Saturday, 30 June 2012

Electric cars, an expensive alternative to fossil fuel

In the good old days in England when fuel less then a pound around 2008 the supermarkets had a price war on fuel the cost was 89 per liter of fuel. This year, the cost had peaked up to £1.42 because of the potential Fuel tanker shrike that didn't happen. In the start of June prices shrink down £1.33, but because of the embargo in Iran and the situation of the Eurozone. World news effects prices and it filters down to the consumer.
People struggle every week on the cost of living and in some ways are effected by the rise in fuel prices , which raises the cost of transport of food and other consumer good in the markets.

Which I guess why Tesla (a electric car company ) are making a bold prediction that  in 20 years time  new cars will be fully electric. Chief Executive Elon Musk, an entrepreneur known for his outsized ambition. Last friday made a forecast battery powered cars will likely match the internal combustion engine.

Musk, co Founder the startup of Pay-pal, divides his time between Tesla and his space exploration startup Space X.
Electric cars were popular in the 19th century  and early 20th century, until early advances of the internal combustion engine technology. With mass production and cheap gasoline vehicles led the decline of electric cars. But energy crisis of the 70s and 80s brought a short lived interest in electric cars. This grew further in mid 2000s a renewed enthusiasm, due to rapidly increasing oil prices and to reduce green house gas emissions.
Companies including Tesla RoadsterMitsubishi i MiEVNissan LeafRenault Fluence Z.E. Ford Focus ElectricBMW ActiveE, not to mention a few more are available. The nissan leaf sold 27,000 units worldwide by early April 2012. The Mitsubishi i MiEV sold 17,000 units through october 2011.
The electric car has several benefits, compared with internal combustion cars. They have a slight reduction on air pollution, they do not emit harmful pollutants. They reduce greenhouse gases, depending on the technology charging the batteries, finally they do not relay on oil.
Despite the advantages, widespread adoption of electric cars faces several hurdles and limitations. Electric cars are significantly more expensive then conventional internal combustion engine and hybrid electric vehicles in 2011. This is because of the cost of Lithium ion battery packs, however prices seem to be dropping. Other factors such as the recharging infrastructure, or limited number of electric car showrooms may contribute to the reluctance of a electric changeover. Several government have established policies and economical incentives to promote the sales of electric cars. They are to fund further development of electric vehicles and more cost effective battery components. The US pledged $2.4 billion in federal grants, while China will provide US$15 billion to initiate an electric car industry within its borders.

Lithium ion battery technology seems to provide high energy density is relatively low in weight but is durable for 400 to 1200 cycles. Normally situated in handheld electronics, they are widely available, suffer no memory effect. In the way of losing  its recharge effectiveness despite not fully discharging the battery.
They also have the disadvantage of a limited charge cycle and efficiency might drop in high temperatures.
They also need a battery power management system  to prevent operation out side the safety limits. In extreme cases Lithium ion batteries can rupture or explode when exposed to high temperature.

There have be talk about alternative options to lithium ion, molten salt batteries with an operating temperature of 400 to 700 degrees C are a promising technology. They have problems of thermal management but recent  battery such as the ZEBRA battery operate 245 degree C, with a higher charge cycle of 3000.
Zinc bromie is a hybrid  electrochemical battery, they have a high energy density relative to lead acid batteries, have a high charge cycle life of 2000 no shelf life limitations like lithium ion.

What ever the future claims on transportation, there is a certainty of a countdown to the end of crude oil and fossil fuels. Technology has given us a faster electric car in the form of a tesla roadster clocking at 102 miles an hour for quarter of a mile, can travel around about 200 miles on one charge. It seems impressive that that electric car technology can complete with the combustion engine. Though at £86,950 I am thinking technology is not quite there. I do hope that battery technology becomes safer and cheaper then the current lithium ion standard, which seems to be the key thing for it to be a success. Until then I will carry on with my fossil fuel driven car and hope that I don't ruin the planet too much.

Friday, 29 June 2012

YouTube and Video futures

One of my main hobbies is film, from the old medium of celluloid 8 mm format to Video disc and mp4 files on my phone for when I got a spare moment to watch a film. I even like to see clips on the internet. One of the popular web sites tend to be video based due to the fact no effort is required to absorb the information. I can  normally watch a film at any time, while I have to be in the mood for reading.

