Computer Hallucinations: Large Scale Deep Neural Net

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Recently, Disinfo ran an article about how Google set up feedback loops to its image recognition software and created some very interesting “dream”-like effects. Yeah, Google. “Dream.” You can view a gallery of their images here.

Some other software engineers, among whom is Jonas Degrave, a Belgian PhD student, who are not nearly as concerned with euphemism, have created an “LSD neural net,” which is similar in concept to Google’s feedback loops. Except they actually made a channel on Twitch that shows the algorithmic permutations in real time video, constantly zooming in like a fractal. Remarkably, the viewers in the video chat can type in two objects, for example “tent + gondola,” and the algorithm randomly choose one entry and morph using images of these objects. It is really quite interesting.

If you’re some kind of freak that actually knows how this stuff works, feel free to check out the write up giving background on how the engineers technically created this piece on Jonas Degrave’s site.… Read the rest

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The Dictionary Is a Sci-fi Novel (and We’re All Trapped Inside It)

The Dark Meaning Research Institute has published its most mind-blowing paper yet. It reveals that we live in a linguistic simulation of the universe, and it suggests ways we can escape from it…

DMRI escape

Figure 1: A diagram showing the escape route of a Shakespearean escape artist from an Elizabethan playhouse. All the words ever written form a passage through which the player must pass.

The vast majority of people never learn the big secrets about their existence due to the huge amount of work done by the authorities to keep certain things hidden (and then to make a secret of their secrecy). Fortunately, the DMRI has spent many years trying to undo that work with its undercover research and is now in a position to begin the Big Reveal.

One of the biggest secrets you will ever learn is this: The universe we live in is a simulation.

This may seem like an idea that can only exist in science fiction, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

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Plato Not Prozac

Lou Marinoff is a Philosopher, bestselling author and Canadian table hockey champion.

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Source:  IAI News

Beatrice Popescu: Where does your love for counselling stem from? Who was your first inspiration?

Lou Marinoff: My first inspiration was my talkative extended family, most of whom were capable of dispensing advice almost continuously, and on any topic. In such a climate, one must think for oneself, dispense advice in self-defence, and ultimately take one’s own counsel.

Beatrice Popescu: From a philosophical practitioner’s standpoint, philosophy needs to be demystified and made available in the service of people for whom it was initially created. Can philosophy (the discipline that discusses anything and attempts to treat any ailment of the soul) become a resource for common people, from the perspective of philosophical counselling?

Lou Marinoff: Yes, and no. I have come to believe that while many people can and do benefit from philosophical counselling, it is not a panacea and may never attract as many people as does psychological counselling.

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The Montauk Project Is The Basis For New Winona Ryder Netflix Series

The Montauk Project is many a disinfonaut’s favorite old chestnut of a conspiracy theory. Who can forget Alexandra “Chica” Bruce’s haunting presentation of the nuttiness on Eastern Long Island in the pilot for the Disinformation TV series, after all?

Sixteen years on from when we shot that segment on a micro-budget for the UK’s Channel Four TV, Netflix has commissioned an original series featuring Winona Ryder supposedly based on the very same Montauk Project, per SlashFilm:

Winona Ryder is Netflix’s newest star. Along with David Harbour, she’s just signed on to lead a supernatural drama series brewing at the company. Formerly titled Montauk, the show comes from Matt and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines). Karl Gadjusek (Last Resort) serves as showrunner and Shawn Levy executive produces. Find all the details on the Winona Ryder Netflix project after the jump.

The untitled series begins with the disappearance of a 12-year-old boy in 1980 Montauk, Long Island.

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Peter Thiel And N.T. Wright Debate The End Of Death

Max Anderson attends a public debate between leading technology investor Peter Thiel (conspiracy theorists may also identify him as one of the progenitors of the New World Order) and revered theologian N.T. “Tom” Wright, and then meets with them privately to discuss the inevitablity – or not – of death. He writes for Forbes:

It turns out that Peter Thiel quotes Hamlet.

