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"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
Renouvellement urbain : comment la ville veut transformer le Sanitas (et ses habitants)
Le Sanitas, à Tours, fait partie des 200 quartiers visés par le programme national de renouvellement urbain, qui doit « transformer les quartiers en difficulté pour les rendre attractifs ». Mais le projet, qui changerait radicalement l’allure du quartier, laisse la population actuelle sur la touche.
Quelques gamins jouent au ballon au fond de l’allée de Moncontour, entre le grillage de l’école maternelle Marie Curie, fermée pour les vacances, et l’immeuble de dix étages à la façade défraîchie. Leurs parents viennent de recevoir un courrier leur annonçant que la démolition de leurs logements était envisagée. A terme, l’école pourrait également disparaître. Le tout au nom de la mixité sociale.
Au Sanitas, l’agglomération veut en effet « engager une politique de diversification résidentielle ». Concrètement, cela signifie que les autorités veulent réduire la part de logements sociaux dans le quartier, à la fois via la vente du parc HLM et le développement d’une offre de logements privés. Dans les « dispositifs opérationnels » annexés au contrat de ville de l’agglomération tourangelle, on lit clairement que les autorités espèrent ainsi favoriser « l’arrivée de nouveaux habitants (familles et jeunes actifs) » et « enrayer la paupérisation du quartier » .
Il s’agit donc de déployer différents mécanismes pour attirer au Sanitas une population plus aisée que celle qui y réside actuellement. Parmi les mécanismes à disposition, le contrat de ville cite en premier lieu la démolition-reconstruction. Au nom de la mixité sociale, et pour réduire le niveau de pauvreté enregistré dans le quartier, les autorités ont trouvé comme solution de faire disparaître les immeubles accueillant des populations pauvres pour construire à la place des logements privés destinés à une clientèle plus haut de gamme. Les habitants actuels seraient relogés dans des quartiers périphériques. Ce projet constitue une occasion en or de valoriser un quartier situé en centre-ville, à quelques minutes à pied de la gare, bien desservi par les transports en commun.
How Colleges Lost Billions to #Hedge_Funds in 2016
Unfortunately, the disastrous endowment performance of 2016 disproportionately affects public colleges and less-wealthy private colleges, while leaving the most-elite private institutions with their wealth intact. The wealthiest colleges felt relatively little impact from their losses in 2016 because they have benefited from major endowment growth since 1977.
Recently, I made a Tensorflow port of pix2pix by Isola et al., covered in the article Image-to-Image Translation in Tensorflow. I’ve taken a few pre-trained models and made an interactive web thing for trying them out. Chrome is recommended.
The pix2pix model works by training on pairs of images such as building facade labels to building facades, and then attempts to generate the corresponding output image from any input image you give it.
Teenage Iranian chess master banned from national team for refusing to wear a headscarf - The Washington Post
[stupid] didn’t have a problem with Derakhshani’s play, but her headwear. [Dorsa] Derakhshani wore a simple headband in her long hair, instead of a hijab, Iran’s traditional headscarf, which became a compulsory accessory for women after the 1979 revolution. As a result, [stupid] announced on Monday that Derakhshani would be kicked off of the national team.
Il n’est peut-être pas indispensable de retenir le nom de cet imbécile, apparatchik iranien qui, tout spécialiste d’échecs qui soit, n’a visiblement pas la moindre notion de #stratégie… alors que l’#Iran produit des #femmes au top niveau en #mathématiques et au jeu d’#échecs, [stupid] pense qu’il est de son devoir de les opprimer au nom de l’"#intérêt_national".
The Birth of CRISPR Inc | Science
Just 5 years ago, the community of researchers studying CRISPR, the powerful new genome editing tool, was small. When the first inklings that CRISPR could become a big business emerged, leading scientists expected to work together. But the attempt at unity collapsed—with a good deal of noise and dust. As the science grew even more compelling and venture capital (VC) beckoned, the jockeying to start CRISPR companies became intense. The research community was rent apart by concerns about intellectual property, academic credit, Nobel Prize dreams, geography, media coverage, egos, personal profit, and loyalty. A billion dollars poured into what might be called CRISPR Inc. from VC firms, pharmaceutical companies, and public stock offerings. And the companies and the academic license holders faced each other down in a battle royale over patents.
Cancers de pauvres, cancers de riches - La Croix
près de 15 000 cas de cancers pourraient être évités en France « chaque année par l’amélioration des conditions de vie et la promotion de la santé des populations les plus défavorisées ».
