IN AMERICA, computers have been used to assist bail and sentencing decisions for many years. Their proponents argue that the rigorous logic of an algorithm, trained with a vast amount of data, can make judgments about whether a convict will reoffend that are unclouded by human bias. Two researchers have now put one such program, COMPAS, to the test. According to their study, published in Science Advances, COMPAS did neither better nor worse than people with no special expertise.
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Open wounds are a major health risk in animals, with species prone to injuries likely developing means to reduce these risks. We therefore analysed the behavioural response towards open wounds on the social and individual level in the termite group-hunting ant Megaponera analis.
The ramparts of the Portuguese Castle of the Moors – “Castelo dos Mouros” – fell to the Christians of the Second Crusade in 1147, a bunch of thieves and drunkards, according to local reports, which included a fair number of Brits. There’s a story that a huge fortune in gold and coins still lies beneath the castle’s broken and much-restored walls, hidden there by the Moors when Afonso Henriques’ thugs were climbing the hills above Sintra. My guess is there’s none. Our relations with the Muslims have always revolved, it seems to me, around money and jealousy. Besides, the Crusaders looted their way across Lisbon – after a solemn agreement with the King that they could do so – and then massacred and raped their way through the panic-stricken Muslim population.
It was the only victory the Second Crusade achieved – things went badly wrong for it in the real Middle East. After that – and the 15th-century expulsion of the Muslims – Portugal’s conflict with the region was economic rather than military, trying to grab the Indian trade routes from Yemeni Arabs. When Vasco da Gama “discovered” India and reached Calicut (Kozhikode) on 20 May 1498 – this story comes from Warwick Ball’s Out of Arabia – he was greeted by an Arab from Tunisia with the words “May the devil take you! What brought you here?”
Over the past two months, Google has started letting people around the world choose what data they want to share with its various products, including Gmail and Google Docs.
Amazon recently began improving the data encryption on its cloud storage service and simplified an agreement with customers over how it processes their information.
And on Sunday, Facebook rolled out a new global data privacy center — a single page that allows users to organize who sees their posts and what types of ads they are served.
While these changes are rippling out worldwide, a major reason for these shifts comes from Europe: The tech giants are preparing for a stringent new set of data privacy rules in the region, called the General Data Protection Regulation.
Why bother designing robots when you can reduce human beings to machines? Last week, Amazon acquired a patent for a wristband that can track the hand movements of workers. If this technology is developed, it could grant companies almost total control over their workforce.
They say that if you can make a cake, you can make a bomb. Food writer and former Great British Bake Off finalist Ruby Tandoh was never much bothered about making her sugar icing perfect – and good for her – so I might not trust her in munitions. But she has written a hand grenade of a book.
What I love most about Eat Up: Food, Appetite and Eating What You Want is all of the books that it isn’t. It isn’t a recipe collection full of soft-focus food pornography, the author lifting something glistening to her perfect lips, alone in an immaculate kitchen. It isn’t a manual for how to save your soul by way of micronutrient-inflected mortification of the flesh. It is not a memoir of one young woman’s emotional journey, served rare with a side of gawking and a comforting, sweet finish. Like Tandoh, it refuses to be anything but what it is: a strange, special, occasionally repetitive book that is somehow so much more than it was meant to be.
Why do people find Jordan Peterson so convincing? Because the left doesn’t have its own house in order
The wide popularity of Jordan Peterson, a once-obscure Canadian clinical psychologist and university professor who has become beloved of the alt-right, is a proof that the liberal-conservative “silent majority” finally found its voice. Peterson, who has said that the idea of white privilege is a “Marxist lie” and theorised that “radical feminists” don’t speak out about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia because of “their unconscious wish for brutal male domination”, is fast becoming a mainstream commentator.
His advantages over the previous anti-LGBT+ star Milo Yiannopoulos are obvious. Yiannopoulos was witty, fast-talking, full of jokes and sarcasms, and openly gay – he resembled, in many features, the culture he was attacking. Peterson is his opposite: he combines a “common sense” approach and (the appearance of) cold scientific argumentation with a bitter rage at a threat to the liberal basics of our societies – his stance is: “Enough is enough! I cannot stand it anymore!”
NEW YORK – Chuck Close is an American artist, famous for painting large portraits. Severely paralyzed, Close is confined to a wheelchair. Former models have accused him of asking them to take their clothes off and of using sexual language that made them feel harassed. This behavior prompted the National Gallery in Washington, DC, to cancel a planned show of Close’s work. And Seattle University has removed a self-portrait by the artist from a university building.
At the trial of Antonio Gramsci in 1928, the prosecutor declared: “We must stop this brain from working for 20 years.” Gramsci, the former leader of the Italian Communist Party and a gifted Marxist theoretician and journalist, was sentenced to two decades’ imprisonment by Benito Mussolini’s fascist government.
Yet confinement marked the flowering, rather than the decay, of Gramsci’s thought. He embarked on an epic intellectual pursuit with the aim of an enduring legacy. His Prison Notebooks, as they became known, comprised 33 volumes and 3,000 pages of history, philosophy, economics and revolutionary strategy. Though permitted to write, Gramsci was denied access to Marxist works and was forced to use code to evade the prison censors. In 1937, having long been refused adequate health care (his teeth fell out and he was unable to digest solid foods), Gramsci died, aged 46.
For only $100, you can empower a woman in India. This manageable amount, according to the website of the organization India Partners, will provide a woman with her own sewing machine, allowing her to take the very first step on the march to empowerment.
Or you can send a chicken. Poultry farming, according to Melinda Gates, empowers women in developing countries by allowing them to “express their dignity and seize control.”
If chickens are not your empowerment tool of choice, Heifer International will, for $390, deliver an “enterpriser basket” to a woman in Africa. It includes rabbits, juvenile fish and silkworms.