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Animals

— Science

LCD projector used to control tiny organisms

By - January 18, 2011 2 Pictures
Genetically engineered remote controlled animals ... what the? Using inexpensive and widely available technology combined with the latest techniques in optogenetics, researchers at Georgia Tech have created exactly that. Optogenetics is a mix of optical and genetic techniques that has allowed scientists to gain control over brain circuits in laboratory animals. Mary Shelly would be proud – or totally freaked out. But don't expect remote controlled poodles or parrots in your nearest pet store by Christmas, this might be a few years off. Read More
— Science

Does your turkey look happy? Quantifying farm animals' feelings

By - December 27, 2010 2 Pictures
It’s well known that happy workers of the human variety are also productive workers, and farmers know that the same holds true for animals. However, because animals aren’t likely to reveal their emotional state on a psychiatrist’s couch, the current methods to measure animals’ wellbeing has largely focused on biological indicators of stress via blood tests or through studies of animal behavior. Now researchers are looking to use cognitive principles based on human psychological theories to assess animal emotions. Read More
— Science

Scientists shake up fluid dynamics of wet dogs

By - November 3, 2010 2 Pictures
What does a labrador and a clothes washer have in common? Not much you might say. Think again. A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, have unlocked the secrets behind how animals such as dogs, mice and even brown bears dry themselves and the key is all in the spin cycle. Much like your household washing machine these animals use resonant frequencies to shed water and given the results of their research, graduate student Andrew Dickerson and his advisor, professor David Hu, are now looking at how they can apply their results. Read More
— Good Thinking

DeerDeter promises to lessen deer-vehicle collisions

By - August 3, 2010 2 Pictures
There’s a stretch of highway in Utah, where over 300 carcasses of car-struck deer were found in a single year. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has chosen part of that area to try out the DeerDeter Wildlife Crossing Guard. As you might have guessed from its name, the roadside device is designed to keep deer from wandering out onto nighttime roads as cars are approaching. When it detects oncoming headlights, the DeerDeter’s strobe lights and audio alarm system are activated, causing deer and other animals in its vicinity to keep their distance. Read More
— Science

What crayfish can teach us about tough decisions

By - June 23, 2010 1 Picture
A team from the University of Maryland has studied the decision-making processes of crayfish in an effort to better understand the workings of the human brain. “Matching individual neurons to the decision making processes in the human brain is simply impractical for now,” explained psychologist Jens Herberholz, the study’s senior author. “History has shown that findings made in the invertebrate nervous systems often translate to more complex organisms." Read More
— Science

Tracking down endangered species

By - June 17, 2010 4 Pictures
Documenting the location and number of rare animals isn’t an easy task - by definition there just aren’t that many of them around. That’s why researchers at Auburn University, Alabama, have turned to man’s best friend to lend a helping hand – or more accurately, a helping nose. The school’s EcoDogs project trains detection dogs to find endangered animal species, or rather their sign (read excrement), in the field to aid researchers in their goals of ecological research, management, and conservation. Read More
— Robotics

The serious truth behind the adorable PARO baby seal-bot

By - January 7, 2010 1 Picture
PARO is an animatronic baby seal companion robot designed by some very clever people with one simple purpose in mind - to make you love him. From everything we've seen, he's exceptionally talented at his job, melting the hardest hearts and bringing a big silly smile to everyone who meets him. But although he might be a wonderful toy, PARO's real purpose is to address a serious problem that's affecting Japan right now, and will soon spread across much of the Western world. Read More
— Science

Marine census reveals 17,500 species and counting living in the murky depths

By - November 30, 2009 8 Pictures
“The deep sea is the Earth’s largest continuous ecosystem and largest habitat for life. It is also the least studied,” says Dr. Chris German, who along with hundreds of other Marine Life scientists from around the globe is shedding light on these mysterious depths through an unprecedented census of deep-sea marine inhabitants. Their recordings have yielded astonishing findings of more than 17,500 species of often bizarre marine creatures - from oil-eating tubeworms to elephant-eared octopods - inhabiting the blackest depths between 200 meters and up to 5, 000 meters (~3 miles) below ocean surface. Even more remarkable is the ability of these deep-sea creatures to live and thrive in topographically challenging environments where food availability is marginal, at best. Read More
— Environment

Scientists grow meat in a lab for the first time

By - November 30, 2009 1 Picture
Four years ago, a paper from the Tissue Engineering journal outlined techniques that would allow large-scale meat production in a lab. Scientists now confirm that they have managed to grow a form of meat in a laboratory for the first time. Described as “a soggy form of pork”, the initial result doesn't sound all that appetizing, but it's a development that could have significant impact on the future of global food production. Read More
— Pets

Top 10 pet-safe vehicles

By - August 20, 2009 3 Pictures
Ever thought how dangerous an unrestrained pet is in a moving vehicle? Did you know that a 35lb dog can become a 2700lb projectile in a 35mph crash? It’s alarming to think of the damage that poor animal could do to itself and other passengers within the vehicle. As increasing numbers of pet-owners take to the roads with animals in tow, safe pet travel advisers Bark Buckle Up and web-based automotive information company, Edmunds, have joined forces to release their Top Ten Pet Safe Vehicles in the hopes that their advice may avert some tragedies. Read More

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