More Hazardous Weather Patterns for World

weather patterns ice cream truck

They say the erratic weather patterns got him. Poor truck never stood a chance in this heat. http://www.mobypicture.com/user/Joseeete/view/12792610

Pollution is affecting our climates, increasing the severity of storms, and causing shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. It has been said time and time again, and yet it continues to be said, with good reason might I add! A recent study published in the scientific journal Nature, conducted by a team headed by Camilo Mora, claims that global temperatures will be drastically climbing within a generation. In less than 50 years we can see historical increases in temperatures, beating all past recorded highs for global temperatures. Imagine unbearable summers, intense heat waves, and dry times causing droughts and famine. At the same time, imagine freezing winter storms, strange weather patterns and unpredictable seasons.  This is all in response to the amount of increase in greenhouse gas emissions and the effect they have on our temperature and weather patterns.

Related Article: Costly Climate Changes

Now you may be wondering what exactly it all means, what a good comparison would be. The world’s hottest day was on July 10, 1913, clocking in at 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California. With global temperatures on the rise, and with the study predicting a drastic increase of global highs within 50 years, we can expect to see that high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit once again being reached, maybe even surpassed, sometime in the near future. Yikes. It is not only the heat we have to worry abut, but the erratic weather patterns as well, causing melting ice caps, deadly storms, intense rain; just to name a few.

Related Article: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation 

After all, weather patterns are responsible for half of our daily waking lives:

  • It rains, we cancel our sporting activity (some hardcore players may disagree).
  • It snows, well SNOW DAY of course! (Sometimes).
  • Hurricane/Tornado/Typhoon, houses damaged.
  • Humid Hot Days, stay in and blast the A/C

Anyway, you get the point. Whether you agree that weather and weather patterns are intensifying and impacting the world is up to you, but what are our preventative measures against this? Some talk of greener technology, some speak of wind power and solar power, while some encourage changes in car performance and oil usage. Some ideas even recommend taking advantage of the increasingly severe weather patterns to embrace the positive changes and avoid or harness the bad.

None of these ideas are drastic enough to stop pollution all together, nothing drastic enough to clean up more pollution than we are generating. Maybe it is because we believe ourselves to be unbeatable and indestructible, that no matter what we do or destroy, human ingenuity will persevere.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

Actually, we humans have always adapted and something like changing weather patterns and rising temperatures would be nothing new for us. In fact, I believe it would call for new crop irrigation techniques, new ideas towards more efficient cooling systems, and maybe even force us to venture out into space to colonize planets for the sake of our survival. An extreme, yes, but with our rate of pollution, and with the way we like to live comfortably and excessively, I would not be surprised if the proposed colonization of Mars is actually a trial for the coming desperate times. Weather patterns may shift, but so will humanity.

Cheers to new methods of preventing pollution!

 

 

Research:

Study Abstract: The Projected Timing of Climate Departure From Recent Variability

Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science

Camilo Mora, Postdoctoral Employee

USA TODAY: World’s hottest day was 100 years ago in Death Valley

 

Wondergressive: I Believe in GMOs

Wondergressive: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Sign Me up for Mars!

A Cheaper Alternative To Pollution

The world is getting crowded, or so we think, and with it there is the looming threat of traffic, angry people, excessive food waste, and of course pollution.

Pollution is very unhealthy, unpleasant, and unprofitable. The pollution we are causing from our transportation and daily lifestyles is in essence costing us a pretty penny. In the midst of all the spending on pollution, we have critics that argue for a new, pollution-less world. But wouldn’t that just be a costly upgrade and exuberant amount of money spent on something that will likely cost exorbitant amounts to maintain? According to a new study, not really. In fact, the constant use of coal as a power source yields a great deal of carbon based pollution, which turns out to be costly in itself.

Related Article: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Many would argue that with the cheap labor costs and manufacturing costs that accompany it, there really isn’t a cheaper alternative to “coal power.” However, based on this study, coal power is in fact not only an outdated method, but it is at least more costly than onshore wind power and the use of new natural gases. Laurie Johnson, an avid advocate and proprietor of the study, gets to the nitty-gritty point:

The study results show that our electricity system, which generates fully 40 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide pollution, is costly. Transitioning to cleaner energy won’t just help protect us and our children and grandchildren from climate change, it’s also good economics

More importantly she discusses not only the cost of production, but also the cost of damage caused by the pollution. It is no secret that global warming is causing more severe storms and climate changes, and it is also no secret that we pay a pretty penny for the destruction of our tyrant mother nature.

