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A Shopping-Scanner Darkly 107

An anonymous reader writes "Using functional MRI scans, researchers have found which parts of the brain are active when people consider buying something and can predict whether or not they'll ultimately bite. One of the main findings was that rather than weighing a choice between the pleasure of making a purchase and the delayed gratification of using the dough for something else, the brain is actually weighing between the pleasure of buying and the pain of forking over the cash."

Do Electric Sheep Dream of Civil Rights? 401

holy_calamity writes "Hot on the heals of a UK government report that predicted robots would demand citizens rights within fifty years, an Arizona state lawyer has suggested that sub-human robots should have rights too. Harming animals far below human capabilities is thought unethical — would you ever feel bad about kicking a robot dog? And can we expect militant campaigners to target robot labs as they do animal labs today?"

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Ask five economists and you'll get five different explanations (six if one went to Harvard). -- Edgar R. Fiedler