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The Machines are Learning

I got really excited when i read this. I started thinking about how kewl it would be to build my own AI computer and teach it to perform simple tasks. And then reality set in, and i realized that was a crazy idea for a couple of reasons. Because i don't know the first thing about coding for one. Or building shit for another. Also, i just saw 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The brain performs its canonical task -- learning -- by tweaking its myriad connections according to a secret set of rules. To unlock these secrets, scientists 30 years ago began developing computer models that try to replicate the learning process. Now, a growing number of experiments are revealing that these models behave strikingly similar to actual brains when performing certain tasks. Researchers say the similarities suggest a basic correspondence between the brains' and computers' underlying learning algorithms.
The synapses in the network start out with a random distribution of weights, and the weights are gradually tweaked according to a remarkably simple procedure: The neural firing pattern generated while the machine is being fed data (such as images or sounds) is compared with random firing activity that occurs while the input is turned off.

Each virtual synapse tracks both sets of statistics. If the neurons it connects fire in close sequence more frequently when driven by data than when they are firing randomly, the weight of the synapse is increased by an amount proportional to the difference. But if two neurons more often fire together during random firing than data-driven firing, the synapse connecting them is too thick and consequently is weakened.

Besides moving us closer to someone building Ultron, this work furthers understanding of the human brain which means a better understanding of mental illnesses and finding ways to overcome eye injuries (or other brain/body connection injuries, i would imagine).

I'm so ready for my bionic body.

By min | July 31, 2013, 6:27 PM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

I Thought of Transmetropolitan

He's using the Google Glass like Spider Jerusalem used his glasses. It's pretty kewl when the present catches up with the future.

"When there's a wall of police firing plastic bullets at you, and you're running through a wall of tear-gas, having your hands free to cover your face, while saying 'OK Glass, record a video', makes that recording process a lot... easier," says Tim Pool.

Pool has been using Glass for his livestreaming coverage of recent protests in Istanbul, Cairo and Brazil for Vice in 2013, but he's been doing what he calls "mobile first-person" journalism since 2011, and the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York.

Ofc, the downside of that is the necessity of such a device to record abusive police actions, dystopia being the other side of the future.

By min | July 31, 2013, 10:47 AM | Comics & Liberal Outrage & Science | Comments (0)| Link

EPA Ignores the Dangers of Low Dose Exposure

And who's surprised by that, really? The chemical companies don't want to change so the EPA isn't going to do anything to upset them. Afterall, you don't bite the hand that feeds you. Link

Baby mice exposed in the womb to low doses - but not high doses - of bisphenol A were fatter and had metabolic changes linked to obesity and diabetes, according to a new study published Thursday.

Building on previous studies that link the hormone-altering chemical to changes in body weight and glucose tolerance, the new research fuels an ongoing controversy over whether federal testing of chemicals is adequate to protect people from low doses.

"What's scary is that we found effects at levels that the government not only says is safe, but that they don't bother to test," said Fredrick vom Saal, a University of Missouri, Columbia, professor and senior author of the study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology.


The EPA frequently evaluates the safety of chemicals with tests that expose lab animals to high doses, then extrapolating to lower doses that people and wildlife encounter.

In a report last year, 12 scientists, including vom Saal, criticized that decades old-strategy, saying it fails to detect health threats from low doses of hormone-like chemicals. Pete Myers, founder of Environmental Health News and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, was the senior author of that report.

Last month, reacting to that report, the EPA defended its testing, concluding that current testing of hormone-altering chemicals is adequate for detecting low-dose effects that may jeopardize health.

I say who cares if it's a high dose or a low dose. Why the hell are you exposing me to a hormone mimic, you fuckers?? Cause i know you can make shit without BPA. So just do it.

By min | July 26, 2013, 11:33 AM | Science | Comments (0)| Link

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