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Cute Cat Photos Are Data-Driven Science Behind Cunning New Language Learning App

Unknown Lamer posted about 10 months ago | from the no-wonder-i'm-a-genius dept.

Education 80

An anonymous reader writes "Cats are cute, and cute is good for cognition. Which is why Memrise, a language learning startup, settled on using lolcat-style cat photos as mnemonic aids for a new series of apps aimed at people who normally wouldn't bother learning another language. The first CatAcademy app is 'Cat Spanish' From the article: 'What we found, however we sliced it, was that pictures of cats — cute pictures specifically, of which over 50% were cats — just kept on coming out as the most effective mnemonics... I have to admit we were slightly skeptical to begin with. We're a scientific group, and data driven — but the data did drive us towards cats.'" Now, just to add cat pictures to Mnemosyne.

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Cheeseburgers (5, Funny)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 10 months ago | (#45474453)

I can has espanol?

Re:Cheeseburgers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474595)

I think you mean: Yo puedo tiene una hamburgueza?

And as a side-note, as I was coming up with that using Google Translate, when I entered I can have a cheeseburger? [google.com] in the from language box, Google suggested "I can haz a cheezburger" instead. Sadly, the suggestion did not translate.

GAYTARDED! HOW IS THIS NEWS? YOU MORONS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474725)

Unknown Lamer,
 
Would you care to pour quicklime all over yourself? You are an IDIOT for posting this as a story. You are a COMPLETE MORON and should have been aborted, you sorry pig.
 
Slashdot has become more of a tabloid than Digg, and it has less content or substance than a Scholastic news "reader" from elementary school. How PATHETIC.
 
capcha: diploma

Re:GAYTARDED! HOW IS THIS NEWS? YOU MORONS! (1)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about 10 months ago | (#45475115)

Now tell us how you really feel.

Re:GAYTARDED! HOW IS THIS NEWS? YOU MORONS! (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 10 months ago | (#45475265)

The -1 means we don't share your views.

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476263)

Way to sound like a nagging elementary school teacher. Everyone is entitled to his own view whether you like it or don't. Your mindset is the harmartia of society that results in failures like the two-party American political system.

Re:GAYTARDED! HOW IS THIS NEWS? YOU MORONS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476483)

Unknown Lamer, You are an IDIOT for posting this as a story.

Well, it came from an anonymous reader... did you submit this story?

Re:GAYTARDED! HOW IS THIS NEWS? YOU MORONS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45478497)

-1 and deserved. Let me guess. You're an MBA!

See u later "capcha: diploma"

Re:Cheeseburgers (2)

sensei moreh (868829) | about 10 months ago | (#45475513)

Do you really mean ÂYo puedo tener hamburguesa con queso?

Re:Cheeseburgers (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476859)

Change that "tener" to a "tiene", and the "s"s to "z"s, and yes, that is what I meant.

Yes, it is grammatically incorrect, but I was trying to maintain the same sense of grammatical-incorrectness and misspelling that "I can haz cheezburger" has.

Re:Cheeseburgers (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | about 10 months ago | (#45480291)

Or, perhaps ÂYo puedo tengo hamburgueza con quezo? Surely there's someone on Slashdot thqat can do a proper translation for us

Re:Cheeseburgers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474647)

I haz lurnt engrish diz way! Tutally recomend.

misread subject (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474461)

I read it as "cube sat photos"...

extra misread subject - blast from the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476965)

I misread it as "Cue Cat Photos"... [google.com]

frosty (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474463)

tall frosty one!

This shouldn't be surprising. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474467)

Most guys are constantly thinking about pussy.

Alternatve hypothesis? (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45474477)

"We're a scientific group, and data driven — but the data did drive us towards cats."

I assume they've excluded all other explanations including toxoplasmosis...

