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Jewish World Review
News of the Weird: Science on the Cutting Edge
"You're not going to like this," warned NPR's Robert Krulwich, about to deliver a February story about visionary robotics developers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, who created a carnivorous clock, supposedly able to power itself for 12 days merely on the carcasses of 12 dead houseflies (which the clock traps with fly paper and then mechanically razors in two). The pair also showed a prototype of a coffee table that catches mice by luring them up the table legs with cheese into a hole in the center, where they are guillotined. Auger and Loizeau said their creations are just extensions of TV nature programs showing animals hunting in the wild, but Krulwich fretted about the dangers inherent in "giving robots a taste for (meat)." [NPR, 2-7-2011]
Scientists have long observed male capuchin monkeys urinating on their hands and then rubbing down their bodies, but researchers were unclear about the purpose (whether for identification, or threat-prevention, or mating) -- until a recent issue of the American Journal of Primatology. Dr. Kimberly Phillips and colleagues found that the practice helps clarify mating priorities, in that, first, males rub down promptly after being solicited by females in heat, and second, based on MRI scans of capuchins' brains, female mating activity is triggered only by adults' urine. [BBC News, 2-24-2011]
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© 2011, Chuck Shepherd. Distributed by Universal Uclick