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Crows could be the key to understanding alien intelligence

Crows could be the key to understanding alien intelligence
But seriously, Annalee.... We're all ready for you to write the definitive science fiction novel about crows. In fact, you've been teasing us all far too long now :-) Write it already! Flagged I'm just gonna leave this here.... Related:  Artificial Intelligence

Sight, Sound Out of Sync in Kids With Autism Says Study The new diagnostic term “autism spectrum disorder” doesn’t reflect how devastating it can be for parents to have children limited in their ability to communicate and show affection, but it does reflect how little is still known about the condition that affects roughly 2 percent of children in the United States. Doctors have made great strides in accurately describing and diagnosing autism, but its causes remain opaque. A recent Vanderbilt University offers neurological findings that help explain for the disorder’s seemingly disparate symptoms. The study, published in January in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that children with autism have a broader window of time than normal children during which their brains process two distinct sensory stimuli as aspects of the same event. The window exists to allow the brain to connect stimuli, for example the sound of the sight of the same action, arriving at slightly different times.

Robots test their own world wide web, dubbed RoboEarth 14 January 2014Last updated at 07:38 ET The RoboEarth system will be tested in a hospital setting A world wide web for robots to learn from each other and share information is being shown off for the first time. Scientists behind RoboEarth will put it through its paces at Eindhoven University in a mocked-up hospital room. Four robots will use the system to complete a series of tasks, including serving drinks to patients. It is the culmination of a four-year project, funded by the European Union. The eventual aim is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloud-based database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines. Common brain The system has been developed by research scientists from Philips and five European universities including Eindhoven. The four robots selected to test the system in a public demonstration will "work collaboratively" to help patients, he told the BBC. Home robots

Rats Get Placebo Effect Rodents experience placebo-induced pain relief, providing a new model with which to investigate the phenomenon. Wikimedia, AlexK100Like humans, rats can get pain relief from a placebo, according to a study published in the October issue of the journal PAIN. The findings give scientists a useful animal model with which to further investigate the mechanisms behind placebo-induced analgesia. Researchers from the University of Florida (UF) conditioned rats to expect morphine or saltwater by injecting them with one or the other during 2 sessions in which the rats were subjected to mild thermal pain on their faces. “We know basic things about placebo response, but the study we did is important because now we can look at placebo response in ways that you can’t in humans due to practical and ethical issues,” John Neubert, a pain specialist at the UF College of Dentistry and lead author of the study, said in a press release.

This famous brain was cut into 2,400 slices and uploaded to the cloud Good thing this guy wasn't on staff. SExpand This is one of the movies I know by heart, and I promise people every time that if we watch it, I won't quote along. I lie. Doesn't matter how many times I've seen it, I'm always too busy laughing. Except the Putting on the Ritz part. This movie has to be somewhere in my top ten list. that's me with Spaceballs! At risk of opening Pandoras box... you have a fave quote? Oh good, because if you don't quote it, I will. "That's right! "Taffeta, darling." "Taffeta, sweetheart." "No, the dress, it's taffeta—it wrinkles so easily." and "...the other one is just for socks and poo-poo undies." Madeline Kahn is my personal hero, and I adore her so much in this movie. And this is probably my favourite scene: I still ask people if they want Ovaltine, in her voice. I also say "the staircase can be treacherous" a lot, whenever I'm in a dim or darkened place.

Why Watson and Siri Are Not Real AI [It was] the result of a lot of hype, which didn't materialize. In the first case, a lot of AI researchers were basically saying that intelligent machines were just around the corner. They were predicting in the '60s that there would be a world champion chess playing computer within a decade. And that wasn't even close, and so I think in the '70s, a lot of that hype was looked upon skeptically by government funding agencies and the money dried up for a while. Something else happened in the early '80s. Prolog was one of the silliest approaches I've ever heard of, and it fell to the ground in shambles.

“Vegans and vegetarians think they don’t kill animals but they do” – PlayGround+ Last year Claudio Bertonatti, one of the most renowned naturalists in Argentina, wrote an article that triggered an earthquake. The tsunami reached us here and is likely to extend even further. In his article, The Vegan Confusion, he warns that eating vegetables doesn’t prevent the death of animals. Bertonatti has enraged thousands of vegans and vegetarians, as well as other nature conservationists. However, many who read his article learned something about animal rights that might never have occurred to them otherwise. We spoke to Claudio about his earth-shattering idea and discussed the most important points of the controversy. Claudio, you were a vegetarian. As a teenager, I grew interested in nature. What happened? I began studying nature and going out to the countryside to observe wildlife. How? As a vegetarian, I was helping to prevent the death and suffering of domestic animals, but not of wild species. What drove you to write the article? Why? Indirect deaths? Wheat, rice, corn. What?

