Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Good, The Bad, The Opportunity

I signed up for, so all my social networking site stuff, including this blog, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Flickr, Facebook, etc. is in one place.

I think being an avid web surfer has a downside these days. I don't know about you, but I am being literally bombarded by Internet marketing schlock for "work from home" or "get rich in your spare time" or whatever "instant cash system" or "guaranteed money making formula" or blah blah blah. It's like my browser has the imasucker.cookie. My inbox gets at least one a week. It feels like every time I opt out of one mailing, I've been opted into two or three. They're all starting to look and sound the same. If I get all the way to the end of the presentation and I still don't know what is the actual product, but the upside of it sounds so phenomenal that I might be an idiot if I don't sign up, the skeptic in me wants to either prove it wrong and shout from the mountains that it is a scam or really actually make thousands of dollars a week. In fact, that's not a bad idea. I might have to start a website to review these things, and use website revenue to pay for the cost of entry to these potential scams. I'll either get rich quick or have a successful get rich quick debunking site. I can use the in-your-face marketing techniques flowing forth from my browser and email inbox.

There's always audio or video on the screen. The page has colorful eye-catching headlines and is written in conversational language in short paragraphs with one amazing claim or rags to riches testimonial after another. There are only 100 subscriptions available! Members only. Click here to join. Apply online today! This unheard of pricing expires today. Do you really want to navigate away from this page? Download the free ebook. Pre-order the Free DVD and workbook for only $7.99 shipping and handling. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed.

I digress.

How long before Internet is spelled with a small i?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wal-Mart Super Center after midnight

I went on a midnight adventure to Wal-Mart Super Center to buy some important home repair items, which isn't atypical when I have a vacant rent house I'm getting ready to rent again. Being busy with that has kept me away from blogland, too. Anyway, it was early October and they were putting out the seasonal Christmas stuff. That's too early. I don't want to think about Christmas until Thanksgiving.

We have your traditional Hannah Montana and NASCAR stockings, which I had to capture just to be sure I didn't dream it.

And another thing shocked me when I approached the checkout counter. A couple of fellows walked up with many gas cans and a garden hose. It's not hard to figure out what they were up to. Again, I had to take a picture to be sure later that I didn't just dream it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Terry Tate strikes again.

This was under the heading Nailin' Palin, so I didn't know exactly what to expect. Sarah's answer should have been, "The Economist, The New York Times, The National Review, and a wide variety of online resources." Then, Katie would have been the more appropriate target here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I am always intrigued when computer technology, my expertise, is successful in solving medical problems. Today I stumbled upon one such article.

"Charles Higgins, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, built a robot that is guided by the brain and eyes of a moth. Higgins said he basically straps a hawk moth to the robot and then puts electrodes in the neurons that deal with sight in the moth's brain. Then the robot responds to what the moth is seeing -- when something approaches the moth, the robot moves out of the way."

They have implanted electrodes into the motor cortex of monkey's brain about 18 months ago. They interpreted the signals the monkey's brain used to move his legs, then they connected this to a robot in Japan over the internet. They showed the monkey a webcam of this robot which walks around like he does, and he started monkeying with it. He started making it walk faster or slower, it made him happy, and they rewarded him with Cheerios. What does this mean to you and me? It means that people who are paralyzed may soon be able to walk using robot legs!

So, what's next? They took a monkey who plays video games, and they used this technology to wire the monkey's motor cortex to stimulate his actual muscles. They then used anesthesia to deaden the nerves to his hand. The monkey learned how to flex his wrist to play the video game again and could control the strength of his wrist flexion.

In their experiments, monkeys were enabled to flex and extend their wrist to play a video game by artificially stimulating arbitrarily chosen motor cortex cells in their brains. The monkeys' wrist nerves were temporarily numbed with a local anesthetic, which paralyzed the muscles, according to the report. But despite the nerve block, the monkeys were still able to control the contraction strength of their wrist muscles. University scientists noted that controlling the strength of the muscle contraction is what allows someone to gently pick up an egg or grab tightly to a handrail.
I think it's fantastic.

Miguel Nicolelis, a professor of neurobiology at Duke University and lead researcher on the project, said at the time the research may only be a few years away from helping paralyzed people walk again by enabling them to use their thoughts to control exoskeletons attached to their bodies.
Friends, we live in amazing times.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Market, Election, Weather Outlook

I'm not participating in stock market speculation.  What a ride!  I'm not even speculating about who will win the presidential election.  Change is the only constant.  I'm just popping some popcorn and watching from the sidelines.

Niels Bohr - "Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future."