Good God the part of this SU episode that hit me the most was how they used Garnet as a visual aid for the kids’ trauma.
Sapphire and Ruby didn’t get specific fears or thoughts, even if that would’ve been very easy to include. Instead, they got imagery that very clearly focused on their reactions and the consequences of flawed coping mechanisms. Ruby is prone to self-destructive hyperfocus on one thought, completely incapable of moving past it. Sapphire is “calm and collected” because she lets thoughts pile up until she completely overloads and shuts down.
With the mechanics of each coping flaw well-established, Ruby settles next to Connie, passing that imagery on to her. Connie was obsessing over the fact that she went into automatic panic mode and attacked that kid (understandably so). She’s scared of herself, and Ruby was there to show how heavily a single worry can weigh on someone so one-track-minded–to the point of both being blind to their partner’s distress.
Sapphire settles next to Steven. The one who’s always okay and always ready to go until he can’t push it aside any longer and completely shuts down. He didn’t even react to their falling to the presumed death. We saw Sapphire’s breakdown with the visual metaphor of that maelstrom of thoughts spiraling in on her like vultures. Now we have a sense of magnitude for what’s weighing on Steven, and how many things he’s been holding back because he doesn’t want to confront them.
Connie’s ready to tear herself apart over one butterfly. Steven didn’t acknowledge the butterflies as they showed up because if he faced one he’d have to face them all, which is far too much.
Garnet was and always is great every time I see her, but wow what a brilliant and gut-wrenching way to show how much these kids need help.
This was inevitable. i should probably quit while I’m ahead with the swapping thing (rly i should) but, i dont think i can help myself anymore. Especially cuz the Tenshinhan arc is one of my favorites (and so is tien kgjfhf) (now starring the late Joan Rivers as Master Shen)
Brain Waves Can be Used to Detect Potentially Harmful Personal Information
Cyber security and authentication have been under attack in recent months as, seemingly every other day, a new report of hackers gaining access to private or sensitive information comes to light. Just recently, more than 500 million passwords were stolen when Yahoo revealed its security was compromised.
Securing systems has gone beyond simply coming up with a clever password that could prevent nefarious computer experts from hacking into your Facebook account. The more sophisticated the system, or the more critical, private information that system holds, the more advanced the identification system protecting it becomes.
Fingerprint scans and iris identification are just two types of authentication methods, once thought of as science fiction, that are in wide use by the most secure systems.
But fingerprints can be stolen and iris scans can be replicated. Nothing has proven
foolproof from being subject to computer hackers.
“The principal argument for behavioral, biometric authentication is that standard modes of authentication, like a password, authenticates you once before you access the service,” said Abdul Serwadda a cybersecurity expert and assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Texas Tech University.
“Now, once you’ve accessed the service, there is no other way for the system to still know it is you. The system is blind as to who is using the service. So the area of behavioral authentication looks at other user-identifying patterns that can keep the system aware of the person who is using it. Through such patterns, the system can keep track of some confidence metric about who might be using it and immediately prompt for reentry of the password whenever the confidence metric falls below a certain threshold.”
One of those patterns that is growing in popularity within the research community is the use of brain waves obtained from an electroencephalogram, or EEG. Several research groups around the country have recently showcased systems which use EEG to authenticate users with very high accuracy.
However, those brain waves can tell more about a person than just his or her identity. It could reveal medical, behavioral or emotional aspects of a person that, if brought to light, could be embarrassing or damaging to that person. And with EEG devices becoming much more affordable, accurate and portable and applications being designed that allows people to more readily read an EEG scan, the likelihood of that happening is dangerously
“The EEG has become a commodity application. For $100 you can buy an EEG device that fits on your head just like a pair of headphones,” Serwadda said. “Now there are apps on the market, brain-sensing apps where you can buy the gadget, download the app on your phone and begin to interact with the app using your brain signals. That led us
to think; now we have these brain signals that were traditionally accessed only by doctors being handled by regular people. Now anyone who can write an app can get access to users’ brain signals and try to manipulate them to discover what is going on.”
That’s where Serwadda and graduate student Richard Matovu focused their attention: attempting to see if certain traits could be gleaned from a person’s brain waves. They presented their findings recently to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) International Conference on Biometrics.
Brain waves and cybersecurity
Serwadda said the technology is still evolving in terms of being able to use a person’s brain waves for authentication purposes. But it is a heavily researched field that has drawn the attention of several federal organizations. The National Science Foundation (NSF), funds a three-year project on which Serwadda and others from Syracuse University and the University of Alabama-Birmingham are exploring how several behavioral modalities, including EEG brain patterns, could be leveraged to augment traditional user authentication mechanisms.
“There are no installations yet, but a lot of research is going on to see if EEG patterns could be incorporated into standard behavioral authentication procedures,” Serwadda said.
Assuming a system uses EEG as the modality for user authentication, typically for
such a system, all variables have been optimized to maximize authentication accuracy. A selection of such variables would include:
The features used to build user templates.
The signal frequency ranges from which features are extracted
The regions of the brain on which the electrodes are placed, among other variables.
Under this assumption of a finely tuned authentication system, Serwadda and his colleagues tackled the following questions:
If a malicious entity were to somehow access templates from this authentication-optimized system, would he or she be able to exploit these templates to infer non-authentication-centric
information about the users with high accuracy?
