Archive for the 'Science' Category

PTSD Research study conducted by an OIF Vet. Pass the Word!

June 18th, 2013 by xformed

Received via email, from and OIF Vet who is conducting a study on PTSD. PLease give it some consideration to 1) Participating if you fit, and 2) passing the word!

Here’s the DesMoines Register article discussing his background and the project he’s taking on and why: “YP Spotlight: Iraq War vet turned Drake professor explores inconsistency of PTSD”.

Attention Military Veterans: A research study examining military experiences (including deployment experiences) of those who have served (or are currently serving) is being conducted by Dr. Steven L. Lancaster, a professor at Drake University. This online survey assesses experiences with stressful life events (including military events, such as combat exposure), current mental health experiences, coping skills, and thoughts related to these events and how your time in the military has affected you. If you are a military veteran who is 18 years or older, you are eligible to participate.

The survey is completely anonymous and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. As an incentive to participate, all participants will be given the chance to enter a raffle drawing for a $50 online gift certificate to awarded to 6 randomly selected participants. The drawing database is maintained separately from, and is not in any way connected to, survey information submitted; therefore your participation will remain anonymous. If you would like to participate in this research study, please click the link below.

This will take you to a consent form and questionnaire. You will have a chance to enter the raffle after completing the questionnaire.

This research has been reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board for protection of human subjects at Drake University.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to eligible friends/colleagues/military members you know who may wish to participate. Thank you in advance for your help with this project. We are going to publish the results in scientific journal with the goal of better understanding the post-deployment experience of military service members.

If you desire to participate please copy and paste this URL into your browser (no http:// is necessary):


Steven L. Lancaster, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
Drake University
Phone: 515-271-2844

Category: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Education, Leadership, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops | Comments Off on PTSD Research study conducted by an OIF Vet. Pass the Word!

RIP: Benoit Mandelbrot – Discoverer of Chaos

October 16th, 2010 by xformed

From the New York Times:

Benoit Mandelbrot, Mathematician, Dies at 85

Benoît B. Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician who developed an innovative theory of roughness and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields, died on Thursday in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.

His death was caused by pancreatic cancer, his wife, Aliette, said. He had lived in Cambridge.

Why is this important to this blog? His work was the inspiration for the title.

I first bumped into his work, not having a clue about him in 1988. I was at Naval War College and had bought a Mac II, equipped with a graphics card which would provide 256 color displays.

I’m not sure exactly where I found it, I’m guessing on GEnie (yep, before the ‘Net), but I got a program to draw fractals, the Mandelbrot set, and later the Julia set. I’d set a bunch of parameters in the computer when I was heading to bed, then get up in the morning to see some way down inside the Mandelbrot fractal scene. They’d take 2-4 hours to draw, depending on the “magnification” factors (the power to) I had set. Then I had working material to slice up in PixelPaint.

I was fascinated by the detail, and it was not the “chaos” or disorder, but the very subtle silightly offset order.

My worldview shifted as a result, somewhat then, but moreso later. In 1996, I was sent to attend two courses in Software/Systems Safety at the University of Southern California. Wandering through the University’s book store and picked up “Chaos: The Making of a New Science”.

In reading that book, and seeing the development of this body of science, my views of life shifted quite a bit. When I hear “chaos,” I usually consider the topic and think about if it’s just order too subtle that has escaped the examination, or it’s really something out of control. Usually, it’s related to the subtle organization. Beyond that, how his formulas have affected the computer graphics world. The scenery in the background of the big screen, like the “Lord of the Rings,” and many, many others, is generated using fractal formulas.

So, in 2004, when I began blogging, the moniker of the blog, Chaotic Synaptic Activity, came from a subtle reference to the far beyond the decimal point changes, normally allocated as disorder, in those things I think about. Before I read the James Gleick book, to me, chaos was chaos. After? It just means you have to consider things further.

In addition, about a year ago, the scientists figured out what I did in 2004: The brain runs on chaos!

For years, I’ve told myself I needed to write this piece to explain my naming convention, and I haven’t. Today, on hearing of Dr. Benoit Mandelbrot’s passing, I could delay no longer.

