Friday April 19th, 2024

Whoah, it's Bicycle Day, already! How'd I miss that?

Thursday April 18th, 2024

Interesting: Zrythm, "A highly automated and intuitive digital audio workstation".

Currently okay with Logic Pro as my DAW for the things I do, but should I get back on Linux I'm definitely intrigued, because this looks like there's a lot of stuff that's more built for usability for people like me rather than skeuomorphism for musicians.

Yvonne Craig interview

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“One of the reasons — no, two of the reasons — we hired Yvonne are being smushed by this costume.”

Yvonne Craig: An Interview with the First Actress to Play Batgirl

Changes in Permanent Contraception Procedures

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Changes in Permanent Contraception Procedures Among Young Adults Following the Dobbs Decision

We observed an abrupt increase in permanent contraception procedures among adults aged 18 to 30 years following Dobbs. The increase in procedures for female patients was double that for male patients. These patterns offer insights into the gendered dynamics of permanent contraceptive use and may reflect the disproportionate health, social, and economic consequences of compulsory pregnancy on women and people with the capacity to become pregnant.


Oh, look, the cryptodweebs are reporting me for offering up cited debunking of their bullshit. Apologies to the my awesome instance admin for wading through their crap. A good reminder to block and move on, rather than engaging the idiots.

Wednesday April 17th, 2024

Jazz Fission

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RT mcc

Strange science facts: In nuclear power, functional nuclear fission reactors were constructed as early as 1942, yet nuclear fusion remains elusive and can only be achieved for short periods. In jazz, on the other hand, jazz fusion was invented in the early 70s, and jazz fission remains purely theoretical even today

Clap Or AI Gets It

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On Marques Brownlee's review of the Humane AI pin, and his subsequent Do Bad Reviews Kill Companies?: Clap Or AI Gets It — Can bad reviews kill companies? It’s a start.

Like the threat behind crypto’s “have fun staying poor” slogan, AI needs the rest of us to believe in its unstoppable ascendancy because that belief is basically all it has. AI products aren’t about whether anyone wants or needs AI products. They’re about how people could want or need those products, eventually, if everyone stays the course and also keeps pumping money into AI companies.

Oh good I'm glad that after the

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Oh, good, I'm glad that after the recent Firefox upgrade I had to restart a couple of times for various things to start working. I thought I was going to have to finally switch away.

In other news, Mozilla has a helpful guide to getting started with LLMs

St Louis cops beating up black guys

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Judge awards $23.5 million to undercover St. Louis officer beaten by colleagues during protest

The attack happened on Sept. 17, 2017, days after Stockley was acquitted in the fatal shooting of 24-year-old Anthony Lamar Smith on Dec. 20, 2011. Hall was walking back toward police headquarters when his uniformed colleagues ordered him to put up his hands and get on the ground, then beat him.

So, yeah, dude was undercover in a protest over the acquittal of a white cop shooting a black guy.

Capcom Town

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Capcom has launched a new website celebrating the company’s 40th anniversary

But, yeah, whatever, you don't want the article, you want to go straight to Capcom Town, with playable versions of some of the video games and all of the nostalgias.

AI isn't useless

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A little LLM optimism for the morning: Molly White: AI isn't useless. But is it worth it?

AI can be kind of useful, but I'm not sure that a "kind of useful" tool justifies the harm.

Not everyone is so optimistic: RT Charlie Stross

@pluralistic @molly0xfff Eh, I think LLMs work really well at their intended purpose—which is to separate investors from their capital. (The claimed "benefits", meanwhile, are mostly a collection of bare-faced lies.)

Reading "If You Don't Go

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Reading "If You Don't Go, Don't Hinder Me", and struck by the pondering of the distinctions between possession, ownership, and status of cultural artifacts (like songs), and how our analytical structures reflect biases on these issues.


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Interesting. a bug of mine suggests that OpenAI's "small" embeddings are locations on a sphere? I haven't chased it down, it's ancillary to what I'm trying to accomplish, but that's a dramatically smaller semantic space than I'd intuitively have thought.

