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Why AI is Harder Than We Think

The year 2020 was supposed to herald the arrival of self-driving cars. Five years earlier, a headline in The Guardian predicted that “From 2020 you will become a permanent backseat driver.” In 2016 Business Insider assured us that “10 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020.” Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk promised in 2019 that “A year from now, we’ll have over a million cars with full self-driving, software…everything” […]

none of these predictions has come true. […]

like all AI systems of the past, deep-learning systems can exhibit brittleness— unpredictable errors when facing situations that differ from the training data. This is because such systems are susceptible to shortcut learning: learning statistical associations in the training data that allow the machine to produce correct answers but sometimes for the wrong reasons. In other words, these machines don’t learn the concepts we are trying to teach them, but rather they learn shortcuts to correct answers on the training set—and such shortcuts will not lead to good generalizations. Indeed, deep learning systems often cannot learn the abstract concepts that would enable them to transfer what they have learned to new situations or tasks. Moreover, such systems are vulnerable to attack from “adversarial perturbations”—specially engineered changes to the input that are either imperceptible or irrelevant to humans, but that induce the system to make errors.

{ arXiv | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

42.jpgJapanese man arrested after ‘dating more than 35 women at once to get birthday gifts’

An unarmed man was shot by a Virginia sheriff’s deputy about an hour after the same deputy gave the man a ride home […] the deputy mistook a phone for a gun

The salmon you buy in the future may be farmed on land

Household aerosols now release more harmful smog chemicals than all UK vehicles

Better air is the easiest way not to die

Bolsonaro poses smiling with a canceled CPF card (Brazilian’s Social Security card) - an allusion to what happens when people die.

Mask-wearing practices during COVID-19 changed emotional face processing

Much like humans, some rhesus monkeys enjoy alcohol and will drink a lot, while others show less interest and will limit themselves to small amounts. The researchers found that the animals that were chronically heavy drinkers had a weak response to the vaccine. […] Moderate drinking is unlikely to impair the immune response to the Covid vaccine, but heavy drinking might.

more than two dozen “pancoronavirus” vaccine projects are underway, more

California braces for another ‘clown car’ of recall candidates — Running in the California recall may be the best bargain on the planet for fame and fortune seekers. For just $4,000, any registered voter can grab an instant platform in what’s sure to become the nation’s most watched election this year — and leverage that position on social media and airwaves with some of the most attention-getting stunts possible.

Neurons in the mouse brain correlate with cryptocurrency price

The first Op-Ed page in The New York Times greeted the world on Sept. 21, 1970. It was so named because it appeared opposite the editorial page and not (as many still believe) because it would offer views contrary to the paper’s. It’s time to change the name. The articles written by outside writers will be known as “Guest Essays.” [NY Times]

Burning Man Is Canceled for 2021 but They’re Keeping Your $2,500 Reservation Fee

‘Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard. Just ask. I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS. People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They “trust me.” Dumb fucks.’ –Mark Zuckerberg

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Mr. Zuckerberg told his lieutenants that Facebook “needed to inflict pain” upon Apple and Mr. Cook, said a person with knowledge of the discussions. […]

In 2017, Facebook had expanded its work with Definers Public Affairs, a Washington firm that specialized in opposition research against its clients’ political foes. Definers employees distributed research about Apple’s compromises in China to reporters, and a website affiliated with Definers published articles criticizing Mr. Cook, according to documents and former Definers employees.

Definers also began an “astroturfing” campaign to draft Mr. Cook as a 2020 presidential candidate, presumably to put him in President Trump’s cross hairs, The New York Times reported in 2018. […]

(Definers’ work against Apple was also funded by Qualcomm, another Apple rival, according to a Definers employee. Facebook fired Definers after The Times reported on its activity.)

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

52.jpgChina, where more than two-thirds of power is from coal, accounts for more than 75% of bitcoin mining around the world

bitcoin has characteristics of what he calls a Ponzi scheme that’s right out in the open — “It’s a beautifully set up cryptographic system. It’s well made but there’s absolutely no reason it should be linked to anything economic”

Scientist Who Says He Created Bitcoin Can Sue Bitcoin.org

JP Morgan is looking to hire skilled Ethereum developers to fill up at least 64 open positions.

