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Earlier this year, French behavioral scientist Jonathan Grainger and his team taught baboons to read. Well, not exactly. They taught the baboons to recognize words. The baboons played a game on a computer screen. When a fake word appears, they were supposed to press a blue plus sign. When a real word shows up, they were supposed to press a green circle. The baboons were rewarded with food whenever they got the correct answer. Over time, they learned to recognize common letter combinations, like TH, PR, RD, and others. After months of playing this game, the baboons accurately distinguished between a made-up word like “bnol” and a real word like “bowl” 75% of the time. That’s better than your average three-year old.

Of course, this does not mean that the baboons can read. They cannot look at the word book and connect it to the object book. That kind of abstract thinking separates humans from any other species. We see the word scissors – which has nothing whatsoever to do with the object – but our mind conjures a picture of scissors, a project that we’ve done with scissors, and many other memories. This also applies to predictive thinking. When we see the word tomorrow, we think about what we will make for dinner or whether it will rain. These abstract concepts define our species.

However, this evidence does prove that non-human primates can recognize letter patterns, which may be the evolutionary precursor to reading. Our brains are inclined to recognize letters, like patterns on a piece of ripe fruit.

This also makes us wonder: what is language? It is not merely the words on the page or the sounds that you hear. Language only becomes language when it’s understood by a brain.

What do think of this primate research? Are the baboons really reading?

The Seattle Times

Ocean mining

Sea Technology December 1, 2001 | Cruickshank71, Michael J This year’s Underwater Mining Institute (UMI 2001) was held in Hilo, on the big island Hawaii at the beginning of November. The 31st in a series of international conferences on marine mining sponsored by the International Marine Minerals Society (IMMS) and hosted by the University of Hawaii’s Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), it was attended by about 40 marine mining aficionados from 13 countries. The program chair was Dr. Charles Morgan, a former president of the IMMS. go to site big island hawaii

The UMI draws on the expertise of researchers, industry professionals and environmental, resource and policy managers worldwide to provide the latest information relevant to the development of seabed minerals. Since the first UMI, the institute’s primary goal has been to encourage prudent and responsible development of marine mineral resources through technical presentations in venues that promote informal and free exchange. The theme and location of the conference varies each year and no proceedings are published, to allow free discussion of the subject matter that is frequently of a proprietary nature. Presentations are chosen or requested to ensure that the content and interactions of the UMI remain stimulating and fresh; and international participation is promoted and supported. This multi-disciplinary approach is attributed to the late Dr. J. Robert Moore, founder of the institute.

The IMMS is a professional society-founded in 1987-it now includes a worldwide membership of individuals from industry, government agencies and academic institutions representing more than 25 nations. The objectives of the society are: to promote and improve the understanding of marine mineral deposits within the province of the global ocean; to aid in the interchange of information among members through networking and formal symposia; to encourage the prudent development of marine mineral resources, including concern for the environment; to encourage and assist young professionals in their study of marine minerals; and to encourage research in all aspects of marine minerals development. The IMMS is a cosponsor of the UMI and holds its annual meetings at that time.

The Moore Medal, struck in honor of the founder, is awarded on an “as appropriate” basis to individuals who have contributed notably to the goals and initiatives of the society. This year the award was presented in absentia to Dr. Peter Halbach of the Dept. of Raw Materials and Environmental Geology at the Free University of Berlin.

During the past several years, commercial exploration for hydrothermal deposits has been undertaken in the territorial waters of Papua New Guinea, while scientific interest has led to discoveries of promising seabed deposits worldwide. Significant new insights into the processes that form this major class of ore-forming minerals have been made. During the same period, studies of the biology and biochemistry of hydrothermal vent communities associated with the deposits have led to extensive commercial interest in the potential contributions that these ecosystems hold for biotechnology. This has led to questions relevant to the theme of the UMI and the IMMS: How can commercial interests develop these widely disparate resource types in an efficient and integrated manner? What are the technical and political conflicts between mining the sulfide minerals and exploiting the hydrothermal vent community genotypes? How can exploration for sulfide mineral deposits benefit extremophile bioprospecting, and vice versa? in our site big island hawaii

“Going to Extremes: Seabed Mining and Biotechnology,” was the main theme of the 2001 conference. The first session on marine sulfide deposits and extremophile biological communities was chaired by Dr. Alexander Malahoff, director of the Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, and included eight papers. These were entitled: Finding and Proving Seafloor Massive Sulphide Resources; Establishment of the Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents Marine Protected Area; Extremophile Exploration: Geothermal and Hydrothermal Systems; Hydrothermal Fields in Oceanic Fracture Zone Settings: an Example From the Blanco Fracture Zone, North-East Pacific Rise; Physiology, Geology and Sulfide Deposits of the Southern Explorer Ridge Seafloor Hydrothermal Site Using an Integrated GIS Database and 3D Modeling; Geochemistry of Fluids from Southern Kermadec Frontal Arc Hydrothermal Systems; Visible Gold in Massive Sulfides from Escanaba Trough, Southern Gorda Ridge; and Hydrothermal Sulfide Deposits in Lakes.

The second session was devoted to other topics of timely interest, chaired by Dr. James Hein, senior research geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and included ten papers addressing, among other things, developments related to ferromanganese nodules and crusts, trends in deep seabed mining technology, sub-seabed minerals mapping with induced polarization (IP) and mine tailings disposal in the marine environment.

Cruickshank71, Michael J

157 Comments

  1. someone -  August 29, 2012 - 7:29 pm

    seriously! my sister’s not average. she’s just turned 3 and she knows all her alphabets, numbers till 20, arabic numbers till 10, and she covered half of math. her english language is almost like a 4 yr old. btw i’m not kidding. i think my parents are the one to give me the credit for teaching her. *sighs* i’m so awesome

    Reply
  2. Name not mentioned -  June 6, 2012 - 7:18 pm

    It’s going to be the end of the world by baboons. They’re getting smarter and smarter. :O I wonder if they’ll learn how to make homing missiles….. XD

    Reply
  3. Pooh -  May 11, 2012 - 4:07 am

    @ April (on April 30, 2012 at 10:39 am)

    Oh you think I didn’t not research at all on Bible? Then tell me how this 4000 year old book proves that the Earth is round? Ya don’t believe me? Look at Job 26:10, Prov 8:27, Isaiah 40:22, and, Amos 9:6. How does this book tell about the water cycle? Look at Eccl 1:6-7, 11:3, Amos 9:6, and Job 26:8,.
    If you still don’t believe me visit: http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/ScientificBible.htm

    So be stop messing around and do some research instead of just saying what you think. Use LOGIC.

    Reply
  4. mary torres $ca$hin out$ -  May 7, 2012 - 6:45 am

    apple

    Reply
  5. April -  April 30, 2012 - 10:39 am

    I think that it is cool that scientists are experimenting in such a way.

    However, I want to point out to a few people here that:

    A: If you think the bible is literally true, then why don’t you go and do the research to prove it rather than touting a book that was translated so many times and has so many versions and is so cheap that it can be found in a seedy motel room.

    B: If you or your kid were reading at an age younger than kindergarten or first grade, great for you and your kid. I entered kindergarten able to read too. Maybe you or your kid got enough exposure to words and books and you were able to find ways to get your kid reading before the rest of the class, but that does mean your kid would be well above average, because not all parents are good enough at teaching their kids to do things like reading, in fact, in many areas, they aren’t for whatever reason and kids come to kindergarten unable to tie their shoes, read, use the potty correctly, wash their hands, brush their teeth, zip and button their pants, count to twenty, etc.

    Reply
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