Interesting article… I didn’t know herdin’ could be so dangerous!
:: Click here to read, from NPR ::
Trained dogs are smart enough to find bombs, drugs, people, and the safest way to cross the street — but only with a capable handler nearby. Now a new system developed at Auburn University could turn canines into remotely guided "super dogs" that can take on risky tasks.
"With our system you don’t have to be in eyesight, versus human guides that do have to be within sight," said David M. Bevly, an associate professor of mechanical engineering atAAuburn University who worked onAthe research.
In the past, remote guidance research focused on other animals or relied on invasive implanted electrodes to give commands. Instead, Bevly and his team created an external, real-time navigation system for trained dogs.
They designed a custom harness equipped with GPS, sensors, a processor and a radio modem that connects wirelessly to a computer system. The pack vibrates slightly on the left or right side and emits different tones to direct the dog.
The wings of flightless birds usually shrink after they abandon flight. But a flightless ibis that lived on Jamaica until about 10,000 years ago turned its hand bones into miniature baseball bats to defend its territory and probably its young.
By avian standards, that is seriously weird. "No animal has ever evolved anything quite like this," says Nick Longrich, a Yale University researcher who describes it in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
"We don’t know of any other species that uses its body like a flail. It’s the most specialised weaponry of any bird I’ve ever seen."
The species, Xenicibis xympithecus, was described and named more than 30 years ago by Storrs Olson of the Smithsonian Institution, who recognised it was flightless, but lacked complete specimens. Working with Olson, Longrich went to Jamaica and found more fossils - including curved hefty handbones.
Caterpillars apparently can whistle, letting out squeaks that can fend off attacking birds, scientists have now found.
They don’t whistle by puckering their lips and blowing, since they don’t have lips. Instead, they blow out their sides, researchers said.
Scientists have known for more than 100 years that many caterpillars can generate clicking or squeaking noises. However, researchers have only recently begun to experimentally investigate how these noises are made and what roles they might play.
There's been a fair bit written about how people are noticing that the Internet is changing the way our minds work in subtle and perhaps disturbing ways. The gist of it being that the always on, fire hose of information that the Internet has become is turning us into 'digital gold fish' and could be the cause or enabler of such coined maladies as 'Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder' (somewhat tongue in cheek) or 'Internet Anxiety Disorder' (less tongue in cheek). The previous links are a little old, but theAmore recent articles on this subject are pretty muchAstill saying the same thing. There was even a book written on the subject calledAThe Shallows.
At first I scoffed at the idea that the Internet was having any tangible effect on the way my mind worked. I read a few pieces on how the Internet is ostensibly contracting people's attention spans and thought well, that's not me… I can concentrate like some kind of concentrating machine developed solely for the purpose of concentrating, often beyond my body's ability to keep up. Many a weekend I have spent attacking various projects over lengthy time periods. When I finally look around I realise I've just spent the better part of 8 or 10 hours sitting in front of my computer without having eaten and barely having gotten up for a break1.
But I've been noticing something in my own behaviour that may have some relationship to this Internet goldfish business: I'm reading things too quickly. I'm finding that when I read an article or something on the Internet, I'm skimming over words, occasionally whole sentences or paragraphs, I'm not really taking them in and I have been doing this in a largely unconscious way. The obvious question I then posed myself was why am I doing this? The best answer I can come up with is: because there's so much out there to learn and know, I feel like I'm always having to rush to keep up. A facet of 'Internet Anxiety Disorder' perhaps2.