AI tracks your every move and tells your boss if you’re slacking
Think government surveillance is excessive ? Wait until you hear what your employer might be up to. Companies are increasingly using technology to monitor employees in the workplace, with artificial intelligence making it possible to track individuals’ behaviour in great detail. Start to slack off, or show signs of going rogue, and an algorithm could tattle to your boss. One company offering such services is London-based start-up StatusToday. The company was recently included in a (...)
Sexisme dans la tech : employée par Uber, une ingénieure raconte une année infernale
Susan J. Fowler est une ancienne ingénieure d’Uber, elle a depuis quitté l’entreprise dont elle a récemment mis en lumière les pratiques scandaleuses en matière de sexisme, de management et de ressources humaines. Un bilan sombre que le CEO, Travis Kalanick, ne dément pas mais prétend méconnaître. Le témoignage de la jeune ingénieure Susan J. Fowler publié ce dimanche sur son blog personnel a alarmé la Silicon Valley. Cette ancienne employée d’Uber a souhaité exprimer dans un long billet les péripéties (...)
The Ships That Helped Silence the Early USSR’s Intellectuals | Atlas Obscura
The USSR was first established in December of 1922, but months earlier, the new nation’s future leaders ordered the deportation of a large number of Russian intellectuals.
The idea to exile the ideological opponents of the new Soviet state had come from Vladimir Lenin himself. In May of 1922, Lenin sent a letter to the head of the GPU, the state security organization in charge of, among other things, dealing with dissidents and enemies of the Soviet state. The letter ordered the director, Felix Dzerzhinsky, to organize teams to research the backgrounds and political leanings of academics and writers. Dzerzhinsky, a loyal Bolshevik, set to work and established a pair of committees, one to create a list of troublesome professors, and another to focus on students.
On September 28, 1922, loaded with its cargo of exiled thinkers and their families, the ship Oberbürgermeister Haken disembarked for Germany. And in November of that year, a second German vessel, the Preussen, carried yet more deported thinkers to Germany as well. All told, some 220 prominent intellectuals were forcibly removed from Russia before the official establishment of the Soviet Union.
platforms and institutions - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
I think what we have seen and will continue to see in our social order is the fragmentation of institutions and their effective replacement by platforms.
They’re unsuited to do it becasuse platforms are unresponsive to their users, and unresponsive by design (design that emerges from their desire to be universal in scope). It is virtually impossible to contact anyone at Google or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, and that is so that those platforms can train us to do what they want us to do, rather than be accountable to our desires and needs. A model of education tied to platforms rather than institutions may seem liberating at first — “I can learn everything I need to know at Khan Academy!” — but that sense of liberation will continue only insofar as users train themselves to ask the questions the platforms already know how to answer, and think the thoughts that the platforms are prepared to transmit.
But the majority will accommodate themselves to the faceless inflexibility of platforms, and will become less and less capable of seeing the virtues of institutions, on any scale. One consequence of that accommodation, I believe, will be an increasing impatience with representative democracy, and an accompanying desire to replace political institutions with platform-based decision-making: referendums and plebiscites, conducted at as high a level as possible (national, or in the case of the EU, transnational).
Tech and the Fake Market tactic – Humane Tech – Medium
Par Anil Dash
In one generation, the Internet went from opening up new free markets to creating a series of Fake Markets that exploit society, without most media or politicians even noticing.
But before long, those rankings started to be tainted by spammers, due to the fact that higher ranking in those listings suddenly had monetary value, and making spam links was cheaper than paying for Google’s advertising products. What was an open market to do?
The inevitable automated gaming of the early open digital markets inadvertently catalyzed the start of the next era: rigged markets. Google got concerned about nefarious search engine optimization tricks, and kept changing their algorithm, meaning that pretty soon the only web publishers that could thrive were those who could afford to keep tweaking their technology to keep up in this new arms race. After just a few years, this became a rich-get-richer economy, and incentivized every smaller publisher to standardize on one of a few publishing tools in order to keep up with Google’s demands. Only the biggest content providers could afford to build their own tools while simultaneously following the demands of Google’s ever-changing algorithm.
Amazon went through a similar process, when it started putting its thumb on the scale, showing its own products first when doing a product search, even if they weren’t the cheapest. We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.
That’s not to say these systems are fair: the big companies can pick which players in the market get to compete, and issues of network inequality mean people or companies that are privileged enough to be early adopters get unfair advantages. But even with these inequities, we could muddle through and new products or competitors could sometimes emerge.
