Study linking browser choice and IQ level a hoax

first_img © 2010 PhysOrg.com IQ level tied to choice of internet browser Explore further The bogus report claimed that users of Microsoft’s line of browsers scored lower on IQ tests than those for virtually all other browsers. Now it turns out, the whole thing was completely made up by someone claiming to be Tarandeep Gill. The story appeared fishy to many readers of the report who then began to do a little digging. Another site, Central Test, was found that appeared to have ties to the first, going so far as to use the same photographs for supposed employees of the company. Further research showed that the AptiQuant site, the original source of the “study” had appeared on the internet just about the same time as the IQ/browser story broke.It appears leading news organizations around the world were duped by the perpetuator of this hoax, including the BBC, Forbes and CNN. Also, it should be noted that it appears that the Central Test site was a victim itself, as it appears Mr. Gill, if that is indeed his real name, simply copied information and pictures from that site and presented them as his own.Now that the hoax has been uncovered, the AptiQuant site has updated its About Us page and freely admits to the hoax and offers an explanation of how it got started and why.Mr. “Gill” (who says he’s from Toronto Canada, not San Francisco) says it was all born out of frustration with the worldwide Internet Explorer user community who have been clinging steadfastly to outdated versions of the venerable browser, causing him difficulty in creating his website, AtCheap.com, that would support virtually anyone who visited. He claims it was not a “cheap publicity stunt” but an “honest” attempt to push such users away from IE browsers to those he considered a better choice for everyone.He adds that he sent out the press release in hopes of attracting as much attention as possible, but was surprised himself at the amount of press that was received, and suggests it happened because other people felt as he did. He concludes by apologizing to Central Test for stealing their copy and photos and to those Internet Explorer users who felt insulted by both how he worded his press release and for implying they were less intelligent than other people. Citation: Study linking browser choice and IQ level a hoax (2011, August 4) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-08-linking-browser-choice-iq-hoax.html In a truly bizarre case of what is both right and wrong with modern technology, a hoax has been uncovered regarding a story about a psychometric consulting company that had supposedly undertaken a study correlating IQ levels to choice of browser. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Study shows slime molds have spatial memory

first_img PausePlay% buffered00:0000:00UnmuteMuteDisable captionsEnable captionsSettingsCaptionsDisabledQuality0SpeedNormalCaptionsGo back to previous menuQualityGo back to previous menuSpeedGo back to previous menu0.5×0.75×Normal1.25×1.5×1.75×2×Exit fullscreenEnter fullscreen (Phys.org)—Biology researchers from the University of Sydney, working with colleagues from Paul Sabatier Université in Toulouse have found that the brainless slime mold Physarum polycephalum, is able to use its slime trail as a memory device. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team describe how they used a baited trap to test the molds’ ability to navigate around an obstacle both when able to use its trail as a guide, and when its trail was disguised, to uncover how the mold uses the trail as a memory device. The research found that that a single-celled organism with no brain uses an external spatial memory to navigate through a complex environment. Credit: Tanya Latty Explore further Citation: Study shows slime molds have spatial memory (2012, October 9) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-10-slime-molds-spatial-memory.html Play Plasmodium solving U-shaped trap problem on substrate of blank agar. Credit: PNAS. The key to solving the problem lies in how the mold moves around and in the makeup of the slime trail it leaves behind. P. polycephalum has several different parts, or areas that make up its body, each of which respond independently to its environment. The different parts expand and contract, pulsating at a certain rate depending on what is being experienced. Heat, food or light cause changes in the pulsation rate which differ from the rate of other parts of the molds’ body. These differences in pulsation rates are what cause the mold to move. As the mold moves, a layer of slime is deposited beneath its body to allow for sliding across surface material. Chemicals in the slime also cause changes in the pulsation rate, which accounts for how they can avoid treading on it.Suspecting that the mold was somehow using its slime trail as a memory device, the team ran two experiments involving traps. The first involved placing a mold in trap with a Y shaped obstacle with food placed at each end of the branch. When a slime mat was placed in the path between the mold and the food source, 39 out of 40 test slime went all the other way around to get at it.In the second experiment, the molds were placed in a trap where a U shaped obstacle was placed between the mold and a food source. As the molds made their way to the food, they were timed to see how long it took them to get around the obstacle. Two types of trials were run, the first was where the molds were allowed to move on a normal surface. In the second, the surface was covered with slime similar to that produced by the mold, preventing the mold from using it as a memory device. When the molds were allowed to use their trails, 96 percent of them reached the food within 120 hours. That number shrank to just 33 percent when left to navigate without use of their trail.These results indicate that P. polycephalum uses its slime trail as a memory device, the first example of that ability in an organism with no brain. Slime mold prefers sleeping pillscenter_img Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences P. polycephalum is a simple creature, made up of just one cell. It has no brain, nor neural system, yet is able to move about in its environment without retracing its steps. How it has been able to accomplish this feat has remained a mystery, until now. © 2012 Phys.org More information: Slime mold uses an externalized spatial “memory” to navigate in complex environments, PNAS, Published online before print October 8, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1215037109AbstractSpatial memory enhances an organism’s navigational ability. Memory typically resides within the brain, but what if an organism has no brain? We show that the brainless slime mold Physarum polycephalum constructs a form of spatial memory by avoiding areas it has previously explored. This mechanism allows the slime mold to solve the U-shaped trap problem—a classic test of autonomous navigational ability commonly used in robotics—requiring the slime mold to reach a chemoattractive goal behind a U-shaped barrier. Drawn into the trap, the organism must rely on other methods than gradient-following to escape and reach the goal. Our data show that spatial memory enhances the organism’s ability to navigate in complex environments. We provide a unique demonstration of a spatial memory system in a nonneuronal organism, supporting the theory that an externalized spatial memory may be the functional precursor to the internal memory of higher organisms.Press release This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Comparison of bonobo anatomy to humans offers evolutionary clues

