10 Years of Glasses

10 years ago I first blogged about getting glasses [1]. I’ve just ordered my 4th pair of glasses. When you buy new glasses the first step is to scan your old glasses to use that as a base point for assessing your eyes, instead of going in cold and trying lots of different lenses they can just try small variations on your current glasses. Any good optometrist will give you a print-out of the specs of your old glasses and your new prescription after you buy glasses, they may be hesitant to do so if you don’t buy because some people get a prescription at an optometrist and then buy cheap glasses online. Here are the specs of my new glasses, the ones I’m wearing now that are about 4 years old, and the ones before that which are probably about 8 years old:

New 4 Years Old Really Old
R-SPH 0.00 0.00 -0.25
R-CYL -1.50 -1.50 -1.50
R-AXS 180 179 180
L-SPH 0.00 -0.25 -0.25
L-CYL -1.00 -1.00 -1.00
L-AXS 5 10 179

The Specsavers website has a good description of what this means [2]. In summary SPH is whether you are log-sighted (positive) or short-sighted (negative). CYL is for astigmatism which is where the focal lengths for horizontal and vertical aren’t equal. AXS is the angle for astigmatism. There are other fields which you can read about on the Specsavers page, but they aren’t relevant for me.

The first thing I learned when I looked at these numbers is that until recently I was apparently slightly short-sighted. In a way this isn’t a great surprise given that I spend so much time doing computer work and very little time focusing on things further away. What is a surprise is that I don’t recall optometrists mentioning it to me. Apparently it’s common to become more long-sighted as you get older so being slightly short-sighted when you are young is probably a good thing.

Astigmatism is the reason why I wear glasses (the Wikipedia page has a very good explanation of this [3]). For the configuration of my web browser and GUI (which I believe to be default in terms of fonts for Debian/Unstable running KDE and Google-Chrome on a Thinkpad T420 with 1600×900 screen) I can read my blog posts very clearly while wearing glasses. Without glasses I can read it with my left eye but it is fuzzy and with my right eye reading it is like reading the last line of an eye test, something I can do if I concentrate a lot for test purposes but would never do by choice. If I turn my glasses 90 degrees (so that they make my vision worse not better) then my ability to read the text with my left eye is worse than my right eye without glasses, this is as expected as the 1.00 level of astigmatism in my left eye is doubled when I use the lens in my glasses as 90 degrees to it’s intended angle.

The AXS numbers are for the angle of astigmatism. I don’t know why some of them are listed as 180 degrees or why that would be different from 0 degrees (if I turn my glasses so that one lens is rotated 180 degrees it works in exactly the same way). The numbers from 179 degrees to 5 degrees may be just a measurement error.

Bad Advertising of Protoplast

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In early 2010 I wrote about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I gave a picture of the wrist brace and a description of the process of creating it [1].

A few months later I wrote a follow-up about how the wrist brace had helped me, at the time I was anticipating wearing it at night for the rest of my life [2]. But my wrist has continued to improve. Nowadays I never wear the wrist brace and hardly even think of it. I am a little more careful about posture than I was before, but mostly it has no impact on my life. I think this counts as a full recovery.

At the time I was mildly interested in buying some thermo-plastic of that type to make things, but the only source I found was Jaycar which sold 100 grams for $14.95, Jaycar prices have now dropped to $11.50 for 100 grams or $89.50 for a kilo but it’s still expensive [3].


When looking at the sites that link to my blog I saw a site advertising “Protoplast” which is a type of thermo-plastic that can be used for making things [4]. Protoplast have more reasonable prices, E30 ($AU42.75) for a kilo and their web site offers better prices for anyone who purchases 10kg or more (good for hackerspaces etc). As they post no further than Belgium they aren’t an option for me but they do seem to make a good offer, better than Jaycar offers in Australia.

Protoplast is probably a good product, but I think that their advert is misleading. While it is probably possible to make a wrist-brace similar to mine with Protoplast it’s a fact that my wrist brace was not made with it. My wrist brace started out as a flat sheet of plastic which could be formed to the final product without being melted. Converting a packet of plastic granules (as sold by Protoplast or Jaycar) to a sheet to even start work on such a wrist brace would take some work.

