Genealogy, Machine Learning, Nietzsche , Probability, Snakebite


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Finding Killers From The Couch

Antonio Regalado & Brian Alexander | MIT Technology Review | 22nd June 2018

Profile of self-taught sleuth CeCe Moore, who helps police crack cold murder cases using DNA samples and genealogical databases. “She first assesses whether genetic genealogy is likely to break the case. A ‘5’ is nearly hopeless. A ‘1’ is a sure bet. The ranking depends on the quality of the DNA and what a quick search reveals about the number of matching relatives in a growing open database”. Last month she solved a 20-year-old double murder in two days, and has more revelations pending (2,260 words)

Ways To Think About Machine Learning

Benedict Evans | 22nd June 2018

“Five years ago, if you gave a computer a pile of photos, it couldn’t do much more than sort them by size. A ten-year-old could sort them into men and women, a fifteen-year-old into cool and uncool and an intern could say ‘this one’s really interesting’. Today, with ML, the computer will match the ten-year-old and perhaps the fifteen-year-old. It might never get to the intern. But what would you do if you had a million fifteen-year-olds to look at your data? What calls would you listen to, what payments would you inspect?” (2,300 words)

The Truth Is Terrible

Brian Leiter | TLS | 21st June 2018

Introduction to Friedrich Nietzsche. “His writing style is notably anomalous in the canon of great philosophers: he writes aphoristically, polemically, lyrically and always personally; he can be funny, sarcastic, rude, scholarly, scathing, often in the same passage. In the course of examining philosophical subjects (morality, free will, knowledge), Nietzsche will invoke historical, psychological, philological and anthropological claims, and never appeal to an intuition or an a priori bit of knowledge” (2,400 words)

Bayes Arrows

Richard Marshall | 3AM | 23rd June 2018

Philosopher Clark Glymour talks about probability and causality. “Anyone who seriously thinks causation to be a fiction would be paralysed. To get out of my office, shall I open the doorknob or wait for the doorknob to open? For planning actions and interventions, probability is useless without causality. Once upon a time, yellowed fingers were correlated with lung cancer later in life. The surgeon-general recommended against smoking; he did not recommend that people wear gloves” (4,400 words)

A Rattle With Death

Kyle Dickman | Outside | 20th June 2018

What it’s like to get bitten by a rattlesnake. The larger the snake, the more the venom, the worse the effects. “Each of the half-dozen doctors I saw told me this was either the first snakebite they’d seen or the worst. Poison Control, which the nurses called every two hours, guided my care. My leg turned black and yellow and swelled to 24 inches, more than twice its normal circumference. My blood chemistry mimicked a pattern the nurses compared to that of drug-overdose patients” (5,900 words)

Video of the day Doors

What to expect:

Campaign video for “ass-kicking” Air Force veteran and Texan Congressional candidate M.J. Hegar (3’28”)

Thought for the day

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it
Roald Dahl

Podcast Bull’s Head Breakfast | Ox Tales

Anna Sigratur talks to LA food historian Charles Perry about the Americanisation of barbecue
(24m 59s)

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