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Bill Angel

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Everything posted by Bill Angel

  1. Almost two years ago Palestinians staged a demonstration that was a show of support for Hamas. SeeWest Bank turns green as Hamas stages its first rally in five years: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/west-bank-turns-green-as-hamas-stages-its-first-rally-in-five-years That demonstration included women carrying models of the type of rocket Hamas has been firing into Israel, as a show of support for their use by Hamas. For Palestinians to create such imagery, which is of course seen by Israelis, is a stupid move politically, as it only serves to stiffen the resolve of the Israelis to root out Hamas' ability to launch rocket attacks against Israel, even when such an effort by Israel has the unfortunate consequence of resulting in a large number of civilian Palestinian deaths.
  2. That observation also applies to biological systems. Consider the swarming behavior of a school of fish: So with a population sample of several thousand individual fish, there would seem to be deterministic rules that govern the behavior of the fish swarm, while the movements of just one fish would appear to be more random. Could the same be said about people? That the behavior of a large number of people, considered as a group, is deterministic in character like a swarm of fish?
  3. I don't know how the chemical composition of an egg compares with the chemical composition of a human head, but one's head does not get jerked around when it is situated in the field produced by the powerful magnets of an MRI machine.
  4. I find the use of the anthropic principle in the context of cosmology intriguing. The idea is that there are an infinite number of universes, each with slightly different values for the physical constants. In the universe where the constants are compatible with the formation of stars and galaxies , life ultimately develops. But there are also an infinite number of universes outside of our own that are barren of life, planets, stars, galaxies, etc, because the physical constants for them are different than for ours. This view does away with the idea of a deity that purposefully created one universe with just the right values for the physical constants for stars and galaxies to exist and for life ultimately to emerge.
  5. No Trespassing, Violators Will Be Prosecuted! If you are a space alien THIS MEANS YOU!
  6. These inexpensive drones all require a pilot to steer them, I assume. It would not seem that difficult to incorporate navigation via GPS satellites into these drones, which would allow them to be used to deliver a cargo like a bomb or an air bourne toxin to a building, automatically. No human operator piloting them would I think make their origins more difficult to trace.
  7. An interesting article on this subject, that of using word games to probe the workings of the mind, appeared in 2008 in the NY Times, titled "Searching the Brain for the Spark of Creative Problem-Solving" See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/07/science/07brain.html To quote from that article:
  8. While the idea of using crossword puzzles is my own, it was suggested to me by reading about the research of Dr. Mark Beeman at Northwestern University. See http://groups.psych.northwestern.edu/mbeeman/research.htm#Two_brains Here is an excerpt about his research interests from his website: He then goes on to discuss how the left hemisphere looks at close semantic relations to a word, while the right hemisphere looks at the more distant semantic relations to a word. Crossword puzzles can be composed of both types of semantic relations: the easy parts look for words that have a close semantic relationship to the associated clue or hint, while the more difficult parts look for words that have a more distant or inferential semantic relationship to the associated clue or hint.
  9. Here is a suggestion for a simple experiment in cognitive science that a group of people could participate in. There are programs you can download to your desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or cellphone that allow you to solve crossword puzzles. I use one on my Android tablet that provides 3 to 5 new puzzles each day to solve. The program and the puzzles it provides you to solve are free. The app provider makes his money from the banner advertising embedded into the program's display. So here is the experiment: try to determine whether you are better at solving the puzzles with your left eye or with your right eye, but not with both eyes. The images of the puzzles as viewed with your left eye will be routed to the right side of your brain, while images of the puzzles viewed with your right eye will be routed to the left side of your brain. The two sides of your brain handle cognition differently, they don't think about a subject in the same way, or produce the same results. This issue is of particular importance for treating people who suffer a stroke on only one side of their brain. The effects of the stroke on their cognitive abilities will differ, depending on which side of their brain suffered the damage. The puzzle app that I have been using grades each day's selection of puzzles as hard, moderate, or easy, and records the time that it took you to solve each one in its log. The program also records for each completed puzzle the total number of letter boxes that the puzzle contained, and also the percent of the words that the solver got correct on their own, without the use of any computer supplied hints. This recorded information would seem to provide a good basis for a comparison of the performance of each side of one's brain at crossword puzzle solving.
