Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Posted by William Meloney at 6:37 AM
Monday, December 28, 2009
Model of the brain-machine interface for real-time synthetic speech production. The stroke-induced lesion (red X) disables speech output, but speech motor planning in the cerebral cortex remains intact. Signals collected from an electrode in the speech motor cortex are amplified and sent wirelessly across the scalp as FM radio signals. The Neuralynx System amplifies, converts, and sorts the signals. The neural decoder then translates the signals into speech commands for the speech synthesizer. Credit: Guenther, et al.
(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process takes about 50 milliseconds - the same amount of time for a non-paralyzed, neurologically intact person to speak their thoughts. The study marks the first successful demonstration of a permanently installed, wireless implant for real-time control of an external device.
Posted by William Meloney at 8:03 AM
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Posted by William Meloney at 7:36 AM
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I am torn. On one hand I strongly advocate Health Care Reform _and_ endorse the efforts of our current administration (and both sides of the aisle) to forge the best resolve they can muster.Then I read this from a decidedly opinionated organization... Firedoglake
The Senate health care bill is an ungodly mess of errors, loopholes, and massive giveaways. When the American people find out what's actually in this bill, they will revolt. Here's why:
Forces you to pay up to 8% of your income to private insurance corporations -- whether you want to or not (#) If you refuse to buy the insurance, you'll have to pay penalties of up to 2% of your annual income to the IRS (#) After being forced to pay thousands in premiums for junk insurance, you can still be on the hook for up to $11,900 a year in out-of-pocket medical expenses (#) Massive restriction on a woman's right to choose, designed to trigger a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court (#) Paid for by taxes on the middle class insurance plan you have right now through your employer, causing them to cut back benefits and increase co-pays (#) Many of the taxes to pay for the bill start now, but most Americans won't see any benefits -- like an end to discrimination against those with preexisting conditions -- until 2014 when the program begins (#) Allows insurance companies to charge people who are older 300% more than others (#) Grants monopolies to drug companies that will keep generic versions of expensive biotech drugs from ever coming to market (#) No reimportation of prescription drugs, which would save consumers $100 billion over 10 years (#) The cost of medical care will continue to rise, and insurance premiums for a family of four will rise an average of $1000 a year -- meaning in 10 years, you family's insurance premium will be $10,000 more annually than it is right now (#)
We desperately need health care reform. But we can't pass the Senate's bill.
Posted by William Meloney at 7:15 AM
Something better... 1 (obvious): Excuse me. Is that your nose or did a bus park on your face?
2 (meteorological): Everybody take cover. She's going to blow.
3 (fashionable): You know, you could de-emphasize your nose if you wore
something larger. Like ... Wyoming.
4 (personal): Well, here we are. Just the three of us.
5 (punctual): Alright gentlemen. Your nose was on time but you were fifteen
6 (envious): Oooo, I wish I were you. Gosh. To be able to smell your
7 (naughty): Pardon me, Sir. Some of the ladies have asked if you wouldn't
mind putting that thing away.
8 (philosophical): You know. It's not the size of a nose that's important.
It's what's in it that matters.
9 (humorous): Laugh and the world laughs with you. Sneeze and its goodbye
10 (commercial): Hi, I'm Earl Schibe and I can paint that nose for $39.95.
11 (polite): Ah. Would you mind not bobbing your head. The orchestra keeps
12 (melodic): Everybody! "He's got the whole world in his nose." -- Steve Martin, "Roxanne"
Posted by William Meloney at 6:28 AM
Monday, December 21, 2009
(Read the whole thing here... Suburban Guerrilla)
Last Saturday, Dec. 5th, something startling and wonderful happened at The Aramingo Diner in Port Richmond.
The 52-year-old landmark restaurant at 3356 Aramingo Ave. is open 24 hours a day, so it’s always a-bustle. But the place really hops during weekend breakfast and lunch time. Last Saturday was no different, and both wings of the diner – the booth area and the bigger dining room – were lively.
The manager on duty, Linda (who asked that I not mention her last name here, for reasons I can’t get into but let’s just say everything worked out okay…), tells me that a couple in their 30s paid their check at the register, then asked the cashier to let them secretly pay the check of another couple in the dining room – a couple they didn’t know.
“They just wanted to do it,” she said. “They thought it would be a nice thing to do.”
When the unsuspecting patrons went to pay their check, they were floored to find out that strangers had picked up their tab. So they asked the cashier to let them pay another table’s check, also anonymously.
When that table’s patrons approached the register, they, too, decided to pay the favor forward for yet another table of unsuspecting strangers.
You know where this is going, right?
