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Author Topic: Black Box?  (Read 2747 times)

Offline maliciel

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Black Box?
« on: June 18, 2005, 03:37:46 AM »
Quote
DEEP in the basement of a dusty university library in Edinburgh lies a small black box, roughly the size of two cigarette packets side by side, that churns out random numbers in an endless stream.

At first glance it is an unremarkable piece of equipment. Encased in metal, it contains at its heart a microchip no more complex than the ones found in modern pocket calculators.

But, according to a growing band of top scientists, this box has quite extraordinary powers. It is, they claim, the 'eye' of a machine that appears capable of peering into the future and predicting major world events.

The machine apparently sensed the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre four hours before they happened - but in the fevered mood of conspiracy theories of the time, the claims were swiftly knocked back by sceptics. But last December, it also appeared to forewarn of the Asian tsunami just before the deep sea earthquake that precipitated the epic tragedy.

Now, even the doubters are acknowledging that here is a small box with apparently inexplicable powers.

'It's Earth-shattering stuff,' says Dr Roger Nelson, emeritus researcher at Princeton University in the United States, who is heading the research project behind the 'black box' phenomenon.

'We're very early on in the process of trying to figure out what's going on here. At the moment we're stabbing in the dark.' Dr Nelson's investigations, called the Global Consciousness Project, were originally hosted by Princeton University and are centred on one of the most extraordinary experiments of all time. Its aim is to detect whether all of humanity shares a single subconscious mind that we can all tap into without realising.

And machines like the Edinburgh black box have thrown up a tantalising possibility: that scientists may have unwittingly discovered a way of predicting the future.

Although many would consider the project's aims to be little more than fools' gold, it has still attracted a roster of 75 respected scientists from 41 different nations. Researchers from Princeton - where Einstein spent much of his career - work alongside scientists from universities in Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. The project is also the most rigorous and longest-running investigation ever into the potential powers of the paranormal.

'Very often paranormal phenomena evaporate if you study them for long enough,' says physicist Dick Bierman of the University of Amsterdam. 'But this is not happening with the Global Consciousness Project. The effect is real. The only dispute is about what it means.' The project has its roots in the extraordinary work of Professor Robert Jahn of Princeton University during the late 1970s. He was one of the first modern scientists to take paranormal phenomena seriously. Intrigued by such things as telepathy, telekinesis - the supposed psychic power to move objects without the use of physical force - and extrasensory perception, he was determined to study the phenomena using the most up-to-date technology available.

One of these new technologies was a humble-looking black box known was a Random Event Generator (REG). This used computer technology to generate two numbers - a one and a zero - in a totally random sequence, rather like an electronic coin-flipper.

The pattern of ones and noughts - 'heads' and 'tails' as it were - could then be printed out as a graph. The laws of chance dictate that the generators should churn out equal numbers of ones and zeros - which would be represented by a nearly flat line on the graph. Any deviation from this equal number shows up as a gently rising curve.

During the late 1970s, Prof Jahn decided to investigate whether the power of human thought alone could interfere in some way with the machine's usual readings. He hauled strangers off the street and asked them to concentrate their minds on his number generator. In effect, he was asking them to try to make it flip more heads than tails.

It was a preposterous idea at the time. The results, however, were stunning and have never been satisfactorily explained.

Again and again, entirely ordinary people proved that their minds could influence the machine and produce significant fluctuations on the graph, 'forcing it' to produce unequal numbers of 'heads' or 'tails'.

According to all of the known laws of science, this should not have happened - but it did. And it kept on happening.

Dr Nelson, also working at Princeton University, then extended Prof Jahn's work by taking random number machines to group meditations, which were very popular in America at the time. Again, the results were eyepopping. The groups were collectively able to cause dramatic shifts in the patterns of numbers.

From then on, Dr Nelson was hooked.

Using the internet, he connected up 40 random event generators from all over the world to his laboratory computer in Princeton. These ran constantly, day in day out, generating millions of different pieces of data. Most of the time, the resulting graph on his computer looked more or less like a flat line.

