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Messages - LetterRip

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1
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There is one kernel of truth in the accusation.  Obamacare requires a minimum level of coverage, and a minimum level of premiums that go to patient care.  So if you had a policy that spent 50% of the premiums on administration instead of patient care, and didn't actually cover anything, then no, you would not be able to keep that plan. But you wouldn't really like it, would you?

I could misremember, but I believe that any plan offered by insurance companies could be kept active by the insurance company, but only if they made no changes at all to the plan.  Any change or new plan would require following the new rules.

2
General Comments / Re: Facebook in your brain
« on: September 07, 2018, 10:46:51 AM »
Musk's company is working on a different approach the 'neuro-lace' - electrodes that sit inside the blood vessels of the brain.  It has the potential for dramatically higher resolution and potentially integration with the brain (signaling to and from neurons), but it is much more invasive and there is a risk of it occluding the blood vessels since most of the pathways are a tight squeeze.

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n Musk’s vision, it is actually a bunch of electrodes inside your brain to enable humans to merge with artificial intelligence.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604254/with-neuralink-elon-musk-promises-human-to-human-telepathy-dont-believe-it/

3
General Comments / Re: Facebook in your brain
« on: September 07, 2018, 10:27:04 AM »
I know that Mary Lou Jepsen is working on this tech (don't think for FB though).  I doubt it will ever have relevance for facebook type applications, but definitely will for cheaper alternatives to fMRI.

4
General Comments / Re: gun free zones, cause and effect
« on: August 31, 2018, 11:52:06 AM »
"Gun free zones" - aren't to stop mass shooters.  They are to prevent people who lose there temper from turning a sudden burst of anger into a shooting.  Instead of someone yelling and screaming, or a mild assault and getting a bloody nose, someone ends up dead.

5
General Comments / Re: Trump verses Google Search
« on: August 29, 2018, 10:10:26 AM »
I personally hope that Google sues.  It is a public false accusation and asserted to be factual, that has clearly caused damage to Googles reputation, and it wasn't in carrying out Trump's duties.

6

You’re having a tantrum. You’re not pointing out facts, you’re just acting out.

Nothing I've written could be in any way, shape or form be properly characterized as a 'tantrum'.  This is obvious to anyone reading except yourself apparently.

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I specifically said “before 1992”. If you weren’t so deep in the throws of your tantrum you would realize that if here is a before 1992 hat there is also an after 1992.

Up to and including 1992 there were no credible allegations of any rapes at all.  After 1992 (1999) there is a single allegation of rape that may or may not be credible.  There has been, at most, a single credible allegation of a rape.

So your claim was completely and utterly lacking in fact.

I think this piece gives a fair opinion on the topic of the credibility of Juanita Broarddrick's claim.  (Though it leaves out some important issues that I've seen covered elsewhere that shed doubt on her claims).

https://www.vox.com/2016/1/6/10722580/bill-clinton-juanita-broaddrick

I think people of good faith can believe Juanita Broaddrick's accusation, and I similarly believe that people of good faith can believe that her accusation isn't credible.  In legal terms I don't think it meets the 'more likely than not' level of evidence for even a civil trial; let alone a 'beyond reasonable doubt' of a criminal trial.

Also it seems unlikely that most people have more than a passing familiarity with the facts of the claim, and thus would not be in a position to determine whether it was credible.

So your suggesting that Democrats are some how to blame for the lack of integrity of Trump supporters is offensive.

7
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 21, 2018, 02:48:54 PM »
TheDrake,

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If I were to pick one problem with climate science, it would be that unavoidable reinforcement that they have the ability to alter their model during the experiments - or at least in subsequent experiments.

models are essentially thermodynamics simulations constrained by observations.  The primary usage (and motivation for development) of the models are for weather predictions and short term climate - long term climate predictions are a nice side benefit - we would spend essentially the exact same money and do the same research even if we had zero interest in long term climate prediction because a few hours earlier hurricane warning, or knowing rain and wind and temperature forecasts a few days earliers is worth hundereds of billions of dollars.  So the absurd belief that it is for the 'sweet grant money' - is just bizarre.  The people who think you can try and bias the simulations have zero understanding of what is going on - there are a few important constants that have some slight wiggle room - everything else is convection, conduction, radiation, evaporation, and condensation.  For longer term simulations there is also assumptions about population changes, energy usage, and land use changes.

8
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: August 21, 2018, 12:25:29 PM »
Always be skeptical of polls where there is no incentive to answer honestly or put effort in.  "Mischevious Responders" (deliberately wrong answers) are quite common - and likely exceed the 6% threshold, as do kids who could do something but don't out of laziness ("Insufficient Effort Responders").

9
General Comments / Re: Applying the rules of the left to the left
« on: August 20, 2018, 07:29:47 PM »
I expect there will be a lawsuit challenging this.  I doubt there are many Republican ran businesses who want governments to be able to arbitrarily exclude them from government contracts based on arbitrary criteria.  I'd be surprised if it is legal.

