Are Self-Organizing Maps Just an Exercise in Relativism?

February 22, 2018

The key to unlocking the power of a self-organizing map seems to be in this phrase by Diego Vicente: …instead of a grid we declare a circular array of neurons, each node will only be conscious of the neurons in front of and behind it… He offers the example of Uruguay In other words, dispense with attempts to measure on an absolutist grid and instead calculate your position relative to…


2017 BSidesLV: Hidden Hot Battle Lessons of Cold War

August 1, 2017

My presentation on machine learning security opened the Ground Truth track at the 2017 BSidesLV conference: When: Tuesday, July 25, 11:00 – 11:30 Where: Tuscany, Las Vegas Cost: Free (as always!) Event Link: Hidden Hot Battle Lessons of Cold War: All Learning Models Have Flaws, Some Have Casualties In a pursuit of realistic expectations for learning models can we better prepare for adversarial environments by examining failures in the field?…


Where does the expression 101 come from?

Lately I’ve been reading about Mission 101, where just a few thousand men in an Allied expeditionary force were sent into Ethiopia to defeat a far greater Italian occupation force 100 times their size. It’s mentioned in books like “Fire in the night : Wingate of Burma, Ethiopia, and Zion,” or the more obvious title of…wait for it… “Mission 101″. In late 1940 a group of five young Australian soldiers…

January 17, 2017

“My Lost Youth” by Longfellow

A curious thing about writing a poem is how it can suggest to the reader a topic while subtly communicating a tangent. Recently I was being peppered by questions of attribution in security that reminded me of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem: My Lost Youth OFTEN I think of the beautiful town That is seated by the sea; Often in thought go up and down The pleasant streets of that dear…

January 5, 2017

Could truck drivers lose their jobs to robots?

Next time you bang on a vending machine for a bottle that refuses to fall into your hands, ask yourself if restaurants soon will have only robots serving you meals. Maybe it’s true there is no future for humans in service industries. Go ahead, list them all in your head. Maybe problems robots have with simple tasks like dropping a drink into your hands are the rare exceptions and the…

January 2, 2017

Today in History: 1863 The Emancipation Proclamation

The American Civil War, initiated in April 1861 by those resorting to violence to prevent abolition of slavery, was in its third year when President Lincoln made his famous Emancipation Proclamation: …all persons held as slaves [within the rebellious states] are, and henceforward shall be free. The exact phrasing, developed and revised over many prior months, targeted only the “rebellious” states; those who quit the Union with intent to preserve…

January 1, 2017

Kiwicon X: Pwning ML for Fun and Profit

I presented “Pwning ML for Fun and Profit” at Kiwicon X When: Friday, Nov 18th, 2016 at 14:15 Where: Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington Everyone is talking ML this and AI that as if they expect some kind of Utopian beast to be waiting just behind the next door and whisk us all away to a technological-paradise. It would seem dire warnings of every Sci-Fi book and movie ever haven’t been…

November 24, 2016

“Using Behavioral Economics to Inform Policy” – Dr. Adam Oliver

Here is a copy for convenience of the 2014 presentation by Dr. Adam Oliver, a London School of Economics (LSE) Reader in Health Economics and Policy: (PDF 2.1 MB) Dr. Oliver is published in the areas of health equity, economic evaluation, risk and uncertainty, and the economics and policy of health care reform. The interface between economics and political science in health care policy analysis motivates his current research. Since…

November 9, 2016

I should blog more again, I know

Thanks to everyone recently telling me they miss my blog posts. To be honest I have a queue of written posts unreleased because I went through one of those writing phases where erratic Tweets seemed like an easier public legacy than slogging through full paragraphs and illustrations. For six years I wrote a post every day, come rain or shine. Now it’s down to a post every harvest moon if…

November 7, 2016

2016 BSidesLV Ground Truth Keynote: Great Disasters of Machine Learning

I presented the Ground Truth Keynote at the 2016 BSidesLV conference: Great Disasters of Machine Learning: Predicting Titanic Events in Our Oceans of Math When: Wednesday, August 3, 10:00 – 10:30 Where: Tuscany, Las Vegas Cost: Free (as always!) Event Link: ground-truth-keynote-great-disasters-of-machine-learning This presentation sifts through the carnage of history and offers an unvarnished look at some spectacular past machine learning failures to help predict what catastrophes may lay ahead,…

August 4, 2016