Dog Shaming for Your Monday Blues…

As a favor for my friend Diane, this week we are focusing on dog shaming pictures.  Enjoy!

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Brain Scans Reveal What Dogs Really Think of Us

We love our dogs.

In the 30,000 years humans and dogs have lived together, man’s best friend has only become a more popular and beloved pet. Today, dogs are a fixture in almost 50% of American households.

From the way dogs thump their tails, invade our laps and steal our pillows, it certainly seems like they love us back. But since dogs can’t tell us what’s going on inside their furry heads, can we ever be sure?

Actually, yes. Thanks to recent developments in brain imaging technology, we’re starting to get a better picture of the happenings inside the canine cranium.

That’s right — scientists are actually studying the brains of dogs. And what the studies show is welcome news for all dog owners: Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.

Dogs gathered around MRI scanner MR Research Center in Budapest. Image Credit: Borbala Ferenczy

The most direct brain-based evidence that dogs are hopelessly devoted to humans comes from a recentneuroimaging study about odor processing in the dog brain. Animal cognition scientists at Emory University trained dogs to lie still in an MRI machine and used fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to measure their neural responses to the smell of people and dogs, both familiar and unknown. Because dogs navigate the world through their noses, the way they process smell offers a lot of potential insight into social behavior.

The scientists found that dog owners’ aroma actually sparked activation in the “reward center” of their brains, called the caudate nucleus. Of all the wafting smells to take in, dogs actually prioritized the hint of humans over anything or anyone else.

These results jibe with other canine neuroimaging research. In Budapest, researchers at Eotvos Lorand University studied canine brain activity in response to different human and dog sounds, including voices, barks and the meaningful grunts and sighs both species emit. Before this study, we had no idea what happens inside canine brains when humans make noise.

Among other surprising findings, the study revealed marked similarities in the way dog and human brains process emotionally laden vocal sounds. Researchers found that happy sounds in particular light up the auditory cortex in both species. This commonality speaks to the uniquely strong communication system underlying the dog-human bond.

In short: Dogs don’t just seem to pick up on our subtle mood changes — they are actually physically wired to pick up on them.

“It’s very interesting to understand the tool kit that helps such successful vocal communication between two species,” Attila Andics, a neuroscientist and lead author of the study, told Mic. “We didn’t need neuroimaging to see that communication works [between dogs and people], but without it, we didn’t understand why it works. Now we’re really starting to.”

Dog waiting to be scanned at MR Research Center in Budapest. Image Credit: Borbala Ferenczy.

Behavior research supports the recent neuroscience too. According to Andics, dogs interact with their human caregivers in the same way babies do their parents. When dogs are scared or worried, they run to their owners, just as distressed toddlers make a beeline for their parents. This is in stark contrast to other domesticated animals: Petrified cats, as well as horses, will run away.

Dogs are also the only non-primate animal to look people in the eyes. This is something Andics, along with other researchers, discovered about a decade ago when he studied the domestication of wolves, which he thought would share that trait. They endeavored to raise wolves like dogs. This is a unique behavior between dogs and humans — dogs seek out eye contact from people, but not their biological dog parents.

“Bonding with owners is much more important for dogs than other pets,” said Andics.

Image Credit: Getty

Scientists have also looked at the dog-human relationship from the other direction. As it turns out, people reciprocate dogs’ strong feelings. In a study published in PLOS One in October, Massachusetts General Hospital researchers measured human brain activity in response to photos of dogs and children. Study participants were women who’d had dogs and babies for at least two years. Both types of photos sparked activity in brain regions associated with emotion, reward, affiliation, visual processing and social interaction. Basically, both furry and (typically) less-furry family members make us equally happy.

Dog-lovers have committed a few notable gaffes in interpreting dogs’ facial expressions, e.g., assuming the often-documented hangdog look signifies guilt, an emotion that, most behavior experts agree, requires a multifaceted notion of self-awareness that dogs probably don’t have.

But, as with family, our instinctive hunches about dog behavior are often correct.

“Sometimes our intuition about what’s going on inside dogs’ heads is dead-on,” said Laurie Santos, the lead researcher at Yale’s Canine Cognition Center. “Like, that dogs are seeking out help from us — and that’s true based on studies — which is different from even their closest relatives, wolves.”

The precise wish or worry lurking in a dog’s doleful look may not always be clear. But we can relish the fact that we know our pets love us as much as we hoped, maybe even more. Even if they’re not full-fledged children, they see us as family. And to us? Well, they’ll always be our babies.