first_img Explore further Scientists looking to understand how humans evolved have studied a lot of fossils, but such samples are of bones, which means there is little to no evidence of what organs, muscle or fat looked like in our ancestors which means there are still questions regarding things such as what percentage or proportion of fat or muscle was there, where were they located on the body, and what the organs were like. In this new study, the research pair sought to uncover clues by studying bonobos, apes that look a lot like chimpanzees and are considered to be our closest relative.To learn more about bonobo anatomy, the researchers performed autopsies on thirteen of the apes that had died naturally over the course of three decades, carefully jotting down seldom noted information such as fat and muscle percentages. In so doing, they came to see that bonobos have considerably less fat on their bodies than do humans, even those that lived a similar sedentary life due to living in captivity. They also found that the apes had more upper body mass than humans as a rule and less leg muscle—bonobos also have a lot more skin.In analyzing their results, the researchers suggest that the differences likely came about as early human ancestors began walking around upright, causing the need for more leg muscle and more fat—because a nomadic lifestyle would necessitate a fat store to prevent starvation during lean times, especially for females if they were to successfully bear offspring. They also believe that we humans have less skin because as we moved around and moved faster on two legs—our skin developed an ability to sweat as a means to keep cool and that led to thinner skin. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Scientists complete Bonobo genome Citation: Comparison of bonobo anatomy to humans offers evolutionary clues (2015, June 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-06-comparison-bonobo-anatomy-humans-evolutionary.html Percentage of muscle distribution to upper and lower limbs in Pongo pygmaeus, Gorilla gorilla, P. paniscus, and H. sapiens. Credit: (c) Adrienne L. Zihlman,PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1505071112center_img More information: Body composition in Pan paniscus compared with Homo sapiens has implications for changes during human evolution, Adrienne L. Zihlman,PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1505071112AbstractThe human body has been shaped by natural selection during the past 4–5 million years. Fossils preserve bones and teeth but lack muscle, skin, fat, and organs. To understand the evolution of the human form, information about both soft and hard tissues of our ancestors is needed. Our closest living relatives of the genus Pan provide the best comparative model to those ancestors. Here, we present data on the body composition of 13 bonobos (Pan paniscus) measured during anatomical dissections and compare the data with Homo sapiens. These comparative data suggest that both females and males (i) increased body fat, (ii) decreased relative muscle mass, (iii) redistributed muscle mass to lower limbs, and (iv) decreased relative mass of skin during human evolution. Comparison of soft tissues between Pan and Homo provides new insights into the function and evolution of body composition. © 2015 Phys.org This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—A pair of anthropology researchers, one with the University of California, the other Modesto College has found what they believe are clues to human evolutionary development by conducting a long term study of bonobo anatomy. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Adrienne Zihlman and Debra Bolter, describe their anatomy studies and their ideas on why what they found offers new clues on why humans developed in the ways we did.last_img read more

