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Aleatha Parker-Wood
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Scientist. Mad chef. Mother. Motorcyclist. Clothes Horse. Polymath.
Scientist. Mad chef. Mother. Motorcyclist. Clothes Horse. Polymath.

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Since I know I have some Georgia peeps here... Tom Price's district is up for a special election, and it's a swing district.

+Andy Dillon +Avani Gadani, etc.


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"Our work makes a fundamental contribution in this area by dramatically reducing the complexity of the paper title."

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Vegetable cake, per my daughter's request.

I am pleased to announce that effective today, I've been promoted to manager of the Mountain View arm of Symantec's Center for Advanced Machine Learning, a research lab focused on using ML to protect people and data. It's a mixed management and technical role, so I'll be continuing to architect and publish. Wish me luck!

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This is a picture which is both beautiful and alarming. What you're seeing is a map of rainfall in Africa, ranging from the two meters per year near the equator, to the complete absence of rain in the Sahara. ("Complete absence" is serious: when visiting there several years ago, I found myself in a village where it hadn't rained in nine years. Children younger than eleven or so had no living memory of water falling out of the sky.)

There are some preliminary signs that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMDO, a periodic shift in temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean) is approaching its turnaround point. The AMDO cycles every 25 years or so, and has been in a phase leading to increased rainfall in the Sahel – the transitional zone between the Sahara and the very wet jungles – for close to that long. When it flips back, we are likely to see a return the the droughts which plagued the region in the 1980's, with the corresponding massive famines.

This has political implications, as well. If you look at this band, you'll see that the Sahel crosses through Mali, which has been in a civil war between its north and its south since 2012 (which has included the burning of some of the great libraries of Timbuktu by Islamist forces, ימח שמם) and continues all the way to Sudan and its border with South Sudan, whose independence did nothing to stop the brutal fighting there over local resources. While Ethiopia and Eritrea are technically not part of the Sahel, the high mountain ranges make that area dry as well, and the lowlands in the area are just as vulnerable to drought.

In short, this is a band of places which has long been the site of horrible droughts, famines, and civil wars, often brought about by a lack of enough water to keep crops growing.

Water is life; its interruption can have deadly consequences. Unfortunately, this can happen for reasons both natural (like the AMDO) and artificial (like climate change), and the two add up.

Via +Mariano Javier de Leon Dominguez Romero

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But there was a telling detail in the data Giuliano examined: the marriages in which sons made a real difference were those in which mothers were initially half-hearted about their husbands. In these “marginal” marriages, in which a mother who had just given birth said she felt indifferent towards the baby’s father, Giuliano found that sons reduced divorce rates by over 20 percentage points. Boys glued these couples together partly because fathers appeared to be more co-operative and attentive at home, but also because many of these mothers agreed with the statement that “parents should stay together, even if they do not get along.” A major reason why many women with sons stayed with their husbands was, it seems, concern for the welfare of their children.

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