Tuesday November 28th, 2023

Price of Storage

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RT Catbus @ancient_catbus@jorts.horse

entertainment conglomerates: we are increasing our subscription fees and polluting our content with advertising

me: huh interesting...hey, did you know 14tb external hard drives have dropped below $200?

Monday November 27th, 2023

Wondering if there's an advanced

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Wondering if there's an "advanced iMovie" resource somewhere. I want like an "attach audio" notion, a way to re-tie the audio to a particular spot in a video clip. I'm trying to patch in some room tone and re-takes, and keep sliding the audio all over relative to the video.

Why Benchmark?

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This is fantastic: Dan Luu: Why Benchmark? looks at products in and out of the tech industry, though there's the usual snickering at "web scale" databases:

Vehicle headlights: Jennifer Stockburger has noted that, when Consumer Reports started testing headlights, engineers at auto manufacturers thanked CR for giving them the ammunition they needed to force their employers to let them to engineer better headlights; previously, they would often lose the argument to designers who wanted nicer looking but less effective headlights since making cars safer by desiging better headlights is a hard sell because there's no business case, but making cars score higher on Consumer Reports reviews is an easy sell because that impacts sales numbers

SBC & sexual abuse

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Vox: The sexual abuse scandal rocking the Southern Baptist Convention, explained:

Complementarianism’s centrality within the SBC led to a heavily patriarchal institution, which Stone said created an environment in which sexual abuse could happen and be covered up as extensively as the Guidepost report said it was. And as such, she said, simple systemic fixes ultimately won’t be enough to reform the SBC. Instead, theological changes will have to be made, and they will be ones the SBC won’t want to make.

Huh. Turns out that maybe a religious community founded because of support of the institution of slavery might have deeply entrenched power dynamics which lead to abuse. Go figure.

We are trying to extricate Charlene's

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We are trying to extricate Charlene's MacBook Air from the clutches of iCloud, and I cannot believe that anyone accidentally made software this bad. This has to be all dark patterns, meant to ensnare users.

Charlene's deep sigh and "I just want a normal computer" sums it up.

Saturday November 25th, 2023

Derek Chauvin stabbed

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Man's enthusiastic participation in horrific system catches up with him: Ex-officer Derek Chauvin, convicted in George Floyd’s killing, was stabbed in prison, AP source says

nothing practical

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RT extreme organic gay @dysfun@treehouse.systems

so far i have achieved enlightenment.

but nothing practical.

Niagara Falls explosion

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RT cstross Charlie Stross @cstross@wandering.shop

Not only was it not a terrorist attack, the model of Bentley that ran into a barrier and exploded at the Rainbow Bridge crossing, killing the occupants, was subject to a recall in 2021 due to a "stuck accelerator" problem. Source: https://www.drive.com.au/news/...tal-gt-and-flying-spur-recalled/

Incoming negligence lawsuit (against Bentley) ahoy ...


Addendum: Right-wing U.S. media covered fiction as fact: A non-existent terrorist attack from Canada at Rainbow Bridge

Atlas Shrugged: Texas & Bumble edition

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More on the "Red State" brain drain: Why Bumble Is Joining a Lawsuit That Challenges Texas Abortion Laws

At Bumble, the women-centered dating app that calls Austin home, executives say that about one third of their 150 Texas employees have left the state entirely, opting for remote work. Though the woman-led company went public during the pandemic and company executives remain eager to continue growing, plans to invest heavily in the company’s Austin hub and attract employees here are on hold. The reason: It’s not just hard to keep talented employees in Austin in a post-Roe world, where doctors might not perform even medically necessary abortions for fear of reprisal, it’s also hard to attract them to Texas in the first place. Company executives say that policies promoted by politicians under the guise of being “pro-family” are making it harder for families to form.

I worry about LLMs corrupting the

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I worry about LLMs corrupting the infosphere, but, let's face it, when we have Iowa school officials quoting Heinrich Himmler and then walking it back by claiming ignorance, I think the Establishment is doing pretty well at this already.


Friday November 24th, 2023

The Twitter/Media Matters lawsuit

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TechDirt: Congrats To Elon Musk: I Didn’t Think You Had It In You To File A Lawsuit This Stupid. But, You Crazy Bastard, You Did It!

So… within the span of about 2 to 3 pages we are told that Elon Musk and exTwitter are passionate supporters of free speech that allow “all viewpoints” to be shared and that Musk is filing this lawsuit to force Media Matters to take down speech that he admits is absolutely true, but where he doesn’t like how they portrayed things.

