Geek stuff

Informative articles about: The genetics of the BioNTech / Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine Lipids for mRNA vaccine delivery The vaccine supply chain

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Some time ago I saw this instructive video on computer science and artificial intelligence: This recent Vanity Fair article touches on some of the same questions, namely how you design a safety shutdown switch that the AI won’t trigger itself and won’t stop you from triggering. It quites Eliezer Yudkowsky: “How do you encode the […]

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In addition to aforementioned rules about internet and computer security (1, 2, 3, 4) it’s worth mentioning that security measures can create their own vulnerabilities. That’s true in terms of human systems. For instance, granting high-level powers to system administrators creates risks that they will exploit them deliberately or have their credentials stolen, or simply […]

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I have seen numerous accounts of how — when an artificial intelligence or machine learning system is given a human resource task in the hope it won’t perpetuate human biases — biases in the material used to train the AI lead to it replicating the discrimination. As The Economist recently noted, this can happen even […]

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The geeks get it:

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One computer security concern is that various insiders — including hardware and software manufacturers, and governments which may compel them to comply — will build back doors into their products to allow the security to be compromised. Doing this is a terrible idea. A back door put in for government surveillance or police use is […]

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I was being driven a little up the wall by biblatex rendering errors which referred to Unicode characters within my .bib database. First I learned that the degree-like symbol you get from typing option + 0 in Mac OS is actually the “Masculine Ordinal Indicator” and you should use Option + Shift + 8 for […]

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2012 tritium: 2019 tritium: Inside these tubes, quarks are changing their flavour from down to up as neutrons change to protons and hydrogen atoms turn to helium, emitting the electrons which make the tubes’ phosphor coatings visibly glow and antineutrinos.

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While finishing my dissertation remains my top priority, I also signed up for an amateur radio course being offered by the Toronto Amateur Radio Club. It’s something like ten 2-hour instructional sessions, followed by the federal government exam to get a basic certification and call sign. It should be an interesting way to spend a […]

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Most of the history of astronomy consists of observing electromagnetic radiation from outside our planet. That includes the light which shines off the sun and reflects from bodies in the solar system, as well as radio waves produced by phenomena around the universe including pulsars. Now that we also have neutrino detectors and gravitational wave […]

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