In episode three of Westworld, Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) describes the theory of the mind that his co-founder, Arnold, used to try to create consciousness in the hosts. It’s called the bicameral mind, and for those of us who don’t want to read a nearly 500-page book from 1976 in order to learn more about a TV show that’s still in process, Jonathan Holmes has explored the connections between the two in a seven and a half minute video.
I would recommend watching this, not only because it’s very convincingly argued and easy to comprehend—unlike virtually anything associated with Westworld—but because the final episode of this season also happens to be titled “The Bicameral Mind.” So an understanding about how Julian Jaynes described the breakdown of the bicameral mind into self-awareness and modern consciousness might help guide our understanding of where Westworld’s hosts are heading.
Delhi, the capital city of India and home to 25 million residents, is in the midst of an “extreme pollution event.” In other words the city has been overrun with smog—tons of it. Recent photographs show the extent of the problem, which is being blamed on everything from vehicle emissions and crop burning through to smoking and fireworks.
A noxious smog has settled over the city of Delhi, and it’s causing more than just a burning sensation in the eyes and throat. Tempers flared this past Sunday when hundreds of citizens gathered outside the Parliament buildings to protest the deteriorating conditions. It’s the worst pollution to strike the city in nearly two decades.
In response, the government has declared a pollution emergency, temporarily shutting down construction for five days, halting a power plant for 10 days, and closing the city’s 1,800 schools for three days. Should the situation not improve, city officials said they may restrict the number of vehicles allowed on the road.
The level of dangerous particles reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday. This past weekend, the level surpassed 1,000 in some places, which is 16 times the limit India’s government considers safe—and a whopping 70 times the level the World Health Organization considers safe.
Sustained exposure to these extreme levels of pollution are considered equivalent to smoking more than two packs of cigarettes a day. The fine particles, which measure between 2.5 to 10 micrometers, can enter the lungs, bloodstream, and even heart. The elderly and small children are particularly at risk.
Delhi is a miserable place to be in right now, and it’s easily the most polluted city in the world at the moment. Residents have been told to visit the hospital should they experience breathlessness, giddiness, chest pain, and constriction, and to wash their eyes with running water should they become irritated. Citizens have been clamoring for anti-pollution masks, and vendors are doing brisk business.
Weather has also contributed to the unprecedented pollution levels in Delhi, including a change in wind direction that transported pollutants from the crop fires. Calm surface winds over the capital prevented the pollutants from dispersing, leading to an accumulation of toxic chemicals.
Meteorologists expect the pollution levels to drop today and over the course of the week as surface winds pick up. That said, air quality levels will likely stay within the “severe” to “very poor” levels this week.
Critics say the government is reacting to the pollution emergency by enacting short-term solutions, and that something needs to be done to alleviate the problem in the long-term.
Do you know how to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians? Your big idea could garner significant financial support.
From now until Feb. 27, 2017, Colorado’s Department of Transportation will accept new ideas to protect non-motorists along its roadways. The agency offers a $500,000 pot, with prizes ranging from $10,000 up to $225,000 for the best ideas.
Anyone can participate in the competition, which has two tracks. Track one (dubbed the “Idea-thon”) rewards ideas only — the five best concepts receive $10,000 each.
Track two, the “Do-athon,” rewards $75,000 each to the five best ideas that can be built into proofs of concept. From those five finalists, the best-performing proof in a controlled test will earn an additional $150,000. The second- and third-best performers receive $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.
The RoadX Initiative
The open call is part of Colorado’s RoadX initiative, a program aimed at making the state’s transportation infrastructure safer, smarter, and more efficient.
Hence, the measure goes beyond cyclist and pedestrian safety. RoadX also asks public and private innovators to create futuristic “smart” infrastructure for motorists. The plan’s lofty goals include guardrails that communicate with vehicles to prevent accidents, real-time safety and navigation apps, and vehicle-to-vehicle communication technology.
Goal: Zero Road Fatalities
So far this year, 502 people lost their lives in traffic-related accidents on Colorado roads. That’s on pace to meet or exceed last year’s total of 550.
The state’s goal? Zero.
Colorado’s RoadX strategy clearly takes a cue from the X Prize competitions that open-source new technology for the public good.
Because the initiative makes money available for great ideas, it has the potential to advance pedestrian and cyclist safety all across the country. We can’t wait to see what develops!
If you know how to make the roads safer, submit your proposal here.
Nanoloop has been providing ways for music and gaming enthusiasts to create tunes with a Game Boy for years now. The company is back with a new card for the original Game Boy handheld: the Nanoloop Mono. With the €69 (around $76) accessory, you can transform that classic gaming device into an analog mono synth. Thanks to one pin of Game Boy’s cartridge connector working as an audio input and a built-in amplifier, the Nanoloop Mono can generate sound and output it through the headphone jack in a completely analog fashion.
The Nanoloop Mono packs in three analog filters and a noise generator on its hybrid sound chip. There’s also a step sequencer with per step control of the parameters and eight memory banks than can each hold 15 patterns per channel. While the card works best with the OG Game Boy, it will also provide some noise when used with the Game Boy Pocket and Game Boy Color. However, Nanoloop says sound quality suffers with those gadgets. It doesn’t work at all with the Game Boy Advance, but the company makes another card for that handheld: the Nanoloop 2.0. While you decide whether or not to turn your collector’s item into a music making machine, the video below shows the Mono in action.
It’s election day and everyone’s looking for a way to get out to the polls. Ride sharing services Uber, Lyft, and ZipCar will help with discounted rides and new tools to help you find your polling place.
Uber has partnered with Google to create this handy tool to help you find your polling location. If you’ve never used Uber before, you can use the promo code VOTETODAY for $20 off your ride.
Meanwhile, Lyft will offer discounts to riders in select areas for 45% off of your ride to the polls (though getting a ride back will cost full price). Unfortunately, this isn’t a nationwide deal. Here are the areas where Lyft will be promoting the discount:
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
New Orleans, LA
New York City and New Jersey
Orange County, CA
San Diego, CA
Finally, Zipcar is making 7,000 of its short-term rental cars available for free for its members between 6PM and 10PM. If you’re voting earlier in the day, this might not help but for anyone heading to the polls after work who needs a ride, you can get it without being charged the hourly rate. Read more about the conditions of this deal here.