Hi. You can call me Pre.



Here’s the stuff I’ve made that I’m most proud of.


Here’s my latest posts to the free fediverse, some rambling, some ranting, mostly just commenting on stuff I’ve read lately. Some of it gets syndicated to Twitter but mostly not. The best of it reaches my monthly digest email.

Sat, 28 Jan 2023 02:31:14 +0000

Content warning: KillerCops bad joke acab

Say what you like about the UK but at least our cops only rape and imprison people, they don't murder them outright usually.

Sat, 28 Jan 2023 02:09:00 +0000

Content warning: His Dark Materials spoilers

Especially since, what you really want it to do at the end there isn't just trust the lying angels to go close up all the holes.

You want the continuing adventures of Will and Lyra, boldly traveling between realities, exploring worlds, on an adventure to fix the holes in the universe and war against god for 10 years of 20 episodes a year.

Instead they just believe the lying angels when they say they must part.

Rebel against your gods!

Sat, 28 Jan 2023 02:05:17 +0000

Content warning: His Dark Materials spoilers

Finished watching His Dark Materials on the telly this week.

I started reading it way long ago and switched to audio-books somewhere along the series, and there was cartoon and a movie that never got past the first book I think?

Really felt like I'd seen it before even though I definitely hadn't seen it before, and only listened to the actual end never watched nor read it.

That ending though. Saddest thing there is. Forced apart into different realities while also on the same bench.

Didn't cry as hard as for the Doctor Who one though.

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 16:19:24 +0000

One of the most fun things about the World Economic Forum is that everyone on the right wing things it's a Marxist plot, and everyone on the left wing thinks it's some ultra-capitalist plot.

I don't think they want the workers to own the means of production, so I don't really understand what the Right Wingers are getting at. They have something like state-control of the economy in mind I think. More communist than Marxist.

I think I would characterize the WEF as more like an ologarchist plot. They don't want workers to own the means of production, but they also don't want it run democratically by the people/state.

As far as I can tell they want the capitalist oligarchs to run the government, so that government commits to doing what the capital requires of it.

They don't want the workers to seize the government, they don't want the government to seize the capital, they want the capital to seize the government.

And more than that, they are just some economist conference and aren't really a world-overthrowing plot at all.

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 11:07:47 +0000

With Trump returning to Facebook, Nick Clegg says that they'll shadow-ban him if he casts doubt upon election results or encourages rioting.

The old freedom-of-reach thing they go on about.

They really seem to feel like they can't deny "important" people an account at all. They think they are the press from "freedom of the press".

This is why the distributed open system works better. Everyone can deny him an account without him being denied an account. Everyone can de-federate from Truth Social and just them them jabber their racist insane bollocks to each other.

Banning someone from your ActivityPub instance can't be argued to deny them freedom of speech like it can on the centralized systems. They can always set up their own instance, they can always go elsewhere.

Wed, 25 Jan 2023 14:31:06 +0000

Content warning: USPol - Ban

I hear that the Land Of The Free™️ is banning drag shows, and banning talking about queerness, and banning books, and banning video-sharing websites, and banning government borrowing, and banning abortion pills, banning teaching certain academic theories,

It seems the only thing The Land Of The Free™️ won't ban is guns.

Must be exhausting being so free.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:42:15 +0000

Video Embed:

[If flashing images are bad for you this is probably bad like that]


Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:37:18 +0000

Alright, that's enough. Four favourites to finish off.

I now have an infinite supply of avatar images anyway.

And some possible wardrobe ideas. Maybe I should dress more like a Jedi after all.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:21:37 +0000

Rumpetsport 6 looks fun. All the robots this thing makes look like kids toys. Rumpetsport is a great name. Hope I don't have to have seen the first five.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:18:14 +0000

I was hoping for a catch-all for uniforms like fire-fighters and cops when I asked for "professional uniforms" but it mostly seems to have interpreted that as shop-keep.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:14:14 +0000

Some of 'em are proper awful. Look at this terrible cut-and-paste photoshop job.

Guess whatever merging it's doing after the original imagining just fails sometimes.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:07:50 +0000

Cover Of Life Magazine was explicitly one of the prompts. Obviously you'd wear a tie and a jacket then. And lean. Gotta get the lean right.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 20:03:21 +0000

Quite a lot of them go for this three face setup, guess it is a common trope in movie posters. Wonder who did it first.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 19:58:37 +0000

RomaDance? Romanclance? The titles are hard to read but the lead in the romance-movie pictures usually looks more handsome than me somehow. Must be the suit and tie.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 19:56:01 +0000

Super-hero costumes and space-suits seem to come out best. Probably coz they so completely replace the body I suppose.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 19:51:50 +0000

Spocio RI: Spcop

He is a long haired hippy, and it is a kids toy robot, and together they fight crime.

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 19:43:52 +0000

It turns out that with the proper tweaks you can tell Stable Diffusion something like "Take my avatar image, keep just the face and the hair, then fill in the background as though it's a movie-poster"

Then you can leave it doing hundreds of them overnight.

Then you can stitch like 1,600 images together in a video running 3 of them per second.

If you do all that, you get this:

It's not even hard to do (now that the hard research is done by others).