Web sites like YouTube and Vimeo have so successful they have set a standard for unloading and sharing.
The concept was created by 3 former Pay-pal employees in February 2005, Based in San Bruno California and uses Adobe flash Video and HTML5 technology to display of user generated video content.
The winning formula to draw in heavy traffic was to make it easy for the general public to upload, view and comment on posted video clips. Critics say that youtube's material was posted in violation of copyright restrictions.

With contents such as film split into parts and music content being used without acknowledging royalties. In 2006 the company announced that 65,000 new videos were being uploaded everyday, and they were receiving traffic of 100 million video views per day. In May 2010 the traffic increased to 14 billion videos, which youtube claims thats 60 hours of new videos are uploaded every minuet. Three quarters of which seem to come from outside the US. In october 2006, Google Inc announced that it had acquired You Tube for 1.65 Billion in Google stock. The deal was finalized on November 13, 2006.
Though You Tubes revenue was never published in 2007. Forbes magazine article projected in 2008 revenue at $200 million noting the progress in advertising sales.
YouTube mobile was launched in june 2007 using realtime streaming protocol, though not all videos were
available on the mobil version. Around this time, content was transcoded to video standard .H264 to allow apple products to view their website. Though it took another 3 years for an up grade to HTML 5, allowing for touch screen controls.

An average veiwer would spend 15 minuets a day on the site, in contrast to spending 4 or 5 hours watching Tv. In november 2008 YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Loins Gate Entertainment, and CBS allowing companies to post full movies and television episodes on the site, along with advertisements. The success led the site to offer UK viewers 4000 full length shows from more then 60 partners.
In july 21st, 2009 YouTube software engineer Peter Bradshaw announced, that users will be able to upload 3D videos, which can be viewed in many different ways from anaglyph (Red/ Blue lens). But much later in 2011 with HTML 5, supported side by side footage compatible with Nvidia 3D vision.

They soon offered a film online rental service a range of 6000 films only to the US ,the UK and Canada in january 2010.
Later in March 2010, YouTube began free streaming certain content, including 60 cricket matches of Indian Premier League. In may 2011 YouTube reported in its company blog that the site was receiving more than 3 billion views per day, it was a figure that increased to 4 billion video streamed per day in january 2012.

It seems that streaming video online is big business and that it will still continue to increase, TV companies and film content have already crossed over to the internet dark side. Streaming sports events and musical concerts have continued to increase.

There is flip-side on the continued success of YouTube, is that China have blocked completely all access to the website along with Morocco.
Online videos seemed to have embedded their way in technology and culture, as source of alternative entertainment, a way of making money and even to gain popularity. Its future is limited by the current level of technology. I have a feeling entertainment and news will fuel this eternal flame, its a medium that can't be ignored by TV channels. In someway user interaction has been a more of an enjoyable viewing process then blindly watching TV channels. This is why new Television sets are being equipped with online video streams. I can easily imagine how this might take over traditional viewing. If the future of television is streaming clips or byte sized fluff pieces as foretold by Ray Bradbury. Then I hope there is an "off" button, or at least a way to filter out the propaganda and advertizements...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Don't Panic its 21st december 2012 Apocalypse

I once went to mexico because a friend lived there and nothing spells cheap holiday like free room and board somewhere exotic, The good thing was I got chaffered around in a city so large that it stretches to the horizon. The bad thing was the ice cubes in the cold drink I brought at the cinema gave me diarrhea, I feel alright now but at the time I think I was experiencing the end of the world. Despite all of this, I had the opportunity to visit the local museum and read up on Mayan culture.

The Mayans is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for a fully developed written language, art, architecture, astrological and mathematical systems. Initially established around 2000 BC to 250 AD according to the Mesoamerican Chronology, many Mayan cities reached their highest state of development during the Classic period 250 to 900 AD right up to the arrival of the Spanish.
But why mention the Mayans, it turns out that one of the early calenders (Long count calender) has to end on december 21st 2012.

 The calender round, which uses a 360 days often for agricultural purposes like planting crops.
The mayans employed 3 types of calenders, The Haab calender is a 360 used as a civil calender, the Tzolkin is a religious calender at 260 days. basic cycle. One theory is that 260 days is the length of time of the first missed menstrual period and birth. Also Tzolkin calender was designed to complement the Haab in order to generate the 52 year cycle of the calender round.

