Technology VIDEO

SimCity, my a$$: Cornell boffins create simulated evolution

I’m sure you’re quite proud of the SimCity world you’ve created. Awesome stadium, bro. But the technologists and evolutionary scientists at Cornell University have just reduced your accomplishment to correctly assembling a Dominoes pizza. Bravo:

The team incorporated concepts from developmental biology and how nature builds complex animals—from jellyfish to jaguars. The result is an array of bizarre, simulated robots that evolve a diverse series of gaits and gallops.

The video shows evolution in action: A creature evolves into a galloping, soft robot over 1,000 generations. While 1,000 generations is relatively short by natural evolution standards, it is enough to demonstrate the power of evolution to create counterintuitive designs, according to the researchers.


Lonely hearts club: Cornell study links loneliness, premature aging, heart disease today reports still more reason to keep that profile up to date. When studying the responses to social stressors and comparing the results, Cornell boffins discovered that the responses of lonely young adults mimicked those of non-lonely older adults. In other words: the lonely don’t act their age, but are in the process of growing older before their time.

The study found that, while older adults had predictably higher resting blood pressures and longer recovery times – normal effects of aging, but ones that put the subject at greater risk of heart troubles – the lonelier younger adults increased these measures beyond what is considered normal. In fact, cardiovascular recovery times in lonely younger persons stretched into two-hour periods.

So don’t wonder why those backed-up, lonely people in your life get so pissed off so quickly and smolder for so long! Give ’em a little latitude and once they’re getting laid steady, they’ll be all set.