Posted Thursday, May 23, 2013, at 2:59 PM
Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures International
It is very safe to say that teleportation is NOT possible in our universe. To see why, let's assume a human being weights 70 kg. That would mean that there are at least 3x1027 atoms in the average human body (see).
With that one number, let's consider each of the possible proposed teleportation technologies:
Quantum Teleportation: The physicists or science writers who use the term "teleportation" for this quantum effect are trying for a sensational title to tout their work and to attract attention. This quantum kind of teleportation is not really anything at all like the teleportation in Star Trek. This is transferring the quantum state of one single particle to another single particle some distance away. The neat thing is that you can do this quantum "teleportation" even if you do not know the quantum state of the original particle. But even if this worked perfectly, you would need to apply this 3x1027 times to duplicate a human body. However, you need a lot more than just the quantum states to be correct for each atom, you also need to get the positions of all the atoms correct. That problem is addressed in the next method, but it is safe to say that this method of teleportation is for all practical purposes impossible.
Destructive scanning of a body, transmitting the information, and then reconstructing the body: To have a scanner that can record the position of every atom in the body to an accuracy of the order of the size of a hydrogen atom would require position accuracy of about 10-10 meters. To get that accuracy over a distance of order 1 meter, this would require 30 decimal digits, which would be about 100 binary digits per atom. However, there would be a lot of redundancy in this data, so let's be optimistic and assume you could compress this down to 1 bit per atom, so we still need approximately 1027 bits of data to just specify the positions of all the atoms in a human body. According to Wikipedia (), the approximate data storage capacity of all the computers and storage devices in the world today is roughly 1 zettabyte = 1021 bytes = 1022 bits. Therefore, the data for the scan of one human would require at least 10,000 times the total storage of all the data stored on Earth right now.
The total traffic on the entire World Wide Web/Internet was about 27,000 petabytes per month in 2011 (see). At that rate, it would take more than 3 million years to transmit the bits needed to specify the positions of all the atoms in the body (see ).
Even if you can store and transmit this data and then store it again at the destination, you still have the problem of scanning the original body and constructing the final body. The scanning of the body will probably have to be destructive since you need to essentially take the body apart to get to the inner atoms of the body. So you had better be able to do the scanning in a very short period of time or the person will die during the scanning operation and you will end up reconstructing a dead person at the destination. Finally, you cannot take a long time to construct the body at the destination since the early parts you construct will die while you are finishing the construction of the later parts. It is safe to say that this method of teleportation is for all practical purposes impossible.
are not really teleportation, they are really a way of traveling faster than the speed of light. So in that sense, it is better than teleportation, but is it possible? Well, first of all, according to general relativity, a wormhole is very unstable and will quickly collapse. The only known way to keep a wormhole open is to use a hypothetical form of matter that has negative energy density. Of course, we have never found or created any kind of matter that has a negative energy density, and we have no theory that would predict how to construct the matter with the negative energy density that would be required.
Even if we could construct an object with negative energy density, that does not allow the construction of a wormhole, it would only enable us to stabilize an existing wormhole and prevent it from collapsing. We have no known way to create wormholes in the first place. If we could somehow create a wormhole and prop it open wide enough to use it, the energy requirements would be astronomical. It would likely take more energy than the sun produces to create such a wormhole for even a few seconds. Even if we had a stabilized wormhole, the curvature of space-time in the interior of the wormhole would be very extreme and would certainly spaghettify any object trying to transverse the wormhole in the same way that black holes and their singularities tidally disrupt objects.
Finally, wormholes allow time travel, which violates causality and there are good physics arguments that would say that causality violations are not permitted in our universe. Therefore, there may be some fundamental physical principle that makes wormholes impossible. It is safe to say that this method of teleportation is for all practical purposes impossible.
Summary: It is very safe to say that there is no method for teleportation of human bodies that could possibly work or be practical in our universe. Sorry, Star Trek fans...
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Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 6:07 PM
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Rory Young, 23 years in wildlife management, forestry, and the safari industries as a professional safari guide, ranger, tracker, owner, and manager:
I will answer only in terms of self defense against a charging cape buffalo. This assumes there is no option but to shoot as the animal is in a full charge, that you are armed with a .375 H&H or larger and that there is no good tree next to you to climb.
