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Daniel Estrada
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Daniel Estrada

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A DARPA-funded research team at Australia's University of Melbourne has created a novel neural-recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, reducing the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier. The technology was developed under DARPA’s Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, and offers new potential for safely expanding the use of brain-machine interfaces to treat physical disabilities and neurological disorders. 
A DARPA-funded research team has created a novel neural-recording device that can be implanted into the brain through blood vessels, eliminating the need for invasive surgery and the risks associated with breaching the blood-brain barrier. The technology was developed under DARPA's Reliable ...
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Robit Connected Home Robot
can find your keys, watch your pets, connect to the Internet
http://www.connectedcrib.com/robit-affordable-home-robot/

Coming in 2017!
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The Book Thief

Access to information is an essential component of research. As with much else in market-driven societies, ability, aptitude, and need are highly uncorrolated with means. And in a world with a Web whose original intent was to facilitate the exchange of scientific research, data, papers, and other communications, commercial and legal barriers are increasingly thrown up against just this.

Though there's a countercurrent. The Open Content world is flourishing, and there are journals and publications (PLOS, PNAS, Arxiv) which make publications available. There's a vast collection of public-domain or otherwise freely-available content through The Internet Archive, Project Gutenberg, and many smaller archives.

But the vast bulk of academic publishing is held hostage by a handful of firms with obscene profit margins -- an obscenity which was revealed in a 1970 landmark legal article by a young Stephen Breyer, now associate justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. I'd share a link to that article, but it too is locked up behind a copyright paywall, 46 years after it was initially published. Irony and $2.50 might get you a cup of coffee.

There's more I'd like to say -- this is just top-of-my-head ranting. Truth is I'm a book thief too, and use Sci-Hub, BookXX, Reddit's /r/scholar, and other tools, as well as the limited, fractured, and annoyingly cumbersome access provided me through a handful of library affiliations -- these systems are bad enough that it's often simply easier to drop a DOI into SciHub to get the content directly.

We've got Big Problems to solve. I'm trying to do what I can to solve, or at least understand, a few of them. There are more people out there in the world who could do likewise.

Let's free our data access.

And let's also address the other side of the coin. To admit, as CUNY's Graduate Center holds, that knowledge is a public good. And that the flipside of free access is common support for those who create data, scientific articles, and relevant journalism -- all fields the so-called free market has proven utterly incapable of satisfying, for well-understood reasons. Information isn't a market good, information is a market requirement. Phil Hunt and Richard M Stallman are among those who've proposed a broad-based tax-support structure for content, which I'd discovered as prior art after having made my own modest proposal. Path dependencies are a bitch, which is to say, getting there from here isn't a clearly-defined route, but we've really got to start attacking this. I'm inclined to include not just nonfiction works, but works of entertainment and culture under this model as well.

Meanwhile, thanks to Alexandra Elbakyan, who wears the honor, Book Thief.
How one researcher created a pirate bay for science more powerful than even libraries at top universities.
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Nine Fold Aperiodic Tiling Moiré

I'll make at least two more animations based on this tiling pattern. One that demonstrates the substitution / inflation involved and one in which the tiles have depth and do something funky in 3-space.

I developed this tiling based on the following extremely interesting page:
http://www.mathpages.com/home/kmath539/kmath539.htm
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+David Wegmuller New Jersey. Brick City. THE Newark. =)
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> Standing next to a body of water rushing through the countryside along a tortuous channel, I can individuate it, ostensively, by pointing and saying, “That is a river.” But to stand at the same spot on the bank where I stood yesterday and, pointing at the bubbling water, claim, “This is the same river I pointed to yesterday,” or to go downstream past any number of forking tributaries and claim, “This is the same river I pointed to earlier,” requires not only individuation—typically, picking out what sort of thing some entity is at a particular time—it requires in addition that I identify that particular entity over time and across various changes. In other words, to identify some entity requires both that I

1) individuate that entity at a time—either experientially (by tracing along visible or tangible borders) or conceptually (by specifying the conditions which make it that particular entity at that time and not some other entity), and that I

2) specify the conditions under which those individuating borders constitute the boundaries of that entity (what distinguishes that entity from other such entities) and make it the particular entity that it is and not some other entity across various changes over time.

http://www.springer.com/us/book/9781402029998
via +Jon Lawhead, who adds:

> Hell^yes.
Borders enclose and separate us. We assign to them tremendous significance. Along them we draw supposedly uncrossable boundaries within which we believe...
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I don't want to read big books, I just want to be able to understand the authors' perspectives.
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The Project on Law, Order & Algorithms is building a vast open database of 100 million traffic stops from cities and towns around the nation. "The researchers have already gathered data on about 50 million stops from 11 states, recording basic facts about the stop -- time, date and location -- plus any available demographic data that do not reveal an individual's identity. These demographics might include race, sex and age of the person."