Related ArticleCostly Climate Changes

The study estimates that by 2018, coal will be so costly that it will cost at least .5 cents per kWh more than renewable clean energy. Although that sounds like a very little number, take into consideration that the average American uses over 11,000 kWh per year. Now multiply that by the roughly 300 million Americans in the USA and again multiply it by the .5 cents that coal costs to operate/clean/maintain. That’s-a-big a-pizza pie! The study itself concludes that:

Our estimates have important policy implications. For new electricity generation, they justify a much stronger standard than proposed last year by the Environmental Protection Agency, which was based upon natural gas emission rates. For existing source standards, which the EPA is also required to issue, they justify replacing a significant portion of the current coal fleet with new cleaner generation.

Related Article: Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle

Maybe it is time to give up the farce of maintaining fossil power plants and time to step up into a world of clean and renewable sources of energy. We continually progress to higher gas mileages and less pollution based cars, so why not apply this idea of clean usable energy more as a solution to our constant need for energy?

Cheers to clean energy!

 

 

Research:

Social Cost of Carbon

Laurie Johnson

 EIA.Gov American Electricity

Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Germany Sets Example for Global Climate Battle

Go Go Gadget: Wearable Tech!

 

God I loved that cartoon when I was growing up (not the crummy live action movie adaptation…). I still quote “go go gadget arm” from time to time at work when I am reaching for something that is just slightly out of reach. Nerd. Yes, indeed. Then again, this is 2013 is it not?! So why do we not have those amazing gadgets that Inspector Gadget so often flaunted?! Government secrets I’m sure. Unfortunately it may still be some time yet before we are all cyborgs, but in the mean time we do have some exciting gadgets and wearable tech to play with!

Misfit Shine and Hot Watch are both wearable tech that blend new age technology with a sense of style! But of course, I am getting ahead of myself, they aren’t as impressive as a hand that reaches out of a detective hat. They do however each have their own purpose and are definitely pieces of technology that should not be overlooked.

Related Article: Robotic Sense and Feel

The Misfit Shine is a little metal UFO looking coin, that, much like a UFO, lights up in response to touch. This little wonder is not equipped with a touch screen of any sort, but it is a pedometer that is able to track your fitness throughout the day. This stylish coin is waterproof so you can even take it with you on your morning swim or your afternoon bike ride where you are likely to sweat all over everything in your pockets.

Equipped with a touch response, the Misfit Shine may be a bit complicated with a unique way of showing time of day, although it does sport a sleek and stylish look. In fact, the best part about this little tracker is that it resembles jewelry! For all you style fashionistas, think fitness, health, with a twist of chic. Misfit Shine comes with a armband that it fits into snugly, resembling a watch, or a small strap that has a magnet attached to the end of it, acting as a clip-on. But for everyone else, just pop it into your pocket and set out on your athletic adventure. Pricing for Misfit Shine is just under 100$. Make sure you have an iOS device such as an iPhone or Apple computer, as Misfit Shine is currently only compatible with iOS. Compatibility with Android and other operating systems is expected sometime next year.

Related Article: Biggest Wastes Of Money That We Continue To Pay For!

Now the next one I am really excited about. The Hot Watch is the closest to a James Bond watch accessory that I have seen thus far. It resembles a watch with a LCD touch screen that may just be too small for my fingers. The screen isn’t exactly meant for texting or reading blogs, rather it provides you with updates of your Facebook and other social media outlets. Swipes and patterns bring up different menus that access your updates and alerts from emails and such.

The coolest thing about this Hot Watch is that it can be used as a substitute for a hands free Bluetooth headset. By cupping your hand around your ear the watch receives the calls and runs the speaker up your hand to your ear for private calls. A simple “good bye” wave hangs up the phone. Cool. The watch connects directly to your cell phone via Android or iOS apps and even alerts you when you are too far from your smart phone, reminding you that you are most likely losing it or forgetting it. Stylish and Smart. Bingo. Pricing starts at $169 for the Hot Watch and it will be released in December 2013.

Related Article: Facebook: Glorifying and Depressing

Technology tickles my fancy, especially with the prospect for newer and more innovative pieces that may be released because of current tech that is being developed. Now I won’t lie, during the construction of this whole article I was either humming or singing the Inspector Gadget song. I may just have to watch a couple episodes on YouTube now. GO. Gadget. GO!

Cheers to nostalgia!

