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Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Entrope Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (228 comments)

Which people do you think I am describing? There certainly are a lot of weirdo extremists in the environmental-activist camp, but I wasn't really thinking about them. If you want me to ignore the weirdo extremists on that side, will you ignore the weirdo extremists on the other side? More significantly, will media and activists stop focusing on the (conveniently distracting) anti-AGW weirdo extremists so that we can pay more attention to what actually can and should be done?

What specific steps do the reasoned thinkers recommend as "what actually needs to be done"? Last I heard, European countries were revising or just rolling back climate agreements because (a) they realized they couldn't achieve their goals without reducing their quality of life, (b) they realized the system was being gamed, and/or (c) they wanted to keep up with the countries who didn't sign up to those agreements.

22 minutes ago
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Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Entrope Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (229 comments)

Lots of people believe in ghosts. Lots of people also believe in people who "think[] that human activities have no impact on climate change". There's about as much hard evidence in one of these beliefs as in the other.

When climate alarmists stop pretending that the dispute is over the degree of human influence on climate, and how much different countries should spend to mitigate anthropogenic climate change (or other kinds!), they might start to get traction with skeptics. Also when they start acting like the situation is as bad as they claim it is.

I know that when I used an electric sous vide cooker to make pork chops for dinner last night, it was worse for the climate than if I ate raw vegetables, and better than if I grilled a slab of steak over a bonfire. I know that living in the suburbs emits more greenhouse gases than living in a tiny apartment in a big city. I am thoroughly unconvinced that forcing most people to live like the alarmists claim we should (but usually don't live themselves) will yield the claimed benefits, or be worth the costs even if the benefits would be as claimed.

1 hour ago
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

Entrope Re:Clickbait (125 comments)

I called it cheating because they violated both one of the prime rules of AI: train on a data set that is more or less representative of the data set you will test with, and one of the prime rules of statistics: do not apply a priori statistical analysis when you iterate with feedback based on the thing you estimated. Their test images are intentionally much different from the training images, which is one of the first things an undergraduate course on AI will talk about. They also use what are essentially a priori estimates after they repeatedly tweak the inputs to push those estimates to extremes, which is identified as taboo in decent undergraduate courses on statistics. Both of those are intentional violations of good practices that make the results look worse for the neural networks.

I can't tell from their paper what they mean by "99% confidence". Unless the DNN has max-pooling layers very near the output, none or many of the output units might have high activation levels for a given input. (It sounds like they had classes with low typical activation levels, and did not try to evolve fooling images for those classes.) If that happens -- say, "wheel" gets a score of 0.99, "lizard" gets 0.90, "dog" gets 0.80, and everything else is near zero -- then it is inappropriate to say that the network decided it was a wheel with 99% certainty. You would usually say that the network recognized the image as a wheel, but note it as an ambiguous result.

yesterday
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

Entrope Re:Clickbait (125 comments)

Why was my characterization of their approach "hardly fair"? Someone -- either the researchers or their press people -- decided to hype it as finding a general failing in DNNs (or "AI" as a whole). The failure mode is known, and their particular failure modes are tailored to one particular network (rather than even just one training set). I think the "hardly fair" part is the original hyperbole, and my response is perfectly appropriate to that. The research is not at all what it is sold as.

Don't multi-class identification networks typically have independent output ANNs, so that several can have high scores? I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the 99+% measures they cited were cases where only one output class had a high score, and the rest were low. If they were effectively using single-class identifiers, either in fact or by considering only the maximum score in a multi-class identifier, that makes their findings even less notable.

yesterday
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

Entrope Re:Clickbait (125 comments)

The researchers also basically cheated by "training" their distractor images on a fixed neural network. People have known for decades that a fixed/known neural network is easy to fool; what varies is exactly how you can fool it. The only novel finding here is their method for finding images that fool DNNs in practice -- but the chances are overwhelmingly high that a different DNN, trained on the same training set, would not make the same mistake (and perhaps not make any mistake, by assigning a low probability for all classes). It is a useful reminder for some security analyses, but not a useful indictment of AI or DNNs as a whole.

yesterday
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

Entrope Re:This synopsis (125 comments)

The people choosing the training sets are not morons at all. This "research" is almost exactly analogous to finding that this year's SAT can be passed by feeding it a fixed pattern of A, C, D, A, B, and so forth -- and then declaring that this means standardized testing is easy to fake out. They are exploiting the particular structure of a particular instance of a DNN. It is not surprising that they can find odd images that make a DNN answer "yes" when the only question it knows how to answer is "is this a rotary phone dial?"

yesterday
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

Entrope Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (257 comments)

The last time I frequently used a US bus system -- about 15 years ago, in Pittsburgh -- they used a zone system, with the fare based on your origin and destination zones, and most bus routes crossing at least one zone boundary. The last time I used a public bus -- about 5 years ago, in Japan (Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture) -- riders took a numbered ticket when they boarded, and their exact fare to the next stop was displayed on an LCD panel. I would guess that US cities avoid exact metering in order to subsidize their passengers who live far away from their workplace; these are the most frequent riders, and tend to be lower-income.

about three weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

Entrope Re:Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (257 comments)

Yes, and you have effectively described Uber's concept for driverless transport. It won't look anything like today's buses, and the only real similarity is that strangers share road vehicles.

about three weeks ago
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The Driverless Future: Buses, Not Taxis

Entrope Eliminating the bus driver is Pareto-stupid (257 comments)

If you go from ten single-occupancy cars to a ten-passenger bus, you've eliminated 90% of the vehicles at the (relatively low) cost of adding one more driver. Eliminating the bus driver gets you from eleven people in the bus to ten, which is probably not as important as other efficiency improvements. Also, buses are awful unless you have quite high population density -- lots of areas don't have enough prospective trip endpoints to justify mass transit.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Entrope Re:Except... (413 comments)

And in your world, how do you deal with unicorn overpopulation?

