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What You Should Know About Megaprojects and Why: An Overview by Bent Flyvbjerg :: SSRN
“This paper takes stock of megaproject management, an emerging and hugely costly field of study. First, it answers the question of how large megaprojects are by measuring them in the units mega, giga, and tera, concluding we are presently entering a new "tera era" of trillion-dollar projects. Second, total global megaproject spending is assessed, at USD 6-9 trillion annually, or 8 percent of total global GDP, which denotes the biggest investment boom in human history. Third, four "sublimes" – political, technological, economic, and aesthetic – are identified to explain the increased size and frequency of megaprojects. Fourth, the "iron law of megaprojects" is laid out and documented: Over budget, over time, over and over again. Moreover, the "break-fix model" of megaproject management is introduced as an explanation of the iron law. Fifth, Albert O. Hirschman's theory of the Hiding Hand is revisited and critiqued as unfounded and corrupting for megaproject thinking in both the academy and policy. Sixth, it is shown how megaprojects are systematically subject to "survival of the unfittest," explaining why the worst projects get built instead of the best. Finally, it is argued that the conventional way of managing megaprojects has reached a "tension point," where tradition is challenged and reform is emerging.”
sublimes  scale  via:shashasha  megaprojects  politics  breakfix  management  projectmanagement  technology 
22 minutes ago
Her rapist was convicted because of a rape kit. So why are so many kits untested? | KUOW News and Information
“Ohio also invested heavily in new robotics to process dozens of samples at once and save scientists from repetitive manual tasks, such as sucking up and squeezing out drops of chemicals with pipettes. “The robots do about three times the amount of work that an individual scientist could do,” Slaper said. The improvements doubled the work they were able to do in five years, she said.”
cfasummit  codeforamerica  criminaljustice 
19 hours ago
Americans Own Less Stuff, and That’s Reason to Be Nervous - Bloomberg
"Some social problems are blatantly obvious in daily life, while others are longer-term, more corrosive and perhaps mostly invisible. Lately I’ve been worrying about a problem of the latter kind: the erosion of personal ownership and what that will mean for our loyalties to traditional American concepts of capitalism and private property."
tylercowen  ownership  capitalism  markets  america  economics  libertarianism  property  privateproperty  access  renting 
22 hours ago
People are averse to machines making moral decisions - ScienceDirect
"Do people want autonomous machines making moral decisions? Nine studies suggest that that the answer is ‘no’—in part because machines lack a complete mind. Studies 1–6 find that people are averse to machines making morally-relevant driving, legal, medical, and military decisions, and that this aversion is mediated by the perception that machines can neither fully think nor feel. Studies 5–6 find that this aversion exists even when moral decisions have positive outcomes. Studies 7–9 briefly investigate three potential routes to increasing the acceptability of machine moral decision-making: limiting the machine to an advisory role (Study 7), increasing machines’ perceived experience (Study 8), and increasing machines’ perceived expertise (Study 9). Although some of these routes show promise, the aversion to machine moral decision-making is difficult to eliminate. This aversion may prove challenging for the integration of autonomous technology in moral domains including medicine, the law, the military, and self-driving vehicles."
research  ai  decisionmaking  morals  ethics  via:marginalrevolution 
22 hours ago
SSC Survey Results: ADHD And Rejection Sensitivity | Slate Star Codex
“Dr. William Dodson pushes a different conception, where one of the key features of ADHD is “rejection-sensitive dysphoria”, ie people with the condition are much less able to tolerate social rejection, and more likely to find it unbearable and organize their lives around avoiding it. He doesn’t deny the attention and focus symptoms; he just thinks that rejection sensitivity needs to be considered a key part of the disorder.”
