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Comment Re: When The Lunatics Take Over The Asylum (Score 1) 429

As other commenters have mentioned, it's not just that I get bored doing boring things. The oversimplification is that to me, every single task is some level of boring, all of the time, and that boredom is extremely uncomfortable. Having never experienced a normal brain, I can't tell whether the difference is in the perceived discomfort, or in the threshold of activity required to avoid it.

Comment Re: When The Lunatics Take Over The Asylum (Score 1) 429

What normal humans don't actually do is rapid context-switching for our primary focus. We can actually multitask very well, as the brain is highly parallelized and many of the fundamental capabilities are available for several instances at once. What we usually can't do is to understand the result of that capability.

Consider, for instance, our ability to infer trajectories. We can watch a ball being thrown and predict where it will land with a very high degree of accuracy. However, trying to predict the paths of two projectiles becomes more difficult. The usual process is to consider each projectile in sequence, devoting one's full attention to it. That's a pretty straightforward example of how bad humans are at multitasking.

However, approaching the problem from a different perspective shows a very different insight. Rather than looking for the destination of several projectiles, ask only if any of several projectiles will hit a particular target. Then the visual and spacial processing parts of the brain can run free, only bringing a few candidates to conscious attention for more thorough analysis.

This functionality is what's observed in normal humans, in the "legitimate biological research" you refer to. However, the detail to note is that brains with ADD are different. The entire reason ADD is recognized is that some folks, myself included, responded differently, consistently, to experiments conducted between 1950 to 1990. There is a clear separate cohort of brains that are different in some way, and despite your ignorance, there has been a significant amount of research trying to figure out why they're different. So far, there have been a number of physiological differences found, with the most significant being the epinephrine/norepinephrine neurotransmitter balance. That's why low doses of stimulants can help ADD patients; the underperforming transmitters function at closer-to-normal levels. There have also been some MRI-detected differences in activity patterns, and pharmacological testing can often support a ADD diagnosis with strongly-correlated test results.

In short, my analogy is "biologically false" only under the assumption that all brains work identically. That assumption has been shows to itself be false.

Comment Re: When The Lunatics Take Over The Asylum (Score 4, Informative) 429

I have ADD, and I've had it for many years.

The name is horrible. It's not that I lack the ability to pay attention, so much as I am required to pay attention to multiple things at once. To make an analogy to computers, my brain must run multithreaded. If I have to focus on a single task, a part of me is bored, and I can feel it. In a child, that frustration often leads to misbehavior, which is why the "bad parenting" myth persists.

It's worth noting that many medications function by shutting down that extra part, but often they don't relieve the discomfort. Sure, the ability to focus improves, but it doesn't make the subject any better.

I've taught myself to cope with the condition, usually entertaining myself with tactile puzzles or other fiddly bits while my more-conscious attention is watching the more important task. As I type this, for example, I have a triple-tap adapter nearby, that I periodically pick up and toss around while consciously thinking about my words. That's enough to satisfy the need to do something else. Similar techniques get me through the day at work, where I've been able to use the wide focus to me advantage, being able to troubleshoot several problems at once.

Comment Re:Nothing open to the sky (Score 4, Insightful) 114

...until the lack of fresh air and sunlight is deemed cruel and unusual punishment, and the unnatural environment is found to be detrimental to rehabilitation.

The obvious answers to simple questions have usually already been considered, and have already been rejected for reasons obvious to others.

Comment Re:This is Important to Discuss (Score 5, Insightful) 68


The First Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government, but it does not guarantee that you'll get your way or even that your concerns will be considered important.

Frankly, that's a good thing. There have been a number of petitions asking the executive branch to effectively suspend rule of law and interfere with court cases. There have been a lot of petitions seeking to jeopardize foreign relations, and a good number simply asking for the impossible.

To expect petitions to require a change opens the country up to tyranny of the majority. Sure, the population will get the near-sighted quick fixes it wants, but the longer-term costs will typically not be considered until long after the right time to fix them.

Comment Re: Unfortunately (Score 3, Funny) 467

He said nothing about lions.

He said he "hunted Africa", which I understand to mean that he stepped off of the plain, looked around, found an Africa, and started shooting the ground.

Continents are hard to kill, though, because they're just so big. There's been maybe one good account of a kill, but it was so long ago that it might have been fictionalized. Sure, lots of folks tell stories about it, but very few ever even try to take down a continent themselves. Even the attempt is impressive.

Comment Re:Odd ... (Score 1) 46

can you own a trademark without a product or service

Yes, you can.

