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Messages - Recusant

1
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
"shift NASA's resources" sounds like they want to cut science to pay for it.  manned spaceflight is great.  as long as it isn't taking money away from science.

guessing the first thing to go will be the lying climatologists.

yeah this seems plausible. it actually sounded kinda cool so i wasn't sure what the real horrible agenda actually is even though i knew there had to be one.

Cutting back on NASA's climate science work is more than likely part of this, but . . .

Quote
"Imagine the possibility waiting in those big beautiful stars if we dare to dream big. That's what our country is doing again, we're dreaming big," the president said, with Apollo 17 moonwalker Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin and other key space program officials looking on.

"This is a giant step toward that inspiring future and toward reclaiming America's proud destiny in space and space has so much to do with so many other applications including a military application."

[source]
3
Computers and Technology / Re: AI playing Go
DeepMind's AlphaZero is now trouncing chess and shogi programs, being "self-taught" in both.

"DeepMind's AI became a superhuman chess player in a few hours, just for fun" | The Verge

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The end-game for Google's AI subsidiary DeepMind was never beating people at board games. It's always been about creating something akin to a combustion engine for intelligence -- a generic thinking machine that can be applied to a broad range of challenges. The company is still a long way off achieving this goal, but new research published by its scientists this week suggests they're at least headed down the right path.

In the paper, DeepMind describes how a descendant of the AI program that first conquered the board game Go has taught itself to play a number of other games at a superhuman level. After eight hours of self-play, the program bested the AI that first beat the human world Go champion; and after four hours of training, it beat the current world champion chess-playing program, Stockfish. Then for a victory lap, it trained for just two hours and polished off one of the world's best shogi-playing programs named Elmo (shogi being a Japanese version of chess that's played on a bigger board).

One of the key advances here is that the new AI program, named AlphaZero, wasn't specifically designed to play any of these games. In each case, it was given some basic rules (like how knights move in chess, and so on) but was programmed with no other strategies or tactics. It simply got better by playing itself over and over again at an accelerated pace -- a method of training AI known as "reinforcement learning."

[Continues . . .]

That brief mention doesn't do credit to shogi, which is a fascinating game in which captured pieces become essentially "paratroops" for the capturing side.
4
An interesting serendipity-- "Shortey" is damn close to "short eyes" which is prison slang for pedophiles. May he enjoy his stay in the hoosegow.
5
Bloomberg has corrected its story of the 5th. Now says that Deutsche Bank has provided financial records of people associated with Trump.  :dunno:

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Corrects story published Dec. 5 that said Mueller "zeroed in" on Trump's business dealings.

6
Churchill's famous exchange with Bessie Braddock was confirmed by a bodyguard who was present to witness it.



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Bessie Braddock MP: "Winston, you are drunk, and what's more you are disgustingly drunk."

WSC: Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what's more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.

As the author in the link above observes, Churchill was riffing off of WC Fields, but that doesn't detract from the story, in my opinion.
7
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
JFC  This woman is a despicable human being.

She's floating the right wing line that Warren lies about her heritage. . . .

It's the full-on "lied about her heritage to advance her career" schtick that was debunked more than five years ago.

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If there's no easily located evidence that Warren has Native American ancestry, there's also no evidence Warren used her family story to boost herself into a Harvard job.

But then Sanders' job appears to be mostly about repeating and amplifying lies, so --
8
Wow all CAPS. Poor Pingu.
But you folks started down this path - not me.
And you have company:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S016028960200137X


Rushton's work is generally dismissed as being agenda-driven and faulty.

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Philippe Rushton, a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario, has taken over the leadership of the Pioneer Fund following the recent death of its former administrator, Harry F. Weyher.

The Pioneer Fund was established in 1937 by the American white supremacist multimillionaire Wickliffe Draper and others who were supportive of Nazi race policies in Germany. The incorporation papers of the Fund states its policy to support the "procreation of the white colonial stock" and to finance research into "problems of race betterment" and "problems of heredity and eugenics in the human race."

