bagf is bests
Citing the immigration scholar, Francesca Pizzutelli, Fabio Rojas explains that the phrase “illegal immigrant” wasn’t a part of the English language before the 1930s. More often, people used the phrase “irregular immigrant.” Instead of an evaluative term, it was a descriptive one referring to people who moved around and often crossed borders for work.
Rojas points out that the language began to change after anti-immigration laws were passed by Congress in the 1920s. The graph above also reveals a steep climb in both “illegal immigrant” and “illegal alien” beginning in the ’70s.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
Every human used to have to hunt or gather to survive. But humans are smart-ly lazy so we made tools to make our work easier. From sticks, to plows to tractors we’ve gone from everyone needing to make food to, modern agriculture with almost no one needing to make food — and yet we still have abundance.
Of course, it’s not just farming, it’s everything. We’ve spent the last several thousand years building tools to reduce physical labor of all kinds. These are mechanical muscles — stronger, more reliable, and more tireless than human muscles could ever be.
And that's a good thing. Replacing human labor with mechanical muscles frees people to specialize and that leaves everyone better off even though still doing physical labor. This is how economies grow and standards of living rise.
Some people have specialized to be programmers and engineers whose job is to build mechanical minds. Just as mechanical muscles made human labor less in demand so are mechanical minds making human brain labor less in demand.
This is an economic revolution. You may think we've been here before, but we haven't.
This time is different.
When you think of automation, you probably think of this: giant, custom-built, expensive, efficient but really dumb robots blind to the world and their own work. There were a scary kind of automation but they haven't taken over the world because they're only cost effective in narrow situations.
But they are the old kind of automation, this is the new kind.
Unlike these things which require skilled operators and technicians and millions of dollars, Baxter has vision and can learn what you want him to do by watching you do it. And he costs less than the average annual salary of a human worker. Unlike his older brothers he isn't pre-programmed for one specific job, he can do whatever work is within the reach of his arms. Baxter is what might be thought of as a general purpose robot and general purpose is a big deal.
Think computers, they too started out as highly custom and highly expensive, but when cheap-ish general-purpose computers appeared they quickly became vital to everything.
A general-purpose computer can just as easily calculate change or assign seats on an airplane or play a game or do anything by just swapping its software. And this huge demand for computers of all kinds is what makes them both more powerful and cheaper every year.
Baxter today is the computer in the 1980s. He’s not the apex but the beginning. Even if Baxter is slow his hourly cost is pennies worth of electricity while his meat-based competition costs minimum wage. A tenth the speed is still cost effective when it's a hundred times cheaper. And while Baxtor isn't as smart as some of the other things we will talk about, he's smart enough to take over many low-skill jobs.
And we've already seen how dumber robots than Baxter can replace jobs. In new supermarkets what used to be 30 humans is now one human overseeing 30 cashier robots.
Or the hundreds of thousand baristas employed world-wide? There’s a barista robot coming for them. Sure maybe your guy makes your double-mocha-whatever just perfect and you’d never trust anyone else -- but millions of people don’t care and just want a decent cup of coffee. Oh and by the way this robot is actually a giant network of robots that remembers who you are and how you like your coffee no matter where you are. Pretty convenient.
We think of technological change as the fancy new expensive stuff, but the real change comes from last decade's stuff getting cheaper and faster. That's what's happening to robots now. And because their mechanical minds are capable of decision making they are out-competing humans for jobs in a way no pure mechanical muscle ever could.
Imagine a pair of horses in the early 1900s talking about technology. One worries all these new mechanical muscles will make horses unnecessary.
The other reminds him that everything so far has made their lives easier -- remember all that farm work? Remember running coast-to-coast delivering mail? Remember riding into battle? All terrible. These city jobs are pretty cushy -- and with so many humans in the cities there are more jobs for horses than ever.
Even if this car thingy takes off you might say, there will be new jobs for horses we can't imagine.
But you, dear viewer, from beyond 2000 know what happened -- there are still working horses, but nothing like before. The horse population peaked in 1915 -- from that point on it was nothing but down.
There isn’t a rule of economics that says better technology makes more, better jobs for horses. It sounds shockingly dumb to even say that out loud, but swap horses for humans and suddenly people think it sounds about right.
As mechanical muscles pushed horses out of the economy, mechanical minds will do the same to humans. Not immediately, not everywhere, but in large enough numbers and soon enough that it's going to be a huge problem if we are not prepared. And we are not prepared.
