Jason Treit
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New paint colors invented by neural network

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So if you’ve ever picked out paint, you know that every infinitesimally different shade of blue, beige, and gray has its own descriptive, attractive name. Tuscan sunrise, blushing pear, Tradewind, etc… There are in fact people who invent these names for a living. But given that the human eye can see millions of distinct colors, sooner or later we’re going to run out of good names. Can AI help?

For this experiment, I gave the neural network a list of about 7,700 Sherwin-Williams paint colors along with their RGB values. (RGB = red, green, and blue color values) Could the neural network learn to invent new paint colors and give them attractive names?

One way I have of checking on the neural network’s progress during training is to ask it to produce some output using the lowest-creativity setting. Then the neural network plays it safe, and we can get an idea of what it has learned for sure.

By the first checkpoint, the neural network has learned to produce valid RGB values - these are colors, all right, and you could technically paint your walls with them. It’s a little farther behind the curve on the names, although it does seem to be attempting a combination of the colors brown, blue, and gray.

By the second checkpoint, the neural network can properly spell green and gray. It doesn’t seem to actually know what color they are, however.

Let’s check in with what the more-creative setting is producing.

…oh, okay.

Later in the training process, the neural network is about as well-trained as it’s going to be (perhaps with different parameters, it could have done a bit better - a lot of neural network training involves choosing the right training parameters). By this point, it’s able to figure out some of the basic colors, like white, red, and grey:

Although not reliably.

In fact, looking at the neural network’s output as a whole, it is evident that:

  1. The neural network really likes brown, beige, and grey.
  2. The neural network has really really bad ideas for paint names.
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gazuga
9 days ago
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DONDARF
Edmonton
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/u/Podbaydoorbell on What is slowly gaining popularity that most people don't know about yet?

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Polishing your elbows with yak fat and a piece of shark skin.

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gazuga
11 days ago
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Every morning.
Edmonton
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Lyft and Waymo Reach Deal to Collaborate on Self-Driving Cars

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Mike Isaac, writing for The New York Times:

Waymo, the self-driving car unit that operates under Google’s parent company, has signed a deal with the ride-hailing start-up Lyft, according to two people familiar with the agreement who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The deal calls for the companies to work together to bring autonomous vehicle technology into the mainstream through pilot projects and product development efforts, these people said.

The deal was confirmed by Lyft and Waymo.

Who knows, maybe Google would have made this same deal with Lyft even in the alternate universe where Uber didn’t steal Google’s tech. But it sure looks like Uber has made a powerful enemy.

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gazuga
12 days ago
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I'm curious how long past the pilot phase it would make sense for Lyft and Waymo to stay partners. Hell, Lyft could go broke a decade before level 5 autonomy is even a thing.

Long run, too, does Google want to be in the business of running physical fleets? That's outside their wheelhouse even if they invent a lot of the key technologies that fleets end up using (jury's out). And how much market power could an Uber or a Lyft hope to have when their suppliers are literally networked computers? And what's the role of automakers if they don't own the keys to autonomy? Dying to know where the linchpins are in this market.
Edmonton
satadru
12 days ago
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Has there been any doubt previous to this that Lyft's goal is to free-ride on Uber's asshole first strategy to the maximum extent possible?
New York, NY
the7roy
12 days ago
Good on them. The fact that anti-asshole sentiment can make someone else profitable gives me the greatest hope that capitalism isn't morally bankrupt. Hard to say from your words if we are in disagreement, but that's how I feel.
gazuga
12 days ago
Interestingly it was Lyft who pioneered ridesharing when Uber was only a black car service. UberX probably never ships if bylaws or state regulators shut down Lyft early.
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Podcast: how to prevent teen pregnancies? Start with a robotic pelvis.

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In a refurbished bank building in Wilmington, Delaware, there’s a small classroom. It has a projector, neon posters on the wall, and several tables with pairs of plastic model uteruses scattered across them.

A dozen or so clinicians have come here to learn how best to insert IUDs into these uteruses. Once they’ve practiced on the low-tech models at their desks, they can try out a more high-tech model in the back. It’s a robotic replica of the female pelvic area, complete with a vagina, cervix, and uterus, that groans in pain when an IUD is inserted incorrectly. The staff has named it “Joan.”