This has been the status quo for most of the last decade. But the next rising wave of tech innovators twist the definition of “market” even further, to a point where they aren’t actually markets at all.
But unlike competitive sellers on eBay, Uber drivers can’t set their prices. In fact, prices can be (and regularly have been) changed unilaterally by Uber. And passengers can’t make informed choices about selecting a driver: The algorithm by which a passenger and driver are matched is opaque—to both the passenger and driver. In fact, as Data & Society’s research has shown, Uber has at times deliberately misrepresented the market of available cars by showing “ghost” cars to users in the Uber app.
It seems this “market” has some awfully weird traits.
Consumers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a purchasing decision.
A single opaque algorithm defines which buyers are matched with which sellers.
Sellers have no control over their own pricing or profit margins.
Regulators see the genuine short-term consumer benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.
This is, by any reasonable definition, no market at all. One might even call Uber a “Fake Market”.
Fake markets don’t just happen in traditional products and services — they’re coming to the world of content and publishing, too. Publishers are increasingly being incentivized to use platforms like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP format. Like Uber’s temporarily-subsidized cheaper prices and broader access to ride hailing, these new publishing formats do offer some short-term consumer benefits, in the form of faster loading times and a cleaner reading experience.
But the technical mechanism by which Facebook and Google provide that faster reading experience happens to incidentally displace most of the third-party advertising platforms — the ones that aren’t provided by Facebook and Google themselves.
By contrast, what are the barriers to self-driving news? We’ve already seen that a lot of news consumers aren’t interested in being safely and reliably delivered to accurate news. Success in this case will be much easier: A robotic publisher only has to deliver content that’s emotionally engaging enough to earn a person’s readership for a few moments. That’s even easier to do if the publisher or distributor of the content doesn’t care if the story is true or not. Peter Thiel is on Facebook’s board of directors.
Stop Reading Mark Zuckerberg’s Tirades As Heartleft Cries. There Is a Business Performativity To Them
Capitalism feeds on crises. And #Facebook (being the ultimate capitalist scheme) feeds on “trainwrecks”— it uses them as devices to establish its dominance. So the 2008/9 “privacy trainwreck” jumpstarted its extensive market for personal data. The 2013 “connectivity crisis” spawned Free Basics. And what will the 2016 “fake news disaster” be exploited for? Smart money says: “turning Facebook’s colossal user-base in a training ground for AI”.
Admittedly, this doesn’t come as a surprise. The ambition to “solve AI” by extracting free/micropaid digital labor from users is evident. Facebook AI Research (FAIR) division is devoted to “advancing the field of machine intelligence and to give people better ways to communicate” by relying on quality datasets produced by… people communicating on Facebook.
What is new is how the “#fake_news trainwreck” has ended up supporting this ambition by turning Facebook human users into a “social infrastructure” for AI (cf. #Zuckerberg). More importantly, it provides a rationale for the company’s strategy. And throws in “terror” for good measure, to render it unavoidable…:
The solution? Geodesigning the Arctic!
Just re-freeze the Arctic with 10 million windmills...
If the design works, the windmill-powered pump could effectively reverse the ice-loss trend and even potentially make more ice. And there’s an added benefit to humans in creating ice. If sea ice stays frozen for several years, its salt leaches out, leaving potable water. Polar explorers relied on this, and harvesting polar ice could help supply fresh water to cities and farms.
The idea is simple enough: wind turbines on the sea ice could pump water from below onto the surface, where it quickly freezes, thickening the ice in winter. In the right places, that could mean the difference between sea ice disappearing or surviving through the end of summer. But like any back-of-a-napkin solution to the world’s problems, reality is substantially more challenging than it might initially appear.
LSD Microdosing Is Trending in Silicon Valley, But Can It Actually Make You More Creative? | Alternet
Microdosing LSD also purportedly enhances overall well-being, helping to reduce stress and anxiety while improving sleep and leading to healthier habits. Although a widely reported phenomenon in the media, the lack of scientific studies on microdosing makes the prevalence near impossible to estimate. Reports suggest that what started off as an underground practice in Silicon Valley may be spreading rapidly to other workplaces.
It is currently unknown how such low doses of psychedelics act in the brain to produce these intriguing self-reported effects on creativity. Like all classic hallucinogens, LSD produces its potent mind-altering effects primarily by mimicking the effects of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates our mood. In particular, LSD activates 5-HT2A receptors in the pre-frontal cortex, which increases activity of the chemical glutamate in this region. Glutamate enables signals to be transmitted between nerve cells, and plays a role in learning and memory.
