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Tim Ng has been shared in 1 public circles

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Novina W1,842I was asked to share my #Toronto circle, so here it is. Add these people, spread the words about Google+ and let's get the local community going. And maybe we can all HIRL (Hangout In Real Life) sometimes or start a Toronto Photowalk, or just get together and talk about how the TTC sucks and we need more subway!! It takes a lot of effort to find people locally. I wish there's a way to more quickly find/sort people by geographical area (I have to literally go to people's About and hope they added their location in right now). I say something should be done about that, +Vic Gundotra! If I missed you and you want in on my Awesome Torontorian circle, leave a comment. :)2012-01-20 07:27:35106601

Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 5

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2011-12-11 02:10:33 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

WHAT

WHAT

Most reshares: 1

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2013-07-17 10:21:14 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Most plusones: 3

2012-04-09 03:23:19 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s) 

Anonymity on the internet is a very fragile thing; every anonymous online identity on this planet is only about 31 bits of information away from being completely exposed. This is because the total number of internet users on this planet is about 2 billion, or approximately 2^{31}. Initially, all one knows about an anonymous internet user is that he or she is a member of this large population, which has a Shannon entropy of about 31 bits. But each piece of new information about this identity will reduce this entropy. For instance, knowing the gender of the user will cut down the size of the population of possible candidates for the user's identity by a factor of approximately two, thus stripping away one bit of entropy. (Actually, one loses a little less than a whole bit here, because the gender distribution of internet users is not perfectly balanced.) Similarly, any tidbit of information about the... more »

Latest 50 posts

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2013-07-31 08:34:41 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s) 

I'd like to see this done for Indian cuisines. 

I'd like to see this done for Indian cuisines. ___

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2013-07-17 10:21:14 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2013-06-10 15:58:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2013-06-03 15:21:38 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s) 

Python:

"foobar"[::] = "foobar"
"foobar"[0:6:] = "foobar"
"foobar"[0:6:1] = "foobar"
"foobar"[0:6:-1] = ""
"foobar"[6:0:-1] = "raboo"
"foobar"[7:0:-1] = "raboo"
"foobar"[::-1] = "raboof"

Python:

"foobar"[::] = "foobar"
"foobar"[0:6:] = "foobar"
"foobar"[0:6:1] = "foobar"
"foobar"[0:6:-1] = ""
"foobar"[6:0:-1] = "raboo"
"foobar"[7:0:-1] = "raboo"
"foobar"[::-1] = "raboof"___

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2013-06-01 13:01:32 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

In the last week there have been a number of "cheap" improvements to Zhang's recent result that there are infinitely many pairs of primes of distance at most 70,000,000 apart; by modifying the "easy" part of his argument, this bound has been reduced to 63.374.611 (Lewko), 59.874.594 (Trudgian), and now 59.470.640 (Morrison).  

Basically, what Zhang really shows is that if H is any set of 3,500,000 integers with the property that H avoids at least one residue class mod p for each prime p, then there are infinitely many translates of H that contain at least two primes, and hence there are infinitely many pairs of primes of distance at most diam(H) apart; all the above "easy" improvements come from being a little more clever as to how to select H.  If you want to get a brief chance to claim the "world record" for the best bound on small prime gaps,this... more »

In the last week there have been a number of "cheap" improvements to Zhang's recent result that there are infinitely many pairs of primes of distance at most 70,000,000 apart; by modifying the "easy" part of his argument, this bound has been reduced to 63.374.611 (Lewko), 59.874.594 (Trudgian), and now 59.470.640 (Morrison).  

