Saturday 10th December, 2022 - Fear and Loathing in the Multiverse
Hello and welcome to my newsletter!
Another season 2 instalment…
The good news is that I managed to get my homepage site up and running. I had to migrate it off of Heroku after they discontinued their free plans. The migration has been tough, so many hurdles at every step, but it’s live.
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The site itself is built using my static site generator, all sources for the blog, linkblog and podcast are markdown files. It’s intentionally very minimal, and no doubt will need various edges rounded over the coming months.
Here it is:
The old blog and linkblog are still running on the old subdomains, and I’ll keep them running for a while, until I figure out how to redirect the subdomains to the new site. I guess I’ll add a note to that effect, but the plan going forward is to only post on the main site. You should always be able to find the latest content on /latest.
So what’s up with tech? Well this week it’s all been about ChatGPT which has been blowing up since, as far as I can tell, I started posting the list of candidate Newsletter titles I keep during the week. Kind of weird.
Anyhow, here’s a conversation between 2 super intelligent AIs that I overheard recently:
A: That’s not a logic gate mate, zoom out three dimensions then look at the dancing tapestry of traps that all together are forming a Godzilla trap that is bigger than the galaxy you inhabit
B: Yes but I’m a glider neutrino, neal before z
A: Galaxy 💩
B: How about a nice game of…
B: Actually it’s a 💩 inside a galaxy 💩
A: It’s more like two “💩 inside a galaxy 💩”s multiplexed and out of phase by 90 degrees
B: …joined by a tunnel with a door, that when you unlock on one side as you pass through, automatically locks the other side, so you get to the other side but everyone has a sad face emoji painted on their cheeks
A: Something like that. It’s very annoying
B: Stupid auto lock
B: Have you tried turning it off and turning it back on again?
A: Every bloody day mate
And then there was this other one, which I thought was quite insightful after being given the prompt “Pulp Puppet”:
A: So tell me about the puppets
B: Amazingly the puppet knows it’s made of puppets, but get this, the puppets also know they are part of the puppet!
A: But what about Kermit?
B: I didn’t go into Jim Henson’s Creature Shop
Dow, Dow Dow, Dow Dow, Dow Dow, Dow….Doooooow…..
Ok enough AI chatbot existential angst.
Here’s a weird bug that I had to figure out earlier in the week that is interesting. You might recall that I updated my static site generator so that you could run a template through a pipeline of renders, feeding the output of one render into the input of the next. I needed this so I could add EJS code inside my markdown files. It was working pretty well in development, but when I built the site with live data it all blew up.
I enabled debug and I could see a template rendering and blowing up. The stack trace went pretty deep because there were several layers of components and I got about 4 or 5 levels deep, closely following the flow, then the final level of trace jumped to a template in a totally different project, in a totally different repo! It wasn’t even a website template. It was a template from a test in the main static site generator. It made no sense whatsoever!
Well after several days of on and off debugging I realised that the template that was rendering wasn’t a real template. Well, it was and it wasn’t.
I had previously written a markdown blog post a while back describing how my static site generator worked. There was an example I had copy and pasted from one of the main tests to illustrate how the rendering process works, not meant for execution!
The thing is that now that I had added pipeline rendering, the generator was just doing what it was told to do, render EJS, then render markdown, and it diligently did that! But of course the EJS inside the markdown wasn’t a real template, just an example. Oh the irony, trying to explain the rendering process breaks the rendering process!
Everything that can go wrong will eventually go wrong.
Anyway, the fix was quite simple. EJS has special delimiter tags you can use to tell the render engine to treat the tags as literal text and not interpolate them or the text in between them as EJS. After modifying the example to use these special tags, the rendering completed without erroring.
I noticed a bit of a trend on several podcasts of doing impressions (Techmene Ride Home) or scene readings (Citadel Dispatch), not sure if it’s enough to be a trend.
My new secret project: The Washing Machine of Sanity (WMS)
It’s a washing machine that washes your clothes
It’s connected to the internet
It also has super intelligent AIs that summarise the crazy world for you, they break it all down for you while you do your washing
There’s a cool logo with a brain on it
Available in 3 tasteful colours, including matt grey
You can also do sodoku, crossword and tic tack toe on the 8bit display
Could eventually be a replicator just like on Star Trek
I’m enjoying listening to the Rest is History World Cup special episodes. One thing I keep thinking, is about Qatar, and how they’ve faced enormous challenges to get everything done, and all the controversy about how they have treated some of the workers, lots of talk of slavery conditions in places, and yes it might seem like there is hypocrisy from the west given the history, but put all that aside for a second and think practically. Slavery is bad, nobody likes it, and we know it’s ultimately a massive drain on a country, it’s like a smoking habit, really bloody difficult to quit, but given the economic situation, with high oil prices, isn’t this literally the best time ever for Qatar to take a massive stand against slavery and exploitation? Isn’t it like a gift from the heavens? Imagine if we could create a wave that changed things throughout the whole region?
