Saturday, 27 July 2013

False Memories?

The guys at MIT have been busy.  Usually....they come out with some amazing studies and lead the science guys off into a bold new concept or idea.  This time?  False memories.

What they say.....being only at the first few steps of a study.....is that they think they can create false memories in a person.  It could take twenty years to reach a stage where they've got the 99-percent chance of taking a guy into a room....implanting something....then feeding a couple hours of data to reshape what memory you had of some incident, accident, untimely death, bad marriage, or screw-up.

A lot of people would look at this opportunity as a bold chance to reshape their mistakes and just forget about what happened.  A soldier with PTSD, could reshape his last year and actually believe he was in Hawaii on some beach, and not watching three of his best friends get hit by a IED-bomb.  A survivor from an airplane crash could be coached into believing that he was merely fishing that day that his plane came down with forty dead passengers.

You could see a lot of positives from this.  The problem is....we used to use memories to learn from and occasionally rebuild our lives in our own fashion.  It was hit and miss....I admit.  But it was a human form of recovery.

So now, there's likely to be this team of sorts.....who sit there and measure your misery, and then calculate on the necessity of a false memory.  Then they spends hours devising the perfect and most believable false memory to fit into your mind.  You weren't on the battlefield, you were vacationing in Thailand.  You weren't on the train that derailed, you were on a lawnmower.  You weren't in a car accident, you were riding a bike and simply fell off.

At some point, the mind likely operates like a computer and has this little isolated area where hidden files are kept, and there's this one little reminder to take you to the missing chunk of memory.  Eventually, I suspect that most people will describe some missing link of their lives to the false memory crowd where they do still have a link.  Absolute erasing?  I suspect will never occur.

All of this brings me to the idea of misusing the false memory business.  You could run through a miserable five-year marriage to some crazy gal who threatened to shoot you.....burned your Johnny Cash music collection.....gave you laxative with the fancy muffins she made.....and spent $15,000 of your money on twenty-two tattoos on her body.  In a moment of desperation, after divorcing Wanda.....you run off to Dallas and get some false memory treatment....to forget the Wanda-years.

The truth is that you ought to keep those precious memories....to remind you not to do anything stupid and marry up with a nutcase gal.  The false memory solution would only invite you to repeat the episode in a year or two.....with another Wanda, with similar tendencies.   There are lessons learned in life and things that you ought to remember....as painful as it might sound.

False memories are coming.....there's no stopping of this technology.  In forty years....I suspect one out of every ten Americans will have some false memory procedure done on themselves.  TV advertisements will air each night on the local network, and Doctor So-V-So will tell you of the wondrous treatment and how it fixes all your long-suffering woes.

And somewhere down on the trailer-park, there's this guy who has this faint....ever so faint memory of some Wanda gal....with Johnny Cash tunes in the background, and a fascination of nutcases.  He'll end up paying some mental health doctor $10,000 to examine him repeatedly and tell him constantly that it's all just a dream.

Simply Observations

The US Department of Education has shown up at Queen Creek High School in Arizona for an investigation.  It's hard to say what investigative powers they have....but they have deemed that 'Redneck Days' (a student thing) might be worthy of a federal investigation.  This all comes up because some kids dressed like rednecks....well....like those guys on Duck Dynasty.  You can imagine these guys and gals in suits....sitting in a conference room....asking questions of the administrator, teachers, and students about redneckness.  It's hard to say what exactly they want out of this.  Sadly, if they'd gone to ten thousand schools around the south, they could get a pretty lecture on redneck living, a fish fry at lunch, a truck ride through Bankhead Forest, a fifty pound bag of peanuts as a gift, and a chance to pick a bushel of strawberries.  You can sense some federal law coming out of this.....no redneck behavior at any US school, and a bunch of folks getting more frustrated with the federal government.  The fear of the government?  Redneck profiling.  Yep, and you just can't go around profiling folks into this category.

The defense is rounding up its case with Private Manning (the WikiLeaks leaker from the Army).  Their key emphasis?  Private Manning is absolutely dedicated to his duty....but they couldn't really explain how he found the lack of dedication to hold secret material secret.  I doubt if the defense team really had any four-star stuff to say and this was the best he could utter.  The verdict.....early next week.

In four days, things get interesting in Bama.  The new law allowing all employees to bring their weapons to work (but not inside) will become effective.  You can imagine the morning of the first......probably over one million Bama guys and gals will tote some pistol or shotgun in the car, and talk over the weapon at lunch with co-workers.  By late afternoon.....discussions will center on recommendations and positives of their gun.  And by quitting time.....around eighty folks will go out and show their guns to co-workers....with thirty-two rounds accidentally fired in various parking lots across the state.  Cops will all react, get hyper about that many guns on the roads of Bama, and it'll turn into some state-wide discussion about the evils of having guns in public.

Some science guys have gotten enough data to say concretely....that a full-moon disturbs your sleep.  They can't explain why.....but the numbers are there.  It doesn't affect everyone, and you can predict that eventually.....some people will be identified as "moonie" (the guys affected), and it'll be some negative status tag on your life from that point on.