Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Belief Network

Model helps explore how changing certainty in belief of one statement can lead to changings belief in truth of others
Oct 2016,

"Changing the degree of certainty a person holds for a given belief can lead to changes in beliefs about other things that a person believes to be true.

Some beliefs provide a kind of resistance that inhibits or defends against other beliefs from 'getting in.'

"Believing that we humans, for example, are too insignificant compared to the rest of the world to be able to cause something as impressive as global warming would make it very difficult to accept the idea regardless of the evidence."

I doubt it works for Cotards however (where you think you're dead).

[and furthermore...]

Environmental messages that promote a return to a positive past found to be more effective in convincing conservatives
Dec 2016,


Truth, Belief and Society
Network Address, 2012

"Truth butters no parsnips and legitimates no social arrangements. There are at least 2 reasons for this. One is the failure of genuine knowledge to be subservient. The second is that publicly accessible truth fails to separate members of a community from non-members." (p272)

Plough, Sword and Book
Ernest Gellner
U. of Chicago Press


This image is an illustration by John Tenniel for Alice in Wonderland, and is noted for its ambiguous central figure, whose head can be viewed as being a human male's face with a pointed nose and protruding chin or being the head end of an actual caterpillar, with two "true" legs visible. It has nothing to do with this post really, I was just thinking "cool ass caterpillar picture."

Graphene is the world's first two-dimensional material (is it the universe's first...?), because it is one-atom thick, and which sucks because I can't tell my art students that there is no such thing as two dimenional things like circles and squares. I mean technically, graphene is still 3-D, because it's third dimension is as thick as a carbon atom (about 0.3 nanometers), but because no-thing is smaller than the atom-scale, then we can get away with calling it 2-D.

Graphene is a wonder material, and it will change the world "in the same way plastics did," says the guy in this article below. Thing is, it's hard to make. Like quantum computing is great and all, but a qubit is really hard to make. Anyway, that's a bit different now with this headline:

For super-strong silk threads, feed graphene to silkworms

Researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing fed the one-atom-thick, tremendously tough material to silkworms in one of the first applications of graphene that could become mainstream.

Christian Science Monitor, Oct 2016

The Poison Is In the Dose

"Every time we turn on a light, we are inadvertently taking a drug that affects how we sleep." (p.304)
-Chronobiologist Charles A. Czeisler

(I forgot to note this, but I think it's written circa 1800?)

At Day's Close: Night in Times Past. A. Roger Ekirch. Norton, New York: 2005.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Still Awaiting Omniscience

global-monitoring systems:

"In new research published Thursday in the journal Science, Northeastern network scientist David Lazer and his colleagues analyzed the effectiveness of four global-scale databases and found they are falling short when tested for reliability and validity.

The fully automated systems studied were the International Crisis Early Warning System, or ICEWS, maintained by Lockheed Martin, and Global Data on Events Language and Tone, or GDELT, developed and run out of Georgetown University. The others were the hand-coded Gold Standard Report, or GSR, generated by the nonprofit MITRE Corp., and the Social, Political, and Economic Event Database, or SPEED, at the University of Illinois, which uses both human and automated coding.

"It's so easy for us as humans to read something and know what it means," says Lazer. "That's not so for a set of computational rules."

The authors suggest that reliable data-tracking systems can be used to build models that anticipate the escalation of conflicts, forecast the progression of epidemics, or trace the effect of global warming on the ecosystem."

Using Big Data to monitor societal events shows promise, but the coding tech needs work, Oct 2016

image source

Botnet Meatnet Wetnet Nextnet

And Hairnet

Just keeping track here:

Army of webcams used in net attacks
BBC News, Sep 2016

One of the biggest ever web attacks - in which more than one terabit of data was fired at a website to knock it offline - has been reported.

Web hosting company OVH said it had been attacked by a botnet (zombie army) of hacked devices such as webcams.

The previous largest attack was thought to be one on security expert Brian Krebs' website which hit 620Gbps (gigabits per second).

And Here:

What We Know About Friday's Massive East Coast Internet Outage
Wired, Oct 2016

...distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard...aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire...Dyn’s Internet directory servers were stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system...“very sophisticated and complex attack.”  ...infects Internet of Things devices (webcams, DVRs, routers, etc.) all over the world... Once infected, those Internet-connected devices become part of a botnet army, driving malicious traffic toward a given target.

image source

Origami Supreme

Sounds to me like the thing that DNA does:

Programmable Shape Shifting Materials

Previous shape-shifting materials have needed some external trigger to tell them to transform, like light or heat.

