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    Daily Digest 8/13 – Global Oil Supply Could Become “Very Challenging,” When Bots Teach Themselves To Cheat

    by DailyDigest

    Monday, August 13, 2018, 2:38 PM


How Capitalist Utopia Became Everyone Else’s Dystopia (Afridev)

Why didn’t Europe’s “labour share of income” — that is, how much regular people receive— decline, like in the States? The simple answer, of course, is “more social democracy, and less capitalism.” But what does that mean? It means that European structures and institutions are radically different from American ones — so different, that many Americans have little idea such things even exist.

Fact-checking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s media blitz (tmn)

Several readers have asked us to vet some of her claims and, because of summer vacation schedules, we’ve been a bit slower to follow up than our fact-checking colleagues. So here’s a quick roundup of some of her recent eyebrow-raising claims, though to be fair to Ocasio-Cortez, the average member of Congress might easily make many bloopers over the course of so many live interviews.

When Bots Teach Themselves To Cheat (blackeagle)

Gaming simulations are fertile ground for bug hunting. Earlier this year, researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany challenged a bot to score big in the Atari game Qbert. Instead of playing through the levels like a sweaty-palmed human, it invented a complicated move to trigger a flaw in the game, unlocking a shower of ill-gotten points. “Today’s algorithms do what you say, not what you meant,” says Catherine Olsson, a researcher at Google who has contributed to Krakovna’s list and keeps her own private zoo of AI bugs.

South Africa risks ‘Zimbabwe-style land chaos’ (thc0655)

During a session held this week in Cape Town’s Goodwood suburb one woman representing the South African Homeless People’s Association said: “Twenty-four years of liberal democracy [has] increased poverty.

“The masses are worse off because of the willing-buyer-willing-seller principle.”

Human Zombies Unaware Of The Real World (Thomas R.)

They’ll start tapping on the screen in the middle of dinner with family. They’ll mess with it while watching TV. And even after satisfying the most basic of human requirements, it still won’t go away. “Oh was it good for you, honey? Great, you nap, I’m gonna check my facebook…”

If they can think of any inappropriate, awkward time to stare at their little screen and tap on their little itty, bitty keys, they will. Because their PRECIOUS compels them.

Financial Advice for Preppers (thc0655)

Begin living and spending as if a financial collapse is right around the corner, because it just might be. I do not mean to ban Christmas and birthdays, but to live as frugally as possible, celebrating every dime saved and resource used wisely in order to beef up your bank accounts, and your commodity stockpiles.

Increase your spending and reduce both household and major debt to the furthest extent possible to increase your survival buying power. Live debt free or as close to it as you can manage to decrease the amount of bills you’ll have to pay during a financial crisis or when hyperinflation emerges as one of the domino effects of a doomsday disaster.

The Big Cycle Pt. 2 (Jesper A.)

Improvement is a spectre, one evident in Heilbroner, in Kant but also in Norbert Elias/ Karl Mannheim(less so in Popper who has trouble with it), Bell on the other hand is sceptical, and our spectre is anti-progress perhaps, disimprovement. The coinage of phrases allows for the scientific expression; disimprovements of scale. This perspective is decidedly sceptical, civilisation as threat not cure. It is true in Tolkien we see a hatred of Islam, but the orcs are also the Romans, in a happy mélange of histories. We have much to learn yet from Tolkiens contra-factual tale about dragons and mystical mountains.

Global Oil Supply Could Become “Very Challenging” (Michael S.)

The demand side of the equation has also slowed, a development that is just as significant. In the first quarter of 2018, demand grew at a staggering 1.8 million-barrel-per-day rate. But that has slowed dramatically to just 1 mb/d in the second and third quarters. The IEA said part of the reason for the drop off is that the figure for the second and third quarters is compared to year-ago figures that were rather high, which makes the increase for this year look less impressive. In OECD Europe, demand in the second quarter actually declined year-on-year.

Ground Zero of Amphibian ‘Apocalypse’ Finally Found (Paul D.)

Now, a global team of 58 researchers has uncovered the creature’s origin story. A groundbreaking study published in Science on Thursday reveals where and when the fungus most likely emerged: the Korean peninsula, sometime during the 1950s.

From there, scientists theorize that human activities inadvertently spread it far and wide—leading to amphibian die-offs across the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

Lawrence Wilkerson: The Travails of Empire @ Lone Star College Kingwood (from 2015, Paul D.)

Lawrence Wilkerson gave a most prescient speech on the demise of the United States Empire. He gave the speech in the belly of the very Republican Conservative town, Kingwood, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Having a Lawrence Wilkerson, a devout Republican, justifiably admonish his Party plethora of bad acts was shocking to many Republicans in the audience.

Evolutionary Dead Ends (Paul D.)

2017 set a global record for the most skyscrapers built in a single year and 2018 is predicted to eclipse it. The fossil fuel energy spent to construct those concrete and steel buildings translates into a melting cryosphere. Not to mention the fact that the carbon footprint of some of the world’s biggest cities is 60% bigger than previously estimated. “Renewable energy” still only comprises a tiny fraction of global energy consumption and plans for a total transition will take decades, if it’s even possible. Any growth in ‘renewable energy’ has been offset by increased consumption of fossil fuels in the developing world. 2017 marked a new record high in CO2 emissions with 2018 set to break that record. Global CO2 emissions have yet to peak, and the UN has warned that we are on course for a 3C world.

Gold & Silver

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