Monday April 15th, 2024

Chirp Systems "smart" locks compromised

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RT BrianKrebs

The U.S. government is warning that smart locks securing entry to an estimated 50,000 dwellings nationwide contain hard-coded credentials that can be used to remotely open any of the locks. The lock's maker Chirp Systems remains unresponsive, even though it was first notified about the critical weakness in March 2021. Meanwhile, Chirp's parent company, RealPage, Inc., is being sued by multiple U.S. states for allegedly colluding with landlords to illegally raise rents.

BrianKrebs @briankrebs

BTW in case you need help with Chirp Systems products, here is their user guide:

"User Guide

What do we want this to say? Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua."

Via Lesley Carhart who notes:

I told everyone. And nobody cared.

residential pumped-storage hydroelectricity

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RT R Tyler Croy 🦀

Now that residential solar is a solved problem, I would like to see residential pumped-storage hydroelectricity


stochastic errorism

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RT mhoye

why are we calling it machine learning when we could be calling it stochastic errorism

implosion of the Libertarian party

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Mother Jones: The spectacular implosion of the Libertarian party. I think Ron Paul was kind of the swan song there, the acknowledgement that the party had lost any sense of ideological coherence and was just becoming the racist rural subsidy-and-externality-leech party, but this goes into some of the internal factions of that decline and disruption.

Social Engineering Takeovers of Open Source Projects

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Open Source Security (OpenSSF) and OpenJS Foundations Issue Alert for Social Engineering Takeovers of Open Source Projects

The OpenJS Foundation Cross Project Council received a suspicious series of emails with similar messages, bearing different names and overlapping GitHub-associated emails. These emails implored OpenJS to take action to update one of its popular JavaScript projects to “address any critical vulnerabilities,” yet cited no specifics. The email author(s) wanted OpenJS to designate them as a new maintainer of the project despite having little prior involvement. This approach bears strong resemblance to the manner in which “Jia Tan” positioned themselves in the XZ/liblzma backdoor.

LLMs have killed AI

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RT Guy Boyd

@The_McJones @davidgerard

We use a constraint solver model in our product, we’ve stopped describing it as AI because we found customers no longer trusted its output if we did

That component is simply known as “the algorithm” now 😓

So Oakland airport is renaming

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So Oakland airport is renaming themselves to include "San Francisco" in the name, and... if you can figure out how to get people from one airport to the other in less than 30 minutes or so, I bet you can print money.

Those travelers showing up at the wrong airport who *need* to get across the bay...

Ugh Something's broken in my CMS's

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Ugh. Something's broken in my CMS's UTF-8 handling, this is from Firefox desktop.


"AI" still sucks

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Reading Stratechery: Gemini 1.5 and Google’s Nature, I'm struck by how many conditionals there are. It's about how Google's large context window for their LLM system could enable things like reading a vendor's TOS and checking for compliance with policy, or really pie in the sky stuff, and

Again, leave aside the implausibility of this demo: the key takeaway is the capabilities unlocked when the model is able to have all of the context around a problem while working; this is only possible with — and here the name is appropriate — a long context window, and that is ultimately enabled by Google’s infrastructure.

This reminds me a lot about the discussion around self-driving automobiles, where, leaving aside the issues of geometry and pollution and whatnot, is it possible that autonomous cars could be better drivers than humans? Sure. But every time someone digs through the deliberate obfuscation of the stats and looks at the numbers of what's happening right now, we're a long way the other side of that.

Or, of course, the discussion around cryptocurrencies.

Anyway, Futurism: Disillusioned Businesses Discovering That AI Kind of Sucks:

"'This is super cool, but I can't actually get it to work reliably enough to roll out to our customers.'"

Sunday April 14th, 2024

At the Blue Zones kickoff expo at the

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At the Blue Zones kickoff expo at the SRJC campus. They've waived parking fees for the event. This feels like a symptom of the problem.

When you misread the Apple Music icons

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When you misread the Apple Music icons, and accidentally buy the "clean" version of Beyoncé's Carter Country. Damn it.

At the Oaktown 8s Tea Dance

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At the Oaktown 8s Tea Dance

Saturday April 13th, 2024

California Journalism Preservation Act

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Jeff Jarvis at Nieman Lab: The California Journalism Preservation Act would do more harm than good. Here’s how the state might better help news

“If there are resources to be put to work, we must ask where those resources should come from, who should receive them, and on what basis they should be distributed.”

