One man and his big cats: The lion and tiger cubs that herd sheep

These adorable lion and tiger cubs appear to have confused their future roles of Kings of the Jungle to that of a pair of sheepdogs instead.

The cute cubs have taken to chasing after the sheep on their ranch and rounding them up in a style akin to One Man and his Dog.

The cheeky pair even crouch down in the long grass and pounce towards the herd to control them.

But comically, their owners say the cubs are just as scared of the sheep as the herd are of them - which doesn't bode well for their futures at the top of the food chain.

Wary: Lion cub Mohlatsi and tiger cub Tigger have taken to herding the flock of sheep at the Ranch Hotel, in the Limpopo Province in South Africa

Wary: Lion cub Mohlatsi and tiger cub Tigger have taken to herding the flock of sheep at the Ranch Hotel, in the Limpopo Province in South Africa

tigers
tiger

Kings of the jungle: However, the two young big cats are as scared of the sheep as the sheep are of them

The white lion, a four-month-old named Mohlatsi, lives at the Ranch Hotel, in the Limpopo Province in South Africa.

His tiger companion, affectionately nicknamed Tigger, is spending six weeks at the location in transit from a breeding programme to another conservancy.

Mohlatsi, whose name means 'the lucky one', is already known for entertaining guests at the hotel by frolicking on the golf course. He even has his own Facebook page and Twitter feed dedicated to his antics.

But despite looking like a harmless pet, Mohlatsi is still a wild animal and spends most of his days safely tucked up in his large enclosure with the adult lions.

He is one of more than 30 lions housed in a conservancy as part of a breeding programme.

The cute cubs have taken to chasing after the sheep on their ranch and rounding them up in a style akin to One Man and his Dog

The cute cubs have taken to chasing after the sheep on their ranch and rounding them up in a style akin to One Man and his Dog

Mohlatsi's life is being documented by Marc Dryden-Schofield, a 31-year-old photographer from Johannesburg.

He said: 'He's a very cute little guy. He's very playful, which cubs are at that age, and is a real favourite around the ranch.

'He's been joined for six weeks by a little tiger cub, who is moving between a breeding programme and another conservancy.

'They're very inquisitive and like to chase the sheep, which are understandably very wary of them so they do make a good pair of sheepdogs!

The white lion, a four-month-old named Mohlatsi, lives at the Ranch Hotel, in the Limpopo Province in South Africa

The white lion, a four-month-old named Mohlatsi, lives at the Ranch Hotel, in the Limpopo Province in South Africa

Comically, their owners say the cubs are just as scared of the sheep as the herd are of them - which doesn't bode well for their futures at the top of the food chain

Comically, their owners say the cubs are just as scared of the sheep as the herd are of them - which doesn't bode well for their futures at the top of the food chain

'Strangely enough though, the cubs are also a little wary of the sheep, and are quite afraid of them at the moment.

'At this age they can be very playful but still have very sharp claws, so they can get a little dangerous when too excited.

'Mohlatsi has about another five months of running around like this before it gets a little dangerous for the guests.

'He'll grow up to be a wild animal - nothing pet like at all. He will be used to people and interaction but will still be able to hunt if required.

'I can imagine at some stage, a few of those sheep will become dinner.'


+ READ MORE HERE ...

Katie Price puts marriage woes to one side to meet fans at signing

Her personal life may be suffering, but Katie Price was professional as ever as she turned up to her merchandise signing yesterday.

Just days after admitting her marriage to Alex Reid was in 'crisis', the glamour model put aside her woes to meet hundreds of fans at Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex.

Surrounded by boxes of her KP Baby and KP Equestrian ranges outside the Debenhams department store, the mother-of-three struck her typical Jordan poses.

Putting her troubles to one side: Ever the professional, Katie Price posed at her merchandise signing in Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex

Putting her troubles to one side: Ever the professional, Katie Price posed at her merchandise signing in Lakeside Shopping Centre in Essex

However, as she worked her magic for the cameras in a velour tracksuit and pink 'Horses are just like chocolates.. one's just not enough' T-shirt, her smile was noticeably absent.

But while she couldn't raise a smile, she did spent hours signing autographs and posing for photos with fans.

Writing on her Twitter on the way home, she gushed: 'OMG, very long signing. Fantastic. Thank you very much everyone.'

