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MattSh

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Gender: Do not display
Home country: USA
Current location: Former USSR
Member since: Wed Oct 25, 2006, 02:04 PM
Number of posts: 3,714

Journal Archives

For the love of god, stay away from the wild animals in Yellowstone - Matador Network

2016 SEEMS TO BE THE YEAR OF PEOPLE behaving stupidly around the animals in Yellowstone National Park. People keep getting gored while attempting to take selfies with buffaloes. A baby buffalo had to be euthanized when well-meaning but ignorant tourists tried to save it from the mild chill. And now, this.

Jody Tibbitts, a tour guide based out of Jackson Hole, posted the above video to his Facebook feed this week. While on a tour, one of his guests took a video of a wild elk. Tibbitts can then be heard warning a guest from a nearby car to move. “Ma’am! Ma’am!” he says, “Can you please — yeah.”

The “yeah” was because the elk charged her. What happens next is off-screen, but Tibbitts says the woman tripped and the elk pulled back at the last second, saving her from being trampled.

-----> http://matadornetwork.com/notebook/video-love-god-stay-away-wild-animals-yellowstone/

The Political Revolution: Year One - Bernie Sanders & the Campaign

The Political Revolution: Year One — Medium

Senator Bernie Sanders kicked off his presidential campaign in Burlington, Vermont in May, 2015. This weekend, the political revolution turns one year old.

This is a “Hallmark” Holiday , a period of time that has no important distinction. The movement for progress and change is far older and will continue well past the final contests of the 2016 primary season, but on behalf of Hilary Hess, Fred Guerrier, Eric Elofson, Chris Dilts, the rest of our creative team, and myself, I’d like to present you a set of pictures that span the previous 365 days of this campaign.

Thank you for being a part of this journey.

-Arun Chaudhary
Digital Creative Director
Bernie 2016

With a whole ton of pictures at the link below...

NOTE: DU does not like the @ in the link address and will not post it correctly. You can click on this link... https://goo.gl/EYh4c4 or for those who don't like link shorteners, copy and paste the address below.


-----> https://medium.com/@BernieSanders/last-year-the-political-revolution-started-by-senator-sanders-turned-one-year-old-7fb95a499850#.3ig3yl2hz

America Failing Again - Computer Programming Edition.

by Matt Shalvatis

There was a time not all that long ago that when computers and computing were mentioned, one automatically thought of the USA. Computers? USA. Applications? USA. Smart phones and tablets? USA. Of course, some of that was only minimally true to begin with, and other parts ceased to exist on the American landscape a long time ago. So then, what is the current state of American computing, specifically software development? Sad to say, software development in the USA has seen much better days, and its future looks even less bright now.

For many years, the USA dominated the world in software development. Beginning in 1977, the Association for Computing Machinery initiated the International Collegiate Programming Contest, which has run every year since. In the early years, the USA dominated this competition. In the first 21 years of this competition, the USA won 17 times, including the first 13 in a row. Since then, America's star has faded fast. How fast? Well, read on for the sordid details.

The last time the USA won this competition was 1997. That's 19 years ago. Now while coming in in the top position is nice, it's not the only thing. There's nothing wrong with making a good solid showing. But the USA's showing in recent years has been lackluster to say the least.

So let's fast forward to the year 2016. What is the state of American computing versus the rest of the world? In the most recent competition, five of the top 10 collegiate teams were from Russia, two were from the USA, two were from Poland, and one was from China. This in and of itself speaks volumes about the current state of computer programming in the USA. But let's look even deeper into these results.

There was 68 ranked teams in this year's competition. A team got ranked by solving at least five of the 12 problems within the allotted time. Of the American teams, Harvard finished third solving 10 out of 12 problems, and MIT finished sixth overall, solving nine of the 12 problems. From this, the state of American computing might be seen as still basically solid. But let's go deeper into the rankings to see if this still holds.

(Note that both Harvard and MIT are private universities with total yearly tuition costs of $45,000).