The long count calender was the principal calender for historical purposes. According to the Popol Vul (a compilation of creation account of the Kiche Maya) The Popol Vuh the gods creating three failed worlds, followed by a 4th world in which humanity was placed. In the Maya long count the previous world ended after 5125 years. The point was set to zero carries on to the current one which started at 3114BC and ends at 21 December 2012

Considering that The calender ends on this date, which could be interpreted as the end of the world. It can just as easily start another 5125 year long count calender. It feels that tensions rises to the end of the year while people are looking on for subtle signs for an ending. Things like the global economy or natural disasters
war and general news. Doomsayers like to shout out and scare the general public, they bring all kinds of myths and legends of mayan calenders and of Nostradamus. Nostradamus seem to have predicted the great fire of london, world war and possibly 911, though offer no specific date of the end of the world. His prediction is that the world might collide with a comet. My own skepticism steps in, reading past the crazy you tube videos of doom. I find the Mayan calender will just reset and seeing so many conflicting prophecies 
I got no choice but to say "not much will change", Ill be paying the bills as usual. Hopefully I would like to see an egg on many people faces. Though on the other hand if this is the last year of civilization, then maybe I don't have to pay taxes or get up to work, either way its a win win situation.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Time Machine, a brief history on time travel

Ever since watch the 1960's version of H G Wells classic time machine I loved the concept of traveling in time. I think I like the idea that one point in space can change over time, plus when you add in a bit of Einstein grandfather paradox and a bit of Shakespearian plot twisting it makes a weird but good hay ride to  take your mind off things.
My mind seems to think what would be the next cool trend for the viewer to be hooked on. A while ago it was vampires, or fashion, or singing using auto tune while making a teen drama about some insignificant child related subject (GLEE).
As a scifi fan I don't think there was anything that grabbed my attention since Dr who ( a time traveling half alien doing good deeds). But now a new show Continuum seems to be catching my eye.

Roughly it goes on the plot of future terrorists that are angry at corporate Government ( like a more aggressive version of the occupy wall street protestors the "we are the 99%"), seem to take action against the dystopian government. The group get caught and then at their execution, seem to have a device to allow them to travel about 60 years in the past. But somehow a law enforcement officer travels back in time with them, and so begins the crazy roller coaster ride of a police capture drama but with a 4th dimensional twist.
It almost reminds me of the two season show Sarah conner Chronicles which is a spinoff on the film "The Terminator". A robot Apocalypse film with a main plot line to prevent rebel leaders from being born.

It seems to be a reoccurring theme where by prevention is the universal key to solve most problems in a time travel movie. Other theories of multiple universes seem to explain a no change effect of killing your own grandfather. The idea being that you have popped into a neighboring universe and any wrong doings you commit will not have any effect to your own time line.

In ancient Hindu mythology the Mahabharatha (a 3000 year old text) is one of the two sanskrit epics of ancient india, mentions a story of king Revaita who travels to a different world to meet the creator Brahma. The king is shocked to find in his return to earth that many ages has passed.
Urashima Taro is a legend about a 15th century fisherman who rescues a turtle and is rewarded for this with a visit toRyugu-jo The palace of Ryujin (the Dragon god) After 3 days staying at the palace, he finds his way back to his village only to see 300 years has gone.

Washington Irvine wrote a story about Rip Van Winkle who sleeps for 20 years some time in 1819, while Charles Dickens told a tale of Scrooge who saw glimpses of the future and past. Even mark Twain wrote a story of a Connecticut yankee in the court of King Arthur in 1889, six years before HG Wells story of the time machine.

I would say that time travel of some kind, has been a fascination that never gets old over the years. Writers, film plots and scientists seem to come up with different variations with the concept of time. I even think that it deserves it own film genres, among the cowboy westerns, the action, the horror and comedy listings.
Most time travel stories have a recurring theme of changing the past, protecting the time line, preventing a apocalypse, or unintentional time change. With variations of the four concepts add in some drama and clever script writing you might have a TV show.
To me I always have a soft spot for time travel films it kind of makes me think in a dystopian future, despite how bad things can get even in death. Time travel is a great equalizer and that everybody and anybody can shape the future.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

When Bionic Eyes are smiling.

