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Explainable A.I., Generalized Specialists, and Cheetos: Lux Recommends #108

By Sam Arbesman, PhD

Welcome to Lux Recommends #108, the newest edition of what we at Lux are reading and thinking about (and want to receive this by email? Sign up here).

The Generalized Specialist: How Shakespeare, Da Vinci, and Kepler Excelled: Fantastic essay on how to think about specialists and generalists. — Sam

Can A.I. Be Taught to Explain Itself? “As machine learning becomes more powerful, the field’s researchers increasingly find themselves unable to account for what their algorithms know — or how they know it.” — Sam

What would happen if all Americans went vegan? “Annual emissions would drop from 623 million tons to 446 million tons a year” — Sam

These are the deep learning, neural network voyages of the starship Enterprise…: “I trained an A.I. to write Star Trek episode titles because the internet demands it.” Examples include “The Enemy Mirror” and “Babel of Light” — Sam

Ice Apocalypse: “Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century” — Lux Capital intern Sam Kramer

How the US Military Helped Invent Cheetos: “The army placed its first order for processed cheese–which at the beginning, came in only one flavor: white — during World War I, buying twenty‑five million quarter‑pound tins from Kraft. This single act probably established Kraft’s century‑long (and still going strong) food industry hegemony.” — Adam K

Genetically Modified Beetles Grew a Fully Functional Third Eye Adam K

And How the Kindle was designed through 10 years and 16 generations Sam

To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science by Steven Weinberg: This book is about the birth of the scientific method and how science drives true progress, by Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. — Lux Recommends reader Guy Perelmuter

Hell or High Water: “A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas.” — Adam G

One of Us: “Penetrating the insular world of New York’s Hasidic community, focusing on three individuals driven to break away despite threats of retaliation.” — Adam G

Jeff Bridges / Beau Bridges from WTF with Marc MaronAdam G

Try to Build a Stable Solar System: Orbital Physics and World Making: “Online game Super Planet Crash allows players to create their own solar systems and rack up points in the process. It’s an excellent illustration of the impact that cosmological objects have on one another, as well as a fun introduction to the topic of orbital dynamics.” —Adam K

Sandcastles: Go build some sandcastles. — Sam

Anthony Howe’s kinetic sculptures come alive in the windAdam K

This crosswalk is an optical illusionAdam K

Incredibly Rare Footage Captures 800 Giant White Whales Traveling To Give BirthAdam K

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