Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘engineering/research/experiments’ Category

No gluten sensitivity anymore? And the reactions are the consequences of what “sensitive” we are subjected to?

Posted on April 4, 2016

People can go back now to just eating wheat?

In one of the best examples of science at work, a researcher who provided key evidence of (non-celiac disease) gluten sensitivity recently published follow-up papers that show the opposite.

The paper came out last year in the journal Gastroenterology.

This backstory makes us cheer: The study was a follow up on a 2011 experiment in the lab of Peter Gibson at Monash University in Australia.

The scientifically sound – but small – study found that gluten-containing diets can cause gastrointestinal distress in people without celiac disease, a well-known auto-immune disorder triggered by gluten. They called this non-celiac gluten sensitivity

Maha Issa shared this post By JENNIFER WELSH, Business Insider

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, and other grains. It gives bread its chewiness and is often used as a meat substitute: If you’ve ever had ‘wheat meat’, seitan, or mock duck at a Thai restaurant, that’s gluten.

Gluten is a big industry: 30% of people want to eat less glutenSales of gluten-free products are estimated to hit $15 billion by 2016.

Although experts estimate that only 1% of Americans – about 3 million people – actually suffer from celiac disease, 18% of adults now buy gluten-free foods.

Since gluten is a protein found in any normal diet, Gibson was unsatisfied with his finding. He wanted to find out why the gluten seemed to be causing this reaction and if there could be something else going on.

He therefore went to a scientifically rigorous extreme for his next experiment, a level not usually expected in nutrition studies. (Really? Health issues, and specifically nutrition studies, don’t require rigorous experiments?)

For a follow-up paper, 37 self-identified gluten-sensitive patients were tested. According to Real Clear Science’s Newton Blog, here’s how the experiment went:

Subjects would be provided with every single meal for the duration of the trial.

Any and all potential dietary triggers for gastrointestinal symptoms would be removed, including lactose (from milk products), certain preservatives like benzoates, propionate, sulfites, and nitrites, and fermentable, poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates, also known as FODMAPs.

And last, but not least, nine days worth of urine and faecal matter would be collected. With this new study, Gibson wasn’t messing around.

The subjects cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten (placebo) diets, without knowing which diet plan they were on at any given time.

In the end, all of the treatment diets – even the placebo diet – caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to a similar degree. It didn’t matter if the diet contained gluten. (Read more about the study.)

“In contrast to our first study… we could find absolutely No specific response to gluten,” Gibson wrote in the paper.

A third larger study published this month has confirmed the findings.

It seems to be a ‘nocebo’ effect – the self-diagnosed gluten sensitive patients expected to feel worse on the study diets, so they did. They were also likely more attentive to their intestinal distress, since they had to monitor it for the study.

On top of that, these other potential dietary triggers – specifically the FODMAPS – could be causing what people have wrongly interpreted as gluten sensitivity. FODMAPS are frequently found in the same foods as gluten.

That still doesn’t explain why people in the study negatively reacted to diets that were free of all dietary triggers.

You can go ahead and smell your bread and eat it too. Science. It works. (But those who suffer dangerous reactions because they are indeed sensitive to gluten should Not?)

Guess what my job is: Human Factors in Engineering?

Posted on June 25, 2009 (Written in November 13, 2005)

“Guess what my job is”

It would be interesting to have a talk with the freshly enrolled engineering students from all fields as to the objectives and meaning of designing products, projects and services.

This talk should be intended to orient engineers for a procedure that might provide their design projects the necessary substance for becoming marketable and effective in reducing the pitfalls in having to redesign for failing to consider the health and safety of what they produced and conceived.

This design behavior should start right at the freshman level while taking formal courses so that prospective engineers will naturally apply this acquired behavior in their engineering career.

In the talk, the students will have to guess what the Human Factors discipline is from the case studies, exercises and problems that will be discussed.

The engineers will try to answer a few of the questions that might be implicit, but never formally explicitly explained or learned in engineering curriculums, because the necessary courses are generally offered outside their traditional discipline field.

