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The Military

Submission + - Military Robot Feeds Off Dead Bodies

RobotRunAmok writes: A Maryland company under contract to the Pentagon is working on a steam-powered robot that would fuel itself by gobbling up whatever organic material it can find — grass, wood, old furniture, even dead bodies. It's called — wait for it — EATR, for Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot. The manufacturer, Robotic Technology, Inc., describes EATR's edge as "engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior." The diagram on the website's accompanying presentation show that the robot comes equipped with a gripping claw and a chainsaw. No, seriously.

Submission + - Wikipedia debates Rorschach censorship (wikipedia.org) 2

GigsVT writes: Editors on Wikipedia are engaged in an epic battle, over a few piece of paper smeared with ink. The 10 inkblot images that form the classic Rorschach test have fallen into the public domain, so including them on Wikipedia would seem to be a simple choice. However, some editors have cited the APA's statement that exposure of the images to the public is an unethical act, since prior exposure to the images could render them ineffective as a psychological test. Is the censorship of material appropriate, when the public exposure to that material may render that material useless?

Louisiana Rep. Preps State Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids 422

mikeljnola writes with an excerpt from NOLA.com that says state senator Danny Martiny (R-Kenner) will introduce a bill to the Louisiana legislature on April 27 to "'make it illegal to "create or attempt to create a human-animal hybrid, ... transfer or attempt to transfer a human embryo into a non-human womb ... (or) transfer or attempt to transfer a non-human embryo into a human womb."' With budget cuts all around, our struggling state is concerned with the eminent danger of human-animal hybrids. The upside is that the odds of the Louisiana becoming the Bayous of Dr. Boudreaux are now even slimmer."

Device Keeps Lungs Breathing Outside the Body 74

Al writes "A new system that keeps lungs breathing outside the body could improve the chances of a successful transplant. The Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System, developed at Toronto General Hospital, can keep a pair of human lungs slowly breathing inside a glass dome attached to a ventilator, pump, and filters. The lungs are maintained at normal body temperature of 37 C and perfused with a bloodless solution that contains nutrients, proteins, and oxygen. The organs can be kept alive in the machine for up to 12 hours while surgeons assess function and repair them. See a video of the system keeping a pair of lungs alive."

Addicting Mice To Light 92

Al writes "In an attempt to better understand how the reward system in the brain functions in people suffering from addiction, scientists at Stanford have created mice that are addicted to light. They engineered light-sensitive proteins to trigger signaling pathways in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that responds to pleasurable stimuli. They then connected a fiber-optic cable to this part of the brain and delivered a blast of light whenever the mice wandered into a 'reward chamber.' In previous experiments the mice have been given drugs like cocaine or amphetamine when they enter these rooms. The light treatment works in exactly the same way but lets the researchers very precisely control timing and dose of reward administered to the brain. The approach could also provide a way to probe receptors that cannot be accessed using existing drugs."

Adbusters Suggests Click Fraud As Protest 390

An anonymous reader writes "In response to Google's recently announced plans to expand the tracking of users, the international anti-advertising magazine Adbusters proposes that we collectively embark on a civil disobedience campaign of intentional, automated 'click fraud' in order to undermine Google's advertising program in order to force Google to adopt a pro-privacy corporate policy. They have released a GreaseMonkey script that automatically clicks on all AdSense ads."

Powering Restaurants WIth Deep Fried Fuel Screenshot-sm 148

Mike writes "Here's a brilliant idea for biofuels: rather than filtering used fry oil for use in vehicles, why not simplify matters and use it to heat and power the restaurant itself? The VegaWatt turns used vegetable oil into clean heat and energy for restaurants, eliminating the dirty and costly mess of oil disposal while producing 10-25% of the electricity needed to run a small restaurant. It also produces fuel free of chemicals or fossil fuels, unlike standard biodiesel."

Concentrate Better By Doodling 94

Kelson writes "The next time you see someone doodling during a meeting, don't criticize them for drifting off. It turns out that doodling is the mind's way of keeping itself just busy enough to avoid checking out entirely and slipping off into a daydream, and doodlers actually remember more of that boring talk. (Judging by my college notes, this probably helped me remember a lot of otherwise-boring lectures.)"

