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Computer Control Implants for the Paralyzed

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the making-progress dept.

Science 239

unassimilatible writes: "The Boston Globe is reporting that Cyberkinetics Inc. is about to ask federal regulators for permission to start testing a device that would enable paralyzed people to control computers directly with their brains or possibly help them move their limbs. Initially, the device, implanted into the brains of paralyzed people, will help them control a cursor on a screen or play video games. Researchers believe the technology could one day enable paralyzed people to type, control lights and heating controls, maneuver wheelchairs, or even manipulate robotic arms. I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004."

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239 comments

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GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS IS PATRIOTIC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7418990)

I pledge Allegiance to the Doll
of the Greased Up States of Yodarica
and to the Republic for which it shoves,
one nation under Yoda, rectal intrusion,
with anal lube and ass grease for all.

Yoda Doll up Jessie Lynch's Ass is more Patriotic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419200)

Here's to hoping there wasn't too much sand involved...ouch [nydailynews.com] !

I'm gonna watch Matrix 3 tomorrow (0, Offtopic)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419204)

I'm gonna watch Matrix 3 tomorrow. I'm going to pay plenty of euros for the experience. What should I expect?

Re:I'm gonna watch Matrix 3 tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419313)

Expect to support the US economy by watching that piece of crap. (In other words: don't watch it. Watch some nice European movie with less explosions and more brains)

Re:I'm gonna watch Matrix 3 tomorrow (1)

Cap'n Canuck (622106) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419327)

I'm gonna watch Matrix 3 tomorrow. I'm going to pay plenty of euros for the experience. What should I expect?

You'll be plenty of euros poorer.

Re:I'm gonna watch Matrix 3 tomorrow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419351)

To be modded into oblivion.

hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7418991)

i have a dick in my ass

Re:hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419052)

i have two

HELLO?!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419194)

Can whoever is responsible for writing the tasteless pr0n around here please get busy on some Jessica Lynch iraqi assraping stories?!!! I want to whack off to stories of that West Virginia hillbilly hosemonster and what she did to pass time waiting for the war to start out there in the desert with all those horney soldier boys!

Re:HELLO?!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419320)

you stupid ugly and you butt is full of poop

Stephen Hawking... (0, Troll)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7418995)

I look forward to challenging him to a fist fight!

Re:Stephen Hawking... (0, Redundant)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419032)

By the way... First (non spam) Post!

Re:Stephen Hawking... (5, Funny)

ashkar (319969) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419041)

I always wanted to see him matched against Christopher Reeves in Celebrity Deathmatch.

Re:Stephen Hawking... (1)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419075)

OK... that's pretty funny!

Thanks for the laugh!

Re:Stephen Hawking... (1)

(void*) (113680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419207)

Awww ... that just so lame.

Re:Stephen Hawking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419282)

Christopher Reeves? What would that be, Christopher Reeve and another guy also named Christopher Reeve?

Re:Stephen Hawking... (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419057)

Good to know in the future we can beat up crips with their own hands still...

Even if we have to hack their implants

Re:Stephen Hawking... (3, Funny)

Bendebecker (633126) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419073)

Nah, personally, I'd fight Ghandi.

VA software prompts offshore outsourcing! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419000)

here [vasoftware.com]

Excellent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419002)

As soon as I am able to hack into the chips I will have my army of paral....no wait, that would be worthless.

This story paralyzed me with it's honesty & hu (-1, Offtopic)

Muda69 (718162) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419008)

The "Vinegar Boy" Saga, as told by Aaron

Thursday, April 3

This is what happens when I swap work hours with the day shift - I get all their weirdoes!

About 2 pm today, in storms this woman who starts going totally apeshit at me and screaming incoherently while waving around a half-full bottle of malt vinegar.

I had no idea what she was on about and, before I could find out, the police arrived - but I hadn't called them!

Now, I know nearly every cop within fifty miles of my site (I call them all often enough), so when they come in, I greet them by name and they do the same back and tell me they've been called here because of allegations I've poisoned a small child.

Wuh?

The crazy lady identifies herself as the kid's parent and tells them I poisoned her lad. To avoid describing twenty minutes of ranting and gibbering on the woman's part, I'll cut right to the chase.

I had sold a 1L bottle of malt vinegar to a kid (about fifteen years old) that morning and he had taken the bottle home and drunk half of it - yes that's right, he had drunk vinegar. Of course, he got sick as a dog and "redecorated" the walls and floor of several rooms.

[No, I do not know why a teenager, who should be old enough to know better (and be at school too, for that matter) would drink half a litre of malt vinegar.]

At this point the cops and I exchange looks and one said, "Damn Aaron, and we all thought you had finally snapped." Ha ha. There's always a comedian.

The woman demanded that I be arrested, but the police weren't buying it now that they knew the situation. She eventually relented on her demands that I be be thrown in jail, but demanded an apology from me for "failing to tell her son not to drink vinegar."

I said, "I don't tell people not to stick the fuel nozzle up their nose and fill their brainpan with diesel either. And do you know why? Because most people aren't that stupid!"

End result: I refuse to apologize, and stand firm by my statements that her child is a moron. She demands apology, threatens to sue for slander, and promises to return tomorrow when the manager is here.

