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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘computers

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes new findings suggesting that the creation of cave art by early humans is product of the same skills that let early humans use language.
  • Davide Marchetti at Architectuul looks at some overlooked and neglected buildings in and around Rome.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains how Sirius was able to hide the brilliant Gaia 1 star cluster behind it.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at new procedures for streamlining the verification of new exoplanet detections.
  • Crooked Timber notes the remarkably successful and once-controversial eroticization of plant reproduction in the poems of Erasmus Darwin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes how an errant Confederate flag on a single nearly derailed the career of Otis Redding.
  • Detecting biosignatures from exoplanets, Bruce Dorminey notes, may require “fleets” of sensitive space-based telescopes.
  • Far Outliers looks at persecution of non-Shi’ite Muslims in Safavid Iran.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history of the enslavement of Native Americans in early colonial America, something often overlooked by later generations.
  • This video shared by Language Log, featuring two Amazon Echos repeating texts to each other and showing how these iterations change over time, is oddly fascinating.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis is quite clear about the good sense of Will Wilkinson’s point that controversy over “illegal” immigration is actually deeply connected to an exclusivist racism that imagines Hispanics to not be Americans.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks at the uses of the word “redemption”, particularly in the context of the Olympics.
  • The LRB Blog suggests Russiagate is becoming a matter of hysteria. I’m unconvinced, frankly.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing global sea level rise over the past decades.
  • Marginal Revolution makes a case for Americans to learn foreign languages on principle. As a Canadian who recently visited a decidedly Hispanic New York, I would add that Spanish, at least, is one language quite potentially useful to Americans in their own country.
  • Drew Rowsome writes about the striking photographs of Olivier Valsecchi.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories will be so sensitive that they will be able to detect black holes about to collide years in advance.
  • Towleroad lists festival highlights for New Orleans all over the year.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how recent changes to the Russian education system harming minority languages have inspired some Muslim populations to link their language to their religion.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case that Jeremy Corbyn, through his strength in the British House of Commons, is really the only potential Remainder who is in a position of power.

[NEWS] Five links on artificial intelligence (#artificialintelligence, #ai)

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  • Jessica Riskin at the Public Domain Review explores the automata, the pre-Babbage mechanical creations that were humanity’s first effort at artificial intelligence.
  • Katrina Onstad at Toronto Life profiles Gregory Hinton, the Toronto AI researcher who pushed the idea of neural networks–ancestor to modern-day deep learning–into the mainstream of AI research.
  • Reverse-engineering the workings of the human brain would be a good way to learn how to build durable AIs. Wired makes the case.
  • The Economist notes one central problem with modern AI is its inscrutability to outside scrutiny. How can the workings of an AI be shown, made visible?
  • Gizmodo notes a report on AI warning that, without adequate regulation and preparation, artificial intelligence could have a destabilizing, even strongly negative, impact on the world of the imaginable future.

[NEWS] Five sci-tech links: cometary disasters, ET malware, Kepler, bird language, Canadian rockets