Posted by William Meloney at 7:43 AM
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
A Swedish diplomat allegedly smuggled tights and nylon stockings from Belarus to Russia. NTV television reports he was caught on tape handing over the legwear from the trunk of his car. The tape also showed the car's red diplomatic plates.
Posted by William Meloney at 7:44 AM
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
From Business Week...
The Immelt Revolution
He's turning GE's culture upside down, demanding far more risk and innovation Despite his air of easy-going confidence, Jeffrey R. Immelt admits to two fears: that General Electric Co. (GE ) will become boring, and that his top people might act like cowards. That's right: cowards. He worries that GE's famous obsession with bottom-line results -- and tendency to get rid of those who don't meet them -- will make some execs shy away from taking risks that could revolutionize the company. volution
He's turning GE's culture upside down, demanding far more risk and innovation Despite his air of easy-going confidence, Jeffrey R. Immelt admits to two fears: that General Electric Co. (GE ) will become boring, and that his top people might act like cowards. That's right: cowards. He worries that GE's famous obsession with bottom-line results -- and tendency to get rid of those who don't meet them -- will make some execs shy away from taking risks that could revolutionize the company.
Immelt is hiring Americans to work
What makes Immelt heroic is that, while other executives were betting on finance, on imports from China or on real estate, he has bet his company on America. That may be an extraordinary claim. But here is some extraordinary proof:
Immelt is hiring Americans to work
Immelt is hiring Americans to work on big problems
Posted by William Meloney at 11:30 AM
Zen Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh
Thich Nhat Hanh: 'You are, therefore I am.' Another of his sayings is, 'Don't just do something; sit there.'
One of Thich Nhat Hanh’s most important ideas is ‘interbeing’, which concerns the mutual interconnectedness of all living things. As he describes it in his book Being Peace: ‘I am, therefore you are. You are, therefore I am. That is the meaning of the word “interbeing”’.
Interbeing contains a very clear empathetic element, which is that we become more compassionate when we imagine ourselves in someone else’s place and understand their suffering. The challenge he raises is that we need to empathise with everybody – not just people we know and care about, but strangers and those who we might despise. This is nowhere better illustrated than in his extraordinary prayer-poem ‘Please Call Me By My True Names’.
Posted by William Meloney at 9:49 AM
Sunday, December 13, 2009
When all you have is a "justified" war then all you have is the same old excuse.
An excuse to send someone elses' children to fight and die for failing politicians and monied interests. Consider sending your own children - then see if this justified war is worth it.
When all you have is a Military Industrial Complex then every resolution looks like a war. Again!
Afghanistan = Vietnam (Why! Why? Why...)
When all you have are Generals everything looks like a reason to send more troops.
If all you have are Generals then everything looks like a military conflict.
(If all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail.)William Meloney
Posted by William Meloney at 6:21 AM
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
This is an excerpt from the article... (My comments follow.)
You Have Zero Privacy Anyway -- Get Over It
posted by David Adams on Fri 11th Dec 2009 01:25 UTC
[Google CEO Eric ] Schmidt said: "I think judgment matters. If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines -- including Google -- do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."
I think the portion of that statement that's sparked the most outrage is the "If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" part. That's a colossally boneheaded thing to say, and I'll bet Schmidt lives to regret being so glib, if he didn't regret it within minutes of it leaving his mouth. As many people have pointed out, there are a lot of things you could be doing or thinking about that you don't want other people to be watching or to know about, and that are not the least bit inappropriate for you to be doing, such as using the toilet, trying to figure out how to cure your hemorrhoids, or singing Miley Cyrus songs in the shower.
Schmidt's quote deserves a variation on the Fortune Cookie treatment - adding "on line" to the end of the "colossally boneheaded thing to say". Schmidt is absolutely right to suggest that "...maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" + "on line". Conversely David Adams' argument that "there are lots of things you could be doing" might well be treated in a similar fashion...
- "...using the toilet" + "on line" ??? (I say that if this is your personal practice then your judgement is questionable to begin with.)
- "...how to cure your hemorrohoids" + "on line" ??? (Shouldn't you be discussing this with your doctor - a conversation that is protected by Doctor-Patient confidentiality?)
- "..singing Miley Cyrus songs in the shower" + "on line" ??? (See my first point.)
Posted by William Meloney at 10:03 AM
from Wash Post Politics by R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick
Highly trained personnel employed with the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide sometimes operated side by side with CIA field officers in Iraq and Afghanistan as the agency undertook missions to kill or capture members of insurgent groups in those countries, according to ...Who would you expect? The Salvation Army and the Village People? Now let me see, how do you spell "naive"?
