This Article Is Fake News. But It’s Also The Work of AI

Image result for This Article Is Fake News. But It’s Also The Work of AIThe use of fake news stories for political disinformation has become a major concern for governments around the world in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded Russia used false news reports, spread through social media, to try to sway voters. Writing these stories still needed someone to sit behind a keyboard.

Now OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research group in San Francisco, has unveiled a machine learning algorithm that can generate coherent text, including fake news articles, after being given just a small sample to build on. The algorithm can be tuned to imitate the writing style of the sample text.

Here’s an example of the system at work that OpenAI provided. The system was only given the first two sentences, which were written by a human:

A train carriage containing controlled nuclear materials was stolen in Cincinnati today. Its whereabouts are unknown.

And this is the rest of the news article that the AI wrote, with no human guidance:

The incident occurred on the downtown train line, which runs from Covington and Ashland stations.

In an email to Ohio news outlets, the U.S. Department of Energy said it is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to find the thief.

“The theft of this nuclear material will have significant negative consequences on public and environmental health, our workforce and the economy of our nation,” said Tom Hicks, the U.S. Energy Secretary, in a statement. “Our top priority is to secure the theft and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

The stolen material was taken from the University of Cincinnati’s Research Triangle Park nuclear research site, according to a news release from Department officials.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not immediately release any information.

According to the release, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Security is leading that team’s investigation.

“The safety of people, the environment and the nation’s nuclear stockpile is our highest priority,” Hicks said. “We will get to the bottom of this and make no excuses.

Because of its potential to be misused for creating disinformation, OpenAI said it had chosen not to make the most powerful versions of its algorithm available for public use nor was it publishing the source code and training data used to create the software.

 

[“source=fortune”]

Recapping the saga of a misogynistic beer article that enraged the brewing world this week

There are stages to controversies in the social media age. First, the scandal breaks. Then it spreads. Criticism rains down on the perceived offender from across the internet. A few beats later, that person emerges publicly to defend themselves. The public generally rejects such an apology or criticizes the apology itself. Eventually, heads roll and/or the public moves on. End scene.

The craft beer world has moved through precisely those steps this week. A few days ago, an article published on the front page of regional beer publication Great Lakes Brewing News began making the social-media rounds. The article, which ran under the byline of Great Lakes Brewing News publisher Bill Metzger, ostensibly was about Scotch ale and cask ale, but its sexist tone drew swift and forceful criticism. Choice lines from the 2,800-word hybrid article/essay, which was written in the first-person, include: “In the age of #metoo, the pendulum has swung too far. One aggressive move and a man’s career can derail. I feel the walls closing around me, my room to move shrinking. My instincts to bed every woman I see are reducing from a king-sized mattress to a cot, the size of which I only remember from a tour in Iraq.”

You can read more excerpts via The Buffalo News, including the article’s repeated mentions of using alcohol to lower women’s sexual inhibitions.

When I first saw screenshots of the article, I blinked slowly. How was any of this about beer? How did this get published on the front page of… anything? What does Bill Metzger have to say for himself? Other beer writers and breweries themselves were equally upset, with some who’d advertised in the publication condemning the piece and withdrawing future ads. (Metzger’s Brewing News company publishes other regional beer newspapers as well.) Some breweries burned the publication in effigy.

So, we’ve arrived at the scandal stage where the accused emerges to defend themselves. Per a screenshot posted by the creative director for Chicago’s Pipeworks brewery, who criticized the article on Twitter, Bill Metzger responded to her with the below message which includes the by-now-a-punchline phrase: “I’m sorry you were offended.”

A statement on Great Lakes Brewing News’ Facebook page states the article was intended as parody and does not reflect the views of the author. Metzger’s statement continues: “Nowhere in this piece is there an endorsement of misogyny nor hatred. It is a simple parody of a disgusting attitude that I have seen often. We have been publishing the occasional piece that does anger people as some topics seem too toxic to discuss rationally. And it most certainly does not reflect my views; those who actually know me beyond a few articles written and/or published know that much.”

Forbes beer writer Tara Nurin, who has long covered women’s role in beer, spoke to Metzger by phone and found him “genuinely and deeply pained that his admittedly misbegotten attempt to highlight the problem of sexual harassment and assault in brewing has backfired so badly.” Still, she and other beer writers ultimately reject his parody defense, with writer Robin LeBlanc calling the whole mess “a special kind of trainwreck.” This beer writer agrees.

