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Old 10-29-2008, 10:21 AM   #751
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Chimps compile Nixon-style 'enemies list'

Chimpanzees have at least one thing in common with the late US president Richard Nixon: tracking those who do them favours and putting those who don't come up to scratch on an "enemies list".

Nearly 3000 hours of observations of wild chimpanzees show that they keep tabs on which of the troop has groomed them the most – returning the favour to frequent groomers, while freezing out the selfish ones.

In a way, grooming works like currency in chimpanzees, says Cristina Gomes, a behavioural ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "If you don't have a set price, then you're susceptible to being cheated and cooperation would probably break down."

Among chimpanzees, grooming seems to be a hygienic practice to pluck parasites off fur, as well as a social glue between related and unrelated apes, she says.
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Old 10-29-2008, 10:23 AM   #752
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Thoreau Is Rediscovered as a Climatologist
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:09 AM   #753
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http://technology.newscientist.com/c...dId=tech_rss20

INSTANT messaging may appear a detached way to interact, but it turns out to be no bar to communicating what you are feeling. And just as with talking face-to-face, these emotions are contagious.

Jeffrey Hancock and his team at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, asked 44 pairs of volunteers to chat online for 15 to 20 minutes. They were asked to find out more about each other and to discuss something that was worrying them. Earlier, one person in each pair had watched either a harrowing scene from the film Sophie's Choice, or a clip from another film depicting small talk.

The team found not only that each participant could accurately assess their partner's mood, but that those paired with someone who had watched Sophie's Choice felt sadder than before the chat.
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Old 10-29-2008, 11:11 AM   #754
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http://technology.newscientist.com/c...dId=tech_rss20

diabetes-spice

If you've ever eaten West African cuisine, you may have come across the pungent peppery spice known as grains of paradise or Aframomum melegueta, a member of the ginger family that grows well in the swamps along the coast.

The spice has long been known in African folklore as a medicine that aids digestion and now western scientists say it might also be a powerful diabetes treatment.

Ilya Raskin, a plant biologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, has tested an extract of A. melegueta on diabetic mice and says it produces a significant drop in their blood sugar levels.

Raskin says the extract could help to prevent the onset of diabetes in people at high risk and could be given prophylactically to individuals who have a family history of diabetes, or have other risk factors for developing such disease.

In Africa, the plant seeds are chewed on cold days to "promote" body warmth and are used extensively as a food spice.

This has suggested a number of novel ways in which the extract could be marketed, perhaps as a food additive, as an "ethical" drug, a dietary supplement, or even as a cosmetic product having biologically active ingredients.

Raskin is patenting the technique for producing the extract, but offers no word on its effectiveness in humans.

Read the full diabetes spice patent application
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:12 PM   #755
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:25 PM   #756
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http://www.redicecreations.com/speci...nealgland.html


When Luke found out that the pineal gland - a little gland in the center of the brain, responsible for a very large range of regulating activities (it produces serotonin and melatonin) - was also a calcifying tissue, like the teeth and the bones, she hypothesized it would concentrate fluoride to very high levels. The gland is not protected by the blood brain rate of blood, second only to the Luke had 11 cadavers analyzed in the UK. As she predicted she found astronomically high levels of fluoride in the calcium hydroxy apatite crystals produced by the gland. The average was 9000 ppm and went as high as 21,000 in one case. These levels are at, or higher, than fluoride levels in the bones of people suffering from skeletal fluorosis. It is these findings which have just been published. It is the ramifications of these findings which have yet to be published. In the second half of her work she treated animals (Mongolian gerbils) with fluoride at a crack pineal gland research unit at the University of Surrey, UK (so there is no question about the quality of this work). She found that melatonin production (as measured by the concentration of a melatonin metabolite in the urine) was lower in the animals treated with high fluoride levels compared with those treated with low levels. Luke hypothesizes that one of the four enzymes needed to convert the amino acid tryptophan (from the diet) into melatonin is being inhibited by fluoride. It could be one of the two enzymes which convert tryptophan to serotonin or one of the two which convert serotonin to melatonin. Significance? Huge. Melatonin is responsible for regulating all kinds of activities and there is a vast amount of work investigating its possible roles in aging, cancer and many other life processes.
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Old 10-29-2008, 12:37 PM   #757
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From the lizard people....to the "Octopi" people...

