Creature with no brain finds way home

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A SCIENTIST wowed the media last week by showing how a slime mold, “a simple creature with no brain”, can navigate a maze to find its way home. Big deal. I was not impressed by the press release from Professor Toshiyuki Nakagaki of Japan.

I mean, even Mel Gibson can get himself home from the bar in one piece without trouble, on occasion.

Apologies in advance if my comparison of a slime mold to Mel Gibson is considered offensive to slime molds.

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No, when it comes to tech-y news, I was much more taken with the “Iran building its own Internet” headline in several newspapers the other day.

A spokesman said Iran’s replica World Wide Web would be ready “within a few weeks.”

If so, Iran must have 100 million people composing rambling blogs, another 100 million setting up cat-picture websites and a further 100 million producing bad porn.

I just wouldn’t want to be the poor schmuck assigned to write Iran’s version of Wikipedia: “One article down, 19.9 million to go.”

EARLY COMPUTER

(Iran’s information superhighway)

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Meanwhile, a reader showed me a neat tech trick you can do at any mobile phone shop. You go in, pick up the iPhone 4S on display and reset Siri, the talking assistant.

When it asks you for your name, you say something funny. Suggestions:

1) “Eww! My sensors detect a disgusting substance on your hands.”

2) “Wow, you’re hot. Press my love button, baby.”

3) “Help! I’m being stolen!”

Etc.

Siri starts by saying what it thinks is your name, so everyone who tries the phone after you will hear whatever phrase you put in, for example: “Man, you ugly! Put me down!”

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ANNOYED to have seen so many criticisms of SOPA, a plan to stop people robbing the companies which pay artists, filmmakers, actors, writers etc, and not one of them offers an alternative. Shame. What happened to the argument that criticism has to be constructive?

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MALAYSIAN AIRLINES staff are working on a scheme to let customers check fellow passengers’ Facebook pages to learn about each other.

I love this plan.

Imagine walking up to someone on the plane and saying: “The rest of us in the cabin note that you press the ‘like’ button for every reference to Justin Bieber, so I’m afraid we must ask you to leave this aircraft at once.”

Of course, we may show such a person a measure of leniency in certain circumstances, such as if he’s the pilot.

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DOGS HAVE social skills similar to children, scientist József Topál of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences told reporters last week.

What is he talking about? Dogs have WAY better social skills than children.

When was the last time a child rewarded you for coming home from work by licking your face?

When was the last time a sullen dog demanded money?

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THOUGHTFUL LETTER from reader R.M. Hadzi: “You recently wrote a column about real-life happenings which reflect fairy tales. In the tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes, bad guys create something which individuals in power talk about as if it was real, but ordinary people know doesn’t exist. This exists in real life: it’s called ‘Asian democracy’.”

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Happy Chinese New Year from all of us at the Quite Good Noodle Shop!

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Technorati Tags: Toshiyuki Nakagaki,slime mold,Mel Gibson,Asian democracy,Iran internet,Mr Jam,Nury Vittachi