In the 70s there was an action toy that allowed me to think that steve Austin was a bionic man with the ability to jump higher lift and see further then any other human. The cost of which would be a cheap price of 6 million dollars with the currency exchange of 1.56, I could buy upgrades at about £3.8 million pounds(If I was to win the lottery). But with the real lame looking electronics and possible power supply limited to nickel hydrogen power cells which is suppose to be for satellites (also need to be pressurized to 1200 psi making it dangerous if shot).
The whole idea of bionic implants would be ridiculous in the 70s. But today I am not sure considering certain technologies are advanced enough to allow direct to nerve surgery.

My other blog article mentions that with a simple few connections to the nerve endings you could train those nerve fibers to fire and operate the micro sensors which are connected to a electrical mechanical arm. Considering that a grabbing motion needs two signals to grab and let go or that an arm would possibly need less then ten connecters to function as an arm.
New leaps into technology with the idea that micro electronics with the ability to shrink down the business end of a camera to a few millimeters. The idea is to have a photo graphic like representation of a sensor array or out put array drawn much like the picture slide projector but in reverse. lithography machines with laser light etch away light sensitive parts leaving circuits behind eventually over 25 exposures for each part of the component of the chip circuit will build up to what is a complex circuit.

Dr robert Greenberg and Bio electronics engineer Dr Wentai at University of California, Santa Cruz were the original inventors of the active epi retinal prosthesis. They formed a company in the late 90's called Second sight. their first generation implant had 16 electrodes and was implanted to 6 subjects from 2002 to 2004.
The six test subject who were completely blind, could now perform surprising array of tasks using the device. In 2007 the resolution of the implants was increased from 16 to 60 electrodes. Dubbed the Argus II in the US and Europe had 30 subjects participating spanning in 10 sits and 4 countries. In spring of 2011, the results of the studies published in Ophthalmology, Argus II was approved for commercial use in europe. The FDA have yet to green light the project in the US, despite support from the National Eye Institute, Department of energy, and National Science Foundations.

Dr Mohamad Sawan Professor and researcher at Poly neurotechnologies Laboratory, has been working on a visual Prosthesis to be implanted on the visual cortex. The idea is to implant a silicon microchip on a network of electrodes. The Biocompatible material injects a stimulating electrical current in order to provoke a series of luminous points to appear as like a array of pixels for a blind person.
The system is composed of two distinct parts, the implant and the external controller. The implant is lodged  in the visual cortex and receives data as well as power wirelessly from the external controller. the external battery operated controller consists of a camera as well as processor and command generator. This converts the micro camera image to a manageable data  flow for the stimulating process.

It seems to me there is a bionic eye race between the German researchers the Americans and Austrians all looking to make their product. Though from my understanding the Austrian and the German companies are
hoping to cure a specific problem of Retinitis pigmentosa, an age related eye degenerative disease.

I was hoping technology would move along to more then 60 electrodes, there has been improvements to increase to 100 electrodes, not enough to read but just about ok to maneuver in a street environment. With each company saying that improvements could reach to 1000 electrodes (the ability to visualize fine print and see facial detail ), I think probably the technology is still in its infancy. The cost for a Argus II implant is around $115,000 which is a high price for a 60 pixel screen on your eyeball. Not quite a retinal display on your retina. But until 1000 pixels has been cracked, it will mean the possibility of super cyborg humans. The idea of replacing a normal CCD camera with a high power tele-focusing lens or even a multi spectrum electromagnetic wave sensor, we can be like the fictional blind character Geordi La Forge and see infra red visible light and all the other colors of the rainbow.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Musical Evolutions.

In my own quest of finding a excellent tune if I am in the mood to make some music to kill a few minuets while waiting for something better to come along. I find my self stumbling along for ideas and it doesn't help if you are hearing arguments down the hallway or if someone is playing the TV too loud.  If I do get in a rare moment of composing, I have to feel a ethereal presence before I lay down some foundation of beats and melody. I somehow need to get a sense of tempo and then later a drum loop to state which way I would go musically speaking. But there are many different ways to get inspired to write a song.

look at it in a logical way where upon you look at its structure and see what genera you would like write for. This can determine the drum beats and drum style of the song. Write for each section for verse chorus and bridge, with difference of melody for verse and chorus. Normally finding a chords for verse and a small variation change for the chorus. In my process of writing I would start the chords and hum notes to find a melody for that chord structure.
Heartbreak seems like a good source of inspiration, it allows sympathy and bond on some level with the listener. Though there may be a large amount of songs written to this same subject matter, its can often lead the writer down a pathway full of cliches and repeated imagery.
Bob Barrett famous music producer used to collect song lyrics and keep them in a long scribbled list on scraps of paper. These ideas soon became 250 songs, these song ideas came from life and over time collected from conversations and with friends, newspapers everyday phrases and play on words.
Doodling on a piano or guitar could also stimulate a melody or spark up words for a potential song.
Paul McCartney sat down on a piano and was doodling in the key of E Major. When he had a quote from Spike Milliagn in his mind “You know, it’s a funny kind of thing – black notes, white notes, and you need to play the two to make harmony, folks.” This idea would later evolved to the song Ebony and Ivory.