From the lizard people....

to the "Squid" People....


http://celticrebel.wordpress.com/200...acles-of-love/
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:13 AM   #758
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http://www.instructables.com/id/Get-...ible-Costume./

Get the LED out: The Invisible Costume.
You want to dress up for a fancy dress party, and you want to arrive in costume, but you need to cross town without drawing attention to yourself.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:14 AM   #759
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http://www.sciam.com/blog/60-second-...ano-2008-10-29

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is well known for pushing the boundaries of science and technology in search of ways to give the U.S. military an edge—robotic pack animals, self-navigating vehicles and plant-based jet fuel, to name a few. Less well known is the agency's Cold War-era investigation into how paranormal phenomena like extrasensory perception might be used by the U.S. to get a leg up on the former Soviet Union and, perhaps more importantly, by the USSR against the United States.

Working with Washington, D.C., think tank RAND Corporation, DARPA determined that paranormal research by the Soviets focused on physical science, engineering and quantifiable results, whereas their U.S. counterparts tended to be psychologists looking instead to explore the human mind. The bottom line, according to a 1973 DARPA-commissioned study entitled "Paranormal Phenomena": "the U.S. has failed to significantly advance our understanding of paranormal phenomena."

As Halloween approaches, the report serves as a reminder of our fascination with paranormal forces (for more on this, visit Sciam.com's "Science of the Occult" in-depth report). The authors were worried that the Soviets might win the race to use the supernatural to its advantage much as they had threatened to win the space race decades earlier when they launched Sputnik. "If paranormal phenomena exist," RAND analysts P. T. Van Dyke and Mario L. Juncosa concluded, "the thrust of Soviet research appears more likely to lead to explanation, control and application than [does] U.S. research."

The authors acknowledge that the study was limited, because it was based on but a sampling of works available at the time. Among them: a decade of abstracts from the parapsychology section of Psychological Abstracts, a print version of the PsycINFO abstract database of psychological literature. They knew even less about Soviet efforts, they admitted, noting that their conclusions on that front were based on a "somewhat impressionistic" sample and "some not always reliable and frequently imprecise reports of Western visitors to the Soviet Union."

Soviet research on telepathy dates from the early 1920s when a program was established at the Institute for Brain Research at Leningrad State University. The Soviets appear to have been fascinated with telepathy, which they called "biological communication," as a ship-to-shore way of communicating with submarines without using electronic equipment. They also considered training their cosmonauts to develop and use precognitive abilities to "foresee and to avoid accidents in space."
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:16 AM   #760
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http://technology.newscientist.com/a...elligence.html

Amoebas are smarter than they look, and a team of US physicists think they know why. The group has built a simple electronic circuit that is capable of the same “intelligent” behaviour as Physarum, a unicellular organism – and say this could help us understand the origins of primitive intelligence.

In recent years, the humble amoeba has surprised researchers with its ability to behave in an “intelligent” way. Last year, Liang Li and Edward Cox at Princeton University reported that the Dictyostelium amoeba is twice as likely to turn left if its last turn was to the right and vice versa, which suggests the cells have a rudimentary memory.

This year, Toshiyuki Nakagaki at Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, won an Ig Nobel prize for his work on amoeba intelligence after his team found further evidence of the amoeba memory effect. They exposed Physarum amoeba to temperatures fluctuating regularly between cold and warm. It was already known that the cells become sluggish during cold snaps, but Nakagaki's team found that the amoeba slowed down in anticipation of cold conditions, even when the temperature changes had stopped (Physical Review Letters, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.018101).
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:17 AM   #761
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/3262...-function.html


Internet 'speeds up decision making and brain function'
Internet use could improve brain function and speed up decision-making, but it comes at the expense of empathy and the ability to think in abstract terms, scientists have found.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:18 AM   #762
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main...imbuktu130.xml

Here, in this frontier town on the Sahara, one of the most challenging restoration projects in Africa is under way. Few would invest time or money in such a remote corner of the continent, but a philanthropic development agency called the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is working with local craftsmen to restore the Djingarey Ber mosque, one of the oldest and most important mud buildings in the world. In African terms, this is the equivalent of restoring St Peter's in Rome.

