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ref: life-notes-2007 tags: electrode assay technology electrophysiology hack ad-hoc date: 01-03-2012 07:10 gmt revision:3 [2] [1] [0] [head]

properties of electrodes that are to penetrate the pia mater of a rhesus macaque:

  1. must easily go into a canned peach (in heavy or light sauce, it does not matter)
  2. does not go into pineapple cross-grain
  3. does go into the end-grain of pineapple
  4. penetrates the skin of a red grape (somewhat fresh) ~= pia
    1. The pia is a bit more tough than this, but is much less firm - if you are implanting electrodes that are any less than extremely sharp - e.g. etched - it will dimple the surface and not penetrate. Very sharp electrodes are key for getting through this tough membrane - which is even tougher in humans!
      • dimpling seems to silence cortical activity (observational evidence for this only)
      • however, once implanted lower-impedance electrodes work better. Low current microstimulation may be able to round the sharp tips of tungsten electrodes - we may want to test this.
    1. microdissection of the pia often damages the surface vasulature of the cortex, leading to localized infarctions, and hence should be avoided (unless you are really good)
    2. Bunching multiple elctrodes into one shaft - that is, making the shaft thicker and duller (albiet staggered) is not a good strategy for entering the brain (need to test the present monkeys).
  1. Cortical layer V (location of large pyramidal cells + betz cells in M1) in humans is 3-3.5mm below the surface, and ~1.6mm deep in rhesus. microwire/microwire arrays should have at least 2mm free wire length if intended for monkeys, and 4mm free wire if intended for humans.
    1. M1/S1 / central sulcus region is mostly inactive under isoflouro anesthesia, somewhat mangled/depressed with light ketamine, and silent with fentanyl. So, be careful with intraoperative recordings - the monkey/rat may be too deep, hence no cells to listen to!

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ref: life-0 tags: Little Pisgah mountain hiking Gerton North Carolina Florence nature preserve date: 10-21-2009 04:33 gmt revision:1 [0] [head]


awesome place! but watch out for the cows!

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ref: life-0 tags: IQ intelligence Flynn effect genetics facebook social utopia data machine learning date: 10-02-2009 14:19 gmt revision:1 [0] [head]


My theory on the Flynn effect - human intelligence IS increasing, and this is NOT stopping. Look at it from a ML perspective: there is more free time to get data, the data (and world) has almost unlimited complexity, the data is much higher quality and much easier to get (the vast internet & world!(travel)), there is (hopefully) more fuel to process that data (food!). Therefore, we are getting more complex, sophisticated, and intelligent. Also, the idea that less-intelligent people having more kids will somehow 'dilute' our genetic IQ is bullshit - intelligence is mostly a product of environment and education, and is tailored to the tasks we need to do; it is not (or only very weakly, except at the extremes) tied to the wetware. Besides, things are changing far too fast for genetics to follow.

Regarding this social media, like facebook and others, you could posit that social intelligence is increasing, along similar arguments to above: social data is seemingly more prevalent, more available, and people spend more time examining it. Yet this feels to be a weaker argument, as people have always been socializing, talking, etc., and I'm not sure if any of these social media have really increased it. Irregardless, people enjoy it - that's the important part.

My utopia for today :-)

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ref: life-0 tags: RCA Thompson lyra mp3 player ARM teardown date: 09-11-2009 17:15 gmt revision:4 [3] [2] [1] [0] [head]

During the GOSH! summit there was an intensive talk about making a open-hardware USBkey-to-television converter/computer/mp4 player, an idea (patented!) by Joshua Kauffman and Gwendolyn Floyd. Since this was a very hands-on workshop, I decided to get an mp4 player in downtown Banff and take it apart to see how it works. The selected device, a RCA Lyra MC4202-A portable media player, is, in accordance with its low price, electrically simple on the inside. What follows is a rough teardown of the internals.

-- View of the Lya with the back plastic panel removed.

