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(via Vlad) An instructive interview that shows how people make mental mistakes by extrapolating technology solutions with "more-of-the-same" thinking:

We spend our time looking for threats against a company. We look for things that might be active inside the company that would cause us concern, and then of course we look to respond—detecting, containing, and deflecting those threats as much as possible while at the same time keeping in mind that our executives and board of directors always want to know what's going on with security in the company.

Generically, every breach has the big data problem. For example, in a malware incident that results in a breach, the malware comes in and spreads across the environment.

When that scope [of investigation] expands, the security team typically has to deal with a sudden increase in big data -- logs, alerts, etc. -- making budget planning critical. Right now I'm planning my budget for next year, and I hope I ask for enough disk space and computing power so that the infrastructure is prepared for future attacks. ... Burst capacity is really critical for the security team who needs to find answers quickly.

Basically, she assumes that data security and hardware capacity/budget are "entangled" linear orders.

also see https://timelets.dreamwidth.org/682944.html

upd: the alleged exploit https://qz.com/1073221/the-hackers-who-broke-into-equifax-exploited-a-nine-year-old-security-flaw/
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In the context of governance of human–environment interactions, a panacea refers to a blueprint for a single type of governance system (e.g., government ownership, privatization, community property) that is applied to all environmental problems.

Practitioners and scholars who fall into panacea traps falsely assume that all problems of resource governance can be represented by a small set of simple models, because they falsely perceive that the preferences and perceptions of most resource users are the same.

The study of the governance of SESs[social-ecological systems], and of sustainability science more generally (50), is an applied science like medicine and engineering, which aim to find solutions for diverse and complex problems. In diagnosing problems, the applied scientist examines attributes of a problem, layer by layer, and focuses on traits that are thought to be essential in a particular context. When an initial solution is adopted, considerable effort is made to dig deeply into the structure of the problem and to monitor various indicators of the system. On the basis of this information, applied scientists change their actions and learn from failures.

Ostrom, et. al. 2007

doi: 10.1073/pnas.0701886104

Also related http://www.phil.upenn.edu/~weisberg/documents/threekindsfinal.pdf (wrt Model-based science)
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re: problem isomorphs

The representation effect: Human performance varies enormously (10-100:1) with different representations [of the same problem].

Hanrahan, Pat. "Systems of thought." EuroVis 2009 keynote address (2009): 10-12.
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Cyberweapons can be used as remotely controlled cross-border mines affecting the enemy's infrastructure at a critical juncture. For example, in the early 2000s Israel and USA mined Iranian centrifuges to slow down uranium enrichment in Iran. Recently we could see how foreign hacking helped mine US political infrastructure for the purpose of influencing the 2016 elections campaign.

Today, we have no idea how much of our infrastructure has been mined already and for what purpose. Unlike nuclear weapons, cyberweapons can be applied in a scalable manner to demonstrate one's resolve to use a crippling force. I wonder whether private utility companies would be required to submit to government-mandated tests. Or maybe insurance companies will have to set something up after a spectacular infrastructure failure. Wrt individuals, what would be an equivalent of a sticky note covering the laptop camera if one wants protection against eavesdropping or outright sabotage in an autonomous vehicle?
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It appears that as a result of the 2016 elections American social anthropologists discovered a major human tribe in the middle of a highly industrialized country. http://thenewpress.com/books/strangers-their-own-land
Strangers in Their Own Land goes beyond the commonplace liberal idea that many on the political right have been duped into voting against their interests. In the right-wing world she explores, Hochschild discovers powerful forces—fear of cultural eclipse, economic decline, perceived government betrayal—which override self-interest, as progressives see it, and help explain the emotional appeal of a candidate like Donald Trump. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in “red” America.

As an illustration, a figure from Bostrom's book on Superintelligence. BTW, Bostrom is right that he doesn't use the term "artificial intelligence."

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More than 1,000 children are born addicted to drugs in Maine each year, many of whom end up in foster care. The two children in McLaughlin’s home were among the more than 1,800 in foster care across the state in 2016, a nearly 45 percent increase in foster children here since 2011.

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the unsuitability of the human cortex for philosophical work. On this view, our most celebrated philosophers are like dogs walking on their hind legs—just barely attaining the threshold level of performance required for engag- ing in the activity at all.

--- Nick Bostrom. Superinteligence, 2014. p 59.
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Typically, people substitute their own thinking with trust. There are two basic types of trust: verification and prior experience. Verification is cognitively expensive; therefore we fall back on prior experience, i.e. intuition. In a social networking environment, this leads to reinforcement of personal and group biases because, given the rapid flow of content, one's own thinking and verification become prohibitively expensive.
Since its beginning, the web had a similar problem, which Google solved by incorporating prior experience (links) into its page rank algorithm. [is the rise of partisanship a side effect of the web?] Over time, we've learned to trust Google. Furthermore, if we go back in time we find a similar pattern with other media: newspapers, radio, TV, books, etc. Essentially, mainstream media represent networks of trust embedded into information flows.
So far, social media companies have failed to create an independent system of trust. Maybe because we use the new media for bias confirmation, not so much for information gathering. Although, the Belling Cat example shows that the latter is not only possible, but can be more efficient than traditional methods of investigation. Tyler Cowen has a good argument that under the circumstance an autistic person has a better chance to succeed than a socially adjusted one.
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“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”

Neil Gaiman. “Norse Mythology.”
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Enter Hamlet.

