Quest Weekly News Articles, NO MEETING Nov 27th

Quest Topics for 27 Nov 2009:
Again there is no meeting this Friday 27 November but virtual interaction encouraged.  Last week we assigned homework and no one responded to the challenge – we’ve re-assigned below for those who want  to take it on.  Adam/Matt and Capt Amerika have generated a strawman version that we will share with the group at our next meeting OR maybe we will post on the blog – so keep checking it. 
1.)  Homework: one of the really important ideas we are investigating is how we will represent concepts = qualia in our computers as part of our integrated human/computer QUEST solutions.  One application Adam has been working on is the capturing of ideas and storing them in a representation that will allow more efficient recall = evoking in the human who had the idea the relevant context to reconstruct their idea.  He is basically asking the question how can we represent a Quale.  We have proposed a strawman of a Quale being a Gist or set of Gists and a set of links.  To mature these ideas we are assigning homework.  For each of the news stories below generate one or two Gists (maybe 3 or 4) from the article (describe each Gist in a sentence – the goal for the sentence is to evoke in you the quale of that aspect of the story = that GIST) and a set of links (to other Gist that if you were to say what a given Gist means to you it is the first ‘other’ Gist that comes to mind).  Do this for each of the stories and if any of the stories Gists should be linked to Gist from other stories include in your representation those links.
a.     Example – first news story below is about ‘animated captchas’.  I provided you with my cut and pasted set of ideas from the article. You can use those or go to the blog and read the whole story.  My two GISTs for this story might be the two ‘concepts’:  GIST1_story1 this story is related to the need to tell if a computer is communicating with a bot or a person (the captcha gist) AND GIST2_Story1 that motion detection can easily be detected by humans who can bind together the blobs (that are moving coherently) but hard for computers to replicate.  These two concepts are linked together in this story to make a new approach to CAPTCHAs.  The first concept is also linked to the concept of the Turing Imitation Game concept GIST1_Story1_linkedGIST.  The second concept is also linked to experiments demonstrating animation achieved by flashing static but relatable figurines of cartoon characters GIST2_Story1_linkedGIST.  Do the same thing for each story – and be sure to link between stories if applicable and between the linked GIST – send your homework to Capt Amerika, Adam and Matt Kabrisky.
2.)  News:
a.     3D maps on the move – ‘vehicle called ROAMS demonstrated a cheap approach to mobile map-making…. LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging),… conventional 3D LIDAR system, which consists of several lasers pointing in different directions, costs over $100,000. The Stevens researchers created a cheaper mapping system by mounting a commercial 2D LIDAR sensor, which costs about $6,000, on a pivoting, rotating framework atop the vehicle… prototype system is around $15,000 to $20,000…developed a way to maintain the same resolution by automatically adjusting the scanning process depending on the proximity of objects. A human operator rides in a larger vehicle that follows the robotic one from up to a mile away… He says that the biggest challenges in autonomous map-making are identifying obstacles and sharing mapping between several robots’
b.     9 cool tech options for cars – ‘
                                                              i.      self-parking car, but it is the first to make it genuinely useful. Ford’s Active Park Assist can actually maneuver your car into a parallel parking space in less time and with less hassle than doing it yourself… do a better job of getting the car into the space. Plus, it works in a variety of conditions. You don’t have to wait for a space on perfectly level ground with good lighting…do is press a button and slow down to less than about 20 mph. Sonar sensors on the side of the car scan for a viable space. When one is found, just pull forward until the car tells you to stop. Then put it in reverse, take your hands off the steering wheel and back up slowly. The car handles the rest like a pro…
                                                            ii.      split view screen – Starting in January, the Mercedes-Benz S-class will be available with a screen – a single screen – that shows separate views to the driver and the front-seat passenger. It’s sort of like those baseball cards that change images as you turn them in your hand, but the effect is much better…
