Thursday, January 9, 2014

I knew we were getting stupider

Perhaps you've heard of the Antikythera mechanism. For those of you who have not.... It is a rather interesting artifact that was recovered from the Antikythera wreck, a shipwreck off the Greek island Antikythera, in 1901. Initially the complexity of the machine was not known because it had corroded into a mass.

It wasn't until the device was studied with a modern x-ray that its significance and complexity began to be understood. Scholars attributed the device to the Greeks and dated it to the early 1st century BC.  Interestingly enough, this complexity and workmanship wasn't seen again until the 14th century.

Sophisticated imaging techniques have further unlocked the complexities of the device. The article that spurred me to this writing claims that the device is "1500 years ahead of its time" and that its like "Finding a functional Buick in medieval Europe". The article goes on to say that its compactness actually bests the later designs.

The mechanism was designed to predict the movement of planets, moon phases, and would even account for leap years.

This device clearly shows that our ancient ancestors were capable beyond our dreams. For this writer,  it highlights how much knowledge has been lost to us. It's no wonder we can't figure out how the pyramids were built. (It's easier to say aliens built them) Which brings me to the title of my blog. Are we really getting smarter? Or are we still getting stupider?

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Here are some links to further explore the famed Antikythera device.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

http://io9.com/advanced-imaging-reveals-a-computer-1-500-years-ahead-o-1492104535

-Red
www.jeffjake.com
www.facebook.com/jeffreyrjake
Twitter @MortisG187

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Do you want the blue pill? Or the Red?

In the movie the Matrix, Neo discovers that while in the Matrix he can quickly have skills implanted into his brain. My favorite part is when he wakes up and says, "I know Kung Fu." While implanting skills is not yet a reality, their is a pill that may be available to us in the near future that could help us to learn new skills. Skills that normally would have to be learned at a very young age.

For instance, some languages have sounds that must be learned in a developmental stage or you just won't be able to master them. For example, the rolling R of Spanish. If you didn't learn it watching public television shows or in school... You just ain't gonna be able to do it.

Well that may all change now with some research being conducted by Dr. Takao Hensch with Harvard. The experiment revolves around a persons ability to hear with perfect pitch. (the ability to accurately name any musical note you hear) The article indicates that only 1 in 10,000 have the ability. It also says that if you don't develop this ability at a young age, you can't as an adult. However, Dr. Hensch may have found a pill that changes all that.

He has taken the epilepsy drug Valproate and given it to control groups. He then put them through online ear-training exercises for two weeks. What he found was that the group taking the drug, and not the placebo, had significant improvement. Apparently restoring the brain's plasticity normally lost after childhood. HOW COOL IS THAT!

Who knows, in another 50 years maybe we will be able to take a pill and "poof" you now know Kung Fu.

Here is the link to the original article.

-Red
www.jeffjake.com
www.facebook.com/jeffreyrjake
Twitter: @MortisG187

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Horrific Beast of Enfield Illinois

I must admit that I'm taken in by shows like Finding Bigfoot or TV specials on The Loch Ness Monster. I've always wondered if there could be something lurking out there that we haven't seen yet. It's pretty obvious from some of the "extinct" fish we've been pulling out of the ocean that we really don't know what could be out there. (Do you have chills yet... LOL)

While I'm sure most of you have heard about the Bigfoot or Nessie, I'd be willing to wager you have NOT heard of the beastie that I read about today. Apparently around April of 1973, the small town of Enfield Illinois was harassed by some sort of bizarre creature. The critter was described as having three legs, a grayish, slimy epidermis, short claws, and reddish eyes. Creepy!

This abomination apparently first attacked a young boy while he was playing outside. Initially the report was chalked up to a wild imagination, however, thirty minutes later, the thing attempted to get into the neighbors house. When the man of the house opened the door, he was startled to see what was standing in front of him and did what any red blooded man would do. He got his pistol and blasted it.

