Tuesday, June 02, 2020

David Meritt – notable West Indian: THERE WILL BE ORDER

David Meritt - Daisy – notable West Indian by Jamaican Products

Christo, R.I.P.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude, true visionaries among many fakes.

How to take back the information you’ve given to all your favorite apps and websites - Popular Science: “Social media networks know a lot about you. In fact, that’s their primary job. They want to collect information about you and use that to sell advertisements that you can’t resist. In return for your data, these companies give you a chance to interact with other users and share your life no matter how interesting or banal. Recently, instructions have been floating around the web about how to see the secret interests Instagram thinks you want to see ads about. The results are sometimes hilariously wrong, but they can also be worryingly accurate

Science: “Artificial intelligence (AI) just seems to get smarter and smarter
Each iPhone learns your face, voice, and habits better than the last, and the threats AI poses to privacy and jobs continue to grow. The surge reflects faster chips, more data, and better algorithms. But some of the improvement comes from tweaks rather than the core innovations their inventors claim—and some of the gains may not exist at all, says Davis Blalock, a computer science graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Blalock and his colleagues compared dozens of approaches to improving neural networks—software architectures that loosely mimic the brain. 
 “Fifty papers in,” he says, “it became clear that it wasn’t obvious what the state of the art even was.” The researchers evaluated 81 pruning algorithms, programs that make neural networks more efficient by trimming unneeded connections. All claimed superiority in slightly different ways. But they were rarely compared properly—and when the researchers tried to evaluate them side by side, there was no clear evidence of performance improvements over a 10-year period.The result, presented in March at the Machine Learning and Systems conference, surprised Blalock’s Ph.D. adviser, MIT computer scientist John Guttag, who says the uneven comparisons themselves may explain the stagnation. “It’s the old saw, right?” Guttag said. “If you can’t measure something, it’s hard to make it better.”…

I am well aware that I am not an epidemiologist...
I am as bored by coronavirus speculation as anyone else.

● Shot: “Assertions about outside agitators come partly from data about who has been arrested, as well as information from fliers and online postings, according to state public safety commissioner John Harrington, who said authorities had ‘seen things like white supremacists organizers’ who had posted online about going to Minnesota. Officials did not provide further details about who exactly was fueling the unrest and where they were from. Harrington said he hoped to release more information later Saturday.”

Listening to Black Voices Amid Murder, Violence, Protest, and Pandemic

New criminal prosecutions dropped by 80 percent between February and April — from 13,843 during February 2020, before federal shutdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 began, to just 2,824 in April 2020. This means that only one-fifth the usual prosecutions took place. Two major factors contributed to this precipitous decline. First, referrals to federal prosecutors from all the major investigative agencies fell sharply. In February 2020 federal prosecutors recorded receiving roughly 17,600 criminal referrals. These dropped to just under 8,000 during April. But this alone does not explain the extent of the collapse. Prosecutors also filed suit on relatively few of the referrals they did receive. Convictions fell less precipitously. Federal attorneys handling prosecutions already underway were able to strike many plea agreements and thus procured 6,638 new convictions. That was more than twice the number of new prosecutions (2,824) recorded in April. Regardless of the kinds of cases involved, there was a marked decline in prosecutions during April compared with the average of the first five months of FY 2020 (October 2019 through February 2020). Declines were higher than average among cases involving civil rights (down 92%) and immigration (down 86%), while terrorism cases – always few in number – declined the least (29%). The Federal Bureau of Investigation was least successful in having its criminal referrals result in federal attorneys deciding to prosecute.”

Google put an anxiety self-assessment in search - engadget: “Google wants to help the approximately 48 million American adults who live with anxiety-related disorders find support. Starting today, the company’s search enginewill allow users in the US to complete a Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) questionnaire from home. When you look for information about anxiety, you’ll see the seven-question survey appear inside the knowledge panel, the part of the platform’s interface that highlights some of the more pertinent facts related to your search query. The clinically-validated survey includes some of the same questions a health professional might ask a patient in person. It is designed to provide perspective to those who feel anxious about how their symptoms compare to ones experienced by other people…”

The World Is Still Far From Herd Immunity for Coronavirus - The New York Times – “The coronavirus still has a long way to go. That’s the message from a crop of new studies across the world that are trying to quantify how many people have been infected. Official case counts often substantially underestimate the number of coronavirus infections. But in new studies that test the population more broadly, the percentage of people who have been infected so far is still in the single digits. The numbers are a fraction of the threshold known as herd immunity, at which the virus can no longer spread widely. The precise herd immunity threshold for the novel coronavirus is not yet clear; but several experts said they believed it would be higher than 60 percent. Even in some of the hardest-hit cities in the world, the studies suggest, the vast majority of people still remain vulnerable to the virus…”
Help Me Find Plants .com: “A website devoted to roses, clematis and peonies and all that is gardening related, including selecting, buying, breeding, caring for and exhibiting.  We have cataloged over 54,000 plants and have more than 170,000 photos along with thousands of Plant nurseries, public and private gardens, Plant societies, authors, breeders, hybridizers and publications from all over the world. Explore, enjoy, and help us grow by contributing your experiences, expertise and photos to the site. Rose, clematis, peony and gardening related companies, organizations and individuals are welcome to join HelpMeFind – use the “New Listing” option found on the appropriate listing tab.  Non-commercial and simple commercial listing are FREE but we do ask that you keep them current…”

  • One facet of the search strategies included: Search for Plants by name, alphabetical list, class or advanced search including name, class, color, breeder, year bred, bloom cycle, bloom form, fragrance or zone. [searching by fragrance is simply a wonderful activity]