Once back home in Surrey, the 32-year-old had to fight off pleas from her younger sister Sophie, 21, to go out clubbing.

Keeping professional: Price posed in a black velour tracksuit from her KP Equestrian range and a 'horses are like chocolate, you can't just have one' T-shirt

Keeping professional: Price posed in a black velour tracksuit from her KP Equestrian range and a 'horses are like chocolate, you can't just have one' T-shirt

Blonde ambition: Katie showed off her new blonde hair extensions, which she had put in on Wednesday
Blonde ambition: Katie showed off her new blonde hair extensions, which she had put in on Wednesday

Blonde ambition: Katie showed off her new blonde hair extensions, which she had put in on Wednesday

She wrote: 'Can't believe its nearly 1030. Just had sunbed, a swim and now in the bath. Ready to watch TV in bed... on a Saturday night. Haha.

'My sister ask me to go clubbing in London tonight... I've chose (sic) to stay in boring eh lol.'

On Wednesday, Price confirmed rumours her 11-month marriage to Reid was going through a rocky patch.

She wrote on her Twitter page: 'To answer my fans questions, News of the World did a accurate story Sunday about our marriage in crises (sic) ..always look on bright side xx.'

Candid camera: As usual, a cameraman was in tow filming the signing for her reality show

Candid camera: As usual, a cameraman was in tow filming the signing for her reality show

Rocky: Price and her husband Alex Reid last year

Rocky: Price and her husband Alex Reid last year

But Reid played down reports of an imminent split on his page, Tweeting: 'Life is full of ups and downs. Mine happens to be under the scrutiny of the media spotlight. Me + mrs still very much together and in love.'

Price and Reid jetted to an exotic island in the Indian Ocean over New Year's in a bid to work on their relationship.

The troubled couple released smiling pictures of their New Year's stay to a Sunday tabloid last weekend to prove that they were fighting to save their love - the first time they've been seen together for weeks.

It's believed that former cagefighter Alex and mother-of-three Katie tried to put their arguing on hold for the week-long break to attempt to sort through their problems rationally.

Alex is reportedly fed up with the 'media circus' surrounding them and has struggled to cope with the fame thrust upon him since they married in Las Vegas on February 2 last year.

Their path to wedded life was a rocky one - the couple started dating in July 2009 - just a few months after Price split from ex-husband Peter Andre.

Pricey mania: Hundreds gathered in the shopping centre for the chance to meet their idol

Pricey mania: Hundreds gathered in the shopping centre for the chance to meet their idol

In November 2009, the model dumped Reid live on air after she was voted off I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! after she realised in the jungle 'I wanted to be on my own'.

But just a few weeks later, the couple were back together and secretly plotting their wedding when he appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in January last year.

Meanwhile, Price appears to have given her blessing to ex-husband Andre's burgeoning romance with Spanish model Elen Rivas.

When asked by a fan on Twitter what she thought of the romance, Price replied: 'One of my best friends Andrew Gould said Elen was nice as they ran the marathon together last year.'

Waiting for Katie: The shoppers clutched their Katie Price-branded bags as they waited in line to meet her

Waiting for Katie: The shoppers clutched their Katie Price-branded bags as they waited in line to meet her

Confession: Price admitted her marriage to Reid was in 'crisis' on her Twitter last week

Confession: Price admitted her marriage to Reid was in 'crisis' on her Twitter last week


+ READ MORE HERE ...

No driver required: The future electric wonder car that beats traffic congestion and parks itself

Car designers have come up with the perfect solution for all those motorists tired of traffic jams and lack of parking spaces.

The two-seat EN-V (Electric-Networked Vehicle) is designed to alleviate those common driver concerns - as well as address environmental issues, energy consumption and affordability.

And amazingly you don't even need to be in the driving seat to achieve all this.

A General Motors Electric Networked Vehicle (EN-V) concept is driven around a course setup outside the Las Vegas Convention Center
 General Motors Electric Networked Vehicle (EN-V)

Compact, environmentally-friendly and drives itself: The EN-V runs on battery power for about 25 miles on a charge, with top speeds of 25 miles-per-hour

The EN-V from General Motors can rotate 360 degrees and be driven in manual mode with a driver - or without.

The General Motors concept runs on battery power for about 25 miles on a charge, with top speeds of 25 miles-per-hour.

