Links for June 2021

Antidepressant, or Tolkien Character? Not all that hard, but I made mistakes on more than I would like to admit. Don’t mix up Haldir and Haldol.

Look at two things — are they the same or different? We can do it, you can (hopefully) do it, ducklings can do it, BEES can do it — convolutional neural networks, ”one of the most powerful classes of artificial intelligence systems”, can’t really do it

Naturally this is but one of many ways you can confuse modern “artificial intelligence”. We’re particularly fond of “anti-face” dazzle makeup intended to disrupt facial-recognition software. We’d be very interested to see research on the effectiveness of different kinds of dazzle makeup at fooling these algorithms.

Some medical history we didn’t know — when the medical journal The Lancet was founded, it was intensely anti-establishment, which is part of why it is named after a cutting implement. Sadly, this no longer seems to be the case.

In other medical developments, consider this story of a patient who suspected doctors were using too high of a dose of Dexamethasone, convinced them to run studies on the effectiveness of a lower dose, and ended up saving a lot of lives.

On the even more extreme end of patient involvement, Benjamin Stecher describes what it’s like to be awake while a team of doctors is drilling into your skull so that they can install hardware for deep brain stimulation.

And now for something completely different: John Cleese referencing Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions on twitter. The crossover I didn’t even know I needed.

Designing antennas by hand is hard and takes a long time. Designing antennas with evolutionary algorithms is fast and easy, and as a little bonus, the antennas look really weird:

A new book (we haven’t read it) argues that getting hammered — and in particular, getting hammered together — made civilization possible. (h/t Roger’s Bacon) We’re paraphrasing. Naturally related to some of our previous work. We also feel obliged to reference Chinese poet Li Bai.

Maybe you heard that George W. Bush was a cheerleader. What you may not know is that he is not alone among US Presidents in this distinction.

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about the dangerous wildlife in Australia, but did you hear about the mouse plague? (warning: not for the faint of heart) They’re in the middle of an especially bad mouse plague now. “The horror lurking in the darkness,” reports the New York Times, “is a throng of thousands of mice swarming above.” Other choice quotes from the article: “They used to say once they start eating each other, it’ll be over, but they’ve been eating each other since December, and it’s not stopping.”

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