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Weekend Reads 3/2/19

The Methodist mess in St. Louis

In the four decades I’ve been an ordained leader in the UMC, we have lost 30 percent of our membership. Our response? Spend millions of dollars and hours of work to decide who else we can exclude. From what I know of Jesus, I predict he will not deal graciously with the infidelity of this church born in John Wesley’s exuberant, extroverted, "Salvation for all!"

Meet the first Democrat running for president on climate change

Over the course of his 30-year career in public life — first in the Washington state legislature, then in the House of Representatives, then, since 2012, governor of Washington state — Inslee has always prioritized sustainability, and not always to his political benefit. Now he sees his signature issue and the national zeitgeist aligning at last, and he thinks it can take him to the White House.

Twenty minutes into the future with OpenAI’s Deep Fake Text AI

With or without guidance, GPT-2 can create blocks of text that look like they were written by humans. With written prompts for guidance and some fine tuning, the tool could be theoretically used to post fake reviews on Amazon, fake news articles on social media, fake outrage to generate real outrage, or even fake fiction, forever ruining online content for everyone. All of this comes from a model created by sucking in 40 gigabytes of text retrieved from sources linked by high-ranking Reddit posts.

Farming water

How the green fields of Shasta Big Springs Ranch ultimately dried up, and the unintended consequences that marked various efforts to conserve the property, reflect the challenges of our warmer, drier future. Diverse stakeholders are all competing for increasingly limited water. This ranch is among the last remaining places in the lower 48 states where any real numbers of wild salmon still spawn. It’s also home to a tight-knit rural community that relies on agriculture for livelihood and a sense of identity.

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