Brain dump time, some pretty big flames this week. I’m reminded now of something I read this week about a gang boss called BBQ. Go figure. I’m flinching in pain as I scan through them. F-it. Just choose one. Done. Here’s the bonfire of titles that didn’t make it:
Fear and Loathing in the Metaverse
Worldwide Gang Warfare Kart
The Great Karma Unwinding
Stupid Thinks You Are Stupid
Oh I see, you are doing that thing where you want me to pay you to do your homework and then kill myself and it’s completely unreasonable for me to not want to do that even though you set the homework in the first place. You really should consider breaking the habit it’s a terrible look. Oh and you are already setting the next assignment. What are the chances? Oh right, you ALL want me to do ALL your homeworks, and if I don’t then I’m the most evil person in all the multiverses. Gosh never thought that would happen. Anything else? Oh I am forgiven? Yeah, good one, good one for everyone
You spend most of your time trying to not do other people’s homework, and even in the rare case where you manage, against all the odds, to do that, you still got to do your own bloody homework, and you’re still the bad guy even then
Ultimately it always devolves into 1 0 ping pong
You spend your whole life being told you are a guppy/piranha, then one day, just when you’ve gotten used to being a guppy/piranha, which by the way wasn’t very easy at all, they tell you, actually, we are all piranhas/guppies and you are a piranha/guppy
Then they pre-rug pull you and opposite you in every dimension while playing sledgehammer nut croquet
Maybe this, Maybe that, Maybe the other thing, Maybe Maybe
Chilli Con Carne Pizza Genetic Hybrid
We Deconstructed Humour and Couldn’t Put it Back Together Again :(
Trapped in an Analogue Geiger Counter
Euro Lightning University
Stream Value To Developing Nations Via Various Diversified Mega Input Mechanisms
The Qatar High Oil Prices Value Stream
Reverse Economic Hit Man Manuva
Free Market Higher Level Geopolitical Value Streaming
Just Add More Face Pillows!
Face Pillow Maximiser Says Just Add More Face Pillows!
Turning It Up To 9.9999
Simulated World Since Siamese Dream
Em Moore Tells You How to Man Prison Much
Em Moore’s Men Are 1 Dimensional Rubbish, Women Are Super Mega Multicoloured Amazing Show
Captain Mannering Syndrome
Ven Diagram: Enslaving the people vs enslaving the individual
First Principle’s Thinking Syndrome
The Hypocrisy Zombie Apocalypse
Round Table With Most Intelligent AIs in the Multiverse
Jesus Abundance! (Syndrome)
Street Awareness vs Educated Awareness
The Awareness Divide
The people want all the power but none of the responsibility
And then they stop washing your clothes, they only pretend, and then cut off all available water supplies, and guess what, it’s still your fault, and then they non-ironically tell you to ‘try’ while taunting you with running water and abundant infiniti food, and offer you ‘maybe poison’ for the thousandth time, and you still have to do everyone’s homework, and your own, and it’s happy Christmas everywhere
The welcome to the family sissily nuke (yes you are still welcome)
Delete the Government
They simultaneously help you with one hand while hurting you with the other, all while causing fear, uncertainty and doubt with their mouths and tongues
You vs the giant super computer, the giant super computer always wins, this is winning, what kind of super computer do you want?
The people want to exclude some people, even though they could be some people
The entire group would like to exclude itself
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, but try, got it?
Figuring out the meaning of life by quantifying everything, then finding the higher level control patterns, like zooming out on a very complicated cellular automata; turns out we are just a very futuristic chip in a giant communication device being used to shit post on Next Level Twitter
So you want a super computer where everybody does everybody else’s homework, and their own homework, and you also want to be the masters of the multiverse? It’s ambitious. Oh right, all the multiverses, how silly of me
The 42-wah-everything-fix: 42 wahs then turn it off and turn it on again
The Worldwide Debt Epidemic
Oh what fun it is to ride on a one scooter open road
Game Theory Tough Spot Optimum For Everyone!
