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Comment Re:Simple solution: Unpaid Mechanical Turk (Score 1) 153

"Fake News" does not just mean not true. That is called slander and libel. Nor does it refer to just true facts that are not "news." (Then it would include all of sports reporting).

Instead the term Fake News was created because of people avoiding the libel and slander laws by taking a fact and stretching it all out of proportion to reflect something that a certain mindset will either love or hate.

In this manner, the clear and obvious successor to " Pravda", called "RT", achieves its goals of lying to America and the west without being held legally responsible. In America, rather than the government, it is the political parties that desire to slander and libel people, so we get Conservative Breitbart and Liberal Huffington Post.

In other words, BIAS is exaclty the source of all Fake News. It doesn't mean that all biased things are fake news, it just means all Fake news comes from bias.

While it is true that fake news becomes profitable, that only happens after fake news creates it's own market in a feedback loop.

To get those feedback loops start, you need the bias.

So use the essential ingredient to root out the problem.

Submission + - Are accurate software development time predictions a myth? (medium.com)

DuroSoft writes: For myself and the vast majority of people I have talked to, this is the case. Any attempts we make to estimate the amount of time software development tasks will take inevitably end in folly. Do you find you can make accurate estimates, or is it really the case, as the author suggests, that "writing and maintaining code can be seen as a fundamentally chaotic activity, subject to sudden, unpredictable gotchas that take up an inordinate amount of time" and that therefore attempting to make predictions in the first place is itself a waste of our valuable time?

Comment Poster does not understand Algebra (Score 2, Interesting) 264

Look, 100k/4 = 25k = low salary. Not unusual at all. Similarly if you have 10 children, but only make 200k, your freakin' POOR.

The basic problem is our culture tries to measures wealth by income rather than net worth.

You can not compare the salary of a young, healthy, single orphan with a married couples supporting two sets of sick parents and multiple kids.

We need to reset our definition of wealth to be based on cash, stocks, mutual funds and real estate in the bank. This means the IRS should ignore your salary and base your taxes on what you own. Ignore the stuff in your IRA and give a set amount to ignore (just as we don't take the first 10k of income for a single person). Start it at 1% and gradually raise it to a max of 5% if you have more than a couple million in the bank.

If we did this, we could get rid of most of the complexity of the tax code, because it is all based on not overcharging the poor, which this system does automatically.

Comment Re:Fluid type manipulation with unions (Score 1) 405

Granted, you're not making it worse in any way by representing it with a union.

More to the point, you can't make it better by avoiding using a union. Because it's optimum as is.

The right tool for the right job.

pretty much the essence of obscure legacy cruft.

The job is the job. I have no problem using the right tool for the job.

Comment Simple solution: Unpaid Mechanical Turk (Score 1) 153

Step 1. Find a good set of sources of a variety of fake news. At least one conservative (Brietbart), Russian (RT), and Liberal (Huffington Post) to start.

Step 2. Set up software to track everyone that regularly reads any of those three as your secret mechanical Turk testers. Everything those people like, post, or otherwise support will be fake news.

Step 3. Create a solid scoring system based on your testers.

Basically, use the stupidity of the users against them. Once you find people stupid enough to believe the fairly obviously low production value of fake news, you have your testing machine.

You just have to make sure you get all strains of bias. If new strains show up, be sure to add them to step 1.

Comment Re:structs and fundamental OO (Score 1) 405

You are just reinventing machine language where data, instructions, and address pointers can be mixed willy-nilly.

Because machine language varies hugely, and c varies little or none, when working on one platform and then another, c is a convenient low-level way to get as many advantages of working close to the metal (obvious ones are speed and executable size) as possible.

Higher-level languages merely try to introduce discipline and consistency to such practices.

Yes, they do. And in the process, they often cause the resulting product to suffer in speed and/or execution size (and the source code in clarity.) When "mere" means "the product is less good", I translate it as "not mere."

There are reasons to go one way or another. It's not as simple as "HLL's are always better." Sometimes even machine language is the best place to go, embedded controllers with limited storage and small tasks that must be accomplished efficiently, for instance.

Comment Re:No good if people don't have the cash or jobs. (Score 1) 280

That's the "rate" part of the equation: time is a factor.

Imagine if the FAA and the DOT hold back drone and self-driving vehicle deployment by not providing appropriate regulation for 10 years. The tech matures, heavily. Everyone is ready to go on it. It would provide immense cost savings at little risk. Then: they set requirements, and open the flood gates. Tens of millions of jobs vanish in six months; unemployment jumps by 15%.

Does that sound like a good economic situation to you?