Timbuktu's Djingarey Ber mosque
A relic of Timbuktu's golden age: The Djingarey Ber mosque

Founded in the 14th century, and gradually adapted and enlarged, Djingarey Ber is a relic of Timbuktu's golden age, when it stood at the intersection of west African and trans-Saharan trade routes. A thriving gateway town made rich from salt, gold and slaves, it was also an epicentre of learning and education, with several respected universities and libraries.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:19 AM   #763
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http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...ru-temple.html

A 3,000-year-old temple featuring an image of a spider god may hold clues to little-known cultures in ancient Peru.

People of the Cupisnique culture, which thrived from roughly 1500 to 1000 B.C., built the temple in the Lambayeque valley on Peru's north coast.
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:21 AM   #764
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The good news: The bees are back. The bad news: they are PISSED!
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:24 AM   #765
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http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=...the-second-law

Does Nature Break the Second Law of Thermodynamics?
In seeming defiance of the second law of thermodynamics, nature is filled with examples of order emerging from chaos. A new theoretical framework resolves the apparent paradox
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:24 AM   #766
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http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/1...g-retires.html

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking Retires From Post
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Old 10-30-2008, 06:25 AM   #767
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http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2...ys-red-ho.html

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Old 10-30-2008, 06:26 AM   #768
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http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...ning-life.html

Electricity Found on Saturn Moon--Could It Spark Life?
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:12 AM   #769
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http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=defining-evil

Are You Evil? Profiling That Which Is Truly Wicked
A cognitive scientist employs malevolent logic to define the dark side of the human psyche

TROY, N.Y.—The hallowed halls of academia are not the place you would expect to find someone obsessed with evil (although some students might disagree). But it is indeed evil—or rather trying to get to the roots of evil—that fascinates Selmer Bringsjord, a logician, philosopher and chairman of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Department of Cognitive Science here. He's so intrigued, in fact, that he has developed a sort of checklist for determining whether someone is demonic, and is working with a team of graduate students to create a computerized representation of a purely sinister person.

"I've been working on what is evil and how to formally define it," says Bringsjord, who is also director of the Rensselaer AI & Reasoning Lab (RAIR). "It's creepy, I know it is."

To be truly evil, someone must have sought to do harm by planning to commit some morally wrong action with no prompting from others (whether this person successfully executes his or her plan is beside the point). The evil person must have tried to carry out this plan with the hope of "causing considerable harm to others," Bringsjord says. Finally, "and most importantly," he adds, if this evil person were willing to analyze his or her reasons for wanting to commit this morally wrong action, these reasons would either prove to be incoherent, or they would reveal that the evil person knew he or she was doing something wrong and regarded the harm caused as a good thing.

Bringsjord's research builds on earlier definitions put forth by San Diego State University philosophy professor J. Angelo Corlett as well as the late sociopolitical philosophers and psychologists, Joel Feinberg and Erich Fromm, but most significantly by psychiatrist and author M. Scott Peck in his 1983 book, People of the Lie, The Hope for Healing Human Evil. After reading Peck's tome about clinically evil people, "I thought it would be interesting to come up with formal structures that define evil," Bringsjord says, "and, ultimately, to create a purely evil character the way a creative writer would."

He and his research team began developing their computer representation of evil by posing a series of questions beginning with the basics—name, age, sex, etcetera—and progressing to inquiries about this fictional person's beliefs and motivations.

This exercise resulted in "E," a computer character first created in 2005 to meet the criteria of Bringsjord's working definition of evil. Whereas the original E was simply a program designed to respond to questions in a manner consistent with Bringsjord's definition, the researchers have since given E a physical identity: It's a relatively young, white man with short black hair and dark stubble on his face. Bringsjord calls E's appearance "a meaner version" of the character Mr. Perry in the 1989 movie Dead Poets Society. "He is a great example of evil," Bringsjord says, adding, however, that he is not entirely satisfied with this personification and may make changes.

The researchers have placed E in his own virtual world and written a program depicting a scripted interview between one of the researcher's avatars and E. In this example, E is programmed to respond to questions based on a case study in Peck's book that involves a boy whose parents gave him a gun that his older brother had used to commit suicide.