Research:

CNET: Sleek Hot Watch Makes Hands-Free Calls With Style

CNET: Fitness Tracker As Futuristic Jewelry 

Wondergressive: Robotic Sense and Feel

Wondergressive: Biggest Wastes Of Money That We All Continue To Pay For: Part 1

Wondergressive: Facebook: Glorifying and Depressing

Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill, Gaming of the Future!

Friends, Wondergressivers, Gamers. The future looks very bright for us all! 720p virtual reality bright. Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill are paving the way for exciting future developments in games and virtual reality.

Both Oculus Rift and Omni Treadmill started on Kickstarter where the projects were eagerly accepted! The gaming community said YES and the projects exceeded the funding that the companies expected, allowing for the projects to fly into full development. I am getting ahead of myself though, let us explore each individual item before we begin to experience both together!

Related Article: 3D? Let’s Go One More! 4D!

Before we can begin to walk, let us open up our eyes and experience the world around us. Oculus Rift consists of virtual reality goggles that will bring high definition sight to your gamer eyes! Yes,they will open the door to that which we have dreamed of since we first played pong. It is finally coming, the gaming era we have all been waiting for. Although it is still in its beta (testing) stages, and mostly useful to developers, the Oculus Rift can be expected to fully open up the role playing world of Skyrim, enhance your first person shooter sensations when playing Call of Duty, and immerse you in your strategy as you micro manage your troops in Starcraft. Units misbehaving? Get up close and in their face as you dictate new commands. Characters need resurrecting? Finally a way to spot the corpse without trying to click on the pixel stuck between the mountain of characters destroyed in a raid. You know it well WoW players.

While still in development stages, it comes compatible with only a few games and is specifically dedicated to a computer. The price tag is set at $300 which isn’t too steep, but since it is still in developmental stages it may drop or rise depending on demand and how much more it is augmented.

Related Article: Substitutional Reality Helmet

Now that we are used to the light and we understand the world, let us begin crawling. Or rather, let’s skip the crawling and begin walking in virtual reality! Omni Treadmill helps take the virtual reality experience one step further by giving gamers the ability to not only percieve the virtual world, but also the ability to roam in it!

Let us suppose that you are playing a competitive first person shooter. Wouldn’t that shooter become more intense and more fun if you were able to walk and run in the game by the use of your feet rather than by the use of a gamepad? Of course it would! We gamers thrive off of the competitive edge, the rush of the kill streak, the rhythmic pulse of our heartbeats syncing up with the beat of the rat-tat-tat of our semi automatic as we spray and pray our bullets onto incoming bogies. A treadmill to release the intense rush and to fuel the competitive strategic play. Oh what fun!

What’s more, the developers behind this are very gaming community minded! I simply love developers like this. Their goals are to make the gaming world better, to create a new idea that will explode into a million other new ideas. Reference Omni’s motto:

The Omni is the first omni treadmill that is focused on the household consumer and achieves three objectives: being affordable to household consumers, fitting in a living room, and above all, enabling the user to walk freely and naturally, as he or she would in real life.

For $500 you can purchase the Omni Treadmill, packaged with the shoes, the belt, and hardware/software needed, all of which is set to be released March 2014.

For more on Omni, check out the video below! I am sure that this will one day be standing in my living room. I am willing to accumulate much debt for something like this!

 

Related Article: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

What endless possibilities, what endless worlds to explore, what endless things to experience. And why not, there is a lot of good that can come from these developments as well! Terminal cancer patients can travel the world in their household, people in wheelchairs can walk again even if only virtually, and most importantly, those disabled may now have a chance to experience the world as others do! Apart from all the different benefits, it still is amazing and super exciting the direction the gaming world is heading in!

Cheers to the future!

Research:
Oculus Rift

Omni Treadmill

Kickstarter

Skyrim

Starcraft 2

Call of Duty

World of Warcraft

Wondergressive: Substitutional Reality Helmet

Wondergressive: 3D? Let’s Go One More! 4D!

Wondergressive: Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

World Protests: Can You Hear Me Now?

In the last couple days mass protests have been spotted in Egypt comprised of the supporters and the opponents of former President Mohamed Morsi. On one side there is an army ready to enact its ultimatum to overthrow the government and instate a new political power. On the other side is the Muslim Brotherhood that would take on the deadly army in order to preserve the former president’s reign and ensure that democracy under Islamic law stays.

