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Comments

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Crows Complete Basic Aesop's Fable Task

mnemotronic Re: Let them be. (87 comments)

"Whoosh" is the sound made by a joke flying right over someones head. Have you had your hearing checked recently?

about three weeks ago
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Oppo's New Phone Hits 538 PPI

mnemotronic I care about voice latency and audio quality, not (217 comments)

While a screen with decent resolution is nice, I really need (not want -- NEED) a phone with good vocal quality and zero latency on the voice side. Show me a phone, encoding scheme, network and carrier with _that_ and I'll sign a life membership. I have googled my pants off for "cell phone voice latency" test results with no meaningful hits. The conspiracy-theorist part of me says the cell phone mfgrs & carriers all know how horrible they are when compared to landline so they've agreed to not test or not alert the consumer to this measurement.

about a month ago
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Press Used To Print Millions of US Banknotes Seized In Quebec

mnemotronic "uttering counterfeit money"? (398 comments)

...indicted on a variety of charges, including possession of counterfeit money, making counterfeit money and uttering counterfeit money

.
Just saying the words "counterfeit money" is illegal?

about 2 months ago
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How would you use science to innovate upon sports?

mnemotronic Just in time for the Superbowl... (253 comments)

Quarterback gets a transparent eye shield that has graphical display capability. essentially a heads-up display. It's fed by a system that is monitoring & analyzing the position, velocity, acceleration and direction of everyone on the field. As the QB drops back to pass, the system calculates the position of all possible receivers and defenders, analyzes the rushers, determines how much time the QB will have given his current situation, rejects any receivers with a low probability of success and displays the most likely receivers along with the suggested ball trajectory to the QB, taking into account his head position. The QB sees graphical representations of the target receivers and defenders corrected for distance and any intervening players, along with a vector thats indicates "throw this direction this hard".

about 3 months ago
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Percentage of Self-Employed IT Workers Increasing

mnemotronic Not by choice in my case (138 comments)

I'd prefer to be FTE, but RIFs happen. My wife is disabled and has some chronic ("pre-existing conditions") health problems so I need a good health-care program + long-term disability ins. Historically that's been through my employer. Currently through COBRA at $1150/mo, going to $1300/mo in 2014. ACA aka Obama-care may help - we're trying to find out but it is complex. I wonder what'll happen when all the technology workers who are tied to a job because of health coverage are no longer dependent on their employer for medical insurance? Retire to Costa-Rica? Join the Peace Corps? Become artists?

about 4 months ago
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Should companies start using drones for common tasks, like package delivery?

mnemotronic You mean somebody else got my beer and prophylacti (378 comments)

On this week's episode of "Drones Gone Bad": * Kim Khardashian mistakenly receives copy of Iyana Vanzant's "Forgiveness: 21 Days To Forgive Everyone For Everything". Says "Who reads this kind of catshi*?". * "I was running low but now I'm good for another week" says Catholic priest after wayward drone delivers 6 cases of sherry. * Slippery swap: Gay couple receives unscented lube; straight couple gets lavender scented lube. Partners accuse each other of fence-jumping.

about 4 months ago
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Dial 00000000 To Blow Up the World

mnemotronic Re: Illusion shattered (306 comments)

Don't be stupid, new a smarty! Come and join the Nazi party! Deutscheland is happy and gay! (Mel Brooks from "The Producers")

about 5 months ago
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Why Not Fund SETI With a Lottery Bond?

mnemotronic I'm all for it, but only if (191 comments)

Only if the pesky aliens will text me the winning lottery number.

about 5 months ago
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Do You Need Headphones While Working?

mnemotronic Do hearing aids count? (262 comments)

Not technically headphones, they do (like headphones) make it impossible to hear the mindless blather, personal attacks and odious office politics.

about 6 months ago
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Are We Socially Ready For Wearable Computing?

mnemotronic Re: Duh! (214 comments)

I think the gist of the article is that the current social norms will have to evolve if we want to integrate continuous data feed with real human interaction. Many of the judgmental reactions of other responders ("a-hole", "rude", "inconsiderate", etc) demonstrate our strong cultural bias for exclusivity in direct, inter-personal interaction and the resentment we feel when we perceive that our presence has suddenly, and without warning, been deprioritized by the other party. Nobody wants to think that they are less important that a slashdot RSS feed or a text msg, and to have another human imply that is, within the context of current social "rules", offensive. That's one of the attitudes that would need to evolve.

about 6 months ago
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Reprogrammed Bacterium Speaks New Language of Life

mnemotronic I, for one, welcome our new indestructable E Coli (141 comments)

I had an overwhelming sense of dread when I read this (I never studied biology). Are we like like a bunch of five year olds playing with a loaded gun?

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Hardest Things Programmers Have To Do?

mnemotronic Estimates, balance, juggling (473 comments)

(excuse funky format. Slashdot fnorks up my Android kbd) For me... #1 is accurate time estimates. I can usually guess the time to write the code. What I fail to take into account is time for emails, meetings, documentation and training. New rule is best estimate +40%. #2 work/life balance. Putting in more than the basic 40/wk for any company is stoopid. The company *does* care if i work myself to death on their behalf -- it saves them the effort of RIFfing me. #3 juggling, aka task switching. all the studies indicate this is a time sink for jobs requiring concentration. I'm poster child (ok, poster geez) for multitasking deficiency syndrome.

about 6 months ago
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Digital Revolution Will Kill Jobs, Inflame Social Unrest, Says Gartner

mnemotronic The myth of companies doing "more" with fewer work (754 comments)

