Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Schitterende beelden vulkaan uitbarsting Japan.. ( Washington post)

Japanese volcano may erupt for months; humans outscore chimps, but only barely

Shinmoedake peak erupts, as seen from Takaharu Town Office, Miyazaki prefecture early morning on Jan. 27, 2011. (Reuters)

As lava fills the volcano's crater, scientists predict that eruptions could go on for months. Ash has already disrupted flights and crops. (Takayuki Kaneko / Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo)

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Monday, February 14, 2011; 6:39 PM

Japanese volcano may erupt for months

Shinmoedake, on Japan's Kyushu Island, has been erupting off and on since Jan. 26, and its lava dome has grown dramatically. A photo from Feb. 4 shows the lava nearly filling the volcano's crater, which is about 2,300 feet wide. Scientists are predicting that eruptions could grow stronger and go on for months. The peak's last major eruption continued for a year and a half in 1716 and 1717. The University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute is posting regular updates and photos. Ash from the volcano, although minor compared with what spewed from a peak in Iceland last year, has disrupted flights and buried fields of winter vegetables. There have been no deaths or serious injuries so far.

This article was produced by ScienceNOW, the daily online news service of the journal Science.

Are you really smarter than a chimp?

You probably aren't much smarter than a chimp when it comes to cooperative games - you just know the rules.

Games are often used to test primates' ability to reason about cooperation. In one game, two players independently choose a token - one that always yields a small reward or one that gives a big reward but only if both players choose it.

Humans quickly settle into the second strategy to maximize the reward, but other primates prove less able. Is this due to better reasoning, or merely because humans have had the rules explained to them?

Sarah Brosnan of Georgia State University in Atlanta and colleagues replayed the game with humans, chimps and capuchin monkeys, making all participants learn the rules by trial and error.

Humans still performed best in the test, but not nearly as well as in previous tests. They also fared only slightly better than the other species, with just five of the 26 human pairs adopting the maximum-reward strategy.