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Re: [Nmh-workers] Microsoft hockeyapp doesn't care about 2045 RFC (6.4)

From: Laura Creighton
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] Microsoft hockeyapp doesn't care about 2045 RFC (6.4)
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 2017 15:07:13 +0200

In a message of Sat, 14 Oct 2017 19:40:40 -0400, Ken Hornstein writes:
>>Also, while the department of Zoology and the dept of Medicine may
>>indeed have well figured out that it would be a good idea to share
>>software, they in no way informed me, or
>>Marcus-whose-last-name-I-forget (Wall? Wald?), the two of us being the
>>ones that wrote the software in the first place.  I do not think that
>>any 'set this up' was ever done, aside from handing over a copy of the
>>software.  Which was really general purpose AD and DA conversion
>>routines in the first place .... unlikely to get you in trouble
>I know this was over 30 (!) years ago, but there is one thing about this
>story I have a question about.  We've got the brain wave sensors on the
>monkey caps, which are connected to A->D converters and then piggybacked
>onto the VAX disk drive.  The part I am missing is ... why would WRITING
>to the disk drive cause voltage to be output to those devices, thus zapping
>the monkeys?  That's the part I never really understood.

I didn't do that part, but there really were experiments where you would
embed the sensor in an experiemental subject and then apply voltage as part
of an attempt to map what parts of the brain were actually good for, and
what is an epileptic seizure, back in the days when this was much less
well understood.  So somebody out there really might have had the idea that
the capability would be a good thing to have.  But the only software I had
that was doing anything like that was being used by people studying
the behaviour of certain pests that bothered the tobacco crops.  Worms.  I
cannot remember exactly why the researchers wanted to give elecrtical shocks
to the worms, but it was probably part of figuring out how certain
pesticides worked, and thus whether they were likely to pose a risk to
other life.

You couldn't get in trouble with the ethics committee for mistreating
worms, even if you killed lots of them via electical shocks, especially
since the whole point of the research was to figure out better ways to
kill the things.

However, there was a huge complicated procedure for dealing with any
sort of vertebrate, and it got more restrictive for mammals and even
more for primates.  So what happened shouldn't have been possible.  At
the time I thought that what must have happened was that the people
doing the research got somebody to cobble something together, based on
stuff we had written, who didn't quite understand what he or she was
doing well enough to realise that this was possible.  This should have
been caught in the review, but looks like that was also done by
somebody who wasn't clued in.

Nobody ever asked Marcus or I  to come over, explain what we had written,
how it worked, and more importantly what parts still didn't work properly.
I suspect that the fact that both of us were under 18 at the time we wrote
the stuff may have influenced that decision.


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