Sunday, December 31, 2023

2024 ...

Off in the distance ...

Predicting the future's not possible, only guesstimates, thanks to the vagaries of reality as probabilities rule but you already know that, right? No prognostications here save that 2024 will be a watershed year thanks to three prime drivers ...

Climate Change From the Thwaites Glacier getting close to collapse to the loss of albedo in the arctic and the release of increasing amounts of methane from the permafrost, the 900 lb gorilla continues to emerge from the shadows.

AI, the open ended tech forever to remain unknowable as code must write code in order for AI to function, is an inconvenient fact many experts avoid discussing. There's a cost to everything due to the laws of thermodynamics and their intrinsic connect to entropy.

Out of darkness

Agent Orange possibly becoming president yet again scares the crap out of yours truly thanks to the feckless foreign policy initiatives conducted by the Biden administration along with the festering immigration problem that never seems to go away. 

Happy New Year :)

1:00 AM

The importance of cash ...

Cash is king, why? Because it's anonymous, not able to be tracked as cash is physical, forever separate from the net, something eloquently articulated in The Conversation partly titled, You can't hide side hustles from the IRS anymore if you use online tech to get your money. To yours truly, paying taxes is legit, something the ultra rich don't do as they have the means to hire expensive minons to leverage the arcane tax code in order to evade what they should rightfully pay as citizens of the good ole USA. The other reason why cash matters is privacy and total control of one's money. If everything's online and electronic, privacy's but a word and complete control is but a mirage. 

Why cash is king ...

However, that’s not true of income from other sources. If you make money cleaning houses, catering out of your own kitchen or through another informal side hustle in exchange for cash, chances are this work has been “under the table.”

It’s been up to you, not your customers, to report any income earned this way to the IRS for tax purposes. And there is a good chance that you didn’t, given that the underground economy makes up at least one-tenth of the overall economy.

That’s changing, in part because of how informal transactions happen. It’s far more common these days for customers to make these payments through apps like Venmo, Stripe and Square or online platforms such as Etsy, Poshmark, Rover and Upwork than to use cash or checks.

This can even include illicit activities, like drug dealing. And believe it or not, even when you make money through illegal transactions, the IRS still requires these payments to be reported for tax purposes.

The IRS has long identified informal payments as a significant source of the “tax gap” – the difference between what taxpayers owe and what they pay.

IMHO, the real tax gap is the ability of the big corporations and the ultra rich to dodge the tax man by offshoring monies and/or doing the tax code manipulation bit.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Ineptness ... Round II

In A Sense of Foreboding, yours truly discussed the ineptness of the Biden Administration regarding the Great Game of geopolitics and the dangers of backing the wrong horse, in this case, Israel, bent on subjugating the Palestinians for as long as it takes no matter the cost. To that end, genocide and the intent to move the Palestinians to the Sini is the end game in order to create a greater Israel, something not feasible given the colonized will not give up. Add to this is the possible two front war Israel may embark upon vis a vis Lebanon and the Hezbollah, a far more powerful entity than Hamas, which equates to the often repeated phrase, Houston, we have a problem

With Bibi caring more about avoiding jail and not saving his county by creating a viable two state solution, the impact on the US will be swift due to the continued rip offs perpetrated by Raytheon and significant others in developing absurdly expensive weapons unable to be produced in large enough quantities to effectively counter the asymmetrical and cheap tech of drones, a true game changer in all things related to war.

Ike warned us about the MIC in 1960. 63 years later, the chickens have come home to roost as the tenets of The  Art of War have been violated and the US and Israel will now pay the price of not understanding the great game and the importance of the world island and how it applies to geopolitics.

For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global changes in Eurasia that are in the process of undermining the grand strategy for world dominion that Washington has pursued these past seven decades.

War, driven by cheap tech, will never be the same.

Yemen, the poorest nation in the Middle East, has done the following ...

To date, Ansarallah has successfully targeted nine ships using drones and missiles, and managed to seize one Israeli-affiliated ship in the Red Sea, according to their official statements. These operations have prompted the largest international shipping companies, including CMA CGM and MSC, and oil giants BP and Evergreen, to re-route their Europe bound ships around the horn of Africa, adding 13,000km and significant fuel costs to the journey.

Delays, transit times, and insurance fees for commercial shipping have skyrocketed, threatening to spark inflation worldwide. This is especially worrisome for Israel, which is already contending with the economic repercussions of its longest and deadliest conflict with the Palestinian resistance in history. 

