masque

masque wrote (edited )

These days, the so called "Blogging and [search engine optimization] experts" are spouting up everywhere and dishing out free advice

You don't say.

I think its elitist to think that only those who can afford a proper custom domain...

Domains are very cheap. I pay less than two bucks a month for my domain, and that's above average unless you're dead-set on one specific domain that's already owned or considered a "premium domain" by the registrar. But yes, if you really can't afford it then obviously some sort of free subdomain is the only other option.

Yes, you do OWN your blog. Platform ownership in the digital world is tricky to properly define. You don't REALLY own anything in the technical sense, do you? Its your DNS provider who owns your com/org domain and leases you on terms, its the hosting provider (AWS, Digital Ocean, etc.) who owns your computing or hosting space, its the ISP who owns your bandwidth, etc. And all of this can be pulled away from under your feet at the snap of a finger as the social media platform Parler recently found out. Though it "owned" a domain name, hosting space, etc., it never really owned anything in the real sense. But in all practicality, as long as you stick to Google's terms and conditions, you should be fine on Blogger (or at least as fine as on any other service!). And thus you can say that you "own" your blog in at least some sense.

This is missing the point. You can move a normal domain between registrars, but more importantly, you can easily move to a new hosting provider (or even your own server, conceivably) if you own the domain name. This in turn allows you to use a different CMS, or a static site builder, or something like that. Plus, if you own your own domain you can host related mini sites or webapps on a subdomain. It just gives you a lot more control in general, and keeps you from being beholden to one single company.

Also, none of the given reasons are actually "reasons for hosting your blog on the blogspot domain," but rather "reasons why using a blogspot domain is an ok option if you can't afford otherwise."

EDIT: Apparently the abbreviation for "search engine optimization" is banned from comments.

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masque wrote (edited )

The more I think about it, the more it seems like "AI weighs in..." is just a straight-up inappropriate title.

I mean, the experiment is basically just

  • annotate a massive number of videos according to perceived facial expression and context
  • do statistical analysis to check whether perceived facial expression is appropriately correlated with emotionally-charged contexts (toys etc.), and whether these correlations are preserved across cultures.

The fact that the annotation was carried out by a DNN mimicking humans, instead of directly by humans, is irrelevant to the interpretation of the results (except that it introduces more noise) and it shouldn't be mentioned in the headline at all.

The actual paper is titled "Sixteen facial expressions occur in similar contexts worldwide" which is a much more appropriate title.

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masque wrote (edited )

Terry Prattchett's death was the first celebrity death that really got to me. I'm not really into "fandom" as a concept, but at one point I could probably have been described as a big Discworld fan.

EDIT: If any of the many trans Raddle members have thoughts about Monstrous Regiment that they'd being willing to share, I'd be curious to hear them.

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masque wrote

The vote-counting process involves a ridiculously huge number of people, including lots of volunteer observers who are literally only there to observe that things are being done correctly. None of these observers produced any credible evidence that something shady was going on. "Rigging" the election, in the sense of falsifying the vote count, would be incredibly difficult and would have produced evidence that simply hasn't been found yet. In contrast, burning buildings and ransacking the capitol is not actually that difficult if you're willing to do it openly and risk getting caught.

Also, as others have mentioned, the election process is already "rigged" in the sense that everything about the system is structurally set up to benefit the ruling class & the status quo regardless of the outcome. The main purpose of elections is to justify the government's power in the first place, and risking undermining that by tampering with the election is a bigger threat to both parties than the inconvenience of having the opposing party win an election now and then.

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masque wrote (edited )

Reply to comment by smart_jackal in Honest Question by smart_jackal

This would compromise anonymity of the vote, which is a severe threat to democracy because now people could conceivably be coerced into voting a particular way (or people could buy/sell votes, etc.).

If it's possible for you to check how your vote was counted, it's possible for your boss, an abusive family member, a cop, a mobster, etc. to tell you to vote a specific way and then demand that you prove to them that you complied after the fact. This also why a lot of places make it illegal to take a picture of your ballot.

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masque wrote (edited )

Early in the article, we get this comment about problems with previous work:

One common task is to arm people with a small, preselected set of emotion words (such as ‘anger’ or ‘sadness’) and to ask them to label posed, disembodied, contextless faces (such as a person smiling) with the word that they think best describes the emotion on each face. This method, when compared with others, has been consistently shown to inflate support for the universality hypothesis.

But then, when describing the AI-based approach:

The DNN learnt from human evaluators (‘raters’), who annotated the facial movements contained in each video clip by choosing from a set of English words describing emotion that were provided by the authors.

