Monday, February 20, 2023

Today's Funny Stuff: rounding up the tweets and substacks

I still love this cartoon, from a year ago. 

Here's one more great comment about the Rouleau report:
In yesterday's other news - that Globe and Mail piece about China trying to interfere with the 2021 election - Alison flags something that has been completely forgotten: Moving on, I was today years old before I knew why computer glitches are called "bugs". And speaking of bugs: Meet "Meatball Ron" - yes, its a perfect nickname: And speaking of meatballs: I had never before thought of the ocean surface as a "boundary" but of course it is: Moving on, life's grand pageant continues: This crazy story produced some great memes: At the dog show: Moving on, I am enjoying reading Substacks more and more -- such great writing! 
Here's a Beccacore post from Rebecca Jennings - The Girl Internet and The Boy Internet:
 ...The Boy Internet is a mysterious, shadowy place where men go to talk about Bill Simmons and Colin Cowherd and Ryen Russillo and all these mens’ names who I unfortunately now know as a result of living with a boy. It is where they coalesce around podcast hosts whom they adore so deeply that it manifests as hatred and compete to see who can be the most disaffected leftist on their Letterboxd review of Goodfellas.
...The Girl Internet is where all of the important things happen. It is where culture is born, where social norms are litigated, aesthetics are christened and slang terms defined. It is where unfathomably powerful fandoms collide and whose explosions have ricocheting consequences for the rest of the world. 
The Girl Internet is where people talk about that New York Magazine article on Fleishman or that New York Magazine article on etiquette or that New York Magazine article on nepo babies. Again, the Girl Internet is not just for women, rather it is simply one framework with which I view the vast landscape of two subsets of internet culture that rarely, if ever, bump into each other, except for on Twitter during like, the Oscars or the Super Bowl... 
Here's a great article about Artificial Intelligence, on One Useful Thing by Ethan Mollick - The future, soon: what I learned from Bing's AI
... We are not ready for the future of Chatbots....People will absolutely be fooled by AIs into thinking they are talking to other people. They already fell for Bing’s illusion of sentience. 
... We are not ready for the future of Analytic Engines. I think every organization that has a substantial analysis or writing component to their work will need to figure out how to incorporate these new tools fast, because the competitive advantage gain is potentially enormous. If highly-skilled writers and analysts can save 30-80% of their time by using AI to assist with basic writing and analysis, what does that mean? How do we adopt these technologies into our work and lives? What happens when the web is flooded with convincing but wrong content from these tools? 
.... There is no instruction manual for the current crop of LLMs [Large Language Models]. You can only learn through trial-and-error. We got a glimpse of the future in the past few days, and the gap between ChatGPT (which is already causing waves in many industries) and Bing AI remains enormous.
I was not expecting things in AI to keep moving this fast, but now there is every indication they will continue to do so. I don't think anyone knows what this all means, but I think we should be ready for a very weird world. 
 In more AI news, over at Garbage Day, Ryan Broderick's post The Internet Broke It covers some more AI-sexuality angles too. 
...The speed at which people have imprinted on these tools and are using them both for as replacements for intimacy, but also to terrorize each other is developing at a speed that I’m not sure even the most bullish AI evangelists could have predicted. 
In his substack The Racket, Jonathan M Katz writes a great piece Standing Athwart History, Yelling "Trans"  It provides some perspective on why the presumeably-"liberal" New York Times and other "liberal" activists have been in such a noticeable Trans-panic - described very well here and here -- that they are now getting called out by GLAAD and by their contributors (and I, along with thousands of others, also signed that letter): 
 ... philosophies and social positions are always changing. Rebelling against monarchy made George Washington and Thomas Jefferson radicals in 1776. By 1791, though, their republic was well-established, and the radicals were people like those in the nearby French colony that would soon become Haiti who were fighting for the immediate abolition of slavery — a position Washington adamantly opposed and would quickly drive Jefferson into revanchism. 
How could men who risked their lives for liberty only a few decades later live in mortal fear of others’ liberation? The answer may have confounded them. But it is obvious if you think about it for even a moment (or visit Washington and Jefferson’s former slave plantations at Mount Vernon and Monticello). 
It’s a remarkably similar situation here. This persuasive, well-remunerated class of anti-trans campaigners — a group that also includes Jonathan Chait, Matt Yglesias, the execrable Jesse Singal and others — are trading on their erstwhile liberal bonafides to disguise their garden-variety conservatism on the “gender question.” How can I be a bigot when I fought for women’s rights? they seemingly ask. How dare you call me a transphobe when I supported same-sex marriage? “As a lesbian feminist …,” a Times letter writer from Queens opened, before showering praise on Paul for defending Rowling and having “the courage” to broach a topic she and the news organization as a whole cannot stop obsessing about. I love and support trans people! — as long as they know their place. 
What is happening is that, once again, a fundamental (yet ultimately unimportant) way in which society is organized is being contested on a large scale. Some fear that losing, or changing, the gender binary as they have always understood it will lead to general chaos; just as their intellectual forebearers clung jealously to monarchy or slavery in ages past, and as opponents of feminism and gay rights did more recently. Others perhaps fear that their hard-won rights will get lost in a larger renegotiation. Still more probably just want to deny their political (or Twitter) opponents any kind of victory. Most, just likely, simply like the way their lives are now and fear any kind of change at all. 
For them, it’s a time-honored tradition: One day you look in the mirror and see a revolutionary ready to mount the barricades to make a better world. The next, you see the ghostly face of William F. Buckley staring back at you.
The last word goes to The Onion:

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