Will our machines acquire the ability to convince us that they are in fact alive? An unsettling study at the the Netherlands’ Eindhoven University of Technology:

This video shows an experiment in which participants are asked to switch off a robot and thereby killing it. The robot begs for its live and we measured how long the participants hesitated.

The perception of life largely depends on the observation of intelligent behavior. Even abstract geometrical shapes that move on a computer screen are being perceived as being alive… in particular if they change their trajectory nonlinearly or if they seem to interact with their environments.

The robot’s intelligence had a strong effect on the users’ hesitation to switch it off, in particular if the robot acted agreeable. Participants hesitated almost three times as long to switch off an intelligent and agreeable robot (34.5 seconds) compared to an unintelligent and non-agreeable robot (11.8 seconds).

After serving in the Korean War, working at United Nations, and establishing a career as an artist, Ingo Swann devoted himself to cultivating super-sensory powers and attempting to prove their legitimacy. Remote…

From last year’s Outlaw Biology? Conference at UCLA, hacker Meredith Patterson on a manifesto for the biopunk movement:

The prevalence of citizen science has fallen. Who are the twentieth-century equivalents of Benjamin Franklin, Edward Jenner, Marie Curie or Thomas Edison? Perhaps Steve Wozniak, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard [etc.] — but the scope of their work is far narrower than that of the natural philosophers who preceded them. Citizen science has suffered from a troubling decline in diversity, and it is this diversity that biohackers seek to reclaim.

We reject the popular perception that science is only done in million-dollar university, government, or corporate labs; we assert that the right of freedom of inquiry, to do research and pursue understanding under one’s own direction, is as fundamental a right as that of free speech or freedom of religion.

A Biopunk Manifesto by Meredith Patterson from SMA on Vimeo.

The senses are more intermingled than we realize — what we hear influences what we think we see, Live Science writes: Some people may actually see sounds, say researchers who found this…

The horrific testing, conducted in secret and dubbed Operation Cauldron, took place offshore on a ship near the Isle of Lewis. Over the course of several months, dozens of terrified monkeys and thousands of guinea pigs were subjected to “germ bombs” containing bubonic plague and other deadly diseases, with many of the animals dying after a few days.

The project was part of the U.K. military’s effort to develop biological weapons that could be used on real people in a potental war against the Soviets. Needless to say, the Ministry of Defence was reluctant to release the incredibly disturbing 47-minute film documenting the experiments:

Rats are better than many people. The Telegraph writes: Rats actually display human-like empathy and will unselfishly go to the aid of a distressed fellow rodent, research has shown. The results of…

Does a shift towards favoring yellow, and then orange, occur among the mentally disturbed? This was the finding of an admittedly questionable 1931 study on the link between aesthetic preference and insanity….