And I thought the loons only came out after dark

I'm curious to see what sort of reaction she'll get from my half-wit manager if she comes back. But knowing him, he'll probably apologize to her, and make a new rule that all staff will have to tell people not to chug-a-lug vinegar

Monday, April 7

She came back in! This time she apparently brought both the vinegar-drinker and her husband.

I got the call from my manager around noon today after they had been in to see him. The story they gave him was, unsurprisingly, very different from how it happened.

In their revised version, the kid asked me whether or not you could drink vinegar and I said yes. However, since we now have cameras that record sound (I don't know how I ever got along without them!), the manager played back the transaction to them. Apparently she now claims we edited out the sound

Despite all that, my worthless sack of shit manager caved in to them and apologized, and told me on the phone that he wanted me to write them a letter of apology.

THAT was never going to happen and, after an extended argument, with my manager using the "saying sorry does not mean you accept blame, it just means you're sorry" speech, he's decided to write one for me which he tells me I have to sign.

Well, that's never going to happen either. He can sign the damn thing himself if he wants, but there's no way I'll be apologizing to this stupid woman because of her stupid child.

So much for unwinding on my days off .

Tuesday, April 8

A lot of nasty stuff happened today.

My manager called me again today and told me to come in to work for a meeting. He wouldn't say why, but I guessed it was either about Vinegar Boy or the recent hassles we've been having with 'Sudsy', the drug dealer I had arrested, and his junky horde.

When I get in to work, I find my store manager (SM), the territory manager (TM), the stupid mother, and Vinegar Boy all there.

Can you spell 'ambush'? My manager can.

We go out to the back office, and my SM and the TM tell me off in front of the idiot family for failing to exercise due care in selling a fifteen year old boy a bottle of vinegar. The TM tells me to apologize immediately. I ask, for what should I apologize?

The stupid mother chose this moment to pipe up and screech, "I want you to say sorry for telling my son it was okay to drink vinegar - he could have DIED!"

I reply that I never did any such thing, and told her that her son was either grossly in error or a liar.

Both my SM and the TM again say to apologize - and now they want me to say sorry for calling the kid a liar. I say I have nothing to apologize for, and that I never told the kid it was okay to drink vinegar.

At this point I should point out that I managed to keep my temper under check for the entire time, even though I was extremely angry at being ambushed. I figured there was a time and a place to unleash it, and that it could wait for a little while.

Then the TM says that they know I did tell Vinegar Boy it was okay, they have it on film (technically, we have it on computer disk, but who's quibbling?). I ask to see the replay and if, from that viewing I am seen to tell the kid it is okay to drink vinegar, not only will I apologize, I will donate my last month's salary to the kid as restitution.

The mother goes off about how we edited the footage to remove my words and the manager started to get a bit shifty. The TM looked curious about all this, and I thought that if the TM really hadn't seen the footage, I might get out of this with my manager getting his lazy arse kicked right out of the company.

Silly me - like that was going to happen.

So, at the TM's insistence, we watch the footage and sure enough, all I say to the kid is to greet him, tell him the price, count him his change, and a goodbye as he leaves.

The TM looked pretty angry and glared at my SM, but said nothing. Nothing! He then repeats his demands to apologize.

I was floored by this. The TM saw I did nothing wrong, and still demanded I grovel to this sack of waste after he and my SM publicly abused me in front of her.

I refused to apologize (again!) and this time, demanded an apology from both the SM and TM for ambushing me, attempting to humiliate me in front of a proven liar and for trying to get me to apologize to Vinegar Boy and his mother.

The TM told me to apologize, or I would be suspended for a week and written up. I say, "Fine" and walk out with the stupid woman trailing me and gloating at how I got what I deserved. As I get to the door, the SM comes out and says, "If you walk out the door, don't bother to come back!"

I didn't even pause.

When I got home, I had nearly a dozen messages from work on my machine, but I deleted them without listening to them. I've now changed the message on my machine telling my ex-SM that anything he has to say to me can now be done through the union and to stop calling my number - of course he hasn't listened and has called me at least another fifty times since I got home.

When I had calmed down a bit, I called the site owner to see if he could take a look at what happened. The owner of my site is a totally cool guy, he's been in the fuel business since Henry Ford was a boy and is very clued-in. But as he's semi-retired now, it's pretty hard to get into contact with him. I did manage to catch his wife, so I explained things to her.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my union rep to see about suing those sons of bitches till they fucking bleed.

But right now, despite how angry I am at what happened, there's a big upswelling of sheer, unadulterated joy bubbling to the surface because I'm free of that damn craphole, and I'll be making my SM's and TM's life hell for as long and as hard as is humanly possible.

Thursday, April 10

Well, a lot's happened in the last two days!

Yesterday:

- I decided to start listening to the messages on my machine again, both the store manager (SM) and territory manager (TM) left a large number of very unpleasant messages about how I should be disgusted with myself for leaving them in the lurch with the irate mother*, and that I was a 'bad' employee and worthless sack of shit. The list of personal and professional insults was quite long, and I got it all on tape. Both the TM and SM told me that I was never welcome at the company again, and they will tell all the other petrol stations in the area about me.

* I didn't mention this in my last post, but when I left the store after the incident, Vinegar Boy's mother followed me out saying how I "got what I deserved". As soon as I was outside (and out of the range of our in-store cameras) I let her have a huge blast of bile. Not my best moment, and I'm not proud of myself, as I don't believe in using foul language in front of women. But I forgot myself this once.

