Tuesday, February 28, 2017

UN issues list of 12 most worrying bacteria

The World Health Organization has issued a list of the top dozen bacteria most dangerous to humans, warning that doctors are fast running out of treatment options.

WHO's Marie-Paule Kieny said that if such priorities were left to market forces alone, "the new antibiotics we most urgently need are not going to be developed in time." She estimated that it would take up to a decade for new medications.

WHO said the most-needed drugs are for germs that threaten hospitals, nursing homes and among patients who need ventilators or catheters. The agency said the dozen listed resistant bacteria are increasingly untreatable and can cause fatal infections; most typically strike people with weakened immune systems.


Monday, February 27, 2017

And thus finish the earth

I was near Fermi at the time of the explosion, but I do not remember what we said, if anything. I believe that for a moment I thought the explosion might set fire to the atmosphere and thus finish the earth, even though I knew that this was not possible.

— Emilio Segrè (1970)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Teaching how to judge righteously

One of the bigger mistakes of our time, I suppose, was preaching the demonization of all judgment without teaching how to judge righteously. We now live in an age where, apart from the inability to bear even good judgment when it so passes by, still everyone, inevitably, has a viral opinion (judgment) about everything and everyone, but little skill in good judgment as its verification or harness.
— Criss Jami, Healology (2016)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

One cannot have superior science and inferior morals

As our own species is in the process of proving, one cannot have superior science and inferior morals. The combination is unstable and self-destroying.

— Arthur C. Clarke (1967)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Imagine if we pick one alt-right troll per day and dox them.

A modest proposal: Any time the alt-right brigade turns on its spigot of million-fold anonymous misspelled death rates against anyone who criticizes President Shithead, we pick one of them -- just one per day -- and track down who they are and treat them to the same experience. Publicize it. Follow it later with a classic sit-down "bleeding heart" interview about how it made them feel (something the alt-right racists would never, never do).

Call it deterrence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Journalists are generally too stupid to understand multiplication; and they admit it with pride.

By late morning, the Facebook event had gone from a few dozen interested people to several thousand — Ben offered a hard-to-follow mathematical explanation for how interest had grown via various multipliers...


Monday, February 20, 2017

Genetic engineering to exterminate mammal species in New Zealand

In order to make the mice daughterless, Threadgill’s team introduced an additional modification. They attached to the t-complex an extra copy of Sry, a gene that is normally found on the Y chromosome and which determines whether a mammal turns out to be male. If the drive operates as intended—something that should be clear inside of a few weeks—more than nine in 10 mouse pups could inherit Sry and have male sex organs. Released in large enough numbers on an island, the daughterless rodents could, over the course of several months to a few years, result in a mouse population that is, so to speak, all Mickey and no Minnie. Then the mice would die out. 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trump: "Let it be an arms race"

Let's be clear: Trump is a lunatic who has shown a cavalier, even eager, attitude towards  nuclear weapons. I think this is the greatest threat: that in his belligerent insanity, he could dust us in a series of mushroom clouds.
“Let it be an arms race,” he told a television interviewer in December. During a debate three months earlier he contradicted himself, saying that “I would certainly not do first strike,” then adding, “I can’t take anything off the table.” What’s worrisome about all this is that it is the opposite of what Republican and Democratic presidents have long sought, which is to ensure that these weapons are not used precipitously if at all.
Scientists have move the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight, based mostly on this.

NY Times

Conservative Jewish reporter tries to defend Trump, gets Trump tongue-lashing anyway

One of my favorite/saddest parts from the trainwreck news conference on Thursday: Trump demands a question from a "friendly" media person. A reporter from a new conservative Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn -- who supported Trump in the election -- gets up and gives a preface (addressing other reporters) in which he says no one from his community has ever called Trump an anti-semite. Then he asks what Trump will do to protect Jewish centers from recent threats and bombings. At which point Trump cuts him off, tells him to sit down, "quiet, quiet, quiet" and accuses him of being rude, complicated, and deceitful. Beauty.

Later the editor of the paper said they still support Trump.

NY Times

Will Trump's daily fuckups kill off the erroneous presumption that CEOs of big companies must be smart?