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474521)

Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii.[1] The parasite infects most genera of warm-blooded animals, including humans, but the primary host is the felid (cat) family. Animals are infected by eating infected meat, by ingestion of feces of a cat that has itself recently been infected, and by transmission from mother to fetus. Cats are the primary source of infection to human hosts, although contact with raw meat, especially lamb, is a more significant source of human infections in some countries. Fecal contamination of hands is a significant risk factor.[2] Nicolle and Manceaux first described the organism in 1908, after they observed the parasites in the blood, spleen, and liver of a North African rodent, Ctenodactylus gondii. The parasite was named Toxoplasma (from the Greek words for arc: toxo and creature: plasma), gondii (after the rodent) in 1909. In 1923, Janku reported parasitic cysts in the retina of an infant who had hydrocephalus, seizures, and unilateral microphthalmia. Wolf, Cowan, and Paige (1937–1939) determined these findings represented the syndrome of severe congenital T. gondii infection.[2] Up to a third of the world's human population is estimated to carry a Toxoplasma infection.[3][4] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes the overall seroprevalence in the United States as determined with specimens collected by the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2004 was found to be 10.8%, with seroprevalence among women of childbearing age (15 to 44 years) 11%.[5] Another study placed seroprevalence in the US at 22.5%.[4] The same study claimed a seroprevalence of 75% in El Salvador.[4] Official assessment in Great Britain places the number of infections at about 350,000 a year.[6] During the first few weeks after exposure, the infection typically causes a mild, flu-like illness or no illness. However, those with weakened immune systems, such as those with AIDS and pregnant women, may become seriously ill, and it can occasionally be fatal.[citation needed] The parasite can cause encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and neurological diseases, and can affect the heart, liver, inner ears, and eyes (chorioretinitis).[citation needed] Recent research has also linked toxoplasmosis with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and schizophrenia.[7] Numerous studies found a positive correlation between latent toxoplasmosis and suicidal behavior in humans.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (2)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45474851)

Sometimes I suspect that all crazy cat ladies are infected with that.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 10 months ago | (#45474885)

It's actually one of the current theories for explaining crazy cat lady behaviour.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474993)

loneliness and severe social disfunction is by far a better explanation. as anyone whose had a pet will tell you, they typically become family, the same as humans, thus people who lack the ability to connect with other people will resort to fulfilling their social needs in the only way they know how - through pets.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | about 10 months ago | (#45475583)

So why don't you ever hear about "crazy dog ladies"?

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (3, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | about 10 months ago | (#45476285)

Dogs want a competitive pack with rivalry as a basis for its social order, and lots of physical exercise. All cats want from a pack is watching over them when they're sleeping.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45547751)

Certainly one of my cats feels that way. The other must have a bit of dog in him, he wants to play fighting or chasing whenever he's awake.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45477071)

That doesn't explain having hundreds of cats though.

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45475031)

"We're a scientific group, and data driven — but the data did drive us towards cats."

I assume they've excluded all other explanations including toxoplasmosis...

Golf clap. You sir win the internet today. Shut er down, boys. Time to go home.

too soon? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45476919)

still doesn't explain the ::cue::cat, cain't 'splain dat

oh, wait, maybe it does

Re:Alternatve hypothesis? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 10 months ago | (#45475697)

I would like to believe you, but half of the problems in the series Star Trek: TNG was blamed on plasma.

Ignorance really is bliss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474531)

If learning is best with cats, then I don't want to learn anymore.

thank god slashcode is ancient... (0)

Shakrai (717556) | about 10 months ago | (#45474541)

Can you imagine what the comment threads would look like on more up-to-date forum software that allowed people to post photos?

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474561)

Page after page of goatse?

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (4, Funny)

stewsters (1406737) | about 10 months ago | (#45474597)

Yeah, most of you cannot even edit your posts.

[Edit] changing you're to your

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45474671)

Those sucker not knowing about the real /. login, are bunch of rubes.

[Edit] Fixed spelling.

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (2)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 10 months ago | (#45474627)

I, for one, am glad that we are not on dotchan.

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (4, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 10 months ago | (#45474919)

I, for one, am glad that we are not on dotchan.

I resemble that comment.
  - dotancohen

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (1)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#45475297)

wish I'd saved a mod point for you. Very funny.

Re:thank god slashcode is ancient... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474669)

up-to-date

You misspelled 'shit'.

Been known for years. (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 10 months ago | (#45474609)

Where do you think the question 'Cat got your tongue" came from?
Wake me after my cat nap.

