So photographer David Slater wants Wikipedia to remove a monkey selfie that was taken with his camera. As you can see from this screen shot, Wikipedia says no: the monkey pressed the shutter so it owns the copyright.

We got NPR’s in-house legal counsel, Ashley Messenger, to weigh in. She said:

Traditional interpretation of copyright law is that the person who captured the image owns the copyright. That would be the monkey. The photographer’s best argument is that the monkey took the photo at his direction and therefore it’s work for hire. But that’s not a great argument because it’s not clear the monkey had the intent to work at the direction of the photographer nor is it clear there was “consideration” (value) exchanged for the work. So… It’s definitely an interesting question! Or the photographer could argue that leaving the camera to see what would happen is his work an therefore the monkey’s capture of the image was really the photographer’s art, but that would be a novel approach, to my knowledge.

This morning, the European Space Agency’s probe Rosetta arrived at the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (no, I’m not sure how to pronounce it either).

The probe has been in space since 2004, slingshotting around Earth and Mars to gain momentum and traveling more than 3.5 billion miles. In a couple months, Rosetta’s lander will harpoon the comet, and begin to take measurements on it’s surface. Comets are the oldest things in our solar system, and we have a lot to learn about what they are made of and how they form.

We didn’t even know what this comet looked like until a couple months ago, when Rosetta sent back the first grainy images. NPR reporter Geoff Brumfiel thinks it looks like a celestial rubber ducky. ESA scientist Matt Taylor thinks it looks like a monopoly boot. I think it looks like failed attempt at a Chinese takeout aluminum foil swan.

You can read more about the Rosetta mission’s goals and the latest news here. And, naturally, you can follow the probe on twitter: @esa_rosetta

Images:

An illustration of what Rosetta’s lander “Philae” will look like at work on the surface of Churyumov-Gerasimenko. (AOES Medialab/ESA)

Photos taken by Rosetta as it approached the comet, and a 3D model based on these photos. The comet is 2 to 2.5 miles in diameter. (ESA/Rosetta)

Here’s an interesting study: psychologists at the University of York wanted to investigate first impressions. They had people rate 1000 images of faces on different social traits (this person looks more approachable, that one looks less dominant) and also mapped “65 physical attributes, such as eyebrow width, mouth area, and cheekbone position” … even head angle!

Then, with some statistical analysis, they were able to show how different physical traits influence our first impressions. We obviously use physical cues to determine how attractive someone is, but according to the study those same cues influence what we think about their personalities.

These cartoon faces are based on the study - the researchers took their objective measurements of various facial features and optimized them for certain traits. Obviously we can’t control a lot about our faces, but the study does suggest that if you want to appear more approachable, smiling really big and tilting your head to the side (at a 10.21 degree angle to be precise) might help.

Source: Richard J. W. Vernon, Clare A. M. Sutherland, Andrew W. Young, and Tom Hartley, Department of Psychology, University of York

MIT researchers have reconstructed the sound of speech by analyzing a high speed video of the minute vibrations of a nearby chip bag. They reconstructed “Mary Had A Little Lamb” from the vibrations of the leaves of houseplant. They reconstructed Queen’s “Under Pressure” from a video of earbuds. That’s a cool trick (with some interesting surveillance and forensic implications).

"This is totally out of some Hollywood thriller," says Alexei Efros, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. “You know that the killer has admitted his guilt because there’s surveillance footage of his potato chip bag vibrating.”
If you want to really see sound waves check out our video.

MIT researchers have reconstructed the sound of speech by analyzing a high speed video of the minute vibrations of a nearby chip bag. They reconstructed “Mary Had A Little Lamb” from the vibrations of the leaves of houseplant. They reconstructed Queen’s “Under Pressure” from a video of earbuds. That’s a cool trick (with some interesting surveillance and forensic implications).

"This is totally out of some Hollywood thriller," says Alexei Efros, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. “You know that the killer has admitted his guilt because there’s surveillance footage of his potato chip bag vibrating.”

If you want to really see sound waves check out our video.

In celebration of Skunk Bear’s 200th post (thanks for following folks!) I present: Galileo moonwalking! Among Galileo’s many sketches were some of the first accurate depictions of the moon. The mountainous, pitted moon he drew showed reality, not the perfect, smooth sphere put forth by Aristotle.

I was trying to figure out the best quote to pair with this GIF, but I couldn’t decide – so I included a few. The last one — eppur si muove — falls into that “he-didn’t-say-it-but-he-should’ve” category of quotes. According to one story, when Galileo was forced to renounce his claims of a heliocentric solar system by the Catholic Church he defiantly stated, “and yet it moves,” referring to the earth. There’s no reason to believe this actually happened, but I wish it had.

Also, this quote pairs nicely with moonwalking.

nprglobalhealth:

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery
When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.
But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say there’s also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work. And more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.
"My students, postdocs and I spent a year stepping back and trying to connect the dots between wildlife decline and human exploitation," says ecologist Justin Brashares, who led the study. “We found about 50 examples around the world.”
One those examples made international headlines in June when the Guardianpublished a report about slavery in the Thai shrimping industry.
"Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns," the British newspaper reported. These shrimp are “sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco,” the report said.
The world’s food supply, both here in the U.S. and abroad, is increasingly connected to child labor and human trafficking, Brashares says. And the problems isn’t just in the fishing industry or large supply chains that stock megagrocery stores. Many of the world’s poorest people are turning to exploitative labor practices to earn a living and feed their families as traditional sources of food disappear.
Wild animals, both on land and in the sea, provide incomes for about 15 percent of the world’s population, Brashares and his team wrote. These animals are also the main source of protein for many of these people.
Continue reading.
Photo: A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery. (Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions)

An important story.

nprglobalhealth:

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery

When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley, say there’s also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work. And more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

"My students, postdocs and I spent a year stepping back and trying to connect the dots between wildlife decline and human exploitation," says ecologist Justin Brashares, who led the study. “We found about 50 examples around the world.”

One those examples made international headlines in June when the Guardianpublished a report about slavery in the Thai shrimping industry.

"Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns," the British newspaper reported. These shrimp are “sold in leading supermarkets around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco,” the report said.

The world’s food supply, both here in the U.S. and abroad, is increasingly connected to child labor and human trafficking, Brashares says. And the problems isn’t just in the fishing industry or large supply chains that stock megagrocery stores. Many of the world’s poorest people are turning to exploitative labor practices to earn a living and feed their families as traditional sources of food disappear.

Wild animals, both on land and in the sea, provide incomes for about 15 percent of the world’s population, Brashares and his team wrote. These animals are also the main source of protein for many of these people.

Continue reading.

Photo: A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery. (Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions)

An important story.