Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Lady Robot Assassins

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Last night was more fun…but again, pictures will be downloaded shortly…so in the meantime, here's some other news to fill your day…and maybe even your mind…with knowledge…or more likely disturbing images.

Swimsuit Issue - Butt first, the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated came out…so I thought I'd start off with this image. The girl on the cover is Israeli model Bar Rafaeli, who apparently hangs with Leonardo DiCaprio. I especially like the article title "Bikinis or Nothing" and then there's a stamp saying body paint with a beautiful woman. Now, being a marketer, I know exactly what that's supposed to infer…and I lick it…er, like it. This is, of course, the most popular annual article of the weekly sports magazine…so today millions of men will get their new reading material along with a pack of smokes at the nearest convenience store. The articles and layouts really are quite remarkable and tasteful (directed at those who are currently judging me in a less than flattering manner). Check 'em out.

Mind Reader - Have you ever read this blog and wondered "I wonder what $teve's really thinking about…" Of course you haven't…because I'm great at just letting it out. However, not everybody has the same openness as I do (GASP!!!) but it's probably a good thing in most cases…because you may not want to know what they're thinking. Then again, you may want to know…and that's where Canadians may finally be helping out. Canadian researchers say they can glean simple preferences from a person's brain by shining near-infrared light into the noggin. The study, reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering, demonstrated the ability to decode a person's preference for one of two drinks with 80% accuracy by measuring the intensity of near-infrared light absorbed in brain tissue, the scientists said in a statement today. "This is the first system that decodes preference naturally from spontaneous thoughts," says Sheena Luu, a University of Toronto doctoral student in biomedical engineering who led the work at the university's Bloorview Kids Rehab center. Near-infrared light has a longer wavelength than visible light. In the beginning of the study, nine adult volunteers rated eight drinks on a scale of one to five. Then, wearing a headband fitted with fiber optics that emit light into the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, the subjects were shown two drinks on a computer monitor, one after the other, and asked to make a mental decision about which they liked more. "When your brain is active, the oxygen in your blood increases and depending on the concentration, it absorbs more or less light. In some people, their brains are more active when they don't like something, and in some people they're more active when they do like something." After teaching the computer to recognize the unique pattern of brain activity associated with preference for each subject, the researchers accurately predicted which drink the participants liked best 80 percent of the time. Other research has suggested brain activity could be monitored before decisions are made, perhaps with a mind-reading hat that would predict what we'll do. The goal of the new research is ultimately to open the world of choice to children who can't speak or move…but apparently need a stiff drink. You heard it hear folks. Canadian are working on little mountie hats that will read your mind. First drinks, then what toppings you want on your pizza, then the nuclear missile launch codes…so when the Apocalypse begins, just do what the Academy Award-nominated song says…and "Blame Canada! They're not even a real country anyway."

Sexbot Update - Speaking of technology, it has been reported that popular singer & alleged robot Rihanna has filed assault charges against singer Chris Brown. Now, as you're aware, domestic violence does not stand well with me…at all. Like, I get extremely frustrated just thinking about it. However, I also believe that Rihanna is a robot…though I don't have a whole lot of proof…yet I'm still extremely concerned and conflicted…both for well-being…and what her ultimate objective is. Allow me to explain my theory. You may want to sit down and take a deep breath…so that when this knowledge LITERALLY blows your socks off, you won't fall and hurt something. Okay, it started a few years ago when hip-hop legend Jay-Z was retiring (I warned you, this thing goes straight to the top) but he still really liked making money. So he brought together the finest minds in robotics…to build him a pure moneymaker, a superhot sound machine to rise to the top of the pop charts. The scientists came up with RI-HANNA (Robotic Intelligence - Hottie Artist with Nuclear Nanotechnological Assimilation) basically it regenerates off solar power and uses it's nanoprocessors to assimilate the traits of other hotties…but with override principles in place for a "puppet master" if you will. Jay-Z was pleased. He even came up with a convincing back-story (seriously, does Barbados even really exist? Have you been there? How do you know?) Cash was flowing from his wazoo. He had the post-retirement albums, clothing sales, his own vodka, new clubs from Vegas to Macau and now…a figurehead that could go on tour for months at a time (even though there were a few glitches along the way - "Umbrella-ella-ella-ella…") and all the profit would go directly to him, instead of some b**chy prima donna. Perfect setup. About the same time, this 16-year old kid named Chris Brown started singing hit songs…and also becoming a major touring artist. Nothing like a little competition though, right?