A sample of the questions might be as follows:

1. What is the primary job of an engineer?

2. What does design means?  How do you perceive designing to look like?

3. To whom are you designing?  What category of people?

4. Who are your target users? Engineer, consumers, support personnel, operators?

5. What are your primary criteria in designing?  Error free application product?

6. Who commit errors?  Can a machine do errors?

7. How can we categorize errors?  Any exposure to an error taxonomy?

8. Can you foresee errors, near accidents, accidents?  Take a range oven for example, expose the foreseeable errors and accidents in the design and specifically the display and control idiosyncrasy.

9. Who is at fault when an error is committed or an accident occurs?

10. Can we practically account for errors without specific task taxonomy?

11. Do you view yourself as responsible for designing interfaces to your design projects depending on the target users?

12. Would you relinquish your responsibilities for being in the team assigned to design an interface for your design project?

13. What kinds of interfaces are needed for your design to be used efficiently?

14. How engineers solve problems?  Searching for the applicable formulas? Can you figure out the magnitude of the answer?  Have you memorized the allowable range for your answers from the given data and restriction imposed in the problem after solving so many exercises?

15. What are the factors or independent variables that may affect your design project?

16. How can we account for the interactions among the factors?

17. Have you memorize the dimensions of your design problem?

18. Have you been exposed to reading research papers? Can you understand, analyze and interpret the research paper data? Can you have an opinion as to the validity of an experiment?

19. Would you accept the results of any peer-reviewed article as facts that may be readily applied to your design projects? Can you figure out if the paper is Not biased or extending confounding results?

20. Do you expect to be in charge of designing any new product or program or procedures in your career?

21. Do you view most of your job career as a series of supporting responsibilities; like just applying already designed programs and procedures?

22. Are you ready to take elective courses in psychology, sociology, marketing, and business targeted to learn how to design experiments and know more about the capabilities, limitations and behavioral trends of target users?

23. Are you planning to go for graduate studies?  Do you know what elective courses might suit you better in your career?

And what are the Brain cells Survival Skills?

Posted on March 4, 2013

Fear beyond the Amygdala
Ranya Bechara posted on Feb. 6, 2013

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For decades now, scientists have thought that fear could not be experienced without the amygdala.

This almond-shaped structure located deep in the brain (pictured on the left). The amygdala has been shown to play an important role in fear-related behaviours, emotions, and memories, and patients with damage to the amygdala on both sides of the brain were thought to be incapable of feeling afraid.

However, a recent study in Nature Neuroscience reports that these ‘fearless’ patients do experience fear if made to inhale carbon dioxide- a procedure that induces feelings of suffocation and panic.

The patients reported being quite surprised at their own fear, and that it was a novel experience for them!

Scientists behind the study have suggested that the way the brain processes fear information depends on the type of stimulus. The results of this study could have important implications for people who suffer from anxiety disorders such as panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

More details can be found here

And how the brain can momentarily react to oxygen deficiency from Strokes?

Can scientists use the brain’s inherent survival mechanisms to develop better stroke treatment?

Strokes are a major cause of death and disability worldwide, with 150,000 people affected in the UK every year.

Most strokes happen when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked due to blood clots or fat deposits. Once blood is cut off from an area of the brain, brain cells are starved for oxygen and nutrients and start to die within minutes.

A new study in Nature Medicine, scientists at the University of Oxford reveal a novel way in which the brain protects itself in response to stroke.

Ranya Bechara posted on Feb. 27, 2013 “Stroke Vs Brain: Harnessing the Brain’s Survival Skills”

Current treatments for stroke are focussed on breaking up the clots, improving blood flow to the affected area, and ultimately reducing the brain damage caused by the stroke. However, the so called ‘clot-busters’ are only effective if given within one to two hours of the stroke.

Other ways of protecting the brain against stroke damage are in high demand.

In this study, the research team from Oxford University (in collaboration with other researchers from Greece, Germany, and Canada, and the UK) decided to try a new approach. They investigated a phenomenon that has been known for years: some brain cells have an inherent defence mechanism that allows them to survive when deprived of oxygen.

These cells are located in the part of the brain responsible for forming memories: a pretty sea-horse shaped structure called the hippocampus.

