sábado, janeiro 31, 2004

Parrot's oratory stuns scientists


N'kisi on chairback   Grace Roselli
Feathered prodigy: N'kisi leads the field
The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.

The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would do.

N'kisi's remarkable abilities, which are said to include telepathy, feature in the latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.

N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.

About 100 words are needed for half of all reading in English, so if N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a wide range of material.

Polished wordsmith

He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.

One N'kisi-ism was "flied" for "flew", and another "pretty smell medicine" to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an artist based in New York.

When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi said: "Got a chimp?"

N'kisi with picture card and teacher   Grace Roselli
School's in: He is a willing learner
He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: "You got to put this bird on the camera."

Dr Goodall says N'kisi's verbal fireworks are an "outstanding example of interspecies communication".

In an experiment, the bird and his owner were put in separate rooms and filmed as the artist opened random envelopes containing picture cards.

Analysis showed the parrot had used appropriate keywords three times more often than would be likely by chance.

Captives' frustrations

This was despite the researchers discounting responses like "What ya doing on the phone?" when N'kisi saw a card of a man with a telephone, and "Can I give you a hug?" with one of a couple embracing.

Professor Donald Broom, of the University of Cambridge's School of Veterinary Medicine, said: "The more we look at the cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced they appear, and the biggest leap of all has been with parrots."

Alison Hales, of the World Parrot Trust, told BBC News Online: "N'kisi's amazing vocabulary and sense of humour should make everyone who has a pet parrot consider whether they are meeting its needs.

"They may not be able to ask directly, but parrots are long-lived, and a bit of research now could mean an improved quality of life for years."

All images courtesy and copyright of Grace Roselli.

By Alex Kirby
BBC News Online environment correspondent
achado em venomous kate

Guus Bosman.nl

quinta-feira, janeiro 29, 2004


blogs in business

Recently, weblogs, or blogs, which let anyone with a Web browser and some easy-to-use software publish a personalized diary online, have started to emerge as valuable knowledge management and communication tools in companies.

But blogs aren't entering through the CIO's office. They often first appear in companies as the convenient records of engineering or design projects. They're taking the same bottom-up adoption path followed by instant messaging, another collaboration tool originally used for personal communication.

Weblog software, whether free, inexpensive or not so cheap, aggregates and publishes unstructured content on the Web by time and topic. XML can be used to embed links in the blog from a variety of resources, but no knowledge of that language or HTML is necessary.

terça-feira, janeiro 27, 2004



Here, from the Nonverbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, & Body Language Cues, are a few pithy insights about laughter:

". . . it is scarcely possible to point out any difference between the tear-stained face of a person after a paroxysm of excessive laughter and after a bitter crying-fit" (Darwin 1872:207). 2. Laughing strengthens bonds of comradeship (Van Hooff 1967:59). 3. Laughter is more social than humorous (Van Hooff 1967:59). 4. Our laugh resembles the great ape's relaxed open-mouth face (esp., its "rhythmic, low-pitched staccato vocalizations and . . . boisterous body movements" (Van Hooff 1967:60). 5. "For example, they [deaf-and-blind-born children] smile and laugh as we do when they are happy and emit the correct sounds when they do so" (Eibl-Eibesfeldt 1971:12). 6. People in good spirits may laugh 100-to-400 times a day (Fry 1983). 7. Human laughter "seldom exceeds 7 seconds" (Ruch 1993). 8. Laughter may be vocal or voiceless, may include all vowel and many consonant possibilities; it frequently begins with an initial "h" sound, most usually as "he-he," grading into "ha-ha" (Ruch 1993). "

And a few more: "Chemically, according to some researchers, laughter provides relief from stress by releasing pain-killing, euphoria-producing endorphins, enkephalins, dopamine, noradrenaline, and adrenaline. Socially, laughter binds us as friendly allies united against outsiders, and against forces beyond our control. Psychologically, the comic laugh (in response, e.g., to funny jokes, puns, and satire) is a recent development perhaps linked to the evolution of speech."

Apparently, the physiological and emotional benefits of laughter are so profound that it's good for us to laugh, even when we don't think anything's particularly funny. Hence, the World Laughter Tour.


Welcome the the BETA version of the emo:factory, there may be a few bugs, if you find one please email me at itselephants(*)hotmail.com [ replace (*) with @ ]. To insert the emoticon into MSN6 zoom all the way out, then press the print screen button (on most keyboards marked: PrtSc) then go into MsPaint and paste it in, then cut out the emoticon (19x19 Pixels) then add it like a normal emoticon.


Morphases is an online next generation software in face manipulation. It allows user to modify and create human faces from different elements in real time with almost an unlimited power. All elements are divided individually and stored into genebank.

Read more about Morphases   
Go to Morphases editor


Emoinstaller, that easy to use program that installs loads of cool emoticons quickly and easily, now has a page of its own on Itselephants - follow the link and take your pick of free emoticons!

segunda-feira, janeiro 26, 2004

A Chamada

PARA ZURRIR, uma das melhores que me chegaram ao mail: A Chamada

Encontraram-se no inferno: José Manuel Durão Barroso, George W. Bush e a Rainha da Inglaterra, Elizabeth II de Windsor.

Bush pediu ao diabo uma autorização para fazer uma chamada para os EUA, porque queria saber como ficou o país depois da sua partida. O diabo permitiu a chamada e Bush falou durante 2 minutos.

Ao terminar, o diabo disse que a chamada custou 600 contos, Bush fez um cheque e pagou...

Quando a rainha soube, quis fazer o mesmo, e ligou para a Inglaterra, mas conversou durante 5 minutos. O diabo passou a conta, em libras esterlinas, equivalente a 1000 contos.

Obviamente que Durão Barroso ficou intrigado e também quis ligar para Portugal para ver como havia ficado o país, mas conversou por mais de 3 horas.

Quando desligou, o diabo disse que era 100 contos. O próprio ficou atónito, porque viu as cobranças anteriores que duraram muito menos tempo. Então, perguntou ao diabo porque custava tão pouco ligar para Portugal...
O diabo respondeu:
De inferno para inferno é chamada local.
achado em O Jumento



Filha: Pai, já alguém mediu alguma vez quanto é que qualquer outra pessoa sabia?

Pai: Oh, sim. Muitas vezes. Mas não sei exactamente o que é que esses resultados querem dizer. Eles fazem isso com exames e testes e questionários, mas é como tentar saber o tamanho duma folha de papel atirando-lhe pedras.

Filha: O que é queres dizer?

Pai: Quero dizer que, se atirares pedras a duas folhas de papel à mesma distância e acertares mais vezes numa do que noutra, provavelmente aquela em que acertaste mais vezes é maior que a outra. Da mesma maneira, num exame atiras uma série de perguntas aos alunos e, se acertares em mais pedaços de conhecimento num aluno do que nos outros, então pensas que esse aluno deve saber mais.

Gregory Bateson, Metadiálogos
  achado em

id?ia inicial