02 June, 2009

Chaos Theory

A butterfly flaps its wings in China...

And the cats walk across a Casio WK-401 keyboard in Seattle, causing it to launch into "Demo Mode" at some arbitrary time between 9:30am and 8:05pm, playing entire compositions of every conceivable genre of music, which radiates from my open windows at a volume of around 75dB.

The neighbors must have been ready to pull out all of their hair.

I have left alarm clocks ringing all day long, by accident, in the past. And I think that is something that is clearly annoying, but at least people understand what has happened, and can direct a very specific form of anger at the culprit. But this was just odd. I come home and, somewhere on my street, I hear blaring smooth jazz music. Then I realize that "somewhere" is my bedroom. And I immediately knew what caused it, though I marveled at the randomness of it.

Cat #1 or Cat #2 must have walked across the keyboard to obtain access to the window seat (not uncommon). Cat #1 or Cat #2 must have, either on ascent or descent, stepped on the power button for the Casio WK-401 electronic keyboard (improbable, but not inconceivable - call it 1 in 50 odds). Then, Cat #1 or Cat #2 must have again walked across the Casio WK-401 at some point in time, and stepped on the "Demo" button (if equally probable, the composite probabilities would multiply to 1 in 50 x 50 = 1 in 2500).

It's so bizarre that I almost want to test the theory of whether my estimate of 1 in 50 is accurate. But I don't think I have enough data to do it. The 1 in 50 would have to represent the number of times that something will be depressed, out of the number of times that the cats walk across the keyboard. But it now occurs to me, the math is not so simple.

The first event MUST be the power button, or else the other key presses do nothing. Once the power is on, there could be several different buttons that would cause continual music to be emitted - there's the Demo button (which we observed today); but there are also various things like starting auto-accompaniment, or starting the drum beats. And then, I suppose there is the chance that Cat #1 or Cat #2 could subsequently step on another button that stops the music, or turns the power off. Of course, there, we are getting into the realm of "free will" questions - perhaps the cats wanted the music on?

The only way to do this scientifically would be to point the damn webcam at the keyboard all day long, and count the number of times the cats walk across it. And then see how often music is on when I get home. And even that would not do justice, because I cannot rule out the possibility of a cat laying down on the keyboard itself, which might greatly increase chances of something being depressed. Of course, the only things that were definitely depressed today were the neighbors.

(a final note: I am amused that I had the perfect tags for this blog available in my tag list)

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome...I always feel like my cats know exactly what they're doing