Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Things I Read February 2018

I might tag this as a place for things I read.  Not books.  I do that elsewhere, although I have to get my 2017 list out here.  More day to day articles to ensure I'm getting through some of the things I think are interesting and so I review some of the tech literature I use to keep up.

Some rules:

  • Has to have a little bit of meat to it (or be a few in a series that work together that have some meat).
  • I can catch up a day or catch forward a day.
  • Let's see how long it lasts :)
  • Addendum: this will get busy.  Perhaps it's best "by month".  So this will be the February 2018 list and I'll put a pin in it and start over in March.

Reading:
  • 2/20/2018: This Is What It’s Like Arguing with Gun Nuts on the Internet - Mother Jones
    • Originally from 2014....not much changes.
  • 2/19/2018: Barbara Ehrenreich on Writing to Think - Longreads
    • Links to excerpt from Living with a Wild God at Granta: Typing Practice
    • "The restriction of the typing requirement to girls suggested some sort of connection between our festering genitals and the need to serve in a clerical-type occupation, perhaps as a punishment."
    • "If you accept imaginary numbers without raising a question, you’ll swallow any goddamn thing they decide to stuff down your throat."
    • I relearned the word solecism "a grammatical mistake in speech or writing."
  • 2/18/2018: Escape the Dark Castle - game review.  Looks interesting.  But I'm always wary of games where I can (quickly) learn all the cards.  That takes some of the joy out of it for me. It's one of the things I liked about D&D; the endless variety at the DM's whim.  And a game of D&D can be 15-30 minutes if your characters already exist (and your DM is prepared) and you want to just do a quick adventure.
  • 2/17/2018: How Gamers Killed Ultima Online's Virtual Ecology  - not an article, a video, but one I'd actually like to show to my team at work.  Very cool and funny.
  • 2/16/2018: What Does the World Die From?
    • Wow....is that ever a lot of data.
  • 2/15/2018: My Daughter Was Murdered in a Mass Shooting. Then I Was Ordered to Pay Her Killer’s Gun Dealer. - Mother Jones
  • 2/15/2018: Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters
    • Read this one to the 8 year old I'm reading with.  He listened for a while and he usually doesn't listen to anything.
    • Critters live in competitive exclusion.  A single species has an ecological niche.
    • Kill the Winner: too much results in lots more predators for a specific species.
    • New theory is evolution matters - get in a predator/prey arms race including with viruses (red queen!)
    • Should see whole ecosystems elsewhere (like Saturn's moon Enceladus), not discrete numbers of critters.
  • 2/14/2018: How to solve 90% of NLP problems: a step-by-step guide: Using Machine Learning to understand and leverage text.
    • There were some gaps (assumptions about knowledge/steps).  But I liked the Crowdflower "Disasters on Social Media" dataset link and use case of differentiating earthquake the event from earthquake the movie.
    • lemmatization: reduce words am, are, and is to a common form like "be".
    • Bag of words, confusion matrix, TF-IDF score, Word2Vec, black box explainers (like LIME), GloVe, CoVe, CNNs....and you still only get to sub-80% accuracy.
  • 2/13/2018: How to Survive Being Swallowed by Another Animal - The Atlantic
    • Sucks to be a frog.
  • 2/12/2018: He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He's Worried About An Information Apocalypse - Buzzfeed.
    • “People stop paying attention to news and that fundamental level of informedness required for functional democracy becomes unstable.”
    • "I think what you’re seeing now is an attack on the enlightenment — and enlightenment documents like the Constitution — by adversaries trying to create a post-truth society. And that’s a direct threat to the foundations of our current civilization."
  • 2/11/2018: The Brutal Lifestyle of Javascript Frameworks - the Stackoverflow blog
    • Minneapolis tends to lean more toward Angular than React.
  • 2/10/2018: Inside The Grisly Phenomenon Of Coffin Births - AllThatsInteresting - Kyle gave me this to read.  I followed it by reading the Wikipedia article on the same topic.  I learned about bioarchaeology and that no one should read the "comparable phenomena" section.  That's horrible.  Reads like the script to some sort of fucked-up-Dexter-like series.
  • 2/9/2018: Novelist Lev Grossman on why James Joyce’s Dublin matches J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth - Vox
    • Credits D&D among other things.
    • Looks for interstitial hotspots (that are normal to others) - very Emma Bull.
  • 2/8/2018 The 5 Clustering Algorithms Data Scientists Need to Know
    • K-Means Clustering, Mean-Shift Clustering, Density-Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise, Expectation-Maximization (EM) Clustering using Gaussian Mixture Models (e.g. formulas that aren't non-gaussian, like triangles), Agglomerative Hierarchical Clustering (bottom up with trees).
  • 2/7/2018 The Future Phase of the Legal Industry Holds Choppy Waters for Big Law - sort of scary if you're in Big Law or work with Big Law.
  • 2/6/2018 (read 2/7, launch was 2/6): there's nothing else anyone should be reading/watching but TL;DR The best photos and videos of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy launch
  • 2/5/2018: Physicists Hunt for the Big Bang’s Triangles - Quanta Magazine
    • Inflaton fields as cylinders with jittery time expansion creating the things we see in the universe.
    • "Unitarity dictates that the probabilities of all possible quantum states of the universe must add up to one, now and forever; thus, information, which is stored in quantum states, can never be lost — only scrambled. This means that all information about the birth of the cosmos remains encoded in its present state, and the more precisely cosmologists know the latter, the more they can learn about the former."
    • "Now under construction, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope in Chile will be used to map 20 billion cosmological objects starting in 2023."
    • Lucy in the sky....with triangles... (I hear Captain Kirk singing it).