Now imagine FAA and DOT get their asses moving now, start permitting some early deployments on contingency of TLA oversight and detailed reporting, and work on defining regulations to enable this stuff. The technology is young, risky, potentially-profitable, but potentially-disastrous. Tens of thousands of jobs go away in a year, becoming millions over the next three years, and tens of millions over the next decade.

That's actually a better situation.

It only takes weeks in the best case for prices to respond: the delivery fee and driver tips for pizza vanish, and that $16 order becomes an $11 order. That's $5 that can be spent elsewhere for each pizza; and it's an extra pizza ordered wherever someone was willing to pay for a pizza but not willing to drive or pay for delivery. Between these, you're going to need more pizza makers, more retailers, and more shipping for whatever other stuff you're buying with that $5 (although the pizza makers will shift in part from whatever that $11 was previously spent on instead).

Over the years, taxis give way to something Uber-like, because the regulations for a driverless taxi don't include background checks on the driver. Shipping costs exclude the driver's salary, instead only involving the electricity or fuel cost and the vehicle maintenance. More stuff is bought, so there's more shipping, meaning more shipping vehicles built, more mechanics, more electricity or diesel, and the like. That also means more retail, so more cashiers, inventory specialists, merchandising, and loss prevention, as well as infrastructure support for the retail centers. A lot of low-end and high-end jobs.

In the end, about 3.8 shipping and taxi jobs vanish, plus millions of delivery jobs. More retail jobs appear; some other service jobs appear; business management jobs for logistics to control all this shit opens up; if we buy new IT services (e.g. Spotify, Netflix, high-speed Internet), the support staff for those get fueled by those displaced jobs. A span of low-skill and high-skill jobs proliferate.

That doesn't take long in small bites, or in growing markets. Once you've started the economy shifting, it can move faster and pour workers from one class of jobs to another smoothly. If displacement accelerates over years, replacement will accelerate, too, and unemployment takes a small bump upwards--and comes right back down soon after the change-over. If that displacement happens all-at-once up-front, though, you get a massive loss of jobs.

You're always going to have transitional unemployment. That's what welfare is for. You can't make things cheaper and increase wealth at all income levels without bumping people out of jobs, because you have to pay everyone's wages, and you can't lower the price below the wage cost. Cut half the wage-hours out of a product and it's suddenly half as expensive, and off go half the people working to supply it. We either bundle more (e.g. cars, internet, cell phone service--always coming with more features, more speed, latest tech, pour on the new stuff and keep the price high) or we put people in the unemployment line until somebody finds out they can't sell us all the other shit we're now buying unless they hire more workers.

The real trick is to get it to span the risk gradient, and to span wide enough to not displace workers too much faster than you replace their jobs.

Comment Re:Nothing could go wrong here (Score 5, Interesting) 161

There are a lot of problems with "fact-based news", the biggest one being identification of actual "facts."

Look at ProPublica as an example. Their MO is generally to take facts and build a giant lie without ever actually lying, technically. I've given them thorough dressings-down for their blatant attacks on the American Red Cross and Amazon, but nobody actually cares because ProPublica has a better hook: take something people trust and convince them that trust has been violated. There are a few good examples here, though.

The familiar American Red Cross attack article on their handling of Haiti claimed ARC lies about the amount of overhead because they hire independent contractors. The reasoning is that ARC keeps 9% of their revenue stream as operating expenses, but their real overhead is around 40% or higher because they hire contractors who also have operating expense--never mind that the contractors are more-efficient than any non-professional, non-expert option, or that the materials have "overhead" because they need to be mined, shipped, and sold. Things aren't magicked into existence, and ARC isn't a vertically-integrated organization with expertise in everything; they generally try to bring the most-efficient solution to a problem, and that means hiring the best contractors they can find, that being the ones who perform at the highest return per cost invested.

ProPublica has repeatedly published ARC internal documents and loudly shouted that ARC is hiding and ignoring serious defects in their organization's handling of major disasters. This one's even simpler: the documents they published were Lesson's Learned documentation. They discussed what problems they had, why they had problems, and any potential methods for avoiding those problems in future disaster scenarios. Many are marked for further review and discussion. The documents ProPublica published are explicitly for the purpose of identifying problems encountered and preventing them in the future, yet they managed to claim ARC is "hiding and ignoring" all of these problems.

Their article on Amazon's "Buy Box" claims they always put Amazon first, even if they're more-expensive. What actually happens is Amazon (almost) always displays the lowest price-plus-shipping option for a particular product by default; and Amazon uses the lowest-price shipping option for that, which is Amazon's Subscribe and Save shipping. You can get free shipping by having $25 of items in your box or having Prime; ProPublica unilaterally applied a non-free shipping option to inflate the total cost. They also nitpicked about Amazon always listing Shipped by Amazon options first in the full list of sellers, even when these aren't the lowest price options; if Amazon didn't do that, they could have instead attacked them for advertising "free shipping" but making it "difficult to find the Amazon-shipped items to actually get it".