You, like the second horse, may look at the state of technology now and think it can’t possibly replace your job. But technology gets better, cheaper, and faster at a rate biology can’t match.
Just as the car was the beginning of the end for the horse so now does the car show us the shape of things to come.
Self-driving cars aren't the future: they're here and they work. Self-driving cars have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles up and down the California coast and through cities -- all without human intervention.
The question is not if they'll replaces cars, but how quickly. They don’t need to be perfect, they just need to be better than us. Humans drivers, by the way, kill 40,000 people a year with cars just in the United States. Given that self-driving cars don’t blink, don’t text while driving, don’t get sleepy or stupid, it easy to see them being better than humans because they already are.
Now to describe self-driving cars as cars at all is like calling the first cars mechanical horses. Cars in all their forms are so much more than horses that using the name limits your thinking about what they can even do. Lets call self-driving cars what they really are:
Autos: the solution to the transport-objects-from-point-A-to-point-B problem. Traditional cars happen to be human sized to transport humans but tiny autos can work in wear houses and gigantic autos can work in pit mines. Moving stuff around is who knows how many jobs but the transportation industry in the United States employs about three million people. Extrapolating world-wide that’s something like 70 million jobs at a minimum.
These jobs are over.
The usual argument is that unions will prevent it. But history is filled with workers who fought technology that would replace them and the workers always loose. Economics always wins and there are huge incentives across wildly diverse industries to adopt autos.
For many transportation companies, the humans are about a third of their total costs. That's just the straight salary costs. Humans sleeping in their long haul trucks costs time and money. Accidents cost money. Carelessness costs money. If you think insurance companies will be against it, guess what? Their perfect driver is one who pays their small premium but never gets into an accident.
The autos are coming and they're the first place where most people will really see the robots changing society. But there are many other places in the economy where the same thing is happening, just less visibly.
So it goes with autos, so it goes for everything.
It's easy to look at Autos and Baxters and think: technology has always gotten rid of low-skill jobs we don't want people doing anyway. They'll get more skilled and do better educated jobs -- like they've always done.
Even ignoring the problem of pushing a hundred-million additional people through higher education, white-collar work is no safe haven either. If your job is sitting in front of a screen and typing and clicking -- like maybe you're supposed to be doing right now -- the bots are coming for you too, buddy.
Software bots are both intangible and way faster and cheaper than physical robots. Given that white collar workers are, from a companies perspective, both more expensive and more numerous -- the incentive to automate their work is greater than low skilled work.
And that's just what automation engineers are for. These are skilled programmers whose entire job is to replace your job with a software bot.
You may think even the world's smartest automation engineer could never make a bot to do your job -- and you may be right -- but the cutting edge of programming isn't super-smart programmers writing bots it's super-smart programmers writing bots that teach themselves how to do things the programmer could never teach them to do.
How that works is well beyond the scope of this video, but the bottom line is there are limited ways to show a bot a bunch of stuff to do, show the bot a bunch of correctly done stuff, and it can figure out how to do the job to be done.
Even with just a goal and no example of how to do it the bots can still learn. Take the stock market which, in many ways, is no longer a human endeavor. It's mostly bots that taught themselves to trade stocks, trading stocks with other bots that taught themselves.
Again: it's not bots that are executing orders based on what their human controllers want, it's bots making the decisions of what to buy and sell on their own.
As a result the floor of the New York Stock exchange isn't filled with traders doing their day jobs anymore, it's largely a TV set.
So bots have learned the market and bots have learned to write. If you've picked up a newspaper lately you've probably already read a story written by a bot. There are companies that are teaching bots to write anything: Sports stories, TPS reports, even say, those quarterly reports that you write at work.
Paper work, decision making, writing -- a lot of human work falls into that category and the demand for human metal labor is these areas is on the way down. But surely the professions are safe from bots? Yes?
When you think 'lawyer' it's easy to think of trials. But the bulk of lawyering is actually drafting legal documents predicting the likely outcome and impact of lawsuits, and something called 'discovery' which is where boxes of paperwork gets dumped on the lawyers and they need to find the pattern or the one out-of-place transaction among it all.
This can all be bot work. Discovery, in particular, is already not a human job in many firms. Not because there isn't paperwork to go through, there's more of it than ever, but because clever research bots sift through millions of emails and memos and accounts in hours not weeks -- crushing human researchers in terms of not just cost and time but, most importantly, accuracy. Bots don't get sleeping reading through a million emails.
But that's the simple stuff: IBM has a bot named Watson: you may have seen him on TV destroy humans at Jeopardy — but that was just a fun side project for him.
