Dogs Love Baby Talk, Study Says

Dear dog moms and dog dads, fret not. When your pup saves people from a house fire, learns a new trick that would make the family proud, or simply behaves like the good boy that he is, you are not delusional to spend a few minutes babying him. You don’t even need to get him a comfy armchair or mouth-watering treats, researchers at York University say that dogs appreciate baby talk or high-pitched “dog speak.”

“Obviously we know that dogs can’t learn to talk, so we wanted to know whether dog-speak also has a function for dogs, or whether it is simply something we tend to use with our pets in a culture where we think of dogs as part of the family, like fur-babies,” lead author Alex Benjamin told HuffPost […]

The researchers wanted to see if the dogs were interested in the high-pitched intonation used for them or if they were responding to the actual words said to them. After conducting speech tests with 69 adult ones, the research team discovered that dogs were most likely to engage with people who mix dog-directed speech (high-pitched tone) and dog-related content (“Who’s a good boy? You’re a good boy!”).

“I was a little surprised that in the second experiment, neither content, nor prosody ― which [is] intonation of the voice ― was driving the dogs’ preference,” she said. “I think it is really interesting that our dogs are able to use both acoustic and content information to determine what speech might be meant for them.”

So next time, when somebody says that you’re just being a crazy dog mom or dad, give them the scientific basis of your adoration. Perhaps using baby talk could help you guys communicate, too.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Helpers, Requestors, and Spontaneous Friendships

In a world where we’d rather send links to interesting articles and random memes to our friends, pester them in our chatboxes, and click the “Like” button on their vacation photos, it’s hard to remember what the old times were like. Even though we still meet up every now and then with friends for coffee or cocktails and catching up on each other’s lives, one thing I do miss is experiencing spontaneous friendships.

I know part of adult friendships is really just exerting small efforts to maintain your high school or college peers, or perhaps revelling in your co-workers’ company for Friday nights. Meeting new friends is almost out of the question. (The only new people we let into our lives are mostly new business affiliates. At least that’s what happens with me.) But I can’t help but wax nostalgic about the times when you would randomly talk to someone, discover that they’re super interesting and that you jive so well, and then exchange contact details. Where are those circumstances now?

I mean, I’m aware that online friendships are not so bad. I see my teenage niece and nephew spend hours on Twitter and I wouldn’t berate them for it. They get the online social life that they need. But I can’t help but ask if they ever wonder about some kind of bonding other than their friends tweeting about their dog or Snapchatting their sandwiches. Do they even go to sneaky house parties nowadays? Kidding. But on a more serious note, I think technology brings people closer together, but it also maintains this distance between people somehow.

That’s why the BeepBeep Nation app is an amazing project to look forward to. Not only does it offer a platform for people to request for the specific kind of help they need — like perhaps sharing a ride or having a tour guide — and then for other people near the area to respond, it does so with an exciting motive in mind. Let’s see what the creators have to say:

[We’re returning] our users to the days when being social means actually meeting up in person and talking to each other face to face, instead of doing it mainly through the screen of a smartphone and hardly ever seeing each other.

[I]n what appears to be a paradox, we’re using cold technology itself to enhance warm human values and human interaction in ways that are far removed from the technology itself.

The people who beep when they need something are called requestors, while the people who provide help are called helpers. BeepBeep nation aims to foster dynamic and spontaneous friendships between requestors and helpers, as everytime a need arises, so does the opportunity to get to know someone new. At the end of the day, not only do you get the help you need or feel good for helping, you just might create new and exciting friendships.

So here’s to prospective requestors: don’t be afraid. Your hands might be full to do a particular thing, so look for an extra hand. It’s actually a sign of maturity to realize you can’t do everything alone. Seek help and if you want, you can give your helper a gratitude tip, you can simply say thanks, or maybe keep in touch. Not only can asking for help make you feel human, it will also show your interest in other humans who can be there for you.

And here’s to prospective helpers: it doesn’t have to be a big effort to help out. Sometimes, you may not even have to go out of your way. Shopping for a requestor’s item at a store you’re going to anyway doesn’t cost any extra time, right? Not only can doing a little kindness make you feel good, you can also inspire the person you’re helping to pay the kindness forward. And what’s a tiny favor in exchange for possibly great, spontaneous friendships?

And of course, while the guarantee of friendship still depends on the people involved, at the very least requestors and helpers could have a random, engaging conversation for the day. What’s not to love about that?

To get started on BeepBeep Nation, find out more about the EMINENT token a.k.a. fuel for the amazing app. Coming soon in selected cities worldwide!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

NASA Successfully Pings Voyager 1 Antenna In Test

Holding on to its promise of saving the world, NASA has a lot to prove to the public. Now may be a good time to breathe a sigh of relief, as the space agency successfully communicated with a faraway spacecraft. 13 billion miles away, to be exact.