But then on September 6, 1997, something quite extraordinary happened: the graph shot upwards, recording a sudden and massive shift in the number sequence as his machines around the world started reporting huge deviations from the norm. The day was of historic importance for another reason, too.

For it was the same day that an estimated one billion people around the world watched the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey.

Dr Nelson was convinced that the two events must be related in some way.

Could he have detected a totally new phenomena? Could the concentrated emotional outpouring of millions of people be able to influence the output of his REGs. If so, how?

Dr Nelson was at a loss to explain it.

So, in 1998, he gathered together scientists from all over the world to analyse his findings. They, too, were stumped and resolved to extend and deepen the work of Prof Jahn and Dr Nelson. The Global Consciousness Project was born.

Since then, the project has expanded massively. A total of 65 Eggs (as the generators have been named) in 41 countries have now been recruited to act as the 'eyes' of the project.

And the results have been startling and inexplicable in equal measure.

For during the course of the experiment, the Eggs have 'sensed' a whole series of major world events as they were happening, from the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia to the Kursk submarine tragedy to America's hung election of 2000.

The Eggs also regularly detect huge global celebrations, such as New Year's Eve.

But the project threw up its greatest enigma on September 11, 2001.

As the world stood still and watched the horror of the terrorist attacks unfold across New York, something strange was happening to the Eggs.

Not only had they registered the attacks as they actually happened, but the characteristic shift in the pattern of numbers had begun four hours before the two planes even hit the Twin Towers.

They had, it appeared, detected that an event of historic importance was about to take place before the terrorists had even boarded their fateful flights. The implications, not least for the West's security services who constantly monitor electronic 'chatter', are clearly enormous.

'I knew then that we had a great deal of work ahead of us,' says Dr Nelson.

What could be happening? Was it a freak occurrence, perhaps?

Apparently not. For in the closing weeks of December last year, the machines went wild once more.

Twenty-four hours later, an earthquake deep beneath the Indian Ocean triggered the tsunami which devastated South-East Asia, and claimed the lives of an estimated quarter of a million people.

So could the Global Consciousness Project really be forecasting the future?

Cynics will quite rightly point out that there is always some global event that could be used to 'explain' the times when the Egg machines behaved erratically. After all, our world is full of wars, disasters and terrorist outrages, as well as the occasional global celebration. Are the scientists simply trying too hard to detect patterns in their raw data?

The team behind the project insist not. They claim that by using rigorous scientific techniques and powerful mathematics it is possible to exclude any such random connections.

'We're perfectly willing to discover that we've made mistakes,' says Dr Nelson. 'But we haven't been able to find any, and neither has anyone else.

Our data shows clearly that the chances of getting these results by fluke are one million to one against.

That's hugely significant.' But many remain sceptical.

Professor Chris French, a psychologist and noted sceptic at Goldsmiths College in London, says: 'The Global Consciousness Project has generated some very intriguing results that cannot be readily dismissed. I'm involved in similar work to see if we get the same results. We haven't managed to do so yet but it's only an early experiment. The jury's still out.' Strange as it may seem, though, there's nothing in the laws of physics that precludes the possibility of foreseeing the future.

It is possible - in theory - that time may not just move forwards but backwards, too. And if time ebbs and flows like the tides in the sea, it might just be possible to foretell major world events. We would, in effect, be 'remembering' things that had taken place in our future.

'There's plenty of evidence that time may run backwards,' says Prof Bierman at the University of Amsterdam.

'And if it's possible for it to happen in physics, then it can happen in our minds, too.' In other words, Prof Bierman believes that we are all capable of looking into the future, if only we could tap into the hidden power of our minds. And there is a tantalising body of evidence to support this theory.

Dr John Hartwell, working at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, was the first to uncover evidence that people could sense the future. In the mid-1970s he hooked people up to hospital scanning machines so that he could study their brainwave patterns.

He began by showing them a sequence of provocative cartoon drawings.

When the pictures were shown, the machines registered the subject's brainwaves as they reacted strongly to the images before them. This was to be expected.