  • A - STMP3710 SOC & ARM9 processor @ 206Mhz, 100 pin TQFP package, Freescale logo. comparison table. Device does not have enough processing power to support full mp4 playback; you have to use a special CODEC to put video files on the device.
  • B - Hynix HY27UU08AG5A 2GB Nand flash. Probably the first few blocks are reserved for booting; these blocks must be accessible through USB, as RCA/Thompson offers firmware updates. Were I motivated, I could packet sniff the USB update procedure to allow flashing with any firmware. (I would have to be very motivated!)
  • C Mini-USB type B connector. The STMP supports both full speed and high speed USB transfers.
  • D Audio out jack. Doubles as a FM antenna.
  • E Microphone. Not really sure where the amplification / digitization for this is - it may be an all digital mic, e.g. LMV1024 and sit on the I2C bus.
  • F Inductor for the external supply - 3V.
  • G Inductor for processor core supply - 1.2V (? - Freescale documentation is less than freely available on the internet)
  • H 24 Mhz crystal (large) + 32kHz real-time-clock crystal (small). The yellow tape covers a bunch of 0402 capacitors and resistors.
  • I Keypad lock switch. This makes the device a bit (but not very) tricky to re-assemble. Yes, my player continues to work after re-assembly.
  • J Lithium-ion battery. Due to the sticky tape on it's back, I bent the battery while taking the player apart. Fortunately, it did not explode! This battery is slightly thinner than that in my LG cell phone, yet its capacity is 1/3 as much - this is a cut-rate battery.
  • K Flexible kapton lead to the sub-QVGA LCD, behind the battery.

-- View underneath the main PCB, showing the keypad PCB.

  • A STFM1000 FM demodulator & clock generator chip.
  • The main PCB is 4 layers, with about 0.005" trace / 0.007" (?) space clearance. Keypad PCB slightly rougher and only 2 payers. Capacitors and transistors on this are used to drive the backlighting LEDS on the other side.
  • If you assemble these together with the screws in the wrong holes, the keypad will only partially work, probably due to connector spacing / shorting issues. I discovered this the hard way :-)

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ref: life-0 tags: art design bantjes vector color date: 07-23-2009 14:14 gmt revision:0 [head]

Marian Bantjes - kickass designer. Just see her business card! or Saks snowflake theme

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ref: life-0 tags: attention economy papers authors GOSH date: 07-21-2009 22:45 gmt revision:18 [17] [16] [15] [14] [13] [12] [head]

to read!

  • Jonathan Crary __Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture___
  • Catherine Hales - ___How we became post-human___

to think!

  • DIWO - do it with others
  • openFrameworks - on the iphone! check the demos - so creative, so cool, so fun.
  • Art as research for the future of society and interfaces and life etc.
  • Ars Electronica - superdelux new building with LED facade.
  • POV tracking even with simple / low cost USB cameras. This allows video overlays.
  • Tempt graffiti artist - using eye tracking to enable a graffiti artist to draw again.
  • Inspiring the sense of wonder in children. 9
  • The west is planning ourselves into organized oblivion. Brazil has 600 ponto cultural(s) because "it is disorganized" - there are not really very many limitations; not very much bureaucracy; tthey are open to any and all new ideas for distribution; the policy response is organic but 'flaky'. Brazil may be pedagology more nimble than the west?
  • Open source as ultimately lowering the cost of entry / barrier of entry.
  • Art as a means of getting people interested in their world, interested in creating things, interested in taking things apart (deconstruction seems very relevant to western art)
  • TopoR - not really realated, but would be nice to have this in kicadocaml.
  • Open source needs not only coders, but also the support personnel - the equivalent of all the non-coders in a software corporation. These people's contributions can be as important as the coders'. (e.g. translators).
  • the mesh potato - Seems that many have the same idea at the same time.
  • Via Artigo - very small x86 motherboard / full computer solution. 1.0Ghz processor, video out, ethernet, usb, 2.5" hdd, all in a 5.25" (CD-ROM sized) case. Via Chris Csikszentmihalyi.
  • Goal-direction is best left to partially subconscious control (?) (at least according to some artists at the GOSH conference - but maybe that works best for artists?)
  • Programming languages need to be a good compromise between accurate / terse representation of algorithms & data structures (graphical programming languages are bad at representing complicated datastructures, which is why I don't like them), and understanding / exploiting information-processing strengths of the human brain (e.g. visual, linguistic). I actually find that some of the fold-left & fold-right reduce operators in Ocaml are rather non-obvious to use. But maybe I should just study harder :-)

to make!

to program!

