Book publisher Puffin Books has compiled a list of all-time best books for children. The 70-odd books mentioned in the list contain such classics as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island and the tear-jerking classic Watership Down. The list also contains The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a bedtime book which according to the publisher is sold once every 30 seconds around the world. The entire list comprises categories, such as adventure, weird and wonderful, mischief and mayhem, to name a few. According to the publisher, Roald Dahl sells more books every year than any other author in children’s categories and his sales went up by more than 35 per cent in 2009. The list can be obtained from the Puffin website www.puffin.co.uk/.

Developed at the Georgia Tech Centre for Music Technology, Shimon is a four-armed robot that can listen to music, analyse it and play along with other musicians. Ryan Nikolaidis, a PhD student at the Georgia Tech Centre for Music Technology, programs and plays music along with Shimon. “We’re interested in improvising like a human but playing like a machine,” says the programmer. The robot is programmed to mimic the musicians’ ability to listen to music, analyse the structure and then become a part of music by improvising along with it. The robot uses complex algorithms in its understanding of music. Besides playing along with musicians, it also interacts with them by bobbing its head when it sees them and hears them play.

Scientists have uncovered the remains of what appear to be a giant duck-billed dinosaur. The Gryposaurus monumentensis, as it is being called, was unearthed in Utah, the United States, and scientists are assuming it was around 30 feet long. The skull not only features a large and prominent duck-bill but also some 800-odd teeth as well. Gryposaurus monumentensis roamed this region in what is now the United States on the lookout for food 75 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period. “We know the area was wet, humid and swampy,” says paleontologist Terry Gates of the Utah Museum of Natural History, one member of the research team studying the fossil skull. “There were lots of plants, but we don’t know yet what they ate.”

From The Incredibles to Mission Impossible, director Brad Bird has been confirmed to direct his first ever live feature film in the guise of Mission Impossible 4. Actor and star Tom Cruise confirmed the news amid much speculation in and around Hollywood as to who would direct the fourth instalment of the action adventure franchise. This would be the first time Bird directs a live-action feature, he is known primarily for directing The Incredibles, Ratatouille and The Iron Giant. The first Mission Impossible was directed by Brian De Palma, whereas the second was directed by John Woo. Although JJ Abrams directed the third, he has opted to remain on board as a producer only.

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