Sentry Drones (almost)

Killer robots are a mainstay of science fiction. But unlike teleportation and flying cars, they are something that we are likely to see within our lifetime. The only thing that’s stopping countries like the USA, South Korea, the UK, or France from deploying autonomous killing machine in the very near term is that they’re likely…

via Taking Killer Robots Seriously — Hackaday

Mathematics and Physics #1: Richard Feynman

mathsbyagirl

Although the realm of Mathematics in Physics is vast, I wanted to start a series where I talk about famous physicists whose work involved a large quantity of mathematics, starting off with Richard Feynman.

Ever since reading his semi-autobiography ‘Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!‘ I became fascinated with Feynman and his outlook on life. A charismatic man, he was a huge populariser of physics through both his books and lectures, for example, a 1959 talk on top-down nanotechnology called There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, and the three-volume publication of his undergraduate lectures, The Feynman Lectures on Physics.

Feynman was born in New York City in 1918, and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he obtained his B.Sc. in 1939 and at Princeton University where he obtained his Ph.D in 1942. 

Feynman is most well known for his work in quantum mechanics, the theory of…

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Forgotten Mathematicians: Indian Maths

From a sexy mathsbyagirl….

mathsbyagirl

I decided to continue with my ‘Forgotten Mathematicians’ series with Indian mathematics.

Mathematics owes a huge debt to the extraordinary contributions given by Indian mathematicians over many hundreds of years, however there has been a reluctance to recognise this.

Vedic Period (between 1500 BC and 800 BC)

The earliest expression of mathematical understanding is linked with the origin of Hinduism as mathematics forms an important part of the Sulbasutras (appendices of the Vedas – the original Hindu scriptures). They contained geometrical knowledge showing a development in mathematics, although it was purely for practical religious purposes. Additionally, there is evidence of the use of arithmetic operations including square, cubes and roots.

The Sulbasutras were composed by Baudhayana (around 800 BC), Manava (about 750 BC). Apastamba (about 600 BC) and Katyayana (about 200 BC).

Before the end of this period – around the middle of the 3rd century BC – the Brahmi numerals began to…

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A fetus can’t “hold hands” with its twin

Another great post, thanks again Dr. Jen

Dr. Jen Gunter

The story is a sad one, a set of twins where one is not expected to survive due to complex anomalies. As the mother of a set of triplets where one did not survive I understand this kind of pain.

A couple in such a situation spoke with their local news about their ultrasound which they feels shows the twin who is not expected to live “holding hands” with the other. You can click on the above link if you want to see it in more detail.

I don’t feel it’s my role to directly promote the image, so if you want to see a larger version click on the link above or Google as many news sites don’t agree with me.

Screen shot 2016-02-18 at 11.22.26 AM

A fetus is not capable of purposeful movement.

This is not holding hands as we know it.

The 2nd of my triplets kicked the 3rd one…

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A Historical Account

As an account based (meaning it is true) on real-life events. I only will change the names, or omit them, in order to just tell the story, not disparage anyone in particular. It needs to be told, if only to have my version out there, as no one has ever asked me for mine. A lot of assumptions have been made, social, legal, and otherwise. This is the only way to set things straight.

I raised a child. Not one I wanted. That may be cold to say, but it is true. You see, I only wanted a child with the love of my life, if at all. I never dreamed or imagined just having a child. Not to boost my ego, not to feel like a king, and not to make someone in my own image. And most importantly, not to have a child with someone I didn’t love. There’s a story about how this child that wasn’t mine became the child I was forced to raise, but that is another post, this is the story of how his mother and I came to meet, and how the engine got started on the railroad that stole years from me, and still continues to this day.

I used to visit a lot of people, for a variety of reasons, in my hometown. I once stopped by a friend’s house (shared rental, a couple of single moms lived there) and took a young girl for a ride n the back of my motorcycle. I would later regret being nice to that girl, but I am getting ahead of myself. You see, later, because of this encounter, we would be on a “friendly” level of familiarity, to the point of another friend of mine and I would utilize her and her friends as a “messaging service” when they were just standing on the street downtown. Realize, she was about  15. I truly thought I was doing a kind thing. I took a young girl on her first motorcycle ride, and, before texting, pagers, and much else, gave a small purpose that would keep some young girls in a small town from digressing into too much trouble. If there’s anyone who doubts those motives, I have learned that there’s nothing I can do to change that mindset. There are people who believe that all interactions between girls and boys are sexual in nature, and that will never change, at least not with me arguing. As a regular thing, we would leave messages for one another with those girls. He would tell them something for me, and when I was driving through town, I would stop, and say hi, and ask if there were any messages. My friend and I were 18 or 19. after a couple months of this, we somewhat stopped, as the usefulness of it ran out, and our lives kept us out of the downtown area more. Until late November-early December, when I did something nice that would become something of a regret.

