Inflation high, cost of living no good

Usually inflation is more of a slow thing that you don’t notice so much until you think back to the time when a burger was only a dollar. Prices increased much faster over the past few years though. For Bloomberg, Reade Pickert and Jennah Haque zoom in on the everyday items that are noticeably more expensive. Basically everything.

I just wrapped up travel in a high cost of living area. The sticker shock on a simple grocery bill was brutal.

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Failed community notes to stop misinformation on Twitter

Twitter has a Community Notes feature that attempts to flag posts that contain misinformation. This might work well in theory, and the notes are often informative, but it works slowly and is often not enough to stop the spread of misinformation in a viral tweet. Bloomberg shows the spread through the lens of a single tweet.

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Toddlers and stochastic parrots

For The New Yorker, Angie Wang draws parallels between toddler learning behavior and training large language models, but more importantly, where they diverge.

They are the least useful, the least creative, and the least likely to pass a bar exam. They fall far below the median human standard
that machines are meant to achieve.

They are so much less than a machine, and yet it’s clear to any of us that they’re so much more than a machine.

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Parallel lines of old

This doesn’t have labeled axes, so I assume it only shows a zoomed in portion of the earlier years. The slope of the top line starts to level out at older ages, because my lines are about to cross.

See also: Closeness lines over time.

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Carrier pigeon vs. internet upload speeds

In some rural areas, upload speeds are crawlingly slow, which can make it difficult to send things on the internet. In some cases, a carrier pigeon might even be faster. For The Washington Post, Janice Kai Chen did the math so you know which one to use:

Racing pigeons clock an average of 40 miles per hour and typically race up to 400 miles, roughly from D.C. to Boston, according to the American Racing Pigeon Union. With the boost of a tailwind, pigeons have been recorded going as fast as 110 mph and as far as 1,000 miles.

At certain data volumes and distances, the pigeon is a quicker option for large swaths of rural America, where internet speeds can lag far behind the national average.

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Claim file request generator

Health insurers reject claims often, and if this happens, you can file an appeal. However, before you file the appeal, it can help to see the records insurers used. ProPublica made a letter generator to make it easier to get these records.

A claim file is a collection of the information your insurer used to decide whether it would pay for your medical treatment or services. Most people in the U.S. facing a denial have the right to request their claim file from their insurer. It can include internal correspondence, recordings of phone calls, case notes, medical records and other relevant information.

Information in your claim file can be critical when appealing denials. Some patients told us they received case notes showing that their insurer’s decision was the outcome of cost-cutting programs. Others have gotten denials overturned by obtaining recordings of phone calls where company staff introduced errors into their cases.

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Music theory in interactive visuals is a set of visual tools to help you learn music theory. Learn about notes, chords, and scales through a playful and colorful interface.

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Demonstration of bias in AI-generated images

For The Washington Post, Nitasha Tiku, Kevin Schaul and Szu Yu Chen demonstrate how AI generators lead to biased images. The systems use data slurped up from the internet to guess what pixels to show based on the text (i.e. a prompt) that you provide. So the images are often the result of calculations that look for the most common pixels in the source data rather than a real-world representation.

To most people, the bias probably seems harmless with an assumption that the systems will improve. And that might be the case. But just you wait until an AI chart generator, based on the inputs of visualization critiques scraped from the internets, only produces bar charts with obscene amounts of white space no matter what you try. Then you’ll be sorry you didn’t care sooner.

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Data-based journal of Pavement tour songs

Denise Lu, a superfan of Pavement, an indie rock band, examined the set lists from years past. I didn’t know anything about the band going in but came out with an appreciation of their art and some curiosity.

Mostly, I enjoy these pieces where someone loves something and takes you down the data rabbit hole with them.

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Disney’s innovations in animation

As Disney and its stock price struggles with streaming, Reuters looks at how Disney overcame previous challenges in its 100-year history. One of the first challenges was making animation that was believable:

He obsessed over quality and poured money into producing cartoons that would resonate with his audience. He wrote that observing the real world was key and animation must have, “a foundation of fact, in order that it may more richly possess sincerity.”

The studio formalized 12 principles of animation which transformed static sketches into lively characters on a screen. Veteran animators taught the principles to each of the new artists who joined the studio to ensure consistency.

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