The only downside to this pint-sized vehicle is its' inability to withstand a collusion with a full-sized vehicle.

Cities could, however, create EN-V-only lanes, or alternatively, create enclosed areas solely used by the vehicle.

There is no timeframe yet for when the EN-V will be on the market.

EN-V

Vision of the future: The Electric Networked Vehicle (EN-V) was unveiled at the Las Vegas Convention Center


+ READ MORE HERE ...

Strewth, this weather's totally batty! It's not only the humans who have lost their homes in the Australian floods


Torrential rain has brought chaos to Australia, and not just to the humans who live there.

Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Centre director Trish Wimberley and her carers have helped save 130 orphaned bats on the Gold Coast in past weeks.

They saved 350 young bats during the 2008 storm season but this year think there's more going on than just wild weather.

Baby bats at the Bat Clinic in Advancetown, which has helped at least 130 baby bats after the wet weather

Baby bats at the Bat Clinic in Advancetown, which has helped at least 130 baby bats after the wet weather

Worker Wendy Wimberley lovingly tends to baby bats at the Bat Clinic, where patient numbers are up this year

Worker Wendy Wimberley lovingly tends to baby bats at the Bat Clinic, where patient numbers are up this year

Carers have visited several bat 'camps' on the coast in recent weeks to find four-week-old babies on the ground covered in maggots and fly eggs.

Trish said: 'They're coming down to feed on the ground. That makes them vulnerable. It's not a natural occurrence and shows there is trouble in the environment.

'Bats are a barometer to what is going on in the environment. They're our canaries down the coal mine'.

The surviving youngsters will be bottle fed and kept either hanging on clothes lines or in special intensive care units until they are ready to fly again in about four weeks.

The winged mammals are bottle fed, wrapped up and hung on clotheslines until they are well enough to be released

The winged mammals are bottle fed, wrapped up and hung on clotheslines until they are well enough to be released

Meanwhile on Friday residents of northeast Australia returned to homes caked in sludge and nervously watched the skies for more rain while waiting for swollen rivers to recede.

The worst appeared to have passed from flooding that covered an area the size of France and Germany in murky brown water for longer than a week, but torrents still posed dangers in partly-submerged towns in Queensland state and progress on assessing damage and rebuilding was slow.

On Friday, police banned boats from the swollen river coursing through the city of Rockhampton that is expected to remain near its peak for another 10 days.

The scope of the damage is not yet known, and fully repairing all of the infrastructure washed away or ruined could take years, the army general heading recovery efforts said.

+ READ MORE HERE ...

Hundreds take the plunge for Berlin's annual ice carnival


When Britain was brought to a stand-still by the cold snap last month, going for a swim in the lake was the last thing on most people's minds.

But today in Berlin, the freezing conditions were perfect for the 27th ice carnival, which saw around 100 members of ice swimming clubs from across Germany take the plunge in the Orankesee lake.

Daredevil swimmers came dressed in all kinds of colourful outfits, hats, aprons and wigs to the annual event organised by the Berlin Seals.

Dancing on ice: Winter swimmers at the 27th ice carnival, organised by the Berlin Seals, at the Orankesee lake in Berlin

Dancing on ice: Winter swimmers at the 27th ice carnival, organised by the Berlin Seals, at the Orankesee lake in Berlin

Party atmosphere: Ice bathers join hands from clubs across Germany for the annual fancy dress winter swim

Party atmosphere: Ice bathers join hands from clubs across Germany for the annual fancy dress winter swim

The majority of revellers came in dress more appropriate for the beach than for ice-cold temperatures.

Each year the German capital hosts the event on the second Saturday in January.

Men in fancy dress walk into Lake Orankesee during the 27th ice carnival in Berlin today
A woman swims in the frozen Lake Orankesee

Cold as ice: Revellers came dressed in colourful outfits and wigs to brave the freezing temperatures

Splash: These scantily-clad swimmers were only too eager to take a dip in the freezing temperatures

Splash: These scantily-clad swimmers were only too eager to take a dip in the freezing temperatures

Having a whale of a time: A woman jumps from a floe at Lake Orankesee

Having a whale of a time: A woman jumps from a floe at Lake Orankesee


+ READ MORE HERE ...

Phew! Nicole Scherzinger strips down to a bikini in latest sizzling photoshoot

She's used to wearing skimpy outfits as one of the world's raciest popstars - but Nicole Scherzinger has outdone herself with her latest sexy photoshoot.

