Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘trolley problem

Taking a Break from All Your Thursdays Sure Would Help a Lot

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* Building the God Machine: Google is restructuring to put machine learning at the core of all it does.

Will Robocars Kick Humans Off City Streets? Your Self-Driving Car Will Be Programmed to Kill You—Deal With It.

* More on Game of Thrones‘s plot problems: Game of Thrones’ “Battle of the Bastards” looked great, but it didn’t make any damn sense. This time the big problem is Ramsey Bolton as Republic serial villain.

There Is No Left Brexit.

How Not to Study Donald Trump.

‘Not Guilty’ Verdict in the Death of Freddie Gray. From the reporting this one sounds like it was always going to be a hard sell.

Surprise poll: Clinton leads Trump in Arizona. Should Clinton Be More Concerned About Pennsylvania?

The congressional sit-in was not just cynical political theater — it was for a deeply reactionary cause. The Democrats Are Boldly Fighting For a Bad, Stupid Bill. The Use of Error-Prone and Unfair Watchlists Is Not the Way to Regulate Guns in America.

* How Democrats mounted their guns sit-in.

* Four months as a private prison guard.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a race-conscious admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin, putting an apparent end to one of the most closely watched cases in higher education.

The Death Penalty Case Where Prosecutors Wrote the Judge’s ‘Opinion.’

How to Prepare Professors Who Thought They’d Never Teach Online.

The Clintons Have a For-Profit College Problem Of Their Own.

* Racial Literacy as a Professor’s Responsibility.

Renters Are Making More, And Landlords Get It All.

* “After being roofied twice, I realized I didn’t always know who was watching me. And how dangerous that is.”

Senate Confirms First-Ever Native American Woman As Federal Judge. I should know better than to be surprised by first-evers at this point.

The strange and conflicting world views of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.

Uber data suggests that drivers overall in three major U.S. markets — Denver, Detroit, and Houston — earned less than $13.25 an hour after expenses in late 2015, according to calculations based on more than a million trips.

* True facts: Why Bubba Ho-Tep May Be the Most Perfect B-Movie Ever Made.

* “You’re Not Worried Nearly Enough about China.”

* A Young Athlete’s World of Pain, and Where It Led: Kosta Karageorge, an Ohio State wrestler and football
player who hid concussion symptoms because he felt it was the manly thing to do, killed himself in 2014.

* New Star Trek Fan Film Guidelines Limit Productions To Half-Hour Concepts. Teasing the new Star Trek series: one story over thirteen episodes.

* Oh Man, Bad Plan, No Canal: Panama.

* And if you want a vision of the future.

All the Weekend Links, Existential Despair on the Side

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* In case you missed it: the call for papers for SFFTV‘s special issue on the Mad Max franchise. And our Star Trek special issue is still open, too!

* Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.

* Horror in Charleston.

What that means is that in South Carolina, the Confederate flag abides by its own rules. While governors—as well as the president—can usually order that all state and national flags within their jurisdiction be flown at half-staff, this one is exempt. Instead, the Confederate flag’s location can be changed only by a two-thirds vote by both branches of the General Assembly. “In South Carolina, the governor does not have legal authority to alter the flag,” said a press secretary for Haley. “Only the General Assembly can do that.” Take down the flag.

* Confederate flag in Orlando to be burned in symbolic burial.

* Denmark Vesey, Forgotten Hero. A recent flashback.

Meet Debbie Dills, Florist Who Called in Tip that Led to Dylann Roof’s Arrest.

* It’s Juneteenth.

* We still need to talk about white male pathology.

* The Treasury is going to put a woman on the $10. That’ll fix it!

* Poverty and the brain.

What Would Happen If We ALL Stopped Paying Our Student Loans, Together?

California Says Uber Driver Is Employee, Not a Contractor.

* Tech isn’t really making a “sharing” economy. So what is it making? The Servitude Bubble.

Reasonable Doubts About the Jury System.

hemingway* Hemingway’s rough drafts.

We Regret to Inform You That in 4 Days You and Your Family Will Be Deported to Haiti.

Women’s soccer will only achieve greater growth when we have a FIFA not run by sexist men.

Performance-Based Funding Can Be Fickle, One University’s Close Call Shows. Florida State would have lost $16.7 million if its median graduate had earned just $400 less.

7 Seriously Bad Ideas That Rule Higher Education.

* “When a non-tenure-track lecturer position is the fairy tale reward for a PhD and more than 7 years on the job market, it’s time to break things.”