- Had meeting with union rep at 11 am and explained the situation. Took the answering machine tapes with me. He got a union lawyer on the phone then and there, and she came over in less than five minutes.

- Lawyer says I have a very good case, as the answering machine tapes alone indicate I was forced out of the job due to hostile working conditions. She gets all the papers I need to sign and goes off to file them with the court.

- I get home and get swamped with phone calls from my coworkers asking what the hell happened. The SM is telling them not only Vinegar Boy's version of the story, but that I told the SM and TM to "get fucked", so they had to fire me, but they all wanted to hear my version of events. That last part, about swearing at them, is NOT true. I held my tongue until I was out of the store.

- By 4pm, the lawyer calls me to tell me she had already served my ex-manager (at home, no less), the TM and head office with papers indicating intent to sue etc, and had subpoenaed (if that's the word) the security camera footage from the sale that started it all, the initial incident with the mother, the first meeting between the manager and the mother, and the final incident where I walked out.

- 4:30pm, I'm now getting messages on my machine from the manager telling me he was joking about firing me and that he wants me to come into work as usual. TM calls and leaves message that it has all been a huge misunderstanding, and he wants me to come in so we can work it out. How spineless can you get?

- 5pm comes and I get a call from the owner who is very upset. My ex-SM had left him a message after I walked out (and before I left my message with his wife), which basically went along the same lines as the lies he was telling my coworkers. But, as he had only just got home from interstate, he ended up getting the SM's message, my message, and the union lawyer's message all at the same time. Ouch! That's gotta hurt. We arrange to meet tomorrow after he has had a chance to look at all the footage.

Today:

- Another meeting with the union rep and the lawyer (Super Lawyer!). Basically updating me on everything the lawyer did yesterday - which I already know - and detailing their own conversation with my ex-SM who is now apparently claiming it was all a huge misunderstanding on my part, and that he never told me to never come back. The union guy told me he then started playing back one of the nasty messages the S.O.B. had left on my answering machine, and that my ex-SM hung up immediately.

- Meet owner. He had reviewed all the tapes and, if anything, was even more pissed off than I was! I find out what I've suspected for a very long time - the manger was related to someone at head office. In fact, he is none other than the territory manager's nephew!

That explains a lot.

The owner tells me he only hired him because the TM promised to keep a close eye on him, and having a TM on your side can mean a lot of fringe benefits for a site owner. But, the owner - great, GREAT guy that he is - decided that enough, was finally, enough.

HE GAVE MY EX-MANAGER 24 HOUR'S NOTICE!!!

This was totally unexpected! For the first time in this whole stupid affair (it started with a moronic kid drinking vinegar, for the love of all that's holy!) I was stunned - but in a good way.

The owner has also issued a formal complaint to head office about the TM for his actions in the whole affair, because he left the company wide open for lawsuits, not only from me, but from the Vinegar Boy as well by playing along with the whole thing.

Now, the owner and I aren't really friends - we don't know each other well enough for that - but we do understand each other very well. We've both been in the industry for longer than is probably good for us, and neither tolerates any bullshit . Beside, I'm the only person he's ever hired who has lasted more than a month working the Thursday - Sunday graveyard shifts.

He told me that he understands my actions, and supports me 100%, but asked me to hold off the court action until we get a response from the head office about what is going to be done about the TM. I agreed - provisionally.
I told him that I would settle for nothing less than the TM being stripped of his post, issued with a written warning about his behaviour (two of these and you get fired), and getting a public apology from him.

The owner told me he wanted to see that too. So, for the time being we've come to an agreement.

- I phoned my union guy and he was okay about it - besides, now that all the legal paperwork has been filed, nothing else was going to happen for a long time anyway, until a court date had been set.

Now I'm waiting to see what head office will do. If they let the TM off the hook, I'm going for his throat. But - and this is a big but - if they hang him out to dry like he deserves, I will consider the matter settled.

My anger isn't directed at the company per se, but at two individuals who did a very mean thing. One of them has now lost his job and will probably never work in the industry again. The other....we'll see.

You know, looking back over all of this, I can't help but to be struck by the sheer absurdity of it all. What started with a kid who is so unimaginably stupid as to drink vinegar ends up with me walking out, my store manager getting fired and - whatever happens next - a lot of change is about to happen in my life.

I think of all the stuff I've done at work, all the insane events I've witnessed, all the insane people I've dealt with, and all it took was a bottle of vinegar to change everything. There's probably a lesson in that somewhere, but I'll be buggered if I can see it.

Friday, April 11

Not much happened today, just a couple of things to note.

My ex-ex-manger gave me another round of calls today and boy was he ever pissed - he still hasn't learned not to leave nasty messages on answering machines. The tapes on my machine are filling up so fast I had to buy a five pack from the local electronics store to keep up.

I had a lawyer from head office call me. I let him speak to the machine, as I've once again changed the message on my machine to say, "Any conversations regarding my previous employment should be directed to my lawyer at ******"

It seems they want to set up a meeting.

Seeing as how the last meeting I went to for these people resulted in me being ambushed, I'll let Super Lawyer Lady field this one.

Thursday, April 17

Well, it's been a very busy week for me, but I wanted to wait until I had something concrete before I posted again. Though I'm not superstitious by nature, I was worried that I might jinx things.

That said, I am now very happy to report that I have some very happy news.

