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     Volume 4 Issue 40 | April 1, 2005 |

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Neanderthal's Speech
A UK based researcher has said that Neanderthals spoke in a high-pitched, sing-song voice. Discovery News quoted Stephen Mithen, a professor of archaeology at the University of Reading as saying that Neanderthals had strong but high-pitched voices they used for both singing and speaking. This theory throws new light on the Neanderthals, who once roamed across Europe from around 200,000 to 35,000 BC. Jeffrey Laitman, a professor in New York, believes that since Neanderthals had distinctive nasal, ear and sinus anatomical features specialised for respiration, they had a 'nasal' voice. "My curiosity is peaked by Mithen's theory that Neanderthals sang and had feminine-toned voices. But I think these attributes would be difficult to prove even with the recent Neanderthal reconstruction. No Neanderthal larynx exists because the tissue does not fossilise. We have to reconstruct it. The structure is comparable to what we see in monkeys and apes today," the journal quoted Laitman as saying.

Friendly 'bots'
Hitachi's EMIEW (Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate) robot, called "Pal" (R), demonstrates his running ability as another robot, "Chum" looks on during their press preview at Hitachi's Tokyo headquarters. Hitachi develop the EMIEW robots for upcoming Aichi Expo 2005 and to perform in the exhibition from June 09.

Google Sued by AFP
French News agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) has sued internet search giant Google for $17.5 million in damages for copyright infringement. The news agency says Google has been publishing photos, headlines and news stories without its permission on Google News. AFP has stated in news accounts that it sells its content to approximately 600 clients. AFP's argument, is that people would be able to read the content for free from its web site promoted by Google. In a suit filed in US District Court, AFP alleged that Google's search engine crawler has been grabbing and displaying their media content on Google News for free and that Google simply ignored the request of the agency to stop publication.

AFP stories Deleted from Google
Google says it has begun removing AFP's stories from its news aggregation site following a legal complaint filed by the French news agency. Google spokesman Langdon said that the company was actively working on the removal of the content, as Google didn't have a timetable for all AFP links. AFP sued Mountain View, California-based Google in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The news agency is seeking to recover damages of $17.5 million from Google. AFP also asks the court to forbid Google from including its content in Google News.

Mouse(ing) Around
Researchers at IBM have invented a computer mouse adapter that eliminates cursor movement caused by hand tremors, thereby making computer operations smoother. "Similar to the way camera image stabilising systems work, the new adapter filters out the shaking movements of the hand," IBM said in a statement. The company said the mouse was designed to work with any PC and operating system. No extra software is needed for the adapter, which plugs in between the computer and the mouse. According to the International Essential Tremor Foundation, in the US alone nearly 10 million people are affected by essential tremor, the most common form of hand tremors. Involuntary movements of the hand while using a computer mouse make operating a PC difficult and erratic movements of the cursor make it almost impossible to open email or navigate the web, IBM said. The adapter can be adjusted to the severity of tremors and switched on as needed. It can also be set to filter out unintended multiple clicking on the mouse caused by a shaking finger.

Women may no longer have to try on clothes
If you hate trying out several pairs of jeans before you get the perfect fit, now the Intellifit system can save your time by selecting the right fit in just three minutes. The Intellifit system, is a new electronic scanner that measures body size and then suggests appropriate clothing matches. For many consumers, that's already a small victory. "The average woman tries on 15 pairs of jeans before buying," said Emily Hood of Levi's. The Intellifit system is housed in a transparent glass cylinder 10 feet high by 8 feet wide. A vertical wand sweeps around the interior perimeter, measuring a shopper's figure by bouncing radio waves off the body. The process takes about 10 seconds as the system calculates measurements for 200 body parts, using what's called 200,000 data points and quickly prints out a list of suggested jeans styles and measurements.

Cutlery to reveal your date's emotions!
Want to know if the person you are dating is enjoying the meal or not? Well, A new device invented by James Larsson that wires up cutlery with electrodes that can pick up on emotions might just be the answer. By attaching electrodes to regular eating utensils, Larsson has created knives and forks that analyse data from the cutlery to provide information about how their dinner companion is feeling. The system relies on electrodes to measure the skin's resistance to electric charge. When people feel suddenly stressed, their skin's resistance plummets, partly because any sweat released under these circumstances facilitates the movement of charge. Lots of wires are currently needed to connect the knife and fork to a computer monitor and because dates must hold both utensils to allow the small, stress-measuring current to run through their body, the device does not work with when someone eats holding only a fork. Larsson designed specialised software on the machine to which the fork and knife relay information. The program selects data from only those electrodes touching the hand at a given time and ignores the ones without contact. He has also attached strain gauges to the utensils. These run to the computer as well, preventing the system from mistaking increased pressure as heightened stress. The result is a computer that produces graphs to show when the person eating felt uncomfortable and when they were more relaxed.

Source: Webindia123, AFP, Xinhua and Google

Compiled by: Imran H. Khan

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