The scientists analysed the proteins produced by these cells and found that the key to their survival is a protein called hamartin. This protein is released by the cells in response to oxygen deprivation, and when its production was suppressed, the cells became more vulnerable to the effects of stroke.

Original article is available here

Photo credit: http://www.vascularinfo.co.uk

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Let’s experiment

Posted on November 26, 2010

Whether we admit it or not, every person has constructed a mental model of how he views the universe and life.  

For example, was the universe created, is it infinite, is it timeless… 

And what is life, the purpose of life, what happens after death, is there a soul, what happens to the soul, is the soul individual or a collective soul…?

Since antiquity, philosophers have been discussing and reasoning on the following matter:  

“Do mankind enjoys an innate general spirit (regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender…) that expresses how he views the construct of the universe, or it is an individual learning process relevant to the manner the various sensory organs observe nature and people and organize the information”?

The hypothesis is

Do people with sensory handicaps (blind, deaf…) extend the same kind of subjective understanding of the universe and life as “normal” people do, across all ethnic cultures with oral and written myths and traditions?

First, we need baseline stories on “What do I know about the universe and life?” from “normal” people with “normally” functioning sensory organs (vision, audition…). 

The baseline stories should be captured from varieties of ethnic cultural entities in the five continents, privileging the oral cultures with No recognized written documents, and minority cultures with written cultures but Not read or disseminated universally. 

The baseline stories must discriminate between genders (between group factors) and the ethnic stories within each gender groups.

The baseline stories must discriminate among the stage of maturity of the storyteller (young, adult, middle age, and older people). 

The baseline stories must discriminate among the literacy levels of the subjects (such as they read and write in one language, read only, and only orally literate subjects).  Thus, the team of experimenters must be trained to adequately record answers and stories in uniform fashion.

The next phase of the experiment is gathering stories of sensory handicapped people in the above ethnic and gender groups (blind, deaf…)

We may extend this experiment by artificially handicapping a normal subject by preventing him to see or to hear while resuming his “normal” live for a period.  Do you think that his mental model of the universe might be altered significantly?

Another extension may be involving normal sensory subjects but with different mental capabilities and limitations (over developed or under developed brain powers).  

This experiment would answer the question: “Are reading and listening to stories generate different types of observational data due to further brain processing mechanisms?”

The most essential preparation for the experiment is the designing of an exhaustive questionnaire with exhaustive options to educate the subjects on the varieties of viewpoints and myths. 

For that purpose, the questionnaire will be tested on many preliminary samples of ethnic cultures in order to catch and collect the varieties of relevant options, sort of exhaustive compendium on the different myths and mental models. 

I would recommend that the design requires every question to be answered. This means that those logical procedures of demanding the subject to skip several questions, as in filling tax forms, be eliminated:  We should not fall in the bias of enforcing our rational logic on oral culture ethnic groups and the illiterates.

It is advisable that follow-up oral stories accompany answering the questionnaire. Then, another follow-up written story be attached to the oral story. 

The written story would condense the individual story into a comprehensive and coherent story after the preceding two educational sessions. 

The teams of trained experimenters would have to fill the initial questionnaire with the new information generated by the oral and written stories; missing information can be filled by default, using the original questionnaire for each subject. 

Thus, data analysis can be conducted on the two questionnaires: the before learning process and the after learning process of the mental models.

I find it interesting that, after the written story, the subject would give his opinion on the current theories of astrophysicists on the universe in order to check the cohesion and compatibility of the subjects in their perception of the universe. 

For example: what they think of the theory that this universe is the product of a collision between two universes; that a universe revolves around each black hole; that what we see is a simulated universe of a matrix universe; that the sky is a wall on which the image of the stars and galaxies are projected onto it (a universe as hologram); that the universe keeps changing every time we observe it… 

Do you think that you might change your view if a theory (coming from an astrophysicist) impresses you?

The spontaneous suggestion is “why not ask a subject to tell his story before answering a questionnaire? At least we can have an original version, unbiased by constructed questionnaires.”  

This suggestion is pertinent if it is feasible to nudge a subject to start telling a story without a prompt sheet containing the necessary lines of thoughts to guide the subject in the endeavor: The prompt sheet must be devoid of any biased suggestions.  