Last week, ground controllers sent commands to fire backup thrusters on Voyager 1, our most distant spacecraft. The thrusters had been idle for 37 years, since Voyager 1 flew past Saturn.

Voyager 1 then pinged a signal back to the Jet Propulsion Lab, received after a 19-hour wait. At 40-years-old, the senior spacecraft is the only one floating outside of our own solar system. A team at NASA conducted a thorough study of its original software, which (obviously) remained mostly intact.

“The mood was one of relief, joy and incredulity after witnessing these well-rested thrusters pick up the baton as if no time had passed at all,” he said in a statement.

If further testing proves successful, the decrepit Voyager 1 may see extra years of potential hovering.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Robot Assistant Helps Elderly To Stay Fit

Robots aren’t going to take over the world. Or so we think. With existing devices that swim and perform surgery, I wouldn’t be too sure. Though much of modern technology is for the millennial generation, some cater exclusively to baby boomers. ElliQ, a companion bot, is one of those devices, helping the elderly remain in tip-top shape.

“Our goal is to leverage a combination of our proprietary technology, emotive interaction models, and gerontology insights with elegant design to empower older adults to intuitively interact with technology and easily connect with content and loved ones and pursue an active lifestyle,” explained Dor Skuler, CEO and founder of Intuition Robotics.

The robot, which resembles an uncanny lamp, narrows the gap between its older users and current apps. Basically, it’s a dystopian life coach. ElliQ caters to a client’s specific needs. It offers communication, fitness, and health services without being… too weird.

“ElliQ could never replace human interaction, but it can be an important motivating factor in keeping older adults healthy and active when living alone.”

Sure, co-habituating with a talking appliance may sound unorthodox, but maybe isn’t in this day and age.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Computer Allows Locked-In Patients To Communicate

Victims of damaging accidents or conditions don’t always recover completely, but technology can improve their lifestyles. Medical algorithms can help patients with neurological disorders to walk again. The (not-so) humble iPhone can even act as a hearing aid. But for locked-in patients who have lost all muscle control, there aren’t many options for recuperation. Nonetheless, a nano-science professor at Georgia State University has created a new computer interface, allowing patients to communicate with their eyes.

Zhong Lin Wang and his colleagues describe a device, mounted to a pair of eyeglasses, that lies gently against the skin beside the eye and can feel the pressure, in the form of an electrical signal, as the skin presses against it during a blink.

As with any eye-based technology, Wang and his team are still working on the machine differentiating reflexive and intentional blinks. But so far, outcomes look great. Not only is the computer non-invasive, it’s, “stable, small, light, flexible, and low-cost” among other words in the thesaurus.

When placed on the temple of the glasses, the sensor sits gently against the wrinkle beside the user’s eye. That skin flexes slightly outward during a blink, bending the nanogenerator and sending an electrical signal.

The device continues to undergo testing, but things are certainly looking up for locked-in patients.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

This Is The Most Advanced T-Shirt You’ll Ever Wear

Light-up wearables are nothing new. In fact, they’re kind of gimmicky. But this LED t-shirt by Ayyappa Nagubandi is programmable and touch-enabled. Definitely not a shtick!

The t-shirt syncs with a mobile phone and changes designs and slogans according to users’ choice. In fact, the designs can be changed by tapping on the T-shirt logo.

The Sygnal message LED T-shirt… consists of tiny LEDs that connect with the accompanying app to give you complete control to operate it as per your wish.

In other words, Sygnal is a FitBit and Apple Watch all in one. It can count the number steps and flights of stairs you’ve taken in a day. It can even help you navigate through unfamiliar places using vibrations.

“My company makes wearable technology for everyday use. It has solutions for problems that most wearables tend to have.”

“We want to create an ecosystem around smart clothing and help people lead better lives by fusing technology and fashion,”

To some, Sygnal may be tacky. But we can’t deny its practicality and how it’s helping us to better manage our lifestyles.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Difficult Conversations You Need To Have With Your Significant Other

How many kids to have, whether or not to share a bank account, and where to host a dream wedding don’t make first-date conversations. In fact, you may end up with a runaway date and dinner bill all to yourself. But somewhere along the road, they become increasingly relevant, especially when long-term partnership is in the books.

Whether you have been together for a year or five, these are the conversations you definitely need to have with your significant other.

Once a relationship has been defined (or DTR’d, for millennial readers), it is crucial to lay down your expectations of one another. Are you a private person? And if so, how much of your relationship are you willing to openly share on social media? While it is not uncommon to experience the occasional bout of insecurity, do you expect your partner to provide you with updates throughout the day? Whatever the case, it is important to express your expectations, within reasonable limits.