One of the first actions of the Pioneer Fund was to pay for the distribution of a Nazi propaganda film, "Hereditary Defective" to high schools, colleges, and churches across the US. The film was produced by the Racial Political Office of the Nazi Party, and had been authorized directly by Adolf Hitler.

In the 1950s and 60s, the Fund aligned itself with white racist factions opposed to the desegregation of education. At the same time, Wickliffe Draper worked closely with the witch-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee, which was itself chaired by Pioneer Fund associate director, Francis E. Walter. In the Committee's interrogation of Paul Robeson, the famous African-American singer and Communist activist, Robeson asked Walter if he was trying to keep "decent people out of the country." Walter responded, "No, only your kind." Robeson said, "Colored people like myself." Walter again responded, "We are trying to make it easier to get rid of your kind, too."

Since the mid-1960s, Pioneer Fund money in the millions of dollars has bankrolled numerous racist and fascist psychologists - Rushton, Jensen, Cattell, Shuey, Eysenck, and many others - as well as William Shockley's scheme to pay African-Americans to have themselves "voluntarily" sterilized.

In the early 1970s, the Pioneer Fund paid the Foundation of Human Understanding to distribute hundreds of free copies of pamphlets by white supremacist psychologists Richard Herrnstein and Arthur Jensen to the registrars' offices of universities across the US in a blatant attempt to influence administration policies against the admittance of African-American students. This same tactic was employed in Canada in the late 1990s, when a Rushton pamphlet was mass-mailed to psychology and sociology professors across the country.

Rushton, referred to as "one of the most notorious race scientists in the world" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been a recipient of Pioneer Fund money for almost twenty years. In the year 2000 alone, tax records indicate that Rushton received $US 473,825 - approximately three-quarters of a million dollars in Canadian funds.

[source]

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Rushton has advanced a specific evolutionary genetic rationale for how gene frequencies are differentiated between the `races' relative to intelligence. He claims that human racial differences result from natural selection for particular reproductive strategies in the various racial groups. Rushton's theory is based entirely on the concept of r- and K-selection, first explicitly outlined by MacArthur and Wilson in 1967. This article examines both the flaws in the general theory, and specifically Rushton's application of that same theory to human data. It concludes that neither Rushton's use of the theory nor the data that he has assembled could possibly test any meaningful hypotheses concerning human evolution and/or the distribution of genetic variation relating to reproductive strategies or `intelligence', however defined.

[source
9
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
sessions having some integrity over this dumb idea of appointing a special counsel over the clinton / uranium one conspiracy theories

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/360292-sessions-wed-need-factual-basis-for-second-special-counsel-for

even if you take the conspiracy theories seriously, the special counsel idea doesn't make sense.  you appoint a special counsel to avoid conflicts of interest, because a regular prosecutor would be investigating someone above them in the chain of command.  hillary clinton is not in the chain of command.  so there's no reason to appoint a special counsel instead of a garden-variety counsel.

Nice juxtaposition; Boehner's description of Jordan as a "legislative terrorist" with the story about him attempting to browbeat Sessions into appointing a special counsel to investigate Clinton.  8)
11







Wow. Didn't see that one coming.

The actual article is here. Mother Jones has a story about this. In response to an inquiry from Mother Jones the Trump Organization replied:

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There has been no "hack" within the Trump Organization and the domain names [in question] do not host active websites and do not have any content. Publishing anything to the contrary would be highly irresponsible. Moreover, we have no association with the "shadow domains" you reference...and are looking into your inquiry with our third party domain registrar. There is no malware detected on any of these domains and our security team takes any and all threats very seriously.
12
Politics and Current Events / Re: Trumpocalypse
So what are the odds (really, and figuratively) that the trumpster fire will throw a tantrum, and attempt to fire Mueller?

If he does, which scenario is more likely to play out? Will the Senate actually have the balls to stand up to the administration and re-appoint Mueller? How does that work, is it just a committee, or does it take a vote of the full senate? (Or both, like most legislation?) It would be interesting to see if, even as much as the GOP seems to dislike the trumpster fire, just how much...will they be able to get the minumum of 3-5 senators to vote to reinstate the investigation?