Genetic analysis reveals patterns of migration of early Bantu speaking people

first_img Prior research has shown that BSPs migrated from the western coast of central Africa to southern and eastern parts of the continent, but exactly when the migration occurred and the timing of a big split between groups of BSPs have been hotly debated—some suggest there was a split before the migration while others insist it came after. In this new effort, the researchers have used genetic analysis of individuals from across a wide swath of Africa and also from people living in North America to better understand what occurred. They note that due to the migration, approximately one-third of the people living today in sub-Saharan Africa are BSPs.In all, the team collected samples from 2,055 people living in Africa. Then, they conducted a genetic analysis of the samples and entered what they found into a computer modeling software to show how BSP migration likely occurred. The researchers report that the software showed a migration moving south (through the rainforest), then farther south and eventually east.The researchers note that as BSPs moved into the rainforest, they encountered and mixed with hunter-gatherer non-BSP people who had developed a genetic resistance to tropical diseases such as malaria approximately 800 years ago. Some BSPs also gained genes that allowed adults to digest milk. In exchange, the BSPs brought knowledge of agriculture with them, which forever changed the landscape in those parts of Africa. As Bantu-speaking people migrated across Africa, they acquired advantageous genetic mutations through admixture. Credit: Patin et al., Science (2017) / Etienne Patin / Institut Pasteur (Phys.org)—An international team of researchers has learned more about the migration history of early Bantu speaking people (BSP) in Africa by conducting a genetic analysis of over 2000 people living on the continent today. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes their approach and what they learned about the BSP migration in Africa. Bantu-speaking people travelling on a river. Credit: Luc-Henri Fage / Fells.fr Explore further More information: Etienne Patin et al. Dispersals and genetic adaptation of Bantu-speaking populations in Africa and North America, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1988AbstractBantu languages are spoken by about 310 million Africans, yet the genetic history of Bantu-speaking populations remains largely unexplored. We generated genomic data for 1318 individuals from 35 populations in western central Africa, where Bantu languages originated. We found that early Bantu speakers first moved southward, through the equatorial rainforest, before spreading toward eastern and southern Africa. We also found that genetic adaptation of Bantu speakers was facilitated by admixture with local populations, particularly for the HLA and LCT loci. Finally, we identified a major contribution of western central African Bantu speakers to the ancestry of African Americans, whose genomes present no strong signals of natural selection. Together, these results highlight the contribution of Bantu-speaking peoples to the complex genetic history of Africans and African Americans. © 2017 Phys.org Citation: Genetic analysis reveals patterns of migration of early Bantu speaking people (2017, May 5) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-genetic-analysis-reveals-patterns-migration.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Researchers find signs of western Eurasian genes in southern African Khoisan tribes Journal information: Science Bantu-speaking people travelling on a road. Credit: Luc-Henri Fage / Fells.fr The researchers also obtained genetic information for approximately 5,200 African Americans and used it to investigate their African background. They report that they found a high degree of BSP ancestry, which was expected, as slave traders typically brought slaves to the Americas from the western coast of Africa. But the researchers report that they also found that their genomes on average were 16 percent non-BSP, suggesting that African Americans are much more genetically diverse than has been thought.last_img read more

Another award for Dr Ansal

first_imgOne more such award went to writer Dr Kusum Ansal. Ansal was felicitated with the prestigious Women of Substance award at the Kamani auditorium on Wednesday. Ansal was recognised for her outstanding contribution in the field of Indian literature. She was conferred with the award for her exceptional work that includes books like Beyond Silence and Widows of Vrindavan.Beyond Silence, her first novel, depicts the story of Indians in South Africa. It is a tribute to those who revolted against racial discrimination in the country. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Dr Ansal has written about 25 books which include novels, short stories, poems and travelogues. One of her novels, Ek Aur Panchvati, has been adapted into a film Panchvati by Dr Basu Bhattacharya, with Suresh Oberoi, Deepti Naval and Farooq Sheikh as the lead actors. A couple of her novels have also been adopted into TV serials and three of her stories have been adapted into plays by Faizal Alkazi and others.Her books have been translated into Punjabi, English, Urdu, Bengali, Greek, Russian and French. Besides Hindi and English, she writes in Punjabi too.Apart from Ansal, a team of other women achievers were also felicitated. The cultural evening also saw a dance performance by yesteryear actress Vyjayantimala Bali. Her dance performance left the audience spellbound and was the perfect amalgamation of dance and soul.last_img read more

