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Journal: Human conditioning

Journal by Some_Llama

I'm sure many people have heard of Pavlov's experiment, and last year i remember reading (on /.) about how they were able to reproduce the "feeling of some presence" often attributed to supernatural feelings by directly stimulating the brain...

I have thought about this a lot.. what if you were able to find and stimulate the pleasure or more important the desire sections of the brain, let's say for practical stakes you had implanted wireless receivers for input in a baby's brain.

What could you accomplish if you were able to follow this person from birth and activate those centers whenever you pleased?

If you made the person feel desire whenever an image of the opposite sex was apparent could you condition them to be heterosexual?

What if every time (for example) the person stole something you gave them pleasure? Would you raise a career thief?

What, if in conjuction with this control, you also had the ability to determine what the person was thinking, say for practical purposes, they had a helmet that could decode neural pathways or chemical signature changes.. this would allow even finer grained control over the person because now would you not just be able to influence the brain's response to actions but thoughts as well....

If the person was debating whether or not to steal something you would have a direct influence, via positive feedback, on that person's final decision regarding the act.

If something was influencing you, giving you pleasure for specific thoughts or acts.. would it be easy to withstand that kind of influence?

What if this had been going on since you were born.. would you even "know" there was any influencing going on, as this is how it had always been?

Maybe this seems scary to you, i don't know.. but i do know the concept is pretty much proven already, take addiction.

We know that a reward of feeling good is enough to produce a psychological addiction to certain drugs, even though there is no actual physiological addiction.

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Journal: On the topic of God 8

Journal by Some_Llama

Every so often there is a story that causes people to debate God on slashdot.. a common meme or point i see made is if God exists then why doesn't he prove himself to us and instead make us use Faith.

After pondering this question (which seems quite fair) I realized he HAS done this.. many times.. people even tell stories about it and have documented these events.. in the Bible.

So when you see this question, think about this..

If God today came to earth and did some miracle for all to see as "proof" of his existence.. whatever he might do.. say make the earth stop revolving for 12-24 hours, make all the water in the great lakes turn to blood for a day then back to water, kill all of the first born sons of man.. whatever.. people would definitely believe. we would make documentaries, pass these down to our great great great grandkids, make monuments to his greatness (which he wouldn't approve of), but 2000 years from now we would be in the same exact place.

People would call us stupid and naive for believing obviously normal things that could attributed to nature in some way, they would still demand for "proof" in their time. they would call the documentation faulty because it had to be translated how many numerous times to be decipherable in their time period's language.

The only way to continually prove his existence is for him to always be here in the flesh providing miracles every day.. but if this was to happen who wouldn't follow him?

I think the reason he requires faith is so that we "choose" to follow him and not just pay lip service because he is standing right here in front of us.. he allows us to do evil and let's us act like he doesn't exist because if we were immediately punished for every sin, who would sin and how could he separate those who would truly follow out of love for him and those who didn't want to be punished?

Asking for God to prove himself to you is logically silly, and quite arrogant. Even when he lead people out of egypt by parting the red sea and providing mana from heaven, when he took moses away for a few days they people turned (ran) to idolatry, who can fault him for wanting us to prove ourselves to him rather than the other way around?

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Journal: JPEG compression, is this any better? 1

Journal by Some_Llama

SO I was thinking (off hand for a few minutes) about how images are compressed using the format JPEG.

Could it be done better? I think maybe yes...

With current processors (64 bit) and storage space I was thinking of an algorithm that would go like this (I might repeat myself but this is for clarity):

Hard code all pixel color values for 32 bit color, this would mean 16 million colors (each exact shade) indexed with a particular Byte value.. say 00000001 for absolute black (255,255,255?).

So this would create a lookup table within the algorithm (that could be optimized i'm sure) for each of the 16 million colors for 32bit pics.

You would also need about 200 other Bytes defined as instructions (go to, increment, decrement, number of pixels,etc)

So, a 1600x1200 32 bit picture would give you 1,920,000 "Bytes" of color information, with each pixel being represented by one distinct Byte per color for that specific pixel.

1.9 MB is pretty standard for raw pic info, but the way it could be optimized (compressed) and would result in no loss of clarity would be to have the program that interprets the dat do so thusly:

For all values of adjacent pixels that have the same "Byte" value you place a Go To Byte value... so say you have 15 pixels across a picture (from left to right) that have a Byte value of 00000001, the Go To value is 10111110, and number of pixel value of 1111110 (equaling 14), with 3 bytes you could store 15 bytes worth of pixel info with no loss.
The program would read the string of bytes 00000001:10111110:11111110 as:
  this first pixel is black:go to:pixel 15

And just write the same pixel value for all pixels in the "go to" range.

So for pictures where adjacent colors are the same value you would save a lot of space with no loss, of course IRL colors are not so accommodating, BUT colors do tend to gradually increment shades and such, to a different way to express this would be:
byte value:increment value by 1:go to:5

So say you have a gradual increment in shades for even 5 pixels you could shave this down to 4.

You could do the same thing for alternating pixels that go up then down a shade of color, like for borders.

This has probably already been done, and in a more efficient way, but it has interested me before so I wanted to write down my thoughts while they were fresh... if you have any insight please post.

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Journal: Fog or snow? problem solved

Journal by Some_Llama

So I have seen a lot of stories about heavy snow or fog causing accidents because of visibility problems.

I thought of a solution, what you could do is develop a type of windshield with build in LED or other illuminating dots, or some sort of one way reflective material that is otherwise clear, and a radar detection system in the front of the car.