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ref: life-0 tags: FORA longnow video lecture date: 07-07-2009 17:16 gmt revision:2 [1] [0] [head]

shows that I'd like to watch:

excellent lecture by Saul Griffith:

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ref: life-0 tags: enfranchised mind blog population wealth future date: 07-06-2009 21:43 gmt revision:0 [head]


  • Great article - I've been thinking along the same lines for some time now.
  • The idea is that if we can may everyone rich, then the will not need nor want to have more than 2-3 children. No need to change religion, political structure - just wealth. quote: "So the question then becomes, can the planet support 6-20 billion people each making $120K a year on average?" I hope so!

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ref: life-0 tags: NYTimes genius talent skill learning date: 06-27-2009 18:36 gmt revision:1 [0] [head]

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/01/opinion/01brooks.html?_r=1 -- the 'modern view' of genius. Makes sense to me.

  • quote: "By practicing in this way, performers delay the automatizing process. The mind wants to turn deliberate, newly learned skills into unconscious, automatically performed skills. But the mind is sloppy and will settle for good enough. By practicing slowly, by breaking skills down into tiny parts and repeating, the strenuous student forces the brain to internalize a better pattern of performance." -- exactly!!
  • quote: The primary trait she possesses is not some mysterious genius. It’s the ability to develop a deliberate, strenuous and boring practice routine.
  • It's not who you are, it's what you do. (law of the cortex: you get good at what you do).
  • The subconcious / ability to push skills to the subconcious should not be neglected. Insight apparently is mostly subconcious, and rapid decisions are too - the rational/concious brain is simply too slow and deliberate to form realtime behavior & reactions, but as the above quote highlights, it is also too 'lazy' and accepting to carefully hone a true skill. This requires attention.
  • From the guardian -- "Sometimes an overload of facts is the mark of a dull and pedestrian mind, the antithesis of intelligence."
    • also: "Intelligence is a matter of output, not scores on a test." We know genius & talent by it's output.

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ref: life-0 tags: perl disaser films vs time date: 06-15-2009 23:02 gmt revision:1 [0] [head]

My friend Joey recently showed me the trailer to "The Road", and I banefully observed that it was "yet another disaster film". This made me wonder if the number of disaster films is increasing with time - a question that was easily answered with the help of perl, matlab, and Wikipedia's list of disaster films.

First, I saved the page, then converted the list of dates contained therein into a matlab-formatted string with the following quick-n-dirty script:

$source = $ARGV[0]; 
open(FH, "< $source"); 
@j = <FH>; #slurp the entire file into one string. 
print "dates = ["; 
$first = 1; 
foreach $l (@j){
	while ($l =~ /\((\d{4})\)/gs ){
		if(not $first){
			print ","; 
		print $1 ; 
		$first = 0; 
close FH; 
print "]; \n"; 

then plotted it in matlab:

hist(dates, 20) %average over 5-year periods


thereby validating my expectations that the number of disaster films has increased with time! (Note i did not say the percentage of total films - that might be constant :-)

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ref: life-0 tags: education wikinomics internet age college university pedagogy date: 06-11-2009 12:52 gmt revision:0 [head]

