Archive for December, 2010

QUEST Discussion Topics and News, 12/17

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Quest Discussion Topics for 17 Dec 2010:

1.)  We want to allow people to chime in on their perspectives of the last three discussions on characteristics of Sys2 representations that can be used in the layered sensing / ISHM / cyber / biometrics driver problem areas – we want to add the biometrics overview to the discussion in support of Trevor’s interest and use the facebook face tagging article as an example to lead that aspect of the discussion.  We want to add an overview of the Clarion cognitive architecture (Explicit-Implicit Interaction Theory – one alternative to blending the two systems and addresses incubation and insight) to keep this discussion moving forward by adding new aspects.

2.)  We also want to follow up on last week’s discussion on integrating humans / computers for high through put tasks like cyber network monitoring and/or automatic target recognition.  Although traditional work in cortical monitoring has been driven by helping the disabled we would like to review an article that discusses using brain computer interfaces for our driver problems – and then tie to topic one above.  Specifically we would like to discuss the possibility of using neuro-ergonomic measures and / or cortical sensors to integrate humans at the Sys1 AND Sys2 level with computers in solving problems in each of our areas.  What would it look like in ISHM (possibly helping prune the many FPs focusing attention when some human sys1 calculation is starting to cause the human concern – similar idea for the cyber monitoring application).

Quest Discussion Topics for 17 Dec


QUEST Discussion Topics, 12/10

December 10, 2010 Leave a comment

QUEST Discussion Topics, 12/10

1.) A recent article by Gen (ret) Deptula – ‘ISR hunters’,, is a short read but has a powerful idea that I would like to discuss ‘hunting versus gathering ISR’.  Specifically I would like us to argue about ‘information missions’ the way we organize, train and equip strike missions.  What is the ‘kill-chain’ equivalent for such a mission?  How does our modified ‘kill-chain’ fit in this discussion – ‘information kill-chain’? AF2T2EA4 or AIFIT2EA4?  How does our prior discussion and think piece ‘Beyond the OODA nonsense’ apply?  In an air-to-air fight Boyd would talk about the shorter-faster loop wins – we might suggest in the information mission a similar result is expected.

2.) Explict-Implicit Interaction Theory – just a note to suggest that we will follow up on a lead given to us by Morley Stone on the work of blending the two systems together (our ongoing topic) – the work from a recent Psychological Review article, passed to Jared and Ox to consider,, on creative problem solving.

Original –

3.)  The third topic this week is my premise that we’ve been discussing that the qualia stage = Sys2 is for integration of the context to allow deliberation.  We only need to agree on the engineering characteristics of that ‘simulation’ which is our term for the integrated representation = illusory cartesean theater.  We use the term ‘simulation’ to emphasize that the representation is populated by both parts of the representation evoked by the current sensor data AND other aspects that are populated by ‘common sense knowledge’ (what is expected to be part of the world that I don’t want to bother to validate its presence but will include in my deliberation) that leads to expectations.  We will use the layered sensing for ISR driver problem to focus our discussion and let our cyber and ISHM colleagues lead the discussion on extensions to their domains.  Last week I focused on the idea that a virtual world (VW) could be one way to implement a SYS2.  I then used that strawman to lead a discussion on engineering characteristics of sys2 that we have to enforce in the VW so we could mature our understanding of the ideas of

a.      Continuity

b.     Unity

c.      Embodiment (situatedness)

d.      Sense of Free will (autonomy and pro-activeness)

e.     Reflection

f.       Inferential ability

g.     Responsiveness

h.     Social Behavior

Topics and News, 12/10

Dual warhead stuxnet

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

German software engineer who in September was the first to report that a computer worm was apparently designed to sabotage targets in Iran said Friday that the program contained two separate “digital warheads.”… malicious program, known as Stuxnet, is designed to disable both Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium and steam turbines at the Bushehr nuclear power plant…link between the worm and an Iranian target was first made at an industrial systems cybersecurity conference in the Washington area on Sept. 20 by Mr. Langner…In a statement Friday on his Web site, he described two different attack modules that are designed to run on different industrial controllers made by Siemens, the German industrial equipment maker. “It appears that warhead one and warhead two were deployed in combination as an all-out cyberstrike against the Iranian nuclear program,”… Mr. Langner said, however, that he had found enough evidence within the programs to pinpoint the intended targets. He described his research process as being akin to being at a crime scene and examining a weapon but lacking a body…second code module — aimed at the nuclear power plant — was written with remarkable sophistication, he said. The worm moves from personal computers to Siemens computers that control industrial processes. It then inserts fake data, fooling the computers into thinking that the system is running normally while the sabotage of the frequency converters is taking place. “It is obvious that several years of preparation went into the design of this attack,”… concerned that computer security organizations were not adequately conveying the potential for serious industrial sabotage that Stuxnet foretells…


