me 163 Comet three out of 20 times and come close enough to set off a proximity type fuse 50% of the time. As T.A. said it is very hard.

                        Three out of 20 is 15%. I have a 10% hit rate in my story, so not too bad.

                        Next T.A. will go on about the proximity fuse. My answer to that is, you can teach a pigeon to hit a special detonation button when the planes got to be a certain size. Peck, peck at images on the screen when they get big enough peck the red button, WHAM. Pretty easy to do actually.

                        Video here

                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNlT...ature=youtu.be

                        That assumes clear atmosphere. Haze, clouds, sun position, will all shorten that viewing range substantially. It's not like Russia has nice sunny weather most of the year.

                        For example, your story has the US attacking Leningrad. Cloud cover there is almost a certainty. The median cloud cover there is overcast with 97% cloud. Therefore, your missile system is dealing with the attackers being invisible to ground observation and would be for most of a missile's flight.
                        I acknowledged that if the US knew that the missile was visually guided they could do many things to defeat it. Flares would not work however, as Skinner tested the birds and they passed and never missed a peck.

                        From data on the V2 which performed ballistically very similarly. It pulled 8G's during its boost phase of flight.
                        And of course there would be no maneuvering at 8 Gs and even if there was the birds would still perform. Skinner tested that too as I have informed you already.

                        I am amazed at your ability to reject the scientific method, meticulous data collection, controlled experiments, rigorous attention to detail, and highly realistic simulated conditions and just plain common sense in your quest to be contrary. I have to assume that you have a problem with logical thinking if you can reject out of hand Skinner’s studies and experiments for no apparent reason. Nobody and I mean nobody has found any flaws in Skinner's experiments. They were performed to the highest scientific standards and still stand today as a model of how to conduct an experiment.

                        By the way do you still reject that global warming is man-made? How about Intel flights over the USSR etc.? Just another example of your inability to look at the facts objectively and come to a logical conclusion if it makes you look bad. Just asking.

                        This is just a mis-mash of logical fallacies. Taking real examples: A Sagger missile operator with thousands of training launches simulated and real hits a stationary tank at 3000 meters just 80% of the time and a moving one less than 40% of the time. Slower target, slower missile, larger sight picture.
                        Larger sight picture but more ground clutter than a big silver airplane in a bright blue sky going in a straight line, with a contrail pointing out their location. Sorry not comparable.

                        So, yes, I'm trying to tell you that a mach 2 missile closing on a target moving several hundred miles an hour and from a range of say a mile or two which it will cover in a matter of under 5 seconds is going to miss using optical control, particularly an optical system with a very limited field of view.

                        The SA-2 Guideline SAM in Vietnam against maneuvering aircraft had about a 6% success rate. Against non-maneuvering aircraft it was about 15%. In the face of countermeasures it fell to about 1%.
                        Not a maneuvering target, not going mach 2, Kamikaze and the German fighters closed on their attacks on US bombers from the front when they hit with bullets and their planes and there no counter measures. And I have a 10% success rate in my story.

                        The main outcome is creating holes and breaking up the bomber formations so the Soviet fighters have a better success rate. There is no wiping the skies clean, no replacing the interceptor just another tool in the toolbox.

                        The US and Britain aren't stupid. They'd know what the planted stuff was in short order and determine it couldn't do what was being observed.
                        How in the world could you possibly make such a jump of ill-logic without knowing the circumstances etc. You know the real story on how the British won the Battle of the Beams...right? Look up The M Room by Helen Fry. Could the US and Brits have broken the Enigma without the Polish providing an actual machine? You do know how badly our rocket program was going before we brought Van Brown into the mix...oh that's right, you’re going to go into another one of your revisionist histories.

                        You are simply brushing aside the technical issues to make the idea workable. PFM is fine in fiction, if you are willing to admit it's PFM.
                        No, you are just brushing aside the scientific method, logic, facts, recorded successful demonstrations, data collection, yada yada yada. You seem to come to conclusions by piecing together handpicked, esoteric and unrelated data that may or may not be accurate or in your case just plain made up. In the Wasserfal matter and others, you were shall we say, economical with the truth.

                        FYI
                        1. Pigeons have the capacity to share attention between different dimensions of a stimulus, but (like humans and other animals) their performance with multiple dimensions is worse than with a single stimulus dimension.
                        2. Pigeons can be taught relatively complex actions and response sequences, and can learn to make responses in different sequences.
                        3. Pigeons readily learn to respond in the presence of one simple stimulus and withhold responding in the presence of a different stimulus, or to make different responses in the presence of different stimuli. Loud noises, bright lights, female pigeons,
                        4. Pigeons can see much better than humans.
                        5. Pigeons readily learn to make discriminative responses to different categories of stimuli, defined either by arbitrary rules (e.g. green triangles) or by human concepts (e.g. pictures of human beings).
                        6. It has been proven that pigeons can withstand huge G forces.
                        7. A pressurized capsule that would keep one pigeon alive and pecking long enough and be small enough to replace the original wire guidance system of the X-4 AAM.
                        8. Pigeons seem to have difficulty in dealing with problems involving classes of classes. Thus they do not do very well with the isolation of a relationship among variables, as against a representation of a set of exemplars.
                        9. Pigeons can remember large numbers of individual images for a long time, e.g. hundreds of images for periods of several years.


                        Deming is the tip of an enormous iceburg on the subject of manufacturing and industrial engineering, my degree background. GM failed in the 70's and 80's primarily through over application of automation on assembly lines. They did this to reduce labor costs because the UAW had overpriced autoworker labor. Toyota (and other manufacturers) continued to use more manual labor in the assembly process getting higher reliability.GM went bankrupt primarily because of the cost of union retirement plans. That is what Obama's bail out of them was primarily for.
                        Your Alma mater should ask you to give back your diploma. Where did you go to school the University of Iacocca Planned Obsolescence College or how about Jack Welsh Ship Jobs Overseas University or maybe Friedman Privatize and Steal Graduate School? This one… How to Not Pay Taxes, The Exon Mobil Campus? How about the Carl Icahn Steal Pension Funds State University. I know it’s The Trickle Down Chicago School of Regressive Economics. No wait, I got it..., The Six Days to Create the Flat Earth, Creationism, and Revisionist School of John Barton.

                        Sorry to tell you, but your marginal grasp of these subjects just doesn't cut the mustard outside of fictional stories.
                        Your revisionist take on history and unsupported economic theories, are of no interest to me. I wasted a lot of time in the past tracking down your calculated and intentional errors on the Wasserfal, the start of US intelligence overflights of the USSR, and a number of other subjects.

                        The end result is that I no longer value your opinion. I certainly don’t care what you think about me or the quality and quantity of my knowledge base. I would much rather make the occasional error and correct it rather than compromise my integrity in order to continue the documented facade of infallibility.
                        www.wwiii1946.blogspot.com
                        http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

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                        • #13
                          I simply can't believe you have the patience to reply to this stuff! It does make for a good laugh, but taking it apart point by point... wow.
                          Michele

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                          • #14
                            I get tired of the BS sometimes. There actually is some good information that is posted. You just have to sift through the mostly pertinent information to weed out the stuff that pulled out of their ass.
                            When it looks like they are about to have to admit they were wrong, that's when they start making stuff up.
                            www.wwiii1946.blogspot.com
                            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hairog View Post
                              When it looks like they are about to have to admit they were wrong, that's when they start making stuff up.

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