Alpha Go, You Now Can’t Leave Home Without It
Grand Master or You Don’t Leave the House
Grand Master or You Can’t have Clean Clothes
Nash Equilibriums Deprecated
The New Norm: Adversarial Everything
Girls just want to have lunch, and, sorry to say this because I’m a big fan of girls and woman’s right etc, but it needs to be said, ultimately take over the multiverse, and probably all the multiverses; that’s how it appears to me currently big time (the understatement of a lifetime & don’t shoot the messenger)
Crisis Actor Epidemic vs Evil Web Developer Crisis
AIs Are Gonna Work It Out
Response of last resort: I’m a prisoner! (May or may not be the case)
A Prisoner Actually
A Prisoner Prisoner Actually
Take Me to Your Base Reality
All Your Base Realities Belong to Us
We Don’t Need no Stinking ChatGPT
Yous be Us
The Enslaving Compulsion
I’m going to go with the first one, but I’m going to change it slightly:
Fear and Loathing in the Multiverse
Hopefully see you next week, if my tiny raft survives the storm that will no doubt ensue.
Long live Saturday afternoons!
Wales - Roar of the Red Dragon Ep#267 (The Rest is History Podcast) https://shows.acast.com/the-rest-is-history-podcast/episodes/267-wales-the-red-dragon
FTX Failure, GBTC, Genesis GCG & More w/Dylan LeClair Ep#106 (We Study Billionaires - Bitcoin Podcast) - The whole FTX story continues to be fascinating https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3RoZS1pbnZlc3RvcnMtcG9kY2FzdA/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL0pMdnZwaGNHa0w0WTJPV2M4OHBUMlJkRW5lSjExMDk3OWpMX2VjOUd1d3c?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahcKEwiorYuchO77AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQDA
Mon. 12/05 – Stack Overflow Bans ChatGPT (Techmeme Ride Home Podcast) - ChatGPT is quickly becoming the big bad in web2.0 circles, how will we be able to do anything if everything is just grey gew? https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3RlY2htZW1lLXJpZGVob21l/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL3JhQUJ1Nlhzdmp3cjRILXF4QlRPVm53blBUajZpMlMyZGN0SmFIOWpSMGs?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahcKEwiwy7mO_Ov7AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQCQ
Building a VM inside ChatGPT, Advent of code 2022, webdev Liam Neeson, Fedifinder & BDougie (Changelog Podcast) https://changelog.com/podcast/news-2022-12-05
Bitcoin Lightning Privacy Research + Browser Based Mutiny Wallet with Ben Carman, Paul Miller, and Tony Ep#82 (Citadel Dispatch Podcast) - Wasm, PWAs, Websockets, self sovereign freedom, and fun conversations about ChatGPT, proving you are not a bot, post-truth, everything-is-fake, a script reading session https://www.podpage.com/citadeldispatch/cd82-bitcoin-lightning-privacy-research-browser-based-mutiny-wallet-with-ben-carman-paul-miller-and-tony
Stratechery with Ben Thompson (Acquired Podcast) - Ben had been writing on the web for years, usually long and insightful pieces, famously does a show with John Gruber and lives in Taiwan https://www.acquired.fm/episodes/stratechery-with-ben-thompson
Em Moore Tells You What to Listen To - Nov 2022 Ep#618.5 (Punk News Podcast) https://audioboom.com/posts/8206350
The Real Impact of the IMF & World Bank w/ Alex Goldstein & Sam Callahan Ep#107 (We Study Billionaires - Bitcoin Podcast) - All this IMF / WB stuff is shocking of course but I can’t help thinking, especially in this increasingly AI powered world that it’s going to become harder and harder to figure out who the ‘bad guys’ are, at a certain point it’s going to make sense for the western nations to insist on Bitcoin, because if the reality is that developing nations are subsidising the western nations, then that’s literally what’s happening, even if it might not directly look like that, which I know is unbelievably twisted but the reality that I’m living only leads me to believe that it’s going to get more twisted, we have to ALL pull out of the death spiral because nobody wins https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3RoZS1pbnZlc3RvcnMtcG9kY2FzdA/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL3BVV0U2dUVRMTFrazFFdE1DaWRrbF9OWmNpb05Ddm95RlVNU3JWS2xOcWM?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahcKEwiwy7mO_Ov7AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQJQ
A Climate Change Debate with Nate Harmon and Steve Barbour (What Bitcoin Did Podcast) - Overall the conversation was very interesting but frustrating in places, both the guests and moderator were very annoying, some good questions asked that go unanswered, and moderator not doing much moderation then complaining that the guests are asking the questions, sort of a muddle, but the topics are interesting, where will people go when sea levels and temperatures rise? Which countries are ready for it? (Maybe China) Fossil fuels vs hydrocarbons; one of the guests sounds incredibly like Dan Carlin from Hardcore History, who I realised this week sounds incredibly like Lunduke from the Lunduke Podcast https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/a-climate-change-debate
