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Study: People Would Rather Be Shocked Than Be Alone With Their Thoughts

Jonathan Hart In the margins... (333 comments)

In the margins of the original study notes it is noted that two percent of the subjects sat in the room, "trying to think very loudly" as they guessed that the purpose of the study was to try to read their minds and they "just wanted to help out." These subjects were given freezer pops and escorted from the building. One asked, "is this to cool my brain after all the hard thinking?"

about a month ago

'Vampire' Squirrel Has World's Fluffiest Tail

Jonathan Hart Hey look, a squirrel (54 comments)

In a forest in Borneo, a small group encounters a surprisingly large squirrel with an exceedingly bushy tail. It is grooming itself. 1: "Its soooo cute." 2: "Hey look... Another one." 3: Looking tense, he firmly grasps 2's shoulder, and in a muted growl, "Look in the trees." The camera pans up and around showing what could be thousands of squirrels perched on branches in and around the small group. The squirrels stare at the group motionlessly. The camera starts to slowly back up and away from the scene, and just as the squirrels become difficult to individually distinguish, they descend in brown furry waves upon the hapless group, whose screams scare up a number of birds from a distance tree.

about a month ago

Massachusetts SWAT Teams Claim They're Private Corporations, Immune To Oversight

Jonathan Hart There must be something interesting going on (534 comments)

There must be something interesting going with the officers pay. If the officers are truly employed by LECs then the LECs must receive taxable income from the state of Massachusetts in order to pay the LECs employees. If that were the case, then the state's method of control over the LECs is by supplying money, and the LECs are (technically) mercenaries. On the other hand, if the officers are somehow being paid directly by the state, then the LECs are nothing more than consultants, and the state can, at will, oust them, and replace either state employees. I would say that the later situation is better for the state, but necessarily as good as just having top to bottom state employees. I'm no expert.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Jonathan Hart Re: Here's what you do (427 comments)

Oh and what the heck, might well make it feature rich. Setup the Bluetooth in the phone electronics and write some drivers such that you can use the glove as a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with laptops/desktops that are so enabled. Furthermore, add a IR LED on the end of the index finger to act as a programmable remote. One of the fingers will need a camera, of course in addition to the one on the forearm for video calls. Finally, a few pockets on the wrist side for credit cards, money, and ID. Then the only you'd be missing is a key ring.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

Jonathan Hart Here's what you do (427 comments)

Phone Gauntlet. Shiny black plastic outside, soft thin grip enhanced material on the palm side. Actual phone electronics and screen are placed on the forearm. Maybe a little fold out keyboard there. Heres the hook: to make or answer phone calls you place your hand up against your head just as you would if you were making the hand signal for talking on the phone. The speakers situated on the thumb and the microphone on the pinky finger.

about a month ago

A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls

Jonathan Hart Cons outweigh the pros (501 comments)

This is likely to result in several unintentional weather effects that are not desirable for an area used heavily for farming. Firstly, decreased wind. There are several wind farms in service in the Midwest, which would undoubtedly have a problem with these walls. Second decreased rainfall. Moisture carrying wind will hit the wall before traveling over the enclosed land. When the wind hits the wall it'll cause water to precipitate out before the wind passes over, which is bad for farming, especially in an area known for having had some dust bowl problems in the past. Also, the infrastructure to supply the building materials does not exist. No existing business can supply the quantities of cement, aggregate, and steel to create the wall in a reasonable amount of time.

about a month ago

Long-Lasting Enzyme Chews Up Cocaine

Jonathan Hart Possibility of misuse (73 comments)

The powers that be may want to get this classified as a controlled substance in short order. This enzyme could be used by dealers and users to "sober up" quick before the board meeting. Or dealers might just cut their product with the stuff in order to reduce the duration of the effects and thus increase demand for their product. Which in turn could further confuse addicts regarding their own tolerance levels and if they obtain coke from a different source, say on a business trip, they'd run the risk of overdosing. Needless to say, this stuff should be at least as controlled as Sudafed.

about a month ago

Scientists Measure Magnetic Interaction Between Two Bound Electrons

Jonathan Hart Science! (26 comments)

