This is brilliant. Simply brilliant.
One of the more popular posts on this blog was the one pointing out how Stuxnet was unsophisticated. Its use of traditional malware methods and lack of protection for the payload indicated that the authors were either "Team B" or in a big hurry. The post was intended to counteract the breathless praise in the press for the advent of sophisticated "cyber-weapons".
Last Thursday, October 3rd of 2013 (when I started writing this, as I am so very productive), I was thinking about door sensing – how could I measure the state of the door? I brainstormed with my roommate (Ryan Kubik, mechanical engineering), and we came up with all kinds of ideas; magnetic (à la home security systems), mechanical, ultrasonic, and acceleration, among others.
At one point, I remembered Jack Andraka’s discovery of an electrical-resistance-of-blood test for pancreatic cancer, and started poking around with my multimeter. It’s truly amazing what happens when someone throws a multimeter at a problem.
Fifteen minutes later, I’d wired an arduino & PowerSwitch Tail up to the door. I modified the sample “Blink” program to read a digital pin (in an ugly loop), turning the (built-in LED on pin 13) on if the door’s voltage is high. I connected the arduino’s ground to the strike plate, and the to-read pin to the handle. I attached 10k pullup resistors to the breadboard’s power rails, so that the closed door connected the pin to ground, and the open door allowed the pullup resistor to pull the pin to the +5v rail (split by the pull up/down resistors to 2.5v). Dangling wires blocked the door. It was ugly and a hack, but functional!
“…taking this voyage of the next ten years, to do it with the public. This is not going to be a scientific voyage, this is going to be a voyage where everyone can participate; and when we have programs where the project will be existing in every science museum – this initiative is actually being led by the israeli science museum – we have programs that is going to allow the public to participate in the project, in terms of ethics, in terms of the science of it, and we’re very excited because we really believe that the biggest benefit besides us scientifically telling you how the brain works and when it can go wrong – the biggest benefit is in all of us not becoming strangers to ourselves.”
I’ve finished uploading all files! Check it out.
My favorite Facebook page, I Fucking Love Science, Just mentioned this incomprehensible tragedy that’s occurred in Assumption Parish, LA, and linked to a weather channel article about it. But there’s some astounding video that they left out.
The official Assumption Parish YouTube channel shows us a “Slough in” from last Thursday (the 22nd):
By the end of the video the water level (of the WHOLE bayou) has dropped several feet – the previous water level is clearly visible on the trees; and if one video of disappearing trees wasn’t enough for you – they have more:
The parish YouTube channel also has flyover video, which shows the massive size of the area involved, and the growth thereof. First I’ll show you two videos taken on the first:
NOTE the road on the right at 0:02
Then two videos taken on the 13th:
And lastly the 22nd:
But that’s just scratching the surface of the matter. This is a depth measurement taken a month before those videos.
The probe just keeps going and going and GOING ever deeper – for five full minutes – at which point there’s no more line to measure with! I’m at a loss for words. A post on the Assumption, LA blog (archived here)notes that reel was 750 FEET long. That’s tremendously deeper than the data from a month earlier(archived here). Simply astounding.
My laptop just did something really weird to me – I’ve never seen it before. I have an i7-4930mx, and while working in Mathematica it froze at 1.8ghz! Nothing would help! What the hell? Screen Capture below.
Can anybody explain why & what happened?
EDIT: it’s blurry – the raw file
My doctor once mentioned the extraordinary effect of weather on behavior – it affects us in many more ways than we are aware of. He mentioned many things, that sunshine improves mood, that storms (barometric pressure) increases anxiety and promotes anger, and that the arrival of spring induces manic episodes in psychiatric inpatients - who proceed to run down the street naked. I’ve been convinced, but never actually saw the data behind this finding.
Earlier this evening, as our dorm room reached 75% humidity (with our large dehumidifier running constantly) I remembered this and actually looked it up. I found “A multidimensional approach to the relationship between mood and weather“ in the British Journal of Psychology. Put simply, as in their abstract:
Humidity, temperature and hours of sunshine had the greatest effect on mood. High levels of humidity lowered scores on concentration while increasing reports of sleepiness. Rising temperatures lowered anxiety and scepticism mood scores. Humidity was the most significant predictor in regression and canonical correlation analysis.
The authors note fourteen significant relationships, one of which had a P<0.01 (concentration suffered as humidity rose), and another (sunshine) as the sole predictor of optimism. But they touched on an interesting issue in their discussion, as excerpted:
One area of practical concern in the study of weather is the effect it has on classroom and office performance. Typically, the relationship between performance and temperature has been studied (e.g. Bell, 1981). However, the results of the present investigation suggest that humidity might be a variable that influences important aspects of performance, such as attention (concentration) and alertness (sleepiness). Allen & Fischer’s (1 978) work demonstrated that humidity had a greater impact on performance than temperature. The effect of humidity level on performance appears to be an important area for further research.
Humidity’s effect on concentration should also factor into HVAC design, especially in a dormitory like ours, which approaches 90% humidity without a dehumidifier (bought by us), and where the air conditioners have no (functional) condensate drain.
I remember that one rainy day I’d told a friend about it , but he wasn’t buying it. Right then, we walked by a child laying face flat on the concrete, screaming and banging his fists. My friend needed no further proof. Definitely worth a read.
I should really write a full article on this, à la meta-analysis, but I simply don’t have the time. Instead, here are fascinating related articles:
My Facebook account is deactivated, and will be for the next week. http://about.me/ariccio for other ways of contacting me.
Here's an easy to follow guide for building your own glove box. It's a lab tool that contains the project you're working on to keep things in or out. For instance, we could have used this a few years back when we tried to add an acrylic window to a hard drive. Instead, we ended up putting several hours of work into a cool-looking paperweight.