To make a sheet of plastic out of beads sold by Jaycar or Protoplast you would ideally completely melt the plastic, if you just softened the plastic then it wouldn’t be as strong as using a pre-made sheet. During the time that I wore the wrist brace I probably repaired it more than 30 times, this wasn’t particularly difficult to do, I poured boiling water over it to soften the part that cracked until it became tacky and then pushed it together again. But the result was significantly weaker than the original due to the difficulty in welding the broken sections together. I ended up cutting some strips from less important parts of the wrist brace (the part nearest to my elbow) to reinforce the weakest part which was between my thumb and fore-finger. That section ended up being about three times thicker than it was originally while also not being as strong as it was originally. I also had difficulty in making it flat so it wasn’t nearly as comfortable as the original version.

It seems rather misleading to include the picture of my wrist brace on a site advertising plastic which wasn’t used to make it and which probably couldn’t be used to make something that looks as good with the same ratio of strength to mass. But with a suitable disclaimer indicating that the user probably can’t get the same result it would be OK to give it as an example of what could be done.

I can imagine someone using a product like Protoplast to make a wrist brace that can hold a mobile phone, that can be worn with a watch, or has other features that aren’t offered by medical staff.

License Issues

The license for my blog doesn’t permit people to just copy pictures, it’s a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike based license [5]. I am interested in supporting companies that make interesting products and anything that can help people with medical issues is also of interest. So I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a free license for a picture from my blog to be used in the way that they used it (with a link back to the original blog post). But I would want a description that informs readers that it’s not an item made with their product, merely something similar that can be used for inspiration.

Noise from Shaving

About 10 years ago I started using an electric shaver. An electric shaver is more convenient to use as it doesn’t require any soap, foam, or water. It is also almost impossible to cut yourself properly with an electric shaver which is a major benefit for anyone who’s not particularly alert in the morning. Generally my experience of electric shavers has been good, although the noise is quite annoying.

Recently a friend told me that an electric shaver is as noisy as a chain-saw. Given the inverse-square law and the fact that the shaver operates within 1cm of my ears that sounds plausible. So the risk of hearing loss is a great concern. Disposable ear plugs are very cheap and they can be used multiple times (they don’t get particularly dirty while shaving or get squashed in the short time needed to shave). So for a few weeks I’ve been using ear plugs while shaving which reduces the noise and presumable saves me from some hearing damage – although after 10 years of using electric shavers I may have already sustained some damage.

According to Cooper Safety their ear plugs reduce noise by 29dB, [1] I presume that the cheap ones I bought from Bunnings would be good for at least 15dB.

According to Better Hearing Sydney the noise from an electric shaver is typically around 90dB, less than the 100dB that is typical of a chain-saw [2]. So if my ear-plugs are good for 15dB then they would reduce the noise from a typical electric shaver to 75dB which is well below the 85dB that will cause hearing damage. Given that the noise from a typical shaver is only slightly above the damage threshold it seems that I might not need particularly good ear-plugs when shaving.

A quick scan of shaver reviews indicates that the amount of noise differs by brand and technology. The Hubpages review suggests that rotary shavers tend to make less noise than foil shavers [3], but I’m sure that it varies enough between brands that some rotary shavers are louder than the quietest foil shavers. It seems that the best thing to do when buying a new shaver would be to go to a specialised shaver shop (which has many models on offer) and get the staff to demonstrate them to determine which is the quietest. If a typical shaver produces 90dB then it seems likely that one of the more quiet models would produce less than 85dB.

Another item on my todo list is to buy a noise meter to measure the amount of noise produced in the places where I spend time. There are some Android apps to measure noise, I’m currently playing with the Smart Tools Co Sound Meter [4] which gives some interesting information. The documentation notes that phone microphones are limited to the typical volume and frequencies of human voice, so my Galaxy S3 can’t measure anything about 81dB. My wife’s Nexus 4 doesn’t seem to register anything above 74dB. Additionally there is some uncertainty about the accuracy of the microphone, there is a calibration feature but that requires another meter. Anyway the Sound Meter app suggests that my shaver (a Philips HQ7380/B) produces only 71dB at the closest possible range – and drops down to 67dB at the range I would use if I grew sideburns.


Getting a proper noise meter to protect one’s hearing seems like a good idea. An Android app for measuring noise is a good thing to have, even though it’s not going to be accurate it’s convenient and will give an indication.

When buying a shaver one should listen to all the options and choose a quiet one (I might have got a quiet one by luck).

