I ain't tryin' to waste no liquor. I be lookin' at negroes pourin' liquor on the ground like they crazy. But when someone dies, I might go ahead and pour a little latte. Feel me?
Let's pour a little something for Alex the parrot, who passed away recently at age 31. I didn't know about Alex until learning of his passing, but apparently he's been something of an inspiration and a revelation as possibly the smartest bird on earth.
Of course scientists and others very invested in their own intelligence were still debating whether Alex (Aviation Learning EXperiment) was actually *smart* and comprehending, or just really good at parroting. I wonder the same thing about the kids on TRL. But once you read about Alex's antics there's no debating him being the cutest and coolest (culest?) bird eva...
From his "Accomplishments" section on wiki:
Alex had a vocabulary of about 150 words, but was exceptional in that he appeared to have understanding of what he said. For example, when Alex was shown an object and was asked about its shape, color, or material, he could label it correctly. If asked the difference between two objects, he also answered that, but if there was no difference between the objects, he said “none.” When he was tired of being tested, he would say “I’m gonna go away,” and if the researcher displayed annoyance, Alex tried to defuse it with the phrase, “I’m sorry.” If he said “Wanna banana”, but was offered a nut instead, he stared in silence, asked for the banana again, or took the nut and threw it at the researcher.
That's cool, and then cute comes from the NY Times:
As parrots can, he also picked up one-liners from hanging around the lab, like “calm down” and “good morning.” He could express frustration, or apparent boredom,... As she [Dr. Pepperburg] put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, she recalled, Alex looked at her and said: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”
He was found dead in his cage the next morning, Dr. Pepperberg said.
Brainy Parrot Dies, Emotive To The End [NY Times]