Additionally, Ansarallah has launched multiple missile and drone attacks on Israel’s southern port city of Eilat, decreasing its commercial shipping traffic by 85 percent.

Ineptness as art form strikes yet again.

The Pentagon plans to defend commercial ships using missile defense systems on US and allied naval carriers deployed to the region.

But the world’s superpower, now largely on its own, does not have the military capacity to counter attacks from war-torn Yemen, the poorest country in West Asia.

This is because the US relies on expensive and difficult to manufacture interceptor missiles to counter the inexpensive and mass-produced drones and missiles that Ansarallah possesses.

Austin made his announcement shortly after the USS Carney destroyer intercepted 14 one-way attack drones on just one day, the 16th of December.

The operation appeared to be a success, but Politico swiftly reported that according to three US Defense Department officials, the cost of countering such attacks “is a growing concern.”

The SM-2 missiles used by the USS Carney cost roughly $2.1 million each, while Ansarallah's one-way attack drones cost a mere $2,000 each.

This means that to shoot down the $28,000 worth of drones on 16 December, the US spent at least $28 million in just one day.

Ansarallah has now launched more than 100 drone and missile attacks, targeting ten commercial ships from 35 countries, meaning the cost of US interceptor missiles alone has exceeded $200 million.

Houston, we have a problem.

Thursday, December 28, 2023

A sense of foreboding ...

This pix, showing how Gaza is being destroyed in real time, depicts in full color, the ongoing Israeli genocide being done to the Palestinians, an atrocity threatening to plunge the world into WWIII thanks to how the US plays the great game with blinding incompetence by unilaterally backing Israel without restriction, the tiny dictator of not only our foreign policy but also as to how the 1st Amendment should be administrated in this once great nation known as America, a dreadful entangled alliance Ike would have squelched in an NYC second similar to how he dealt with England, France and Israel in the 1957 Suez Canal crisis. 

With this said, yours truly has discussed Election 24 ad nauseam, a watershed event of terrifying possibility as Agent Orange can win, thanks, in part, to the ineptness of Sleepy Joe and his unwavering support of Israel, thus extinguishing US credibility throughout the world as US supplied bombs continue to rain on Gaza 24/7. 

Shooting for Par

Yours truly doesn't golf but the environs of a golf course, when designed properly, is a nice place
to take a stroll as long as it's in winter where solitude abides while golf balls remain absent. Enjoy. :)

Sunday, December 24, 2023


COMPO, aka Compo Beach, is a little universe containing two B Ball courts, a bodacious skate board environment, a pretty extensive marina, a centrally located baseball diamond and of course, beaches.
Best time to visit, late fall or winter. :) Enjoy.

Thursday, December 21, 2023


Image for article titled Here’s How to Get Midjourney's Incredible V6 Upgrade Working Before It’s Gone

Image: Midjourney V6

If anyone thinks AI driven photorealistic 3D imaging is impossible to achieve, then disregard the pix seen above as the image quality depicted here is akin to ray tracing and radiosity the two techniques considered to be the gold standard in all things related to the generation of high end 3d photorealistic image creation. With this being said, the skill set needed to create work as realistic as this, outside the province of AI, requires years of study, a prerequisite no longer when using AI's like the Midjourneys of the world. Now, imagine what happens when imaging like this goes into AI-driven movies, able to be shaped and rendered as needs warrant, without the need of human input. Staggers the mind doesn't it.

Radiosity - In 3D computer graphics, radiosity is an application of the finite element method to solving the rendering equation for scenes with surfaces that reflect light diffusely. 

The Cornell box, rendered with and without radiosity by BMRT

Midjourney released an upgraded version of its AI image-generating service, Midjourney V6, on Thursday. The update is a significant improvement that has truly wowed users with its shockingly realistic photos and attention to detail. It may not be here for long, so here’s how to get V6 working now.

The alpha version of Midjourney V6 will be available on Discord over the winter break. This upgrade has been in the works for the past nine months, and developers are releasing it for a short time starting today. My first impressions of Midjourney V6 were shocking. Gizmodo tested out some leading AI image generators not too long ago, but this new model from Midjourney puts them all to shame. V6’s images are amazingly realistic, without sacrificing the creativity that Midjourney always had. Typically, AI image generators force you to choose between realistic and fantastical, but Midjourney V6 is the best combination of both I’ve seen.

Remember, the V6 set is alpha so what will the real rev be like?

Sunday, December 17, 2023

They're everywhere ...

