Thieving hounds and robot doctors

“Aaahhh look at the lickle cutey dog, he finks he is people ahhh waggly baggly boooo wub your bewwy, he woves his mummy yes he does ahhh wovewy cuteypooch.”

And so forth.

Turns out that dogs are probably more like people than we might think, despite our constant anthromorphicisation of the barking lunatics.

A study of 84 dogs has just been published by Animal Cognition and basically discovered that when the lights are turned off, canines will go and nick food that they’re not allowed to eat with humans watching. Sneaky Fido!

Researcher Dr Juliane Kaminski, from the University of Portsmouth’s psychology department, said that this implied that dogs understood that humans could not see in the dark and therefore worked out that they could eat the tasty treats without getting shouted at, which is pretty cool when you think about it.

The long-suffering lab mice have been getting fed loads of fat by the Division of Clinical Obesity and Metabolism at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. This clearly made them obese. But, luckily, feeding them amlexamnox – a canker sore medication – made them lose weight without changing their diet or behaviour.

Dr. George Bray said that this could make amlexanox like a new Viagra, except for fatties not floppies. (We’re paraphrasing a touch here, we ought to add.) However, as it seems to increase energy expenditure by thermogenesis, this extra heating of the body could have knock-on health effects. Still, you can never have enough thin mice, apparently.

The Daily Mirror reported that a 3-year old called Alice Amos has joined MENSA, the society for know-it-alls that we’re too stupid to join. Apparently her IQ is higher than Stephen Hawking and Einstein. No pressure on Alice, then, eh? Oh and whilst we’re at it, she took the test in Russian. Bozhe!

Not to be outdone by meatbag humantypes, the Jeopardy-winning computer, IBM’s Watson, is moving into a new field – medical advice. Watson’s had a bit of a trim-down him(her?it?)self, and can now fit into a pizza box, which is also pretty ironic isn’t it. Anyway the fact that Watson can analyse millions of pages of text, 25,000 training cases, more than 600,000 pieces of evidence and all that means that doctors can refer cases to the computer for a second opinion. Again, scientists really ought to watch 2001:A Space Odyssey. We all know where this is headed and that is robot dogs enslaving us in special mines dedicated to hacking out Begging Strips from the bacon seams of Venus. You read it here first.

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