In praise of Walmart?

Yes, according to Zack Kanter, for the following reasons:

Walmart is one of the wonders of the modern world, built from scratch in a hyper-competitive environment, scaled from nothing to the largest company in the US by revenue and by headcount, all resulting from a singular vision of saving everyday people money with everyday low prices. It is the most successful social welfare system ever implemented, saving billions and billions of dollars for everyday Americans without costing taxpayers a dime.

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Spoiler alerts

Hat tip: ?who? (via flickr)

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Why are the exteriors of most cars just one color? Why don’t we see more cars with stripes or plaid paint jobs, or even polka dots?

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Inca Barbie

My daughters Adys Ann and Aritzia and I surveyed a remarkable and motley collection of Barbie dolls, including the two beautiful dolls pictured above, at the Expo Barbie at Les Cours Mont Royal in Montreal. See more below the fold: Continue reading

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Video book reviews

Did you know that book reviews on YouTube are a thing? By way of example, check out the video review (posted below) of one of Mateusz Urbanowicz‘s beautiful picture books. (This particular tome, which is titled Tokyo Storefronts, is available here and on Amazon.) In addition to Mr Urbanowicz’s lovely watercolors of storefronts, what most called my attention to Teoh Yi Chie’s page-by-page review is that it is in the form of a YouTube video! (Hat tip: @kottke.)

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Using AI to detect text generated by an AI

According to this recent report in The MIT Technology Review, researchers from Harvard and MIT have developed a new method for spotting text that has been generated using AI. Their method, which is called the “Giant Language Model Test Room” (GLTR), exploits the fact that AI text generators rely on statistical patterns in text, as opposed to the actual meaning of words and sentences. “In other words, the tool can tell if the words you’re reading seem too predictable to have been written by a human hand.” Ok, but is there an AI for identifying an AI that is able to detect text generated by an AI?

Happy Birthday, Adys Ann (Rose)!

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A visualization of a theory of justice

In all seriousness, when political philosophers write about justice, they rarely rely on any figures, images, or other forms of visualization to make their points. Plato’s Republic, for example, consists of over 500 pages of dense philosophical argumentation (or an extended prank), yet one of the most memorable parts of his work is the allegory of the cave. So, why don’t the great academic philosophers of our day, like the late Derek Parfit or the late John Rawls, include more images or visualizations of their ideas in their works?

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