"The first and most topical goal is to produce a statistical method to assess whether police discriminate against people on the basis of race, ethnicity, age or gender, and, if so, how frequently and under what circumstances. A second but equally important purpose is to help law enforcement agencies design practices that are more equitable and effective at reducing crime."
A team of engineers uses computational analysis tools to scrape information from police-related incidents to reveal discrimination and reduce crime.
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> The problem, quite simply, is that the tools in our basic socio-cognitive toolbox are adapted to solve problems in the absence of mechanical cognition—it literally requires our blindness to certain kinds of facts to reliably function. We are primed ‘to hold responsible’ those who ‘could have done otherwise’—those who have a ‘choice.’ Choice, quite famously, requires some kind of fictional discontinuity between us and our precursors, a discontinuity that only ignorance and neglect can maintain. ‘Holding responsible,’ therefore, can only retreat before the advance of medicalization, insofar as the latter involves the specification of various behavioural precursors.
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R. Scott Bakker:

The problem is that we evolved to be targeted, shallow information consumers in unified, deep information environments. As targeted, shallow information consumers we require two things: 1) certain kinds of information hygiene, and 2) certain kinds of background invariance. (1) is already in a state of free-fall, I think, and (2) is on the technological cusp. I don’t see any plausible way of reversing the degradation of either ecological condition, so I see the prospects for traditional philosophical discourses only diminishing.

https://rsbakker.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/on-the-inapplicability-of-philosophy-to-the-future
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Optimizing Environmental Policy by Maximizing Future Choice

I'm mostly finished revising the two big philosophy of science papers I've been working on for the last year or so, and both have found a good home at different journals.  I'm now focusing on a collaborative project with the head of the climate lab here at USC so that we can (hopefully) get a paper out together by the time I leave.  We had a long discussion about what we'd like to do today, and finally settled on an idea that we both like.  He read my system individuation piece accepted to BJPS, and we're going to build on that to talk about integrative assessment models in climate policy.  I've produced the first couple of pages in the last hour.  The abstract is below, and if anyone has any suggestions or comments, I'd love to hear them.

Abstract:

Integrative assessment models (IAMs) treat the global climate and the global economy as two coupled parts of a single hybrid system, and can be used to construct policy portfolios that reflect a wide variety of social and scientific values and priorities.  However, there is a high degree of uncertainty endemic to both climatological and economic models, which is inherited by IAMs.  In addition, the decision of which models to use, how to prioritize future outcomes, and how to delineate relevantly similar states of the hybrid system are deeply value-laden and perspectival choices, complicating the task of constructing policies based on IAMs.  In this paper, we examine the conceptual and technical challenges associated with IAM-based policy and argue that the best way to meet these challenges is to use IAMs to construct policies that maximize the range of future policy options available, rather than to pursue specific outcomes.  By optimizing our policy choice to produce a maximally open range of future choices, we both mitigate the impact of structural model uncertainty and minimize the extent to which individual evaluative choices are irreversibly enshrined in policy decisions.  This approach greatly enhances the utility of IAMs, and has concrete, specific implications for climate policy deliberations.
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Online Hangout for 2/9 Phil-334 Engineering Ethics @ NJIT
This Hangout On Air is hosted by Daniel Estrada. The live video broadcast will begin soon.
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2/9 S16 EE Online Hangout
Tue, February 9, 2:30 PM
Hangouts On Air - Broadcast for free

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> Most individuals in social networks experience a so-called Friendship Paradox: they are less popular than their friends on average. This effect may explain recent findings that widespread social network media use leads to reduced happiness. However the relation between popularity and happiness is poorly understood. A Friendship paradox does not necessarily imply a Happiness paradox where most individuals are less happy than their friends. Here we report the first direct observation of a significant Happiness Paradox in a large-scale online social network of 39,110 Twitter users. Our results reveal that popular individuals are indeed happier and that a majority of individuals experience a significant Happiness paradox. The magnitude of the latter effect is shaped by complex interactions between individual popularity, happiness, and the fact that users cluster assortatively by level of happiness. Our results indicate that the topology of online social networks and the distribution of happiness in some populations can cause widespread psycho-social effects that affect the well-being of billions of individuals.

// Your friends are happier than you. Yay networks.
 
4 paper in 4 months! http://arxiv.org/abs/1602.02665 "The happiness paradox: your friends are happier than you"
Abstract: Most individuals in social networks experience a so-called Friendship Paradox: they are less popular than their friends on average. This effect may explain recent findings that widespread social network media use leads to reduced happiness. However the relation between popularity and ...
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+Bruno Gonçalves Don't you think there are too many confounders here? Unlike popularity, there's no straight-forward mechanism for preferential attachment.
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eripsa
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Introduction
I've written under the handle Eripsa for over a decade on various blogs and forums. Today I do my blogging and research at Fractional Actors and on my G+ stream.

I'm interested in issues at the intersection of the mind and technology. I write and post on topics ranging from AI and robotics to the politics of digital culture.

Specific posting interests are described in more detail here and here.

_____

So I'm going to list a series of names, not just to cite their influence on my work, but really to triangulate on what the hell it is I think I'm doing. 

Turing, Quine, Norbert Wiener, Dan Dennett, Andy Clark, Bruce Sterling, Bruno Latour, Aaron Swartz, Clay Shirky, Jane McGonical, John Baez, OWS, and Google. 

______


My avatar is the symbol for Digital Philosophy. You can think of it as a digital twist on Anarchism, but I prefer to think of it as the @ symbol all grown up. +Kyle Broom helped with the design. Go here for a free button with the symbol.

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