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Disfigured man is growing his new face on his chest

 A Chinese man, who was severely disfigured when he was electrocuted, hopes the growing “head” bulging from his chest will eventually become his new face.

Yan Jianbin sustained serious facial burns and lost an eye and his nose after he opened the door of a high-voltage transformer, according to the Daily Mail.

Doctors at Shenyang Army General Hospital, in Liaoning Province, began a procedure six months ago to stretch the skin on his chest by injecting saline water to create a head-shaped mound.

Plastic surgeons plan to create new facial features and then attach the stretched skin to his face in a five stage procedure that will take two years to complete.

The first two stages of the groundbreaking procedure involves creating a new nose using part of his rib cartilage.

In the third phase, they will create new blood vessels and arteries.

The fourth phase will be the face transplant. The final phase will consist of fine-tuning the new face.

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Cosplay Pictures for The Weekend

Here are some great cosplay pictures.  If you like them, please feel free to follow their pages.  It takes them tons of time and money to put these together.  Give them some encouragement!

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The Lightbulb Quandry

I needed a standard 60 watt bulb for a lamp at my house.  Seems easy.  So, at the store, I go and there are a row of items which vaguely resemble light bulbs.  None of them are the traditional bulb I have seen for some five decades.  Instead, there are squiggly ones, triangle, square, ones that look like bike reflectors, and there are conversion charts that are harder than converting to metric.

So, I figure I will choose one that says it is like a regular 60w bulb and looks to have the right screw in size metal twisty part.  This is written by a person who earned an Electronics Engineering degree in 1985…  There are no 49 cent bulbs.  I am left with a weird-looking thing for $4.99, a more normal one for $5.99, and one for $23.99.  The one for $23.99 says it will last an average of 22.3 years and save me tons of money.

That’s right, a bulb that lasts 22.3 years.  I am 51.  I am not guaranteed to last 22.3 years myself.  That is quite a commitment to make to a light bulb.  Even a lamp.  How many lamps or bulbs do you really want to commit to for 22.3 years.  Some home mortgages are shorter.  Many people have careers that are shorter.  Just 20 years in the military to get retirement.  You could buy this bulb in basic training and keep it with you to your retirement home.

I bought the one for $5.99.  When I opened the tiny package at home, there were two of them in there.  I am not sure I will know where the second bulb is when the first one finally gives out.  It is expected to last me five years.  I was simply relieved when I screwed in this new technology and turned the switch that a light came on and seems to be reasonably bright.

Don’t get me started on the new energy-saving track lights in my kitchen and entryway.  When I first turn them on, they are so dim I am not sure they are working.  It takes them about fifteen minutes to reach proper lighting.  It reminds me again of the military when we were trained to adjust our vision over time for night-time operations, then how to work with flash bangs.  I am finally of the age where new technology is not always welcome.  Even for a tech geek like me.


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9 Military Technologies That Will Soon Change Warfare

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U.S. Navy photo

The technological revolution in modern warfare isn’t just about airborne drones silently scouting the battlefield from 30,000 feet. We’ve already looked at some developments in the works, but more technologies are on the way from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), working with defense contractors and other private companies. Though some of these blueprints look like they’re right out of a futuristic summer blockbuster movie, most are just a few years away from deployment. Some have the potential to save combat soldiers’ lives. They all will change the face of war. Take a look:

A “Flying Humvee”

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DARPA Illustration

This rugged transporter would take off like a helicopter and fly like a cargo plane. When they land, some versions under study by Lockheed Martin, United Technologies and Textron would even be able to drive off like, well, a Humvee. The concept vehicle, dubbed the ARES, would be similar to a small version of a V-22 Osprey transport, which already provides the Army and Marines with a huge operational advantage in difficult terrains. One of its most promising capabilities: quickly moving soldiers and gear over minefields and past roadside booby traps without having to call in a bomb squad first. The military wants the air-to-land vehicle to be extremely rugged, utilitarian in design, easy to operate and simple to fix.

Silent-Running Motorcycles

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Image courtesy BRD Motorcycles

Imagine off-road dirt bike engines that make no sound. They would be powered by tough, powerful battery packs, allowing warriors to sneak up quickly on an unsuspecting enemy.Such designs are in the works at Logos Technologies and electric bike maker BRD. The electric two-wheelers would have just a small reserve of gasoline in case of an electric failure, plus a secondary fuel source, if needed, to escape danger.