Many corporations over-RIFed and continue to do so. What they discovered is that many of 'those who chose to remain with the company' (as my former employer put it after a 27% RIF) work more hours for the same salary. Problem solved! Bonuses for all execs!

about 6 months ago
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Apple Maps Flaw Sends Drivers Across Airport Runway

mnemotronic Reality check (311 comments)

If any old grandma in a Buick is able to take a wrong turn and wind up driving down a runway, that airport has bigger problems than an Apple maps glitch.

about 7 months ago
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New Species of Legless Lizard Discovered Near LAX Runway

mnemotronic I, for one, welcome our new .... oh, screw it. (103 comments)

... snake-like lizards that are also living in some inhospitable-sounding places for wildlife: at a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, among oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley...

about 7 months ago
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The Other Pong

mnemotronic i cant pong. do i have to surrender my K&R? (98 comments)

Pingpong, handball, racket-ball and any FPS - i totally suck at anything that requires reaction time faster than "glacial". Put me on a bicycle though....

about 7 months ago
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Illuminating Window-Less Houses With a Plastic Bottle

mnemotronic Illuminating ... With a Plastic Bottle. And a dri (240 comments)

The BBC article goes all breathless about this great low-tech approach for poor third-world countries without mentioning the fact that the user has drilled a bunch of holes in their roof. Combine that with a rainy climate like the Philippines (mentioned in the article) and you've got a problem. The solution, apparently, is polyester resin. Excellent choice, and so widely available in third-world slums. No slam intended to the unfortunate residents who are also blessed with power tools.

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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mnemotronic mnemotronic writes  |  about 7 years ago

mnemotronic writes "Hot on the heals of MIT's announcement of shutting down brain cells via light pulses (Slashdot thread), scientists at Italy's Universita Di Ferrara Neurolab (UNIFE), in concert with researchers in New Mexico have announced the ability to more directly control thought patterns using the LED lights built into cell phone keypads. Dr. Emilio Santiago, from UNIFE, and Lou F. Lirpa, a graduate student at the New Mexico State University neuroscience lab have developed light modulation patterns that induce certain types of thought. Using remote access capabilities built into most cell phones since 2004, they can (without the knowledge of the phone user) cause the keypad lights to flicker in a precise, controlled fashion. Given the right conditions, some of this light will filter throught the ear canal and land on the cochleal auditory nerves, which are sensitive excitation by yellowish/green light (about 550 nm, or 5500 Angstroms). This nerve bundle is a direct link to parts of the brain which are most susceptible to "suggestion induction", a term coined by Dr. Santiago. While the auditory nerves and related brain "hardware" have evolved the ability to filter out certain noises, they are more easily "fooled" by light.

So far, the only behaviors or thoughts the researchers have been able to impress on student volunteers are hunger, lust, and fatigue. But Dr. Avril Imbeseal, also of Neurolab, believes that with the right patterns, more complex thoughts may be impressed. "Just think of the possibilities for advertising" he said. And while noting the potential for military, national security, and government abuse, he was quick to provide reassurances that multi-variant thoughts, such as "I will vote for candidate X" are beyond the capabilities of their science.

Obviously, for the process to work, the cell phone keypad LEDs must be of the right color, or close, and the user must have the phone to their ear.

I think I'm going to stick with a Bluetooth headset for now...."

Journals

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red sand diary

mnemotronic mnemotronic writes  |  more than 10 years ago After reading the NY Times article (linked from here), I decided to try some story ideas.

Assume it's possible (economically, politically, scientifically) to send a limited number of volunteers on a "one-way" scientific & exploration mission to another planet, like Mars.

  • What would a "one-way" crew look like? All male? All female? A mixture? A mixed crew would certainly allow the story to get interesting.
  • What is the composition of the "sending agency"? A single country? A consortium? A business or group of businesses? It might be more interesting if there was some capitalistic reason to make the trip, for example "We, the XYZ Corporation, claim Mars as our own", or perhaps the discovery (by an automated probe sent to Mars) of some extremely valuable substance. This, of course, would require a working probe (ahem), which seems to be beyond the reach of the best JPL scientists. And the existance of this Martian substance doesn't do the people of Earth any good unless the substance can be returned to Earth, which implies a way to return, which invalidates the entire "one-way" concept of the story. And the whole "rare substance" thing probably sounds too much like "Dune" ...
  • What sacrifices have been made by the "sending agency" to make this trip possible? Any resentments there? Did they go with lowest bidder (guaranteed to build almost working components - use & enjoy!).
  • What would be the motivation of the members? Greed? Scientific curiosity? Altruism? What if their families back on Earth were guaranteed a comfortable (or even opulent) existance for, let's say, 100 years?
  • Are the crew members comfortable with the possibility that this may be a suicide mission? Anyone in denial about that?
  • What would happen on the voyage there? Boredom? Danger? Sickness? Sex?
  • What if, during the voyage, one of the crew has a spiritual or religious experience/awakening, and decides that suicide, or even the possibility of suicide, is not compatable with their new belief system? The person would demand to be rescued, and the sending agency would counter with "you signed this contract, bucko". This would obviously lead to anger and depression. Anything else? Revolt? Sabotage? Threatening the mission or other crew members ? Would their family back on Earth play a part, perhaps as hostages? This person would eventually be forced to settle down and accept their fate, because their anger is what's going to fuel their survival once on Mars.
  • On Mars, what are the difficulties with the necessities (food, water, shelter)? Can any of these be provided by the planet? Do we want any mysteries, like the discovery of some object which is obviously artifically created? How about life-saving conditions like sub-surface water? Would the person who finds it share it with the others?
  • Is this sounding a bit too much like "Contact" or "Robinson Crusoe on Mars"?? Damn. I hate it when that happens.

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