Saturday, April 06, 2024

Gravitons ... the quest begins :)

For over 100 years, researchers have tried in vain to marry general relativity to quantum mechanics without success as the science of the very large doesn't play nice with the science of the very small yet both entities give rise to the existence in which all things reside. With this being said, the possibility gravitons, the theoretical force carrier of gravity, may exist after all, a revelation potentially leading to the holy grail of integrating relativity to quantum into one theory capable of explaining how reality functions at deep level, may finally be at hand.

“Our work has shown the first experimental substantiation of gravitons in condensed matter since the elusive particle was conceptualized in the 1930s,” Du Lingjie, the study’s lead author from Nanjing University, told state news agency Xinhua, as reported by SCMP.

This experiment, which was published in the journal Nature, opens new avenues for the search for gravitons in laboratory settings.

The graviton, if it exists, is theorized to be massless and capable of traveling at the speed of light, embodying the force of gravity. Yet, its direct observation has eluded scientists until now, if the team’s research holds up. The recent findings stem from an excitation phenomenon discovered in 2019 when Du was a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University. This phenomenon led theoretical physicists to speculate about the potential detection of gravitons.

Some details ...

And so it begins ...

Friday, April 05, 2024

The Seventh Seal ...

Illustration by Ricardo Santos

As everyone knows, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch applies to every endeavor, including AI, the open ended tech forever to remain unknowable thanks to code writing code in order for said tech to react to the real world in realtime, may soon become the stuff of nightmares but this time, it's a lucid dream civilization is currently having regarding the specter of AI and what it means to the future of mankind.

It gets better

Deep learning powers the most advanced AI systems in the world, from DeepMind’s protein-folding model to large language models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. No one really understands how deep learning systems work, but their performance has continued to improve nonetheless. These systems aren’t designed to function according to a set of well-understood principles but are instead “trained” to analyze patterns in large datasets, with complex behavior — like language understanding — emerging as a consequence. AI developer Connor Leahy told me, “It’s more like we’re poking something in a Petri dish” than writing a piece of code. The October position paper warns that “no one currently knows how to reliably align AI behavior with complex values.”

Curvature 2018

It's all about the money.

In spite of all this uncertainty, AI companies see themselves as being in a race to make these systems as powerful as they can — without a workable plan to understand how the things they’re creating actually function, all while cutting corners on safety to win more market share. Artificial general intelligence (AGI) is the holy grail that leading AI labs are explicitly working toward. AGI is often defined as a system that is at least as good as humans at almost any intellectual task. It’s also the thing that Bengio and Hinton believe could lead to the end of humanity.


Bizarrely, many of the people actively advancing AI capabilities think there’s a significant chance that doing so will ultimately cause the apocalypse. A 2022 survey of machine learning researchers found that nearly half of them thought there was at least a 10 percent chance advanced AI could lead to “human extinction or [a] similarly permanent and severe disempowerment” of humanity. Just months before he cofounded OpenAI, Altman said, “AI will probably most likely lead to the end of the world, but in the meantime, there’ll be great companies.”

The Seventh Seal

When reading the Jacobin piece, an indirect connect to Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal readily comes to mind as a Disillusioned knight Antonius Block and his cynical squire Jöns return from the Crusades to find the country ravaged by the plague. The knight encounters Death, whom he challenges to a chess match, believing he can survive as long as the game continues.

Death and Antonius Block choose sides for the chess game

At least Death agreed but will AI?

‘Once you go automatic, target generation goes crazy’

Yours truly has written copiously about weaponized AI and the implications of same in all things related to war, something seen in Israel's relentless assault on Gaza where an AI's being used to help Israel commit genocide 24/7.

To whit.

Channeling the Nazis ...

But wait, there's more ...

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Driven by The Wind

Wind, the great invisible until it hits something, generates sound and imagery most mysterious and wonderful depending on what the wind encounters on it's endless journey on planet earth. Enjoy.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Google Timelapse ...

When looking at the Google Timelapse videos, one see the Anthropocene happening in real time even though some researchers state there is no anthropogenic impact caused by man on planet earth. From this perspective, what planet are these guys on as we move further into the 6th great extinction cause by us. 

