Thursday, March 6, 2014
Monday, March 3, 2014
That's hard. Anyway. How could we test if increasing the surface area of a
terminal bouton results in increasing post-synaptic response? I guess first
it's necessary to affirm that it isn't a foregone conclusion that this
mechanism already operates. According to Dr P, the increase in the area of
a terminal bouton results in increase in the number of docking sites (mediated
by the presence of precursors for the creation of synaptotagimin and SNARE
molecules I suppose). We also know that under low-Ca++ concentrations, the
primary means of exocytosis into the synapse is through complete fusion and
collapse of the vesicles. However, the reason that under these conditions
(which are typical for at least some of the neurons) the result isn't to have
the boutons grow unbounded is that the membranes are also recycled into new
vesicles through the process of endocytosis
[https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2343565/ and others].
So anyway, first stop endocytosis at the axon terminal without hindering the
process of exocytosis or creation of new docking sites, or anything really
having to do with the movement of vesicles (if possible...maybe some virus?).
Second, monitor the extracellular concentration of neurotransmitter following
either the introduction of Ca++ into the terminal (this might be achieved also
with an AP, but that may have additional consequences not considered).
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Sometimes I'm afraid that we forget what it was like to not organize things into classes, subclasses, types, and objects and that we got along fine like that. We need to be able to make use of these informal schemata which make use of other kinds of relationships between data. Although things might be reducible to labeled, directed graphs, we should definitely not restrict creation to that level.
We need a means of expression for the otherwise inexpressible. Those things which are only the immediate, fleeting concordance of sensory information and gestaltic, nameless unity; those things I want to give presence and meaning. These are things which we give names and construe in our own lives, but they are not the things themselves. The feelings of eyes all around looking on in distrust, hate, or condescension cannot be understood by the word "racism". A need to be a man while living in a woman's body is not translatable into any language that we can all speak. The well-fed business man does not comprehend the poor man's escape in heroin addiction.
Concepts like these matter. To understand them is to know the motivations for action and to walk in the other person's shoes. Compassion through shared experience is as old as story-telling, but the forces which enact it are too sparse and inconstant. Failure to understand the other man weakens us. It turns us to hate, confusion, secrecy, fear. Men learned to conquer parts of this in prehistory so that we could live in villages and not kill one another over minor faults. I think we need to learn again how to live with humanity on a global scale.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
The problem with bad software isn't that it gets made. It will get made, and no matter how easy we make the tools for specification and testing of software, there will be people who use unsafe production methods to make unreliable and exploitable software. However, I would hope that a secure system can exist. In the same vein as modern cryptography, I acknowledge that perfect security in the general case is unlikely, but suggest that strong security-- in some specific, provable sense-- can exist in the software systems that humans subject themselves to.
My main goals:
- make the economic benefits of releasing exploitable software less than the costs of producing good software.
- minimize the effects of unavoidable exploits, eliminate avoidable exploits, provide tools for realizing these goals in software production systems.
- make more accessible tools which can formally exclude the possibility of certain classes of exploits existing.
- spread more knowledge about safe software practices to those who make software
This idea isn't entirely my own. There was a paper I read a while back about treating a peice of malware as a virus which has certain system call profile. For a single architecture and operating system, this should be statistically stable across machines and serve as a sort of marker. That idea comes, very loosely I'm afraid, from the immune system, which can identify antigens by interacting with them.
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Concerns collusion resistance and zero-knowledge. The bidders want to hide their bids from everyone auctioneer (evaluator-prover), but they also want to know that their bids were calculated correctly. There is danger of collusion so that bidders can get a lower price (to the detriment of the auctioneer).
More from Micali (collaborated with Rabin on this topic): http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2014/2/171688-cryptography-miracles-secure-auctions-matching-problem-verification/fulltext