Posted by William Meloney at 8:01 AM
|Average person consumes 34GB of data daily|
|The average person is exposed to some 34GB of electronic data every day, |
according to a recent study. Researchers at the University of California
San Diego said that a recent survey of Americans showed that the
consumers in the US on average look at some 3.4 zettabytes (3,400
trillion gigabytes) of digital information each year. The study added digital information consumed through television,
computer, radio and recorded audio that each person observes. The
intake, however, may not be as evenly spread out as the 34GB per person
figure would suggest. While researchers note that users are spending
more time absorbing electronic information, much of the massive data
load was attributed to richer, more dense digital data sources. The overwhelming majority of the data load came from intake of data from
computer games, movies and television. Gaming in particular accounted
for 54% of all data intake, with high-end PC gaming alone accounting for
38.56% of the total. Researchers suggested that the recent leaps in graphics and processing
power in high performance gaming is causing a smaller percentage of the
population to consume a massive amount of digital information in the
form of richer, more detailed 3D imagery.
Posted by William Meloney at 5:26 AM
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Posted by William Meloney at 2:05 PM
Monday, December 07, 2009
British singer Jay Sean is topping the U.S. charts with his dong "Down." He is the first Anglo-Asian singer to have a No. 1 single in the U.S. Sean is a Punjabi-Sikh who gave up studying medicine to become a singer. Sean is from Britain and his ancestors are from India. Sometimes you hear that Indian influence in his songs.
Posted by William Meloney at 8:33 AM
Newspapers, too, play the fly-on-the-wall game. Consider what the Times itself did today.
The “Maybe Journalism” piece runs at the bottom of the front page, while at the top is a long story about how President Obama, after long consultations with advisors, reached his decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan. The story is based, says the reporter, on “dozens of interviews with participants as well as a review of notes some of them took during Mr. Obama’s 10 meetings with his national security team. Most of those interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, but their accounts have been matched against those of other participants wherever possible.”
We readers are still being asked to trust the word of people who violated the confidentiality of the White House Situation Room and other internal deliberations. I tend to believe the overall thrust of the story — that Obama and his team struggled mightily with this decision — but I don’t have any faith in most of the particulars, including the anonymously sourced direct quotes of the president and others in the deliberations.
Why is this not, in the words of the story about the Hong Kong animators, “depicting events that no journalist actually witnessed — and that may not have even occurred”?
Dan Gillmor in Accuracy, Trust I know the difference between accurate reporting and "Maybe Journalism". I have written many an official report that I knew would potentially be called as evidence in a legal proceeding. I know that such reports are incredibly dull - primarily because they only contain the facts as I know them. They do not contain any presumptions. (e.g. I observed that the Furrier's store window was broken. I observed that the subject was holding a fur coat. I observed that the bank display showed +86 degrees F.) My accounting of this, albeit fictional, circumstance will not sell any "News" - it is dull. It does however tell the truth of the situation. Journalism has become more about selling the "News" than reporting it.
Posted by William Meloney at 6:14 AM
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Bess Lomax Hawes, Musical Folklorist, Dies
by David Gura
Bess Lomax Hawes sought to preserve folk arts as a musician, a teacher and an administrator.
Bess Lomax Hawes sought to preserve folk arts as a musician, a teacher and an administrator.
December 5, 2009 - Bess Lomax Hawes, a folklorist, musician and teacher, has died. In the 1970s, as the head of the folk arts program at the National Endowment for the Arts, she increased federal funding for traditional music and folk arts across the United States.
Hawes was part of a folk dynasty. Her father, John Lomax, traveled across the American South, collecting traditional music. Her brother, Alan Lomax, made thousands of recordings in the United States and abroad.
Folklore was the Lomax family business, and Hawes followed in their footsteps. But she did not live in their shadow, according to Bill Ivey, who worked with Hawes at the NEA.
"Despite their importance, I think in some ways, Bess may be the most influential of all the Lomaxes," Ivey says.
Posted by William Meloney at 2:23 PM
Friday, December 04, 2009
At the heart of science is an essential tension between two seemingly
contradictory attitudes -- an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre
or counterintuitive they may be, and the most ruthless skeptical scrutiny
of all ideas, old and new. This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep
nonsense. Of course, scientists make mistakes in trying to understand the
world, but there is a built-in error-correcting mechanism: The collective
enterprise of creative thinking and skeptical thinking together keeps the
field on track.
