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veen's comments
veen  ·  15 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: February 12, 2020

So the good news is that I survived storm Ciara in a moving van! It was...tense to drive such a big rental truck empty with 6BFT side wind. We were very quick with the loading and unloading of the truck, so we were at our destination at like 1pm, just before the wind was said to be picking up even more. My usually clean and minimalist bedroom/office is now a cacophony of materialism with boxes and stuff from my girlfriend everywhere that fits. It's only for a week or two like this, then I'll be going on a long holiday and when I'm back my roommates should be almost done moving out. So then we have 1000sqft all to our own, which I am really looking forward to because it's a bit tight with the four of us now.

This week and the next is one big f'n sprint to get everything done before I leave. Right now it looks like I might have not one, but two work trips the two weeks after I return - one to NY Geo in Albany where we might show off our geothermal tool, and one to Bilbao to show off another tool. Both tools are not done but should be finished by the time I'm back. Both tools are under my control, so I need to step up my delegation game and get as far as I can while I'm not gone yet.

I'm really looking forward to my holidays. We've planned an awesome trip to Edinburgh, the Highlands and London, with a day in York as we head southward. And the Eurostar back to the Netherlands from London. Go trains!

veen  ·  29 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Craft Fair v2.0 - January 29, 2020

Yeah I'm gunna let it run all night, maybe that'll be enough time to massage the ones and pamper the zeroes or whatever the hell it's preoccupied with.

There are a bunch of mediocre coffee table books around with /r/dataisbeautiful levels of incompetence. Some are actually good, but they're usually not the ones I find in bookstores or libraries.

veen  ·  31 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Your New Year's Resolution Has Already Failed - CGP Grey

I've been listening to his podcast for a while now, which is where I got the idea from.

veen  ·  55 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Hubski Craft Fair v1.0 - January 2, 2020 (FINISHED)

I have put the bigger song aside for now as I'm tired of it. Spent the last hour rummaging in Reaper to make something very simple. It's not the absolute worst, whoo!

veen  ·  59 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Los Angeles may force Uber to use electric vehicles, mayor says

Colleague of mine cofounded the now largest electric taxi company in the country. With a fast charging station placed in a central location, you can totally pull a business like that off. Range with EVs is a fuzzy concept, especially in cities where you can stretch it much further with aggressive regenerative braking.

The economics are mostly contingent on the ridesharer’s rates, so with VC-funded rides it probably will never work, but the idea of electric ride hailing is definitely viable.

veen  ·  80 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 360th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

Lots of James Blake this week.

And some new Caribou:

veen  ·  113 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 6, 2019

I'd argue it's not as effective as you hope it to be. Facebook cares primarily about who you are and about gathering eyeballs. They need very few data points for the first part - with just a few liked pages they can already group you in with similar people. It's all about lookalike audiences. Someone on HM figured out that while you can't target ads for illicit things, you can find out which pages are most similar to illicit things. Tirns out you can totally target weedheads by targeting 18-25 males who like Family Guy. What many people also don't know is that there's a very long list of companies that have already upload their customer's email and name to Facebook, so simply by virtue of having an email and name they already know a bunch about you.

Using the service less isn't gonna change that. You probably already have an ad blocker so you're practically worth little to them anyway.

goobster  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Different issues:

Facebook Itself: The product itself is not very good. Even with rigorous culling and grouping of friends and interests, the product works poorly at its most basic function: Showing me my friends' activity.

Facebook as a datamine: Numerous bad actors are culling FB data to build disinformation campaigns and targeting the weak with their fake constructions. Cambridge Analytica did this at a small scale, and we know they did everything from make up fake issues, to organize fake rallies around their fake issues, and got actual people to show up and protest their fake issue.

To do that, they need to scrape content from actual people and profiles to build plausible fake ones.

All you need to do to have this brought in to stark relief is have one of your photos show up as the profile on a fake alt-right FB account with 1400 friends and thousands of shares, to have a real come-to-jesus moment about your personal role in the fraud.

Like I did.

Who gives a flying fuck about advertising for tennis shoes, or makeup products. The issue is when they target 20 people within a 3 mile area, and 12 of them get riled up and show up to a rally about a completely made-up issue... and your face or activity or history may be used to validate those false accounts... that makes you personally culpable. Not legally, but definitely morally.

And my morals are better than that.

veen  ·  112 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They're indeed different issues, but your original wording directly coupled the value of your data to the use of your data.

    I am devaluing my data for Facebook.

I was arguing that the monetary value of your data to Facebook won't decrease much by reducing your Facebook activity. You're (now) making the argument that the scraping and re-using of data is wrong and that you don't want to be involved in that. Which I'm not disagreeing with. But that isn't your value to Facebook, that's your value to Putin / 4chan / whatever hellspawn makes those pages. Your face now, sadly, helps convince gullible people of some argument that's never yours.

    that makes you personally culpable. Not legally, but definitely morally.

No, fuck that. You're powerless. You're collateral damage, the result of chance and big numbers that ostensibly lead to scraped, automated identity fraud. It's not your fault, it's the platform that shouldn't make automated fraud so goddamned easy.

Take another example: social security numbers. It is far too easy to get someone's number from some leak and use that to steal identities, solely because social security numbers in the US is the only personal identifier that is ubiquitous. That doesn't mean you are personally culpable of this shitty system. Maybe to the extent that you should let your congress(wo)man know about it, but other than that you are powerless.

goobster  ·  107 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Good catch on the "devaluing" comment I made. I conflated "Facebook" the business and "Facebook" the tool for mining unsuspecting rube's data, into one thing, which clouded my intent.

I could give a flying fuck about Facebook The Business. It'll die just like MySpace did, eventually.

My issue is with bad actors culling data from Facebook to use in their nefarious actions; AKA, Facebook the iStock library for fake profile creators.

THOSE are the people I want to devalue my content for. I have ZERO power against them, and have zero tools to find out how/where they have used my information to con other people into believing their bullshit.

I was just fortunate that some Uzbek drone worker accidentally tried to friend me with a profile built from my own data. I reverse-mined their profile, went through all their friends and pages, and marked all of them as fraudulent, then marked their profile as pretending to be me. FB deleted it.

But it is one of hundreds of thousands of fake profiles actively maintained by the dezinformatsiya campaigns being run throughout Asia and the Russian provinces. How many others are leveraging my data to push their agendas using my face, activity, and 'personality'?

Nah. No more. I'm done with it.

Deleted the FB app from my phone, and have been online once every other day since then. Removed most of my photo galleries, and am in the process of unfollowing all books, pages, events, and deleting my posting history. It'll take time, but my data will slowly fade away, and as it gets older, it will lose relevance as well, so the data they already have will become less valuable over time. (I think...)

veen  ·  117 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Memelord in his Labyrinth

I only recently realized that that desire to grow out of YouTube is not just because there's more money or fame to be had, but that it's one of the only ways to escape their own cultural irrelevancy. Some YouTubers are pretty good at reinventing themselves, but most have no way to go but down or out. They become more and more stale each day they fail at that.

kleinbl00  ·  116 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The lie at the heart of the Internet is that it allows all creators to find their audience without having to go through the tastemakers that have mediated audiences and artists since the dawn of patronage. What it does is replace humans with algorithms.

An artist like Pewdiepie is every bit the slave an artist like Amy Schumer is - the difference being Amy Schumer is interacting with humans who are making money off of her. Pewdiepie is interacting with algorithms that are constantly trained and retrained by computer scientists to optimize engagement - which is not the same thing as fandom. Unfortunately the money is rewarding the algorithms over the tastemakers and has been for long enough to fuck things up royally.

There was this awesome period where everyone was convinced Netflix was going to rule the world because the Napoleon Dynamite problem had been solved and they had all this algorithmic engagement data and it was going to help them pick the best movies and best stars because that's what everyone was watching and that's why they gave Adam Sandler a quarter billion dollars not because they're tasteless shitheels but because they know more about what you like than you do and then they made Marco Polo and then they decided that maybe it wasn't that the algorithm was straight bullshit it was because Ted Sarandos didn't trust the algorithm enough.

With the exception of Orange is the New Black and 13 Reasons Why, every series up there was originated within traditional media channels by traditional media moguls adhering to traditional media standards. Notably, a lot of those series are resting on the season-or-two they made on traditional channels and limping through the two or three seasons Netflix pasted on in a zombie-like afterlife of scuttled greatness.

Youtube stars are having to navigate this dichotomy with no experience and very little insight into what's driving the process. Youtube is not a starmaker; it's a telescope that cryptically wanders the heavens and points at some things more than others.

A telescope the stock market thinks is worth $75 billion.

elizabeth  ·  116 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I really like watching John/Hank Green transitioning out of their YouTube heydays.

They were amongst the first to “make it” on the platform, and have since started so many projects (to various success levels) since.

veen  ·  123 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Thoughts on sympathy and empathy

I read somewhere that empathy is not what we need - but compassion is. Understand, be sensitive to the hurt and pain of others, and then strive to bring solutions into the world.

katakowsj  ·  123 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Agreed. I see compassion as the understanding of pain occurring and taking action to alleviate it. I tend to see empathy and sympathy as passive while compassion is an active process that can be very empowering.

Too often, I think intended empathy and/or sympathy can devolve into pity. No alleviation of pain occurs for anyone.

I’ve read the Dalai Lama’s “Book of Joy” a year or so ago. It was there I think I remember reading similar discussion about compassion and our need to foster compassion to alleviate more pain in ourselves and those around us.

kleinbl00  ·  123 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Here's where I get itchy.

We've got four terms being bandied around here: empathy, sympathy, understanding and compassion. We've got one concern: helping others. We're all agreed: help others. But simply by indulging in the semantic argument about what each of the four terms means, we're creating a hierarchy of help. This term has been elevated over that term, this term is worse than that other term, and this other term becomes yet another term which everyone knows that everyone knows is bad ("Too often, I think intended empathy and/or sympathy can devolve into pity. No alleviation of pain occurs for anyone. ")

The mere fact that we're arguing about what each of four terms means that none of these terms are settled. None of these terms have a commonly-accepted definition, at least as far as their application to mercy. Yet here we are, arguing that one is good and another is bad and we should feel entirely okay for judging someone else on their practice of empathy instead of pity or sympathy instead of understanding or not using enough compassion but practicing too much empathy and

give me a fucking break.

Here's where this started:

    I felt the need to write this, because I've been trying to better understand why some behavior that ostensibly aligns with my ideals feels disingenuous to me.

That's mk wondering whether he is morally pure in feeling judgmental over someone doing something he agrees with.

Yes? No? Maybe? I know that this sort of hair-splitting does no one any fucking good, I know that any time a group of people argues whether or not they're allowed to pass judgement over another it better be over deeds not words and I know that he who first argues definitions loses and this is one big fat loser of an argument.

You know what? If you feed the homeless you're doing good. If you restrict access to abortions you're doing bad. Is the good outweighing the bad? Most of the time, probably; I've had to learn an absolute fuckton about abortion in the United States lately for reasons we don't need to get into here and what I can tell you is that the fuckin' day-after pill is rapidly mooting the whole fuckin' discussion. I can also tell you we're talking about the Salvation Army and that I can further tell you I don't give them money because one of those bell-swinging jackholes stood idly by and watched someone steal my fucking bicycle and you're goddamn right I'm painting the whole of an organization for the actions of one dumb shit volunteer in Marina Del Ray and that's neither sympathetic, empathetic, compassionate or understanding and I give no fucks because charity oughtta make me feel good and all I can think whenever I see those assholes and their red pails is the dick who watched my bike ride away.

Don't make charity feel bad. Don't cut up the world so you can judge someone for being charitable. Don't squint your eyes so you can stand in judgment over someone attempting to make the world a better place just so you can question their motives. There's little enough to go around.

kleinbl00  ·  123 days ago  ·  link  ·  

You read it here. It was full to the gills with bullshit.

veen  ·  127 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Wolfram - Announcing the Rule 30 Prize

The interestingness of a problem like this comes from its relatedness to other concepts in mathematics. The problems that are of interest are those whose solutions might contain concepts or truths that can be relevant to other fields of math. So a good math problem is not only something that is solvable and can lead to insightful truths about math, but also something that isn't too arbitrary or separated from the rest of math.

Take the first question; it is about proving that the sequence of the central column isn't periodic. Whatever solution may come forth might also be relevant when proving or evaluating things related to prime numbers, which are equally a human construction based on a very simple rule, get equally complex equally fast, and are often looked at in terms of series of numbers. It may turn out to be a dead end, but it also may not, and the solution to this problem might just turn out to be transferrable to another set of problems.

goobster  ·  126 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    "...The problems that are of interest are those whose solutions might contain concepts or truths that can be relevant to other fields of math...."

That's what I expected, and what I was getting at with my attempt at recognizing that, in mathematics, the process of solving a problem can be even more valuable than the solution.

    "...prime numbers, which are equally a human construction..."

Are they? I thought they were a basic element or fact of nature, that we just found an easy way to represent mathematically...? Like E=MC2... it is just a mathematical expression of a physical property.

The Wolfram problem expressed in the article seems completely divorced from any practical, real world property. It's like he dropped six dice on a table, arranged them in some perceived order, and then made up some questions to ask about that order: Does it repeat? Is it infinite? What happens when you run the calculation a billion times?

I'm mostly just marveling at how other people's brains work... not looking for an "answer", per se, just enjoying the window into other thought processes...

Devac  ·  126 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Are they? I thought they were a basic element or fact of nature, that we just found an easy way to represent mathematically...?

Are numbers a fact of nature? You can count things, sure, but you'd never find just an idea of some number lying around. It's just as much of abstraction and tool as language or writing. The debate about maths (and, by extension, its study subjects like numbers) being invented or discovered is still ongoing.

Philosophy aside, primes are just natural numbers that were observed to have some interesting property. Apart from being building blocks for numbers and them popping up everywhere in mathematics, there wasn't that much real-world use for them until the advent of modern cryptography (the 1970s or so). That's despite the fact people knew about and studied them since at least the times of Euclid.

    Like E=MC2... it is just a mathematical expression of a physical property.

Fun and related to this thread story: classical electrodynamics, as formulated by Maxwell's equations, was compatible with special relativity good 40 years before special relativity was a thing. Even gave enough of a framework to derive Einstein's SR from them. It 'just' took someone pondering the right things to make it into its own thing.

veen  ·  140 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The wonderful, weird world of wizard rock

Having a bunch of friends in or near Quidditch teams (my roommate went to the European Cup twice), I have also noticed that. There is also lots of drama / toxicity, which is even more puzzling.

kleinbl00  ·  140 days ago  ·  link  ·  

1) it gives you that "sports" kick without having to participate in any of the sports the people who don't like you participate in.

2) The "fairness" of most sports is core to their playability and comprises the majority of arguments over rules. The "fairness" of Quiddich is taken to be nonexistent - that whole "find the snitch and win" thing is inherently unfair as it makes all other efforts pointless and there isn't a match in the whole of the wizarding world that has any fairness to it.

So. It's going to attract people who want to play sports, but not with people who play sports, and who are attracted to unfairness. Nothing puzzling about it.

user-inactivated  ·  139 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Them kids need to discover volleyball. It's easy as all hell, no contact and you can socialize with the normies.

Foveaux  ·  136 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Failing that, Touch Rugby - similar in that the ball can't touch the ground, plus height is no serious advantage!

veen  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Families Go Deep in Debt to Stay in the Middle Class

I wasn't sure if I read your comment correctly, but now I'm definitely sure I didn't. Text is not the best medium for this kind of semi-toungue-in-cheekery. To me you flip-flop between 'baduhh' and sarcasm and tbh I find that hard to parse. (English is not my first language as you may already know.)

All I wanted to say is that I was worried you'd be despondent. You've done some awesome stuff that you should be proud of.

user-inactivated  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

No, a hundred percent. Sorry for the aggression. It's not like my magical adventures in saving the world really got me anywhere. Having a decent job and volunteering occasionally after work is good enough. Or even just saying the right things.

It's a lot easier to see where everyone stands in a face-to-face conversation. Because we're all reading various things and coming to our own conclusions on what people think and or where they stand but none of us really know eachother.

That comic is helladope. Thank you.

kleinbl00  ·  149 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do not, for one minute, give up on the magical adventures. There is a drive within you. It's really obvious. It's equally obvious that it's frustrated right now. Aggressively so.

You are not going to be happy sitting idly by and truncating your designs on the universe. Regroup. Turn that frustration into fuel. I do what I can to make the world a better place in the tiny corner I occupy but I wouldn't have coined the phrase "if you have to live in a gilded age, best be a goldsmith" if I hadn't fundamentally given up on stemming the tide. I stared at the tsunami and knew the only thing I could do is throw on some waterwings and hope for the best.

But I'm old and jaded. You aren't.

user-inactivated  ·  148 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yer a good man Kleinski.

The worst part was I never even hit a wall in my career. All those opportunities are still available to me. I just discovered in the end that I no longer wanted certain things. Some of the people I met at NGO's seemed a bit... off if you know what I'm saying. Like they were at war with themselves just as much as the world.

I ain't ever givin' up, but sometimes the dreams change and that's okay too. And even if I become Jack Nicholson I'm still not going to be able to buy a flippin house. That was the edge. The cake has been a lie since 1945.

kleinbl00  ·  148 days ago  ·  link  ·  

E. Fuller Torrey is an MD - not a psychiatrist - who wrote one of the more popular support books on schizophrenia. In it he recommends against assuming that a psychiatrist is the best type of doctor to care for your schizophrenia (or that of your loved ones) because schizophrenia is not a mental disorder, it's a mental disease characterized by a panoply of well-known and well-diagnosed organic maladies. He further argues that, well, psychiatrists are kind of off as a breed. The phrase he uses, which I wrote down, was "not all of the strangest birds in the menagerie are in cages."

I put a psychiatrist's daughter through social work school. Like everyone else in the family she was a laundry list of psychological disorders and past mental trauma. It meant hanging out with a bunch of social workers. As a tribe, they are a broken people. Nobody pays $80k to spend two years in school to earn $16 an hour snatching babies out of labor&delivery. There's a drive there, and it's not one that fits well in ordinary culture. The normies tend to wash out and go into human resources.

Which doesn't mean that psychiatry is a profession purely for crazy weirdos or that social workers are universally codependent wounded warriors. I've known plenty of sane, sensible people who are making the world better one client at a time. The trick is to figure out how to give without giving everything.

You're going to figure that trick out. You might even get a house out of the deal. Jeffrey Sachs seems to do okay.

Foveaux  ·  143 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I realize I'm returning late to this conversation between two other people - though I am learning that Hubski operates like this, the concept of "necro-posting" isn't an issue. Which I am thankful for. But reading your comment got me thinking.

    The trick is to figure out how to give without giving everything.

Is exactly why I stopped my Psych studies at the standard Bachelors level. I was acutely aware I wouldn't be able to not give everything. I'd never be able to avoid bringing my work home with me. It would eventually consume me. My plan was to focus on Child Psychology and do what I could to help young people in awful situations - my parents, bless them, warned me I was a very sensitive individual who would/could connect with anyone and everything, and that this could be used or abused in equal measure by my future profession.

In the end I decided they were right - I wouldn't have found the off switch without some serious work and part of what drove me in that direction was not having the switch in the first place.

Not that I've given up wanting to help people, I just now operate within the realms I can handle. Took a while to figure that out though.

kleinbl00  ·  143 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We all want to help, I think. The healthy among us do, anyway. The trick is knowing how you can help forever.

My wife's profession is intense. She delivers babies out of hospital. It is a profession that draws people with a semi-religious zeal for female empowerment and the advocacy of mother-centered motherhood. And most people who practice as midwives in the United States make it 4-5 years and flame out, never to practice again.

user-inactivated  ·  143 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When you help one person, you help them all. People often have no idea what positive impacts they're having. You're definitely a good person for even wanting to do that.

I too got called "highly sensitive" growing up. It took me a while to realize what that actually meant was "having a soul."

Want to help kids? Tell them it's okay to have feelings. Tell them it's okay to be sad, confused, upset, angry, hopeless, afraid, whatever. If I heard that even once growing up it would have made a world of difference.

I was in Milan last week. Couldn’t help but notice that the city seemed to be under a construction frenzy, couldn’t help but remind me of the skyscraper index...

veen  ·  154 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Whistleblower Complaint: Full Document

Gephi!

I'll freely admit I only remember it because I used it in an assignment at uni once. It's not much more than a viz tool for GMLs and the like, but it can be fun to use.

veen  ·  162 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: September 18, 2019

I'm very glad for you that it's nothing permanent. I don't know much about it, but CPS is a fear of mine too, considering I've spent probably two-thirds of my life behind a screen. It's the reason I am so happy with my Extremely Expensive But Totally Worth It Herman Miller Aeron.