                                                          iii.      around view mirror – Around View Monitor, offered on Nissan’s Infiniti EX, uses simple computation to solve the problem. It takes images from four wide-angle cameras – one on each side and each end of the car – digitally flattens them and combines them into what appears to be an aerial view of your own vehicle…
                                                         iv.      Night vision – Night vision systems in cars would seem to be of limited use since most roads are well lit and, besides, other cars have lights on them, too. But pedestrians don’t, and that’s where BMW’s system proves its worth. Infrared cameras scan the road ahead and computers that are programmed to recognize human shapes point out pedestrians in or near the road
                                                           v.      Lane keep assist – what’s known as “active cruise control.” Unlike typical cruise control systems that allow you to simply set a speed, these systems use radar to scan the road ahead for slower moving vehicles … lane departure warning systems. These use cameras to find lane markings on either side of the car. They emit a warning if you’re about to drift out of your lane
                                                         vi.      Within vehicle rfid use – One feature, called Tool Link, allows you to put radio-frequency ID tags on your tools and equipment. RFID scanners in the back of the van or the bed of the truck can then tell you whether you have all the tools you need for a given job or if you’ve left any behind at the job site
                                                       vii.      Pause and play radio – at your home or the store and you’re in the middle of a radio show, you can just hit Pause. The sound stops as the car records the show. When you get back to the car up to a half hour later, you can just hit the button again and hear everything you missed
                                                     viii.      Touch interface – Toyota’s Lexus division is the Remote Touch control. It works just like the familiar computer mouse you’re probably using now. Move it around until the pointer gets to something you want to click on, then press a button with your thumb… better than a mouse, however, because it allows you to actually “feel” the screen
c.      Issues in buildup in Afghan – buildup of manned and unmanned aircraft for operations in Afghanistan is being crippled by a lack of bases, aviation ramp space, personnel and sensors that can deal with terrain that bears almost no resemblance to Iraq…appears to be no delay in reaching the Pentagon-mandated 50 orbits of Predator UAVs for the theater. What is not available is a concept of operations that would divide those capabilities between the two theaters…Iraq is topographically flat, for the most part, and had has scores of military airfields at sea level with long runways which makes operations easier for large manned aircraft like the RC-135W Rivet Joint signals/communications intelligence and E-8C Joint Stars radar ground surveillance aircraft… In addition, with a new foe, “there are constantly emerging, unique targets” that aren’t suited for wide area surveillance systems, he says…troops arriving in Afghanistan, commanders are already calling for full motion video, precision signals intelligence and ground moving target indicator radar with enough resolution to track people, referred to as “dismounts” moving at speeds well below 4 mph…200 systems that can’t communicate with one another. Critics predict that the polluted electronic environment around Baghdad – which has slashed the range of data links and foiled the coverage of some radars and IED jammers – is quickly being duplicated in Afghanistan…need is for a unique “concept of operations that flow back to operations and integrate into the ISR architecture,” the Pentagon official says. For example, “the operational piece might be to integrate the signature of people walking with a positive identification on the same platform. We can’t do that now…
d.     Time of day impact of efficacy of colonoscopy – Physicians detected 20 percent more polyps during the first procedures of the day than they did during procedures performed later in the morning… The researchers tried to control for other factors that might have affected the results, like the fact that patients usually came in with better bowel preparation for morning procedures….