I took copies of the answering machine tapes of my ex-manager to the union rep to hand on to Super Lawyer Lady for advice. I'm not too worried about anything he would do, as I'm twice his size, but his rantings were really starting to annoy me. Especially when he started ringing in the middle of the night. Super Lawyer Lady took the tapes to the cops and they apparently paid him a visit. I also had to swear a statutory declaration about the calls and how they were getting harassing.

I now have a lovely written statement from the cops (a Notice to the Victim). And my ex-manager, if he ever calls me again or even comes anywhere near me, will be hit with an A.V.O. (Apprehended Violence Order) quicker than he can blink.

Since then, he's been no more trouble, and I have an official document to show any future employers why I don't have a reference from him.

Just this morning, I was driving along the road and had to pull over when I started laughing again over the sheer absurdity of it all.

I hoped throughout all this to settle things without having to go to the media. But, if head office tried - even once - to screw me over, I would have started singing so loud they'd have bled from the ears. I've been doing everything I possibly can to retain the moral (and legal) high ground in all of this.

It is because of past nasty experience that I too keep a few months' worth of pay in the bank. I've been screwed over before by bad management and bad managers. More than once.

Here we go, back to the bizarre world that is my life:

>> Monday.

Had lunch with the owner. As the Territory Manager (TM), an agent of head office, was present at the ambush, any legal proceedings will focus on the company and not on him according to Super Lawyer Lady - he's relieved, as am I. I both respect and like the owner and didn't want any of this unpleasantness to rub off on him.

He fills me in on a whole bunch of stuff about my ex-store manager (SM) that I didn't even suspect, and some of which the owner's only recently discovered himself from the manager of one of his other sites who's pulling double duty at my work.

Allegedly (okay I've covered myself), the SM was incompetent beyond what I had ever thought, and perhaps even a bit shady. All the paperwork he handled was a total mess, with errors all through it, and there may even be upcoming problems with the tax office because of it. The returns are a total mess - i.e., out of date stock and store-use items. There are so many errors in them that over $2000 worth of stock has just vanished in the last five months. Out of date items have been returned to the shelves (I've noticed this myself - and commented on it in the staff diary), but they have been credited to stock-keeping as well. What this means is that the manager was allegedly getting refunds for unusable/out of date stock from the suppliers (but not disposing of it or handing it over to them) and then selling the stock! None of the money from those transactions has yet been accounted for.

The owner has been reviewing as much of the security tapes as he can, and has noticed massive discrepancies in the hours when the SM said he was working and the hours he actually bothered to show up. I've complained for ages that the SM only worked, at most, four hours a day, and left piles of work for the staff to do that he was responsible for. Seems he may have been allegedly lying when it came to writing up his hours and getting paid.
The list goes on and on. What the SM did to me was just the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. But I live in hope that the owner will be taking his own legal action (or possibly a baseball bat ) against my ex-SM.

>>Tuesday.

Another meeting with the union rep. Head office has arranged a meeting to discuss what happened, and union rep, Super Lawyer and myself will be attending it on Wednesday. We spend many hours going through it all again, and taking as many notes as we can on the events and all that has happened since. If you think these post are long, you should have seen how many pages we filled up during our meeting.

I find another call from head office on my machine when I get home. They now ask to set up a private meeting. They call back and I let them speak to the machine again. I call the union rep and play him the message. He said it was a good sign.

In the evening, I get a call from Super Lawyer saying a tentative court date has been set for October. I know the courts are clogged, but this is ridiculous! I tell her about the new message from head office, and she also says it's a good sign.

>>Wednesday.

Have brunch with manager today before the big meeting. He tells me a bunch of old 'war stories' from his days as a console operator and wishes me luck. No more updates on the alleged mismanagement of my ex-SM.

The big meeting:

I rock up with union rep and Super Lawyer at head office in Melbourne. Greeted by secretary and asked to wait. An hour and a half later, we are still waiting. Super Lawyer says this is a standard tactic. We wait another half hour, then tell secretary we're leaving.

We leave.

At this point, I was thinking about all the talk of "good signs" being BS and - I admit - feeling a bit down. I thought I had put on my good suit for nothing, and that head office was going to try and screw me over and was just playing with me. I chain-smoked nearly a whole pack of cigarettes on the drive back to the union rep's office.

Back at the union rep's office, he finds he has a message from head office. Super Lawyer calls them back and really tears them a new one over the phone. I mean, I've seen some great rants and abuse over the years, but this lady totally blew me away. Pity she's married, I think I'm in love. Awesome doesn't even begin to describe it - I'm surprised the phone didn't melt! I am SO glad she's on my side.

We go back to head office.

After waiting for barely a minute we go in.

From this point on, I'm afraid I cannot be as detailed as I like about what happened. When I started employment, I signed the standard non-disclosure agreement about certain aspects of the job (which I've bent more than a few times) and I've been told by Super Lawyer to stay mum, even with my family, about some of what was said. I also signed a legally binding agreement this afternoon that prevents me from saying what happened in certain parts of the meeting and regarding certain aspects of this whole affair.

But what I can say is this:

The company admitted no wrongdoing and pointed the finger squarely at the TM and his nephew, my ex-SM. They weren't very happy when I revealed that I knew about their relationship to each other. By the way, "weren't very happy" is probably the understatement of the year.