Sideburns seem like a good idea if you value your hearing.

Phone/Tablet Sizes

Galaxy S3 vs Xperia X10 1/2Galaxy S3 vs Xperia X10 2/2

The above two pictures show me holding a Samsung Galaxy S3 which has a 4.8″ display in my left hand and a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 which has a 4.0″ display in my right hand. I am holding both phones in a manner that allows me to touch the top opposite corner with my thumb – the position I need for one-handed phone use. The Xperia X10 can be completely enclosed by my hand, when I have a bottom corner resting in my palm it won’t slide down while the Galaxy S3 can slide.

Also one thing I didn’t realise before having the pictures taken is that my posture is quite different when using the two phones. With the Galaxy S3 my wrist is clearly bent and this seems more likely to cause me to have more problems with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome [1]. I haven’t had any serious problems with CTS for the last 2.5 years but I have had minor problems that suggest that I will have to be careful about my posture for the rest of my life.

So it seems that a 4.8″ phone is just too big for ideal one-handed use (grasping the vertical phone from the bottom). As I had CTS problems with my left hand I will try to use my new phone with my right hand as much as possible. Also I can reach further than the width of the phone screen when I grasp it from the side, so for me a size of about 5.2″ would be better than the 4.8″ of the Galaxy S3. It’s quite likely that the Samsung Galaxy Note with it’s 5.3″ screen would be a better device for me to grasp from the side. But the Galaxy Note 2 might be a little too large for me.

Note that I am only considering ways of holding the device that permit full operation. Anything that involves changing position for different uses or occasionally using two hands for a mostly one-hand operation doesn’t count.

7 inch tablet

The above picture is of me holding a 7″ Android tablet (which I have just returned to Aldi [2]). When holding it from the sides I can reach more than half the screen with one hand so it seems that the ideal size for a tablet to be held in two hands for me would be 8″ or even a little larger. A tablet larger than that could only be properly used if resting on my lap or a desk – so for me 8″ is the size that differentiates things which can be strictly used as tablets (holding with two hands and using thumbs for input) and things which are more like Netbooks (on desk typing).

Ideal Device Sizes for people based on Height

I am about 190cm tall. If we assume that height and hand size are strongly correlated then we can look at median heights of various age groups and determine what might be a good device size. I am also assuming that everyone wants to have the largest possible device, but some people have other criteria such as the size of their pockets.

For me it’s 8″ tablet, 5.2″ side-grip phone, and 4″ bottom-grip phone. I used data from a chart of the average heights of American boys [3] and a chart of the average heights of American girls [4] to determine what size devices might suit children of various ages. Note that before the age of 12 the height of boys and girls is near enough to identical.

Device Two Hand Tablet Use Phone Grasp from Side Phone Grasp from Below
7″ tablet 14yo boy or 17yo girl noone noone
Galaxy Note 5.3″ 10yo 95th percentile 17yo boy noone
Galaxy S3 4.8″ 6yo 17yo boy or 95th percentile 17yo girl almost noone
Galaxy S and iPhone 5 4.0″ 3yo 10yo 95th percentile 17yo boy
iPhone 4 3.5″ noone 8yo 14yo boy or 16yo girl

One thing that particularly interests me is the educational use of Android devices for children. As few people buy new phones and tablets for young children that largely means that children borrow devices from their parents or are given older phones when relatives no longer need them. So it seems that if all other things are equal then an adult might choose a phone with a 4.8″ display to allow it to be used as a tablet by children in the 6-10 age range.


It seems that the iPhone 4 is a good size for one-handed use by women of average height. By the standards of the people who don’t regard gripping a phone from below as a significant feature the iPhone 4 would be designed for the hand of an 8yo. By any standards all iPhones other than the iPhone 5 were not the ideal size for most adults to use – maybe they are well designed to fit in a pocket while unused. Charles Stross criticised the iPhone because it’s too small to be seen well by people with poor vision [5], he also makes many other interesting points about the use of phones and I recommend reading his article (and the rest of his blog).

The common tablet size of 7″ seems like it might be ideal for women to hold with both hands, but for men of average height a 7.5″ tablet might be better suited, it sounds like a small difference but it changes button size (good for people with thicker fingers) and allows displaying more data at once (15% greater screen area). Of course if you want to use a tablet on a desk then something much bigger would be better, maybe 12″ or 14″. I think that there is a real market for 14″ tablets that are designed to be carried around the home or office and then used on a table or lap which differs from the tablets that are designed to be more portable.

