Thursday, November 30, 2023

Mr. K ...

He's finally dead. Brilliant, ruthless and a decorated war criminal, the death of Cambodia was the arch creation of Mr. K, the model Secretary of State who orchestrated Nam for Nixon, a catastrophe of biblical proportions, based on a lie.

A truly great obit ...

Addendum: Yet another take on Mr. K. Well worth reading IMHO.

Any questions?

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Arc Line ...

Arc Line

Depicted above is a delicate arc of ice with the background removed to show how profoundly beautiful nature can be. What's also obvious is just how transitory this arc of ice is because one day later, it was gone. Now, look at our economy, driven by code and AI, abstracted to the nth degree with the stock market forever going into the stratosphere until it doesn't, something slowly beginning to happen thanks to the inevitable fact, resources on our finite planet keeping us alive are not infinite, which means the economy of the world will soon revolve around said resources, a physics driven reality not even AI and the endless manipulation of money can change as man moves further into the 21st century.

And so it begins. - K. Vonnegut

A simple matter of division

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Treachery of Images ...

Hamlet. Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?

Polonius. By th’ mass, and ‘tis like a camel indeed.

Hamlet. Methinks it is like a weasel.

Polonius. It is back’d like a weasel.

Hamlet. Or like a whale.

Polonius. Very like a whale. 

Seems Shakespeare was indirectly channeling AI, news and social media where people talk to their choir, believing almost anything as long as it aligns with one’s world view ... which brings up the notion of Deepfakes as they’re Everywhere. Just go to almost any site and see nonsense, usually in full color, residing on the right hand side or on the bottom of the web page, saying something patently ridiculous regarding a celebrity, news event or “scientific” fact, accompanied with a clickable AI graphic showing said tidbit to be “true”. One of the usuals is a huge beast found on a beach near you

The Idea Dynamo

Prescient to a fault, Webster’s Idea Dynamo presages the emergence of AI, the open-ended tech able to generate virtually anything of note by simply inputting, text, sound or visual  prompts as needs warrant. From "writing" research papers magically dealing with quantum mechanics to effortlessly generating detailed 3D photo-realistic art depicting something like the work seen below, AI’s changing reality 24/7 whether we like or not. 

The Intelligence Equation

Jumping spiders plan ahead to catch prey, octopuses, masters of camouflage and escape, not only use shells as houses but also as blinds to get close to their quarry, crabs. Crows solve puzzles like 7 year olds and monkeys use rocks to crack nuts but the real avatars of intelligence are the whales with the sperm whale having the largest brain on the planet, configured like ours but only bigger.

Melville’s Moby Dick, besides being existential, is also scientific as Melville was an acute observer trying to understand how reality works or ... “Is it not curious, that so vast a being as the whale should see the world through so small an eye, and hear the thunder through an ear which is smaller than a hare's? But if his eyes were broad as the lens of Herschel's great telescope; and his ears capacious as the porches of cathedrals; would that make him any longer of sight, or sharper of hearing? Melville tried to answer these questions but failed because in 1851, the notion of sound, let alone, sonar, was not part of the equation nor did whalers even conceptualize why spermaceti, used to enhance echo location, existed in the sperm whale’s head in the first place.

Difficulties learning whale ...

The Gift of Prometheus

When reading MIT’s Technology Review's article discussing the possible emergence of super intelligent AI’s going rogue, the notion of Prometheus' gift of fire to man and Phillip Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? resonate.

60 Minutes | Geoffrey Hinton/Godfather of AI & former Google Fellow

Let’s think probabilities because reality, as defined by Quantum Mechanics, is probabilistic so the concept of AI going rogue becomes a distinct possibility as we don’t know how AI works due to the fact code has to write code to enable neural nets, the analog front end of AI, to interact with the real world in real time as human programmers cannot write software in real-time to do the task at hand, an inconvenient fact the so called AI experts seem to ignore at our peril.

In essence, we don’t know where AI ‘s headed as guesstimates about predicting the future remains but a crapshoot thanks to the vagaries of reality. :)

Houston, we have a problem

Why is this so? Well, the smart phone, the additive love child of tech, is one reason why because its so easy to get “information” just fast enough to avoid boredom as instant gratification isn’t fast enough.

Not Thinking Things Through

Consider the exhausted Odysseus, slowly sailing toward the coast of Ithaca while sleeping next to a bag carrying all the winds save the favorable west, a gift generously given to the weary travelers by Aeolis, god of the winds. The crew, also tired from the 10 year Trojan War but all too greedy for their own good, decide to open the bag thinking there was treasure to be had, thus consigning themselves to death or enslavement when their ship is driven back into the Mediterranean when all the winds escaped from the bag, forcing Odysseus to wander the sea for another 10 years before reaching Ithaca yet again. 

