Crows and Coins

Or: Extrapolations from Josh Klein’s Vending Machine

When I first read about Josh Klein’s “Crow Vending Machine” I laughed. It seemed funny as hell somehow. After heading over to Klein’s site to read some more about his invention and intentions I stopped laughing. For one thing it’s supervillian clever. Successfully training crows to scour the earth for cash with nothing more than the promise of a peanutty reward is ingenious. More than that though I stopped laughing because I began thinking about the crows themselves and couldn’t help but extrapolate…

03.08. filed under: ideas. observations. play.

Heard about the crows penchant for shiny things years ago. They hoard and love “Shiny.” So not too sure if they’ll give up loot for handouts. Unless of course they talk to each other. Have heard crows can talk, like parrots. And has anyone else noticed the size of crows differs from state to state? Missouri crows (at least in the St. Louis area) are huge. While crows in Colorado are about the size of pidgeons. Not sure if anyone is a “bird man” reading this. Would love to hear more, kaw!!!

Unless the population has mingled with ravens, then—nevermore!


posted on 03.09 at 12:48 AM.

That winged head is fierce! I would totally wear that for Halloween.

Now, about the crows… perhaps they could be taught to steal nuclear launch codes…

posted on 03.09 at 08:23 PM.

I am fascinated by the crows here in the paved over swamplands of south florida as they do a spectacular sort of wing clapping after each crow call, slapping their wings against their bodies in cacophonous response. Clearly they have heated conversations whilst perched atop towering parking lot street lamps. I have stood outside my car on numerous occasions, head tilted upward, listening to the raucous and rhythmic crowing-pause-clapping, crowing-pause-clapping succession, all the while procrastinating my entrance into the wilds of Super Target.

posted on 03.15 at 11:00 PM.

I have nothing intelligent to say, except that that was damn funny.

posted on 04.14 at 03:18 PM.

Caw cawing shiny caw caw cawing peanut caw caw caw shiny shiny caw

posted on 05.06 at 03:28 PM.

I’ve just come across the nonist a few minutes ago and find it not only amusing and stimulating, but also comforting. Why comforting? I’ve found another nerd not shy of flowery language, long sentences with multiple clauses and sub-clauses strung neatly together, and a wonderful mix of high- and lowbrow humour.

As for the crows—forgive the general, off-topic first paragraph—they are very smart birds indeed! With the relatively quick passage of crow generations, who knows what one abstract concept passed from us to them could spawn in one of our generations? Crow commerce? Corvine banks and debtors prisons? Rampant economic disparity and class discrimination in the corvine community?

posted on 05.09 at 08:19 PMAbram

I just watched Mr. Klein talk about this at  Here is the link:

Most of it is covered in your post above, but he has a few more anctodes about how smart crows are.  Also, after you’ve watched his video, you can click around and watch all kinds of other presentations. I can get sucked into TED for hours!  Thought you might appreciate it as well.

Love your extrapolation of crows in a monetary society!

posted on 05.21 at 09:08 AMDreamybee

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