Nicole - racing ace Lewis Hamiltons's girlfriend - looked like a parcel that had been covered in gold lamé then unwrapped to reveal an electric blue bikini.

The former guest X Factor judge - who's being tipped to join Simon Cowell on the panel of the U.S. version - posed to promote her second solo album.

Dare to bare: Nicole Scherzinger stripped to a bikini for this photoshoot in Ibiza

Dare to bare: Nicole Scherzinger stripped to a bikini for this photoshoot in Ibiza

The as yet untitled record is due out later this year, after the success of her first single from it, Poison, which went to Number Three in the UK charts.

The 32-year-old has also been hinting that she wants to tie the knot with her 25-year-old Formula One star boyfriend, who she's been dating on and off since May 2008.

Talking to Now magazine last year, she said: 'I'm really traditional - I'd want to be married before we have kids and that's something we'll hopefully be doing soon.

Curvy: The Pussycat Dolls star was in sizzling form on the outdoor shoot

Curvy: The Pussycat Dolls star was in sizzling form on the outdoor shoot

'Lewis is always telling me that I'd be a really good mom and I know he'd be a great dad. I love kids and I'm feeling broody.'

The star has also said that she'd like to adopt - though she won't be going down the Angelina Jolie route.

She said: 'Yeah, I'd like to adopt. I would like to have a couple of kids in the future, no more than that. I won't be surrounded by children.'

Loved up: Nicole with her race ace boyfriend Lewis Hamilton

Loved up: Nicole with her race ace boyfriend Lewis Hamilton


+ READ MORE HERE ...

I'm a psychopath! BBC presenter Michael Mosley's shocking discovery thanks to a revolutionary brain scan

Why do we behave the way we do? What really makes us tick?

These questions have traditionally been left to philosophers and theologians but now scientists have come along with machines that can probe our brains in ways we never dreamed possible.

Their work has led to discoveries that are often surprising and sometimes disturbing.

Until recently, if you wanted to really understand what made someone tick, you would have had to rely on their own account of themselves, or perhaps guess what they were really like by close observation.

Disturbing discovery: BBC presenter Michael Mosley was shocked by the results of his attempt to find out what goes on inside our brains

Disturbing discovery: BBC presenter Michael Mosley was shocked by the results of his attempt to find out what goes on inside our brains

However, the study of the human brain has been transformed by scanners which can go beneath skin and bone, revealing what is actually going on inside our heads when we are thinking and feeling.

Last summer I went to Holland to get hands-on experience of the latest research for my new BBC series, The Brain - A Secret History.

In the city of Groningen, scientists are doing particularly interesting work on empathy, the capacity to share thoughts and emotions with someone else.

We all know what empathy is. When you watch a James Bond film you may be aware that your heart has started to beat faster as our hero jumps from a plane or dangles over a precipice.

Or perhaps you see a child fall, and hurt their arm. You wince.

You touch your own arm in sympathy, then feel the urge to go over and try to help. It is instinctive; something we are all born with.

If we didn't feel empathy we wouldn't behave altruistically, recognising what others are going through.

Empathy is what binds societies together and its absence leads to many of the problems we see in the modern world.

People who don't have empathetic responses, who don't have any feelings when they see somebody else in pain, are called sociopaths and psychopaths.

Following the scans, Michael discovered he was not the person he thought he was

Following the scans, Michael discovered he was not the person he thought he was

They have long been a staple of thrillers, and throughout history there are countless real examples of the evil that happens when such people get into positions of power.

But is empathy something you can study and measure?

Professor Christian Keysers, based at the Neuro Imaging Centre in Groningen, thinks it is.

'When you see someone accidentally hurt themselves you don't just realise that the other person is in pain in a rational way, you also embody the pain of the other,' he told me.

'We are trying to find out what gives us these insights.'

I had volunteered to take part in Christian's research, investigating the extent to which our own feelings of pain are important in understanding the pain of another.

I was warned before I arrived that to do this it would be necessary for Christian's team to inflict pain on me.

'Basically, there are two phases to the experiment,' explained Christian. 'First we will ask you to watch some movies inside a brain scanner, and then you will experience pain. It will not be excruciating.'

'How are you going to create this pain?' I asked anxiously.