Copyright & Public Domain

Yours truly has often talked about the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) with emphasis on intellectual property rights vis a vis copyright, the disaster perpetrated on the US by the late Sonny Bono (The Mickey Mouse Act) who, as California congressman, extended the length of copyright from the Founders 14 years plus one allowed extension of 14 years (if the cr holder was still alive) to life plus 70, which means Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, written in 1905, could theoretically remain outside of public domain until 2025 as Einstein died in 1955. Steamboat Willie, the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, debuted in 1928. Disney died in 1966, ergo, Steamboat would not enter the PD until 2036.

Question, how many chimps does it take to write Hamlet?

As we all know, in order for AI to advance, it needs to hoover up our data, lots and lots of data. What’s better is the fact the tech giants categorically state the content acquired is theirs, not ours, thus potentially able to be copyrighted, which means, our content’s not ours. 

A Wicked Problem

In conclusion, the abuse of copyright created by Bono and the courts, combined with the abuses of the tech giants regarding who owns what when feeding their AI’s our online content means we have lost ownership of our data but more importantly, the tech giants have lost control of AI because if one doesn’t know how said tech works, then controlling same is impossible. 

Lest we forget, it’s all about the money ... yet again.

The Future of AI is Analog

With the advent of digital, single purpose analog systems, like Lord Kelvin’s, (inventor of the analog computer) withered away but no longer as AI needs to handle the vagaries of the real world in real-time using neural nets, the analog construct required by AI in order to function. Digital can do the job but only at enormous cost in terms of efficiency and power, something becoming increasingly problematic as society moves further into the 21st century.

Digital counts, Analog measures.

When analog computing's in place, AI will be EVERYWHERE.

Postscript ...

The World of Pretend

A good friend of mine wrote an incredible piece of music titled The World of Pretend detailing the career of Veronica Lake, an extremely talented women who decided to go off grid, only to be seen in the various film noir flicks she did in the 1940's. To this writer, the age we are living in indirectly relates to hers as the emergence of AI is creating an alternative reality in which we all live 24/7. With this being said, there is no morality in tech, it all depends on who's creating said tech, something we should all recognize as we move further into the twenty first century.

Same as it ever was. - Talking Heads

Monday, November 20, 2023

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

When reading MIT's Technology Review's article discussing the possible emergence of super intelligent AI's going rogue, the notion of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? resonates.  

Let's think probabilities because reality, as defined by Quantum Mechanics, is probabilistic so the concept of AI going rogue becomes a possibility as we don’t know how AI works due to the fact code has to write code to enable neural nets, the front end of AI, to interact with the real world in real time as human programmers cannot write software in real-time to do the task at hand, an inconvenient fact the so called AI experts seem to ignore at our peril.

In essence, we don't know, in this case, where AI 's headed as guesstimates about predicting the future forever remains a crapshoot thank to, you guessed it, the vagaries of Quantum. :)

Happy T Day! :)

"If it bleeds, it leads"

No, this piece isn't about the assassination and new findings about a possible second shooter but rather about how bad news, like war, makes money as people are morbidly curious and desirous to avoid being bored so capping on interesting tidbits, no matter how bad, is better then being bored, right?

Why this piece? Well, yours truly was one of the Satellite News Channel lead artists back in the 80's, a job that was really special as SNC was not only the beta test site of state-of-the art video tech now used by virtually every news station in the world but also, SNC was the precursor of all the 24/7 news channels running on air as we speak so ... the notion of bad news bringing in serious money to the news outlets of the world is a no brainer to me without question.

It's all about the money ...

But no longer ...

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

GraphCast the weatherman

A robot holding a thermometer.

Photo: Besjunior / (Shutterstock)

First it was college essays, then law, now it's the weatherman thanks to DeepMind's GraphCast
and it's connect to all things related to weather.

Finally, a robot to tell you which jacket you should wear to the function. Google DeepMind, the search giant’s AI-centric brain trust, just announced a new weather forecasting model that beats traditional systems more than 90% of the time. Named GraphCast, the machine learning model promises 10-day predictions that are better, faster, and more energy-efficient than the tools that run your weather app today.

“We believe this marks a turning point in weather forecasting,” Google’s researchers wrote in a study published Tuesday.


GraphCast starts with the current state of Earth’s weather, and data about the weather six hours ago. Then, it makes a prediction about what the weather will look like six hours from now. GraphCast then feeds those predictions back into the model, performs the same calculation, and spits out longer-term forecasts.