  • 2/4/2018: Container Strategy and Standards - no link, corporate document on container strategy.  The rule is generally don't life and shift and, when you do move your app, consider in order serverless (lambdas/et al), then containers, then AMIs.  And regardless of which path you follow, make sure you understand the governance (security and standards).
  • 2/3/2018: Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life - Cracked Labs (full PDF)
    • Almost 100 pages with 600 footnotes!
    • About the amazing depth of surveillance underway driven by commercial interests and how they're tying it all together and what it can mean if you're not part of the system.
    • Tracking is being done by social network contacts, web links followed, how you fill out forms, every h/w device you have, geolocation from your device, grammar, traditional paper data (insurance, medical records), digital feeds, and even h/w talking to each other with inaudible sounds.  All with little understanding by end users and a definition of PII that doesn't fit the reality of the information maintained on individuals that can be tied back to them via numerous entry points into records.
    • "Generally speaking, as Ryan Calo has summarized, the “digitization of commerce dramatically alters the capacity of firms to influence consumers at a personal level”.543 The more companies know about individuals, such as their “personal biases and  weaknesses”, the better they can “change people’s actual behavior at scale”. Shoshana Zuboff points to the fact that we are not only witnessing the rise of “markets for personal data” but also of “markets for behavioral control”, which are “composed of those who sell opportunities to influence behavior for profit and those who purchase such opportunities”
    • "...we might soon end up in a society of pervasive digital social control, where privacy  becomes - if it remains at all - a luxury commodity for the rich."
  • 2/2/2018: The Short-Lived Normalization of Breastfeeding on Television - Hazlitt.net
  • 2/2/2018: The Evolution of a Software Engineer (humor)
  • 2/2/2018: Replicating the New York Times' Twitter bot analysis with R and Python
  • 2/2/2018: Can Python Make You Fly?
    • Python Easter eggs including an XKCD antigravity one.  These are detailed in quite a few places on the web if you dig around for python, antigravity, xkcd, and "The Zen of Python".  Fun diversion.
  • 2/1/2018: To Read Aloud is a portal straight to that Middle Earth where magic happens: Boing Boing.
    • I won't be reading this book, but I find this article very interesting.  I find my attention "diffused" in the internet age.  Much less mindfulness around reading something end to end.  It resonates with me because I volunteer in a program (Garlough) where a kid reads to me every week and my current kid is the first one ever who hates reading.  Hates it.  Despises it.  Actively tells me he hates me personally because I want him to read.  He listens when I read, so I know it's intriguing to him, but perhaps only because I'm the first person to read to him consistently in his life.  He's a child of the internet age.  It's partially why I'm blogging again, because writing is a form of reading (imho) and I feel I need to compose coherent thoughts.  It's been too long.  Five to six years.  Since I bonked me noggin.  So no, I won't be reading the book, but it was a good summary....read.  Read aloud.  I spent the evening describing some of the articles below to my wife and other articles to my boss this morning over breakfast.  Consume what you read and share it so that it's not just rote but something you've consumed and cogitated upon.  Think about it.  There's something deeper that needs to happen to make your head whole.
  • 2/1/2018; Japan's Museum of Rocks with Faces; Great Big Story.  Enough said.
  • 1/31/2018: Automating Inequality: using algorithms to create a modern "digital poor-house" - Boing Boing.
    • About Viginia Eubanks' Automating Inequality (book).
    • "the power of algorithms to diffuse responsibility for human suffering: using math to decide who the "deserving" poor are makes it easier to turn away from everyone else whom the system has deemed undeserving"
    • 1. Does the tool increase the self-determination and agency of the poor?
    • 2. Would the tool be tolerated if it was aimed at non-poor people?
  • 1/31/2018: Weapons of Math Destruction: invisible, ubiquitous algorithms are ruining millions of lives - Boing Boing.
    • About Cathy O'Neil's book Weapons of Math Destruction
    • The problem with models trained on faulty data.
    • "Credit bureaux, e-scorers, and other entities that model us create externalities in the form of false positives -- from no-fly lists to credit-score errors to job score errors that cost us our careers. These errors cost them nothing to make, and something to fix -- and they're incredibly expensive to us. Like all negative externalities, the cost of cleaning them up (rehabilitating your job, finding a new home, serving a longer prison sentence, etc) is much higher than the savings to the firms, but we bear the costs and they reap the savings."
  • 1/30/2018: In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium - Quanta Magazine. 
    • How communication bottlenecks (describing a game fully) derail Nash Equilibrium unless there's a high degree of symmetry (players share a characteristic/choice) or we settle for "correlated equilibrium" with a trusted or intuited mediator.
    • there are "forms off play that aren't Nash equilibria at all, but that sometimes result in a more positive societal outcome."
  • 1/29/2018: Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth's Start - Quanta Magazine.
    • "...life may have taken hold in the worst conditions imaginable."
    • The bit about the Late Heavy Bombardment or Luna Cataclysm was interesting.
  • 1/29/2018: Is "Murder by Machine Learning" the New "Death by Powerpoint"? - HBR.
    • "inbox overload demonstrably hurts managerial performance and morale"
    • "Digital empowerment all to frequently leads to organizational mismanagement and abuse."
    • "Nobody wants to produce boring presentations that waste everybody's time, but they do; nobody wants to train machine learning algorithms that produce misleading predictions, but they will."
    • "There may even be biases in detecting biases."
    • "Smarter algorithms require smarter risk management."
    • "disempowerment-by-design" (subjugating people to machines)
    • Create a declaration of machine intelligence - "how the organization expects to use smart algorithms"

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