There’s never a good time for failed satire about sexual assault, but Metzger’s timing is especially bad. Earlier this month, the CEO of Actual Brewing in Columbus, Ohio, stepped down amid an investigation into allegations he repeatedly sexually assaulted multiple women. Last year, Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing faced backlash from retailers and customers after one of its brewers inappropriately touched an employee of another brewery, bringing to light what some called a larger “bro culture” within Melvin.

Though women in any male-dominated industry face challenges, those challenges can be especially dangerous when your daily job functions involve alcohol. I’ve seen the beer industry take important steps to make itself safer and more welcoming to women and minorities, but as recent stories of assault and discrimination illustrate, there is still much work to be done. That women’s painful efforts to share their #metoo experiences would be the object of abysmal satire only prove how long the road will be.

 

[“source=thetakeout”]

 

Report: What’s A Pretty Lady Like You Doing Around An Article Like This?

THEONION.COM—Remarking with equal parts surprise and delight that of all the news stories in the world, you started reading this one, sources couldn’t help but wonder what a pretty little lady like you was doing hanging around an article like this. According to experts, you should probably just run along back to the front page where it’s safer—but then again, where’s the fun in that? Sure, there’s a lot of, let’s say, shadyarticles around here, but most of them are harmless, and a girl can still learn a lot hanging around them. Moreover, while we can’t deny that something about you caught our eye from across the lede line, we can’t help thinking that maybe it was fate that brought you here. While admitting that can’t be corroborated, many in similar circumstances found themselves unable to completely dismiss the idea of kismet altogether. “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be,” John Lennon once said of this sort of situation. Furthermore, sources want to know: So what about you? Do you believe in destiny? We apologize if that is a silly question for a news source to ask; besides, it’s clear that you deserve better than this article. After all, in most cases such as this, an attractive and accomplished lady such as yourself can count on all sorts of classier, glossier publications vying for your attention. However, those close to the issue are speculating that perhaps you really are different than all the others. This newspaper is not trying to be forward, but, maybe you would like to get together for another article with us some time? At press time, she’s gone, just like that, and maybe it was never meant to be.

 

[“source=theonion”]

 

This is what I’m teaching my kids about money (that I learned the hard way)

Image result for This is what I’m teaching my kids about money (that I learned the hard way)For many parents, broaching the subject of money with their children can be a minefield. Even parents who want to teach their children about personal finances struggle to have those conversations. That’s especially true when their kids are young: In a recent survey by Edelman Financial Engines, 49% of parents with children aged 4 to 8 said they didn’t know how to talk to their kids about money. But about 90% of them felt it was important that their children have sound financial habits, and admitted that they should be the ones to impart those habits.

I spoke to a number of parents who have taken that to heart and are making the effort to talk to their children about money. For all of them, their approach is a departure from their parents’ attitude toward finances. Most of their parents tiptoed around the subject, whether they grew up in a working class or upper-middle-class family. “My dad managed the money, and I think my mom was on an allowance,” Katie*, a 56-year-old teacher based in Phoenix, told me. “It was kind of like the man worried about the money; this was a traditional Texas home. I don’t really remember my parents ever talking about it.”

Some of the people I heard from made poor financial choices early on because their financial literacy was so low. Leslie Forde, who works in publishing and runs a self-care site for moms, says that during her first year of college, she opened a credit card and swiped it too frequently. “I was really sloppy about financial management that first year until I ran into having to pay down debt,” she says. “I realized that you’re paying a real premium and interest when you use credit card debt. After that experience, I became kind of obsessive about learning about personal financial management and planning.” Bob Moul, who works in tech and now advises his employees on saving and investing, grew up in a working class family and had to give himself a crash course in personal finance, years into his marriage and well into raising children. “This has all been a process of painful discovery,” he says.

As they raise kids, these parents are trying to strike a balance, cultivating good financial habits and offering guidance without overloading their kids with the minutiae and weight of family finances.

STARTING YOUNG

Kids establish spending habits by the age of 7, according to finance writer Beth Kobliner. That’s why parents like Forde—whose kids are 4 and 8, respectively—have already started conversations about money. “I’ve tried to introduce these more mechanical concepts that I was missing–the actual routines associated with managing money and tracking money,” she says. “And I try to introduce it in age-appropriate ways.” Over the summer, she took her kids into the bank for a “kid’s day” event, during which they transferred the contents of their piggy banks into bank accounts with interest. “When their statements come in, I show them how their money is increasing,” she says. “Granted, the interest rates are paltry. But I’m showing them that just by their money sitting at the bank and not in their piggy bank, it’s actually making them more money.”