They're everywhere, you know, the emergence of AI constructs known as avatars, digital entities able to replace you at the speed of light, residing on the internet near you as seen by the one seen above, just about indistinguishable from the real thing, for now, as the funhouse of AI in all things related to search, imagery and ultimately, "reality" will reside on anything connected to the net and we haven't even discussed the notion of AGI, let alone ASI, as man moves further into the 21st century.

Example 1. This one's pretty easy to tell it's not real,

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Model collapse

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Leftovers can be absolutely great or not so much. Now, let's talk about leftovers in the form of hallucinations disseminated into the net by Chat GPT and significant others, innocently accessed by one conducting a search and using said seemingly true but incorrect information in solving a ermegency medical problem for patient X, something most disquieting to contemplate to say the least, right?

Houston, we have a problem.

In the year since ChatGPT was released to the public, researchers and experts have warned that the ease with which content can be created using generative AI tools could poison the well, creating a vicious circle where those tools produce content that is then used to train other AI models. 

That so-called “model collapse”—which would hollow out any “knowledge” accrued by the chatbots—appears to have come true.

Last week, X user Jax Winterbourne posted a screenshot showing that Grok, the large language model chatbot developed by Elon Musk’s xAI, had (presumably unintentionally) plagiarized a response from rival chatbot-maker OpenAI. When asked by Winterbourne to tinker with malware, Grok responded that it could not, “as it goes against OpenAI’s use case policy.”

“This is what happened when I tried to get it to modify some malware for a red team engagement,” Winterbourne explained in his post, suggesting that the response could be evidence that “Grok is literally just ripping OpenAI’s code base.”

Trust but verify.

Credit: Carol Yepes/Getty Images

In all the writing done by yours truly, correct links to sources are indispensable, something my loyal readers already know because trust, once lost, is forever gone. Now think about the lack of visible links or any kind of transparency when doing an AI search to connect to a given source. What's even worse is the fact tech companies running AI don't know how their AI's work as code has to write code in order to interact with the real world in real time via neural nets, the analog construct enabling AI to function.

Compounding the problem of inaccuracy is a comparative lack of transparency. Typically, search engines present users with their sources — a list of links — and leave them to decide what they trust. By contrast, it’s rarely known what data an LLM trained on — is it Encyclopaedia Britannica or a gossip blog?

“It’s completely untransparent how [AI-powered search] is going to work, which might have major implications if the language model misfires, hallucinates or spreads misinformation,” says Urman.

If search bots make enough errors, then, rather than increasing trust with their conversational ability, they have the potential to unseat users’ perceptions of search engines as impartial arbiters of truth, Urman says.

Any questions?

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Algeria ...

As Mark Twain so famously said, History doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes. applies to Israel's push to complete the job of driving out the Palestinians from Palestine in 2023, a process started in 1948 when 750,000 suffered the same fate in an event known as the NAKBA. Complicit in this crime is the US supporting Israel without limit to include December 9th's US's veto of a ceasefire in Gaza, an initiative the rest of the world and the UN support without question. Now that the Biden administration is all in with Israel, factor in the real possibility of Biden losing the 2024 election to Agent Orange as Muslim Americans will no longer support Biden in any way, shape or fashion, thus equating to a dumpster fire of biblical proportions regarding Biden's chances as the atrocity in Gaza is becoming  more important than even the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution opening up the horror of Vietnam based on a lie.

Sound familiar? Israel will not win as Hamas will not be eliminated and the Palestinians will not quit. Kennedy knew this to be true regarding Algeria. Sadly, Biden does not regarding Palestine.

Saturday, December 09, 2023



War is a  Racket but you already know that, right? As we all know, the US unsuccessfully fights endless wars while pissing away money in the trillons as seen by the Middle East fubars beginning in the 90's along with the best selling Bill & Ted's excellent adventure known as Vietnam in the 70's.

Seque to 2023 to see if anything's changed and lo and behold, they haven't ...

The American empire lives. Leading Republicans and Democrats alike support a proxy war in Europe, back murderous conflict in the Middle East, and threaten catastrophic war in Asia. Fervent critics of “isolationism,” like Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, seem determined to defend everyone except Americans. The bulk of military outlays go either to protect prosperous and populous allies that can’t be bothered to defend themselves or to punish states not inclined to follow Washington’s dictates.

There’s always more money for arms, even though the United States is racing toward insolvency. Federal debt owed to the public is roughly 100 percent of GDP, near the record set at the close of World War II. Without dramatic change, the debt ratio will be twice as high by mid-century. Yet the bloated military budget continues to jump skyward. 