Super Lawyer told them about the trial date and reminded them, in point by point detail, of everything that had happened so far, which could be verified by the security tapes and now also, by the owner and the site's new manager.

A lot of legal talk went on about "abridgement of responsibility" (I'm still not quite sure what that means in context) and what the legal consequences could have been if I had caved in. I think she was basically pushing the point that by refusing to admit responsibility by apologizing, I effectively saved the company from huge potential lawsuits from the Vinegar-drinking family.

I think.

The TM has now been pushed into a non-administrative role recording fuel transportation details and gave me a (semi) public apology in the office area outside the meeting room and in front of the union rep, Super Lawyer, both lawyers from head office, the State Controller, the Human Resources Coordinator, and about ten assorted workers from adjoining offices who came to see what was going on with all the loud voices. It was very satisfying to watch him turn a dozen shades of red as he read from his apology notes. I hope it hurt. A lot.

The bastard is still in the company, and even though he wasn't issued with a written warning, I am content that he will never be in a position to abuse his power again. The State Controller was very adamant about that and there are half a dozen witnesses to that effect.

That was all the formal stuff out of the way. The next part of the meeting (and the next two days) dealt with what to do with me and once again, I can say very little about it.

It was accepted that I was not to be held any way responsible for the actions of Vinegar Boy, and that I acted "Admirably" under extreme duress (I quite like that part). My termination of employment has been rendered null and void, I'm getting a 10% raise, and am being moved to from part-time to full-time status, with all the health and holiday benefits that come with it. Because of my position as Health & Safety officer, I'm also receiving a 5% pay increase for every hour I work, commensurate with my extra duties. Previously, I didn't get anything for it except for two or three meetings a month, which I was paid standard rate to attend.

I'm also receiving full back pay for all the hours I've missed - adjusted to my new rate - since this exploded.

As for the legal case for being forced out of work due to hostile working conditions and the hundred-and-one violations of my worker's rights, that has now been settled. I REALLY can't say anything about that.

>> Thursday & Friday:

Meeting, meetings, meetings. Mostly lawyers talking to each other in a language beyond my ken. I sign this, I sign that, I don't sign the other.

So, the end result:

Store Manager - out on his arse and may be charged by police.
Territory Manager - demoted, apologized, and now hated with a passion by his superiors because of what he caused them to have to do.
Me - returning to work next week and at a comfortably increased rate of pay and now with holiday and health benefits .

If I ever see the Vinegar Family, I intend to throw them out of the store while giving them a few choice words. I doubt anyone at my site will want to serve them after what they caused.

I'll be going in to work on Tuesday to meet my new manager (please be a good one, please be a good one) and I'll ask about having their pictures put up behind the console and permanently banned.

If head office does decide to hold a grudge, I have Super Lawyer's card and can always contact her through the union, so I should be covered.

Thursday, April 24

Well, I worked my first shift tonight since the...incident...and it feels like everything is finally back to normal. Well, as normal as my work ever gets.

Had a whole bunch of customers ask where I had been - not that they missed me or anything, but now they knew they weren't going to be getting away with murder anymore.

And with my comfy raise, I hardly even got mad when two drunken yobbos vomited over the store window (from the outside), and I had to hose them down to get them off the site; or the junkie I caught trying to shoot up in the cleaning products aisle, or the gang of wannabe townies camped out by the car wash trying to browbeat customers into buying smokes for them, and who I kept taunting over the PA when they failed (until the cops arrived to escort them all home); or the strange lady who thought my petrol station was part of the airport, or the.. well you all know what my Thursday nights are like.

Re:This story paralyzed me with it's honesty & (1)

Zeriel (670422) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419227)

While I doubt you wrote it yourself, a brilliant and original offtopic troll of the first rank. My hat is off to you.

Bless the Lord (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419264)

I was also accused of poisioning a young 12 year old girl. I calmly explained to the police officers that my cum was not poisionous.

Remote control? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419011)

So, let's say for conviencence and ease, these things are implanted in the head and they go wireless to the remote motors.

Now, further, let's say we can hijack that signal.

Personally, I'm hoping EVERYONE gets on of these. :)

Think bigger! (0)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419203)

So, let's say for conviencence and ease, these things are implanted in the head and they go wireless to the remote motors.

Now, further, let's say we can hijack that signal.

Personally, I'm hoping EVERYONE gets on of these. :)


Just really hot chicks. Of course I can't honestly say i've seen many hot handicapped women, I'm sure there are more than a few though.

My claim to fame (3, Funny)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419012)

I claimed I could beat the smartest man in the world at unreal tourney.

Now they have to go and take that from me.

Now, sharks can control those laser beams on their heads too!

Re:My claim to fame (1)

lordmetroid (708723) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419044)

We can't afford Sharsk with friggin' laser beams attached to their heads... We have to do with samon!

Re:My claim to fame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419258)

Bass, you twit. (No, not bass and tweeters...)

Re:My claim to fame (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419305)

Ill tempered bass :)

Re:My claim to fame (1)

legoleg (514805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419341)

frickin' sea bass : )

I, for one... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419013)

I, for one, welcome our new cybernetic paraplegic overlords.

Re:I, for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419298)

They moved the cursor of doom so slowly, by the time we noticed the big take over, it was too late. Have to run. Must give the master a sponge bath before he activates the pain collar.

dezylaraP eht rof stnalpmI lortnoC retupmoC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419015)

LINUX SUCKS!