e.     Genetics company goes bankrupt – pioneering company that used the Icelandic population as its guinea pigs in detecting disease-causing mutations, filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday… DeCode quickly became the leader in the worldwide race to identify the causes of common disease… Whatever business errors deCode may have made, a principal reason for its downfall is scientific — the genetic nature of human disease has turned out to be far more complex than thought…researchers expected that just a handful of genetic mutations would explain most cases of any given major disease. But the mutations that deCode and others detected in each disease turned out to account for a small fraction of the overall incidence. Natural selection seems to be much more efficient than expected at ridding the population of dangerous genes, even of those that act well after the age of reproduction… The mutations that deCode detected in each major disease were responsible for too few cases to support the development of widely used diagnostic tests or blockbuster drugs…The discovery that major diseases do not have any simple genetic pattern of causation has dealt a serious setback to the gene-hunting field as a whole, and researchers are trying to figure out their next move…
f.       Genomics for the masses – bring genomic medicine to the masses by overcoming one of the field’s biggest barriers–getting insurers and other payers to cover the growing numbers of genetic tests reaching the market. To achieve that, he founded Generation Health, a health benefit management company that aims to sift through the data on these tests, which range from those that predict an individual’s risk of heart disease or cancer to those that determine how well a patient metabolizes a certain drug. Lofberg’s goal is to find the ones that provide the greatest medical utility and economic value…attendees identified “lack of reimbursement” as the major barrier preventing the adoption of personalized medicine. “From the payers perspective, there is overall skepticism of the clinical efficacy and cost-effectiveness… providers perspective, not only will they get no reimbursement for the tests, they might even lose income, because the tests might indicate that some procedures should be avoided…cheaper to give all patients undergoing a specific surgery the blood thinner heparin than it is to do genetic testing to determine who is most at risk of blood clotting. On the other hand, he said, the breast-cancer drug herceptin, which is most effective in patients with a high concentration of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, is only cost-effective if physicians can identify the small percentage of patients most likely to benefit from it…
g.     Cloud security – use of the cloud – forces us to trust organizations over which we have no control, limits what we can transport, and subjects us to rules and schedules that wouldn’t apply if we were flying our own planes. On the other hand, it is so much more economical that we don’t realistically have any alternative…it’s more cost effective for you to outsource the computation. It has been shown to be possible in principle for the computation to be done on encrypted data, which would prevent the person doing the computing from using your information to benefit anyone but you. Current techniques would more than undo the economy gained by the outsourcing and show little sign of becoming practical. You can of course encrypt the data between your facility and the elements of the cloud you are using. That will protect you from anyone other than the person doing the computing for you…
h.     Self policing cloud security ‘introspection monitoring’ – inherent privacy dangers, because the cloud provider can see a customer’s data and leased computational apparatus, known as “virtual machines.” New research suggests that as long as the cloud can see things, it might as well check that its customers aren’t running malicious code…developed a system for cloud computing “introspection monitoring,” in which elements of the cloud would act as a kind of virtual bouncer. They’d frisk virtual machines to check what operating systems they’re using, whether they are running properly, and whether they contain malicious code, such as root-kits…
i.        Cyber cold war – sides are amassing weapons for example for espionage … Nations have been reluctant to use those capabilities because of the likelihood that [a big cyber attack] could do harm to their own country. The world is so interconnected these days… Because pinpointing the source of cyber attacks is usually difficult if not impossible, the motivations can only be speculated upon…Alperovitch speculates that the July 4 attacks denial-of-service on Web sites in the U.S. and South Korea could have been a test by an foreign entity to see if flooding South Korean networks and the transcontinental communications between the U.S. and South Korea would disrupt the ability of the U.S. military in South Korea to communicate with military leaders in Washington, D.C., and the Pacific Command in Hawaii…
j.       Electronic Medical Records not a great cost savings or improved quality – new study comparing 3,000 hospitals at various stages in the adoption of computerized health records has found little difference in the cost and quality of care … Very few hospitals today are effectively using the capabilities of electronic health records… installing the technology does not necessarily mean that the hoped-for gains in quality and cost containment will follow quickly…doctors and hospitals will receive incentive payments for “meaningful use” of “certified” records. The standards will not be complete until the end of the year, but they will include requirements for reporting, data-sharing, alerts and decision-support features that get more stringent year by year…