Forde also talks to her kids often about the idea of making “trade-offs.” If her son wants new toys, for example, they calculate how much each costs while in the store, and talk about how he can swap out toys to stay within his budget. She uses a similar framework to talk to them about things like housing as well—why they live in a condo outside Boston when their cousins live in a two-story home in Florida, and what lifestyle changes they would have to make to afford a house like that. “I really try to explain, in terms they can understand, that there are trade-offs associated with what you want, and what you can have in the moment versus what you can have in the future,” she says.

Ben Carter, the cocreator and cohost of a podcast and show about personal finance, is already thinking about how to talk money with his kids, barely three months after becoming a parent to triplet girls. Carter, for his part, was acutely aware of finances from an early age. That awareness was self-initiated, he claims, not a function of how his parents talked about finances. “In my mind, my family didn’t have as much money as I thought you needed to feel comfortable,” he says. “That could have been a figment of my imagination. We had everything we needed. But I had this notion that, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re getting by day by day.’”

When it comes to his own children, Carter’s wife doesn’t want them to be as preoccupied with money as he was. “My wife doesn’t want our kids to grow up with an overwhelming sense of what money is, so for me it’s about trying to find a balance,” he says. “How can you teach it in a way that’s more casual and part of our day-to-day, week-to-week lives?” One example of that is talking about the cost of groceries, Carter says. “You’re learning these concepts that, as an adult, you’ll find are directly related to money,” he says.

With his first three children, Moul didn’t talk money until they were in their late teens, though he did expect them to do chores for an allowance and set them up with savings accounts. When he got remarried and had kids again, Moul was eager to start their financial education earlier. One of his priorities was to show them the power of compounding, and how they can have more in the bank simply by putting their money in the right place. “The main thing that I’m trying to get across–even to the younger employees I have–is the earlier you start, the better,” he says.

TEACHING FINANCIAL HABITS WITHOUT THE BURDEN

Some parents are wary of talking money with their children because they fear making them feel like they need to worry about family finances.Simone Oppenheimer says of her parents, who were the children of immigrants, “I think that there’s kind of a trend in that first-generation Americans felt like they put a lot of burden on their parents, watching them work so hard and try to provide for large families. Our parents tried to shield us from that burden.” They projected financial security and didn’t expose their kids to financial struggles or limit their opportunities, Oppenheimer argues. When she attended a private college, Oppenheimer says, she didn’t fully grasp the cost of her education, and how much of a dent that put in her parents’ finances.

Though her kids are young (both below the age of 7), Oppenheimer seeks to familiarize them with financial realities, albeit without overloading them. “I went to a Jewish private school, and my kids do as well,” she says. “I’m much more transparent about the fact that they go to a school that costs money.” If her children ask why a friend has something that they don’t, she explains that she values certain things–their schooling, for example, or healthy food–and prioritizes putting money toward that. Oppenheimer has already seen her kids internalize some of those lessons. When she took her children to the grocery store recently, her son put part of his $5 allowance toward buying oranges and contributing to their groceries. (“I’m going to buy two oranges to help you,” he said.) “He’s realizing that it’s helpful, and money means something–and that mommy earns what we use,” Oppenheimer says. “He didn’t do it in a way that was guilty or that he should help me. He was proud of himself for his contribution.”

Oppenheimer has also tried to be cognizant of giving both her children the same financial education. Many parents make the mistake of encouraging their daughters to save and not take financial risks, while teaching their sons to invest and build wealth. Some even help normalize the workplace pay gap by modeling it in their own homes, paying daughters less than they do boys for comparable work–in this scenario, chores–or their allowance. “I have a boy and a girl, and it’s always really interesting to see the differences there,” she says. “I’m finding myself in my own biases and trying to push through that–and making sure that I’m raising two strong, independent kids equally.”

Relieving some of the burden of personal finances includes illustrating where you can afford to spend a little. That’s why Katie taught her kids about the three buckets of savings: long term, mid-range, and “fun right now.” (Her youngest child had dubbed his mid-range savings pile the “Taylor Swift fund” while saving up money for concert tickets; the name stuck, though his enthusiasm for the singer did not.) “We’ve tried to teach them that saving is really important, but you also have to live your life,” she says. “You’ve got to have that fun stuff, too.”

