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Not tonight, darling, I'm online shopping

I know that Nancy Reagan always encouraged us to "just say no."

But it's not easy, is it? Some people can be terribly insistent, nagging even. Some can sulk or get aggressive.

Thankfully, it seems that Americans have found a new way to tell their significant others that they don't have a significant mood for sex: they say they're busy online shopping.

You might think I'm making it up. And I might think that people who create these surveys are making it up too.

All I can tell you is that the cashback rewards … Read more

That's Chef Watson to you

AUSTIN, Texas -- We know that IBM's Watson computer is the world's best "Jeopardy" player. But does it have a clue about what tastes good?

On Thursday night, I was one of a small and very lucky group of people invited to an IBM event to find out.

Called "Cognitive cooking," the event was a demonstration of Watson's so-called "computational creativity." Essentially, the idea went, IBM set out to have its famous computer help design a gourmet meal, one filled with dishes made from recipes the world had never seen before. … Read more

So 11 percent of Americans think HTML is an STD? Really?

As many a despot will tell you, when you're taking over the world, you have a tendency to believe everyone appreciates it.

The truth may well be, however, that many think they just can't do anything about it. So they let you get on with it, knowing that, sooner or later, there'll be a party to celebrate the rotting of your hubris.

On reading the statistic that apparently more than 1 in 10 Americans believe that HTML is a sexually transmitted disease, I feel sure that a collective guffaw will roar around the mouths of our future … Read more

Science declares this is the funniest joke in the world

Science is poking its nose into every part of human life.

While some laugh at the very notion of us all soon becoming robots, the Googlies and their ilk continue toward their serious goal of coding humanity.

Sadly, there has to be a collision. Thankfully, science has taken it upon itself to discover which joke is truly the funniest in the world.

As the Huffington Post reports, British researcher Richard Wiseman worked hard to understand the core of humor. His story is told in a new book by Scott Weems called "Ha!: The Science Of When We Laugh And Why." … Read more

Short people may be short on brains, study says

I am not one to cast aspersions -- either up or down.

I had never thought that size meant anything, nor that height made any difference to people, other than altering their visual perspective.

Recently, though, an Oxford University study intimated that short people might be low on self-esteem. They tend, allegedly, not to have high opinions of themselves. Worse, there are many social problems that many short people feel the need to overcome. (See video below.)

Now along trots another British study that suggests the vertically challenged might be short on intellect.… Read more

Use Glossed.it to save interesting sentences on the Web

There are quite a few options for saving the content you read on the Web. The issue with many of them is that they can become overcomplicated in their attempts to help you. Glossed.it is a Web tool that will let you save just the sentences that really strike you as interesting.

To use the service, you will need to sign up on the Web site: Glossed.it. Once you're signed in, just drag the provided bookmarklet to your browser's toolbar.

Now head off to read some of your favorite stuff online. See an interesting sentence you … Read more

Obama: We're building Iron Man

The real news sometimes passes us by, as we eke out our survival and freak out at the state of our lives.

I am grateful, therefore, to have been sent this snippet that might just change the way you think and live.

For here, at a White House press conference earlier this week, is President Obama revealing a "secret project we've been working on for some time."

What could this project be? A crowdsourced surveillance program? A health insurance Web site that works?

No, America is building Iron Man. … Read more

Women prefer Apple, gentlemen prefer Samsung

When commenters lurch to these pages, their lightsabers raised even higher than their voices, they categorize phones in simple terms.

The Samsung Galaxy, is, in an Apple lover's eyes, a big, bad copy of an iPhone.

The iPhone, to everyone but an Apple lover, is merely a girlie gadget with all the technological sophistication of a 1980s Barbie.

How odd, then, that a piece of research has just appeared before my exclusive eyes to suggest that women prefer an iPhone.

The research, sponsored by cache-cleaning specialists KS Mobile, examined, among many aspects, whether there was a gender bias in … Read more

Dogs may pick up on emotions like you do, science says

Dogs with long faces have owners with long faces.

But it's not just a physical thing between dogs and their owners, is it? I have often thought that neurotic dogs have owners who could do with a little recuperation on a far-off beach and several massages a day.

Now science has trotted up to declare that dogs do, indeed, process life in a similar manner to humans.… Read more

Supercomputer Beagle can analyze 240 whole genomes in two days

The time and cost of sequencing entire human genomes has dropped dramatically in the 21st century. Unfortunately, it can take months to analyze the results, given that there are 3.2 billion base pairs to decode. (As such, it's become popular instead to focus on the fewer than 2 percent of the genome that codes for proteins, in a process called exome sequencing.)

Now researchers out of the University of Chicago are reporting in the journal Bioinformatics that one of the world's fastest supercomputers devoted to life sciences can analyze 240 full genomes in 50 hours. They estimate … Read more