10
You can have this frenzied tantrum all you want, it’s weird and telling.

I didn't have a tantrum.  Pointing out that you lack facts isn't "having a tantrum".

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I’m not sure why you’re making up that I was referring only to 1992 but I can see you’re really enjoying it

You specifically said 1992.  Perhaps reread what you wrote so you don't get confused?

11
It's the latest and most popular debate method oozing down from Trump, LR - the tried and true "I know you are, but what am I" pre-school of argumentation.

For other examples, see "there is no collusion - the Dems colluded!"

Look at the timeline of the Clinton scandal.  There was zero credible evidence of any rape, let alone rapes in 1992.  All we had evidence of in 1992 was that he was unfaithful.  The earliest the public could have even suspect Clinton had ever raped anyone was during the Lewinski trial - and that was only if you refused to believe that woman that was alleged to have been raped - who signed affidavits and gave testimony to the fact that it never happened.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_sexual_misconduct_allegations

So again - BS - he made a complete and utterly false allegation that is divorced from reality and facts.

12
I have friends and family who care about abortion a great deal. They also fear AGW and and oil use and it's theoretical impact on the planet.

Before 1992, they would never have excused let alone defend a serial rapist and the wife that supported it by personally destroying his victims. Bill Clinton was never held accountable.

There was no evidence at all that Clinton was a rapist, let alone a serial rapist back in 1992 - the one person who it was claimed to publicly denied it and denied it in court depositions under penalty of perjury, and the only person claiming it was a political operative.  The only evidence we had in 1992 was that he was a serial philanderer.

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The left made these rules, now we're all gonna play by them.

Complete and utter BS.

13
General Comments / Re: career politicians
« on: August 07, 2018, 01:00:26 PM »
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teve Jobs was very, very bad at politics. That's why he lost control of his company.

Steve Jobs was a bad CEO, which is why he lost his position at Apple.  The skills that people attribute to Jobs are not the skills he had.  He was a brilliant negotiator; superb at hiring talent; and tremendous at acquiring promising technology developed by others.  During his first stint as Apple CEO - Apple was succeeding in spite of Jobs, not because of him.

During his second stint - negotiation with Bill Gates (for the investment to keep them solvent and the promise for MS office to be ported to future versions of the Mac); acquiring the OS and MP3 hardware design companies that became the iPod; and then negotiating with the content industries were his important contributions.

14
General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 21, 2018, 02:49:35 PM »
TheDrake,

I've read many of the critiques of Damore - they usually ignore evidence or mistate the literature.

Okay, LR, I can back off on that end and admit that I overstated it at best, although there's plenty of indication of bias that has nothing to do with preference and competence.

Most companies that are 'socially conscious' don't really have that issue.  They tend to have the issue that in pursuit of their socially conscious goals - they will hire under-qualified individuals to try and achieving hiring balance.  Then they have the issue that they must either must abandon merit based promotions; or see their under-qualified hires have slower career advancement.

If you have say, 100 female applicants, and 1000 male applicants, and both are normally distributed as far as talent, then you can only hire 10 women for every 100 men.  If you try and 'balance' the hires by hiring more women, then you will bring down the average competence of the woman hires; and increase the average competence of the male hires.  So if you hire top 11% that is 100 men, and 10 women.  Lets say that you instead of 10/110 = 9% women, you want 27% women 30/110.  Then you will be hiring 80 men, and 30 women.  Of those 30 women 22 will be less competent than ALL of your male hires.  Where as previously half of your female hires were more competent than half of your male hires.  So in the first case, we could have expected 10 men promoted for each women promoted.  We can now expect all of the men to be promoted before 22 of the women are promoted in a merit based promotion system.

A big part of the imbalance is because google and other companies hire internationally.  Women generally aren't willing to move away so that they are isolated from their family, but men are - which means that the vast majority of international hires will be male.  Similarly the countries with excellent programming education and large populations (China, India, Russian and former soviet bloc countries) have essentially no Hispanic or African population.  So this skews the number of Hispanic and African (American) employee numbers.

Your article sets up a major strawman,

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We can say flatly that there is no evidence that women’s biology makes them incapable of performing at the highest levels in any STEM fields.

Damore never suggested that was the case.

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Many reputable scientific authorities have weighed in on this question, including a major paper in the journal Science debunking the idea that the brains of males and females are so different that they should be educated in single-sex classrooms.

Something which Damore never suggested.

They set up straw man after straw man.  Damore's writing only dealt with very specific and well established gender differences.  As I said above - in general men and women have very similar brains.  But there are known and significant differences which happen to be those that are consistent with his hypothesis.

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Much of the data that Damore provides in his memo is suspect, outdated or has other problems.

He didn't really provide much data, he generally mentioned findings in passing.  None of which are 'suspect, outdated or has other problems'.

They make wild assertions with no apparent basis,

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He implies that stress and anxiety are personality traits inherent in females, but more likely they are due to the pressures and discrimination women face on the job that men do not.  [...] But what if you don’t make the catch? “Women have a hard time taking on those assignments because you can dive and fail to catch. If a man fails, his buddies dust him off and say, ‘It's not your fault; try again next time.’ A woman fails and is never seen again.”

