Tag: cats and keyboards

Study: 83% Of All Zoom Participants’ Screens Display Cat Butts

More than four out of every five Zoom feeds are taken up by feline posteriors, a new study has found.

The research, “Felis Catus Rears In Online Meetings” was published this month in the Journal of Cats and Technology.

“With so many people working from home during the pandemic we had a wealth of data, including more than 400,000 hours of recorded Zoom meetings,” said Mo Muntervary, the study’s lead author. “Using a proprietary AI to analyze the data, we found that in approximately 332,000 hours of that footage, the Zoom meeting participants were either partly or completely obscured by the rear ends of their cats.”

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Between March of 2020, when the US and Europe went into lockdown, and July of 2021, virtually every meeting in the information industries was run by participants looking at the behinds of their co-workers’ cats, the study found.

“I can pick my co-workers’ cats’ butts out of a police lineup,” said Yuzu Daimon, 32, a hospitality executive in Tokyo. “If I see a screen dominated by the behind of a chonky tuxedo, I know AI Imajo from creative has joined the meeting. If I see orange and black Bengal butt, I know it’s Hirotaro Tanaka in accounting.”

Some say they prefer the view over the normal dour expressions of colleagues working from home.

“Some of my best creative ideas of the past two years have come from staring at a screen full of cat butts,” said Luisa Rey, a writer for Spyglass Magazine in New York.

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Conventional wisdom holds that cats park themselves in front of web cameras because they’re trying to draw the attention of their humans, but that may not be the case according to some experts.

“We have to consider the possibility that this is intentional on the part of felines,” said cat behaviorist Selina Kyle. “They may be trying to tell us they’re tired of people infringing on their alone time, when people were in the office before COVID changed everything. They may be looking to annoy us in retaliation for us annoying them, and if this is indeed a battle of annoyingness, then I’m afraid it’s a battle humankind cannot win. We are simply outgunned.”

NASA: We’re Pretty Sure Cats Can’t Commandeer Our Spacecraft

If you’re a cat servant working from home in the social distancing era, you know cats have given themselves a new job: Supervising their humans’ professional activities.

It comes naturally to curious felines, who normally supervise mundane household chores like cleaning the litter box.

Among those working from home these days are NASA and ESA engineers, physicists and anyone else whose primary work responsibility is dealing with data rather than hands-on technical work. Many of them have cats and, well, cats are naturally helping themselves to the work:

Daniel Lakey was in the middle of an important meeting when an unauthorized participant decided to chime in.

“He appeared at the door, jumped on the table, meowed in my face, walked across the keyboard, put his furry ass in my face, and eventually curled up sweetly on the desk next to the laptop,” Lakey recounted to me recently.

It was Sparkle, Lakey’s fluffy brown-and-white cat. Sparkle stuck around for the rest of the virtual meeting, in fact, mewing every time Lakey stopped petting him.

Like many people in the pandemic era, Lakey is doing his job from home, with a new set of colleagues who might be less cooperative than his usual ones; his new workspace is now wherever his two young kids and two cats aren’t. Lakey is a spacecraft-operations engineer who works on the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter, which means that he spends his days managing a spacecraft flying millions of miles away from Earth. The work is complex and precise, and usually doesn’t involve feline input. Sparkle interrupted a teleconference only that one time, but what else could he do?

That thought recently became a point of public discussion when Amber Straughn, an astrophysicist at NASA, tweeted:

 

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The Atlantic’s Marina Koren reached out to Straughn, who assured her “commanding spacecraft is a labyrinthian process from start to finish, with all kinds of checks and fail-safes along the way.”

“As absurd as the scenario might seem, it would be nearly impossible for a cat to briefly become a spacecraft-operations engineer, whether at NASA or ESA,” Koren wrote, after speaking to several NASA employees who assured her cats aren’t capable of flying the complex vessels.

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LOL humans think we can’t fly spaceships.

Most operations require physical access to control rooms and can’t be operated remotely, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory spokesman Andrew Good said

“Some of those commands require a mouse clicking on certain options, so it’s not just an issue of commands being written and sent up with typos,” Good told The Atlantic. “A person has to make conscious choices for spacecraft commands to go up.”

While NASA says it would be “nearly impossible” for cats to hijack spacecraft normally used to service orbital telescopes or make supply runs to the International Space Station, cats love a good challenge. And what is the ISS, really, but a big metal box that would be fun to play in?

With at least one alien race recognizing cats as the supreme rulers of Earth — sorry, Felinia — is it really far fetched to imagine cats commandeering spacecraft to explore the final frontier and the Great Big Litter Box in the Sky?

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