Theatre goes celebrating

first_imgMahindra Excellence in Theatre awards (META), one of the Indian theater industry’s premiere award is to be held on March 2013. The META festival 2013, the eighth of its edition, will be staged in the nation’s capital from 8 March to 13 March and the awards will be announced on 9 March. The shortlisted nominations and jury panel members have been announced.The preliminary selection committee has shortlisted the best 10 productions out of a whopping 312 entries from across the country. The plays will be screened at the Little Theatre Group Auditorium at 5:30 pm and the Kamani Auditorium at 7:30 pm every day from 8 March to 13 March. The screenings are open to the public. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The nominations will be adjudged across 13 categories, to name a few- best play, best original script and best ensemble.The jury panel consists of eminent personalities like Nissar Allana, Shobha Deepak Singh, Anmol Vellani, Renu Roy, Bhanu Bharti and Pawan Maskara.’Fans from across the country are welcome to witness this wonderful celebration of Indian Theatre, which will be staged in the capital’, told Ravi Dubey, Creative Director of METADETAILWhere: Little Theatre Auditorium and Kamani AuditoriumTimings: 5:30 pm and 7:30 pmDates: 8 March to 13 Marchlast_img read more

One for the earth

first_img5 June is celebrated as World Environment Day. The date marks the day on which the United Nations Conference on Human Environment (the Stockholm Conference) began in 1972 when countries of the world came together to discuss global environmental issues for the first time.Respect for the environment has been an integral part of India’s glorious culture. The relationship between the earth and human beings has been likened to that between a mother and her child. From the Rig Veda to the Yagyavalkya Smriti, the ‘Panch Tatvas’ or the five elements are mentioned.  These are prithvi (earth), pavan (wind), jal (water), tej (solar energy) and nabh (sky). We are taught to live in harmony with the environment. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Environmental sustainability is also a moral issue. In this context, ‘I have been deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and his concept of ‘trusteeship’. This may be interpreted as the present generation acting as trustee for the future by enjoying the wealth of nature in a way that it benefits the next generation,’ says Jitendra Padam Jain- Curator of the show.  The choice in front of us is clear. Either we allow environmental degradation to continue unchecked or we take remedial steps to ensure happiness of the future generations. Government action alone is not the key to the environment changes that are required. No strength is mightier than people’s participation. It is the small steps we take in our daily lives that will make a big difference in the quest for an environment friendly planet. Through art, our show would highlight environmental awareness, and bring together all fraternities in working towards this cause. We should adopt a plant and nurture it to become a tree, as we do with our children.last_img read more

