Angry Robot

Racism motivated Trump voters more than authoritarianism

Where does Canada’s accent come from?

via

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The girl vs. the bull statue: not what you think

Note it’s not She makes a difference, it’s SHE makes a difference. It’s not referring to the girl; it’s referring to the NASDAQ symbol. It’s not a work of guerrilla art; it’s an extremely clever advertising scheme.

It’s time for Scotland to find a new home – in Canada

Love this.

Even if somebody can give you a reasonable-sounding explanation [for his or her actions], it probably is incomplete, and the same could very well be true for AI. It might just be part of the nature of intelligence that only part of it is exposed to rational explanation. Some of it is just instinctual, or subconscious, or inscrutable.

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The iPad These Days

So the iPad has issues. After exploding out of the gate in 2010, with sales growth greater even than the iPhone, sales have decreased over the past few years, as Horace Dediu discusses in iPad Optics:

The iPad is considered to be failing, with a presumption of an end of life in the near future. The evidence of this failure the year-on-year decline in units sold… The iPad decline is paired with a steady increase in the Mac. The iPad exhibits a four year decrease in overall volumes. This has, as they say, bad optics.

Neil Cybart notes:

A quick look at overall iPad sales reveals an ominous trend. Sales have declined for 12 consecutive quarters. After topping out 74M units in 1Q14, the annualized iPad sales rate has declined by 42% to 43M units.

Yeowch! Except it’s not all gloom. As Dediu notes,

the iPad is still a much loved and much used product. … Tablet ownership among US adults increased from 45% in April 2015 to 48% in April 2016 and 51% in November 2016. The rise has been steady. Although this counts tablets, the iPad had 85% share of the U.S. market for tablets priced above $200 so it’s a fair assumption that the iPad audience is growing.

Furthermore, iPads are still growing in “non-consuming” markets. iPad posted double-digit growth in both Mainland China and India, it continues to attract a very high percentage of first-time tablet buyers.

His explanation for the odd numbers is that “iPads remain in use far longer than phones, and perhaps even longer than some computers.”

Interestingly, Cybart blames iPad’s troubles on something else: its little brother.

People aren’t buying as many iPad mini devices these days. Excluding 7.9-inch iPad mini sales from overall iPad sales results in a completely different sales picture… iPad mini unit sales have declined 70% after peaking in 4Q13 and 1Q14. The product’s value proposition has been permanently reduced due to larger iPhones. Apple has clearly experienced Peak iPad Mini.

Whatever the reasons for the “bad optics” are, Apple is suddenly pushing iPad really hard, as Cybart notes. And they’re pushing it in two different directions, as indicated by the two main model lines. The Pro is more expensive than a normal iPad and has added hardware features, mainly the pencil and the keyboard. The iPad Pros are the subject of a new ad campaign, which Apple is clearly targeting at people who want a PC replacement.

Going the other direction, the regular ol’ iPad has just been refreshed. The biggest change is that they dropped the starting price to $329 US. That’s a big deal! The cheap new iPad will compete with Chromebooks in education, it will entice owners of ancient iPads, and it has at least a chance of competing against cheap Android tabs.

There’s a lot interesting about Apple’s strategy on both fronts: they think iPads are their best chance in education, and they think iPads are their best chance at switchers. It wasn’t so long ago it was to the Mac they were encouraging PC users to switch. We’ve known for some time that the iPad was Apple’s “vision for the future of personal computing”. But its latest moves indicate it’s their vision for the present.

FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor Trump adviser Carter Page

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page said in an interview Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.” He compared surveillance of him to the eavesdropping that the FBI and Justice Department conducted against civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Good luck with that comparison, Carter.

How the Story of “Moana” and Maui Holds Up Against Cultural Truths

How Ants Figured Out Farming Millions of Years Before Humans

So when we’re all toiling for our ant overlords in their underground fungus farms, let’s remember they beat us fair and square

Report: Chechnya Opens ‘Concentration Camp for Homosexuals’

(via y)

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Airlines are Starving Giants That Are Gnawing at Our Economy

Some info from Europe would be really helpful, as you can fly anywhere within Europe for peanuts


Warning: you cannot unsee this. (It’s something about the audio/video mismatch perhaps that makes this extra creepy? Like we’ve been let into the psyche of a deranged car-man.)

My job is basically like running a record label, except this record label also happens to sell chicken.

A passionate argument for why you should play Nier: Automata

Multiple Rashomon-style storylines? Mechs? Post-apocalyptic battle to reclaim earth? Sexy androids? Count me in.

Sony’s giant, $700 e-paper tablet is a great example of Weird Sony


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U of T professor Geoffrey Hinton hailed as guru of new computing era

O.G. Neural Net Gangsta

Mastodon Is Like Twitter Without Nazis, So Why Are We Not Using It?

Because your friends aren’t there. Same problem with almost every attempt to out-twitter twitter

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It may be the worst ad I’ve ever seen. (via Colby Cosh)