piranha: red origami crane (Default)
researchers use brain interface to post to twitter.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineering doctoral student, Wilson is among a growing group of researchers worldwide who aim to perfect a communication system for users whose bodies do not work, but whose brains function normally.

awesome-cakes. i mean, it's clunkville right now, but yay!

via [livejournal.com profile] juliansinger (so how does this last bit come over in the crossposter?)
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sparked by discussion in [livejournal.com profile] wcg's journal:

"My forecast is that around 2050, the state of Massachusetts will be the first jurisdiction to legalize marriages with robots," artificial intelligence researcher David Levy at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands told LiveScience.

(i wrote all of the following before actually reading the article.)

side note: he said that about MA being the first while in the netherlands, which beat MA by several years regarding gay marriage. :) a bit US-centric, mr levy? the presence of MIT is gonna move society? *heh*.

i think that timeline is unlikely, because we don't have any AI yet that's even remotely close, 40+ years isn't much time when it comes to changing strong social mores, and this would be a huge change -- acknowledging another life form as equal to humans. gays _are_ humans and STILL can't marry in almost all of the US. and we can't touch polyamorous marriage between humans at all at this point; it is actively illegal, and is used as the bogeyman by anti-gay-marriage agitators. anyway, AI as a field is lagging notoriously behind its predictions.

somebody asked this interesting question [edited]: while it could be possible to program it to specifically like the characteristics of its partner, could it be said that the A.I is then freely giving its consent?

i wonder a lot about free will in general, and at this point think we don't have any such thing, not in the absolute sense the term implies. we are programmed to a great degree by our DNA and our early environmental exposure. now, our DNA is complex enough, and environmental influences are plentiful, so what comes out looks amazingly complicated and able to enact "free will". and yet it has sometimes preferences that i think no sane person would actually choose if they were completely free to choose (pedophilia comes to mind, and some of the really odd paraphilias). really, would you have chosen to be gay 50 years ago? some people fight these orientations / preferences, and fight them with all they have, and yet can't conquer them. i've tried to be "bi" and "not transsexual" much of my life, and it's just not happening.

that's why i think we only have free will within certain parameters that are "programmed" into us. and a robot similarly programmed could still have the ability to give consent, just as we do. just like some women have a preference for "bad boys" that washes away all reason, some robots could have a preferences for other "unpleasant personalities". the only difference would be that for the robots the programming would be guided by humans instead of nature.

but i don't actually think we'll see that, not in the next 50 years. what we'll see instead is robots programmed with "compulsions" rather than anything approaching free will -- and while that will make people with "unpleasant personalities" happy, it won't lead to freely consenting and marriage-capable robots; it'll lead primarily to well-adapted sex toys. and hey, that's fine by me. if pedophiles can have their own little lolita-bots, hopefully they'll leave real children alone.

instead of amazingly capable robots i am wondering about virtual presence -- how long will it be before we can have virtual experiences that are indistinguishable from real ones? i suspect that the first actual AI might come from that direction. and then it won't have a body. :) will we be able to marry virtual people? would we want to, in real life (as opposed to in the virtual world)? why? will virtual worlds and real world become in some way integrated (can money made in one transfer to the other, for example)? how many of us would basically spend all our time in virtual space?

i am suddenly getting the urge to {re-}read a lot of SF robot stories.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
crocheting. finally got around to experimenting with this. first model in a series.
hyperbolic plane hyperbolic plane


single crochet stitch increasing in every stitch in one row, double crochet stitch without increases the following row.

i might felt this. it's great fun to play with as is though.

and i fixed the white balance. mostly. still a little off, but not as hideously as before.

p.s. femme: nice ruffles. butch: those aren't ruffles, that's a hyperbolic plane!

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
manipulate your data, says paul campos.

The researchers collected data from 527,265 AARP members, who were followed for 10 years. What they found was exactly the same result reported by Flegal and her colleagues: Among both men and women, "overweight" people had the lowest mortality risk. This result, however, was clearly unacceptable. So they began torturing their data.

via [livejournal.com profile] firecat.

campos doesn't mention the title nor the researchers in question, but i did a quick search and the study he's referring to must be Overweight, Obesity, and Mortality in a Large Prospective Cohort of Persons 50 to 71 Years Old, by Kenneth F. Adams, Ph.D., Arthur Schatzkin, M.D., Tamara B. Harris, M.D., Victor Kipnis, Ph.D., Traci Mouw, M.P.H., Rachel Ballard-Barbash, M.D., Albert Hollenbeck, Ph.D., and Michael F. Leitzmann, M.D. now to get my hands on the full text.

i notice that in the same issue (what is this, fat week at NEJM? there are 5 items dealing with weight issues) is an article from a baby boomer concerned with his weight that makes reference to this study. anyone here have a subscription to NEJM who can tell me whether that guy noticed the problems with the study?
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
ha. for a long time i've had a vague hypothesis (that's really too grandiose a term), wondering whether america's obsession with hygiene might not in some way be partly responsible for what i thought was a disproportionately large number of allergies and autoimmune diseases.

seems there's some actual science in support now.

via [livejournal.com profile] wcg.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
US district judge john jones bitchslaps the dover school board.

some excerpts from the ruling.

"Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy."
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
state board votes 6:4 in favour of "casting doubt on the theory of evolution".

the 6 votes for? all republicans. the 4 votes against, 2 republicans, 2 democrats.

if i lived in kansas and had children, i'd move (if i hadn't already moved 6 years ago when they last pulled this sort of bone-deep stupidity).

But the board's vote is likely to heap fresh national criticism on Kansas and cause many scientists to see the state as backward

you bet. finally there is hope for flat-earthers and astrologers! in kansas, they might be able to get their "theory" into science classrooms. after all, we don't want children to be indoctrinated; they should be taught every harebrained "theory" in science class, so they can make up their own minds.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
reason #7582 to immigrate to canada and study/work at a canadian university: because canadian researchers invest time and effort in such fine subjects as cow tipping.

via [livejournal.com profile] boing_boing.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
drinking moderate amounts of alcohol boosts the growth of new nerve cells in the brain.

however, these new cells might also contribute to the development of alcohol dependence.

uh huh. me, i am not gonna start a drinking campaign quite yet.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
ah, here's what i need to get in better shape while having fun: human-powered hovercraft.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
hurricane rita.


there's a new study linking growing strength of hurricanes to increase in ocean temperature. a trend (if it is indeed a global trend, which is as yet debateable) to keep an eye on.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
finds a new study at the university of washington, seattle.

the team found that the number of "dees" in the birds' call corresponds to the size of the predator. smaller hunters –- which pose the greater risk -- receive the more vociferous response.

i have noticed that the resident chickadees get much more excited about the cats than about me. interesting.


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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