Wyoming will recognize DAOs as a new type of LLC [Decentralized autonomous organization]

Languishing might be the dominant emotion of 2021. […] In psychology, we think about mental health on a spectrum from depression to flourishing. […] Languishing is the neglected middle child of mental health. It’s the void between depression and flourishing — the absence of well-being. You don’t have symptoms of mental illness, but you’re not the picture of mental health either. [NY Times]

Who Profits from Destroying Reputations Online? A big clue were the ads that appeared next to them, offering help removing reputation-tarnishing content.

Here are some of the foods that Thomas Pesquet, a French astronaut who launched on a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station on Friday, will enjoy during his six-month stay in orbit: lobster, beef bourguignon, cod with black rice, potato cakes with wild mushrooms and almond tarts with caramelized pears. [NY Times]

Tyrannosaurus rex walked surprisingly slowly, new study finds

Entomologists Charlie and Lois O’Brien have the largest private collection of insects in the world

A Suicide by Self-Decapitation

Every day, the same, again

51.jpgAmazon is opening a hair salon in London — Customers will be able to test out different hair colours in an augmented-reality mirror

Cat intercepted with drug delivery for Panama prison

Clinginess was reported as a more common source of relationship strain by women, while bad sex was reported as a more common source of relationship strain by men.

Stress And Death In Female Baboons — As Measured By Hormones In Poop

There aren’t enough trees in the world to offset society’s carbon emissions – and there never will be

Climate crisis has shifted the Earth’s axis

Just How Many Surfaces Does Your Cat’s Butt Touch? A Sixth Grader’s Science Fair Project Has The Answer

residents who cut off their own limbs as a way to collect insurance money

Eiffel Tower replicas around the world

Polychaete worms from hydrothermal vents

A vous revoir, chère madame

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{ Robert Doisneau, Un regard oblique (A Sidelong Glance), 1948 | more}

Every day, the same, again

h5.jpgItalian man accused of skipping work for 15 years straight

valuing happiness often predicts worse well-being and mental health

Manhattan District Attorney To Stop Prosecuting Prostitution

Do voices carry valid information about a speaker’s personality?

Groundbreaking effort launched to decode whale language

Dr. Marr uses a simple two-out-of-three rule for deciding when to wear a mask. In every situation, she makes sure she’s meeting two out of three conditions: outdoors, distanced and masked. “If you’re outdoors, you either need to be distanced or masked,” she said. “If you’re not outdoors, you need to be distanced and masked. This is how I’ve been living for the past year. It all comes down to my two-out-of-three rule.” [NY Times]

Higher mushroom consumption is associated with a lower risk of cancer

China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iran contribute to amplifying the QAnon conspiracy theory online

‘Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale Act’ Would Ban Clearview and Warrantless Location Data Purchases — The sweeping bill has support from both Democrats and Republicans, and will address multiple forms of surveillance

Debuted as part of an ongoing project titled NFTheft, sleepminting serves as a crypto-counterfeiting exercise. Sleepminting enables [the artist] to mint NFTs for, and to, the crypto wallets of other artists, then transfer ownership back to himself without their consent or knowing participation.

Hard Drive and SSD Shortages Could Be Imminent If New Cryptocurrency Blooms — With the emergence of the Chia cryptocurrency, miners in China are reportedly frantically snatching up every hard drive and SSD they can find. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, you don’t mine Chia with a processor, graphics card or ASIC miner. Instead, you farm Chia with storage space, which is where hard drives or SSDs come in.

LVMH, Prada, and Richemont Build a Blockchain

You Can Sell the Trees You Don’t Cut

Anti-venom is snake-specific, meaning if you’re bitten by a king cobra, you need king cobra anti-venom. If there’s 70 different venomous snakes in one place, I can’t carry a refrigerator with 70 different anti-venoms. […] On his way to work, he’s thinking nasal spray for snakebites. On his way home from work - nasal spray for snakebites. He is obsessed. [NPR | Audio + Transcript]

The researchers estimated there could be between 200,000 and 2 million bubbles released before a half-pint of lager would go flat.

