Inserting USB an emotional rollercoaster

The frustration associated with inserting a USB plug can be used to measure emotional maturity. When assessing a candidate’s EQ, researchers are often frustrated by skewed results that arise from questionnaires, situation modelling and the like. New research into the effect of physical associative emotional responses, or PAERs, reveals a reliable indicator of how an individual can deal with conflict.

“We found that the common problem of finding the right way to insert a USB elicits predictable responses in candidates. We find anticipation, disappointment, frustration, resignation, relief and even pleasure,” says Marcus Ryan, psychological researcher at Farnham and Associates.

By using electrodes placed on the subject’s scalp, the researchers are able to detect ‘micro-emotions’ that arise as physical situations develop. By measuring the length of time, amplitude and appropriate sequencing of the response, researchers can more accurately measure a subject’s ability to cope with their environment.

“The results scale fairly well. We’re trialling other physical situations, like waiting for toast to pop up from a toaster, or a turning a key that is a bit stuck, or navigating a web page with a mouse that doesn’t track properly. If all goes to plan, we may have our subjects reliably analysed before they even finish their orientation.”ChesterLogoSmall

Biological Computers

Move over Intel, the new wave of micro-processors are about to hit the shelves. Colonies of yeast can be genetically engineered to form complex logical pathways which, when applied with particular stimuli, form incredibly powerful computations.

“It’s not an exact replica of a microprocessor. There are no hard wires or transistors. There are, however, complex cellular structures that responds very quickly and very accurately. We can use these to solve amazingly complex problems in the twinkling of an eye,” according to Ron Hamrick of Dubuque, “We calculated pi to one billion digits in less than twenty minutes with only half a teaspoon of sugar and a modest colony.”

While the bio-processors are hardly suitable for watches and computers, they do have a distinct advantage over commonplace silicon-based processors: they can grow.

“As the need for more processing power rises, we can increase the size of the colony. It seems that the processing power increases according to many factors, such as cell count, sugar content, surface area and oxygen / carbon dioxide ratios. The whole concept is scalable.”

After an exhausting set of trials, Ron and his team have settled upon a particular strain to serve as a bench-mark for future trials.

“We may see in the future that genetic engineering and microprocessing join forces to create ultra-complex pathways in living creatures. Who knows what the limits are?”ChesterLogoSmall