Are saccades (rapid eye movements) synchronized to speech during lipreading?

Now I am reading the book “Visual Thinking for Design” by Colin Ware (ISBN 978-0-12-370896-0).  The book starts by describing the way the brain processes visual information.  Essentially, the brain processes it chunk by chunk, where the chunks are separated by saccades (rapid eye movements).

Since my V2V project requires finding a way to translate auditory information into visual information for processing by the brain, I’m looking also for the corresponding information about the way a brain processes auditory information.

One question, which arose in my mind, as I am reading the aforementioned book is as follows.

Assume a hearing (or hard of hearing) lipreader, who follows a speech by listening and uses lipreading as an auxiliary aid to filter out environmental noises and other speakers.  Given that the lipreader’s eyes perform saccades as usual, are the saccades synchronized to times at which the speaker produces vowels rather than consonants?

And would the saccades still by synchronized to vowel production periods also for a deaf lipreader?

How to exploit a revolutionary physical discovery?

Suppose you have the good fortune to make a stunning physical discovery.  However, you are a practical person and would like to put your discovery to a practical use.  Where would you look for problems, which your new discovery can solve?

  1. Measure quantities more accurately than was possible before, or measure previously unmeasurable quantities (example: a sample/hold circuit based upon Josephson junctions).
  2. Non-destructive tests.
  3. Transport energy to long distances (such as superconductive materials).
  4. Transportation, including space transportation (such as various levitation forces).
  5. Improved electronic computers.
  6. Manufacturing much stronger materials.
  7. New energy sources (such as neutrino flows, if a good neutrino trap is ever developed).
  8. Synthesis of novel chemical materials.
  9. Separation of materials (to make very clean materials or simply to desalinize water).
  10. “Molecular engineering” – construction of 3D integrated circuits (or simply, manufacturing materials having layered structure).
  11. More efficient cooling (closer to Absolute Zero and/or easier to achieve a target temperature).

מה אפשר לעשות עם תגלית פיסיקלית מהפכנית?

נניח שהתמזל מזלך וגילית תגלית פיסיקלית מהפכנית.  עם זאת, הינך אדם מעשי והיית רוצה לנצל את תגליתך למטרה מועילה כלשהי.  איפה תחפש אחר בעיות שהתגלית החדשה שלך יכולה לפתור?

  1. פשוט למדוד דברים בצורה יותר מדוייקת ממה שהיה אפשר בעבר, או למדוד דברים שבכלל אי אפשר היה קודם למדדם (דוגמא: מעגל sample/hold המבוסס על צמתות Josephson).
  2. בדיקות לא הרסניות.
  3. העברת אנרגיה למרחקים גדולים (כמו חומרים על-מוליכים).
  4. תחבורה, כולל תחבורה בחלל (כמו כוחות levitation למיניהם).
  5. מחשבים אלקטרוניים משופרים.
  6. ייצור חומרים חזקים ביותר.
  7. מקורות אנרגיה חדשים (כגון שטף נאוטרינוס, אם יפתחו מלכודת-נאוטרינוס טובה).
  8. סינתיזה של חומרים כימיים חדשים.
  9. הפרדת חומרים (לייצור חומרים נקיים ביותר ו/או פשוט להתפלת מים).
  10. “הנדסה מולקולרית” – בניית מעגלים משולבים תלת-מימדיים (או פשוט ייצור חומרים הבנויים שכבות-שכבות).
  11. קירור יותר יעיל (יותר קרוב לאפס המוחלט ו/או יותר קל להגיע לטמפרטורת יעד מסוימת). 

What really prevents us from making 20 thousand NIS a month?

Those days there is a commotion in Israel due to a speech by Yair Lapid, the new Finance Minister, about Riki Cohen who earns 20 thousand NIS a month but cannot make ends meet due to various expenses of living in Israel.