Everyone knows... (2, Funny)

WigginX (104107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419020)

That Stephen Hawking is a QuakeMaster [mchawking.com] !

I, for one,... (1)

wthynot (570397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419028)


I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004.

Whew.... Thank God. For a minute there I thought you were gonna say something else.

Re:I, for one,... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419072)

...welcome our new paralyzed computer-chip-enhanced overlords!

In other news... (1)

Stile 65 (722451) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419038)

- Novell patents neuron, sells patent to SCO on the cheap; SCO sues Cyberkinetics for using SCO intellectual property in product.
- Cyberkinetics awards Oracle contract to keep track of individual "Social Security - Media Access Control" addresses of devices in anticipation of federal mandate to implant device in all newborns

Hawking (3, Funny)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419046)

I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004.

I didn't realize that you meant playing AGAINST Hawking at first, and I got an image in my head of a polygonal guy in a wheelchair with a robotic arm holding a monstrous gun zipping all over the screen. It made me chuckle.

it's been done (1)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419092)

I always thought Half-Life protagonist Gordon Freeman bore a slight resemblance to Hawking.

I wouldn't want to play him though; I get Pwn3d enough as it is...

Re:Hawking (2, Funny)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419357)

A Stephen Hawking skin would be sweet! You'd have to have the full selection of audio taunts as well, of course.

screw Unreal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419050)

I look forward to playing Duke Nukem Forever against Terry Schiavo.

I'll let you decide why that will never happen.

implants difficulty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419051)

implants are not hard to find. The problem is that they exist only among the trees of our mother earth. I am turning japanese, i think I'm turning japanese, I really think so :) Why? Cause I have a hamster than runs on a wheel until he is thirsty. He drinks until he can't see no more, but he chews on his paws to keep his claws clean. then he took out a insurance policy.

































ObMoreSimpsons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419060)

I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004.

Lisa, are you done playing with your robot friend?

Ashamed to log in...

What about me!? (2, Interesting)

Leolo (568145) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419065)

Why only paralysed people? Why can't I have a cortical link? IMHO, all current computer I/O devices SUCK. Screens are limited. Keyboards are pain. And don't get me started on mice! I hate having to sit at my desk to use the computer. Why can't I pace up and down the room?

Re:What about me!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419098)


"Why only paralysed people? Why can't I have a cortical link? "

I suppose you could, if you can find a surgeon who will do it. But I think you're misunderstanding how effictive the control is.
What's a miracle for a quadraplegic would no doubt still be a handicap for you.

Just because wheelchairs are fast doesn't mean you'd benefit from one...

Re:What about me!? (1)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419330)

"Just because wheelchairs are fast doesn't mean you'd benefit from one..."

You know if you could get one under your company health plan, you would have one.

And the fastest, meanest one out there. And beat the real handicapped people to the best parking spots to unload that baby.

Re:What about me!? (3, Insightful)

DzugZug (52149) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419134)

Why only paralysed people?

Simple, funding.
It is a lot easier for researchers to get grant to "cure a disease" than it is to make computer access easier for everyone. It is also easier to get FDA approval for human trials when the goal is to improve quality of life for disabled people than it is when the goal is to make cooler video games.

Be patient. The medical applications come first, the consumer ones will follow.

Does it do enough to justify... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419071)

...the risks involved with putting the device in one's skull. It sounds like a very course cursor control. If it could allow typing or environmental controls, it would be worth it, but until then, stick with the monkeys.

Re:Does it do enough to justify... (1)

slappyjack (196918) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419232)

Thats something to be decided by the person gettign a hole drilled in their skull, yes?

Anyone rememebr that blind guy that can now "see" in very low resolution thanks to a couple of cameras mounted on glasses, a wearable computer, and a bunch of leads runing into his brain? (I looked for the article in Wired, where I first read about it, but was foiled by my hangover) HE seemed to think it was worth the risk, even though calibration the thing gave him a really nasty seisure once.

Some people will want this, some wont. I'll be happy to wait until its a proven technology before I get a datajack implanted behing my ear.

Than again, I'm still trying to get ahead ehough to afford to get my eyes lasered.

Hell yeah... (1)

KanshuShintai (694567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419079)

I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004.

w3rd.

Watch out, now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419080)

I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004.

This isn't entirely a "twitch" game anymore. It's his brain power against your finger power.

You're all screwed.

Re:Watch out, now. (1)

Kentamanos (320208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419163)

Guys with thousands of career beers have enough problems as it is. Now we're really screwed :).

Re:Watch out, now. (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419185)

I don't think so, since using brain power to control cursor required a machine to interpret the brain signal and act accordingly. In another word, double lag.

Kent Brokman (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419082)

I, for one, welcome our wisecracking article posters.

Hawking can already kick your ass in Quake and GTA (5, Funny)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419090)

As is chonicled in his MP3 archive [mchawking.com] . So I quoteth the bard:

The Mighty Stephen Hawking is a fucking Quake god,
got my finger on the trigger and my eye on the quad.
I know it's just a game, but I didn't come to play,
the Hawkman cometh and he's bringing Doomsday.
You say, "impressive", I already know it,
I'm a hardcore player and I'm not afraid to show it.
I got a Phd in pain and a masters in disaster,
the mighty Stephen Hawking is a fucking QuakeMaster.

