Researchers taught AI to write totally believable fake reviews, and the implications are terrifying
The tech could be a major threat to companies like Amazon and Yelp.
Bitcoin's Academic Pedigree - ACM Queue
If you've read about bitcoin in the press and have some familiarity with academic research in the field of cryptography, you might reasonably come away with the following impression: Several decades' worth of research on digital cash, beginning with David Chaum,10,12 did not lead to commercial succe...
A great technical read on academic research and Bitcoin.
"Academia seems to have the opposite problem, at least in this instance: a resistance to radical, extrinsic ideas. The bitcoin white paper, despite the pedigree of many of its ideas, was more novel than most academic research. Moreover, Nakamoto didn't care for academic peer review and didn't fully connect it to its history. As a result, academics essentially ignored bitcoin for several years. Many academic communities informally argued that Bitcoin couldn't work, based on theoretical models or experiences with past systems, despite the fact that it was working in practice."Posted on 2017-08-31T06:26:35+0000
A Tale of Two Industries: How Programming Languages Differ Between Wealthy and Developing Countries - Stack Overflow Blog
Here at Stack Overflow, we’re interested in using our data to share insights about the worldwide software development community. This recent post on the distribution of mobile developers is a good example: it explored traffic to Android questions from around the world, and found that Android tended…
My IRB Nightmare
[Epistemic status: Partly pieced together from memory years after the event. I may have misremembered some things or gotten them in the wrong order. Other than that, everything – aside from t…
Interesting read on inefficient bureaucracy
"4. The woman in the corner office who kept insisting everybody take the Pre-Study Training…hadn’t taken the Pre-Study Training, and was therefore unqualified to be our liaison with the IRB. I swear I am not making this up."Posted on 2017-08-30T04:27:16+0000
FDA Designates MDMA As 'Breakthrough Therapy' For Post-Traumatic Stress
The drug, often used recreationally in the form of ecstasy, has been found to offer a potentially significant advantage over extant treatments for the disorder.
Maybe today’s Navy is just not very good at driving ships
The two collisions — and a total of 17 sailors lost at sea this summer — have raised concerns about whether this generation of surface fleet officers lack the basic core competency of their trade.
Designing a Tree Diff Algorithm Using Dynamic Programming and A* - Tristan Hume
During my internship at Jane Street1, one of my projects was a config editing tool that at first sounded straightforward but culminated in me designing a custom tree diffing algorithm using dynamic programming, relentlessly optimizing it and then transforming it into an A* accelerated path finding a...
Perspective | Melinda Gates: I spent my career in technology. I wasn’t prepared for its effect on my kids.
Melinda Gates says that even she, a former Microsoft executive, has to learn how to be a parent in the digital age.
'Environmental Nightmare' After Thousands Of Atlantic Salmon Escape Fish Farm
Officials blame the failure of a pen near Washington's Cypress Island on high tides caused by the eclipse, but that is being questioned. Fishing boats are scrambling to catch as many as possible.
Opinion | Let Consumers Sue Companies
Op-Ed ContributorLet Consumers Sue CompaniesSHAREShare on FacebookPost on TwitterEmailLog in to SaveRead Laterhttps://nyti.ms/2vjWRyPShare on LinkedInShare on WhatsappShare on Google PlusShare on RedditShareCancelJewel Samad / Agence France-Presse — Getty ImagesBy RICHARD CORDRAYAugust 22, 2017Washi...
Ellen Pao: This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley
My lawsuit failed. Others won’t.