Several Israelis do not reach income of 20 thousand NIS a month. Some of them nevertheless manage to make ends meet but their monthly savings are not enough to buy an apartment at reasonable time. Others do not succeed in making ends meet.

I propose that instead of being angry at Yair Lapid for his failure to know the situation of the lower socioeconomic classes in Israel – each one is to think, check and inquire what really prevents him from making 20 thousand NIS a month.

Usually the reason is a low-paying profession, and the blocking factor is the absence of ability to convert to another, better paying profession. But there are several other blocking factors, and it would be a swell idea if someone is to run a survey so that we’ll know why most Israelis cannot make 20 thousand NIS a month.

Several possible reasons:

  • No funds or time for vocational change course, or the course is held in a place which requires 3 hours commutation from home to course and back each day.
  • During high school years, I could not study, and after army service, while I can study, there is no time or appropriate organization.
  • The rabbi or ADMO”R forbade me from studying “secular studies” lest I sin and deviate from the way of the Holy Torah.
  • I am screwed because I am an Arab.
  • There is a good job in my profession but there is no reasonable public transportation from my home to the workplace, and I cannot move to live near the workplace.
  • My vocation is important for the community but due to some reason has a low pay (examples: primary school teacher, social worker, nurse, caregiver).
  • I have children who need to be taken care of but the regular work hours in my vocation are crazy so I cannot work in my well-paying profession.
  • I have a disability which causes employers not to want to give me a job even though I can do it well.
  • I have a medical problem which prevents me from working.

All this – under the assumption that we are speaking about industrious people, who want to honorably support themselves, rather than be parasites living off at the public expense. This assumption is correct for most people, but we still need to filter out the parasites.

Few thoughts about the American constitutional right to bear arms

After the Connecticut elementary school massacre, there’ll be several calls for repealing the constitutional right to bear arms.

This article points out several aspects of this issue.  I do not have answers, yet.

On one hand, the right to bear arms is important for making it more difficult for an oppressive government to gain power.  On the other hand, this right is abused by insane people, who then commit massacres.  Common criminals are not part of the equation, because a group of armed criminals can always be countered by a bigger group of equally armed law abiding citizens.

One aspect, which seems to be overlooked by both sides of the argument, is the impact of technological advances.  Technological advances mean that arms are no longer the only means by which people and governments can hurt other people.  Such advances can be heavy armory (cannons, tanks, even A-bombs), cyberspace warfare (breaking into computers and cloud accounts, hacking one’s reputation in social networks), advanced radioactive/chemical/biological poisons, “smart dust” programmed to damage people it encounters, and nominally non-lethal weapons such as tasers.

Another aspect is the practicality of enforcing any bans on weapons.  The 3D printing technology will eventually make it impossible to control the spread of advanced weapons by controlling their points of manufacture.

The constitutional right to bear such advanced arms is not as clear-cut.  Neither is it clear whether constitutionally protected arms are effective against the new weapons.

The placebo effect

I wonder if there is any research about the placebo effect itself.
Research questions:

  1. Under which circumstances, will the placebo effect be stronger?
  2. Which personality traits make someone more susceptible to the placebo effect?
  3. Is there correlation among hypnotizability (ability to get hypnotized) and susceptibility to the placebo effect?

Getting insurance companies to play fair

In a regime, in which people are supposed to be self-reliant and to take responsibility over their lives, insurance companies have a critical role.  A responsible person would pay premiums so that any calamity, which he cannot handle by himself, will be handled instead by the insurance company.  So that the person would not become burden on the public.

Unfortunately, in pseudo-capitalistic oligrachic regimes, insurance companies tend to emphasize their profits over security for the insured.  So a strong mechanism to keep them honest is needed.  The following proposal addresses this issue.

A proposal for billionaires who wish to contribute to the community without supporting parasites:

Start a foundation which helps insured people, who were screwed by the insurance companies.
The foundation will work as follows.

