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skorgu
13 hours ago
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satadru
1 day ago
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New York, NY
stefanetal
15 hours ago
I was very amused to see that the same NYT article had New Haven-Milford as 'the most typical' MSA, since I lived there for 10 years. I never thought of it as typical at all...lots of this depends on how 'demographics' are coded and at what level of aggregation means are taken. I also had a childhood stint in Columbus OH back where it got a lot of marketing trials because of its demographic representativeness. One thing that doesn't show up in US 'demographics' is religion, thought there do now appear to be some semi-decent survey data on that. And religion correlatates very strongly with lots of things, like voting, income, education. And it is one of the great divides even in America (where 'racial divisions drive out European religious divisions'). New Haven is more Catholic and Jewish than average.
satadru
12 hours ago
And New Haven has all sorts of weird segregation too... I found it fascinating (and depressing) how public transit was never taken by middle class or wealthier people. So different from NYC.
stefanetal
12 hours ago
Yes, very much so. That's what I was alluding to by 'level of aggregation'. Like in many places there are lots of sharp lines. Walking downhill from St Roman past Foote is prob the most stark one I recall. On the other hand, I'm very much part of that pattern, we even ruled out West Rock and ended up on Livingston in East Rock. What I really want to see, maybe less relevant for New Haven, is apartment building segregation measures. I recall apartment buildings being very non-integrated in Hyde Park when I was there. So the neighborhood was integrated, but apartment buildings were not. Or so it seemed.
stefanetal
11 hours ago
Also a very cool graph on New Haven's demographic history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Haven,_Connecticut#/media/File:New_haven_race-ethnicity-color-nativity-origin_1790-2010.png
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Lies and the Lying Liars

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As I keep saying, I don't think safety per se is the issue. If they work, they'll be safe enough. It's tautological almost. Making them safe isn't the challenge. Making them work is.
But even though Uber said it had suspended an employee riding in the Volvo, the self-driving car was, in fact, driving itself when it barreled through the red light, according to two Uber employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they signed nondisclosure agreements with the company, and internal Uber documents viewed by The New York Times. All told, the mapping programs used by Uber’s cars failed to recognize six traffic lights in the San Francisco area. “In this case, the car went through a red light,” the documents said.

I never believed all their "human error" bullshit. And no this isn't evidence that they won't work, it's just evidence that Uber can't be trusted. They still won't work.

...adding, someone in a position to know a bit more about this stuff than I do emailed me once to explain what it was all about. Roughly, it's this:
In fact, Sebastian Thrun, who founded Google’s self-driving car project and is now the chief executive of the online teaching start-up Udacity, said last year that the going rate for driverless car engineering talent was about $10 million a person.

Everybody has an interest in keeping the con going...until it's over.
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skorgu
1 day ago
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By corb in "It's Constituent Work Week!" on MeFi

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I'm eagerly awaiting your follow up on this comment because there is so much to unpack from many different political angles. I have noticed several things in the way many of these legislators are acting in relation to constituents that ties in with the relationship between elected officials and constituents and the issue of emotional labor.

So I've been mulling over this, in particular with how, over the last year, I've actually seen systems of power and influence work in the Republican Party. And the thing that I keep coming back to is that in order to make those systems work, you need to be presenting as completely typical for your gender roles within a stratified society.

So when I did most of my influencing work leading up to the convention itself, I was operating in a sphere that I hadn't spent a lot of time in and was not, really, native to. I watched everyone else there and presented as they did. I hid my tattoo. I wore conservative clothing. I did not wear a single pair of flats that entire year. I pretty much stopped wearing pants. I wore dresses, conservatively cut or cut in that fashionable-1960s style. I wore jewelry every time I went out to an event. Despite the fact that, as a former sergeant in the Army, I can bark with the best of them and cut a hole in a crowd with my voice, I spoke in soft tones. I used the lessons of power I learned from the traditional women in my family. I did emotional labor, as you note, with each and every person I talked to.

When I criticized legislators - and I did, as did other Republican women - I and they spoke to the largely male legislators, and I think this is key, as a traditional upbringing had taught me I was supposed to speak to my husband. It's not that they didn't get criticized or called out - they did - but they were criticized in the same way women who aren't allowed to directly argue with their husband argue with their husbands. "I know that you meant well, but..." "I was so disappointed in you.." "I've been praying for you to open your heart"

These opportunities for influence happened all the time. We saw the Republican legislators at every county meeting, at many fundraising dinners, at Republican Women's Club luncheons and District Club auctions. We saw them everywhere in social settings where it would have been considered extremely impolite to raise your voice.

And in many ways, I think they - not became used to it, exactly, but have always been used to it. That's how they receive critique at home. That's how they receive critique out in the world. There are never, for them, any real rough edges. Sure, maybe they duke it out with another man in the primary, but that's understood to be confrontational. They get to relax in their paternalistic role. They act like a traditionalist husband to the people who elected them - 'thank you for choosing me and making me the happiest of men, but now dear, you know I know what's best'.

And I think this is evidenced in how they're responding to these town halls, the 'women all up in my grill'. It's not about women, the gender. It's about women not performing femininity - who are loud, who yell, who challenge, who don't soften the blow and bat their eyes and coo 'aren't you a big strong legislator'. And I mean - it's not like the women who do that stuff aren't seething just as much - but they don't have to be exposed to it. And now they are, and they are behaving about like the Pleasantville husband asking where his dinner is.
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skorgu
2 days ago
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Fucking this.
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AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs

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self code
Set a machine to program a machine

iunewind/Alamy Stock Photo

By Matt Reynolds

OUT of the way, human, I’ve got this covered. A machine learning system has gained the ability to write its own code.

Created by researchers at Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, the system, called DeepCoder, solved basic challenges of the kind set by programming competitions. This kind of approach could make it much easier for people to build simple programs without knowing how to write code.

“All of a sudden people could be so much more productive,” says Armando Solar-Lezama at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the work. “They could build systems that it [would be] impossible to build before.”

Ultimately, the approach could allow non-coders to simply describe an idea for a program and let the system build it, says Marc Brockschmidt, one of DeepCoder’s creators at Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK.

DeepCoder uses a technique called program synthesis: creating new programs by piecing together lines of code taken from existing software – just like a programmer might. Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall.

“It could allow non-coders to simply describe an idea for a program and let the system build it”

One advantage of letting an AI loose in this way is that it can search more thoroughly and widely than a human coder, so could piece together source code in a way humans may not have thought of. What’s more, DeepCoder uses machine learning to scour databases of source code and sort the fragments according to its view of their probable usefulness.

All this makes the system much faster than its predecessors. DeepCoder created working programs in fractions of a second, whereas older systems take minutes to trial many different combinations of lines of code before piecing together something that can do the job. And because DeepCoder learns which combinations of source code work and which ones don’t as it goes along, it improves every time it tries a new problem.

The technology could have many applications. In 2015, researchers at MIT created a program that automatically fixed software bugs by replacing faulty lines of code with working lines from other programs. Brockschmidt says that future versions could make it very easy to build routine programs that scrape information from websites, or automatically categorise Facebook photos, for example, without human coders having to lift a finger

“The potential for automation that this kind of technology offers could really signify an enormous [reduction] in the amount of effort it takes to develop code,” says Solar-Lezama.

But he doesn’t think these systems will put programmers out of a job. With program synthesis automating some of the most tedious parts of programming, he says, coders will be able to devote their time to more sophisticated work.

At the moment, DeepCoder is only capable of solving programming challenges that involve around five lines of code. But in the right coding language, a few lines are all that’s needed for fairly complicated programs.

“Generating a really big piece of code in one shot is hard, and potentially unrealistic,” says Solar-Lezama. “But really big pieces of code are built by putting together lots of little pieces of code.”

This article appeared in print under the headline “Computers are learning to code for themselves”

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digdoug
1 day ago
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hope you enjoyed being vastly overpaid, business software developers.
Louisville, KY
skorgu
2 days ago
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Welp, it's basically doing my job already.
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dmierkin
2 days ago
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It finally happened :-)

By Kadin2048 in "identify, capture and quickly deport" on MeFi

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What's the plan here? How does this make anything better at all?

It tightens the unskilled labor market. I mean, we can argue all day and I'm not exactly going to argue against the racism angle, because duh, but there are a significant swath of Americans whose opinions in the abstract of Mexican or C. American people qua people is flexible, but see their presence as part of the national blue-collar job decline. This is, frankly, an argument that is not wholly without merit, because although you can find economic analyses that show the value of illegal labor (illegal, frequently, on both sides of the equation: both in that the person performing the labor isn't allowed to provide it, and the person buying the labor frequently isn't paying legally-mandated rates for it) to the US economy, much of that value seems to accrue to people far above the economic level where the labor market slackness hurts.

To use an oft-cited example: most people who are legally eligible to work in the US wouldn't be interested in picking strawberries for sub-minimum wage, but in the absence of people who were, the wages would increase—given the equally unpleasant jobs people do for $15/hr, I suspect you'd start getting takers in an idealized labor market somewhere around there. This would, of course, increase the price for strawberries at the supermarket, but since the cost of picking is only about 6% of the retail price, a 300% or even 500% increase in wages would probably only translate to a buck or so at retail.

Paying extra for strawberries probably seems like a pretty good tradeoff if you are, or think you are, potentially one of the beneficiaries of a tighter market for unskilled labor. If the knock-on effect of the tightening is even a small raise in your hourly wage, it's going to outweigh the heightened cost of produce (and also, I rather strongly suspect that the demographics of fresh produce consumption do not favor people at the low end of the labor market, although it'd be nice if some of our enormous farm subsidies went to fixing that).

You can go through a basically-identical analysis for a lot of the goods that are produced in large part with sub-minimum-wage labor. And even when you get into the above-minimum-wage industries that have large numbers of undocumented workers, e.g. residential home construction, it's not clear why someone not in the market for a new house really ought to care if the costs suddenly increased.

Like much in the economy, the de facto immigration policy currently in force (which is basically: unlimited immigration but only to unskilled or low-skilled jobs, and for shit rates and with no worker protection) seems suspiciously well-tuned to keep the costs of things that the people who run the economy care about—produce, wine grapes, new houses, privately-paid care workers and health aides, restaurant food, etc.—inexpensive, while strong labor-market protections abound at the higher end. It's... certainly very convenient. (The one exception would be the H1B program and its use to effectively inject liquidity into the STEM labor pool, but even there—and it's a pretty touchy subject in places—the minimum salary is $60k, so it can't depress wages too far.)

Now, taking all that on premise, the reasonable solution (effect per dollar of enforcement) would be to go after employers who hire, or cause to be hired through intermediaries, people who are not eligible to legally work in the US. I absolutely, without any doubt at all, guarantee you that you could make more of a dent in illegal labor-force participation with a handful of accountants and special prosecutors, armed with some minimal changes to existing law to eliminate the biggest loopholes that allow shady arms-length-but-not-really arrangements between farms and "staffing companies" and similar. No ICE gestapo or secret desert prisons required. The people who are here illegally in the US just for jobs would leave, and the people who have actual community ties here would presumably stay, and with that difference made clear, I suspect there would be increased public support for a path to citizenship in order to allow those people who remained, and thus do have legitimate community ties, to legally work and participate with full protections in the labor market. It's reasonable, it wouldn't require a lot of creepy new laws, and because we live in a shitty universe it'll probably never, ever happen.

The difference between what we are seeing implemented, and what a reasonable solution looks like, is where you can tell that something else is going on. And it's in that difference that I think you can make a convincing argument to people of various political stripes (well, not the hardcore racists, of course). If the Trump Administration was really interested in going after illegal workers, they'd just need to enforce the laws on employers, and everything else would sort itself out. That they are not doing that is how you know the wool is being pulled over their own supporters' eyes, and something else is going on.

That is an argument that I have found is very tractive when talking to people, such as my family in Appalachia, who are not intrinsically anti-immigrant but are very directly affected by the market for low-skilled labor. Others who are discussing this with a varied or potentially pro-Trump audience may want to consider approaching it from a similar perspective and framing.
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skorgu
3 days ago
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duerig
3 days ago
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Hmm. A few thoughts:

(1) The article claims that labor-market protections are weak for low-paying jobs and strong for the higher end jobs. This is very true. But the interesting thing is that this will always be true no matter who is in charge or what policy they pursue. Barriers to entry in a field drive up labor prices in that field. So to the extent that some professions have more barriers than others (whether by law or by custom), those professions will command the highest wages as a kind of zero sum transfer to them from the rest of the population.

(2) The other side of the coin is the demand side. Suppose somebody implemented an effective method of peaceful mass deportation/exodus, whether it is what the author suggests or something else. This would lead to a decrease in demand for all kinds of things, from fast food and new construction to daycare and cable TV subscriptions. We are talking about a rapid decrease in national population by something like 3%. These are not the wealthiest 3%, but still this is huge. It would at the very least send the economy into a recession and possibly completely dislocate many local economies around the country. I would expect that the demand for all labor would sharply decrease, skilled or not.

(3) Overall, I am not convinced of the legitimacy of anti-immigrant concerns. In theory, immigrants might cause some of the problems ascribed to them. But almost all of these same problems are caused by other kinds of population increase (like having kids). If we deported all teenagers and twenty-somethings, maybe it would be easier for the remainder of the population to find unskilled work as well. But that doesn't make it a good idea.

(4) The best policies to curb immigration would be ones that force them to be treated like natural citizens by employers. Make sure that an employer can't threaten them with deportation. Make sure employers can't pay them less or abuse them more than citizens. If we do this, it will likely curb employer demand for immigrant labor and will simultaneously make life better for everyone who lives in our country.

New York Is Blowing The Kosciuszko Bridge Straight To Hell

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New York Is Blowing The Kosciuszko Bridge Straight To Hell Ever been stuck in traffic on the Kosciuszko Bridge for so long that you think to yourself, "I would like nothing more than to blow this bridge the hell up, because I hate it with my life"? Great news, because with a new Kosciuszko Bridge almost ready to take on traffic, the state is blowing the old one straight to hell. [ more › ]
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skorgu
3 days ago
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And I'll be right there with a lawn chair, popcorn and beer.
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awilchak
3 days ago
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YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY
Brooklyn, New York
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