He was a pioneer in his field, and changed mathematics forever. In mapping, in fluid dynamics, in population growth and an offshoot into market economies and how they preform.

In the 1950s, Dr. Mandelbrot proposed a simple but radical way to quantify the crookedness of such an object by assigning it a “fractal dimension,” an insight that has proved useful well beyond the field of cartography.

Over nearly seven decades, working with dozens of scientists, Dr. Mandelbrot contributed to the fields of geology, medicine, cosmology and engineering. He used the geometry of fractals to explain how galaxies cluster, how wheat prices change over time and how mammalian brains fold as they grow, among other phenomena.

His influence has also been felt within the field of geometry, where he was one of the first to use computer graphics to study mathematical objects like the Mandelbrot set, which was named in his honor.

“I decided to go into fields where mathematicians would never go because the problems were badly stated,” Dr. Mandelbrot said. “I have played a strange role that none of my students dare to take.”

We need more minds like this.

RIP, Dr Mandelbrot.

Update: This YouTube bideo gives you a 10 minute view of the Mandelbrot math, hosted by Arthur C Clark

Now, hear from 2008 on how this math gave insights to the then coming economic collapse:

Category: Economics, Education, History, Leadership, Mathematics, Public Service, Science | Comments Off on RIP: Benoit Mandelbrot – Discoverer of Chaos

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

March 5th, 2010 by xformed

This CT scan is an example of Subdural haemorr...
Image via Wikipedia

Via backchannel, a request to highlight the “signature” wound of the current war: Traumatic Brain Injury.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month for the Brain Injury Association of America.  Pass the Word, please, as you can and know this is a very probable issue with our injured Vets.

For those who have long supported the Soldier’s Angels Voice Activated Laptops for Our Injured Troops (VALOur-IT), this is one of the things the program has been addressing, along with the coputer contact with the world, by providing GPS Units for those wounded service members who are getting out and about. The reason: TBI has an associated symptom of loss of short term memory, and the GPS Units help remind the driver where they were headed.  (Note:  You don’t have to wait until this November to donate to VALOur-IT…SA will be happy to accept donations all year long…even today to help this great cause)

Below is the article Chelsea asked if I could post to help get attention to the cause:

Traumatic Brain Injuries in the Military

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is becoming a common wound of modern warfare. It has even been coined the “signature wound” of the War on Terror. While TBI is becoming more prevalent in wartime activity, many service men and women continue to go undiagnosed. Institutions, like the US Department of Veterans Affairs, are working to make quick and accurate diagnoses in order to prescribe appropriate and effective treatment.

TBI is caused by forced trauma to the head, either by being shaken or hit. The severity of a TBI varies from case to case, but symptoms range from mild concussions to a debilitating state. The majority of TBI’s acquired by military personnel are classified as mild traumatic brain injuries (MTBI). Initial symptoms of MTBI consist of loss of consciousness, disorientation, loss of memory, headache, and temporary loss of hearing and vision. They are often partnered with anxiety, irritability, difficulties processing information, limited concentration amongst other problems experienced down the road. While MTBI is most common amongst the men and women of the armed forces, more severe cases of TBI are happening much more frequently and often require the victim to attended specialty rehabilitative nursing centers, like CareMeridian.

The most common cause of a TBI in the military is due to blasts. There are three degrees of blast injuries where a TBI is common; Primary (due to blast itself), Secondary (due to objects being propelled by a blast) and Tertiary (due to a collision with a third party object). According to the Veterans Health Initiative, active male members of the military from the ages 18-24 are hospitalized with a TBI at a rate of 231 per 100,000 and females 150 per 100,000. Based on military force projections this would mean that 4,141 military personnel are hospitalized on average each year with a TBI, and these numbers often rise during wartimes.

The best prevention for veterans to avert the long-term effects of a brain injury is to recognize the symptoms of a TBI. Once the symptoms are identified an individual should take basic precautionary measures in order to begin the healing and recovery process until a more specific diagnosis can be made.

Service men and women give so much to protect this country and they deserve to come home to a happy and healthy life. Creating awareness about TBI will help ensure their long term health. By helping our veterans, their friends and their families recognize the early warning signs of a TBI, treatment can be sought as early as possible.