As support they quote the "Athena Factor" report authors - but mysteriously leave out the finding of the report that supports Damore - "The “diving catch” culture of SET companies disadvantages women, who tend to be risk averse (35% have difficulty with risk). ".    So the reason the 'woman fails and is never seen again' - is because women are risk adverse as a personality trait relative to men.

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Many of Damore’s controversial conclusions rest heavily on one recent study and much older, now-discredited research, ignoring reams of data that tell a very different story.

What BS, see the cohen effect sizes above, and see my link that explores the rest of article.  Everything he said science wise was well founded.  THis is an utter hatch job.

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And yes, this is also a popular recap and not original studies - I don't have the time to put in the proper legwork.

It wasn't a recap, it was a complete hatchet job.  They mischaracterized his paper, did massive amounts of strawmen, and cherry picked research, and even cherry picked form their own sources.

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He still doesn't establish that those traits are positive or negative traits for those jobs.

He was pointing out not as positive/negative traits for the job - but why there would be skew in applicants due to carreer attractiveness vs other opportunities (such as medicine).

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Of course, Google's hiring is also a factor in this. They put a premium on solving puzzles and being clever in isolation

It depends entirely on the position they are hiring for.  When hiring for programmers - they seek people who have adequate mastery of core data structures and algorithms.  It is an essential component of the job.

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and spend relatively little time evaluating social and communication skills - or they might not have hired Damore in the first place.

There aren't really any complex social and communication skills needed for the job they are doing - and the screening they do is adequate.  There was nothing wrong with Damore's communication skills.  He was asked for feedback, and he gave well reasoned and supported arguments - exactly what you want from an engineer.  You don't want engineers who give you what you want to hear regardless of where the evidence points.

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He might well have gotten traction on some of his ideas if he approached it less belligerently and built support before condemning the people he worked for.

He wasn't belligerent, and he absolutely didn't condemn any of the people he worked for or with.

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Even people in leadership positions have a hard time effecting cultural change. To expect to do this as a third year engineer at a Fortune 500 with a fiery memo is astonishingly naive and arrogant. It was perfectly appropriate to excise him and replace him with some other Harvard Grad that does well with thought experiments and algorithmic regurgitation.

That isn't what he did.  His memo wasn't "firey".  It was sent to address that directed to as a request for feedback.

15
General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 21, 2018, 12:55:42 PM »
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What he did was:

1. Start from a raft of basic stereotypes.
2. Use those to explain away gender disparities in the field.
3. Refuse to acknowledge how such stereotypes might impact his place of work.
4. Refuse to back down when corrected.
5. Act like a martyr on the alter of political correctness and liberal intolerance.

I read his paper and am familiar with the research.  He didn't use any stereotypes - he was referencing the state of the current literature on gender differences (in most ways women and men have fairly minor differences - in the areas he highlighted there are substantial cohen effect size differences - mostly in the 'medium' to 'large' effect sizes).  Here are the effect sizes.

Quote
DAT mechanical reasoning Adolescents - 0.76
Science Adolescents - 0.32
DAT spelling Adolescents - 0.45
DAT language Adolescents - 0.40
Spatial perception All - 0.44
Mental rotation All - 0.73
Spatial visualization All - 0.13
Spatial perception All - 0.44
Mental rotation All - 0.56
Speech production All - 0.33
Progressive matrices Adults - 0.30
Aggression (all types) All - 0.50
Physical aggression All - 0.60
Verbal aggression All - 0.43
Aggression in real-world settings All - 0.30 to 0.63
Physical aggression All - 0.33 to 0.84
Verbal aggression All - 0.09 to 0.55
Helping: Surveillance context Adults - 0.74
Leadership: Democratic vs. autocratic Adults - 0.22 to 0.34
Agreeableness: Tendermindedness Adolescents and adults - 0.91
Computer use: Current All - 0.33
Computer self-efficacy All - 0.41

https://www.quora.com/What-do-scientists-think-about-the-biological-claims-made-in-the-document-about-diversity-written-by-a-Google-employee-in-August-2017/answer/Tom-Musgrove

  Note however that most of his references in his paper weren't to the literature, but popular discussions of the research - which is appropriate given his target audience.

He wasn't "corrected" he was pilloried and wrongfully attacked, and willfully mischaracterized.

Also his proposed actions were quite rational.

16
General Comments / Re: The Chamber of Tube
« on: June 01, 2018, 12:43:24 PM »
Grant,

search for 'black lives matter' instead of BLM and you might get dramatically different results (for me it certainly did) - perhaps critics are more likely to use only the abbreviation.   I get the same skewed results for BLM and I don't watch youtube commentary videos, and my reading history is mostly mainstream.

Also I just checked via an anonymous proxy server and it gives roughly the same results for BLM, so I don't think your search history is skewing the results.