research  adhd  slatestarcodex  effect  dodson  invalidation  survey  rejection 
yesterday
Waterfall 2006 - International Conference on Sequential Development
“After years of being disparaged by some in the software development community, the waterfall process is back with a vengeance. You've always known a good waterfall-based process is the right way to develop software projects. Come to the Waterfall 2006 conference and see how a sequential development process can benefit your next project. Learn how slow, deliberate handoffs (with signatures!) between groups can slow the rate of change on any project so that development teams have more time to spend on anticipating user needs through big, upfront design.” - this is amazing! via Leigh Honeywell (also parody obvs)
humour  via:leighhoneywell  parody  software  conference  agile  projectmanagement  waterfall 
yesterday
Opinion | Rules Won’t Save Twitter. Values Will. - The New York Times
"While principles and rules will help in an open platform, it is values that Mr. Dorsey should really be talking about. By values, I mean a code that requires making hard choices — curating your offerings, which was something Apple got made fun of for doing, back when it launched the App Store, by the open-is-best crowd. Let me say that I have nothing but admiration for the long-suffering trust and safety team at Twitter, which has been tasked with the Sisyphean job of controlling humanity and scaling civility, armed only with some easily gamed and capriciously enforced rules. How are these people supposed to do that when the company has provided them with no firm set of values?"
values  humanism  siliconvalley  karaswisher  research  up-to-us 
6 days ago
Finding Local Destinations with Siri’s Regionally Specific Language Models for Speech Recognition - Apple
This article describes how we met that challenge, improving Siri’s ability to recognize names of local POIs by incorporating knowledge of the user’s location into our speech recognition system. Customized language models that take the user’s location into account are known as geolocation-based language models (Geo-LMs). These models enable Siri to better estimate the user’s intended sequence of words by using not only the information provided by the acoustic model and a general LM (like in standard ASR) but also information about the POIs in the user’s surroundings.
siri  machinelearning  voicerecognition  apple  geolocatedmodel  geolocation 
6 days ago
BBC Ten Pieces – The Firebird | Nick Barnes Puppets
This giant firebird puppet was created for the BBC Ten Pieces prom at the Royal Albert Hall. It soared gracefully into the arena accompanied by the beautiful music of the Finale from Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite.
firebird  stravinsky  bbc  proms  ten  pieces 
6 days ago
Mary Robinette Kowal and Robyn Bennis on Anxiety, Representation, and Fearless Women | Bookish
“In The Calculating Stars, you have introduced representation that speaks to me, and that is how Elma can face a life-threatening crisis and be completely focused and completely on task without a thought towards anxiety or nervousness. But then she walks into a crowded room and she loses it because she has the classic signs of social anxiety, which I also happen to have. I would like to thank you, first of all, for showing that you can be fearless in some ways and not in others—it’s not a monolith.”
8 days ago
NOTICE OF INTENT TO SOLE SOURCE - Airborne High-Powered Microwave (HPM) Counter Unmanned Aircraft System (CUAS) Delivery, Development and Support - Federal Business Opportunities: Opportunities
“The Government intends to solicit and negotiate with Lockheed Martin (CAGE Code 64059), located at 1701 W Marshall Drive, Grand Prairie, TX 75051-2704 for high-powered-microwave (HPM) based airborne counter unmanned aircraft systems (CUAS), including the necessary development, integration and support required to meet the government's performance requirements to field UASs with payloads capable of negating adversary UAS in in a timely and efficient manner. Unmanned aircraft system payloads under consideration include explosives, nets, entanglers/streamers, and high-powered-microwave (HPM) sources.”
9 days ago
Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity | Nature
“Until now, no technology compatible with use in unrestrained animals has combined high spatiotemporal resolution with large volume coverage. Here we design, fabricate and test a new silicon probe known as Neuropixels to meet this need. Each probe has 384 recording channels that can programmably address 960 complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) processing-compatible low-impedance TiN6 sites that tile a single 10-mm long, 70 × 20-μm cross-section shank. The 6 × 9-mm probe base is fabricated with the shank on a single chip. Voltage signals are filtered, amplified, multiplexed and digitized on the base, allowing the direct transmission of noise-free digital data from the probe. The combination of dense recording sites and high channel count yielded well-isolated spiking activity from hundreds of neurons per probe implanted in mice and rats. Using two probes, more than 700 well-isolated single neurons were recorded simultaneously from five brain structures in an awake mouse.”