* The Cult of Jurassic Park.

* The sheep look up: don’t drink the water edition.

* Did abortion cause the drought? I say teach the controversy.

* It’s a weird, weird world: Obama is going to be on WTF. I’ll never accept this is real.

* Theses on Hating.

11. Enthusiasts have hitherto only loved the world in various ways; the point is to hate it (too).

* Precarity rising.

* Maladministration killed Sweet Briar, says former board member.

The Best And Worst Airlines, Airports And Flights, Summer 2015 Update.

‘Screen Time’ For Kids Is Probably Fine.

Your Children Won’t Be Able To Live In Space, Without A Major Upgrade.

* Another pedagogy gimmick, but at least it’s cheap: roleplaying games.

* Science explains why you hate the word “moist.”

There Have Only Been 9 Days This Year When Police Didn’t Kill Someone.

* Another piece on the trolley problem and the self-driving car.

* Vermont vs. the Affordable Care Act.

* Euthanasia and non-terminal illness.

* Harris Wittels’s sister remembers her brother.

SethBling wrote a program made of neural networks and genetic algorithms called MarI/O that taught itself how to play Super Mario World. This six-minute video is a pretty easy-to-understand explanation of the concepts involved.

* X-Men and the spectrum.

* Making the world safe from Marjane Satrapi.

Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation.

* A people’s history of Singled Out.

* Game of Peanuts.

* Everything you want, in the worst possible way: please god don’t ever let Captain Worf happen.

No pricey pension plans, some argued. No promotions based solely on seniority. No set hours for a given workweek. No prohibitions against layoffs. Unions! Catch the fever!

* The arc of history is long, but Mitch Horwitz is doing a Netflix comedy series with Maria Bamford.

* Didn’t we do this one already? All six Star Wars films at once.

* And if you want to know why there’s no future for our civilization, just read this.

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Written by gerrycanavan

June 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Easter Links! Find Them All!

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* The 2015 Hugo nominees have been announced, and they’re a mess. The Hugo Awards Were Always Political. But Now They’re Only Political. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year. The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide. The Biggest Little SF Publisher you never heard of declares war. “Why I Declined a Hugo Award Nomination.”

* And in response to the question “Well, what should have been nominated for a Hugo?”: “Andromache and the Dragon,” by my brilliant Marquette colleague Brittany Pladek!

* “The Many Faces of Tatiana Maslany”: In portraying a horde of clones on ‘Orphan Black,’ the actress has created TV’s strangest — and most sophisticated — meditation on femininity. And a special bonus companion piece: Meet The Woman (Besides Tatiana Maslany) Who Plays Every Single “Orphan Black” Clone.

Reddit’s Bizarre, Surreal, Maddening, Hypnotic, Divisive, and Possibly Evil April Fools’ Joke. I’ve become obsessed with this.

* CFP: Ephemeral Television. CFP: Into the Pensieve: The Harry Potter Generation in Retrospect.

* Watching them turn off the Rothkos.

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University.

Iran’s Been Two Years Away From a Nuclear Weapon for Three Decades. The Iran deal. What if the Iranians are people too?

So how much money is the NCAA making? In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting gave the NCAA $10.8 billion for a fourteen-year broadcast monopoly on March Madness games. Estimated ad revenue for the 2013 tournament reached $1.15 billion, while ticket revenue brought in another $71.7 million. Last year no less than thirty-five coaches pulled down salaries higher than $1 million before bonuses; Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski topped the list with an income of more than $9.6 million.

Guarding against the errant, suicidal murderous pilot belongs to a category called “wicked problems” — the complexity of the system and the conflicting incentives mean that every solution introduces another set of problems, so the only way forward is always going to be an imperfect one. Second, and perhaps more importantly, is that this once again reveals how, as humans, we are lousy at risk assessment, and also lousy of accepting this weakness. The problem is wicked, but its occurrence is so rare that it is almost unheard of — partly why it terrifies us so. Our imagination, biases and fears are terrible guides to what should actually be done to keep us safer, and this has significant consequences in a whole host of fields, ranging from terrorism to childcare to health-care.

So you see, people like Tim Cook are selective in their moral universalism; morality, it turns out, is universal only insofar as extends to the particular desires of a Western bourgeoisie; deny a gay couple a wedding bouquet that they could get at the florist down the street anyway, and that is a cause for outrage and concern; extract minerals using indentured Congolese servants, well, look, we’ve got marginal cost to consider! The moral argument, it turns out, curdles when exposed to the profit motive, and the universality of justice actually does end at certain borders, one way or another.