Watson's day-job is to be the best doctor in the world: to understand what people say in their own words and give back accurate diagnoses. And he's already doing that at Slone-Kettering, giving guidance on lung cancer treatments.
Just as Auto don’t need to be perfect -- they just need to make fewer mistakes than humans, -- the same goes for doctor bots.
Human doctors are by no means perfect -- the frequency and severity of misdiagnosis are terrifying -- and human doctors are severely limited in dealing with a human's complicated medical history. Understanding every drug and every drug's interaction with every other drug is beyond the scope of human knowability.
Especially when there are research robots whose whole job it is to test 1,000s of new drugs at a time.
Human doctors can only improve through their own experiences. Doctor bots can learn from the experiences of every doctor bot. Can read the latest in medical research and keep track of everything that happens to all his patients world-wide and make correlations that would be impossible to find otherwise.
Not all doctors will go away, but when doctor bots are comparable to humans and they're only as far away as your phone -- the need for general doctors will be less.
So professionals, white-collar workers and low-skill workers all have something to worry about.
But perhaps you're still not worried because you're a special creative snowflakes. Well guess what? You're not that special.
Creativity may feel like magic, but it isn't. The brain is a complicated machine -- perhaps the most complicated machine in the whole universe -- but that hasn't stopped us from trying to simulate it.
There is this notion that just as mechanical muscles allowed us to move into thinking jobs that mechanical minds will allow us all to move into creative work. But even if we assume the human mind is magically creative -- it's not, but just for the sake of argument -- artistic creativity isn't what the majority of jobs depend on. The number of writers and poets and directors and actors and artist who actually make a living doing their work is a tiny, tiny portion of the labor force. And given that these are professions that are dependent on popularity they will always be a small part of the population.
There is no such thing as a poem and painting based economy.
Oh, by the way, this music in the background that your listening to? It was written by a bot. Her name is Emily Howel and she can write an infinite amount of new music all day for free. And people can't tell the difference between her and human composers when put to a blind test.
Talking about artificial creativity gets weird fast -- what does that even mean? But it's nonetheless a developing field.
People used to think that playing chess was a uniquely creative human skill that machines could never do right up until they beat the best of us. And so it goes for all human talent.
Right: this might have been a lot to take in, and you might want to reject it -- it's easy to be cynical of the endless, and idiotic, predictions of futures that never are. So that's why it's important to emphasize again this stuff isn't science fiction. The robots are here right now. There is a terrifying amount of working automation in labs and wear houses that is proof of concept.
We have been through economic revolutions before, but the robot revolution is different.
Horses aren't unemployed now because they got lazy as a species, they’re unemployable. There's little work a horse can do that do that pays for its housing and hay.
And many bright, perfectly capable humans will find themselves the new horse: unemployable through no fault of their own.
But if you still think new jobs will save us: here is one final point to consider. The US census in 1776 tracked only a few kinds of jobs. Now there are hundreds of kinds of jobs, but the new ones are not a significant part of the labor force.
Here's the list of jobs ranked by the number of people that perform them - it's a sobering list with the transportation industry at the top. Going down the list all this work existed in some form a hundred years ago and almost all of them are targets for automation. Only when we get to number 33 on the list is there finally something new.
Don't that every barista and officer worker lose their job before things are a problem. The unemployment rate during the great depression was 25%.
This list above is 45% of the workforce. Just what we've talked about today, the stuff that already works, can push us over that number pretty soon. And given that even our modern technological wonderland new kinds of work are not a significant portion of the economy, this is a big problem.
This video isn't about how automation is bad -- rather that automation is inevitable. It's a tool to produce abundance for little effort. We need to start thinking now about what to do when large sections of the population are unemployable -- through no fault of their own. What to do in a future where, for most jobs, humans need not apply.
From March, 1940, a fascinating look at the development of Hitler's reputation in Germany and the UK, and the way that his publishers were forced to change the way they marketed his book. (more…)
Wait—that's got to be an exaggeration. It's not like the reporter is actually quoting the charge sheet—
"On and/or about the 20th day of Sept. 20, 2009 at or near 222 S. Florissant within the corporate limits of Ferguson, Missouri, the above named defendant did then and there unlawfully commit the offense of 'property damage,' to wit, did transfer blood to the uniform," reads the charge sheet.
As Michael Daly reports at The Daily Beast, the address where the defendant was said to have so wantonly damaged these officers' uniforms is in fact the address of the Ferguson Police Department, which recently took over from the colon-searchers in Deming, New Mexico, as America's favorite. Did the above-named defendant go down there voluntarily and throw blood upon their uniforms? No he did not.
