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Comment: Re:Arbitrary appendages? (Score 2) 50

Well that was my point about having very plastic brains. I'm not a neuroscientist, and I don't know how much details like (I have specifically four major appendages to control; two arms, two legs) are baked into the brain from day 0, vs. being just one of the configurations to which a very young brain can adapt.

You missed the point, I think.

The bionic foot in the article doesn't receive signals directly from the brain. It receives signals as they arrive at existing muscles. So we're talking about a brain that has already been wired naturally to control normally-grown muscles, and hijacking that message to also actuate motors. To use this process for additional limbs, you'd have to have a person who had grown those limbs to begin with.

Comment: Re:Let me tell you about mine. (Score 1) 164

by swillden (#49723379) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

I wish you all the best, and hope your mom really does figure out that if you're the most important thing in her life, she's really doing it wrong.

I do have sympathy for her; I'm sure that like my daughter her choices aren't wholly under her own control, and that as hellish as it is to live with her, it's got to be a thousand times worse to be her. But that doesn't change the fact that close contact with someone like that wears on you in ways that you don't even realize until they're gone. My family is still recovering from the unbelievable tension and stress she put on all of us until she moved out. I didn't even realize until she was gone how irrationally snappish and defensive her brothers had gotten, but now I see it because they're finally unclenching their jaws. Me, too.

Your mother is mentally ill, and she needs help. But until she decides that, and decides that she needs to get help to change, or until she bottoms out in some way that legally removes all choice from her, it won't happen. Having compassion for her suffering is good... as long as you don't get sucked in, and that's really hard. I don't think I could bring myself to cut ties, but maybe it would be best. Nobody can tell you what's right, and odds are that whatever you do will bring some misery. It's balancing on razors and job #1 is not getting cut any more than you can avoid :-/

Comment: Re:Let me tell you about mine. (Score 1) 164

by swillden (#49715509) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

Beauty school? I think you're on the wrong site fella.

Why? It's a reasonable living.

In one way it's sad, because she's a very intelligent young woman. Easily capable -- intellectually -- of any university curriculum she wants to pursue. But her mental illness and concomitant emotional instability make it difficult for her to handle that sort of challenge. More to the point, she is convinced that she will fail in a university setting, which guarantees that she will. We can't convince her otherwise. She believes she can do beauty school, and she enjoys that sort of thing. So, fingers crossed that she succeeds.

Comment: Re:Let me tell you about mine. (Score 3, Interesting) 164

by swillden (#49698449) Attached to: I spent Mother's Day this year ...

I feel you, man.

My mom is great, mind you. My challenge is my adult daughter. I do have the (very large!) advantage over you of already being established. Well enough that from an actual financial perspective I can probably weather just about anything she can do. But the emotional situation is similar, with the twist that as her father I feel like I actually AM responsible.

I'm in the process of preparing to screw myself to help her go to beauty school, so that she hopefully ends up with some way to support herself. I just paid off $3K of debt that collectors were hounding her for, so that she can get a student loan for another $12K -- which I'm co-signing. Without that debt paid off the bank wouldn't lend her money even with a solid co-signer. With it paid off, they'll lend to her but only if I'm on the hook. To sort of put her on the hook for the $3K she owes me, I took out a signature loan with her as co-signer. The understanding is that I'll make the payments on both loans until she graduates and starts earning an income, then she'll pick them up.

Yeah, right.

Here's what's really going to happen: She'll go to school for a while and then get in a fight with one of her classmates or instructors and announce that everyone there hates her and that she can't do it any more and refuses to go. Of course, the school insists on getting paid up front. There is a refund schedule if you don't finish, on a sliding scale depending on how far you got before you quit, but the schedule starts with them keeping 50% of the $10K tuition and all of the $2K materials costs, that's if you quit the first day. It rapidly gets worse after that. I don't blame the school; I'm sure they need to protect themselves.

So, then, she'll have $15K of loans which my name is on, and be unable to pay them. So either I'll make the payments or my credit rating will go down the toilet. Which means I'll make the payments. But even though that's how I expect it to go down, I'm going to do it anyway, because there is a chance that she may actually be able to do this and I really want to help her get herself established. She does really like doing hair, nails and makeup, so maybe.

Anyway, I'm posting this mostly as an exercise in mutual self-pity and to reassure you that you're not alone (as if you didn't know that), but I also have some concrete suggestions for you.

First, I think you should decide which is more important to you, the $2K your mom owes you, or the relationship you have with her. I'm not implying that you should decide one way or the other, mind you, that's totally on you, and deciding against the relationship wouldn't be unreasonable. But if you decide that the relationship is more important, you should let the money go. It's poisoning the relationship, and it'll get worse.