How the Slave Trade Built America.

* But unlike its predecessor, the show has no obvious narrative progression. Nacho’s important, or he’s not; the Kettlemans are half the show, or maybe we should care about Sandpiper. There are flashbacks to Jimmy’s past where Bob Odenkirk is playing either 25 or 57—a savvy criminal or a neophyte screw-up. In the lead-up to Better Call Saul, there were theories that the show would be funnier than Breaking Bad (maybe a sitcom?) or more procedural than Breaking Bad (maybe The Good Wife for bad boys?) or more episodic (like X-Files with lawyers!). None of that is true, and all of that is true. It’s interesting, but not the way great TV is interesting. Better Call Saul reminds me more of Treme or John From Cincinnati: post-masterpiece meanders. 

* In TV’s Silver Age, a logjam of shows that are ‘pretty good,’ but not great.

Here’s A Map That Shows All The Future Megacities From Science Fiction.

* Can science fiction be a form of social activism? Walidah Imarisha thinks so, and she’s recruited everyone from LeVar Burton to Mumia Abu-Jamal to help her prove it.

* Johns Hopkins Faces $1-Billion Lawsuit Over U.S. Experiments in Guatemala.

* sirens.io, blogging from seven years in the future.

* Are Aliens Behind Mysterious Radio Bursts? Scientists Weigh In.

* Calif. Governor Orders Mandatory Water Restrictions For 1st Time In History. It’s up to us to singlehandedly save california from drought by turning off the tap when we brush our teeth! California is pumping water that fell to Earth 20,000 years ago. California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth. R.I.P. California (1850-2016): What We’ll Lose And Learn From The World’s First Major Water Collapse. Children of the Drought.

Starting this week, 25,000 households in Baltimore will suddenly lose their access to water for owing bills of $250 or more, with very little notice given and no public hearings.

* Oceans might take 1,000 years to recover from climate change, study suggests.

Drug field tests used by cops are so bad they react positively to air, soap, candy.

* Trolley Problem: The Game. Advanced Trolley Problems.

* Scott Walker’s budget cuts $5.7 million from pollution control efforts.

The Most Popular Antidepressants Are Based On A Theory We Know Is Wrong. Most antidepressant users have never had depression.

* 12 New Science Fiction Comics You Absolutely Need to be Reading.

* From Shaman to Equinox: The Challenges and Failures of Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics Read More: Indigenous Representation in Superhero Comics.

* Hero Price Is Right model begins the revolution by just giving away a car.

* First as an unexpectedly great show, then as I don’t know it doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me.

All told, the “Detroit Industry” frescoes are probably as close as this country gets to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

* The happiness spigot.

New report says manned Mars mission could reach orbit by 2033, land by 2039.

Clarke makes her point not with stirring courtroom rhetoric or devastating legal arguments but by a process of relentless accretion, case by case, win by win. This is her cause. Because if the state cannot put these defendants to death, then how can it put anyone to death? Thirty-five executions took place in the United States in 2014 for crimes that form an inventory of human cruelty—and yet few were as willful and egregious as those committed by Judy Clarke’s clients.

Here is an example of the priorities in New York state’s budget: There is no increase in the minimum wage, but purchasers of yachts that cost more than $230,000 are exempt from the sales tax.

* U.S. Court Officially Rules that Friendship Is Worthless.

Tales from the Trenches: I was SWATed.

Texas Just Does Not Care How Hot Its Prisons Get.

* Duke tries throwing polio at cancer, as you do.

* Interesting article on design: The Secret History of the Apple Watch.

Senate Republicans say the current system is unfair because rural residents are effectively supporting urban counties’ schools and services when they shop there. Yes, that’s literally how the system is intended to function.

The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust.

* So you want to resurrect a college.

These Slow-Motion Videos of Fluids Vibrating on Speakers Are Wonderful.

* Now Full House, and the Muppets too.

These Photos Of Melanie Griffith And Her Pet Lion In The 1970s Are Everything. (UPDATE: Here’s the article that seems to be the original source, plus a little bit on Roar’s rerelease. Noteworthy lines from Wikipedia: “Over 70 of the cast and crew were injured during the production of this film.”)

* Being Andre.

Landlord Sends Man $1,200 Bill To Cleanup His Roommate’s Blood, Who Was Shot Dead By Police.

