As pointed out below, what you're saying is the opposite of what the researchers are saying.
The question is not whether or not an animal is able to navigate. All animals do navigation of some kind.
The question is how the animal navigates. The researchers are arguing that instead of using landmarks ("I've reached the big tree, I should turn left now"), they're relying on a mental map ("I started 20 paces forward and 5 paces left of my destination, and I've gone 20 paces forward, so I still need to go 5 paces left.")
If people here would actually take the time to read the actual research, they'd probably learn something. Instead, what I usually see is people make an assumption about what they think the research is (often aided by a poor blurb), fit it into something they already know, and dismiss it as irrelevant.
What Hoare is talking about is designing the language so that the entire concept of a null reference is impossible. That is, if you wrote a program that might result in a null reference, then your program would not compile.
The point is that the example compiles, even though the behavior is undefined.
What Hoare is talking about is designing a language such that null references are impossible.
It would help immensely if you just put in a link to a recent news article summarizing what's going on. It wasn't until I found an article in Harvard's newspaper that I knew the basics of the situation.
Very much so. I had to Google Charles Nesson to figure out the context. It would help if along with the new stuff, he linked to a news article summarizing the latest.