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Author Topic: The Tribble Effect  (Read 23863 times)
Kesvirit
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« on: 07 03, 2002, 07:15: AM »



. Today’s topic is:
The Tribble Effect

What I want to know is: why do the furry little maggots make me shiver and
cause my livers to become entangled in my intestines? True, the pelts are
useful for fashoning warm clothing -- if you can keep the bile in your
throat down long enough to get your blade through their tough hides. And
they do make good eating if you want to take the time to marinate them
under pressure in very strong wine for several months.

But first you have to force yourself to drown out the hideous screeching
and actually get near them. What is it that causes such an instinctively
anatagonistic reaction? I have put the question to others; no one has come
up with an answer. All have merely growled at me and questioned my
credentials as a Klingon. The results were not pretty.

So I put the question to my fellow netizens: why do Klingons and tribbles
hate one another so much? I have only come up with two possible hypotheses,
neither of which is testable. The first is a matter of pheremones. As a
defense mechanism the tribbles have developed a scent to be released at the
approach of potential predators (and everyone knows that deep down a
Klingon will consider trying to eat most animals at least once, just to see
what they taste like). The scent wraps itself around the hindbrain (the
most primitive part of the vertebrate brain, where the olfactory response
centers are) and drives the predator away, much in the manner of how a
skunk’s scent repels. The difference is that with pheremones, the scent
doesn’t consciously register -- it goes straight past the frontal lobes to
create the “instinctual” response.

The problem with this scenario is, how do they know that a Klingon
is a threat, while a human or a Vulcan is not? The easy answer is that our
reputation proceeds us, but the wretched little furballs aren’t exactly
warp drive specialists. For that matter, I can easily envision a human
eating them too. As a species humans are quite adept at exploiting food
resources, and not all of them are seduced by soft and cuddly things. Yet
tribbles seem to take to humans quite readily.

As for that terrible noise they make -- I’m guessing that, too, is a
defense mechanism, and is at a frequency that is coincidentally at a
particularly sensitive point in the Klingon range of hearing, much as the
sound of fingernails on a blackboard is to humans.

The only other thing I can think of is is that by coincidence the two
species share some sort of severe mutual antigenic (allergic) reaction. I
can’t really account for it, unless it is just another inexplicable cosmic
coincidence (or more likely a handly plot device).

Any thoughts?

 - Kesvirit
« Last Edit: 04 20, 2008, 12:26: AM by Spiderbot Scatologist » Logged

Richard the Sound Guy: "And the next person to lecture me about canon risks getting shot out of one! Right, gaffers?"
Gaffers make appreciative and supportive remarks in the form of bad imitations of primate calls from the direction of the lighting grids.
Ambassador Lady K'Zin
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« Reply #1 on: 07 03, 2002, 05:41: PM »

I think that the pheromone "battle" is two-sided and that, unlike the scent
of a human or Vulcan, which is far more "docile". the aggressive scent
given off by Klingons is much more clear as a threat to the furry little
buggers (or maybe it's because some of our brethren haven't bathed in
days...)  Wink .

After all, it is well known that we savour the scent of our Mate (as
evidenced by Worf and K'Ehleyr when they first reunited aboard the
Enterprise).

Their reaction to the proximity to Klingons sets off their screeching,
which is a form of alert to other tribbles in the area to "get out of
Dodge." I also agree that their screech must be coincidentally just at the
right pitch to stagger even the boldest of warriors, much like a sonic
disrupter pistol.

By the way, I do have tribble-hide sleeves on my diplomatic dress
tunic and "Tribbles 'n Bits" is an ancient and honoured recipe in House
Kasara. Wink

When we go hunting for them, we go prepared with noise-cancelling ear plugs
tuned to just that frequency...
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:10: AM by Kesvirit » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 07 04, 2002, 12:24: AM »

Quote
When we go hunting for them, we go prepared with noise-cancelling ear plugs tuned to just that frequency...

So another words their no tribble at all.  Now where did I hear that before? Hmmmm....  Cheesy
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:12: AM by Kesvirit » Logged
kratnor
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« Reply #3 on: 07 04, 2002, 05:51: AM »

Indeed, the screaching of the tribble does seem to be a defense mechanism used to startle predators.

When I set out to slay  the Monster Tribble of Arkentoofle I plugged my ears with resin from the local bijum tree, since the locals had informed me of it's strident cries.