  • Universe Today notes that, 12.8 thousand years ago, a disintegrating comet set a tenth of the Earth’s surface area on fire.
  • Should messages from extraterrestrial civilizations be automatically deleted on reception, for fear of their malware? Universe Today reports.
  • 14 different worlds detected by Kepler have been scanned for technological signatures of advanced civilizations. Universe Today reports.
  • Brandom Keim at National Geographic describes a fascinating study suggesting some birds–here, Japanese tits–have human-like rules for language and can picture in their mind’s eye the subjects of their communication.
  • CBC asks the perfectly sensible question why Canada does not have any indigenous rocket program.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • The Buzz recommends twenty-four different novels for Valentine’s Day, drawing on the recommendations of employees of the Toronto Public Library.
  • Centauri Dreams links to a new paper suggesting there are thousands of objects of extrasolar origin, some tens of kilometres in size, in our planetary system right now.
  • D-Brief notes that cryptocurrency is hindering the search for extraterrestrial life, as miners buy up the graphics cards SETI researchers need.
  • Lyman Stone at In A State of Migration notes how unbalanced the marriage market can be for professional women in the United States interested in similar partners, especially for African-American women.
  • JSTOR Daily notes how deeply the dreams of Martin Luther King Jr. for racial equality in the United States were driven by anti-colonial nationalism in Africa.
  • The LRB Blog notes how the life and writing of Penelope Fitzgerald was influenced by two decades of living on the English coast, suspended between land and water.
  • At the NYR Daily, Melissa Chadburn tells of what she learned from counting, and queueing, and perservering in routines.
  • At The Numerati, Stephen Baker shares an excerpt from his new book, Dark Site, describing a teenager’s attempts to control a cognitive implant.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer takes issue with elements of the timing of Lyman Stone’s schedule for immigration controls imposed in the United Kingdom on Caribbean migrants.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Emily Lakdawalla explains how scientists are keeping the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in good stead despite its age.
  • At Roads and Kingdoms, Timi Siytangco explains the history of the Philippines through nine Filipino foods.
  • Drew Rowsome is impressed by the power of The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
  • Ethan Siegel at Starts With A Bang explains why black holes have to contain singularities, not merely superdense normal matter.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the rather misogynistic essay of ideologue Vladimir Surkin about women and power, timed for Valentine’s Day.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • David Shane Lowry at anthro{dendum} considers the extent to which implicit policies of eugenics, determining whose survival matters and whose do not, exist in the 21st century in an era of climate change.
  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net takes issue with the contention of Richard Goss that Neanderthals became extinct because they lacked the physical coordination necessary to be good hunters or good artists.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait notes that the Chixculub asteroid impactor 66 million years ago created a tectonic shock worldwide that made things worse, the effects of the impact winter being worsened by massive induced volcanic activity.
  • D-Brief shares the story of a British man whose chronic pain was relieved by a swim in icy-cold winter waters.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports that China may well be on track to building the first exoscale computer, first in the world.
  • Hornet Stories notes that out Olympic athlete Eric Radford is the first to win a gold medal.
  • JSTOR Daily engages with an old conundrum of economists: why are diamonds more expensive than water?
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines how urban Native Americans tend to have insecure housing, being on the margins of the real estate market in cities and without options in their home reserves. This surely also is the case in Canada, too.
  • Lucy McKeon at the NYR Daily writes about all the photographs she has never seen, images that she has only heard descriptions of.
  • Drew Rowsome notes the reappearance of queer theatre festival Rhubarb at Buddies in Bad Times, with shows starting tomorrow.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that the Trump administration’s proposed budget for NASA in FY2019 will gut basic science programs.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the emergence of a survivalist subculture in Russia, following somewhat the pattern of the United States.
  • Arnold Zwicky starts from noting a sample of a rap song in a Mountain Dew commercial and goes interesting places in his latest meditations.

[NEWS] Four First Nations links: Colten Boushie, Poundmaker, Ullivik, statues

  • The fact that a jury–carefully selected to have no jurors of First Nations background–found the killer of Cree man Colten Boushie innocent is a horror. The Toronto Star reports.
  • MacLean’s takes a look at the reasons for Cree sensitivities regarding the inclusion of Chief Poundmaker as a character in the new iteration of Civilization.
  • The Inuit of the northern Québec region of Nunavik, when sent south to Montréal for medical treatment, have an enclave in the city, the building of Ullivik. The Toronto Star reports.
  • This opinion piece in The Globe and Mail makes an excellent case for the removal of the statue of General Cornwallis from Halifax. Societies evolve; statues, alas, cannot.

[URBAN NOTE] Six cities links: New York City, Philadelphia, Ottawa, Montréal, Halifax, regionalism

  • The Empire State Building is looking for tenants for fifty thousand square feet of retail space. Bloomberg reports.
  • This Jim Saksa article at Slate suggests a win by the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl could really help the mood of that newly up-and-coming metropolis.
  • The stability of the Ottawa economy, along with higher prices in Toronto and Vancouver, is helping that city’s real estate market thrive. The Globe and Mail reports.
  • The thriving tech sector in Montréal is drawing talent to that city internationally, at a time of record low unemployment rates, too. CTV reports.
  • The infamous statue of Edward Cornwallis, founder of Halifax and famous anti-Mi’kmaq racist, has been removed from its central location in a downtown park. CBC reports.
  • Henry Grabar suggests at Slate that the United States’ division into thriving metropoli and struggling smaller cities should not simply be accepted. People, and governments, can choose to make things better.