Dino Walk

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Idle Nonsense, Technophilia

This YouTube video is rather startling:

There is a reason why the entire room is screaming continuously: they’re scared! And they ought to be. It took me a little while to spot the human legs in the middle of the dinosaur, which has probably been rescaled to fit the operator. We tend to focus on the dino’s eyes and extrapolate the direction of his gaze.

I can’t help wondering, though, whether it isn’t on some level extremely foolish to have kids petting fake dinosaurs and having footraces with them. Sure, it’s titillating and exciting, but it also inhibits our natural response to large animals, which is fear and wariness. The effects of desensitization have been obvious for years: people who want to feed bears or pet tigers or swim with sharks. (OK, swimming with sharks is probably less dangerous than we’re led to believe.) So they take unbelievable risks of profound stupidity, like jumping into the lion habitat at the zoo to get a cell phone video with their new buddies. Creating exhibits and environments that teach insensitivity to risk snares fools pretty reliably, those who rely wholly on the engineering of such environments to maintain personal safety. “Well, they wouldn’t build it unless it’s safe, would they?” says the idiot jumping up and down on the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Not generally, no. But inevitably, people are injured or killed in titillating exhibits, such as roller coasters and other thrill rides. That risk is probably a lot more reasonable than getting up close and intimate with animals possessing the unpredictable power to kill us.

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