The above-named defendant was 52-year-old Henry Davis, who was a Henry Davis but not the Henry Davis they were looking for. This Henry Davis had the bad luck to be caught in a driving rainstorm on the highway, reportedly missing the exit for St. Charles and ending up in Ferguson. Having pulled over to wait out the rain, he became the prey of an officer who ran his plate and found an outstanding warrant for "Henry Davis."
The two Henry Davises had different middle names and Social Security numbers, but these details, and the corresponding likelihood that the person in custody was an entirely different human being not suspected of anything, do not seem to have been important. Though the booking officer realized the problem, he did not let Davis go. When Davis objected to being locked up and forced to sleep on a cement floor, the officer summoned others. Words were exchanged, probably—you know how people smart off in Ferguson when being hassled for no reason—and Davis was beaten and kicked in the head.
In this emergency-room photo, you can see where Davis got the blood that he allegedly "transferred" to the uniforms of the officers who beat and kicked him. Possibly while they were beating and kicking him, but the report is not totally clear as to when said transfer occurred.
To be honest, there are reasons to believe that it never occurred at all. Such as the fact that the officers involved all admitted under oath that it didn't. That's one pretty good reason.
According to the report, which quotes from the depositions, one officer basically admitted under oath that he had lied under oath when he signed the criminal complaint against Davis. At that point it had presumably become more important to lie about beating Davis in the first place—he had sued by then—than to go after him for blood-related uniform damage. All the officers, in fact, claimed none of them struck Davis and that they did not see him bleeding. A little awkward, considering they had charged him with bleeding on them.
Somehow, a federal magistrate ruled that the perjury and Davis's injuries were too minor to sustain his due-process and excessive-force claims. Kind of astonishing. The case is on appeal, though, and Davis's lawyer suggested that recent events in Ferguson might lead that court to take the claim a little more seriously.
The Daily Beast also notes that the officer who has since been identified as the one who shot Michael Brown had been on the job for about two years at the time of the Davis incident. Did he learn from it? We don't know yet. Not for sure, anyway.
Trying to pick answers for password security questions can be a traumatizing experience.
Illustrator and designer Akihiro Mizuuchi designed a modular system for creating edible chocolate LEGO bricks. Chocolate is first poured into precisely designed moulds that after cooling can be popped out and used as regular LEGOs. It’s hard to determine exactly how functional they are, it seems like he had success in building a number of different things, though I can only imagine how quickly they might melt in your hands, but I suppose that’s beside the point; this is two of the greatest things in the world fused together. If you google around there are numerous attempts at creating various forms of LEGO in chocolate or other food, but this appears to be the most detailed and well-designed of anything out there. (via Legosaurus)
More job satisfaction.
I wish there was some sort of Willy Wonka-style candy factory that produced savory avocado delights instead of candy. In addition to that statement making me sound stone-cold craaaazy, the reality of that sort of factory would be absolutely AMAZING! Don’t lie. You want in.
I’d totally Veruca Salt my way all up in there. No shame.
Since there is no fantasy-land avocado factory I’ve settled for roasting a big ol’ bunch of cherry tomatoes, and tossing them (along with just a little too much feta) into a batch of creamy do-no-wrong guacamole.
Don’t roasted cherry tomatoes look a little bit like candy? If candy were vegetable.
Related and rhetorical: why won’t I shut up about candy!?
These avocados feel like a hot commodity here in the South. In California, they grow on trees (like money, and Jimmy Choos) and you always have a friend who complains about the random avocado tree littering their backyard with avocados. Oooooh how I long for such produce problems.
In-skin slicing, because we’re very smart and very efficient.
Cilantro and onions in the avocado bowl all for the mashing.
Coarsely chopped roasted tomatoes and big crumbles of feta are folded into the mashed avocado mixture.
Lots of fresh lime, salt, and pepper, too!
That was easy, wasn’t it!?
It’s natural to feel mostly like a magician.
Roasted Tomato and Feta Guacamole
1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to roast
4 ripe Haas avocados, pitted and sliced into chunks
1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced (a heaping 1/2 cup)
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
heaping 1/3 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper to taste
corn chips for serving
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place tomato halves, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast until bubbling and slightly wrinkled and dry, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven dan plow to cool on the pan until cool enough to handle. Place all of the tomatoes on a cutting board and coarsely chop.