Will universities stay relevant? and the rest of the wikinomics blog

  • Idea: for universities to remain relevant, they will have to change their teaching styles to match the impatient and interactive internet-raised generation.
  • Notable quotes:
    • [College students today] want to learn, but they want to learn only from what they have to learn, and they want to learn it in a style that is best for them.
    • In the old model, teachers taught and students were expected to absorb vast quantities of content. Education was about absorbing content and being able to recall it on exams. You graduated and you were set for life - just “keeping” up in your chosen field. Today when you graduate you’re set for say, 15 minutes. (heheh)
  • What matters now is a student's capacity for learning. Hence colleges should teach meta-learning: learning how to learn.
  • My opinion: Universities will not die, they are too useful given the collaborative nature of human learning: they bring many different people together for the purpose of learning (and perhaps doing research). This is essential, not just for professional learning, but for life-learning (learning from other's experience so you don't have to experience it). Sure, people can learn by consulting google or wikipedia, but it's not nearly as good as face-to-face lectures (where you can ask questions!) or office hours, because the teacher there has some idea what is going on in the student's mind as he/she learns, and can anticipate questions and give relevant guidance based on experience. Google and Wikipedia, for now, cannot do this as well as a good, thoughtful teacher or friend.

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ref: life-0 tags: princeton postmodern education kirn atlantic essay poetry undergrad date: 05-20-2009 05:32 gmt revision:1 [0] [head]

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200501/kirn -- goood.

  • quote: "Would it be possible someday—through drugs, maybe, or esoteric Buddhism, or some profound, postapocalyptic languor—to stop coming up with ideas of what we are and then laboring to live up to them?" -- from "The Autumn of the Multitasker". (The title makes me think of "Delta Autumn" by Faulkner, which I love...)

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ref: life-0 tags: life diary portugal ana date: 07-08-2007 22:43 gmt revision:4 [3] [2] [1] [0] [head]