Suspect Freed After Exposing Cop's Facebook Status Screenshot-sm 653

longacre writes "A man on trial in New York for possession of a weapon has been acquitted after subpoenaing his arresting officer's Facebook and MySpace accounts. His defense: Officer Vaughan Ettienne's MySpace 'mood' was set to 'devious' on the day of the arrest, and one day a few weeks before the trial, his Facebook status read 'Vaughan is watching "Training Day" to brush up on proper police procedure.' From the article: '"You have your Internet persona, and you have what you actually do on the street," Officer Ettienne said on Tuesday. "What you say on the Internet is all bravado talk, like what you say in a locker room." Except that trash talk in locker rooms almost never winds up preserved on a digital server somewhere, available for subpoena.'"

Chimp Found Plotting Against Zoo Guests Screenshot-sm 435

rjshirts writes "In further proof that Planet of the Apes is coming to pass, researchers in Stockholm, Sweden have proof that primates can plan ahead. From the article: 'Santino the chimpanzee's anti-social behavior stunned both visitors and keepers at the Furuvik Zoo but fascinated researchers because it was so carefully prepared. According to a report in the journal Current Biology, the 31-year-old alpha male started building his weapons cache in the morning before the zoo opened, collecting rocks and knocking out disks from concrete boulders inside his enclosure. He waited until around midday before he unleashed a "hailstorm" of rocks against visitors, the study said.'"

Using Lasers and Water Guns To Clean Space Debris 267

WSJdpatton writes "The collision between two satellites last month has renewed interest in some ideas for cleaning up the cloud of debris circling the earth. Some of the plans being considered: Using aging rockets loaded with water to dislodge the debris from orbit so it will burn up in the atmosphere; junk-zapping lasers; and garbage-collecting rockets."

Asthma Risk Linked To Early TV Viewing 266

Ponca City, We love you writes "The number of children with asthma has been rising for many years. About 1 in 10 children in the UK develop asthma, compared with about 1 in 25 in the 1960s. The reason for this isn't clear, although several theories have been put forward such as keeping our homes cleaner, and having central heating and more soft furnishings where house dust mites can multiply. Now based on more than 3,000 children whose respiratory health was tracked from birth to 11.5 years of age, researchers have found a new correlation with young children who spend more than two hours glued to the TV every day doubling their subsequent risk of developing asthma. 'This study has shown for the first time a positive association between increased duration of reported TV viewing in early childhood and the development of asthma by 11.5 years of age in children with no symptoms of asthma in early childhood,' said the researchers, led by A. Sherriff, from the University of Glasgow. It's not clear exactly how sedentary behaviors like television watching are tied to asthma, but there is some evidence to suggest exercise and deep breaths that come with it stretch the smooth muscles in the airways, while lack of exercise may make the lungs overly sensitive. The results add asthma to a catalog of undesirable outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, smoking, and promiscuity, tied to TV viewing."

Reversing Undesirable Fish Evolution 216

TaeKwonDood writes "Your granddad's approach to fishing — throw the little 'uns back — may have hurt their evolution, but we can reverse that, says a group of researchers, with a change of policy. Fish have been 'reprogramming' themselves to be smaller and live longer. Welcome to evolutionary dynamics, Lamarck. But, no, they are serious. And it can be fixed within 12 generations. What do the smart people out there think about this? Are they using the term 'evolution' the wrong way?"

Bionic Eye Gives Blind Man Sight 203

AmigaMMC writes "A man who lost his sight 30 years ago says he can now see flashes of light after being fitted with a bionic eye. Ron, 73, had the experimental surgery seven months ago at London's Moorfield's eye hospital. He says he can now follow white lines on the road, and even sort socks using the bionic eye, known as Argus II. I wouldn't go as far as claiming he regained his sight, but this certainly is a biotechnological breakthrough."

The 300 Million Year Old Brain 68

Pickens writes "Paleontologists recently discovered the world's oldest brain nestled within a 300-million-year-old fish fossil of one of the extinct relatives of modern ratfishes, also known as 'host sharks' or chimaeras. These chimaera relatives, called iniopterygians, represented bizarre beasts that sported massive skulls with huge eye sockets, shark-like teeth in rows, tails with clubs, huge pectoral fins that were placed almost on their backs, and bone-like spikes or hooks tipping the fins. The brain shows details such as a large vision lobe and optic nerve stretching to the proper place on the braincase, which fits with the fish's large eye sockets. The ear canals of the extinct fish only exist on a horizontal plane so the fish could only detect side-to-side movements, and not up or down. 'There is nothing like this known today; it is really bizarre,' said John Maisey, paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. 'But now that we know that brains might be preserved in such ancient fossils, we can start looking for others. We are limited in information about early vertebrate brains, and the evolution of the brain lies at the core of vertebrate history.'"

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