There is also the use case of holding the phone in one hand while typing with the other which I haven’t considered in this post. I don’t think it’s interesting because in that case almost everyone will find that the limitation is the size of their pockets and the size of an object that can be held to one’s face for a phone call not the size of their hands. I’ve previously written about my search for Geeky jeans and the ability to put a 7″ tablet in my jeans pocket [6]. So I think that pocket size isn’t a phone selection issue for men. The fact that women’s clothing tends to have tiny pockets is another issue, if someone knows of a good analysis of phone size vs pockets in women’s clothes then please let me know.

Radiation Poisoning

There have been ongoing news reports about the nuclear power plant problems in Japan following the earth-quake and tidal-wave. The Wikipedia page about the Fukushima I nuclear accidents seems to have the best current summary of the situation [1].

I think it’s worth noting that Potassium Iodide can be ingested to reduce the incidence of thyroid damage in the event of radiation leaks (which apparently usually contain radioactive iodine). KI can be ingested immediately after exposure and there’s apparently little harm in taking it before a time of risk (it can be good to take it for a couple of days before exposure). So getting some KI right now might be a good idea for people who live in the vicinity. Apparently the Japanese government have issued iodine tablets to the people closest to the disaster, but it’s probably worth spreading the word to people who are further away.

Leigh Krietsch Boerner gave a good explanation of how Iodine significantly reduces the risk of thyroid cancer [2].

The Nuclear War Survival Skills site has a good description of how to make your own KI solution [3]. This probably isn’t a viable option for anyone in Japan unless they can raid a chemistry lab as mail-order of chemicals will surely be too slow. This is probably something that’s best considered for future plans for anyone who lives near a nuclear reactor.

It would be good if airport pharmacies sold packs of KI tablets for the benefit of travelers who don’t live near a reactor but who are visiting a country that has them. It’s something I’d like to buy before my next trip to Japan.

Carpal Tunnel – Getting Better

Three months ago I wrote about getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome [1]. A few weeks after that I visited the specialist again and had my wrist brace adjusted to make it a little less uncomfortable. The specialist also gave me some quick ultra-sound treatment and then said that if it didn’t get better in a month or two then I should just get a referral to a surgeon!

I didn’t have a bad case, some people have their hand muscles atrophy. My hand strength was measured as 50Kg in my left hand (the one with CTS) and 52Kg in my right hand. The greater strength in my right hand is probably more due to the lack of left-handed tools and sporting equipment than any muscle atrophy. This is slightly better than the physical standards for the Victoria Police (just over 50Kg average for both hands) [2] and a lot better than the Australian Federal Police physical standards of 45Kg for the dominant hand and 40Kg for the non-dominant [3].

Really my hand strength should have been recorded as 490Newton and 510Newton respectively, medicine is the science of healing, in all aspects of science the Newton is the measure of force.

Over the past few months my hand seems to have recovered a lot while wearing the wrist-brace 24*7. I’ve just started going without the wrist-brace during the day and it seems to be OK. I’m currently planning to wear the wrist brace at night for a year or two as it’s the only way to ensure that my hand doesn’t end up on a bad angle when I’m asleep.

At this stage it seems that I’ve made as close to a full recovery from CPS as is possible!

Health and Status Monitoring via Smart Phone

Health Monitoring

Eric Topol gave an interesting TED talk about wireless medical monitoring devices [1]. The potential for helping diabetics and other people who need ongoing treatment is obvious as is the potential for helping pregnant women and other people who might suddenly need medical treatment at short notice.

One significant positive potential for this is integration with multiple services. For example Eric’s talk showed a graph of sleep levels on a mobile phone, the deep sleep (which is apparently the most restorative) was shown in sections that were significantly less than one hour in duration. I often receive SMS messages about network problems during the night, the vast majority of them aren’t that important and can be delayed without any problem. If my phone could determine that I was in deep sleep and delay sending me a NAGIOS report for up to 30 minutes then it would help me sleep while not making any significant impact on my work in repairing server problems – it’s not as if I would be immediately productive if woken from deep sleep anyway.