Something else, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419094)

Think about it...if this device could be implemented without implants, you could have some really great new input devices for the average user...

Combine it with perhaps a P7 glove and you'll never need a mouse and keyboard every again! The hand controls movement and the headset controls all the little things like switches, etc.

bah... (1)

mantera (685223) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419102)

you're still paralyzed; i'd rather invest hope in stem cell research that maybe one day will enable you to grow new limbs and nerves.

Re:bah... (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419193)

Why not have both. Stem cell research and brain-interactive technology are both promising, and both might actually be able to interact with each other in the future as well.

If I had the choice between a new arm a robotic one... might actually be a tough call. How about terminator-style flesh-over-metal. You have surgical stainless bones and one hella strong grip, but you can still feel due to nerves in the overlaying flesh.

Technology can, and do, exist quite nicely in many situations.

Hawking and CS (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419111)

In CounterStrike, Hawking would be an AWP whore.

Someone needs to frag his ass.

Re:Hawking and CS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419297)

In CounterStrike, Hawking would be an AWP whore.

Someone needs to frag his ass.


His ass already is fragged.

Good news for Captain Pike (1)

serutan (259622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419114)

Remember this? [homepage.dk] Two lights: one for for yes, one for no!

Couldn't find a larger version.

Re:Good news for Captain Pike (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419304)

Here's the after picture [allscifi.com] .

WIRED article (2, Informative)

KJE (640748) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419115)

I remember WIRED having an article about this sort of thing. It's a couple of years old but here you go:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.08/assist.htm l [wired.com]

Firing existing muscles (1)

Kentamanos (320208) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419122)

Although it's only mentioned briefly in the article, I think firing existing muscles would be a lot more natural than robotic or robotic assisted limbs. It would make people feel less awkward in public if they didn't have all of the extra equipment. I guess the muscles would be severely atrophied at first and it would take quite a bit of "working out", but in the long run it seems a lot more natural.

What type of hardware would it take to "fire muscles"? It seems in that case you'd have to run wires to all of the muscles or to the nerve endings connected to the muscles.

Re:Firing existing muscles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419171)

There are already groups working on this -- I think I saw it on Scientific American Frontiers with Alan Alda a while back, or a similar program. Looked _very_ promising -- but I think it would be aimed at different kinds of disabilities. For folks with locked-in syndrome, "firing muscles" probably wouldn't work, as they have no physical control whatsoever.

Re:Firing existing muscles (1)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419201)

maybe, but i want 4 prosthetic arms and my 2 real arms so i can be one freak of a machine. not to mention, i want to be thought-linked to a monkey that does everything for me I think of, like swipe my subway pass and buy my 6 cups of coffee for each hand.

hmm, but then would i need a subway pass for my monkey?

Re:Firing existing muscles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419273)

Why would you have to have wires running to all the muscels just use wires to jump where the break is or where the damaged nerves are. In rare cases would you have to wire up the whole body in that case make it easer on the person and make it some they would not have to have an ungodly amount of surgery and go with robotic or robotic assited limbs.

Slippery Slope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419148)

First they put it in paralyzed people. Eventually they will put into everyone's brain so that they could read our thoughts. Ashcroft would LOVE that!

Robotic arms? (1)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419154)

Why worry about robotic arms? If they can come up with some sort of tactile feedback system it would be relatively straightforward to use the system as a replacement for the defunct nervous system and have the patient control their own limbs.

Hacking or Cracking (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419164)

So is it hacking or cracking when someone breaks in and overtakes the paralyzed person limbs?

Re:Hacking or Cracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419274)

So is it hacking or cracking when someone breaks in and overtakes the paralyzed person limbs?

BUMFIGHTS 3!

It's Cracking... (1)

roberto0 (242247) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419278)

...if it's against that person's will. It's hacking if you're messing with the code so your quadraplegic pal can throw a 90mph fastball...

I'm not sure it's a good idea (1)

fstanchina (564024) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419166)

I, for one, look forward to playing Stephen Hawking in Unreal Tournament 2004.

I'd think twice before confronting one of the best physicists around. Picture this: Stephen gets tired of being fragged, sits back at his desk for a while and gets back to the action with a new relativistic time-and-space-warping weapon that makes a BFG10K look as dangerous as a water pistol. Scary.

Serious predictions (4, Insightful)

heironymouscoward (683461) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419167)

It will happen....

It will be used for porn...

It will be used as a drug...

It will be used for gaming...

Finally, it will be used in business.... ...but it will never be used to help the disabled.

They just don't have any economic power.

Re:Serious predictions (1)

JPelorat (5320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419251)

Oh yeah? Then why the hell do I have to sit through 300 motorized wheelchair commercials a night when I'm trying to watch Modern Marvels on the History Channel?

Re:Serious predictions (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419287)

If this technology becomes available, believe me Social Security here in my country WILL buy it for the disabled. There go my future taxes...

Re:Serious predictions (1)

Matimus (598096) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419360)

If disabled people were enabled to work, it would benefit a lot of people economicly. Especially if it was sucessful enough that they could provide and care for themselves.

great... (1)

cloudship_tacitus (709780) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419174)

now, not only can ten year olds kick my ass in wolfenstein, but so can people who can't even move their bodies. ;)

grudge match! (3, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419177)

Hawking vs Davros! Oh yeah...

The winner plays Captain Christopher Pike.

