A Durban IT company pitted an 11-month-old bird armed with a 4GB memory stick against the ADSL service from the country's biggest web firm, Telkom.
The comparison is of course a bit contrived, but it presents the opportunity to explore some additional information about carrier pigeons:
There is no specific breed actually called "Carrier pigeon," so a Carrier pigeon is any variety that is used to carry messages.
Carrier pigeons historically carried messages only one way, to their home. They had to be transported manually before another flight. However by placing their food at one location and their home at another location, pigeons have been trained to fly back and forth up to twice a day reliably. This setup allows Pigeons to cover 160km round trip.
Thirty-two carrier pigeons have been awarded the Dickin Medal, established to honor the achievements of animals in war. Other recipients of the medal include a variety of rescue dogs, police horses, and one ships' cat - Simon, who also received a Blue Cross medal for his participation in the Yangtze Incident aboard the HMS Amethyst in 1949.
Pigeon photo credit Wikipedia.
Question:Does any reader know whether the U.S. military branches present equivalent honors to animals?
Answer: "In the United States, war dogs who put their own lives on the line to save humans cannot be awarded any kind of medal or commendation. We used to give such awards. But during the Vietnam War, families of Vietnam veterans complained that giving medals to canines dishonors veterans who win medals. The Defense Department rescinded all medals awarded to animals, including the one awarded Stubby, the heroic Pit Bull from Connecticut who saved so many lives in World War I." (From an article in the Examiner of Nashville Tennessee.) Hat tip to the Artful Dodger.