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!)

 

 

Star Trek’s Holodeck: What happens in Star Trek (in this case) stays in Star Trek! Science by Mark E Deardorff

Source: Star Trek’s Holodeck: from science fiction to a new reality – PC & Tech Authority

As “Ooh!” and “Aah!” the Holodeck was in The Next Generation. It has no more chance of becoming a reality in the sense in which it was presented then the economy of the Star Trek universe of the same series.

Generating the smarts, the intelligence to drive the story logic and problem creation for mysteries or training programs is not an issue as long as the writers actually create good scripts, a lost art in The Next Generation.

Holographic projection in real time is not a technological impossibility either. It won’t have the smoothness, at least not in our lifetimes.

The problem comes when one wishes to simulate hard surfaces and, more importantly, inertia. Hard surfaces require resistance, a reaction to force. There must exist a field that can sense and respond to a movement to oppose the action. Magnetic fields won’t work unless you have a high iron diet!

And there are no physical fields of which I am aware that will, under machine control, resist your movement without some form of aversive punishment. I think the idea is for a little push back. If you touch a person, tactile resistance to skin makes sense. Of course, a retributive slap makes sense in other situations, you masher!

Inertia, the ability to maintain motion against a resisting force, requires mass. A holodeck is empty. No mass just laying around to use. Mass must be found to give the characters designed for interaction for the living users some semblance of reality. They must feel real to the spacemen on leave in the Holo-House of Ill Repute, or the wrestler working out for the Sector 7 Olympics with a simulacrum. Either of these cases must resist forces placed on it by the user. When the wrestler lunges, the user must feel it’s force in proportion to its mass and force of its musculature. It must work as expected.

The Holo-deck is a tool, not just entertainment. In fact, it’s purpose is at least eighty percent of the mission and the rest, morale.

So how do you get mass out of thin air? Simple. Einstein gave us the formula in Special Relativity, E=Mc², Energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum. Once we decide how much mass we need, we can calculate the energy requirements. How simple!

A famous episode was a Holmes-Watson show where Moriarty appeared and took flight beyond the bounds of the Deck! Ignoring that oddity, let us calculate the energy cost of creating that amount of mass. Let us say Moriarty weighed in at 175 lbs. Yes, English, that would be 12.5 Stone. 1 Stone = 6.37 Kg. Moriarty weighs 79.54 Kg. C = 300,000,000 m/s. The mass, in this case, is the rest mass, M∅.

E = 79.54 x 9 x E16 Kg m²/s² = 7.16 x 10^18 Joules.

The Hiroshima bomb was 15 Kilotons which is equivalent to 63 Terajoules, that is, 63 x 10^12 Joules. Moriarty requires roughly 72 x 10^17 / 63 x 10^12 which is appr. equal to 10^5. In other words, the starship Enterprise would need to generate the energy of 100,000 Hiroshima bombs just to create enough mass in order that Moriarity feels like Moriarty when Picard as Watson punches him. A lot of match heads just for some recreational sleuthing!

We can’t stop with the body. The puppet must be motivated. Subcutaneous musculature, blood pumping, skin flushing, heart beating, breath panting, sweat dripping, everything must fit the image of a man that acts the part. Seated and contemplatively intellectual or loquaciously manic, any mood must satisfy the illusion of reality. The inert mannequin must live.

And to do that, more energy. But the rest is a paltry sum compared to the amount needed to create. Applying it, however, will be more difficult. Active fields, as discussed above, will be required not just to resist humans but to move inorganic matter. This is all technology not even in the sights of science, merely the dreams of futurists.

Sorry to be your buzz kill Betty, but facts are facts. There are too many important things to do in this world for the unwashed to imagine that things happening in a Virtual World are the same things that happen in a Holodeck. Aside from the fact that a Holodeck comes with a green screen and a CGI staff, VR gives no tactile feedback of the type experienced on the pretend starship Enterprise.

By far, the best way to enjoy a Holodeck in this day and age is to learn Improv.

Click here for Part 2: The Holodeck: How Do We Get Started?

American Law Enforcement: The New Privateers

Was it not for the federal Imprimatur, would RICO laws not apply? It is hard to imagine where law enforcement ends and extortion begins. For when only doubt is required, who is to say that suspicion was actually attained?

When, in the 15th century, England needed to build a navy it chose a simple expedient. Britain turned the Royal Navy into a band of crypto privateers. What better way to finance a fleet? Take the bounty from the profiteering smuggler and convert it tortiously to the Public good.

The Halifax Court served the purpose, ombudsman, Solomon dividing the children assuring a practical benefit to His Majesty’s High Seas.

The Colonies themselves continued the practice offering Letters of Marque to assist in the French and Indian Wars, support the Revolution, the US in the War of 1812, Barbary Coast, John Lafitte, the Civil War, etc.

There is even speculation that the venerable blimps that bring us weekend displays of Harvest season warfare, football, were used in World War II to spy enemy submarines off the California coast. The theory is hotly disputed.

But what of today? Given Kelo v. City of New London broadening the power of Eminent Domain and our President’s love affair with its confiscatory djinn, it is no wonder that any local constabulary would take advantage other tortious analogs. In this case, Civil Forfeiture.

This style of Confiscatory taxation without representation has existed since the fifteenth century. It was used to advantage during prohibition but lost visibility until the Reagan presidency and the rise of the War on Drugs. Under 1984 the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, civil forfeiture came into prominence by allowing local agencies to get in on the action.

Was it not for the federal Imprimatur, would RICO laws not apply? It is hard to imagine where law enforcement ends and extortion begins. For when only doubt is required, who is to say that suspicion was actually attained?

Copyright 2017 by Mark E. Deardorff and ScienceViaMarkets, All Rights Reserved. (Despite the truth about intellectual property.)

[The article by the Foundation for Economic Education cited here tells such a story. But the tales are legion, and many happen to innocent citizens. Citizens that, once relieved of their hard earned possessions, never see them again.]

Source: This State Used Stolen Funds to Pay Law Enforcement | Foundation for Economic Education