AI clownshow today

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Because you need a little more "AI is bullshit" in your morning, a long thread from Emily M. Bender saying her usual things, but in the context of current LLM company news:

With the OpenAI clownshow, there's been renewed media attention on the xrisk/"AI safety"/doomer nonsense. Personally, I've had a fresh wave of reporters asking me naive questions (as well as some contacts from old hands who are on top of how to handle ultra-rich man-children with god complexes). 🧵1/

The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work

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The Failed Commodification Of Technical Work

For example, one pitch in particular was for a product which promised to remove the need for me to write SQL in exchange for being able to set up all my dependencies from a drag-and-drop editor, with the sales pitch consisting of "You can get rid of thousands of lines of all that SQL you hate!" - no I can't, fucko, because your application is still connecting to Postgres so it's just writing the SQL for me with another layer of licensed abstraction on top of it. Why would I pay to have more abstractions designed for you to sell software to multiple clients, you blue-suited dementor? Eight times out of ten, I want to pay you to remove them from my codebase.


If I had a hammer

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Rishi Sunak trying to use a hammer is both the funniest and most awful thing you’ll watch this week

RT tiddy roosevelt @babe@glitterkitten.co.uk

This man is the leader of one of the (arguably formerly) most powerful countries in the world.

I am someone who sells boob photos online.

Apparently only one of us knows how to use a hammer.

Thursday November 23rd, 2023

I'm so old I remember when this was the

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I'm so old I remember when this was the dawning of the age of Aquarius.

Atlas Shrugged: Red State edition

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Atlas Shrugged: The Red State Brain Drain Isn’t Coming. It’s Happening Right Now. — As conservative states wage total culture war, college-educated workers—physicians, teachers, professors, and more—are packing their bags.

The precise effect of all this on the brain drain is hard to tease out from migration statistics because the Dobbs decision is still fairly new, and because red states were bleeding college graduates even before the culture war heated up. The only red state that brings in more college graduates than it sends elsewhere is Texas. But the evidence is everywhere that hard-right social policies in red states are making this dynamic worse.

Advances in Bullshit Generation

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Nature: ChatGPT generates fake data set to support scientific hypothesis

Our aim was to highlight that, in a few minutes, you can create a data set that is not supported by real original data, and it is also opposite or in the other direction compared to the evidence that are available,” says study co-author Giuseppe Giannaccare, an eye surgeon at the University of Cagliari in Italy.

The ability of AI to fabricate convincing data adds to concern among researchers and journal editors about research integrity. “It was one thing that generative AI could be used to generate texts that would not be detectable using plagiarism software, but the capacity to create fake but realistic data sets is a next level of worry,” says Elisabeth Bik, a microbiologist and independent research-integrity consultant in San Francisco, California. “It will make it very easy for any researcher or group of researchers to create fake measurements on non-existent patients, fake answers to questionnaires or to generate a large data set on animal experiments.”

JAMA Opthalmology — Research Letter — November 9, 2023 — Large Language Model Advanced Data Analysis Abuse to Create a Fake Data Set in Medical Research.


Wednesday November 22nd, 2023

I mean, sure, it's funny and all to rag on the Linux audio stack, but have you used MacOS?

Tuesday November 21st, 2023

Well I scoffed at the Shopapp low

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Well, I scoffed at the Shop.app low rent thing, but Amazon just emailed me to warn me that I have $.33 expiring...

I remember back in the '90s, someone warning us that we needed to find a way to make sending email more expensive because otherwise we'd be buried in bullshit, and...


Monday November 20th, 2023

I am still finding that _Grumpy Player_

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I am still finding that Grumpy Player is a reasonable home music system, but the Amazon Fire tablet I've been running it on has, despite all of the notifications being turned off and notification sound turned down, a tendency to play an ascending arpeggio at inopportune times.

I have not found the source for this.

Suggestions for a cheap small touch-screen web device that'd work as an audio player?

I don't remember why or if I ever

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I don't remember why or if I ever downloaded the Shop.app thing, I could imagine that I did in order to track some weird-ass order, but a subject line of "Cha-ching! $0.26 Shop Cash to Spend" makes me think that maybe I exist in a different economy...

Errors are a feature

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RT Arri Blais :verified_trans: @arri@hachyderm.io

May be an unpopular take, but I think the main risk of ML is not that it's good at what it does.

