Using the science of group conflict to understand Trump's campaign

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In Five Beliefs That Propel Groups Toward Conflict, published in American Psychologist, a pair of researchers lay out the five beliefs that, when transmitted by leaders to their followers, creates a "group conflict" that propels the group forward. Read the rest

The Credible Hulk

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A Reddit user says, "My English teacher has this posted outside her office." Read the rest

Think like a computer scientist: free, interactive textbook

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Runestone's Interactive Python project has adapted 2012's classic How to Think Like a Computer Scientist textbook, updating it to cover recent programming advances, and creating a fully interactive version with quizzes, code examples, and coding challenges. Read the rest

How to: Criticize technology

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Sara writes, "This new report from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University explores the current state of technology criticism and argues to recognize a wider range of contributors and approaches to the popular critical discourse about technology. The report also advocates for a more constructive approach to technology criticism that fosters conversation and poses alternative visions for a more inclusive technological society. Following this constructive approach, the project offers resources including an extensive reading list and a practical style guide for better technology writing." Read the rest

Everything Change: free anthology of prizewinning climate fiction

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Arizona State University's Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative held a short story contest to write "climate fiction," judged by Kim Stanley Robinson and others; now the best stories have been collected in a free downloadable ebook that includes a forward by Robinson, and an interview with Paolo Bacigalupi. Read the rest

Black voter registration is inversely correlated with black death at police hands

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Correlation is not causation, and the data-set is awfully small (39 incidents), but computational epidemiologist Maimuna Majumder is working with what's available, because the federal government won't fund research into gun fatalities, and does not require states to gather data on police use of force. Read the rest

Machine-learning photo-editor predicts what should be under your brush

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In Neural Photo Editing With Introspective Adversarial Networks, a group of University of Edinburgh engineers and a private research colleague describe a method for using "introspective adversarial networks" to edit images in realtime, which they demonstrate in an open project called "Neural Photo Editor" that "enhances" photos by predicting what should be under your brush. Read the rest

Climate denial's internal contradictions spring from a need to defend economic doctrine

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A trio of scholars who study the psychology and philosophy of science have written a fantastic paper for Springer's Sythese looking at the way that climate change conspiracy theorists construct their view of the world, and how these conspiracy theories contain self-contradictory theses (like the idea that climate change can't be predicted and the idea that the data shows we're actually headed for an ice-age). Read the rest

The AI Now Report: social/economic implications of near-future AI

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The National Economic Council convened a symposium at NYU's Information Law Institute in July, and they've released their report: 25 crisp (if slightly wonky) pages on how AI could increase inequality, erode accountability, and lead us into temptation -- along with recommendations for how to prevent this, from involving marginalized and displaced people in AI oversight; to increasing the diversity of AI researchers; to modifying the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act to clarify that neither stands in the way of independent auditing of AI systems. Read the rest

Not just Yemen: Canadian cyberarms dealer Netsweeper also helped censor the net in Bahrain

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Netsweeper is a litigious cyberarms dealer that threatened to sue the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab when its researchers outed the company for its work in helping Yemen's despotic regime censor the internet; later, the company dropped its lawsuit. Read the rest

Free trade lowers prices -- but not on things poor people need (and it pushes up housing prices)

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Part of the economic argument for free trade deals is that they benefit workers by producing cheaper goods -- even if you lose your manufacturing job, you can buy stuff a lot cheaper with the next job you get. Read the rest

Design fiction, the Internet of Women's things, and futurism

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Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, working with the students on design fiction and futurism. Read the rest

Listen: Hacker Anthropologist Biella Coleman on the free software movement and big business

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Gabriella Coleman, the anthropologist whose first book, Coding Freedom, explained hacking culture better than any book before or since; and whose second book, Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, told the inside story of Anonymous with technical and social brilliance, appeared on the Theory of Everything podcast (MP3) to discuss the ways that free software hackers and the more business-friendly open source world have fought, reconciled and fought again. Read the rest

Machine learning system can descramble pixelated/blurred redactions 83% of the time

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A joint UT Austin/Cornell team has taught a machine learning system based on the free/open Torch library to correctly guess the content of pixellated or blurred redactions with high accuracy: for masked faces that humans correctly guess 0.19% of the time, the system can make a correct guess 83% of the time, when given five tries. Read the rest

6.8 million teens & tweens are hungry in America, girls are trading sex for food

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The nonprofit Urban Institute's new study, Impossible Choices: Teens and Food Insecurity in America used paired, single-gender focus groups in 10 urban communities to learn about the hunger and food strategies of children aged 10 to 17 whose families received food assistance (the total sample size was 193). Read the rest

We need a new science of measurement to figure out when AI is working and why it fails

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Writing on Medium, AI researcher Kate Crawford (previously) and Simply Secure (previously) co-founder Meredith Whittaker make the case for a new scholarly discipline that "measures and assesses the social and economic effects of current AI systems." Read the rest

Autocratic regimes systematically deny internet access to opposition ethnic groups

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In Digital discrimination: Political bias in Internet service provision across ethnic groups (Sci-hub mirror), a new paper in Science, political scientists from the University of Konstanz and elsewhere document the practice of "ethnic favoritism" in internet provision, through which autocratic regimes use telcoms policies to discriminate against opposition groups. Read the rest

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