-- Carl Sagan, "The Fine Art of Baloney Detection"
Posted by William Meloney at 7:35 AM
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Researchers demonstrate a better way for computers to 'see'
Combining screening techniques from molecular biology with high-performance gaming hardware advances the building and understanding of visual systems
Cambridge, Mass–December 1, 2009–Taking inspiration from genetic screening techniques, researchers from Harvard and MIT have demonstrated a way to build better artificial visual systems with the help of low-cost, high-performance gaming hardware.
The neural processing involved in visually recognizing even the simplest object in a natural environment is profound—and profoundly difficult to mimic. Neuroscientists have made broad advances in understanding the visual system, but much of the inner workings of biologically-based systems remain a mystery.
Posted by William Meloney at 6:02 AM
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
By ARIEL DAVID (AP) – 1 hour ago
ROME — A robotic hand has been successfully connected to an amputee, allowing him to feel sensations in the artificial limb and control it with his thoughts, a group of European scientists said Wednesday.
The experiment lasted a month, and the scientists say it was the first time a patient has been able to make complex movements using his mind to control a biomechanic hand connected to his nervous system.
The Italian-led team said at a news conference Wednesday in Rome that last year it implanted electrodes into the arm of the patient who had lost his left hand and forearm in a car accident.
The prosthetic was not implanted on the patient, only connected through the electrodes. During the news conference, video was shown of 26-year-old Pierpaolo Petruzziello as he concentrated to give orders to the hand placed next to him.
"It's a matter of mind, of concentration," Petruzziello said. "When you think of it as your hand and forearm, it all becomes easier."
During the month he had the electrodes connected, Petruzziello learned to wiggle the robotic fingers independently, make a fist, grab objects and make other movements.
"Some of the gestures cannot be disclosed because they were quite vulgar," joked Paolo Maria Rossini, a neurologist who led the team working at Rome's "Campus Bio-Medico," a university and hospital that specialize in health sciences.
The euro2 million ($3 million) project, funded by the European Union, took five years to complete and produced several scientific papers that have been published or are being submitted to top journals, including Science Translational Medicine and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rossini said.
Experts not involved in the study told The Associated Press the experiment was an important step forward in creating an interface between the nervous system and prosthetic limbs, but the challenge now is ensuring that such a system can remain in the patient for years and not just a month.
Posted by William Meloney at 12:31 PM
Tiny "robots" that could perhaps someday help doctors examine organs, deliver drugs directly, or even perform microsurgery. But first researchers need to find reliable and accurate ways to control microscopic devices, which of course have little room for onboard power, sensors or propulsion.
Scientists have previously used methods including magnetic and electrostatic forces, and attaching live bacteria. In the latest issue of the International Journal of Robotics Research, researchers from ETH Zurich demonstrate particularly deft control of a microbot, dubbed MagMite.
MagMite, pictured above, is 300 micrometers by 300 micrometers (with a thickness of 70 micrometers). It consists of two magnetized components, connected by a tiny spring. In the presence of a magnetic field, the two pieces try to bend toward each other, storing that tension in the connecting spring. By turning the magnetic field on and off very quickly, the researchers can use the loaded spring to propel the microbot forward, and by changing the direction of the magnetic field the microbot will turn.
Posted by William Meloney at 9:12 AM
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Designer Harc Lee has created a “naked” Coca Cola can that forfeits Coke’s typical bold red and white stripes in favor of au naturale silver. The aluminum can is created without using any paints or dyes, and stands to greatly reduce pollution and energy use associated with producing and recycling soda cans.
Posted by William Meloney at 11:45 AM
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Posted by William Meloney at 7:45 PM
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I think it is outstanding that Microsoft is developing "Live" apps to run in the Google Chrome OS environment. I particularly enjoy the irony of Microsoft being 'blind-sided' by this new technology ... until I reflect on the new "Papa" rule: "It is not the content it is the provider."My insight is born of my current effort to bring a working model of SharePoint 2010 Beta into fruition. Most notable is the instant integration into my Active Directory (AD) domain. From the first sign-on SharePoint is appointed with an abundance of behind-the-scenes services. Features and functions that I will not have to programmatically implement - they are just in there. So, faced with the ease of development - where the content is the same regardless of the environment - why shouldn't I choose a 'provider' that affords me so many perks? Google may well field an excellent OS platform but in a business environment SharePoint will most likely be the provider of choice.Just my $0.02William Meloney
Sent from Owensboro, KY, United States
Posted by William Meloney at 6:08 PM
Today, November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and through videos, many people and organizations around the world are expressing their need to end the violence as well as the efforts they are undertaking to ensure that women have a safer world to live in.
Posted by William Meloney at 3:55 PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Microsoft has reportedly asked News Corp to make good on its threat to de-list itself from Google and is offering the company an incentive to do so.
Posted by William Meloney at 9:18 AM