17
The reason Trump is constantly making these false accusations is so that his base will ignore them.  He straight up told this to interviewers.

Quote
“I said, ‘You know, that is getting tired. Why are you doing this?” Stahl recalled at a Deadline Club journalism awards dinner Monday night in New York City.

“And he said, ‘You know why I do it? I do it to discredit you all and demean you all so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you,'” Stahl recalled.

https://people.com/politics/donald-trump-60-minutes-lesley-stahl-attacks-press/

So he knows what the news says is true, but he also know many of his supporters believe him regardless of reality.

18
Pretty sure both sets of family members who brought suit already negotiated settlements not long after the incident took place.  The first settlement was within a week or so, not sure when they other settled.

19
General Comments / Re: Brave vs Stupid
« on: May 23, 2018, 09:53:00 PM »
That made me think of a quote from Sherlock,

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Mycroft: Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity, don’t you think?

20
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: May 16, 2018, 07:15:48 PM »
LR, it seems that the Starbucks was in the Center City neighborhood of Philly (at least the account I read said so), which is a pretty busy neighborhood, with a 15% black population (potentially more commuting into or through).  It would seem very odd for a manager to approach two black men withing 120 seconds of entering into the store, when one would expect that many black men come in every day.

Seriati, as I said the 2 minutes was a speculation by an interviewer that has become the popular narrative.  There hasn't been a definitive source on the amount of time between them entering and the manager calling the police.  The only stuff we have a definitive time on is the 911 call and onwards.  I think the '2 minutes' was assumed because they said they were planning to be there '10 minutes early' for their meeting.

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Not saying it didn't happen that way, cause no way to know, just seems like a very convenient chronology, almost like there are some details missing that would explain why the manager would react so quickly.

There are any number of scenarios that both parties could be acting in good faith.  Even with a 2 minute timeline, the manager might have thought they were someone else who had been there for awhile.  Or the men could have not realized the amount of time, etc.

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If it were just racism, would expect a dozen calls a day, wouldn't we?

Not necessarily, but I would have thought that there would be more evidence of past events involving black patrons than we have, or something damning in her social media.

21
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: May 16, 2018, 05:27:54 PM »
The settlement with the city of Philadelphia was for 1$ each (and the city will set up a 200,000$ entrepreneurial fund for young entrepreneurs), and there likely wasn't a possible successful claim against the police.  The settlement with Starbucks was never disclosed (they will be mentored by the Starbucks CEO, but no terms have been mentioned that I'm aware of - just that it was an 'undisclosed sum and free college tuition').

Crunch,

the timeline appears to be that one of the gentlemen went directly to sit and one went to ask to use the bathroom upon arrival (though that is a bit fuzzy).  Then after refusal he went and sat, then at some point the manager came to their table and asked if they wanted anything (water, coffee, etc.) they said no (they had brought waters - it isn't clear if they said 'no we brought waters' or if the water explanation was to the interviewer and not told to the manager).  Then at that time they don't mention getting asked to leave.  The 911 call suggests that they were asked to leave, but there isn't any eyewitness accounts confirming.  The interviewer suggested that the 911 call happened "2 minutes" after they arrived (this wasn't actually stated by the men - so we don't actually know the timeline).

They police happened to be close by and arrived within about 5 minutes of the call.  They then tried to convince the men to leave for about 10 minutes, at which point they were arrested.

So it is possible it was an extremely short timeline (2 minutes before the call; 5 more minutes to police arrival, and 10 minutes to arrest - so 17 minutes or less between arrival and arrest)

22
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: May 13, 2018, 07:44:41 PM »
More on the Starbucks manager,

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The data, taken from the tracking of police 911 call logs, reveal 69 police responses to calls placed from the Starbucks to police during a roughly 27-month period from January 2016 to April 18, 2018.

[...]

Of the 69 calls, just one other call, placed on Jan. 4, 2018, resulted in an arrest.

[...]

In all of 2016 there were just 11 called placed to police; just two of them were for “disorderly crowds.” However, 2017 saw the police called 41 times in total.

[...]

However, an alarming 28 of those calls identified by the logs as “disorderly crowds” were placed during 2017.

[...]

Cash told The Tribune she never “thought of Holly as racist,” until Hylton called police on Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson.


http://www.phillytrib.com/news/uptick-in-calls-for-starbucks-manager/article_d669ba90-9d83-5734-a65d-3df4717a7513.html

The author speculates it the uptick occurred with her promotion, but it appears that the timing corresponds with the change in policy regarding loitering.  The former (black) barista (Cash) never noted any racist behavior by Holly during her employment (reporting on Cash seems inconsistent though - she was demoted by Holly and and another article claimed she thought it was because Holly was a racist. Cash said she quit working for Starbucks when her hours were continuously cut at a different Starbucks but she also describes herself as an excellent employee).

If any of those other 'disorderly' calls had been regarding African American's especially a significant percentage - I would think there would have been widespread news reports on it, given the amount of investigative reporting and the monetary incentive for anyone who had previously had this happen to them.

