Archive for the ‘clipbookgoodreadafterjan07’ Category

Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet Excerpt, Part 2

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet Fascinating discussion of #LitSpam: how the #spam arms race led to the development of Bayesian filters & then, in response, a bizarre mash-up of free literary texts meant to evade them


“Let us return to Turing, briefly, and introduce the fascinating Imitation Game, before we leave litspam and the world of
robot-read/writable text. The idea of a quantifiable, machine-mediated method of describing quali- ties of human affect recurs in the literature of a variety of fields, including criminology, psychology, artificial intelligence, and computer science. Its applications often provide insight into the criteria by which different human states are determined—as described, for example, in Ken Alder’s fascinating work on polygraphs, or in the still understudied history of the “fruit machine,” ….is the so-called Turing Test. The goal of Turing’s 1950 thought experiment (which bears repeating, as it’s widely
misunderstood today) was to “replace the question [of ‘Can machines think?’] by another, which is closely related to it and is expressed in relatively unambiguous words.” Turing considered the question of machines “thinking” or not to be “too meaningless to deserve discussion,” and, quite brilliantly, turned the question around to whether people think—or rather how we can be convinced that other people think. This project took the form of a parlor game: A and B, a man and a woman, communicate with an “interrogator,” C, by some intermediary such as a messenger or a teleprinter. C knows the two only as “X” and “Y”; after communicating with them, C is to render a verdict as to which is male and which female. A is tasked with convincing C that he, A, is female and B is male; B’s task is the same. “We now ask the question,” Turing continues, “‘What will happen when a machine takes the part of A in this game?’ …

What litspam has produced, remarkably, is a kind of parodic imitation game in which one set of algorithms is constantly trying to convince the other of their acceptable degree of salience—of being of interest and value to the humans. As Charles Stross puts it, “We have one faction that is attempting to write software that can generate messages that can pass a Turing test, and another faction that is attempting to write software that can administer an ad hoc Turing test.” …

Surrealist automatic writing has its particular associative rhythm, and the Burroughsian Cut-Up depends strongly on the taste for jarring juxtapositions favored by its authors (an article from Life, a sequence from The Waste Land, one of Burroughs’s “routines” in which mandrills from Venus kill Eisenhower). Litspam text, along with early comment spam and the strange spam blogs described in the next section, is the expression of an entirely different intentionality without the connotative structure produced by a human writer. The results returned by a probabilistically manipulated search engine, or the poisoned Bayesian spew of bot-generated spam, …

Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet [excerpt, Part 2] Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience (Audible Audio Edition): The Great Courses, Professor Indre Viskontas, The Great Courses: Baby

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

Illuminating the Genome’s Dark Matter – GersteinInfo

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

My review of J Parrington’s Deeper Genome The book illuminates genomic dark matter & is a good read to boot!

My tag:

Steve Jobs: Walter Isaacson, Dylan Baker: 9781442369054: Books

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Some brief thoughts on @WalterIsaacson’s book on Steve Jobs. Great Biography of An Extreme Individual

Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs is a fantastic read, both engaging and revealing in many details. What emerges is a portrait of a genius — but also a quirky person with many contradictions. On one hand, the visionary who brought us the Mac, the iPhone, the iTunes Store and many other exceptional innovations but also the taskmaster who was incredibly demanding and difficult to interact with — someone who would get upset at the smallest details. Of particular interest to fans of Apple products: there are many tidbits on how particular features (and bugs) got included — from the oval on the MacIntosh dialogue boxes to the band circling the iPhone 4. There is also much revealing information on how the CEO of a huge public company concealed his cancer from so many people and about the intricate boardroom interplay deposing a leader and then his comeback. Altogether, a great read that I would recommend to anyone.

Note tags bundle:

links to audio books that I’ve read

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Here’s a collection of my audio books. You can access them through the links below:

Sept. ’10 onwards

Jan. ’12 onwards

Jan. ’07 to Sept. ’11 (when Delicious was reorganized)

to Jan. ’07

As you can see, I, unfortunately, do not have them consolidated on a single page but you will be able to gather in the variety of links that I have been compiling various good to read nonfiction audio books over the past decade or so. Originally I listened to these on cassette tape and then ripped them onto CDs and now I am using

Finally, you will notice that with some of the more recent books I rated them using a star ranking system and posted my reviews on Amazon.

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t: Nate Silver: 9781594204111: Amaz Books

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Fatherland (1994) – YouTube

Monday, August 5th, 2013

What if Normandy had failed ?

Thoughts on Gaines’ The Sky’s the Limit

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I found Steven Gaines’ book The Sky’s the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan quite interesting overall. I read it from the
perspective of someone wanting to learn some context behind the convoluted world of Manhattan real estate. In this regard some parts of the book are not that useful: principally those that in a gossipy sense focus on celebrities buying seven and eight figure properties and all the machinations to get past apartment co-op boards. On the other hand there is some genuinely useful factual information. It provides the history of a number of the structures in Manhattan, in particular the cooperative structure, which ironically started out as a socialist inspired movement for tenants who own their building but in modern times this turned into the ultimate exclusive club for the very rich. (There are some great quotes in the book about such excesses such as Bill Clinton’s remarking on the fantasy Upper East Side co-op, that it makes the White House almost look like public housing.) The book also gives a lot of background on some of the prominent buildings in Manhattan such as the Time Warner Center, the Ansonia Hotel and the Dakota. Finally it gives some perspective on the different neighborhoods, contrasting the large parcels available on Central Park West with the smaller and older developed real estate on the Upper East Side. Overall, a good read with a bit of useful facts to impart.

Thoughts on O’Shea’s The Brain: A Very Short Introduction

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Good discussion of lots of technical stuff, including regions of the brain, how nerves work, & artificial neural nets

Gombrich’s A Little History of the World

Monday, November 12th, 2012 A Little History of the World [Hardcover]
E. H. Gombrich (Author)

Not such a good one