Basically, what Zhang really shows is that if H is any set of 3,500,000 integers with the property that H avoids at least one residue class mod p for each prime p, then there are infinitely many translates of H that contain at least two primes, and hence there are infinitely many pairs of primes of distance at most diam(H) apart; all the above "easy" improvements come from being a little more clever as to how to select H.  If you want to get a brief chance to claim the "world record" for the best bound on small prime gaps, this could be an opportunity.  (Of course, the ultimately more interesting challenge is to improve the 3,500,000 in Zhang's result, preferably with some powerful new ideas...)___

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2013-01-30 03:57:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Our colleagues in Theoretical Computer Science have decided to start their own seminar series inspired by Q+ called TCS+.  Note, this is theoretical computer science in general, not just quantum.  We wish them the best of luck and hope that this model spreads to many other subjects.  If you are interested, join the TCS+ community, read the announcement http://mycqstate.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/tcs-online-seminars/ and visit their website plustcs

Our colleagues in Theoretical Computer Science have decided to start their own seminar series inspired by Q+ called TCS+.  Note, this is theoretical computer science in general, not just quantum.  We wish them the best of luck and hope that this model spreads to many other subjects.  If you are interested, join the TCS+ community, read the announcement http://mycqstate.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/tcs-online-seminars/ and visit their website plustcs___

2012-10-30 13:35:11 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

more twitter bots

more twitter bots___

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2012-10-29 14:33:46 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

fun with graphs

fun with graphs___

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2012-08-23 14:32:39 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Why secure hashing algorithms are not secure for passwords:

 http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/08/passwords-under-assault/4/

Remember to use a hashing algorithm meant for passwords.

And don't forget to add a pinch of salt.

Why secure hashing algorithms are not secure for passwords:

 http://arstechnica.com/security/2012/08/passwords-under-assault/4/

Remember to use a hashing algorithm meant for passwords.

And don't forget to add a pinch of salt.___

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2012-07-26 12:29:44 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

deep

deep___

2012-07-10 15:14:40 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

this is pretty neat and likely useful: a database of descriptional complexity results for languages and operations

this is pretty neat and likely useful: a database of descriptional complexity results for languages and operations___

2012-05-02 16:27:57 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

I was talking about those 'reals are countable' crazy people with a friend just the other day. This is in the same vein.

I was talking about those 'reals are countable' crazy people with a friend just the other day. This is in the same vein.___

2012-05-02 02:49:28 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

in case you were wondering http://timng.ca/blog/2012/05/01/making-nfas-smaller/

in case you were wondering http://timng.ca/blog/2012/05/01/making-nfas-smaller/___

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2012-04-27 13:44:30 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

I defended against a #zergrush on Google Search.

I defended against a #zergrush on Google Search.___

2012-04-12 18:16:16 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

An imaginative variation on the Turing Test and Eliza: a group has been deploying robots on Twitter in order to influence the tweet and following behaviour of target groups. Particularly fascinating: the bots were able to increase the interaction rates between other users.

Interesting throughout.

An imaginative variation on the Turing Test and Eliza: a group has been deploying robots on Twitter in order to influence the tweet and following behaviour of target groups. Particularly fascinating: the bots were able to increase the interaction rates between other users.

Interesting throughout.___

2012-04-11 18:34:19 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Wow, even the mobile interface got an update

Wow, even the mobile interface got an update___

2012-04-09 03:23:19 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 3 +1s) 

Anonymity on the internet is a very fragile thing; every anonymous online identity on this planet is only about 31 bits of information away from being completely exposed. This is because the total number of internet users on this planet is about 2 billion, or approximately 2^{31}. Initially, all one knows about an anonymous internet user is that he or she is a member of this large population, which has a Shannon entropy of about 31 bits. But each piece of new information about this identity will reduce this entropy. For instance, knowing the gender of the user will cut down the size of the population of possible candidates for the user's identity by a factor of approximately two, thus stripping away one bit of entropy. (Actually, one loses a little less than a whole bit here, because the gender distribution of internet users is not perfectly balanced.) Similarly, any tidbit of information about the... more »

Anonymity on the internet is a very fragile thing; every anonymous online identity on this planet is only about 31 bits of information away from being completely exposed. This is because the total number of internet users on this planet is about 2 billion, or approximately 2^{31}. Initially, all one knows about an anonymous internet user is that he or she is a member of this large population, which has a Shannon entropy of about 31 bits. But each piece of new information about this identity will reduce this entropy. For instance, knowing the gender of the user will cut down the size of the population of possible candidates for the user's identity by a factor of approximately two, thus stripping away one bit of entropy. (Actually, one loses a little less than a whole bit here, because the gender distribution of internet users is not perfectly balanced.) Similarly, any tidbit of information about the nationality, profession, marital status, location (e.g. timezone or IP address), hobbies, age, ethnicity, education level, socio-economic status, languages known, birthplace, appearance, political leaning, etc. of the user will reduce the entropy further. (Note though that entropy loss is not always additive; if knowing X removes 2 bits of entropy and knowing Y removes 3 bits, then knowing both X and Y does not necessarily remove 5 bits of entropy, because X and Y may be correlated instead of independent, and so much of the information gained from Y may already have been present in X).

