Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Pandora's Box ...

 Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, surrounded by reporters in Washington, D.C.

Executives from three of the leading A.I. companies, including Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, have signed the open letter.Credit...Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Pandora's Box applies as AI, the open-ended tech, is loose and the entities creating it have no idea how to control it as we will never know how AI works due to the fact software has to design software in order to interact, in real time, to the vagaries of the world. As often stated in BRT, we have four existential issues facing mankind, global warming, nuclear war, AI and environmental degradation as the current way man produces food and pollutes the environment is not sustainable in any way, shape or fashion. 

Pandora's Box indeed.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"a continuous surface connection" ...

An aerial view of a large area of privately owned forest that mostly sits underwater, next to the Roanoke River.

The question for the justices was how to determine which wetlands qualify as such waters.
Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times.

The fascist court strikes yet again. It's all about the money according to the worst SC in history.

The Supreme Court on Thursday curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to police millions of acres of wetlands, delivering another setback to the agency’s ability to combat pollution.

Writing for five justices, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the Clean Water Act does not allow the agency to regulate discharges into wetlands near bodies of water unless they have “a continuous surface connection” to those waters.

The decision was a second major blow to the E.P.A.’s authority and to the power of administrative agencies generally. Last year, the court limited the E.P.A.’s power to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.

Experts in environmental law said the decision would leave many wetlands subject to pollution without penalty, sharply undercutting the E.P.A.’s authority to protect them under the Clean Water Act.

“This is a really disastrous outcome for wetlands, which have become absolutely vital for biodiversity preservation and flood control,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School.

Question, what does "a continuous surface connection" to those waters mean as wetlands are 3 dimensional entities, not two but to Alito, scientific accuracy matters not, right?

Nixon must be rolling over in his grave.

For the public good :)

Yours truly cherishes Wikipedia, an invaluable resource able to keep this writer honest when discussing the vagaries of reality from the perspective of an ordinary American under the auspices of BRT, the "wonderful" blog started in the year of our lord 2007. :) Why you might ask? Because Wikipedia's self-correcting. If someone writes about something incorrectly, another fixes the mistake, a process akin to how science works as science is a discipline designed to be disproved, a quality held most dear by this rube without question. :)

Interesting enough, Wikopedia was founded the same year as BRT so perhaps fate played a hand in the creation of both enterprises. :)

Why Wikipedia matters.

Yet in an era when Silicon Valley's promises look less gilded than before, Wikipedia shines by comparison. It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good. More than an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto—the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web. A free encyclopedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?

How cool is that? :)

Addendum: Click here to learn how Wikipedia came to be. :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Blood & Sex :)

The notion of vampire survival always involving blood and sex is apt because the vampire, as depicted by Bram Stroker's Dracula, must be physically alluring to enable the bloodsucker to get close enough to its intended victim in order to feed, something akin to what male milkweed butterflies do in drinking milkweed toxins in order to attract females, actions depicted in great detail in a Live Science article deliciously titled Milkweed butterflies tear open caterpillars and drink them alive.

Not all caterpillars grow up to be beautiful butterflies. Some become living milkshakes for their dads, who guzzle caterpillar body fluids to attract the ladies.

Recently, scientists reported the first evidence of butterflies sipping from the bodies of caterpillars — dead and alive. They observed adult milkweed butterflies in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, using tiny claws on their feet to scratch wounds in caterpillars' bodies so they could lap the liquid that oozed out. 

Male butterflies seek certain compounds produced by milkweed (flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae), which repel predators and help the butterflies produce pheromones that attract females. Since caterpillars are stuffed with juices from chewed-up plants, they make an easy target for butterflies looking to chemically boost their attractiveness to females. 

Blood and sex applies, does it not? :)

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Zeno's Paradox

Yours truly has written copiously about quality and how its intimately connected to morals even if the quality attained in the creation of something is intended for a purpose not aligned with morality. Think Bernays and Goebbels to see why this take rings true. With this being said, an excellent NYTimes article titled Tyranny of 'the Best' describes Skinner box tendencies many people exhibit when obsessing about finding the best of any given thing while totally missing out on what it means to be truly alive. As one fairly cognizant about how data is packaged and dissiminated, I can honestly say I'm not a chipmunk spinning in a wheel driven to find out what 'the best' actually means, something most comforting while others continue their endless pursuit of what's 'the Best' is in a fashion similar to Zeno's Paradox where Achilles never wins.

Without 0, the Tortoise always wins. :)

Zeno's Paradox rules as does the Skinner Box. :)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Joe B's The Redding Express :)

 It's all about trains and the enthusiasm and care it takes to keep the trains running on time. Brings back a lot of memories yours truly had as a kid. Thanks to Bert and Joe in making this video a lot of fun to do. :)

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Let there be light/rev II

Let there be light/rev II

Using ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), astronomers have created a vast infrared atlas of five nearby stellar nurseries by piecing together more than one million images. These large mosaics reveal young stars in the making, embedded in thick clouds of dust. Thanks to these observations, astronomers have a unique tool with which to decipher the complex puzzle of stellar birth.

“In these images we can detect even the faintest sources of light, like stars far less massive than the Sun, revealing objects that no one has ever seen before,” says Stefan Meingast, an astronomer at the University of Vienna in Austria and lead author of the new study published today in Astronomy & Astrophysics. “This will allow us to understand the processes that transform gas and dust into stars.”

Stars form when clouds of gas and dust collapse under their own gravity, but the details of how this happens are not fully understood. How many stars are born out of a cloud? How massive are they? How many stars will also have planets?

Questions, questions, never-ending in a reality we will never fully understand. 

