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Motorola Razr
at 10:25 15 Nov 2019

Takes one back - the new version looks pretty cool actually:

https://www.motorola.co.uk/smartphones-razr/?utm_source=crm&utm_medium=email&utm

SB
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I find this a rather depressing study
at 09:25 12 Nov 2019

The study from the University of Texas in Austin shows what I think most of us already suspect from spending any time online or even on this forum:

https://news.utexas.edu/2019/11/05/fake-news-isnt-easy-to-spot-on-facebook-accor

Basically the students continued to believe news stories which aligned with their pre-exsisting beliefs even when they were clearly marked as being fake. This is worrying given they "should" be better at evaluation sources than the general public at large.

Some interesting bits:

"As they worked through the exercise, the participants spent more time and showed significantly more activity in their frontal cortices — the brain area associated with arousal, memory access and consciousness — when headlines supported their beliefs but were flagged as false. These reactions of discomfort indicated cognitive dissonance when headlines supporting their beliefs were marked as untrue.

But this dissonance was not enough to make participants change their minds. They overwhelmingly said that headlines conforming with their preexisting beliefs were true, regardless of whether they were flagged as potentially fake. The flag did not change their initial response to the headline, even if it did make them pause a moment longer and study it a bit more carefully.

Political affiliation made no difference in their ability to determine what was true or false"


A good summary:

“The fact that social media perpetuates and feeds this bias complicates people’s ability to make evidence-based decisions,” she said. “But if the facts that you do have are polluted by fake news that you truly believe, then the decisions you make are going to be much worse.”

SB
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Use your skills for free hotel stays
at 15:56 11 Nov 2019

This might appeal to some on here - hotels that require some skills post what they need, you provide them and get a free stay.

Something for everyone I am sure - even a potential spa break in Sri Lanka for callis:

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2019/nov/07/hotels-provide-free-stays-in-exch

https://www.barterweek.com/en/

SB
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Interesting proposals for the shipping industry
at 11:07 11 Nov 2019

So changing the entire merchant fleet is going to take decades and there doesn't seem to be an agreed way to make a more environmentally container vessel at the moment.

The last round of regulations were enacted to cut air pollution but rather than reduce the emissions devices were fitted to send the emissions into the sea rather than the air:

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/shipping-pollution-sea-open-loop-scrub

Given that and the fact that it's unrealistic to change the entire fleet in any reasonable time these proposals seem rather good:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50348321

Basically it's a call for a 20% reduction in the speed of shipping.

"The report found that cutting ship speed by 20% would cut sulphur and nitrogen oxides by around 24%. There are also significant reductions in black carbon, which are tiny black particles contained in the smoke from ship exhausts."

"This speed limit would cut underwater noise by 66% and reduce the chances of whale collisions by 78%."

"What gives campaigners hope is that shipping has already tried out the concept of going slow - back in 2008, during the global financial crisis, cargo ships slowed down to cut costs. With average speeds dropping by 12% this helped cut daily fuel consumption by 27%, which equated to a significant drop in emissions."


Given the ease at which this could be implemented and the fact that waiting 20% longer to ship slow goods isn't really a huge deal it's an interesting proposal.

Would be interested to see what mariners think - perhaps Newcy will be around later.

SB


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Some more interesting AI results
at 10:34 11 Nov 2019

In this study the AI was able to determine if people had a chance of dying within a year by looking at their ECGs even when doctors thought they were normal:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2222907-ai-can-predict-if-youll-die-soon-bu

The issue here as with many AI results is that we have no idea how it's come to these conclusions even though they seem to be correct. This is the next big step - getting the AI to be able to explain to humans how it's reached the conclusion. Until that's possible they are black-boxes in which information goes in and comes out but we have no idea how the conclusion is reached. That could lead to issues in the longer term.

SB
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The tiger next door
at 09:04 10 Nov 2019

I find this both astonishing and deeply sad:

"There are more tigers in American gardens than there are left in the wild."

"According to the US Fish & Wildlife Service, there are between 3,200 and 3,500 tigers remaining in the wild globally. By some estimates there are 5,000 in captivity in the US, though there might be more."


https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/nov/10/the-tiger-next-door-americas-back

It's just a really sad article.

SB
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US presidental race could be about to get interesting
at 07:30 8 Nov 2019

Bloomberg is seriously considering entering the race next week as a democratic candidate.

Liberal views with vast wealth (53bn at the last count) to compete against Trump. Also very much for gun control and funds many gun control campaigns. Certainly a fair number of critics as well though for various gentrification projects.

Possibly can't win but changes the dynamic quite a lot given Trumps insistence on boasting about wealth and being successful. Bloomberg is genuinely successful.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/nov/07/michael-bloomberg-2020-election-

As an aside, why are so many presidential candidates so old? Bloomberg is 77.

SB
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Politics in Bolivia seems even worse than here
at 16:30 7 Nov 2019

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-50332167

SB
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11m Brazilians believe the Earth is flat
at 14:20 6 Nov 2019

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/06/brazil-flat-earth-conference-terra

Worrying times summed up rather excellently by a Brazilian professor:

“The internet gives a voice to these idiots”

Never a truer word spoken.

This is a new one on me, how can anyone take someone who says this seriously:

"Carvalho – who has also claimed Pepsi was sweetened with aborted foetuses"

Not surprisingly he's an acquaintance of Bannon.

SB
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This seems quite an odd stance to me
at 10:36 6 Nov 2019

XR protesters have said all along they are willing and even ready to be arrested so why would they want to sue the Met for false imprisonment?

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/nov/06/police-ban-on-extinction-reb

Surely that's just taking money away from important things the Met needs to do - given their push for social responsibility it seems rather self-defeating.

They have won the ruling which will be important going forward.

SB
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Untitled Goose Game
at 08:46 1 Nov 2019

Got shown this last night, it's bonkers. Essentially you are a goose and you spend your time trolling the population of a small village:



An excellent metaphor for our times perhaps.

SB
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Measles isn't that bad.....
at 20:02 31 Oct 2019

That's an argument that has been used before against vaccinations.

Seems they might be wrong on that as well:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50251259

SB
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Musings on social media
at 08:57 31 Oct 2019

I was listening to an interview on Today this morning on the banning of political adverts on Twitter. The person on there was hugely invested literally spewing confirmation bias with regards to political adverts on Facebook (which he wanted to keep) but something interesting did come up in debate:

A public owned social media platform.

I can see the obvious faults with the idea but upon reflection (and assuming it's not too late as FB have cornered the market) perhaps it could work. It would need to be fully independent of the government but would be tasked with ensuring content could be "blue ticked" as being accurate and from the person or organisation claimed.

Now obviously if the separation of government and organisation wasn't airtight then there is vast scope for abuse but given Facebook is already abused is that a reason to discount it?

I am fully aware that such an entity would cost an awful lot to setup and run but as a thought experiment what are the flaws and what are the benefits of such a theoretical platform?

Would people even care or are they happy in their algo-generated echo chambers of FB?

SB
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Interesting development in battery charging
at 15:39 30 Oct 2019

If they can scale this and create a battery for cars which charges in under 10 minutes then it's a bit of a game changer and renders arguments around range pretty much void.

Obviously with these things when the study is published it's never certain how the technology will pan out.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2221740-electric-cars-could-charge-in-10-mi

SB
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Steve Hansen not impressed by some of the media questions
at 23:55 26 Oct 2019

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/av/rugby-union/50196106

It was a bit of a rubbish question to be fair.

SB
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Where Eagles Dare
at 15:51 26 Oct 2019

This is great:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-eagle-data-bill-roaming-c

Good stuff from the phone company as well.

SB
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Nuclear power and going carbon zero
at 11:50 23 Oct 2019

So I know that nuclear power elicits a variety of responses but I think the developments with 4th generation reactors are quite interesting. They are still being designed but they would reduce the fuel requirements required to produce the same energy by a factor of 100 to 300 due to being a closed fuel-cycle whereby all the actinides fed into them are used.

They would also have the ability to burn our current waste stockpiles extracting far more energy from them and vastly reducing the transuranics in the waste which in turn greatly reduces the long-term radioactivity of the waste (a few centuries rather than millennia).

So assuming these reactors are funded and built it would seem the best way forward to provide baseline power alongside the intermittent power from renewables. We actually have so much waste they could be run on waste without the need for more mining and refining for decades.

Many of the designs also include "automatic passive reactor shutdowns" which mean that the reactors can regulate and shutdown the reaction if certain conditions are met without human interaction.

Would people be happy with this direction or is the nuclear boogieman still top dog? I fully understand that we are decades away from building a significant number of such plants so it's certainly no silver bullet.

SB
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Deal done but no details yet
at 10:45 17 Oct 2019

Both Boris and Juncker have announced a deal has been agreed.

Obviously means nothing until we see the details though. DUP still not keen from the looks of it.

SB
[Post edited 17 Oct 10:48]
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This is excellent news
at 16:45 16 Oct 2019

Not only do these people and theories cause harm to the people involved in the actual incident but they propagate myths which are often seized on and repeated by others. Furthermore they undermine belief in the truth and in verifiable facts.

Hopefully it's bankrupted them. Still doesn't make up for what they are doing but it's a start.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/oct/16/sandy-hook-father-awarded-450000

SB
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This is pretty nuts
at 15:50 15 Oct 2019

Who has a pet lion anyway?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/lion-attack-electrician-wages-atte

SB
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