In any case, I believe that devising such a prompt sheet is necessary, even if not applied in the experiment, in order to get the questionnaire developed and cleaned of idiosyncratic allusions and local imageries.

The experiment is complex and will need to be subdivided in meaningful stages of shorter experiments.

It is time intensive and for a long duration.

It requires training of large teams of researchers and experimenters.  Preliminary experiments would show the best ways of experimenting piece meal this vast project.

Note 1:  I tend to include materials we read and stories we heard as sensory inputs since they are processed by the brain, at various levels, as sensory observations.

Note 2: Many scholars present the view that what we actually sense are in fact “processed observations”, and not the raw sensed data, since all sensing observations are data processed by the brain at different levels of manipulations.

Good enough: We are dealing with what mankind is observing: That is what is available to forming a coherent structure of the universe and the environment we live into. 

The follow-up lesson is:  Other reasoning species must be viewing the universe differently since their senses have different capacities and limitations, and their brain structures are different from mankind.

Note 3:  The essential question that the previous experiment might offer an answer to is:  “If an individual is handicapped in one or more sensory organs then, by reading or listening to stories, can his brain re-establish what normal people comprehend of the universe?”

Note 4: I conjecture that all the facts, observations, experiments., philosophy… will Not tell us anything “sustainable” of what is life and the universe. What this experiment could boils down to is to “know”:

How the majority, in any ethnic group, likes to conceive the nature of Life and the Universe?

This is fundamental to to evaluate the evolution of human “Emotional Intelligence

Is sarcasm such a problem in artificial intelligence research

Posted on March 1, 2016

Automatic Sarcasm Detection: A Survey 

[PDF] outlines ten years of research efforts from groups interested in detecting sarcasm in online sources.

If a text is devoid of detailed context to the story, there is no way to detect a sense of humor. And the major problem is that most stories or documentary pieces do Not bother to provide substantive context that are Not based on biases.

“Any computer which could reliably perform this kind of filtering could be argued to have developed a sense of humor.”

Martin Anderson Thu 11 Feb 2016

The problem is not an abstract one, nor does it centre around the need for computers to entertain or amuse humans, but rather the need to recognise that sarcasm in online comments, tweets and other internet material should Not be interpreted as sincere opinion.

Why sarcasm baffles AIs thestack.com|By The Stack.com

‪#‎sarcasm‬‪#‎humor‬‪#‎AI‬

The need applies both in order for AIs to accurately assess archive material or interpret existing datasets, and in the field of sentiment analysis, where a neural network or other model of AI seeks to interpret data based on publicly posted web material.

Attempts have been made to ring-fence sarcastic data by the use of hash-tags such as #not on Twitter, or by noting the authors who have posted material identified as sarcastic, in order to apply appropriate filters to their future work.

Some research has struggled to quantify sarcasm, since it may not be a discrete property in itself – i.e. indicative of a reverse position to the one that it seems to put forward – but rather part of a wider gamut of data-distorting humour, and may need to be identified as a subset of that in order to be found at all.

Most of the dozens of research projects which have addressed the problem of sarcasm as a hindrance to machine comprehension have studied the problem as it relates to the English and Chinese languages, though some work has also been done in identifying sarcasm in Italian-language tweets, whilst another project has explored Dutch sarcasm.

The new report details the ways that academia has approached the sarcasm problem over the last decade, but concludes that the solution to the problem is Not necessarily one of pattern recognition, but rather a more sophisticated matrix that has some ability to understand context.

Any computer which could reliably perform this kind of filtering could be argued to have developed a sense of humor.

Note: For AI machine to learn, it has to be confronted with genuine sarcastic people. And this species is a rarity

Kazuo Inamori, built several $billion enterprises:

Posted on November 9, 2015

Kazuo Inamori, the Japanese entrepreneur who founded two multi-billion dollar companies and rescued another, is known for his management philosophy.

Here are 5 of his ideas.

Tom Redmond tomredmondjapan.  November 5, 2015  

1. Question your motive

Inamori is a Buddhist, and zen — the Japanese word for “good” — is at the heart of his thinking.

“Zen means being universally virtuous in anybody’s eyes”, Inamori writes in his book “A Passion for Success.”

