Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Talking Parrot

I found a wonderful story online in a format that makes it awkward so I prefer to reprint it here with a link to the original article.

This story, recounted by Larry Krauss, comes from the famous British physicist Ernest Rutherford, who told it to a great Danish physicist, Niels Bohr.

It's about a person who goes into a pet shop to buy a parrot.
He is shown a very colorful bird and told that it speaks 10 different words and its price is $500. Then he is shown a more colorful bird, with a vocabulary of 100 words, with a price of $5,000. He then sees a scruffy beast in the corner and asks how much that bird is. He is told $100,000.

"Why?" he asks. "That bird is not very beautiful at all. How many words, then, does it speak?" None, he is told. Flabbergasted, he says to the clerk, "This bird here is beautiful, and speaks 10 words and is $500. That bird over there speaks 100 words and is $5,000. How can that scruffy little bird over there, who doesn't speak a single word, be worth $100,000?"

The clerk smiles and says, "That bird thinks."

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