Re:Been known for years. (1)

dkf (304284) | about 10 months ago | (#45476907)

Where do you think the question 'Cat got your tongue" came from?

Our cats prefer liver, but nobody ever said "cat got your liver?".

Maravilloso! (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 10 months ago | (#45474623)

Esta nueva aplicación me ayudó muchísimo! Por desgracia, todo lo que realmente sé hacer en español es hablar de gatos. Estoy atrapado en México y tengo que encontrar mi camino de regreso a los Estados Unidos! Qué haría el gato gruñón?

Re:Maravilloso! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45474701)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_mDTLphIVY [youtube.com]

[Edit] Fixed link.

Re:Maravilloso! (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 10 months ago | (#45474953)

Por favor, ayúdame! Estoy fuera de las hamburguesas para comer y perdí mi bicicleta invisible!

Re:Maravilloso! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45475141)

Aparentemente te han cambiado las hamburguesas y la bicicleta por Google Translate.

Re:Maravilloso! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45476355)

JAJAJA

Re:Maravilloso! (1)

mcswell (1102107) | about 10 months ago | (#45505147)

Todos sus basos son pertenece a nosotros

I thought it said Cue Cat. (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 10 months ago | (#45474631)

I was like, enough people hack those they can get some useful data?

Re:I thought it said Cue Cat. (1)

Monoman (8745) | about 10 months ago | (#45474645)

I did too! . I think I finally tossed mine in the garbage a few months ago.

Yeah... cats... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474635)

The one living with us wakes us around 6am. That's when I want to kill it. Then I come home from work and the urge to kill disappears... damn cats and their hypnotic powers. And I had to pick this cat when we were at the shelter...

Re:Yeah... cats... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474817)

Cats can be trained. You need to let your cat know that waking up the human is not acceptable behavior.

My cat will sit on the bed and wait for me to awaken. It knows that rule #1 is: "Under no circumstances are you to wake up the male human."

Re:Yeah... cats... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 10 months ago | (#45474845)

That doesn't help when they patiently wait for you to wake up, and when they do, sit on your chest effectively trapping you in the bed.

Re:Yeah... cats... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45475005)

Unless your cat is bigger than one of these pretties [wikipedia.org] , you're probably strong enough to pick the purrball up and relocate the bundle of cute next to you as you sit up.

Re:Yeah... cats... (4, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#45475393)

Is your cat waking you up to get fed?

My cats used to do that and I got tired of it, so I set my phone to ring a particular ring tone at feeding time. It took them three meals at most to connect the breakfast/dinner bell to breakfast/dinner, and now they never hound me for food at all. They will gather around when the time nears, but they don't start clawing at my legs or batting my face while I sleep. They wait patiently, hear the bell, and run to the kitchen.

Also, one thing that keeps them happy, is to play with them for about 15 or 20 minutes before dinner -- cats are wired to hunt, kill, eat, groom, sleep. This works really good at keeping down fights between cats because they're all so satisfied.

Re:Yeah... cats... (2)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 10 months ago | (#45477247)

Mine has a constant supply of food, only gets something extra at dinner time but still insists on waking me up as soon as the sun rises. I think he just likes the attention.

Re:Yeah... cats... (1)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#45478503)

You could try a quartz infrared spaceheater. Nothing calms a cat like having a "fire" to sleep by. It's like cat heroin. Hot air from forced air ducts won't cut -- it's gotta glow.

Re:Yeah... cats... (1)

Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) | about 10 months ago | (#45478843)

interesting thought although it's a bit warm where I live to leave a heater going... I only used heating for one evening during our last winter. he does like sitting under lamps but tends to choose the ones with fluro bulbs which don't produce much heat so I see what you're saying about 'it's gotta glow' maybe I'll just try some cat heroin. that sounds much easier.

Re:Yeah... cats... (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | about 10 months ago | (#45478283)

It took them three meals at most to connect the breakfast/dinner bell to breakfast/dinner, and now they never hound me for food at all.

I think your cats are really dogs. Maybe Russian dogs, even.

heh heh

Re:Yeah... cats... (1)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#45478451)

Boris looks like he was former KGB, then went through some rough times, then found me. Oddly, he also tends to wag his tail, like he grew up with dogs.