Grok AI bullshit generation from Twitter

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Automated political bullshit generation

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Wall Street Journal: How I Built an AI-Powered, Self-Running Propaganda Machine for $105

I paid a website developer to create a fully automated, AI-generated ‘pink-slime’ news site, programmed to create false political stories. The results were impressive—and, in an election year, alarming.

I've spent the past two days deep in LLM territory, and I think our best hope for humanity is that we poison these things on their own output.

Friday April 12th, 2024

If I loathe LLMs for no other

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If I loathe LLMs for no other reason, the fact that so much energy needs to go into getting people to understand that they're experiencing confirmation bias, and it's just making up stuff, we can't base core features on that, is enough.

But mad props to Perplexity(dot)AI for returning different info from their API than from their front page, and giving me both dramatically wrong summarization and lots of bogus URLs, to help me make that case just a leetle bit faster.

Trying to walk some people through the

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Trying to walk some people through the realization that, no, LLMs are not actually useful for what they think they might be useful for is bringing me to some great 404 pages, but for some reason I'm liking the German Wikipedia's "this article does not exist" text....

Dieser Artikel existiert nicht.

Möglichst ganze Wörter eingeben, die im Artikeltext, insbesondere aber im Lemma vorkommen sollen.

prompt engineering is bullshit

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This prompt engineering is bullshit. We need more lackadaisical engineering.

Waiting at the dealer for warranty

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Waiting at the dealer for warranty service on the Bolt, and... I wonder how many of the inefficiencies here vs the shoi take my truck to are intentional. I think an interaction at North Bay Automotive takes me less than 5 minutes, we're headed for half hour for the drop off at Victory Chevrolet.

Someone recommended listening to Erich

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Someone recommended listening to Erich Jarvis on the Huberman podcast, and... The discussions of how he thinks language works are not resonating with me, and I'm totally experiencing this as "Really? That's how normies think and process language?"


Better to take a snack than to snake

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Better to take a snack than to snake attack.

a good time to mention that Firefox on

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This a good time to mention that Firefox on mobile keeps going non-responsive, viewing, and even downloading, PDFs on MacOS is giving me zalgo, or worse, documents which look legit but are wrong (hi insurance cards!), and they fucking moved the place I was downloading APKs to use Firefox on my Kindle Fire tablet?

Thinking today about how different

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Thinking today about how different history would have been if Mark Furhman and his fellow thugs hadn't tried to frame OJ, and had just done a straight up above-board investigation.

requirements in the frequency domain

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RT Shae Erisson</a


J: Fred Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month" paraphrased: the engineering manager is a low-pass filter over inputs to the development team.

B: I find very funny the implication that changes in project requirements should be viewed in the frequency domain.

Agile is an attempt to make the resistor in the RC network as small as possible.

Thursday April 11th, 2024

Ugh. Okay, I have some further technical issues to resolve before the next hybrid Know Before You Grow. I need a second monitor, and should probably not even be on site, which sucks, but....

high time for thigh-highs

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The 2024 Proceedings of the SIGBOVIK conference, of the Association for Computational Heresy includes Programming Socks: Is it high time for thigh-highs? An investigation into the perceived unreasonable effectiveness of Programming Socks on productivity levels in the field of Software Engineering by one Ian F.V.G. Hunter. From the "Results and Analysis" section:

From this data, we can only conclude that either: Programming Socks have become more main-stream and non-programmers wearing these socks are developing into programmers themselves — or that Programming Socks are so effective that the majority of wearers in our dataset simply finished their software and did not need to do any additional coding. Either way, this result is a clear endorsement of their usage.

The thing is... I have so many PDFs open right now, and have been reading so many papers of late, that even though this is an obvious send-up, the conclusion from the methodology reads as more legit than some.

That may just be based on how many of those are about "AI".

"AI" curmudgeonry OTD

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The LLMentalist Effect: how chat-based Large Language Models replicate the mechanisms of a psychic’s con By Baldur Bjarnason

Knowing Machines: Models all the way, a look at how the training sets for image data have been generated, and what sorts of very interesting biases are the basis for image selection.

The concepts of what is and isn't visually appealing can be influenced in outsized ways by the tastes of a very small group of individuals, and the processes that are chosen by dataset creators to curate the datasets.

