Thursday: Rough Beast

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

— excerpt, The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats, c. 1919

This lovely bit of atmospheric electronica by åpne sinn from the 2012 album entitled en seier is an odd fit for the anarchic theme. en seier is Norwegian for ‘one victory’, which is how åpne sinn‘s Steve Brand characterizes each day of life after surviving a heart attack, a personal apocalypse like Yeats’ rough beast of The Second Coming.

The last couple of weeks culminating in today’s Brexit referendum feel like the onset of a global heart attack. Hope we enjoy a victory after this strife, but it’s too soon for more than hope.

Still a little off, not up to any more reading today after staying up far too late watching the House Democrats’ sit-in protest last night. Here’s a few things worth looking at:

  • DIESELGATE: Fuzzy definition of ‘cold’ may have led to EU passenger diesel cars’ spewing more NOX than expected (Ars Technica) — This means ALL EU makers of passenger diesels, not just Volkswagen Group, are producing too much NOX at low temperatures within an unclear range of ‘cold’. We’ve already seen a lawsuit in the U.S. against Mercedes for this reason.
  • ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE: ‘Concrete Risks in AI Safety’ (paper, PDF at arXiv.org) — Researchers from Google Brain, OpenAI, Stanford University and UCBerkeley looked at the potential risks of using AI. specifically

    …the problem of accidents in machine learning systems. We define accidents as unintended and harmful behavior that may emerge from machine learning systems when we specify the wrong objective function, are not careful about the learning process, or commit other machine learning-related implementation errors.

    Worthwhile read, but I see a problem already, though, a blindspot they come so close to resolving but fail to recognize. The research team is not particularly diverse, nor is the AI development community. They will program systems based on a world as they understand it, not as it is even though they believe they are programming for a rich and noisy environment. The results will be far worse than blue screens of death.

  • ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Siemens suggests trucks powered by catenary electric lines (QZ) — Interesting concept, using electricity a la late 1800s trolley cars versus expensive and weighty batteries. But the infrastructure required…I don’t know. But that’s a lot more potential profit for Siemens, eh?
  • ZIKA VIRUS: Lame Congress funding bill on Zika defense is lame (Jezebel) — Really can’t improve on Jezebel’s hed: ‘
    Amid Gun Control Protests, House Passes a Shitty, Ineffective Zika Virus Bill‘. Yeah, that, especially the part where religious fanatics put their personal faith ahead of suffering by ensuring no funds are used by Planned Parenthood for birth control to prevent conception by persons infected with Zika. Hey You Radical Fundamentalist Anti-Science Freaks In Congress: Get Ready To Pay For Many Microcephalic Babies’ Lifetimes And Guillain-Barré Syndrome Care. Pro-life my left arse cheek. More like pro-torture for women and babies.

That’s enough for today, I need to reserve my strength for the outcome of the Brexit referendum. Toodles.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
4 replies
  1. RUKidding says:

    “Hey You Radical Fundamentalist Anti-Science Freaks In Congress: Get Ready To Pay For Many Microcephalic Babies’ Lifetimes And Guillain-Barré Syndrome Care. ”
    **
    You make a funee joke. Those same Radical Fundamentalist Anti-Science Freaks in Congress only care about fetuses. Once someone is born and begins breathing oxygen, you are are well & truly on your own. All of these lamentable (and mostly preventable) Zika babies will have to just figure it out, pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get on with being rugged individualists, taking care of themselves on their own. It says so in the Book of Ayn Rand in the Rightwing Radical Fundamentalist Anti-Science Bible.
    **
    Congress authorizing funding for Zika baby care? LOL… very funee… never happen.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    Catenary, eh? I can’t wait to see how the road clogs up when a truck’s pantograph doesn’t successfully engage the wires. Or when a tree falls across the road/wires. Northeast Corridor denizens will have a thing or two to say about this. Such as, NO WAY, join the 21st century, or at least the 20th.

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