* The legendary Major General Issam Zahreddine was blown up by a land mine in Deir ez-Zor.
What damn bad luck.
Surviving an ISIS siege for three years, only to go like that.
* Iraq takes back Kirkuk. Seemingly prearranged return to the status quo of 2014.
* Investor Mark Faber lands in hot water with the handshakeworthy crowd:
“And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority,” he wrote.
“I am not a racist, but the reality — no matter how politically incorrect — needs to be spelled out.”
Fortunately he’s old, presumably more or less retired, and lives in East Asia, where nobody gives a fuck.
* Emil Kirkegaard: “Did Lynn fudge the national IQs? Independent recalculation by David Becker. All open and verifiable. So far, n = 305 studies covered. r=.90.” [blog post forthcoming]
Incidentally, German psychometrist David Becker is due to start up a blog any day now. Feel free to help him come up with a name.
* Vincent Law: Bike-Sharing Leads Directly To Complete Societal Collapse
* gwern’s September newslatter: On genomic prediction:
Accurate Genomic Prediction Of Human Height, Lello et al 2017
This has many implications: primarily, polygenic scores are going to start doubling or quadrupling regularly as contemporary datasets (UKBB in particular?) start hitting the threshold. Years of incremental improvements in GWAS will be compressed into single papers. It will be exciting to have polygenic scores for intelligence which explain up to 30% of variance! These IQ PGSes will highly likely be available by 2019, and it’s possible that they could be computed this year in 2017 (depending on whether existing datasets are big enough to push past the threshold, perhaps assisted by genetic correlation techniques like MTAG). Plus, of course, more accurate genetic correlations. Aside from being one last bullet in the head of genetics denialism, it will massively increase the value of embryo selection and genome synthesis. Has it really been only 4 years since Rietveld et al 2013 was published? It feels like so much longer… It’s worth noting that the cumulative number of genomes is substantially larger than the annual output, and the former is what counts; for example, under one set of assumptions with a fixed annual investment and the observed exponential decrease in cost, there will be 5x total genomes than annually produced, so since 23andMe/Ancestry.com are reportedly collecting approaching millions of samples per year… (In a since deleted post:AncestryDNA alone attracted 1.4 million customers in the fourth quarter of 2016, with an additional two million in the first half of 2017…) The genome sequencing exponentials have been quite a tiger to ride. Very Kurzweilian: everything important happens near the end.
* Eliezer Yudkowsky: There’s No Fire Alarm for Artificial General Intelligence
Progress is driven by peak knowledge, not average knowledge.
If Fermi and the Wrights couldn’t see it coming three years out, imagine how hard it must be for anyone else to see it.
If you’re not at the global peak of knowledge of how to do the thing, and looped in on all the progress being made at what will turn out to be the leading project, you aren’t going to be able to see of your own knowledge at all that the big development is imminent. …
By saying we’re probably going to be in roughly this epistemic state until almost the end, I don’t mean to say we know that AGI is imminent, or that there won’t be important new breakthroughs in AI in the intervening time. I mean that it’s hard to guess how many further insights are needed for AGI, or how long it will take to reach those insights. After the next breakthrough, we still won’t know how many more breakthroughs are needed, leaving us in pretty much the same epistemic state as before. …
But no matter how the details play out, I do predict in a very general sense that there will be no fire alarm that is not an actual running AGI—no unmistakable sign before then that everyone knows and agrees on, that lets people act without feeling nervous about whether they’re worrying too early. That’s just not how the history of technology has usually played out in much simpler cases like flight and nuclear engineering, let alone a case like this one where all the signs and models are disputed.
* On this note: It was only 1.5 years ago that AlphaGo beat world’s then second best player Lee Sedol four matches to one.
Latest iteration, AlphaGo Zero, reached that level in just three days only playing by itself, and took only 21 days to surpass AlphaGo Master, which beat number one Ke Jie and sixty other top players this May.
Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers describe how AlphaGo Zero started off terribly, progressed to the level of a naive amateur, and ultimately deployed highly strategic moves used by grandmasters, all in a matter of days. It discovered one common play, called a joseki, in the first 10 hours. Other moves, with names such as “small avalanche” and “knight’s move pincer” soon followed. After three days, the program had discovered brand new moves that human experts are now studying. Intriguingly, the program grasped some advanced moves long before it discovered simpler ones, such as a pattern called a ladder that human Go players tend to grasp early on.
