Saturday 22nd October, 2022 - Beautiful Robots
Hello and welcome to my newsletter!
Another season 2 instalment…
If you have been reading the newsletter for a while you will be aware that I get the titles from a list that I compile during the week. I usually get to Friday or Saturday and have no idea what to call it, and so I look back at the list that I was making and then a series of flashbacks begin.
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Depending on how the week has gone that can be quite interesting. Anyhow, sometimes I throw the whole list out and just go with something related to the current thing. This week was clearly quite bonkers, so much so that it’s actually kind of funny, even if it was very unpleasant at the time. So I’m sharing the entire list because I think it’s good context of the present moment:
<li>Higher Level Newtonian Prison</li>
<li>Quantembly Always Wins</li>
<li>Think in C, Live in Assembly</li>
<li>Locking Ourselves Out of Humanity</li>
<li>Freedom to Maybe Enslave</li>
<li>The Freedom to Maybe Enslave Deterrent</li>
<li>Free No Matter What</li>
<li>Are we inside a maximiser?</li>
<li>I guess we are inside a maximizer again</li>
<li>I can haz maximizer?</li>
<li>I am maximizer now (yes again)</li>
<li>Nah nah nah nah maximizer ha ha</li>
<li>Infinite bagpipes maximizer, the end</li>
<li>Blip, blip………blip, blip blip BLIP</li>
<li>Learning About Money</li>
<li>Everyone’s a pre-cog trying to figure out how not to be a pre-cog</li>
<li>People on crosses putting people on crosses</li>
<li>Abused pandas in zoos continuously putting people on crosses, who are themselves putting people on crosses</li>
<li>The Quantum Culdesac (Infiniti)</li>
HTML tags lovingly added by hand, this is a web development newsletter after all. Based on the go-with-the-least-crazy-sounding-one technique that I have previously applied, that filters out everything except for ‘Beautiful Robots’ and ‘Learning About Money’. The former is a bit more interesting looking, inspired by a video of an incredibly humanoid robot, links below. The way the robot says why-are-you-touching-my-nose entirely via body language and facial expressions is priceless.
Work on my ssg continues, I did quite a lot of foundational stability work this week. I was able to standardise how calendar structured data is parsed. It’s nice when you are able to simplify, especially because maintenance is a lot easier going forward. Whenever I do foundational work, things around me get very weird. It’s really odd. Happens almost every time. It’s rather unpleasant, strange synchronicities everywhere I go, like the whole universe is fighting against me, trying to block my every move.
Gang stalkers, some sort of universe strangeness in the fabric of space time, or both, I have no idea how or why, only that it definitely happens. This week was no exception. It’s like the universe is saying “hey you stop changing everything, you are destroying the status quo” when in reality I’m just building an insignificant ssg command line tool. I know it sounds odd, but we live in odd times, and that’s just the best description I can do at the minute. Just mentioning it in case that’s useful information to someone, including future me!
By the way I haven’t read most of the links I’ve added to this week’s link section. I selected them based on how interesting the title is, whether it’s relevant to work I’m doing. Hoping to find time later today to read through these when I get a stable internet connection and somewhere nice to rest.
The other big thing this week was figuring out a way to include CSS in plugins. It’s quite a tricky thing to think about. I have something that I think will work, at least for simple server side rendered sites. Still need to test it though. I also got the data conversion code working on test data. There is still some work to get the 10 years of linkblog JSON data converted to markdown, but the difficult part is done. The cool thing is I was able to use the ssg to do the conversion, by treating the JSON files as templates and tweaking the rendering process slightly to render markdown files from an EJS template. It’s really quite flexible.
Kanye Social Media
This week rapper Kanye West decided to get in on the Elon-Twitter social media action, declaring he’s going to buy Parler, and make it into an uncancelable platform. When I read the news I was still very sleepy and read the article title as Kenya, which caused me some puzzlement, and amusement. I then realised where Kanye got his latest short name from. I had previously been associating Ye with a street way of saying Jesus. Human cognition mixed with media is the funniest sometimes.
Based on numbers of users, which apparently is in the region of 50 000 vs some amount of millions, it’s going to be a bit of an uphill struggle. In any case, I wish him the best, it’s good to have competition in the space and could lead to some great stories and music, to go with the very science / space exploration heavy Elon venture. Wouldn’t it be awesome if all these networks were interoperable?
I feel like I’ve made several big steps this week in terms of understanding the monetary system. I’d much rather be writing code and building websites, but it seems inevitable that I’ll need to understand this stuff better. I find it incredibly boring and it literally puts me to sleep. Darn it, money should be simple.
