## Tuesday, September 16, 2014

### Does only NATO, and not Russia, enjoy the right to send weapons to Ukraine?

In the last week, after a decision from the previous Friday, a ceasefire regime was established in Ukraine. People are still killing each other in the Donetsk Region but the shooting may be interpreted as "sporadic" which is why both sides of the civil war continue to officially respect the ceasefire.

While these advances towards peace are promising and all ethical people in the world should want the de-escalation of the situation to continue, some warmongers and lunatics in the EU and Washington D.C. have introduced new sanctions against Russia exactly during these promising days – sanctions against a country that they labeled the culprit of all the evil in the world. They openly said that the sanctions may depend on their satisfaction with the developments in Ukraine. This is incredible because this comment implicitly means that Russia (which is not really a party of the conflict at all, as a country) is automatically classified as the culprit of all failures in these people's lives and their friends' lives. Not even the Nazi party was treating the Jews in this simple way.

On one hand, fuzzy satellite photographs from wrong times and wrong places produced by a Google-Earth-serving photoshop company – photographs with speculative probabilistic interpretations that have already been taken down from the web – are the only "evidence" that the Russian Federation as a country is helping the anti-Kiev militias, and this seems like enough for the warmongers to cripple the international trade and to treat Russia as a criminal country. On the other hand, the standards are very different.

The defense minister in Kiev has literally boasted that his side of the civil war in Ukraine is already receiving arms shipments from NATO member states. It's exactly the same thing on the other side of the conflict – except that in this case, the deliveries are obviously real because they have been officially confirmed. However, the Western press doesn't urge everyone to cut the U.S. and other countries who are doing that from the international trade, to isolate the country, and similar things. A bit of double standards, right?

And it's not just weapons shipments. NATO and Kiev armies have performed military exercises on the Ukrainian territory. They seem to be proud about it, too. Imagine if the exact mirror image of this event happened – if Russia had officially sent its army to the friendly small republics of Novorussia. What a surprise that instead of such a controversial "mirror step", Russia has immediately decided to increase its military presence in Crimea. (Even if Crimea hadn't joined Russia in the spring, Russia would have to perform steps to strengthen its legitimate military bases in Crimea these days. By the way, elections in Crimea are underway and United Russia seems to be above 70%.)

Some NATO people are playing with fire near the Russian border.

I really can't imagine how an ethical person could possibly support the Western countries in this artificially fabricated and utterly unjustifiable terror against Russia and its citizens – and against Russia's business partners. I've tried to listen to these people and hear some justifications that I could have been missing. But the only thing they were able to show me was their mindless hatred, the exactly same treatment of the Russians as inferior animals that the Nazis were directing primarily against the Jews. This instinctive, rationally unbacked Russophobia is exactly as unacceptable as the Nazis' anti-Semitism from my point of view. I consider the people who are actively spreading this meme to be war criminals who should be hunted down.

Also, completely innocent Russian citizens and companies are getting materially punished for nothing else than their nationality. (Thank God, most of the Russians have already been so absorbed by the growing tension that they feel proud when they are being harassed in this way – even though they are really losing money.) The fact that their equally innocent non-Russian business partners lose millions of dollars is considered irrelevant as the states, endorsed by much of the mindless and hateful media that have abandoned all traces of objectivity and all the essential roles that the press should play in a democratic society, apparently think that the ends justify the means and it is right to sacrifice the well-being of individual people and individual companies in the name of a "higher principle". What is the higher principle? A racist effort to cause some problems to Russia, whatever it costs.

Sorry, this is intolerable. The people who believe that the human rights and dignity and the private assets may be sacrificed in the name of the state-wide hatred and in the name of their new Holocaust-like plans are totalitarian monsters who have to be personally held responsible for the financial and other losses and who have to be brought to justice.

In recent years, we have noticed that Chile also has many nice products to offer to the Czech consumers. Of course that the Serbian academic pens that Klaus received as a birthday gift from me a few months later couldn't compete...

The business partners of Russia are also trying to reduce their losses. For example, Czech dairies already began to export to... Chile. It's in South America, if you need to know. What do you think is economically, logistically, and environmentally preferred: to export food from Czechia to Russia, or from Czechia to Chile? Suddenly, extra miles and CO2 emissions don't matter although most of the people supporting the terror against Russia and its business partners are the same people who also spread the climate hysteria, among other delusions. There's no consistent logic underlying these claims and acts.

1. Sounds like another Russian Propaganda article. Nothing but lies coming from Russia. Why should the writer of this article tell the truth when the President of Russia which the writer protects lies day in day out?

2. PS Lets ban everything from the Czech Republic for this article too! No gas or food for Prague!

3. Honestly, I don't know what you mean seriously and what you don't. The idea that you mean all these sentences seriously sounds like an extragalactic audience to me.

4. As oppose to the "truth" coming from western media?!
You're delusional, but that makes you a nice little sheep that follows orders...

5. A real old Russian joke: is it true that Ivan Ivanovich did win a sports car in Moscow? Yes, it is true. Only it was in Astrakhan, not Moscow, it was not a sports car but a bike, and he did not win, but someone stole it from him.

6. This is a standard "Radio Yerevan" type of jokes.

7. The one sure anchor in all this mess is that the US engineered a coup d'etat that removed the only democratically elected president the Ukraine has ever had. Use that to judge all other stories.

If you want real Russian propaganda, go over to The Vineyard of the Saker.

8. Reagan called USSR "evil empire" and I definitely agreed with him.
Deutches Reich has also been an "evil empire" but contrary to the USSR it only lasted some 10 years and not 70.
While Russia is slightly smaller than the former USSR, it is still mostly governed by former "evil empire" citizens.
For instance nobody became a KGB officer or a communist just by chance.
On the contrary - many proofs and efforts were necessary to be elevated among the Chosen ones.
.
As it happens I know quite well several top people in the Russian economical and political sphere.
I know where they studied, where they come from and what they did under USSR.
On this last point they generally prefer to cast a prudent veil.
Yes people change with time but old people do that much less and old powerful people don't do at all.
.
So while I don't consider Russia an intrinsic "evil empire" anymore, I am lucid enough to recognize that many people in power are still as evil es they were 25 or 30 years ago.
And in any case I would never like to live in a country that had USSR and today Russia for neighbour.
Over thousands of years Russia had always an unfortunate trend to help their neighbours by putting them under its control .
And a thousand years old habit doesn't go away overnight.

9. RobotUnicornAttackSep 16, 2014, 1:55:00 PM

Congrats. Top ten is still excellent. Seems like a lot of the higher scores were just combinations of XGBoost runs that were carefully cross-validated (there was even a CV script for XGBoost posted on the forums at one stage so you didn't have to do that yourself). Clever ideas and "feature engineering" actually seemed to negatively affect the private scores. (I guess this is evidence that the machines are smarter than us already.) The CAKE thing helped a little bit.

10. Dear Tom, Reagan and others - and especially domestic problems - ended the existence of the evil empire in 1991.

About 99% of the people powering the Nazi Germany stayed in Germany (now reunified) after the war. Only 50% of the people powering the Soviet Union stayed in Russia. Russia fought on the same side with the modern Anglo-Saxon democracies in both world wars, Germany fought against them in both wars. I think that by any objective measure, one would have to include that the Germans are "more evil" than the Russians. Yet, almost no one would actually demonize Germans because of their history. Why is that? Because the demonization of Russia has nothing to do with the history. Instead, it's about the same kind of primitive biological instinctive racism that the Nazis used against the Jews.

KGB did some bad things correlated with the non-democratic regime in the USSR but so does NSA or FBI or CIA these days, despite the official democratic system in the U.S. At the end, they're mostly bureaus protecting the security of the state - the national interests.

You say the Russian politicians are "as evil as 25-30 years ago". You know, 25 years ago - and even 29.5 years ago - the USSR was led by Gorbachev who, as far as I can say, is not evil at all. He's a kind of a leftist but no different than various social democrats etc. in the West. I think he is a better personality than they are. So these comments of yours do nothing whatever to support your emotional words about the innate "evil".

Of course that in 1989, I didn't want any perestroika or socialism with a human face or something like that - we could go further and better. On the other hand, I would prefer Gorbachev over various Kerries and similar trash that has filled much of the top political chairs in the West. Maybe you wouldn't but this preference isn't a good excuse for you to lie about the Russians' character.

It's similar to the location of the Russian army. In the e-mail, you wrote it was terrible for you to imagine Russian soldiers who are 800 km from our/your borders, whichever you meant. I wrote that I find Russian soldiers 800 km from my borders healthy and desirable. We probably disagree here, too. But just because you hate the idea of a Russian soldier even 800 km from your borders doesn't give you the moral right to say that he is already within your borders, or something like that.

