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Month: July 2017

Living in Amsterdam

Het Parool reports on the number of children in schools in Amsterdam.

Previously, pressure on Amsterdam schools inside the A10 ring has been so high that there was a lottery system in place (if you do not win, you still have to send your child to school, but it won’t be a local one). During the crisis, many families looking for larger and cheaper houses outside the A10 were stuck in the city because they could not sell their homes.

Now that the crisis is over, Gentrification can continue: Families go out, Expats and AirBnB move in.

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Runaway Feedback Loops in Predictive Policing

Die University of Utah and Prof. Dr. C. Obvious wrote a paper (PDF):

Once police are deployed based on these predictions, arrest data from the neighborhood is then used to further update the model. Since arrests only occur in neighborhoods that police have been sent to by the predictive policing algorithm itself, there is the potential for this sampling bias to be compounded, causing a runaway feedback loop. Indeed, Lum and Isaac have recently shown that this can happen.

To be fair, the paper is about how to remove this kind of bias from precrime systems. On the other hand, predictive systems using past data to predict future actions are obvious sources for feedback messing with the prediction. One would expect this to be taken into account from the start.

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Campaign Time and Summer in Germany

Merkel’s CDU has a programme, and it contains the impossible promise of “full employment”. CDU’s Peter Tauber comments “full employment is better than social justice”.

Of course nobody promised full employment at proper salary, so one commenter asked “So that’s now 3 Minijobs for me?”

Tweet

Tauber pulls a Marie-Antoinette: “Had you learned something proper, you would not need three Minijobs.”

Twitter understood, and escalated quickly.

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Ad revenue, and the German technophobia

Germany is not actually technophobic. As a country, we are looking back to a long tradition of embracing technology and innovation. A lot of the German technophobia you are seeing today has been created by German newspapers, notably the Springerpresse.

And they have their reasons. Reported by the Financial Times:

[Google and Facebook] hold on online spending has created a digital duopoly that is upending the advertising business. In 2015 they accounted for 75 per cent of all new online ad spending, according to Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the US venture capital fund. Several analysts estimate that excluding Google and Facebook, the digital ad industry actually shrank in the first half of 2016.

The root cause for German Internet policy stances, current law and the general hysteria versus all things Google, Facebook/WhatsApp, Apple, Ebay and Microsoft in the end come down to that single observation above. From that root comes the defensive position of German Springerpresse, and from their influence on German politics comes the current policy.

Understanding that is the key to successful influence on German politics.

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Friday Deploys, and other harmful BOFH memes

Glorifying toil, glorifying organisational ossification

So somebody posted this on G+, and it’s a classic example for a thing that I classify as BOFH memes. That’s a group of memes and stories from operations people from a time past glorifying the toil and nastiness of operations.

This is going away now, for some time, and people identifying with BOFH thinking or finding it funny need to change, or go out of job. That’s also happening, rather quickly, and I have a talk about this (Slideshare, Youtube).

The direct answer to the image above is »If you are having problems deploying on a Friday, you will have them at any time of the week. Your processes are broken.«

People objected, confirming what I said.

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