Become a patron

Archive for 'Arts and Science'

A new comic (in 2 languages) about Ig Nobel Prize winners

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

A new comic strip—in Russian and in English—about some of the curious characters who have won Ig Nobel Prizes. The series appears on Instagram.

Software that predicts whether you look like, and so will be, a criminal

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

Harrisburg University proudly announces, in a press release:

HU facial recognition software predicts criminality

A group of Harrisburg University professors and a Ph.D. student have developed automated computer facial recognition software capable of predicting whether someone is likely going to be a criminal.

With 80 percent accuracy and with no racial bias, the software can predict if someone is a criminal based solely on a picture of their face. The software is intended to help law enforcement prevent crime.

Ph.D. student and NYPD veteran Jonathan W. Korn, Prof. Nathaniel J.S. Ashby, and Prof. Roozbeh Sadeghian titled their research “A Deep Neural Network Model to Predict Criminality Using Image Processing.” …

The press release does not specify whether the three co-researchers applied the software to photographs of themselves. Here are photos of the co-researchers:

(Thanks to Michael Petrov for bringing this to our attention.)

UPDATE (May 11, 2020): Michael Beaver alerted us to two other studies that go adventuring in similar territory:

Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images” [2016]

Criminal tendency detection from facial images and the gender bias effect” [2020]

12-Tone Music, explained without needless worship

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

Vi Hart, adept at mathematics, music, and explaining things, made this video that explains the point (and the lack of point, too) of 12-tone music:

Crazy-seeming research, now and then, turns up something true and beautiful

Monday, May 4th, 2020

Crazy-seeming research, every now and then, leads to something really, really wonder-filled. In this case, the discovery of something long-predicted (by Einstein) but seemingly impossible to perceive: gravity waves. (HT Maggie Lettvin)

Disproof of “Those who can’t do, teach”?

Friday, April 24th, 2020

The news headline “Professor Who Wrote Book on Drug Crime Is Accused of Money Laundering” seems to refute the old joke that “Those who can’t do, teach“.

The report, from Bloomberg News, on November 18, 2019 begins:

A Miami professor who’s an expert on drug trafficking and organized crime was charged by the U.S. with laundering money from Venezuela, skimming more than $250,000 for himself.

Bruce Bagley, 73, a professor of international studies at the University of Miami, was the co-editor of the 2015 book “Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, and Violence in the Americas Today” as well as a contributor to various journals on the topic.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!