The people of Egypt fear what is happening to their beloved country and the economic crisis that is taking place and so the protests rage and violence ensues.  The Military Coup will most likely result in a dictatorship being reinstated, but who is to say that a president within a “brotherhood” is not like a dictator himself. Furthermore, the phrase”will most likely result in” is still an ‘up in the air’ statement. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and with the Military Coup, we may see the fall of democracy in Egypt take place while the immediate reinstatement of military power to rule over all is enacted, ‘temporarily’ of course. One thing is for sure: the people of Egypt all just want peace and prosperity for their children, their friends, their family, and their country. Just like those of the past, they rally together, on one side or the other, showing their pride and commitment to what they believe is most important. The world has heard their cry, a reaction for good or bad will be delivered, like it has been in the past.

What past you say? Let us take a stroll down memory lane and explore several world protests most significant to our mother Earth.

Related Article: Conservation Efforts of Earth

French and American Revolutions

The French and American revolutions were caused by the aristocratic rule that undermined the people and exploited their freedoms. Both of these revolutionary periods took a long time to resolve the ongoing problems of tyrannical monarchy. The French Revolution lasted some 10 years from 1789-1799; overthrowing the monarch King Louis XVI, giving power to a republic, and finally ending with the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte.  The American Revolution era lasted some 20 years starting around 1763 and finally ended in 1783 when a peace treaty marked the full separation from British power. The world watched and learned as nations became independent of monarchs and set examples for future nations to follow.

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!

Martin Luther King Jr.’s words will never be forgotten as they rang through the ears of 250,000 supporters of the civil rights movement rallied together on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was an effort to end racism in the United States of America and the support it received helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, finally freeing a people from oppression and racism. The movement became of staple in the society of America and an example for bringing rights to others in the future. Even now as we struggle with gay marriage being accepted we frequently reference what Martin Luther King Jr. set out to accomplish.

Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989

Probably the most memorabe in my mind would be the Tiananmen Square protests where students led demonstrations against the slow reform process that was taking place in China. The students followed astrophysicist and professor Fang Lizhi, who preached liberty and democracy after returning from tenure in America. The student protests inspired people in Beijing to follow suit, proclaiming the need for human rights and human power, only to be met with military resistance and martial law. The famous image of this protest was the “Tank Man” where one anonymous and yet to be named man stood in front of 4 military tanks as a sign of protest against military ultimatums. To this day this image is referenced during talk of peace or protest.

February 15, 2003 Anti-War Protest

Let’s not forget one of the most recent cries for peace that spread from DC, looped around the world through  more than 600 cities, and came back around to ring in president Bush’s ears: The all expansive War on Terrorism. In Rome 3 million people cried out against the war with the slogan: “stop the war, no ifs or buts”. Madrid rallied just over 1 million people to stop the war. The US had over 150 cities rallying to support peace and to stay out of Iraq. The world cried out for peace on February 15, 2003. Sadly, the world at large was ignored, and the invasion of Iraq took place only a month later on May 20, 2003, finally ending in 2011 after 2 years of withdrawing troops from Iraq. The message remains though, with one of the biggest rallies for peace to date, that we as a people want to coexist peacefully.

Related Article: War On Drugs

Where these are only 5 other protests out of many, many more significant protests, it is important to remember what they stood for: Hope. A hope for change, a hope for a better life, and a hope for peace. This article, of course, was not an attempt in any way to mock anyone or to devalue the lives that have been lost in any of the public outcries that have taken place in the past and that will unfortunately follow. This was simply a tribute and a remembrance to what has passed, inspired by the recent events in Egypt.

To all my brothers and sisters in Egypt, to all the supporters and opponents of Morsi, and to all the protesters of the world that are straining to have their voices heard: I wish you the least bloodiest road to your goal and may peace and prosperity find you. May we all live in a world where protests are a thing of the past, and where violence and war are no longer necessary or even thought of.

Finally, in the spirit of America’s Independence Day, I wish that all other countries, oppressed or yearning for freedom, may one day be able to cheer, as we privileged Americans do, for their own country’s Independence and Freedom. Happy July 4th America!

Cheers!

 

Research:

Egypt Crisis: Protesters

Brotherhood of Morsi

Newyorker Military Coup

Army Ousts Egypt’s President

President Mohamed Morsi

French Revolution

Louis XVI of France

Napoleon Bonaparte

American Revolution

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

I Have a Dream Speech

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Voting Rights Act of 1965

Ten states to tackle gay marriage

Tiananmen Square Protests

Fang Lizhi

Tank Man

Anti War Protests

Invasion of Iraq

Independence Day, Fourth Of July

Wondergressive: War on Drugs

Wondergressive: Conservation Efforts of Earth

A Non-Loony Google Project Called LOON: Solar Powered, Internet Wielding Balloons

Even though I currently use Verizon Wireless, which of course claims to have the most coverage in the USA out of all the other cell phone companies, I still find places where my connection to the interweb does not exist. These dead zones are our biggest enemy in the fight for superior knowledge! They limit our access to vast information, they cause frustration and anger, they are the bane to our batman. So when will we have an answer to this persistently pervasive problem? Maybe  the movie Up was trying to send us a message.

Related Article: FCC Proposes Free Public Wifi Nationwide

In comes Google. How about sending out 30 balloons, no really they are balloons, which are capable of giving you comparable internet speeds to that of 3G. Google calls it project Loon. The balloons are about 50 feet (15 meters) in diameter and float some 12 miles (20km) up in the air! The great thing about this is that the balloons will be all the way up in the Stratosphere, above planes and above clouds and storms, safely floating without interfering with anything or getting lost in changing weather patterns. They are equipped with a navigation system which allows the balloons to either replace one another in a flight pattern, or continually sail in an area, in a sense guaranteeing a constant signal. The balloons took flight in Christchurch, New Zealand where only a select few were a part of the testing process. Cliff L. Biffle, a part of the project and Tech Lead of Flight Systems, says:

 Having access to the internet can change lives and there are 5 billion people on the Earth that aren’t reached. Balloon-powered internet sounds positively mad, and in a way it is, but its mad in a practical way that could just work

Related Article: Free Internet, Help Yourself

What is cooler, but could be a limiting factor for some, is that the Google project developed its own type of antennas to broadcast the signals so that the signal would not get lost or interrupted by all the other Wifi signals around. It could mean paying royalties to access Google’s internet, but you may be thankful for the access when your Google Glasses are recording the next big concert in the middle of a desert that you are exploring. In fact, are you climbing Mt. Everest and the Patriots are in the Superbowl? No problem, whip out your phone for a live feed of Brady’s game winning touchdown. Google has you covered! Literally. Bet you all those people in Maldives, Tunisia, and Belarus can’t wait!

Cheers!

 

Research:

Google Project: Loon for ALL

Google Glasses

IMDB- UP

Wiki- Stratosphere

A Map of the Internet’s “Black Holes”

Wondergressive: Free Internet, Help Yourself

Wondergressive: FCC Proposes Free Public Wifi Nationwide

Neocortex: How Human Memory Works and How We Learn

I have been reading a book on how the brain functions, particularly the neocortex which we know as the two pinkish greyish hemispheres. It is a seriously technical and boring read, but that is why I bring the main points into this first post on explaining how our memory works. If you start to feel that this is tedious, just glance over the bold parts.

How the Neocortex and Human Memory Works

Sequential Patterns

Our memory works sequentially and in a hierarchy. We remember linear sequential patterns. A sequence is the basic building block of our memory, how we learn, and how we function as humans. A popular sequence, for example, is the alphabet. We can recite the alphabet from A to Z with very little effort because we memorized the sequence from the beginning to the end.

Related Article: Become a God for 79 Cents

But what if you were asked to recite the alphabet from Z to A? Computers have no problem doing this as they can process the alphabet backwards in a thousandth of a second.  But we humans would struggle, computing it sequentially. First, we would start to recite the alphabet until we get to, say, the last two or three letters, X Y Z. We would then be able to recite those backwards. Then we start from the beginning again and get to the next two or three in the list, U V W, then recite those backwards. Each time we are going through the sequential pattern in order to recite the alphabet backwards.

Neocortex Sequential Patterns

Neocortex Sequential Patterns

Pattern Hierarchy in the Neocortex

As for the hierarchical nature of memory, there are lower level patterns and higher level patterns which our neurons process instantaneously, without us even noticing. Take a sentence for example. At the very high end of the pattern hierarchy you will be able to judge whether the writer intended the statement to portray sarcasm, to be a comical remark, or whether the statement was meant to be rhetorical. You will be able to attach your personal feelings to the sentence based on what is written.

You go down the hierarchical ladder and you see grammatical patterns. You understand the colloquial nature of the text and your brain processes this so quickly that you don’t even have to stop and think.