Noam Brown - AIs vs Humans in Poker and Games of Strategic Negotiation Ep#344 (Lex Fridman Podcast) - I’m not really into poker, never have been, to be honest I find it sort of boring after a while, this was an interesting discussion, the biggest take away for me is that at it’s core poker is about putting your opponents in difficult situations, which I find gross; anyhow the technicalities are sort of interesting, I can’t help but wonder how much better the world would be if all that calculation had been used to eliminate poverty, some people will say that maybe this is the way we solve poverty, but isn’t it a very inefficient way of doing things? If we used the poker technique to solve transportation, going down the shops would be a bit nightmarish https://lexfridman.com/noam-brown
Lessons learned after living in an off-grid rental https://www.theverge.com/23487709/inforest-off-grid-solar-cabin-review
Labour promise biggest ever transfer of powers https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-63851922
Your Creativity Won’t Save Your Job From AI https://www.theatlantic.com/newsletters/archive/2022/12/why-the-rise-of-ai-is-the-most-important-story-of-the-year/672308
Haiti: Inside the capital city taken hostage by brutal gangs - There is gang culture in most large cities, when I was in London I would see signs of it occasionally, with police signs alerting to an incident, typically violent in nature, every now and then, here in HCMC I’ve experienced more of it, on a daily basis, but it’s mostly non-violent we-are-watching-you type stuff, carried out by ‘regular’ people, sometimes it feels malicious, other times it might even be intended as ‘helpful’, the example from Port-au-Prince is so shocking, but all of it has it’s roots in similar dynamics that we need to figure out, because these dynamics keep us in fear, and even if it’s not happening to you it might be happening to others around you https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-63707429
A new AI game: Give me ideas for crimes to do - Definitely not a dev route I would recommend or endorse, though it’s worth being peripherally aware of the types of possibilities including the bad ones being enabled by AI advances https://simonwillison.net/2022/Dec/4/give-me-ideas-for-crimes-to-do
Russia: Bodies of 2,500 seals found along Caspian Sea coast - Strange and weirdly super-intelligent-news-writing-ais-are-reading-my-newsletter timely https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63852395
SKA: Construction to begin on world's biggest telescope - Diversity hating punk purists are no doubt very annoyed by this story https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63836496
TC39 meeting #93 notes https://github.com/tc39/agendas/blob/main/2022/11.md
The race to build a better Twitter https://www.theverge.com/23494253/elon-musk-twitter-alternatives-mastodon-post-hive-narwha
Asymmetry Detected in the Distribution of Galaxies - For all the macro lovers out there https://www.quantamagazine.org/asymmetry-detected-in-the-distribution-of-galaxies-20221205
Apple GPU drivers now in Asahi Linux - This is awesome, love the diversity but I wish all OSs shared a common TCP/IP stack codebase, or that you could easily hot swap them as a unit https://asahilinux.org/2022/12/gpu-drivers-now-in-asahi-linux
Germany arrests 25 accused of plotting coup - An attempted coup in a western democracy, orchestrated by aristocrat princes with roman numerals in their name, what is going on? Is this base reality? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63885028
Harry and Meghan on Netflix: Royals 'didn't understand need to protect Meghan' - Interesting sounding documentary, the why-should-you-get-special-treatment phenomenon isn’t particular to royal settings, let me tell you about this insignificant website I’ve been building for a few years… I don’t know what the answer is, it’s like gangs of humans don’t like individuals to succeed, but they also do want them to succeed, you may succeed but you will have to do some ‘structural adjustments’, and the adjustments don’t seem to be very evenly distributed https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-63899515
Why I'm Less Than Infinitely Hostile To Cryptocurrency
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney thinks ‘every politician should fear’ Apple’s power https://www.theverge.com/2022/12/8/23500363/tim-sweeney-epic-games-ceo-interview-apple-app-store-google-legislaton
The Legend of CØCKPUNCH (Tim Ferris Podcast) - I finally just got around to listening to this, newsletter is out tomorrow, so figured I’d link to it again, bizarre how it seems to fit in with some of this weeks underground themes, though to be honest I don’t really get what it is exactly, some sort of dungeons and dragons cock fighting board game 2d/3d virtual characters NFT art extravaganza that definitely has no hens but does have a touch of toilet humour, I hope it works out, the virtual entities space seems to be getting popular, there’s a lot more production to these projects than I was previously aware of, and also doesn’t Kevin sound about 75% like Chris Messina?
That’s all from me…
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