Interrupted Maps, Butterfly Maps, Retroazimuthal Projections…

Colors of noise

Really Bad Chess

If a crocodile steals a child and promises its return if the father can correctly guess exactly what the crocodile will do, how should the crocodile respond in the case that the father guesses that the child will not be returned?

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Patrick Mimran (born 1956 in Paris, France) is a contemporary French multimedia artist, composer, and the former owner and CEO of Lamborghini. […] In 1987 he sold Lamborghini to Chrysler and made, so it is said, «enough profit to be completely satisfied».

{ Wikipedia | Hamlet Hamster }

still { Con Artist (2009), a documentary about Mark Kostabi — not Patrick Mimran }

A hallmark of people who have strong narcissistic traits is the avoidance of taking responsibility for their incompetent behavior

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Musk tweeted on Monday that “data logs recovered so far” show the car’s Autopilot feature was not enabled […] The NHTSA currently has about two dozen active probes into Tesla vehicle crashes that may have involved Autopilot […]

Tesla in the past has drawn the ire of federal agencies for how it markets Autopilot and whether there’s true understanding on the part of passengers/drivers that the cars can’t fully drive themselves.

Tesla has warned that drivers must remain fully engaged while using these features.

Tesla told California regulators that its latest “full self-driving” software doesn’t actually make the car autonomous, seemingly contradicting its name.

{ Axios | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

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Real estate agent is auctioning off an NFT that comes with a duplex in Thousand Oaks, California

Crypto’s Coming of Age May Kill the Bitcoin Bubble and Dogecoin has risen 400 percent in the last week because why not

Two die in Tesla car crash in Texas with ‘no one’ in driver’s seat

Defense Department confirms leaked photos and videos of triangle-shaped objects blinking and moving through the clouds are real

Women have higher magical beliefs than men. Women have stronger reliance on intuition than men.

Account of what it’s like to work as a Facebook content moderator — The employee is based in Austin, TX and works for Accenture, a company that provides content moderation contractors for Facebook.

A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Method — Focus on conflict. Feed the algorithm. Make sure whatever you produce reinforces a narrative. Don’t worry if it’s true.

In the last decade, I have revised 3,000 résumés while working as a college career adviser. Here is my advice: The strongest will fit on a single page. Exceptions are few.

Drug Cartel Now Assassinates Its Enemies With Bomb-Toting Drones

The freaks of chance

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{ Seventy-seven cases of a new variant linked to a surge in Covid-19 cases in India have been found in the UK | FT | full story }

Sir, a jelly doughnut, sir!

“And so we had a demolition team in there for a week blowing up buildings, and the art director spent about six weeks with a guy with a wrecking ball and chain, knocking holes in the corners of things and really getting interesting ruins — which no amount of money would have allowed you to build,” Kubrick says.

Kubrick’s Hue was finished off with grillwork and other architectural accents, 200 palm trees imported from Spain and thousands of plastic plants shipped from Hong Kong. Weeds and tall yellow grass — “which look the same all over the world,” he notes — were conveniently indigenous. Four M41 tanks arrived courtesy of a Belgian army colonel who is a Kubrick fan, and historically correct S55 helicopters were leased and painted Marine green. A selection of rifles, M79 grenade launchers and M60 machine guns were obtained through a licensed weapons dealer.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

Who would put a recreational zone next to waste disposal?

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In 2008, the report warned about the potential emergence of a pandemic originating in East Asia and spreading rapidly around the world.