Stan VHS, A Tumblr Blog Featuring 1980s-Style VHS Cover Art for Modern Television Shows and Movies.

A Linguistic Comparison of Letters of Recommendation for Male and Female Chemistry and Biochemistry Job Applicants.

* SF Short of the Weekend: “Burnt Grass.”

* …and your short short of the weekend: “No One Is Thirsty.”

* I finally found enough time to be annoyed by Obama interviewing David Simon about The Wire.

* This Easter, we remember.

* And because you demanded it: An oral history of Max Headroom.

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Written by gerrycanavan

April 5, 2015 at 9:29 am

Posted in Look at what I found on the Internet

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Wednesday Links! Some Especially Good Ones!

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* Paradoxa 26, “SF Now,” is on its way, and has my essay on Snowpiercer and necrofuturism in it. Mark Bould and Rhys Williams’s introduction to the issue is online.

* Extrapolation‘s current call for reviewers.

* UCR is hiring: Jay Kay and Doris Klein Science Fiction Librarian.

* African SF: Presenting Omenana 1.1. Of particular note: “The Unbearable Solitude of Being an African Fan Girl.”

* Nnedi Okorafor, Ytasha Womack, Isiah Lavender, and Sigal Samuel discussion #BlackStormTrooper.

NASA Officially Announce Plans To Put Humans On Mars With Orion Space Capsule.

* UAB shuts down its football program. Of course, the reason is austerity:

“The fiscal realities we face — both from an operating and a capital investment standpoint — are starker than ever and demand that we take decisive action for the greater good of the athletic department and UAB,” Watts said in a statement released by the university. “As we look at the evolving landscape of NCAA football, we see expenses only continuing to increase. When considering a model that best protects the financial future and prominence of the athletic department, football is simply not sustainable.”

We just can’t afford to throw bricks at students’ heads any more — not in these tough times.

* Teaching fellows strike at the University of Oregon.

* “Hypereducated and On Welfare”: The adjunct crisis hits Elle.

* Stefan Grimm and academic precarity: 1, 2.

* Meanwhile: College Hilariously Defends Buying $219,000 Table.

* Work, the welfare state, and what counts as “dignity.”

* It really pains me to say it, because I think the consequences for anti-rape activism will be dire, but significant questions have been raised about Rolling Stone‘s UVA story that neither the journalist nor the magazine have good answers to. It’s a good day to think carefully about what Freddie deBoer says here: “…it’s an inevitable result of associating the work of progressive politics with having a hair trigger, with demonizing those who ask us to be careful and restrained, and of treating overwhelming digital character assassination as a useful political tool.”

Imagine a World Without Prisons: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Superheroes, and Prison Abolition.

* Against New Atheism: The “New Atheists” have gained traction because they give intellectual cover to Western imperialism.

* The mass transit system Milwaukee didn’t know it needed. Now, if you could just snake another couple lines up the lake side… More links below the map.

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* The Ferguson PD victory lap continues: Ferguson Police investigating whether Michael Brown’s stepfather intended to incite a riot.

How Police Unions and Arbitrators Keep Abusive Cops on the Street.

How One Woman Could Hit The Reset Button In The Case Against Darren Wilson.

Utah’s Insanely Expensive Plan To Seize Public Lands. “…a price tag that could only be paid if the state were able to increase drilling and mining.” Oh, so not insane, then, just evil.

* There are boondoggles and there are boondoggles: Federal prosecutors subpoenaed dozens of records and documents relating to the Los Angeles Unified School District’s iPad program, including emails, proposals and score sheets dealing with the bids that led to a multi-million Apple contract with the district.

* For $5 I promise not to orchestrate this situation, and for $25…

* Why I Am Not Coming In To Work Today.

* Keeping Kayfabe.

* And the market for Girl Scout cookies is about to be disrupted. I gained ten pounds just reading this story.

trolley_problem

Written by gerrycanavan

December 3, 2014 at 10:54 am

Weekend Links!

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* CFP: ASAP, Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present.

* Real-life trolley problem: programming a self-driving car to decide what to aim at in the event of a crash.

As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.

* The digital humanities bubble has popped. Climb on board the science fiction studies bubble before it’s too late!

* March Madness: The University of Oregon and the local district attorney’s office appear to have colluded to prevent a rape accusation from interfering with basketball. What a mess. “I thought, maybe this is just what happens in college,” she told police, “… just college fun.”

