Think Brain Games Make You Smarter? News Analysis By Mark E. Deardorff

A new study finds little evidence that brain training games can improve your memory in any meaningful way.

Source: Think Brain Games Make You Smarter? Think Again – Neuroscience News

Ok, guys. Apparently, neuroplasticity is crap! At least the form Hollywood and purveyors of Snake Oil are attempting to foist on those seeking an MIT diploma on a New York State college budget. If you don’t live in NY, hit the books and pull out the paper and pencils. Games ain’t a gonna help.

The point is, as always, watch the product and check the facts. Caveat emptor.

The State will always offer to make rules to solve this problem. The Products Safety Commission, Truth in Advertising, etc., will be brought to bear now that research is beginning to show that these techniques carry little if any, real efficacy.

But don’t expect results. Expect workarounds. The State pulls the plebes into a sense of satiety, safety, and a memory bordering on nepenthean. Then the developers will just find other means.

This is not to say the developers are wrong. They aren’t. Humans will still want cheap solutions to intractabilities. These are the very people that need solutions to intractable problems. Believe me; they got ’em – intractable problems, of course. A potato will never learn to mash itself. If it did, Kitchenaid would lose part of its market. And a person who wants a magic solution will never learn to be a magician.

The State will never be able to force the populace to make choices it deems intelligent. Intelligence in Economics is a group effort. An individual always chooses the best solution for her. You may think him foolish, but honestly, no one cares (or should) what you think. Group choices decide futures of great movements and minds of individuals have ruined many.

Shoe leather, the tried and true, powered America until the rise of Television and centralized shopping. It started its inevitable decline in the Seventies. We don’t sell makeup door-to-door nowadays. Fuller Brush is empty. Everything is a pyramid, err, a multi-level in-home marketing company for those wanting to make money for their up-lines. It works in Electronia too. It’s not called shoe leather. It’s probably called carpal tunnel or eye-strain, but fortunes still exist where preceded by hard work and a good idea.

But the internet is not the only place. People still have bodies and need places to park them and stuff to feed them with and ways to heal the wrists and eyes. Until the descensus ad rectum esse, our descent into virtual reality.

Wisdom is the gift that any parent should wish most to bestow upon their progeny. Forget brains. A child is a terrible thing to waste. And waste them we do. Every time we consign them to a school that fails to teach logic and rational thinking. We must teach our kids to ask questions and be skeptical.

It was OK when I challenged my third-grade teacher’s assertion that her mother judged my pedagogue’s driving too fast that when, from her position in the passenger seat, parallax would display a lower speed. The furor that challenge caused was akin to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Luckily my father, after he stopped laughing, upbraided the teacher. I soon began attending a school for precocious malcontents. My old principal was relieved.

So, until next time, don’t turn down any offer that sounds like a promotion or way to promote an idea. The comfort zone you leave may be your own.

Will We Melt On the Way to Tau Ceti? – Science News Analysis by Mark E. Deardorff

Source: Could Space Travelers Melt As They Accelerate Through Deep Space?

In 1976 Candian scientist, apparently obsessed with the idea of the Spring thaw, averred that relativistic travelers would be irradiated in transit. That they might come to serious harm away en route due to erosion caused by quantum effects. This was called the Unruh Effect after Bill Unruh, the Canuck making the prediction.

The accelerating reference frame generates heat from the surrounding empty space. A special effect was predicted by Unruh, an effect created by the acceleration of an electromagnetic field. Such a field is maintained by photons and it is these photons and other particles that cause the heating. Ultimately the “heat bath,” given sufficient time, will destroy the traveler.

Unruh was challenged. His work was declared untenable and the result of a mathematical error, but no satisfactory adjudication has been had.

A group of Brazilian scientists has proposed an experiment to decide the question. If the Unruh effect is real, scientists have a new problem to consider and Sci-Fi authors have more stories to write. They will study relativistic particles and look for radiation. Wavelength differentials will reveal the presence (or lack thereof)  of the Unruh Effect.

Three years ago, John Varley wrote Dark Lightning, a story about a generation ship (a hollowed out asteroid) that had to limit its speed. The genius in residence detected that passing a certain speed would cause serious problems. Varley speculated on Dark Energy. Quite off the mark but not bad.

The Unruh Effect, if true, is a real problem that no ablation shield will solve. Its effect is not just a bow shock but an effect of the space-time in which all that travel move. If anything melts, everything melts.

In case you’re worried about your first trip to Proxima Centauri, don’t worry. Too even feel the effect, a traveller must accelerate at a rate of approximately 10^21 m/s^2. That will warm you 4°C but you’ll be flatter than a crepe if your mode of transportation happens to survive.

Don’t buy those personal air conditioners yet. The vapor spritzers can stay in the drawer. Heat pumps won’t help beat the stifling heat on the warm-up trip to Trappist 1. (If it’s not too volatile, that is. If it’s not one thing, then it’s another!)