Serving one’s own interests in business is never enough: the motive has to be good for others as well.

Japan Airlines Rises On Trading Debut After $8.4 Billion IPO
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

2. Adhere to perfection

An engineer by training, Inamori describes himself as a perfectionist.

Being 99%  successful isn’t enough for someone designing a bridge to withstand an earthquake, and the same should apply when planning products, he says.

“Demanding perfection of yourself every day is difficult, but once you get used to it, you can easily live that way.”

This results in what he calls “sharp” products, or work that is refined and precise. (Product that tends to the health and safety usage for the client and users?)

3. Conceive optimistically, plan pessimistically

When developing a new product, starting off with a dream is important to success, Inamori says on his website. Once the planning stage begins, you must “become a pessimist” in order to recognize every possible difficulty. Then it’s back to optimism for the execution.

4. Attitude and effort and ability: all of them

This is Inamori’s formula for calculating the results of someone’s life or work. It’s an insight into why he values character and personality when picking leaders, rather than just choosing the people with the most ability. In his view, effort and aptitude won’t be enough if you don’t have the right attitude.

5. Set goals beyond your abilities

Inamori is a believer in positive thinking: your life ultimately becomes what you think it will be. In business, this translates into believing you will learn to do things you can’t currently manage.

Choose a goal you can’t achieve today, set a deadline by which you will do so, and then work harder than anyone else.

An exercise: taxonomy of methods

Posted on: June 10, 2009

Article #14 in Human Factors

I am going to let you have a hand at classifying methods by providing a list of various methods that could be used in Industrial engineering, Human Factors, Ergonomics, and Industrial Psychology.

This first list of methods is organized in the sequence used to analyzing part of a system or a mission;

The second list is not necessarily randomized, though thrown in without much order; otherwise it will not be an excellent exercise.

First, let us agree that a method is a procedure or a set of step by step process that our forerunners of geniuses and scholars have tested, found it good, agreed on it on consensus basis and offered it for you to use for the benefit of progress and science.

Many of you will still try hard to find short cuts to anything, including methods, for the petty argument that the best criterion to discriminating among clever people is who waste time on methods and who are nerds.

Actually, the main reason I don’t try to teach many new methods in this course (Human Factors in Engineering) is that students might smack run into a real occupational stress, which they are Not immune of, especially that methods in human factors are complex and time consuming.

Here is this famous list of a few methods and you are to decide which ones are still in the conceptual phases and which have been “operationalized“.

The first list contains the following methods:

Operational analysis, activity analysis, critical incidents, function flow, decision/action, action/information analyses, functional allocation, task, fault tree, failure modes and effects analyses, timeline, link analyses, simulation, controlled experimentation,  operational sequence analysis, and workload assessment.

The second list is constituted of methods that human factors are trained to utilize if need be such as:

Verbal protocol, neural network, utility theory, preference judgments, psycho-physical methods, operational research, prototyping, information theory, cost/benefit methods, various statistical modeling packages, and expert systems.

Just wait, let me resume.

There are those that are intrinsic to artificial intelligence methodology such as:

Fuzzy logic, robotics, discrimination nets, pattern matching, knowledge representation, frames, schemata, semantic network, relational databases, searching methods, zero-sum games theory, logical reasoning methods, probabilistic reasoning, learning methods, natural language understanding, image formation and acquisition, connectedness, cellular logic, problem solving techniques, means-end analysis, geometric reasoning system, algebraic reasoning system.

If your education is multidisciplinary you may catalog the above methods according to specialty disciplines such as:

Artificial intelligence, robotics, econometrics, marketing, human factors, industrial engineering, other engineering majors, psychology or mathematics.

The most logical grouping is along the purpose, input, process/procedure, and output/product of the method. Otherwise, it would be impossible to define and understand any method.

Methods could be used to analyze systems, provide heuristic data about human performance, make predictions, generate subjective data, discover the cause and effects of the main factors, or evaluate the human-machine performance of products or systems.

The inputs could be qualitative or quantitative such as declarative data, categorical, or numerical and generated from structured observations, records, interviews, questionnaires, computer generated or outputs from prior methods.