I think that if Rosenstein were to fail to appoint a new special counsel, the only precedent for action from Congress is the Teapot Dome affair. The independent counsels in that case were appointed in response to a joint resolution (both houses of Congress).
13
Computers and Technology / Re: AI playing Go
An addendum to the suggestions for a Go playing program. I came across the new version of Leela, a strong program for computers that is free, and have heard good things about it. It uses Chinese rules, but they aren't that much different from the Japanese rules that many American/European Go players know. A couple of the primary differences are that dame (neutral points) are generally all filled in the game, and prisoners aren't counted.
14
Speaking of fascinating subjects, guess where else Science has found a blue halo. The intelligence of Nature truly is wonderful.  8)
15
Computers and Technology / Re: AI playing Go
My pleasure.   :)
16
Hopes Dim for Congressional Russia Inquiries as Parties Clash

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Nine months into the Trump administration, any notion that Capitol Hill would provide a comprehensive, authoritative and bipartisan accounting of the extraordinary efforts of a hostile power to disrupt American democracy appears to be dwindling.
Oh, surprise, surprise!
Republican-controlled congress doesn't want to look too closely at what crawled out from under the rock, or how.
Because, you know... reasons.

I wonder whether Gowdy realizes how thoroughly he's damning himself when he makes a statement like this:

Quote
"Congressional investigations unfortunately are usually overtly political investigations, where it is to one side's advantage to drag things out," said Mr. Gowdy, who made his name in Congress as a fearsome investigator of Democrats. He added, "The notion that one side is playing the part of defense attorney and that the other side is just these white hat defenders of the truth is laughable."
17
Computers and Technology / Re: AI playing Go
The Atlantic has an article about professional players' reactions to the play of these programs, which also includes a bit of famous Go history.

"The AI That Has Nothing to Learn From Humans" | The Atlantic

Quote
Now that AlphaGo's arguably got nothing left to learn from humans--now that its continued progress takes the form of endless training games against itself--what do its tactics look like, in the eyes of experienced human players? We might have some early glimpses into an answer.

AlphaGo Zero's latest games haven't been disclosed yet. But several months ago, the company publicly released 55 games that an older version of AlphaGo played against itself. (Note that this is the incarnation of AlphaGo that had already made quick work of the world's champions.) DeepMind called its offering a "special gift to fans of Go around the world."

Since May, experts have been painstakingly analyzing the 55 machine-versus-machine games. And their descriptions of AlphaGo's moves often seem to keep circling back to the same several words: Amazing. Strange. Alien.

"They're how I imagine games from far in the future," Shi Yue, a top Go player from China, has told the press. A Go enthusiast named Jonathan Hop who's been reviewing the games on YouTube calls the AlphaGo-versus-AlphaGo face-offs "Go from an alternate dimension." From all accounts, one gets the sense that an alien civilization has dropped a cryptic guidebook in our midst: a manual that's brilliant--or at least, the parts of it we can understand.

[Continues . . .]
18
As a note - he didn't have a local sucker for UF; he used a room that anyone could rent. Which I'm guessing is what's happening at Penn and OSU. Also, UFl did try exactly the same thing, and was told they couldn't stop him.

Yes University of Florida considered the same thing (the same Georgia State student was the one booking the space), but it seems that their general counsel advised that barring Spencer would be unconstitutional. I'm assuming that the lawyers for Penn State and Ohio State believe they have a good chance of successfully arguing the contrary.
19
Looks like both Penn State as well as Ohio State are prepared to fight Spencer in court, to try to prevent him from using their campuses as venues. Previously he's used compliant right-wing student groups at schools to get his foot in the door, but maybe he's running out of suckers, since in both cases it's a particular Georgia State student trying to book a place for him.
20
- and now we're hearing that they bought (or at least tried to buy) half our uranium industry

You haven't been paying enough attention to the stories coming out of Bullshit Mountain. The Uranium One sale was a big talking point in the right wing media bubble as far back as 2015. It appears that Trump revived it as a deflection.

