Monkeys Use Brain in New Ways

If you’ve watched the news lately, you might have seen the report where two monkeys controlled a robotic arm with their minds to feed themselves. (It didn’t take two monkeys to control one arm. Each monkey controlled its own robo-arm to feed itself pieces of marshmallow or fruit.) How You Get a Monkey to Control a Robotic Arm with It’s Mind As you might imagine, it was a complicated process. Using “visualization” techniques, the study’s leader, Andrew Schwartz, showed the monkeys what he wanted them to do. Then he “mapped” their neural activity to see what cells reacted in which … Continue reading

The Pets Blog Week in Review for April 14-20

If the spring in the air has kept you out instead of in more, but you still want to keep up on the happenings in the Pets Blog, fear not. This handy Week in Review will keep you in the loop about Aimee and I wrote about on: Monday, April 14 Aimee covered everything you’d ever want to know about guinea pig cages. Sometimes an inspirational animal story comes along that is just marvelously wonderful. The story of Oscar the naked cockatoo is just such a story. Tuesday, April 15 There is both an art and science to guinea pig … Continue reading

Monkeys Going to Mars

Monkeys from the Sochi Institute of Medical Primatology in Russia are being prepared to boldly go where no one has gone before — Mars. Why monkeys? Humans and monkeys have approximately the same sensitivity to radiation. The macaques from the Sochi Institute will give a more accurate picture of how humans will react to the conditions on a flight to Mars. The Sochi Institute will spend the next few years performing experiments in order to select forty monkeys with the right stuff for space flight. Those forty monkeys will graduate to the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow. At the … Continue reading

A Much Needed Family Outing Part II

Once we were inside the Mars exhibit, we began to learn about the many different of what would be required to go to Mars.  We learned about space toilets that have to work without gravity.  We learned about the terrain of Mars and its many “dust storms.” We discovered that both of our children would be too light to be able to walk on Mars.  We learned about how all the things required for a civilization to flourish on Mars would get to Mars. We learned about tight living quarters and dehydrated food.  We learned more than we really wanted … Continue reading

Monkeying Around

How do you keep your kids from singing the summer blues? My daughter is suffering from too-much-pool-itis. Consequently, her singing has gotten louder in the last few days. I feel for her. It’s too hot to simply play outside in the yard. You really have to be immersed in water if you are going to be exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time. Still, I don’t want her sitting in an air conditioned house staring at a TV all day, just because she wants to take a break from the pool. Fortunately, my kid is a whiz … Continue reading

Animal Folktales: The Greedy Monkey

There are many variations of this folktale out there… but this is the version I remember. Stories tend to grow and change and evolve as they are told — that’s part of the wonder of the oral tradition. A hunter set out a simple trap: a glass bottle filled halfway with berries. Along came a slender, graceful crane and a shaggy, playful monkey. They saw the bottle of berries and both wanted some. “Let me use my long beak to get the berries,” Crane said. She reached into the bottle and carefully pinched a berry in the tip of her … Continue reading