11. Thanks!

Too bad I didn't notice the script. Well, I also hoped we would find some time to do the things right with the teammate, and we outlined the plans, but didn't find enough time to realize them.

I don't believe there is any real evidence that CAKE helped a little bit. It added a new source of noise.

12. Russia as “evil land” was a fair fit during Stalin’s heyday, but clearly Russia had begun to change by the time of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in 1956. Massive change had occurred by ‘89 when the Berlin Wall came down and in the 25 years since Russia has adopted “capitalism” about as thoroughly as any country. The great irony, of course, is that when Russia truly was “evil” the West’s intellectuals and journalists, in large measure, loved the place, and now that Russia accepts the economic underpinnings of freedom the same class of people are filled with irrational hatred for her.

13. The truth is that the US are not prepared for war. 27 members of the Donald Cook crew filed a letter of resignation. Here is something you will never hear about in the US :
http://northerntruthseeker.blogspot.ie/2014/04/the-us-is-unprepared-for-war-with.html

14. I don't think that the USA will take part in the war against Russia. Americans are too careful. Do you remember how they were putting off opening of a second front in WWII?

15. Authority in these cases is not just might makes right, nor abstract legal authority, but the ability to take actions for a just cause in a measured way. the rationale for the Russophobia is fear that Russia in this case might be gaining traction in the latter way (where there is fighting against private armies, some of dubious aspect, in the Ukraine, see Azov's battalion "Wotanjugend" website for example). This is expressed for example in German public opinion, and also SK I might add, that seems heavily against Kiev (this is less the case in Prague, but I wonder about Moravia given the Volhynian CZ problem).

Really, it is a combination of the two, but when it comes to might, NATO represenets economic power more than x20, a population x6, with military capabilities in some areas that RU lacks entirely, she is a rather large David in the case. On the other hand, RU military capabilities, such as they are, are used more effectively to greater actual impact, it is analogous to the situation of climate establishment vs. skeptics.

16. Indeed, US/Israel are too busy creating false reasons to attack Syria.

17. It is worth remembering that RU and UA have a shared history for more than 1000 years, and the troubled time of the relationship lay almost entirely in the first third of the Soviet period, from the the Civil Way Period to WW2.

It is always suspicious when people select always tragedies like the State-indiced famine of the 1930's (hardly different in its attitude than the Red Terror of the Cheka inflicted mostly on Ethnic Russians somewhat earlier) from this period that represents about 2% of the shared RU-UA history, plus Kulaks as such were targeted (as in the Cheka in RU in the early Bolshevik time, and later in Lwow, PL, by NKVD campaigns in 1940) as 'class enemies' by communists, and NOT as Ukrainians per se by Russians. Ukrainians were heavily over-represented in the initial Politburo (incl. Trotsky, who came from Kirovograd region).

18. I would say that Russia and Ukraine have more than a shared history - they pretty much have the same history going back to the days when Vikings where pushing up the region’s rivers in the 9th century. Lithuania and Poland have controlled large parts of the Ukraine intermittently since the early middle ages, but a Ukraine history independent of Russia is nonsense.

Why the West is freaking over the boarder tensions between Russia and Ukraine is beyond me. Maybe someone in power should look up the Pig War, when the USA and England almost went to war over a few water logged acres, to gain a little perspective.

19. Our Aegis guided missile cruisers use obsolete radar technology that is useless against a technically sophisticated enemy. That does not mean that the US is lacking in technology, Shannon, far from it.
I personally led the development of the world’s first frequency-agile solid-state oscillators, which enable jam-proof defensive radar systems. Our modern systems could not be jammed by an Su-24.

Incidentally, this is old news. I could have told you that this sort of thing happens all the time and has been going on for forty years.
We are not prepared for a war agains Russia simply because that would be insane.

20. Yep, we are in yet another unwinnable war.

21. Dear Cyril, it's surely an unpopular explanation in the U.S. but the reason why the U.S. wouldn't declare war against the Third Reich was that much of America would sort of like - to say the least - the new regime in Germany.

To say the least, the American "mainstream media" and other parts of the mainstream were surely much less hostile towards Hitler than they are towards Putin today. See some of the prominent U.S. supporters of the fascist regimes e.g. at

http://rationalrevolution.net/war/american_supporters_of_the_europ.htm

22. I believe it wouldn't have happened if the USA's army had consisted of Americans and not mercenaries

23. Even though that final score wasn't the expected one, you did great! Cheers! :-)

24. USI (United States of Israel) should indeed stay and live happily in their wonderlands asylum and leave the rest of the world rule the rest of the Earth.

