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Scratch Monkey Story 11 january 2004 This morning I spoke for an hour with Laura Creighton who wrote the device driver for the equipment between the monkeys and the computer This incident happened at the University of Toronto in late November of 1979 or 1980 The zoology department had used digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters in a large number of experiments including attempting to synthesize pheromones to reduce breeding of beetles that fed on tobacco crops some rat neurological experiments and some cricket behaviorpopulation studies The rat experiments involved implanting electrodes in the rats brains and the rats experienced some pain The Humane Society learned of this and raised complaints resulting in the shutting down of the zoology department for a day while the experiment was stopped The University of Toronto has the third or fourth most respected zoology department in the world and wanted to maintain that prestige so there was lots of screaming to avoid having such a thing happening again The various data from the experiments was collected by PDP-1105 front ends and sent to an 1144 Laura Creighton had written the software for this fixing a problem they had previously with the 1144 not being fast enough to collect the data by itself This was being done for 16 to 18 experiments The folks in the physiology section of the Department of Medicine separate from Science which contained the zoology department had bought their first VAX an 11780 and wanted a similar set-up So Laura Creighton and the zoology department agreed to set up their software for this The physiology people decided not to use 1105s in between since the VAX was fast enough to handle the data So five monkeys were fitted with caps intended to sense brain waves and the caps were attached to various A-to-D and D-to-A converters which were US Army surplus from 1956 which were in turn connected to the VAX This connection was
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