(I'm such a geek. *sigh*)

Re:grudge match! (1)

mrwright (242430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419309)

Hawking vs Davros?

vs isn't quite the right word....

b3ta has the answer... [b3ta.com]

Re:grudge match! (1)

bludstone (103539) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419345)

Theres a Chrisopher Reeve joke hidden around here somewhere, I just know it.

Yes, but... (1)

3Suns (250606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419191)

do YOU run Linux? ::sorry::

Isn't this still just biofeedback (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419202)

No one is reading your thoughts and translating them into movement. You get a biofeedback system to you have to be trained to use. And with biofeedback, you get lazy movements of a curser, not fast or precise enough for typing, or much of anything useful. I bet we'll be growing spinal cord before we have a true neural translator that could generate movement from pure thoughts of movement.

Expanding on that... (1)

jawschlech (677932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419209)

Researchers believe the technology could one day enable paralyzed people to type, control lights and heating controls, maneuver wheelchairs, or even manipulate robotic arms.
This could foreseeably be used in anyone, couldn't it? It would be much faster to type with your mind rather than your fingers and would eliminate the occurance of carpal tunnel and like things. Heck, you could change channels just thinking about it or turn on the light without getting out of bed. (A new era of laziness!) I wonder if an input chip could be developed, too--it could possibly help the vision and hearing impaired, couldn't it?

How long before.... (0)

public_class_name_ex (643076) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419220)

"There's an inserter, a spring-loaded thing, that taps it into the brain with just the right amount of force," said Surgenor in a telephone interview. The wire array will be positioned over one of the areas of the brain known to control motor activity


How long before it is placed over other areas of the brain which generate "mental intentions" (terminology from the article) of, say criminal behavior?

UT2004? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419222)

Oh come now, we all know that Stephen Hawking is a fucking QuakeMaster [mchawking.com]

Nothing new here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419233)

These devices have been used and tested since the 1980s. It's old news.

No, I'm New Here (0)

New Here (701369) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419265)

No, I'm New Here

Ouch (1)

roninmagus (721889) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419256)

What happens now when they decide they want to use their fun new robot arms to rip people apart?

Experiment on the Vulnerable (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419272)

Some able-bodies people ask, How come the paralyzed get cybernetic implants, and not me?

Answer: because the implants are dangerous new techologies, so let's begin our experiments with subjects who have so much more to gain, thus less to lose when things go wrong.

Hawkins would whip your ass. (2, Funny)

crovira (10242) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419276)

He thinks in more dimensions than you've got limbs. You'd be toast in a minute.

Lets hope that Gates doesn't get into his head that this is potentially life extending though. Think about it, when you're old and feeble, your drones can have just come off the assembly line. Then again, running Windows on his implants might be fitting punishment.

Animal Testing (1)

Tacomanator (591756) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419277)

Read the comment someone made about sharks with laser beams on their head and it made me think: I wonder if they have developed any of this technology with animal testing. I for one am not only interested in the human aspect, but am also interested in how much capacity an animal would have for learning to control a robotic arm that brings it food or something of that sort.

One step closer to the Matrix... (1)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419284)

...but seriously, I can't wait. What geek would *not* love having the fridge door open, a Coke can fly out, and a coaster leaping in the air to catch it? The Cybernetic Force is strong with this one...

Computer Controlled Implants Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419301)

Just imagine, you can get computer controlled implants
for your wife or girlfriend or blow-up doll. Then you can
make her breasts as small or large as you like. It would
make the world a better place.

/. way behind again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419318)

man, I remember when /. used to have news, not yesterdays news, or last weeks for that matter. the stories on here don't even beat CNBC to the punch anymore.

I hope the next story doesn't report we invaded iraq.

Duke University (4, Interesting)

falconed (645790) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419328)

This tech works -- this article [bbc.co.uk] talks about a team of researchers at Duke that were able to connect sensors to a monkey's brain and then use the brain patters to drive a robot arm. As the monkey reached for food, so would the arm. The cool part is that the arm was located in a lab 950km away.

My coworker (a Duke alum) told me that the researchers then tied down the monkey's arm and asked it to reach for the food again. The monkey's arm didn't move, but the robotic arm did. I can't find any articles on that, but here's [cbsnews.com] one about some monkey's playing video games just by thinking it. Cool stuff.

One small step (1)

belangil (721262) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419348)

I like it. Sure it's in its infancy now but once they start getting good at this sort of thing it has all kinds of potential, not just for the disabled. Talk about a sweet human computer interface. Does anybody know if they have bi-directional communication on these things yet? But why limit it to human computer interfaces, why not human to human? If it can be used to control it should be able to be used for communication. Or why limit it to an external party how about a self interface. There are a lot of involuntary muscle responses that may not always be the best reaction to a situation, having complete control over ones own body has some interesting potential as well. I just hope they don't use WEP to secure it.

I can see the commercial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7419363)

"Help, I've fallen and I can't reboot!"

Tech moving quickly... (1)

Richard Allen (213475) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419370)

It's interesting that this article predicted it would take decades for this to happen. http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2000nov/gee20001 117002940.htm

In other news... (2, Funny)

fetus (322414) | more than 10 years ago | (#7419378)

Computer Controls Implants in Wife..

"When the kids are away, i set them to DD. But if there's company over or Sally is going out with co-workers, I like to bring 'em down to a conservative B.
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