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Wolves beat dogs in logic

Although dogs are considered intelligent, when it comes to making logical choices, wolves walk away with the ‘smart’ crown, say researchers.

The new study from University in Hungary showed that dogs followed human cues to perform certain tasks despite evidence they could see suggesting a different strategy would be smarter, while wolves made the more logical choice based on their observations.

The dogs’ responses were similar to human infants, who also prioritise following the example of adult humans.

During the tests, the researcher would repeatedly place an object in Box A and allow the subjects to find it.

When the experimenter switched and put the object in Box B, human babies and dogs were confused and continued to search for it in the first box.

Wolves, however, easily followed the evidence of their eyes and located the object in Box B. The study could help scientists learn more about the evolution of social behaviour, not just in dogs but in humans as well.

Oral contraceptives don’t affect fertility

Taking oral contraceptive does not affect a woman’s ability to conceive after she stops it, reveals a study.

The study led by German researchers showed that neither the length of time the pill was taken nor the type of hormones used had an affect on pregnancy rates.

In the European Active Surveillance Study on Oral Contraceptives, the researchers followed 60,000 European women for five years.

However, researchers admit that women who had been using the pill for a long time did have a slightly lower rate of pregnancy than those who had used it for a short period, but this was due to the effect of age, not long-term contraceptive use.

The rates of pregnancy were reduced in women older than 35 and in smokers.

High quality video conferencing

German researchers are sure that compression technologies can put an end to the poor images and sound quality that are often encountered by people during video and telephone conferencing sessions.

To ensure high and consistent quality of sound, the researchers have developed the Audio Communication Engine, which consists of reciprocally-tuned components that vastly improve the sound quality and clarity of video and telephone conferences compared with present systems.

The key component in providing excellent sound is the MPEG Enhanced Low Delay AAC audio codec, which ensures low-delay hi-fi quality even at low bit-rates.

An echo control eliminates troublesome echo so that users do not have to wear a headset, and can move around the room freely.

Poor money savers may be smokers

People who are poor at saving money are likely to have impulsive behaviour such as overeating, smoking and infidelity, according to a new study.

The study conducted through the BBC website measured people’s financial impulsivity by asking whether they would they prefer to receive 45 pounds in three days or 70 pounds in three months.

The findings revealed that nearly half of those who preferred the smaller-sooner sum of money were more likely to show a raft of other impulsive behaviours.

“Our research shows that people with an impulsive money-today attitude ignore the future in other ways,” said Stian Reimers, ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution at UCL.

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