Orangutans at DC Zoo Demonstrate ‘Sequential Learning’

Primate keepers at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., replicate a chimpanzee based study from Kyoto University, Japan, on Orangutans to understand the intelligence of different species.

Bonnie plays the ‘sequential learning’ game while a primate keeper explains how it works.

Orangutans have spatially based memory systems, says an expert on the primate.

“It’s almost like they have a photographic memory,” a primate keeper at the National Zoo for the past 15 years, Erin Stromberg, says.

The primate keepers at the National Zoo study the Orangutans performance at a memory based game designed by the Primate Research Insitute at Kyoto University in Japan, and compare them to results the Institute recorded from Chimpanzees, to compare the differences between the species, Stromberg says.

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Most Americans Don’t Understand the First Amendment, Expert Says

The First Amendment Center tracks common misconceptions and informs people of the truth.

The majority of Americans support the First Amendment – until they hear speech they don’t agree with, an expert on the amendment said.

“People feel these pain points” when they are face to face with speech they don’t like, the executive director of the First Amendment Center in Washington D.C., Lata Nott, said Friday to graduate journalism students at the Newseum.

Nott said the center, which studies the amendment and holds nonpartisan discussion forums, conducts an annual survey of how Americans feel and what they know, about the amendment.

She called the survey, now in its 20th year, important because it tracks how perceptions of the amendment have changed over the years in response to events.

This year’s survey, administered in May, showed that 39 percent of people couldn’t name any of the five parts of the amendment, Nott said. Most people know it protects freedom of speech, but the survey showed most don’t realize it protects freedom of the press, religion, assembly and the right to petition.

Only 2 percent of people surveyed this year could name them all, Nott said.

Americans understanding of the amendment, which the U.S. adopted Dec. 15, 1791, often depends on the speech that it protects, Nott said.

It is not a partisan issue either, Nott said, both conservatives and progressives dislike the amendment when it protects speech they don’t like.

Nott said the amendment protects all speech, and these negative attitudes toward the freedom of speech are “depressing.”

The center is like a “really aggressive Switzerland,” said Nott, who has been there since September. Nott said the center tries to neutrally inform Americans about the amendment through podcasts, online material distribution and educational workshops

3 Ways the Russian Investigation is Getting Real

At a ‘campaign rally’ in West Virginia President Trump mocked the Russia investigation. But as it unfolds it his allies in D.C. are taking it more seriously.

The Russian investigation is getting bigger, in size and in scope.

Robert S. Mueller, the special prosecutor leading the Russian investigation, has built a team of seasoned prosecutors with more than a century of legal experience, The Washington Post reported. Continue reading “3 Ways the Russian Investigation is Getting Real”

U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War, Trump Says to Generals in Strained Meeting.

July 3, 2009, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

President Trump considering removing Defense Secretary James Mattis and sending him to Afghanistan to lead the war effort, which could earn Gen. Mattis his fourth star, says the NYT.

Two U.S. service members were killed Wednesday when a Taliban suicide bomber hit a NATO convoy near the airport in the Afghan city of Kandahar, said a Pentagon spokesperson. Four other servicemen were wounded in the attack.

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