The outputs could be point data, behavioral trends, graphical in nature, context specific, generic, or reduction in alternatives.

The process could be a creative graphical or pictorial model, logical hierarchy or in network alternative, operational, empirical, informal, or systematic.

You may also group these methods according to their mathematical branches such as algebraic, probabilistic, or geometric.

You may collect them as to their deterministic, statistical sampling methods and probabilistic characters.

You may differentiate the methods as belonging to categorical, ordinal, discrete or continuous measurements.

You may wish to investigate the methods as parametric, non parametric, distribution free population or normally distributed.

You may separate them on their representation forms such as verbal, graphical, pictorial, or in table.

You may discriminate them on heuristic, observational, or experimental scientific values.

You may bundle these methods on qualitative or quantitative values.

You may as well separate them on their historical values or modern techniques based on newer technologies.

You may select them as to their state of the art methods such as ancient methods that new information and new paradigms have refuted their validity or recently developed.

You may define the methods as those digitally or analytically amenable for solving problems.

You may choose to draw several lists of those methods that are economically sounds, esoteric, or just plainly fuzzy sounding.

You may opt to differentiate these methods on requiring high level of mathematical reasoning that are out of your capability and those that can be comprehended through persistent efforts.

You could as well sort them according to which ones fit nicely into the courses that you have already taken, but failed to recollect that they were indeed methods worth acquiring for your career.

You may use any of these taxonomies to answer an optional exam question with no guarantees that you might get a substantial grade.

It would be interesting to collect statistics on how often these methods are being used, by whom, for what rational and by which line of business and by which universities.

It would be interesting to translate these methods into Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, or Russian.

The Hyperbolic Discounting: Do you think Delaying rewards is a cultural acquisition and Not related to our genes behavior?

Or maybe we still cannot fathom Discounting, Delayed profitable reward, or Faith in future promises?

Or maybe the experiments are Not well controlled, given they give $ a universal comprehension that it means “good reward”?

This “Live each day as if it was your last” crap does place huge value on immediacy that is not justifiable.

For example:

1. Would you take $1,000 a year Now or $1,100 in 13 months later? Where else can you get 120% per annum?

2. Would you prefer $1,000 in Cash now or wait another month for $1,010 ?

The 2 examples are identical in outcome.

If you could wait 12 months, you figure out that waiting 13 months is not such a bad deal.

However, the terms Now and Cash cannot be discounted so easily

How about the “marshmallow experiment“?

The 4 year-old kids would not wait another minute to get 2 pieces of marshmallow instead of a single one.

What if they are offered 3 marshmallows? Would that make a difference for the kids?

Do you believe that kids who opted to wait another minute are exhibiting a strong indication for career success stories?

Does this experiment allow us to conclude that Delaying rewards is a cultural acquisition and Not related to our genes behavior, or our state of famine?

Have the kids been screened if they already have eaten and their stomach is full? Or if they already have eaten marshmallow before joining the experiment? What if a few kids do Not care for marshmallow and prefer other kinds of sweets?

Credit card companies exploit our “must-have now” instinct and priced “this instinct” at high interest rates.

People are willing to pay extra if they don’t have to wait.

Amazon surcharge your purchase for the next-day delivery facility.

Hand a product to a customer and make him take it, and the client will most probably purchase it.

Suppose you have 2 groups of kids.

Group A is a sample of famished and poor kids.

Group B can eat anytime they want by simply opening a stuffed fridge.

You offer the 2 groups $20 if they can wait an hour before eating a chocolate bar.

Which group will be more likely to wait?

I bet group A will wait, even though they are terribly hungry and are salivating abundantly.

Do you think those in group A who managed to wait for an hour are more likely to succeed in life, because they learned the value of money and saving money?

Or maybe they got used to be famished but Not used to see a $20 bill?

Is the curiosity effect contaminating this experiment?

Suppose we have 3 experimental groups of kids and a control group:

Group A is just shown a $20 bill

Group B is instructed on the value of this bill, and shown a list of what the kids can buy with this $20 bill.

Group C is offered a reward Not connected to any monetary standard.

Group D is the “control group” and tested that they do Not differ in level of intelligence, family stability… with the other groups.

What could be your “hypothesis”?