In humans, two distinct effects of recreational doses of LSD have been reported. Initially, people experience psychedelic and positive feelings of euphoria. This may be followed by a later phase characterised by paranoia or even a psychotic-like state. LSD at low doses may produce mood elevation and creativity, mediated by the serotonin-mimicking effects. Actions on both glutamate and serotonin may also act to improve learning and cognitive flexibility, necessary for creativity, in the workplace. These findings could partly help to explain the microdosing phenomenon.
Clinical research with psychedelics is currently undergoing a major revival after having been brought to a halt in the 1960s. One of the benefits of conducting research into psychedelics is their potential to help deepen our understanding of consciousness. In 2016, researchers from Imperial College London were the first to use brain scanning techniques to visualise how LSD alters the way the brain works. One key finding was that LSD had a disorganising influence on cortical activity, which permitted the brain to operate in a freer, less constrained manner than usual.
In a small pilot study, LSD in combination with psychological therapy also led to a slight improvement in anxiety experienced by terminally ill cancer patients. Many of these psychiatric disorders are characterised by inflexible, habitual patterns of brain activity. By introducing a disordered state of mind, LSD and other psychedelics may help to break these inflexible patterns.
In an increasingly competitive world it is tempting to find a quick fix to help us achieve more, better and faster. Yet, is this right? As a society we should consider the reasons as to why healthy people choose to use drugs in the first place. A reliance on cognitive-enhancing technologies to cope with demanding working conditions may ultimately reduce the health and well-being of individuals. So we must take care to ensure that enhancement is not seen as a substitute for a healthy working environment.
It is therefore important that more research is done on the safety and efficacy of microdosing. In the meantime, physical exercise, education, social interaction, mindfulness and good quality sleep have all been shown to improve cognitive performance and overall well-being.
Snowden avant la lettre:
Burglars of Media, Pennsylvania FBI building in 1971, reveal themselves after 42 years
They can no longer be prosecuted for what happened, and a book came out describing the whole story. The book is written by Betty Medsger, one of the first journalists to have received the stolen documents. The documents contained hard evidence on the FBI’s spying on political groups.
They were never caught, and the stolen documents that they mailed anonymously to newspaper reporters were the first trickle of what would become a flood of revelations about extensive spying and dirty-tricks operations by the F.B.I. against dissident groups.
The burglars had, until now, maintained a vow of silence about their roles in the operation. They were content in knowing that their actions had dealt the first significant blow to [the FBI].
Unlike Mr. Snowden, who downloaded hundreds of thousands of digital N.S.A. files onto computer hard drives, the Media burglars did their work the 20th-century way: they cased the F.B.I. office for months, wore gloves as they packed the papers into suitcases, and loaded the suitcases into getaway cars. When the operation was over, they dispersed. Some remained committed to antiwar causes, while others, like John and Bonnie Raines, decided that the risky burglary would be their final act of protest against the Vietnam War and other government actions before they moved on with their lives.
(Keith Forsyth, John Raines, Bonnie Raines, William C. Davidon)
In late 1970, a mild-mannered Haverford College physics professor privately asked a few people this question: “What do you think of burglarizing an FBI office?” In remarkable detail and with astonishing depth of research, Betty Medsger reveals the never-before-told full story of the history-changing break-in at the Media, Pennsylvania, FBI offices. Through their exploits, a group of unlikely activists exposed the shocking truth that J. Edgar Hoover was operating a shadow Bureau engaged in illegal surveillance and harassment of the American people.
The Burglary brings the activists, who have kept their secret for forty-three years, into the public eye for the first time—including, new to this edition, the recent discovery of the eighth and final member of the team. The burglars’ story of personal sacrifice and civil disobedience is a vital episode in the American whistle-blower tradition that includes the Pentagon Papers, Watergate’s Deep Throat, and, most recently, Edward Snowden and the NSA.
[Mary] Cummings argues that companies like Google and Facebook could outpace militaries when it comes to the science of artificial intelligence, which in turn could lead to potentially dangerous technologies going into use before they have been properly tested.
"Tell the chef, the beer is on me."
"Basically the price of a night on the town!"
"I'd love to help kickstart continued development! And 0 EUR/month really does make fiscal sense too... maybe I'll even get a shirt?" (there will be limited edition shirts for two and other goodies for each supporter as soon as we sold the 200)