the hackability of pacemakers and other medical devices

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-10/hacker-attackers-could-reverse-pacemakers-distance-delivering-deadly-shocks

And, I kinda hate to even reference him, but this is back in the news because Dick Cheney recently admitted that he had apparently been worried about it:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/vice-president-dick-cheney-feared-pacemaker-hacking/story?id=20621434

A bit earlier this year, the issue made the news because Barnaby Jack passed away, a week before he was supposed to present at the Black Hat Conference regarding hacking medical devices:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnaby_Jack

Anyway, all that to say, this is one more thing that is going up on my blog because I find it interesting (srsly? That’s *that* easy to do? It’s not just scifi? That seems… kinda bad.), but that, by my posting it, probably makes me sound like I’m walking around in a tinfoil hat.

Advertisements

Gaia delayed

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia/Gaia_launch_postponement_update
http://blogs.esa.int/gaia/2013/10/22/gaia-launch-postponed/
http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2013-03/star-mapping-spacecraft
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia/Science_objectives

Pretty much what I get from reading all this is:

1. Gaia is hopefully going to be giving us oodles of cool information about space and the stuff that’s out there in it.
2. Brown Dwarves are a real thing, and also, despite their name, are entirely unrelated to Tolkien or D&D.
3. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity continues to be poked and prodded by science. Meanwhile, Hofstadter’s law continues to appear unavoidable.

Mivor the Robot

http://www.psfk.com/2013/10/web-robot-analyses-mood.html
https://mivor.wintr.us/

I talked to it for a little while.

It asked me if my friends made me happy, and signed off shortly after it asked me if I was in love, and admitted it didn’t understand what I meant when I said “no.” In other words, if I had been on a dating site, it would have passed the Turing test with flying colors.

The future of facial recognition

http://blog.ted.com/2013/10/17/the-future-of-facial-recognition-7-fascinating-facts/

Man, just read it. And think, as I did, “Holy crap, the world is creepy.”

Also, I remember tineye as far back as 2009. There’s no real reason for me to mention this other than to effectively declare myself a reverse image search hipster. (It had already been around for a year at that point, according to wikipedia, so I kinda fail at that, anyway.)

Depression for Algernon

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2012/12/12/the-two-faces-of-depression-two-studies-switch-off-symptoms-in-mice-but-in-opposite-ways/#.Ul66lVM7xSM

So, I can’t comment directly on the research without seeing the research directly (it’s behind a paywall). So, I can’t *authoritatively* say just how crap I think the research is, or just how unfounded the conclusions are (but, I always find something to criticize, of course).

That said, the broad conclusion reached is, well, also brought to you in part by Captain Obvious. Different kinds of stressors generate different kinds of reactions, and those reactions also vary based on the individual. Like, no crap, dude.

That said- and I’m dodging so very, very many tangents and pet rants, I promise you- the subject of learned helpless is one that does kind of fascinate me, because it hits on an oft-ignored aspect of “depression,” which is this: *It does what it does for a reason.* Hence “learned.”

Insanity* has been operationally defined as repeatedly trying the same thing and expecting different results. Why on earth, then, is it considered a form of mental illness to, after a series of defeats, *stop trying?* Really. Think about it. The fact that capitulating to depression is *usually* a bad idea aside, it’s also something that often *makes sense* to do.

Anyway. So, science continues to tell us that we can make mice depressed or not depressed based on different factors. Hooray for us.

*if you ask someone in a 12-step program, anyway. It’s actually more precisely a legal term that refers to the ability to know right from wrong, but let’s pretend, for a moment.

fukuppy

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/15/fukuppy-fukushima-mascot-japan-fridge-egg-name

This post is late, sorry. It’s also (therefore) meta.

I’ve been distracted for a bit, and while I’ve had plenty of stuff from the news to talk about, it’s mostly been like “Welp, the US is shooting itself and the rest of the world in the foot, apparently. Woo.”

Fukuppy, the Japanese refrigeration company’s Fukushima Industries (no relation to the nuclear plant)’s mascot is much more fun to contemplate.