Whether the tribble can smell  hostile intentions is an interesting topic since the existance of any olfactory sense on them is,I believe, still in dispute. Not that anyone would want to look that closely at one of the filthy things.

Kra'tnor
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:13: AM by Kesvirit » Logged
Kesvirit
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« Reply #4 on: 07 04, 2002, 08:06: AM »



I spent much of the evening burning up Google trying to at least refine the
tribble question. (Do I know how to have a good time or what?)

It appears that my pheromones hypothesis has some serious flaws to it.
First, I’ve been spelling it wrong. Then I learned that pheromones are a
chemical means of intrasprcific communication. This makes sense when
their primary purposes are to warn off competitors of the same niche for
resources (establish territoriality), signal alarm, summon for aggregation,
and aid in finding a mate.

A pheromone isn't just a scent; the chemical pathways it takes through the
brain and the way in which its receptor sites are unique and highly
specialized. I'm not even sure that tribbles "smell" in the conventional
sense. In dissecting them I've concluded that they have no nose per se,
breathe through their mouths, and have only a very rudimentary brain that
resembles the neural net of a starfish more closely than it does to the
simple chemical processing plant that is the fish's hindbrain.

The nearest thing to pheromones that work as a chemical defense against
other species are something called allelochemicals, which are produced only
by plants as part of their excretionary process. I don’t understand enough
biochem to know why animals lack this ability. Is there a doctor in the
house who can help out with this?

Until and unless I can work this out I suppose I'm stuck with the mutual
antigen theory, which doesn't account for nearly as much.

I would be interested to hear more of Lady K'Zin's hunting strategy. I for
one don't plug my ears (though I would in stalking such supersized prey as
the Monster Tribble of Arkentoofle) when going after fresh tribble. I head
to the open woodland and slough near my home and watch for the initial
shaking in the grass and foliage. Then I approach with great stealth until
the foul furball begins to screech, at which point I throw my dagger. It
has done wonders for both my aim and distance. It also keeps me from having
to get any closer to the wretched thing than is absolutely necessary.

 - Kesvirit

« Last Edit: 04 20, 2008, 12:26: AM by Spiderbot Scatologist » Logged

Richard the Sound Guy: "And the next person to lecture me about canon risks getting shot out of one! Right, gaffers?"
Gaffers make appreciative and supportive remarks in the form of bad imitations of primate calls from the direction of the lighting grids.
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« Reply #5 on: 07 04, 2002, 10:05: PM »

On the topic of pheromones: While it is true that they are species specific, if there is some sort of pheromone connection, it could mean that there is some evolutionary connection between tribbles and Klingons under which this connection developed.  I'm unsure if this has ever been studied, but it is an interesting proposal.

Personally, when hunting the wretched furballs, I prefer masking their screeching with some good heavy metal, either via headphones, or really big speakers.  Then again, I can't think of many times that I don't enjoy loud heavy metal. Smiley

Just remember, that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.  So surviving the hunt without blocking their screeching, is truly the mark of a warrior.


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« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:15: AM by Kesvirit » Logged
Kesvirit
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« Reply #6 on: 07 05, 2002, 12:22: AM »

If pheromones are by definition intraspecific, then there is no way they could apply here, anymore than allelochemicals could as they are by definition produced by plants. I don't understand the chemistry behind it, but apparently the processes are very different.

As for an evolutionary connection between Klingons and tribbles, one or both acting as a selection factor upon the other, that is certainly possible. Since tribbles are born pregnant they would represent some sort of ultimate r factor in reproductive strategies; I think I read somewhere that they can drop a new litter of 8-12 every eight hours. And at least some of these litters would be the result of asexual reproduction. If a Klingon found a nest of tribbles devouring a food source and stomped the little suckers flat, the genetic identicality of any surviving relatives that weren't at that site at that moment could respond to the threat with a fortunate random mutation that would prevent their extinction by that particular threat (the Klingon). In this case that defense mechanism would be the screeching plus the...whatever it is that I keep trying to identify here. This may, however, beg part of my original question, which is: just how do tribbles recognize Klingons in the first place?

