Monday, June 25, 2012

See the Oxygen, See the Emotion!

Well, augmented reality glasses are on the cutting edge, but there is another high-tech advance coming glasses that allow you to see the oxygen levels in people's blood.  Interesting, yes.  Party trick, hopefully.  Invasion of privacy, kind of...?

The glasses enhance some of the colors that we can see, making the contrast between different blood concentrations more prominent.  This allows, for example, doctors to see trauma through the skin.  Or security officers to see how nervous you are.  Or a date to see when you are lying.

It's not really a privacy issue.  You can't hide something like that, because it is in plain sight all the time, anyway.  It just makes you wonder if you can train yourself to see, for example, O2 levels in blood through skin without these glasses.  Being able to do that could make you into a super hero!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Automatic Story Writer

There is so much theory out there about how to write stories.  Through school, I've read the classics.  Later, I read many fun books.  I saw movies and plays.  Listened to music.  Many follow similar paths, like the

I'd like to see the aftermath of a computer programmer programming those elements into a simulation.  With the right simulation, and the right parameters, I bet you could produce some top notch stories.  With a simulation a human would need to take the reigns after the story has been outlined.  I'm not sure we'll ever be able to create a computer program that can actively pull the human heart strings as well as a poet or painter.

To do this, you'd need a team with a bunch of computer programmers, a couple of story theorists, some good writers (to give you example sentences that can be combined, and one hell of a project leader.  There are already some people out there working on this idea, and some of the fruits of their labor have already been posted on the internet.  The Seventh Sanctum has a generator that spits out story ideas that are fusions of previous stories.  And this one has a ton of different generators, to help you create your own story.

The biggest issue would be the almost infinite number of story element combinations.  The further you get from theory toward application (in this case, making a story), the more permutations arise.

Monday, June 11, 2012

New College Model?

It is hard to believe how far educational debt has rocketed.  Just a few weeks ago, the nation passed the $1 trillion mark for all education-related loans.  We're going to see a change in the general university education system in the next 20 years - a movement short-term college.   

There are several problems with the current post-high school education system.  
  1. The quality of a university is seldom based on the quality of the instructors there.  
  2. The cost of a university education is enormous.  
  3. The majority of graduates work outside their major.  
  4. "Go to college, get a job" doesn't apply as much as it used to.  
  5. Students are able to pursue whatever degree they want, without regard to the future job market.  
Short Term college is the ability to take a 2-year degree, go out into the workforce, and return later for another couple years of schooling - during 6-month leaves or part-time night/weekend classes.  That way, you end up with only two years worth of debt, rather than a full college education.  Additionally, you get to see how useful your studies have been, and, when you return, you can better plan your studies.  Finally, this would let you get started in the workforce earlier, meaning you could sock more money away for retirement.  

Two changes need to happen.  First, the idea that you need a 4-year degree should be modified.  It should be "proven online learning capability."  That is the most valuable when people in generation Y will have 7+ jobs over the course of their life.  That can be proven through a number of different paths - schools, community organization, volunteerism, etc.  The second is that both schools and work would need to be flexible in offering these alternate paths.  If a person follows one, they could be penalized in the early years, if it is not understood.  

Really, what we need is a more nimble education pathing system than we have now.  Do you have any other ideas about what the education system could evolve into?  

Monday, June 4, 2012


As we've been seeing lately, many devices can operate via bluetooth.  The most obvious is the past-trend headset for your cell phone.  Cell phones have also been able to connect to devices like your car through bluetooth technology.  Lately, there has also been the introduction of bluetooth keyboards and computer mice. 

What is lacking is a bluetooth screen.  I was looking into making my cell phone into my primary computer, and found that the majority of what I'd need is already installed on the computer (excluding things like Diablo 3).  My cell phone can already connect to mice and keyboards, but needs to be plugged in to get the most out of my high definition output.  After a cursory glance, I couldn't find any monitors that were bluetooth compatible.  

I know we can never get computers and other electronics completely cordless.  The difficulty off replacing batteries would make it unattractive for the majority, and impractical for the small minority that would adopt it.  But some equipment today, such as your computer and monitor, require two cables - one for power, the other for communication.  I argue that we should be able to get away from needing a communication cable anymore, especially for home use.  And shouldn't television companies be getting in on this too?  LG has, but not enough - their TV supports some connectivity, but not full-monitor display.  :(