ETA:  In addition, it wasn't "half" of the US uranium industry. Uranium One had mining rights to approximately 20% of known US uranium ore deposits. However, no US uranium could be exported to Russia or anywhere else unless issued a license by the US.
21
Computers and Technology / Re: AI playing Go
It's been a while since I played with computer Go programs. For PC, you could try Fuego and see what you think. There is also GNU Go, which has been around for a long time, but you need to hook it up to a GUI like MultiGo to use it. All those are free, but if you're willing to spend some money, Many Faces of Go is very good (I have an older version of that which isn't too bad for a kyu level player like myself). I expect that unless you've been playing Go for a while, either Fuego or GNU Go would be satisfactory.

For mobile, Google Play has three free programs. I use a dumbfone, so can't tell you whether any of these are good.

You can also play the 'bots' on IGS or KGS (uses a Java client). Those are 'live' servers, but you can also play 'turn-based' correspondence style Go on Dragon Go Server, while OGS offers both turn-based and live games. All of these servers are mostly for playing with other Go players, but offer Go playing programs (the 'bots' I mentioned above) as well.

You can take a look around Sensei's Library, which has a lot of information about Go programs, though you'll find that some of the links are out of date.
22
Computers and Technology / Re: AI playing Go
DeepMind has built a new version of AlphaGo--AlphaGo Zero. It was able to learn to play Go on its own from being given the rules, and went on to beat the original AlphaGo in every game it played.

"'It's able to create knowledge itself': Google unveils AI that learns on its own" | The Guardian

Quote
Google's artificial intelligence group, DeepMind, has unveiled the latest incarnation of its Go-playing program, AlphaGo - an AI so powerful that it derived thousands of years of human knowledge of the game before inventing better moves of its own, all in the space of three days.

Named AlphaGo Zero, the AI program has been hailed as a major advance because it mastered the ancient Chinese board game from scratch, and with no human help beyond being told the rules. In games against the 2015 version, which famously beat Lee Sedol, the South Korean grandmaster, in the following year, AlphaGo Zero won 100 to 0.

The feat marks a milestone on the road to general-purpose AIs that can do more than thrash humans at board games. Because AlphaGo Zero learns on its own from a blank slate, its talents can now be turned to a host of real-world problems.

At DeepMind, which is based in London, AlphaGo Zero is working out how proteins fold, a massive scientific challenge that could give drug discovery a sorely needed shot in the arm.

"For us, AlphaGo wasn't just about winning the game of Go," said Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind and a researcher on the team. "It was also a big step for us towards building these general-purpose algorithms." Most AIs are described as "narrow" because they perform only a single task, such as translating languages or recognising faces, but general-purpose AIs could potentially outperform humans at many different tasks. In the next decade, Hassabis believes that AlphaGo's descendants will work alongside humans as scientific and medical experts.

Previous versions of AlphaGo learned their moves by training on thousands of games played by strong human amateurs and professionals. AlphaGo Zero had no such help. Instead, it learned purely by playing itself millions of times over. It began by placing stones on the Go board at random but swiftly improved as it discovered winning strategies.

[Continues . . .]
23
Ken Starr (the special prosecutor who hounded bill clinton for years) weighs in on the mueller investigation

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/354379-ken-starr-predicts-indictments-in-trump-russia-probe

he shares the opinion of many expert observers that indictments are coming.  interestingly, he also weighs in on the hotly debated question of whether a sitting president can be indicted: he thinks yes.

He put forward that idea in a memo issued a few months before the final report on his investigation of Bill Clinton. If he reversed his position now he'd look ridiculous, and he knows it.
24
Now I'm wondering why they are so desperate to hide it. And where you get this mysterious unlock code from. It's almost like they are doing a Scientology trip and making stromatolites their Xenu. :grin:

You have to have a subscription to their magazine "Answers." That includes an "access code."
25
Certainly not the first time that this precise situation has come to light. Nor do I expect that it will be the last.