23
Pixel Buds Translate worked well for some,

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In several conversations in different environments—a noisy day-care center, a quiet salon, and a shop with loud music playing—the Pixel Buds’ language feature worked very much as advertised. It was easy to get started by holding a finger to the right earbud, which is a touchpad, and saying—for instance—“Help me speak Hindi” before handing over the phone. My conversation partners were impressed with the accuracy of the translations. While it wasn’t like using a human translator, the Pixel Buds and handset did work together quickly and smoothly, for the most part.

The system screwed up occasionally. Several times Google Translate cut off sentences prematurely while one of us was still speaking, and in two confusing exchanges it converted my English to Spanish rather than Indonesian or Hindi, even though we were already in the midst of conversations with the latter two languages. Still, a few blips seemed like no big deal, and the sound quality was great.

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609470/googles-pixel-buds-translate-a-great-idea-into-horrible-design/

24
Yeah, sure. But was it armed with knowledge about the restaurant in question? Did it have specific voice input gathered from there? Was there a google home in the restaurant?

Pretty sure the answer to all of those is no.

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Still a relatively limited set of scenarios and vocabulary, with potential rules like "some restaurants take reservations, some do not, and some are limited to table size" that can help navigate the discussion. Too bad they are not making the corpus available. :)

I'd be surprised if they require restraunt specific knowledge.  The primary purpose of this software is likely to gather that information (it likely wasn't initially targeted as an assistant, but rather to gather the needed data for google maps, and the assistant is simply a bonus).

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I like the little touches, like adding verbal fillers like Ums and Ahs.

Those are part of the Wavenet speech synthesis module.

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I wonder how long it takes for this technology to be deployed for telemarketing and fundraising, not to mention bill collection!

Far less sophisticated versions from telemarketers that are just plain queries with scripted responses already exist - similar to what is used for "Sophia".

Something as sophisticated as Duplex probably requires google scale data and hardware.

25
Here is another call,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijwHj2HaOT0

Here is more info on the system

https://ai.googleblog.com/2018/05/duplex-ai-system-for-natural-conversation.html

TheDrake,

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It is cool, but don't you wonder how many calls they made before they got the video? And if it was tuned very specifically to the test case?

Apparently not a special case that is typical performance.  Did you hear the conversation with the Chinese restaurant?  It clearly can't be special cased to handle that type of conversation.

They are rolling it out this summer,

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This summer, we’ll start testing the Duplex technology within the Google Assistant, to help users make restaurant reservations, schedule hair salon appointments, and get holiday hours over the phone.

26
This is really impressive, the AI makes a phone call, sets an appointment answers questions about relevant details, offers alternatives, etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKVppdt_-B4

Here is a more complete video that shows a second example (at 3 minutes) with lots of unexpected replies and someone with a poor master of english from a restaurant owner and it handles it gracefully.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5VN56jQMWM

While it is a narrow domain, this seems essentially passing the turing test.

27
Russian government hackers (same group that targeted Podestra) posed as ISIS threatening military wives and their familes.

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"Dear Angela!" the Facebook message read. "Bloody Valentine's Day!"

"We know everything about you, your husband and your children," the message continued, claiming that the hackers operating under the flag of Islamic State militants had penetrated her computer and her phone. "We're much closer than you can even imagine."

Ricketts was one of five military wives who received death threats from the self-styled CyberCaliphate on the morning of Feb. 10, 2015. The warnings led to days of anguished media coverage of Islamic State militants' online reach.

Except it wasn't IS.

The Associated Press has found evidence that the women were targeted not by jihadists but by the same Russian hacking group that intervened in the American election and exposed the emails of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta.

https://www.stripes.com/news/us/russians-posed-as-isis-hackers-threatened-us-military-wives-1.525869

28
The ars story is remarkably poor quality for Timothy.

The actual report focused on the autosteer and showed a 40% reduction in accidents so his claim that we can't attributed the safety improvement to autosteer is bizarre - it says we can right in the report.  The automatic braking has been in all of the Tesla's so we know it wasn't responsible for the reduction in airbag deployments and yet Timothy is attributing the reduction the the automatic braking.

What the new claim by NHTSA is saying is that they having examined the entire autopilot system (which is true) therefore Tesla's claim that NHTSA has said autopilot improves safety is incorrect.

However, autosteer was the only part of the system that anyone had any questions about whether Tesla's are safer with or without it.  Everything else is obvious that they reduce accidents.

29
General Comments / Re: Trump just won the 2020 election
« on: May 03, 2018, 06:58:03 PM »
Florida oranges was so well branded, that they couldn't keep up with demand, so they changed the law to allow any orange that had sat in Florida for a certain amount of time to be labeled a "Florida orange".  So they would be grown elsewhere, shipped to Florida, and then shipped to their destination.


Regarding the Parmesan cheese - the wood pulp/cellulose is an 'anti-caking agent'.  It isn't clear how much they use (the bare minimum to prevent caking?)  I'm curious how much of the weight of the finished product is the cellulose.

