Stanford Invents AI Gaydar, Flubs Write-Up

Yilun Wang and Michal Kosinsksi, researchers at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, have developed a neural-net classifier that purportedly detects sexual orientation (in caucasians). The authors report an avalanche of experimental results, and claim the classifier can “correctly distinguish between gay and straight men 81% of the time, and 74% for women.”  OK, that’s the sensitivity of the gadget.  What about specificity, i.e. how well does it correctly distinguish folks who are not-so-gay?  Without that second number (as well as an estimate of prevalance), it’s not possible to estimate the false positive and false negative rates for this thing.  Very … Continue reading Stanford Invents AI Gaydar, Flubs Write-Up

The Examined Life is Worth Living

Scurrilous Commentator Fred Reed demonstrates how a grown-up examines his prejudices on the way to wisdom Most Latinos of the south are either a mixture of Spanish and Indian, or sometimes pure Indian….Are they, as nativists insist, of very low IQ–83–and have they enstupidated the Spanish? Horrendously primitive? Without thinking about it, I had the entrenched idea that they were just that. I wasn’t conscious that it was either an idea or entrenched–just a fact. It didn’t occur to me that I knew virtually nothing about these  people, or that there was anything to know. What pulled me up short was … Continue reading The Examined Life is Worth Living

Blinded Me with “Science”

Writing in The New Atlantis, Daniel Sarewitz says “Science, pride of modernity, our one source of objective knowledge, is in deep trouble.”  The public has swallowed the myth of scientism and Vannevar Bush’s self-serving rationalization for federally-funded Big Science: Scientific progress on a broad front results from the free play of free intellects, working on subjects of their own choice, in the manner dictated by their curiosity for exploration of the unknown. Sarewitz quotes Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, who puts it like this: The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply … Continue reading Blinded Me with “Science”

GPS makes you stupid

Get your face outta that stupid screen!  The latest First World Problem is  Death by GPS: Most death-by-GPS incidents do not involve actual deaths—or even serious injuries. They are accidents or accidental journeys brought about by an uncritical acceptance of turn-by-turn commands: the Japanese tourists in Australia who drove their car into the ocean while attempting to reach North Stradbroke Island from the mainland; the man who drove his BMW down a narrow path in a village in Yorkshire, England, and nearly over a cliff; the woman in Bellevue, Washington, who drove her car into a lake that their GPS … Continue reading GPS makes you stupid

Do You Spell FAIL with Green Letters?

More and more of all this hippy-dippy green energy bullshit we’re saddled with is turning out to be a collection of Really Bad Ideas: corn likker for yer car is destroying more land and polluting more water than all the frackers in Christendom, and starving folks in Latin America solar power arrays and wind turbines are wreaking havoc on migratory bird populations (almost as bad as those friggin’ housecats) The only upside I see is that some of our more obnoxious greeny hipsters will tool around town on their BikeShare bikes and get clocked by some drunk in an SUV. Continue reading Do You Spell FAIL with Green Letters?

New Tricks for this Old Dog

Udacity is offering an introductory statistics course this summer, beginning June 25th.  I’ve enrolled, to see how the Big Boys do it.  This is going to put a lot of pressure on traditional universities–especially here in Texas, where we’re busily hammering out the $10,000 Bachelor’s degree.  I figure if I don’t get up with the leaders of the buffalo herd, I’m gonna get trampled or left behind. Tip from Meep at the Conservative Commune. Continue reading New Tricks for this Old Dog