Of the 68 teams in the final rankings, 14 were from China, 11 from Russia, nine from the combined EU, and seven from the USA. Now the fact that the USA had only seven ranked teams should already be considered a sign of weakness. And while it might appear that the Chinese are pulling ahead of the USA, when adjusted for total population, China still has a long way to go. Adjusted for population, the EU is doing about 20% worse than the USA, but Russia is doing about 3 1/2 times better than the USA. Let's also mention that the EU would be doing a whole lot worse on this list if it wasn't for three ranked teams from Poland.

Digging into the list a bit more, the next American schools we see are Cornell University, UC Berkeley and the University of Central Florida, at a 16 way tie at number 28. Cornell is a private university with annual tuition costs over $47,000. Only at this level do we begin to see schools that an average middle-class American could afford, UC Berkeley and University of Central Florida. At this position in the rankings, these three American teams are already behind nine ranked Russian teams, four ranked Chinese teams, a team from Ukraine, and a team from Belarus. And they are also tied with teams from North Korea and Vietnam, a second team from Belarus, and tied with four more Chinese teams. This is not very inspiring for the future of computer programming in the USA.

At this point I believe the pattern is clear without delving further into the list. But let me just mention the other two American universities that make this list. Stanford and Rice. The annual tuition costs at both of these schools are also over $40,000 a year, not exactly in the range of your average middle-class family in the USA. So of the seven American finalists, only 2 of them are widely affordable to the middle class.

OK America, the world is challenging us. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Come on America, you know what to do. It's time to roll up our sleeves, go to the closet and pull out your Wagging Index Finger of Ignorance and start waving it around proudly. You know, one of these things...



Don't forget the chant too!

We're Number 1. We're number 1.

Damn America. You're still the best at something!

Sources:

Story on this year's final: http://www.techworm.net/2016/05/russia-students-best-china-us-win-programming-world-championship.html
Past Results: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACM_International_Collegiate_Programming_Contest
2016 Final Results: https://icpc.baylor.edu/worldfinals/results

Now you too can own George W. Bush original paintings!



Read about it here: https://goo.gl/Yf0NwT


And for those who didn't click the link...




I thought this was one of the better ones from yesterday, but then again, I don't exactly go out of my way to find these things either...

Toon: The Hilldenburg Disaster



http://4splainin.blogspot.com/

Toon: Democrats. We have a problem (Part the first)

Like it or not, Hill's got this problem and the Democrats better start facing up to it...



Something I hope to post weekly. More or less.

Could Google flip the election to Hillary Clinton?

-----> This is the conclusion of the article. A very important read, IMHO.

Remember what the search algorithm is doing: in response to your query, it is selecting a handful of webpages from among the billions that are available, and it is ordering those webpages using secret criteria. Seconds later, the decision you make or the opinion you form – about the best toothpaste to use, whether fracking is safe, where you should go on your next vacation, who would make the best president, or whether global warming is real – is determined by that short list you are shown, even though you have no idea how the list was generated.

The technology has made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations that are beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a consolidation of search engines has been quietly taking place, so that more people are using the dominant search engine even when they think they are not. Because Google is the best search engine, and because crawling the rapidly expanding internet has become prohibitively expensive, more and more search engines are drawing their information from the leader rather than generating it themselves. The most recent deal, revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in October 2015, was between Google and Yahoo! Inc.

Looking ahead to the November 2016 US presidential election, I see clear signs that Google is backing Hillary Clinton. In April 2015, Clinton hired Stephanie Hannon away from Google to be her chief technology officer and, a few months ago, Eric Schmidt, chairman of the holding company that controls Google, set up a semi-secret company – The Groundwork – for the specific purpose of putting Clinton in office. The formation of The Groundwork prompted Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, to dub Google Clinton’s ‘secret weapon’ in her quest for the US presidency.