'I want you to find that out a little bit later on,' Christian replied enigmatically.

I was taken into a basement to be strapped into an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine, which would measure the activity of different parts of my brain.

Christian's assistant, who was wielding a fierce-looking plastic ruler, got me settled into the machine.

The first part of the test was a film of people's hands being hurt, which was quite surreal.

All I ever saw were the hands. Sometimes the hands were pinched, sometimes slapped with a plastic ruler, occasionally twisted into unnatural positions.

There was no commentary and no sound. Watching it I could feel myself wince.

This, I thought, was good. It clearly showed I was a warm, sympathetic character.

After a break we moved on to the more brutal part of the test.

Every so often, and without warning, Christian's assistant would hit the back of my hand with the ruler.

It started off mildly painful and then, as my skin got more tender, it became uncomfortable though never excruciating.

After about an hour I was released from the machine and given a questionnaire designed to measure how empathetic I think I am.

It consisted of questions where I had to give a high or low score depending on how strongly I felt the statements applied to me.

They were scenarios such as: 'Unhappy movie endings haunt me for hours afterwards'; 'I share the joys and pains of people around me'; 'I detect other people's moods quickly and easily.'

Afterwards I went back to my hotel and waited for my results.

I hadn't realised until then just how anxious I would feel about the outcome.

I have this picture of myself as a compassionate person.

Perhaps the fMRI machine would reveal my ideas about myself were wrong.

Would it show I was warm and empathetic? Or a secret psychopath?

When I met Christian the following morning, he had my results up on a computer screen in the form of a series of brain images.

He explained that what they and others had discovered is that many of the same areas of the brain light up whether we are experiencing pain or watching someone else in pain.

He and his team have tested a wide range of people, from volunteers like myself to convicted killers.

His studies have shown people display very different responses to seeing others in pain.

There are some people who are truly empathetic. When they say: 'I feel your pain,' their brain activity shows they mean it.

There are others, notably the sociopaths and killers, whose brain scans suggest they feel nothing but indifference.

The first results Christian showed me were my brain's response to getting slapped.

'These are reasonable results,' he said. 'When you get slapped, four brain regions get activated. The first two process sensation, then the activity goes into two brain regions that add an emotional flavour.'

So far I was normal, but what Christian said next, made me lean forward.

'This is the part where you may want to distract your wife or ask her to fetch something from another room,' he said.

'When it came to responding to your own pain you were average. But while we were showing you the movies of others in pain, none of the expected areas were activated.'

My face must have registered shock, because he added: 'It's OK, what we then did was lower the threshold a bit, looking for weaker activity. When we did that we saw that you do have activity, but it's lower than average.'

What made it more embarrassing was that the results from the brain images did not match the answers I had given on the questionnaire, which had suggested I am soft-hearted.

I asked Christian if my results might have been biased by the fact that I was tired, or by my prior knowledge of what to expect. He looked sceptical.

'When we scan psychopaths, their brain images suggest they aren't all that empathetic, but their questionnaires make it look as if they are model citizens,' he said.

'Oh my God, so I am a psychopath?'

'Well, maybe that's pushing it,' Christian reassured me, 'a little bit.'

He grinned, so I knew he was joking, but it was still unsettling.

The technology Christian uses is still quite crude, but improving all the time.

It is possible that in future it could be used as a screening test for people joining, say, the police or Army.

It is, after all, important that people who wield authority or guns should have some sensitivity to other people's feelings.

But Christian believes its real value will come from helping us understand how emotions, reason and sensation interact in our brains.

'While I'm witnessing you go through some experiences, my brain doesn't just make me see what is going on in you, it makes me share all the different senses,' he said.

'And the fact that we can now measure this reminds us that everybody is not just around us, but in us.'

Technology such as Christian's has opened a new window into our minds. But there is another way we have come to learn more about ourselves.

Some of the most fascinating insights have came about as a by-product of accidental damage to the brain.

A few years ago I met a young man, Philip, who had been in a car crash and afterwards developed something called Capgras syndrome.

He appeared normal, except for the fact that he was now convinced his mother had been replaced by a look-a-like.

From being a loving son, Philip now treated her like an unwanted interloper.

There is an explanation for what was going on inside Philip's head that I find strange but satisfying.

If true, it tells us something profound about how our own brains work.

When you see someone you know, two different systems in the brain are activated.