Far less easy to explain was the fact that in many cases, these dramatic patterns began to register a few seconds before each of the pictures were even flashed up.

It was as though Dr Hartwell's case studies were somehow seeing into the future, and detecting when the next shocking image would be shown next.

It was extraordinary - and seemingly inexplicable.

But it was to be another 15 years before anyone else took Dr Hartwell's work further when Dean Radin, a researcher working in America, connected people up to a machine that measured their skin's resistance to electricity. This is known to fluctuate in tandem with our moods - indeed, it's this principle that underlies many lie detectors.

Radin repeated Dr Hartwell's 'image response' experiments while measuring skin resistance. Again, people began reacting a few seconds before they were shown the provocative pictures. This was clearly impossible, or so he thought, so he kept on repeating the experiments. And he kept getting the same results.

'I didn't believe it either,' says Prof Bierman. 'So I also repeated the experiment myself and got the same results. I was shocked. After this I started to think more deeply about the nature of time.' To make matters even more intriguing, Prof Bierman says that other mainstream labs have now produced similar results but are yet to go public.

'They don't want to be ridiculed so they won't release their findings,' he says. 'So I'm trying to persuade all of them to release their results at the same time. That would at least spread the ridicule a little more thinly!' If Prof Bierman is right, though, then the experiments are no laughing matter.

They might help provide a solid scientific grounding for such strange phenomena as 'deja vu', intuition and a host of other curiosities that we have all experienced from time to time.

They may also open up a far more interesting possibility - that one day we might be able to enhance psychic powers using machines that can 'tune in' to our subconscious mind, machines like the little black box in Edinburgh.

Just as we have built mechanical engines to replace muscle power, could we one day build a device to enhance and interpret our hidden psychic abilities?

Dr Nelson is optimistic - but not for the short term. 'We may be able to predict that a major world event is going to happen. But we won't know exactly what will happen or where it's going to happen,' he says.

'Put it this way - we haven't yet got a machine we could sell to the CIA.'

But for Dr Nelson, talk of such psychic machines - with the potential to detect global catastrophes or terrorist outrages - is of far less importance than the implications of his work in terms of the human race.

For what his experiments appear to demonstrate is that while we may all operate as individuals, we also appear to share something far, far greater - a global consciousness. Some might call it the mind of God.

'We're taught to be individualistic monsters,' he says. 'We're driven by society to separate ourselves from each other. That's not right.

We may be connected together far more intimately than we realise.'


Source

Is it just a series of eerie coincidences, or is there something to it? Personally, I think maybe there is something going on. Data doesn't lie, definitely not data coming from computers..

Offline ctz

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Black Box?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2005, 03:54:35 AM »
I want a cool black box which predicts the future! :D

I would put it scanning my own life, eventhough it probably would print only a straight line. Disappointed :(
coot is ctz

Offline Thimas X

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Black Box?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2005, 04:01:24 AM »
Wow...thats interesting...freaky all in one little box.

Offline shadowstar

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« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2005, 07:29:38 AM »
I read about this months ago, it's kind of interesting though that such "power" is in that little black box.

Offline TheQuickening

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Black Box?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2005, 07:23:04 PM »
If it can really predict the future, make an announcement AS SOON AS THE BOX MAKES IT!!!  Did anyone else notice how everything that this thing "predicted" would happen was "confirmed" AFTER the event happened?  

*sarcastic voice*
"Um, yeah.  I saw in a dream when I was 7 years old that highjacked planes were gonna hit the WTC.  When I was 13 I fell and hit my head and got knocked out.  While I was out a name kept repeating over and over again...Bin Ladin...Bin Ladin.  And the president would be some redneck dumbass who's got his head so far up his ass that he could see the boogers up his nose."


This article has more holes in it than my ex-roomates old boxer shorts.  The fact that they claimed that this box predicted all of these events is complete bullshit.  Their claims mean nothing.