In the event that such inferences are possible, which attributes of template design could reduce or increase the threat?
Turns out, they indeed found EEG authentication systems to give away non-authentication-centric information. Using an authentication system from UC-Berkeley and a variant of another from a team at Binghamton University and the University of Buffalo, Serwadda and Matovu tested their hypothesis, using alcoholism as the sensitive private information which an adversary might want to infer from EEG authentication templates.
In a study involving 25 formally diagnosed alcoholics and 25 non-alcoholic subjects, the lowest error rate obtained when identifying alcoholics was 25 percent, meaning a classification accuracy of approximately 75 percent.
When they tweaked the system and changed several variables, they found that the ability to detect alcoholic behavior could be tremendously reduced at the cost of slightly reducing the performance of the EEG authentication system.
Motivation for discovery
Serwadda’s motivation for proving brain waves could be used to reveal potentially harmful personal information wasn’t to improve the methods for obtaining that information. It’s to prevent it.
To illustrate, he gives an analogy using fingerprint identification at an airport. Fingerprint scans read ridges and valleys on the finger to determine a person’s unique
identity, and that’s it.
In a hypothetical scenario where such systems could only function accurately if the
user’s finger was pricked and some blood drawn from it, this would be problematic because the blood drawn by the prick could be used to infer things other than the user’s identity, such as whether a person suffers from certain diseases, such as diabetes.
Given the amount of extra information that EEG authentication systems are able glean about the user, current EEG systems could be likened to the hypothetical fingerprint reader that pricks the user’s finger. Serwadda wants to drive research that develops EEG authentication systems that perform the intended purpose while revealing minimal information about traits other than the user’s identity in authentication terms.
Currently, in the vast majority of studies on the EEG authentication problem, researchers primarily seek to outdo each other in terms of the system error rates. They work with the central objective of designing a system having error rates which are much lower than the state-of-the-art. Whenever a research group develops or publishes an EEG authentication system that attains the lowest error rates, such a system is immediately installed as the reference point.
A critical question that has not seen much attention up to this point is how certain design attributes of these systems, in other words the kinds of features used to formulate the user template, might relate to their potential to leak sensitive personal information. If, for example, a system with the lowest authentication error rates comes with the added baggage of leaking a significantly higher amount of private information, then such a system might, in practice, not be as useful as its low error rates suggest.
Users would only accept, and get the full utility of the system, if the potential privacy breaches associated with the system are well understood and appropriate mitigations undertaken.
But, Serwadda said, while the EEG is still being studied, the next wave of invention is already beginning.
“In light of the privacy challenges seen with the EEG, it is noteworthy that the next
wave of technology after the EEG is already being developed,” Serwadda said. “One
of those technologies is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which has a much higher signal-to-noise ratio than an EEG. It gives a more accurate picture of brain activity given its ability to focus on a particular region of the brain.”
The good news, for now, is fNIRS technology is still quite expensive; however there is every likelihood that the prices will drop over time, potentially leading to a
civilian application to this technology. Thanks to the efforts of researchers like Serwadda, minimizing the leakage of sensitive personal information through these technologies is beginning to gain attention in the research community.
“The basic idea behind this research is to motivate a direction of research which
selects design parameters in such a way that we not only care about recognizing users
very accurately but also care about minimizing the amount of sensitive personal information it can read,” Serwadda said.
i woke up mad today cuz i dreamt about ppl with whom i don’t speak anymore and they were like did u cut me off because i (insert stupid thing they did) and i was like yeah damn right bitch now get out of my dream ugly! like even my dream world is plagued with thoughts of people i can’t stand
There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.
But these were days of self-fulfillment, where settling for something that was not quite your first choice of a life seemed weak-willed and ignoble. Somewhere, surrendering to what seemed to be your fate had changed from being dignified to being a sign of your own cowardice. There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.
When I think
of River I feel a dull ache because I think of Melody dying alone without a
care, of Mels growing up with rage and deaths wishes, of River and her memory gutted like a war-torn city. Because I think
of soldiers, fanaticism, hatred and a child in the middle. Because I think of a
terrible loneliness that comes from being chosen, special, different, criminal,
imprisoned, insane, nothing.
But when I
think of River I also feel an irrepressible joy. Like the smile superimposed in
the ghostly light of her helmet the very first time I glimpsed at her face in
the Library. I hear a throaty laughter, a teasing quip, an assured tone, a
dance, a waltz, many waltzes, an exciting tattoo of clicking heels, explosions,
beeping dashboards and ancient dirges. I feel sung to, treated to a tale from
between Scrooge-McDuck-imprinted sheets and plushies. I learn little girls are made of
stuff as only fortresses are made on, with the cold corridors, labyrinthine
dampness and besieged loneliness it begs. And old girls are made of what’s left
of little girls, with all the vision, delight and impatience it can muster.
I love the
fun River has with her life, like one would have white wine with goat cheese.
Fun goes well with life. Perhaps not happiness because it would require equilibrium,
wholeness, peace River cannot recover or rebuild, but certainly joie de vivre. And that’s enough to fuel a life. To blaze.
losses, we make compromises to keep on living. We accommodate ourselves to
unhappiness, for life. River always left me with the impression the compromises
were made to keep on enjoying.