Off stage

first_imgStage Adaptation Film Festival celebrates the translation of the theatrical drama onto the silver screen. The three day film festival from 21 to 23 August, organised by American Center in collaboration with Cinedarbaar would showcase six popular adaptations.The Philadelphia Story, a two times Oscar winning movie, directed by George Cukor would open the festival. The movie is based on the play of the same name written by Philip Barry. The classic and much-loved romantic melodrama Casablanca by Michael Curtiz has won 3three Oscars. The sentimental triangular love story is set against the backdrop of the wartime conflict between democracy and totalitarianism. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Also a dark comedy film by Frank Capra Arsenic and Old Lace based on Joseph Kesselring’s play would grace the festival on the second day. Movies scheduled for the last day of the festival are the Academy award winners A Streetcar Named Desire by Elia Kazan, a subversive, steamy film classic that was adapted from Tennessee Williams’ 1947 Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.Deathtrap a murder mystery by Sidney Lumet based on Ira Levin’s play. Lastly Amadeus adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s Broadway hit and winner of 8 Oscars directed by Milos Forman would mark the end of the festival. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixStage-to-film adaptations have been popular since the beginning of motion pictures and as the popularity of films grew, Hollywood began borrowing plots as well as actors and directors from Broadway, some of which turned out to be the triumphs and others could not succeed at the Box Office. On some occasions, playwrights re-write their stage dramas for the screen, as Peter Shaffer did for Amadeus (1984). An advantage that film has over theatre is that the film can convey the message through imagery, rather than dialogue. Great filmmakers consider these notions and turn an original work into something new without losing the soul and integrity of what it was formerly. The movie screenings will be followed by interactive sessions, conducted by speaker’s Anugyan Nag and Kumar Unnayan. Anugyan who is a film scholar and an independent filmmaker would speak regarding the significance of stage plays and screenplays and stage adaptations of the movies The Philadelphia Story and Casablanca. He is currently a senior research doctoral fellow at the School of Arts and Aesthetics completing his Ph.D. in Cinema studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University. His films have been nominated, screened and awarded at various National and International Film Festivals. Kumar Unnayan, a postgraduate in English Literature is a keen theater and cinema enthusiast. He will take up interactive sessions on A Streetcar Named Desire and Deathtrap talking about the acting techniques and the transition of stage plays to screen plays in these films.The entry to the festival is free and open for general public. One can also win exciting prizes by answering quiz questions based on the movies. Handouts which will include film reviews will also be available at the venue after each screening for the visitors. Please carry an original valid photo ID to enter the American Center.WHERE: American Center, KG MargWHEN: 21 to 23 Augustlast_img read more

Finally WBHDC to get own office building at Lake Gardens

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Highway Development Corporation (WBHDC) is set to get its own office building at Lake Gardens.According to the sources, a land has been identified at Lake Gardens where the building, that will house the office of WBHDC, will come up. The plot belongs to the state Public Works Department (PWD) and the project will also be implemented by the state PWD. At present, the office of WBHDC is situated in the fourth and fifth floor of HRBC Bhavan at Munshi Premchand Sarani near Hastings. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThe corporation, that acts as an organisation for development, upgradation and maintenance of state highways, is now going to have its own full-fledged office. Sources said that Mackintosh Burn Limited has prepared the design, based on which the building will be constructed. The authorities of Mackintosh Burn Limited have handed over the design to the designing section of the state PWD to go through and to point out whether there is a need of bringing any change in the design. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedAfter the design of the building gets finalised, the officials will take up the subsequent steps to ensure timely initiation of its construction.Sources said that the building will be a six-storeyed one, with a basement. The plot on which the building will be constructed is roughly around 3 cottah in area and accordingly, the building has been designed so that all the aspects get incorporated within the available space.According to an official of the WBHDC, they had been considering the need of a full-fledged office building of the corporation, with all facilities available when carrying out several development projects, including construction of the Iswar Gupta Setu over river Hooghly that will connect Hooghly and Nadia. The official maintained that the state will witness a massive development in road connectivity with construction of the Iswar Gupta Setu.”Finally, the step has been taken to construct the building and there will be utmost effort to complete the work as early as possible,” the official said, adding that the connectivity of the location, where the office building will be constructed, is also good.last_img read more

Bengal PrePuja Exposition 2015 opens at Dilli Haat

first_imgAdding to the festive ambience ahead of the upcoming Durga Puja and Dussehra, a two week-long exhibition to showcase an array of beautiful and exclusive handloom and handicrafts creations of master weavers and craftsmen of rural Bengal was opened in the national capital today.The 4th Edition of the ‘Bengal Pre-Puja Exposition’, organised by the Office of the Resident Commissioner, Government of West Bengal, from September 16 to 30, was formally inaugurated at Dilli Haat, INA. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’RD Meena, Principal Resident Commissioner and other senior officials of the Government of West Bengal were present at the occasion. Around 50 artisans from various districts of West Bengal will take part in the exposition, which is aimed at promoting the rich and glorious tradition of Bengal handicrafts and handloom and also ensuring commercial benefits to the craftspersons before the festive season.Special cultural soirees will be organised during the fair at Dilli Haat on September 19 and 26, with a focus on Bengali songs, Purulia Chhau dance and Rabha folk dance of North Bengal.last_img read more