Status and Attention Monitoring

Eric Horvitz, Carl Kadie, Tim Paek, and David Hovel of Microsoft Research wrote an interesting paper titled “Models of Attention in Computing and Communication: From Principles to Applications” [2]. In that paper they describe various methods for tracking user attention and filtering messages so that the user won’t be needlessly distracted by unimportant messages when they are busy. The next logical step is to integrate that with a smart phone (maybe Android would be good for this) to screen calls, unknown callers could be automatically directed to voice-mail and known good callers could be given an automated prompt as to whether they think that their call is important enough to be worth the distraction.

It seems to me that combining health and status monitoring would be the sensible thing to do. If a bio-sensor array indicates that someone is more stressed than usual then decreasing their availability for phone calls would make sense. It would also be trivial to analyse calls and determine which callers are likely to cause stress and block their calls at inconvenient times.

What we Need

Of course there are lots of security implications in this. Having multiple networked devices tracking and collating information on health and all activity (including video-monitoring in the Microsoft model) has a lot of potential for malicious use. This is one of many reasons that we need to generally improve computer security.

We also need to have free software implementations of such things. We don’t want Microsoft to get a monopoly on status monitoring. Also it seems that smart Nike shoes that can work with the iPhone [3] are the leading mass-market implementation of health monitoring, everything related to health-care should be as open as possible. I’m happy for Nike to make their own special products, but we need to have them work with open systems and make the data available as widely as possible. There is the real potential for people to needlessly die if health data is not available in open formats! According to the Wikipedia page Nike has been shipping products using a proprietary 2.4GHz wireless network since 2006 [4], it would be a really good hardware project to devise a way of making compatible sensors and readers.

We also need some free software for monitoring the user status to avoid interrupting them.

Finally we need some software to integrate all the data. Canonical’s Desktop Experience team are doing some interesting work on managing desktop notifications that will be in Ubuntu Lucid [5], they appear to have some basic support for masking notifications based on priority. Please keep up the great work Canonical people, and please consider working on advanced status monitoring next!

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Wrist brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


A few weeks ago I was referred to a specialist for the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I first noticed the symptoms in early January, it started happening at night with a partial numbness in the fingers of my left hand. I didn’t think much of it at first as it’s the expected symptom of sleeping in a position that reduces the blood flow. But when it kept happening with my left hand and never happening with my right and then started getting worse (including happening during the day) I sought medical advice.

The doctor asked me to bend my hand down (as if trying to touch my left elbow with the fingers of my left hand). Within about 10 seconds this caused numbness – this result from bending one’s wrist is a major symptom of CTS.


On Thursday I saw a specialist about this, she agreed with the GP’s diagnosis and made a wrist brace for me. She started by cutting off a length of a tube of elastic woven material (similar to a sock) and then cutting a thumb hole, that became the lining. Then to make the hard part she put a sheet of plastic in an electric saucepan (which had water simmering) until it started to melt and then used a spatula to fish it out. The melting temperature of the plastic wasn’t that high (it was soft at about 50C when she put it on my arm), it wasn’t at all sticky when it was partially melted, and it didn’t seem to conduct heat well.

After wearing the wrist brace non-stop for a few days I have noticed an improvement already. Hopefully I will make a full recovery in a matter of a month or so, I will probably have to wear a wrist brace when sleeping for the rest of my life, but that’s no big deal – it’s more comfortable to sleep with a wrist brace than a partially numb hand. I’ve also been prescribed a set of exercises to help remove scar tissue from the nerves. I haven’t done them much yet.

In terms of being annoying, the wrist-brace has 3mm diameter holes in a square grid pattern with a 25mm spacing. This doesn’t let much air through and in warm weather my arm gets sweaty and starts to itch. I’m thinking of drilling some extra holes to alleviate this – the part which makes my arm itch doesn’t need much mechanical strength. The only task which has been really impeded has been making peanut butter sandwiches, maybe it was making sandwiches not typing that caused CTS? ;) In any case I’m not giving up typing but I would consider giving up peanut butter sandwiches.

I really hope to avoid the surgical option, it doesn’t seem pleasant at all.


One final thing to note is that Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is entirely different. RSI is a non-specific pain associated with repetitive tasks while CTS is a specific problem in one or two nerves where they go through the wrist. RSI apparently tends to reduce the effective strength of the afflicted limb, while milder cases of CTS (such as mine) cause no decrease in strength – of course a severe case of CTS results in muscle atrophy due to reduced nerve signals, but I shouldn’t ever get that. Many people think that RSI and CTS are essentially the same thing – I used to think that until a few weeks ago when I read the Wikipedia pages in preparation to seeing a doctor about it.

