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  • posted a message on Sister Issues.
    Are any of her new friends cute? Cuz, y'know, there's an opening there.

    Spam infraction
    Posted in: Real-Life Advice
  • posted a message on Official Music Discussion Thread
    Quote from Cold Steel »
    Eyehategod is nothing like Anal ****. The former is sludge, and the latter is noisecore.

    Oh, I'm aware; I tend to associate them with each other, though, in my mind, since they <3 each other so much. My statement was supposed to be that AC aims to offend, not that they were a sludge act.

    Quote from Emo Last Year »
    I haven't actually heard The Coroner's Gambit, but if it's anything like All Hail West Texas I'm likely to agree

    I guess they're similar, insofar as most albums a given artist puts out will be similar, and if you liked All Hail West Texas, you'll probably like this one, but earlier pre-2002 Mountain Goats is not for every taste, so it's a gamble.
    Quote from IxidorVersionTwo »
    I'm surprised someone listed Eyehategod and Emperor as their favorite albums alongside Lil' Wayne. I understand if someone enjoys various extreme metal, alongside some rap. But out of all the rap/hip-hop there is... wow. But to each is his own, right?

    I didn't expect to like it when I bought it. I'm usually into more underground rap like Aesop Rock, Brother Ali, Cage, & Why?, but the album is just so over-the-top, you have to enjoy it.
    Posted in: Music
  • posted a message on Astrology in the US
    Surely it's not all that surprising that in a country as religious as ours, people are likely to believe in a wide variety of ********.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on I'm afraid of falling into the sky.
    The only time I've felt that was after eating an eighth of mushrooms, the downside of which being that, given my warped state of mind, it wasn't entirely clear to me that I wasn't actually falling into the sky. It seemed like a distinct possibility.
    Posted in: Talk and Entertainment
  • posted a message on A question about democracy
    Quote from Blinking Spirit »
    Cherry picking at its worst*. Let me provide a few more names:

    Abraham Lincoln
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    Roosevelt geared up the country for a war he knew was coming, building up ties with the Allies and laying the groundwork for mobilization, even though the country was largely isolationist (and anti-Semitic). And you think GWB was divisive? Lincoln's election started the Civil War. But both men were eventually vindicated by history for their decisions.

    To say nothing of the many uncontrovercially positive decisions by the Warren court which were, at the time of their issuance, widely unpopular.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    Quote from msun641 »

    Maybe we could include a jury for the sentencing part of a criminal trial as well as for cases of jury nullification. I think sentencing requires a bit of emotional input as do cases of nullification.

    The only problem would be minimum sentencing laws, in states where those exist.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    Quote from Darklightz »
    Hey, it's not a perfect system! Any time humans are involved, we bring human error in the equation. That's why most of the world is so screwed up.

    Absolutely. Human error is why I prefer twelve average (or sub-average) individuals to one wise individual. The latter is still subject to the same foibles as the rest of us, but without the need for a unanimous decision, he won't be able or willing to detect & counter his particular biases. The advantage of a group, regardless of its failings, is that each individual has a check on their idiocy.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    Quote from Darklightz »
    It's better to leave the judging to...you know, the Judge, the man (or woman) sitting in the highest chair in the room and most likely the most learned and experienced in law.

    & it's good, because learned, experienced individuals are (fortunately!) free of any biases whatsoever, & can also be counted on to never err.

    msun: I'll leave the technical debate alone for now; I'm wondering, though, what you think of jury nullification.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on College?
    I attended St. John's College in New Mexico. The school follows a Great Books model, eschewing majors & electives altogether, with the goal being a comprehensive liberal arts education in literature, philosophy, mathematics, the sciences, language (Ancient Greek & French are required classes) and music. Great Books = a four year study of the Western literary/religious/philosophical canon from Homer to the twentieth century, which constitutes the core of the program. I enjoy it.
    Posted in: Talk and Entertainment
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    The policy is relatively simple. The act of actually deciding whether the plan B drug satisfied its clinical testing requirements requires mounds and mounds of testimony and evidence that the ordinary American would find impossible to sort out.

    The general principle, the point I'm trying to make, is that the government does stuff its populace doesn't fully understand all the time. And it's for the best. There are still fully adequate checks and balances in place, even if Joe Schmoe can't blow the whistle. Someone else will be able to.

    I don't want to push this point too far, since it's not my primary objection or even secondary objection, but I do think it would be terribly naive to assert that corruption in the upper echelons of government, especially with regards to policy which can raise profits (like eg: the FDA & pharmaceuticals), is generally kept well in check. As I say, I don't want to push this objection, especially since it is by nature undemonstrable--if the corruption is never caught I can't very well assert it's existence--but I do think that the FDA & friends are perhaps a poor example of a shining beacon of integrity.

    This is information that is purely conjecture and fully understandable as a source of critique. Computers will obviously be unable to sort through the emotional intricacies that humans will be able to instinctively grasp. If we were to use a real-world example, lie detectors are well-known for their fallibility.

    But Bayesian neural networks, combined with the kinds of learning algorithms I'm envisioning would be able to dig much deeper, to do much more. Even so, we would of course wait until the empirical evidence presents itself in the form of data on unfair convictions and the like.

    EDIT: You could also allow it to run analyses on previous cases. Should have though of that.

    Full disclosure: My knowledge of computers extends to a) typing and b) making the dirty pictures appear. I know nothing of their intricacies & capabilities.

    Nevertheless, I find it inconceivable that any computer at any time would be able to, for instance, determine which piece of conflicting testimony is true between two opposing witnesses, or whether a damning piece of evidence ( ='s gun at the scene, etc) can be explained by a reasonably credible alibi.

    Maybe if you could explain how this could work, at least in theory. I understand that since the model does not actually exist, explaining it is somewhat dodgy work.

