Weekly Editorials Page
5/31 to 6/6, 2001
A few years
ago, someone from NASA Headquarters predicted a petaflops computer within
ten years. I thought it was preposterous. He was right and I was wrong.
IBM's petaflops Blue Gene machine should be ready by the time NASA is ready
for it in 2004 (NASA
Climate Modeling Spurs Next Computing Revolution).
is the new Intenet surveillance arm of various government agencies, and
is apparently raising hackles in some European parliaments (E-mail
users warned over spy network) .
chemical shows promise against prostate cancer is another presentation
of the results of soy isoflavones. One word of caution: These isoflavones
are estrogen analogs, and have been implicated in another study in promoting
uterine cancer. For men, they would up exposure to estrogen-like hormones.
ends as Gordon Moore quits Intel's board contains some interesting
remarks by Dr. Moore about the future of computing.
the impression--an impression that may be born of my ignorance of the state
of psychometric research--that tthere hasn't been much investigation of
the subject of the severely gifted. This would be understandable in the
light of the scarcity od subjects for such research. Prior to the advent
and popularization of the Internet, there may not have been a ready way
to gain access to a substantial sample of those in the 4+ sigma range of
human intelligence, nor would there have been a convenient way to maintain
close communication with them. If this is the case, then there may be major
opportunities to investigate a potentially crucial field, with an idea
of learning how to make better uese of our potentially most talented individuals.
I'm preparing a list of questions
to be answered or researched.
* - There are virtually
no IQ tests that purport to measure adult IQ's in the 4+ sigma range, and
those that do must surely suffer from ceiling effects. For example, the
Short Form of the California Test of Mental Maturity was designed to measure
adult IQ's up to 200, but the IQ score that corresponds to answering correctly
90% of the questions on the test is only 160, and since this is presumably
a ratio-IQ test, scores of 160 probably occur about once out of every 1,000
test-takers, yielding a deviation IQ score of only 150. IQ's above that
level may become less reliable, since a test-taker may fail to reach his
ceiling on some of the subtests, while topping out on others. Also, it's
easy to miss a few problems through careless errors, or a word or two that
one doesn't quite know even when one could define much more difficult words.
On some individually-administered IQ tests such as the Slossen test, The
test continues until the test-taker begins to miss half the questions.
Fatty Fish to Cut Prostate Cancer Risk, joins
Is Fish Oil the Key to Schizophrenia? and Dr. Ray Sehelian's recommendations
Drugs in complementing what we have known for some time regarding
the key role played by the omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) in maintaining
cardiovascular integrity. In a 30-year Swedish study, eating fatty fish,
such as salmon, tuna, mackeral, herring, sardines, and whitefish rduced
the incidence of prostrate cancer among Swedish men by 1/2 to 2/3rds. Addition
of fish to the diet relieved schizophrenic symptoms in 22%of the patients
in one study and in 43% of the patients in abnother study, without the
unwanted side effects. of prescription medications In the latter study,
brain damage was actually reversing course as the study progressed. Although
the body can synthesize omega-3 fatty acids, supplementation through diet
and/or fish oil capsules seems to make a major difference. Could it be
that fish oils are analogous to vitamins, and that their absence can act
like a deficiency disease?
interesting to note that the Catholic country of Belgium,
Authorizes Free Sale of Morning-After Pill,
along with other European countries is promoting aids to population control.
upcoming hypersonic plane, no doubt with important military applications,
is leading the way toward lower cost to orbit (NASA
Unveils Futuristic Aircraft). This SCRAM (Supersonic Combustion
RAMjet) will reach Mach 10. Orbital speed is about Mach 25. Still, boosting
a rocket to Mach 10 piggybacked onto a hypersonic aircraft should greatly
reduce the challenge of reaching orbital speed, particularly since it would
be launched above most of the Earth's atmosphere.