The Google team compared GraphCasts results to the current model that’s used for medium-range weather prediction, called HRES. According to the study, GraphCast “significantly” outperformed HRES on 90% of the targets used in the test.

GraphCast also had surprising success predicting extreme weather events including tropical cyclones and freak temperature changes, even though it wasn’t specifically trained to handle them.

Like the Terminator, it learns ...

A match made beyond heaven :)

Channeling Einstein, researchers leverage gravitational lensing by using sophisticated software to find hidden black holes in ways not thought possible until now. 

What's large and blue and can wrap itself around an entire galaxy? A gravitational lens mirage. Pictured above, the gravity of a luminous red galaxy (LRG) has gravitationally distorted the light from a much more distant blue galaxy. More typically, such light bending results in two discernible images of the distant galaxy, but here the lens alignment is so precise that the background galaxy is distorted into a horseshoe -- a nearly complete ring. Since such a lensing effect was generally predicted in some detail by Albert Einstein over 70 years ago, rings like this are now known as Einstein Rings. Although LRG 3-757 was discovered in 2007 in data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the image shown above is a follow-up observation taken with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3. Strong gravitational lenses like LRG 3-757 are more than oddities -- their multiple properties allow astronomers to determine the mass and dark matter content of the foreground galaxy lenses. (citation from APOD

Using a phenomenon called gravitational lensing and supercomputer simulations, a team of astronomers led by Durham University, UK- has discovered one of the biggest black holes ever found. This ultramassive black hole has over 30 billion times the mass of our sun.

The team has discovered this first black hole in a foreground galaxy, using a method that replicates light traveling across the universe countless times. The mass of the black hole in each simulation varies, altering the light path toward Earth. The team made the simulations on the DiRAC HPC facility. This allows them to determine how light bends by a black hole inside a galaxy hundreds of millions of light-years from Earth.

The path that the light from the distant galaxy took to reach Earth when the researchers incorporated an ultramassive black hole in one of their simulations matched the path shown in actual images collected by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Lead author Dr. James Nightingale, Department of Physics, Durham University, said, “This particular black hole, which is roughly 30 billion times the mass of our sun, is one of the biggest ever detected and on the upper limit of how large we believe black holes can theoretically become, so it is a fascinating discovery.”

Sherlock would be proud. 

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Same as it ever was ...

The worst presidential race in my lifetime looms between Agent Orange and Sleepy Joe, two vastly despised candidates espousing views not attractive in ways boggling the mind. One bent on being Mussolini lite, the other, being Israel's lap dog. Oh dear god, deliver us from these two, please but, as Talking Heads so eloquently expressed in Once in a Life Time, it's Same as it ever was, in the year of our lord 2023.

Yes, both men are unpopular, remarkably so. Only a third of Americans view President Biden favorably, and two-thirds of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters want to nominate someone else for the presidency (no one in particular, just someone else, please). Trump is the overwhelming favorite to become the Republican nominee for the third consecutive time, but his overall approval rating is lower than Biden’s. And while 60 percent of voters don’t want to put Trump back in the White House, 65 percent don’t want to hand Biden a second term, either. The one thing on which Americans seem to agree is that we find a Biden-Trump 2024 rematch entirely disagreeable.

Like so many others, I also wish we could avoid that choice or at least defer it. As the journalist Amy Walter has put it, “Swing voters would rather eat a bowl of glass than have to choose between Trump and Biden again.” Well, it may be time to grab a spoon and unroll the gauze. When half the country believes democracy isn’t working well, when calls for political violence have become commonplace, when the speaker of the House is an election denier, it is time to face what we risk becoming and to accept or reject it. We have no choice but to choose.

Unfortunately ...

Woolly Bear :)

Where's he going? In a hurry I see. The absolute harbinger of fall without question.
Awesome to the max. :)

Factoids ...

Canadian and U.S. folklore holds that the relative amounts of brown and black hair on a larva indicate the severity of the coming winter. It is believed that if a Pyrrharctia isabella's brown band is wide, winter weather will be mild, and if the brown band is narrow, the winter will be severe. In a variation of this story, the color of stripes predicts the winter weather, with darker stripes indicating a harsher winter. In reality, hatchlings from the same clutch of eggs can display considerable variation in their color banding, and a larva's brown band tends to widen with age as it molts.[9]

Another version of this belief is that the direction in which a Pyrrharctia isabella crawls indicates the winter weather, with the caterpillar crawling south to escape colder weather. There is no scientific evidence for winter weather prediction by Pyrrharctia isabella.[10]

The little guy above was heading South big time. :)