k.     Evernote – a really interesting application for our ideas on representation of qualia – you have the best idea ever and you jot it on the napkin so you don’t forget …stored on the Web and indexed so you can easily search and retrieve it on your computer or phone while at the office, wine store or next dinner meeting… Evernote is an online application for keeping track of notes, Web pages, photographs, business cards, e-mail messages, voice memos and scraps of paper. Unlike many other virtual Post-it note applications, Evernote stores the data on the Web instead of on your computer or phone, so you can find it anytime, from any device you are using…basic form of the service is free. People can store about 20,000 notes, 270 Web clips, 400 camera phone pictures and 39 audio recordings. For $5 a month, they get a lot more storage as well as other features like stronger security and sharing tools so people can collaborate on notes…
l.        Software knowledge lost – difficult to simply and quickly assess the quality of software… He calls for a combination of two forms of knowledge sharing: using fixed templates in which architectural knowledge can be recorded and through open communication…
m.  What to tell your children about ghosts / scary shows- Study suggests preschoolers want to be told the monster under the bed is nice  … Others say it’s always better to tell them “it’s not real”  … Thinking about the process of making a film can help children cope with scary images… It’s OK for parents to turn off the television if the program or movie is too scary… new study in the journal Child Development suggests that reassuring kids by telling them scary images aren’t real is helpful for those around 7 and up, but for the younger ones it may not be preferred. Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found that when preschoolers get scared, they prefer to think of the fantastical threat as “nice.”…
n.     High dynamic range imaging – The human eye adjusts very quickly and can see all the light levels outside and inside without much trouble…HDR is a post-processing task of taking either one image or a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed…HDR image is commonly made by taking three photos of the same scene, each at different shutter speeds. The result is a bright, medium, and dark photo, based on the amount of light that got through the lens. A software process then combines all the photos to bring details to the shadows and highlights both. This helps to achieve the same task in the final photograph that the human eye can accomplish on the scene…
o.     Brain implants for controlling PCs – Intel is developing chips that can harness human brain waves to operate computers, television sets and cell phones
p.     Clues for the Ft Hood shooter – connecting the dots? Was it possible? – On the cards, ordered over the Internet after Major Hasan was transferred to the sprawling Texas base in July, the 39-year-old psychiatrist omitted the rank he had achieved in the Army he had served for most of his adult life. Instead, he included the cryptic abbreviation “SoA,” apparently “Servant of Allah” or “Soldier of Allah,” perhaps marking a symbolic shift of allegiance from his military profession to his increasingly consuming faith…have been examining Major Hasan’s writings, including a Web posting on suicide bombing they have tentatively concluded was his, say he appears to have been grappling with a question widely discussed among Muslim militants since the Sept. 11 attacks: When, if ever, is the death of innocents morally justified…be the latest example of an increasingly common type of terrorist, one who has been self-radicalized with the help of the Internet and who wreaks havoc without support from overseas networks and without having to cross a border to reach his target…The trend of self-radicalization, which leaders and allies of Al Qaeda have encouraged with a steady stream of inflammatory messages on the Web, is gaining momentum…in a PowerPoint presentation he made at Walter Reed in June 2007. In that presentation, Major Hasan argued that the Koran forbids Muslims to kill other Muslims, placing Muslim American troops in an impossible position. Such soldiers should be allowed to receive conscientious objector status, he concluded… day before the shootings, Major Hasan began giving away belongings, including food, clothing and furnishings…
q.     affective micro climates  – Social network tool for well being awareness – interesting application associated with interest of matt and adam – new social networking tool that users have described as not only improving reflection and awareness of their own well-being, but also raising their interest in others…four dimensions (busy-ness, enjoyment, stress, and health), and by choosing one of three levels (not, quite, or very) in each dimension. A Facebook application let users select their state (as well as view the group or past updates), represented by a graphical avatar or numeric code, and users could also update simply by adding the numeric code to a Twitter or Facebook update. For example, adding #healthii (3321) would mean the person is feeling very busy, enjoying their task, averagely stressed, but feeling a bit under the weather…’That’s important, but we’re now beginning to consider how to design systems to support well-being while engaged in everyday tasks to enhance quality of life. We think these kinds of awareness applications may be a part of that…

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