One can reveal quite a few bits of information about oneself without any serious loss to one's anonymity; for instance, if one has revealed a net of 20 independent bits of information over the lifetime of one's online identity, this still leaves one in a crowd of about 2^11 ~ 2000 other people, enough to still enjoy some reasonable level of anonymity. But as one approaches the threshold of 31 bits, the level of anonymity drops exponentially fast. Once one has revealed more than 31 bits, it becomes theoretically possible to deduce one's identity, given a sufficiently comprehensive set of databases about the population of internet users and their characteristics. Of course, such an ideal set of databases does not actually exist; but one can imagine that government intelligence agencies may have enough of these databases to deduce one's identity from, say, 50 or 60 bits of information, and even publicly available databases (such as what one can access from popular search engines) are probably enough to do the job given, say, 100 bits of information, assuming sufficient patience and determination. Thus, in today's online world, a crowd of billions of other people is considerably less protection for one's anonymity than one may initially think, and just because the first 20 or 30 bits of information you reveal about yourself leads to no apparent loss of anonymity, this does not mean that the next 20 or 30 bits revealed will do so also.

Restricting access to online databases may recover a handful of bits of anonymity, but one will not return to anything close to pre-internet levels of anonymity without extremely draconian information controls. Completely discarding a previous online identity and starting afresh can reset one's level of anonymity to near-maximum levels, but one has to be careful never to link the new identity to the old one, or else the protection gained by switching will be lost, and the information revealed by the two online identities, when combined together, may cumulatively be enough to destroy the anonymity of both.

But one additional way to gain more anonymity is through deliberate disinformation. For instance, suppose that one reveals 100 independent bits of information about oneself. Ordinarily, this would cost 100 bits of anonymity (assuming that each bit was a priori equally likely to be true or false), by cutting the number of possibilities down by a factor of 2^100; but if 5 of these 100 bits (chosen randomly and not revealed in advance) are deliberately falsified, then the number of possibilities increases again by a factor of (100 choose 5) ~ 2^26, recovering about 26 bits of anonymity. In practice one gains even more anonymity than this, because to dispel the disinformation one needs to solve a satisfiability problem, which can be notoriously intractible computationally, although this additional protection may dissipate with time as algorithms improve (e.g. by incorporating ideas from compressed sensing).___

2012-02-28 17:08:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

___

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2012-02-27 16:53:49 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s) 

There are 350,000 Canadians here in Silicon Valley. This place is crawling with Canadians!

Good read (long): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/lessons-from-canadas-silicon-valley-diaspora/article2346666/

There are 350,000 Canadians here in Silicon Valley. This place is crawling with Canadians!

Good read (long): http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-magazine/lessons-from-canadas-silicon-valley-diaspora/article2346666/___

2012-02-22 19:54:24 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

___

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2012-02-19 03:36:20 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 2 +1s) 

In which I attempt to do a network theoretic analysis of Toronto City Council and end up being wrong

In which I attempt to do a network theoretic analysis of Toronto City Council and end up being wrong___

2012-02-16 19:51:12 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s) 

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2012-02-14 17:26:18 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Heard in passing - the NSF has conducted at least one funding panel review on their island in Second Life. Yes you heard that right - the NSF owns an island in Second Life. 

Heard in passing - the NSF has conducted at least one funding panel review on their island in Second Life. Yes you heard that right - the NSF owns an island in Second Life. ___

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2012-01-26 14:27:49 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s) 

university rebrandings with 100% less lasers

university rebrandings with 100% less lasers___

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2012-01-15 04:42:01 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Feed an image into Google Image Search, and take the first "related" image that you haven't seen before. Repeat 2900 times.