    To a large degree the detection and storage of data in response to a query is analysis. Present a machine with enough data and a question (which is a simple yes/no, remember) to answer and the answer you receive has behind it as much if not more analysis than that which would be gathered by locking the twelve smartest men in the world together for a hundred years.

    Once again, though, my claim is that most data presented in your run-of-the-mill trial is equivocal. I may be wrong about this, but I imagine the data presented to a fire alarm is reasonably straightforward.

    Hemant Lakhani was convicted over the objection of one of the jurors because the other jurors threatened to keep her in deliberation so she could not move into her new house. Under a tremendous amount of pressure and stress from the other eleven jurors, she switched her decision from not guilty to guilty in a little less than seven hours (in her own words, the accused didn't really mean anything to her), and a man was sentenced to a lengthy sentence at an old age with little chance for parole.

    I don't mean to generalize from this anecdote. I'm using it to illustrate that there is an element of fallibility. I don't think anything should deny this. And that, eventually, as in many areas of life, computers will be able to more objectively fulfill the role of determining a man's guilt or innocence. If you think that humans are somehow superior in this respect, then you are the type that could believe you can tell the integrity of a man just by looking into his eyes. That is, incredibly naive.

    I hate to repeat myself, but given that a body of evidence is necessarily & always incomplete, & given that quite a large portion of evidence is subjective, & lastly that much objective evidence can be interpreted in a number of ways, I submit that a computer's ability to analyze the evidence is (& will be) extraordinarily fallible, if in markedly different ways than human analysis. I'm not willing to assert without qualification that human analysis is superior, but I don't know that I'm willing to call it inferior, either.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    Not knowing the policies behind the kinds of ingredients we are and are not allowed to eat, the kinds of drugs we are and are not allowed to take, the kinds of policies dictating insurance claims for cancer treatments, the kinds of policies that regulate criminal investigations; these are on some kind of wildly lesser level of importance? Let's not get ahead of ourselves.

    The difference is, I think, that all of this information is readily available & not terribly esoteric; it's simply a matter of looking it up.

    Understanding advanced computer programming is quite a different matter, requiring extensive education, perhaps prohibitively extensive.

    Of course these is a psychological effect, a special something that comes with knowing that you will be given a fair shake by people like you, instead of some sophisticated form of artificial neural network. But if it works better, it should be done. We can always window-dress it, if need be.

    It only works better insofar as objective evidence (as opposed to, say, witness testimony) is not only present, but unimpeachable; hard evidence can be and often is equivocal. As far as soft evidence goes: how do you calibrate the reliability of a witness or an alibi?

    So I guess I don't know what you mean by "works better".

    But we don't trust our fire alarm systems to humans, nor do we trust our fingerprint databases to them.

    Entirely different. Those are matters of detection & storage, not analysis.

    Humans don't deal with large amounts of evidence very well. We have bad memories, form subconscious judgments, are affected by what we ate for breakfast, whether or not we need to pee, whether the juror sitting next to us has body odor. Not to mention the two big ones that stick out in my mind: humans are notoriously emotion-ruled creatures and are notoriously group-think-ridden. All in all, notoriously capable of human error.

    Which is why unanimity is required.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    Quote from msun641 »
    How many Americans understand anything going on in the NSA or the NIH or the FDA?

    Doesn't mean the situation is ripe for abuse. Not in the slightest.

    Not understanding matters of policy & not understanding a computer-generated guilty verdict are, I think, of wildly different levels of importance, given the disproportionate effect of the latter on ordinary citizens & pre-existing tensions & issues surrounding the judicial system.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on A question about democracy
    A boiled down rule might be that the elected officials act on the will of the people until or unless the will of the people would violate the fundamental liberties of a portion of the population.

    Now, if the concept of a "nation" were abolished & we lived in small, voluntary communities in which collective decisions were more or less unanimous, violating nothing, this conflict wouldn't emerge at all, I think.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Juror Selection
    A well-educated, qualified, wise individual can be wrong. So can a dozen ignorant individuals. At least with a dozen, the deficiencies & predjudices of a given individual can be corrected; misperceptions can be clarified. (Think The Eumenides, or, if you prefer, 12 Angry Men.) & for that matter, a dozen well-qualified individuals are still capable of misperception & a lack of perspective.

    So I guess I'm just not really clear what the alternative would be.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Official Music Discussion Thread
    Best albums ever:

    1. The Mountain Goats "The Coroner's Gambit"

    No-fi machine gun acoustic guitar & nasal bleat & some of the best lyrics ever written, certainly the best by a 90's indie act (like eg: "Set the table, those three extra places: one for me, one for your doubts, and one for God"). The whole album reads as a screed against romance, or a desperate call to a return to same. Beautiful & frightening.

    2. Bright Eyes- "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning"

    Whiny emo boy + cameo appearances by Emmylou Harris = most beautifully sad album I've ever heard.

    3. Eyehategod - "Confederacy of Ruined Lives"

    Probably the only sludge metal band whose whole raison d'etre is not simply to offend & disgust (I'm looking at you, Anal ****). It's filthy, it's distorted, & it's glorious. Preferably enjoyed at max volume with a bottle of vodka chased by black coffee.

    4. Lil' Wayne - "Tha Carter III"

    Codeine-ravaged voice rapping about aliens & strip clubs & shootin someone's grandmotha up. ='s most viscerally enjoyable album ever.

    5. Greenday - "Dookie"

    Before they decided they were a serious band, there was Dookie, & it was beautiful.

    6. Emperor "In the Nightside Eclipse"

    Symphonic Black Metal, as a genre, should be retired after this album; there's just no way to improve upon it.
    Posted in: Music
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