The AI here is basically just being used to produce approximate human annotations for a larger, more-diverse set of videos compared to previous studies. It'll share most of the same methodological concerns as previous works (plus introducing some noise due to classification error in the trained model), although the larger data set & ability to consider a wide range of contexts is probably a meaningful contribution? But the AI is not being fundamentally more "objective" than previous studies, or anything like that.

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masque wrote (edited )

Reply to Debate by lastfutures

Debate as a performance where the goal is to "beat" your opponent is not great, but I think good faith argument can be an important part of clarifying your ideas and beliefs. Raddle is pretty good for this, but I feel like some leftist spaces are pretty quick to assume bad faith whenever someone tries to argue against a widely-held belief.

I tried going to a gender therapist, hoping that they could maybe resolve my problem of "I have no idea what gender is, for myself or in general" by arguing for whatever their professional understanding of gender is, but they were frustratingly non-argumentative and basically just nodded along with everything I said, so I gave up after a few sessions.

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masque wrote (edited )

No strong opinions on nudity, but I definitely have noticed people (not specifically in anarchist settings) misapplying consent to situations that really should not require consent.

I remember reading an r/relationships (or maybe r/AITA ?) thread a long time ago where a woman's partner was angry at her for talking to a particular male friend (or something along those lines), and a disturbingly large number of people were framing it as "he didn't consent to you talking to that person." What the fuck?

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masque wrote

The actual paper is here, if you're interested. It's not paywalled.

Usually I feel like defending the authors as not being responsible for the clickbait-y pop science reporting, but in this case I genuinely think that the paper itself is not good.

First of all, why they built physical robots for this research? Why they didn't settle for a digital simulation?

People have already done tons of studies in simulated environments showing that reinforcement learning agents can predict each others' behaviour, and co-operate, and even learn to communicate, all without being specifically instructed to (unlike in this work, where the observer is specifically instructed to predict the other agent's behaviour). If this research was also performed in a simulated environment, it would be more obvious that the work is not as novel as the authors want you to think it is.

To be honest, my impression is that the authors don't have a strong argument that their work is theoretically significant (since according to their loose definition of Theory of Mind, plenty of previous works have already shown something similar), and they also don't have a strong practical result (i.e. solving a real-world problem), so they're trying to portray their work as "more practical" than previous theoretical results, and more theoretically interesting than previous practical results. I don't think this strategy works.

I believe, there a lot of AIs already designed to predict different outcomes.

Yeah, prediction is basically one of the core things that modern ML is used for, and there is also plenty of research specifically on predicting the behaviour of other AI agents. The authors do not make a strong argument for why their work is novel

I've never heard of Scientific Reports, but according to their criteria for reviewers:

To be published in Scientific Reports, a paper must be scientifically valid and technically sound in methodology and analysis. Manuscripts are not assessed based on their perceived importance, significance or impact; the research community makes such judgements after publication.

So I'm going to assume that the authors tried to publish in a better venue, couldn't convince anyone that their result was novel or interesting, and settled for this instead.

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masque wrote (edited )

Reply to comment by qgos in Science Feels Dead by throwaway

Free will implies that our actions are free choices. Materialism implies that our actions are not chosen, they just happen. I don’t know of another interpretation.

According to the well-known PhilPapers survey in 2009, the majority view among professional philosophers is compatibilism, which is the belief that determinism and free will are compatible (some even argue that determinism is necessary to be in control of one's actions in any meaningful sense). One compatibilist you might be familiar with is Daniel Dennett, who is very much a materialist with respect to philosophy of mind (I've also seen multiple people refer to him as "the only good New Atheist").

Also, mathematical objects are as material as words and sentences.

It's not obvious to me that words and sentences are material (not that you've given a concrete definition of "material"). Moreover, it seems like you might be implying that mathematics is a human invention in the same way that language is, which is highly contentious.

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masque wrote (edited )

Reply to comment by qgos in Science Feels Dead by throwaway

If you're willing to entertain emotions and meaning as "material," why do you reject a material interpretation of free will? Why must free will be categorized as supernatural?

Do you consider mathematical objects to be material?

EDIT: What do you even mean when you say that the abstract concept of "meaning" is material?

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masque wrote (edited )

Reply to comment by ruin in Science Feels Dead by throwaway

Personally I often wonder if our current scientific world view isn’t less accurate and beneficial to us than a pagan or primitive mythological one.

To be honest, for a STEM grad I'm pretty skeptical about science being "accurate" (I often say that I'm not really sold on subatomic particles being an actual thing that exists), but I'm less skeptical about it being "beneficial" as far as predictive power is concerned. It seems like a demonstrably useful tool (in practice) for understanding stuff that might happen, or how to accomplish specific goals (although this might only be true in the sense that a sufficiently sophisticated geocentric model of astronomy is still capable of predicting the relative positions of the planets).