  1. The insured will provide documents – the insurance policy, all documents he gave the insurance company to get the insurance money due to the event insured against, and documents attesting to the fact that the insurance company rejected his claim due to unjustified reason.
  2. The foundation will check the documents and verify that everything is correct.
  3. If all is correct, the foundation will pay the insured the money that the insurance company was supposed to pay him. The insured will sign a commitment to reimburse the foundation any monies he gets from the insurance company due to compromise, court proceedings, or thanks to a manager’s golden heart.
  4. The foundation will sue in the insured’s name the insurance company and bring to the court its heavy guns (high caliber lawyers).

The billionaire’s donation is needed for running capital and to cover claims in which the court found for the insurance company.

A dose of the strongman medicine for USA? No, political education is better

USA is facing the serious problems of runaway public debt, overstretched army, and especially political machinery which is unable to effectively deal with the above problems.

Some countries and empires, at this stage of their evolution, got to be led by a strongman (dictator).  The dictator was either someone who rose inside them or someone who invaded the country (like Genghis Khan’s invasion of China).

In today’s world, the primary means of invasion is economic/political rather than by army force.  Army actions are now blocked by the existence of the devastating nuclear option, and by public opinion.  Soldiers, after all, are part of the public, and won’t fight unless there is enough public opinion backing war.

How would USA get out of the present crisis?

At 1985, Israel was going to have an economic collapse, of the kind that leads to dictatorship.  There were calls for a strongman to come to power and put matters to order.  Somehow, enough people of power were persuaded that something must be done and a new economic order was put in place and since then the economic situation improved in a big way (I am not sure that Dafny Leef and her cohorts would agree with me).

I do not see indications for such a political consensus in USA. What would then be a possible route to improvement in USA?  The two-party system is notoriously bad at allowing real leaders to rise to the top.  They must have all kinds of irrelevant qualifications, the inevitable skeletons must be well hidden in closets, they must be good looking and not be obese.  They must be excellent orators as well, and not start their adult career in an unacceptable profession (Ronald Reagan withstanding).

There is, however, another route to power in USA.  One makes a lot of money and leverages it for power in big Wall Street banks and other investment institutions.  That person (man or woman) would then be able to pull the strings behind the stage and push for the right kind of political changes.

A difficulty exists.  That person’s route to richness and power needs to leave him/her free of any commitments to take care of his/her Wall Street colleagues.  So that person would not be obligated to cater to Wall Street’s special interests.

Of course, since such a person would not gain power by democratic means, it is impossible to have an assurance that he/she would in fact operate for the good of the public rather than for any group of special interests. For such an assurance, the political process needs to work properly – and this failure is the underlying cause behind the present problems.

George Soros, anyone?

A better and safer alternative would be a massive educational process, which educate the populace about political processes, how they function, how they are supposed to function, how to wisely choose leaders, how to properly balance relatively minor improprieties vs. major leadership and management failures, how to tell legitimate criticism apart from propaganda by special interest groups, whose interests are damaged by a good leader’s efforts.

Please call me back at my expense (an idea for a needed service)

The following is a service which telephone service providers (both landline and cellular) ought to provide their clients.

Whenever A calls B and leaves him a message “Please call me back”, it should be possible for A to optionally specify that the callback will be charged to him rather than to B.

Eventually, people will avoid calling back unknown numbers unless they are marked as “please call me back at my expense”.

This practice will eventually put out of business all fraudulent businesses, which thrive on getting people to call back numbers with very high rates.

Technical implementation should be relatively simple.

Whenever A sets the option to charge him for callbacks, the service provider will issue a random and for one-time use number, which B will use to call A back at A’s expense.

What is the difference among Kenya and the Jews?

In Kenya, FGM (female circumcision) is an extremely important part of one’s group identity (MGM – male circumcision – as well):

In the wake of the German male circumcision ban, the question is asked, why must Jews consider male circumcision (the ritual practiced since the Hashmonite era, rather than the milder ritual practiced before then) to be such an important part of national identity, that attempts to ban it are regarded as antisemitism, rather than as progress to an enlightened world, in which no baby or child gets mutilated due to religious reasons and is free to choose whether to get mutilated once he or she reaches age of 18.

