The Commodore 64/Monday thoughts



Remember programming the C-64? Using MS-Basic, you could access specific areas in the memory and change the color of a pixel.

POKE (53824, 1)

A sprite was a data structure that allowed you to animate a block of pixels. Remember doing that balloon graphic? It was emblazoned with a "C" for Commmodore and floated silently across the screen.

You could also write a program to drive a telescope, or predict the position of Jupiter or Saturn in the sky sans epicycles.

It's amazing that Commodore was not able to capture leadership over the industry and instead this went to the company selling the MS-Basic floppy disks.

The lesson is:
Competition is everywhere. Today's leaders are tomorrows elephant fodder. So innovate, take risks. Make great services available everywhere at low cost.


My Dinner with Einstein, the Dalai Lama, and so on

Thanks for responding in such numbers to Cognitive Labs Surveys (Quizzes). At first, it seemed that people thought a wiki had something to do with cricket, now they seem to have caught on.

Sorry to say it, but so far no one would pay as much as $200 to have dinner with Richard Branson, though several people would pay more than $10,000 to have dinner with Bill Gates ( this is one of our questions) likewise they'll also give it up for Steve Jobs and the Dalai Lama. Albert Einstein also snagged a $10,000 respondent - but this would be difficult to arrange unless Dr. Einstein was converted into pure energy upon the time of his passing, ditto with famed physicist Richard Feynmann, while lesser known, was a real scientist's physicist.

If you haven't responded yet just click on the quiz tab on the home page.


Exercise, Exercise, Exercise

Another study on the benefits of exercise in avoiding Alzheimer's, this is from Arizona Range News.

Former high school athletes, distance runners, walkers, bikers, and millions of health-conscious middle-age Americans that engage in leisure time physical activity twice a week or more are excited today about the findings of a recent Alzheimer's study.

The study found that aerobic exercise in middle age not only reduces excess weight and helps keep the heart healthy, but it can also cut the risk of being afflicted with Alzheimer's disease in the twilight years of life.

"This is the first study to show this long-term relationship between physical activity and dementia in later life," said Dr. Mila Kivipelto, of the Aging Research Center in London.

Scientists at the Karonlinski Institute in Sweden found that people in mid-life who exercised at least twice a week had about a 60 percent lower risk of suffering from dementia compared to their sedentary counterparts.

To get the full health benefits from exercise, it is important to be involved in an exercise routine that significantly increases your heart rate and improves conditioning levels.

It is open to debate as to whether a slow casual walk along the sidewalks of Willcox will result in reducing the possibility of being afflicted with Alzheimer's in later life.

Interestingly, the biggest impact was for people who had a genetic susceptibility to dementia, according to the study published in The Lancet Neurology Journal. This could explain the tendency of Alzheimer's to run in families.

Alzheimer's is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. It affects an estimated 12 million people throughout the world. At the present time, there is no cure for the progressive illness that robs people of their memory and cognitive ability. Fortunately, drug treatments can slow down the early progression of the debilitating disease.

Kivipelto and her research team studied the mental health of nearly 1,500 elderly people between the ages of 65-79 whose leisure activities were monitored and recorded from 1972 to 1987.

After re-examining the data in 1998, they discovered that the physically active group with increased breathing and sweat were significantly less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's in old age.

"We found that people who were active during the baby boomer years and worked out at least two times per week had a lower risk of suffering from dementia." Kivipelto said.

As expected, walking and cycling were the most common forms of exercise in the study. The researchers found no link between the amount of exercise and the degree of reduced risk. Evidently, the research team didn't include the duration or intensity of the exercise.

The medical community has yet to ascertain why exercise seems to decrease the risk of cognitive decline. They suspect it could be due to a direct effect on the brain and its messaging system and also by improving blood flow to the brain.

If you are middle-aged and concerned about heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cognitive decline in the twilight years of life, lace up your walking shoes, see your doctor regularly, and eat healthy. You will live longer, be sharper mentally, and live life to its fullest with a little luck.


Go White Sox Memory Puzzle

The Sox were last in the world series ages ago. In Chicago, the office building cublicle lights are set so that at night, a GO SOX pattern is displayed on the side of the building. I know since I am in Chicago and talked about it with the cab driver just moments ago.

We also talked about global warming and the fact that the Chicago River is no longer freezing over at the mouth of Lake Michigan.

We're also publishing The Chicago White Sox Memory Puzzle on the web.

Go to Puzzle!

You are the first to know. So tell everybody else.

If you want to know whenever we publish a puzzle, just go here and click on the picture in the upper left asking you to sign up!

Go Sox!