I was driving through the small town I lived in, it was a one-street town and has since become a two-street town, when I saw one of the young girls walking on the sidewalk. It was about 9 or 10 pm, dark, and frosty out. Not a lot of snow in those parts, but still chilly temperatures. She was wearing only stretch pants, what looked like a thin hoodie and thin jacket, and was walking alone. Not knowing where she lived, and being the kind person I like to believe myself to be, I pulled over and asked if she needed a ride home, instead of walking home in the cold. Now, I had no intentions of anything else. To be bluntly honest, let’s just say she was, and still is, far from what I consider an attractive woman to be. I had been spending time with other people I was attracted to, but not been with. The reasons for that is another post, and story, entirely, one I may never tell in its entirety. When this young girl, we were both young, but I was definitely the elder, told me she didn’t live far. I offered to drive her around a little bit so she could get warm before going home, as she was shivering noticeably. I drove approximately 2-3 miles. A nice little loop just barely out of town. SHe and I talked while we drove, not about anything in particular, She even asked me if I wanted anything for doing this favor. I replied, with a laugh, “You mean something like, ‘this car runs on ass, not gas, so put out or get out’?”. I laughed a bit more before answering, “No, I’m not like that, you don’t owe me anything for this”. After a couple more miles, the entire loop was approximately 7 miles round trip, about 10 minutes, enough to get someone warm with the heater on high, she grabbed my hand, pulled it into her crotch while saying, “I have a hole here…” and pulled my hand into what was indeed a hole in her pants. Let it be said that at this time I was involved with Ecstasy and Meth. And a LOT of weed. I broke what had been a long battle of willpower. I never have been much of a promiscuous man. I gave in. Whatever alignment of the stars that happened, I attribute it to the fact that I was mostly thinking of someone else during this ride, someone I was VERY attracted to, and I pulled over. Now mind you, to this day, it remains the only time I have ever had sex without taking off a single article of clothing. I never finished. I lost my erection quite quickly, made some excuse to the effect of, “That was the quickest ever…” and redid my pants, found myself filling with regret, and got back to driving the girl home. It was all very short-lived, and I hoped I would be able to forget all about it, which I did, until some years later when I was served with a paternity suit from the state. I was the last person named on it that hadn’t been tested. Not even a one-night stand. I found out many years later that pre-ejaculate has only 0.4% chance of impregnation, and that is only if there was a previous ejaculation within 72 hours. And that is a sliding scale, as sperm do not die off all at once. I can’t provide any proof it had been much longer for me, but it was more like 6 weeks. In case the divergent “proof” isn’t clear right now, I eventually had 2 very strong kinds of scientific evidence, one was a DNA paternity test, the other was clinical evidence of impossible impregnation. Only one of those pieces of evidence was dependent on human error, and that was the DNA test. People don’t determine the longevity of sperm once they’ve left the testes, and without viable sperm, there can be no fertilization. That left only one possibility, one I didn’t realize until much later, because I had indeed, forgotten all about the incident, until it came back to rear its ugly head. By the time I remembered the details (I was sober & clean quite shortly after the incident, for other reasons) I had already been given a summary judgement, and had a parenting plan on file with the courts. And a young boy calling me dad. A child I never wanted, but had in front of me. So I did the best I could. I do have an apology to that young boy, I was never completely in that parenting 100%. I hope I didn’t do him a disservice. I did the best I was able to give him a “normal” parent, and be a good dad. But, I always looked to that light at the end of the tunnel that was his 18th birthday. For better or worse, good or indifferent, that is true. I am a dad, and, I am not. I have no children, but I raised one. I  want children with the love of my life, I hope I find her before too long. and I am scarred.

To the wonderful, honorable, and intelligent young man that came out of that mess, I am sorry I couldn’t be more of what you wanted. I hope I was what you needed. I am proud of who you are. There may never be a storybook ending, but you have the integrity to live a good life, and it is yours to choose. Work hard, don’t give up. I tried to teach you that first off, when you finally chopped that single round of pine. You are a good man. Live that truth.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be more for you, but I must find my happiness, and live my life. I hope you understand. When it is all said and done, for a little while in this big world, I was a dad, and you were a wonderful son.

 

Rehabilitation Prisons

For Spoilers, jump to the end 🙂

For-profit prison. The very name of it sounds like something to be heavily regulated at the very least, and probably be nonexistent. At least in a society that claims to be for its people. The history of profiteering prisons is long, there is a great article about it here. The numbers are staggering. The opportunism and covering of it are even more so, The refusal of expensive prisoners? Why is that even an option? Most telling is the fact that it is never calculated in the cost-benefit analyses of the companies that run them. There is no cost-benefit analysis that can price a human being’s potential. The single most important fact is this: the private prisons are not held to the same constitutional standards as government-run facilities. When did we sell our constitutional rights? For all the bluster of any politician or business(man) that claims to stand behind the inalienable rights granted to every citizen in this country, and support private prisons, you are a hypocrite of such grand endeavor as to be criminal.

