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Unexpected Intelligence

Sheep (Ovis aries) have such a reputation for being dim-witted that their name is a synonym for stupidity and gullibility. But research at the University of Cambridge describes their intelligence as “a bit like a slow monkey.” The researchers tested sheep intelligence hoping that they would be useful in the study of Huntington’s Disease: a neurodegenerative disease in humans that affects muscle control and leads to dementia.
Professor Jenny Morton, neuroscientist, tested the sheep with a series of spatial memory trials normally carried out on humans with Huntingdon’s. Different coloured buckets were placed in front of the sheep, with one colour always filled with food, so the sheep learned to associate a certain colour with food. They adapted quickly when the colour was changed and when the buckets changed shape, proving that they can recognise different patterns and change their behaviour accordingly.
While these kinds of trials are easy for humans and other primates, most animals struggle because the task relies on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is larger and more developed in humans.
Previous studies have also shown that sheep can identify when another is lost in their flock, display emotional responses, mentally map out their surroundings, respond to their names, and recognise human faces. Farmers have also anecdotally reported problem solving skills in their flocks—the sheep figured out they could get across cattle grids by rolling on their backs.
“In a flock they’re rather silly,” Professor Morton said. “When you work with them as individuals, they behave very differently.”

sciencesoup:

Unexpected Intelligence

Sheep (Ovis aries) have such a reputation for being dim-witted that their name is a synonym for stupidity and gullibility. But research at the University of Cambridge describes their intelligence as “a bit like a slow monkey.” The researchers tested sheep intelligence hoping that they would be useful in the study of Huntington’s Disease: a neurodegenerative disease in humans that affects muscle control and leads to dementia.

Professor Jenny Morton, neuroscientist, tested the sheep with a series of spatial memory trials normally carried out on humans with Huntingdon’s. Different coloured buckets were placed in front of the sheep, with one colour always filled with food, so the sheep learned to associate a certain colour with food. They adapted quickly when the colour was changed and when the buckets changed shape, proving that they can recognise different patterns and change their behaviour accordingly.

While these kinds of trials are easy for humans and other primates, most animals struggle because the task relies on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is larger and more developed in humans.

Previous studies have also shown that sheep can identify when another is lost in their flock, display emotional responses, mentally map out their surroundings, respond to their names, and recognise human faces. Farmers have also anecdotally reported problem solving skills in their flocks—the sheep figured out they could get across cattle grids by rolling on their backs.

“In a flock they’re rather silly,” Professor Morton said. “When you work with them as individuals, they behave very differently.”

sciencesoup:


A Sound Heard Round the World
In 1883 just off the coast of Jakarta, a volcano on the tiny island of Krakatoa exploded. It had been building up for months, and on the morning of August 27th, the volcano erupted for the fourth time, blowing apart the entire island. It spewed out over twenty five cubic kilometres of ash, pumice, and rock, created tsunami waves over thirty metres high, and overall caused over 36,000 deaths. The eruption caused a shockwave of energy to tear around the globe seven times, and it was measured by barometers for a full five days afterwards. This peak explosion was about thirteen times larger than the Hiroshima bomb, and the sound it made was literally heard around the world: people heard it clearly as far flung as Perth, 3500 kilometres away in Australia, and even 5000 kilometres away, police officials mistook the eruption for “the distant roar of heavy guns.” The sound is estimated to have been around 180 decibels—as loud as a rifle shot at point blank range, and loud enough to instantly kill all hearing tissue in the human ear. It’s believed that Krakatoa’s eruption was one of the loudest sounds ever generated on Earth, rivalled only by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, and the Tunguska event of 1908, when a meteroid or comet fragment exploded in the air above Russia. No wonder Krakatoa is considered the most dangerous volcano in human history.

sciencesoup:

A Sound Heard Round the World

In 1883 just off the coast of Jakarta, a volcano on the tiny island of Krakatoa exploded. It had been building up for months, and on the morning of August 27th, the volcano erupted for the fourth time, blowing apart the entire island. It spewed out over twenty five cubic kilometres of ash, pumice, and rock, created tsunami waves over thirty metres high, and overall caused over 36,000 deaths. The eruption caused a shockwave of energy to tear around the globe seven times, and it was measured by barometers for a full five days afterwards. This peak explosion was about thirteen times larger than the Hiroshima bomb, and the sound it made was literally heard around the world: people heard it clearly as far flung as Perth, 3500 kilometres away in Australia, and even 5000 kilometres away, police officials mistook the eruption for “the distant roar of heavy guns.” The sound is estimated to have been around 180 decibels—as loud as a rifle shot at point blank range, and loud enough to instantly kill all hearing tissue in the human ear. It’s believed that Krakatoa’s eruption was one of the loudest sounds ever generated on Earth, rivalled only by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815, and the Tunguska event of 1908, when a meteroid or comet fragment exploded in the air above Russia. No wonder Krakatoa is considered the most dangerous volcano in human history.

In Britain, students don’t begin paying off their loans until they find stable employment, and the cost is in proportion to their earnings. Australia similarly ties the cost of paying off the loan to the income of the graduate. In Denmark, education is considered a right by the people and an investment by the government, and is therefore free. Some students are even offered a stipend by the government to defray costs. Norway has a similar system of higher education, and in Sweden, students pay only a small fee.

In America? The university is considered a commodity, one that can easily be purchased by the wealthy, but not the poor. These approaches represent a fundamentally different cultural attitude: elsewhere, education is a public good, an investment or a right; in the U.S., it’s a privilege reserved for wealthy elites …

More:Does America hate millennials? - Sean McElwee | Salon (via verbalresistance)

So higher education is supposed to lift people out of poverty and help everyone climb up the economic ladder. But college graduates end up owing a ton of money and getting jobs below their education level, which makes them poorer than when they entered college. So even if you make a pretty good living, you can’t support yourself because most of your income goes to banksters.

(via afunnyfeminist)

 

#bucky #fuller #work #genius

 

#bucky #fuller #work #genius

Terror and suspicion

Beria, the chief of Stalin’s secret police, is waiting in front of Stalin’s office for an audience. Suddenly, the doors slams open and a general comes out, visibly upset. Not noticing Beria, he utters to himself while walking out of the room: “That turd with mustache!”. 

Beria calmly enters Stalin’s office and after greeting him, he informs Stalin with a grave face about the general’s utterance. After hearing this, Stalin picks up the phone and asks to speak to the general. 
- I heard you said the words “turd with mustache” as you left my office. Who did you mean by that?
- Hitler, of course, answers the general.
- Hitler, you say… Thank you.
Stalin then puts the phone down and turns towards Beria:
- And who did YOU mean, comrade Beria?

'Laurie Sadly Listening' by Lou Reed

Laurie if you’re sadly listening 
The birds are on fire The sky glistening 
While I atop my roof stand watching 
Staring into the spider’s clypeus 
Incinerated flesh repelling 
While I am on the rooftop yearning 
Thinking of you

Laurie if you’re sadly listening 
Selfishly I miss your missing 
The boundaties of our world now changing 
The air is filled with someone’s sick reasons 
And I had thought a beautiful season was 
Upon us

Laurie if you’re sadly listening 
The phones don’t work 
The bird’s afire 
The smoke curls black 
I’m on the rooftop 
Liberty to my right still standing 
Laurie evil’s gaunt desire is 
Upon we

Laurie if you’re sadly listening 
Know one thing above all others 
You were all I really thought of 
As the TV blared the screaming 
The deathlike snowflakes 
Sirens screaming 
All I wished was you to be holding 
Bodies frozen in time jumping 
Bird’s afire 
One thing me thinking 
Laurie if you’re sadly listening 
Love you 
Laurie if you’re sadly listening 
Love you

Written for The New York Times Magazine on Oct. 6, 2001