In a medium bowl, combine avocado chunks, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and cilantro. Coarsely mash with a fork or a potato masher. Add tomatoes, feta crumbles, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Taste and season as necessary. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour before serving. Serve with corn chips.
Blade Runner Ambient Deckard’s Apartment Sound for 12 Hours (audio). Fantastic.
Relax into the couch as you chill out in Deckard’s apartment helping him track down replicants. Share some hard space liqour out of his bottle bag. This is 12 hours of the ambient droning sound heard in Blade Runner while in Deckard’s domicile. Perfect for imagining that you are in a dystopian future where huma- like androids do man’s bidding until they get too old and too _smart_.
Payday loans put a staggering amount of Americans in debt. They prey on the elderly and military service members. They're awful, and nearly impossible to regulate. We've recruited Sarah...
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The Motoped Survival Bikeis a combination mountain bike and moped outfitted with a crossbow, tomahawk, shovel, knives, tools, climbing equipment, and everything else you might desire in a post-apocalyptic two-wheeler.
RISE AND SHINE. GIVE ME MILLET.
As some of you may recall (although it's been three years, which doesn't seem possible), in 2011 we discussed an intellectual-property dispute involving pictures taken by a monkey. See "Legal Questions Raised by Success of Monkey Photographer (July 7, 2011); "In Defense of Monkey Copyright" (July 13, 2011).
I'm enjoying the fact that what doesn't seem possible is that it's been three years, not that we were discussing an intellectual-property dispute involving a monkey.
Anyway, as a refresher, the issue arose because the monkey did not own the camera, nor was he authorized to use it (so it wasn't a "work for hire"). The photographer, David Slater, had set his camera on a tripod and then walked away for a minute, and when he did a monkey hijacked it and took "hundreds" of unauthorized pictures. Several of which were particularly great.
Therein lay the problem: because they were great, people wanted to republish them. But who, if anyone, has the rights to do that? Because, at least for now, copyright is limited to human beings (yes, there is precedent), the issue is really whether Slater has the rights or the picture is in the public domain. (Whether posting a sample like this one is "fair use" is a different question, one I obviously resolved in favor of yes.)
The issue is back in the news this week (Washington Post, Techdirt, etc.) because Slater has been suggesting he may sue Wikimedia, which continues to make the full-resolution picture available for free. Wikimedia (like Techdirt) says its lawyers have concluded the picture is in the public domain, basically because the monkey has no IP rights and Slater admits he did not take the picture personally, so there is "no one to bestow the copyright upon."
Techdirt's analysis was partly based on this U.S. Copyright Office rule, which states: "In order to be entitled to copyright registration, a work must be the product of human authorship." I think that's generally but not exactly right, because there's a difference between copyright registration and the copyright itself. As this rule notes, "In general, the copyright law does not require registration as a condition of copyright protection," although it provides important advantages if you are trying to enforce the copyright. That is, a work is technically protected as soon as you create it—assuming it's copyrightable. But the Copyright Office also takes the position (Rule 202.02(b)—"Human author") that "authorship" necessarily implies that "for a work to be copyrightable, it must owe its origin to a human being." That's basically the same thing Techdirt was saying.
But still, the problem here is that you could certainly argue that the work does "owe its origin to a human being," at least in part. I mean, the monkey didn't buy a camera, take it out there, and set it up in a particular spot. David Slater did that. He didn't frame the shot and he didn't push the button. But Rule 202.02(b) goes on to say that "Materials produced solely by nature, by plants, or by animals are not copyrightable." Emphasis added.
I haven't yet seen any legal arguments from Slater's side (though they may be out there). His main argument so far seems to be that he spent a lot of money to go to Indonesia, and that he could be making a lot of money from the picture(s) if people weren't handing it out for free. That is very understandable though it's not a legal argument. This is how the guy makes his living. And it seems like he could argue that he is at least partly responsible for the work, so even if the monkey is SOL, the human involved should get something. Exactly how that might work, though, I don't know.
Update: You know who else stole art?
"It's potentially being run by people with political agendas," Slater said of Wikipedia. "The people who are editing it could be a new Adolf Hitler or a new Stalin ... They're using whatever suits their agenda."
You know who else was a copyright holder, though? Yep. (I wasn't sure Hitler had ever been invoked in a copyright dispute before so I googled that.) In fact, according to this, in 1939, Hitler's publisher actually sued in the U.S. to enforce that copyright and it won.
I guess I found that on Wikipedia, though, so ... you know.
AC DC’s Thunderstruck by a Finnish band - the back drop, instruments…..makes it incredibly interesting.