recording  neuropixels  highresolution  nature  spatiotemporal 
9 days ago
‘Neuropixels’ Expand Access to the Brain | Simons Foundation
The leap in recording capacity comes from novel chip design, the result of a partnership between scientists and chip designers. As SCGB noted in a story in April (“Coming Soon: Routine Recording From Thousands of Neurons”), most electrode arrays are built in academic foundries and house 64 sensors in a 1,050-square-micron device. Neuropixels were designed and manufactured in a foundry called Imec, owned by the Flemish government. The Imec probe packs nearly 1,000 recording sites onto a single shank about 1,400 microns square and 10 millimeters long, which spans the full depth of a rat brain.
neuroscience  recording  neuropixels 
9 days ago
Systems Neuroscience Is About to Get Bonkers | Simons Foundation
Two advances are making the impending data surge an important issue to address now. The first is the advent of widely available, low-cost recording technologies that are easy to use, such as the Neuropixels probes. These probes promise high neuron count, high temporal resolution measurements that experimentalists can quickly and easily deploy in a wide number of animal models. They can be combined with optical imaging to study neural activity across the brain and over time.
neuroscience  neuropixels  recording  deeplearning 
9 days ago
Information Civics
DECONSTRUCTING THE POWER STRUCTURES OF LARGE-SCALE SOCIAL COMPUTING NETWORKS
10 days ago
SALT 28 @ MIT
“Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT) is the premier North American conference on semantics as a part of linguistic theory.”
academic  conference  linguistics  semantics  america  mit 
10 days ago
New Aphasia Study Finds Empty Fullness Brokered Yellow Ideas Happily
“SAN FRANCISCO—Signaling a major breakthrough in the field of round electric pungent brick merriment, a new aphasia study released by the University of California, San Francisco’s Department of Integrative Neuroscience Wednesday found that empty fullness brokered yellow ideas happily.” - The Onion, perfect, again.
aphasia  linguistics  theonion  humour 
10 days ago
Anatomy of a Comparative Illusion | Journal of Semantics | Oxford Academic
“Comparative constructions like More people have been to Russia than I have are reported to be acceptable and meaningful by native speakers of English; yet, upon closer reflection, they are judged to be incoherent. This mismatch between initial perception and more considered judgment challenges the idea that we perceive sentences veridically, and interpret them fully; it is thus potentially revealing about the relationship between grammar and language processing. This paper presents the results of the first detailed investigation of these so-called ‘comparative illusions’”
eschersentence  tenplatematching  acceptability  wellformed  comparativeillusion  predictiveprocessing  grammar  escher  semantics  linguistics 
10 days ago
Closed Loophole Confirms the Unreality of the Quantum World | Quanta Magazine
“Chaves’s team then proposed a twist to Wheeler’s experiment to test the loophole. With unusual alacrity, three teams raced to do the modified experiment. Their results, reported in early June, have shown that a class of classical models that advocate realism cannot make sense of the results. Quantum mechanics may be weird, but it’s still, oddly, the simplest explanation around.”
11 days ago
How Technology Grows (a Restatement of Definite Optimism)
“I submit that we have two big biases when we talk about technology. First, we think about it too much in terms of tools and recipes, when really we should think about it more in terms of process knowledge and technical experience. Second, most of us focus too much on the digital world and not enough on the industrial world. Our obsession with the digital world has pushed our expectation of the technological future in the direction of cyberpunk dystopia; I hope instead that we can look forward to a joyful vision of the technological future, driven by advances in industry.”
11 days ago
Creativity at the Knowledge Frontier: The Impact of Specialization in Fast- and Slow-paced Domains - Florenta Teodoridis, Michaël Bikard, Keyvan Vakili, 2018
“We show that generalist scientists performed best when the pace of change was slower and their ability to draw from diverse knowledge domains was an advantage in the field, but specialists gained advantage when the pace of change increased and their deeper expertise allowed them to use new knowledge created at the knowledge frontier.”
11 days ago
Why does tech have so many political problems? - Marginal REVOLUTION
“9. The media increasingly hates tech. (In part because tech is such a threat, in part because of a deeper C.P. Snow-style cultural mismatch.)”
11 days ago
A new digital divide: Young people who can’t use keyboards:The Asahi Shimbun
“The reason is clear. As smartphones have become extremely convenient, a growing number of students have never laid their hands on a personal computer.”