One puts together the features, roots around in memory, finds a match and says: 'Those features are familiar... it's John.'

The other part of the recognition system is an emotional one.

In all of us there is a link in the brain between the visual system and the limbic system, which is involved in the generating and processing of emotions.

When you see something you attach an emotion to it.

It was vital for our ancestors' survival that when they saw something they decided, extremely rapidly, whether it was to be feared, eaten, ignored or mated with.

Even before the word 'lion' popped into your ancestor's consciousness, the emotional part of the brain would have released adrenaline into the body, preparing it for fight or flight.

In Philip's case the link between his visual and limbic systems had been damaged by the car crash.

Before the accident, when he looked at his mother he not only recognised her features, but also felt affection.

Now when he looks at her he feels nothing.

His brain, faced with this contradiction, had made up an explanation: 'If she looks like my mother but she doesn't feel like my mother then she must be an imposter.'

Philip's case adds to a growing body of research that suggests our brains are dominated by our emotions far more than we imagine.

Just as in the story of Jekyll and Hyde, it appears we have several different selves within one brain, one body, all jostling for supremacy.

Like Philip, Dave Wilson from Wisconsin, USA, appears normal. He is anything but.

In 2002, he had surgery to remove a brain tumour.

What neither he nor his wife, Lisa, fully appreciated was the operation would involve removing the frontal lobe, an area of the brain crucial for processing emotion.

Lisa told me the changes in Dave were immediate and dramatic.

'Before the operation he was a very affectionate and loving husband,' she said.

'When he woke up after the operation he was completely different. Angry and cold. He didn't want me to touch him or talk to him.'

Surprisingly, the surgery had no effect on Dave's core intelligence and he has returned to his job as an animal psychologist. But he himself is aware of being changed.

'I am emotionally dead,' he told me. 'I no longer have concern for others. This must be what serial killers are like. Not that I would ever become a serial killer, but I don't think that watching someone else die would bother me.'

Dave has not just fallen out of love with Lisa, he is no longer capable of having feelings for anyone. They have divorced but she remains devoted to him.

Dave's case is being studied by Dr Michael Koenig, who trained under the famous American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.

In the Nineties, Damasio started researching patients who had, like Dave, damaged their frontal lobes.

He was struck by the difference it can make, not just to a patient's emotional life but also to their decision-making.

Dr Koenig, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, is also continuing Damasio's research into the impact of emotions on our capacity to reason.

He rejects the idea that we'd make better decisions if we were like Spock in Star Trek, devoid of emotion and ruled by logic.

To make his point Dr Koenig suggested Dave and I played a computer version of an ingenious gambling game developed by Damasio.

Damasio had discovered that most people unconsciously learned how to win the game before they had consciously done the calculations.

It's an emotional decision. To play the game, we both started with $1,000.

On the computer we were offered the choice of four decks of cards to play with, some delivering consistent winnings, some not.

Each card, when clicked, turned over revealing varying sums of money that were added or subtracted from the starting pot.

The game was played at a furious pace and the decks were subtly arranged so that while some decks delivered consistent winnings, others did not.

I finished the test $100 up, which I attributed to my mathematical skills.

Dr Koenig, however, claimed that what I saw as a set of logical decisions were actually rationalisations after the event.

My gut, not my head, had been the first to decide which were the best decks to use.

You'd expect Dave, who is intelligent and devoid of emotion, to do well at a gambling test.

But he made catastrophic losses because he had no gut reaction and took much longer to discover how to win.

We go through life thinking the big decisions we make are the result of our ability to think rationally.

But research has shown that the conscious, rational bit of the brain, the bit of which we are so proud, is just the tip of a large iceberg.

We are a mass of unconsciously learnt habits, feelings and prejudices that shape how we think and behave.

Some people hate this idea because they see it as an attack on free will, believing that it undermines the importance of the choices we make.

Personally, I'm not disheartened: in the end it is still my brain making the decisions, even if I'm no longer certain how these decisions are being made.

But I wonder, how many people sitting Christian Keysers's psychopath test would discover, as I did, they are not quite the person they thought they were?

The Brain - A Secret History is screened on BBC4 at 9pm on January 13 and 20.

+ READ MORE HERE ...

