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Scientists Have Finally Sampled the Most Abundant Material On Earth

mnemotronic Re: Let me guess (128 comments)

Holy Cr@p! Are you implying that Buckaroo Banzai, my hero and spiritual guide, is not real?!!? Well there goes my religion.

about three weeks ago

Ability To Consume Alcohol May Have Shaped Human Evolution

mnemotronic Re: Of course it did (89 comments)

I drink waaaaaay more, therefore I am, like, snifficly more volved than you amateurs. errrrrp. MORE BEER HERE!!

about three weeks ago

I'd most like to (personally) explore:

mnemotronic Christina Hendricks (246 comments)

yea, i know. i got no life.

about 4 months ago

US Intelligence Wants Tools To Tell: Who's the Smartest of Them All?

mnemotronic That's easy - brains of smart people taste better. (162 comments)

And idiot brains taste terrible. Brains of politicians are unedible. More's the pity, but it does explain a lot.

about 4 months ago

UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

mnemotronic Allright! Yet another way for insurance companies (63 comments)

Blood samples are already a condition of coverage for some insurance. Now prospective employers have a reason for doing the same. Not that either would ever reject anyone on the grounds that they might have health issues. No, they were rejected because a better candidate was found. Nine months later. Question is, would they alert the applicant of the findings? If they did that and the person didn't know someone might put 2 and 2 together. Can you imagine being told by the HR email robot that you weren't selected for the job. Oh and by the way you've got cancer.

about 5 months ago

New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation

mnemotronic Gamable by design (100 comments)

"Reputation" is a digital artifact that can be manufactured and manipulated. I'd hate to think my payckeck was dependent on my Slashdot Karma times number of Linked/In connections times Stackfault rep. Why not base it on something objective but equally irrelevant like height or nosehair count. Just not size of woowoo.

about 5 months ago

Unintended Consequences For Traffic Safety Feature

mnemotronic Back in my day we had this "accountability" thing (579 comments)

Now politically incorrect and unfashionable, holding people accountable for their decisions and making examples of those who chose the path of irresponsibility is ancient history. I expect that Crosswalk Countdown Incursion Syndrome to get a nod from the theraputic community and it's own pill* before Christmas.

Do not use in combination with other medications.
Do not take with alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or meth-amphetamines.
Known to cause heart failure, diabetes, ulcers and psychotic outbursts on a small percentage of the population.
Some people report small explosions in their spinal cords after taking.

about 6 months ago

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 9 months ago

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 9 months ago

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 a year ago

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 a year ago

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 a year ago

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.

1 year,17 days

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")

1 year,20 days



mnemotronic mnemotronic writes  |  more than 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...."



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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