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masque wrote (edited )

Reply to comment by throwaway in Science Feels Dead by throwaway

I know that the big science popularizers (Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, etc.) tend to lean that way, but I'm not convinced that society as a whole views science as the sole source of truth. I mean, universities still have philosophy departments (and sociology and so on), and even outside of academia there are lots of people who are skeptical of some or all fields of science. I think the new-atheist, "scientistic" worldview is most prominent in extremely-online, Reddit-y subcultures, and even then I feel like its heyday passed a few years ago.

My impression (as a CS grad student in Canada) is that most people, including most working scientists, accept that there are domains of knowledge better suited to fields like philosophy. And that's without even mentioning the large number of scientists who are religious.

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masque wrote

Math & the "formal sciences" are not really sciences, in my opinion, since they're not empirical. You could argue that math is a branch of logic and/or philosophy.

Of course, philosophy of math is a field of philosophy in its own right that deals with questions about the nature of math and the objects it studies.

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masque wrote

Reply to comment by RichOldWhiteMan in Science Feels Dead by throwaway

I dont bring up sam Harris as a way to discredit your arguments. He has one of the best arguments for proving that science says something about morality that I can find.

I feel like I have to argue with this.

Obviously science can inform morality - if you have some idea of what you're trying to accomplish, morally speaking, then obviously science provides the tools for figuring out how to best accomplish it. But when people look for a source of morality, they're looking for guidance on what their goals should be in the first place. Sam Harris doesn't provide a good argument that science can do that.

Harris basically takes for granted that morality is about the "well-being of conscious creatures." This is already philosophically contentious (he's assuming some form of utilitarianism). I know he claims to make an argument for this, but from what I've seen the argument is basically just him asserting in lots of different ways that it seems obvious.

Even if we accept that "the well-being of conscious creatures" is the obvious goal of morality, he then claims that this "must at some point translate into facts about brains and their interaction with the world at large." This is true on some level, but the big question is which facts about brains constitute well-being? There is no experiment you can perform to measure whether the "well-being" of one brain is greater than another, unless you've already made additional assumptions about what constitutes well-being. For instance, while you might be able to associate happiness with e.g. dopamine levels or something, using dopamine levels as a measure of well-being is based on the assumption that happiness is obviously an example of mental well-being, which, again, is something that science cannot prove or disprove.

Even if we treat a form of utilitarianism focused on maximizing subjectively positive emotions, and minimizing subjectively negative emotions, as somehow "obvious," there are still lots of questions about exactly how to value these things that can't be determined through experimentation. For instance, when considering a decision that will cause great happiness for many but great suffering for some, exactly how much should we value happiness vs. suffering? And how do we resolve the various thought experiments (e.g. utility monsters, mere addition paradox, etc.), in which a utilitarian solution to a dilemma seems to contradict the very same "common sense" that we based our preference for "maximizing well-being" on in the first place?

I feel like Harris & the other "new atheists" are very much instantiations of the science-is-the-only-meaningful-path-to-knowledge attitude that the OP is rightfully unhappy with.

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masque wrote

The "deeper quesions" that you want answers for belong to the domain of philosophy, not science. Science doesn't try to answer these questions because scientists (at least, the good ones) are aware that empirical observation is fundamentally incapable of answering them.

Science is a great tool for the type of questions that it addresses (e.g. questions about the workings of the natural world), but it was never intended to "answer all the how's and why's".

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masque wrote (edited )

EDIT: I was briefly confused and thought I was responding to the other commenter who misused "beyond a reasonable doubt." This comment has been substantially edited.

EDIT 2: The question of what constitutes probable cause is indeed a bit fuzzy and open to interpretation. "Probable cause" and "preponderance of the evidence" are both specific legal terms whose interpretation depends on historical precedent; the former is relevant to warrants, while the latter is used in civil cases. The phrasing "more likely than not" or "greater than 50%" is typically used to describe the preponderance standard (see Merriam-Webster, Legal Information Institute, and Justia). In contrast, most sources don't describe probable cause in this way (M-W, LII, Justia) although your Justia link seems to be an outlier, which I guess is why you initially equated the two standards.

My understanding is that probably cause is generally considered to be weaker (as most lists of evidentiary standards that I can find are roughly sorted by strength, and place probable cause as weaker than preponderance), but I haven't found something explicitly stating this; I think that might be because it's US-specific, unlike the other terms which are common to most common-law countries, and thus a bit harder to compare with the more well-established standards.

Of course, I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, etc.

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masque wrote (edited )

what the judge would deme necessary to win a civil court case.

The standard for a civil case in the US is "preponderance of the evidence," which (I think?) is considered to be a higher standard of evidence than probable cause.

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