The popular saying, “opposites attract” is the case for some couples. However, it isn’t always fun and games when your notions and ideas clash. Beliefs are a vital area of discussion, especially if you hail from two polarizing backgrounds. If you are a devout animal rights activist, can you stomach a partner who loves steak and frites? Appreciating the politics of another is something that is naturally realized between two people–but couples exist on a different level of intimacy, which is not always as simple as it seems.

It remains inevitable for a couple to engage in the periodic argument. Perhaps he had forgotten to do the groceries or she forgot to let the dog out to do his business. Regardless, a means of communication must be established. Are you the type who is confrontational? Do you need time to gather your thoughts before discussing the issue at hand? Your partner must eventually familiarize themselves with your habits–how you get a point across. Addressing how your partner thinks he or she can best handle a difficult situation may not be the most comfortable discussion (in fact, we know it isn’t). Instead, recall a particular argument you may have had and analyze how your significant other handled the situation.

Meeting a serious partner’s family is always a formidable moment. While it may be intimidating, it is also exciting and something that should be discussed beforehand. Talking about your family relationships is a topic that shouldn’t be avoided. Your mother may prefer quiet brunches on Sundays while his or hers may be boisterous and all about nightlife. Find common ground–an activity both parties can appreciate. Know how to approach your partner’s relatives. Maybe they are soft-spoken. Maybe they are loud. Nevertheless, it isn’t about being impressive. It’s about demonstrating your best qualities and showing nothing but respect.

Talks about the future may be fun and casual, but this will not always be the case. Together with your partner, enumerate your goals as a couple. What do you foresee when the honeymoon phase comes to an end? Do you plan to live in the city or perhaps somewhere more remote? Agree to compromise when you can’t completely see eye-to-eye.

 

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Speaking Through Music

Through history, music has managed to transform the lives of people by means of success, healing, and a simple dose of good vibes. Whether you’re going through a break-up or lack shower tunes, music has got your back. Lately, researchers at the University of Plymouth have found that music has, once again, gone above and beyond, and is now being incorporated as an effective type of therapy.

Tailored music sessions could be crucial in transforming the lives of millions of people whose speech is impacted by learning difficulties, strokes, dementia, brain damage and autism, a new study suggests.

It could enable individuals and their families to feel less isolated or neglected within society, while enhancing their ability to communicate, both with each other and the wider world.

As a huge fan of the phrase “giving a voice to the voiceless” it came as no surprise to hear that music can successfully restore one’s motor skills.

“What we have shown is that music can give people a voice, allowing them to explore their creativity as well as communicating both pleasure and pain,” [said Jocey Quinn, professor at the university].

“We are pleased to see that the results of this study provide credible and robust evidence that demonstrates the wide social benefits of art and culture and hope this goes some way to making the links truly recognised.”

The University of Plymouth hopes that lessons will soon be implemented internationally.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Deaf Dog Learns Sign Language

As the owner of a senior dog with hip dysplasia, I have learned to adapt to the hassle of frequent visits to the vet and having to haul all 28 kilograms of my retriever-spitz mix Charley up the stairs every evening. Charley, who is perfectly functional in all other aspects (save for faltering vision in her right eye), is a handful. So hearing about Blue, a hard-of-hearing pit bull who learned sign language in only a few months, had me speechless.

Cops discovered [Blue] chained to a fence, abandoned and freezing, on West 170th Street in Washington Heights.

“At first we thought she was just scared and confused,” said Victoria Wells, the senior manager of behavior at the ASPCA rescue center. “But then we noticed whenever someone opened Blue’s kennel, she’d sleep right through all the commotion.”

“Any dog with a good sense of hearing would have been startled,”

In an attempt to boost Blue’s chances of finding a forever home, seven behavior specialists from the ASPCA trained Blue to understand signing.

First, Blue learned the “thumbs-up” signal.

Twenty-five other signals followed —come, sit, watch, stay… and lie down.

The ASPCA treats ten to twenty deaf dogs each year. According to them, Blue is ready for adoption.

Now if only I could get Charley to quit doing her business on the couch…

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Traveling Made Easier: Genius Earpiece Translates Foreign Languages As You Speak

The hassle of communicating in foreign countries has been a common struggle for many tourists. Ever tried to order a burger and ended up with dessert instead? You wouldn’t be the first one–but Lingmo International’s translation earpiece hopes you are the last.

The Translate One2One uses IBM Watson’s natural language understanding technology to understand both the words and context being spoken, before purportedly delivering a near-instant translation.

Translate One2One is incredibly multi-lingual.

The device can translate conversations across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese.

Past translation devices have not always demonstrated accuracy, making conversation more difficult.

“Anyone who’s traveled will have found themselves in a similar scenario of incorrect translation, while realizing the social benefit of being able to converse across cultures,”

The device’s technology can even recognize dialects and slang phrases. Take that Google Translate!

The earpiece is now available for $179. Customers can also download an app version of Translate One2One.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: