Wallace-Wells AI in Warfare

David Wallace-Wells once again writes an important piece in the NYT illustrating some of the current uses of AI in warfare.  An excerpt:

“The more abstract questions raised by the prospect of A.I. warfare are unsettling on the matters of not just machine error but also ultimate responsibility: Who is accountable for an attack or a campaign conducted with little or no human input or oversight? But while one nightmare about military A.I. is that it is given control of decision making, another is that it helps armies become simply more efficient about the decisions being made already. And as Abraham describes it, Lavender is not wreaking havoc in Gaza on its own misfiring accord. Instead it is being used to weigh likely military value against collateral damage in very particular ways — less like a black box oracle of military judgment or a black hole of moral responsibility and more like the revealed design of the war aims of the Israel Defense Forces.”

2024-04-11T16:34:21-05:00April 11th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Who Won Covid

• Another good piece from David Wallace-Wells in the NYT: Who ‘Won’ Covid? It Depends How You Measure. An excerpt:

“In the end, everyone got it, and probably the most important factor shaping national death totals was how many people were vaccinated before their first infection and how many weren’t. The United States could’ve done much better on that test, given that more Americans have died of Covid since the vaccines were made available to anyone who wanted them than had died to that point. But by some estimates, those vaccines also saved more than three million American lives.”

2024-04-03T15:50:14-05:00April 3rd, 2024|HomeRecommended|

Covid Vaccine Benefits (for those getting immunized, that is)

More good work from Dave Leonhardt and Ashley Wu in March 11th’s NYT’s The Morning:

“To this day, more than 30 percent of self-identified Republicans have not received a Covid vaccine shot, compared with less than 10 percent of Democrats…

While many liberals exaggerated the value of pandemic restrictions, they were right about the vaccines. After vaccines became available, a huge partisan gap in Covid deaths opened. Even today, when most Americans have had the virus and have some natural immunity as a result, unvaccinated people are at much more risk. Consider that about 95 percent of recent Covid-related hospitalizations in the U.S. have occurred among people who had not received an updated vaccine.”

2024-03-11T14:38:13-05:00March 11th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Sulfur Dioxide Rx for Climate Change

This was a good post from Tomas Pueyo on the benefits of SO2 stratospheric injection for ameliorating greenhouse gas temperature rise. See also Professor David Keith’s Group and their work at Harvard, including:

Weisenstein, D. K. and Visioni, D. and Franke, H. and Niemeier, U. and Vattioni, S. and Chiodo, G. and Peter, T. and Keith, D. W. An interactive stratospheric aerosol model intercomparison of solar geoengineering by stratospheric injection of SO2 or accumulation-mode sulfuric acid aerosols. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2022, Vol 22 #5:2955-2973

2024-03-05T15:22:52-05:00March 5th, 2024|HomeRecommended|

Not really a democracy…

From Heather Cox Richardson’s March 4, 2024 Letters from an American:

“Two days ago, in Slate, legal analyst Mark Joseph Stern noted that when Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was Senate majority leader, he “realized you don’t need to win elections to enact Republican policy. You don’t need to change hearts and minds. You don’t need to push ballot initiatives or win over the views of the people. All you have to do is stack the courts. You only need 51 votes in the Senate to stack the courts with far-right partisan activists…[a]nd they will enact Republican policies under the guise of judicial review, policies that could never pass through the democratic process. And those policies will be bulletproof, because they will be called ‘law.’”

2024-03-05T15:08:34-05:00March 5th, 2024|Home, Musings|

Florida, Glad You’re Not My Home…

• Katelyn Jetelina and Kristen Panthagani do another excellent job explaining why the Florida Heath Department has yet again put politics ahead of science in the handling of Florida’s school measles outbreak, and in doing so Ladapo has put the health of the citizens that his office is charged with protecting at risk.  Read about it in their Your Local Epidemiologist blog post.

2024-02-27T16:16:04-05:00February 27th, 2024|HomeRecommended|

Yglesias on Trump’s Tariffs

Matt Yglesias explains why DJT’s proposed tariffs are inefficient, will raise prices and are bad for consumers – in effect a highly regressive tax.

“Most studies indicate that the price of Trump’s tariffs have been primarily born by American consumers (American Action Forum, Cato Institute, Tax Foundation)…So it’s really worth saying that whatever you make of industrial policy, what Trump is suggesting is not a remotely strategic approach to national economic development. If anything, Trump’s entire trade agenda — not only these tariffs, but things like his 2020 effort to score a giant sale of soybeans to China — is geared around de-industrializing the United States and turning us into a primary commodity exporter…The right’s intellectual trajectory on these topics is somewhat alarming. Everyone in DC understands that Trump did not come up with this policy proposal based on any kind of detailed study of the issue. Unless it benefits him personally, Trump just pulls ideas out of his ass because he likes the vibe.”

2024-02-06T18:04:21-05:00February 6th, 2024|HomeRecommended|
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