Saturday, 22 March 2014

Wasted life

I think it is the case that, underneath it all, one of my main drivers is that I not have a wasted life. I wonder how common that sentiment is.

How does the desire for a life that is not wasted manifest itself? For some people, I think that the desire for status is a manifestation for a desire for a life that is not wasted: status is 3rd party evidence of achievement (achievement that is acknowledged by others). How could it be said that a person who attained high position, or achieved great things, wasted their life?

But perhaps the measurement of life should not be through the lens of others' perception. Perhaps we should measure against ourselves? Perhaps what is important is the pursuit of inner peace or enlightenment?

Wifi hotpot spoofing attack

I was thinking today about a possible attack method spoofing wifi hotspots. I'm sure this probably already exists, but I'll write about what I was thinking nonetheless.

I'm pretty sure it would be possible to make a computer with a wifi card appear to be a wifi router. i.e. the computer advertises a wifi network that other computers can join. This could be either a secure or insecure network. For example, if running the spoofing computer in Starbucks, the cracker might use a similar SSID to the Starbucks own SSID, and use the same password.

By spoofing the DNS services once target computers are connected to the spoofing computer, it should be possible to make it appear to users that they are accessing the domain of a particular website, and hence would enter password details. The only defence in this circumstance would be the certificate of the website.

Exercise whilst sleeping

I wonder whether it would be possible to exercise the body whilst the mind is asleep. I don't like exercise, but the evidence suggests it's essential, so why not do it while I'm not conscious of doing it, both saving me the discomfort and the time.

How might this be achieved? A key factor is to monitor the brain to make sure that the user is fully asleep before the exercise programme begins, and also to stop or lessen the exercise programme if the user appears to be waking up.

The exercise itself could be achieved through electrical stimulation of muscles, or through moving limbs via mechanical means (potentially similar to the Puppet Suit concept I wrote about, or some kind of exoskeleton).

It may be possible to develop drugs that deepen sleep to avoid the exercise waking the user. Or to lessen the users sensing of their body.

Implants that stimulate adrenal gland on demand

I would quite like to have implants that stimulate adrenal glands on demand. The ability to stimulate the adrenal glands (releasing adrenaline) would make training harder easier, making it easier to be fitter and healthier.

Such implants should be possible with today's technology - it's not dissimilar to a pace maker, but with some kind of remote control (e.g. via Bluetooth).

Obviously it's essential that safety mechanisms are built in, to prevent hacking and over-stimulation.

Another possible use of the implants would be as an alternative to an alarm clock - allowing the user to have an energetic start to the day.

High Availability Education

Many educational processes that I have experienced have not adequately addressed the weaknesses in human memory.

I think it would be really interesting to apply the component failure system resilience design principles to education: high availability systems are designed on the assumption that hardware components fail, but that when a failure occurs the system continues to operate.

Similarly, educational programmes should be designed on the basis that the learner will forget, and as such, the mechanisms for dealing with a "forget" scenario.

Fundamentally, all there should be an expectation that all educational materials used by a learner are available to that learner for the rest of their life, creating a "non-brain memory". This is all the more possible now that learning materials can be stored electronically.

The key is that learners learn to add to, reference from and refine their non-brain memory. Ensuring learners have a well organised set of non-brain memory should be of upmost importance to educators.

There are numerous techniques to increase the usefulness of non-brain memory. Obviously, the search functionality of electronic media is ideal for allowing a learner to find information relevant to the topic they need to refresh. But there are also techniques such as creating topic summaries or cheatsheets that provide rapid access.