Gotta do one more. :)

As stated before, we are but a dust mote in god's eye.

Friday, May 05, 2023

And so it goes - K. Vonnegut

And so it goes., the famous quote by the esteemed K. Vonnegut, applies when looking at this AI generated "Hopper," created by one connecting to Creative Fabrica and typing in the immortal sentence "a woman looking outside the window by Edward Hopper." to produce the work in seconds, a timeframe altogether different from when I painted Angle Line in the year of our lord 1977.

Angle Line - 1977 Acrylic 60" X 48"

As stated in a BRT piece titled The tool becoming the master, it's evident AI's becoming the irresistible low hanging fruit whereby the ceding of the ability to do anything of value is better left to a machine because it's just so easy to do unless the power goes off, right?

With profound regret ...

Hate to say it but yours truly has been talking about the potential dangers of AI for years with nary a positive response regarding my take until now. The problem with this well-intention plea to do a 6-month hiatus on said tech is, IMHO, moot as the horse is out of the barn, never to return as we move further into the 21st century. As Fats Waller said, No one knows, do one ...


Like the look of DeepAI's front end. :)

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Recycling ...

Recycling, this time relating to creativity and imagination, is key because if one cannot forget, the ability to create becomes impossible, something beautifully expressed by Jorge Luis Borges, the great Argentinian writer able to write about dreams, information and creativity in ways most powerful and eloquent without question.

1 point perspective ... 2020

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Channeling Theseus

Yours truly is a nut job about physics. Mathematically challenged to the max, I do have the ability to visualize so, in an indirect way, physics makes sense if one is willing to learn the arcane vocabulary said discipline requires in order to learn aspects about a reality we will never fully understand. In this case, the weak force becomes interesting as without it, life, as we know it, could not exist as it's all about radioactivity and how it gives rise for the creation of the heavier elements . The video above delves into the electroweak force in a way a layperson such as myself can understand but just barely.  :) Watch the clip in its entirety as one finds researchers to be like Sherlock Holmes, or better yet, Theseus, forever using the string as a guide to discover yet another hidden truth about existence if one has the persistence and intellect to make it so.

The radioactive beta decay is due to the weak interaction, which transforms a neutron into a proton, an electron, and an electron antineutrino.

The weak force is one of the four fundamental forces that govern all matter in the universe (the other three are gravity, electromagnetism and the strong force). While the other forces hold things together, the weak force plays a greater role in things falling apart, or decaying. 

The weak force, or weak interaction, is stronger than gravity, but it is only effective at very short distances. It acts on the subatomic level and plays a crucial role in powering stars and creating elements. It is also responsible for much of the natural radiation present in the universe, according to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab). 

Why unification is such a big deal.

A fundamental force representing unification of the electromagnetic and weak nuclear interactions. Until the early 1970s, the four fundamental forces — strong nuclear, electromagnetic, weak nuclear, and gravity — could only be described as distinct entities. The work of U.S. particle physicist Sheldon Lee Glashow, U.S. theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg, and Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam showed that the electromagnetic and the weak nuclear forces can be unified and understood as a single interaction, called the electroweak interaction. This unification was a major step in understanding nature, similar to the achievement of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell and others a century earlier in unifying the electric forces and magnetic forces into the electromagnetic interactions. A goal of theoretical physics is to achieve a further simplification in understanding nature by describing the presently known basic interactions in a unified way. Attempts to unify the strong force with the electroweak interaction are usually referred to as grand unified theories (GUTs). Various frameworks that seek to further unify with the fourth fundamental interaction, gravity, are known as M-theory, superstring theory, or a "theory of everything." Physicists broadly theorize that initially, all forces were united in the extreme energy and temperature at the beginning of the universe in the big bang. 

Channeling Theseus indeed.

Monday, May 01, 2023

It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when ...

Emergence/Luna Style

Why this pix? Well, one could easily see this as a sunset and not as a full moon revealing itself thru the cloud layer, something akin to how we perceive the emergence of AI, the open-ended tech, able to become the stuff of nightmares if we let it. Yours truly has been writing about AI for years, not fear mongering or fan boying but rather preferring to take a cautious approach to this astounding technology as we will never know how it works, ever, a condition most disquieting to this writer. With this in mind, Geoffrey Hinton, the godfather of AI, has similar misgivings because there is no certitude, a fact proven to be true time and time again by Quantum Mechanics, the start point for all things related to computation and reality.

To whit ...

Channeling Tesla

Channeling Tesla, DARPA goes big time on developing wireless power transfer to military hardware. The question to ask here, why not for civilian use? Methinks it will happen if the military initiative proves to be successful. 

DARPA plans to create wireless energy transfer infrastructure to supply near-uninterruptable power to U.S. military bases worldwide. The plan, as reported by Popular Mechanics, is to use laser technology to beam electricity around the planet. Famously a dream of Nikola Tesla over 100 years ago, if successful, this technology, called fittingly enough POWER ("Persistent Optical Wireless Energy Relay"), would make the U.S. military less reliant on liquid fuel like diesel and vulnerable power lines, which can be intercepted or sabotaged by enemy forces.

Nikola Tesla was one of the first minds to envision a wireless future. In the year 1900, he claimed that there would be precise wireless transmission of signals that would be received by devices no larger than a watch. He's of course describing what we now know as radiowaves, the foundation of how our modern connected electronics work.

Tesla, in fact, believed in this idea of wireless communication and energy transfer so much that he started constructing a transmitting station in New York to prove his point. Called Teslas' 'World System of Wireless', it was unfortunately never completed due to Tesla running out of money. 

Tesla's concept ...