- “What equivalent claims (if they could be established) would falsify your political position?“
- “White males may enjoy a great deal of privilege, but they still have rights, and when those rights are violated, they ought to be rectified.“
- “[…] actually, the whole country of France is like an attractive museum that would have a superlative cafeteria attached.“
- “They worked hard to look like they weren’t working too hard.“
- Who’s who in Hamburg’s G20 protests
- “But, if Marxism is not inevitable, it is nothing. Ronald Reagan, with his abiding fear that the Evil Empire would spread without intervention, was, in this sense, a much better Marxist than David Roediger could ever hope to be.“
- It’s business as usual between Turkey and the EU
- “So far there is not much sign of the fresh dawn that IS’s downfall should bring.“
- Hell Makes the News
- the Economist endorses the Liberal Democrats in UK election (in Europe, a liberal democrat is roughly the same thing as a libertarian in the US)
- “One of the most important lessons of Trump’s success is that classically liberal rhetoric and positions were not very important to voters.“
- “It turns out that Westerners are rational, virtuous, and liberty-loving, while Orientals are irrational, vicious, and slavish.“
- The West is indifferent to Afghanistan and Iraq’s world of terror
- Roman slavery, revolution, and magic mushrooms
- What the fuck?
When teaching the machine, the team had to take some care with the images. Thrun hoped that people could one day simply submit smartphone pictures of their worrisome lesions, and that meant that the system had to be undaunted by a wide range of angles and lighting conditions. But, he recalled, “In some pictures, the melanomas had been marked with yellow disks. We had to crop them out—otherwise, we might teach the computer to pick out a yellow disk as a sign of cancer.”
It was an old conundrum: a century ago, the German public became entranced by Clever Hans, a horse that could supposedly add and subtract, and would relay the answer by tapping its hoof. As it turns out, Clever Hans was actually sensing its handler’s bearing. As the horse’s hoof-taps approached the correct answer, the handler’s expression and posture relaxed. The animal’s neural network had not learned arithmetic; it had learned to detect changes in human body language. “That’s the bizarre thing about neural networks,” Thrun said. “You cannot tell what they are picking up. They are like black boxes whose inner workings are mysterious.”
The “black box” problem is endemic in deep learning. The system isn’t guided by an explicit store of medical knowledge and a list of diagnostic rules; it has effectively taught itself to differentiate moles from melanomas by making vast numbers of internal adjustments—something analogous to strengthening and weakening synaptic connections in the brain. Exactly how did it determine that a lesion was a melanoma? We can’t know, and it can’t tell us.
And, in the same vein, here are some thoughts on terrorism.
I’ve been busy with real life for so long that I haven’t been able to produce shorter blog posts that give you a snapshot into my daily thinking routine. That should change now, but for today I wanted to give a shout-out to a bunch of bloggers who have put NOL on their blog rolls. Please be sure to check them out and add them to your daily feeds!
- Catallaxy Files: “Australia’s leading libertarian and centre-right group blog”
- Farmer Hayek: A group blog of agricultural economists based out of the American midwest
- Maggie’s Farm: A group blog of non-conformists based out of the American northeast
- The Money Illusion: The infamous-though-prestigious economist Scott Sumner’s personal blog
- Policy of Truth: Irfan, David, and the gang discuss philosophy, Israel/Palestine, and American politics and culture (amongst other interesting things)
- Popehat: a law blog that is much more than that
- Samizdata: A (mostly) British group blog of libertarian-ish bad asses
These guys are all on our blog roll, too, so don’t feel like you have to save this page in order to find them in the future.
These guys are also really cool, obviously, so feel free to jump into their ‘comments’ threads and introduce yourselves. They’ll talk back.
I’ve noticed a trend over the past few years of blogs getting rid of their blog rolls altogether, and I think it’s stupid. People think it makes their blog look sleeker, and that blogging as a form of communication between like-minded people has come to an end, but that’s all hogwash.
Show these guys some love!
- Smuggling Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs out of the USSR
- Are memes disrupting American politics? So asks a Leftist
- The 4th Amendment, policing, and pedagogy
- At least the end of the War on Drugs is nigh
- A new (old) strategy for a polycentric world (but why not federation?)
- A simple map of Brazil and its states
I’m glad you highlighted the Ilya Somin/Will Wilkinson debate [here – bc], but I just found the whole thing so damn confused. I’m not a libertarian (or an Objectivist) but I ended up leaning more toward Somin than toward Wilkinson. But the real problem is that the terms “moderation” and “extremism” are left undefined throughout. Extremism in the pursuit of clarity is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of muddle is no virtue.
