Walter E. Williams – The Cruel Alternative

True, I’m afraid:  too true…

Tinfoil-hat time: embedding false memories using blue light is now a reality

Yes – what seemed far-fetched sci-fi plots is now a reality, if, for the time being, only for mice.

‘The researchers used optogenetics, a technique that allows precise control of brain circuits. The control is achieved by expressing proteins that act as switches in particular types of brain cells. These switches are channels that, when struck by a particular color of light, allow charged particles into or out of the neurons, which will either activate or silence them.’

‘Armed with this discovery, they installed the optogenetic trigger in the neurons that were especially busy while a mouse got to know a new environment (we’ll call that Place A). The next day, in a different environment, they gave the mouse small electric shocks while triggering the memory of Place A using light. After that, even though it never had a negative experience in Place A itself, the mouse froze when it was returned there.’

What the researchers did was to target a memory of ‘place A’, where the mice had no unpleasant experience, at a later date and use a blue light and electric shock to change that neutral memory into a terrifying one.

Think of that next time you feel a strong aversion to something or an unspecified feeling of uneasiness – and keep the light-reflecting tinfoil hats on!

Hacking NASDAQ

It seems that five men fro Russia and the Ukraine have pulled off the biggest hack yet:

‘The case, brought by US attorneys in Manhattan and New Jersey, is the largest hacking scheme ever prosecuted in the US, Department of Justice officials said. From 2005 to 2012, the four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian penetrated the private networks of the Nasdaq stock exchange, Citibank, PNC Bank, Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, JCPenney, Hannaford Brothers, and others, prosecutors alleged in indictments unsealed Thursday morning. The hacking gang traded text strings that exploited SQL-injection vulnerabilities in the victim companies’ websites to obtain login credentials and other sensitive data, then installed malware that gave them persistent backdoor access to the networks.’

Read the full article at arsTechnica here:

(Apologies – for some reason, the post crashes when I try to embed the link…or put on tags…or just about anything:  still having internet connectivity problems.)