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Kominers's Conundrums: When Cartoon Pals Join Social Media – BNN

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(Bloomberg Opinion) — Life is like a hurricane sometimes. When that happens, I like to take refuge in puzzles. Solving a challenging Conundrum can help focus your mind and perhaps even carry you off to a whole new world for a bit.

So here’s a Conundrum that may sound cartoonishly corporate at first, but I promise: It will actually bring you to a place free from worries, where there’s magic everywhere:

Walt asked Donald to put together new social media profiles for some of his team members – but he wasn’t too pleased with what Donald came up with.

Can you determine whom these taglines are describing, and fit their names into the grid below? Once you do, you should be able to figure out how Walt characterized the whole operation – and that is this week’s answer.

  • Caped hero known for “getting dangerous”
  • Definitely not a llama
  • Eats eggs and decorates with antlers
  • Forgetful fish; found Nemo
  • Kid Hamlet
  • Klepto monkey
  • Little guy with top hat who recorded company theme song
  • Loves pie, but should stay away from apples
  • Necessity bear
  • Scrooge’s pilot
  • Smiley feline who appears to be purple
  • Space-age pretty boy; falls with style
  • Speechless to set foot on land
  • The green caballero
  • Toymaker with lifelike work (GEPPETTO)

We’ve included the character count for each row, and filled one in to help you get started. If you’re having trouble, maybe dig a little deeper into that individual’s background.

If you go the distance – or if you even make partial progress – please let us know at skpuzzles@bloomberg.net before midnight New York time on Thursday, October 8.

If you get stuck, there’ll be hints announced on Twitter and in Bloomberg Opinion Today. To be counted in the solver list, please include your full name with your answer.

Programming note: Next week, Conundrums will run on Sunday, October 11. If you have opinions about the optimal release day/time for the column, please let us know at skpuzzles@bloomberg.net.

Previously in Kominers’s Conundrums …

For our 24th edition, we played the “24” game, seeking to make 24 out of six different sets of integers. Every mathematical operation under the sun was fair game, and readers came up with some really clever solutions.

The numbers 2, 3, 8, 8 could actually be solved in many ways using just the standard arithmetic operations (e.g., (3/2) × (8 + 8) = 24), but Charlie Hyde, Renee Wu, and several others found an elegant solution using exponentiation: 8 + 8 + 2^3 = 8 + 8 + 8 = 24.

Winston Luo identified the unique arithmetic solution for 1, 3, 4, 6: 6/(1 –3/4) = 6/(1/4) = 24. Many other solvers noted an easier answer that uses exponentiation: 1^3 × 4 × 6 = 24. Ross Rheingans-Yoo observed that 1 × BB(3) + 4 + 6, where BB is the busy beaver function.(2)

The numbers 3, 4, 9, 10 are in some sense surprisingly difficult: there are no solutions with just standard arithmetic operations. But as Teodor Ionita-Radu  and Ryan Wigley showed, it’s much easier if you allow factorials: 3! × 4 × (10 – 9) = 6 × 4 × 1 = 24, and (((10 – 9) × 4!)/3!)! = 4! = 24. Alternatively, you could solve it using exponentiation, as Michael Carlile & Flat did: (10 – 4)^3/9 = 6^3/9 = 216/9 = 24.

Spaceman Spiff figured out the unique arithmetic solution for 4, 4, 10, 10: (10 × 10 – 4)/4 = 96/4 = 24. Others such as Kenny Zhu used the tens to get rid of one of the fours so they could write 24 as 4!: (10 – 10) × 4 + 4! = 0 + 4! = 24.

For 2, 2, 2, 64, Dean Ballard, Bob Day, and many others noticed the intended trick of making a 6 by taking a base-2 logarithm of 64: Log2(64) × 2^2 = 6 × 4 = 24. But procrastidigitation and Noam Elkies came up with creative alternate solutions involving fractions, factorials and roots:

Most solvers simply reduced 1, 2, 5, 24 to 24 multiplied by 1 to a power. I may be biased, but I prefer my own overkill solution, which like the solution just above uses both a factorial and a root:

We also posed two bonus challenges.

First, we asked whether you could combine all 24 of the integers we gave to make 24 once more.

Laurent Granger and Suproteem Sarkar came up with similar solutions here: Take the 24 from the last set, and then multiply that by 1 raised to a gigantic power constructed from all the other numbers:

Then, we asked whether anyone could make 24 from 2, 13, 15, and 72, which my editor had said was too difficult for the main Conundrum.

Michael Branicky and several other solvers came up with an answer using the floor function, which gives the greatest integer less than or equal to a given number: 24 = 72/(2 + Floor(15/13)). Zoz instead used the sum of prime factors function; Phil Hu and Jeremy Hurwitz found solutions using trigonometric functions; Sanandan Swaminathan and several others used modular math; Filbert Cua used the decrement operator; and Noam Elkies gave answers using the Tribonacci numbers and the gamma function.(4)But in fact, none of these were the answer I had found: I was using the Euler “totient function,” which counts the number of positive integers less than a given integer that share no factors with that integer other than 1. Totient(72) = 24, so 24 = Totient(72) × (15-13)/2.

Michael Branicky solved first, followed by Noam Elkies, Lazar Ilic, Suproteem Sarkar, Elizabeth Sibert, and Zoz. The other 25 solvers were Dean Ballard, Michael Carlile & Flat, Filbert Cua, Robert Day, Laurent Granger, Peter Haupt, Phil Hu, Jeremy Hurwitz, Charlie Hyde, Teodor Ionita-Radu, Kevin Ke, Winston Luo, Alex Ognev, Robbie Ostrow, Ryan Phua, Matthew Prins, procrastidigitation, Tom Rankin, Ross Rheingans-Yoo, Spaceman Spiff, Sanandan Swaminathan, Ryan Wigley, Renee Wu, and Kenny Zhu; plus over 300 people solved “3, 4, 9, 10” on Instagram.(3)

The Bonus Round

An awesome interactive domino game from Hevesh5! Fat Bear Week; an ode to crosswords; paradox-free time travel; whiskey hunters; and physics majors pwning golf (hat tip for the preceding two: Ellen Kominers). How to fold a bunny (hat tip: Robin Houston); a persistence of memory puzzle (hat tip: Eric Berlin); and the PostCurious puzzle/game roundup. Deep learning making music; a new way to generate primes; lost languages in one of the world’s oldest libraries. And inquiring minds want to know: will computers win the International Mathematical Olympiad one day?

(1) Rheingans-Yoo in fact came up with a solution for each set of numbers that used the numbers in the order we presented them!

(2) For example, 24 = 2 + 15 + (Tribonacci(13) / 72).

(3) Robbie Ostrow came up with a strategy for generating any number from any set of numbers, but we’ll be keeping that one secret pending future Conundrums.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Scott Duke Kominers is the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and a faculty affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics. Previously, he was a junior fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and the inaugural research scholar at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Nigeria considers social media regulation in wake of deadly shooting – National Post

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ABUJA/LAGOS — Nigeria’s information minister said “some form of regulation” could be imposed on social media just a week after protesters spread images and videos of a deadly shooting using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Images, video and an Instagram live feed from a popular DJ spread news of shootings in Lagos on Oct. 20, when witnesses and rights groups said the military fired on peaceful protesters.

The protesters had been demonstrating for nearly two weeks to demand an end to police brutality. The army denied its soldiers were there.

Social media helped spread word of the shootings worldwide, and international celebrities from Beyonce and Lewis Hamilton to Pope Francis since called on the country to resolve the conflict peacefully.

Information Minister Lai Mohammed told a panel at the National Assembly on Tuesday that “fake news” is one of the biggest challenges facing Nigeria.

A spokesman for the minister confirmed the comments, and said “the use of the social media to spread fake news and disinformation means there is the need to do something about it.”

Officials have said some videos and photos posted during the protests were fake news but have not said that about the shootings.

In the weeks before the shootings, protesters had also used social media to organize, raise money and share what they said was proof of police harassment, which increased pressure on authorities to respond to their demands.

Twitter Inc CEO Jack Dorsey Tweeted to encouraged his followers to contribute, and the hashtag #EndSARS was trending for several days, referencing the widely feared Special Anti-Robbery Squad that they successfully demanded be abolished. (Reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja and Libby George in Lagos; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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3 social media CEOs face grilling by GOP senators on bias – CTV News

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WASHINGTON —
The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are facing a grilling by Republican senators making unfounded allegations that the tech giants show anti-conservative bias.

The Senate Commerce Committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to testify for a hearing Wednesday. The executives agreed to appear remotely after being threatened with subpoenas.

With the presidential election looming, Republicans led by U.S. President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views.

The chorus of protest rose this month after Facebook and Twitter acted to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, an unprecedented action against a major media outlet. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.

Beyond questioning the CEOs, senators are expected to examine proposals to revise long-held legal protections for online speech, an immunity that critics in both parties say enables the companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.

The Justice Department has asked Congress to strip some of the bedrock protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms. Trump signed an executive order challenging the protections from lawsuits under the 1996 telecommunications law.

“For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the Commerce Committee chairman, said recently.

In their opening statements prepared for the hearing, Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Pichai addressed the proposals for changes to so-called Section 230, a provision of a 1996 law that has served as the foundation for unfettered speech on the internet. Zuckerberg said Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.”

“We don’t think tech companies should be making so many decisions about these important issues alone,” he said, approving an active role for government regulators.

Dorsey and Pichai, however, urged caution in making any changes. “Undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online,” Dorsey said.

Pichai urged lawmakers “to be very thoughtful about any changes to Section 230 and to be very aware of the consequences those changes might have on businesses and consumers.”

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told congressional leaders in a letter Tuesday that recent events have made the changes more urgent. He cited the action by Twitter and Facebook regarding the New York Post story, calling the companies’ limitations “quite concerning.”

The head of the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency, recently announced plans to reexamine the legal protections, potentially putting meat on the bones of Trump’s order by opening the way to new rules. The move by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee, marked an about-face from the agency’s previous position.

