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Submission + - SPAM: Slashdot, why reminiscing is pleasant? 1

mapkinase writes: Why reminiscing is pleasant? Why remembering mundane or even unpleasant events of your personal distant past brings you pleasure. Example: I remember how I used to struggle and get frustrated at the terminal of our Soviet System/360 clone, yet bringing to memory those times now is very pleasant and more, captivating... What is the utility of reminiscing? Is it just a positive feedback loop to reward our memory exercises? Then what's the point of being able to remember things from 25 years ago if can't remember what my boss told me to do yesterday? Fellini tried to recapture the essence of it in Amarcord and failed: "sweet memories" of somebody else are just inedible crumbs from under the fridge for another person, just a sweet smell of decay for others. No matter how talented the actors how, how brilliant the cinematography is... Why whatever we did long time ago is so attractive to us that our brains make happy shrines from the memories of those times? Remembering days when I was young are pleasant, but I do not remember the feelings of being young per se, I do not feel the energy, the happiness of youth, the blind joy of blissful ignorance when I am reminiscing... It's just simple, trivial events from the past.

Why that old lady from Titanic smiles so happily looking at the green stone? Her younger self died many years ago in the grinding machine of life.

Why memories are sweet? Was our brain/director making all this years a colorful brilliant biopic of our life so we can enjoy watching it in our head at the dusk of our life? Why nostalgia? What is the reason for it to exist? There seem to be no use of it, just a soothing placebo for old folks, escape from the feeling of sliding down every increasing slope of the end. May be there is no why... May be it's just a side effect of our neural network: we repeat what is pleasant, ergo we remember what is pleasant. The image trained in our Hopfield model became better and better from time just as a consequence of simple physics of it. What surprises me the most is that it's not even truly the happiest moments of life. May be we do not have the same feelings about those because it's impossible to enter the same memory twice, strict uncertainty principles of quantum brain dynamics forbid it, and, boy, do we abuse our memories of those moments... We overuse our memories of the happiest days of the past by frequent remembering, so the peak of happy reminiscing is somewhere in between the most frequently remembered (and initially the most pleasant) moment of your life and the moments you will never remember: the rarely remembered medium-happy moments?

Submission + - As airlines caving in to PETA, scientists are urged to take a stand (nature.com)

mapkinase writes: Fresh issue of Nature features two articles on recent development in the war of animal rights activists against human health. It turned out that

Many airlines, including Lufthansa, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, already refuse to carry research primates...

under the pressure of PETA and other ilk (I am actually shocked that airlines caved without even a whimper in any major news source). Author of the first article proposes that scientists should take a stand against luddites:

Picture a crowd of scientists waving placards plastered with photographs of stroke victims and sufferers of Parkinson's disease. They are demonstrating outside the corporate headquarters of British Airways, Lufthansa and Delta, demanding that the airlines stop impeding the biomedical research that could deliver big advances against these and other diseases.

if scientists want continued access to animals as research models, they will have to appear on the front line with every bit as much visibility, determination, organization and persistence as animal-rights activists now muster.

We, scientists, are the force to be reckoned with and every scientist who still believes that human rights to the best health care supersede rights of the animals, imaginary or not, should take a stand, not only scientists actively involved in medical research on primates.

Submission + - Myth about speed killing mpg (mpgforspeed.com)

mapkinase writes: Increasing speed at some point decreases your MPG. According to the chart, it does it at ~60mph. So, it makes economic sense not to go beyond 60mph. Or does it? On the graph there is a more or less flat area between 40 mph and 50 mph. So why we are not driving at 40mph? Right: because time is money. Let's include time loss into equation. The total amount per mile spend is g/f(v)+p/v where g is cost of gas, f is function of MPG vs speed v and p is cost of hour lost in traffic. The inequality that if satisfied means you can increase speed is this:
d/dv(g/f(v)+p/v) or -f'(v) according to the graph, left side of this is pretty much constant after ~55mph and equals (8/(75-55))mpg/mph=.4mpg/mph, so as long as
pf^2 (v)/(gv^2 )>0.4,
you are good to speed up. Obviously, the higher the pay and the lower the gas price, the higher is the right side. More reasons to speed up if you got a payraise or gas prices are down.
Let's take the worst situation: burger flipper in the sky rocketing gas prices: g=$4/g, p=$10/h
10*30^2 /(4*60^2 )~0.6>0.4
So even if you are a burger flipper, you can still speed up.
PS. I understand that assuming that p is you pay is the upper bound estimate.

Submission + - new plan to prevent overpopulation (cnn.com)

mapkinase writes: "Cwi Nqani doesn’t drive. He doesn’t have a phone. And even if he did, the nearest place he could charge it would be a 10-mile walk from the thatched hut where he lives in southern Namibia."

Yet, he plays videogames. Judging by extrapolated marital record of ./ and reddit nerds, there is a great chance that he won't leave an offspring.

So, the subj: is this a new plan to prevent overpopulation? By making African addicted to computer games?

Submission + - RAZR is back as Droid (phonescoop.com)

mapkinase writes: Ultra thin, 4G. $299 only with Verizon.

For me attraction of RAZR always were the keys :-) No keys, no attraction.