  10. Some people suffer from auto-immune disorders. An auto-immune disorder is when a person's immune system attacks its own cells. Medications to treat this do so by suppressing the body's immune system. One side effect is that people with immune systems suppressed by these medications are more susceptible to infections like Tuberculosis, so they have to be tested for exposure to Tuberculosis every six months. Another side effect is when you get an infection that your body would normally clear up on its own, like an ear infection, your immune system can no longer accomplish this and a doctor has to prescribe antibiotics to get the infection cleared up. I'm providing my own personal anecdotal experiences here from being on one of these drugs.
  11. A problem that supposedly was fixed is back in the news: Mysterious new man-made gases pose threat to ozone layer "the ozone layer plays a critical role in blocking harmful UV rays, which cause cancers in humans and reproductive problems in animals"
  12. One problem with basing decisions on intuition is that scientists have determined that a bias towards optimism is hard wired into our brains. An short explaination of this concept can be found here http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2074067,00.html A review of an excellent book on this subject can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jan/01/tali-sharot-the-optimism-bias-extract I expect that the bias towards optimism is why people buy lottery tickets. Their intuition leads them to believe that they have a better chance of winning than would be indicated by the mathematical odds for picking the right number.
  13. I read Krauss' book, and the most important point I think that he is making to a general audience is that one does not need to invoke a deity to explain how the universe came into existence. One could even assert that, given an infinite amount of time, it's inevitable that it will happen.
  14. That's a good point. I had thought up what I felt was a humorous rejoinder to another member's post at SFN, but in thinking about it decided not to post it, as this other member could have been irritated by my post in a way that I had not intended my post to be taken.
  15. Having technology incorporating artificial intelligence make medical judgments is like having an autopilot fly an airplane. One still wants a human pilot or human physician overseeing these processes and to handle unusual situations (or set of symptoms) that occasionally occur.
  16. I don't know about theoretically, but practically it does not appear to be possible. See "Magnetic field effect on highly excited states near ionization potential of Nitrous Oxide"http://iopscience.iop.org/1468-6996/4/3/A06/pdf/1468-6996_4_3_A06.pdf
  17. Relevant to the concept of organisms " giving up their life for another" ants and bees that do not breed as individuals will sacrifice their lives to help ensure the survival of their colonies and their breeding queen.
  18. One factor attributable to human error that may have contributed to causing the loss of this aircraft is the phenomena known as "spatial disorientation". This phenomena has been linked to the crashes of a number of commercial aircraft. Spatial disorientation can especially be a problem with flights at night over water, which was the situation with the Malaysian flight.IASS 08 SPACIAL DISORIENTATION.pdf
  19. There is an enjoyable read on this subject: Warner, William W. Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay. Boston: Little Brown, 1976. For a description of the book's contents see http://www.amst.umd.edu/Research/cultland/annotations/warner2.htm
  20. The way people's brains are wired and how such wiring effects gender orientation is a subject that is being explored with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). One research study asserts that the brains of homosexual men resemble those of heterosexual women, while lesbians' brains show similarities with those of straight men. See http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/gay-brains-resemble-opposite-sex/
  21. A good book to read this Memorial Day weekend is Armageddon, The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 by Max Hastings It presents a totally unromanticized depiction of combat, plus a good analysis of the stengths and weaknesses of the opposing armies and generals.
  22. I think that there is a scientifically explorable question here. If someone is close to dying, get their head inside a MRI machine and study their brain activity after their heart stops. I would expect that what the MRI scans would NOT show would be seven minutes of brain activity similar to what a living person experiences when they are dreaming for seven minutes. But that is just a guess on my part.
  23. I think that the concept of virtual children sounds like an interesting concept for a video game. I would be interested in seeing if my experiences in life could be constructively channeled into giving advice or disciplining a virtual child, given that I've never been an actual parent, nor do I expect to become one. And I would enjoy the challenge of dealing with childraising in the context of a virtual marriage, as I have some selection criteria that I could provide to a computer program to aid it in choosing a virtual partner for me.
  24. It's an interesting issue. I would surmise that the pressures of fashion and social conformity can overshadow issues related to productivity. For example, a woman might wear a short skirt to work, and then seemingly be preoccupied with preventing men from looking up it. If a part of her mind is concerned with who can see what parts of her undergarments when she is sitting at her desk, her mind can't be fully focussed on the job she is being paid to do.
  25. A small fan on an office worker's desk would be a more effective way to achieve a cooling effect. The body gets rid of heat via perspiring, and a small fan would promote evaporative cooling from the skin.
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