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The Independent Culture

Forget K-9. Meet Aibo. He is a cyber-dog, or "walking wonder" as his manufacturers, Sony, prefer to call him. The pounds 1,300 robot, with floppy microphone ears and a colour camera for eyes, has artificial intelligence software so that he can adapt to his owner. "You have to pat it gently and get it in a good mood," Sony says. A tactical sensor on his head will register your touch. Aibo can express his own emotions by wagging his tail up, down and sideways. Aibo isn't brainy enough to fetch your slippers, but he is harmless to lampposts. Catch his barking website: com/robot/

Jungle rock

Readers of Woman's Journal are in for a bit of a shock. Margaret Cook, the slight and delicate creature who used to be married to the Foreign Secretary, is to write a column for them. This should provide a nice monthly treat for Robin, too. A taste was served up in an interview this week when Margaret described her holiday romance with a tour guide: "I remember lying in a tent one night and hearing the birds and jungle noises. He could mimic them. We'd all go down to the Amazon, strip off and wash. I have a standard degree of modesty but being so near the earth and in these hot, jungly circumstances, it was easy to lose your inhibitions."

Jurassic jungle

No such hanky-panky, one hopes, will distract Adam Davies and John McDonald, leading an expedition to find the world's only living dinosaur. The creature is reputed to live in the swampland Likouala region of the Congo. Locals call it "mokele-mbembe" (stopper of the river) and say it is 30ft long, similar to a crocodile, but with toes armed with ferocious claws. Let's just hope it doesn't lose its inhibitions.

Bog standard

A breakthrough in lavvy technology. The Suber Seat, described by its makers (Corq Design of Edinburgh) as "the world's most comfortable toilet seat, made from super-green, warm-to-the-touch cork and featuring advanced ergonomic design". Very bum-friendly, in other words. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the Heir to the Throne owns one.

Image of the week

The Queen enjoying a close encounter with a large bronze sculpture of two dung beetles and a roll of elephant droppings at London Zoo.