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Submission + - Your plastic pal who's fun to be with - or not ( 2

Kittenman writes: The BBC magazine pages have an article on human trust of robots. The article cites a poll (done on facebook so certainly well-sourced) over the 'best face' design for a robot that would be trusted. But we still distrust them — because (tfa states) they look unwell (or like corpses) and do not behave as expected.

So would you trust a robot? How about one with the "trusting face"?


Submission + - Do flu vaccines give you flu? (

Kittenman writes: The BBC is covering the ins and outs of Flu vaccines. According to the article, the vaccine is approximately 60% effectice, and it is the World Health Organization (WHO) that decide what strains (to a maximum of 3) are prevalent each year, and recommend that to go into the vaccine. And surprisingly, (or not), the recommendations for each hemisphere of the globe can be different. So are you more likely to get the flu if you fly from London to Sydney after a jab?

Submission + - BBC turn off CEEFAX service (

Kittenman writes: After 38 years (1974-> 2012) the BBC's CEEFAX service has ceased transmission. The service gave on-line up-to-date textual information (albeit in condensed form) to TV viewers in the pre-Internet era and afterwards. An British ex-PM (John Major) states ..
"From breaking global news to domestic sports news, Ceefax was speedy, accurate and indispensable. It can be proud of its record."


Submission + - Apollo mission flags still upright (

Kittenman writes: The BBC reports that the Apollo mission flags are still standing — with one exception. At Apollo 11 blast-off from the luna surface, the flag was knocked over (Buzz Aldrin reported this at the time). It's not known what sort of colours are visible in the flags owing to UV light exposure.

All in all, hopefully a blow to Moon Mission deniers?


Submission + - Tatooine-like exo-planet discovered (

Kittenman writes: Several media sources are covering the discovery of an exo-planet orbiting two suns. The planet has been nicknamed 'Tatooine', after the Star Wars planet that housed Luke Skywalker.

No mention of whether the discovery is linked to upcoming re-release of the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray.


Submission + - Time Traveller reported ( 2

Kittenman writes: The NZ Herald is reporting that an Irish filmmaker, George Clarke, has noticed someone using a cellphone in the 'special features' section of the DVD 'The Circus', a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. The cellphone is (reportedly) visible in the "unused footage" section. Clarke states: "The only conclusion I can come to — which sounds absolutely ridiculous I'm sure, to some people — is it's a time traveller,". Other conclusions are also possible, no doubt. One also wonders what network the traveller was using in the 1920s. Or maybe it was a satellite phone — which raises other issues. Or maybe it was something else altogether. Most remarkable is that not only that a person has an obscure Chaplin movie on DVD but that they also scanned the 'special features'.

Submission + - Budget cuts may mean Doomsday Asteroid not plotted ( 1

Kittenman writes: The BBC are reporting that budget cuts are going to curtail the orbit plotting of Asteroid Apophis. Apophis cuts through Earth's orbit twice a year, and in 2029 is expected to pass within 30,000 Kms — substantially closer to the Earth than the moon is — and within the orbit of several local satellites.

NASA rated the chances of a collision in 2036 at 2.7% — though these odds have since been lengthened. Without accurate orbit data, this correspondent wonders how.


Submission + - Saving life on Earth during your lunchtime (

Kittenman writes: The BBC is covering a 'Solar Stormwatch' community program that needs human involvement, analyzing photos produced from space instruments. Apparently solar storms can't be recognized by computer programs (really? surprising) but need humans to look for the patterns. A short training course will allow someone with time on their hands to analyze photos, pass in a result and potentially save all life on the planet. Over a cup of tea (or a beverage of your choice), apparently.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.