Smoking is Bad....

Here's the deal...Smoking + alcohol is bad.
Smoking alone may improve concentration. For, example, Dr. Yesavage at Stanford has shown that smoking increases concentation amongst former military pilots....it was reported in USA Today.


Geek Cinema: Kingdom of Heaven

Today's our first Geek Cinema column where we depart from the world of cognitive effectiveness for a moment to talk about...films and media from a geeky perspective.

In the first beaker boiling over a low flame, we have Kingdom of Heaven, the DVD. We watched this title last week and we came up with this notation, why bother with longish, inaccurate words.

Kingdom of Heaven = f(Phantom Menace(Quigon - JarJar Binks)(Gladiator)/(Lordof Rings)

The only 'hero' of the film really was Sa'lah Ad'din, the Kurd, in the service of the Seljuk Turks. The Crusaders were never able to hold Jerusalem again (despite the efforts of Richard the LionHeart who gets a little cameo at the end) until the coming of General Allenby and TE Lawrence and the decline of the Ottomans.

New sign-up for Game Central!!!

User notes: 10/24/05

We added a login screen for Game Central which serves as both a new user sign-up (very quick and easy) AND as a simple registered user login.

Here it is, so you can sign up - step right up:

An added benefit is we can tell you when we publish a new game, puzzle, or activity or can notify you with some news or other hot new development. It is accessed from the subdomain page, the home page and other landing pages and there is a variant with survey at Gamer-IQ since we want your feedback. Other changes: improvements to the login and clinical trial pages that we run with the Stanford/VA Alzheimer's Center, these are being cleaned up and will migrate from the 1.0 or 0.6 type of look and feel to something more appealing and functional.

In the news: is smoking good or bad for cognition - that's today's debate. We'll bring it to you shortly...

Exercise your keystrokes...

I hope everybody had a good weekend. Raiders won, 49ers lost, Stanford won, and Cal also squeaked by Wazzou, sounds like Joe Ayoob was able to focus with a capital F in the last minute and a half and guide a game-winning TD, unlike their loss a couple of weeks ago to the teddy bears of Westwood, or being chewed up like a sapling by some pesky Beavers

Here's a new game for you:


This game challenges your key stroke ability since you have to do several things almost at once.
More on 'Bushido':

I posted some thoughts on bushido (the Samurai Warrior source code) at the Gamer-IQ blog, here is the link. This blog gives you a blow-by-blow account of our rollout of Gamer-IQ services, games and meta-games that basically can help you improve certain aspects of cognitive ability.


Boats in San Francisco Bay Fail to Catch Fire

Yesterday in the Bay, a team from MIT and the Discovery Channel attempted to re-enact Archimedes' feat of allegedly setting fire to invading Roman ships attempting to blockade the harbor at Syracuse by setting up a large mirror to concentrate sunlight like a magnifying glass at an anthill.

They did manage to set some small deck fires but the 80-year old ship they used as a target was not destroyed. I wonder if the angle of the sun is high enough in the sky to make this possible?


Alzheimer's Americans 2nd Greatest Health Fear

A new study from St. Louis reveals that Alzheimer's has passed former top-ranked health concerns to now rank a close second to cancer as the greatest health concern facing this and future generations....

St. Louis, Missouri (AHN) - A study released Saturday reveals that memory loss is the second greatest health fear amongst Americans behind cancer, according to national survey results released today by Martek Biosciences.

Nearly 83-percent of survey respondents say they are doing something they believe will promote brain health, such as physical exercise (60 percent) or mental exercise (53 percent), but only four in 10 claim to eat foods they believe will help their brains, such as those rich in DHA.

Several studies have associated a high dietary intake of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA with a reduced risk for Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

"DHA is the most important fat for your brain. While brain degenerative diseases are not curable, they may be preventable, and studies have shown that DHA may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease regardless of genetic history," says David Perlmutter, M.D., FACN, board-certified neurologist, Fellow of the American College of Nutrition and internationally recognized leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders.

While most survey respondents (78 percent) are aware that fatty fish is important for the brain, just about half (51 percent) say they are not familiar with the health benefits of DHA. DHA is a major structural fat in the gray matter of the brain that supports brain development and ongoing function throughout life.


What's the top page of all time?

This page, which we designed in its current form several months ago is still tops, with over 100,000 page views in that time.


This is important. I learned through osmosis from a web design guru who used to live in my former house. Therefore, we have added some tabs to the front page of cognitivelabs.com, whether you are coming from anywhere or from Google, the pages are a little different. Just click through to see it.

Also, check back soon for a new power search feature which will bring you the best of the web, faster.

