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Comment Firsthand experience with surface stimulation (Score 5, Interesting) 311

I had my brain connected once to a pulse generator via a surface grid of electrodes. (This was before epilepsy surgery at Stanford, and most of the grid was on the right occipital cortex.) During this procedure they would send an increasing series of pulses of 5, 10, 20 mA etc. down to each grid position and ask if I saw anything after each one.

About 80% of the electrodes were actually kind of boring. They would produce a characteristic speckling somewhere in the leftward field of view at a certain radius and angle. Other electrodes made very weird stuff appear. One caused everything on the left side of the room to suddenly look extremely brightly hued. It looked like a grocery aisle with cheap fruit drinks. The colors got more intense with additional current.

There was a problem near the end with a bunch of uncomfortable hallucinations. Every tiny little point from the pulse generator had this upsetting weird look to it, like a kitten with its head crushed. They somehow weren't going away, and I started bitching about something seeming to accumulate in my field of vision.

They told me at this point that my brain wasn't correctly grounded to the bed frame. I wasn't able to ground it myself since all I could reach on the bed was plastic. As soon as they regrounded it, for a split second I saw some sort of bright thunderbolt approach from the left and sweep all the stuff away. It felt like a relief somehow but I'm not sure WTF I was seeing.

Comment Re:Your computer will understand you... (Score 2) 143

This old chestnut? Really? My dad used to peddle this bullshit to me when I was kid, and I didn't buy it then either.

I understand my mother, my wife, my daughter, my female coworkers and friends as well as I understand all male analogues throughout humanity. Those men and women who are somewhat limited in their capacity to understand people shouldn't a) project those limits onto other men and women and b) perpetuate the bullshit that it's some inherent insurmountable gap between monolithic halves of humanity. Gender is not a monolith, and treating it as such leads to discriminatory indictments lobbed carelessly in both directions (I'm looking at you, feminists).

Comment Re:The Hand (Score 2) 79

Luckily there are people who are not as narrow-minded as you to move us forward.

1) Not everybody has hands or control over them. Technology like this will be priceless for amputees and people with muscular or other degenerative diseases.

2) This is a first generation technology, as systems like this are refined, they can potentially exceed the range of our physical control through cutting response time and scaling up the "granularity" of control while eliminating "interference" (e.g. the involuntary shaking of muscles).

Comment Re:Amazing (Score 2) 119

Civilization doesn't turn on one axis. Egypt had decent periods after Amarna, indeed the consequent 19th dynasty that followed included Ramesses the Great. Good periods neither negate nor exculpate bad periods, but it does not follow that negative events necessarily beget more of the same, or no civilization could or would exist. There is always room for reversal of fortune in either direction.

Comment Re:Amazing (Score 5, Interesting) 119

Or perhaps you need to. One of the most disruptive periods socially and economically in ancient Egypt was the pharaoh Akhenaten's foray into monotheism (one of the first, if not the first) with Atenism. Hoards of resources were wasted on mammoth projects which were abandoned almost immediately after Akhenaten's death, and it would take generations to heal the damage of the schism which ultimately unseated the dynasty. Religion in Egypt has catalyzed both its greatest successes and failures, and it would behoove a wise student of history to study both and contrast them.

Comment Re:Giorgio Tsoukalos asks... (Score 1) 119

Occam is a place, not a person, after William of Ockham of which Occam is more 'Latin' variant spelling. And Occam's Razor is an integral component of the logical framework of empiricism that led the way to philosophical naturalism and the scientific method itself. It was people looking for elegant simplicity that came up with some of the most fundamental laws of nature like Newton and Boyle. Newton, indeed, was recorded restating Occam's Razor as one of his own personal axioms for intellectual investigations. So, vicariously, "Occam" came up with *a lot* really.

Comment Re:You're all gonna hate me (Score 1) 800

Obviously there are a bunch of down-sides: low info density, highly GPU intensive, etc.

Actually, it's not very GPU intensive at all. They removed all the transparency, effects, graduations and shadows. This was done to give more battery life on mobile devices where GPU effects can have a tangible impact on battery life.

I'm with you on the information density though. I really wish desktop apps could benefit from the Live Tile features, but that seems to be one area in which the two environments don't overlap. At least 8.1 has the smaller quarter tile App size icon though, which should prove useful.

Comment Re:Not good enough (Score 1) 800

Individual app buttons can be shrunk in 8.1 - there's a new size that's a quarter of the current square tile. Oddly, there's also a huge tile that's twice the size as well...

I'm with you on the Start Screen Search though, it's good to see that working as it should. Long term, I'm happy to see the end of the Start Menu. Sure it looked nice, but pixel perfect mousing when you were four, five levels down and the whole thing reset because you moused onto the desktop was annoying, plus the thing was just a hive of .lnk files under the bonnet that seemed to redraw half the time I was using it. It was archaic and needed to go and I'm surprised so many people were up in arms about it to be honest.

Hopefully they can build on the Start Screen over time. While I don't think 8.1 is there yet - not by a long way - it's certainly a move in the right direction.

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