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Brian Slesinsky
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Harmless Science Experiment
Harmless Science Experiment

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From the article: "[Scientists] have pioneered a new kind of deep-learning technique, called “autodidactic iteration,” that can teach itself to solve a Rubik’s Cube with no human assistance. The trick that McAleer and co have mastered is to find a way for the machine to create its own system of rewards."
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From the article: "[Technical issues] left almost 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners sold to some of the world’s top airlines sitting powerless on the ground, waiting for engines before they can fly again."
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From a 2009 article: "A quirky law makes Montana the only state that legalizes double-proxy marriage, so named because two people stand in for the bride and groom. The paid proxies exchange a few perfunctory “I do’s” and seal the deal without locking lips.

[...]

"Such ease has made wedding-by-proxy attractive to military lovebirds separated by geography or war, even though long-distance matrimony is about as romantic as getting engaged over Twitter."

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From the article: "Until 1998, full-time students in England could attend public universities completely free of charge. But concerns about declining quality at public institutions, government mandated caps on enrollment, and sharply rising inequality in college attainment led to a package of reforms which began in 1998, including the introduction of
a modest tuition fee. Two decades later, most public universities in England now charge £9,250—equivalent to about $11,380, or 18 percent more than the average sticker price of a U.S. public four-year institution. The typical English bachelor’s degree recipient is now expected to graduate with around £44,000 (approximately $54,918) in student loan debt, more than twice the average for graduates who borrow at U.S. four year institutions."

[...]

"[C]omplete reliance on public funding meant universities were under constant pressure to limit enrollments, reduce per-student expenditures, or both (with higher-achieving students, and more elite institutions, typically most insulated from these consequences). Meanwhile, because of substantial inequality in pre-college achievement, the main beneficiaries of free college were students from middle- and upper-class families—who, on average, would go on to reap substantial private returns from their publicly-funded college degrees. Finally, cost remained a major barrier for low-income students even in the absence of tuition fees: many still struggled to afford necessary expenses for food, housing, books, and transportation. Yet prioritizing free tuition for all students left little room in the budget to provide additional supports for low-income students."
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From the article: "California has a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) that requires fuels sold in the state to steadily decline in carbon intensity. In practice, that means companies that sell fossil-based fuels have to source some lower-carbon fuels to offset them, through a credit trading system.

"Right now, credits under the LCFS are trading for $150 per ton of carbon. That is meant to be the source of Carbon Engineering’s initial financing, funding its effort to scale up. That is how it can project capture costs under $100 a ton.

"Electricity is likely to eventually fuel the bulk of passenger vehicles in a low-carbon scenario, but even in California, it will take decades to replace vehicle fleets, and in the meantime, there’s a multibillion-dollar market for low-carbon liquid fuels."

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From the article: "Smart contracts execute automatically but only simple contracts such as those involving escrow are really self-enforcing. Most contracts, smart or dumb, involve touchstones with the real world. Canonical examples such as the smart contract that lets you use an automobile so long as the rent has been paid illustrate the potential for disputes. Bugs in the code? Disputes over the quality of the car? What happens when a data feed is disputed or internet service is disrupted? Smart contracts applied to the real world are a kind of digital rights management with all of DRM's problems and annoyances."
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From the article: "[W]e introduce the Generative Query Network (GQN), a framework within which machines learn to perceive their surroundings by training only on data obtained by themselves as they move around scenes. Much like infants and animals, the GQN learns by trying to make sense of its observations of the world around it. In doing so, the GQN learns about plausible scenes and their geometrical properties, without any human labelling of the contents of scenes."
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From the article: "Whether they want to or not, then, platforms must serve as setters of norms, interpreters of laws, arbiters of taste, adjudicators of disputes, and enforcers of whatever rules they choose to establish. Having in many ways taken custody of the web, they now find themselves its custodians."
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