The researchers programmed E with a degree of artificial intelligence to make "him" believe that he (and not the parents) had given the pistol to the distraught boy, and then asked E a series of questions designed to glean his logic for doing so. The result is a surreal simulation during which Bringsjord's diabolical incarnation attempts to produce a logical argument for its actions: The boy wanted a gun, E had a gun, so E gave the boy the gun.

Bringsjord and his team by the end of the year hope to have completed the fourth generation of E, which will be able to use artificial intelligence and a limited set of straightforward English (no slang, for example) to "speak" with computer users.

Following the path of a true logician, Bringsjord's interest in the portrayal of virtuousness and evil in literature led to his interest in software that helps writers develop ideas and create stories; this, in turn, spurred him to develop his own software for simulating human behavior, both good and odious, says Barry Smith, a distinguished professor of bioinformatics and ontology at the State University of New York at Buffalo who is familiar with Bringsjord's work. "He's known as someone on the fringe of philosophy and computer science."

Bringsjord and Smith both have an interest in finding ways to better understand human behavior, and their work has attracted the attention of the intelligence community, which is seeking ways to successfully analyze the information they gather on potential terrorists. "To solve problems in intelligence analysis, you need more accurate representations of people," Smith says. "Selmer is trying to build really good representations of human beings in all of their subtlety."

Bringsjord acknowledges that the endeavor to create pure evil, even in a software program, does raise ethical questions, such as, how researchers could control an artificially intelligent character like E if "he" was placed in a virtual world such as Second Life, a Web-based program that allows people to create digital representations of themselves and have those avatars interact in a number of different ways.

"I wouldn't release E or anything like it, even in purely virtual environments, without engineered safeguards," Bringsjord says. These safeguards would be a set of ethics written into the software, something akin to author Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics" that prevent a robot from harming humans, requires a robot to obey humans, and instructs a robot to protect itself—as long as that does not violate either or both of the first two laws.

"Because I have a lot of faith in this approach," he says, "E will be controlled."
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:15 AM   #770
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http://grassland-site.com/en/uebergrassland.html

Bernd Oette’s Grassland uses real dried grass as living room elements. This specially grown grass ‘ages’ and dries while in the living room, influenced by external factors as the lighting conditions. For thousands of year, we have cultivated nature, with plants being an excellent example. Why is it so appealing to have the uncontrollable yet ‘real’ change of nature in our living room again?

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Old 10-30-2008, 07:20 AM   #771
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http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/...Submitted=true

Microsoft patents web moderator robots

The problem with the internet, as we all know, is that it gives free rein to loonies. Once upon a time, green inkers would rant away on writing paper, seal their 30-page global conspiracy theory into a recycled envelope and post it to a newspaper, which would drop it harmlessly into a wastepaper basket. Now they infiltrate chat rooms, scrawl anonymous abuse in web discussions and even have their own video blogs.

Sometimes this is entertaining; sometimes it can be offensive. So Microsoft has just been awarded a patent for technology designed to automatically detect and remove “undesired words or phrases” from all manner of digital communications, ranging from YouTube broadcasts to internet chat and songs.

The patent describes a system that listens out for phonemes (word fragments) likely to be part of a swearword. If it thinks it hears a forbidden phrase, the software either fades out the offending syllables or simply replaces the rude word with a similar-sounding but clean alternative lifted from earlier speech without a second’s delay.

With Microsoft’s software put in place by parents, children could listen to the most explicit rap music and hear nothing stronger than “gosh darn mother flippers”. Theoretically, the software could monitor thousands of digital TV broadcasts, radio stations and web chats simultaneously.

That’s all to the good, as long as the targets are “trolls” (internet slang for people whose aim is to disrupt the web community). There’s a danger, though, that it could go too far. Who’s to say that an overzealous Microsoft employee might not accidentally on purpose blacklist the names of rivals such as Apple and Linux?

Worse, there are governments around the world that would probably go further still, suppressing dissent not with guns and clubs but by preventing people from even discussing concepts such as “protest” or “freedom”. And that, I’m sure you’ll agree, is a freaking scary idea.
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:25 AM   #772
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http://www.alternet.org/election08/1...team_says_yes/

Can You Guess a Person's Politics by Their Personality? Psychologist Team Says Yes
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:55 AM   #773
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:56 AM   #774
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Old 10-30-2008, 07:57 AM   #775
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