Scientists Revive Napoleon Poisoning Theory . We just learned that
the Roman emperor Claudius (43-56 AD) was killed with a poisoned mushroom,
and now we learn that Napolean was probably poisoned, also. It's enough
to make you no longer want to be Emperor.
in 1987-88, Rob Michelson and I worked with each other and traveled a few
places together when we were working on unmanned aerial vehicles. Rob was
a Branch Chief at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) in Marietta,
Georgia, and I was a Group Leader at GTRI in its Huntsville Research Operations.
Later, I was transferred to the Unmanned Ground Vehicles Joint Project
Office program, and Rob became interested in micro-UAV's, serving as the
President of the national Association for Unmanned Vehicles, and here he
is in the news with his micro-ornithopter--his
electromechanical fly-on-the-wall! (Hi, Rob! Best wishes to you,
and to Denise, Matthew, and Christian.)
folds multiple dice into 1-mm package, is mentioned because it
relates to a triple-layer, stacked chip that begins to layer multiple flash
memory chips in a three-dimensional package. This can best be used for
non-volatile memory that dissipates power only when it's being read or
written. Individual microprocessor chips generate so much heat that you
could fry eggs on them. Styacking them would only make the ohmic heating
flash memory, ferroelectric RAM is non-volatile and dissipates power only
when it's being read or written, but unlike flash memory, it can be erased
and rewritten a quadrillion times, just like . Since it draws no power
except when its contents are being read or altered, it can be used as a
direct replacement for power-consuming dynamic RAM. However, as the article,
Infineon detail plans for 32-Mbit FeRAM, explains, It's very involved
and expensive to manufacture, and is currently limited to relatively large
cell sizes, and will be used at first for cellphones and other pocket devices.
But if it can be improved sufficiently, it or magnetic RAM might eventually
be used to replace the conventional, power-hungry RAM in the computer you're
using to read this discussion.
perform the first heart bypass that does not require surgery, decribes
a new technique that not only doesn't require surgery but that uses excess
cardiac-vein capacity to reroute arterial blood around a coronary artery
the New Wonder Drug?, explain that the statin-based, cholesterol-reducing
medications that some of us are taking have other benefits, including the
reduction of Alzheimer's Disease by two-thirds!
a bomb is child's play, explains that one British plant that's
designed to manufacture fuels for nuclear powerplants could easily be tapped
by terrorists to make a homemade nuclear bomb. One series of science fiction
stories in the late 40's and early 50's was based upon a U. S. in which
cities no longer existed because it was too easy for various guerrilla
factions to manufacture nuclear factions. Cities had been replaced by towns
such as Lincoln Gun and Modoc, policed by "Codies". Now and then, a small
town would be obliterated by warring factions.
‘X-Files’ and programs like it fueling increased interest in the paranormal?,
refers to the human hunger for mystic beliefs. I have long felt that society
is making a big mistake by permitting its media to be profit-driven and
allowed to consolidate. I think the media should be required to be non-profit,
like universities, so that they don't pander so heavily to sensationalism.
Actually, what I really believe is that experiments in government and in
institutional changes should be sponsored by governments before instituting
them with large populations.
May Have Flung Pieces of Earth, Dinosaurs to Moon, Mars, then we
might some day find evidence of terrestial DNA on the moon and Mars.
colonoscopy as effective at colon cancer screening as standard invasive
colonoscopy would utilize CAT scans to replace painful and dangerous
colonoscopies to inspect the colon for polyps.
become ubiquitous, geeks (intellectuals) have become semi-respectable in
their role as ministers to our machines (Geek
Studies: Hackers, Freaks, Outsiders-How Science Is Shaping Us).
Case of Stolen Identity chronicles the abilityof Internet hackers
to steal your identity. (Illegal charges were made to my Visa card a few
months ago by a band of thieves in Yugoslavia. I wasn't charged for them,
and I now have a new Visa card.)
are responsible for an astonishing array of human ailments, as explained
Digital Model of Amoeba Helps Scientists Study Human Cells.