The cape buffalo kills more people in Africa than any other mammal after hippos. It charges at approximately 56 kmh. Shooting it through the heart in a full charge will not necessarily stop it in time. I have seen a buffalo run 80 meters after being shot through the heart. (see. Therefore, the only way to stop it dead is to shoot it in the brain. The brain is 12 cm in diameter.
Because it is moving toward you at 56 kmh, the brain is only 12 cm in diameter and the head is moving up and down, it is best to wait until it gets very close and drops its head to gore you. This is usually when it is 10 to 20 meters away.
You need to hold your nerve and shoot perfectly accurately. If you miss, you are dead. If you turn and run, you are dead.
Unfortunately for me, I had to do this twice in one day in 1993.
I was together with another ranger-guide, Jesse. We were investigating reports of two "problem" buffalo in one of theareas near and had been warned that they were injured and had chased a couple of people up trees.
Unfortunately for us, they had moved into jess bush, a type of very thick thorny vegetation. It is a common tactic for injured buffaloes to take refuge in dense bush, and it is extremely dangerous to pursue them in such areas as they are extremely aggressive, have acute senses, are very cunning, and it is almost impossible to move quietly through Jess (it often involves crawling).
However, it was our job and we had no choice but to go after them so in we went.
The first one came flying at us through the jess and came out into a small clearing about 20meters from me. It dropped its head to hit me at about 15 meters, at which point I shot it.
We found the second one about five hours later in a much bigger clearing. He was on the other side of a small valley, about 80 meters away. This is far to shoot with a heavy caliber rifle and open sights and normally would not be done because of the chance of wounding. I gave the go-ahead to Jesse to shoot, though, because the animal was already injured (meat poachers had tried to kill both animals causing the wounds), dangerous to the local population, and surrounded by jess bush, where it would be more difficult and dangerous to find him.
Jesse fired, and the bull took off for the thick bush heading diagonally away from us. I sprinted after it because I really didn't want it going into that jess.
The bull caught my movement and veered round to charge at me. I stopped and prepared to shoot once it got close and dropped its head.
Instead, it fell to the ground about 20 meters from me. I lowered my rifle and just then Jess fired another round to make sure it was dead. Instead, it got up again and came at me a second time. By the time I raised my rifle and aimed, it was only 7 or 8 meters away, so when I fired, even though my shot placement was spot-on, the momentum of the charge carried it several more meters and it literally ended up at my feet.
I never had to shoot a buffalo before or after that day in self-defense and ever since have not followed buffalo, wounded or healthy, into jess bush.
I reckon, if I do it might be third time lucky for the buffaloes.
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Posted Tuesday, May 21, 2013, at 10:59 AM
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Contrary to what is found all over the Internet on the subject, the most common drink was water, for the obvious reason: It's free. Medieval villages and towns were built around sources of fresh water. This could be fresh running water, a spring or, in many cases, wells. All of these could easily provide fresh, disease- and impurity-free water; the idea that water from these sources would be the causes of disease and so had to be made into ale or beer is fanciful.
Where water was more likely to be contaminated, largely by tanning, slaughtering, or dying facilities, was in larger towns. But since medieval people were not idiots, they dealt with this in several ways. There were ordinances on where tanners and dyers could operate so that water for domestic use could be drawn from rivers and streams in the town to ensure the water was clean. And there were fines for contaminating areas of streams used for household consumption.
In larger cities, water-supply infrastructure was built to ensure public access to clean water. In medieval London, for example, the City Council began construction on what was called "the Great Conduit" in 1236. This was a complex of pipes that brought water from a large fresh spring at Tyburn to a pumping house with cisterns at Cheapside. This fed local cisterns all over London.
Wealthy Londoners could apply to have a private pipe or "quill" run from the conduit system to their house, giving them running water. This was expensive, and citizens who illegally tapped into the conduits were severely punished. Most people either drew their water from the nearest conduit cistern or paid a "cob" or water-carrier to bring them their day's water supply in three-gallon tubs, which they carried through the streets on a yoke. Public celebrations, such as the return of Edward I from Palestine or the coronation of Richard II, saw the city stop the water flow and fill the conduits with wine for the day, with people able to drink as much as they wanted.
People did drink a lot of ale and beer, but not because their water was so bad. The brews in question were much weaker than their modern equivalents but had the effect of providing much-needed calories to laborers and farmers, as well as being thirst-quenching and re-hydrating in hot weather or when working hard and losing sweat. Given the long days medieval workers put in, ale and beer were a major and necessary part of a laborer's daily energy intake. This should be seen as something like the medieval equivalent of drinking Gatorade.
