Monday, January 17, 2011

Inputless computer terminal

Who discovered the existence of the dead? Everyone knows the name of Antonia Simone,
but the exact circumstances of her discovery are wildly varied. In 1992, her younger
brother Ricardo was injured in a martial arts accident that left him completely
paralyzed. He needed a respirator to live and could only communicate through eye
blinks. She was a computer scientist at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and decided
to create a computer terminal sensitive to the slightest energy source. She was a
student of Kirlian photography and strongly believed the body’s electromagnetic fields
could affect sensitive electronic equipment. She created a terminal that could not be
affected by traditional means -- no keyboard, mouse or other input devices. A veritable
black box.

Ms. Simone was devoted to her brother and tried for years to make a computer terminal
that would allow her brother to communicate naturally. Distraught over the failure of
her terminal, which she thought would free thousands of similarly afflicted people,
she killed herself by hanging. When paramedics found her body days later, there on a
computer screen was the message: “What took you guys so long? I’ve got the most important news.”

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