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Study Shows Babies Think Friendly Robots Are Sentient 159

seanonymous writes "A study from University of Washington claims that babies think robots are human, so long as the robots are friendly. No word on what evil robots are thought to be. From the article: 'At 18 months old, babies have begun to make conscious delineations between sentient beings and inanimate objects. But as robots get more and more advanced, those decisions may become harder to make. What causes a baby to decide a robot is more than bits of metal? As it turns out, it takes more than humanoid looks — babies rely on social interaction to make that call.'"
United Kingdom

Dogs Can Be Pessimistic 99

Not that it will change anything, but researchers at Bristol University say that your dog might be a gloom-monger. In addition to the downer dogs, the study also found a few that seemed happy no matter how uncaring the world around them was. "We know that people's emotional states affect their judgments and that happy people are more likely to judge an ambiguous situation positively. What our study has shown is that this applies similarly to dogs," said professor Mike Mendl, an author of the study and head of animal welfare and behavior at Bristol University.

Milky Way Is Square(ish), According To New Map 123

KentuckyFC writes "The structure of the Milky Way is notoriously difficult to work out because we see our galaxy edge on. That means nearer clouds and stars are superimposed on more distant ones and telling them apart is hard. However, astronomers have unveiled a new map based on velocity measurements made on 870 clouds of carbon monosulphide. This has revealed a number of new features of the Milky Way including a previously unknown spiral arm, some 30,000 light years from the galactic core. But the most surprising finding is that some of our galaxy's spiral arms are straight rather than curved, giving the Milky Way a distinctly square look. That's not quite as outrageous as it sounds. Astronomers know of a number of other galaxies with straight arms, such as the pinwheel galaxy M101. So ours probably looks something like this."

State of Virginia Technology Centers Down 190

bswooden writes "Some rather important departments (DMV, Social Services, Taxation) in the state of Virginia are currently without access to documents and information as a technology meltdown has caused much of their infrastructure to be offline for over 24 hours now. State CIO Sam Nixon said, 'A failure occurred in one memory card in what is known as a "storage area network," or SAN, at Virginia's Information Technologies Agency (VITA) suburban Richmond computing center, one of several data storage systems across Virginia.' How does the IT for some of the largest departments in a state come to a screeching halt over a single memory card? Oh, and also, the state is paying Northrup Grumman $2.4 billion over 10 years to manage the state's IT infrastructure." Reader miller60 adds, "Virginia's IT systems drew scrutiny last fall when state agencies reported rolling outages due to the lack of network redundancy."

Submission + - The Sun speaks to radioactive elements (stanford.edu)

Scubaraf writes: It's a mystery that presented itself unexpectedly: The radioactive decay of some elements sitting quietly in laboratories on Earth seemed to be influenced by activities inside the sun, 93 million miles away... On Dec 13, 2006, the sun itself provided a crucial clue, when a solar flare sent a stream of particles and radiation toward Earth. Purdue nuclear engineer Jere Jenkins, while measuring the decay rate of manganese-54, a short-lived isotope used in medical diagnostics, noticed that the rate dropped slightly during the flare, a decrease that started about a day and a half before the flare.

Submission + - Deep ocean to get louder with climate change (physicscentral.com) 4

Flash Modin writes: An increase of carbon dioxide in earth's atmosphere is expected to coincide with an increase in ocean CO2 levels as well over the coming century. Physicists modeled how shipping noise will travel through the deep ocean over the coming century by taking into account changes in pH and found that sounds will eventually penetrate deep places that are normally quiet. Previous work had suggested that an increase in ocean acidity would decrease the number of sound absorbing boron ions and allow low-frequency sound to travel 70-percent farther. In this paper, published last week in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, physicists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution found that the impacts will also be seen at frequencies more commonly produced by ships, with an increase of a couple decibels in the frequency range of 100Hz to 1000Hz. A few decibels isn't much, but deep in the ocean and far away from such noise sources, that can be a large difference. The researchers say it's unknown what effect, if any, this might have on deep sea life because little work has been done on how marine animals hear.

Submission + - Enterprise Monitoring with Open Source 1

Esther Schindler writes: "Monitoring an enterprise environment need not be expensive, or lock you into a single vendor. Open source enterprise monitoring systems stack up favorably next to proprietary solutions — for free or at a much lower cost. This short-and-sweet article is a round-up of several open-source tools to help a business monitor what's happening in the data center."

Submission + - LA Prison Using Pain Ray on Prisoners (popsci.com)

Haffner writes: Popular Science reports that "Inmates bringing the ruckus at Pitchess Detention Center in California will find that deputies there can bring the pain. Working as the test-bed for a National Institute of Justice experiment, the prison is testing Raytheon's Assault Intervention Device, a seven-and-a-half-foot-tall device that focuses an invisible energy ray on misbehaving inmates, causing a serious heating sensation that should bring said bad behavior to a halt."

China's Nine-Day Traffic Jam Tops 62 Miles 198

A traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway has now entered its ninth day and has grown to over 62 miles in length. This mother-of-all delays has even spawned its own micro-economy of local merchants selling water and food at inflated prices to stranded drivers. Can you imagine how infuriating it must be to see someone leave their blinker on for 9 days?

Comment Re:Already happened in Virginia (Score 3, Informative) 374

Yes the iFile saved the state of virginia millions of dollars. The removal of it will increase paper filing tremendously. They bribed(lobbied) our officials completely to remove it. It was fast free and easy, and it's gone now. There was only discussion by our local rag after the law was passed almost unanimously. Another example of corporate greed raiding the coffers in the name of "Helping" the poor...

Comment CENTOS? (Score 0) 396

Linux seems to be less vulnerable. Using as few windows boxes as possible helps. Using blacklists in the host files of bad servers (Spybot's list is good). May Bluecoat device, we have one here and it's helped a LOT. Email vectors are still huge, and the user error 1D107...

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