Collaboration with a friend or a group of like minded musicians can often produce unique results, which probably would not be constructed by one person. Once john Lennon and Paul McCartney had both half of a song which fitted together perfectly.

Spontaneous musical ideas can flash into someone's mind like a prewritten song or a whole melody which triggers lyrics. Beethoven best melody ideas came to him while out walking through a field, Mood can also trigger spontaneous ideas too.
People them selves can inspire composers to write a musical form of a biography, Bernie Taupins song Daniel sung by Elton John was about a Vietnam Veteran  who after the war, lost his eyesight and decided to leave the US and live in spain. While The Beatles wrote about "Eleanor Rigby" and several other people in situations that move us.

What is inspiring and what causes us to compose was seemed to be ethereal, an immeasurable quality which can not be explained. Darwin Tunes is a music program which creates bursts of noise that gradually evolve based on the preferences of thousands of human listeners who visit Darwin
Darwin Tunes is the brain child of Robert MacCallum and Armand Leroi from Imperial college London.
MacCallum suspects that musical styles evolve through Darwinian natural selection. They are copied and modified from artist to artist and generation to generation, with the popular ones more likely to be copied get more exposure.
The experiment began with two parent 8 second long loops, each encoded with a digital genome which are shuffled and produce daughter loops which mutate. This also mimics the way composers would merge musical styles together while inventing new motifs.

The experiment began with 100 randomly generated loops, on the website listeners would then on a scale of 5. After every 20 listens, the top ten would pair off and would produce 2 daughters. At any one time 100 loops would exist, leaving less popular loops to die.
To date the loops have been evolving over 3000 generations.  A upward rise of appeal will last 500 or 600 generations, before it hits a plateau and will stop evolving. This is because loops get so complex that their intertwining melodies and rhythms don't merge very well. The act of mating rather combining the best of both parents ends up in splitting the elements that work well together. Or it maybe because some styles are trapped in an adaptive peak, which explains why old musical styles tend to be conservative, changing little over the years.
Darwin Tunes offers insight to the evolution of music via musical loops, it may be applied to the evolution of the pop culture of music in the real world. I cant help but agree that when ever I compose music I mix elements of previous generations of music from favorite songs of mine.
Though I think more about the artistic elements I bring on board then the cold merging algorithm of a computer program. I was worried that this kind of technology would replace the composer but the level musicality from these loops make me think they are no better them lame 90's ring tones.

I am not sure if the computer will be composing at the same level as humans. I know that it can be used as a powerful tool to compile musical elements. As music sequencers can quickly bring together instruments and loops to form a song. The future will still have a human element which needs that degree of empathy. Without that human element comes that slow decline of interest and back on the road of dystopia.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

UAV, A brief history of Surveillance

In Ghost Recon: Advanced War fighter 2, I first became aware to the concept of UAV. A term I thought was basically left for the spy vehicles in the sky. Its always nice to go higher to get an advantage over your enemies. To basically find which direction, how far, how many foes and general layout of the land so you can rush in and surprise your enemies.  Most times when I play with my incompetent skills and selfish team mates I find that our success rate is determined, by the large number of trys I continue to do until I hit a save point. Not to say that I am so bad at ghost recon but its always nice to get a heads up on where to shoot and how many to kill.
In the real world things are slightly different with the cost of electronics and the quality of video surveillance this technology can now be widely used.
Unmanned aerial Vehicle or UAV commonly known as drone is a aircraft without a human pilot. Its flight is either autonomously by on board computer or under remote control of a navigator or pilot. Military versions have a different name UCAVs.