In the case of Midjourney, by a handful of esoteric nerds, and by a 65-year old mechanical engineer living in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Today I learned about GCC XML.

There is one open-source C++ parser, the C++ front-end to GCC, which is currently able to deal with the language in its entirety. The purpose of the GCC-XML extension is to generate an XML description of a C++ program from GCC's internal representation. Since XML is easy to parse, other development tools will be able to work with C++ programs without the burden of a complicated C++ parser.

Emphasis mine...

(It's been superceded by CastXML)

Wednesday April 10th, 2024

Feminist City

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The "to read" queue is currently way too deep, but... Feminist City — Claiming Space in a Man-Made World by Leslie Kern should probably go on there somewhere.

Slapped a dark mode on my sites

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Slapped a dark mode on and Not sure I like it.

And at some point if the tuits align I could stand to re-skin all the things, but... yeah... web content is kinda down on my list of things to fight these days.

Hoodline "local news" generated by LLM

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Gazetteer: Hoodline using AI to generate news stories and journalist profiles

Following a Gazetteer SF inquiry, the neighborhood news site publicly confirmed its use of artificial intelligence to power an 'In-House Writing Collective'

Broke Ass Stuart: Hoodline caught using AI generated writers to make AI generated articles

To be fair, it seems like maybe they're feeding it things like police press releases and getting overly flowery summaries out, and unlike some other recent breaks, don't appear to be outright spreading lies.


But this sure is a consequence of the Google created SEO environment.

Anyone else play with XKCD 2916: Machine and flash back to the Mary Walton book on W. Edwards Deming, about sorting balls?

An open letter

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This is powerful: Walter C. Long: An Open Letter to Richard Linklater on Our Texas Death Penalty.

There are Linklater films that I love, like the "Before" series, I found Boyhood[Wiki] stunning. I don't know if I could manage God Save Texas: Hometown Prison[Wiki], usually when I turn to the screen I'm looking for light escape, but it sounds like it's powerful. This essay sure is.

Tuesday April 9th, 2024

Elon Musk predicting AI

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Well, maybe some humans. Like humans who believe that AI will be smarter than them... Elon Musk: AI will be smarter than any human around the end of next year.

The AI Zeitgeist

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From back in February, but totally pertinent right now: Andrea Grimes: The AI Zeitgeist is for Alpha Dudes Who Love to Be Wrong. I'm just gonna use a small pull quote because there are so many awesome bits in here.

The AI zeitgeist is rooted in white men being so worried that they are on the verge of having to trust the expertise of people who aren’t just like them that they would rather get their information from a wrong robot./blockquote>

Via ErosBlog: The Gender Nuanced View of AI

I had to verify the eyes hurt Google

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I had to verify the "eyes hurt" Google trends theme for myself, and, sure, the graph is eye-rollingly worth a giggle, but the map... Sigh. I weep for humanity.

As a Modern Western Square Dance

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As a Modern Western Square Dance caller, I approve: All music must be 4/4, 126BPM.

Limited exceptions may be made for cued round dances on a case-by-case basis.

Chechnya bans all music deemed too fast or too slow

“(I) have announced the final decision, agreed with the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov, that from now on all musical, vocal and choreographic works must correspond to a tempo of 80 to 116 beats per minute,” Dadayev said, according to TASS.

Well, shit.

Climate doomism of the day

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RT Jeff Spencer

Tar sands oil producers in Canada get to self-report their own greenhouse gas emissions. It turns out their emissions are 60 times greater than their official estimates.

Scientists “noted that the total oil sands carbon emissions were larger than those from all human-made sources, from chemical products to cars, in megacities like Los Angeles.”

Perhaps this practice should change.

RT Benjamin Carr, Ph.D. 👨🏻‍💻🧬

It could well be a blockbuster #hurricaneseason, and that’s not a good thing #Atlantic #Ocean is on fire right now.
The Colorado State forecast calls for 23 named storms, more than 50% higher than a typical season of 14.4 named storms; and 11 #hurricanes, above a normal total of seven. Additionally, the forecast predicts that the season's accumulated #cyclone energy—a summation of the duration and intensity of storms across the whole basin—will be 70% greater than normal
Ars Technica: It could well be a blockbuster hurricane season, and that’s not a good thing

Yeah, sorry, next generation, y'all are fucked.