So for something like $300 a word can you buy out the English language

No, because English words are not specific enough to be trademarks. Trademarks are limited to a particular market segment... so while "Apple" is a unique name for a computer brand, it's not a unique name for a brand of fruit.

Even within the market, a trademark is invalid if it's not unique enough. Typically, the judgement is based on whether a reasonable person would know exactly what product is being referred to when the trademark is used. This boils down to the oft-quoted rule that trademarks must be defended, since knowingly not defending a mark can be used as evidence that the mark is now a generic term for multiple products, and therefore ineligible for protection.

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 1) 194

It can be.

That particular example is from an acquaintance of mine, who always just thought that apples had a strange texture. It wasn't until her teenage years that she happened to notice that her tongue turned bright red and slightly swollen (hence the funny feeling) afterward. A test confirmed the allergy.

By the time I met her in college, she avoided apples, but never worried about accidental exposure.

Comment Re:Food Allergies (Score 2) 194

There are two more factors in play here, that cannot be ignored:

3) Better testing, reporting and ultimately awareness of allergies. That funny feeling you get on your tongue from eating an apple isn't normal. It's a very mild allergy. If eating peanuts make you a little nauseous, that's probably also a mild allergy. Of course, knowing that it's an allergy, you truthfully answer "yes" when an airline asks about the allergy, because you'd rather have a different snack, and that leads to...

4) Utter overreaction, because it's "better safe than sorry". Somebody on a plane says they have "a peanut allergy", and rather than put effort into identifying where that passenger is sitting and how severe their allergy is, the entire plane must be treated differently because the allergy might be severe.

Unfortunately, thanks to those two factors, the impact of allergic reactions is greatly increased, as well. There's still only a small handful of kids at a school who are allergic to peanuts, and maybe one is severe enough that he needs to be careful what he touches, but now every parent knows that, thanks to allergies, they have to pack something else as the quick-and-easy lunch. Every informed citizen knows that schools are increasingly restricting lunch options due to allergies, and everybody has a friend or coworker who has some weird allergy. The obvious conclusion is that allergies are becoming more predominant.

After that realization, humans do what humans do best: we rationalize. We may think humans are evolving to be weaker, due to advancing technology reducing the pressure to have a strong immune system. We may blame modern medicine, finding tenuous links between medicines/vaccines and allergies. We may criticize overbearing parents for minimizing their child's exposure, beyond what links have been shown. We may simply gloat over our allergy-free life.

There are several factors and mechanisms at work, but the bottom line is that perceptual changes are outpacing biological ones. That's often a recipe for knee-jerk politics.

Comment Re:Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 1) 528

The line is the same as it usually is with other areas of the legal system: mens rea

The first two examples are pretty straightforward. It's very unlikely that Google or Bing directly intend to spy on you. The police might be out for a joy ride, wildly abusing their authority and equipment, but that's very unlikely (outside the mind of anti-government Slashdotters). The 400-foot and 100-foot drone flights lose the expense and oversight a helicopter flight would need, so it's much more likely they would be intending any wrongdoing, but a court would have to be presented evidence and make a judgement call, as is one of the courts' primary functions.

That need for impartial judgement extends down to the window case, as well. The drone may be malfunctioning, and your window is rudely getting in the way of its flight to (NaN, -NaN). No criminal intent there (except for the operation of a drone without proper control, anyway). If we forget the FCC rules against commercial use, perhaps the drone is from the window installer checking the quality of his work. Maybe the drone is police equipment, using the plain view doctrine to look for criminal activity (though that could probably be contested before a judge).

What hasn't happened with drones is the exhaustive case history clarifying what each jurisdiction holds as the standard of proof. Util that history is established by more cases like this, the line will always be in question.

Comment Re:Meta data? (Score 1) 292

I'm rather disappointed to see that this comment is so far down the list, but it's exactly right, as far as I understand.

The law itself isn't being claimed, but the notes and analysis are. It's the same analysis one could get by going to a library and poring over case history for a few years, but presented in a concise and topical format. You don't really need that information to know the law. You might need that information to defend yourself optimally in a court case, in which case the normal and reasonable expectation is that you'll hire a lawyer (even a public defender) or go to a library and figure it out yourself.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 272

We should try this. For Science!

No offense or hard to you or your head intended... just curiosity regarding the terminal velocity and freefall aerodynamics of a quadcopter, especially when the object below it is rather delicate (like, say, a pool of ballistics gel).

Has such a situation been tested, since the introduction of tiny and lightweight devices?

And it should be the law: If you use the word `paradigm' without knowing what the dictionary says it means, you go to jail. No exceptions. -- David Jones