  • HamletTo be, or not to be- that is the question: 
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer 1750
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune 
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, 
    And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep- 
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end 
    The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 1755
    That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation 
    Devoutly to be wish'd. To die- to sleep. 
    To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub! 
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come 
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 1760
    Must give us pause. There's the respect 
    That makes calamity of so long life. 
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 
    Th' oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 
    The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, 1765
    The insolence of office, and the spurns 
    That patient merit of th' unworthy takes, 
    When he himself might his quietus make 
    With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear, 
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life, 1770
    But that the dread of something after death- 
    The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn 
    No traveller returns- puzzles the will, 
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have 
    Than fly to others that we know not of? 


Mar. 2nd, 2017 01:42 pm
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In a statement on Thursday, Amazon said an employee on its S3 team was working on an issue with the billing system and meant to take a small number of servers offline -- but they incorrectly entered the command and removed a much larger set of servers.
According to Synergy Research Group, AWS owns 40% of the cloud services market, meaning it's responsible for the operability of large swaths of popular websites.

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Studies suggest financial decision-making ability tends to reach its peak in a person’s mid-50s, after when deterioration sets in.
The older brain seems more susceptible to “too good to be true” scams, from lotteries to dating schemes. According to the “Scams Team” at Britain’s National Trading Standards, a consumer-protection body, the average age of victims of mass-marketing scams is 75.


I wonder how the world is going to deal with aging decision-makers.
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Control was not easy - this gives an extra spin to Frontinus' idea of mathematization as imposing order on a territory. The imposition of order is a dialectic, dynamic process through which a model of administrative control is applied to the specific nature of a place. This dynamic implies a negotiation of various factors, and I think that the role played by mathematics and by mathematical imagery in this negotiation is fundamental.

...mathematics guaranteed the possibility and reliability of calculations, and made cataloguing and recording easier, so it was ‘directly’ useful.


Finally, Frontinus chose one particular type of pipe, the quinaria, as the standard type and ruled that authorized standard pipes and nozzles had to be stamped with an official mark, and no unstamped pipes or nozzles could be used.

Imposing a standard is clearly at the same time a pragmatic administrative choice - uniformity facilitates repairs and control of misappropriations - and a political one - the fact itself that someone has the authority to set a standard unequivocally signals where the power lies.

-- Cuomo, Serafina (2000). Divide and rule: Frontinus and Roman land-surveying. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 31 (2)189-202.

Using "free-monoidable" structures enables a radical simplification of control procedures ("arrows"). The first example has to do with making land "monoidable" through mathematized surveying. The second example shows how standardization of elements enables administration of infrastructure and distribution of resources.
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It's interesting to see how Trump uses the language of business to fool people when he says, "If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset, not a liability."

The implication here is that assets are better than liabilities, therefore Putin liking Trump is good. Is it so? Not at all!

After hearing Trump's statement we should ask ourselves, Good for what? In other words, the goodness of an asset depends on the use of the asset. For example, an asset can be used to harm parties directly. An asset can also be used to harm third parties, e.g. by creating a negative externality. Etc.

Moreover, a mutual liking between parties is not an asset by itself. Rather, it's something that potentially reduces transaction costs, e.g. by reducing due diligence expenses and increasing the probability of a deal. Nevertheless, until we know the nature of the transaction itself and its implications, we can't say that a reduction in its costs is good for us.

The implicit assumption behind Trump's statement is that what's good for Trump is good for America and we should trust his judgement on that. This is a typical Principal - Agent problem that has to be addressed by a proper management contract and an enforcement mechanism. A lack of such contract backfired on Trump's investors and customers many times and resulted, e.g. in real estate bankruptcies and Trump University lawsuits.
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There are various problems as regards language. First, there is the problem what actually occurs in our minds when we use language with the intention of meaning something by it; this problem belongs to psychology. Secondly, there is the problem as to what is the relation subsisting between thoughts, words, or sentences, and that which they refer to or mean; this problem belongs to epistemology. Thirdly, there is the problem of using sentences so as to convey truth rather than falsehood; this belongs to the special sciences dealing with the subject-matter of the sentences in question. Fourthly, there is the question: what relation must one fact (such as a sentence) have to another in order to be capable of being a symbol for that other? This last is a logical question, and is the one with which Mr Wittgenstein is concerned.
--- Bertrand Russel. Introduction to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, by Ludwig Witgentstein. 1922.
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If we consider hacking being a trespass, Coase's analysis of the problem applies. Therefore, we either establish a rule/negotiation system with low transaction costs, or impose retribution costs on the trespasser.
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Contrary to popular belief, the brain is not designed for thinking. It’s designed to save you from having to think, because the brain is actually not very good at thinking.Thinking is slow and unreliable. Nevertheless, people enjoy mental work if it is successful. People like to solve problems, but not to work on unsolvable problems.
For problems to be solved, the thinker needs adequate information from the environment, room in working memory, and the required facts and proce- dures in long-term memory.

-- Daniel T. Willingham. Why Don't Students Like School. 2009.


Nov. 11th, 2016 01:26 pm
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TIL that the human capital theory of labor is no longer applicable. Instead, we should use the Thurow's model of the job market. I think the model would provide a plausible explanation for the 2016 election results:
...the level of job in the job queue that is available to an individual will depend not simply on how much education – or thus human capital – he or she has acquired but on how much relative to others in the labour queue or, in other words, on his or her position in this queue (Thurow, 1983: 95-7).

When jobs are scarce competition among workers intensifies. The perception is that if you are a straight white man you are the last one in the queue.

This idea should be fairly easy to test in the field.


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