PLANNING FOR COLLEGE

If there’s one reason to talk about money with your kids, it may well be this: As of last year, more than 44 million Americans are on the hook for more than $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. It’s no surprise that college–how to pay for it, whether to pay for it, what to expect of their children–is top of mind, even for parents of young kids. And in many cases, the choices parents make around paying for college have to do with how much financial support they received from their parents.

For Oppenheimer, whose parents footed the majority of her private college tuition, her experience and the changing job market convinced her that her children don’t need the kind of financial assistance she had. “I decided that I’m not opening a college savings account for my kids,” she says. “I don’t see the need to go to a private college in this day and age, for all that money, when college is not necessarily worth as much in terms of your future as it once was.” Oppenheimer adds that had she been expected to pay for college beyond a nominal loan she took out, she would have made different decisions. “I think at that age, it’s important for kids to start understanding the implications of their decisions,” she says. “I don’t see the harm in having kids start saving for college or paying for it themselves. Maybe they’ll make smarter decisions and be more serious students if that’s the case.”

As a teacher herself, Katie has a similar take. “As a teacher, I see these kids going to these really expensive colleges,” she says. “I think it’s a shame right now in our society that the expectation is that you’re going to assume these loans.” When it came to her children, Katie set aside a fixed amount of money to put toward college; she sat down with each of them and laid out their finances and how much their savings would cover in terms of tuition. “We’ve tried to be very transparent with them,” she says. “I’m very debt averse. I try to instill that in them.”

But some parents want to give their children the financial support they didn’t have growing up. “[My parents] made it very clear that there was no way they were going to pay or even help pay for college,” Moul says. “Of the four of us, three of us did not go to college after high school. My second oldest sister did, and I’m amazed to this day that she pulled that off.” He ended up covering tuition for all three of his older children, though he did expect them to work during college and foot expenses like textbooks. “I wanted them to have a college education for sure, and if I could do it for them, I wanted to pay,” he says. “I also felt like if they’re going to go to college, let them focus on learning.”

Forde hopes to do the same for her kids, though she also expects them to contribute financially in some way. Her parents emigrated from Barbados and things were “very comfortable” when she was growing up. But her family’s financial situation changed when she was a preteen, and she ended up putting herself through school for most of college. She doesn’t want that for her kids.

“I want my children to have the experience of moving through the world and choosing the career and path that they love and that’s right for them–not just choosing a path that’s financially viable,” she says. “I want them to have some freedom and choice and less stress, frankly, associated with the climb from their academic life into their professional life. I would like them to be less stressed out about it than I have been.”

[“source=fastcompany”]

This Wellness Article Is Going Viral For All The Wrong Reasons

Image result for This Wellness Article Is Going Viral For All The Wrong Reasons

Trump. Brexit. Climate change. It’s only two weeks into 2019 and we’ve already had spiders falling from the sky.

It’s understandable to crave a little bit of self-care, a trend clearly reflected in our Internet histories. Search results for “wellness” has almost doubled over the past 10 years, with a particularly noticeable spike in February 2017.

But while we credit the wellness movement for encouraging people to prioritize their mental wellbeing, we have to admit, at a certain point, it goes way too far. That point is gushing about the life-changing benefits of hyperbaric oxygen chambers, human chargers, and pink coconut water. Because white coconut water, apparently, is just not hydrating enough.

These are just a few of the frankly bizarre wellness practices mentioned in a recent Times article, which has gone viral for all the wrong best reasons.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Sarah@sbl1976

There’s a “wellness” article in The Times today that has finally convinced me the people won’t live longer it’ll just feel like it. Look how BUSY these 3 are, all before 9am

12K

2:52 PM – Jan 12, 2019
4,163 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Sarah@sbl1976
Replying to @sbl1976

My favourite is the dude who thinks we are blessed because Pret sell charcoal

1,797

2:55 PM – Jan 12, 2019
292 people are talking about this
Twitter Ads info and privacy

Not all of the suggestions made in the article are too wild (think: green smoothies and blue-light blocking shades), but others make Goop’s hormone-regulating jade eggs sound vaguely plausible. Take, for example, nail beds, quartz crystals, and salt lamps said to absorb radioactivity.

One person recalls going barefoot to receive electrons from the Earth.