 Byrd Pinkerton/Vox
Sarah Kliff does her best to place an IUD in Joan’s mechanical uterus

The goal is to let the clinicians refine their technique on models like Joan instead of on real humans.

All of this — the classroom, the models, the training — is provided by Upstream USA, a nonprofit that launched in 2014 to help health clinics provide their patients with a wide range of birth control options. And they work with the whole clinic staff. While clinicians brush up on insertion, everyone else, from technicians to receptionists, learns how to answer questions about the various birth control methods, including IUDs.

IUDs are a type of LARC, or “long acting reversible contraceptives.” These are forms of birth control that you can put in once and leave in for months or even years. Research shows LARCs are way more effective at preventing pregnancy than birth control pills: 18 of every 100 sexually active women who rely on the pill become pregnant within a year. For women who use IUDs, fewer than one in 100 will become pregnant over the same time frame.

The work Upstream is doing, paired with a number of state and federal policies designed to make these LARCs more accessible, has helped to drive down abortion rates and teen pregnancy rates in several states. In Colorado, for example, a similar program led to a 42 percent drop in the teen abortion rate, and a 40 percent drop in the teen birth rate between 2009 and 2013.

But the policies that made these dramatic changes possible are under siege right now, and Upstream’s work will be impacted by them.

Sarah Kliff’s written about Upstream’s efforts before, but on this episode of Weeds in the Wild, we’ll give you an audio introduction to their work, and then we’ll talk about the policies that determine access to birth control: how they came to be, why they’ve been working so well, and what might happen if we change them.

If you have thoughts on this episode, please send them to us! Our address is weeds@vox.com

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gazuga
24 days ago
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Enjoyed this pod. Donated to upstream.org.
Edmonton
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The Trumpcare Butcher Block Celebration in Photos, Annotated

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It was a big day yesterday. Against the expectations of many, House Republicans were able to come back from a demoralizing defeat in March and pass a slightly revised version of their “American Health Care Act.” That is to say, repeal Obamcare and replace it with Trumpcare. After passing it with 217 votes, they partied, bigly.  Here’s a collection of photographs of the good times, annotated with the number of people who will lose their health care coverage in each representative’s district.

Click the “read more” link to see the full story where the photos are large enough to easily read the annotations.

Now, where do these numbers come from? First, let me give a huge, huge shout-out to Charles Gaba and his essential ACASignups.net website. People who follow this issue don’t need me to tell them about Gaba’s site. But if you don’t follow this number stuff that closely, Gaba is the guy on this. For years now he’s been an amazing resource for journalists, politicians, policy hands and more. (Gaba’s site is one of those amazing things about the Internet – one person, really just based on caring about an issue creates something of immense value to the whole society at really no direct benefit to himself.) For these particular numbers, here’s the sourcing: The Congressional Budget Office scored the original version of the AHCA in March. That’s the source for the 24 million lost coverage numbers. The Center for American Progress took the CBO numbers and crunched the numbers for individual states and districts using data from The Kaiser Foundation and the American Community Survey from the US Census Bureau. Gaba took that data and put them in very easy to read charts for every state and every district (because that’s just the kind of thing he does) and organized them so you can compare the impact of straight repeal and repeal and replacement with the AHCA.

Here’s an example of what it looks like. (Here’s the link to the page.)

Now, the AHCA which the House passed yesterday is not identical to the one scored by the CBO (the underlying analysis for these numbers) in March. But the changes are minor and they make the legislation less generous. So we are safe assuming the number of people losing coverage is the same or in all likelihood greater than the numbers listed here.

(All photos: Associated Press, with the exception of photo #2, credit: White House.gov)

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gazuga
24 days ago
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First they wrote their 2018 opponents' attack ads, now they're posing for them.
Edmonton
satadru
15 days ago
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New York, NY
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1 public comment
StunGod
23 days ago
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Fuck every single one of these assholes.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth

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gazuga
37 days ago
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Edmonton
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