*returns to sarcastic voice*
Oh, an on another note, I've got a little black box in MY basement.  About 7 months ago it predicted that a bunch of buys from the JPM forums would start up a NEW forum where people could talk shit about shit and share porn and stuff.  Behold my genius in creating an ESP machine!
[/i]

If they can make a prediction of a MAJOR world event BEFORE it actually happens, then I may consider giving them a bit of consideration.  Until then, it's all just shit, just like what I left in the toilet this morning.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-be-cuuuuuuuuuuuuue

Offline maliciel

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Black Box?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2005, 04:05:13 AM »
An announcement that wouldn't mean shit? o_o

Offline TheQuickening

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Black Box?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2005, 04:23:06 AM »
It wouldn't mean shit at first, but then ONCE the event happened and it had been proven/witnessed that the prediction was made FIRST...then it might be taken a bit more seriously instead of being seen as the piece of shit that it is.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-be-cuuuuuuuuuuuuue

Offline Asmodai

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Black Box?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2005, 05:07:19 AM »
That would be the only way to confirm it.

My computer has the same amazing power.

It predicts that this year there will be:
Conflict in the Middle East.
The US will get involved in a military action somewhere.
There will be a terrible natural disaster.



Prove it wrong.  :P

Offline jadeangelx

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Black Box?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2005, 05:23:14 AM »
Gah. That's great. Now we will never know if the box really is true or not true.  I hate it when things are like that.

Offline TheQuickening

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Black Box?
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2005, 12:00:06 AM »
You know how some cars have that little annoying voice that tell you when you "door is ajar"?  Well, my friend's car has that and it made a prediction LAST NIGHT!!!  Wanna know what it was?



Within the next 24 hours at least ONE person who is on this forum will be  :jerk:  :jerk:  :jerk:  OR  :sex:  :sex:  :sex:
*Sorry, it wasn't definitively sure*

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Offline mikitty

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Black Box?
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2005, 12:47:03 AM »
lol lmao

what a load of crap, its stupid box that is a computer and needs to be programmed by humans. which means that its as good as predicting the future as us. and if its as powerful as a calculator then that means it cant do jack shit.

the only way i can see it getting its predictions right is if it just makes like 100,000,000 predictions a second. geez one of thems got to be right eventually. but thats guessing not predicting.

Offline maliciel

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Black Box?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2005, 02:12:18 AM »
It's doing coin flips. That's as random as you get.

Plus, it's not one black box we're talking about, it's a whole network.

Offline JaisBane

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Black Box?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2005, 02:24:18 AM »
I don't think you guys read the article correctly.  The box is not designed to predict the future, it's just designed to randomly generate a 1 or 0 and then record that operation.  According to probability theory, if it is truely random then it will generate near equal amounts of 1s or 0s.  What happened was that before 9-11 and the Asian Tsunami disasters occured the ratio between 1s and 0s became ridiculously disproportionate, almost like the box was malfunctioning.  What makes this differ from a malfuction is that there were 65 of these boxes being monitored, all of which were operating independently, and they all underwent the same erratic behavior.  The boxes aren't predicting anything, or rather they aren't predicting in a manner that we can interpret.  This doesn't tell us that the future is predictable, all it says is that major world events can effects before they happen.  It is also possible that these events were flukes, but simple rational thought reveals that that possibility is so unlikely that it's nearly inconcievable.  It's ok to be skeptical, but do so after properly reading the article so that you can make valid statements.  I must admit, I'm skeptical too, but that's because the article presents no imperical evidence to support its claims.  That we have to take its rhetoric as fact with no justification except faith in journalistic integrity is what makes this article dubious.