ɴᴀᴛᴀʟɪᴇ ✈ London, Zurich@ScarletCatalie
Replying to @sbl1976 @WordMercenary

Sure are a lot of Brand Names going on for being in touch with one’s self

Robbie D. Keyring@rdkieran

Now available: Electrons™ by The Earth

584

5:54 PM – Jan 12, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy
See Robbie D. Keyring’s other Tweets

Another respondent reports waking up extra early to ensure he has time to rehydrate, meditate, and, erm, re-charge with his HumanCharger before heading off to work. These sleek-looking devices promise to increase energy levels and mood and prevent jet lag by channeling a bright light through your ears, straight to the light-sensitive areas of the brain. It receives mixed reviews on Amazon and the science is murky at best, as one Guardian reviewer puts it. Experts suggest it works just as well as a placebo.

Lily@LilyMWrites
Replying to @sbl1976 @mushenska

I just can’t get past the HumanCharger. A BED is a human charger!

592

4:22 PM – Jan 12, 2019
Twitter Ads info and privacy
19 people are talking about this
[“source=iflscience”]

This Startup’s New Passenger Drone Is ‘Like a Flight Simulator That You Can Ride In,’ CEO Says

This Startup's New Passenger Drone Is 'Like a Flight Simulator That You Can Ride In,' CEO Says

If Matt Chasen gets his way, there will be a time – in the not-so-distant future – when commuters are able to order an air taxi that whisks them across town in minutes, bypassing traffic-clogged streets below.

For now, however, the chief executive of LIFT Aircraft will have to use his start-up’s electric-powered vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft, the Hexa, for something else: 15-minute flights across a lake outside Austin, Texas, for $249 (roughly Rs. 17,300) a pop.

Though the flights will target a recreational crowd, Chasen sees them as a steppingstone to a new form of convenient urban transportation.

“Today’s regulatory environment does not allow for a transportation use of these aircraft – yet,” said Chasen, a former Boeing engineer with a background in mechanical and aerospace engineering. “We’ll build public trust in the technology. Once that happens, it’s inevitable that people will want to use it for certain types of commuting flights.”

It may take years, Chasen said, but the payoff could be immense, as the race to create autonomous flying vehicles begins, with companies such as Uber, Airbus and Volocopter already developing them.

Unlike with conventional aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration does not require a pilot’s license to operate a “powered ultralight” craft. The agency’s rules require instead that ultralights operate during daylight hours in open areas and limit their use to sport and recreation.

To operate the Hexa, Chasen said, customers will undergo an orientation that includes watching safety videos and training in a virtual-reality simulator for up to an hour. A basic proficiency test will follow, then preflight checks with ground support.

The drone-like aircraft – which is controlled using a joystick in the cockpit and stabilized by a flight computer – weighs 432 pounds, seats one person, and has 18 sets of propellers, motors and batteries. Prospective pilots have to weigh less than 250 pounds. During flight, Chasen said, pilots can see safety information on an augmented-reality display inside the aircraft. In the event of an emergency, he said, flight controllers can take over the aircraft and fly it remotely like a drone. Chasen compared the flying experience to “a flight simulator that you can ride in.”

The aircraft can travel just over 60 mph at top speed and includes air-cushioned floats, allowing it to land on water if necessary.

“Unlike traditional helicopters, you don’t need great skill to fly the Hexa,” he said. “If you completely let go of the joystick, the aircraft just hovers in GPS position hold. It’s programmed so that if battery levels get down to a certain level, the aircraft will automatically return to the launch site.”

LIFT hopes to begin offering flights over a popular lake outside Austin next year. The company announced last week that it is also considering 25 cities across the country for other “aircraft hubs,” which would be located near tourist destinations and entertainment areas. Though the cities have yet to be named, the company is already accepting reservations.

“I could envision a Lift location right from a pier on the Seattle waterfront,” Chasen told GeekWire.

Chasen said he doesn’t think the FAA will certify vertical-takeoff-and-landing aircraft for commercial transportation until they’re proved safe. Once that happens, he said, a new wave of alternative transportation is likely to quickly emerge.

In five to 10 years, he predicts, aircraft like the Hexa will play a very different role in urban environments, becoming an “alternative to driving” for certain types of trips.

“I think we will be one option among many if it’s rush hour, and you can fly for 10 minutes as opposed to driving for 90 minutes,” Chasen said. “It think it’ll be a niche thing to start out, but at some point, it won’t be surprising to see aircraft taking off from rooftops in cities on a regular basis.”

[“source-ndtv”]