25. Saying that you are not prepared for war against Russia because "that would be insane" is a way to say you could do it no problem but you are so good that you will refrain from doing it. I don't believe this is the reason.

26. Thanks, Kimmo! ;-)

27. I totally agree with you, Shannon. Aside from negative emotions, there's lots of "spirit" in America that it may easily beat anyone else including Russia.

Hitler was also confident about it and it has worked for him for quite some time - but not through the end.

28. No luck, pure skill. Finland has three main sectors for generating income... 1. Telecom, 2. Paper industry and 3. Winning money out of numerous bets we make with foreigners ;-D

29. That's complete news to me! According to Czech TV, the six pillars of the Finnish economy are

1. Etter destillere
2. Etter destillere
3. Etter destillere
4. Etter destillere
5. Etter destillere
6. Etter destillere

Oh my God. Amundsen Vodka is a Norwegian product, right? But I am sure that the Finlandia Vodka won't be any different. ;-)

30. It would have been illegal in the face of international laws. That is why they are sending their mercenaries.

31. I think the international laws would be written if it became an obstacle in the USA's path.

32. Not anymore. Resistance is on its way.

33. Your resistance doesn't matter for the US at all. I wonder how it hasn't invaded N. Korea yet. Maybe because there is no oil.

34. Cyril, go finish your coloring book.

35. "With this extra filter, the U.S. record is rather great."

True.

Still, we burned Washington in 1814. :) [A retaliatory move though, so not quite as bad as it sounds in isolation.]

They got their own back on us eventually though.

Actually I'm very pro-American. It's the recent administrations I can't stand. Much like at home really. I want all ours executed for treason.

Say it did all come to an all-out war between the West and Russia. Who do you think would be the winners?

My own view is neither side would be. We'd both be losers. We'd be back to the stone age.

However, what concerns me is that there could still be winners. Unthinkable. And I don't mean China.

I do mean people who never left the stone age in the first place. Those knuckle-dragging apes can mostly be found variously across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Yes, those followers of that utter filth and shit that goes by the name of pisslam, a sworn enemy of every kind of civilisation: Them™. There are now a lot in the West too, something which should never have been allowed and needs to be rectified.

I'd much rather we in the West, Russia and China together exterminated all traces of those possible winners before even thinking about engaging with each other. Indeed I'd much rather we did it anyway, and the sooner the better. Blood-eagle and head-hack the fucking lot and feed the bodies to the pigs. But napalm them if pushed — yes, in the interests efficiency let's not be too fussy.

Peace & Love! V

36. Shannon,

Your new avatar — is it Charles Martel? If so, jolly good! I like it.

But is Jeanne d'Arc?

No problem if it is. Good for you.

37. Of course we could prepare for a war with Russia, Shannon. Any country can prepare for a war with anyone but that does not mean that country would win.
A actual ground war in Europe could not possibly be a winning proposition for the US simply because it would not have popular support at home. We have had far too many unwinnable wars already, starting with Korea and Vietnam.
And an actual US vs. Russia war would probably become nuclear and there would be no winners. Russia has more tactical nukes than my country and resorting to our superior strategic nuclear force would pretty much guarantee the end of all civilizations including yours. Mutual suicide is, indeed, insane.
Anyway, most Americans really don’t give a damn about the Ukraine’s conflict. There is an unfortunate demonization of Putin and Russia but the feelings are far too weak to support a war. We may be stupid but we are not crazy.

38. It is totally irrelevant to talk about who is stronger, the US or Russia. No one in the US thinks that we could defeat Russia in a ground war; that is just nuts.
Regarding radar jamming there is nothing surprising or even interesting about the story. Fixed-frequency radars have been vulnerable to such jamming for more than six decades. That’s why it was so easy to take out Saddam’s air defenses both in 1991 and in 2003. It really is child’s play.
We can easily do the same to Assad in Syria and he knows it. Without his air power he could not survive for long and he knows that, too. Russia is right, however, in supporting Assad; he is a lesser evil than what would likely follow his departure.
Frequency-hopping, which was invented by the movie actress, Hedy Lamarr, generally prevents such jamming but the details of electronic countermeasures get really complex.
Russia, of course, has very effective air defenses. They are generally better than ours but Russia is more threatened so they need these defenses. No one will attack Russia, not ever.
I do know about a bit about sophisticated radar systems. I spent several years in the mid sixties developing microwave devices for frequency-agile defensive radar.