11 days ago
Meet Sphinx: The 30-Year-Old Soviet Smart Home Concept - Soviet Visuals
Named the Sphinx Station, with ‘Sphinx’ in Russian serving as an abbreviation for Short for Super Functional Integrated Communicative System, the system was designed by Azrikan in 1987 in collaboration with A.Kolotushkin and V. Goessen, following an assignment from the Soviet State Committee for Science and Technology to create a ‘revolutionary computer’
11 days ago
Performing meaningless rituals boosts our self-control through making us feel more self-disciplined – Research Digest
“It appears that rituals really can boost self-control. Participants who enacted a pre-eating ritual reported significantly lower calorie consumption than those who attempted to be mindful about what they ate.”
12 days ago
Are ethical asymmetries from property rights? | Meteuphoric
Something something these intuitions may apply only in certain cultural contexts (ie: westhem late-capitalism neo-liberal), so check if these intuitions existed in other historical societies
12 days ago
Inadequate Equilibria vs. Governance of the Commons
“In reality, there's a broad continuous multi-dimensional range of policy options. The villagers can split the land into private and public parts. They can spend more on law enforcement. They can police each another. They can limit the usage of common resource based on effort spent maintaining it. They can use rotational allocation of land, or maybe a lottery. And so on and so forth. But it's even more complex than that. It not just policies that determine the outcome. The nature and the particularities of the resource itself may determine the optimal policy.”
governance  commons  coordination  via:slatestarcodex  sharedinterest  fieldstudy  economics 
12 days ago
Brains May Teeter Near Their Tipping Point | Quanta Magazine
“If the brain were extremely subcritical, according to Beggs, incoming signals would get damped and have no impact. “It would be like trying to talk to someone who is asleep or drunk,” he said. In a supercritical brain, incoming signals would get lost in a frenzy of electrical activity, and the effect would be like trying to talk to a seizure victim. Beggs and others argue that the neural network is most sensitive to incoming signals at the critical point. There, a chain of active neurons allows information to spread from one brain area to another without dying out prematurely or exploding.”
via:slatestarcodex 
12 days ago
The faces of God in America: Revealing religious diversity across people and politics
“We use reverse correlation to understand how a representative sample of American Christians visualize the face of God, which we argue is indicative of how believers think about God’s mind. In contrast to historical depictions, Americans generally see God as young, Caucasian, and loving, but perceptions vary by believers’ political ideology and physical appearance. Liberals see God as relatively more feminine, more African American, and more loving than conservatives, who see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. All participants see God as similar to themselves on attractiveness, age, and, to a lesser extent, race. These differences are consistent with past research showing that people’s views of God are shaped by their group-based motivations and cognitive biases.”
via:slatestarcodex 
12 days ago
Towards a welcoming Web - Speaker Deck
“This talk will set the necessary context for an inclusive design practice, focusing on accessibility and equality. We'll learn how to foster a user-experience focused culture, no matter whether you're a developer, designer, project or business owner. You will leave inspired to build a better Web for everyone.”
12 days ago
Did a Fan Just Find Proof of Quantum Leap's Secret Lost Ending? 
“You’ll come back. Anyone who came back from Vietnam can come back from anywhere.”
12 days ago
From Territorial to Functional Sovereignty: The Case of Amazon – Law and Political Economy
“In this and later posts, I want to explain how this shift from territorial to functional sovereignty is creating a new digital political economy. Amazon’s rise is instructive. As Lina Khan explains, “the company has positioned itself at the center of e-commerce and now serves as essential infrastructure for a host of other businesses that depend upon it.” The “everything store” may seem like just another service in the economy—a virtual mall. But when a firm combines tens of millions of customers with a “marketing platform, a delivery and logistics network, a payment service, a credit lender, an auction house…a hardware manufacturer, and a leading host of cloud server space,” as Khan observes, it’s not just another shopping option.”
sovereignty  platform  digital  government  economics 
14 days ago
The internet fuels conspiracy theories – but not in the way you might imagine
“rather than increasing belief in conspiracy theories generally, the internet plays a crucial role in fostering distinct and polarised online communities among conspiracy believers. Believers share their opinions and “evidence” with other believers but are less willing to share with people who are critical of conspiracy theories. So with the internet, conspiracy groups become more homogeneous and their beliefs become even stronger over time.”