Remember, our goal is to make tracking your brain as easy as tracking your package...


New Search Function at Yahoo!

Yahoo has released an interesting specification for developers, the embedded Y! search functionality which enables you to create a search window within a page and specify the contents of the search results by a block of text in your page or even just a keyword. You define the parameter, whether it is Y! news, the content of particular site, or group of sites, by controlling the query string. This is all managed with a little javascript.

What this could mean is a bigger role for Yahoo in the search game.

For an example, go here and click on the Y! search icon. Let us know your thoughts at dev@cognitivelabs.com.


Cognitive Labs Launches CL Surveys

We've completed the beta test with Cognitive Labs surveys and so now we want to announce its general availablity. In it, you can opine on anything you want, sometimes for free gifts that we arrange through partners.

Our survey and quiz engine will ask you about almost any topic under the sun that affects thinking, and hopefully, will allow us to keep improving the service.

You told us you wanted more tests, so we've added brainpal, a quick reaction time trainer.

What's your favorite vitamin? Maybe you'll tell us. We'll be back later.


Mars in the Night Sky

Whither Mars?
The Red planet of Percival Lowell's imaginative renderings in the deep still night of Arizona's mountains has not yet yielded all its secrets, that will have to wait til the next robotic mission followed eventually by the manned landing.
See if you can take it apart - and put it together again...
Also, give a try to our Mars Mission game.


Yes, we allow advertising on Cognitive Labs. Right now this is through Google Adwords and some of the companies that use Adwords such as Pfizer and Tickle.

Since our traffic has grown substantially and is almost doubling every month we are also creating direct advertising opportunties for the different regions of cognitivelabs.com, gamer-IQ, MemCheck Memory News, Brainspeed blogspot, and new properties such as Nutrition-IQ, which answers 50% of the questions I get every day, which seems to be "What should I eat to improve my memory?" That's a question I have heard about 5,000 times.

We are running almost 1 million ad positions per day right now.

Rates range from $10/CPM for a tile button to an $18/CPM for a leaderboard ad. If you want to advertise, please shoot us an email at adsales@cognitivelabs.com so we can set you up.

Want your own game? We can build viral advergames like we did for brainspeed that drive traffic to your registration. Thanks!

Michael Addicott


Pay for Music Videos

Steve Jobs models a new video ipod helmet that extends ten feet into the air at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino today. Though cumbersome, experts believe the helmet, the latest in a long line of 'insanely great' products from Apple, may help avert the early stages of memory loss, particularly brought on by sudden falls and/or leaps of faith..."Guess what," said Steve, "This is pretty cool. Not only is an individual's cognitive ability preserved, but we also enable for the first time personal broadcasting of your favorite artists - so everyone in the room, subway, or stadium can see and hear the essence of your tastes - for example, the great Bono, poet laureate -it's your own personal Times Square billboard."

Site changes and integration

As you can see here
, changes are afoot on the site.

(1) We continue the integration of the test site with our content and registration site

(2) We are adding new surveys and games constantly, such as beta amyloid blaster and the Natrol brainspeed blaster...

Try the Survey

Here's your chance. Just click here and type in your idea...I'll post every reasonable idea right here and then we'll hold an election.

Pick the Cognitive Labs mascot

College teams and sometimes, sophomoric companies have mascots...

Let's see, a charging buffalo, a barking dog (several: huskies, dawgs, etc.)a redwood tree (or just a color), a powder blue teddy bear, a warrior in glinting armor atop a horse, a cyclone, various insects ('jackets, slugs (UC Santa Cruz)) and even an Anteater.

A few years back, companies even started having mascots:

There was a butler (recently pensioned to the beaches of Cornwall after getting a pink slip from Barry Diller), a gerbil and cannon act, imaginary money (flooz, beenz, etc.)

I remember sitting at World Wrap in Palo Alto having a veggie sandwich when two guys dressed as 'beenz' walked by.

There was even a sock puppet that made TV appearances. What do you think? Should we get an orange sock puppet as a mascot? I don't want to influence the vote in what will be an exclusively write-in process. From amongst the ideas we collect on our survey page we will run an election where you will be able to vote on the candidates. I suggest checking back today and participating in the preliminary idea selection....



I just finished our quiz generator -- built of PHP and mySQL. Open source offers a tremendous amount of flexibility.

Give it a shot! Learn something and have some fun. Eventually, we want people to be able to design their own lifestyle activities that accompany their cognitive snapshot and also develop careers that apeal to them and enliven the soul...

Omega 3 brain blast

Fish on Friday a Good thing for more than ecclesiastical reasons

Chicago-based researchers find that 3-4 year improvement in brain age associated with regular consumption of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids....

