µblog - archive for 2022-06

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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 ->*.--._/

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

Monday, 13 June 2022

BTC under 24K right now, excellent.

nocoiner parody

Follow the drama - slowly…

Update Tue 14 June 2022: below 23K now! Haven’t been as excited since the last time BTC dropped multiple-digit percentages in the matter of days.

Terminal boredom, or how to go on with life when less is indeed less

Another critique of Gemini (2021).

Sunday, 12 June 2022

Specifying Spring ‘83

I must admit: I have a hard time reading Robin Sloan (ever since I read his novel Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore), and this post is not really any different. That said, it is an interesting idea, which I doubt will actually take off outside Silicon Valley hipster circles1.

Lobste.rs discussion.

1 this is your cue to bookmark this and shame me when it becomes the dominant way to publish on the internet.

Update Mon 13 June 2022: having read through the spec, I have some further thoughts.

I was wondering what was preventing some rich asshole / troll from “buying up” all the available slots, but this is supposed to mitigated by a sort of hashcash like functionality. Public keys have to conform to a specific format, and they are intentionally limited in time (last 4 digits are the valid year, +/- a couple of years.

Items aren’t stored forever, they’re removed from the store after 28 days of inactivity.

As the number of items nears the hard limit of 10M, the “difficulty” to add another item increases.

The servers are organized into “realms”, and each realm can have its own rules for how to implement spam prevention, moderation/“censorship”, etc. So there’s probably going to be strictly more than 10M items, as realms can diverge in what items they will keep.

Weekend movies

Run (2020)

A homeschooled teenager, confined to a wheelchair, finds out that her loving mother isn’t who she thinks she is.

3/5, gets props for the protagonist actually being disabled and not just playing a disabled person, but otherwise very much by the numbers.

Destination Wedding (2018)

The odd couple of Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves(!) reluctantly attend a wedding together. Winona looks nothing like a Winona from Heathers, 30 years later, and it’s jarring to see “John Wick” articulating complete sentences.

I was reminded these two also starred in A Scanner Darkly but Keanu was very much Keanu in that movie.

4/5 for pervasive cynicism.

Thursday, 09 June 2022

More progress in Elden Ring - I’ve moved over to a greatsword (Lordsworn’s) from straight sword, and I’ve taken down 2 ulcerated tree spirits and a Night’s cavalry. Feeling more confident about tackling new areas - banking runes before a difficult run, not fretting over losing a couple thou if something goes sideways.

Felon trying to buy Birdsite is a scab I can’t help not picking at

Inside Elon Musk’s new legal strategy for ditching his Twitter deal

Elden Ring progress this evening:

Someone who has either never used Usenet or has very selective memories of its heyday asks HN about it. Refreshingly, many people have decent takes on this so-called “Golden Age” of the Internet.


Usenet was full of crap, but the Great Filter of history has removed it leaving only the carefully polished gems behind.

Also it was incredibly male and white. That’s partly why I view retro-nostalgic efforts like Gemini with some skepticism. Their ideal is far too easily conflated with elitism.

Update, Fri 10 June 2022:

This comment is probably the best of the bunch (I don’t vouch for the commenter nor their other content):


Wednesday, 08 June 2022

Making slow progress in Elden Ring. I was quite proud of defeating the final boss in the Raya Lucaria Crystal Tunnels first try, with about half health and no FP (no flasks either).

Great discussion about AI “art”:


Tuesday, 07 June 2022

mourning doves imply the existence of afternoun hawks



web1: You are the audience
web2: You are the product
web3: You are the victim

@kamilkazani (mid-thread):

In reality it’s more complicated. An intellectual with zero knowledge of humanities is nearly guaranteed to fall in love with the first theory he becomes acquainted of. That’s why all those Soviet (and post-Soviet) STEM folk are such an easy prey for charlatans. Saw it many times

Many Westerners think that Russians are into mysticism. As a general rule, that’s wrong. (Smart) Russians don’t fall for mysticism that easily as Westerners could imagine. What Russians really fall for easily and enthusiastically is pseudo science

Sunday, 05 June 2022

Provet av Hesa Fredrik skjuts upp en vecka.