Related Article: Photographic Memory (Phase 2: Holy Shit)

We go even further down the hierarchical ladder and your neocortex is able to guess what word you are reading without even finishing it completely. You just glance over the text and recognize the pattern of the letters. The word “letter” starts with a tall character and has two more tall t’s. It is short enough for your brain to guess that the most plausible word fitting the character pattern is the word “letter”. Your brain also looks for patterns in the text itself, such as contextual patterns.

Way at the bottom of the hierarchy the neocortex recognizes the letters themselves. This is a very rudimentary level and therefore we can say that, with the preconception that you are an American and you know the English alphabet, your neo-cortex recognizes individual letters at the speed of light, metaphorically. If you pass through a letter that has two slants like / and \, /\, your neocortex will almost instantly recognize it as the letter A, since there are no other candidates and enough of a pattern is present for the brain to guess.

In the same way, when you see someone writing like a douche, using $ for “S” and ! for “I”, like $H!T!, we can immediately see that the person intended to use “SHIT!”. This is called auto association, the ability to associate a pattern with a part of itself. We can recognize a pattern even if the entire pattern is not present.

A hierarchical pattern is basically a sequence of sequences of sequences etc…

Hierarchical Patterns = Recursion & Iteration (Where are the programmer geeks?)

In a 2002 paper that Noam Chomsky coauthored called “The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?” he cited the attribute of “recursion” as accounting for the unique language faculty of the human species. Recursion, according to Chomsky, is the ability to put together small parts into a larger chunk, and then to use that chunk as a part in yet another structure, and to continue this process interactively. In this way we are able to build the elaborate structures of sentences and paragraphs from a limited set of words. This essentially describes what the neocortex does.

Related Article: Memory, a Torch Pass

Two excerpts from “How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed” that have a lot to do with how we experience learning and memorizing follows below:

The neocortex is, therefore, predicting what it expects to encounter. Envisaging the future is one of the primary reasons we have a neocortex. At the highest conceptual level, we are continually making predictions – who is going to walk through the door next, what someone is likely to say next, what we expect to see when we turn the corner, the likely results of our own actions, and so on. These predictions are constantly occurring at every level of the neocortex hierarchy. We often misrecognize people and things and words because our threshold for confirming an expected pattern is too low. (p59)

I believe I could pick out a picture of the woman with the baby carriage whom I saw earlier today from among a group of pictures of other women, despite the fact that I am unable to actually visualize her and cannot describe her much specifically. In this case my memory of her is a list of certain high-level features. These features do not have language or image labels attached to them, and they are not pixel images, so while I am able to think about her, I am unable to describe her. However, if I am presented with a picture of her, I can process the image, which results in the recognition of the same high-level features that were recognized the first time I saw her. I would be able to thereby determine that the features match and thus confidently pick out her picture.  (p66)

Here are some key points to draw from the top two paragraphs. The first paragraph reiterates the fact that our neocortex constantly guesses at blazing speeds what we are looking at or processing by using all of our five senses. The second paragraph basically states, HUMANS DO NOT HAVE PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY. DIGITAL CAMERAS DO. The closest to photographic memory that only some rare few humans get to is called eidetic imagery. It also points out that there is a difference between recognizing and recalling something. When you can’t recall a woman’s face from memory by drawing it out, but you can recognize it among a few pictures, that is called autoassociation, or being able to pull out a memory via some visual cue.

Last Point I Swear! Redundancy

Redundancy is the key to enforcing our pattern building, recognition, and recall. Let me also point out that humans have five senses and that we gather “data” from all five of them which allow our neocortex to build numerous patterns that point to the same reference. Take for example french fries. Your brain gathers data from the visual aspect, the crunching, the texture from the touch, the smell, and the amazing taste. The experience itself also enforces your pattern building to keep the fries in your memory.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoassociative_memory

http://www.amazon.com/How-Create-Mind-Thought-Revealed/dp/0670025291

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/298/5598/1569.short

http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200603/the-truth-about-photographic-memory

Wondergressive: Experiments in Photographic Memory

More Related Articles:

Wondergressive: Erase Memories Because… Why Not?

Wondergressive: Cannabis Cures Cancer and Everything Else: A History and Review of the Evidence

Wondergressive: Controlling Dreams and Implanting Memories

Wondergressive: Computers Improve and Sustain Mind and Memory of the Elderly

Immortality Formula: YOLF

Predicting the future is hard. At least that’s what Nostradamus tells me every time I’m on mescaline. But, damn it, if Ed McMann can do it, we might as well take a swing here at Wondergressive.