The phenomenon was known, a hypothesis existed to predict the results, and a test was devised to confirm the hypothesis. One critique, the article only mentions one Strontium ion separation, 10um. I would suggest that the test be repeated at multiple separations, and then determine if the data correlates with the predictions.

about a month ago

Scientists Successfully Grow Full Head of Hair On Bald Man

Jonathan Hart Re: title should be... (109 comments)

This is a positive result, and it could be interesting to know how this works out in the long term. This treatment may not be a permanent cure but may require periodic doses of the medicine in perpetuity. On the other hand, the man's body has clearly changed as a result of the treatment. Some of these changes may resist atrophy if the treatment is stopped. And on the third hand, it is possible that the subject may gradually develop a resistance to the treatment and require ever larger doses until safe limits are reached and it is necessary to allow the condition to return. I guess the best part of this is that the result supports the Doctors hypothesis, which can lead to more research and eventually a better understanding of the mechanisms of these diseases.

about a month ago

Washington Redskins Stripped of Trademarks

Jonathan Hart How'd all this come about anyway? (646 comments)

I'd read a short article about the history behind the reason so many sport team names have/had Native American influenced names. At some point a person or small group of people all decided that these names would be good for their sport teams. How'd that come about, what were their influences? Was it John Wayne and western movies/TV? Or was it before TV with those cowboy short stories they had romanticizing the west? It'd be kind of silly to keep defending a name like this if it came from watching an episode do Howdy-Doody.

about a month and a half ago

Century-Old Drug Reverses Signs of Autism In Mice

Jonathan Hart They made mice less cautious (207 comments)

"Like children with autism, the mice born after these pregnancies were less social and did not seek novelty; they avoided unfamiliar mice and passed up the chance to explore new runs of a maze. In the 2013 paper, the researchers reported that these traits vanished after weekly injections of suramin begun when the mice were 6 weeks old (equivalent to 15-year-old humans)." Those are autism traits? Seems more like those are basic survival traits. Right? I mean you wouldn't want your kid hanging out with strangers and checking out every dark alley they come across.

about a month and a half ago

There's No Wind Chill On Mars

Jonathan Hart Not an entirely useless observation (110 comments)

The real use for this info is understanding and designing for thermodynamic exchanges with the Martian atmosphere. The useful takeaway from this article is that heat dissipation from a source will be dominated by infrared emission rather than contact exchange with the atmosphere. Useful knowledge for the design of electronics, pressure suits, and habitats.

about a month and a half ago

America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Jonathan Hart Lots of inflammatory comments (875 comments)

All that's going on here is that the military has some machines built for war, and has decided that selling them is a better move than maintaining them or redeploying. The fact that they sold to Indiana police is, in my mind, one of the best possible end uses of these vehicles. Alternative buyers are allied foreign militaries, which it is my understanding that branches of the milatary sell a lot of old boats and planes to. As far as some peoples concerns about this being a sign that the police are milaterizing, I think those concerns are unwarranted. Police have purchased and used armored vehicles in the past. And the point of doing so, is not to roll a war machine into the back yard of some house party after a noise complaint, but rather to deal with well armed organized criminals, or a group that holes up with arms on a farm or something. You could make the argument that the purchase may have been an unnecessary use of the law enforcement agencies money, but such an argument would require a knowledge of the agencies current work and goals on par with whomever in those agencies decided to make the purchases.

about 1 month ago

Protecting Our Brains From Datamining

Jonathan Hart Before activating iBrain... (100 comments)

Please agree to our EULA. "... Section 3.a.213.yx - Through the use of gaming software and a nuerointerface, the user may be trained, by the Company, to vote for specific candidates in public elections, and/or to rebel against the government in favor of rule by the Company, if it is determined necessary by the Company to enhance the user's gaming experience. Section 3.a.213.yy - ..."

about 2 months ago

Scientists Find Method To Reliably Teleport Data

Jonathan Hart Confusing things about quantum teleportation (202 comments)