Notice the facts. Facts, facts, facts. ARC spent $500 billion, built 6 houses, was going to build 50 but gave up (never mind that the project was determined wasteful and pointless, and people were dying of a cholera epidemic that ARC stopped instead). Amazon shows you their option first and doesn't count shipping in their prices (never mind that free shipping is an option but alternate sellers don't offer it). ProPublica gives facts and tells you what to think about them.

It gets worse.

Jimbo Wales thinks he can fix this sort of un-news. Does he think he can identify and gate out finicky reasoning and spin? Can he identify when facts are missing, or induce others to do so? For that matter, can we identify who has the most-correct and most-complete set of facts, and if they're disclosing them all without ordering them to create an alternate narrative?

It takes some inherent bias to break fake news. I tear down fake articles I understand, and I hit economics pretty hard because I like economics. Fake news isn't just about the facts; it's about telling people what to think about the facts. Many journalists (unlike the folks at ProPublica) have actual journalistic ethic, at least enough that they report what they honestly believe. You get people reporting about David Dao's history because it's true, even though appropriate journalistic ethic would throw that story in the bin because it's victim-shaming and irrelevant to the news at hand; and they at least believe the facts they report are true. You get people reporting on politics with different interpretations of the implications, and they believe those things are true.

You're going to go up against these people because you believe something else about the facts.

Are you ready for that?

Comment Re:Vigilante definition (Score 1) 97

Yes because that is their mission. Your complaint is that they are too EFFECTIVE.

There are lots of solid evidence that people dislike government because it is too good at what it does. Then they undermine the government and laugh and say "Hey, now that we have handcuffed them, they can't do anything right.!

Which is why I want to create one to protect us rather than spy on us.

Government agencies are actually more effective than businesses (two thirds accomplish thier goal, vs 1 third for small business).

The problem is that when a government agency fails, it has to keep trying, while a small business that fails goes bankrupt and someone else tries again in a year or two. But government does such important work that we frankly are not willing to go without for the year or two. So we keep the failed agencies around, which makes replacing it harder.

Comment Impartial journalism? (Score 1) 161

impartial journalism is entirely possible.

It's certainly possible, but if you can actually show me an instance of it, I'd be quite surprised. I don't recall seeing such a thing. Ever.

There's selection bias, where the story that is told is not the only story, and/or leaves out pertinent details that variously pollute the information transfer to the information consumer. This occurs at the publisher, editorial, reporter and information source levels.

There are errors in collecting information, which can be characterized as "impartial but wrong" which entirely undermines the value of "impartial."

There's the social underpinning, such as the assumptions by the platform from publisher down to reporter buy into memes like the drug war, human trafficking, mommyism, military adventurism, etc. as right and proper undertakings and tell stories in the context of the presumptive matrix that results from those memes.

There's ad-pumping, where the advertising pays more money in when more eyes are attracted, which creates a loop based on popularity rather than accuracy.

There's comment "moderation", where "I disagree / am offended / am trolling" can strongly affect visibility of information -- depending on the site, that can come from privileged (and usually wholly unqualified) individuals, as here on slashdot, or from the crowd, as on reddit.

It all adds up to an extremely formidable gauntlet that information has to run in order to get from wherever it arises over to the consideration of the consumer.

And, not that it's part of the problem of actually achieving impartial journalism, but were you to completely get past every aspect of that somehow, then you still have to find an impartial audience or all that work is for nothing.

IOW, if you manage to present the facts, all the facts, nothing but the facts, and your audience cries "fake news" or drags prejudice, superstition, confirmation bias, or anything from a very long list of similar cognitive failure modes into it, well, there you go. You might as well have written an SF novel.

Comment Just an overview (Score 1) 161

If there's anything I've learned about journalism in the last 41 years, it's that everyone puts their own slant on it.

o Publishers - slant, selection bias
o Advertisers - selection bias on source and slant by rewarding max eyeballs
o Editors - slant, selection bias for stories
o Reporters - slant, selection bias for sources
o Information sources - slant, winners get to write history
o Reader's choice of media - slant, selection bias
...it's not like it's showing any signs of getting better, either.

Comment Re:Robots are good (Score 1) 280

You have to understand that most (then quickly virtually all) menial jobs will be automated away

A large number of jobs babysitting machines will be created. You know, the same thing that happened all through history: we got rid of highly-skilled, heavily-trained, expensive craftsmen and replaced them with assholes who can operate a lever after five minutes of instruction. Then, we reminded those people we can replace them easily, and paid them less.