Submission + - Retro crimes: phreaking (washingtonpost.com)

mapkinase writes:

The scheme unwound when a sharp-eyed federal worker in charge of reviewing phone bills for the General Services Administration noticed a pattern of split-second calls to 800-lines in July and tipped GSA's inspector general's office

Nicolaos Kantartzis of Bethesda allegedly schemed toll-free number owners of $4M during last 6 years by programming 163 payphones he owned to automatically dial 1-800 numbers in packets of 10 calls within 3 min followed by a call to his business number and then 5 hours of normal activity. Each call from a payphone to a 1-800 number costs the owner of that number $.495.

The victims include US General Services Administration, the U.S. Dept of Labor, IRS (yes!), Dell, a homeless shelter hotline.

I am surprised it took so many years to figure out the scheme which could be easily caught by simple pattern analysis. I guess nobody cared much about classic "security by obscurity" microsiphoning scheme.

The story sounds even more retro to me since I first read in the free local DC suburb paper, The Gazette, that is being delivered periodically to my front yard.

UPDATE: Apparently, there were others.

Submission + - faster than light neutrino (ap.org)

mapkinase writes: ""The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research"

Trust the feeling, Jim.

C'mon, /., there should be 10 +5 comments on the front page disproving this.

Submission + - Whale Idol (sciencedirect.com)

mapkinase writes: Story URL is paywalled, here is the blog.

Songs were viewed as spectrographs, and all units in a song session were transcribed by human classifiers based on the visual and aural qualities of the sound as in multiple other published humpback whale song studies

That's qualifies as science nowadays

Submission + - Salmonella resistance story at BBC is BS (bbc.co.uk)

mapkinase writes:

Cases have grown from a handful in 2002 to 500 worldwide in 2008, they report in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

If it were a real problem it would manifest itself since 2008. Did the stop to collect the data on this serovar 3 years ago? Since from the data it looks like this paper was submitted 3 years ago, I am throwing here a wild hypothesis, that it was submitted by French government employees, and delayed because some kind of French bureaucratic thing.

Submission + - A Norwegian retail chain has reacted by banning (gameranx.com)

mapkinase writes:

In the wake of the shootings in Oslo and Utøya, Norway’s government announced that Norwegian society would remain “free and open in the eyes of terror,” and that the country would not react in the same way that other previously democratic nations have to terrorist acts, by restricting freedom. They would not become victim to terrorism, and they would not alter how they lived their lives. Clearly uninterested in following what the government has said, Coop Norway Retail, a large retail chain, announced that it would cease to carry 51 gaming brands and toys that could—in their belief—invoke the threat of terrorism. These products include the ever popular World of Warcraft, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, which were cited as active influences by the killer Anders Behring Breivik.


Submission + - NIH secret plan for shutdown (sciencemag.org)

mapkinase writes:

Any public discussion of the contingency plans is forbidden "for political reasons," says one high-level official, explaining that the government can't look like it's preparing for a shutdown. Even internal e-mails are now verboten, this source said; instead, planning has been done the old-fashioned way, by word of mouth.

Submission + - Most Bike Accidents Bikers' Fault in SF (www.good.is)

mapkinase writes: Most Bike Accidents Apparently Bikers' Fault in San Francisco:

The Bay Citizen has sifted through every single police report for bicycle accidents over the last two years and assembled a fascinating array of data: mapping neighborhood hotspots, seasonal spikes, and yes, placing blame.

        Taking an overview of all bike accidents, including solo bike crashes, bikers bear the most responsibility. Cars are a close second.

Ridership has increased nearly 60 percent in the last four years in San Francisco, and with that increase there's been a rise in accidents

Submission + - Circadian rhytmms sans DNA discovered (cam.ac.uk)

mapkinase writes: From the article:

One study, from the Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge, has for the first time identified 24-hour rhythms in red blood cells. This is significant because circadian rhythms have always been assumed to be linked to DNA and gene activity, but — unlike most of the other cells in the body — red blood cells do not have DNA.

another quote:

The researchers in this study found the rhythms by sampling the peroxiredoxins in algae at regular intervals over several days. When the algae were kept in darkness, their DNA was no longer active, but the algae kept their circadian clocks ticking without active genes.

"Nature" links (subscription might be required):
News and Views: Circadian rhythms: Redox redux
Research Article: Circadian clocks in human red blood cells

Submission + - Moon has liquid core (discovery.com)

mapkinase writes: Discovery News writes:

The Apollo Passive Seismic Experiment recorded motions of the ground from moonquakes and other activities generating sound waves until late 1977. The network was too limited to directly monitor waves bouncing off or scattered by the moon's core, leaving scientists dependent on more indirect techniques, such as measuring minute gravitational changes, to craft a picture of the moon's interior. Those models turned out to be pretty accurate, says lead scientist Renee Weber, with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Article in Science Express: Seismic Detection of the Lunar Core

Submission + - Blockbuster files for bankruptcy (cnet.com)

mapkinase writes: Greg Sandoval provides in depth analysis of recent bankruptcy filing of Blockbuster (predictable, but still symptomatic).

Among other things he predicts coming doomsday for TV. I, personally, hated that Big Brother's squaremouthpiece for a long time (Russians universally call television sets "zomboboxes" (original cyrillics eaten by russophobic JS script)). I hope that the demise of scripted media on television will synergize with the demise of the cable news and drown that outdated invention once and for all

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