For me, the frightening thing is that Jews use very similar arguments to justify male circumcision, as Kenyans use to justify FGM. Without assuming that one culture or religion is The True One while the others are false ones, both Kenyans and Jews are equally guilty of cruelty to babies and children.

Kenyan cultural change – search for alternatives to FGM as part of group identity: http://www.womenaid.org/press/info/fgm/fgm-kenya.htm.  When will Jews start looking for a way to disassociate national identity from practices which irreversibly harm babies or children?

Ramon Breakthrough 2012

קרן רמון הכריזה על תחרות בין הצעות לפרויקטים פורצי דרך, שישפיעו תוך 5 שנים על חייהם של לפחות 5 מיליון ישראלים.

עולים בדעתי ארבעה רעיונות כאלה, שחלקם דורשים כיפוף חוקים כדי להכנס למסגרת התחרות.

  • תצוגה חזותית של אותות דיבור – ישפיע על חייהם של כ-7000 ישראלים חרשים, כיפוף הכללים הדרוש הוא לקבל פרויקט שישפיע על לפחות מיליון חרשים מכל העולם.
  • חפירת מנהרות עמוק באדמה וחיים בהן, כדי לפנות מקום לחיות בר וצמחיה על פני כדור הארץ. יאפשר לישראל לקלוט עוד מיליון יהודים ויותר בלי שתהיה צפיפות בלתי נסבלת. הפרויקט ידרוש יותר מ-5 שנים כדי לגרום לשינוי משמעותי.
  • שינוי חברתי כך שיהיה מעמד חברתי גבוה יותר למי שיש לו יותר מיומנויות שעוזרות לשרוד ולהתאושש מאסון טבע או מעשה ידי אדם, במקום למי שמפגין יותר צריכה ראוותנית. קורסי הכשרה לכל הציבור ימומנו על ידי חברות הביטוח שמוכרות ביטוחים נגד האסונות למיניהם. ישפיע על כלל האוכלוסיה.
  • בתי מחסה לחתולי רחוב – לא רעיון שלי. ישפיע על כל מי שיש חתולי רחוב באזור מגוריו וזה כמעט כולנו.

הפרס הוא קורס באוניברסיטת הסינגולריטי.

אני מתלבט. האם להגיש הצעה אחת? האם להגיש את כל ההצעות שהן רעיונות שלי? האם בכלל להגיש הצעה? האם לא תהיה בעיית נגישות בקורס או בביצוע הפרויקט הזוכה לאחר מכן?

The Ramon Foundation announced a contest among proposals for breakthrough projects, which will affect the lives of at least million Israelis within 5 years.
I have in mind four such ideas, part of which require some rules to be bent in order to be admissible to the competition.

  • Visual representation of speech signals – will affect the lives of about 7000 Israeli Deaf persons, the needed rule bending will be to accept a project which will affect the lives of at least million Deaf persons from all over the world.
  • Digging tunnels deep in Earth and living in them, to free room for wild animals and vegetations on Earth surface. Will enable Israel to absorb another million Jews and more without incurring unbearable congestion. The project will need more than 5 years to cause a meaningful change.
  • Social change so that high social status will be granted to whomever has more survival and disaster recovery after natural disaster or human-made disaster, instead to whomever demonstrating conspicuous consumption. Training courses for the entire populace will be financed by insurance companies which sell insurances against the various disasters. Will affect the entire population.
  • Hostels for feral cats – not my idea. Will affect anyone whose neighborhood has feral cats and this is almost all of us.

The prize is a course in the Singularity University.

I am agonizing over it. To submit one proposal? To submit proposals for all my ideas? To submit a proposal at all? Won’t there be an accessibility problem in the course or in subsequent execution of the winning project?