I want to obtain some of the plastic that was used to make my wrist brace, it could be really handy to have something that convenient for making boxes, containers, and supports for various things – among other things it doesn’t appear to generate static. The low melting temperature will prevent certain computer uses (the hot air that comes out of a cooling system for a high-end CPU would probably melt it), but it could probably be used to make the case for an Opteron system with careful design. I’m guessing that the cost of the plastic is a very small portion of the $150 I paid to the specialist so it shouldn’t be that expensive – and I’m sure it would be even cheaper if it wasn’t bought from a medical supply store. If I ever get time to do some work on an Arduino system or something similar then I will definitely try to get some of this plastic for the case.

Also the Wikipedia page has a picture of what appears to be a mass-produced wrist brace. I think that it might be improved by having the picture of the custom one that I wear added to the page. I unconditionally license the picture for free use by Wikipedia and others under the CC by attribution license. So if anyone thinks that a picture of my hand would improve Wikipedia then they can make the change.

Aquatic Apes

In a previous post I referenced Elaine Morgan’s Aquatic Ape theory [1].

Simon Waters pointed out that the AquaticApe.org site which exists to analyse all the evidence about such issues [2]. Based on that I am convinced that the Aquatic Ape theory has little merit.

My mistake was to put too much faith in the organisers of the TED conference. They have a good history of inviting speakers who know their stuff. I recently analysed the facts behind one dubious claim made in a TED talk, but that case was a single claim which was not required to support the essential points of the lecture [3]. I expect other mistaken claims such as that one from any lecture anywhere, in a TED lecture I expect the central point to be well supported but it seems that my expectation was incorrect.

I will be more skeptical about TED talks in future.

Thanks Simon for correcting me on this issue! One of the advantages of blogging is that when (not if) you get something wrong there is likely to be someone out there with a good reference to evidence to the contrary.

Water Dogs – Good for Uplift?

Update: I am now convinced that the Aquatic Ape theory is wrong [0]. So much of this post is irrelevant. But I still believe that we should be uplifting animals.

Elaine Morgan gave an interesting TED talk about human evolution and the theory that our ancestors lived in the water [1]. The aquatic ape theory explains why humans are the only primates that have almost no body hair and why we can consciously control our breathing (which is essential for speech and which is apparently rare among land mammals).

So it seems that when (not if) we start a program of uplifting animals to the same status as humans a good starting point would be animals with an aquatic history. So we want animals that are friendly towards humans, reasonably intelligent, and which can be trained. Animals that can work well on dry land would be most convenient as are animals that can be owned domestically, so dolphins are not good candidates.

There are a number of dog breeds that have been specifically bred for operation in water [2]. This includes dogs bred for assisting fishermen (such as the Spanish Water Dog) [3] and for hunting in marshes (the majority of Water Dogs [2]). Even dogs that have not been bred for aquatic work can be very expressive in their barks (as I’m sure every dog owner has observed), so an aquatic dog should have the potential for greater speech.

So it seems to me that the Norwegian Puffin Dog offers great benefits for dexterity [4] which combined with slightly more speech potential from some water dogs should give a good start to the breeding program.

CNN has an interesting article on the intelligence of dog breeds [5]. It seems that the top 5 are:

  1. Border collies
  2. Poodles
  3. German shepherds
  4. Golden retrievers
  5. Doberman pinchers

The Poodle being a water dog and the second most intelligent breed of dog seems to have some good characteristics for uplift, so a Poodle/Puffin-dog cross should do well.

Recently I have been reading Michael Anissimov’s blog at AcceleratingFuture.com which concerns Transhumanism, AI, nanotechnology, and extinction risk [6]. A large part of Michael’s blogging concerns the development of Friendly Artificial Intelligence (FAI) [7], this is a type of AI that would not destroy us by accident or malice if it gains the ability to self-improve at a rapid rate (and therefore vastly exceed human capabilities in a small amount of time). It seems to me that if we can uplift dogs to a level equivalent to humans and have them still like us then we will have achieved a significant step towards developing general non-human intelligences that are sympathetic to us.