(Washington Post) Eating fish at least once a week is good for the brain, slowing age-related mental decline by the equivalent of three to four years, a study suggests.

The research adds to the growing evidence that a fish-rich diet helps keep the mind sharp. Previous studies found that people who ate fish lowered their risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke. Fish such as salmon and tuna that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids also have been shown to prevent heart disease.

For the new study, researchers measured how well 3,718 people did on simple tests, such as recalling details of a story. The participants, --all were Chicago residents age 65 and older -- took the tests three times over six years. They also filled out a questionnaire about what they ate that included 139 foods.

"We found that people who ate one fish meal a week had a 10 percent slower annual decline in thinking," said co-author Martha Clare Morris, an epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center. "Those who ate two fish meals a week showed a 13 percent slower annual decline."

The study of fish and mental sharpness was posted yesterday on the Web site of the Archives of Neurology and will appear in the journal's December issue....


Top Rank

Yesterday we hit our top ranking of all time, again right around 25,000 - meaning that we are in the top quartile of all websites. Hope we can keep it up and keep improving. There are many changes coming, so continue to check in regularly...


Floating Point Intelligence and Speed

In response to Tomas' (Finland) question on reaction time and responsiveness of the Windows OS as opposed to a hypothetical device of infinite capability, the limiting factors appear to reside within the floating point characteristics of the particular microprocessor.

Therefore, this measure is a user defined constraint. The user can change their clockspeed most effectively by swapping out hardware or getting a new machine. The later PC's feature microprocessors that produce measures out to 6 to 9 decimal places (microsecond to nanosecond)...

So, to get the most accurate statistical measure of you reaction, you'll want to go with the faster processors and, therefore newer and more capable machines. I guess this is good news for Intel and others concerned with product lifecycle (PLC).


Simple Alzheimer's EEG test

Researchers have just unveiled the results of a new EEG test that may detect Alzheimer's. The study included just 44 people, however.

The test takes 30 minutes and involves attaching electrodes in the scalp. This may be a good intermediate step after an initial online test helps you to spot cognitive changes....followed by an MMSE/EEG and then perhaps MRI which is the more expensive process.

(WebMD) An inexpensive, painless brain test may be able to predict who will develop Alzheimer's disease when the first signs of memory loss begin to emerge.

Alzheimer's disease affects millions of people worldwide, but researchers say there has been no easy way to identify the devastating disease at its earliest stages — a time when early treatments may help delay or prevent further memory loss and dementia.

A new study shows that computer analysis of a commonly used test called an electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures electrical activity in the brain, may be able to predict which people in their 60s and 70s with slight memory loss will develop Alzheimer's in the next decade.

"Our results suggest that quantitative analysis of the EEG is sensitive to the earliest signs of the dementing process," says researcher Leslie S. Prichep, PhD, associate director of the brain research laboratories at New York University School of Medicine, in a news release.

If further, long-term studies confirm these results, researchers say that the test may be used as one of the tools to evaluate a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Brain Test May Predict Alzheimer's

In the study, published in the Neurobiology of Aging, researchers evaluated 44 people aged 64 to 79 who felt that they had some decrease in mental abilities; however, tests showed their brain function was normal for their age.

The participants were given an EEG at the start of the study and several more times over the next seven to nine years. During this time, 27 of the participants developed mild cognitive impairment or full-blown dementia, typical of Alzheimer's disease, and 17 remained stable.

Using a mathematical formula to analyze the EEGs, researchers found that certain features of the brain wave patterns in the first EEG scan were associated with future risk of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Researchers say the EEGs were nearly 95 percent accurate in identifying those who would suffer from further memory loss and cognitive decline and those whose brain function would age normally.

An EEG takes about 30 minutes to perform and involves placing electrodes on the scalp to measure brain wave activity.

grudge match results - NEWS at 11:00

It's all over now. When the dust had settled, and rhetorical emptied brass shell casings lay smoking in a circle around the poli-philosophical combatants, a late surge brought victory to Governor Schwarzenegger - winning in our poll by just 2 votes : 59-57. At first, Mr. Schwarzenegger opened a wide lead and then throughout the day Ms. Clinton chiseled away at the lead, passing the Governor. But between 9:00 and 11:00 PST the Governor turned the tide.

What does it mean?

That Americans, or at least Cognitive Labs visitors, think that Mr. Schwarzenegger would be the better leader in the big picture ...


Beautiful Downtown Burbank...Media Capital of the World

The P-38 fighter was one of the many planes that were mass produced at the Burbank Airport during World War II. A display model of the P-38 can be seen at the main terminal...

