Photorealistic balls of precious metals placed outside their mines

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

Artist Dillon Marsh uses CGI balls of metal placed outside of mines to show how much was extracted from each location. The project is called For What It’s Worth.

These images combine photography and computer generated elements in an effort to visualise the output of a mine. The CGI objects represent a scale model of the materials removed from each mine, a solid mass occupying a scene showing the ground from which it was extracted. By doing so, the intention is to create a kind of visualisation of the merits and shortfalls of mining in South Africa, an industry that has shaped the history and economy of the country so radically.

The one above is for the Nababeep South Mine in Nababeep. Love the sense of scale the pieces provide, especially the ones for diamonds, which actually show quite little.


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Machine Learning: Machine Learning for Beginners. Can machines really learn like humans? All about Artificial Intelligence (A.I), Deep Learning and Digital … Random Forests, Computer Science)

By | iot, machinelearning

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There Are Still More Than 700 Confederate Monuments In The U.S.

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

Last weekend’s white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, began as a protest against the city’s plan to remove a statue memorializing Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Efforts to remove such monuments are nothing new, but they have intensified in recent years and look likely to gain further steam in the wake of the deadly events in Charlottesville. On Tuesday night, the city of Baltimore began removing its Confederate monuments, including statues of Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Gainesville, Florida, removed a monument to Confederate soldiers this week, and the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, said Saturday that he was accelerating plans to remove two Confederate statues there. And in some cities, such as Durham, North Carolina, protesters are taking matters into their own hands by toppling these statues themselves.

They have their work cut out for them. There are currently more than 700 monuments to the Confederacy in public places, located predominantly in the South. Only a tiny fraction of them have been removed so far. And as this weekend’s protests showed, efforts to take the monuments down — or even to relocate them to less prominent locations — often encounter vocal opposition. President Trump himself on Tuesday seemed to question whether Confederate monuments should be removed. “So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down,” Trump said at a press conference at Trump Tower. “I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”

The movement to remove Confederate monuments gained traction after the deadly 2015 shooting in a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. After the attack, photos surfaced of the shooter, Dylann Roof, posing with a Confederate battle flag. Within weeks of the incident, the South Carolina House had voted to remove a Confederate flag at the statehouse, a move that was also met with protest. Since the shooting, statues have been removed or relocated in Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland and other states; multiple monuments, memorials and flags have also been removed or are slated for removal. Numerous public spaces with names honoring the Confederacy, including schools, parks and streets, have also been renamed.

“Charleston was a fulcrum moment,” said Alfred Brophy, a professor at the University of Alabama School of Law. “The steam with which monuments are coming down has accelerated greatly. There’s more public discussion. Where before it was done more quietly, now there’s a sort of celebration.”

In the wake of the shooting in Charleston, the Southern Poverty Law Center began collecting data on public displays of the Confederacy throughout the United States. Using federal, state and other sources, they found more than 1,500 places or things commemorating the Confederacy, including more than a hundred schools and more than 700 monuments.2 The SPLC’s list of symbols also includes street and county names, as well as parks, military bases and a broad range of other public works or spaces. The vast majority are located in states that once made up the Confederacy, though they extend north and west as well.

Most of those monuments and other symbols date back not to the immediate aftermath of the Civil War but to the early 20th century, when many Southern states were imposing Jim Crow laws. Another wave of monument-building came during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and it hasn’t fully ceased — the SPLC database includes a monument to Confederate soldiers in Tennessee that was erected in 2012.

Despite the renewed attention to the issue since the Charleston attack, only a relative handful of these monuments have been removed. The SPLC had identified just six cases in which statues or monuments have been taken down before last weekend’s events, including the removal of four statues in New Orleans that prompted a much-discussed speech from the city’s mayor.3 That number has grown by at least six more this week alone, reflecting growing momentum after the events in Charlottesville. And the SPLC has identified dozens more symbols of various kinds that have been or might be removed.4

Those in favor of removing public Confederate symbols say those symbols represent oppression and slavery, and that these parts of history “belong in a museum, not on a pedestal.” But in the past, states have fought in support of the preservation of Confederate monuments. Conservatives who protest for the preservation of these monuments assert that they are part of Southern heritage and reflect a part of history — good or bad. Several states, including South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina, have heritage protection acts that restrict the removal of any monument located on public property.