Offline TheQuickening

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Black Box?
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2005, 03:22:02 AM »
Quote from: JaisBane
I don't think you guys read the article correctly.  The box is not designed to predict the future, it's just designed to randomly generate a 1 or 0 and then record that operation.  According to probability theory, if it is truely random then it will generate near equal amounts of 1s or 0s.  What happened was that before 9-11 and the Asian Tsunami disasters occured the ratio between 1s and 0s became ridiculously disproportionate, almost like the box was malfunctioning.  What makes this differ from a malfuction is that there were 65 of these boxes being monitored, all of which were operating independently, and they all underwent the same erratic behavior.  The boxes aren't predicting anything, or rather they aren't predicting in a manner that we can interpret.  [/color]This doesn't tell us that the future is predictable, all it says is that major world events can effects before they happen.  It is also possible that these events were flukes, but simple rational thought reveals that that possibility is so unlikely that it's nearly inconcievable.  It's ok to be skeptical, but do so after properly reading the article so that you can make valid statements.  I must admit, I'm skeptical too, but that's because the article presents no imperical evidence to support its claims.  That we have to take its rhetoric as fact with no justification except faith in journalistic integrity is what makes this article dubious.


What you've stated here just further proves the point of us skeptics.  You're right, according to probability theory the number of 1s should equal the number of 0s generated by the machine.  The fact that all of these machines started having the same erratic behaviour at the exact same time for the exact same event just goes to show that there's something fundamentally wrong with the system/network/whatever is hooking these things up together.  You stated it best when you said that it was malfunctioning.  If it had just been one of the boxes, then nobody would've taken notice.  If my computer at work fucks up we just call the IT guy, no big shit.  If ALL the computers on the network start fucking up people take notice, people panic, people believe shit like the system's being hacked even though it not.  More likely than not there's just something wrong with the server, which is why the whole network fucked up.  Same thing here.  All of these boxes have the same abberations, meaning the problem is soemthing that is not limited to just one single box/computer.  It's a problem with their network.  Problem is, the people watching the results are blinded by their desire and hope that their boxes CAN predict the future.  They're making a mis-diagnosis, and twisting the erroneous results to fit thier own needs/conclusions.

If the guys who are running/watching these boxes want to be taken seriously by the rest of the world, as I said in a previous post, they have to announce these "predictions" (for lack of a better word), as soon as they are made, BEFORE the actual event in question occurs.  ONLY THEN will they have a chance to be taken seriously.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-be-cuuuuuuuuuuuuue

Offline TheQuickening

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Black Box?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2005, 03:27:53 AM »
By the way, my "box" accurately predicted that JaisBane would put up a post here stating that we did NOT read the article correctly.  In this post JaisBane would point out little subtlties in the article that are meant to show what was being described "technically" in the article.  

It also predicted that I would quote said post and highlight parts of it in red, bold text.  And just let it be known that I STILL stand behind the other prediction that was made known to me earlier that:

Quote
Within the next 24 hours at least ONE person who is on this forum will be  :jerk:  :jerk:  :jerk:  OR  :sex:  :sex:  :sex:

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-be-cuuuuuuuuuuuuue

Offline JaisBane

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Black Box?
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2005, 04:20:25 AM »
While it is certainly possible that the erratic behavior of the machines was the result of some internal error and not signs that the future events can affect current events, such an assertion is not justifiable.  Truthfully, it is not possible to make a justified assertion based on this article because of the lack of imperical evidence and the incomplete information presented.  While I do understand that the nature of reporting is to provide the minimum amount of information necessary in order to get an adequate level of understanding on the subject, I would prefer that they provide more extensive information and references for those of us more interested in the subject.  While I doubt this matters to most of you, I don't find it prudent to make incomplete analyses based off incomplete data and then go spreading my unjustified rhetoric to anyone willing to listen.  Oh, and I would suggest that you read Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time".  It is a wonderfully englightening venture into alternate paradigms and conceptualizations of our universe.  A sort of meta-physical analysis of physics, if you will.   :lol:

Offline ~Dan~

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Black Box?
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2005, 05:30:55 AM »
I originally read that article a few months ago.  It's interesting what's happening with the machines but it's useless.  It said that the random numbers went crazy 4 hours before the attacks on 9/11.  What could they have done?  Announced on the radio that the random numbers were screwy and something might happen somewhere?  It couldnt have prevented a thing.

Offline bot

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Black Box?
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2005, 05:33:09 AM »
Thanks for the article, Maliciel... very interesting!!