Here's another, this one focusing on cities.

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Juicing profits ...

While dark money giving to tax exempt groups is legal, a number of utilities have faced criticism for it. Composite: The Guardian/Getty Images/Unsplash

Reading this Guardian piece about the power companies gouging us rubes hits home as CT residents are getting hosed big time by Eversource by paying ever-increasing rates based on little evidence said rates are justified outside the fact you gotta juice profits. Seems Michigan is leading the way to eliminating this scam, hopefully other states will soon follow as the kind of crap Eversource, in particular, is doing goes beyond the pale without question.

US power companies have made political donations of at least $215m to dark money groups in recent years, according to a new analysis of 25 for-profit utilities, amid growing concerns around how they wield influence.

Such secretive donations to barely regulated non-profit groups have helped utilities increase electricity prices, hinder solar schemes and helped elect sympathetic legislators in recent years.

While dark money giving to tax-exempt groups is legal, a number of utilities have faced criticism for it. In Arizona and Alabama, power companies faced blowback after they used dark money to aid the election of friendly regulators. In Michigan, regulators barred another company from using dark money entirely after it spent $43m on politics in just three years.

It gets better ...

In another instance of ethically questionable actions, Florida Power and Light (FPL) used dark money to interfere with ballot initiatives, and the elections of five politicians who in part aimed to tackle the high prices of electric bills and environmental and climate goals.

“We are captive payers. To be funding lobbying against clean energy and climate that customers actually want goes against the public interest,” said Jean Su, a senior attorney at environmental group Center for Biological Diversity.

Customers can also lose out.

This was a scenario in Arizona when, in 2014, power company Arizona Public Service gave $10.7m to dark money groups that donated to key regulatory commission races. The two Republican commissioners backed by the groups won. In 2017, they went on to support the power company’s request for a $95m-a-year increase in electric bills, which ultimately was passed down to customers.

It took a subpoena from a regulator to finally prove in 2019 that the company had been behind the political spending.

Regarding Eversource ...


Government Actions:

Government Action: BBB reports on known government actions involving business’ marketplace conduct:

Eversource 2021

The following describes a government action that has been resolved by either a settlement or a decision by a court or administrative agency. If the matter is being appealed, it will be noted below.

On 10/27/2021, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) approved an agreement between The State of Connecticut and Eversource. This accountability plan seeks to address State identified deficiencies in Eversource’s handling of their response to Tropical Storm Isaias, improve Connecticut governances within Eversource, and to stabilize electric distribution rates until at least January 2024 for Connecticut consumers.

Under the agreement, Eversource will return $65 million dollars back to the customers in the form of credits on the December 2021 and January 2022 bills. An additional $10 million dollars from Eversource will be directed to assist customers having difficulty paying their bills, while an already established $28.4 million will continue to appear as a credits on all customer bills. This existing credit showing on bills as “TS Isaias Performance Penalty” is the result of a prior PURA penalty that Eversource, under this new agreement, has promised not to appeal.

This above outlined agreement was for settlement purposes only and should not be considered as an admission of guilt or finding of violation of the law. For more details, please click here.

We won't talk about the unneeded upgrades of telephone towers and clear cutting trees in my town but this one review regarding this utility kinda says it all. 

Eleanor's not alone ...

Any questions?

Thursday, March 28, 2024

2.8C & counting

2.8C and counting applies as banks start to renege on supporting environmentally friendly projects because it costs too much to do business due to regulatory demands but you already know that, right?

The Dali ...

About three years ago, yours truly wrote a piece about fragility and how 
it relates to supply chains. To whit ...

Well, the bit relevant to container ships is most apt considering the disaster befalling the Baltimore Bridge and the Dali, a cargo ship capable of holding nearly 10,000 containers at a time. The most interesting part of the NYTimes article is the fact the Dani's far from the largest ship of its kind as depicted by the chart seen below. 

From this perspective, the acme of producing stuff on planet earth has arrived as climate change and the inherent disruptions it will cause will negatively impact how the world does business as civilization moves further into the 21st century.