11 of the Deadliest Unmanned Killing Machines in USA Arsenal

Artificial intelligence has not yet reached a level that allows for a truly autonomous robot, but we have come far in the last 50 years. Robots are in use today, performing duties from vacuuming our floors to building cars, to fighting our wars for us. Only a handful of these machines possess any degree of autonomy, and even fewer of those (thankfully) are armed. The United States military stables the greatest arsenal of armed robots in the world, and has several major companies spearheading the advanced robotics research and development industry, with the singular stated goal of creating a better war machine. Because of this, more funding is moved each year into projects to develop new drones for military use, roboticise existing military hardware, or weaponize commercially available robotics.
With public disapproval of any armed conflict on the rise, the DoD is under heavy pressure to remove the human element from the equation in order to reduce American casualties. Costs involved in the development and deployment of manned aerial weapons systems alone have skyrocketed beyond the allotted budget, largely due to physical restraints of such advanced systems that remain tied to and must facilitate biological constraints. The best example of this phenomenon would be the costly development of the F-22 Raptor. Years of delays along with constant budgetary overruns plagued the project to the point that it nearly failed. The end result is a plane that costs $361 million, whereas an unmanned drone could be purchased for a fraction of that cost, and no pilot would require costly flight-time.
These 11 machines were purpose-built to kill and destroy while saving American lives in the process. It may be an ugly idea, but it works.

MQ-9 Reaper (aka Predator B)


Beginning life as a simple Predator unmanned attack-drone, the MQ-9 Reaper has taken its place in an ever-growing fleet of "hunter-killer" robotic aircraft currently in use. The Reaper's greatest upgrade from the Predator baseline series is in its turboprop engine, with nearly nine times the horsepower of the original piston-driven power-plant. That equates in the field to being able to carry 15 times the load of ordinance, as well as being able to move three times faster than the now sluggish Predators. It's capable of deploying laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles against ground targets, with deadly precision. Technically it's also capable and tested to use air-to-air missiles against aerial targets, but that real-life scenario hasn't come up yet. Able to carry a maximum payload of 3,000 lbs to a considerable ceiling of 52,000 ft., it can remain aloft for 36 hours. The Reaper is fully capable of autonomous operation.

Predator C "Avenger"


The General Atomics Avenger is not a bad super hero out of the 80's, but a super-sized, heavily upgraded member of the Predator family of armed UAV's. This one's more commonly known as the Predator C, making it the last installment of the series. It's nearing the end of its developmental stage and aside from its namesake has little in common with its predecessors, and is actually similar in some ways to the new Air Force's new F-22 Raptor. It's built to utilize the same weaponry as the Reaper, but has a far different method to its mayhem; the Avenger uses a stealth-designed jet engine. With an operational ceiling of 60,000 ft., it can hang with the likes of U-2 spy planes. Flying at 400 knots for 20 hours, it can haul 3,000 lbs of munitions to lay on target. The Avenger is capable of autonomous operations.

X-45 UCAV


Boeing decided to take lessons learned and technologies honed in their Bird of Prey project and apply them to a completely new "technology demonstrator" aircraft that they hope could make them a hefty amount of money, while also terrifying anyone with an imagination. They created the X-45 UCAV, or Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle. Like horrors from a science fiction film, these things are meant to travel in packs, autonomously, and engage targets with lethal speed, maneuverability, and armament. They communicate with each other and with near instantaneous speed determine how best to deal with a target in any given situation, then handle it. While one is attacking, another covers it. The craft can accomplish mid-air refueling autonomously. In May of 2009 a secret project inside Boeing was unwrapped to reveal an even deadlier version of the X-45c, the largest most advanced version of the X-45 airframe, dubbed the Phantom Ray. It'll be flying by 2010. That airframe was expected to rate 0.85 Mach with a ceiling of 40,000 ft. and 4,500 lb munitions payload, so we can expect even more out of the Phantom Ray.

X-47B Pegasus


Northrup Grumman didn't want to feel left out in the X series aerial death race, and neither did the US Navy. Enter the Pegasus, cousin to the X-45 series airframes, but meant for a different environment. The Pegasus is ideally meant to stock carriers with swarms of autonomous operations capable fighter drones. Its impressive 62 ft. wingspan get's chopped to a fraction for storage in between flights with folding wings. It cruises at .45 Mach and is capable of speeds at the X-45 level, but that's not as important as the fact that it will be taking off and landing on carrier decks on its own, and able to refuel mid-flight over the ocean if needed. This capability will allow for a carrier to be in an entirely different ocean than the target these drones go after with their payloads of smart-bombs.