Then the economy flushed. High-end clothing sales tanked. His new club in Vegas went bankrupt in less than a year. His albums weren't selling like they used to, no more diamond records, just platinum. You would think that his vodka sales would rise…but it's too damn expensive…and you can always get Popov Vodka for like ten bucks to get your drunk on. His last hope to continue enjoying the Anti-Hard Knock Life was RIHANNA (while his Weather Dominator & Time Machine are still in the Research & Development phases). However, this Chris Brown kid was now on the same par as his experiment…and cutting into his market share of the teenage pop music market club hits. There was only one thing to do - Take him out of the equation. First, he would have RIHANNA introduce herself…and work her charms on him, gaining his trust, and then when the time is right (like say…right before a performance at the Grammys) DESTROY HIS WHOLESOME IMAGE!!! Thus leaving RIHANNA not only with her current share of the market…but also acquiring most of his. It's a great plan…but what else would you expect from Jigga? It would've worked too…if not for one blogger who exposed the truth…to both of his readers…and then they told two people…and then they told two people...and so on…and so on. I'm sorry to do this Jay-Z…but monopolies just don't help the economy…and I don't think Miley Cyrus is of club hit age yet (Hmm, RI-HANNA…and HANNA Montana? This may require more investigation.) Anyway, the sad thing is that I kinda hope this is the truth and not some random story that I just made up when I had nothing better to do…because otherwise it's domestic violence…and that irks me. Anyway, it's all alleged assault right now…so let's wait until the facts come out…and not speculate (any more than I already have).

Gut Instinct - As I have explained, my decision making process is…pretty much a Democracy. For more details, please feel free to read this link…but it basically consists of three branches: Executive (Brain), Legislative (Heart) and Judicial (The Wang…or Gut). However, once again, science is backing me up…and finding that our "Gut Instinct" may be something more than a vague term. Sometimes when you think you're guessing, your brain may actually know better. After conducting some unique memory and recognition tests, while also recording subjects' brain waves, scientists conclude that some gut feelings are not just guesswork after all. Rather, we access memories we aren't even aware we have. "We may actually know more than we think we know in everyday situations, too," said Ken Paller, professor of psychology at Northwestern University and co-researcher on the study. "Unconscious memory may come into play, for example, in recognizing the face of a perpetrator of a crime or the correct answer on a test. Or the choice from a horde of consumer products may be driven by memories that are quite alive on an unconscious level." The findings were published online Sunday in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The research, done with only a couple dozen participants, adds to a growing body of conflicting evidence about decision-making. In one study done in 2007, researchers found that quick decisions were better than those given lots of thought…but a study last year suggested neither snap judgments nor "sleeping on it" trump good old-fashioned conscious thought. During the first part of the memory test in the new study, participants were shown a series of colorful kaleidoscope images that flashed on a computer screen. (I'm reminded of the scene from Ghostbusters - "I don't know…a couple of wavy lines?") Half of the images were viewed with full attention as participants tried to memorize them. While viewing the other half, the participants were distracted: They heard a spoken number that they had to keep in mind until the next trial, when they indicated whether it was odd or even. In other words, they could focus on memorizing half of the images but were greatly distracted from memorizing the others. A bit later, they viewed pairs of similar kaleidoscope images in a recognition test. "Remarkably, people were more accurate in selecting the old image when they had been distracted than when they had paid full attention. They also were more accurate when they claimed to be guessing than when they registered some familiarity for the image." Splitting attention during a memory test usually makes memory worse. "But our research showed that even when people weren't paying as much attention, their visual system was storing information quite well." See ladies, we don't have to be paying full attention. We're soaking in all the information about your day & water cooler gossip AND watching Sportscenter. During the tests, electrical signals in the brain were recorded from a set of electrodes placed on each person's head. The brain waves during implicit recognition were distinct from those associated with conscious memory experiences. A unique signal of implicit recognition was seen a quarter of a second after study participants saw each old image. Other related research has shown that amnesia victims with severe memory problems often have strong implicit memories, Paller said, "Intuition may have an important role in finding answers to all sorts of problems in everyday life." Indeed, this could prove fruitful…but in the meantime, sometimes you just have to go with your Gut…unless you ate something you shouldn't have. Then you may want to seek advice elsewhere.

Well, that'll do it for today. It should just be a day or two before I share all the wonderful pictures and stories of the past few days with y'all. Just in time for Valentine's Day…and then for me to head off to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Good times are just around the corner. Have a great day everybody!!!

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