30
General Comments / Re: Trump just won the 2020 election
« on: May 03, 2018, 12:17:34 PM »
Effectively, Europeans are asserting a perpetual right to treat as a "tradename" the name for what have become globalized standard products, that originally were named after a European region (like for example Champagne).

In the US there aren't any cheese producers that age the cheese long enough to be legally Parmesan, or follow other rules such as milk quality, ingredients, inspection, etc.

That said why should regions not have protection for their tradenames?  How are producers of other sparkling wines harmed by not being able to trade off of the hard work that the Champagne region did to establish their reputation for quality sparking wines, or the Parmesan region did for their cheese?  I don't see any reason other cheese or wine producers should be able to trade off of the reputation established by others.  Do you think a foreign vehicle makers are harmed by having to establish their own vehicle brand reputations rather than trade off those established by Ford, Chevy, etc?

I think Craft and other American producers damages the reputation of Parmesan cheese manufacturers by being allowed to call their cheese topping Parmesan.

See this discussion why most American "Parmesan" cheeses are nothing at all like the real thing.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/08/best-parmesan-cheese-parmigiano-reggiano-labeling.html

31
General Comments / Re: Hoping for a Muslim
« on: April 25, 2018, 12:06:59 PM »
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Not sure how that could be the case, if it was national media theme to deride the idea that armed teachers could make a difference.

Armed teachers are a dangerous and stupid idea.  One of the first 'armed teachers' - forgot his gun in restroom and ended up with someone finding it and shooting it.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/article208653029.html

And another older instance of the same

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cops-teacher-left-gun-in-bathroom-elementary-kids-found-it/

Another teacher accidentally discharged a gun and injured a student.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/03/14/teacher-accidentally-discharges-firearm-in-calif-classroom-he-was-trained-in-gun-use/

If you can find people with extremely advanced weapons and tactics training (ex-SWAT, etc.) then that might be reasonable.

Simple inference suggests that the number of children shot and killed with guns would likely drastically increase if we were to widely arm normal teachers.

Quote
Honestly, how can deriding an idea as crazy be newsworthy in the absence of actual information on whether it works (like a know nothing argument) and instances of close analogy showing its plausible not be interesting?

If the teachers people were planning to arm were all were ex SWAT - you would have a point.  However the arming proposals are for random teachers, not ex SWAT members, so the behavior of an ex SWAT member isn't really relevant to the discussion.

32
General Comments / Re: Hoping for a Muslim
« on: April 25, 2018, 11:32:17 AM »
Or the fact that there is no evidence that it was intended to be a 'mass shooting' - it gives every sign of being a targeted shooting.  People seem to mistakenly think that any shooting at a school must be a mass shooting.  Shooting an ex-girlfriend and especially continuing to chase her after shooting is almost certainly a targeted shooting - especially when the weapon used was a handgun and there is no evidence of a plan, etc. beyond shooting her.

33
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 22, 2018, 01:47:00 PM »
The previous development was that the 'police were called two minutes after they arrived'.

Now two new developments,

Quote
Robinson said that after Nelson got back to the table, the manager came over to their table to ask if she could help with any drinks or water. Robinson said they had water bottles with them and were waiting for a meeting.

[...]

A Starbucks spokesperson, Jaime Riley, told The Washington Post on Wednesday that “in this particular store, the guidelines were that partners must ask unpaying customers to leave the store, and police were to be called if they refused.”

“In this situation,” Riley said, “the police should never have been called. And we know we have to review the practices and guidelines to help ensure it never happens again.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/news/business/wp/2018/04/19/they-cant-be-here-for-us-black-men-arrested-at-starbucks-tell-their-story-for-the-first-time/

We have clear contradiction from claims that they 'intended to order something" when the other party arrived - they brought waters with them.

We also have official confirmation that their was a no loitering policy at this Starbucks and to call the police if people refused to order and refused to leave.

34
General Comments / OSC is on Quora
« on: April 22, 2018, 10:53:57 AM »
Looks like he has been here for a number of months now.  Browsing his answers - mostly one off paragraphs without much substance but the occassional interesting answer.

https://www.quora.com/profile/Orson-Scott-Card-1

35

Quote
Cohen abandoned the suits late Wednesday as he continues to fight to recover documents and electronic files seized from his home, office and hotel room last week by federal authorities as part of what appears to be a broad criminal investigation into his conduct.

"The decision to voluntarily discontinue these cases was a difficult one," Cohen's attorney David Schwartz said. "We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen’s rights was — and still remains — important. But given the events that have unfolded, and the time, attention, and resources needed to prosecute these matters, we have dismissed the matters, despite their merits."

https://www.politico.com/amp/story/2018/04/19/michael-cohen-drops-buzzfeed-fusion-lawsuit-537327

If the documents seized prove that he did go to Prague, what would be the consequences had he continued the suits?