Probably not. People are stupid. Yet still we dream.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The ultimate lesson of 2016 is that GOP voters have no actual ethical standards.

The ultimate lesson of 2016 is that GOP voters have no actual ethical standards. They will vote for anyone, no matter how unethical, immoral, irreligious, dishonest, braggadocian, rapacious, or pornographic. As long as they can put a boot down on minorities, women, and people who are generally literate.

I never want to hear any GOP voter complaining about anyone’s morality for as long as I live, after they’ve gone and elected President Pussygrabber. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trump says "the greatest thing I could do" is attack Russian military

There's a line from Trump apologists that goes like, "We're safer under Trump because he wants to be friendly with Russia; we'd be more dangerous under Clinton because she opposes Russia and could lead to war."

But that vastly overlooks the fact that Trump is a straight-up batshit lunatic, and lunatics are volatile in ways that get ugly. You know: Like when Hitler was all buddy-buddy with Russia up until one day he did a 180 and invaded them. Belligerent bewildered asshole unhinged incoherent bullies do that kind of thing; spaz out over some nothing event and order a war. It's just that this time it's likely to be nuclear.

Anyway, for the safer-with-Trump crowd here's the money quote from his conference yesterday: "The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that's 30 miles offshore right out of the water." In regards to this Russian vessel.

Took him three weeks to get to that point. Shithead brigade will probably claim it's a joke, but shitheads be like that.

Facebook promises friendship; reduced loneliness. But the reality is one-upsmanship and nasty politics.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Trump thinks air traffic control is too safe

President Shithead gripes that U.S. air traffic control being too expensive and wants to cut it. Admits that all of his knowledge on the subject comes from an offhand remark from his private pilot.


The first 25 days of Trump have been a zoetrope of galloping despair.

By Lindy West at the Guardian.

Federal arrest of battered immigrant as she gets restraining order in family court

Thursday 2/15: A transgendered immigrant woman gets a protection order at family court in Austin against her abusive partner. Federal ICE follows her through the courthouse and arrests her when she steps aside; presumably to be held and deported.

This is the kind of bullshit, abuse of power against the weakest in our society (immigrant, abused, transgendered) that just causes the powerless to create a culture of hiding and not talking to police or government officials. It sews chaos and a criminal underground in the long term. Fucking stupid!


Michigan GOP official calls for 'another Kent State' for campus protesters

Read Dan Adamini's heinous tweets at HuffPo.

AI is putting human investment advisors out of business

Nearly one in three investors says these machines are superior at picking stocks and lessen their risk, and almost as many say the machines are better at selecting investments for retirement than human brokers, according to a new study of US investors by market research and consulting firm Spectrem Group.
New York Post

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

AI beats humans at Poker

Two weeks back an AI poker player overwhelming beat a quartet of top professional pokers after 120,000 hands of heads-up Texas Hold 'Em. Now a game of incomplete information, betting, and bluffing -- formerly thought impossible to automate -- is now effectively unapproachable for computers vs. AI. IEEE Spectrum

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

AI beats humans at Go

It's been about a year since Google's AI program beat grandmaster Lee Se-dol at the game of Go. For many years, this game had been held out as exponentially more difficult for computer learning than chess (a game for which the human grandmaster Garry Kasparov was beaten in 1997).But recent advances in machine learning have started to make many of these insurmountable challenges crumble.

Interestingly, the tournaments of both Kasparov and Se-dol share an interesting trait: The human player was strong until a particular move in Game 2 was inexplicable to the human grandmaster. After this their morale was shattered and they were totally overwhelmed in the rest of the tournament. BBC

Monday, February 13, 2017

Don’t worry; humans will still be useful for work for at least 10-15 more years

MIT professor Erik Brynjolfsson on AI:
... he pushes back a little on high-profile tech executives such as Bill Gates and Elon Musk, who in recent years have voiced concerns about the potential negative consequences of advances in A.I.

“I disagree with Elon and Bill bringing it up too aggressively,” he said. “It can be counterproductive to overestimate what machines can do right now. There’s no shortage of work that can be done [only by humans] in the next 10 to 15 years.”...