When turned on it could scan ahead of the car for objects at a given distance (say 300 ft or 100 m) then once it detects something it could print out an outline of the object on the windshield, and then adjust the image as you get closer (make it grow or shrink accordingly).

Viola, problem solved.

I believe we already have the technology available to do this, just the logistics of implementation would need to be worked out...

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Journal: Solving problems

Journal by Some_Llama

So I have been thinking offhand the last few weeks and have come up with 2 solutions to problems facing america.

First the energy crisis. We could subsidize solar panels for all americans. Wait wait, hear me out :)

I saw a documentary the other day about ultra hippies who lived off the grid raising their own crops, dairy, use biofuel for their cards and got all of their electricity from Solar panels and battery arrays, the solar setup cost about $20,000 per household. I worked out the math and in ten years time we could subsidize this setup for pretty much all americans.

Where to get the money you say? Well all we would do is divert the current Oil company subsidies we currently provide to this project instead. No tax increases and a huge reduction in foreign Oil dependence.

I also thought of a water powered generator hooked up to the main water line of each house, since water pressure is constant, and water can't be compressed, this would generate a small amount of electricty whenever using water, good for night hours of use (dishwashing, baths, flushing toilets) and esp good for big buildings where water use is pretty much constant.

The other solution I just thought of today, Universal health care.

How to get the money, well this is the controversial part, end the war on drugs and divert that money to health care.

Anyone familiar with the WOD knows it is a losing battle, and anytime a person is involved in the criminal system, that person HAS to be punished, which is shown to have a negligable effect on curbing drug use.

What we could do instead is use the money we currently use on enforcing drug laws and use it for rehab facilities instead of prisions.

I am talking about decriminalizing drugs, not making them legal persay.. much in the way other countries do (germany, canada, etc).

Of course any laws violated in relation to drug use (theft, assault, murder, etc) would be prosecuted but also mandated rehab which would already be paid for...

It's not that there are no answers to these problems, just that i doubt we could ever stop the powers that be from continuing the status Quo which keep some people VERY rich, and others poor or VERY poor or incarcerated.

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Journal: mod points

Journal by Some_Llama

So now it's been close to 9 months with not a mod point in sight, my karma is excellent, I meta mod 1-2 times a day but yet no mod points...

Something else I think I have discovered... when you create a new account, you will be higher on the mod point ladder than others who have been in the system and have had mod points or karma associated (especially in regards to medamoderation which I think dings you big time if you get metamodded down), basically to get the new account a chance to join in on moderation.. so asshats can use these to wrongly mod topics, and metamod daily, which moves "good" people down so they don't have a chance to moderate...

I think there should be a mandatory 6 months no mod points on new accounts... this is just silly.

SO to re-cap, when i first joined slashdot (made an account) I had the basic karma level and was getting mod points about once a week... soon after they started the meta mod program I dropped off the face of moderation and haven't had a mod point since....

*UPDATE* As of 1-25-06 I have started to get mod points again, so it makes me wonder if the meta-modding effect has subsided, or (more disconcerting) was I exempted from modding posts for some reason?!?

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Journal: The masses

Journal by Some_Llama

You know how you always here the saying "(this or that) is the Opium of the masses"?

Well this saying is usually to explain why something exists, like religon in marxism, or TV in American culture...

My question is why not just use Opium? Why waste all that time using something else to keep the people down when Opium is so easy to cultivate and distribute?

It's like the whole "Try this food, it tastes just like chicken!!"

If I wanted to eat something that tasted like chicken, I WOULD EAT CHICKEN!!!

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Journal: Metamod (again)

Journal by Some_Llama

So I think I have figured out something about metamoderation...

If you moderate a topic and then it is metamoderated as bad (you know, bad neutral or good) then your chances of being a moderator in the future gets dinged...

This has to be why I haven't had a single mod point in about 6 months now... I moderate every day, if not 2x a day, but nothing, nada, zip.

I think some asstards have been metamoderating bad for all metamods, just to be jerks (and we know they are out there, intent on ruining the /. experience for anyone else)... I think the metamoderation idea is good, I just think it is way to easily abused...

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Journal: I think they like me

Journal by Some_Llama

I have now meta moderated about 20-25 times without a single mod point, sometimes i get to metamoderate like 2 times a day.

I'm convinced that someone likes my method of actually checking context and making informed decisions in my metamods, either that or they are trying to get in my pants... i dunno...

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Journal: Would this work for RIAA lawsuits?

Journal by Some_Llama

If you get subpoenaed just submit to the judge that yes you did download but you own a license for every song you downloaded so you didn't break the law.

Then find out what songs they list in their brief against you and go buy it in legit form, like singles, cd, etc...

That way when you have to prove that you have the license for the copyright you will have it and save yourself about $735 per song (since the minimum is a $750 fine per song copyright violation).

Seems a lot beter than giving the bloodsucking RIAA lawyers your money plus tying up their time in court making it futile to continue on suing people en-mass because of the cost of litigation (if everyone who was subpoenaed did this).

Let me know what you think...

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Journal: so yah new but

Journal by Some_Llama

this is getting old and i'm ready to start shooting people.

"... oh yah, this is Slashdot."

The ... is anything said before this saying that sets up the joke.

This saying isn't funny anymore, it might have been for like 3 days total like 4 years ago.. now it isn't.

Please stop saying it.

"Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberrys!" -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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