Day: September 24, 2016

The AI Now Report: social/economic implications of near-future AI

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The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Economic Council convened a symposium at NYU’s Information Law Institute in July, and they’ve released their report: 25 crisp (if slightly wonky) pages on how AI could increase inequality, erode accountability, and lead us into temptation — along with recommendations for how to prevent this, from involving marginalized and displaced people in AI oversight; to increasing the diversity of AI researchers; to modifying the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act to clarify that neither stands in the way of independent auditing of AI systems.
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Eneloops are amazing rechargeable batteries

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I have just replaced my first set of Envelop AA batteries, ten years after I bought them.

Around 10-12 years ago I was I doing a lot of underwater photography. High capacity, low-static-discharge AA batteries were pretty new, but an absolute must for digital strobes. I’d swap 2 sets of 4 in each one of my UW strobes almost every other dive, as blasting tons of light around the bottom of the sea takes a lot of juice. Sanyo’s Eneloop batteries were the only really choice.

Low-Static-Discharge batteries are pretty amazing. Not only do they hold their charge if not used for up to 10 years, but the fact that they discharge while not in use so incredibly slowly, means the batteries also stay healthy much longer. Whenever one started to get a bit flakey, I’d run a refresh cycle on my charger and all would magically come back to well. Finally, a few have shorted out.

Over time I stopped diving as much, and Panasonic bought Sanyo. The batteries started to be used for everything around the house. I’ve had them in remote controlled cars, planes, head-sets, remote controls, flash-lights, you name it. These AA’s were in constant service for nearly 10 years. Of the 16 I originally purchased, 8 are still in service and charge up to 1988 mAh.

Eneloops are pretty amazing!

Panasonic BK-3MCCA8BA Eneloop AA 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries (Pack of 8) via Amazon

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Treat your pup to a free month of BarkBox

If you own a dog, you’ve most likely heard of BarkBox – the monthly subscription box for dogs. What started as a simple idea to try out the subscription model on pet owners has since developed a cult following of dog lovers. If you haven’t given it a try yet, this one month free deal is the perfect excuse to treat your dog.

Here’s how it works: each month, BarkBox ships a box full of goods straight to your front door—all you have to do is tell them the size of your dog, and they’ll do the rest. Each box comes packed with five or more products ranging from toys and all-natural treats to hygiene products to specially designed stuffed animals. Some of the boxes we’ve received have included Bully Flakes from Barkworthies, Herban Essential Pet Towelettes, and Primal Freeze-Dried Liver Munchies, to name a few.

But the best part is, BarkBox supports the nearly 7 million animals entering shelters every year by donating a portion of all their proceeds to animals in need. With this special deal from the Boing Boing Store, you’ll get a full month free with a 6-month or 12-month membership.

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Classic Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk Waffles

Waffles are a serious business in my breakfast-loving household, and I recently set my sights on the mother of all maple-drenched ambitions: The Classic Buttermilk Waffle. This is such a simple and timeless breakfast that I figured it would be easy-peasy to come up with a good recipe.

Two bags of flour, a few dozen eggs, and several cartons of buttermilk later, I think I’ve got a winner! Crispy on the outside, soft in the middle, and a rich buttery flavor that just begs for jam and syrup.

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Tour New York's invisible, networked surveillance infrastructure with Ingrid Burrington's new book

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Writer/artist Ingrid Burrington has published a book called Networks of New York: An Illustrated Field Guide to Urban Internet Infrastructure, which sketches the physical extrusions of the internet into New York City’s streets and buildings, and makes especial note of how much of that infrastructure has been built as part of the post 9/11 surveillance network that NYC has erected over the past 15 years.

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Despite sabotage and dirty tricks, Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership race in unprecedented landslide

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It’s been just over a year since Jeremy Corbyn won the UK Labour Party leadership race with the biggest margin in history — an avowed socialist who would reverse the party’s years of special gifts to the UK’s legendarily corrupt finance sector, fight mass surveillance, pull out of secretive trade deals — a frugal man who walked his talk.

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Evil clown arrested

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Everyone thought it was some kind of mass kid-hysteria inspired by marketing for the new version of Stephen King’s IT, but guess what! There was an evil clown after all!

Kentucky police have arrested a man dressed as a clown lurking in a wooded area amid a wave of clown reports in at least six US states.

Jonathan Martin, 20, was charged with wearing a mask in a public place and disorderly conduct in Middlesboro.

He was found at about 0100 EST (0600 GMT) on Friday in “full clown costume” and mask crouching among trees by an apartment complex, according to police.

“Wearing a mask” is a crime, eh?

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Twitter is in takeover talks with Google, Salesforce.com, and other potential buyers

Jack Dorsey, chairman of Twitter and CEO of Square REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Salesforce.com and Google are two of the technology giants who have expressed interest in a possible buyout of the struggling social media firm Twitter, according to various reports.

Reuters describes today’s news leak as “the start of what is likely to be a slow-rolling auction of the high-profile but money-losing social media company.”

CNBC reported the Twitter sale talks rumors, citing anonymous sources. Twitter is in talks with companies including Google/Alphabet, and may receive a formal bid from them soon. Citing an anonymous source, Reuters says Salesforce.com is also pursuing Twitter.

Reuters:

Twitter and Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company did not respond to a request for comment. Salesforce declined to comment.

Verizon, another company mentioned in media reports on Friday as a possible suitor, said it did not comment on M&A rumors but that it had not submitted a bid for the company.

From Mike Isaac et al, at the New York Times:

Twitter, based in San Francisco, is talking with Salesforce.com, Google and others about a possible takeover of the company, people briefed on the discussions said on Friday. The talks are in the early stages, these people said, with no guarantee that a deal will be reached. In particular, Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, is resistant to selling to some of the potential acquirers, they said.

Twitter is also weighing a possible revamping that could involve divestitures and layoffs, the people said. Two divisions that Twitter is considering divesting itself of are Vine, the mobile six-second video service, and MoPub, a mobile advertising business, they said. The company is working with the investment banks Goldman Sachs and Allen & Company on its options.

In related news, an important Buzzfeed report came out this week about the silence many harassment victims hear when they report abuse on Twitter to Twitter.

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