But it will require massive changes in how society operates. For one, Brynjolfsson thinks it could be essential for governments to institute universal basic income or related programs so that people can sustain themselves.

This is a common thread among technologists today. It's becoming rather blatantly obvious that rapidly accelerating progress in AI and automation will be making people in general unemployable in one or two generations. The solution is for everyone to get a "creative" job (laughable) -- and, obviously, we'll need to institute a basic universal income.

DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S HAPPENING POLITICALLY TODAY? There is no chance of instituting basic universal income in the U.S. Possibly by the end of next week there'll be no health insurance, no Medicaire, no Medicaid, no EPA, no CDC, etc.

In the case of Brynjolfsson, the supposedly comforting thought is that it will "only" take 30 or 50 years before humans are entirely unemployable (first paragraph of article). Xconomy

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Donald Trump is Skynet

Observed by Cathy O'Neil:
We have the equivalent of a dynamic neural network running our government. It’s ethics free and fed by biased alt-right ideology. And, like most opaque AI, it’s largely unaccountable and creates feedback loops and horrendous externalities. The only way to intervene would be to disrupt the training data itself, which seems unlikely, or hope that his strategy is simply ineffective. If neither of those works, someone will have to build a time machine.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Jill Stein blames Democrats for Betsy Devos nomination -- even though every one voted against her.

Idiocratress Jill Stein on Twitter today wrote regarding the Devos nomination, "Why would we have a tie on such an egregious nominee? Because Democrats serve corporate interests." Which is about the dumbest thing you can say when every single one of the Senate Democrats voted against her. 

I've written before that leftists can only vote for 3rd-party candidates when they are too stupid to recognize the difference between 0 and 1. Here's a perfect example: Jill Stein seriously cannot tell the difference between 0 and any positive number, apparently. With her corrosive, self-aggrandizing  empty claims of corruption, her anti-science anti-vaxxer stances, and her persuasion of weak-minded people to vote against Democratic candidates, she's actively sabotaging our democracy.


Average IQ in developed countries has been trending downward

Research that while IQ's have generally gone up since WWII due to better nutrition and education (the Flynn effect), the genetic limit on IQ has started going down in recent decades. HuffPo (includes links to academic papers)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

FBI ends email FOIA requests on Mar-1.

On March-1, the FBI will no longer accept Freedom of Information Requests by email (as they have done in hundreds of thousands of cases for years). Instead, users must revert to fax, postal mail, or an unreliable and privacy-unsettling web portal.
The FBI has repeatedly been charged with, and sued for, deliberately hindering the release of FOIA records in violation of the law. Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has accused the FBI in court of deliberately utilizing antiquated technology for the purpose of impeding records requests. The agency is notorious for relying on outdated methods to search for records, despite having access more thorough and modern methods...

“The FBI does nearly everything within its power to avoid compliance with the Freedom of Information Act,” continued Shapiro, whose most recent FOIA project—“Operation 45”—is seeking records related to President Donald Trump. The result, as Shapiro describes it, is an “outrageous state of affairs in which the leading federal law enforcement agency in the country is in routine and often flagrant violation of federal law.” 
Daily Dot

The Executive Order for Japanese-American internment was not rescinded for 34 years

Executive Order 9066, which authorized internment camps for Japanese-Americans was not rescinded until 34 years later. Such actions are not momentary blips; they can last for a generation or more.

Much like today's lunatic ban on travel from Muslim countries, no Japanese national in the U.S. was ever found guilty of terrorism or sabotage. Wikipedia

Monday, February 6, 2017

This is not a blog about Trump

This blog was not intended to be about President Donald Trump. Of course, his election has exponentially accelerated our headlong rush towards global annihilation; and so by necessity many of our posts will be in regards to the current administration and government of the U.S.

Plans for this outlet were made many months in advance of his election. At best, we could only hope for a staunch, but likely doomed, limitation of future damage. Instead we have the worst on all counts.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


An argument: Homo sapiens is uniquely designed for, and taken remarkable steps towards, ending all life on Earth.

Which is to say: The meaning of life (human life) is to end all life.