Behavior

Hot and bothered: Climate change amplifies violence, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: August 1, 2013   View Article

As the planet’s climate changes, humans everywhere should brace for a spike in violence, a new study suggests. Civilization as we know it may even be at risk.

The dramatic finding comes from a synthesis of several dozen studies that examine the relationship between climate and conflict. The studies cover most regions of the world and points in time over the past 10,000 years. Across all, the findings are consistent: changes in temperature or rainfall amplify violence.

“As long as future populations continue to respond to climatic events the same way … we should probably expect an amplification of interpersonal and intergroup conflict moving forward,” Solomon Hsiang, a public policy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told NBC News.

Want to love a robot? Let it nurture you, not the other way around

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 10, 2013   View Article

When human-like robots are standard home appliances, their owners will have increasingly warm, positive feelings for them if the robots take good care of their owners and require little maintenance, according to a new study.

In the study, participants could help Nao, a human-like robot, calibrate its eyes, or Nao could examine the human’s eye as if it was a concerned doctor and make suggestions to improve vision. After the task, the participants were asked how they felt about the robot.

The researchers found that participants trusted the robot more and were more satisfied with their relationship when they received eye care, for example, rather than gave it. In other words, when it comes to building a relationship with human-like robots, it is better to receive than to give.

To fight climate change, don’t mention it, study suggests

Publication: NBC News   Date: April 29, 2013   View Article

Shhh! Widespread adoption of energy-efficient technologies such as compact fluorescent light bulbs and electric cars promises to curb the pace of global climate change. But if widespread adoption is the goal, don’t mention the environmental benefits, a new paper suggests.

“There is likely to be a significantly sized group that may not like these environmental messages,” Dena Gromet, a researcher at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the paper’s lead author, told NBC News.

Climate warming? Snakes are cool with that

Publication: NBC News   Date: January 11, 2013   View Article

Several snake species appear to have enough flexibility in what time of day they hunt in order to survive — and perhaps thrive — on a warming planet, according to a recent study.

The result is “contrary to what I had anticipated,” Patrick Weatherhead, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Illinois, told NBC News.

Real fish find robotic one attractive

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: June 8, 2012   View Article

When we all become mindless automatons following around a mechanical leader, we may look back on an innocent-sounding robotic fish experiment playing out today as the beginning of the end.

A team of U.S. and Italian researchers report they’ve successfully attracted individual and shoals of live zebrafish to cluster around a robot built to resemble a fertile female of their own kind, with biologically appealing stripes and coloring.

The feat is the latest milestone on a path to using autonomous robots in an open body of water to monitor and control fish behavior in order to protect them, according to the team.

Touching Hard, Heavy Objects Makes Us More Serious

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 24, 2010   View Article

Job seekers take note: Resumes printed on heavy paper stock are likely considered more seriously than those on lightweight sheets.

That’s the finding of a new study that reveals our sense of touch unconsciously influences our thoughts and moods.

Chimp Gangs Kill to Expand Territory

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 21, 2010   View Article

Some gangs of chimpanzees beat their neighbors to death in bids to expand their turf, according to a new study.

While scientists have long known that chimps will kill each other on occasion, the finding shores up a long-held hypothesis that humans’ closest living relatives sometimes turn to violence to annex valuable parcels of land.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach