Artificial Intelligence — The Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet
Unsurprisingly, Michael Jordan talks sense.

(Trivial and unrelated rant: What on Earth is the point of using Medium? It takes a post which is about 24k of text and actual formatting, and bloats it to over 150k, to do, so far as I can see, absolutely nothing of value to readers.)
artificial_intelligence  debunking  machine_learning  jordan.michael_i. 
56 minutes ago
Word embeddings quantify 100 years of gender and ethnic stereotypes | PNAS
"Word embeddings are a powerful machine-learning framework that represents each English word by a vector. The geometric relationship between these vectors captures meaningful semantic relationships between the corresponding words. In this paper, we develop a framework to demonstrate how the temporal dynamics of the embedding helps to quantify changes in stereotypes and attitudes toward women and ethnic minorities in the 20th and 21st centuries in the United States. We integrate word embeddings trained on 100 y of text data with the US Census to show that changes in the embedding track closely with demographic and occupation shifts over time. The embedding captures societal shifts—e.g., the women’s movement in the 1960s and Asian immigration into the United States—and also illuminates how specific adjectives and occupations became more closely associated with certain populations over time. Our framework for temporal analysis of word embedding opens up a fruitful intersection between machine learning and quantitative social science."
to:NB  text_mining  sociology  sexism  racism  history_of_ideas  time_series  to_teach:data-mining  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
6 days ago
Multiscale mixing patterns in networks | PNAS
"Assortative mixing in networks is the tendency for nodes with the same attributes, or metadata, to link to each other. It is a property often found in social networks, manifesting as a higher tendency of links occurring between people of the same age, race, or political belief. Quantifying the level of assortativity or disassortativity (the preference of linking to nodes with different attributes) can shed light on the organization of complex networks. It is common practice to measure the level of assortativity according to the assortativity coefficient, or modularity in the case of categorical metadata. This global value is the average level of assortativity across the network and may not be a representative statistic when mixing patterns are heterogeneous. For example, a social network spanning the globe may exhibit local differences in mixing patterns as a consequence of differences in cultural norms. Here, we introduce an approach to localize this global measure so that we can describe the assortativity, across multiple scales, at the node level. Consequently, we are able to capture and qualitatively evaluate the distribution of mixing patterns in the network. We find that, for many real-world networks, the distribution of assortativity is skewed, overdispersed, and multimodal. Our method provides a clearer lens through which we can more closely examine mixing patterns in networks."

--- More descriptive statistics.
to:NB  network_data_analysis  homophily  to_teach:baby-nets 
6 days ago
The 4-color map theory is bunk. It is very easy to create an artificial map that... | Hacker News
The best part is when he (pretty sure it's a "he") uploads a picture of his supposed counter-example, and it's 4-colored within minutes by another poster.
mathematics  utter_stupidity  networked_life  via:? 
6 days ago
The Slave Trade and British Capital Formation in the Eighteenth Century: A Comment on the Williams Thesis* | Business History Review | Cambridge Core
"Professor Engerman constructs estimates of relevant data in order to test the assertion that profits from the slave trade provided the capital which financed the Industrial Revolution in England."

--- The last tag is tentative, but La Historienne has convinced me to at least explore using the Williams Thesis as a teaching example in the new class...
to:NB  to_read  industrial_revolution  capitalism  slavery  economic_history  time_series  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
6 days ago
Medical Nihilism - Jacob Stegenga - Oxford University Press
"This book argues that if we consider the ubiquity of small effect sizes in medicine, the extent of misleading evidence in medical research, the thin theoretical basis of many interventions, and the malleability of empirical methods, and if we employ our best inductive framework, then our confidence in medical interventions ought to be low."

--- Well, this all _sounds_ very congenial to my prejudices. (Though the "best inductive framework" bit makes me leery.)
to:NB  books:noted  philosophy_of_science  medicine  re:neutral_model_of_inquiry  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
6 days ago
Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals: Cooperative Alternatives Beyond Markets and States, Wall
"Elinor Ostrom was both a groundbreaking thinker and one of the foremost economists of our age. The first and only woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics, her revolutionary theorizing of the commons opened the way for non-capitalist economic alternatives on a massive scale. And yet, astonishingly, most modern radicals know little about her.
"Elinor Ostrom's Rules for Radicals fixes that injustice, revealing the indispensability of her work on green politics, alternative economics, and radical democracy. Derek Wall’s analysis of her theses addresses some of the common misconceptions of her work and reveals her strong commitment to a radical ideological framework. This helpful guide will engage scholars and activists across a range of disciplines, including political economy, political science, and ecology, as well as those keen to implement her work in practice. As activists continue to reject traditional models of centralized power, Ostrom’s theories will become even more crucial in creating economies that exist beyond markets and states."
to:NB  books:noted  economics  institutions  progressive_forces  political_economy  ostrom.elinor 
7 days ago
Have wars and violence declined? | SpringerLink
"For over 150 years liberal optimism has dominated theories of war and violence. It has been repeatedly argued that war and violence either are declining or will shortly decline. There have been exceptions, especially in Germany and more generally in the first half of the twentieth century, but there has been a recent revival of such optimism, especially in the work of Azar Gat, John Mueller, Joshua Goldstein, and Steven Pinker who all perceive a long-term decline in war and violence through history, speeding up in the post-1945 period. Critiquing Pinker’s statistics on war fatalities, I show that the overall pattern is not a decline in war, but substantial variation between periods and places. War has not declined and current trends are slightly in the opposite direction. The conventional view is that civil wars in the global South have largely replaced inter-state wars in the North, but this is misleading since there is major involvement in most civil wars by outside powers, including those of the North. There is more support for their view that homicide has declined in the long-term, at least in the North of the world (with the United States lagging somewhat). This is reinforced by technological improvements in long-distance weaponry and the two transformations have shifted war, especially in the North, from being “ferocious” to “callous” in character. This renders war less visible and less central to Northern culture, which has the deceptive appearance of being rather pacific. Viewed from the South the view has been bleaker both in the colonial period and today. Globally war and violence are not declining, but they are being transformed."
to:NB  sociology  history  comparative_history  imperialism  war  violence  statistics  mann.michael 
7 days ago
Du Bois’ democratic defence of the value free ideal | SpringerLink
"Philosophers of science debate the proper role of non-epistemic value judgements in scientific reasoning. Many modern authors oppose the value free ideal, claiming that we should not even try to get scientists to eliminate all such non-epistemic value judgements from their reasoning. W. E. B. Du Bois, on the other hand, has a defence of the value free ideal in science that is rooted in a conception of the proper place of science in a democracy. In particular, Du Bois argues that the value free ideal must be upheld in order to, first, retain public trust in science and, second, ensure that those best placed to make use of scientifically acquired information are able to do so. This latter argument turns out to relate Du Bois’ position on the value free ideal in science to his defence of epistemic democracy. In this essay I elaborate, motivate, and relate to the modern debate, Du Bois’ under-appreciated defence of the value free ideal."
to:NB  philosophy_of_science  du_bois.w.e.b.  history_of_ideas  re:democratic_cognition 
7 days ago
Intervening on structure | SpringerLink
"Some explanations appeal to facts about the causal structure of a system in order to shed light on a particular phenomenon; these are explanations which do more than cite the causes X and Y of some state-of-affairs Z, but rather appeal to “macro-level” causal features—for example the fact that A causes B as well as C, or perhaps that D is a strong inhibitor of E—in order to explain Z. Appeals to these kinds of “macro-level” causal features appear in a wide variety of social scientific and biological research; statements about features such as “patriarchy,” “healthcare infrastructure,” and “functioning DNA repair mechanism,” for instance, can be understood as claims about what would be different (with respect to some target phenomenon) in a system with a different causal structure. I suggest interpreting counterfactual questions involving structural features as questions about alternative parameter settings of causal models, and propose an extension of the usual interventionist framework for causal explanation which enables scientists to explore the consequences of interventions on “macro-level” structure."
to:NB  causality  macro_from_micro 
7 days ago
Climatic control of Mississippi River flood hazard amplified by river engineering | Nature
"Over the past century, many of the world’s major rivers have been modified for the purposes of flood mitigation, power generation and commercial navigation1. Engineering modifications to the Mississippi River system have altered the river’s sediment levels and channel morphology2, but the influence of these modifications on flood hazard is debated3,4,5. Detecting and attributing changes in river discharge is challenging because instrumental streamflow records are often too short to evaluate the range of natural hydrological variability before the establishment of flood mitigation infrastructure. Here we show that multi-decadal trends of flood hazard on the lower Mississippi River are strongly modulated by dynamical modes of climate variability, particularly the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, but that the artificial channelization (confinement to a straightened channel) has greatly amplified flood magnitudes over the past century. Our results, based on a multi-proxy reconstruction of flood frequency and magnitude spanning the past 500 years, reveal that the magnitude of the 100-year flood (a flood with a 1 per cent chance of being exceeded in any year) has increased by 20 per cent over those five centuries, with about 75 per cent of this increase attributed to river engineering. We conclude that the interaction of human alterations to the Mississippi River system with dynamical modes of climate variability has elevated the current flood hazard to levels that are unprecedented within the past five centuries."
to:NB  hydrology  time_series  extreme_values  environmental_management  climate_change  to_teach:data_over_space_and_time 
11 days ago
Philosophy and climate science | Philosophy of science | Cambridge University Press
"There continues to be a vigorous public debate in our society about the status of climate science. Much of the skepticism voiced in this debate suffers from a lack of understanding of how the science works - in particular the complex interdisciplinary scientific modeling activities such as those which are at the heart of climate science. In this book Eric Winsberg shows clearly and accessibly how philosophy of science can contribute to our understanding of climate science, and how it can also shape climate policy debates and provide a starting point for research. Covering a wide range of topics including the nature of scientific data, modeling, and simulation, his book provides a detailed guide for those willing to look beyond ideological proclamations, and enriches our understanding of how climate science relates to important concepts such as chaos, unpredictability, and the extent of what we know."
to:NB  books:noted  climate_change  philosophy_of_science  quixotic_enterprises 
11 days ago
The meaning of model equivalence: Network models, latent variables, and the theoretical space in between | Psych Networks
I think DB's point could be made more clearly, for graphical-model afficionados, by saying that two graphical models can lead to the same _unmanipulated_ distribution, but predict very different _manipulated_ distributions, and these equivalence results are for unmanipulated joint distributions.
graphical_models  psychometrics  factor_analysis  ising_model  probability  borsboom.denny  have_read 
12 days ago
Opinion | The Conspiracy Theory That Says Trump Is a Genius - The New York Times
"The creativity poured into QAnon is striking; it’s like something between a sprawling work of crowdsourced postmodern fiction and an immersive role-playing game."

--- The whole thing is worth reading, and following up on. Three observations, in decreasing order of seriousness:
1. This template for the Diabolical Conspiracy is much older than Christian fears about Jews; the Romans applied it to the Christians, among others ( http://bactra.org/notebooks/conspiracy-theories.html ).
2. The history of ideas becomes much more comprehensible, and terrifying, once one realizes that the paragraph I quoted applies to (nearly) _every mythology and ideology ever_.
3. Finally, since about mid-2015, I feel we have been living in a Walter Jon Williams novel, _and I wish he'd cut it out_.
conspiracy_theories  the_continuing_crises  trump.donald  goldberg.michelle  natural_history_of_truthiness  epidemiology_of_representations  the_mythopoetic_process_at_work 
13 days ago
Richard Nixon: Special Message to the Congress on Reform of the Nation's Welfare System (1969)
It is somewhat shocking that _even someone as awful as Nixon_ felt that this was a good idea... (The bit about day-care was particularly astonishing to me.)
public_policy  welfare_state  basic_income  nixon.richard_m. 
14 days ago
How to Fairly Sort Students for College – People's Policy Project
"Any method of academic evaluation you use is going to sort affluent kids higher than non-affluent kids on average. This is because affluent kids acquire a higher average level of academic competency than non-affluent kids. To believe that all groups have equal average academic competency at age 18 is to believe that poverty has no negative effects on learning, which is clearly wrong."

--- This sounds compelling.
education  inequality  standardized_testing 
14 days ago
stuck in the middle with me – ideologjammin'
"Let’s consider your takedown of Vox. Vox sucks; no argument there. But your attack entertains two very different lines of reasoning as to what’s wrong with it. The first is a lit crit-style attack on concepts like “objectivity”, “expertise”, and “explanation”. Vox “falsely assum[es] that there can be such a thing as a ‘view from nowhere’”; Vox‘s analyses are “value-laden” despite purporting to be “neutral and dispassionate”; Vox‘s word “’explainers’ . . . has some interesting connotations” (“mansplaining”, “explaining away”, etc.; later, “explanation implies certitude”); Vox fetishizes policy but gives little attention to the values, or ends, such policies are meant to effect. The second is much more concrete: Vox writers mess stuff up a lot. There is, however, a bit of a problem here. For example, you illustrate the specific ineptitude of Matt Yglesias with an anecdote about Robert Ellickson, “a bona fide expert on housing and zoning with approximately four decades of experience in the field”, “ripping Yglesias’ pamphlet [The Rent Is Too Damn High] to shreds for its basic economic ignorance”. Sounds fun. But see how quickly “bona fide expert[ise]” has reentered your field of vision. As an expert, is Ellickson engaged in explanation? You bet he is. In accepting him as an expert, do we credit him for having an at least partially objective “view from nowhere” when it comes to housing? We must: his apparent advantage over Yglesias would be a matter of mere disagreement otherwise. This generalizes to the whole critique, though."

--- This seems like a fair criticism of a lot of critiques I read (not just of this particular episode).
have_read  via:?  us_politics  progressive_forces 
14 days ago
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg runs a nation-state, and he’s the king - Vox
Fully endorsed; it makes very explicit some points implicit in Tufekci's recent _Wired_ piece.
--- This is now the second piece Henry has written about online proto-polities (the first was about Silk Road [https://aeon.co/essays/why-the-hidden-internet-can-t-be-a-libertarian-paradise] ). I really hope he is not working on a trilogy.

(ObPedant: "Nation-state" is wrong; "sovereign state" would be better. I _know_ Henry knows this perfectly well, and I am sure that Prof. Levi does too; but they don't get to write their own headlines.)
facebook  political_science  political_economy  networked_life  kith_and_kin  farrell.henry  levi.margaret  have_read 
14 days ago
Washington Monthly | The Libertarian Who Accidentally Helped Make the Case for Regulation
"Helped make the case" is surely a bit strong for a negative result, no?
(Aside: the talk of "priors" here does nothing.)
track_down_references  economics  regulation 
14 days ago
Why Mark Zuckerberg’s 14-Year Apology Tour Hasn’t Fixed Facebook | WIRED
"There are very few other contexts in which a person would be be allowed to make a series of decisions that have obviously enriched them while eroding the privacy and well-being of billions of people; to make basically the same apology for those decisions countless times over the space of just 14 years; and then to profess innocence, idealism, and complete independence from the obvious structural incentives that have shaped the whole process. This should ordinarily cause all the other educated, literate, and smart people in the room to break into howls of protest or laughter. Or maybe tears."

--- Preach, sister!
have_read  tufekci.zeynep  facebook  networked_life  social_media  surveillance  data_mining  you_are_the_product_being_sold  democracy  or_lack_thereof 
15 days ago
A bird-eye view of optimization algorithms
Nice; some typos. (Cf. Lectures 17, 18 and 19 of http://stat.cmu.edu/~cshalizi/statcomp/14/ , though I really ought to fix up those slides)
optimization  have_read  via:? 
16 days ago
This is how Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook targeting model really worked — according to the person who built it » Nieman Journalism Lab
If this is accurate, they weren't even using the Big Five as a bottleneck for their predictions...

Evil thought: would this help to motivate the students the next time I teach principal components & factor analysis?
data_mining  us_politics  networked_life  factor_analysis  statistics  to_teach:data-mining  cambridge_analytica  facebook 
16 days ago
Credulity: A Cultural History of US Mesmerism, Ogden
"From the 1830s to the Civil War, Americans could be found putting each other into trances for fun and profit in parlors, on stage, and in medical consulting rooms. They were performing mesmerism. Surprisingly central to literature and culture of the period, mesmerism embraced a variety of phenomena, including mind control, spirit travel, and clairvoyance. Although it had been debunked by Benjamin Franklin in late eighteenth-century France, the practice nonetheless enjoyed a decades-long resurgence in the United States. Emily Ogden here offers the first comprehensive account of those boom years.
"Credulity tells the fascinating story of mesmerism’s spread from the plantations of the French Antilles to the textile factory cities of 1830s New England. As it proliferated along the Eastern seaboard, this occult movement attracted attention from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s circle and ignited the nineteenth-century equivalent of flame wars in the major newspapers. But mesmerism was not simply the last gasp of magic in modern times. Far from being magicians themselves, mesmerists claimed to provide the first rational means of manipulating the credulous human tendencies that had underwritten past superstitions. Now, rather than propping up the powers of oracles and false gods, these tendencies served modern ends such as labor supervision, education, and mediated communication. Neither an atavistic throwback nor a radical alternative, mesmerism was part and parcel of the modern. Credulity offers us a new way of understanding the place of enchantment in secularizing America."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  american_history  19th_century_history  psychoceramics 
16 days ago
Islam and the Rule of Justice: Image and Reality in Muslim Law and Culture, Rosen
"In the West, we tend to think of Islamic law as an arcane and rigid legal system, bound by formulaic texts yet suffused by unfettered discretion. While judges may indeed refer to passages in the classical texts or have recourse to their own orientations, images of binding doctrine and unbounded choice do not reflect the full reality of the Islamic law in its everyday practice. Whether in the Arabic-speaking world, the Muslim portions of South and Southeast Asia, or the countries to which many Muslims have migrated, Islamic law works is readily misunderstood if the local cultures in which it is embedded are not taken into account.
"With Islam and the Rule of Justice, Lawrence Rosen analyzes a number of these misperceptions. Drawing on specific cases, he explores the application of Islamic law to the treatment of women (who win most of their cases), the relations between Muslims and Jews (which frequently involve close personal and financial ties), and the structure of widespread corruption (which played a key role in prompting the Arab Spring). From these case studie the role of informal mechanisms in the resolution of local disputes. The author also provides a close reading of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was charged in an American court with helping to carry out the 9/11 attacks, using insights into how Islamic justice works to explain the defendant’s actions during the trial. The book closes with an examination of how Islamic cultural concepts may come to bear on the constitutional structure and legal reforms many Muslim countries have been undertaking."
to:NB  books:noted  law  islam  anthropology 
16 days ago
The Merits of Women: Wherein Is Revealed Their Nobility and Their Superiority to Men, Fonte, Cox, Maraini
Further evidence for Gellner's proposition that you can always, in any society, find _someone_ espousing any given position, so the question is why the ideas sometimes catch on...
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_ideas  early_modern_european_history  feminism 
16 days ago
Blockchain is not only crappy technology but a bad vision for the future
This is, of course, totally and completely correct, especially the bits about data entry.
have_read  debunking  via:?  blockchain  networked_life  trust  institutions 
17 days ago
The Souls of Yellow Folk | W. W. Norton & Company
"Inspired by The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois’s classic collection of essays on race and American society, Wesley Yang’s debut book marks a fresh contribution to the conversation about race in America today. Yang’s essays are an eclectic mix of reporting, sociology, and personal history, and The Souls of Yellow Folk collects thirteen of his best. These include his New York cover story “Paper Tigers,” on Asian values and the American Dream; his New York Times Magazine portrait of chef and author Eddie Huang; his n+1 dispatch “The Face of Seung- Hui Cho,” who was then the largest mass murderer in U.S. history; and his provocative essays on white supremacy. Written with freewheeling candor, The Souls of Yellow Folk deftly examines a new cohort of men who have emerged in our time—embattled, haunted, and out on a limb."

--- Chutzpah points for the title.
to:NB  books:noted  cultural_criticism  the_american_dilemma 
18 days ago
McClendon, G.: Envy in Politics (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"How envy, spite, and the pursuit of admiration influence politics
"Why do governments underspend on policies that would make their constituents better off? Why do people participate in contentious politics when they could reap benefits if they were to abstain? In Envy in Politics, Gwyneth McClendon contends that if we want to understand these and other forms of puzzling political behavior, we should pay attention to envy, spite, and the pursuit of admiration--all manifestations of our desire to maintain or enhance our status within groups. Drawing together insights from political philosophy, behavioral economics, psychology, and anthropology, McClendon explores how and under what conditions status motivations influence politics.
"Through surveys, case studies, interviews, and an experiment, McClendon argues that when concerns about in-group status are unmanaged by social conventions or are explicitly primed by elites, status motivations can become drivers of public opinion and political participation. McClendon focuses on the United States and South Africa—two countries that provide tough tests for her arguments while also demonstrating that the arguments apply in different contexts.
"From debates over redistribution to the mobilization of collective action, Envy in Politics presents the first theoretical and empirical investigation of the connection between status motivations and political behavior."

--- While "Envy in Politics" is clearly a much better title than "Concerns about Inter-personal Status in Politics", it seems somewhat prejudicial...
to:NB  books:noted  moral_psychology  political_science 
18 days ago
Nonparametric von Mises Estimators for Entropies, Divergences and Mutual Informations
"We propose and analyse estimators for statistical functionals of one or moredistributions under nonparametric assumptions.Our estimators are derived from the von Mises expansion andare based on the theory of influence functions, which appearin the semiparametric statistics literature.We show that estimators based either on data-splitting or a leave-one-out techniqueenjoy fast rates of convergence and other favorable theoretical properties.We apply this framework to derive estimators for several popular informationtheoretic quantities, and via empirical evaluation, show the advantage of thisapproach over existing estimators."
to:NB  have_read  entropy_estimation  nonparametrics  statistics  kith_and_kin 
19 days ago
The Moral Meaning of Nature: Nietzsche’s Darwinian Religion and Its Critics, Woodford
"What, if anything, does biological evolution tell us about the nature of religion, ethical values, or even the meaning and purpose of life? The Moral Meaning of Nature sheds new light on these enduring questions by examining the significance of an earlier—and unjustly neglected—discussion of Darwin in late nineteenth-century Germany.
"We start with Friedrich Nietzsche, whose writings staged one of the first confrontations with the Christian tradition using the resources of Darwinian thought. The lebensphilosophie, or “life-philosophy,” that arose from his engagement with evolutionary ideas drew responses from other influential thinkers, including Franz Overbeck, Georg Simmel, and Heinrich Rickert. These critics all offered cogent challenges to Nietzsche’s appropriation of the newly transforming biological sciences, his negotiation between science and religion, and his interpretation of the implications of Darwinian thought. They also each proposed alternative ways of making sense of Nietzsche’s unique question concerning the meaning of biological evolution “for life.” At the heart of the discussion were debates about the relation of facts and values, the place of divine purpose in the understanding of nonhuman and human agency, the concept of life, and the question of whether the sciences could offer resources to satisfy the human urge to discover sources of value in biological processes. The Moral Meaning of Nature focuses on the historical background of these questions, exposing the complex ways in which they recur in contemporary philosophical debate."
to:NB  books:noted  moral_philosophy  evolution  nietzsche.friedrich  history_of_ideas 
19 days ago
Hope Lies in the Proles: George Orwell and the Left, Newsinger
"Few figures on the left are as widely heralded as George Orwell. Yet his actual politics are poorly understood. Hope Lies in the Proles corrects that, offering a sympathetic yet critical account of Orwell’s often muddied political thinking and its continued relevance today. John Newsinger takes up various aspects of Orwell’s personal politics, exploring his attempts to change working-class consciousness, considering it alternately romantic, realistic, and patronizing—and at times all three at once. He examines Orwell’s antifascism, and how it fits in with his criticism of the Soviet Union; looks into his relationship with the Labour Party and feminism; and delves into Orwell’s shifting views on the United States. The result is the clearest understanding we’ve ever had of Orwell’s politics and their legacy."
to:NB  books:noted  20th_century_history  progressive_forces  socialism  lives_of_the_artists  orwell.george 
19 days ago
[1611.05401] Bootstrapping and Sample Splitting For High-Dimensional, Assumption-Free Inference
"Several new methods have been proposed for performing valid inference after model selection. An older method is sampling splitting: use part of the data for model selection and part for inference. In this paper we revisit sample splitting combined with the bootstrap (or the Normal approximation). We show that this leads to a simple, assumption-free approach to inference and we establish results on the accuracy of the method. In fact, we find new bounds on the accuracy of the bootstrap and the Normal approximation for general nonlinear parameters with increasing dimension which we then use to assess the accuracy of regression inference. We show that an alternative, called the image bootstrap, has higher coverage accuracy at the cost of more computation. We define new parameters that measure variable importance and that can be inferred with greater accuracy than the usual regression coefficients. There is a inference-prediction tradeoff: splitting increases the accuracy and robustness of inference but can decrease the accuracy of the predictions."
to:NB  heard_the_talk  linear_regression  model_selection  bootstrap  kith_and_kin  wasserman.larry  rinaldo.alessandro  g'sell.max  lei.jing  high-dimensional_statistics  statistics  to_teach:linear_models 
19 days ago
The TVs of Tomorrow: How RCA’s Flat-Screen Dreams Led to the First LCDs, Gross
"In 1968 a team of scientists and engineers from RCA announced the creation of a new form of electronic display that relied upon an obscure set of materials known as liquid crystals. At a time when televisions utilized bulky cathode ray tubes to produce an image, these researchers demonstrated how liquid crystals could electronically control the passage of light. One day, they predicted, liquid crystal displays would find a home in clocks, calculators—and maybe even a television that could hang on the wall.
"Half a century later, RCA’s dreams have become a reality, and liquid crystals are the basis of a multibillion-dollar global industry. Yet the company responsible for producing the first LCDs was unable to capitalize upon its invention. In The TVs of Tomorrow, Benjamin Gross explains this contradiction by examining the history of flat-panel display research at RCA from the perspective of the chemists, physicists, electrical engineers, and technicians at the company’s central laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.
"Drawing upon laboratory notebooks, internal reports, and interviews with key participants, Gross reconstructs the development of the LCD and situates it alongside other efforts to create a thin, lightweight replacement for the television picture tube. He shows how RCA researchers mobilized their technical expertise to secure support for their projects. He also highlights the challenges associated with the commercialization of liquid crystals at RCA and Optel—the RCA spin-off that ultimately manufactured the first LCD wristwatch. The TVs of Tomorrow is a detailed portrait of American innovation during the Cold War, which confirms that success in the electronics industry hinges upon input from both the laboratory and the boardroom."
to:NB  books:noted  history_of_technology  20th_century_history  liquid_crystals  the_present_before_it_was_widely_distributed 
19 days ago
The Young Descartes: Nobility, Rumor, and War, Cook
"René Descartes is best known as the man who coined the phrase “I think, therefore I am.”  But though he is remembered most as a thinker, Descartes, the man, was no disembodied mind, theorizing at great remove from the worldly affairs and concerns of his time. Far from it. As a young nobleman, Descartes was a soldier and courtier who took part in some of the greatest events of his generation—a man who would not seem out of place in the pages of The Three Musketeers.
"In The Young Descartes, Harold J. Cook tells the story of a man who did not set out to become an author or philosopher—Descartes began publishing only after the age of forty. Rather, for years he traveled throughout Europe in diplomacy and at war. He was present at the opening events of the Thirty Years' War in Central Europe and Northern Italy, and was also later involved in struggles within France. Enduring exile, scandals, and courtly intrigue, on his journeys Descartes associated with many of the most innovative free thinkers and poets of his day, as well as great noblemen, noblewomen, and charismatic religious reformers. In his personal life, he expressed love for men as well as women and was accused of libertinism by his adversaries.
"These early years on the move, in touch with powerful people and great events, and his experiences with military engineering and philosophical materialism all shaped the thinker and philosopher Descartes became in exile, where he would begin to write and publish, with purpose. But though it is these writings that made ultimately made him famous, The Young Descartes shows that this story of his early life and the tumultuous times that molded him is sure to spark a reappraisal of his philosophy and legacy."
to:NB  books:noted  lives_of_the_scholars  lives_of_the_scientists  early_modern_european_history  scientific_revolution 
19 days ago
Cities in the Urban Age: A Dissent, Beauregard
"We live in a self-proclaimed Urban Age, where we celebrate the city as the source of economic prosperity, a nurturer of social and cultural diversity, and a place primed for democracy. We proclaim the city as the fertile ground from which progress will arise. Without cities, we tell ourselves, human civilization would falter and decay. In Cities in the Urban Age, Robert A. Beauregard argues that this line of thinking is not only hyperbolic—it is too celebratory by half.
"For Beauregard, the city is a cauldron for four haunting contradictions. First, cities are equally defined by both their wealth and their poverty. Second, cities are simultaneously environmentally destructive and yet promise sustainability. Third, cities encourage rule by political machines and oligarchies, even as they are essentially democratic and at least nominally open to all. And fourth, city life promotes tolerance among disparate groups, even as the friction among them often erupts into violence. Beauregard offers no simple solutions or proposed remedies for these contradictions; indeed, he doesn’t necessarily hold that they need to be resolved, since they are generative of city life. Without these four tensions, cities wouldn’t be cities. Rather, Beauregard argues that only by recognizing these ambiguities and contradictions can we even begin to understand our moral obligations, as well as the clearest paths toward equality, justice, and peace in urban settings."
to:NB  books:noted  cities  political_economy  moral_philosophy  inequality 
19 days ago
Action versus Contemplation: Why an Ancient Debate Still Matters, Summit, Vermeule
"“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” Blaise Pascal wrote in 1654. But then there’s Walt Whitman, in 1856: “Whoever you are, come forth! Or man or woman come forth! / You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house.”
"It is truly an ancient debate: Is it better to be active or contemplative? To do or to think? To make an impact, or to understand the world more deeply? Aristotle argued for contemplation as the highest state of human flourishing. But it was through action that his student Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Which should we aim at? Centuries later, this argument underlies a surprising number of the questions we face in contemporary life. Should students study the humanities, or train for a job? Should adults work for money or for meaning? And in tumultuous times, should any of us sit on the sidelines, pondering great books, or throw ourselves into protests and petition drives? 
"With Action versus Contemplation, Jennifer Summit and Blakey Vermeule address the question in a refreshingly unexpected way: by refusing to take sides. Rather, they argue for a rethinking of the very opposition. The active and the contemplative can—and should—be vibrantly alive in each of us, fused rather than sundered. Writing in a personable, accessible style, Summit and Vermeule guide readers through the long history of this debate from Plato to Pixar, drawing compelling connections to the questions and problems of today. Rather than playing one against the other, they argue, we can discover how the two can nourish, invigorate, and give meaning to each other, as they have for the many writers, artists, and thinkers, past and present, whose examples give the book its rich, lively texture of interplay and reference.
"This is not a self-help book. It won’t give you instructions on how to live your life. Instead, it will do something better: it will remind you of the richness of a life that embraces action and contemplation, company and solitude, living in the moment and planning for the future. Which is better? Readers of this book will discover the answer: both."
to:NB  books:noted  moral_psychology  moral_philosophy 
19 days ago
Managerial Capitalism: Ownership, Management, and the Coming New Mode of Production, Duménil, Lévy
"Marxist analysis has traditionally been built on a two-class framework: workers and capitalists. With Managerial Capitalism, Gerard Duménil and Dominique Lévy mount a powerful argument that such a framework is outdated—we are in fact amid a transition to a new mode of production, one that is fundamentally shaped by a third, intermediary class: managerialism.
"Drawing examples from the United States and Europe, the authors offer a historically rooted interpretation of major current economic and political trends. Without eschewing Marx’s theory of history and political economy, they update it to take account of the changes underway in class patterns and relationships to production. The result is a robust new Marxism for the present and the future."

--- Errr, isn't this what many people have been saying since at least the 1940s? (Off the top of my head: Burnham, Djilas, Galbraith the Ehrenreichs --- all with great differences, of course.)
to:NB  books:noted  political_economy  capitalism  corporations  management  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
19 days ago
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Fennel, Citrus, and Chiles Recipe | Bon Appetit
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood or navel orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 red Fresno chile or jalapeño, with seeds, thinly sliced
4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 2-lb. skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
¾ cup olive oil
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
Also Try it With:
Cod, halibut, John Dory, or turbot fillets

Preheat oven to 275°. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.

Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs.
food  recipes 
19 days ago
‘Civil skepticism’ and the social construction of knowledge: A case in dendroclimatology - Meritxell Ramírez-i-Ollé, 2018
"Early Science and Technology Studies (STS) scholars recognized that the social construction of knowledge depends on skepticism’s parasitic relationship to background expectations and trust. Subsequent generations have paid less empirical attention to skepticism in science and its relationship with trust. I seek to rehabilitate skepticism in STS – particularly, Merton’s view of skepticism as a scientific norm sustained by trust among status peers – with a study of what I call ‘civil skepticism’. The empirical grounding is a case in contemporary dendroclimatology and the development of a method (‘Blue Intensity’) for generating knowledge about climate change from trees. I present a sequence of four instances of civil skepticism involved in making Blue Intensity more resistant to critique, and hence credible (in laboratory experiments, workshops, conferences, and peer-review of articles). These skeptical interactions depended upon maintaining communal notions of civility among an increasingly extended network of mutually trusted peers through a variety of means: by making Blue Intensity complementary to existing methods used to study a diverse natural world (tree-ring patterns) and by contributing to a shared professional goal (the study of global climate change). I conclude with a sociological theory about the role of civil skepticism in constituting knowledge-claims of greater generality and relevance."
to:NB  sociology_of_science  social_life_of_the_mind  climatology 
20 days ago
A Mathematician Doing Physics: Mark Kac’s Work on the Modeling of Phase Transitions | Perspectives on Science | MIT Press Journals
"After World War II, quite a few mathematicians were attracted to the modeling of phase transitions as this area of physics was seeing considerable mathematical difficulties. This paper studies their contributions to the physics of phase transitions, and in particular those of the by far most productive and successful of them, the Polish-American mathematician Mark Kac (1914–1984). The focus is on the resources, values, and traditions that the mathematicians brought with them and how these differed from those of contemporary physicists as well as the mathematicians’ relations with the physicists in terms of collaboration and reception of results."
to:NB  history_of_science  history_of_physics  history_of_mathematics  physics  mathematics  statistical_mechanics  phase_transitions  kac.mark 
20 days ago
A New Problem-Solving Paradigm for Philosophy of Science | Perspectives on Science | MIT Press Journals
"A paradigm instructs in how to do research successfully. Analytic philosophy of science, currently dominant, models paradigmatic rational science as a system of logical inferences. It is, however, an abundantly inadequate paradigm. This paper presents an alternative paradigm: science as an organized collection of problem solving processes. This position is backed, on the one side, by a cognitive model of problem solving process applicable to all problem solving circumstances and, on the other, by a non-formal conception of rationality that provides a wider enriched notion of rational research process than is available to the analytic paradigm. The result is a very different way of looking at science and of doing history and philosophy of science. The position is developed sufficiently to display its nature and merits."
to:NB  philosophy_of_science  cognitive_science  epistemology  rationality 
20 days ago
Explaining with Simulations: Why Visual Representations Matter | Perspectives on Science | MIT Press Journals
"Computer simulations are often expected to provide explanations about target phenomena. However there is a gap between the simulation outputs and the underlying model, which prevents users finding the relevant explanatory components within the model. I contend that visual representations which adequately display the simulation outputs can nevertheless be used to get explanations. In order to do so, I elaborate on the way graphs and pictures can help one to explain the behavior of a flow past a cylinder. I then specify the reasons that make more generally visual representations particularly suitable for explanatory tasks in a computer-assisted context."
to:NB  simulation  modeling  explanation  philosophy_of_science  visual_display_of_quantitative_information 
20 days ago
Niezink , Snijders : Co-evolution of social networks and continuous actor attributes
"Social networks and the attributes of the actors in these networks are not static; they may develop interdependently over time. The stochastic actor-oriented model allows for statistical inference on the mechanisms driving this co-evolution process. In earlier versions of this model, dynamic actor attributes are assumed to be measured on an ordinal categorical scale. We present an extension of the stochastic actor-oriented model that does away with this restriction using a stochastic differential equation to model the evolution of continuous actor attributes. We estimate the parameters by a procedure based on the method of moments. The proposed method is applied to study the dynamics of a friendship network among the students at an Australian high school. In particular, we model the relationship between friendship and obesity, focusing on body mass index as a continuous co-evolving attribute."
to:NB  social_networks  network_data_analysis  social_influence  stochastic_differential_equations  statistics  have_read  heard_the_talk  to_teach:baby-nets  niezink.nynke  snijders.tom 
21 days ago
Diffusion of innovations in dynamic networks - Greenan - 2015 - Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) - Wiley Online Library
"The evolution of a dynamic social network and the diffusion of an innovation are jointly modelled, dependent on one another, by using an extension of a stochastic actor‐oriented model developed by Snijders, which is modified so that the adoption times follow a proportional hazards model. The asymptotic behaviour of the method‐of‐moments estimator is examined. The model is demonstrated on a data set involving the initiation of cannabis smoking among adolescents, and a simulation study is presented."
to:NB  point_processes  network_data_analysis  social_networks  diffusion_of_innovations  agent-based_models  statistics  to_teach:baby-nets 
21 days ago
[1710.09553] Rethinking generalization requires revisiting old ideas: statistical mechanics approaches and complex learning behavior
"We describe an approach to understand the peculiar and counterintuitive generalization properties of deep neural networks. The approach involves going beyond worst-case theoretical capacity control frameworks that have been popular in machine learning in recent years to revisit old ideas in the statistical mechanics of neural networks. Within this approach, we present a prototypical Very Simple Deep Learning (VSDL) model, whose behavior is controlled by two control parameters, one describing an effective amount of data, or load, on the network (that decreases when noise is added to the input), and one with an effective temperature interpretation (that increases when algorithms are early stopped). Using this model, we describe how a very simple application of ideas from the statistical mechanics theory of generalization provides a strong qualitative description of recently-observed empirical results regarding the inability of deep neural networks not to overfit training data, discontinuous learning and sharp transitions in the generalization properties of learning algorithms, etc."
to:NB  to_read  statistical_mechanics  learning_theory  neural_networks  mahoney.michael  via:vaguery  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
21 days ago
Family Ruptures, Stress, and the Mental Health of the Next Generation
"This paper studies how in utero exposure to maternal stress from family ruptures affects later mental health. We find that prenatal exposure to the death of a maternal relative increases take-up of ADHD medications during childhood and anti-anxiety and depression medications in adulthood. Further, family ruptures during pregnancy depress birth outcomes and raise the risk of perinatal complications necessitating hospitalization. Our results suggest large welfare gains from preventing fetal stress from family ruptures and possibly from economically induced stressors such as unemployment. They further suggest that greater stress exposure among the poor may partially explain the intergenerational persistence of poverty."

See also an important comment (http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.20161124) and reply (http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.20161605) --- potentially the makings of a very good problem set, if data &c. check out.
to:NB  causal_inference  inequality  economics  to_teach:undergrad-ADA 
25 days ago
Team-Specific Capital and Innovation
"We establish the importance of team-specific capital in the typical inventor's career. Using administrative tax and patent data for the population of US patent inventors from 1996 to 2012, we find that an inventor's premature death causes a large and long-lasting decline in their co-inventor's earnings and citation-weighted patents (–4 percent and –15 percent after 8 years, respectively). After ruling out firm disruption, network effects, and top-down spillovers as main channels, we show that the effect is driven by close-knit teams and that team-specific capital largely results from an "experience" component increasing collaboration value over time."

--- Petty comment: How on Earth is "people learning to work well together" a form of "capital"?
to:NB  economics  innovation  social_life_of_the_mind 
25 days ago
Brahmin Left vs Merchant Right: Rising Inequality & the Changing Structure of Political Conflict (Evidence from France, Britain and the US, 1948-2017)
"Abstract. Using post-electoral surveys from France, Britain and the US, this paper documents a striking long-run evolution in the structure of political cleavages. In the 1950s-1960s, the vote for left-wing (socialist-labour-democratic) parties was associated with lower education and lower income voters. It has gradually become associated with higher education voters, giving rise to a “multiple-elite” party system in the 2000s-2010s: high-education elites now vote for the “left”, while high-income/high-wealth elites still vote for the “right” (though less and less so). I argue that this can contribute to explain rising inequality and the lack of democratic response to it, as well as the rise of “populism”. I also discuss the origins of this evolution (rise of globalization/migration cleavage, and/or educational expansion per se) as well as future prospects: “multiple-elite” stabilization; complete realignment of the party system along a “globalists” (high-education, high-income) vs “nativists” (low-education, low-income) cleavage; return to class-based redistributive conflict (either from an internationalist or nativist perspective). Two main lessons emerge. First, with multi-dimensional inequality, multiple political equilibria and bifurcations can occur. Next, without a strong egalitarian-internationalist platform, it is difficult to unite low-education, low-income voters from all origins within the same party. "
inequality  political_science  political_economy  piketty.thomas  via:jbdelong  to:NB 
26 days ago
The Abstract Factory: Tentpole sponsors: an idea for improving paid service virality
Keunwoo is concerned that this might make the network seem too transactional, but I'm not sure that would really be a problem in practice. In fact, channeling John Levi Martin (http://bactra.org/weblog/algae-2013-03.html#martin-social-structures ) would seem to suggest that allowing for long patron-client chains would actually _stabilize_ the network, as a social formation if not a business proposition.
social_media  you_are_the_product_being_sold  have_read  to:blog 
27 days ago
Roberts, M.E.: Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China`s Great Firewall (Hardcover and eBook) | Princeton University Press
"As authoritarian governments around the world develop sophisticated technologies for controlling information, many observers have predicted that these controls would be ineffective because they are easily thwarted and evaded by savvy Internet users. In Censored, Margaret Roberts demonstrates that even censorship that is easy to circumvent can still be enormously effective. Taking advantage of digital data harvested from the Chinese Internet and leaks from China's Propaganda Department, this important book sheds light on how and when censorship influences the Chinese public.
"Roberts finds that much of censorship in China works not by making information impossible to access but by requiring those seeking information to spend extra time and money for access. By inconveniencing users, censorship diverts the attention of citizens and powerfully shapes the spread of information. When Internet users notice blatant censorship, they are willing to compensate for better access. But subtler censorship, such as burying search results or introducing distracting information on the web, is more effective because users are less aware of it. Roberts challenges the conventional wisdom that online censorship is undermined when it is incomplete and shows instead how censorship's porous nature is used strategically to divide the public.
"Drawing parallels between censorship in China and the way information is manipulated in the United States and other democracies, Roberts reveals how Internet users are susceptible to control even in the most open societies. Demonstrating how censorship travels across countries and technologies, Censored gives an unprecedented view of how governments encroach on the media consumption of citizens."
in_NB  books:noted  china:prc  censorship  networked_life  internet  political_science 
27 days ago
Ad Scammers Need Suckers, and Facebook Helps Find Them - Bloomberg
It doesn't say enough, for my purposes, about _how_ Facebook helps the scammers. Is it just that the algorithm classifies the ads together, and so engaging with one makes it more likely that it will show you others from that class? If so, _why_ does the algorithm classify scam ads together?
advertising  facebook  social_media  fraud  deceiving_us_has_become_an_industrial_process  networked_life  have_read 
27 days ago
Measuring discursive influence across scholarship | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
"Assessing scholarly influence is critical for understanding the collective system of scholarship and the history of academic inquiry. Influence is multifaceted, and citations reveal only part of it. Citation counts exhibit preferential attachment and follow a rigid “news cycle” that can miss sustained and indirect forms of influence. Building on dynamic topic models that track distributional shifts in discourse over time, we introduce a variant that incorporates features, such as authorship, affiliation, and publication venue, to assess how these contexts interact with content to shape future scholarship. We perform in-depth analyses on collections of physics research (500,000 abstracts; 102 years) and scholarship generally (JSTOR repository: 2 million full-text articles; 130 years). Our measure of document influence helps predict citations and shows how outcomes, such as winning a Nobel Prize or affiliation with a highly ranked institution, boost influence. Analysis of citations alongside discursive influence reveals that citations tend to credit authors who persist in their fields over time and discount credit for works that are influential over many topics or are “ahead of their time.” In this way, our measures provide a way to acknowledge diverse contributions that take longer and travel farther to achieve scholarly appreciation, enabling us to correct citation biases and enhance sensitivity to the full spectrum of scholarly impact."
to:NB  text_mining  influence  topic_models  blei.david  bibliometry  sociology_of_science  cultural_transmission  to_read 
28 days ago
[1802.04397] Identifiability of Nonparametric Mixture Models and Bayes Optimal Clustering
"Motivated by problems in data clustering, we establish general conditions under which families of nonparametric mixture models are identifiable by introducing a novel framework for clustering overfitted \emph{parametric} (i.e. misspecified) mixture models. These conditions generalize existing conditions in the literature, and are flexible enough to include for example mixtures of Gaussian mixtures. In contrast to the recent literature on estimating nonparametric mixtures, we allow for general nonparametric mixture components, and instead impose regularity assumptions on the underlying mixing measure. As our primary application, we apply these results to partition-based clustering, generalizing the well-known notion of a Bayes optimal partition from classical model-based clustering to nonparametric settings. Furthermore, this framework is constructive in that it yields a practical algorithm for learning identified mixtures, which is illustrated through several examples. The key conceptual device in the analysis is the convex, metric geometry of probability distributions on metric spaces and its connection to optimal transport and the Wasserstein convergence of mixing measures. The result is a flexible framework for nonparametric clustering with formal consistency guarantees."
to:NB  mixture_models  clustering  statistics  xing.eric  ravikumar.pradeep 
28 days ago
[1803.01422] DAGs with NO TEARS: Smooth Optimization for Structure Learning
"Estimating the structure of directed acyclic graphs (DAGs, also known as Bayesian networks) is a challenging problem since the search space of DAGs is combinatorial and scales superexponentially with the number of nodes. Existing approaches rely on various local heuristics for enforcing the acyclicity constraint and are not well-suited to general purpose optimization packages for their solution. In this paper, we introduce a fundamentally different strategy: We formulate the structure learning problem as a smooth, constrained optimization problem over real matrices that avoids this combinatorial constraint entirely. This is achieved by a novel characterization of acyclicity that is not only smooth but also exact. The resulting nonconvex, constrained program involves smooth functions whose gradients are easy to compute and only involve elementary matrix operations. By using existing black-box optimization routines, our method uses global search to find an optimal DAG and can be implemented in about 50 lines of Python and outperforms existing methods without imposing any structural constraints."

to:NB  to_read  graphical_models  optimization  computational_statistics  xing.eric  ravikumar.pradeep 
28 days ago
[1802.01396] To understand deep learning we need to understand kernel learning
"Generalization performance of classifiers in deep learning has recently become a subject of intense study. Heavily over-parametrized deep models tend to fit training data exactly. Despite overfitting, they perform well on test data, a phenomenon not yet fully understood.
"The first point of our paper is that strong performance of overfitted classifiers is not a unique feature of deep learning. Using real-world and synthetic datasets, we establish that kernel classifiers trained to have zero classification error (overfitting) or even zero regression error (interpolation) perform very well on test data.
"We proceed to prove lower bounds on the norm of overfitted solutions for smooth kernels, showing that they increase nearly exponentially with the data size. Since most generalization bounds depend polynomially on the norm of the solution, this result implies that they diverge as data increases. Furthermore, the existing bounds do not apply to interpolated classifiers.
"We also show experimentally that (non-smooth) Laplacian kernels easily fit random labels using a version of SGD, a finding that parallels results reported for ReLU neural networks. In contrast, fitting noisy data requires many more epochs for smooth Gaussian kernels. The observation that the performance of overfitted Laplacian and Gaussian classifiers on the test is quite similar, suggests that generalization is tied to the properties of the kernel function rather than the optimization process.
"We see that some key phenomena of deep learning are manifested similarly in kernel methods in the overfitted regime. We argue that progress on understanding deep learning will be difficult, until more analytically tractable "shallow" kernel methods are better understood. The experimental and theoretical results presented in this paper indicate a need for new theoretical ideas for understanding classical kernel methods."

--- Of course, this also makes me wonder whether there really are practical advantages to deep networks, over and above what we'd get by throwing resources at kernels...
to:NB  neural_networks  kernel_methods  classifiers  regression  statistics  computational_statistics  learning_theory  belkin.mikhail 
28 days ago
Cambridge Analytica's Self-Own - The Atlantic
I think it's important to keep in mind _both_ that this is scandalous mis-behavior _and_ that these people seem to be quacks...
data_mining  surveillance  psychometrics  us_politics  running_dogs_of_reaction  vast_right-wing_conspiracy  cambridge_analytica 
4 weeks ago
Facebook’s Surveillance Machine - The New York Times
"The problem here goes beyond Cambridge Analytica and what it may have done. What other apps were allowed to siphon data from millions of Facebook users? What if one day Facebook decides to suspend from its site a presidential campaign or a politician whose platform calls for things like increased data privacy for individuals and limits on data retention and use? What if it decides to share data with one political campaign and not another? What if it gives better ad rates to candidates who align with its own interests?
"A business model based on vast data surveillance and charging clients to opaquely target users based on this kind of extensive profiling will inevitably be misused. The real problem is that billions of dollars are being made at the expense of the health of our public sphere and our politics, and crucial decisions are being made unilaterally, and without recourse or accountability."
surveillance  networked_life  tufekci.zeynep  have_read  data_mining  you_are_the_product_being_sold  cambridge_analytica 
4 weeks ago
Infectious Disease Modeling of Social Contagion in Networks
"It has recently been suggested that certain, particular types of latent homophily, in which an unobservable trait influences both which friends one chooses and current and future behavior, may be impossible to distinguish from contagion in observational studies and hence may bias estimates of contagion and homophily [50]. The circumstances under which this is likely to be a serious source of bias (e.g., whether people, empirically, behave in these sorts of ways), and what (if anything) might be done about it (absent experimental data of the kind that some new networks studies are providing [22]) merits further study. Observational data invariably pose problems for causal inference, and require one set of assumptions or another to analyze; the plausibility of these assumptions (even of standard ones that are widely used) warrants constant review.
"The SISa model as presented here assumes that all individuals have the same probability of changing state (though not everyone will actually change state within their lifetime). It is clearly possible, however, that there is heterogeneity between individuals in these rates. We do not have sufficient data on obesity in the Framingham dataset to explore this issue, which would require observing numerous transitions between states for each individual. Exploring individual differences in acquisition rate empirically is a very interesting topic for future research, as is extending the theoretical framework we introduce to take into account individual differences."

--- For "suggested", read "proved"; the second paragraph amounts to saying "Let's just agree to ignore this".
to:NB  contagion  epidemic_models  social_influence  re:homophily_and_confounding  christakis.nicholas  via:rvenkat  have_skimmed 
4 weeks ago
[1302.3530] Duality between equilibrium and growing networks
"In statistical physics any given system can be either at an equilibrium or away from it. Networks are not an exception. Most network models can be classified as either equilibrium or growing. Here we show that under certain conditions there exists an equilibrium formulation for any growing network model, and vice versa. The equivalence between the equilibrium and nonequilibrium formulations is exact not only asymptotically, but even for any finite system size. The required conditions are satisfied in random geometric graphs in general and causal sets in particular, and to a large extent in some real networks."
to:NB  to_read  have_skimmed  network_formation  network_data_analysis  statistical_mechanics  krioukov.dmitri 
4 weeks ago
Nobody Knows Anything About China – Foreign Policy
"The government’s solution to this is an increasing faith in big data, a belief that by circumventing lower-level officials it can gather information directly from the source. Huge amounts of money are being poured into big data, including efforts at predictive policing and the widespread monitoring of dissidents. The government requires Chinese firms, and foreign firms with a Chinese presence, such as Apple, to store and hand over data on a vast scale. But big data itself is prone to systematic distortions, misplaced trust, and the oldest rule of coding: garbage in, garbage out.
"As the economist Josiah Stamp recounted of another power trying to control a vast territory through oppressive means, “The Government [of British India] are very keen on amassing statistics—they collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the chowty dar (village watchman), who just puts down what he damn pleases.” Will technology let the Chinese government today do any better? We don’t know."
china:prc  have_read  to_teach 
4 weeks ago
Information-Theoretic Bounds and Approximations in Neural Population Coding | Neural Computation | MIT Press Journals
"While Shannon's mutual information has widespread applications in many disciplines, for practical applications it is often difficult to calculate its value accurately for high-dimensional variables because of the curse of dimensionality. This article focuses on effective approximation methods for evaluating mutual information in the context of neural population coding. For large but finite neural populations, we derive several information-theoretic asymptotic bounds and approximation formulas that remain valid in high-dimensional spaces. We prove that optimizing the population density distribution based on these approximation formulas is a convex optimization problem that allows efficient numerical solutions. Numerical simulation results confirmed that our asymptotic formulas were highly accurate for approximating mutual information for large neural populations. In special cases, the approximation formulas are exactly equal to the true mutual information. We also discuss techniques of variable transformation and dimensionality reduction to facilitate computation of the approximations."
to:NB  information_theory  entropy_estimation  neural_data_analysis  neural_coding_and_decoding  distributed_systems  high-dimensional_statistics 
4 weeks ago
The New Closed Shop? The Economic and Structural Effects of Occupational Licensure - Beth Redbird, 2017
"During the past few decades, licensure, a state-enforced mechanism for regulating occupational entry, quickly became the most prevalent form of occupational closure. Broad consensus among researchers holds that licensure creates wage premiums by establishing economic monopolies. This article demonstrates that, contrary to established wisdom, licensure does not limit competition, nor does it increase wages. Results are based on a new occupational dataset, covering 30 years, that exploits interstate variability in licensure across the 300 census-identified occupations. I argue that licensure, instead of increasing wages, creates a set of institutional mechanisms that enhance entry into the occupation, particularly for historically disadvantaged groups, while simultaneously stagnating quality."
to:NB  economics  sociology  professions_and_professionalization  market_failures_in_everything 
4 weeks ago
Rethinking 1950s how anticommunism and cold war made america liberal | Twentieth century American history | Cambridge University Press
"Historians generally portray the 1950s as a conservative era when anticommunism and the Cold War subverted domestic reform, crushed political dissent, and ended liberal dreams of social democracy. These years, historians tell us, represented a turn to the right, a negation of New Deal liberalism, an end to reform. Jennifer A. Delton argues that, far from subverting the New Deal state, anticommunism and the Cold War enabled, fulfilled, and even surpassed the New Deal's reform agenda. Anticommunism solidified liberal political power and the Cold War justified liberal goals such as jobs creation, corporate regulation, economic redevelopment, and civil rights. She shows how despite President Eisenhower's professed conservativism, he maintained the highest tax rates in U.S. history, expanded New Deal programs, and supported major civil rights reforms."

--- Competition!
in_NB  books:noted  american_history  cold_war  progressive_forces  20th_century_history 
5 weeks ago
The fragmenting of the civil sphere: How partisan identity shapes the moral evaluation of candidates and epistemology | SpringerLink
"The 2016 U.S. presidential election upended a number of scholarly expectations about electoral politics. Many academics and pundits predicted that president Donald Trump’s flaunting of democratic norms, from his rhetoric on the campaign trail to his financial conflicts of interest, would undermine his candidacy. How do we explain Trump’s appeal to his core supporters and Republicans more generally? First, this paper argues that Trump was able to exploit partisan identity becoming the key basis for moral evaluation among the democratic public. Second, this paper argues that partisan identity has fractured civic epistemology, the basis upon which people understand and agree upon political facts and truths."
to:NB  to_read  sociology  social_life_of_the_mind  democracy  us_politics  trump.donald  our_decrepit_institutions  via:? 
5 weeks ago
The Rise of Victimhood Culture - Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars | Bradley Campbell | Palgrave Macmillan
"The Rise of Victimhood Culture offers a framework for understanding recent moral conflicts at U.S. universities, which have bled into society at large. These are not the familiar clashes between liberals and conservatives or the religious and the secular: instead, they are clashes between a new moral culture—victimhood culture—and a more traditional culture of dignity. Even as students increasingly demand trigger warnings and “safe spaces,” many young people are quick to police the words and deeds of others, who in turn claim that political correctness has run amok. Interestingly, members of both camps often consider themselves victims of the other. In tracking the rise of victimhood culture, Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning help to decode an often dizzying cultural milieu, from campus riots over conservative speakers and debates around free speech to the election of Donald Trump. "

--- Last tag applies.
to:NB  books:noted  sociology  us_culture_wars  academia  to_be_shot_after_a_fair_trial 
5 weeks ago
Neural Representations Beyond “Plus X” | SpringerLink
"In this paper we defend structural representations, more specifically neural structural representation. We are not alone in this, many are currently engaged in this endeavor. The direction we take, however, diverges from the main road, a road paved by the mathematical theory of measure that, in the 1970s, established homomorphism as the way to map empirical domains of things in the world to the codomain of numbers. By adopting the mind as codomain, this mapping became a boon for all those convinced that a representation system should bear similarities with what was being represented, but struggled to find a precise account of what such similarities mean. The euforia was brief, however, and soon homomorphism revealed itself to be affected by serious weaknesses, the primary one being that it included systems embarrassingly alien to representations. We find that the defense attempts that have followed, adopt strategies that share a common format: valid structural representations come as “homomorphism plus X”, with various “X”, provided in descriptive format only. Our alternative direction stems from the observation of the overlooked departure from homomorphism as used in the theory of measure and its later use in mental representations. In the former case, the codomain or the realm of numbers, is the most suited for developing theorems detailing the existence and uniqueness of homomorphism for a wide range of empirical domains. In the latter case, the codomain is the realm of the mind, possibly more vague and more ill-defined than the empirical domain itself. The time is ripe for articulating the mapping between represented domains and the mind in formal terms, by exploiting what is currently known about coding mechanisms in the brain. We provide a sketch of a possible development in this direction, one that adopts the theory of neural population coding as codomain. We will show that our framework is not only not in disagreement with the “plus X” proposals, but can lead to natural derivation of several of the “X”."
to:NB  representation  cognitive_science  neural_coding_and_decoding  philosophy_of_mind  measurement 
5 weeks ago
Neural Representations Observed | SpringerLink
"The historical debate on representation in cognitive science and neuroscience construes representations as theoretical posits and discusses the degree to which we have reason to posit them. We reject the premise of that debate. We argue that experimental neuroscientists routinely observe and manipulate neural representations in their laboratory. Therefore, neural representations are as real as neurons, action potentials, or any other well-established entities in our ontology."
to:NB  philosophy_of_science  philosophy_of_mind  representation  cognitive_science  neuroscience 
5 weeks ago
Predictive Processing and the Representation Wars | SpringerLink
"Clark has recently suggested that predictive processing advances a theory of neural function with the resources to put an ecumenical end to the “representation wars” of recent cognitive science. In this paper I defend and develop this suggestion. First, I broaden the representation wars to include three foundational challenges to representational cognitive science. Second, I articulate three features of predictive processing’s account of internal representation that distinguish it from more orthodox representationalist frameworks. Specifically, I argue that it posits a resemblance-based representational architecture with organism-relative contents that functions in the service of pragmatic success, not veridical representation. Finally, I argue that internal representation so understood is either impervious to the three anti-representationalist challenges I outline or can actively embrace them."
to:NB  philosophy_of_mind  cognitive_science  representation  prediction 
5 weeks ago
Markets and Manipulation: Time for a Paradigm Shift?
"There is a growing appreciation in economics that people have emotional vulnerabilities, commitments to social norms, and systematic irrationalities that impact their decision making and choice in the market place. The flip side of this is that human beings are susceptible to being manipulated by unscrupulous agents single-minded about marketing their services and wares. This paper reviews George Akerlof and Robert Shiller's Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception, alongside other writings in the field, and discusses how this research agenda can be taken forward. The paper shows how this new research can shed light on the ubiquity of corruption in so many societies, and proposes ideas for controlling corruption."
to:NB  economics  decision-making  market_failures_in_everything  fraud  corruption 
6 weeks ago
On the Determinants of Cooperation in Infinitely Repeated Games: A Survey
"A growing experimental literature studies the determinants of cooperation in infinitely repeated games, tests different predictions of the theory, and suggests an empirical solution to the problem of multiple equilibria. To provide a robust description of the literature's findings, we gather and analyze a metadata set of experiments on infinitely repeated prisoner's dilemma games. The experimental data show that cooperation is affected by infinite repetition and is more likely to arise when it can be supported in equilibrium. However, the fact that cooperation can be supported in equilibrium does not imply that most subjects will cooperate. High cooperation rates will emerge only when the parameters of the repeated game are such that cooperation is very robust to strategic uncertainty. We also review the results regarding the effect of imperfect monitoring, changing partners, and personal characteristics on cooperation and the strategies used to support it."
to:NB  game_theory  economics  experimental_economics 
6 weeks ago
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