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The emotional lives of animals

The emotional lives of animals

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Our pick of the week’s science and technology stories, including animal spirits, America's only hangover doctor and how to get everlasting fame (on Wikipedia at least).

Animal spirits
Stephen Asma | Aeon | 6 February 2013

Reflection, spurred by travel among gorillas and lions in the Serengeti desert, on the emotional life of animals. They have instincts, obviously. They think. But do they have emotions, as humans do? Do they love their children? Did dinosaurs love their children? If emotions are something special to humans, how and when did they develop? 

Examining the popularity of Wikipedia articles: Catalysts, trends, and applications
Andrew West and Milowent | Wikipedia | 4 February 2013

"The best way to reach the highest levels of Wikipedia popularity are to be a celebrity who (a) dies, or (b) plays the Super Bowl halftime show". Failing which, get yourself commemorated in a Google Doodle, mentioned on a television game show, or featured on the front page of Reddit. All-time traffic champion: Whitney Houston.

Why social movements should ignore social media
Evgeny Morozov | New Republic | 5 February 2013

Infatuated media intellectuals hold the virtues of the internet to be self-evident: "decentralization beats centralization, networks are superior to hierarchies, crowds outperform experts". Perhaps. But it's a gross and foolish simplification to start arguing that we should remake the rest of the world's institutions in the image of Wikipedia 

Moon man: What Galileo saw
Adam Gopnik | New Yorker | 4 February 2013

Great scientists establish truths that will outlast them by centuries. If they work under oppressive regimes, as Galileo did in papal Italy, it's not the best use of their time to fight the oppression. Their highest priority must be to create the space in which they can do their scientific work – if necessary, by making compromises with power.

Drone home
Lev Grossman | Time | 1 February 2013

On the history, morality, technology, and usage of drones. They've transformed warfare. They're about to transform our personal lives, as they reach the mass market. Think of them as flying robots. "When robots take to the air, they're faster and nimbler and more graceful than humans will ever be. All along, robots just wanted to be drones." 

Sin City savior's quest to cure the common hangover
Greg Beato | Buzzfeed | 1 February 2013

On the front line with America's pre-eminent — perhaps its only — hangover doctor, Jason Burke, in Las Vegas, on New Year's Day. He has a surgery, he does house calls, but most of the time he operates from a 45-foot bus. His $199 Rapture package includes Zofran, Toradol, hydration fluids, vitamins, antioxidents – and it works. 

Speak, memory
Oliver Sacks | New York Review Of Books | 1 February 2013

On the fallibility and malleability of human memory. Quite common for older people to turn stories they have been told into memories of their own. Ideas absorbed in the past can resurface later as ideas of one's own, perhaps explaining much literary and artistic plagiarism. Psychologists can easily implant false memories, by skilful suggestion. 

Invisible city
Sepoy | Chapati Mystery | 28 January 2013

Fantasy: How to design a city for maximum protection against drone strikes. Fixed outer wall, movable inner walls. Windows covered with computerised mashrabiyas that recombine into QR codes to jam cameras. High-wattage radio towers to interfere with wireless communication. Moving LED lights to frustrate facial recognition.

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