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Submission + - Why Banana skins are slippery wins IgNobel (improbable.com)

gbjbaanb writes: This year's Ig Nobel prize was won by Japanese researchers investigating why banana skins produced a frictionless surface compared to apple and orange peels.
(apparently "The polysaccharide follicular gels that give banana skins their slippery properties are also found in the membranes where our bones meet." so its not all fun and jollity)

Other prizes were awarded for noting that dogs only defecate when aligned with north-south magnetic fields, and that 'night owl' people are more likely to be psychopaths than early risers. Yes, that probably includes you.

Submission + - Science weighs in on 'perfect' penis size (nature.com)

ananyo writes: What's the perfect size for a penis? Apparently, 12.8–14.2 centimetres in its flaccid state, according to new research. The finding suggests that women’s preferences could have fuelled the evolution of the human male penis, which is longer and thicker than that of any other primate. Using computer-generated images of males that varied independently in three factors: height, shoulder-to-hip ratio and penis length, the study found that women found a longer penis to be more attractive, but not without limits — there were diminishing returns for extreme size.

Submission + - Trekkies detect Spock's Vulcan homeworld ORBITING PLUTO (theregister.co.uk)

iComp writes: "Trekkies have seized a poll in which the public voted on names for two of Pluto's moons — ensuring a winning moniker is Vulcan.

With William Shatner on the case, it was perhaps a foregone conclusion that Vulcan would be the clear winner in the contest, with 174,062 votes. Runner-up mythical hound Cerberus (aka Fluffy in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone), which got 99,432 nods, will be the name of the second moon.

Captain Kirk was pleased with the results, which he orchestrated by suggesting Vulcan and Romulus as possible names to his 1.3 million Twitter followers"

Apple

Submission + - SNL Mocks Tech Journalists' iPhone 5 Whining 2

theodp writes: In a Saturday Night Live skit entitled 'Tech Talk,' a panel of whiny CNET, Wired, and Gizmodo journalists is confronted by unsympathetic Foxconn factory workers over their iPhone 5 complaints. Responding to a tech blogger's complaint about Apple Maps flaws, the Foxconn workers sarcastically reply: 'You want Starbucks and it takes you to Dunkin Donut. That must be so hard for you. I guess we are lucky. We don't need maps. We sleep where we work.' Hey, there are no bigger problems than First World Problems, right?
Mars

Submission + - Shatner vs. Wheaton: Star Trek Stars Narrate Mars Rover's 7 Minutes of Terror (wired.com)

SternisheFan writes: "In two new NASA videos, actors William Shatner and Wil Wheaton each submit their entry for hammiest narration of the Mars Science Laboratory’s entry, descent, and landing sequence on the Red Planet. But which Will wins? So who does a better job at conveying the excitement and danger of this landing: the Original Series captain (above) or the Next Generation wunderkind (below)? Vote for your favorite at the poll in the story linked below."

Submission + - Why Zombies, Robots & Clowns Freak Us Out (cnn.com)

SternisheFan writes: "CNN's reporter Elizabeth Landau has an interesting story, From the article:

"What do zombies and androids have in common? They're almost human, but not quite. That disconnect is creepy, in a way that scientists are searching to understand. The uncanny valley is the idea that as a robot's appearance becomes more and more humanlike, we don't always respond to it more positively. Rather, there's a point on the scale between robot and human where we are repulsed. If it's mechanical but not entirely human, a robot seems disturbing. Why would that be? It would make sense that as human likeness increases in a robot, so would our comfort with it. But on a graph showing that relationship, there's a "valley" where this familiarity dips down into creepiness, and then comes back up again with more human characteristics."
http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/11/health/uncanny-valley-robots/index.html?c=&page=0
So what is it about the 'almost human' appearance that makes us turn away from it? Why is "WALL-E" easier for us to take than those creepy "Polar Express" characters?"

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