Lasers on the High Seas

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Laser Weapon system (LaWS) aboard the USS Ponce.
U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams.

Easier to turn, aim and fire than today’s heavy shipboard antiaircraft weaponry, laser guns will give sailors a more precise bead on the enemy. So precise, in fact, that naval vessels will be able to zap and disable an approaching enemy boat’s engine, allowing sailors to capture and interrogate their combatants rather than killing or wounding them. This technology will be especially useful in close-to-shore patrols, where ships are more vulnerable to attacks from small boats. Several companies are involved in building the so-called Laser Weapons System, including Raytheon and San Diego-based defense contractor Kratos. It will be tested soon aboard the USS Ponce, one of the workhorses of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

Doctors Inside Bodies

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DARPA/Northwestern University photo

Early research is promising for development of medical “nanobots” that could be introduced into a soldier’s bloodstream or tissues, capable of releasing treatments for everything from a sore throat to malaria or maybe even the effects of chemical or biological weapons The nanobots, part of an area of research called In Vivo Nanoplatforms, would work at the molecular level, hitching rides on a natural protein in the body. One day they might save the lives of soldiers where combat medicine or medevac services are lacking, and they could eventually find their way into civilian applications, too.

The Mach 7 Navy Gun

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Office of Naval Research photo

Using electromagnetic energy instead of gunpowder or other combustible fuel, this rail gun fires 23-pound shells a distance of 100 miles or more at seven times the speed of sound — Mach 7. The Navy expects to conduct seaside trials in 2016, after more limited testing in defense labs. A rail gun projectile will cost as little as $25,000 — far less than the current cost of an attack missile, $500,000 to $1.5 million. And one warship could hold hundreds of projectiles. Multiple rail gun shells could also be fired in sequence to blow apart incoming missiles.

Water Drones

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U.S. Navy photo

Unmanned seacraft, ranging in size from a Jet Ski up to a small yacht, will be joining the Naval arsenal in the coming years. Operated remotely, they’ll be used to patrol coastlines or perform mine sweeps. Some vessels could be equipped with weapons. This all may sound like a simpler proposition than airborne drones; not so. Unmanned surface boats have to negotiate currents, riptides, debris, other boats and even cope with the occasional rogue wave. Plus the elaborate electronic components need to stand up to corrosive saltwater conditions.

Satellite “Slingshots”

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The Air Force and Boeing are working on a device that can launch satellites from airborne vehicles more quickly and cheaply than via a conventional rocket launch. The way it works now, small spy and defense-related satellites often piggyback on larger spacebound payloads blasting off from the ground. This complicated process can cost tens, even hundreds of millions of dollars. Instead, a special high-altitude jet would be used to vault satellites into orbit, using a small rocket attached to the wing or underbelly of the jet. Cost estimates then drop to around $1 million per launch. As satellites get smaller and more powerful, this type of launch will gain popularity with the military, which wants the option to deploy satellites quickly and anywhere.

War Room on a Table Screen

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DARPA image

A portable device will allow commanders to visualize the battlefield using holography and interactive maps — no 3-D glasses needed. The Urban Photonic Sandtable Display condenses the giant war room screen that’s become a movie cliché to the size of a dinner table. Zebra Imaging of Austin, Texas, is a leader in the development field and has been working on 3-D military maps of varying sophistication for several years. Possibilities for commercial applications are many, including uses for engineering and architecture.

Google Glass-like Eyegear for Soldiers

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DARPA image

Troops one day will receive vital, real-time cues about their location, surrounding terrain, danger zones and much more with “augmented reality” holographic glasses. Called ULTRA-Vis, the transparent eye screen covers one eye and provides visual pop-ups keyed to a wearer’s exact location, plus directional signs and alerts to enemy locations. Yes, it’s like Google Glass, but featuring a mini war room map with sensors and live data. Applied Research Associates in Arlington, Virginia, and Britain’s BAE Systems are developing the eyewear with DARPA. As the technology is refined, future applications could easily be found for police, firefighters and even commercial pilots.



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Taiwanese Company Creates Goldfish Shaped Teabags, And They Look Amazing

 Charm Villa is a Taiwanese company that has created something we are surprised hasn’t been done before – a goldfish shaped teabag.

While these delightful teabags may not look like much at first glance, once they are submerged in a glass or bowl of hot water, they bear a striking resemblence to the real thing.



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