39. Germany did not seriously threaten the US in1941. A few people here knew of Hitler’s evil aims (and deeds) but it is a good thing that he declared war on us for that, along with Pearl Harbor, motivated our total mobilization, an event unique in American history.
I was a child at the time but I remember well that the war was what most people thought about all day and every day. Our very lives were lived around fighting that war.
Whether we like or hate Putin, Assad, Hitler or anyone else matters little. All countries, including the US, simply pursue their interests and one of our interests is oil. Of course we sometimes have an incomplete understanding of where our interests lie.

40. Of course we were aware of the threats, Lubos. It’s just that no one thought that simple box cutters could be a tool for killing 3000 Americans.

41. Yes, you burned Washington 200 years ago. There are some here who would like to see that repeated.

42. A better "mirror" would be NATO or Georgia sending troops to wanna-breakaway Chechnya.

43. Lubos, you did a really good job, but I strongly believe you incurred in overtraining. This big-data guys are best in generalization, ie avoiding overtraining.
Again congratulations, K.

44. The following plot:

http://www.hep.phy.cam.ac.uk/~lester/cake.pdf

shows the Average AMS score for all ~450 kaggle higgs teams with scores above 3.60003 (the xgboost default) against day from the beginning of September. Cake was release around in around 5pm UK time on Sunday 14th, which will show up at about 13.75 on the time axis of these plots (since calendar days count from 1). The *average* score suddenly changes gradient, and increases by more than 0.002. This is the cake 'spike'.

At most 10% of these top 450 teams teams made re-submissions using cake following it's release, and so the 0.002 change is not a measure of what cake adds, it is an underestimate of the benefit by a factor of roughly 10.

This we may see in the second plot:

http://www.hep.phy.cam.ac.uk/~lester/cakeBenefitsOverTime.png

which is a 2D histogram showing the sizes of the leaderboard jumps made by submitters (with AMS above 3.6003 again) who managed to boost their AMS in september. The left hand axis measures the AMS jump recorded on the leaderboard. The colour indicates the number of jumps of that delta AMS registered during the time bin indicated on the bottom axis. Again, Cake was released at about t=13.75 on the horizontal axis. Here we see that, until the release of cake, the vast majority of improvements were always in the lower row of bins (i.e. delta_AMS<0.01 with excursion to delta_AMS<0.02). This had been constant and stable until the release of Cake data.

Following the release of cake data, there are then multiple yellow bins and multiple green bins in the 0.01<delta_AMS<0.04 range and (most importantly!) a strong deficit in the delta_AMS<0.01 region! This is not consistent with the addition of noise.

Subtracting the pedestal background increases of 0.1 from this 0.01-0.04 range, one obtains an estimate of the benefits of cake in the region of delta_AMS ~ 0.02 to 0.03, consistent with a 10% cake submission rate in the first plot.

One would expect lower placed contestants to have have seen more benefit than higher placed contestants, but even very highly placed kagglers report increases that match the estimates here. (See later posts in kaggle cake thread).

All in all, the data seems to strongly indicate an unambiguous positive benefits can be obtained from marrying cake with ML techniques, inconstant with noise,something that seems somewhat at odds with the self confident and emotive, yet strangely nonsensical comments that seem to have made their way into your blog.

Hoping this finds you in a happier mood than when you last posted.

45. Finally a question with an easy answer. Both Russia and NATO have the right to send weapons to Ukraine if invited. And neither has the right to do that uninvited.

46. I think that swaying American public opinion is very easy. Few selected videos, some fear mongering, some chestbanging and American public will support the war with anyone for whatever idiotic story mass media keep serving.

47. I agree with you. It is the west that is expansionist and acting like the grand imperium , and not only in this case. Russia is still licking its wounds from the fall of the wall.

A funny trivia : In Greece there is a daily newspaper completely orthodox religion, Athos mountain prophets oriented and its first page is read out in the TV morning shows. Various ascetics and monks are prophesying the great Russian move to unite all orthodox people and the return of Costantinople. to christianity !

The other side of the racist coin.