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Category: Air Force, Army, Biology, Blogging, Charities, Coast Guard, Education, Jointness, Marines, Military, Military History, Navy, Public Service, Science, Supporting the Troops, Valour-IT | 5 Comments »

Go Figure: The Brain runs on Chaos!

July 13th, 2009 by xformed

Well, I’m not a real scientist, but I play one on this blog sometimes. The naming of this blog had this concept in mind, as formulated by the reading of “Chaos: The Making of a New Science” by James Gleick, about 15 years ago. Actually, my entire point, I think missed by many, is James Gleick pointed out that chaos is actually organization at a level we fail to take the time to dig for. It’s in the way past the decimal point places, that we round off before we get there, either out of “good enough,” laziness, or computational limitations. It’s order at a very subtle level, while looking exceptionally random to those who don’t take the time to take the journey. Over 20 years ago, I began playing with the creation of fractals on my Macintosh II, sometimes leaving it running all night, just to generate the image way down in the insides of the fractal form. Now, such things are easy to make quickly, and are widely used to generate scenery for movies.

I had always planned, from day one of the blog, to write about this, yet…almost 5 years later, and three iterations of this blog at different places, I have failed to get there yet, however, I feel vindicated today, by real scientists. Fallen rip

HAVE you ever experienced that eerie feeling of a thought popping into your head as if from nowhere, with no clue as to why you had that particular idea at that particular time? You may think that such fleeting thoughts, however random they seem, must be the product of predictable and rational processes. After all, the brain cannot be random, can it? Surely it processes information using ordered, logical operations, like a powerful computer?

Actually, no. In reality, your brain operates on the edge of chaos. Though much of the time it runs in an orderly and stable way, every now and again it suddenly and unpredictably lurches into a blizzard of noise.

Neuroscientists have long suspected as much. Only recently, however, have they come up with proof that brains work this way. Now they are trying to work out why. Some believe that near-chaotic states may be crucial to memory, and could explain why some people are smarter than others.

Lets go to the video:

Resident Evil divx

download Tenkû no shiro Rapyuta

Death Wish II movie download buy American Pie Presents Beta House Harlequin dvdrip

Take some time to read the article. When Harry Met Sally… video Maybe you’ll get a grasp on the chaos that reigns sometimes.

So, here I sit on the domain “Chaotic Synaptic Activity,” before the brain scientists figured it out. Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds an acorn in the snow.

A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash divx

Category: Biology | Comments Off on Go Figure: The Brain runs on Chaos!

2012? No…2029 is looking bad

January 13th, 2009 by xformed

The hype is now is the end of mankind is coming in 2012, based on the fact that that’s the last day listed on the Mayan calender. You know, sometimes you just have to work with finite boundaries and it means nothing more than that’s all the space you have to work on.

Things imitating art may be more of an issue than we think in reality: Apophis is coming.

download The Boys of Ghost Town

buy Rain in the Mountains

Category: Astronomy | Comments Off on 2012? No…2029 is looking bad

For Your Friday Reading

April 25th, 2008 by xformed

Staff Sergeant Matthew Maupin’s remains are coming home to Cincinnati’s Lunken Airport on Saturday, April 26th. The Critical Hour blog has a request for those wishing to honor Matt to line the route to the Union Township Civic Center holding lighted candles. SSGT Maupin was the soldier captured in Iraq in 2004 and was recently found dead. Details of the route for tomorrow, Saturday 4/26/2008 are here. A condolence page to leave a note to Matt’s parents is also available.

SteelJaw Scribe reminds us of the final airlift out of Vietnam in 1975: Operation Frequent Wind in his ongoing excellent “Flight Deck Friday” series. Straight-Jacket full movie

CDR Salamander’s “Fullbore Friday” Numb Accepted download AVP: Alien vs. Predator video Ocean Voyagers movie download Superstar: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol ipod chronicles reminds of how one man from Hollywood served his nation well crossing the beaches at Normandy on day one and then further into Europe. The man is Charles Durning.

“Rounds Out!” on Townhall reminds of “Climate Change” with a painting depicting a cooler time in history.