"After more than a month, the company put Ajit on leave. Two tense months after that, he finally left. When I spoke to the COO, he asked how much I wanted in order to quietly leave. “I want no less than what Ajit gets,” I said — which I suspected was around $10 million. The COO gasped."Posted on 2017-08-21T15:23:52+0000
USS John S. McCain collides with merchant ship near Strait of Malacca
SOUTH CHINA SEA - The guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) was involved in a collision with the merchant vessel Alnic MC while underway east of the Straits of Malacca and Singapore on
Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want It
Aging Parents With Lots of Stuff, and Children Who Don’t Want ItSHAREShare on FacebookPost on TwitterEmailLog in to SaveRead Laterhttps://nyti.ms/2v9iVfhShare on LinkedInShare on WhatsappShare on Google PlusShare on RedditShareCancelTena and Ray Bluhm in their new home in the Westminster retirement…
Fighting Neo-Nazis and the Future of Free Expression
In the wake of Charlottesville, both GoDaddy and Google have refused to manage the domain registration for the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that, in the words of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is “dedicated to spreading anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and white nationalism.” Subsequently...
"Protecting free speech is not something we do because we agree with all of the speech that gets protected. We do it because we believe that no one—not the government and not private commercial enterprises—should decide who gets to speak and who doesn’t."
"We would be making a mistake if we assumed that these sorts of censorship decisions would never turn against causes we love. "Posted on 2017-08-20T02:52:24+0000
graydon2 | "What next?"
Bannonism lives on in the White House - BBC News
Steve Bannon may be out as a senior White House advisor, but his ideology is firmly entrenched.
""The longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em," Mr Bannon said. "I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats.""
It's scary to admit, but the guy is right and that freaks me out.Posted on 2017-08-19T17:38:58+0000
A 2:15 Alarm, 2 Trains and a Bus Get Her to Work by 7 A.M.
Like many in the housing-starved San Francisco region, Sheila James has moved far inland, gaining affordable space at the price of a brutal commute.
Debugging a Race Condition in a Release Target
Debugging a Race Condition in a Release Target 2017-08-08 Back in June, while working on a Rust project, I had the unfortunate opportunity to stumble upon a very obscure bug in a dependency. The bug didn't occur in the debug build target at all, only the release target. And even then, the bug didn't...
Opinion | What if Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations
The world would shake its head at America.
"“This is the time for moderates across the white male world to come out and denounce violent racial terrorism, white supremacy and regressive tribal politics,” said James Charlotin, a Canadian national security expert. “Why haven’t they spoken out?”"
I literally laughed out loud.Posted on 2017-08-17T05:55:50+0000
More on Dota 2
Our Dota 2 result shows that self-play can catapult the performance of machine learning systems from far below human level to superhuman, given sufficient compute. In the span of a month, our system went from barely matching a high-ranked player to beating the top pros and has continued to improve
Why We Terminated Daily Stormer
Earlier today, Cloudflare terminated the account of the Daily Stormer. We've stopped proxying their traffic and stopped answering DNS requests for their sites. We've taken measures to ensure that they cannot sign up for Cloudflare's services ever again. Our terms of service reserve the right for us…
This is really scary:
"Let me be clear: this was an arbitrary decision. It was different than what I’d talked talked with our senior team about yesterday. I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. I called our legal team and told them what we were going to do. I called our Trust & Safety team and had them stop the service. It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company."Posted on 2017-08-17T04:20:48+0000
why selection bias is the most powerful force in education
Imagine that you are a gubernatorial candidate who is making education and college preparedness a key facet of your campaign. Consider these two state average SAT scores. …
Ask A Female Engineer: Thoughts on the Google Memo
This is the sixth installment in a series where we ask female engineers questions and share their candid, anonymous responses. In this post, we did something a bit different: we asked engineers to answer questions about the recent memo by former Google engineer James Damore. There’s been a lot of an
Barnaby Joyce Literally Said "Ignorance Is Not An Excuse" To Dual Citizens Who Resigned
"The outcome is black and white. That's just, that's just the way it is."
Deputy PM went all holier than thou on two politicians who were recently found to be dual citizens, pushing for their resignation:
"Nah, I don't think it is. I think you just have got to do your homework and make sure you're not a citizen of two countries when you stand for parliament. That's basically it. Larissa said she believed that was not the case and I am sure that would be the outcome for Scott Ludlam. But unfortunately ignorance is not an excuse, you're in strife and as I said, there's nothing malicious about it, being sneaky, but they were outside what Section 44 explicitly says."