In that respect, at least, I think Ayn Rand’s analysis of “extremism” makes more sense than anything that either Somin or Wilkinson are saying. As she puts it, “‘extremism’ is a term which, standing by itself, has no meaning. The concept of ‘extreme’ denotes a relation, a measurement, a degree….It is obvious that the first question one has to ask, before using that term, is: a degree–of what?…Measurements, as such, have no value-significance–and acquire it only from the nature of that which is being measured” (Rand, Capitalism, pp. 196-97). The nature of what’s being measured is the one thing that neither Somin nor Wilkinson discuss (though Somin certainly comes closer). Which is why the debate they’ve having is relatively pointless.
Wilkinson treats his youthful encounter with Ayn Rand as nothing more than that. If he took a closer look at what she said, I think he’d find that there’s more there than he remembers.
That’s from the infamous Dr Khawaja, who does his blogging at the always excellent Policy of Truth group blog. You can find a link to Rand’s Capitalism here. I think Dr Khawaja is wrong to suggest that this debate is relatively pointless, though, at least to libertarians who care about electoral politics. I do agree with him that Wilkinson should revisit his familiarity with Rand’s work, though.
Many of you already know that two of NOL‘s Senior Editors are associated with Econ Journal Watch, thus making its publication a family affair. Fred is on the editorial board and Warren is its math reader. Here are some of the highlights I found worth noting in the latest issue:
Eli Heckscher’s Ideological Migration Toward Market Liberalism: Benny Carlson explores the intellectual evolution of a great Swedish economist.
Classical Liberalism in Econ, by Country: Authors from around the world tell us about their country’s culture of political economy, in particular the vitality of liberalism in the original political sense, historically and currently, with special attention to professional economics as practiced in academia, think tanks, and intellectual networks.
Young Back Choi and Yong Yoon: Liberalism in Korea
Pavel Kuchař: Liberalism in Mexican Economic Thought, Past and Present
(All of the papers from this symposium, which has carried across multiple issues of EJW, are collected at this page.)
You can download the whole issue here (pdf).
Dr Khawaja, an Editor-at-Large for Reason Papers, reports (2/2/16) on the latest issue over at Policy of Truth:
The latest issue of Reason Papers, vol. 37, number 2 is now out; officially, it’s the Fall 2015 issue, but we only just managed to put it up on the website last night. This link will take you to a monster-size PDF to the whole issue (almost 250 pages). This link will take you to the journal’s Archive page, where you can access individual articles for this or any past issue (you have to scroll down a bit). Finally, this link will take you to three (time sensitive) Calls for Papers issued by the journal’s editors: one on “the philosophy of play” (March 1, 2016); one a fifteen-year retrospective on 9/11 (July 1, 2016); and one an Authors-Meet-Critics symposium on Douglas Den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen’s forthcoming book The Perfectionist Turn: From Meta-Norms to Meta-Ethics (February 1, 2017).
My own small contribution to Reason Papers can be found here (pdf).
- The Criminalization of Curiosity
- Britain needs Christianity – just ask Alan Partridge
- Libertarians have nowhere to turn
- In light of ongoing events in Poland, this October piece by Dr Stocker here at NOL is worth reading again
- The West in the Arab world, between ennui and ecstasy
- France has less and less influence in the EU, and fears to use what it still has (peep B-Stock here at NOL from awhile back, too)
- U of Missouri Student VP: “I think that it’s important for us to create that distinction and create a space where we can all learn from one another and start to create a place of healing rather than a place where we are experiencing a lot of hate like we have in the past.” Mmhm. And what better way to learn from one another than by restricting what can and cannot be said?
- Along the Divide: Israel’s Allies (long book review)
- Standing Up for Migrant Workers in the Arab Gulf (don’t forget Amit’s piece on migrant workers from Bangladesh here at NOL)
- Economic rationality versus full rationality
- Rand Paul strikes back
- The Case for Brexit (contra B-Stock here at NOL)
- Worldwide weeds
- The Mushroom That Explains the World
- …True Tales of Dharma, Demons, and Darwin
- From Spain to the New World via Florence and Vermont (be sure to scroll through the ‘comments’ thread)
- Time for Bolivians to Forget about the Sea (weak, but a good starting point for a discussion)
- Dissolution of the Templars