Wine was the drink of choice for the upper classes and anyone who could afford it. It was produced all over medieval Europe and, due to the Medieval Warm Period that prevailed over western Europe until the 14th century, the climate meant it could be produced as far north as northern England. Wine was expensive and buying a small barrel was beyond the means of most people. But taverners bought it in bulk and sold it by the cup, so for a penny or even a halfpenny, an English peasant could enjoy a Bordeaux red.
In medieval England, the wine drunk most was red wine from Bordeaux and Gascony. Rhenish white from the Rhineland was twice as expensive and favored by the upper classes. Spanish white wines such as Lepe and Osey were cheaper and sweet wines from Greece, Crete, and Cyprus such as Romonye and Malmsey were popular after dinner.
Ian Mortimer, (2011)
"The Great Conduit in Westcheap" from The Dictionary of London (1918)
" " in Floregium Urbanum, (2001-2011)
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Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 12:25 PM
Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.
This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Jodi Kantor, New York Times correspondent, Author of The Obamas
I'm a reporter at the New York Times, I write about and often interview powerful people for a living, and I strongly believe the answer is: There is no one question that works for everyone. In fact, the secret to asking great questions is avoiding generalities or broad philosophical inquiries. Hypotheticals are worst of all, because they're going to give you the opposite of what you want, which is the person's real, lived experience.
To ask a really high-yielding question, you need to have done your homework. In my experience, general questions don't work very well. (Does anyone have a truly dazzling answer to the old "if you could meet anyone, living or dead?")
The most illuminating questions are simple and specific. In the fall of 2009, I interviewed President and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama about their marriage. My goal was to get them to avoid soundbites, to give honest, unrehearsed answers, and because I had been reporting on them for more than two years at that point, I knew what to avoid and where to go.
I had come to understand that equality was a serious issue in the Obama marriage, and that in the White House, the president and first lady are not treated in the same way at all.
So I summoned up my nerve and asked them, "How do you have an equal marriage when one person is president?"
The first lady immediately made a sound like "hah!" as if she was glad someone was finally asking that question. And then she did something very smart: she let her husband answer the question.
He tried. Barack Obama is normally so eloquent, but he botched his reply three times, stopping and starting over. It was such a hard question to answer -- Michelle Obama had been his supervisor at the law firm where they met, and yet she had made sacrifice after sacrifice for him, and now they were living in a world where he was like the sun, with everyone else rotating around him. Finally on the fourth try, he half-joked that his staff was more concerned with satisfying the first lady than satisfying him.
Then Michelle Obama stepped in to rescue him, giving the obvious politic answer: They were equals in their private lives if not in their public lives. The whole exchange was incredibly illuminating.
Even if you don't have years to research your subject, and it's a situation like a job interview where you're trying to assess someone, I would avoid sweeping statements, because they are likely to produce mush. For instance, when I hired a babysitter for my daughter, I used the same interviewing techniques I do in reporting and made the questions as concrete as possible: "Were you looking after a child on 9/11 and how did you react to the emergency?" (This was NYC in 2006, so the question made sense.) Also "what's a good lunch for a toddler?" The sitters who said nuggets and fries were out; the one who said she was a vegetarian who would be happy to cook healthy food is still working for us seven years later.
Good luck. Oh, and if you're interested in the Obamas' behind-the-scenes adjustment to the White House, my book has much more on the topic.
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Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at 5:15 PM
Photo by SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
There are a few things that I want to mention: No internet, no cable TV, no VCR, no DVD.
On rainy days, I read books. I read about everything. I learned about amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, dinosaurs, geology, astronomy, biology, mythology, and mechanics. I learned about astrology, bigfoot, ghosts, crystals, and aliens. I read classics like Moby Dick, The Hobbit, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and later on classics like The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Divine Comedy. I discovered Hermann Hesse, Jean-Paul Sartre, Aldous Huxley, and so many other writers. The books were in the book case, and a bored child eventually found them. With two taps of their fingers, they are watching streaming movies, playing Internet games, playing Dance Party on the Wii. It is so easy to fill up the empty space with quick entertainment, there's no time for thinking, for exploration.