UAVs have been around since 1916, a number of remote control advances followed, during world war 1, later in world war 2 UAV were used to train anti aircraft gunners and to fly attack missions. Jet engines were later fitted to Teledyne Ryan Firebee1 in 1951. Most were remote control aeroplanes until the Vietnam Era.
The start of UAV or RPVs began in 1959 when the United states air force officers concerned about losing pilots over hostile territory. This was intensified when a secret U2 was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960. Days later a classified UAV program was launched under the code name of "Red Wagon".  Some time in 1973 did the US acknowledge the use of UAVs General john Meyer  commander in chief stated we let the drone do the high risk flying... the loss rate is high, but we are willing to risk more of them to save lives.

 Meanwhile Israel  pioneered the use of UAVs for real time surveillance, electronic warfare and decoys.
Images and radar decoying provided by UAVs helped Israel to completely neutralize the Syrian Air Defenses at the start of the Lebanon war. In the 90s the U.S. department started buying UAVs from Israel
The navy brought Pioneer UAV which is still in use. Many of the Vehicles developed by israeli and US, were used in the 1991 Gulf war. UAV were seen to offer the possibility of cheaper, more capable fighting machines that could be used with out the risk of aircrews. The early generations were primarily surveillance aircraft, but later were armed like the General Atomics MQ predator, which utilized the AGM 114 Hellfire air to ground missiles.

UAV perform a variety of functions, the majority of these functions are some form of remote sensing. Remote sensing functions include electromagnetic spectrum sensors, biological, chemical, visual spectrum, infrared,or near infrared cameras as well as Radar systems. Chemical sensors use laser spectroscopy to analyze the concentration of each element in the air.
commercial use allows the user to monitor livestock wildfire mapping pipeline maintenance home security road patrol and anti-piracy.

In August Derbyshire police used a drone to monitor protests at the British national part's red white and blue festival in condor. However the first arrest with the use Of UAV happen on january 26th officers were told about the stolen Renault Clio in Bootle in Merseyside. After pursuit two suspects abandoned the vehicle and tried to run on foot. One 20 year old man, was quickly arrested but the other managed to escape into the thick fog and darkness long the canal. Police chiefs decided to use a drone with special thermal imaging to detect the suspect high above the search area. Coordinating the search the drone directed foots patrols to were the suspect was hiding. Chief inspector Nick Gunatilleke of the Merseyside anti-social behavior task force said "these arrests demonstrate the value of having something like the UAV.

BAE systems said they will be adapting their military style UAVs for a consortium of government agencies led by Kent police Document showed the force hope to use the drones in the time for the 2012 Olympics.
My thoughts on the use of use of UAVs as a security tool to the run up of the Olympics, remain neutral.

I think because of current models or toy models like the AR drone run at a short time. Its hardly worth while to use such a machine for ten minuets at a time. In most cases remote cameras are already been secured on poles and buildings. Already an estimated 50 thousand both military and security personnel are to be used for the Olympic event. A slight over kill in my guess but many people are worried that this will spark a new legacy in UAV use as a permanent tool over the general public after the games have finished.
I would like to think that because of the new Laws from the FAA, were upon you must apply for a permit to fly a UAV and maintain eye contact of the vehicle at all times. This will complicate matters of BIG BROTHER surveillance. I like to think it will open new job opportunity for pilots to operate these cameras much in the way of camera operators who man the surveillance cameras in the city. But technology and battery power will limit operating time.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Parkinson's Disease, Cures causes and marihuana

This subject is close to me it involves a family member and the fact is that because its personnel I'll try to keep the drama to a minimum. Looking into the horrible Parkinson's disease, I found it to be a degenerative disease. it attacks the central nervous system. The central nervous system is basically the wiring that controls and senses the arms and legs of a human. The reason are unknown but it starts with the death if the subtantia nigra, located in the mid brain. This section of the brain plays an important part in the reward addiction and movement.
In wiring the brain to do most things it gives itself a reward. In the case study of students. Participants with the higher levels of Dopamine were able to perform much better on learning tasks.

Parkinson's syndrome is a idiopathic having no known cause, though in most cases it would seem to be genetic in origin. Many risk and protective factor have been investigated, the clearest evidence is for a certain pesticides. And a reduce risk for people who smoke tobacco.

The pathology of the disease is characterized by the accumulation of soluble protein with unknown function into inclusions called lewy bodies in neurons, and form insufficient formation of dopamine. Lewy Bodies are the abnormal aggregates of protein that develop inside nerve cells in Parkinson's disease. It would suggest that the anatomical distribution of Lewy bodies is often related to the degree of the clinical symptoms for each individual.