One month later, guess who suddenly finds out he's a dual citizen and pleads ignorance?Posted on 2017-08-15T15:37:09+0000
Shtetl-Optimized » Blog Archive » What I believe II (ft. Sarah Constantin and Stacey Jeffery)
However, a few people who I like and respect accused me of “dogwhistling.” They warned, in particular, that if I wouldn’t just come out and say what I thought about the James Damore Google memo thing, then people would assume the very worst—even though, of course, my friends themselves knew better.
No One Expects The Google Inquisition, But It's Coming
The Google memo controversy could tear up the implicit social contract we've all accepted with the big technology companies to whom we entrust our data.
This is a valid point - lose public trust and you're out.
"What’s relevant here is that Google now faces a pattern in which its employees are taking internal information and leaking it to the media, against the company’s own rules and safeguards, in order to achieve political objectives. If the wider public starts to figure out that this is happening, they just might decide this is not a company they want to trust with their information or access to their lives."Posted on 2017-08-14T16:24:13+0000
Don't blame addicts for America's opioid crisis. Here are the real culprits | Chris McGreal
America’s opioid crisis was caused by rapacious pharma companies, politicians who colluded with them and regulators who approved one opioid pill after another
Why do stars like Adele keep losing their voice?
The long read: More and more singers are cancelling big shows and turning to surgery to fix their damaged vocal cords. But is the problem actually down to the way they sing?
I learnt a lot about signing and the biology of vocal cords from this.
"On 1 July, when news broke of Adele’s cancellations, Paglin sent me a Whatsapp message. She was frustrated by the press coverage. Recalling that Adele’s original surgery in 2011 had proved to be a huge PR victory for vocal-cord microsurgery, she worried that the message from Adele’s latest setback would be that, not to worry, a second or third surgery will get the star back on stage. “What makes matters worse is that the ‘mechanics’ are still convinced that all there is to it is to keep operating, while the singers themselves still talk about air travel, drafts, allergies and ‘stress’. #elephantintheroom could be a good hashtag,” she wrote, referring to what is wrong, as she sees it, with how people are taught to sing in the first place"Posted on 2017-08-14T05:04:47+0000
I Fell Victim to a $1,500 Used Camera Lens Scam on Amazon
I’ve been ordering used lenses for years and have never had a problem with any purchases. That is, until now. I recently ordered a $1,500 used camera lens
Biggest amateur-built sub sinks—owner is suspected of killing passenger
Reporter missing after "minor problem with ballast" caused near-instant sinking.
Steve Blank Working Outside the Tech Bubble
Annual note to self – most of the world exists outside the tech bubble. —– We have a summer home in New England in a semi-rural area, just ~10,000 people in town, with a potato fa…
"My annual trek out here reminds me that that I live in a Silicon Valley bubble—and that a good part of the country is not reading what we read, caring about what we care about or thinking about what we think about. They have a lot more immediate concerns"Posted on 2017-08-12T21:29:42+0000
The truth about Japanese tempura
When 16th-Century Portuguese came to Japan, they brought a special dish with them. Today, in Japan, it’s called tempura and has been a staple of the country’s cuisine ever since.
OpenAI at The International
OpenAI is a non-profit AI research company, discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence.
Ask HN: Projects that don't make you money but you're doing it out of sheer joy? | Hacker News
> Everything goes over an encrypted TLS connection, so nobody other than the intended recipient can see what you're pasting.
Leah Remini Doubles Down on Anti-Scientology Crusade: I Want a Federal Investigation
The firebrand star revs up her war in season two of A&E's Emmy-nominated docuseries 'Aftermath' as she heads to New York to join Kevin James' CBS comedy amid a church counteroffensive: "It's been really trying."