According to the calendar, it’s been 2013 for a little while now, and that means it’s probably safe to say we didn’t all explode in boiling hellfire at the end of 2012. It’s unfortunate, because, of all the dooms-day prophecies floating around, that Mayan prediction was especially promising. That means, though, if ever there was a time to plan for the future, it’s today.

While advancements in technology and medicine grow all the more futuristic with each passing moment and the internet is busy coalescing our collective hive unconscious into an unprecedented uber-mind, we wander ever closer to the upcoming singularity we’re so looking forward to. All these massive paradigm shifts coming at us exponentially quicker let us say one thing at least with near certainty:  “This is the era where man will possess immortality.”

It may come in the form of implanting our sentience into cyborgs, imprinting clones with a map of the alpha version’s memories, or just extending our stays on this plane to 6 or 700 years via sea turtle style metabolism manipulation. However events may unfold, Carpe Diem has never before been so pertinent.  (If immortality’s too big of a leap, just follow some of the previous links and see what we mean.)

So in the spirit of having oodles of time to do whatever the hell you want, we present you with part one of Qwizx’s guide to surfing oblivion.

Step 1: Shifting Perspectives (Introduction to the Avatar mindset)

Just change your mind a bit. The tools have been laid out already for those in the mood to adapt rather than shunt the burden off onto the next generation. Let’s take a moment and let some of the implications of prolonged life settle in…The ritual goes: same window, different visuals…

Instead of renting, or mooching off the parents, as immortals, we now own the property. Every perk and burden that comes with that. Global warming something you’re concerned about? You personally will be here in a few thousand years to experience the fall out. Think the country’s going to shit? You, yourself, will be witnessing the rise and fall of empires and shift of power regimes. Want to own your own continent? Spend a few hundred years amassing a fortune and learning all the skills you’ll need to rise to the top and control the ignorant populace. Want to topple a violent dictator?  Same thing, control the ignorant populace. The point is, you will have the time, so anything conceivable is not only within your grasp, it’s your responsibility to foresee. Congratulations, us.

Just pretend you know with certainty that you and all those you love will live forever, then jot it down.

I understand this has just been a tease, a bit of intellectual foreplay to ponder, but I hope you’re as titillated as I am. Over the next few weeks we’ll be covering a whole range of lessons for the up and coming demi-god, from the 10,000 hour mastery law to do-it-yourself propaganda to Napoleon Hill’s formula for becoming the next Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

In any case, let’s not waste the next millennia on boredom.

 

 Sources:

3 Ways the WWE Invented Professional Sports

Top 10 Doomsday Prophecies

Sign Me Up for Mars!

Augmented Reality Blows My Mind – Twice

New Cancer Treatment Shows Promising Results in Leukemia Patients

Honey as an Antibiotic

AI Prescribes Better Treatment Than Doctors

Robotic Sense and Feel

Bionic Hand That Can Feel

Reanimated Kidneys and 3D Printing

A Pill That Makes You Sober

Autophagy: The Unsung Hero in Slowing Aging 

Erase Memories, Because… Why Not?

DNA Ancestry Checking as Cheap as $99

The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us

Brain Implants Powered By Spinal Fluid: Another Huge Step Towards Our Cyborg Future 

Erasing Genomic Imprinting Memory in Mouse Clone Embryos Produced from Day 11.5 Primordial Germ Cells 

Dietary Manipulation of Mouse Matabolism

Handbook for the New Paradigm

Become a God for 79 Cents

Fun Fact: You’re the Cause of Boredom

Erase Memories, Because… “Why Not?”

Ripped directly from the headlines of tomorrow comes the announcement that men in black are indeed here now. Never fear though. A bit of future technology, now well into the experimental phase, has effectively been used on test subjects to wipe selective memories.

According to an article in sciencemag.org,

We have shown previously that lateral amygdala (LA) neurons with increased cyclic adenosine monophosphate response element–binding protein (CREB) are preferentially activated by fear memory expression, which suggests that they are selectively recruited into the memory trace. We used an inducible diphtheria-toxin strategy to specifically ablate these neurons.

…Or in lay-speak, “See that bit of brain there? When I scooped it out, he didn’t remember anymore. Cool, huh?”

Wow, how’s that work?

Because memories are found in specific collections of neurons, haphazardly zig-zagging the brain, and digging around in the brain is kind of hard (it’s brain surgery, not simple rocket science), finding the particular cells that carry a memory is like finding a needle in an active volcano.