Treatments are effective at managing early motor symptoms of the disease, mainly the use of Levodpa. Levodpa is a dopamine agonists which basically a signaling agent to produce more dopamine, which is suppose to return dopamine levels to normal for movement. Dopamine can not be administered to the blood stream like any other drug, as the blood brain barrier prevents this type of transference.
typical side effects for Levodba hypotension if dosage is too high. irregular heat beat though it is uncommon.
Nausea which can be reduced by taking with food, though protein interferes with drug absorption. Hair-loss disorientation and confusion, extreme emotional states, particularly anxiety. Vivid dreams and insomnia, auditory and visional hallucinations, it may effect working memory while impairing other complex functions. the person will have a strong desire to sleep or is prone to narcolepsy.

 There has been research of stem cells as a cure for reversing the effect of Parkinson's disease. Personally I might thinking it might be a hoax as the mid brain are is very hard to get to. One company is attempting to grow a culture of brain cells from someone with this disease in order of finding chemicals to reduce the symptoms. There have been chinese cures that said to reduce and maybe even halt the progress of the disease. While some people use cannabis as a way to reduced the symptoms of shaking hands and legs that come with the disease.
As I see it the certain cells in the mid brain starts to die and cause the slow movement or even shaking symptoms in Parkinson's. I like to think if these cells are choking and dying out, then why not  apply certain vitamins or supplements to reduce this type of disease. I have been watching someone I care for go from a strong independent person into a weak child like personality. It gets harder as I really didn't know until recently the mechanics that causes this disease. Of course I am skeptic about the new age cures like herbal medicines and using cannabis as a treatment. I'll have to do more research into cures but from now on I'll try to see from the other side of the person with Parkinson's.



Possible Cures



Friday, 22 June 2012

Happy Birthday Dr Alan Turing, a brief history of the Enigma code

As road trips goes I liked the excellent one I went to on a few years ago, it was a world war two adventure.
My friends and I travelled to Duxford a aircraft museum a much needed visit on all things war related.
later we visited Bletchley park a guarded secret of world war 2 until recently, when files of the worlds first code breaking computer was locked in a government cover up ordered by Winston Churchill himself.

In 1919 a Dutchman Hugo A. Koch  and a German Arthur Scherbius independently devised a writing machine. Scherbius eventually brought Koch's patent and combined the two machines together, later in 1926 the German Navy Brought a machine which eventually became Enigma. I the machine at the time was for sale on the open market. American cryptanalyst William F. Friedman broke japans code but could never solve  Germans variations of Enigma.

The polish could easily break germans code until they found the Germans brought Scherbius Device.They set work buying the machine so that they could decode Germans enigma code. Through certain memos they had work out the modifications and internal wiring Of the Enigma machine. though each arm of the German military had its own modifications to the Enigma Machine.

Also soon after the Germans would add a pass key for each message, they used tricks like using the letter 'Y' as a fullstop and would rotate or mod the machine every month or so. This proved very difficult to crack, the polish solution was to buy 6 machines connected together and try every permutation to find the correct message. this collection of machines was called a Bombe. With the Germans about to invade Poland the Polish had no choice but to share their findings to the British and French Allies.
Within weeks of arriving at Bletchley park Alan Turing had specified an electromechanical machine that could help break Enigma more effectively then the polish Bombe. The Bombe with the enhancement suggested by Gordon Welchman, became one of the primary tools used to attack enciphered messages. Turing used a theorem in logic to substantiate the inner workings of the Bombe.
In 1942, Turing devised a technique Turingery to use against the Lorenz cipher, these were messages produced by Germans new secret writer machine. It was a teleprinter rotor cipher attachment which was given a name of tunny at Bletchley Park. The new machine used a new system of cam settings of tunny wheels which required a new Tunny team. Max Newman and Tommy flowers. built  the worlds first Programmable digital electronic computer the "Colossus". This was built to replace a simpler machine which was named "Heath Robinson" after the cartoonist who would draw crazy unlikely machines. The new colossus machine was a break through in technology, it correlate two streams of data one was the enciphered massage stream and the other was the carefully matched patterns of the Lorenz machine.

While the older Heath Robinson machine would have to have two simultaneous paper streams with data  on the paper being optically read. The old machine would need to synchronize its paper streams for it to work.
While Colossus would just need one paper date stream and the other would be stored within its circuits as jumper cables on a plug board configuration.
The colossus reduced the time of breaking the lorenz massages from week to hours. This was helpful in the run up to the D Day landings, as Hitler was convinced the attacks would be in Calais and not 400 miles away in Normandy. The number intercepted messages increased, when as a united effort of the french resistance and allied forces knocked down the teleprinter lines. This forced the Germans to use radio communication.