The hate and violence on display in Charlottesville, however, could change the debate. Brophy, the law professor, has previously argued against the wholesale removal of Confederate monuments, which he has said represent a reminder of the nation’s troubled history. But he said the weekend’s white supremacist demonstration shows that the monuments are also serving as a present-day rallying cry for violence. After Charlottesville, Brophy said it’s unlikely politicians will stand in the way of the monuments’ removal, and in some cases, as in Durham, protesters will ignore those laws altogether. “This is the sign that monuments matter,” he said.

Others, however, worry that the movement to take down the monuments has potential to backfire by providing a platform for white nationalist protesters. And even if the statues do come down, some civil rights activists and others question how much difference it would make. Susannah Ryan, a University of North Carolina doctoral student who has studied conflict and reconciliation, said the fight over statues and monuments gives politicians a way to call for equality without addressing harder, more fundamental issues such as voting rights.

“As we see some of these monuments being torn down, another question we have to face is to what extent is that just a veneer,” Ryan said.

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FOMC Minutes: Balance Sheet Normalization “Relatively soon”

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

From the Fed: Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee, July 25-26, 2017. Excerpts:

Participants also discussed the appropriate time to implement the plan for reducing the Federal Reserve’s securities holdings that was announced in June in the Committee’s postmeeting statement and its Addendum to the Policy Normalization Principles and Plans. Participants generally agreed that, in light of their current assessment of economic conditions and the outlook, it was appropriate to signal that implementation of the program likely would begin relatively soon, absent significant adverse developments in the economy or in financial markets. Many noted that the program was expected to contribute only modestly to the reduction in policy accommodation. Several reiterated that, once the program was under way, further adjustments to the stance of monetary policy in response to economic developments would be centered on changes in the target range for the federal funds rate. Al­though several participants were prepared to announce a starting date for the program at the current meeting, most preferred to defer that decision until an upcoming meeting while accumulating additional information on the economic outlook and developments potentially affecting financial markets.

Participants discussed the softness in inflation in recent months. Many participants noted that much of the recent decline in inflation had probably reflected idiosyncratic factors. Nonetheless, PCE price inflation on a 12‑month basis would likely continue to be held down over the second half of the year by the effects of those factors, and the monthly readings might be depressed by possible residual seasonality in measured PCE inflation. Still, most participants indicated that they expected inflation to pick up over the next couple of years from its current low level and to stabilize around the Committee’s 2 percent objective over the medium term. Many participants, however, saw some likelihood that inflation might remain below 2 percent for longer than they currently expected, and several indicated that the risks to the inflation outlook could be tilted to the downside. Participants agreed that a fall in longer-term inflation expectations would be undesirable, but they differed in their assessments of whether inflation expectations were well anchored. One participant pointed to the stability of a number of measures of inflation expectations in recent months, but a few others suggested that continuing low inflation expectations may have been a factor putting downward pressure on inflation or that inflation expectations might need to be bolstered in order to ensure their consistency with the Committee’s longer-term inflation objective.
emphasis added

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Thank You For The Very Nice Comment

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

(This article was originally published at Statistics – Win-Vector Blog, and syndicated at StatsBlogs.)

Somebody nice reached out and gave us this wonderful feedback on our new Supervised Learning in R: Regression (paid) video course.

Thanks for a wonderful course on DataCamp on XGBoost and Random forest. I was struggling with Xgboost earlier and Vtreat has made my life easy now :).

Supervised Learning in R: Regression covers a lot as it treats predicting probabilities as a type of regression. Nina and I are very proud of this course and think it is very much worth your time (for the beginning through advanced R user).

Shield image course 3851 20170725 24872 3f982z

vtreat is a statistically sound data cleaning and preparation tool introduced towards the end of the course. R users who try vtreat find it makes training and applying models much easier.

vtreat is distributed as a free open-source package available on CRAN. If you are doing predictive modeling in R I honestly think you will find vtreat invaluable.


And to the person who took the time to write the nice note. A sincere thank you from both Nina Zumel and myself. That kind of interaction really makes developing courses and packages feel worthwhile.

Please comment on the article here: Statistics – Win-Vector Blog

The post Thank You For The Very Nice Comment appeared first on All About Statistics.