Well, I am on my way down to beautiful downtown Burbank from SJ via Southwest and on the flight I noticed a cadre of Yahoo! folks in black lettermen style jackets with black Y! backpaks.

The reason? We've got a KNBC Television shoot on the brainspeedometer and basically, how the web service came to be and I'll have to explain it all - there's a series of Google-like algorithms that rank and rate the various aspects of your cognitive performance and as a result - the testing is very sensitive..so keep an eye out for it, in fact we'll let you know how to tune in.

One day, everybody will have it - we've already hit retail stores across America in a first wave and set off a bangalore torpedo so the 2nd wave can follow.

So stay tuned. It's getting more fun everyday. Thanks to everybody who has signed up and we're doing our all to get better. I'll try to post after the shoot in my first blog/TV venti-sized event....


Age-O-Meter 2

On our home page you can see Age-O-Meter 2, representing the sampling from Sept 28th to October 4th, when about 3,000 of you signed up. Thanks! It just pops-up like a pop-tart when you surf away.

What is interesting?

>>People in their 20's are as interested as people in their 40's in cognitive performance. People in their 30's (like me) actually were less interested, and the least interested overall. Maybe they should be more concerned, or at least aware. People in their 60's and 70's both were concerned, but not any more than people in their 20's.

>>People in their 50's are almost out of range, like 2.5 sD's more concerned than anybody else. That means people born in the period 1946-1955, from Truman to Ike, whose fathers were on the GI Bill. This was still a radio generation listening to people like Bob Hope and The Lone Ranger. This was also a period of tremendous growth technologically and the beginning of the Cold War....

Now its October

October is a wonderful time, with so many people enjoying the weather and also taking part in activities, like the Alzheimer's Association's memory walk, that help people. I'm happy to report that we are continuing to do our part - now online since May 2004 here and have just reached our highest traffic ranking of all time today...and this is probably going to really expand with all of the initiatives on the table. We're trying to balance features and information, and enhance navigation and UI, if you'll notice there is more integration between the information, login, and testing, and they'll be more features ahead


Dude, play this one...

give it a click...

Arnold vs. Hillary: G(D)rudge Match

For a moment, let's engage in a little suspension of belief, or is it suspension of disbelief? Imagine, a new world of sight and sound. A contest between Gov. Schwarzenegger and Ms. Clinton. How do you see it?

Desktop Wars

We now have a large global audience all the time. For some fun, let's give you a snapshot of the current desktop environment, scene of the upcoming struggle between Microsoft and Google. I guess the gloves are off after Google's announcement they are going to offer WiFi in SF. Maybe they should talk to Elan, who wrote these (take your pick) on the Metricom/Ricochet service back in the 90's. Truly ahead of its time. So, above, you see my desktop as of 12:30 AM PST Monday morning. For some coding background music we have DI.fm with some Tie fighter visualizations, wallpaper is kid Clone troopers getting a neuropsych workout and enhanced reaction time! Thanks for participating in our evolving project!


In your 50?'s: Welcome to the Club

Candice Choi of the Associated Press reports on the increasing numbers of people in their 50's or older who are joining gyms.

Since 1999, there has been a 35% increase in gym goers. The reason is that health and wellness advisors recommend exercise as the number one way to stay fit, and the benefits of a complete workout plus advances in the variety and quality of training equipment rather than plain old U-gym are keeping people on track for total fitness.

The final frontier is the cognitive arena - where the key functions such as decision making speed and accuracy (executive function) are housed. You can join our group of people right now (1.034 million)and get started taking a test, creating a baseline, whether you are a gamer (gamer-IQ preview blog),a high-performing executive, someone concerned with their memory, or even a skill athlete like a Quarterback, get started now.

Space Tourist Reaches for the Stars....

Private space explorer joins the Expedition 12 crew

Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan – October 1, 2005 -- Space Adventures®, Ltd., the world's leading space experiences company, announced today that American technology entrepreneur Greg Olsen, Ph.D. and his Soyuz TMA-7 crew successfully launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Dr. Olsen joins the Expedition 12 crew for his eight-day mission at the space station.

Dr. Olsen, entrepreneur and founder of EPITAXX, Inc. and Sensors Unlimited, Inc., commented before the launch, "This will undoubtedly be one of my greatest life accomplishments and I look forward in sharing my experience while in space and when I return. Hard work and determination has led me to where I am today and I encourage today's youth to dream big. If I can do it, so can you!"

Read rocket science from Cognitive Labs..and check back for our upcoming competitive challenges!

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