Alan Turing was instrumental in cracking the encrypted messages, he developed ideas in the Field of non linear biological theory, which paved the way for complexity and chaos theories.It is generally accepted that the Turing machine concept can be used as a model for today's digital computers. Turing went on to define the aspect of artificial Intelligence. In his thought experiment of a conversation between two hidden entities. this requires a level of understanding which one human trys to determine if the other entity is human too.

My trip ended with a fond look at the secret history of code breaking, but now throughout this year lots of event are happening to celebrate the great man who is being called the father of computing. As an end user I must admit its makes a interesting story to read about the development of the principles of computing. If not I might even rent out the 2001 film "Enigma" just to celibate the guy. But I digress the 23rd of june marks his birthday and I'll just say happy birthday Dr Turing. And as predicted I'll be using a computer to play one of the fine first person shooters I have on the hard drive.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Experiencing Time dilation, that's your body clock adjusting

In my days as a student I would experience certain time dilation's and wouldn't think anything of it. After traveling into the future, faster then I can remember I had the symptoms of dry mouth huge migraines and sensitivity to light. All can be explained by the fact I was drinking a special but cheap time travel juice called alcohol. Special alcohol mix would allow me to de-focus on exams essays and cheap almost unhygienic living standards. That was a special time in my life as I remember it, but I guess at the time of those crazy manic days of  intense education I might not have positive happy feelings.
My post student days I would consider why does time go fast in one situation and not another?. Was it the alcohol or the fact I wasn't aware of the time?.

My Idea of time perception can be distorted with the use of drugs and alcohol, also engaging in some interesting activity usually helps to make the time go flying by. Trying to figure out the concept of time would be a hard concept to say in a short article. As I see its a series of events that is happening, while we as humans record or experience the flow of time sequentially.
From there my idea that time can move slowly or fast can perceptionally be altered. I know there is a branch of science that says time can slow down in a large gravity well or when approaching the speed of light. But considering its a dark Thursday night and I am thinking of a late night snack rather then explaining what so many documentaries and other blogs about the theory of relativity. I will stick to normal human time on earth.

This means time is constant and the only way perception of time can be altered is through brain chemistry or someones attention span. The basic idea of perception of time is through the idea of following a cycle of 24 hours. The Circadian clock or rhythm is the biochemical mechanism that coordinate with the day night cycle
Bi-polar disorder and some sleep disorders are associated with irregular circadian rhythm, which may be corrected positively with lithium. The clock genes are cogs in the circadian rhythm that make up the auto regulatory feedback loop. The clock gene carry out genetic instructions to produce proteins, these same oscillating biochemical signals control various functions including sleep rest and when we are awake.
Circadian rhythms also controls body temperature heart activity hormone secretion, blood pressure, oxygen consumption metabolism and many other functions.

Neuroscientist Dr David Eagleman, experimented on a student volunteers, by dropping them at a height that would induce the slow perception of time change by free falling. Beside making a new machine for adrenaline junkies, Dr Eagleman wanted to find if time was slowed down to the falling observer. His premise was to have a wrist display oscillating a number too fast for the brain to see. While falling the observer would then perceive time slower would in theory see the display as their time is altered. His findings was that there was no change and the falling observer could not see the display despite feeling time had slowed down for them.


There have been many experiments with time perception some using hypnosis to alter time, others using test subject to see the perception of time is the same for people young and old . One cave expert Michel Siffre. experience time differences when he entered a cave for 59 days, thinking it was 34 days.

Time perception is changeable to any situation, reading up on the circadian clock or the body's own clock system. I found it can be adjusted according to the rhythm of the day, by way of resetting itself using light.
The attention span can be focused in such away that time seems to slow down during times of danger or hypnosis or emotional events. Time does fly when you having fun and does slow if its boring. Even my alcohol idea seems to fit with this theory. Though if I was trying to travel to the future I wouldn't drink hard liquor to see a world beyond my own life time. Instead enjoy your biological clock and keep it running at a average speed. What ever you do if its fun, scary or boring you body clock will be re-adjusting automatically, and the strange time dilation seems to be the knock on effect of that.