5 Intriguing Things

Dogs in MRI machines, an unbeatable rock-paper-scissors robot, AOL dial-up, the MIA-Assange connection, and a dreamy video shot by Stewart Brand.
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A dog in an MRI machine (PLoS ONE)

1. People are putting dogs in MRI machines to determine if they love us like we love them. But will they love robots, too?

"But [Emory University's Gregory] Berns hopes to respond with future fMRI work, which will compare brain activity in dogs being fed by automated mechanisms with that of dogs being fed by humans."

 

2. You can't beat this robot at rock-paper-scissors because it detects your initial hand movement and forms its own fingers into a winning configuration before you can finish.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a robot hand playing rock paper scissors with a human hand — forever" -- @MatthewOgle

 

3. AOL's dial-up Internet business generated almost $150 million in income in the last quarter.

"...more than offsetting losses in other divisions."

 

4. Julian Assange helped M.I.A. find words with T-E-N-T in them for a song about the plight of refugees.

"So he took my computer and sort of typed a few things, and right in front of me he downloaded, like, 4,000 words from the pool of the Internet."

 

5. Whole Earth Catalog founder Steward Brand shot this footage in the desert in 1971. 

"The camp was centered around a beautiful wild hot spring. 70 miles to the nearest phone. They erected a dome in the desert and then battled the winds while trying to erect an inflatable structure. It was Burning Man 40 years ago."

 

 

 

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer calls Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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