Gladiator


The US Marine Corps' newest recruit looks like it rolled straight out of a movie. Bristling with weapons and sensors, the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle is built to go wherever there are boots on the ground replace them with wheels when it's too dangerous. The unit is capable of scouting, surveilling, or assaulting targets, as well as providing cover as well as ammunition and supplies for nearby marines. A key function is to carry out the mission in the event of a nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) attack. Basically, it's smaller than the original Mini Cooper, and carries enough mortar tubes to level a building a quarter-mile away while simultaneously laying down ground fire with a mounted machine-gun.

Black Knight



The Black Knight is currently in development and testing stages, with plans to replace its non-roboticized base-model, the venerable Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Bradley's fighting prowess was well proved in Iraq on several occasions, as well as other hotspots around the globe, and now there is a robotic version of it. A tank-sized robot capable of autonomous navigation and rudimentary targeting of its 25 mm chain-gun is not something anyone would want to confront, ever. That's exactly what this beast is, and with the capacity to mount pods of TOW (anti-tank) and Stinger (anti-aircraft) missiles, this vehicle is as survivable as it is lethal.

MQ-8 Fire Scout



Fire Scout is technically classified as a VTUAV, or Vertical Takeoff UAV. In this case, that simply relates to it being a dwarf-sized autonomous helicopter. The US Navy has been seeking a robotic solution to its inherent problem of being somewhat limited on deck-space, while constantly needing aerial support craft. The Fire Scout was perfect for this role and with minor modifications became the Sea Scout for naval use while retaining the Fire nomenclature for Army use. This tiny aircraft is able to carry serious firepower, including Hellfire missiles as well as a host of laser-guided armaments. Alternate versions have been tested using .338 caliber rifle systems, ideal for precision kills of human targets.

The Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV)


Soon to be taking over the seas as production is ramped up in the coming years, the Protector Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV) brings vengeful robotic terror to the last remaining realm of the battlefield. Originally built as a direct response to the USS Cole bombing, these waterborne armed drones are able the world's one and only oceanic combat drone. While operated by remote now, plans are underway to provide autonomous operation capabilities as well, with an ultimate goal of not only securing ports against terrorism attempts but also tireless patrols around carrier groups. The Protector is aptly named, as it's able to be armed with either a 40 mm grenade launcher, or a choice between .50 caliber or 7.62 mm machine guns. Armed like that, with a top speed of up to 40 knots, this USV is absolutely deadly in any waters.

TALON SWORDS


The Foster-Miller TALON may not have autonomy as a feature, but this tiny remote controlled robot is LETHAL. Able to maintain its command and control link from up to 1000 meters away from its operator, the TALON allows a huge extension of influence over an area by a force that would normally be too small to cover such real estate. The SWORDS refers to Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System, which is pretty obviously an acronym that was reverse engineered, but who could blame the designers? The unit has been tested using several small arms weapons normally carried by soldiers into combat, including the M-16 and the Barrett .50 caliber rifle, but currently the units in service carry the M249 machine gun. This robot only comes up to knee height, and weighs a mere 100 lbs, but make no mistake, it can kill you.

Crusher


Probably the exact opposite of the miniature TALON robots, Carnegie Melon's Crusher is a behemoth capable of literally mowing down an entire squad of enemy soldiers, effectively neutralizing them without firing a shot. It is a six-wheeled monster, engineered specifically with terrain-navigation in mind. It's able to climb over 4 ft. steps or barricades, using a suspension system not seen on any other vehicle. It's a true multi-purpose vehicle, but after further testing, it's expected to be able to autonomously patrol with weaponry, navigating terrain other UGV's would be unable to handle.

REDCAR



A slightly more mature version of the REDCAR system, the MDARS or Mobile Detection Assessment and Response System was meant for terrain more easily travelled. They're meant to be deployed in a grid of up to 255 units, with the goal of ensuring redundant security for an area covered. Ideally deployed to a semi-urbanized setting, such as an airfield, as it travels best on pavement. Behaving much like an ED-209 from Robocop, the MDARS unit will train its guns on the target, then order him not to move. In the meantime, security forces would be dispatched to the exact location with full knowledge of what was waiting for them there.

+ READ MORE HERE ...