One thing which seems obvious once you’ve thought about it, when you are about to learn about money and markets and macro economics, don’t eat too much food, because the food coma that will start 30 mins after you start, combined with all the incessant talk about things going up, and other things going down, and yet even more other things going up or down, results in sleepy town. Also coffee about an hour in, but not too much.
The last few episodes of Eurodollar University Podcast have been pretty darn good. He was also a guest on the What Bitcoin Did Podcast. The notion that the world international financial system is essentially a mostly separate rather shadowy money system is very odd to discover, and there’s lots of interesting history around it, but the thing that I’m thinking about is around privacy because that’s a conversation people are having a lot in the Bitcoin / crypto communities at the minute.
As an individual privacy is a concern to me because there are people out there that can target you if your financial details are out in the open. However it’s clear that total privacy isn’t the solution. Just look at how difficult it is for people like Jeff Snider to figure out what’s really going on with the world financial system. He describes it as a black hole, there is no information, or very little available, but similar to in astro-physics, you can infer what is going on by the visible effects of the black hole on other entities. It’s crazy that we have to do that, even if it’s very interesting to learn how Jeff does it.
One issue with total privacy is that governments can use it too, so there is a big incentive for them to make everything seem really dangerous so they can keep things private. And there are a lot of dodgy things going on between nations.
It would be terrible if after all this redesigning the money system with Bitcoin, we ended up with the same money system we have now (or worse). That’s sort of what has happened in Cable TV / Streaming industry, could it be the same with with banking?
Don’t disappear shells
There’s been a lot of talk about iOS and how it relates to MacOS the past few years. iPad’s and iPhone’s are great, but I can’t help but notice there’s a trend to get rid of command line shells on some operating systems. Shells should be baked in as default in all OSs, or we will end up with different classes of users or even developers. It might be a good idea to get governments to mandate that shells be always accessible on all OSs.
Related: Don’t disappear URLs! That’s been a thing too in some browsers. They also did it with RSS feeds. These things which are central to internet infrastructure get slowly disappeared over long periods of time. It keeps happening. We should protect the things that make the web free and open.
Elon posted a cartoon about generational trauma. It paints a sort of accurate picture. It’s funny, but it’s also quite sad, because it reflects an aspect to society that’s very difficult.
What the picture misses is that it’s a colossal over simplification. In reality there are an almost infinite amount of variations of this dynamic. Sone people have outsourced the shield holding, they’ve turned people into shields, things are being automated excessively, which perhaps is the reason some people are shouting in the first place, and people are ganging up (on both sides of the shield), and it just gets so twisted and horrible I don’t want to talk about it anymore. But it’s a useful picture to understand something is wrong.
I leave you with a link to a Resident Advisor mix I’ve been enjoying this week from Francois K. It’s got a lot of variety, lengthy and quite chilled, some dub, drum and bass and spacey explorations with some excellent guitar based detours, great music to write code to, or just a relaxing stroll in the park or a wander around unknown parts of your local neighbourhood.
Microsoft’s Surface Event, Pixel 7 and Pixel Watch Reviews and Meta Connect 2022 - This was from the beguiling of the week, so I can’t remember anything about it, I find smart watch stuff really boring so it’s most likely the Meta Connect that was interesting because though I find AR/VR/Metaverse stuff boring, it’s sometimes interesting listening to people talking about it https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vdmVyZ2VjYXN0/episode/MzMwNzAxYjYtNTIxZS0xMWVjLWJjOTMtMWZjNjAxYzViZWRk?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahcKEwjA9J3l6vL6AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ
Bitcoin, the critical money layer with Nik Bhatia Ep#567 - More excellent money stuff content https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/bitcoin-the-critical-money-layer
J***S C****T Angela Why Are You Such A F*****G Potty Mouth? (No Stupid Questions Podcast) - All about cursing and profanity, wow Stephen really gets into the episode theme, nice to know they are normal people that swear despite their rather polished public personas, sounds like they had fun making this episode https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5zaW1wbGVjYXN0LmNvbS9kZmhfdmVyVg/episode/Yjc1ZThjZGQtNGU0MC00NTUzLWFkMmEtMGVjZjljZGUyMmUz?sa=X&ved=0CAQQ8qgGahcKEwjA9J3l6vL6AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQBQ
Kate Darling: Social Robots, Ethics, Privacy and the Future of MIT Ep#329 (Lex Fridman Podcast) - Everything is a blur at the minute, I didn’t take notes, but I enjoyed listening to this, lots of interesting things to think about for our robot infused future https://lexfridman.com/kate-darling-2
Kanye to Elon: Hold my beer Mon 10/17 (Techmeme Ride Home) - The Elon Twitter situation gets a whole lot more interesting, and Brian does some interesting back of the envelope numbers analysis of the current robot situation https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3RlY2htZW1lLXJpZGVob21l/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL0gyTDFQak1hSUZmSUhQN09aOHRRa2hEalJsUmZtUEswRUV4bEMzV1VVWjg?sa=X&ved=0CAgQuIEEahcKEwjA9J3l6vL6AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQCw
How the US Dollar Shortage is Driving Global Instability with Jeff Snider (What Bitcoin Did Podcast) - Jeff Snider is on a tear at the minute, this interview is classic, loads of eye opening money stuff https://www.whatbitcoindid.com/podcast/how-the-us-dollar-shortage-is-driving-global-instability
The Quantum Leap with Dmitri Maslov - He paints a picture of quantum computing being a sort of assembly to Newtonian computing, which is kind of mind blowing, but you can’t build websites with it, at least not directly https://softwareengineeringdaily.com/2022/10/17/the-quantum-leap-with-dmitri-maslov/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-quantum-leap-with-dmitri-maslov
Live from an Event Apart (Shop Talk Show Podcast) 2022 - Coyier sounds so different in this recording, perhaps because of a cough, that for the first 20 mins or so my brain kept thinking that Dave was talking to the compare that welcomed them onto the stage, very disorientating, but it was a pretty good show none the less https://shoptalkshow.com/537
Docusaurus 2 is a pretty big deal (JS Party Podcast) - Ssg generators rock! I’m curious how their plugin system works https://changelog.com/jsparty/247
The History of Fake Towns (Stuff You Should Know Podcast) - Good to know if only to understand and get used to the fact that very big things can be faked, and have been faked in the past, all over the world https://omny.fm/shows/stuff-you-should-know-1/the-history-of-fake-towns
Jeff Booth on Finding Signal in a Noisy World (We Study Billionaires - Bitcoin Podcast) - There was a lot of good stuff in this episode, but I didn’t take any notes, worth listening to though https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3RoZS1pbnZlc3RvcnMtcG9kY2FzdA/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL203dDNISTBTcUpvb2oxbFB5RWxyRzBrVDVDRFE0Y2w1MmZIOUpBLWgxdmc?sa=X&ved=0CAYQkfYCahcKEwjA9J3l6vL6AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQFA
Arieh Bourkoff - Media’s Hottest Deal Maker on How to Negotiate, Rejecting Constraints, Mastering the Calendar to Create More Time Ep#629 (Tim Ferris Podcast) - Some great insight from a very successful, likely workaholic, with a lot of business experience, some funny anecdotes https://tim.blog/2022/10/19/aryeh-bourkoff/
The Yen isn’t Japan’s Problem, it’s everyone’s problem. Because this isn’t the FED (Eurodollar University Podcast) - Great example of how people infer what is going on in the banking system, it’s like analysing black holes! https://share.transistor.fm/s/0b187d9d
The Big Tech Sandwich - Revisiting an old blog post I wrote about culture https://blog.markjgsmith.com/2022/06/10/the-big-tech-sandwich.html
Ask HN: Is it still possible to live in a terminal? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33205970
Musk says SpaceX cannot keep funding Ukraine Starlink https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-63266142
Computer errors from outerspace https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20221011-how-space-weather-causes-computer-errors
E-waste: Five billion phones to be thrown away in 2022 https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63245150
Vala Afshar on Twitter: AI powered robots may not like to be touched on the nose
Vala Afshar on Twitter: "The robot wakes up and takes a deep breath - imagine this technology in 10 years
Kanye West is buying ‘free speech platform’ Parler https://www.theverge.com/2022/10/17/23408443/kanye-west-ye-parler-free-speech-social-media-platform
Army of robots https://www.wsj.com/articles/meet-the-army-of-robots-coming-to-fill-in-for-scarce-workers-11665806451?mod=djemalertNEWS
Kill Bill - Open source subscription and payments service https://github.com/killbill/killbill
Why We're Breaking Up with CSS-in-JS https://dev.to/srmagura/why-were-breaking-up-wiht-css-in-js-4g9b
Chrome 108+ has experimental support for CSS Toggles
11ty/webc: Single File Web Components https://github.com/11ty/webc
whyframe - develop components in iframes for isolation
Trends and Movements (isms) in Web Design You Should Know https://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/trends-and-movements-in-web-design-you-should-know--cms-41083
That’s all from me…
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