Archive for November 8th, 2012

November 8, 2012

Modernist Cuisine

Nathan Myhrvold

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking’ is a 2011 cookbook by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, and Maxime Bilet. The book is an encyclopedia and a guide to the science of contemporary cooking. Five volumes cover history and fundamentals, techniques and equipment, animals and plants, ingredients and preparation, plated dish recipes; the sixth volume is a kitchen manual. 

Myhrvold has attended Ecole de Cuisine la Varenne, a cooking school in Burgundy, France and has also cooked part-time at Rover’s, a French restaurant in Seattle owned by Thierry Rautureau. He is also a scientist, having earned advanced degrees in geophysics, space physics, and theoretical and mathematical physics, done post-doctoral research with Stephen Hawking at Cambridge University, and worked for many years as the chief technology officer and chief strategist of Microsoft.

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November 8, 2012

Mesolimbic Pathway

The mesolimbic pathway, sometimes referred to as the reward pathway, is a dopaminergic pathway in the brain. The pathway connects the ventral tegmental area, which is located in the midbrain, to the nucleus accumbens and olfactory tubercle, which are located in the ventral striatum.

The release of dopamine from the mesolimbic pathway into the nucleus accumbens regulates incentive salience (i.e., motivation and desire) for rewarding stimuli and facilitates reinforcement and reward-related motor function learning; it may also play a role in the subjective perception of pleasure. The dysregulation of the mesolimbic pathway and its output neurons in the nucleus accumbens plays a significant role in the development and maintenance of an addiction.

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November 8, 2012


eric kandel by Joseph Adolphe

Sensitization [sen-si-tuh-zey-shuhn] is an example of non-associative learning (learning involving exposure to a single event) in which the progressive amplification of a response follows repeated administrations of a stimulus. An everyday example of this mechanism is a warm sensation followed by pain caused by constantly rubbing an arm. The pain is the result of the progressively amplified response of the nerve endings.

Sensitization is thought to underlie both adaptive as well as maladaptive learning processes in the organism. Sensitization refers to the process by which a cellular receptor becomes more likely to respond to a stimulus (more efficient). There are a several of different types of sensitization: long-term potentiation, kindling, central sensitization, and drug  sensitization.

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November 8, 2012


Habituation [huh-bich-oo-ey-shuhn] occurs when an animal responds less to repeated stimuli. It is a primitive kind of learning and a basic process of biological systems. Animals do not need conscious motivation or awareness for habituation to occur; it enables them to distinguish meaningful information from background stimuli. Habituation occurs in all animals, as well as in some large protozoans. The decrease in responding is specific to the habituated stimulus.

For example, if one was habituated to the taste of lemon, their responding would increase significantly when presented with the taste of lime (stimulus discrimination). Two factors that can influence habituation include the time between each stimulus, and the length of time the stimulus is presented. Shorter intervals and longer durations increase habituation, and vice versa.

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November 8, 2012

Naïve Physics


Naïve physics or folk physics is the untrained human perception of basic physical phenomena. In the field of artificial intelligence the study of naïve physics is a part of the effort to formalize the common knowledge of human beings. Many ideas of folk physics are simplifications, misunderstandings, or misperceptions of well understood phenomena, incapable of giving useful predictions of detailed experiments, or simply are contradicted by more thorough observations.

They may sometimes be true, be true in certain limited cases, be true as a good first approximation to a more complex effect, or predict the same effect but misunderstand the underlying mechanism. Naïve physics can also be defined an intuitive understanding all humans have about objects in the physical world. Cognitive psychologists are delving deeper into these phenomena with promising results. Psychological studies indicate that certain notions of the physical world are innate in all of us.

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November 8, 2012

Patent Thicket

patent war

A patent thicket is ‘a dense web of overlapping intellectual property rights that a company must hack its way through in order to actually commercialize new technology,’ or, in other words, ‘an overlapping set of patent rights’ which require innovators to reach licensing deals for multiple patents from multiple sources.’ The expression may come from the ‘SCM Corp. v. Xerox Corp’ patent litigation case in the 1970s, wherein SCM’s central charge had been that Xerox constructed a ‘patent thicket’ to prevent competition. Patent thickets are used to defend against competitors designing around a single patent.

It has been suggested by some that this is particularly true in fields such as software or pharmaceuticals, but Sir Robin Jacob has pointed out that ‘every patentee of a major invention is likely to come up with improvements and alleged improvements to his invention’ and that ‘it is in the nature of the patent system itself that [patent thickets] should happen and it has always happened.’ Patent thickets are also sometimes called ‘patent floods,’ or ‘patent clusters.’

November 8, 2012

Submarine Patent


David Kappos

A submarine patent is a patent whose issuance and publication are intentionally delayed by the applicant for a long time, such as several years. This strategy requires a patent system where, first, patent applications are not published, and, second, patent term is measured from grant date, not from priority/filing date. In the United States, patent applications filed before November 2000 were not published and remained secret until they were granted. Analogous to a submarine, therefore, submarine patents could stay ‘under water’ for long periods until they ’emerged’ and surprised the relevant market. Persons or companies making use of submarine patents are sometimes referred to as patent pirates.

Submarine patent practice was possible previously under the United States patent law, but is no longer practical since the U.S. signed the TRIPS agreement of the WTO: since 1995, patent terms (20 years in the U.S.) are measured from the original filing or priority date, and not the date of issuance. A few potential submarine patents may result from pre-1995 filings that have yet to be granted and may remain unpublished until issuance. Submarine patents are considered by some, including the US Federal Courts, as a procedural laches (a delay in enforcing one’s rights, which may cause the rights to be lost).

November 8, 2012



The Anti Security Movement (also written as antisec and anti-sec) is a movement opposed to the computer security industry. Antisec is against full disclosure of information relating to but not limited to: software vulnerabilities, exploits, exploitation techniques, hacking tools, attacking public outlets, and distribution points of that information. The general thought behind this is that the computer security industry uses full disclosure to profit and develop scare-tactics to convince people into buying their firewalls, anti-virus software, and auditing services. As recently as 2009, attacks against security communities such as ‘Astalavista’ and ‘milw0rm,’ as well as the popular image-host ‘ImageShack,’ have given the movement worldwide media attention.

The ‘anti-security movement” as it is understood today was coined a document which was initially an index on the website: ‘The purpose of this movement is to encourage a new policy of anti-disclosure among the computer and network security communities. The goal is not to ultimately discourage the publication of all security-related news and developments, but rather, to stop the disclosure of all unknown or non-public exploits and vulnerabilities. In essence, this would put a stop to the publication of all private materials that could allow script kiddies from compromising systems via unknown methods.’

November 8, 2012

Grey Hat


Goatse Security

A grey hat in the hacking community refers to a skilled hacker whose activities fall somewhere between white hat (lawful) and black hat (unlawful) hackers on a variety of spectra.

They usually do not hack for personal gain or have malicious intentions, but may be prepared to technically commit crimes during the course of their technological exploits in order to achieve better security. Whereas white hat hackers will tend to advise companies of security exploits quietly, grey hat hackers are prone to ‘advise the hacker community as well as the vendors and then watch the fallout.’

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