When you have one district that breaks down mostly into two significantly different constituencies -- whether they are based on race, class, rural versus suburban, or whatever else -- the way politicians react in reality is that they focus their appeal on one of the constituencies, try to increase turnout for that constituency, and discourage turnout for the other one. It's just gerrymandering of a different kind.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Entrope Re:Except... (413 comments)

District-drawing very much should recognize communities. If you can avoid it, it does not make sense to have districts that are half suburban and half agricultural, or half high-end gentrified downtown and half working-class and poor. Unfortunately, as you point out, the judgment involved does make it easier to slip in some degree of gerrymandering.

about three weeks ago
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Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Entrope Re:PR works well? Where? (413 comments)

The US is even better in that respect. If our federal government went out to lunch for 18 months (which might be a reduction for some of our Washington politicians...) we would still have 51 governments plus the territories.

about three weeks ago
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Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

Entrope Re:Here's why (468 comments)

Your "status card" is essentially recognition of the marriage by the government by another name. I have also barely scratched the surface of the issues. If the government doesn't recognize a marriage, then presumably it treats a "spouse's" inheritance as taxable income -- the US Supreme Court's first case on the question was over that very point (a lady in NY state died, the federal government's policy was to not recognize her state-recognized marriage to another lady, and thus the IRS wanted to tax the inheritance as income to the second woman). Maybe all inheritances should be tax-free, but a lot of people already seem sensitive over estate taxes now.

Government recognizes marriages for a lot of reasons, many relating to how much the two people are expected to rely on each other in case of hardship, and most of the rest relating to raising children. Even very good roommates are unlikely to share burdens in the same way, so it doesn't seem quite right to extend the current benefits of marriage to simple cohabitants.

about a month and a half ago
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Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

Entrope Re:Here's why (468 comments)

So doctors should ask your estranged sister instead of your soul mate about what extreme measures you would approve of? Your retired parents should get all your worldly goods, and the person you made a life with should be left to beg them for money so that he or she can feed your children? In those cases in particular, most people would prefer that a spouse get precedence over blood relatives, and the law currently recognizes that priority.

My last hypo is this: Andi and Sam have a kid. They split up, and are now shacking up with others. Which of the adults are allowed to pick the kid up from school, or authorize field trips, or review medical records? Saying "family" doesn't cut it: there are two parents, who are perhaps unlikely to agree on major decisions, and two other step-parents (except that, in your proposed world, the law doesn't recognize such a relationship because it doesn't recognize either Andi or Sam as being re-married).

about a month and a half ago
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Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

Entrope Re:Here's why (468 comments)

Legal recognition of "marriage" includes a lot of useful side effects that make it hard to get government out of recognizing marriages. Who should a hospital consult if a person is incapacitated but needs a medical decision to be made: a roommate, a blood relative, or someone else? Who inherits belongings if the decedent did not leave a will? If the parents of a child no longer live together, should their current cohabitants be regarded as legal guardians of the child?

about a month and a half ago
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Boo! The House Majority PAC Is Watching You

Entrope Re:West Virginia too (468 comments)

Voter registration is required in the US because the state and federal governments do not always track where people live. If you get a driver's license, "motor voter" laws typically give you the option to register to vote at the same time, but there are people have driver's licenses, pay taxes, or do other things to show up in government databases. Voter registration gives them a way to vote. Voter registration rolls are also used to select people for jury duty.

Localities in the US may allow non-citizen residents to vote on local candidates and issues, and some have -- mostly more "progressive" cities and counties. I think states may allow non-citizens to vote for state candidates and issues, but my understanding is that it is currently forbidden in all states. It is illegal under federal law for a non-citizen to vote in federal elections, which I assume includes presidential elections, even though technically the votes only work to select state-level delegates to the college of electors.

Maybe it would be better and simpler if we just stuck peoples' thumbs in purple ink when they vote. That would give other people a chance to police non-citizen voters (in places where it is illegal), reliably prevent multiple voting, and reduce paperwork overhead. However, that scheme is incompatible with absentee and early voting, which are considered important voting methods by both conservatives and liberals in the US.

about a month and a half ago
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NY Magistrate: Legal Papers Can Be Served Via Facebook

Entrope Re:I'm fine with it (185 comments)

With enough effort and expense, sure, the plaintiff (complainant? whatever) could probably *eventually* find a working address to serve notice at. That would delay the proceedings an unpredictable, and almost certainly undue, length of time. Neither the US Post Office nor the state's "Support Collection Unit" (which handles alimony) have a newer address for her. The husband in this case tried to call and text his two children (with the ex), but they did not respond. How long is the guy supposed to wait to argue that he shouldn't have to pay child support for his 21-year-old son?

about 3 months ago
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

Entrope Re:"Hard redirect" (376 comments)

The key element of a tortious interference claim is not the existence of a contract, it is third-party interference with a business or contractual relationship. sixoh1 was suggesting that someone might have a cause of action against Rightscorp, not the ISP, so the ISP's prerogative to terminate customer contracts is not relevant.

about 4 months ago
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Rightscorp's New Plan: Hijack Browsers Until Infingers Pay Up

Entrope Re:"Hard redirect" (376 comments)

Similar logic applies to having the ISP cut off your connection entirely -- if they got statutory authority for one of them, I bet they could get the same kind of permission for the other (if the original language of the law doesn't cover both already).

Next up: Booting all of your connectivity -- mobile as well as hardline -- through one, integrated, Big Brother-ish app.

about 4 months ago

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