Dog-Human Tennis-Ball-Based Internet Communicator

The quest to more often communicate with one’s dog, if one has a dog, takes a big bounce forward with the invention of a tennis-ball-based dog-to-human internet communication system. A new study offers detail on how, and how well, it works: “Forming the Dog Internet: Prototyping a Dog-to-Human Video Call Device,” Ilyena Hirskyj-Douglas, Roosa Piitulainen, […]

Intra-pork signal transmission: Trans-meat communications

News on the meat, medical, and electro-communications fronts: “Mbps Experimental Acoustic Through-Tissue Communications: MEAT-COMMS,” Andrew Singer, Michael Oelze, and Anthony Podkowa, arXiv preprint arXiv:1603.05269 (2016). The authors, at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, report: “This paper describes experimental transmission of digital communication signals through samples of real pork tissue and beef liver, achieving […]

Garbling obliviousness and authenticity (cryptographically)

Lack of security in electronic communications can either be seen as a problem, or an asset, depending on your viewpoint. Either way, it’s a given that a great deal of high-end cryptographic research is currently underway. Accounts of recent progress can be found via Professor Mihir Bellare’s web page at the Department of Computer Science […]

Nonstraightforwardness – an exploration

Recent research has suggested that issuing vague or equivocal public statements can sometimes be advisable for a corporation undergoing a crisis. But previous academic work had also studied a broadly similar concept, called ‘Nonstraightforwardness’. A team of investigators lead by Susan Kline (Associate Professor and Associate Director for Undergraduate Studies at The Ohio State University) […]

Dogs Tail Wagging (Robotic and Otherwise): an Update

Back in 2010, Improbable reported ongoing investigations regarding tail-wagging in robotic dogs. We can now provide readers with an update, thanks to researcher Stephen Leaver, who has posted a video of Robodog in action via his research lab webpage. The accompanying paper : ‘Behavioural responses of Canis familiaris to different tail lengths of a remotely-controlled […]

Are Humans Hardwired for Feline Servitude?

Even if you’ve never lived with a cat, you can still be subject to their powers of mammalian mind-control. “The Cry Embedded Within the Purr,” Karen McComb, Anna M. Taylor, Christian Wilson, and Benjamin D. Charlton, Current Biology, 19 (13), July 2009, pp. R507-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.05.033. The authors, from The Centre for Mammal Vocal Communication and Cognition […]

Dead ducks and pubic lice at the TED talks

Today in Rotterdam, Improbable Research European Bureau Chief (and Ig Nobel Prize winner) Kees Moeliker discussed (while battling a head cold) his research on homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, the decline of pubic lice, and other remarkable animal behavior. This was at TEDxRotterdam. Here’s video of the talk: