Remember those cows who seemed to align themselves with the magnetic poles while grazing? Turns out the earth might not be the only thing prompting the cows' positioning. The same researchers who studied Google map images to draw their earlier conclusion have found that power lines, too, seem to cause the bovines to stand facing particular directions.
Also in today's links: phantom pain in a phantom limb, a new player in Internet movies, and more.
Google Voice, which will email you transcripts of your voice messages and provide other services, is either a phenomenally attractive management system, or one of the creepier and more intrusive things I've ever heard of. As of now, there's no clear way that Google is going to monetize this, besides charging for long-distance calls. I'm going to guess it'll be targeted ads, but what form would that come in? Other voicemails?
Also in today's links: celebrating Pi Day, cleaning monkey teeth, Pluto, and more.
Doesn't it always happen like this? You're parched, haven't had a drink in two days, and then you come to a stagnant waterhole full of scummy water. Enter: the trunk! Here's how elephants elegantly skim off just the good stuff. It's pretty cute.
Also in today's links: creationists take a field trip to the temple of evolution, and an anaesthesiologist with nonexistent patients.
Imagine life in a cardboard box -- but without the smell of urine and stale body odor of a bum's home, and with a whole lot more accoutrements. A Dutch ad agency works in an office where all the furniture is made of cardboard. People are encouraged to doodle but, presumably, asked to be very, very careful about spilt coffee. And if you're wondering how much joy they can get from the employees get from their surroundings, just ask your cat to explain the sublime pleasure of, say, hiding in a box, to say nothing of shredding those corrugated scratching posts.
Also in today's links: explaining chimp attacks, preventing terrorist attacks, attacking illicit duck love and more.
"Socially interactive" robots are being developed that can interact naturally with people, such as turning toward a person to give the impression of paying attention. The goal is to have such machines perform assistive tasks from hugging to encouraging stroke victims to perform important exercises or children with autism to imitate behavior. Researchers designing what such robots will look like also have to avoid the "uncanny valley" -- a phrase based on the idea that people are most comfortable with robots that look either completely human, or identifiably not human.
Also in today's links: blaming quants, mapping science, imaging religion, and more.
Scientists who plagiarize papers or make up data are sort of like teachers who sleep with their students -- there's just no good excuse, but that doesn't keep the guilty parties from trying to plead their case with really dumb reasoning.
Also in today's links: using printers to create bones, Ecstasy to treat soldiers, and Facebook to get attention for elephant seals.
In light of the ongoing world financial collapse, here's a tip to banks: take a look at your customers. A new study suggests that a person's creditworthiness can be seen in his or her face. And here's a tip to would-be borrowers: try not to look shifty. (Points off from the article, though, for not explaining what exactly that means, though.)
Also in today's links: hilarious species names, the next level of smart in phones, and more.