In bringing in this age of constant entertainment and Internet, we have slain boredom, and in doing so, we have removed countless opportunities for our children to discover their passions and develop talents. I'm no Luddite, I work in technology. I think the Internet has brought wonderful things to the world, but I see what it's taken from my children. It's a battle I fight, to get them away from screens, and I accept it is a battle I will ultimately lose.
We enjoyed a freedom from supervision that few children in North America know. On Saturday mornings, after several bowls of high-sugar cereal, we rode forth on bicycles into the woods, and we were not seen again until dinner time. In most cases, we were banished for the day. It was unheard of to be inside on a sunny day. If it looked like rain, you would want to stay away from home just in case your mother told you to come inside. We would build forts, explore, build dams in streams, capture small creatures, make weapons with sticks, play war, and generally live like young wild things in the woods until hunger or fear of reprimand for missing dinner sent us back home.
We've made the world a far scarier place than it ever was. In fact, it's just as dangerous, but we've all become terrified of the bogeyman. People say "It was different then." Not so, We were different. Now we are scared, and we imprison our children.
I feel strongly that nature is something a child needs in order to grow into a healthy person. Not mowed green spaces where adults are organizing activities with folding chairs for sitting in, I mean wild, free, rambling access to wilderness.
I do my best to get them there every weekend, but life gets in the way. Each time it does, I feel the loss for them. If I could see a way to get out there with them every day from sunrise to sunset, I would. The problem is, they don't know that they are missing anything.
There are too many choices. There are too many brands, too many options. Attempting to choose which phone, which app, which shoes, is to be faced by a mountain of choices. Having more options doesn't make you happier, it makes it likely that you will doubt that you made the best choice. Making the wrong choice can be devastating.
When I was a kid, there were no choices. Clothes were something your family bought for you, and you wore them whether you liked them or not. There was no choice. Of course, we had no concept of fashion, clothes were functional. You wore them to stay warm, dry, and to hide your private parts from public view. That's it.
The future was brighter.
Now, we know too much about the damage we've done to the planet. My 7 year old daughter draws and posts pictures on the wall that say "Save the planet." That's her cause. They are growing up in a time where the future is in grave doubt. We knew many of the same things back 30-35 years ago, but that was far from mainstream media. It was something only discussed in scientific circles, the average citizen didn't think much about depleting aquifers or fish stocks, global warming, or ocean toxification. Now, it's in the zeitgeist, it's part of our collective consciousness.
I'm not saying that sticking our heads in the sand is any good, but just as there was a generation that lived before people became afraid of nukes, I lived in a generation before the one who became afraid of climate change and environmental damage. My forest was green and there was less garbage in it. When we go out on nature walks, we bring bags so we can clean things up a bit. She gets angry when she sees someone has left a mess in nature. I feel both proud and sad that this is her issue she has taken on.
Answer by Sanjay Sabnani, Generation X @crowdgather:
I can pretend and talk about the good old days, but for a chubby, sensitive kid who loved books more than life - now is the best time to be alive!
When I was a child:
- The world hated people of color.
- The world hated gay and transgender people.
- Bullying was mistaken for manliness.
- Men and women were forced to live up to ideals that limited everything.
- I could not afford to speak to my parents overseas when I went to college.
- There was no Internet.
- Computing was a luxury and a privilege.
- Technology was never social.
- Affording film and then getting it developed was a luxury.
- Video recording and production was out of reach for most humans.
- Knowledge was guarded and controlled.
- You had to steal adult content from grown ups.
My children are growing up in the absolutely best time to be a human being in the history of forever. The things even average humans are able to see and do is staggering. We eat like gourmands and travel the world like royalty. Who knows, we may actually live to see the singularity?
The only thing I will say that was comforting about the past was the certainty with which children felt they knew what was right and wrong. It turns out unfortunately that what I thought was wrong was actually fine, and what I thought was right was misinformation or ignorance. We now live in a world where if you don't know, you can find out quickly. How cool is that?
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Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2013, at 1:51 PM
Photo by CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
Answer by Rory Young, 23 years in wildlife management, forestry, and the safari industries as a professional safari guide, ranger, tracker, owner, and manager:
The first thing you do when coming across a "growling lion" is freeze and avert your eyes. You also do not point at it.
If a lion is not habituated to man, it will most likely run. The danger arises with lions that are more used to people.
