Author Archive | Breshvic
Ohio man Michael Blevins, 62, has been arrested and charged for harming a robot. Is this the next logical news item we should expect to see in a world with cybernetic hate crime?
Via Noel Brinkerhoff of AllGov:
[Blevins] was holed up in his home in Waverly, intoxicated and armed with multiple firearms, when police responded to reports of shots being fired inside the residence.
Wanting to avoid a confrontation, local police sent two surveillance robots inside the home to find Blevins. Upon seeing the larger of the two robots, Blevins opened fire and damaged the roving technology.
Police later stormed the house and used an electronic stun gun to subdue and then apprehend Blevins without any human getting hurt.
He now faces two felony counts of unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance and vandalism of government property, among other charges.
Between Dianne Feinstein’s adulation of the drone program (and her lies that civilian deaths were in the single digits) and the Republican filibuster of Chuck Hagel (based on his non-existent relationship with the non-existent “Friends of Hamas”), there actually was a confirmation hearing this past week from our lazy, incompetent Congress. John Brennan, who some may remember was blocked in 2008 due to the objections of civil libertarians, is on schedule to become President Barack Obama’s newest right-wing torture-happy appointee to the head of the CIA. He will continue to perpetuate myths of national security and intelligence work, the merits of extreme rendition and shady intervention in foreign affairs.
Mother Jones‘ Adam Serwer has compiled a great list of the unanswered questions of accountability and transparency in this hearing, what has now become a hallmark of the Bush/Obama era and will certainly be the norm during Brennan’s tenure.… Read the rest
This week, Eddie Winters will be undertaking an attempt at the world’s longest podcast recording in San Francisco. This rounds out several weeks of events celebrating Mutiny Radio’s second year of existence.
Via Mutiny Radio:
… Read the restTune in to Mutiny Radio or stop on in at the corner of 21st and Florida (deep within the Mission of SF, California) for some history in the making! Legendary Disc Jockey Eddie Winters along withCo-Host Alex Q. Huffman will be attempting to make the longest podcast ever recorded.This will be the event of a lifetime which may be the very event that ends Eddie’s life! There will be food and drinks, Live Stand up performances by the Bay Area’s most …talented comics, Celebrity phone-in Interviews, Live Quija Board sessions, Eddie Winters #1 fan competition, Pietro Laugh-Off, prizes and give-aways too! This is an open, global event where we will give away a prize for the longest distance caller to phone in.
We’re still waiting for machines to pass the Turing test. Recent film work with the chatbot Cleverbot shows the futility of passing the bar for natural conversation. But there are certainly things that bots do better than us, and even those humans who are trying to stifle their progress.
… Read the rest
Eric Brown, a research scientist with IBM (IBM), is the brains behind Watson, the supercomputer that pummeled human opponents on Jeopardy! in 2011. The biggest difficulty for Brown, as tutor to a machine, hasn’t been making Watson know more but making it understand subtlety, especially slang. “As humans, we don’t realize just how ambiguous our communication is,” he says.
Case in point: Two years ago, Brown attempted to teach Watson the Urban Dictionary. The popular website contains definitions for terms ranging from Internet abbreviations like OMG, short for “Oh, my God,” to slang such as “hot mess.”
But Watson couldn’t distinguish between polite language and profanity — which the Urban Dictionary is full of.
After much concern from nonprofit groups like the NY Civil Liberties Union (and public outcry), the NYPD has finally released the numbers of their precinct and racial demographics of all the 2011 stop-and-frisks. Emerging accounts and audio have indicated a high order of racial profiling, and the results of NYPD’s own internal reporting confirms that this bias exists in practice.
… Read the rest
Ninety percent of stops in all of the city were of black and Latino people, and many of the neighborhoods with the most stops are majority black or Hispanic.
Brooklyn’s 75th precinct, covering East New York and Cypress Hills, ranked first, with 31,000 stops. Ninety-seven percent where of blacks and Latinos. In second came BK’s 73rd precinct, covering Brownsville, which logged 25,167 stops, 98 percent of which were against people of color. Queens’s 115th precinct, covering East Elmhurst Corona and Jackson Heights, came in third with 18,156, 93 percent were of blacks and Latinos.
Pat Garafalo at Think Progress makes an interesting point. While those poor, downtrodden elites like to brand the Obama administration as the “most anti-business” in history, the data tells a far different story.
According to a Bloomberg News analysis, corporate profits have grown by 171% during the Obama era:
U.S. corporations’ after-tax profits have grown by 171 percent under Obama, more than under any president since World War II, and are now at their highest level relative to the size of the economy since the government began keeping records in 1947, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Profits are more than twice as high as their peak during President Ronald Reagan’s administration and more than 50 percent greater than during the late-1990s Internet boom, measured by the size of the economy.
Our brains have a lot of ways of tricking us. In many ways, they are worse enemies to our faculties of logic and critical thinking than even some exterior forces, for the ‘tricks of the mind’ often facilitate demogogues, cult leaders, and even magicians with their illusory machinations.
New research led by cognitive scientist Claire Sergent has found that conscious experience can be altered retrospectively. Specifically, the information of visual input can be ‘altered’ by the brain a split second later by distracting our attention elsewhere.
Via Mind Hacks:
… Read the rest
The research involved asking people to stare at a centre point of a screen with two empty circles either side.
At some point, one of the two circles would fill with randomly oriented stripes for just 50ms (one twentieth of a second) and afterwards the participants were asked to say which direction the stripes were pointing in.
“Tens of thousands are being murdered, and over a million are being forced to flee their homes. U.S. laws and policy play a major role in the conflict’s violence. This video is about understanding the complexities of the war and why it is happening.”