Saturday, June 28, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Molly Crockett, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, is proposing a series of drugs that could become what journalists are calling a “morality pill.”Crockett says, “Recent studies have shown that by shifting people’s brain chemistry you can change people’s personalities.” Crockett suggests a couple of chemical candidates for the “morality pill.” One is the hormone oxytocin, which sometimes is called the “moral molecule.” Some studies suggest that oxytocin increases a person’s levels of trust, empathy, and cooperation. However, other research suggests the hormone boosts envy and gloating. Oooops! Sounds kind of like a Jekyll and Hyde effect.
A second candidate is serotonin, which is often called the “happy hormone.” Crockett says this might enhance certain moral qualities, such as empathy. That would make raising kids easier, right?
“I think the place to start,” Crockett says, “is that there are probably certain types of moral behaviors that we would want people to want to do,” such as altruism. Now that of course is an interesting use of “we.” Who is we? Which virtues do we want, and who gets to decide? Crockett? The government? You and me?
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Have you heard about all them congressional investigations up there in Washington? No, no, no, not that Watergate thing. That's was all over and done with years ago. I'm talking about the one where the Internal Revenue Service did some shady targeting of conservative groups back in 2011. Now the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has asked the current head of the IRS for emails from Louis Lerner's computer when she was Director of the IRS back in 2011. When the committee asked for the possible incriminating emails they were told by the IRS there had been a convenient computer crash back then and all the emails were lost forever.
Come on. Gimme a break.
Come on. Gimme a break.
I've been doing emails since way before 2011 and my computer has crashed several times and I've never lost a single email. I use Gmail. If the IRS has, in fact, lost all those emails, here's my suggestion. Require the IRS to use Gmail. And if they have another crash? Just call Larry over there at Google. He keeps a copy of everything, just like the NSA.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
Monday, June 16, 2014
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Have you ever played around and solved a Rubik's Cube? Have you ever fooled around with an 808 drum machine? How would you like to combine the two and waste a whole bunch of time? All you need to do is click on the cube below. But before you do, read about it at the bottom.
This will work only if you use the Chrome Browser
Aleatoric music is music which is composed using an element of randomness. This style of music dates back to at least the 15h century and comes from the latin word for dice, which were used in 18th Century musical dice games. The American composer John Cage created aleatoric music composed from ancient Chinese methods of randomness known as the I Ching. Here we are taking a modern classic instrument, the Roland TR-808 and applying the Rubik's cube's 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 combinations as a source of randomization.
This experiment is a mash up of cultural icons popular in the 1980s, a spin on drum machine step sequencing, and a repurposing of the Rubik's cube for rhythm exploration.
To begin playing the 808 Cube click on one of the squares, which will become colored and play a drum sound at this designated step. Once you have a beat you can rotate the faces of the cube which will shuffle the drum beat as you would solve a Rubik's cube. Clicking the "shuffle" button in the nav will put the cube in shuffle mode, creating a continuously changing composition.
808 Cube is built for Google Chrome using CSS 3D and the Web Audio API. Drum sounds were recorded from a Roland TR-808 through various compression, effects and dynamics hardware.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
A little explaining is needed. I have a sixteen year old grand daughter and her name is Emily. She recently published her first book. It's called "Cry of Hope". If you don't believe me, click here. If you do believe me, click here and buy one. Buy several if you'd like. Emily would like that.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Sunday, June 8, 2014
When I was in my 20's and just starting to raise a family, it was considered stupid not to put away a little money in a savings account for a rainy day. Well, I just did a little adding and subtracting and it's actually kind of a stupid idea to have a savings account these days.
Here's why. Back when I had a rainy day savings account interest rates on a personal savings account were about 5%. That meant if I kept $4,000 in my account the bank would give me $16.66 a month interest. In addition, my local hometown bank would give me $100 just to open a checking account to go along with my savings account. And there were no maintenance fees of any kind.
Today, YOU have to pay THEM. You do business with a big far off corporate bank. They charge on average $13.88 for monthly maintenance fees. The interest rate on personal savings accounts these days is .03%. That means if you had $4,000 in a saving account today THEY would owe YOU 10 cents a month. So, $13.88 minus $0.10 means YOU have to pay THEM $13.78 per month to take YOUR money.
It gets even crazier when you look at it this way...
Back when those savings account interest rates were 5%, you could go to McDonald's, order a double cheeseburger, fries and a Coke and get change back from a dollar. I kid you not. So, back then when the bank was paying me $16.66 interest on my savings account, I could have used it to take my wife and two kids to McDonald's about once a week.
Today (forget about the maintenance fees), the bank would be paying me a whopping 10 cents a month interest on that same $4,000 savings account. If I've done the math right, that means I could take my wife and two kids to McDonald's and buy them that same meal about ONCE EVERY SIXTEEN YEARS.
And some of my friends tell me I'm crazy to want to go back to the "good old days".
Saturday, June 7, 2014
I don't much care for Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, so I had to chuckle when she badmouthed her buddy Obama for not informing her and the rest of the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he planned to swap five Guantanamo prisoners for an Army deserter being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. She said the Obama administration broke the law by not informing her committee of the prisoner swap and that she was "very dismayed" with the President's actions.
Okay. Let me get this straight. I'm going eighty miles an hour in a fifty-five mile zone. The motorcycle cop pulls me over and informs me I was speeding and breaking the law. He then says he's "very dismayed", gets back on his bike and rides off.
I wonder how fast I'll be going the next time I'm driving through that fifty-five mile an hour zone?
Thursday, June 5, 2014
There's a lot of questions being asked these days about President Obama swapping five of the most notorious terrorists in the world for one US soldier being held by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Was the soldier a deserter? Is he a Muslim sympathizer? Did he convert to Islam during his five years of captivity? Did the President act illegally authorizing the prisoner swap with Congressional approval?
Yup, sure sounds like a skunk in the woodpile to me.
So here's one more question. What do you do when there's a skunk in the woodpile? Think about it.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion'
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
and to partition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Sunday, June 1, 2014
in•teg•ri•ty...the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
Because of the widespread scandal at VA hospitals across the country, the White House ordered an audit of scheduling practices of all VA hospitals. The audit concluded that there is a "systemic lack of integrity within many Veterans Health Administration facilities". Perhaps this lack of integrity can best be illustrated by this incident that happened right in one of these facilities...