Don’t eat the antelope
“Rhode Island officials warned that an exotic antelope that escaped from a private collection may look like a large deer, but its flesh could be poisonous to humans,” says United Press International. “The Department of Environmental Management said the 230-kilogram animal, a nilgai antelope, was shot with a tranquillizer dart just before it escaped from the Hopkinton collection, and the chemicals from the dart ‘could cause harm or possibly death to people if flesh from this animal is consumed,’ The Boston Globe reported Thursday.”
For their eyes only
In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law intended to decrease over-classification and promote information-sharing across the federal government and with state, local, tribal and private-sector entities, says NextGov.com. In an Oct. 3 memo, the Defence Department’s inspector general said it launched a project to address efforts by the Pentagon to decrease over-classification and promote information-sharing and transparency. The memo was issued with the low-level “For Official Use Only” stamp.
“Scientists say a South Pacific island shown on marine charts, world maps and Google Earth does not exist,” says Orange Co. U.K. “The supposedly sizable strip of land, named Sandy Island, is shown midway between Australia and French-governed New Caledonia. But when scientists from the University of Sydney went to the area, they found only the blue ocean of the Coral Sea. The phantom island has been featured in publications for at least a decade, reports the BBC. Scientist Maria Seton, who was on the ship, said: ‘We wanted to check it out because the navigation charts on board the ship showed a water depth of 1,400 metres in that area – very deep. It’s on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We’re really puzzled. It’s quite bizarre.’ ”
Will cars read your lips?
Today’s “intelligent” cars, equipped with multiple sensors and algorithms, can react to emergencies, regulate speed, assist with parking and respond to voice commands, says
Phys.org. But cars don’t know who is at the wheel or how that driver is feeling. The face is a valuable source of this information, and a project involving École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and the manufacturer Peugeot Citroen aims to mine it for use in automobiles of the future. “Our goal is to build the technological base to detect and situate a driver’s face at any moment in time,” says Jean-Philippe Thiran, director of a signal-processing laboratory at the school. “Using this tool, it will then be possible to build and test various driver assistance applications such as eye tracking, fatigue detection, lip reading, and so on.”
Crazy about mascots
In Japan, wannabe mascots don costumes at the Choko Group mascot school and learn how to walk, dance and play, says The Daily Telegraph. The school, founded in 1985, is the only one of its kind in the country and possibly beyond. “Once students graduate from the school, work is unlikely to be a problem as Japan has been experiencing a massive mascot boom in recent years. Mascots exist for everything from individual companies to government offices, with each having their own character and all being pulled out to help with promotional events.”
Hidden in the depths
“The most comprehensive assessment of ocean life has revealed that one-third to two-thirds of all species are still unknown to science,” reports SciTechDaily.com. “The scientists published their findings in the journal Current Biology.”
Thought du jour