Over the next few months several others claim to have seen the beastie. During one sighting the website claims a recording of the things scream was recorded. (Why is it all these things have a scream. Have you seen Finding Bigfoot?)

Anyway, here is the link to the page so you can read the story yourself. Drop a comment and let me know what you think? Real OR Hoax?


-Red
www.jeffjake.com


Be sure to check out my latest sci-fi book, The Valiant Incident. Available now from AMAZON!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Shock Troops

I was surfing the other day and came across a rather disturbing image. Apparently the Taiwanese government has developed a new uniform for their special forces. The outfit looks more like something you would see in a science fiction movie rather than marching on a 21st century battlefield. Here are a few pictures of the new uniform…..






Pretty intimidating stuff huh? The uniform incorporates bullet proof armor and a ballistic face mask. For all your combat survival needs. I'll be honest, now that I really look at the face mask, it almost looks like some sick S&M set up. I guess they're into that kind of thing.

-Red

Check out my latest book, The Valiant Incident, available NOW at Amazon. Click Here






Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cyberpunk


When I was a younger man, I used to play role playing games. Dungeons & Dragons, Vampire the Masquerade, Hero System, and many more. One of the games that my friends and I would play was set in a stark future where men implanted various devices into themselves to "enhance" their abilities. The game revolved around a cyberpunk type universe. 

You could have enhanced strength, more stamina, faster reactions, and boosted senses. Maybe you wanted your character to be able to have super hearing. They had an implant for that. Or maybe you wanted to be able to smell better than your pet Fido. They had an implant for that. Maybe you wanted to have better reactions, so you would get an implant for that. Maybe.... you wanted super vision, so you could see across a football field, so you can get an implant like that.  -Wait.... what?

Yep, you read that right. YOU CAN get an implant like that. A DARPA funded research has created a contact lens embedded with four tiny aluminum mirrors. The mirrors magnify images to make them appear 2.8 times larger. That's right.... Now you too can be just like Steve Austin and have a bionic eye! Well maybe not just yet.

At this time the lenses are about 10 times the thickness of regular contacts. However, the article indicates that they will start clinical trials at the end of the year.

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to build the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin will be that man. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster." - Opening monolog from the Six Million Dollar Man.

You can click HERE to read more about this remarkable invention.

-Red



www.jeffjake.com

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Show Me the Money!

The U.S. $100 bill is the most widely accepted currency in the world. You can take one of those bad boys almost anywhere in the world and get a cha-ching from the person you're waving it at. If you have stacks of them, you're ready to party. As a result, it's also one of the most common bills to be counterfeited. I mean let's be honest, if you could print some on your computer, you might be tempted.... right?

Being the most popular amongst the criminal element, the $100 bill is always getting security upgrades. Sometime in the next few months old Benjamin Franklin will be getting yet another face lift. In addition to all the other cool security features the bill currently sports, a ribbon with images that move when the bill is tilted will be added. Also a drawing that changes colors depending on its angle will be part of the upgrade package. These along with six other new features will be added to hopefully slow the printing of mad money.

Even with all of these security measures, I'm sure it won't be long until someone is knocking out the fakes. That's just how criminals roll.



-Red
www.jeffjake.com



Monday, July 8, 2013

Rome Info Day Two

Wow. This was a long day. So I'm going to cut to the chase and throw down some more cool facts about Rome.

Here are a few facts about Roman customs -

- Roman women would have been repulsed by our tanning beds. For them, it was quite fashionable to be extremely pale, showing that they were wealthy enough to have hired outside help. They even went so far as to wear white makeup. Unfortunately, the makeup contained lead and many Roman women suffered from lead poisoning.

- In Rome, it is not considered rude to cut in front of someone in line. Most Italians do not follow the idea of a line and believe more in the idea of first come, first serve.

- Graffiti is perfectly acceptable in Rome. "Graffiato," which means "scratched," dates as far back as the ancient Roman Empire and has provided historians with a tremendous amount of information about ancient Roman customs and daily life.

So there are a few good ones for you.

See you later.


-Red