How to Combat Sexual Assault: Three universities are addressing sexual assault the right way.

The Worst of All Possible Universes and the Best of All Possible Earths: Three Body and Chinese Science Fiction.

* Go ahead, make your jokes: Harvard Faculty Members Approve College’s First Honor Code.

* “The Day I Started Lying to Ruth”: A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.

The CPB also usefully charts the changing funding fortunes of higher education and corrections.  As they remind us (4), there has been an effective reversal in the priorities placed on higher education and corrections since the early 1980s.  In 1980-81 2.9% of the General Fund was spent on corrections; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 9%.  In 1980-81, 9.6% of the General Fund was spent on higher education; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 5.1%. Actually the reversal is worse than the CPB indicates since Brown’s General Fund budget does not include the spending being sent to counties for realignment.  This has allowed him to appear as if he is cutting back on correctional spending when he is not.

* Money, Politics, and Pollution in North Carolina.

Portland Committee Reviews Arrest of Nine-Year-Old Girl. Give them time! They really need to think through if arresting kids is really a good idea!

* Snapchat goes on twenty-year probation with the FTC.

* Atrocious: The Globe and Mail wants its management to the have the right to assign editorial employees to write and edit advertorial copy as part of their regular duties, according to this union bulletin. 

* ‘Can You Make Sure There’s Nothing Un-Islamic In Our Oriental Shlock-Fest?’ – G. Willow Wilson In The Bleeding Cool Interview.

The point is that after years of studies about charter schools, there is not really any definitive proof of any “charter magic” they bring to the field.

* Meanwhile, standardized testing in Chicago asks immigrant students to choose the best argument for their own exclusion from society.

* Yes we can! Interest Rates on New Federal Student Loans Will Rise for 2014-15.

* Professors’ non-existent privacy rights.

* Economists: Still the Worst.

* Scenes from the adjunct struggle in San Francisco.

* Pope Demands ‘Legitimate Redistribution’ Of Wealth. Sold!

* North Dakota Is the Deadliest State to Work In.

* RIP, Community. For now!

* I’m a little surprised we don’t already have a few trillionaires lying around. Get to work, capital! You’re slacking.

* Iowa Secretary of State makes voter fraud his signature issue, pours a ton of money into finding it, comes up with 117 illegally cast votes and gets six convictions. Typical voter turnout in Iowa is around one million people.

* Scientists create truly alien lifeforms.

The Recommendation Letter Ralph Waldo Emerson Wrote For A Job-Hunting Walt Whitman.

* The tragic case of Monica Lewinsky.

Four Ways You Can Seek Back Pay for an Unpaid Internship.

Stress Gives You Daughters, Sons Make You Liberal. Well, that about solves all the big questions forever.

* The Secret Origins of Benghazi Fever.

* And bell hooks vs. Beyoncé: whoever wins, we… Well, look, Beyoncé’s going to win. Let me start over.

Consider the Following Case

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On Twin Earth, a brain in a vat is at the wheel of a runaway trolley. There are only two options that the brain can take: the right side of the fork in the track or the left side of the fork. There is no way in sight of derailing or stopping the trolley and the brain is aware of this, for the brain knows trolleys. The brain is causally hooked up to the trolley such that the brain can determine the course which the trolley will take.

On the right side of the track there is a single railroad worker, Jones, who will definitely be killed if the brain steers the trolley to the right. If the railman on the right lives, he will go on to kill five men for the sake of killing them, but in doing so will inadvertently save the lives of thirty orphans (one of the five men he will kill is planning to destroy a bridge that the orphans’ bus will be crossing later that night). One of the orphans that will be killed would have grown up to become a tyrant who would make good utilitarian men do bad things… (yes, there’s more)

Written by gerrycanavan

August 21, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Tuesday!

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* Today David Simon is a certified genius.

* More Obama v. Palin in the pages of Archie. Related: When the Tea Party takes over the comics page.

* Surprising no one, Pew has found that atheists and agnostics know more about religion than religious people.

* The “Kill Whitey” trolley problem. Via MetaFilter.

* With Fox News fully embracing anti-vaccine paranoia, will UFOs be the next conspiracy theory to go mainstream? CNN reports, you decide.

* Ben and Jerry have been lying to us. Could it be that their delicious ice cream is hardly healthy at all?

* And Jim DeMint has triggered the Senate’s doomsday device. The greatest democracy in the history of the world! The system works!