Artificial Intelligence, Tumblr, And The Stock Market: See / Read / Listen To This: Issue #5
In Bruges (Movie | Netflix)
This is the story of two assassins spending a short “vacation” in a Belgian town called Bruges (pronounced “broozh”) after a hit-gone-wrong. The movie is soulful, hilarious, and features all around stunning performances that have made it into a cult classic. It’s listed on Wikipedia as a “neo-noir black comedy crime drama”, and with that many adjectives, you know it has to be good. Martin McDonagh, the director, has another film called Seven Psychopaths, also on Netflix, that’s well worth seeing if you liked this.
AlphaGo, an artificial intelligence program, managed to beat one of the world’s top Go players this past week. This achievement is on par with the first time a computer beat a human at chess, if not significantly more impressive considering the complexity of Go and the intuition needed to master the game. But, you might wonder, what exactly is AI, and how does it work? This video is the best introduction to machine learning and neural networks I’ve seen. In it, you can see the exact process a computer uses to learn how to beat Mario Brothers. It’s a small example, but a large lesson to help you gain an understanding of one of the most important breakthroughs humanity has made in recent years.
Who needs House of Cards? Brazilian politics right now is – and I believe this is the technical term – bananas. The current President, Dilma Rousseff, is facing impeachment over corruption charges, so the former President (her mentor, Lula) returned on the scene in order to sway public opinion. His home was then raided and he was brought under investigation for money laundering and bribery as a part of the general corruption investigation known as “Car Wash”. Then, in order to protect Lula from indictment, Dilma appointed him as her Chief of Staff. A phone call recording was then leaked where Dilma admitted making the appointment in order to protect Lula from the investigations. The result: an estimated 3 million people began marching in protest. For more real life drama, check out the New York Times’ coverage of this incredible series of events.
Self-explanatory title, here’s a quick excerpt: “Yale’s comparatively modest $26 billion endowment, for example, made hedge fund managers $480 million in 2014, while only $170 million was spent on things like tuition assistance and fellowships for students. “I was going to donate money to Yale. But maybe it makes more sense to mail a check directly to the hedge fund of my choice,” Malcolm Gladwell tweeted last summer.”
As much as I loved seeing an Indian-American on a presidential debate stage (or at least the junior varsity version), I was shocked to see Bobby Jindal seriously running for president considering the terrible, terrible shape he left Louisiana in. Kansas, apparently, is in a similarly terribly predicament due to its implementation of “trickle down” economics. The title is a bit sensationalist and the article has a clear bias, but its a worthwhile reminder of how damaging Cruz and Trump’s tax policies could be if either of them gets to the White House.
The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens (~20 Minutes)
Tumblr, like every social network, has a culture entirely its own. If you, like me, have no sense of what that culture is like, this article is a fascinating window into the way Tumblr works and the teenage celebrity personalities who power it. Funny, at-times astonishing, and genuinely useful for people who sometimes feel like Steve Buscemi in 30 Rock.
Aphex Twin – Xtal (Music)
Classic electronic track from the grandmaster, Aphex Twin. Beautiful and subtle, great song for the end of the night when the weather is nice and the windows are rolled down.
Planet Money – Brilliant vs. Boring (Podcast)
If you’re thinking about investing in the stock market, this podcast could be worth hundreds/thousands of dollars to you. In 2006, Warren Buffett posed a challenge. He bet a million dollars that the smartest hedge fund managers out there couldn’t beat the world’s simplest, most brainless investment, an index fund. The bet had a 10 year timeline that’s almost over, and it looks like Mr. Buffet is going to win – listen for the full story.
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne
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