s3e01: Broadcast Resumed 

by danhon

0.0 Station Ident

2:20pm on Wednesday 23rd March, 2016. I’ve been away for a bit. The short, somewhat oblique version is that about 4 weeks ago my PHQ-9 score was 27 and yesterday it was 5. I might write about that later as part of processing the whole thing, but no promises. In the meantime, here are some Things That Have Caught My Attention:

1.0 Broadcast resumed

– United States military procurement is so complicated and so broken that it’s easier to throw one of our better artificial intelligences (IBM’s Watson – an aside, what *is* Watson, anyway? I feel like I want to call it some sort of expert system, but that’s not quite right, right?) at it rather than try to actually fix said procurement procedure[1].- Driving is getting so risky and dangerous in America that it’s easier to throw our advances in computer-mediated control of vehicles than it is to try to fix how people drive[2]; in the same way that seatbelts and ABS increased passenger safety, automated vehicle surrounding awareness and control of breaking is also hoped to save lives.

– Robin Sloan found a note that on Facebook where we have the chance to forward-influence a massive attention spike[3]

– And lastly, follow this chain: when we build submarines, we deperm[4] them, which for those of us old enough to remember CRT monitors is the same procedure as degaussing (making monitors go BONG and wobble around a bit) to erase magnetic fields. We do this because you could potentially use magnetometers and a map of the seabed to find nuclear submarines. OK, so we need to make sure that submarines can’t be detected through magnetism. What other ways might we need to hide them? Turns out that water – which submarines are in most of the time if they’re doing their job right – is mainly transparent to a particular electromagnetic spectrum[5,6] – the visible bit. That’s weird, right? Why is it that water *happens* to be transparent at just pretty much exactly the frequencies that our eyes can detect? Because our eyes evolved in the water, duh. Mind blown: we see the colors we see and we’re sensitive to only a particular part of the electromagnetic spectrum because *that was the most useful bit of the EM spectrum to water-borne life*.

[1] The Pentagon’s procurement system is so broken they are calling on Watson – The Washington Post
[2] Automakers, Government Agree Automatic Braking Will be Standard by 2022 – NBC News
[3] Julie Rubicon
[4] Deperming – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
[5] Transparency of Water in the Visible Range
[6] optics – Why is water clear? – Physics Stack Exchange

2:34pm. I’m off to get some work done.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.

Dan