Friday, January 11, 2019

A new tool can help us determine which conspiracy theories are false and which might be true

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning World Economic Forum 

I Gave a Bounty Hunter $300. Then He Located Our Phone Motherboard. “A few hundred meters” isn’t good enough for court (although it might do for a suspicious spouse, particularly if the location ins’t one where the SO is supposed to be)

'She thought it was beautiful': Eleven year old picks up blue-ringed octopus in Sydney's south

Shire mum Julie Tattam said her daughter Amy came out of the water holding a shell at popular Cronulla swimming spot Salmon Haul on Wednesday about 1pm.

NSW Labor demands water management inquiry after massive fish kill

The die-off of fish, the fourth in the Murray-Darling Basin in recent months, has drawn widespread attention to the plight of the country's largest river system.

Financial Technology: Agencies Should Provide Clarification on Lenders’ Use of Alternative Data, GAO-19-111: Published: Dec 19, 2018. Publicly Released: Dec 19, 2018.
“Financial technology—or “fintech”—can help connect lenders and borrowers online. Some fintech lenders told us that they use alternative data to help determine borrowers’ creditworthiness. For example, lenders may supplement traditional data (such as credit scores) with information about a borrower’s college degree. Using alternative data could make loans available to more people, but could also have unintended effects. Fintech lenders may not know how to use the data and still comply with fair lending laws. We recommended that the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection communicate with lenders about how to use alternative data…”

London School of Economics US Centre’s daily blog on American Politics and Policy – “Many or even most conspiracy theories are demonstrably false. But some, like Watergate, are true. How can we determine which are which? Drawing on his own experiences with conspiracy theorists, Stephan Lewandowsky writes that conspiratorial thinking is not necessarily truth-seeking behavior, but can often be a near-self destructive form of skepticism. We can use this skepticism, along with conspiracists’ tendency towards pattern-seeking and self-sealing reasoning, to flush out which are false, and which might be true after all.
9/11 was a false flag operation planned by the US government. That same government sold weapons to Iran in order to fund Central American terrorists, and also created AIDS to exterminate gay people, and the CIA organized a fake vaccination drive in Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden’s family DNA.
There is no doubt that two of those conspiracies actually happened and were hushed up by the conspirators, whereas the other two are widely dismissed as fantastical conspiracy theories. This is the long-standing dilemma confronting philosophers: conspiracies do occur and they can seem quite outlandish and unexpected once publically revealed—who would have thought that Oliver North would sell arms to Iran from the basement of the White House and launder the money to supply arms to Nicaraguan rebels in contravention of explicit legal prohibitions. But by the same token, most conspiracy theories are bunkum—we can be quite certain that the US Government did not create AIDS or fly airliners into the Twin Towers.
What are the differences between conspiracy theories that are almost certainly false and the evidence for actual conspiracies? This is a non-trivial philosophical challenge, but it is an important one to sort out, given that the mere exposure to conspiracy theories can undermine people’s trust in government services and institutions. Conspiracy theories are not harmless fun, especially if they lead people to refuse life-saving vaccination or to fire an assault rifle in a pizza restaurant in Washington….”

Very fast train: Gladys Berejiklian plan steals a plot from ABC's Utopia ...

Ten predictions for 2019
From RoboLawyers to the end of the week as we know it, here are our ten trends, tech breakthroughs and social movements for 2019.'s Australian taxpayer arrangements a legal sham

via Mike West:
Drumroll. Yes, it's Top40 Tax Dodgers timeagain! The mob which operates most of the grid in Victoria debuts at #40. An Asian billionaire is behind it, like Energy Australia. Check out also our expose on Glencore, which has deviously ducked the Top40 this year - from #1 last year - by gaming our methodology. Sneaky Burns Philp debuts at #39.