The latest report, Global Trends 2040, [was] released last week […] “Large segments of the global population are becoming wary of institutions and governments that they see as unwilling or unable to address their needs.” […] Experts in Washington who have read these reports said they do not recall a gloomier one.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

art { Günter Fruhtrunk, Rote Vibration, 1970 | Bridget Riley, Ra, 1981 }

Every day, the same, again

France cuts two nuclear-powered submarines in half to make one new one

STDs reach all-time high for 6th consecutive year

We finally know how the FBI unlocked the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone — Too bad it cost $900,000 and led to nothing

Doctors Forgot to Warn People With Breasts That the Covid Vaccine Could Affect Their Next Mammogram

Humans can read the heart rate of others when looking at their face

What happens when you have a heart attack on the way to Mars?

for some people, making or receiving calls is a stressful experience

How Airbnb and Uber use activist tactics that disguise their corporate lobbying as grassroots campaigns

Madoff paid “gains” to older investors with money coming in from newer ones. […] After he went to jail, Madoff dismissed the people who fell for his scam as “greedy” […] More than money was lost. At least two people, in despair over their losses, died by suicide. A major Madoff investor suffered a fatal heart attack after months of contentious litigation over his role in the scheme. Some investors lost their homes. Others lost the trust and friendship of relatives and friends they had inadvertently steered into harm’s way. […] His older son, Mark, died by suicide in his Manhattan apartment early on the morning of Dec. 11, 2010, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. […] On Sept. 3, 2014, his younger son, Andrew, died of cancer at the age of 48. He had blamed the stress of the scandal for the return of the cancer he had fought off in 2003. […] The actual cash losses from his fraud, not counting fictional profits, were most recently estimated at between $17 billion and $20 billion. […] Through the bankruptcy process, some victims were able to recover all or part of the cash principal they invested with Mr. Madoff. Irving Picard, the court appointed trustee who has spent the last decade trying to recoup most of the money for Mr. Madoff’s investors, has, to date, recovered $14.4 billion from lawsuits and settlements — roughly covering all the money investors gave to Mr. Madoff. [Washington Post | NY Times]

Interested in alternative investments but don’t know where to start?

toilet rats, toilet squirrels, toilet spiders, toilet possums, toilet frogs, toilet birds, toilet bats, toilet scorpions

Dr. I.C. Notting, an ophthalmologist at Leiden University, is a classic case of nominative determinism

Every day, the same, again

25.jpgWoman gets pregnant while already pregnant

“Ambiguous Objects” that change their appearances in a mirror

The top 1% of Americans have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90% … over the past several decades. This is not some back-of-the-napkin approximation.

How people get rich now

First GMO Mosquitoes to Be Released In the Florida Keys

CEO of a top bitcoin exchange warns a crackdown on cryptocurrencies may be coming

Acting Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chair Allison Lee, for example, has been very active. She has returned power to senior enforcement staff, who had it stripped from them in 2017, to open probes without seeking senior approvals, and has reversed a 2019 policy that critics said made it too easy for companies that broke the rules to continue with business as usual.

Twitter won’t let federal archivists host Trump’s tweets on Twitter

When BitClout arrived on the internet last month, it befuddled much of the cryptocurrency world. That was not least because the company, which describes itself as “not a company,” but a “new type of social network” — a sort of bitcoin-meets-Twitter — had ripped off some 15,000 profiles of famous people and influencers from actual Twitter and opened accounts in their names without their permission. […] Perhaps the most suspicious part, though, to many outsiders, was the insistence by BitClout’s founders that they themselves remain anonymous […] And yet, BitClout’s backers have poured more than $100 million into it.]

The FBI has arrested a Texas man who planned to blow up one of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers in an attempt to “kill of about 70% of the internet.”