Scientific evidence that you probably don’t have free will I might note that you're citing experiments, which while not entirely debunked are in many circles considered to be highly flawed. For example, the "when did you decide to move your finger," experiment. This experiment is considered flawed because moving your finger is purely a motor response, and an incredibly simplistic one at that. The motion of our hands is one of the things we have the least control over, we're constantly twitching, scratching itches, or simply stretching our fingers out without realizing it. This however, is entirely different from decisions that by necessity require a great deal of forethought. Actually, I read up on this subject a little about a week ago, and found a fairly decent article on the subject. PS: io9, did you guys see that I was just arguing free will earlier today on another posts comment board?!

Captcha FAIL: Researchers Crack the Web's Most Popular Turing Test Captcha is the the gold standard for Turing tests on the web: Whenever an online form wants to check if you're a human being and not a spambot, it asks you to decipher one or two distorted words, presented as images. But what if there was a way for machines to defeat it? That's exactly what researchers at Vicarious AI say they've done. In trying to develop a machine that thinks like a human — a multi-decade project — the small team of computer scientists says they have their first breakthrough: A computer that can process visual information similar to a human. That brings with it the ability to solve Captcha from the major web services of Google, Yahoo and PayPal up to 90% of the time. "Past solutions may have solved a Captcha at a particular point in time, whereas this solution solves Captcha," says D. "The more common [approach] is to exploit specific weaknesses in the Captcha," says von Ahn. Vicarious isn't trying to help them out. In other words, Captcha will evolve, not go away.

Does a Spider Use Its Web Like You Use Your Smartphone? - The Atlantic Millions of years ago, a few spiders abandoned the kind of round webs that the word “spiderweb” calls to mind and started to focus on a new strategy. Before, they would wait for prey to become ensnared in their webs and then walk out to retrieve it. Then they began building horizontal nets to use as a fishing platform. In 2008, the researcher Hilton Japyassú prompted 12 species of orb spiders collected from all over Brazil to go through this transition again. Their ability to recapitulate the ancient spiders’ innovation got Japyassú, a biologist at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, thinking. In February, Japyassú and Kevin Laland, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Saint Andrews, proposed a bold answer to the question. This would make the web a model example of extended cognition, an idea first proposed by the philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers in 1998 to apply to human thought. Perhaps the prime example is another eight-legged invertebrate.

Q&A: Daniel Pasini, Policy and Programme Officer at the European Commission Dr. Daniel Pasini, Policy and Programme Officer at the European Commission + Enlarge Daniel Pasini, PhD, is a Policy and Programme Officer at the European Commission, working in the Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Programme. For more than 20 years he has been closely involved in the development of policy and legal instruments for the construction and operation of European and international research infrastructure, in all fields of science. Q: It is an exciting time for neuroscience, and The Human Brain Project is an example of the promise of the field. The aim of the Human Brain Project (HBP) is to better understand the human brain and its diseases. HBP has formally started on Oct. 1, 2013. Q: The Human Brain Project has identified six areas of research. However, the project has also several other important dimensions. Q: The first major congress of the Human Brain Project was held in October.

Are bots taking over Wikipedia? Bots vs. Wikipedians (credit: Thomas Steiner) As crowdsourced Wikipedia has grown too large — with more than 30 million articles in 287 languages — to be entirely edited and managed by volunteers, 12 Wikipedia bots have emerged to pick up the slack. The bots use Wikidata — a free knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and bots — to exchange information between entries and between the 287 languages. Which raises an interesting question: what portion of Wikipedia edits are generated by humans versus bots? To find out (and keep track of other bot activity), Thomas Steiner of Google Germany has created an open-source application (and API): Wikipedia and Wikidata Realtime Edit Stats, described in an arXiv paper. The percentages of bot vs. human edits as shown in the application is constantly changing. Anonymous vs. logged-In humans (credit: Thomas Steiner) The percentages also vary by language. The application also tracks what percentage of edits are by anonymous users.