The evidence for any benefit to the public good is lacking, Any report or study that says there is benefit doesn’t contain all data, misrepresents it, and/or is often a study that is industry funded so they can put statistics in the hands of paid lobbyists. Even the Justice Department can’t seem to agree on its own investigations (Nat’l Inst. of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics found here). There is no incentive to curb inmate violence, as it just adds to their sentence and provides 3rd-world labor in a 1st world country, and conditions have repeatedly been found to be below that required under constitutional rights. Remember, cruel and unusual? at 6%, and 16%, for State and Federal inmates respectively, that is UNUSUAL. to put them in a prison that can say no, is unusual. I mean, after all, what determines for that inmate where they go? Is it race? Criminal offense? Personal history? Who they pissed off when they came through Intake? None of those factors should be at play. Continual incarceration until the inmate is no longer viable as a worker, then released onto a general public with few skills, no viable working life, and a cost burden to taxpayers is the end result. This is no way to run a prison system, even a small amount. This should be a direct violation of the basic human rights the founding fathers of this country deemed to belong to all humans. The taking of the voting right even further alienates the inmates: they lose their voice, even if rehabilitated, and so their power with constituency politicians. Unless other people stand up for them as a voice, a thing quite difficult to do in any capacity other than abstract, such as I am doing here. Constitutional rights are deemed “inalienable” by the document itself. Strangely enough, that is the very first thing we seem to do when someone makes an error that runs afoul of the justice system and they, by happenstance, live too close to a private prison, or in a state that harbors them.

I’m not saying that some inmates aren’t scum, or there aren’t vicious and callous beings masquerading as humans within the system. What I am saying is that those prisoners aren’t profitable. The private system gets to “Just Say NO” to any unprofitable prisoners, and then turn around and claim how much more profitable they are, and do a better job, while farming out its population for labor that is neither regulated, nor labeled on any companies products. I mean, wouldn’t you want to know if what you buy was made with slave labor from a private prison camp? I would, and I bet many others would too. Not only that, I want to know which companies use that labor, and if they hire the same people when they get out of prison. I get to use my money to support who and what I want, and social issues matter. You can’t claim to support a “free” market that and say that you only want the consumer to look at your product, and no other factors, that isn’t free. That is a controlled market, falsification of source, and a slippery slope towards a society that has all of its citizens either in prison working, or invested in those same endeavors. The previous systems that did that was Slavery, Indentured Servitude, and Sharecropping, to name 3.

The crimes people are in jail for that land them into the private prison system are even more laughable. The worst is the Kids for Cash scandal that Michael Moore featured in a documentary. The fact is this: most are not supremely bad offenders. The breakdown featured in the Prison Policy Initiative’s website shows this. In fact, almost every single reasonable study, data analysis, Cost-benefit breakdown, and civil rights investigation has turned up either substandard conditions, no cost benefit, and a greater threat to society once having gone through this system.

This isn’t a deterrent. Calling this a deterrent assumes that prison itself isn’t one. The very act of calling a privately run prison a deterrent over normal prison, while the worst offenders are kept in the governmental system, is a blatant lie, and undermines the very system the private industry is parasitical to. There is no valid argument a private system that incarcerates its own citizens, then allows other citizens to maintain profit from that jailing. None. Cost benefit? tell me the value of a human life, and make the figure public. We all know that assassinations can happen, but that isn’t what I mean. I mean the kind of reasoning that goes into why there’s an ejection seat on a $35 million aircraft. Or we have regulations on trains, or traffic laws that add cost to people if they even slightly endanger even 1 other person with their actions. NO, if we are to have a government that incarcerates its people, then our government needs to shoulder the cost. Laws that do not recuperate cost from activity must be strictly analyzed. If we are to have a war on drugs to protect the health of our people, then why not universal healthcare? I am quite sure that the “War” on drugs money could save several thousand lives each year directly, not line the pockets of investors and lobbyists and legislators who push for an unjust justice system. In case you didn’t click the link, it’s $40 billion plus. About half of the drug incarcerations are for marijuana possession. While the legality of Marijuana is another post entirely (coming soon), the inequality of that figure is most telling. The highest sentences are for the harder drugs yet all of them combined are about the same as just one whose criminality is in serious question. CHerry Picking the inmates isn’t a deterrent, it’s profiteering that is second in its evil only to war profiteering. That isn’t well-spent tax dollars.

To close this out, I want to provide some alternative. As it comes onto 2016, and Bernie Sanders (#FeelTheBern) runs on a political ticket to dismantle the private system, I want to take up the challenge to provide an alternative, one that keeps some jobs as well as some labor savings. Since Bill Clinton did some damage of his own regarding the private prison industry in 1996 (Federal Workforce Reduction and Court Oversight removal) I would not be expecting Hillary to do much different. Here it is: Pay them to keep those same low-risk, low-cost inmates, out of jail. That’s right. Take that labor, give each inmate more wage, invest each worker’s wage’s in interest bearing accounts (a portion of which can be kept as part of contractual agreements), and some in their personal bank at prison, for their toiletries and such. And if an inmate is successfully retrained, can land a job, and stays out of prison for some set times, use the money saved in tax dollars, and earned in partial interest to pay the companies on a per annum basis for keeping rehabilitated inmates out of jail.

This is just a quick summation of a larger plan, but since rehabilitation is supposed to be the goal of prison, as a means of rejoinder in society…

Why aren’t we paying the private sector to keep people out of jail?

*one last resource on the nastiness of the private prison industry
http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/06/private-prisons-profit