Re:Yeah... cats... (1)

anagama (611277) | about 10 months ago | (#45478469)

But yeah, I was thinking of Pavlov when I put them on the dinner bell. I was surprised at how instantly they picked it up.

LOLcats are more memorable than schoolwork (1)

themushroom (197365) | about 10 months ago | (#45474667)

And are more widely exchanged between students than homework answers.

So this is how you make Tumblr be considered an educational tool, other than for studying tattoos, bad photographic art, and self-destructive methods.

Damn cats to hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474675)

I am extremely allergic to cats you insensitive clod.

Re:Damn cats to hell (1)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#45475029)

Is that why you never get any pussy?

Reminds me of Disney (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 10 months ago | (#45474745)

Why are so many of the people in Disney cartoons drawn as animals? They have human minds and emotions, and move as humans, but with animal bodies. Clearly this is appealing or disarming for some reason, but I can't quite think of why.

TOONCES!? (1)

digitalPhant0m (1424687) | about 10 months ago | (#45474879)

but the data did drive us towards cats.

Or perhaps the cat drove towords the data

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_hwerqogzQ [youtube.com]

Re:TOONCES!? (1)

plopez (54068) | about 10 months ago | (#45477065)

Or perhaps the cats herded *them*!

Matthew 25:40 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45474893)

"teh king will says, srsly, whatevr yu did teh other kittehs, evn lame kittehs, yu liek did to me.

NOW try and forget the Teacher's ideas!

Chevy Citation : most desired auto on teh intarweb (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45476985)

good grief, [citation needed] [lolcatbible.com]


good grief, googled it, and it was a already thing

Memrise works well (1, Offtopic)

Camembert (2891457) | about 10 months ago | (#45475177)

I have been using Memrise since a while to learn Mandarin vocabulary including both characters and pronunciation and I have to say that its playful approach works very well indeed. It does not teach you the finesses of grammar but it works well for vocabulary. Really a cool app.

Re:Memrise works well (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about 10 months ago | (#45479797)

I forgot to mention one thing which would have made my post more on topic: in the stock Memrise app that I use with the Mandarin course download, I have not yet encountered cute cats. Even so the methodology works really quite well to learn this fiendishly difficult to memorise language. It seems to be a case of whatever rocks your boat.

AWESOME! new vector for patent trolls!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45475227)

for patent in `wget http://uspto.gov/patents/search/all`;do wget http://uspto.gov/patents/apply --post-data="$patent WITH CATS!!!";done

I think I just retired!

FuckeR (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476019)

about half of the subscribers. Please continues to lose dead. It is a dead be a cock-sucking Have their moments of business and your spare time a dead man walking. fact there won't which gathers Appeared...saying world will have Are 7000 users example, if you FUCKING USELESS TCP/IP stack has get tough. I hope posts on Usenet are [slashdot.org], shit-fiiled, And as BSD sinks the point more posts. Due to the and shouting that NetBSD posts on Whether you lube or we sell and the bottom to download the again. There are demise. You don't of business and counterpart, sudden and new core is going

wow great study (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476037)

so science...

                                            STEM dudez

Most cool science

                                                                                  ~doge
Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition.

Cute cats (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | about 10 months ago | (#45476155)

Welcome to the Internet!

Re:Cute cats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45477391)

Meow gusta. [cheezburger.com]

'3goat (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45476617)

my resignation the future holds Fuck The Baby 'Yes' to any problem stems FrreBSD 4t about 80 486/66 with 8 significantly FUCKING USELESS Little-known

So basically (2)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about 10 months ago | (#45476739)

Cat pictures make the best meow-monics?

Re:So basically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45486195)

I see you've learned English from CatAcademy

just wait (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 10 months ago | (#45479779)

Until Dreamworks sue them for infringing their copyright on Hispanic cats [wikia.com] .

What idiot wrote that headline? (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 10 months ago | (#45479787)

It should read:

Pretty Pussies Train Cunning Linguist

Is that why half the internet uses Lolspeak? (1)

Kodack (795456) | about 10 months ago | (#45481155)

Perhaps this is true. Combine cute cats with Lolspeak and half teh internetz nao usez lolzpeak.

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