Peter Thiel. Photo: David Orban (CC)

Peter Thiel. Photo: David Orban (CC)

For Thiel, a line in the play’s second scene throws open the pessimism that runs throughout the tragedy and, in his opinion, our current cultural moment. “Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,” says Gertrude to her son, Hamlet. Her words are a cold comfort to the young prince, who is grieving the death of his father. All that lives must die. “At some level it’s a statement about reality. At another level,” Thiel postulates, “it’s a statement about accepting the rottenness that is in Denmark.” Death is a fact of life, Gertrude says.

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Did You Enjoy That Corporate Takeover of Your Favorite Ski Town?

winterlandRemember when there were cute little ski towns? I don’t either, but I have heard they existed—once.

Nowadays going skiing is sort of like going to DisneyWorld, except way more expensive. The corporate takeover of most of America’s ski resorts has changed the experience of skiing forever. Some of our country’s most amazing places have become gentrified and are suffering the beginning of urban sprawl. Locals have been displaced as they can’t afford to live in their homes and their corporate policies have taken a toll on the environment. The cost of skiing is now prohibitive to anyone that isn’t upper-middle class at the least.

As a skier, what do you do about it, though? By supporting a corporate-owned ski resort, your money, regardless of how small, is just fattening the pockets of those who live far from the local mountain town. In fact, financial support means that you are contributing to ruining your mountain playground.… Read the rest

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The 10 Most Wild Lines From Antonin Scalia’s Extreme Dissent Over Gay Marriage

Well done Mother Jones for picking apart Antonin Scalia’s furious dissent in the Supreme Court’s landmark decision legalizing gay marriage:

In a 5-4 decision penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy and joined by the court’s liberal wing, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the entire country Friday morning.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Photo: Stephen Masker (CC)

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Photo: Stephen Masker (CC)

Unsurprisingly, the other four conservative justices on the court besides Kennedy disagreed, each writing his own dissent. Antonin Scalia’s, per usual, is a classic. Legalizing same-sex weddings isn’t just a threat to traditional marriage for Scalia. Nay, it is a sign of democracy’s downfall. Just “ask a hippie.”

Scalia opened his dissent by warning that legalizing marriage was not just a misreading of the law. He claims to not care one way or another about the concept of gay people getting married—though past opinions say otherwise. Rather, he felt compelled to write his own dissent in order to “call attention to this Court’s threat to American democracy”: “Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court.” Also he goes out of his way to bash fellow justices as pretentious poets.

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Chimps are sensitive to what is right and wrong

Rhys Davenport (CC BY 2.0)

Rhys Davenport (CC BY 2.0)

via ScienceDaily:

How a chimpanzee views a video of an infant chimp from another group being killed gives a sense of how human morality and social norms might have evolved. So says Claudia Rudolf von Rohr of the University of Zurich in Switzerland, lead author of a paper in Springer’s journal Human Nature. It provides the first evidence that chimpanzees, like humans, are sensitive to the appropriateness of behaviors, especially those directed toward infants. It also shows that these primates might only take action when a member of their own group is being harmed.

The researchers filmed two social groups of chimpanzees living in two Swiss zoological gardens while the animals repeatedly viewed film clips. The films portrayed the actions of other chimps unknown to them. The control clip showed chimps doing neutral activities such as walking or cracking nuts. The experimental clips included aggressive scenes, such as an infant chimpanzee being killed by its own kind, a small colobus monkey being hunted and killed by chimps, and socially aggressive behavior between chimpanzee adults.

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Psychosurgeons Using Lasers To Burn The Bad From Brains

Photo: thomasbg (CC)

Photo: thomasbg (CC)

It may sound uncomfortably close to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, but nevertheless brain surgeons are using lasers to burn away parts of the brain that they believe lead to mental illness, reports Wired:

A brain surgeon begins an anterior cingulotomy by drilling a small hole into a patient’s skull. The surgeon then inserts a tiny blade, cutting a path through brain tissue, then inserts a probe past sensitive nerves and bundles of blood vessels until it reaches a specific cluster of neural connections, a kind of switchboard linking emotional triggers to cognitive tasks. With the probe in place, the surgeon fires up a laser, burning away tissue until the beam has hollowed out about half a teaspoon of grey matter.

This is the shape of modern psychosurgery: Ablating parts of the brain to treat mental illnesses. Which might remind you of that maligned procedure, the lobotomy.

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