The bipartisan congressional War Party risks running out of an even more important resource, manpower. Wrote Newsweek’s Alex Phillips: “A majority of American adults would not be willing to serve in the military were the U.S. to enter into a major war, recent polling has found, while public confidence in the armed forces appears to be waning.”

I Want You for U.S. Army, 1917, James Montgomery Flagg
The Huntington Library, Art Galleries, and Botanical Gardens

Houston, we have a problem.

The Pentagon’s real problem is that Americans increasingly don’t want to serve even without a major war. The armed services are having trouble filling their ranks. Explained Phillips, “In 2023, the Army and Air Force fell short of their respective goals by around 10,000 recruits, while the Navy was under by 6,000.” At least 2023 wasn’t quite as bad as the year before, which the military called “arguably the most challenging recruiting yearsince creation of the All-Volunteer Force 50 years ago.

The armed services can cope with modest personnel shortfalls for a time, but soon will be unable to perform as expected. Last year, then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville said he would have preferred to add 70,000 to the previous year’s force, rather than cut it by 12,000, as he was forced to do. Indeed, active-duty levels have fallen 39 percent since 1987. In a desperate attempt to increase the human pool, the Army decided to suspend the requirement for a high school diploma, before retreating under fire.


(Photo Credit: Students for a Democratic Society)

Area C (blue), the part of the West Bank under full Israeli control, in 2011

1st Amendment rights ...

In response to BDS, several legislatures have passed laws designed to hinder people and organizations from boycotting Israel and goods from Israeli settlements. Proponents of such laws say that they are necessary because BDS is a form of antisemitism.[235] After passage of these laws, Dickinson, Texas, residents found they had to certify they would not boycott Israel in order to qualify for relief for damages caused by Hurricane Harvey; a math teacher in Kansas had to pledge not to boycott Israel as a condition for being paid her state salary; and an Arkansas newspaper was asked to sign an anti-boycott pledge in order to be paid for the advertising it ran for Arkansas State University.[236]

David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, has said that boycotts have long been regarded as a legitimate form of expression, that such legislation against BDS appears to "repress a particular political viewpoint" while failing international legal criteria for "permissible restraints on speech" insofar as these laws contradict Article 19(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a covenant to which the United States is a signatory.[237]

In the U.S., anti-BDS laws have been passed. Two federal acts have been introduced, the 2017 Israel Anti-Boycott Act and the 2019 Combating BDS Act, both intended to deprive entities participating in boycotts of Israel of government contract work. In several states, these laws have been challenged on First Amendment grounds for violating citizens' freedom of speech.

Question, does Israel control the 1st Amendment or does America? No one knows but the attitude toward Israel is changing thanks to Israel's wanton destruction of Gaza, a notion Joe Biden and company seem to not understand.

Cognitive Dissidence ...The US as honest broker or as Joe Biden, on October 18th, proudly proclaimed to Bibi that "I don't believe you have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist." 

And the beat goes on ...

Israeli soldiers working on their tank near the border with Gaza on Friday.Credit...Amir Cohen/Reuters

The State Department is pushing through a government sale to Israel of 13,000 rounds of tank ammunition, bypassing a congressional review process that is generally required for arms sales to foreign nations, according to a State Department official and an online post by the Defense Department on Saturday.

The State Department notified congressional committees at 11 p.m. on Friday that it was moving ahead with the sale, valued at more than $106 million, even though Congress had not finished an informal review of a larger order from Israel for tank rounds.

As stated before, this will not end well.


Political ideology

Zionism is a nationalist movement that emerged in the 19th century to enable the establishment of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine, a region roughly corresponding to the Land of Israel in Jewish tradition. 

Inventory ...

The Counter-ISIS Train and Equip Fund program divests 21 vehicles valued at $5.3 million at Erbil Air Base, Iraq, on Aug. 11, 2021. Photo: SFC Ernest Henderson/U.S. Army

The military has lots of stuff. From ordinance to trucks to uniforms, the inventory maintained by our military is vast and is becoming increasingly easy to steal, something happening 24/7 in countries who hate us thanks to the misguided foreign policy initiatives the US has adhered to for over 75 years.

To whit 

But the criminal investigation documents obtained by The Intercept demonstrate that the U.S. cannot even secure its equipment, much less protect its troops.

“We don’t tend to think nearly critically enough about the ripple effects of such an expansive U.S. military footprint,” Stephanie Savell, co-director of Brown University’s Costs of War Project, told The Intercept. “The so-called war on terror isn’t over — it’s just morphed. And we can understand these weapons thefts as just one of the many political costs of that ongoing campaign.”