homogenous  culturalepidemiology  culture  internet  segregation  via:tomstafford  monoculture  conspiracytheories  community  hygiene 
14 days ago
Of Gods and Platypuses: Is There a Science of Culture? - Scientific American Blog Network
“These insights are being used to investigate and understand a wide range of cultural domains. Perhaps the most well-known (but certainly not the only example) is the finding gods and other supernatural entities tend to have the character of being minimally counterintuitive. Supernatural beings have to have some qualities that distinguish them from ordinary humans, but they are otherwise quite familiar. The god in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal is omniscient (that’s why the character asks the difficult question about the platypus) but it also speaks English. Being counterintuitive makes such ideas attention-gabbing, and being only minimally so makes them easy to represent and remember. Put these two properties together and you have something that’s just as appealing to the mind as the common cold is infectious to the body.”
epidemiology  psychology  anthropology  demos  culture  logos  culturalepidemiology  epi 
14 days ago
‘Somebody hit the wrong button’: Thousands in Shasta Lake city were evacuated accidentally, sheriff says | The Sacramento Bee
“There was an overreach in the evacuation order into the city of Shasta Lake, because sometimes a mouse click can extend an area into the map,” he said. “There still was concern for the possibility of a safety threat, although not an imminent one for Shasta Lake.”
14 days ago
Points-Obsessed Travelers Are Terrified of Losing Perks - Bloomberg
"The most coveted customers at any hotel are those who travel most, which tends to mean management consultants, bankers, and assorted spreadsheet jockeys. These professional optimizers happen to be the people most disposed toward arbitraging the last bit of personal benefit out of their expense accounts."
bloomberg  rewards  loyaltyprograms  loyalty  starwood  marriott  merger  arbitrage  currency  business  travel 
14 days ago
The Bullshit Web — Pixel Envy
What’s the web’s equivalent to David Graeber’s _Bullshit Jobs_?
platforms  johngraeber  internet  economics  digital  via:daringfireball  bullshit  nickheer 
14 days ago
An Important (And Difficult) Announcement Regarding Kuri's Future
"To all of our Kuri fans, we are crushed to let you know that effective today, Mayfield Robotics will pause operations as we evaluate the company’s path forward. Sadly, our Kuri manufacturing will cease, and the Kuri robots that have been made will not ship to customers. All pre-order deposits will be refunded to our customers."
incrediblejourney  home  robotics  kuri  mayfieldrobotics  bosch  via:ieeespectrum 
15 days ago
Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Prepare to Visit the International Space Station - IEEE Spectrum
"Two possible successors to NASA’s space shuttle are scheduled to visit the International Space Station in August, in their last big step before they transport humans."
crewedspaceflight  starliner  dragon  spacex  boeing  iss  station  nasa 
15 days ago
For Some Reason, These Quantum Mechanics Toys Didn’t Catch On - IEEE Spectrum
"Gauvin invited some other physicists to play with the cubes and help deduce how they were used, but it wasn’t until he found a few papers in the Papaliolios archives at Harvard that he started to understand them. The aluminum blocks were open on each end, and a polarized filter was fitted inside. Shining a light through a block, or series of blocks, yielded one of two states: The light passed through or it didn’t."
quantumphysics  pedagogy  toys  papert  gauvin  ieee  julianschwinger  physics  CostasPapaliolios 
15 days ago
People can tell standard and high resolution audio apart at a rate slightly better than chance | Useful Science
Also, a reminder that humans can detect individual photons(!) and---another reference that I can't remember about skin sensitivity.
15 days ago
Fred Turner: Silicon Valley Thinks Politics Doesn’t Exist - 032c
"But a nudge infrastructure that changes my desire such that I desire a red Popsicle, not a green Popsicle – that’s different. Once it starts to change so that I desire a baby made with brown hair, because we need more babies with brown hair, what happens then? You can walk down that line very quickly."
032c  interview  via:gsvoss  siliconvalley  fredturner  ethics  technology  politics 
15 days ago
The Decline and Fall of the American Empire - Bloomberg
“Here’s the cleanest tale of hypothetical decline I could come up with, keeping away from the more partisan or hysterical scenarios, or those involving a catastrophic deus ex machina.”
16 days ago
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