Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Pop Music Becoming Louder, Simpler and More Repetitive

from slashdot.org:The BBC has posted a very interesting article that investigates whether people claiming all over the internet that "pop music just isn't what it used to be" are simply growing old, or if there actually is objective science capable of backing up this claim of a "steady decline in music quality." The findings from five different studies are quoted; the findings from the fourth study is especially striking: 

1. Pop music has become slower -- in tempo -- in recent years and also "sadder" and less "fun" to listen to. 
2. Pop music has become melodically less complex, using fewer chord changes, and pop recordings are mastered to sound consistently louder (and therefore less dynamic) at a rate of around one decibel every eight years. 
3. There has been a significant increase in the use of the first-person word "I" in pop song lyrics, and a decline in words that emphasize society or community. Lyrics also contain more words that can be associated with anger or anti-social sentiments. 
4. 42% of people polled on which decade has produced the worst pop music since the 1970s voted for the 2010s. These people were not from a particular aging demographic at all -- all age groups polled, including 18-29 year olds, appear to feel unanimously that the 2010s are when pop music became worst. This may explain a rising trend of young millennials, for example, digging around for now 15-30 year-old music on YouTube frequently. It's not just the older people who listen to the 1980s and 1990s on YouTube and other streaming services it seems -- much younger people do it too. 
5. A researcher put 15,000 Billboard Hot 100 song lyrics through the well-known Lev-Zimpel-Vogt (LZV1) data compression algorithm, which is good at finding repetitions in data. He found that songs have steadily become more repetitive over the years, and that song lyrics from today compress 22% better on average than less repetitive song lyrics from the 1960s. The most repetitive year in song lyrics was 2014 in this study. 

Conclusion: There is some scientific evidence backing the widely voiced complaint -- on the internet in particular -- that pop music is getting worse and worse in the 2000s and the 2010s. The music is slower, melodically simpler, louder, more repetitive, more "I" (first-person) focused, and more angry with anti-social sentiments. The 2010s got by far the most music quality down votes with 42% from people polled on which decade has produced the worst music since the 1970s.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Seattle tech sex trafficking

My thoughts about this - I associate the following and wonder how it all correlates:Seattle is known for having a shortage of women due to the male-dominated tech industry.- many in Seattle are Asian men who are there on work visas- the cost of living is high due to relocation of wealthy Silicon Valley tech from California - Seattle is on the coast facing Asia, and also on the Canadian border where a lot of Chinese come across illegally, same problem in California- Microsoft put offices in Canada to get around visa issues in the U.S.- Seattle has a $15/hr. min. wage and a high rate of homelessness - Marijuana is legal in Seattle - is there a relationship with vice industry- Military towns have the same scenario - you have to wonder who is bringing in the women - could it be the tech companies themselves, or in conjunction with those who source the foreign workers?- What is the relationship with neighboring states and industries, certainly Nevada, and running down the coast through Oregon and California - narcotrafficking, running into Mexico.- I expect 'nonchalant attitudes' from programmer/techies - introverts - but more so from men of Asian origin. If defense lawyers are suggesting tech companies should be responsible for educating employees about prostitution, the implication brings to mind the potential for expanding an absurd and invasive domain of corporate responsibility. What is already illegal and should be a fundamental precept of ethics should not require companies to reiterate. The notion is reminiscent of Germany distributing sex education pamphlets as an attempt to gentrify those from the middle east who are rampantly committing sex crimes and violence.- Ironic to consider how big tech companies are pushing for open borders and pro-immigration, certainly for their bottom line, yet they do so in the name of human rights and under the banner of opposing xenophobia and racism - see http://fwd.us
from the article excerpts posted on slashdot.org:Newsweek's National Politics Correspondent reports on "a horny nest of prostitution 'hobbyists' at tech giants Microsoft, Amazon and other firms in Seattle," citing "hundreds" of emails "fired off by employees at major tech companies hoping to hook up with trafficked Asian women" between 2014 and 2016, "67 sent from Microsoft, 63 sent from Amazon email accounts and dozens more sent from some of Seattle's premier tech companies and others based elsewhere but with offices in Seattle, including T-Mobile and Oracle, as well as many local, smaller tech firms." Many of the emails came from a sting operation against online prostitution review boards, and were obtained through a public records request to the King County Prosecutor's Office.

"They were on their work accounts because Seattle pimps routinely asked first-time sex-buyers to prove they were not cops by sending an employee email or badge," reports Newsweek, criticizing "the widespread and often nonchalant attitude toward buying sex from trafficked women, a process made shockingly more efficient by internet technology... A study commissioned by the Department of Justice found that Seattle has the fastest-growing sex industry in the United States, more than doubling in size between 2005 and 2012. That boom correlates neatly with the boom of the tech sector there... Some of these men spent $30,000 to $50,000 a year, according to authorities." A lawyer for some of the men argues that Seattle's tech giants aren't conducting any training to increase employees' compassion for trafficked women in brothels. The director of research for a national anti-trafficking group cites the time Uber analyzed ride-sharing data and reported a correlation between high-crime neighborhoods and frequent Uber trips -- including people paying for prostitutes. "They made a map using their ride-share data, like it was a funny thing they could do with their data. It was done so flippantly."

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Google AI voice indistinguishable from humans


Genetics dating app

Dating app: Genetics + personality + social media results:


My thoughts:

If this used only genetics, it might be interesting, but washing in the other factors dilutes the results.

It makes sense, but it would be more interesting to filter each aspect - genetics, personality, and social media -  and compare results. The implications drive at the very heart of the nature vs nurture debate.

I could also see how machine learning might be employed make sense of all of this 'data' - what about contextual awareness? Pulling keywords from social media might identify common interests, but doesn't indicate attitudes towards the issues. Maybe the personality tests might aid in establishing some prediction - I've seen tests that suggest certain personalities tend to vote one way or another.

While the ramp up of a user base will be the initial challenge, I can imagine how the promise of finding 'true love' may drive adoption, with people giving away their personal information to a singular source, the results might be lackluster for the user but worth a lot to the host.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

California cell phone warning


About 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and 12 percent rely on their smartphones for everyday Internet access, the health department said. In addition, the average age when children get their first phone is now just 10, and a majority of young people keep their phones on or near them most of the day and while they sleep. “Children’s brains develop through the teenage years and may be more affected by cellphone use,” Smith said. “Parents should consider reducing the time their children use cellphones and encourage them to turn the devices off at night.”
Other tips for reducing exposure to radio frequency energy from cellphones: Keeping the phone away from the body, reducing cellphone use when the signal is weak, reducing the use of cellphones to stream audio or video or to download or upload large files, keeping the phone away from the bed at night, removing headsets when not on a call, and avoiding products that claim to block radio frequency energy because they may actually increase your exposure.