For your dining and dancing pleasure
Tom Coburn has released his annual Wastebook for 2011. Love it or hate it it's an interesting read of our government at work..
H/T to Steve Martin
My personal fave...There are dragons here...
92) Federally–funded Dragon Robots – (MA) $130,987
The National Science Foundation approved a four-year $923,000 grant for researchers to study how robots can help preschoolers learn language skills.
The new robots, which will be designed as dragons, will be able to mimic many of the responses that humans make. Nodding and eye gazes will be components of the robot interaction. These responses are essential for the robot to form a bond with the child, researchers say. Videos and computers lack such cues and are not as helpful for teaching as a responsive dragon robot might be.
A robot partner may be able to aid the development of a preschooler‘s vocabulary, which is a significant predictor of future academic success.
Children lacking regular interaction with a nurturing caregiver or other social interaction may be especially benefitted by this technology, according to the investigators.