The full first minute is astronomy pictures, which are nice but maybe you should skip them. Occasionally you hit some icon like a sports team logo that has ~100 variations, and stay trapped there for a couple of seconds. But there's so much weird morphing between groups of things with approximately the same visual footprint, it's really fun to watch. (via kottke)

Feed an image into Google Image Search, and take the first "related" image that you haven't seen before. Repeat 2900 times.

The full first minute is astronomy pictures, which are nice but maybe you should skip them. Occasionally you hit some icon like a sports team logo that has ~100 variations, and stay trapped there for a couple of seconds. But there's so much weird morphing between groups of things with approximately the same visual footprint, it's really fun to watch. (via kottke)___

2012-01-13 18:10:30 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-12 01:19:14 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-11 22:49:17 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-10 22:57:15 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-08 20:26:14 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-06 21:18:07 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-06 16:21:40 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2012-01-05 03:31:16 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s) 

Tip from my grad student, Christopher Earl:

At the end of a command which may take a while (like a long compile), add "; say done" to have it tell you when it's done.

Tip from my grad student, Christopher Earl:

At the end of a command which may take a while (like a long compile), add "; say done" to have it tell you when it's done.___

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2011-12-30 17:27:51 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

___

2011-12-30 16:54:36 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s) 

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2011-12-28 14:23:18 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

A few weeks ago, I discussed "worst X" polls, and how they are often wildly inaccurate due to the fact that the worst example of an X is often so obscure as not to come to mind for most of the people polled, and so the most widely known instances of X are disproportionately represented in the poll.

The caucus outcome linked below, which is essentially a "worst X" poll, is certainly subject to this effect, but also is biased by an additional clustering effect, because all but one of the candidates in the caucus lie in a tight cluster in the political spectrum and thus split up the "worst X" votes between them of those voters who disfavour that portion of the spectrum. Because of this, the news item linked below declares President Obama the "big loser" of the caucus, despite the fact that 66% of the caucusgoers nominated a Republican as their least preferred... more »

A few weeks ago, I discussed "worst X" polls, and how they are often wildly inaccurate due to the fact that the worst example of an X is often so obscure as not to come to mind for most of the people polled, and so the most widely known instances of X are disproportionately represented in the poll.

The caucus outcome linked below, which is essentially a "worst X" poll, is certainly subject to this effect, but also is biased by an additional clustering effect, because all but one of the candidates in the caucus lie in a tight cluster in the political spectrum and thus split up the "worst X" votes between them of those voters who disfavour that portion of the spectrum. Because of this, the news item linked below declares President Obama the "big loser" of the caucus, despite the fact that 66% of the caucusgoers nominated a Republican as their least preferred candidate.

(In the case of "best X" polls, this problem is partially mitigated by a primary system. One can do this for a "worst X" poll as well, at least in a two-party system, though somewhat bizarrely one needs to have members of one party vote in the primary of the other party for this to work properly.)___

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2011-12-26 21:11:17 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Yet another solid work by Etsuko Yakushimaru for Mawaru Penguindrum's OP themes, and the orchestration part is definitely a reason to check out the full-length versions. Our review: http://goo.gl/HRQb9

Yet another solid work by Etsuko Yakushimaru for Mawaru Penguindrum's OP themes, and the orchestration part is definitely a reason to check out the full-length versions. Our review: http://goo.gl/HRQb9___

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2011-12-23 23:17:31 (1 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

yep, it's actually an article about the traveling salesman problem

yep, it's actually an article about the traveling salesman problem___

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2011-12-20 21:28:36 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s) 

touhou and meduka cookies

touhou and meduka cookies___

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2011-12-19 21:11:20 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

___

2011-12-19 20:08:46 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

siiiiiiiiiiigh, good thing i live in a major metro area!

siiiiiiiiiiigh, good thing i live in a major metro area!___

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2011-12-19 15:21:05 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2011-12-18 00:01:59 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2011-12-15 19:49:25 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s) 

that doesn't look like nico nico douga (☞゚∀゚)☞

that doesn't look like nico nico douga (☞゚∀゚)☞___

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2011-12-14 05:17:03 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

huh, someone outside of japan is talking about pixiv

huh, someone outside of japan is talking about pixiv___

2011-12-13 22:48:23 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

ahahahaha how is this real

ahahahaha how is this real___

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2011-12-13 18:24:08 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

___

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2011-12-11 18:08:22 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

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2011-12-11 02:10:33 (5 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

WHAT

WHAT

WHAT

WHAT___

2011-12-08 20:51:42 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s) 

Suppose that x is an object, and X is a class of objects. What does it mean to honestly say that "x is an element of X"?