Quote from: JaisBane
I don't think you guys read the article correctly.  The box is not designed to predict the future, it's just designed to randomly generate a 1 or 0 and then record that operation.

This doesn't tell us that the future is predictable, all it says is that major world events can effects before they happen.  It is also possible that these events were flukes, but simple rational thought reveals that that possibility is so unlikely that it's nearly inconcievable.  It's ok to be skeptical, but do so after properly reading the article so that you can make valid statements.  I must admit, I'm skeptical too, but that's because the article presents no imperical evidence to support its claims.  That we have to take its rhetoric as fact with no justification except faith in journalistic integrity is what makes this article dubious.


here here! we should stop treating Mr. Black box like a fraudulent psychic and the butt of tired jokes!

Further, it's more about possibilities that are hinted at by the behaviour of the black box. not that the box itself is some sort of holy grail/ belongs to pandora/ whatever...

ps JaisBane, it's empirical... a little difference, but we can't very well have Raki ishikawa, can we


And where has the main idea of global consciousness gone??!?! DOH!

there was a study in which crossword solving abilities of a group of people were monitored on daily crosswords. however, when they were given a day-old crossword, performance improved significantly.
a suggestion would be that the answers are out there


Peeaaaccchhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Offline TheQuickening

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Black Box?
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2005, 08:55:46 PM »
Quote from: bot
Thanks for the article, Maliciel... very interesting!!

Quote from: JaisBane
I don't think you guys read the article correctly.  The box is not designed to predict the future, it's just designed to randomly generate a 1 or 0 and then record that operation.

This doesn't tell us that the future is predictable, all it says is that major world events can effects before they happen.  It is also possible that these events were flukes, but simple rational thought reveals that that possibility is so unlikely that it's nearly inconcievable.  It's ok to be skeptical, but do so after properly reading the article so that you can make valid statements.  I must admit, I'm skeptical too, but that's because the article presents no imperical evidence to support its claims.  That we have to take its rhetoric as fact with no justification except faith in journalistic integrity is what makes this article dubious.


here here! we should stop treating Mr. Black box like a fraudulent psychic and the butt of tired jokes![/color]

Further, it's more about possibilities that are hinted at by the behaviour of the black box. not that the box itself is some sort of holy grail/ belongs to pandora/ whatever...

ps JaisBane, it's empirical... a little difference, but we can't very well have Raki ishikawa, can we


And where has the main idea of global consciousness gone??!?! DOH!

there was a study in which crossword solving abilities of a group of people were monitored on daily crosswords. however, when they were given a day-old crossword, performance improved significantly.
a suggestion would be that the answers are out there


I dunno about the rest of you, but I was having fun making it the butt of bad jokes.   :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

And out of curiosity, what's up with JaisBane trying to sound like a snooty intellectual by making posts that read more like research project propsals with $100 words?  No offense dude, but leave the intellectualism somewhere else!  Sit back, and allow the inner perv/jock/whatever that resides within you to come out and have some fun...once in a while.  I've got a Master's degree in English lit and an Honours degree in Communications, a couple of my friends are in med school.  But when we get together just to hang out, you'd think we just dropped out of high school.  Leave your work life at work, it's not necessary here.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-be-cuuuuuuuuuuuuue

Offline JaisBane

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Black Box?
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2005, 09:32:23 PM »
Sorry, I just happen to speak normally at a higher level of diction than most people, and I got in a bit of an analytical mood.  I have no problems with mocking idiocy and making humorous comments, indeed I tend to go overboard with those which leads me to feeling the burn in irc.  The only thing that bothered me was that you were mocking something that was never addressed in the article and so it was out of place.  It would be similar to making fun of Howard Dean while watching a SNL skit that was mocking George Bush.  Sure they're both moronic politicians, but there needs to be greater connection between the two than something that superficial.  

On a lighter note, I was playing craps in a back alley last night and I kept rolling a disproportionate number of snake eyes!  Perhaps this was the dice predicting that I would soon lose my shoes and pants because I brought no more than $5.27 with me.  Or maybe the diced were loaded, in any case I need new shoes!

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