  • Thursday 28 June sat on runway for 5 hours, made it to NY but missed the connection to Lisbon so therefore had to wait in Newark for a Day. Slept in the meditation room and soiled the islamic rug.
  • Friday 29 June Called mom in the morning and went to NY, ate and slept, then went for a quick walk with the family & tux around little dam lake, ana liked the area alot, said it was super beautiful. Dad read my grant and said that i need to more clearly define Miguel's rights as a client/purchaser. Went back to newark, found the black ipod, got on the standby flight to lisbon, sat next to a really angsty portuguese.
  • Saturday 30 June Tired, picked up at airport by ana's parents, slept uncomfortably on the highway from Lisbon to Coimbra (ana's father drives very quickly). took a nap. went into Coimbra to go shopping at the big mall and later went to a oliveira family party where I spoke with Pedro (the elder).. too much portuguese, did not interact very much. Later went to Coimbra's republican square, to meet some of ana's friends, but i didn't have a great time - was too exhausted!
  • Sunday 1 July Went with the oliveira family to lunch in Figuiera de Foz, saw the ultralights, walked on the beach after a very long lunch & otherwise saw the town (pretty nice beachisde resort, Antonio went there frequently as a kid). Then went up to the Serra Boa Viagem, where it was damp, then to Praia de Mira where we rented paddle boats, walked along the boardwalk, and ate dinner after a long trip through the coastal wilderness. Went back and slept, slept, slept.
  • Monday 2 July - woke up late and went shopping for the stuff for our trip to the mountains (tent, sleeping mat, food). Left rather late, and traveled past Porto to Esposende where we had a long walk along the beach, coffee at the Bar de Praia. This eventually left us out of time, so we went to the orbitur camp site nearby, checked in late, then ate octopus black beans and flan at a nice local restaurant.. went to bed late, slept well.
  • Tuesday 3 July - Woke up late arg to a gray and rainy day. Discovered that we had put up the tent incorrectly late that night. spent a long time seaking out internet back in Esposende because ana wanted to meet up with her friends & tell them about the party she was planning for Friday. Eventually we were on our way to this area near the boarder of Portugal and Spain -- but then we ran out of gas! tried pushing the car up the slope, but it was too hard, too heavy, and ana called the road-rescue-crew then later we went into a absolutely beautiful farmhouse to locate some diesel. The people inside were rather affable, and gave us 5 liters of petrol, which was enough to get us to the next gas pump or 'bomba'. I managed to spill diesel on my shorts - not good because I only had two! Later we went to the beautiful village of Ponte Da Barca (I think) where we walked along the river , visited the public pool (absolutely gorgeous!), walked through the city, and eventually got hungry and started looking for somewhere to eat. We found a very nice place - Kibom i think - and i had steak and mushrooms. Left after yet another desultory meal, and went to the Dois Rios campismo, where we set up the tent (correctly, this time) and got some rest!
  • Wednesday 4 July - Awoke to a bright and clear day in the mountains; the campismo was much more interesting and nice during the day. Ate cereal and iogurte for breakfast, then traveled to Lindoso. Along the way we stopped to try a trail, but it turned out to be very overgrown and ana was afraid of vipers, so we did not go very far. In lindoso we visited a small ancient castle where ana's parents called to say that they were coming (this annoyed ana a bit), then went across the river up the hills , where we climbed pig hill and saw cows , horses, and feral dogs . it was really super incredible up there - wild, like scotland. I love that type of place. It was a clear day, too, so you could see at least 50km. we took the road further past many small vilages, winding through the hills, and saw many locals. Stopped for lunch by Lamas de Mouro, then continued to the small road by Castro Laboreiro, where we hiked for some 5 hours in the dazzling sunlight along the high plains of that region. It was truly incredible! I'll have to add photos: , , , , On the way there we had to go around a bunch of bulls and later we passed by a set of horses.. still later we crossed into Spain, as indicated by the Spanish no-trespassing sign (without needing to worry about border guards!). At the turnaround point we found a geyser of water .. in the middle of nowhere .. and ana called her parents to find out where they were. They had traveled all day & got stuck in the traffic around Porto, and eventually met us at the end of the trail in the high mountain pass. Ana and I then followed her parents through spain to a small restaurant in Campo do Geres (??), whence the subsequently left for Coimbra (Antonio had the day off - it was Coimbra day. Eventually got back to porto, found a campismo by Matosinhos. Got in too late to check in officially, so asked to pay later.
  • Thursday 5 July - Awoke early, too early, to take a bus to Porto to take the train to the boat trip down the river. Spent the little extra time in porto drinking cafe (of course!) and going to the river. Slept most of the trainride; ana slept almost all! The boatride was rather chill ; I liked the forest and ana liked the vineyards; we both liked to the small beaches along the way, some of which had people, especially as the day wore on. Stopped in Gaia to ride a small pedal kart (kinda the highlight of the day), and eat some spicy thai food (thank god - portuguese do not believe much in spices!). Then it was late, and we had to wait for the bus back to Matozinhos (10pm); eventually got back, but again too late to pay, but fortunately ana called ahead and the conta was filled out already. Drove back to Coimbra, once again at very high velocity ;)
  • Friday 6 July - woke up really late, like 1pm, and went shopping for the party, then later played in the pool and read calmly by the poolside, the waters of which had warmed up appreciably. Met Rita and Luisa (i think), who we met with Justin in NYC, then later Paulo and Vitor & their namoradas for dinner. This lasted until 3 in the morning, mostly because Paulos gf wouldn't shutup.
  • Saturday 7 July - Ana visited her grandfather whilest I fitzed with the computer; later Denisa and another Rita came over for lunch, after which we went into Coimbra. returned home @ 6, then went out again to see the graduation ceremony for 3 students in Pharmacy, after which we spent some time shopping and walking around the area near the university in Coimbra. Ate dinner and were too tired for further escapades in the city.

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ref: life-0 tags: Japan photos pictures Nathan Misha Kyoto date: 04-21-2007 20:41 gmt revision:1 [0] [head]

Nathan, Misha, and their lives went to Japan for a week to work with the roboticists @ ATR. During the off time, they spent time exploring and photographing Japan. Misha lent me his camera to video record Clementine, and in the process of trying to free up space in the camera's memory, I found these excellent pictures taken by (presumably) Misha. There were other very nice pictures, but they contain Misha, Nathan etc so I excluded them.

the photo below is by far the best.

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ref: life-0 tags: spooky house ana adventure grave date: 03-19-2007 01:11 gmt revision:0 [head]


go there!! be frightened!!

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ref: life notes-0 tags: restaurants RTP date: 0-0-2007 0:0 revision:0 [head]