36
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 19, 2018, 11:36:42 AM »
As more details come to light - I'm leaning more toward that the manager acted inappropriately or at least prematurely - though not necessarily racist. The amount of time they were there is apparently far shorter than initial reports indicated (in an interview they say two minutes).

Will post more links shortly.

37
I really like this, when a news article is linked at reddit,

They have  bot that gives a list of other links to articles by other news outlets about the same story (so you can see how the headlines are reporting the same story differently, etc.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/8d1kx0/starbucks_closing_nationwide_on_may_29th/

38
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 19, 2018, 01:36:22 AM »
Something else I thought of.

My understanding (which could be mistaken) is that it was two other barista's who requested that they order something or leave.  When the men refused to do so, the barista's said they would call the police.  The manager simply relayed to the police that they refused to leave.

So was the barista who made the request that they order something to use the bathroom racist? The one who said if they didn't order something they would have to leave? The person who called the police because they refused to leave?

Does the fact that the manager had been chased change by previous individuals who had been asked to leave change your view of her calling the police?

Would it matter to you if the barista's were black?

39
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 10:18:24 PM »
So now we learn yet more details.

Quote
Holly, who managed the 18th and Spruce Street location for a year before leaving the company, told AppleNews.com on Saturday that she'd had problems with loiterers and one had even chased her round the shop after she asked them to leave.

The manager blamed what she claimed was a corporate policy at City Center Philadelphia locations which prohibits excessive loitering in their stores.

She told the news outlet that management has the discretion to ensure the policy is enforced - even if that means calling in the cops. She also revealed that she doesn't even tell the customers when she's calling the police.

However the other employees had said that they would call the police,

Quote
When the call was initially made the Starbucks employees had told the males that they were going to call the police and they said go ahead and call the police we don't care. So the police get there and they are confronted with the same type of attitude. They repeatedly told that they were not leaving. In fact, there's some alleged rhetoric about 'you don't know what you're doing, you're only a $45,000 a year employee' or something to that regard.

https://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/8cysu4/starbucks_will_close_8000_us_stores_may_29_for/dxixmyn/

So they insulted the policemens income when they were asked to leave.

40
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 09:41:10 PM »
So two other recent post by Starbucks employees on reddit.  Basically confirming the DM policy.

Quote
It isn't fair that district tells us to enforce certain policies, like staying in the cafe for only a certain amount of time or having a bathroom code, without a sign to back us up. McDonald's has signs, Dunkin Donuts has signs, why can't we? This is why a lot of customers become hostile when we try to enforce them because it makes it seem like we're picking on them specifically versus it being an actual location rule.

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/8d6gyq/starbucks_you_need_signs/

Quote
My store is a downtown one that frequently kicks people out of the lobby and we have bathroom codes that we change 2-8 times a day. Since the Philly incident, my SM was told: we HAVE to give out the bathroom code to anyone who asks ("assume best intent"), we HAVE to allow people to film us (cause what's consent anyway?), and we HAVE to wait at least 20 minutes before kicking someone out. The latter part wouldn't be so bad if we had a lot of seating, but we don't, so I have to allow non-customers to take up multiple spots while paying customers leave because there's nowhere to sit. I was in a pissy mood all day and I'm already so fed up with my store as is.

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/8d4qso/all_the_bad_news_i_was_told_today/

41
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 05:22:41 PM »

Yes, ineligible, fraudulent and illegal voters.  Particularly the more recent policies have had adequate protections to ensure that eligible voters are not disenfranchised.

Oh really?

Quote
The federal court in Richmond found that the primary purpose of North Carolina’s wasn’t to stop voter fraud, but rather to disenfranchise minority voters. The judges found that the provisions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”…
In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. “This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” the judges wrote.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/29/the-smoking-gun-proving-north-carolina-republicans-tried-to-disenfranchise-black-voters/

42
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 04:58:21 PM »
IOW, the people singled out by this policy most likely will be those of a certain economic status and possibly certain races.  Not exclusively, mind you, but mostly.  Generally.  Most of the time.

All indications are that the bathroom policy was to target homeless people shooting heroine in the bathroom and generally destroying the bathrooms (including things like smearing feces on the walls; plugging the toilets; doing 'bathroom showers' etc).  To a lesser degree it was to discourage people from just stopping in to use the bathroom at busy locations (such as next to train stations).

The loitering policy was mostly meant to target people hanging out all day taking up tables and taking out computer outlets (some starbucks simply removed all of the outlets).

Quote
It's like crack cocaine having stiffer penalties than powered cocaine.  Not really racist, except for the fact that crack was used primarily by minorities while powered was used primarily by whites.

The penalties for crack were specifically set higher at the request of the congressional Black Caucus because black constituents were concerned about sales of the drug (and the cultural changes that went with it) in their neighborhoods.

Quote
Or voter ID laws which just happen to affect minorities far more than whites.

Voter ID laws are deliberately targeted to disenfranchise specific groups of voters.

Quote
Closely examining a single case of either won't get you the big picture of how the laws affect the community, nor explain the reaction of the community to a single case.  Because it is a reaction to all the incidents before, not to that particular incident.