Look at the animal's tail. When a lion is angry or feeling threatened it will sweep its tail from side to side. If it is hunting, it will keep its tail stiff and twitch it from time to time. It is much more serious if it is actively hunting you. If you see stalking indications, then raise your arms above your head and wave them and most importantly SHOUT YOUR HEAD OFF. If you have something in your hand then throw it at the lion. Even if the lion charges you do not run. Believe me, this can be extremely intimidating. They charge at 80 km per hour and the roaring is deafening. If you have frozen and then lion is not approaching, but not leaving either, then start to back slowly away. If it starts to move, then freeze immediately. If you have frozen and the lion is not approaching, but not leaving either, then start to back slowly away. If it starts to move, then freeze immediately.
My wife, Marjet, once walked into a whole pride at a concession we were running in Botswana. It was early morning during the cool season, and she was walking from our home to the camp (a couple of hundred meters away). The lions had just arrived and were sunning themselves in the tall grass, so she didn't see them till she was right on top of them. Despite the aggressive roaring and repeated charges from different lionesses, she held her nerve and walked away without a scratch. Needless to say, she doesn't take any nonsense from me ...
Nighttime encounters are another story. I was once doing problem-animal control in Gache Gache in Zimbabwe, trying to bait and shoot a lion that had killed several people, and the night before had almost succeeded in breaking into Chief Mangare's hut. It was dark but moonlit and I was lying on the ground, carefully backed into a euphorbia hedge along with two game scouts and a fellow ranger. I heard a very faint noise behind me, and the lion was crawl-stalking me and just 10 feet back! He had actually carefully crawled through the dense hedging to sneak up on us. He was too close for me to be able to turn and shoot. However, I turned on the torch in my hand and shone it in his face. He ran off. So, if you are walking in the bush at night (it happens in safari camps especially) and come across lions, keep your beam in their eyes and back away.
One of the biggest myths is fire. Lions are not afraid of campfires and will often walk round them and see what's happening. However, keeping a fire between you and a lion is probably better than nothing!
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Posted Monday, May 13, 2013, at 4:48 PM
Photo by Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
As someone who has spent her whole life dancing, I couldn't wait for my first school dance. It was 1987. I wore my Forenza T-shirt with the sleeves rolled up, Tretorns, and my grey Esprit mini skirt.
I had a great time dancing with my friends and then, at the end of the night, IT came on. "Purple Rain," Prince. Benji K. crossed the lobby of our school. (We had our dances in the LOBBY!) He took my hand and pulled me to the floor, about 3 feet from my friends who were giggling and "having a cow."
I put my hands on his shoulders. He put his hands on my waist and we started to sway, stiffly, in a circle. All I could think was, "Is he gonna go for it? Is he going to put his hands on my butt?" Purple Rain is a pretty long song, but it finished, and "Never Say Goodbye" by Bon Jovi came on. We kept swaying and then, when Jon Bon Jovi hits a high note, Benji's hands slid down onto my butt!
Well, you would have thought I had gotten naked for all the ruckus that it caused. My friends screamed, teachers moved in, and Benji had to "have a talk" with the gym teacher. One of the science teachers asked me if I was OK. I couldn't stop smiling. A boy had touched my tush! Best dance ever!
Answer by Caroline Zelonka:
Seventh grade, first dance ever. I was ever the dork, but for some reason, this cute boy (a fellow "gifted program" student and music geek) chose to hang out with me. I was blown away; as I said, he was cute and seemed to like me.
Anyway, we spent the first hour or so at the dance talking and exploring the place. I remember sitting inside one of the speakers, which was vibrating to the beat and probably destroying our eardrums. He asked if I wanted to step outside, not for anything bad, just so we could hear each other.
So we did. And the door locked behind us, so we couldn't get back in.
Now, considering this was my first dance, and I was my parents' first child, they set strict rules about it. They were going to pick me up at 9 p.m. (dance ended at 11 p.m.), and when they came, I was not there.
Horror of horrors, they looked around for awhile, then stopped the band and got up on stage to ask if anyone had seen me(!!!). Considering I was a shy, unpopular seventh grader (junior high consisted of grades 7 through 9), nobody knew who I was. And those who did would never have copped to this. I was mortified.
After this, they walked around outside, and that's when my dad found me, and grabbed me away like I was about to get raped. Nothing was happening, we were just sitting on the sidewalk making awkward conversation as 13-year-olds are wont to do.
My dad was so mad, he called the boy's parents. I was grounded for almost a year and was so embarrassed I never talked to that boy again until 2009, when we reconnected on Facebook and had some closure (well, I had closure, the boy's dad just laughed and warned him some girls' dads would be like this).