Now, a US-based team has encoded a sequence of shape transformations into the very substance of a polymer, with each change occurring at a pre-determined time.

Materials programmed to shape shift
BBC News, Sep 2016

Let Them Play

The news about DeepMind never stops. Yes, we're teaching it to teach itself, by letting it play video games. So we missed the dystopian mark, because at least they're not using straight television.

Once this intelligentity starts playing Second Life, will that be even better?

DeepMind AI to play videogame to learn about world
BBC, Nov 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Fake It til You Make It

Bordo - Chinese Graffiti

It sounds like what they're saying here is that people don't want science, they want bad science. I should rephrase - money doesn't want good science, but people do. Social science in particular, is in a bit of a pickle these days (see the replication crisis).

This also sounds a lot like the word of the year for 2016, post-truth, related to 'truthiness' and referencing a world where emotional reaction has more traction that cold hard facts. This is something we've always known, albeit at times in our cultural unconscious. We make things that fight this, I'm sure people like Bejamin Franklin, newspaper editor, had something to say about it. But our defenses have been lacking, and could use a rethink.

Here from The Guardian:

Smaldino cites an experiment by the American psychologist Daryl Bem, who purported to show that undergraduates could predict the future and published the result in a prestigious journal.

"What he found was the equivalent of flipping a bunch of pennies, nickels, and quarters, asking students to guess heads or tails each time, and then reporting that psychic abilities exist for pennies, but not nickels and quarters, because the students were right 53% of the time for the pennies, rather than the expected 50%. It’s insane,” said Smaldino. “Bem used exactly the same standards of evidence that all social psychologists were using to evaluate their findings. And if those standards allowed this ridiculous a hypothesis to make the cut, imagine what else was getting through.”

Cut-throat academia leads to 'natural selection of bad science', claims study
The Guardian, Sep 2016

The Co-Citation Network vs The Journal Impact Factor

There's more than one way to measure the influence of a scientific paper. An alternative, the Relative Citation Ratio, is better for interdisciplinary research and fields with low citations.

From the National Institute of Health's Office of Portfolio Analysis via --

The co-citation network is formed from the reference lists of articles that cite the article in question. For example, if Article X is cited by Article A, Article B, and Article C, then the co-citation network of Article X would contain all the articles from the reference lists of Articles A, B, and C. Comparing the citation rate of Article X to the citation rate in the co-citation network allows each article to create its own individualized field.
Dr. Stefano Bertuzzi, Executive Director of the American Society for Microbiology, says in a blog post that RCR [Relative Citation Ratio] "evaluates science by putting discoveries into a meaningful context. I believe that RCR is a road out of the JIF [Journal Impact Factor] swamp."
One of the primary criticisms raised against RCR is that, due to the field normalization method, it could undervalue inter-disciplinary work, especially for researchers who work in fields with low citation practices. The authors investigated this possibility, but find little evidence in their analyses that inter-disciplinary work is penalized by RCR calculation.

Credit: Ian Hutchins and George Santangelo

Relative Citation Ratio: Scientists publish new metric to measure the influence of scientific research, Sep 2016


Patterns are everywhere, and now recognition is more popular than it's ever been. The performance of pattern recognition has been relegated to the domain of the living, the wetware among us. But advances in biocomputing, organic computing, neural-interfaced prosthetics, semibots, synthetic life, artificially intelligent unsupervised learning entitites, etc. have blurred the line of what we consider to be alive, and can be intelligent. Squishy robots they're called here --

From University of Pittsburgh's Swanson School of Engineering, via

Dr. Yashin said that patients recovering from a hand injury could wear a glove that monitors movement, and can inform doctors whether the hand is healing properly or if the patient has improved mobility.

Another use would be to monitor individuals at risk for early onset Alzheimer's, by wearing footwear that would analyze gait and compare results against normal movements, or a garment that monitors cardiovascular activity for people at risk of heart disease or stroke.

Research into 'materials that compute' advances as engineers demonstrate system performs pattern recognition, Sep 2016