I can't think of any reason Starbucks could expect a no loitering policy to disproportionately impact African Americans.

43
General Comments / Justice and murder by the mentally ill
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:22:19 PM »
On facebook, a relative posted a story that a woman who killed her child and then attempted suicide is being sentenced to life (someone apparently the various people commenting had known).  There were a number of comments by people that they were glad that 'justice' had occurred for the child.

To me the word justice in this context seems entirely wrong.

44
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:08:59 PM »
Okay, we now have a recording of the call made by the manager and the communication by the police.  The manager calls and says two men are refusing to order and refusing to leave (note that no mention of ethnicity is made by the starbucks supervisor or police).

http://6abc.com/listen-philly-police-release-call-from-starbucks-employee/3357184/


45
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 01:56:12 PM »
LetterRip, I do think you should rethink the 'not Rosa Parks' comment.  To me these guys would be exactly like Rosa if they refused to comply in the face of an actual racist enforcement of the policy.

Good point, I fully agree.

I think the reporters have been extremely lazy and prejudged the incident.  I think it is possible there was racism - but the fact that there was a District Manager policy regarding this; the fact that the Starbucks statement has been "there is no company wide policy" and neglecting that they had district level policies and implied it was a store policy - it looks to me like someone was following the district policy and is getting thrown to the wolves (though I suspect Starbucks likely paid them to go away quietly).

46
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 01:05:18 PM »
There are many, many people who think her observation, and her paraphrasing of another customer's statement, are credible.

There are many people who believe in that tarot cards and horoscopes can be used to predict the future.  Public predisposition to believe something doesn't provide any insight into credibility.

 
Quote
And on its face, there is little in the article presented to refute her statement.

She made two statements that were contradicted by other evidence.  She said the police asked them to leave and then began moving chairs.  It wasn't till the third time that they refused to leave that the chairs were moved.  She said that the manager hadn't said anything to them.  They were told that they had to order something or leave.  So she either has abnormally high observation skills in some aspects that she would have no reason to; followed by extremely poor observation skills for important details - or she isn't credible.

Quote
That is not to say that a more thorough reporter would not have looked for other, conflicting witness statements. Regardless, you are once again in a position of claiming that something is not evidence because you feel it is not credible.

Incorrect.  She isn't credible due to her evidence contradicting known evidence; that her claimed observations are extremely suspect based on both the required amount of observation (she observed multiple white people use the bathroom without purchase; she observed the african american gentlemen for half an hour before the police showed up to know that the manager didn't interact with them to inform them they were trespassing) and it would be a fireable policy violation among other factors; and that she is an anonymous witness.

47
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 10:42:38 AM »
Evidence doesn't become not evidence just because you do not believe it.

When people say 'evidence' in this context - it means 'credible evidence'.

My dog says that he watched the whole thing and he directly contradicts everything Lauren said.  So you obviously accept that as 'evidence' that Lauren is a liar - right?  Nope, because you knew that we were both talking about credible evidence.

Hearsay isn't credible evidence, and double hearsay of an anonymous witness especially isn't credible evidence.

48
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 09:51:39 PM »
Yes, you have mentioned a policy that has been, at different times and in other places, been enforced against different people.

And I've provided evidence that it was a district wide policy for that location. It was also a firing offense for failing to enforce it.

Quote
But that does not make the "Lauren" evidence disappear.  And the "Lauren" evidence if of unequal treatment in that specific Starbucks at that specific time.

Hearsay doesn't qualify as evidence.  If a woman comes forward and claims that she had used that bathroom without purchase on that day, then we can call it evidence.  Also, even then it wouldn't necessarily be racial discrimination, but could also be just gender discrimination.

Quote
Whether they are Rosa Parks is immaterial to your mistake.

No mistake was made, we just have different thresholds for what qualifies as evidence.  Hearsay of something that contradicts store policy of something that seems absurd that they would have been in a position to know or would have reason to observe isn't something that would be accepted as evidence by any reasonable person.

49
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 02:32:37 PM »
DonaldD,

Quote
This is not true.  There is evidence, you just don't find it persuasive - which is fine.  But that does not make the evidence disappear.

I've provided evidence that

1) This was standard policy and there were clear signs announcing this policy at that Starbucks
2) It was enforced against rich white women, police, and every other demographic
3) That the policy was only enforced against them once they tried to use the bathroom and refused to order anything
4) That they disobeyed a lawful order numerous times before backup were called and they were arrested

So yes, there is evidence of uneven treatment - but it is the opposite direction.  A non-black individual would have had far less patience exhibited when they were told that they were trespassing and needed to leave - they wouldn't have been requested five times - after not complying with the police the first time they would be arrested for trespassing and would have charges filed for failure to obey a lawful order.

These gentlemen are not Rosa Parks.

50
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 02:23:26 PM »
What I want to know is if the employee was charged for improper use of 911?

What evidence is there that they called 911 rather than the police dispatch number?

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