48. Our (i.e., American) policy does seem idiotic. There must be some back story that explains but probably does not justify what is driving US policy. Cannot imagine what it is -- but if I had to guess I would say it may have something to do with some foreign policy people's personal egos and professional prestige at stake. Like the way Obama was stampeded into that Libya intervention.

49. Thanks, Kirill. Right. With my limited CPU time and technology, a certain amount of overtraining is an inseparable part of *any training* whatsoever. ;-)

If I look back, it's perhaps not just the sofware technology for cross-validation. I sort of dedicated as much CPU time to it as I could. For example, I couldn't have run each of the runs 5 times. Well, if there were many fewer, I could, but that would require a single job to be divided to days etc. It wasn't in the type of the effort I wanted to do for uncertain results, anyway.

While overtraining sounds sensible, the hypothesis that there was no overtraining is still falsified at something like 1-2 sigma only. The noise was just too high. Note that Melis' score dropped 0.05, too, and there were lots of other changes often comparable to 0.1. Mine was -0.09. It's really compatible with the fluctuation.

With this being said, of course that I agree that with my method and number of submissions, there are statistical reasons to think that my drop would be slightly larger, perhaps exactly by 0.04 larger than Melis', for example. So a final victory would have required some reasonable amount good luck, too. I've known that from the beginning, too, although there were always dreams that one could produce a substantially higher score like 4.0 that wouldn't depend on luck.

50. The interpretation is extremely shaky science. You don't have any evidence that the end-of-the-contest spike was due to Cake.

51. Dear Gene, please kindly notice that up to the moment when the tension was created in Ukraine, partly by foreign influences, Russia was not seriously threatening the U.S., either.

In spite of that, something happened... that placed the U.S. on the edge of a new cold war, and perhaps not just cold, with Russia. Why? If you talk about oil, do you really mean that you are thinking about controlling Russian oil, too? I can't believe that.

52. I had not realized that the crisis in the Ukraine was largely precipitated by the EU's "Eastern Partnership" initiative. Since when does "the EU" (a largely unelected body of bureacrats?) get to formulate dangerous foreign policies for its member states?

http://www.cfr.org/europe/european-unions-eastern-partnership/p32577

Also, here is a relatively balanced backgrounder on the Ukrainian crisis put out by The Council on Foreign Relations:

http://www.cfr.org/ukraine/ukraine-crisis/p32540

I get the idea that a lot of people in the US foreign policy establishment are not happy at the way the EU is conducting itself in relation to its "Eastern Neighborhood Association" (which includes not only Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine, but also Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon!).

53. It is Louis IX, king of France between 1226 and 1270, aka Saint Louis. The only king who was canonised. He would dispense justice under an oak tree and the people of France respected him for his judgements. He also led two crusades...

54. It was really nice following your progress. You deserved a top 10 and got one. I hope to compete against you in another competition, you are now a force to be reckoned with.

It's no coincidence that physicists make the best machine learning pro's. They often beat out CS, maths, econometric and stats students. Something about optimizing systems and metrics I think. How do you see this (being a physicist)? You quickly got up to speed with XGBoost.

Gabor won using an ensemble of 70 neural nets. I think that will be most valuable to Atlas, since the rest of the top 10 seems to have used combinations of XGBoost.

I used a majority vote of 4 other models (NN,GBM,XGBoost,RF) to flip some background predictions into signal predictions. This did really well on public leaderboard and got us back into the top 10 with around a ~0.02 increase. It performed worse on private than our simple stacked ensembles.

Complexity is not a measure in this contest, but I think anyone should think really hard if they want to add a 5000 CPU hours to their model, for a small increase. Especially when there was no time to replicate. I think it got a bit too much attention, where XGBoost is the clear winner (and contribution to research) here. Still neural nets beat us all and I think that is pretty exciting for this field.

55. LOL, thanks for this interest and kind words and for being a fellow contestant. But I am not sure whether I plan to spend any comparable amount of time in any other similar contest. This one has occupied literally hours a day for 3.5 months and I was interested in it because it's hard science whose beef's conceptual foundations are known to me, and the rest is "just some maths" one has to crack.

A week ago or two, I've tried to invest 30 minutes to writing a few lines in Mathematica to see whether I have a miraculous ability to predict pH and 4 other properties of the African soil. I ended up in bottom 50% so it's likely I won't continue with that, the soil is too dirty, I mean not just literally. ;-)

All the other contests seem to have too extensive datasets (often in gigabytes). My laptop and mediocre internet connection isn't ready for such things and I would have to learn too many things in programming and machine learning to be competitive in generic machine-learning contests, I guess, and I am not sure whether it's exciting enough for me.

