Science

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Fish are smarter than dogs?

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Fish can learn quicker than dogs according to Ananova's article and Oxford scientists. They dubbed the fish "very capable" after building an aquatic obstacle course. The blind Mexican cave fish tested memorised the challenged in just a few hours. They spotted changes when the university researchers tried to fool them. And the fish still remembered what they had learned several months later. Scientists also revealed their subjects completed complex mental tasks which would baffle pets like hamsters and dogs.

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100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species: 5 of them are ants!

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Myrmecos, on my ant message board, mentions there are five ant species in the 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species list. Here is what the list is about:

Invasive species have been recognised globally as a major threat to biodiversity (the collected wealth of the world’s species of plants, animals and other organisms) as well as to agriculture and other human interests.

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46 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena (Visual Illusions)

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Michael Bach has 46 Optical Illusions & Visual Phenomena (Visual Illusions/Optische Täuschungen). Each Web page demonstrates visual phenomena, called "optical illusions" or "visual illusions". They are relative novelty and interactivity. He also does the explainations, to the degree that these phenomena are really understood.

"Optical illusion" sounds pejorative, as if exposing a malfunction of the visual system. Rather, the author views these phenomena as bringing out particular good adaptations of our visual system to standard viewing situations. These adaptations are "hard-wired" into our brains, thus under some artificial manipulations they cause inappropriate interpretations of the visual scene. Or, as Purkinje put it (according to Teuber, 1960): "Illusions of the senses tell us the truth about perception".

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Robot Uses Mouse Whiskers to Get Around

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Mousey would be so proud of his rodent species. New Scientist's story says a robot with real mouse whiskers could represent an important step towards developing simple robots that navigate by mimicking rodents. Such whiskered machines could eventually be used to perform repairs in pipes.

The bristly bot, known as AMouse (Artificial Mouse) was built by researchers from the University of Tokyo in Japan and the University of Zurich in Switzerland. It uses real mouse whiskers because simulations have shown these to be the perfect size and shape for the task, but artificial whiskers will also be developed eventually.

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Open source lives on Mars with rover mission extension

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NewsForge has a story on how NASA's most sophisticated gear and the space agency using open source software heavily. This helped the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers to receive clearance for an extended tour of the Red Planet.

Jeff Norris, a senior computer scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who headed development of the rovers' open source-heavy Science Activity Planner (SAP), said the mission extension was a steal for taxpayers, whose space and research support has shrunk along with NASA budgets...

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Amateur Revolution

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Fast Company's article mentions that the networks of amateurs are displacing the pros and spawning some of the greatest innovations from from astronomy to computing.

Rap inflects global popular culture from music to fashion. Linux poses a real threat to Microsoft. The Sims is among the most popular computer games ever.

These far-flung developments have all been driven by Pro-Ams -- committed, networked amateurs working to professional standards. Pro-Am workers, their networks and movements, will help reshape society in the next two decades.

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Caffeine Withdrawal Recognized As Real

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This /. story says "Caffeine withdrawal is for real. New research at Johns Hopkins should result in it being included in the next edition of the DSM, and recognized by the World Health Organization."

Science Blog says. "If you missed your morning coffee and now you have a headache and difficulty concentrating, you might be able to blame it on caffeine withdrawal.

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2 Satellite Photographs of Mars With the Rover Spirit

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This Yahoo! News article shows two satellite photographs showing two maps of Mars Exploration Rover. You can see the craters, the tracks, etc. They are interesting to look at.

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Ants in Special Delivery -- a Happy Ending Story

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BBC News (UK) has a happy ending story on a colony of a rare species of ant has been returned to its home in Devon six years after it was rescued by Paignton Zoo. My ant message board has a thread about it.

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What to Eat on the Way to Mars

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This Wired News article say food scientists are working out ways to feed astronauts on a mission to Mars that will last years. Here is what it says:

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Cool Photograph of the Day: Above the Eye of Hurricane Ivan From the Orbitting ISS.

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Astronomy Picture of the Day has an incredible shot of the eye of Hurricane Ivan from the orbitting International Space Station (ISS).

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