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Saturday, 25 June 2022

Opting out from feeding machine learning

There’s a lot of naive fascination with content generation via machine learning in nerd circles right now. Tools like GPT-3 and DALL-E are hailed as innovations, letting people create “content” using just a text box entry.

Others are rightly worried what will happen when gigabytes of vaguely convincing text and images can be created at will, avoiding the uncanny valley of machine-generated dross that’s been the norm up until now.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Any content creator should be able to mark their creations as off-limits as a source of data for these models. It probably won’t stop them, and it might not even be very effective, but it will raise the issue: these models are nothing without human input. And humans should be able to decide whether they’re going to help machines put them out of work, and to help destroy democracy by poisoning social media even more.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Bruce Schneier: On the Dangers of Cryptocurrencies and the Uselessness of Blockchain

This is my basic argument: blockchain does nothing to solve any existing problem with financial (or other) systems. Those problems are inherently economic and political, and have nothing to do with technology. And, more importantly, technology can’t solve economic and political problems. Which is good, because adding blockchain causes a whole slew of new problems and makes all of these systems much, much worse.

A hackernews is mad that a trusted nerd hasn’t signed on for crapto:

Blockchains offer democratized access to programmable money, and you think this is a BAD thing? Where’s your creativity?

“Cryptobros offer buzzword laden pablum for infinite scams, there’s your creativity.”

Vice: Fringe COVID Doctors Say They’re Under Attack by Medical Certification Board

The whole thing is a useful view into how mainstream medical bodies are struggling to deal with their still-certified but increasingly out-there colleagues. And it’s a very instructive example of how fringe medicine promoters—and their allies in Congress—immediately spin their tangles with the medical establishment into more fame and attention.

Glad midsommar!

I don’t think there’s a libertarian case for banning abortion, but I’m sure HN will let me know what it is when it discusses Roe vs. Wade being overturned today.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Emma Stefansky (@stefabsky):

it really is kind of astounding how disney turned a movie series that defined a genre into endless, meaningless, mediocre tv

Is it, though? Tweet author is a “entertainment staff writer” and has missed that this is what modern entertainment capitalism does. “Star Wars” is an “IP” - intellectual property. Some suits sat down and calculated, based on previous popularity, current population, and “creatives” previous output, that a SW TV show is worth a certain amount of gazillion dollars. Disney would be leaving money on the table by not making shitty TV out of it.

Update: semi-related, the grave-plundering Tolkien Society is trying for another cash-grab:

New Tolkien book: The Fall of Númenor to be published (HN link)

(the link to HN is for illustrative purposes only, not an endorsement. Check out the comments for hopes for AI-generated Tolkien and corporate boot-licking)

This is just an IP steward lich. There’s money to be made mining the old man’s notebooks, so let’s make money.

ICE must be destroyed 🏴 (@Itmechr3):

God this is a HELL of a fucking line from @mikeduncan about the way the Terror during the French Revolution fell mostly on peasants and not royals: “the Jacobins always pointed upward but the guillotine always fell downwards” […]

If you ask people about the Terror nowadays they’d say that aristocrats and royals were the main victims. This is of course the result of long propaganda by reactionaries who were outraged that these people were even considered targets for state-sponsored terror. The brutal suppression of the Vendée is something they’d approve of were it performed by the ancien régime.

The Terror was an affront to human rights but reactionaries are still pissed a tiny number of elites were included among its victims.

Update: next time you visit Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre, remember it was built to “atone” for the soi-disant crimes of the Paris Commune.

Feed housekeeping

I’ve made some changes that hopefully makes the (Atom) feed a bit nicer to use.

Titles are now “Entry X on YYYY-mm-DD”, instead of using the internal ID.

The publication dates have never been “real”, as I don’t really have metadata. Instead I’ve faked the hour/minute/second based on the date. But that meant that edits don’t really trigger a new timestamp. I’ve started to set the minute as:

(last hex digit of the MD5 digest of the entry) % 60

This should generate a new “timestamp” when the post is edited.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

I wish I had something to say, but I don’t.

Oh yeah, I do: trans rights are human rights.

Monday, 20 June 2022

¤

Raise your hand if you recognize this symbol ¤.

Fun fact, this was used to denote strings in the weird-ass language I learned to program in: COMAL. Analogous to the use of $ for strings in BASIC.

Fascists: people should be free to offend whoever they want.

Also fascists: I met a leftist who offended me, therefore I became a fascist.

Sadly common on HN: you find a commentator with “mainstream” Linux views whose views on politics is decidedly not mainstream.

Rightwing/fascist ideology is fairly widespread in FLOSS communities.

Sunday, 19 June 2022

endorsement / mask off from HN

In a discussion on Raw Text Club:

RTC, Tildeverse, Gemini, they all have a lot of overlap. They’re usually cliquish communities with social and economic left values and are pretty hostile to those with different values. It is their circles after all so it’s understandable, but it’s certainly not the kind of social space you find in many other net communities.

Friday, 17 June 2022

I Should be Able to Mute America

relevant ascii art

               .-_|\
              /     \
      Perth ->*.--._/
                   v  

Thursday, 16 June 2022

A Personal History of Music, Day 15: “Coming Up Close,” by ’Til Tuesday – John Scalzi

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

The Margin Call from Hell

Bitcoin is at ~20.4K…

E.R. weirdness

What’s weird about this show is that the titular hospital department is a hell hole, beset by indigent, violent patients and endless budget cuts. Yet every one of the dedicated, talented staff make huge sacrifices to keep working there. At least until a tragic illness or accident finishes them off.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Simon Willison - Twenty years of my blog

If you’ve been meaning to start a new blog or revive an old one this is a trick that I can thoroughly recommend: just because you initially wrote something elsewhere doesn’t mean you shouldn’t repost it on a site you own.

Can agree.

A hackernews opines

I don’t like the phrase “casino capitalism” because the term “capitalism” is usually a smokescreen which distorts and obfuscates how, for example, the US economy actually works (hint: the powerful collude to enrich themselves).

but that is capitalism tho

Archive

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2022 3 8 14 23 126 41
2021 21 7 15 7 8 14 1 3 13 13 4
2020 16 13 18 9 7 10 2 7 11 3 18 8
2019 5 21 10 7 23 13 8 10 11 6 12 6
2018 14 28 24 10 9 7 18 7 14 4 7 2
2017 13 26 15 14 21 13 3 13 7 7 25 18
2016 21 56 35 28 36 27 17 8 28 21 13 6
2015 16 10 32 13 11 14 4 16 33 34 44 11
2014 16 37 9 18 17 12 23 28 42 24 9 12
2013 67 88 44 50 33 23 18 19 51 52 47 37
2012 22 56 10 54 95 48 42 48 42 54 36 60
2011 63 41 51 54 38 37 45 31 66 35 23 19
2010 152 188 129 154 111 117 53 115 114 125 102 89
2009 234 246 270 280 270 278 106 164 224 199 186 147
2008 45 121 135 178 146 154 158 154 145 151 133 169
2007 3 1 44 76 38 30 27 79 110 182 68 30
2006 23 14 5 2 10 6 1 12 11 12 4 13
2005 1 1 12 8
2004 1 2

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2987 days, 9842 items.

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