Yid with a Lid presents the speech BhO might have given, had he been at the Reed Sea when Moses parted the waters en route the Promised Panic Room

Category: Science | Comments Off on For Your Friday Reading

Could Pilots be Next on the Hit List?

December 18th, 2007 by xformed

From the Telegraph in the UK:

Chief scientist in sports cars warning to women:

Professor Sir David King said governments could only do so much to control greenhouse gas emissions and it was time for a cultural change among the British public.

And he singled out women who find supercar drivers “sexy”, adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally-friendly lives.

His comments were greeted with anger by sports car drivers who insisted that their vehicles’ greenhouse gas emissions were tiny compared with those from four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Sir David, who is due to retire as the UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser at the end of the year, said individuals needed to change their behaviour.

I’m guessing the pilots, ESPECIALLY the real go fast guys, who can step it up that one more notch to “buster” speed, will be the next to fall form grace at the green alter of “Climate Change.” Gotta be lots of “bad emissions” from the raw JP-5 dumping into the afterburner section…

Will pilots have the “fortitude” to stand tall and defend their right to turn a liquid into bone rattling sonic booms?

Ya know, if the women are more concerned about staying cool than dating “cool,” they might want to heed the messenger!

Good thing Lex already has made his mark on the future of society…and needs no more fawning babes at his feet, begging for a “Tiger Cruise” of their very own.

On the other hand…think about a world where the Guv’ment tells you who to date…You think they blew it with Katrina? Yeah, standby to standby for that disaster…Yep, we need to tell women how to think, according to Sir King. Will the feminists come out to protest this round of patently obvious misogyny of this line of reasoning?

I think it’s just jealousy hidden behind the current “blame all” crisis of the moment…I bet Sir King never even owned a super car….

Category: Air Force, Entropy and Irony, Marines, Military, Navy, Political, Science, Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment »

Ropeyarn Sunday “Sea Stories” and Open Trackbacks

October 17th, 2007 by xformed

Put your links to your best (or…well…anything you have) here…The sights at sea are amazing, and some one a few will witness, unless they look for them.

So, you call yourself a sailor, and you don’t believe in “the Green Flash?” Do you consider your fellow mariners who boast of such siting as more (maybe a lot more) or less on the wrong side of sanity for a moment or a lifetime?

Well, I have seen the phenomena, and now, you can know I’m quite sane, if you are an unbeliever, but at least I saw it in person a few times…

The “why/how” is here.

More real sitings captured here.

Facts and fiction about same…

Do you believe me now, shipmates?

Category: "Sea Stories", Astronomy, Military, Navy, Open Trackbacks, Physics, Public Service, Science | 1 Comment »

Attention High Altitude Residents (Temporary and Permanent)!

October 7th, 2007 by xformed

Linking, learning and OOPS! Information coming in!

Found at the Scientific American Mind website, the adventuring into the upper reaches of the atmosphere has a cumulative effect on the thing that makes you think.

From “Into thin air: Altitude’s toll on the brain”:

Douglas Fields
National Institutes of Mental Health
Washington, D.C.

Three attributes of a good mountaineer are high pain threshold, bad memory, and … I forget the third. – R. Douglas Fields

Climbing Mount Everest is not so difficult; the hard part is getting down intact. According to a recent brain imaging study, almost no one does. Of thirteen climbers in the study who attempted Mount Everest, none returned without brain damage. The study also scanned the brains of climbers who attempted less extreme summits. For those of us who love to climb, the results are less than elevating. It seems that almost no one, whether the weekend warrior chaperoned to the summit or the seasoned mountaineer, will return from the high peaks with a brain in the same condition it was in beforehand.

Some of us will be able, based on a propensity to “get high” in aircraft or climbing, will be able to use this as a defense in our more advanced years to cover our mental errors. But then we know the other people who “get high” also will have that excuse…

Watch Lex’s posts for signs of too many rides when he took his O2 mask off against the directives of NATOPS.

Category: Biology, Public Service, Science, Skydiving | Comments Off on Attention High Altitude Residents (Temporary and Permanent)!

It Is What It Is

September 27th, 2007 by xformed

(Click for the large version)

Category: Astronomy, Science | Comments Off on It Is What It Is

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