Note: I initially posted on December 29, 2014, and added a few ideas related to how an experiment could become confounding if Not well controlled.

Has Big Brother no longer a need to disguise his dominion?

December 15, 2020

Face recognition, surveillance concepts. Hand holding smartphone with watching eye on screen. Mobile phone with eye icon. Modern flat design, vector illustration.

Phone is watching you art concept. “You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984 […]

It had the potential for disaster.

Early in the morning of Monday, December 15, 2020, Google suffered a major worldwide outage in which all of its internet-connected services crashed, including Nest, Google Calendar, Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, Maps, Meet and YouTube.

The outage only lasted an hour, but it was a chilling reminder of how reliant the world has become on internet-connected technologies to do everything from unlocking doors and turning up the heat to accessing work files, sending emails and making phone calls.

A year earlier, a Google outage resulted in Nest users being unable to access their Nest thermostats, Nest smart locks, and Nest cameras.

As Fast Company reports, “This essentially meant that because of a cloud storage outagepeople were prevented from getting inside their homes, using their AC, and monitoring their babies.”

Welcome to the Matrix.

Twenty-some years after the Wachowskis’ iconic film, The Matrix, introduced us to a futuristic world in which humans exist in a computer-simulated non-reality powered by authoritarian machines—a world where the choice between existing in a denial-ridden virtual dream-state or facing up to the harsh, difficult realities of life comes down to a blue pill or a red pill—we stand at the precipice of a technologically-dominated matrix of our own making.

We are living the prequel to The Matrix with each passing day, falling further under the spell of technologically-driven virtual communities, virtual realities and virtual conveniences managed by artificially intelligent machines that are on a fast track to replacing human beings and eventually dominating every aspect of our lives.

Science fiction has become fact.

In The Matrixcomputer programmer Thomas Anderson a.k.a. hacker Neo is wakened from a virtual slumber by Morpheus, a freedom fighter seeking to liberate humanity from a lifelong hibernation state imposed by hyper-advanced artificial intelligence machines that rely on humans as an organic power source.

With their minds plugged into a perfectly crafted virtual reality, few humans ever realize they are living in an artificial dream world.

Neo is given a choice: to take the red pill, wake up and join the resistance, or take the blue pill, remain asleep and serve as fodder for the powers-that-be.

Most people opt for the blue pill.

In our case, the blue pill—a one-way ticket to a life sentence in an electronic concentration camp—has been honey-coated to hide the bitter aftertaste, sold to us in the name of expediency and delivered by way of blazingly fast Internet, cell phone signals that never drop a call, thermostats that keep us at the perfect temperature without our having to raise a finger, and entertainment that can be simultaneously streamed to our TVs, tablets and cell phones.

Yet we are not merely in thrall with these technologies that were intended to make our lives easier. We have become enslaved by them.

Look around you. Everywhere you turn, people are so addicted to their internet-connected screen devices—smart phones, tablets, computers, televisions—that they can go for hours at a time submerged in a virtual world where human interaction is filtered through the medium of technology.

This is not freedom.

This is not even progress.

Big Brother in Disguise: The Rise of a New, Technological World Order

By Kenneth T.

My blog, My way

Welcome to a little piece of my life.
Here you will find things concerning my everyday experiences and or my thoughts on everyday happenings.

For instance you may find thoughts of my Farmstead, which is as my wife calls it, our Accidental Farming life.

Perhaps on a whim, I might just jump on a soap box about what’s going on with my crazy family (the immediate one, that is).~You don’t need to put a penny in the coin slot for any commentary there~

You may find, new additions to what I call “Hobby-time”. I make pinback buttons (some call them badges).

And then there is the outside the box or “Off-track” thinking, part of me. Which can be anything else from aliens to the zoology of the Loch Ness monster…

This will probably be more mundane as health concerns, for instance, to vaccinate or not.

Is the Earth Flat or is it Hollow? Is there a dome? Is any of it real? Do you really want to know?

Police brutality and the continuing corruption of established government, Big Business, Big Oil, Big Brother. Can we survive?

Should we survive? The coming monetary collapse.
There is so much going on, more than we see outside our windows.View Archive →


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2021
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