Social media giants are also under heavy scrutiny for their efforts to police misinformation about the election. Twitter and Facebook have slapped a misinformation label on content from the president, who has around 80 million followers. Trump has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process.

Starting Tuesday, Facebook was not accepting any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close next Tuesday, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.

Democrats have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence or keep people from voting. They have criticized Big Tech CEOs for failing to police content, homing in on the platforms’ role in hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have scrambled to stem the tide of material that incites violence and spreads lies and baseless conspiracy theories.

The companies reject accusations of bias but have wrestled with how strongly they should intervene. They have often gone out of their way not to appear biased against conservative views — a posture that some say effectively tilts them toward those viewpoints. The effort has been especially strained for Facebook, which was caught off-guard in 2016, when it was used as a conduit by Russian agents to spread misinformation benefiting Trump’s presidential campaign.

The unwelcome attention to the three companies piles onto the anxieties in the tech industry, which also faces scrutiny from the Justice Department, federal regulators, Congress and state attorneys general around the country.

Last week, the Justice Department sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.

With antitrust in the spotlight, Facebook, Apple and Amazon also are under investigation at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

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3 social media CEOs face grilling by GOP senators on bias – Powell River Peak

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WASHINGTON — The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are facing a grilling by Republican senators making unfounded allegations that the tech giants show anti-conservative bias.

The Senate Commerce Committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to testify for a hearing Wednesday. The executives agreed to appear remotely after being threatened with subpoenas.

article continues below

With the presidential election looming, Republicans led by President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views.

The chorus of protest rose this month after Facebook and Twitter acted to limit dissemination of an unverified political story from the conservative-leaning New York Post about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, an unprecedented action against a major media outlet. The story, which was not confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Biden’s son Hunter that were reportedly disclosed by Trump allies.

Beyond questioning the CEOs, senators are expected to examine proposals to revise long-held legal protections for online speech, an immunity that critics in both parties say enables the companies to abdicate their responsibility to impartially moderate content.

The Justice Department has asked Congress to strip some of the bedrock protections that have generally shielded the tech companies from legal responsibility for what people post on their platforms. Trump signed an executive order challenging the protections from lawsuits under the 1996 telecommunications law.

“For too long, social media platforms have hidden behind Section 230 protections to censor content that deviates from their beliefs,” Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the Commerce Committee chairman, said recently.

In their opening statements prepared for the hearing, Dorsey, Zuckerberg and Pichai addressed the proposals for changes to so-called Section 230, a provision of a 1996 law that has served as the foundation for unfettered speech on the internet. Zuckerberg said Congress “should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended.”

“We don’t think tech companies should be making so many decisions about these important issues alone,” he said, approving an active role for government regulators.

Dorsey and Pichai, however, urged caution in making any changes. “Undermining Section 230 will result in far more removal of online speech and impose severe limitations on our collective ability to address harmful content and protect people online,” Dorsey said.

Pichai urged lawmakers “to be very thoughtful about any changes to Section 230 and to be very aware of the consequences those changes might have on businesses and consumers.”

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told congressional leaders in a letter Tuesday that recent events have made the changes more urgent. He cited the action by Twitter and Facebook regarding the New York Post story, calling the companies’ limitations “quite concerning.”

The head of the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency, recently announced plans to reexamine the legal protections, potentially putting meat on the bones of Trump’s order by opening the way to new rules. The move by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump appointee, marked an about-face from the agency’s previous position.

Social media giants are also under heavy scrutiny for their efforts to police misinformation about the election. Twitter and Facebook have slapped a misinformation label on content from the president, who has around 80 million followers. Trump has raised the baseless prospect of mass fraud in the vote-by-mail process.

Starting Tuesday, Facebook was not accepting any new political advertising. Previously booked political ads will be able to run until the polls close next Tuesday, when all political advertising will temporarily be banned. Google, which owns YouTube, also is halting political ads after the polls close. Twitter banned all political ads last year.

Democrats have focused their criticism of social media mainly on hate speech, misinformation and other content that can incite violence or keep people from voting. They have criticized Big Tech CEOs for failing to police content, homing in on the platforms’ role in hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism in the U.S.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have scrambled to stem the tide of material that incites violence and spreads lies and baseless conspiracy theories.

The companies reject accusations of bias but have wrestled with how strongly they should intervene. They have often gone out of their way not to appear biased against conservative views — a posture that some say effectively tilts them toward those viewpoints. The effort has been especially strained for Facebook, which was caught off-guard in 2016, when it was used as a conduit by Russian agents to spread misinformation benefiting Trump’s presidential campaign.

The unwelcome attention to the three companies piles onto the anxieties in the tech industry, which also faces scrutiny from the Justice Department, federal regulators, Congress and state attorneys general around the country.

Last week, the Justice Department sued Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising — the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago.

With antitrust in the spotlight, Facebook, Apple and Amazon also are under investigation at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

___

Follow Gordon at https://twitter.com/mgordonap

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