Neural nets are fun. In practice, the score looks virtually indistinguishable from the boosted trees. I am happy to have independently discovered the "averaging paradigm" of boosted trees submissions, and completely unsurprised that I have rediscovered the wheel once again - it has happened to me about 500 times in my life before LOL. Even Einstein has plagiarized my original ideas about "relativity" and published them 68 years before I was born. ;-)

In practice, as far as the impact on the ATLAS research goes, I would probably recommend them something opposite to including even more esoteric and "bio-dirty" methods like neural networks. I would tell them - and I have told them - to avoid the usage of complicated features like MMC itself because it makes many things dependent on too many detailed conventions and the resulting increase of the AMS significance level is just of order 2% which is totally negligible in the process of the scientific discovery.

56. To understand why Europe would interfere with Ukraine this way one should reread 1984. As Europe falters, they need an enemy against whom to wage endless, unwinnable war, and Putin is it. Nobody wants for this to get too too serious. Endless war needs to simmer, not burn. And sorry for anyone looking for a bad guy or a good guy. This thing is too good for business, and Putin is as guilty as anybody on the other side. Nobody wants the conflict to go away, and nobody wants it to really explode. At least, nobody who counts. The poor bastards who have to actually fight this thing are the victims - from both sides. The rest of us are powerless spectators.

57. USI don't do wars to win them. They only want to install durable chaos.That's all. Israel can only prosper on perpetual hostility towards them. Peace means death of Israel.
A good jew is a non-jew. A ex-jew who has become christlike.

58. The real back story that explains the idiotic policy is that the War Machine has over time covertly rearranged the system. It's like having a rather large brain tumor but not being aware of it. Insanity is now the new normal.

59. No, the deficit at low cake increases is not compatible with noise addition. You do not address this key point.

60. It is perfectly compatible.

You may have misunderstood which noise I meant. I didn't mean that the spike is noise. I meant the score change of an individual submission modified with the cake is noise. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts. When it helps, it's more likely that it helps in the prelim score as well, and the personal records were updated.

So this graph only shows a higher activity at the end of the competition. You should divide the slopes of the trend by the rate at which new submissions are actually sent, to figure out whether the moment of publishing Cake is any special.

Of course that in the long run, the average score goes up. But the more submissions people send per day, the more it goes up. Do you agree with this trivial point?

61. The back story is that the US are fighting for another country and another cause than their own. Guess which one.

62. John, are you an Israelian ?... because you speak like them.

63. And a mirror of that would be US/NATO supporting Syrian rebels/etc. Except Syria is halfway around the globe.

64. Ah but the clincher is *who* is allowed to invite. I might want to break away from my municipality to form a Fort Frank - can I invite French Forces to help me out?

65. No, noise might make things better or worse, but it would always make "no change" more likely than either of them. (Can you picture a noise gaussian centred on zero? Noise is not a bimodal distribution with lumps either side of zero.)

Shame you can't understand this.

66. It's just not true at all.

The average scores would grow even if people were sending noise and learning from the AMS they get from the leaderboard. After all, some obnoxious critics describe my submissions in this very way - and my score did go up as a trend all the time.

Progress always goes up.

Of course that in reality, people are improving scores by much more systematic ways than looking at their random submissions and learning lessons.

Every time a new submission is sent and may be picked as a replacement for a personal best or co-best, the average AMS score of the 450 teams is changing by D which has some mean value and some variation. The mean value is undoubtedly positive and was positive long before a cake was published.

You have presented *zero* evidence that the value of D has increased after the publication of a cake.

67. Thank you for your advise but I don't have a coloring book. I don't watch movies. And, last but not least, I live in Russia.

68. If you are Russian stop being so defeatist and fatalistic with the Unitedstatians.

69. LOL, Shannon, take it easy.

Cyril was just eating celery that he digged out of the soil by his hands:

He also gave me a piece, this is how Cyril simply is. In emergency, you may recognize a friend. Once we finish eating the celery, we will surely be healthy. ;-)

70. What would it take to do something like a computer optimisation on string theory itself? In other words, have a computer generate some stringy compactification, work out some physical implications, assign it a 'fitness', then tweak the starting guess to optimise the result? I gather one couldn't do this over all possible values, as you would need a mathematician to work out how to go from a string theory to a 'physical implication' in the general case, but are there subsets where the process is understood well enough to have it automated? Or are the subsets which are known well enough for automation already ruled out, for all possible tweaks?