Evernote update

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

THREE-BY-FIVE index cards, those hallmarks of research, may be fading away in these digital times, but the need to take notes endures…companies including Simperium and Evernote offer applications you can install on your various mobile and stationary devices. The companies’ servers gather and coordinate those notepads, keeping all the entries up to date…source of the notes may be typed text, Simperium’s specialty. Evernote’s expanding services, meanwhile, can handle notes sent by keyboard, digital pen, scanner or camera phone….Simplenote, a free application from Simperium, runs on desktops and laptops via the Web. It can also be installed on iPhones, iPads and the iPod Touch, says Michael Johnston, a co-founder of Simperium, a start-up begun this year in San Francisco. Other companies, he says, also use Simperium’s synchronization platform as part of apps that run, for instance, on Android phones…company is already profitable, he said, in part from premium subscriptions ($12 a year) and in part from advertising displayed on the site…may write down ideas for his blog in the morning on his iPad; then, when he switches to his laptop later in the day, the rough draft is waiting for him…Simplenote app is intended for keeping text notes. For those who want to capture additional information — like Web page clippings, photos and voice memos — Evernote offers both a free and a premium service ($45 a year) that work across most devices and platforms…Evernote has been adding and refining its offerings, buoyed in part by $20 million in recent funding led by Sequoia Capital…One of its new services, available to those who install Google’s Chrome browser, is a dual search — one of public sources found by Google, and another of the private data on a user’s Evernote account…also uses his phone to take photos of business cards and white boards at meetings, and sends them to his Evernote account, which is equipped to decipher the printed and handwritten text…“I use it as my own personal scanner,” he says. “I don’t have to retype business cards, and all of the text is searchable.”…


Missile Strike

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment


Four suspected U.S. missiles slammed into a house in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday, killing six people in an area near the Afghan border teeming with local and foreign militants…strike, which was carried out by at least one unmanned aircraft, was part of the Obama administration’s rising campaign to use drones to target militants who regularly stage cross-border attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan.. dead included three militants and three local tribesmen who were harboring them…U.S. has carried out more than 100 drone strikes in Pakistan this year, roughly twice the number of 2009…Almost all of this year’s strikes have occurred in North Waziristan, an area in which the U.S. has repeatedly requested Pakistan conduct a military offensive…


Hacking Kinect

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment


Mr. Kreylos, who specializes in virtual reality and 3-D graphics, had just learned that he could download some software and use the device with his computer instead. He was soon using it to create “holographic” video images that can be rotated on a computer screen…part of a crowd of programmers, roboticists and tinkerers who are getting the Kinect to do things it was not really meant to do. The attraction of the device is that it is outfitted with cameras, sensors and software that let it detect movement, depth, and the shape and position of the human body…Microsoft has had two very different responses since the Kinect was released on Nov. 4. It initially made vague threats about working with law enforcement to stop “product tampering.” But by last week, it was embracing the benevolent hackers…Ms. Fried and Phillip Torrone, a designer and senior editor of Make magazine, which features do-it-yourself technology projects, announced a $3,000 cash bounty for anyone who created and released free software allowing the Kinect to be used with a computer instead of an Xbox…Microsoft quickly gave the contest a thumbs-down…other companies whose products have been popular targets for tinkering have actively encouraged it. One example is iRobot, the company that makes the Roomba, a small robotic vacuum cleaner. That product was so popular with robotics enthusiasts that the company began selling the iRobot Create, a programmable machine with no dusting capabilities…Other creative uses of the Kinect involve drawing 3-D doodles in the air and then rotating them with a nudge of the hand, and manipulating colorful animated puppets on a computer screen. Most, if not all, of the prototypes were built using the open-source code released as a result of the contest sponsored by Ms. Fried and Mr. Torrone, which was won by Hector Martin, a 20-year-old engineering student in Spain…KinectBot, cobbled together in a weekend by Philipp Robbel, a Ph.D. candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, combines the Kinect and an iRobot Create. It uses the Kinect’s sensors to detect humans, respond to gesture and voice commands, and generate 3-D maps of what it is seeing as it rolls through a room…In late 2007, Johnny Lee, then a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon, was so taken by the Wii that he rigged a system that would allow it to track his head movements and adjust the screen perspective accordingly…A video of Mr. Lee demonstrating the technology was a hit on YouTube, as were his videos of other Wii-related projects. By June 2008, he had a job at Microsoft as part of the core team working on the Kinect software that distinguishes between players and parts of the body…


Stem cells and macular degeneration

December 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Elderly people losing their vision from age-related macular degeneration might one day have a treatment option that requires fewer injections into the eye than the standard drug now used…Advanced Cell Technology is expected to announce Monday that it has won regulatory approval to test a therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells in people with Stargardt’s macular dystrophy…only the second trial of a therapy derived from human embryonic stem cells to be cleared…Lucentis can restore a person’s ability to drive and read, in some cases…drug works best when given every four weeks, which can be inconvenient for patients and doctors…Regeneron’s drug, which is called VEGF Trap-Eye, “gives us the opportunity to not have to see them monthly,”… After a year, roughly 95 percent of the patients in all the arms of the trial maintained their vision, meaning their ability to read an eye chart declined by no more than 15 letters, or three lines…VEGF Trap-Eye was also “noninferior” to Lucentis in terms of the average change in vision after one year. Lucentis recipients had a mean gain of 8.1 letters and 9.4 letters in the two trials. Those getting Regeneron’s drug every eight weeks had gains of 7.9 letters and 8.9 letters…Both VEGF Trap-Eye and Lucentis block a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor that causes blood vessels to grow and leak into the eye…When used in the eye, Avastin costs about $50 a dose, compared with about $2,000 for Lucentis. Still, even with such low-priced competition, Lucentis has sales exceeding $2 billion globally…Human embryonic stem cells are controversial because their creation usually entails the destruction of human embryos…