To a mathematician, the standard here is that of truth: the statement "x is an element of X" is honest as long as x satisfies, to the letter, absolutely all of the requirements for membership in X (and similarly, "x is not an element of X" is honest if even the most minor requirement for membership is violated). Thus, for instance, a square is an example of a rectangle, a straight line segment is an example of a curve, 1 is not an example of a prime number, and so forth.

In most areas outside of mathematics, though, using strict truth as the standard for honesty is not ideal (even if people profess it to be so). To give a somewhat frivolous example, using a strict truth standard, tomatoes are not vegetables, but are technically fruits.... more »

Suppose that x is an object, and X is a class of objects. What does it mean to honestly say that "x is an element of X"?

To a mathematician, the standard here is that of truth: the statement "x is an element of X" is honest as long as x satisfies, to the letter, absolutely all of the requirements for membership in X (and similarly, "x is not an element of X" is honest if even the most minor requirement for membership is violated). Thus, for instance, a square is an example of a rectangle, a straight line segment is an example of a curve, 1 is not an example of a prime number, and so forth.

In most areas outside of mathematics, though, using strict truth as the standard for honesty is not ideal (even if people profess it to be so). To give a somewhat frivolous example, using a strict truth standard, tomatoes are not vegetables, but are technically fruits. Less frivolously, many loopholes in legal codes (such as tax codes) are based on interpretations of laws that are strictly true, but not necessarily in the spirit in which the law was intended. Even mathematicians deviate sometimes from a strict truth standard, for instance by abusing notation (e.g. using a set X when one should instead be referring to a space (such as a metric space (X,d), a measure space (X, B, mu), etc.), or by using adverbs such as "morally" or "essentially".

In most practical situations, a better standard for honesty would be that of accuracy rather than truth. Under this standard, the statement "x is an element of X" would be honest if x is close to (or resembles) a typical element of X, with the level of honesty proportional to the degree of resemblance or closeness (and the degree of typicality). Under this standard, for instance, the assertion that a tomato is a vegetable is quite honest, as a tomato is close in practical function to a typical vegetable. On the other hand, a mathematically correct assertion such as "squares are rectangles" becomes slightly dishonest, since a generic rectangle would not have all sides equal, and so the mental image generated by labeling a square object a rectangle instead of a square is more misleading. Meanwhile, the statement "pi equals 22/7", while untrue, is reasonably accurate, and thus honest in many situations outside of higher mathematics.

Many deceptive rhetorical techniques rely on asserting statements which are true but not accurate. A good example of this is "reductio ad Hitlerum": attacking the character of a person x by noting that x belongs to a class X which also contains Hitler. Usually, either x or Hitler (or both) will not be a typical element of X, making this attack dishonest even if all statements used in the attack are true in a strict sense. Other examples include using guilt by association, lying by omission, or by using emotionally charged words to alter the listener's perception of what a "typical" element of a class X is.

Of course, accuracy is much less of an objective standard than truth, as it is difficult to attain consensus on exactly what one means by "close" or "typical", or to decide on exactly what threshold of accuracy is acceptable for a given situation. Also, the laws of logic, which apply without exception to truth, do not always apply without exception to accuracy. For instance, the law of the excluded middle fails: if x is a person, it is possible for the statements "x is someone who has stopped beating his wife" and "x is someone who has not stopped beating his wife" to both be dishonest. (At the other extreme, consider Niels Bohr's quote: "The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.".) Similarly, "1 is not a prime number" and "1 is not a composite number" are true, but somewhat dishonest statements, whereas "1 is neither a prime number nor a composite number" is more honest.

Ideally, of course, all statements in a given discussion should be both factually correct and accurate. But it would be a mistake to only focus on the former standard and not on the latter.___

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