We now estimate that Hannon’s old friends have the power to drive between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Clinton on election day with no one knowing that this is occurring and without leaving a paper trail. They can also help her win the nomination, of course, by influencing undecided voters during the primaries. Swing voters have always been the key to winning elections, and there has never been a more powerful, efficient or inexpensive way to sway them than SEME.


We are living in a world in which a handful of high-tech companies, sometimes working hand-in-hand with governments, are not only monitoring much of our activity, but are also invisibly controlling more and more of what we think, feel, do and say. The technology that now surrounds us is not just a harmless toy; it has also made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations – manipulations that have no precedent in human history and that are currently well beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws. The new hidden persuaders are bigger, bolder and badder than anything Vance Packard ever envisioned. If we choose to ignore this, we do so at our peril.


https://aeon.co/essays/how-the-internet-flips-elections-and-alters-our-thoughts

Could Google flip the election to Hillary Clinton?

----> This is the conclusion of the story

Remember what the search algorithm is doing: in response to your query, it is selecting a handful of webpages from among the billions that are available, and it is ordering those webpages using secret criteria. Seconds later, the decision you make or the opinion you form – about the best toothpaste to use, whether fracking is safe, where you should go on your next vacation, who would make the best president, or whether global warming is real – is determined by that short list you are shown, even though you have no idea how the list was generated.

The technology has made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations that are beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a consolidation of search engines has been quietly taking place, so that more people are using the dominant search engine even when they think they are not. Because Google is the best search engine, and because crawling the rapidly expanding internet has become prohibitively expensive, more and more search engines are drawing their information from the leader rather than generating it themselves. The most recent deal, revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in October 2015, was between Google and Yahoo! Inc.

Looking ahead to the November 2016 US presidential election, I see clear signs that Google is backing Hillary Clinton. In April 2015, Clinton hired Stephanie Hannon away from Google to be her chief technology officer and, a few months ago, Eric Schmidt, chairman of the holding company that controls Google, set up a semi-secret company – The Groundwork – for the specific purpose of putting Clinton in office. The formation of The Groundwork prompted Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, to dub Google Clinton’s ‘secret weapon’ in her quest for the US presidency.

We now estimate that Hannon’s old friends have the power to drive between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes to Clinton on election day with no one knowing that this is occurring and without leaving a paper trail. They can also help her win the nomination, of course, by influencing undecided voters during the primaries. Swing voters have always been the key to winning elections, and there has never been a more powerful, efficient or inexpensive way to sway them than SEME. (Explained in the article)

We are living in a world in which a handful of high-tech companies, sometimes working hand-in-hand with governments, are not only monitoring much of our activity, but are also invisibly controlling more and more of what we think, feel, do and say. The technology that now surrounds us is not just a harmless toy; it has also made possible undetectable and untraceable manipulations of entire populations – manipulations that have no precedent in human history and that are currently well beyond the scope of existing regulations and laws. The new hidden persuaders are bigger, bolder and badder than anything Vance Packard ever envisioned. If we choose to ignore this, we do so at our peril.

-----> https://aeon.co/essays/how-the-internet-flips-elections-and-alters-our-thoughts

Toon: Charge of the Snooze Brigade

Here's something I've been working on, and I hope to do it weekly.

Even if I was in the US right now, I'd be avoiding things like phone banking or writing letters, or other such monotony. It just grates on me too much. I think I've recognized for a while that I'm more of a creative person, though I haven't been following up on that nearly as much as I should have. So I guess this is to make amends for that, to help Bernie if possible, and maybe even influence the election this November, at least in some small way.

Having said all that, this is just an initial effort, so things aren't a progressed as I would like them to be. But if I were to wait until I was 90% satisfied, then the year would likely be 90% over by then. So, I'd like some feedback from you all. Do you like it? Don't like it? Like the name? Hate the name? Needs work? How? Ideas? Suggestions?

Oh. There's no "Splainin" website yet either.



Hillary image adapted from a photo by Marc Nozell used under a Creative Commons license.
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