* Putin mutters some vaguely Alt Right sounding things about White Christians being a minority in the USA and preserving Russia as a European space (while continuing to repeat German policies of the 1960s).
Says that Russians and Ukrainians are one people that will unite. Before you get excited/panic, by unite, he means the restoration of normal relations with the Ukraine – a rather strange definition of the term.
We love Ukraine. And I consider them a brotherly people, if not part of the Russian people. Neither Russian nationalists nor Ukrainian nationalists like this, but I believe they will unite, sooner or later. Not at the state level, but in terms of the restoration of relations.
And, of course, this is a total inversion of the standard Russian nationalist position on the Ukraine.
Also issues some thoughts on foreign policy:
The biggest mistake our country made was that we put too much trust in you; and your mistake was that you saw this trust as weakness and abused it.
… and on the Bolshevik Revolution:
However, the largely utopian social model and ideology, which the newly formed state tried to implement initially following the 1917 revolution, was a powerful driver of transformations across the globe (this is quite clear and must also be acknowledged), caused a major revaluation of development models, and gave rise to rivalry and competition, the benefits of which, I would say, were mostly reaped by the West.
I am referring not only to the geopolitical victories following the Cold War. Many Western achievements of the 20th century were in answer to the challenge posed by the Soviet Union. I am talking about raising living standards, forming a strong middle class, reforming the labour market and the social sphere, promoting education, guaranteeing human rights, including the rights of minorities and women, overcoming racial segregation, which, as you may recall, was a shameful practice in many countries, including the United States, a few short decades ago.
This is mostly a myth, but a convenient one.
* Ksenia Sobchak announces she is running for the Russian Presidency.
Now you, an “educated” and “informed” person, are probably thinking that she is just a brainless celebrity running to give Putin artificial competition in lieu of Navalny. In reality, this is a vicious JIDF smear! My FSB sources tell me this is just the front Ksenia “She-Wolf of the SS” Sobchak (as she is widely known in ultranationalist circles) puts on to infiltrate the PutlerZOG, acting in cahoots with Taylor Swift and American far right militia leader Ben Garrison.
Although I do consider myself somewhat of a nationalist, she sounds far too crazy even for me. I disavow Ksenia “14/88 not 282″ Sobchak and her hateful, extremist ideology. Hopefully Jeb! will save the day.
* #Russiagate. In between the usual nonsense ($100,000 in Facebook ads; Pokemon), we the most serious numerical allegation yet – $2.3 million on a troll factory (broken by the Russian news outlet RBC – so much for the trope of “no adversarial investigation journalism” in Russia).
The obvious question: If all it takes to swing a US election is a few millions of dollars (versus the almost a billion spend by the respective campaigns), why isn’t everyone doing it?
* Patrick Armstrong: RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 19 OCTOBER 2017
* Bryan MacDonald: Ukraine has a Nazi problem and a Western media problem
This is a typical pattern:
- Western MSM 1,000 Nazis march in Charlottesville: OY VEY DRUMPF & PUTLER MUST PAY
- 20,000 Nazis march in Kiev: meh
* Russia now plans to build a $10 billion bridge to… Sakhalin, with its half a million people. $10 million is approximately what the federal government gives to the Ministry of Education every year.
Rotenbergs are more important, though.
There are hopes of getting Japan involved:
Russia is counting on Japan to join the project by connecting its northern island of Hokkaido to Sakhalin with a 40-kilometer link of its own, the people said. While an overland crossing from Japan could be an economic game changer for Russia’s Far East, they cautioned there’s been no talks or agreements yet with the government in Tokyo.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was circumspect when asked about the plans at the Vladivostok forum with Putin last month.
“It would be fine to travel to Vladivostok by train,” Abe said. “But for this, our countries need to strengthen mutual trust to make all projects achievable.”
But this is Japanesespeak for “LOL, no.”
* Audacious Epigone: Dysgenics much stronger for Blacks and Latinos than for Whites. JayMan has also noticed this.
Also notes that number of children is positively correlated with mental health.
* The Economist: College students are more accepting of controversial speech
* Zilaxar.com is an Ossetian nationalist site (in Russian). In case you are interested in what (very little) Ossetians think of their Ingush, Dagestani, and Georgian neighbors.
Apparently the Ingush believe that Ossetians effect territorial expansion through “hospitable prostitution.” Small country nationalisms are so cute.