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Update on Our ‘revisit’ Package

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

(This article was first published on Mad (Data) Scientist, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

On May 31, I made a post here about our R package revisit, which is designed to help remedy the reproducibility crisis in science. The intended user audience includes

  • reviewers of research manuscripts submitted for publication,
  • scientists who wish to confirm the results in a published paper, and explore alternate analyses, and
  • members of the original research team itself, while collaborating during the course of the research.

The package is documented mainly in the README file, but we now also have a paper on, which explains the reproducibility crisis in detail, and how our package addresses it. Reed Davis and I, the authors of the software, are joined in the paper by Prof. Laurel Beckett of the UC Davis Medical School, and Dr. Paul Thompson of Sanford Research.

var vglnk = { key: ‘949efb41171ac6ec1bf7f206d57e90b8’ };

(function(d, t) {
var s = d.createElement(t); s.type = ‘text/javascript’; s.async = true;
s.src = “”;
var r = d.getElementsByTagName(t)[0]; r.parentNode.insertBefore(s, r);
}(document, ‘script’));

To leave a comment for the author, please follow the link and comment on their blog: Mad (Data) Scientist. offers daily e-mail updates about R news and tutorials on topics such as: Data science, Big Data, R jobs, visualization (ggplot2, Boxplots, maps, animation), programming (RStudio, Sweave, LaTeX, SQL, Eclipse, git, hadoop, Web Scraping) statistics (regression, PCA, time series, trading) and more…

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Four short links: 16 August 2017

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

IoT Hacking, Virtual School Fails, Neural Network NLP, and Using Logical Fallacies

  1. Reverse-Engineering IoT Devices — nice step-by-step of how the author figures out the protocol used by a Bluetooth lightbulb (oh to live in such times) and thus how to control it without the Approved Software.
  2. Of Course Virtual Schools Don’t Work — that graph. The horror. Once seen, cannot unsee (or ever claim virtual schools are a good idea).
  3. A Primer on Neural Network Models for Natural Language ProcessingThis tutorial surveys neural network models from the perspective of natural language processing research, in an attempt to bring natural-language researchers up to speed with the neural techniques. The tutorial covers input encoding for natural language tasks, feed-forward networks, convolutional networks, recurrent networks and recursive networks, as well as the computation graph abstraction for automatic gradient computation.
  4. Effective Presentations Using Applied Logical Fallacieswhat I also got out of this Informal Logic course was that here were a huge list of classically tested brain shortcuts that are surprisingly effective. Sure, they only work if you’ve turned off some of your critical thinking skills […] but we’re predisposed to do this all the time! Why? Because critical thinking takes effort and time, and you’re presented with probably hundreds of arguments or bits of reasoning every day, and it would be expensive to evaluate them all deeply. So, we brain shortcut when it’s mostly safe to do so. This is really good!

Continue reading Four short links: 16 August 2017.

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An Absolute Must Read

By | ai, bigdata, machinelearning

You have no choice but to read this article right now, courtesy of Brian.

Click Here … I’ll Wait For You.

Ok, you’re back. Good!

What did you think?

Remember last year when I gave a talk in the Czech Republic and my thesis was that all of retail / e-commerce / catalog marketing was trending toward Sports? In other words, entertainment and the ecosystem around entertainment would come to commerce … as part of a necessary evolution of shopping.

Don’t believe me?

Who is featuring in a few weeks?

  • Kobe Bryant.
  • Tyra Banks.
Neither individual will share best practices for email subject lines or non-branded paid search terms. They are there for one reason and one reason only … to entertain you. And you’ll spend the profit generated by 50 customers to attend and be entertained. You’ll come back to the office and your boss will say “What did you learn?” and you’ll regale your team with the myriad ways that Kobe Bryant inspired you to be great.

Remember that talk I gave in the Czech Republic last year? Evening DJs and a festive environment and food & beverage … an entertaining environment … one that caused 1,500 seats to sell out in eight minutes … EIGHT minutes!

So back to the article. The Mall of America was criticized for their approach 25 years ago … they ignore the moribund pundits who demand that you do things their way so that they get paid … and now with 5,000+ store closures THIS YEAR ALONE the Mall of America is thriving. Did you read how they HUSTLE … did you read about how hard they work? More annual visitors than DisneyWorld?

Your future is low-cost / no-cost customer acquisition.

You’ll accomplish this not by paying Facebook another $100,000, but by hustling, by entertaining your customers. Fuse those concepts with great merchandise and fair prices, and you’ve got something.

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