71. Dear John,

You have been regularly spewing filth out your mouth at this Blog. You not only sound like an ignorant villager but more like a brain washed and idiotic as any IS member. But I will assume you are a good man just ignorant of facts. So let me see if I can explain things for you and hopefully that will put you at ease.

First, the Muslims and the Christians or the Arab/Eastern and European people have lived side by side for Eons and created the core of today's civilization together. Sure, their have been wars and competition and whatnot, but what area in the world which has not seen the same.

I can assure you the the vast majority of Eastern people respect the western people and hold them in high regards and the vast majority of Muslims take the attitude that religion is just a relation between the person and god. Meaning, it has nothing to do with others and the degree of conformity to rules is nobody's business but the person.

On the political side, sure some few ignorant/looser will exist, plenty in all countries and I really hope you are not one of them and you shouldn't be. But governments have their own agenda for survival and were warned plenty not to create/upgrade these groups for the short term benefits, because they might change into Frankenstein. Moreover, the global Geo-politics jumped into the act and made it worse. Please, don't blame regular Muslims for this situation, be intelligent, don't fall for the propaganda easily. If you want to be(or feel) part of this political propaganda for whatever reason, fine.

The irony is, as the media portrays this situation, the Economical relation between Arab countries and Western countries has never been better. So many Westerners in our countries doing business, we as businessmen can't imagine life without each other. Go check the statistic, it will wake you up to reality, the world is not what you think as VR shooting game, it is much more complicated. The Arab world alone total GDP is the fifth in the world, so it is not your "stone age" area that you think it is, business is brisk, check CNBC Arabia.

Now, if it is immigration/culture issue I really really have sympathy for you. This situation is a thousand times worse in my country. Eighty percent of the population are foreigners and the the remaining 20% half of them only recently have obtained citizenship. It is just a nightmare, although I do benefit from this situation financially. But other unscrupulous people make their living from that. But I don't have hatred for them or the countries they came from, it is just a chaos that was created by stupid actions of all the people involved, mostly our-self.

72. It's a bold plan of yours! ;-) People have of course used computers to look at properties of classes of compactifications but they don't really go to "fitness" - they're comparing basic physical quantities like the number of generations of fermions with the reality, or with something else.

If the criteria are sufficiently qualitative, vacua that are compatible with the real world have been found in many corners of the "landscape" of possibilities. This still doesn't answer where to look.

73. LOL ! :-D Why don't we just hang ourselves.

74. Thank you, Shannon. Your Eeyore sounds like Schopenhauer.

Actually, I am less interested in politics than in improving my English (: I think there will always be something that will spoil one's life. Therefore if somebody asks me whether I am satisfied with my life I always answer yes. If I feel myself unsatisfied I answer yes anyway. I am healthy. I live in a warm flat. That is the happiness. I don't think one can get more happiness without getting more trouble.

I hope you like it:

75. Russia has not threatened the US at all and I agree that the Ukrainian conflict has been inflamed partly by foreign influences, including our own. That is regrettable. You cannot make the case that the Ukraine’s future is of vital interest to the US; it just isn’t.

Regarding attitudes toward Russia and towards oil resources it is all emotional, i.e., not rational. There are strong but obsolete fears of Russia stemming from the cold war and oil availability (or lack thereof) has usually played a big role in American foreign policy.
A cursory review of history makes it obvious that this is true, at least for the past eighty years or so.
Other factors have played a role including the fear of “spreading” communism and even humanitarian causes but in most American interventions the role of oil has been a factor.

Oil really should be a minor influence in the future due to our upcoming energy independence but old attitudes die hard. We will continue to pursue our own interests, just like everyone else, but my hope is that Americans will gain a clearer understanding of just where our interests lie. That is the task at hand and it is a pretty big one.

76. That’s not unique to American public opinion, Tony. It is Goering’s principle, enunciated by Hermann Goering the day before he swallowed a cyanide capsule at Nuremberg, thus avoiding being hanged.

77. Hi Lubos,
Congratulations. You are at number 8 on the private leaderboard now, did they make a mistake?

78. Cool! ;-) Seven more improvements like that... :-)

79. Haha, yeah :-)