My first dance. I still have pleasant memories at the thought that this guy liked me, despite my looks and lack of social graces. I didn't go to another dance until I was in high school, but no prom or whatever was as memorable as this.
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Posted Thursday, May 9, 2013, at 4:03 PM
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Answer by Justin Freeman, retired cop:
This one's a tangled mess of legal and practical issues. If you want simplistic speculation or out of context sound bites, there are thousands of Twitter accounts ready to fill this void in your life; otherwise, bear with me.
- The units going door-to-door weren't the type you say no to. They didn't have neighborhood cops tap-tap-tapping on screen doors: Search teams were composed largely of SWAT units in full tactical gear.
- There were myriad unspoken pressures to consent to sweeps. Communication from SWAT squads would have been resolute, to say the least. There weren't any episodes of, "Hey, uh, would you care if we came in your house and looked around?" Besides that, it's very unlikely anybody in that area wanted to be an impediment to progress in the search. If something goes bad later, and your neighbors find out you had been haranguing federal agents on your front stoop, to quote a certain ski instructor, you're gonna have a bad time.
- Objections would be swiftly met with assurances of scope. I ran into this on occasion. When I was a rookie, a situation arose in which we needed to clear a residence for some reason, and the shifty dude at the front door started balking at letting us come in. It was gray as far as emergency warrant exceptions went, so my street-wise backup officer said something along the lines of, "Listen, pal, all we want to do is make sure this guy's not in there. We don't have time to f--- around with your misdemeanor weed and paraphernalia tonight, so if you don't have our guy or a dead body in there, we're pretty much gonna bid you a nice evening and be on our way." The guy considered for a beat, then cleared the way. We swept the residence, hat-tipped him on our way out, and went on to the next door. I'm positive objections would have been met with something similar, though perhaps with less patience.
Now, I don't know what the legal framework was behind the door-to-door canvass, or how exactly outright refusals would have been (or were) processed. I'm sure they had legal counsel close at hand throughout the duration of the event. That said, here are some considerations:
- Remember, residences were entered to sweep, not to search. There is a significant legal difference. As an officer, if I had suspicion that someone was hiding in a residence that I had gained lawful entry into, I could conduct a sweep to ensure I wouldn't be ambushed by a hidden subject. However, the scope of this sweep was limited to looking for a person, and limited to areas in which a person could reasonably be expected to hide. Thus, I could look in closets and under beds, but not in nightstand drawers or medicine cabinets. What canvassing units were doing during the lockdown was a sweep, not a search; how this distinction relates to Fourth Amendment issues is a bridge too far as far as my expertise goes. I'll defer to more competent legal minds there. However, I will note that, despite varying legal opinions here, it's likely ensuring a terrorist wasn't passed over and allowed to get behind perimeter lines would be considered "reasonable" by many interpreters of law (definitely not all, though, hence the controversy). This would be less a matter of "throwing the law aside" and more one of operating based on exceptions which have withstood judicial and other scrutinies over time.
- If warrants were deemed required, they could be had quickly. I was first on scene to a grisly three-car accident instigated by a drunk driver. Our point DWI officer attempted to get a breath sample from him on scene, but he had prior DWI convictions and refused. The DWI officer said, "That's fine, pal. I'll have a needle in your arm within the hour." Officer calls a prosecutor at home, who prints a boilerplate blood warrant in his home office while the officer whisks himself to the prosecutor's house. While he's coming, prosecutor calls the on-call circuit judge and asks if they can get a warrant signed for an emergency DWI blood draw. Having gotten a green light, officer picks prosecutor up and heads to the judge's house with completed form warrant in hand. Judge signs the warrant on his front porch, and officer is off to the hospital. With the warrant, hospital staff has legal clearance to draw blood specifically for the criminal investigation, and they do so. Time from breath-test refusal on the accident scene to venipuncture at the hospital? All of 42 minutes. If the FBI's legal counsel deemed it necessary to secure a warrant in the wake of entry refusals, they could have them in a fraction of this time.
I've looked for indications in many different quarters online as to whether anyone in the affected area actually refused a search; I can't find any. Some general conspiracy theories, some commentary on civil liberties erosion, but no mentions I can find of attempts to decline entry. Thus, any conjecture here or elsewhere may remain purely theory, as I doubt you'd get an answer from the command detail that wasn't mealy-mouthed and spun to the point of dizziness.