This new development, however, uses a CREB protein as a marker, dropping the difficulty to finding a needle in a hive of fire-ants. This highlights the role of a particular neuron bundle in a memory (snip, easy as circumcision), and suddenly Uncle Rick is no longer lobbing coffee cups at Thanksgiving dinner when the electric carver reminds him of Charlie back in ‘Nam.

Now, when it comes to memory, we’ve seen how to fix it in the elderly, implant fake memories for entertaining the kids, and even develop photographic recollection, but now: Eternal Sunshine, Total Recall, Memento; take your pick. On Monday, how bout Jason Bourne-ing” the shit out of your parents and when they start to suspect they’re super-soldiers, leap out with an “April Fools, you’re actually a middle-class suburbanite!!!” Get’s ’em every time.

Joking aside, obviously the ramifications of this new procedure are staggering, and the potential for… wait… What was I talking about?

Fun side-note:

Anyway. Almost totally unrelated (segways are for chumps), something you won’t want to forget: kick-start you day being serenaded in Portuguese by a dimply Brazilian girl. Easier to greet the world with a smile…

Sources:

Selective Erasure of a Fear Memory (sciencemag.org)

Erasing a Memory Reveals the Neurons that Encode it (discovermagazine.com)

Computers Sustain and Improve Mind and Memory of the Elderly (wondergressive.com)

Controlling Dreams and Implanting Memories (wondergressive.com)

Experiments in Photographic Memory (Phase 1: Guinea Pig) (wondergressive.com)

Felicidade – Marcelo Jeneci (youtube.com)

Rethinking Refrigeration

We’ve previously talked about food storage outside of refrigeration, but what about the idea of refrigeration itself? The technology itself has seen little advancement since the invention of Freon in 1928. For those not in the know:

Freon represents several different chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which are used in commerce and industry. The CFCs are a group of aliphatic organic compounds containing the elements carbon and fluorine, and, in many cases, other halogens (especially chlorine) and hydrogen. Freons are colorless, odorless, nonflammable, noncorrosive gases or liquids […] CFCs, or Freon, are now infamous for greatly adding to the depletion of the earth’s ozone shield.

A couple years ago, Electrolux Design Labs ran a contest for household appliance redesigns. Two of the finalists caught my eye and gave my inner hippie hope for the future, specifically, the Future Gel and Honeycomb models (not their official names, just how I will be referring to them in this article for the sake of being consistent and concise).

The Future Gel (or Bio Robot Refrigerator) prototype, designed by the Russian Yuriy Dmitriev, purportedly:

Utilizes a special gel-like substance that suspends and cools food once inserted.

The Bio Robot Refrigerator mounts on a wall—Dmitriev points out it can be mounted horizontally, vertically or even on the ceiling. The fridge does not have a motor or other traditional technology like most refrigerators—the gel does all the work—so, 90% of the appliance is actual usable space. To use the fridge you basically shove food into it’s biopolymer gel—which has no odor and is not sticky—and it is suspended and cooled until you need it again.

I’m not quite sure how far we are from biopolymer gel, but the idea is fascinating nonetheless.

The other design that intrigued me was Ben de la Roche’s. De la Roche was, at the time of this contest at least, an industrial design student at New Zealand’s Massey University. His design uses the honeycomb pattern found in nature to make a modularized, door-less, open-front refrigeration system which saves energy by only cooling the food that’s put in it. This is accomplished through the modular interface. A traditional fridge is essentially a box that gets really cold, so if you want things (food, flowers, a human head if you’re BBC’s Sherlock, etc) to be cold, you stick it in the box. De la Roche’s design allows the cooling mechanism to be much more targeted so that the entire infrastructure isn’t being cooled unnecessarily when all that’s in it is a case of beer and collegiate hunger. This design implements thermoacoustic refrigeration using nitrogen instead of CFCs.

Prototypes or not, I’m excited about what this kind of thinking can mean for the future. Functional, aesthetically pleasing designs that make our world cleaner and safer is what I’m all about. That and food—daylight savings time coupled with all this fridge talk has thrown me for a loop. I’m hungry.

Sources:
Fridge Free Food: Kick Your Obsessive Storage Habit & Keep Food Fresher Too
Freon
Zero-Energy Bio Refrigerator Cools Your Food With Future Gel
Student Invents Doorless Refrigerator That Saves Energy and Reduces Food Spoilage