Sunday, February 28, 2010

'Spygate' teenager demands webcam pix from Pa. school

'Spygate' teenager demands webcam pix from Pa. school

This guy, 16 year old Blake Robbins, and his supportive parents, are heroes in the battle for personal privacy.

His parents are heroes for letting him represent himself in front of the media, and he's a hero for not backing down to the over the top emotional display Lindy Matsko, his assistant vice principal, recently engaged in.

From Blake: "This case is not about Ms. Matsko or us.  It is about the decision of the Lower Marion School District to put cameras in our homes."

Video of Matsko:

Video of Blake's response:

Neither are great public speakers, but Blake is 16!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Let me Google that for you

If you use to search for the text "Let me Google that for you," do you cause a vortex that makes the universe implode?

Let's find out! Click here*.

*Disclaimer: and it's affiliates are not responsible for unintentional merge with universal singularity. Also not responsible if, in that singularity, you experience the rest of eternity within the scalding husk of a robot in hell, or get bored sitting in heaven, an endless hall-of-mirrors ride where you are forced to listen to Roddy McDowall forever.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

New England Journal of Medicine Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients -

New England Journal of Medicine Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients -
"Study Finds Cognition in Vegetative Patients"

This is amazing and, I think, reinforces what I said about pattern matching and sentience a couple of posts ago.

It's also tragic and horrifying, being trapped in your own body all this time, aware but unable to communicate.

Reader, you have much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Transparent, nanowire based touch screen

Sensitive enough to detect your breath? That's sensitive. (More)

And look, it's made in Portugal.

Pattern matching and sentience

We are pattern matching machines, like all creatures that hunt or evade. That's a big group. In fact, I can't think of a creature that doesn't engage in one of those two activities. Even a significant number of plants hunt or evade, and while those behaviors are simplistic and devoid of neural activity, they still involve pattern matching at the chemical level.

So, the activity is out there, and it's a major part of the business of being alive. We humans are exceptionally adept pattern matchers. We love the activity. When you look at stars and see the shapes of animals or Greek gods, you're engaged in pattern matching, and your appreciation of art and music are based on it as well.

As sentient creatures, we are isolated, having little or no contact with similarly gifted creatures as we poke about our planet and the surrounding area. Sure, there are gorillas that can use sign language and some other mammals may approach self awareness, but those cases are not clear cut. The isolation we therefore suffer makes it easy for us to distort our perception of ourselves until we think pattern matching is a sentient only behavior. We need to be mindful of this mistake, as it only strengthens the gulf we already feel between ourselves and the rest of nature, and reinforces our overall smug attitude as a species.