"Remini filed a missing persons report on Shelly Miscavige, whose whereabouts are still in question. A Los Angeles Police Department detective later told Remini, "She is fine," which Remini considered an unsatisfying response. "I asked, 'Did you see her? Did you see her body? Was somebody speaking on her behalf?' " (She recalls the detective replied, "Can't tell you that, ma'am.") Remini says the detective in question has since been hired to speak at Scientology events. "Does he work for the Church of Scientology, or is he LAPD?" she asks aloud. "Like, what's going on here? They host detective lunches at the Celebrity Centre for the LAPD Hollywood division. I mean, they're very, very friendly with each other.""Posted on 2017-08-10T05:56:26+0000
Unlearning the myth of American innocence
The long read: When she was 30, Suzy Hansen left the US for Istanbul – and began to realise that Americans will never understand their own country until they see it as the rest of the world does
This is an amazing read.
"“It is different in the United States,” I once said, not entirely realising what I was saying until the words came out. I had never been called upon to explain this. “We are told it is the greatest country on earth. The thing is, we will never reconsider that narrative the way you are doing just now, because to us, that isn’t propaganda, that is truth. And to us, that isn’t nationalism, it’s patriotism. And the thing is, we will never question any of it because at the same time, all we are being told is how free-thinking we are, that we are free. So we don’t know there is anything wrong in believing our country is the greatest on earth. The whole thing sort of convinces you that a collective consciousness in the world came to that very conclusion.”
“Wow,” a friend once replied. “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”
It was a quiet kind of fascism that would mean I would always see Turkey as beneath the country I came from, and also that would mean I believed my uniquely benevolent country to have uniquely benevolent intentions towards the peoples of the world."Posted on 2017-08-09T20:12:21+0000
8 Vignettes From The Tech Industry by Elizabeth Sampat
An atheist Muslim on what the left and right get wrong about Islam
"The left is wrong on Islam. The right is wrong on Muslims." — author Ali Rizvi
This article gave me a lot of food for thought about current political discourse.
"I think the left has a blind spot when it comes to Islam and the right has a blind spot when it comes to Muslims. When Christian fundamentalists like Pat Robertson say something that's homophobic or misogynistic, people on the left descend on them like a ton of bricks. They’re very comfortable with criticizing and satirizing fundamentalist Christianity. But when it comes to Islam, which has many of the same homophobic and misogynistic teachings, they throw their hands up, back off, and say, whoa, hold on, we must respect their religion and culture."Posted on 2017-08-08T19:40:45+0000
Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street
Thanks to a little-noticed auction sale, a South Bay couple are the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco - and they're looking for ways to make their purchase pay. The couple's purchase appears to be the culmination of a comedy of errors involving a $14-a-year property…
Inside the world of Silicon Valley's 'coasters' — the millionaire engineers who get paid gobs of money and barely work
We talked to engineers in Silicon Valley's "rest and vest" world, who explained how they got these gigs and how they spend their days.
""Their Facebook stock quadruples and they don't leave. They are really good engineers, really indispensable. And then they start to pull 9-5 days," this person said.""
"A former Google manager who recently left the company agreed. "There are a lot 'coasters' who reached a certain level and don't want to work any harder. They just do a 9-5 job, won't work to get promoted, don't want to get promoted. If their department doesn't like them, after a year or two they move somewhere else," she said."
What the heck is wrong with doing the job you're paid to do? Since when was working 9-5 "slacking"?Posted on 2017-08-06T20:38:12+0000
Inside Patreon, the economic engine of internet culture
In 2013, Peter Hollens was an aspiring a cappella singer surviving, in his words, by living on ramen in someone else’s house. Hollens was hardly new to the music business; he’d been a record...
Opinion | Dunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the Empire
Op-Ed ContributorDunkirk, the War and the Amnesia of the EmpireSHAREShare on FacebookPost on TwitterEmailLog in to SaveRead Laterhttps://nyti.ms/2hmBHOPShare on LinkedInShare on WhatsappShare on Google PlusShare on RedditShareCancelIndian troops in France during World War II.Culture Club / Getty Ima...