Second, in the future if she needs money, and you want to give it to her, make it a gift. If you can't do that, you might consider the bank loan idea, as I'm doing with my daughter. It doesn't change the fact that you may end up eating the loss, but it changes the relationship. Rather than you demanding that she give you money, the bank is demanding that both of you give them money, and both of you know it's really her responsibility and that by making her payment you're bailing her out. Each payment you make is a gift to her... but at least they're smaller, more manageable gifts.

I'm setting up automatic payments with my bank's bill pay feature, and using their "confirmation" feature to send my daughter both an e-mail and a text about each and every payment I make for her, ostensibly to keep her in the loop because it's her debt, but really to remind her of each gift.

Third, you may consider using the phone as leverage. It's yours, and you're allowing her to use it. When you've had it and just can't take any more of some particular thing, tell her that if she doesn't cut it out, you'll turn the phone off. This is a fairly effective tool with my daughter, but your mom may be less dependent on the phone. At least with my service provider (Verizon) I can easily suspend and resume service on any line on my account.

Fourth, and most important, I'll tell you what many of my daughter's therapists have told me: Take care of yourself first. They compare it to the airplane safety video, where you're told that if the oxygen masks drop you shut put your own on first, before trying to help anyone else, because if you don't take care of yourself first it's possible both you and the person you would have helped may die. The same principle applies... and beyond taking care of her, you owe yourself a decent life.

Take care, seriously.

Comment: Re:Luck plays a more important role than people kn (Score 5, Insightful) 126

by swillden (#49697833) Attached to: How SpaceX and the Quest For Mars Almost Sunk Tesla Motors

But that hard work they did doesn't mean their success did not depend on their luck as much as it did on their work.

There's a great little (light, easy-to-read) book "The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives" which explains this very well in the last chapter. The truth is that randomness plays a huge role in success and failure of all sorts of endeavors. BUT, as the book points out with extensive examples, that doesn't mean we're powerless and just have to accept whatever the random dice of fate serve up for us. We can work hard to weight the dice a little, but even more important, we control how many throws of the dice we get. Successful people are those who are smart, hard-working and persistent

Had SpaceX not gotten the NASA contract, Tesla would undoubtedly have suffered, and Musk would have been scrambling to save it. I'd give him good odds of succeeding, too, either with alternative financing, or by closing the doors and starting over, or... something. And maybe he wouldn't have managed it, but I guarantee he wouldn't just have given up and said "Well, bad luck, I'm out". Because people who would do that don't get to where Musk is, no matter how lucky they are.

Comment: Re:The downside of owning the internet (Score 2) 57

Even now, I don't like the fact that i have to care exactly how they implement right to be forgotten.

Since the "right" is imposed by regulation, the best way to address that problem would be for the EU to define the standards and the process to be followed, and to provide regulatory oversight to ensure the legally required standards are being met, rather than punting the problem to Google to figure out.

Or get rid of the silly "right". That'd be even better, actually.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google but this post contains only my personal opinions.)

Comment: Re:Discrimination (Score 2) 170

I think the answer here is that an NFL career pays rather better than an Academic one. If he can retire with his faculties intact, he won't have to chase grants and prizes to be comfortable.

This. Given that he's a lineman he's actually got a pretty good chance of avoiding CTE. Linemen collide on every play, but they do it at relatively low speed, since they only have about two feet in which to accelerate. If he's cautious with his head, careful with his money, and keeps his career short, Urschel has a good chance of walking away intact and independently wealthy after four or five years.

Comment: Re:Keylogger (Score 1) 76

You describe the process in another comment as "Some Javascript downloaded from Google scans all the text you enter..." Oh, now I get it. So it doesn't log your keystrokes, it just monitors all the text you type. Thanks for the distinction.

What do you mean by "monitors"? It monitors the text you type in exactly the same way that your web browser does, or your keyboard, for that matter. That is, it performs local computations on your keystrokes. Your web browser takes the additional step (sometimes) of sending network messages if you type certain things. In that way, the password alert extension is different, because it never does that.

Comment: Re:Being comfortable around crazy (Score 1) 847

by swillden (#49683065) Attached to: Religious Affiliation Shrinking In the US

Look at the biggest killers in the past century -- Hitler, Stalin, Chairman Mao, etc.

Not just the last century, either. In terms of percentage of humanity extinguished, the biggest killer of all time was Genghis Khan. He was religious (Animist), but his aggression had nothing to do with religion and he was very tolerant of religious differences in the peoples he conquered. Assuming there were any left.

Comment: Re:Another way to bypass it (Score 1) 35

by swillden (#49670427) Attached to: Researcher Bypasses Google Password Alert For Second Time

BTW, FalleStar, I reported your attack to the Password Alert team. They've made a number of changes which defeat your attack as well as a large class of similar attacks. The new release hasn't been pushed out to users yet, I don't think, but I'd expect you'll see an update before too much longer.

The Password Alert team thanks you for your report. Actually, they thanked me, but I didn't do anything other than pass messages, so I'm passing it along to you.

Too bad there's no Vulnerability Reward Program for Password Alert :-)

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