I don't usually write comments that just ask a bunch questions about a technology, but what is the deal with this supposed quantum teleportation? If you've got an entangled pair, and you change the state on one side, then how does the other side know to measure it? Furthermore, how does the sending side know that the message was read before sending the next bit? It's hard to imagine a means by which to use thus effect alone as a method of communication. One thing that could work is a specific time schedule, e.g. Message will be sent at this time, and read at this other time, and will repeat after this delay. But that can suffer from synchronization problems, especially when Einstein gets involved.

about 2 months ago

Scott Adams's Plan For Building Giant Energy-Generating Pyramids

Jonathan Hart This is almost an Archology idea. (107 comments)

Didn't ideas like this used to be really popular in the 90's? Where everyone was trying to design buildings, sometimes called archologies, that could serve all of life's needs in a sustainable way. Technically, I think Adams was talking about more of a utility plant, but for a structure of this size, why not make it a fully sustainable community? Extract water from the air, build some green houses, and then you don't even need robots, you've got people to do the maintenance. Frank Herbert would probably take it a step further and make all the people wear still suits.

about 2 months ago

The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net

Jonathan Hart What a synopsis (230 comments)

Lets take a look at what's being said here. A neural network that "learns" has been found to occasionally make mistakes, and perhaps not perform as well as humans. So... There's room for more improvement and research. The example in the synopsis about an autonomous car mistaking a pedestrian as clear road is feasible regardless of whether a neural net is used, simply due to sensor errors. Or maybe the pedestrian is wearing a mascot uniform. The recognition of objects as what they are is an extremely difficult computational problem, and will likely be riff with errors and inaccuracies for many years as R and D contains. Think of it this way. If you were driving your car at night and someone through a Real Doll in the road are you going to be able to distinguish it as human or not? Probably not. You will likely identify it as an obstacle and react anyway, which is all we'd need an autonomous car to do. Id be wary of programming much human recognition into an autonomous car because of the problem of incorrectly identifying non humans as humans. Otherwise you'd get headlines like "Car thieves using Nicolas Cage cardboard cut outs to steal cars." Which would be hilarious, but inconvenient. They'd have it on youtube, with the car saying something like "Hello sir, could you please clear the roadway." In a voice like the Iron Man Jarvis, and the thieves would have programmed a sound board so the cutout could respond with quotes from the SNL weekend update "In the Cage" segment. "That's high praise!"

about 2 months ago

Efforts To Turn Elephants Into Woolly Mammoths Are Already Underway

Jonathan Hart Deep in the genetics hot lab... (147 comments)

The geneticist works quietly at some titrations, making small adjustments and jotting down notes in his notebook, it's late, the geneticist hot caught up in a task and lost track of time. Suddenly, Jeff Goldblum appears behind him and gently places his hands on the scientists shoulders. "Oops, didn't mean to frighten you." He says as his right hand snakes down into the pocket of his black leather jacket. He extracts a small dropper filled with water, slowly raises the dropper just above the geneticists hand and squeezes out a single drop. Which rolls down. And then another in the same spot, which rolls down a different route. "Life finds a way." he whispers and disappears as quickly as he arrived. The geneticist chuckles to himself as wipes off his hand, he'd heard of other geneticists getting "Jurassic Parked," but just had not believed that Goldblum would have that kind of free time.

about 2 months ago

The Sci-Fi Myth of Robotic Competence

Jonathan Hart This is a confusing follow up (255 comments)

He says he wrote the follow up to address readers' belief that robots should be more capable than they are. Unfortunately, the question asked by the first article already made the assumption of robot competence. Meaning that, in order for there to be an answer to the question "should a robo car decide to kill its owner to save two ther people" the robot must be competent. So rather saying it is a follow up in response to reader confusion, the author should have just admitted that there aspects he didn't consider in his first article.

about 2 months ago

Comcast Turning Chicago Homes Into Xfinity Hotspots

Jonathan Hart If the Routers could do this... (253 comments)

If the routers were able to simultaneous wifi networks the whole time, why wasnt this functionality made available to the device renter? I wouldnt have minded a separate network accessible only to my guests. I suppose the company figured out that we would use it for exactly what they wouldnt want us to use it for. Namely, run two separate networks and split the bill for the connection with a neighbor.

about 5 months ago


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