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Posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013, at 3:01 PM
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This is a really interesting question that gets at some recent themes discussed in other Quora questions (
The answer to your question about the Norwegian sentencing system likely lies somewhere in there as well.
There are essentially five goals of sentencing:. The last of these, rehabilitation, is probably one of the most controversial. In the U.S., for example, rehabilitation is considered a secondary goal, after retribution. Americans want their prisoners punished first and rehabilitated second.
This appeals to a societal sense of justice and fair play that has considerable cultural inertia in our country. Any talk of prioritizing rehabilitation ahead of retribution very typically generates complaints about how doing so will endanger public safety, ignore the needs of crime victims, and—most damning of all—coddle criminals.Never mind that certain forms of rehabilitation have been shown throughto reduce the risk of future offending, we want our pound of flesh first and foremost.
The same is not true the world over, though. Norway, by contrast, has a very progressive approach to sentencing that prioritizes rehabilitation as a primary strategy for reducing future criminal behavior. That doesn't mean they don't use prisons, it just means that the conditions of confinement are geared toward reducing the risk that an offender will return to a life of crime after release
Unlike many U.S. jurisdictions that use determinate sentencing (the sentence stated by the court is the actual sentence that will be served), Norway uses an indeterminate system that relies on an assessment of whether or not the offender is rehabilitated as a basis for release from prison.
As you noted, the stated maximum prison sentence in Norway is 21 years, but that can also be extended in five-year increments if the prison system determines that an offender is not rehabilitated by the end of his or her initial term. They can be extended in this way, every five years, indefinitely. So, essentially, there is an ability for an individual to serve life in prison, it's just decided on an installment basis.
The outcomes of this approach seem to be positive in terms of reducing the risk of reoffense. I couldn't find a more authoritative source, but this Guardian article aboutsystem claims that the recidivism rate of Bastoy Prison is about 16 percent, the lowest in Europe, versus in the U.S.
Sentencing practices and the conditions of confinement in Norway aren't without controversy of their own, however. There's been heated debate across Europe about the perceived injustice of Norwegian inmates living in relative "luxury" while the living conditions for impoverished or elderly law-abiding people aren't nearly so comfortable.
The question of whether prisoners should enjoy better living conditions than law-abiding people, even if those conditions are part of what leads to more positive rehabilitative outcomes is a legitimate one. At this point, at least, Norway has chosen an approach that it generally believes will have the greatest positive impact on crime.
Limits to the length of prison sentences are one component of that approach.
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Posted Monday, May 6, 2013, at 3:41 PM
This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Brian Roemmele, researcher:
Yes and no. The determining factors arise from the root emotion and neuropeptide connection the behavior has. It may take far longer if certain conditions are not met.
The Human Experience, Built On Emotions
Every single human action is tied to neuropeptides that are released by the brain and sent through the bloodstream to receptors on every cell in your body to re-enforce an emotional state and therefore the human behavior with an expected outcome (from prior experiences) which then re-enforces the behavior. All behaviors/habits are generally tied to these neuropeptides and the resulting emotions they produce. This is the neuropeptide cycle and is a phenomenal system when the behavior is objectively judged as being beneficial. It is the bane of existence when the neuropeptide cycle is not judged as being beneficial.
There are a number of ways to understand and therefore emphasize or deemphasize a behavior or habit. It is also very important to note that it may be quite difficult to assess if a particular behavior/habit is ultimately serving ones best interests or not. There may be quite a bit of complexity in the evaluation just to arrive at this judgement (eg: I read a lot of books, bad habit? Perhaps, if it removes me from other things that may be important like sleep, eating, meaningful relationships, etc.)
I will focus on the work of two researchers that have produced astounding insights on the opposite sides of this issue. This work will then suggest a path for insight, understanding and solutions.
Robert Plutchik, professor emeritus, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida, authored or co-authored more than 260 articles, 45 chapters, and eight books with the primary focus in the study of emotions, suicide, and violence, and the psychotherapy process.
Professor Plutchik’s psychoevolutionary theory of emotion is one of the most detailed classification approaches for general emotional responses. He postulates that there are eight primary emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust, and joy. These are the basic emotions that are biologically primitive and have evolved in order to increase the reproductive fitness of the animal. Plutchik empirically suggests these emotions to be the trigger of behaviors with high survival value, such as the way fear inspires the fight-or-flight response.
