GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Devices known as brain-machine interfaces could someday be used routinely to help paralyzed patients and amputees control prosthetic limbs with just their thoughts. Now, University of Florida researchers have taken the concept a step further, devising a way for computerized devices not only to translate brain signals into movement but also to evolve with the brain as it learns.
More and more, as house hunting goes on, it is realized I could not have picked a more ill-fitting place to live than this.
Being somewhat liberal, it bothers me to hear children make jokes about people who are "different". Even worse, knowing it's their own parents who encourage this type of behavior.
I take it personal, the gay jokes, though I'm not. Of the few very good friends I have, some happen to be gay. Would I invite them to visit this town? I'm not so sure.
Maybe I'm just imagining things. Perhaps, people are nicer than I think.
One wouldn't know it by reading the town forum. This was where a gay couple looking to relocate here discovered they weren't welcome. Well, at least they were told in a "nice" way. Ha! And several people stated they'd rather live next to an opera-lover than a blue collar worker. Huh?
Perhaps, it has something to do with the large number of churches surrounding us. Where God seems to only love straight people who have loads of money. I dunno.
Not only am I a tad liberal, but a bit old-fashioned as well. Which doesn't seem to be working for me. Maybe because being old-fashioned contradicts the liberalness.
I've got kids. Three of 'em. I see no reason to pay a couple hundred bucks a week for a day care to watch my kids grow. So, I do a novel thing. I actually watch my own kids! Of married people here, I'm in the minority on that one. Especially, in my income bracket.
Yep, we may suffer financially for it, and have to live in a tiny place. But, the babies are smiling, growing, playing . . . and I get to see them do it! With much appreciation for the husband's hard work.
The supposed contradiction: if the probability is high that there are other civilizations in the universe, why then do we see no evidence of them? This leads to the whole Great Filter theory. Even more depressing.
What it boils down to is the idea that finding life elsewhere in our solar system, for example, would be somewhat devastating. Why?
Because, we've heard nothing. No signals, no messages. Relative silence about space. And since that is so, it supposedly means no other civilization, if it ever existed, has been able to advance beyond a certain point. Which, it is said, is what might likely happen to our own world. We'll just die off, never having populated the universe in a robust and lively way. The universe, to be a dead place.
Interesting conjecture and surely a bit pessimistic.
Me thinks it hogwashy.
I mean, isn't it possible we just aren't the coolest things out there? Thus, no reason to give us a "howdy-do!".
Or could it be possible, we've already been visited?
My dad and I discussed alien visitation and ufos years ago. He had a different approach and suggested the aliens were us. Of course, I figured he meant ufos were military experiments, since Dad had worked in the field of aeronautics and knew stuff.
Instead, he offered the idea we had somehow come to understand time travel and thought to check up on ourselves from time to time.
Lately, religion has been a topic of discussion between the eldest daughter and me.
It's a sticky topic. Not for us two, per se, but for nearly every other person in this town. This town, where across from one "megachurch" is yet another and another still.
The trouble for us, we question what is. And questioning seems frowned upon.
True, our curiosity complicates matters. It can make life much more difficult than accepting what's been taught all along. Difficult and a bit frightening. Our own "structure" is based on a mish-mash of beliefs, instead of just holding onto one, with the concept that choosing one way may not be entirely necessary.
And so, we are holding on for the ride. I remember all too well being quizzed about my lack of church attendance as a kid. Daughter will face the same scrutiny, I'm sure. But it's too late. She's got a mind of her own and she's not buying what they are selling.
The universe is awesome, really. What do we even know for certain?
There are times when you just get a feeling something is awry. Or is about to be.
I suppose it could simply be called, intuition.
Fortunately, mine kicked in just in time to hopefully help save the reputations of certain youngsters over the weekend. Maybe we've all learned something from it. I know I have.
I'll not go into particulars, though it has something to do with an odd premonition and a troubled teen's negative influence.
For the record, I could care less about being the "cool" mom. Nor do I care about racking up friendships with other parents. Particularly, "meaningless" friendships. Nope, not interested in taking sides against other moms and dads. It won't happen. And any parent who tries to sway me one way or another, will be disappointed. I'm no fun.
I've noticed, first hand, the quality of a person has little to do with the expensive car one might drive, or the big house in the fancy neighborhood one might live in. Some of the most devious and hateful people come out of those neighborhoods. Which is baffling, because you'd think they were more happy and satisfied with life than anyone else.
No, I'm not impressed. And I'll not likely be joining the battle of the Joneses.
And so, when it comes to our kiddos, I try to be fair.
If they are good kids, who have minor missteps, I'll know it. No need to explain.
Though, when a young person intentionally attempts to ruin the reputation of someone else's child, foul-mouths to that child's mother for entertainment, then chooses to continually deny the undeniable...
Let's just say, it is likely I'll be steering my own child in the other direction. Sorry, I've no time to "understand" the situation. My kid's future is at stake.
It isn't perfection we are looking for. It is common decency.