Or, if they have some way of periodically incorporating new genetic material, as do many grass spp by alternating generations between sexual and asexual reproduction, any resulting anti-Klingon trait would spread quickly throughout the population due to the rapid birthrate. It is also this extremely short intergenerational span which would bypass the need for the two species to have had to have evolved together in the same environment over thousands or millions of years, which is the usual way of achieving this sort of mutual interspecies response.

An aside: by this reasoning, tribbles would have the potential to speciate/evolve in different directions extremely quickly.

Anyway. I hope that at least some of this makes sense. I'm trying to summarize a complicated argument without using too many big words and I haven't had enough sleep in a long time.

Quote
Personally, when hunting the wretched furballs, I prefer masking their screeching with some good heavy metal, either via headphones, or really big speakers. Then again, I can't think of many times
that I don't enjoy loud heavy metal. Smiley Just remember, that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. So surviving the hunt without blocking their screeching, is truly the mark of a warrior.

I question the proverb that that which does not kill us makes us stronger. On the contrary, upon repeated exposure it wears us down and makes us less able to protect ourselves. It has always been my contention that that which does not kill us, must have missed us.

As for my undertaking the hunt without protecting my ears -- this is hardly the mark of a great warrior, but simply part of a strategy. I hold no delusions about my being a warrior.

Tribbles -- at least the varieties with which I am familiar --  begin to vibrate right before they screech, and being on the lookout for the quivering in the brush heips to hone my peripheral vision and to develop an overall awareness of my environment. A useful skill to have, when such a large part of one's life involves trying not to get oneself killed or worse. Furthermore, if I can confirm the source of the movement, hurl my blade, and strike my target before it starts screeching, I am spared the brain-shaking noise altogether. Such is the sucrose compound upon the pastry.

 - Kesvirit
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:23: AM by Kesvirit » Logged

Richard the Sound Guy: "And the next person to lecture me about canon risks getting shot out of one! Right, gaffers?"
Gaffers make appreciative and supportive remarks in the form of bad imitations of primate calls from the direction of the lighting grids.
Kesvirit
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« Reply #7 on: 07 05, 2002, 01:14: AM »

Quote
Furthermore, if I can confirm the source of the movement, hurl my blade, and strike my target before it starts screeching, I am spared the brain-shaking noise altogether.


Confirmation of the source of movement before throwing is important. I can't stress this enough, people. It just doesn't do to kill a neighbor's pet or child. To do so would be extremely dishonorable, and be of great detriment to the Houses of all involved. So unless you're trying to start a feud/civil war/intergalactic incident....
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:25: AM by Kesvirit » Logged

Richard the Sound Guy: "And the next person to lecture me about canon risks getting shot out of one! Right, gaffers?"
Gaffers make appreciative and supportive remarks in the form of bad imitations of primate calls from the direction of the lighting grids.
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« Reply #8 on: 09 25, 2002, 02:28: AM »



THE Point, the point of having Klingons act the way they do around Tribbles
is the simple humor of it all, here the strong warriors who are never
afraid, react like frightened school girls scared by a snake.

But to make this make sense, I would say that the idea that the tribble
gives off something that the Klingons pick up and react to is interesting.
The tribble has no visible means of defense, and as we learned that they
live on a predator-rich environment, as such they survive by sheeer
numbers. I don't believe the tribble scream is anthing but the warning cry
of a helpless animal on their world, but, again the sound of the tribble is
painful to a Klingon, why?.....

Have to think more...
« Last Edit: 04 20, 2008, 12:26: AM by Spiderbot Scatologist » Logged
tmk1000
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« Reply #9 on: 02 05, 2003, 03:44: AM »

Maybe it is the same thing as how earth's dogs can smell. just a guess but mayby they can smell aggression in us (just a guess)  huh


tmk1000
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:27: AM by Kesvirit » Logged

{ro'qegh'Iwchab HInob.}

"May your coordinates be free of tribbles."
   {QuvlIjDaq yIH tu'be'lu'jaj.}
tmk1000
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« Reply #10 on: 02 22, 2003, 12:25: AM »

Has anybody seen this funny post on all the things you can do with tribbles?
http://www.eridani.demon.co.uk/tlhIngan/tribbles2.html



tmk1000
« Last Edit: 04 26, 2008, 09:28: AM by Kesvirit » Logged

{ro'qegh'Iwchab HInob.}

"May your coordinates be free of tribbles."
   {QuvlIjDaq yIH tu'be'lu'jaj.}
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