Plutchik first proposed his revolutionary cone-shaped model (rendered in three dimensions) and the wheel model (rendered in two dimensions) in 1980 to describe how emotions were related. He suggested eight primary bipolar emotions. This circumplex model creates clear connections between the concept of an emotion circle and a color wheel. Like primary colors, primary emotions can be expressed at different intensities and can mix with one another to form different emotions.
Brain Neuropeptides Feeding Cellular Opiate Receptors
Candace Pert, Ph.D. in pharmacology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bryn Mawr College, researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health and discovered the opiate receptor (aka: ligands from ligare, a Latin word meaning “to bind”), the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain and every single cell in the human body. Dr. Pert has published more than 275 peer review articles on peptides and their receptors and the role of these neuropeptides in the immune system and human emotions.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images
Dr. Pert postulates that emotional addictions are similar to an addiction to a drug, like heroin. A chemical addiction develops when the drug sub-sensitizes the receptor cells in the body. This makes the body crave more of the drug in order to achieve a high. In this case, the “drug” is a self produced Brain neuropeptide that is ordered up by the opiate receptors in your body to reenforce a particular emotion.
Thoughts and emotions produce the same neuropeptides, e.g.: Chronic negative thinking (however one concludes this definition) would cause the cells of the body to eventually become desensitized to smaller quantities of the neuropeptides which will require larger amounts of the neuropeptides to be released to the cells and in some cases, more opiate receptors are created on the cell structure to accommodate the higher amounts of neuropeptides. Thus one can be brought into a vicious cycle that can only be satisfied by, in this behavioral example, a subsequent negative thought complex and outlook if the neuropeptide payoffs becomes large enough.
Dr. Pert's research has amazing implications for understanding and appreciating what emotions do and how they control our very existence. Information-carrying neuropeptides are responsible for 98 percent of all data transfer in body and brain. The remaining two percent of communication takes place at the synapse, between brain cells firing and releasing neurotransmitters across a gap to hit receptors on the other side.
There is no doubt that Dr. Pert's research demonstrates a cyclical feedback effect that is produced and if not interrupted will go on indefinably until something forces a change.
There are more than 200 peptides thus far mapped in the brain and body, each one sounding a complex emotional chord — such as bliss, hunger, anger, relaxation, or satiety—when their signal is received by the cell.
How to Break A Habit
Although these researchers have not collaborated, one can draw insights connecting the results of their work. All habits have an emotional payoff and therefore an emotional trigger. Even if the habit apparently, on the surface, does not seem to be beneficial, it is tied to pofessor Plutchik’s primary emotions and thus reenforced by Dr. Pert’s opiate receptors on the cells and the neuropeptides produced in the brain. Dr. Pert demonstrates that receptors wax and wane in number and sensitivity, depending on how often they’re occupied by neuropeptides or other informational substances. In other words, our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience.
Thus, this new thinking shows that all habits/behaviors could be mitigated once the receptors become less sensitive and perhaps lesser in number. How long this may take is based on how deeply a habit/behavior is connected to the neuropeptide/emotional payoff. Complicating this of course, is drugs/substances that also connect to cell receptors and this is another issue that I will not address here. If we assume that there are no outside drug/substances research shows that in about 45 days there would be a material impact on the sensitivity of receptors and the number of receptors that generally connect to an undesired habit/behavior.
A Desire For Change
As with any addiction there will be a withdrawal process produced in your body and re-enforced within your brain. The withdrawal is very real and can be documented by tracking the demand loads from the cell receptor sites. During primary withdrawal, about 14 days, it is quite important to tie the habits/behaviors consciously to the opposite area in Professor Plutchik’s circumplex model charts. Easier said then done for most, but if one breaches this critical gap, within an additional 14 days (28 days from start), the majority of the work would already have been done. By the 45-56 day mark, your cells would have been deemphasized for a particular neuropeptide requirement and emotionally, one would not feel the same level of attraction to the unwanted behaviors/habits.
All of this starts with your mind and your desire and it sounds obvious but many embark on a path of change without a real desire. Without a true desire to change, very little can be done. Some researchers have found that a replacement habit/behavior that is serving you in some meaningful way would be the most preferred way to overcome these challenges. If one maps this new habit/behavior to a positive primary emotion from Professor Plutchik’s chart you would be tipping the scales to change.
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