Are You Confused by Scientific Jargon? So Are Scientists — papers containing higher proportions of jargon in their titles and abstracts were cited less frequently by other researchers […] Jargon doesn’t always associate with negative outcomes […] abstracts that contained fewer common words tended to garner more grant funding [NY Times]

For two decades, from its genesis in the mid-nineties, Vice Media branded itself in the image of the dispossessed. The earliest issues of its magazine, originally called the Voice of Montreal, were supported by a Canadian welfare grant and copublished by a Haitian nonprofit. But by the summer of 2017, two of its founders—Suroosh Alvi and Shane Smith—had traded government funding for private investment and dropped their titular claim to communal representation with the jettison of a single vowel: the Voice became Vice. The company received multimillion-dollar investments from Rupert Murdoch, owner of the Wall Street Journal and Fox News, but still self-described as “countercultural.” […] Outwardly, Vice aimed to preserve its brand by cultivating an ethos of unconventionality and titillation. Internally, however, the culture was troubled—a problem not only of self-presentation, but also of management. Upon their hire, employees were asked to sign a “non-traditional workplace agreement” that contractually obliged them to feel at ease. “Although it is possible that some of the text, images and information I will be exposed to in the course of my employment with VICE may be considered by some to be offensive, indecent, violent or disturbing,” read the agreement, “I do not find such text, images or information or the workplace environment at VICE to be offensive, indecent, violent or disturbing.” [CJR]

Legends and science of bottomless pits, bogs, and lakes via things magazine

100 Greatest Korean Films Ever

Illegal number

‘If you want to make money in a casino, own one.’ –Steve Wynn

In 1997, David Bowie issued “bonds” that enabled their holders to earn a percentage of royalties from his back-catalog for the next ten years. An owner of a $1000 “Bowie Bond” would receive a 7.9% coupon each year. Prudential Insurance bought the first batch for $55 million.

At the outset, these securities seemed like a safe investment. Bowie’s songs were played regularly on the radio, and his albums were selling well, even decades after they were published.

Royalties from his work generated a steady income stream that was likely to continue. Bowie Bonds received a triple-A rating from Moodys, indicating they were as safe as U.S. government bonds.

But as online music sharing grew in popularity, Bowie’s album sales declined, and the bonds started to trade at a discount.

{ Dror Poleg | Continue reading }

also { Supervising cryptoassets for anti-money laundering | PDF }

how should we make use of this life that we still have?

The most widespread use of augmented reality isn’t in gaming: it’s the face filters on social media. The result? A mass experiment on girls and young women.

{ Technology Rreview | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

caillebotte.jpgBill Hwang Had $20 Billion, Then Lost It All in Two Days

This man is looking for the friends who shipped him overseas in a crate in 1965

Experiments with particles known as muons suggest that there are forms of matter and energy vital to the nature and evolution of the cosmos that are not yet known to science. [NY Times | Quanta]

Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? Silicon Valley Has Bet Billions It Will

Rates of Parkinson’s disease are exploding — Researchers believe a factor is a chemical used in drycleaning and household products such as shoe polishes and carpet cleaners in the US

People tend to assign higher attractiveness to an individual viewed from the back than head on. This tendency is pronounced when males rate the attractiveness of women.

A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient.

The real reason why the Salvator Mundi didn’t make it into the Louvre’s Leonardo show

Onfim was a boy who lived in Novgorod in present day Russia in the 13th century. He left his notes and homework exercises scratched in soft birch bark which was preserved in the clay soil of Novgorod.

Over 110 million Americans have now had a taste of universal health care.

This is the final motherfucking website. Inspired by the geniuses behind motherfuckingwebsite.com

Sous le soleil de satan

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Facebook Says It’s Your Fault That Hackers Got Half a Billion User Phone Numbers

Think of the happiest things. It’s the same as having wings.

While Vancouver is technically one of the warmest cities in Canada, this fact is greatly diminished when one learns that it is also one of the wettest places in the country. So, though a visitor may not encounter the frigid temperatures common in other parts of Canada during non-summer seasons, any outdoor experience will undoubtedly be damp and depressing.

Visitors will find many of the supposed must-see attractions pushed by other travel blogs quite lacklustre. The Granville Island Public Market for instance, often deemed an essential stop, offers nothing particularly exceptional beyond what can be found in many other cities around North America.

The same can be said about the city’s famed ‘Steam Clock’, which despite having been styled to appear as a relic from the 19th-century, was in fact only built in 1977.

{ Snarky Travel | Continue reading }