It's actually very bad, worse than humans by far at what it does. But because people collectively believe it is good at stuff, people are focusing so much on "the singularity" or "it replacing [x job]" the real risk continues unhindered.
This is a good example of the true goal of ML: introduce bias and inefficiency in areas where inefficiency is desirable to capitalism.

UnitedHealth uses AI model with 90% error rate to deny care, lawsuit alleges — For the largest health insurer in the US, AI's error rate is like a feature, not a bug.

Realized this morning as I was trying

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Realized this morning, as I was trying to check some stuff brought up in office conversation, that the current "AI"/LLM destruction of the infosphere is really raising the value of good sources.

We're gonna have to figure out how to vet and elevate those sources, and this is probably going to make good information more expensive; we'll need to subscribe or pay per lookup, but the wide variety of answers, some of them clearly LLM spew, is laying this bare.

On Friday the dealer called and told

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On Friday, the dealer called and told us our Bolt's replacement battery wasb finally in. This weekend's trip, the car was giving us some unexpected range and charging issues, so I was super happy to drop the car off at the dealer this morning.

Just got the "holy shit your car is about to explode get it serviced now" message from GM, presumably based on car telemetry.

Bolt is into the shop this morning for

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The Bolt is into the shop this morning for the battery replacement, but a trip to Fresno this last weekend by way of Sunnyvale really amplified the crappiness of the software stack between GM, Android, Google, ChargePoint, and EVGo (which I guess is a ChargePoint company now).

From frustrations with apps under Android Auto to fast chargers that wouldn't communicate with the car, we're just... not there yet.

It's no wonder that Tesla is owning this market, despite lower charger densities.

"Moms for Liberty" dude is a registered sex offender

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Oh, hey, maybe there is something to this trans panic thing after all. Male pastor Phillip Fisher Jr. is presenting as a "mom for liberty"... The ‘faith-based’ leader for Philly’s Moms for Liberty chapter is a registered sex offender

Electrifying Albany

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Smart Cities Dive: Plans to get an entire block off the natural gas system take shape in one California city

Albany, California, wants to lay the groundwork for widescale adoption of this emerging building decarbonization approach.

Killing salmon to lose money deserves a deeper analysis

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RT Toastie @Toastie@journa.host

EVERYONE: We gotta save salmon

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Ok we'll build a giant fish vacuum

TRIBES: Why not just open up the dams

ARMY CORPS: We have to save the power companies!

POWER COMPANIES: No, you really don't


CONGRESS: Maybe u should look into shutting down the dams


TRIBES: “Killing salmon to lose money deserves a deeper analysis.” (actual quote)

ProPublica: This Billion-Dollar Plan to Save Salmon Depends on a Giant Fish Vacuum

Collaborative terminal sessions on a large zoomable shared canvas: sshx — A secure web-based, collaborative terminal

sshx lets you share your terminal with anyone by link, on a multiplayer infinite canvas.

It has real-time collaboration, with remote cursors and chat. It's also fast and end-to-end encrypted, with a lightweight server written in Rust.

Saturday November 18th, 2023

friend of mine has been bragging about

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A friend of mine has been bragging about sarcastic responses on Quora. For a while, I was giving him side-eye about polluting the infosphere, but then I realized that he's building training material for LLMs. The future is deliberately wrong sarcasm.

Okay I hear what you're saying when

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Okay, I hear what you're saying when you tell me that Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah is not a Christmas song, but maybe you're just celebrating wrong?

#SheTiedYouToAKitchenChair #SheBrokeYourThroneAndSheCutYourHair

Friday November 17th, 2023

Environmental conditions for decision making

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Josh Simmons recently took a CO2 monitor to a city meeting, and got measurements over 1,700 PPM. He observed:

Reflecting on how poorly a recent city meeting went, how CO2 impacts cognitive function, and how poorly ventilated the city chambers are...

I have to wonder to what degree we make self-governance harder than it needs to be 🤔

Connecting this also to studies about how attitudes change when people are hungry, and how, for instance, it impacts parole board decisions.

Maybe, just maybe, if one is holding an important meeting, great care should be taken with the conditions one can control or influence.

Altman out at OpenAI

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RT qdot @qdot@buttplug.engineer

the openai news isn't funny

boards of directors only do this when they're very stressed or anxious

RT Anil Dash @anildash@me.dm

How is the OpenAI board gonna fire Sam Altman just because he gave answers that sounded plausible but weren't actually accurate?

Anyway: OpenAI Board Fires Sam Altman For Reasons Unclear

"Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities," the post states.

"The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI."

Very interestingly, CTO Mira Murati will take over as interim CTO.