Monday, April 30, 2018

[Off Topic] Hsieh Forbes Column: That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses

[Off topic] My latest Forbes piece is now out: "That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses".

I discuss some recent work by criminologist Gary Kleck on unpublished CDC data on defensive gun use, and how that may support the case of gun rights advocates.

Some of the statistical evidence is still in question, however, and Kleck has withdrawn the original version of his paper pending further analysis.

Ultimately, individual rights are not validated (or refuted) by statistics. But real-world evidence can help affirm the underlying principles.

For more details, see the full text of "That Time The CDC Asked About Defensive Gun Uses".

Related articles:

"Any Study Of ‘Gun Violence’ Should Include How Guns Save Lives" (Paul Hsieh, 3/20/2018)
"Criminologist Gary Kleck on Guns, Crime, and Their Study" (Ari Armstrong, 11/7/2015)

Wrong Kind Of Self-Driving Car

"A man in England was caught driving his Tesla on Autopilot... from the passenger seat."

Fancy Ice Cubes

NYT: "She Makes Fancy Ice Cubes for a Living". (Via Tyler Cowen.)

New Gender Rules For Sports

"Track’s New Gender Rules Could Exclude Some Female Athletes":
In an effort to address questions about fair play, track and field’s world governing body will publish regulations on Thursday that could force some elite female athletes with naturally elevated testosterone levels to lower the hormone with medication, compete against men in certain Olympic events or effectively give up their international careers.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Monday, April 23, 2018

Difficult Statistics Of Rare Events

Alex Tabarrok: "Defensive Gun Use and the Difficult Statistics of Rare Events". (Via A.B.)

AI Discovery

"AI is discovering new alloys faster than humans ever could":
Using artificial intelligence, the scientists at Northwestern University have already been able to discover three new blends of ingredients that form metallic glass–and AI does it 200 times faster than the scientists themselves could have done. The results mean that new alloys could reach the market decades before they normally would thanks to AI. This, in turn, could have a massive impact on the industrial and structural design of objects large and small, from smartphones to skyscrapers.

Transcribing Silent Speech

"Computer system transcribes words users 'speak silently'"

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Diamonds From Space

"These diamonds are tiny, flawed, and may come from a long-lost planet". (Via H.R.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Pre-Human Civilization

"Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans?"

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Lebowski Theorem Of Machine Superintelligence

"The Lebowski Theorem of machine superintelligence":
Harvard cognitive scientist Joscha Bach, in a tongue-in-cheek tweet, has countered this sort of idea with what he calls “The Lebowski Theorem”:
No superintelligent AI is going to bother with a task that is harder than hacking its reward function.
In other words, Bach imagines that Bostrom’s hypothetical paperclip-making AI would foresee the fantastically difficult and time-consuming task of turning everything in the universe into paperclips and opt to self-medicate itself into no longer wanting or caring about making paperclips, instead doing whatever the AI equivalent is of sitting around on the beach all day sipping piƱa coladas, a la The Big Lebowski’s The Dude.

Ikea-Style Programming Algorithms

"Ikea-style instructions for programming algorithms".

One example:

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual the rest of this week due to external obligations.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

More Gmail Update

" redesign includes self-destructing emails". (Via H.R.)

Surveillance Tech Update

"Facial recognition tech catches fugitive in huge crowd at Jacky Cheung Cantopop concert in China"

Artificial Heart Update

"A simple artificial heart could permanently replace a failing human one":
[R]esearchers have been trying for decades to make an artificial heart that can be permanently implanted. But building one that imitates a real heart over a long period of time without breaking or causing infections or blood clots is incredibly difficult. One problem is that the more parts there are, the more things could go wrong.

To solve the problem, Sanjiv Kaul and his team at Oregon Health and Science University are developing an artificial heart with an extremely simple design -- it contains a single moving piece with no valves. They believe it could be the first such device that could last the rest of a person’s life...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Medical AI Update

"FDA approves AI-powered diagnostic that doesn't need a doctor's help":
What it does: The software is designed to detect greater than a mild level of diabetic retinopathy, which causes vision loss and affects 30 million people in the US. It occurs when high blood sugar damages blood vessels in the retina.

How it works: The program uses an AI algorithm to analyze images of the adult eye taken with a special retinal camera. A doctor uploads the images to a cloud server, and the software then delivers a positive or negative result.

No specialist required: The FDA recently cleared AI-based software to help detect stroke, too. But the agency says this is the first device authorized to provide a screening decision without the need for a specialized doctor to interpret the image or results.

New Gmail?

"Gmail will be updated soon and I’m worried"

Space War

"Space Wars Will Look Nothing Like Star Wars"

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

AI Journalism Update

"A New AI 'Journalist' Is Rewriting the News to Remove Bias".

Of course, what counts as "biased" or "unbiased" is itself in the eye of the beholder.

Phone Fiddling Clues

"Mood disorders could be diagnosed by the way you fiddle with your phone"


"How CRISPR works, explained in two minutes"

Monday, April 09, 2018

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Robot Rights Debate

21st century debate: Whether sex robots need "rights". #NotAnOnionStory

Angled Satellite Images

"Satellite images taken at an angle".

Injectable Bandage

"Quick-acting 'injectable bandage' developed from seaweed". (Via H.R.)

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Dead Man Fingerprints

"Yes, Cops Are Now Opening iPhones With Dead People's Fingerprints".

As the article notes, dead people's faces are the next logical step with FaceID.

DNA Surprise

"Woman takes DNA test, learns her real dad is her mom's doctor". 

Lawsuit has been filed.

Eyeball Sunburn

"Yes, even your eyeballs can get sunburned"

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Criminal Mastermind

Shoplifter uses Play-Doh to cover up security camera lens, leaves perfectly pressed fingerprint behind.

Good High School

"A single high school in India has produced the CEOs of Microsoft, Adobe, and Mastercard"

Immigrant Social Media

"U.S. to Seek Social Media Details From All Visa Applicants"

Monday, April 02, 2018

What Google Knows

"How to download a copy of everything Google knows about you"

Unmixable Nanoparticles

"Scientists mix the unmixable to create 'shocking' nanoparticles". (Via H.R.)

Detecting Account Breaches

"11 Tell-Tale Signs Your Accounts and Devices Have Been Hacked"

Sunday, April 01, 2018

The Science of Knuckle Cracking

"Scientists have spent 60 years agonizing over how our knuckles crack"

UBI Update

Wired: "The Paradox of Universal Basic Income"

Police Using Google Data

"To find suspects, police quietly turn to Google":
In at least four investigations last year – cases of murder, sexual battery and even possible arson at the massive downtown fire in March 2017 – Raleigh police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime, according to a WRAL News review of court records. 
I'm guessing this isn't confined to Raleigh, NC. (Via Debby Witt.)