I'm mostly ok with your proposal but minimum wage is insufficient to live on so that part is still a stick which is not what UBI should be. Universal social security should be at a minimum, a livable wage.

The 2013 number wwas $546/month per single-adult.

That used a 224sqft single-individual living space, comparing to low-income apartment rents at an average of $1.00-$1.06 per square foot rent, measured in Baltimore, New York, Seattle, and various areas of California, as well as spot checks across the country. The cost of constructing such an apartment was assessed against published lists of materials and replacement intervals, and compares favorably because the kitchen and bathroom fixed costs are roughly $3,000 out of a $26,000 construction cost. Because individuals with a basic income have a known income which can't be lost by termination of employment, loss of working hours, or loss of welfare benefit, the cost of risk in scaling down living spaces shrinks.

With that consideration, the viable monthly rent for such a living space is $237; I budgeted $300/month. That left $246.

Food, using retail prices checked across high and low income areas, was originally specified as $100/month. I've modeled complete food plans in 2016 as low as $25 per 2,000kcal/day over 30 days, but that's rigorous and fragile; the additional buffer is required to control risk.

I also allocated $35/month to clothing and $35/month to personal care. These expenses are more-flexible--clothing obviously can be held onto longer; and soap, tooth paste, laundry care, and the like are overbudgeted--and so I eventually modeled onto a combined $170/month food, clothing, and personal care budget. That gave me enough flexibility for a $45/year Sam's Club membership, utensils, and kitchen tools in one model, even getting so far as purchasing a $200 bread making machine in the fourth month on savings.

Utilities come to $35/month in this model. I used to live in a 750sqft apartment and pay $57/month for utilities; it was poorly insulated, with brick, 2x4 air gap (no batting), and 3/8 drywall on three sides (two long, one short). That includes a $13/month gas customer charge and a $7/month electric customer charge; the landlord can split a single account across multiple tenants to reduce these charges via metering-on-site, although we could theoretically apply regulation to specify a building charge for multi-tenant residences to try to reduce them administratively. Some buildings have shared utilities, but I don't like one tenant's overage to cost other tenants; if the landlord is using on-site metering, they have the same responsibility, except they account for utilities by actual use instead of by equal responsibility.

This leaves $46.49 unbudgeted, with each budgeted expense overbudgeted as a risk control. All in all, roughly 45% of the $549 is a risk control; it's technically possible for a single individual to survive on around $300/month, barely, under perfect conditions. That's unacceptable risk.

The 2014 number is $552/month; the 2015 number was $583/month; the 2016 number is $602/month. That's $331 rent; $188 food, clothing, and personal care flexible budget; and $33 utilities. This leaves $50 unbudgeted. Note that the income actually grows faster than inflation, so these budget numbers are higher than the difference in cost--food costs increased by about 2/3 as much as the food budget between 2013 and 2015, for example, meaning the 2015 budget was $182 but the actual cost was $177, versus $170 in 2013 (food prices increased by ~4.2% from 2013 to 2015; income-per-capita increased by ~6.8%).

So yes, it's enough for one person to live on.

There are also considerations in there for aid for children of low-income households, since they don't receive a UBI, being that we'd have to provide a UBI sufficient across the entire variation--that is, almost every household would have to end up with money left over after childcare expenses, thus pumping out and neglecting children is profitable, or else the childcare welfare isn't actually enough to care for children. Because the risks of a public aid welfare for childcare are known and actually quite low, scaling that model down to specialize in childcare welfare works well.

I've actually put numbers to this shit, not just feel-good ideas about what is and isn't enough to live on. Do you want something that actually works, today, and in the future; or do you want idealistic bullshit that we can't afford, that won't work, and that will cause economic collapse if attempted? People die for unrealistic ideals--real people, with lives that could have been supported. We actually can end homelessness and hunger in the United States today. Bullshit fantasies about a world where nobody can remember how basic physics works because the machines have become our lords and masters and we have become the cattle have no place in civilized discussions.

Submission + - The Myth of A Superhuman AI (backchannel.com) 1

mirandakatz writes: One of the most common questions about the future of artificial intelligence goes something like this: "I’ve heard that in the future computerized AIs will become so much smarter than us that they will take all our jobs and resources, and humans will go extinct. Is this true?" But the assumption that AI will render humans obsolete is serious hyperbole. As Kevin Kelly writes at Backchannel, "buried in this scenario of a takeover of superhuman artificial intelligence are five assumptions which, when examined closely, are not based on any evidence...If the expectation of a superhuman AI takeover is built on five key assumptions that have no basis in evidence, then this idea is more akin to a religious belief—a myth." Don't miss the full, impeccably argued debunking of this pervasive myth.

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