Laurie Penny:

Every nation-state is ninety percent fictional; there’s always a gap between the imaginary countries united by cultural coherence and collective destinies where most of us believe we live, and the actual countries where we’re born and eat breakfast and file taxes and die. The U.K. is unique among modern states in that we not only buy our own hype, we also sell it overseas at a markup.


As historian Dan Snow pointed out, “[O]ur future prosperity is dependent on turning ourselves into a giant theme park of Queens, detectives, spies, castles, and young wizards.”

Saturday, 04 June 2022

This wiki article skirts the limits of notability but I love it anyway.

Wild thread, no idea how accurate it is but it’s thought-provoking.

Kamil Galeev on Dmitry Galkovsky.

This is just part of the craziness:

Let’s consider one of Galkovsky’s key concepts: the Cryptocolony. In 1917 Russia lost its independence and became the Cryptocolony. Stalin, Brezhnev, Putin, they were all British puppets appointed by and directed from London. Neither of their policies were or are independent

How did it happen? Well, in 1917 the Russian Empire was close to winning the WWI and getting the immense territorial gains. It would fulfil it’s ancient dream of capturing the Istanbul, establishing dominance in Balkans and in Slavic Central Europe. The West wouldn’t allow that


Galkovsky argues that while officially the UK and the US are allies in reality they are the most bitter enemies as the only two superpowers in the world. The UK only seems to be weaker, but that’s an illusion because Russia, China and others are secretly British cryptocolonies

Friday, 03 June 2022

nerds be like “please take me to Mars daddy Elon but also let me work from home while you do it”

Thursday, 02 June 2022

Rewatching E.R.. We’re up to season 12, which is noticeably less energetic than the previous ones.

Paul Campos:

So what are the classic liberal tastes according to the right wing scream machine? An informal geneology:


Craft beer. Somebody should write a book about how the transformation of the two classic American drinks of the working and middle classes — coffee and beer — into upscale matters of taste and distinction has all sorts of broader cultural implications. I bet somebody already has but I’m not checking.

More wonderful “natural, human scale” measurements

British thermal unit:

The British thermal unit (BTU or Btu) is a unit of heat; it is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. […] The modern SI unit for heat and energy is the joule (J); one BTU equals about 1055 J (varying within the range 1054–1060 J depending on the specific definition […])

Mainly Canadian definition, eh:

60 °F (15.6 °C) | ≈1,054.68 J | Mainly Canadian.[citation needed]


The unit Mbtu is used in natural gas and other industries to indicate 1,000 BTUs. However, there is an ambiguity in that the metric system (SI) uses the prefix “M” to indicate one million (1,000,000). Even so, “MMbtu” is often used to indicate one million BTUs particularly in the oil and gas industry.

Totally normal island:

The Btu should not be confused with the Board of Trade Unit (BTU), an obsolete UK synonym for kilowatt hour (1 kW⋅h or 3,412 Btu).

Wednesday, 01 June 2022


This is the dumbest thing ever to blow up.

To be fair, this hasn’t happened to me as a prospective guest, but we’ve hosted friends of kids many times, and each time we’ve asked kid or parent whether it’s ok if they want to eat dinner. It’s common courtesy, if nothing else it prevents unneeded work for the other household.

If everyone is ok with it, we serve food. Simple as that.

People are reaching deep back into so-called history, as if the only way Swedes have from going berserk and killing each other is denying food to kids. This makes very little sense, because in most other social interactions, there’s not a big difference between Swedes and other nationalities when it comes to buying dinner, drinks &c. So why is “feeding someone else’s child” a special, atavistic remnant from the Viking age?

To me this sounds more like a viral eruption of the US political factions’ love/hate relationship with Sweden.

Update this thread by Hanna Fridén nails it:

All the theories trying to explain, in a nice way, why kids sometimes weren’t offered dinner in Sweden are WILD.

The people who say that this only happened to them when they were visiting upper-middle and upper class-households though, they are on the correct track.


  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
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

Generated on: 2022-06-25T17:42:40+00:00

Copyright © Gustaf Erikson 2004–2022. All rights reserved.