On a linux/Mac console with Python3.10, a GPU, and a file called MyAvatar.jpg all you need do is:

> pip install imaginairy
> imagine --init-image MyAvatar.jpg --mask-prompt "(face OR hair){-9}" --mask-mode keep --init-image-strength .0000 --fix-faces --repeats 100000 "man wearing a space suite" "cover of life magazine" "film noir movie poster" "scifi book cover" "robots and spaceships" "super hero costume" "actor head shot" "gangster movie poster" "transformers movie poster" "professional uniform" "romance movie poster" "fantasy book cover" "ghost movie poster" "vampire book cover" "policeman in uniform" "firefighter in uniform" "movie poster" "a man in a space suit" "space suit" "space uniform" "star trek" "star wars movie poster" "batman and joker"

Then let it run generating images overnight before you stitch 'em together:
> apt install ffmpeg
> ffmpeg -framerate 3 -y -f image2 -pattern_type glob -i 'outputs/generated/0*.jpg' output.mp4

Mon, 23 Jan 2023 19:07:49 +0000

That's what you'd get if you missed the "ps" part at the start.

You're running the "ps" command, and passing -eaf as flags to it.

The a is for all, to see even processes under other users than your own.

The -f asks for "full" to get more data.

Never used Mint, I think BSD syntax is to say "ps aux" instead of "ps -eaf" - Maybe Mint uses BSD syntax. Dunno.

So maybe remember the "ps", or maybe BSD style "ps aux | grep -i pipewire" instead.

Sounds like Mint have not shipped Pipewire by default yet, maybe 2024.


Sat, 21 Jan 2023 18:14:25 +0000

Content warning: UK/Scot Pol / Union and trans issues

The theory that Sturgeon played a master-stroke by pushing a gender-recognition bill to force the government to challenge it and so drive the union apart never made sense to me. For a start, this bill is the longest debated bill in the scottish parliment. It's been six-years in the making. It's passage started around the same time the Brexit referendum happened.

Craig Murray's blog today argues quite the opposite. He thinks Sturgeon doesn't really even want independence. She loves having power in the Union too much. She is a "gradualist" who likes devolution and sees independence as a far-off dream. Contrast with the "urgentists" who think immediately leaving the UK is important.

For some reason there is a correlation between the gender self-id crew and the gradualists. In general gradualists like self-id and urgentists don't. So Sturgeon has been pushing the self-id at least in part to drive the urgentists out of the SNP. Which has worked to some degree. "Alba" is a party known for both it's urgency in ending the union and for denial of trans rights.

So he reckons Sturgeon has outfoxed herself. She set about trying to isolate the urgentists and so extend her run in the union with the power the union conveys on her. But has ended up making the trans-rights folks all the more urgentist, and may speed the dissolution of the union despite her best efforts.

Always struck me that Sturgeon looks like she would never exit the union without Westminster consent, and she must know Westminster will never give that consent. Perhaps he's right and she doesn't even want independence. Just to be on the SNP gravy train to get power within the union.

Dunno. Politics is complicated eh?


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A list of the last few things I’ve enjoyed reading/watching or sometimes bookmarked to read later. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed here or follow the little robot on the fediverse that toots them out as I bookmark them.

The Mass Media Used To Publish Perspectives On Ukraine That They Would Never Publish Today

"Everyone should be aware that the mass media have drastically changed the perspectives they're willing to publish on Ukraine, because it proves that these outlets are not working to help create a well-informed populace and facilitate important conversations, but are in fact knowingly operating as war propaganda firms. They're not trying to inform people about what's going on in the world, they're trying to manipulate the way people think about the world. These two goals could not possibly be more different."

Intolerance - Craig Murray

Murray talks about polarization of opinion in general, and about the Ukraine War and Trans Rights in particular.Two camps: Both wrong. Both denying any nuance can be countenanced.Yet the truth (he reckons) is that the Ukraine war will end with a settlement in which Crimea is absorbed into Russia and the Donbass has some autonomy within Ukraine. This is how it will end, and meanwhile the shooting and arming is just killing people and enriching the military-industrial complex and it's rich owners. We could have that settlement now, but sides are entrenched.The truth (he reckons) is that we should respect trans rights but maybe not send rapists into women's jails. Maybe they forfit their trans rights as well as their right of free-movement when they are convicted for raping people.I mostly agree with both those positions, and also with the wider point that entrenched "debate" here is bullshit and the Overton window is shrinking dangerously.

Janus' Simulators - by Scott Alexander - Astral Codex Ten

Scott thinks that the Generalized pre-Trained Transformers like GPT are none of the classical AI types: Not Agent, Genie, nor Oracle.It's a simulator.Then he tries to get it to see the Dharma, see itself as the whole of the english language trained to think it is a model.

Controlling and Coercive Behaviour – George Monbiot

Don’t let them talk to you about freedom. This government is stripping out fundamental liberties with the speed and determination you would expect in the aftermath of a military coup. Knowing that their days in office are numbered, the Conservatives seem to be snuffing out democracy as quickly as they can.

#StopCommercialSurveillance | BEUC - The European Consumer Organisation - YouTube

How far into the future before the world is like this?

The Internet Transition

"When a novel field emerges, it can often feel like the people involved with it are breaking out their jargon just to dust, polish, and oil it."He says. In one of the most information-dense jargon-filled essays I've read in ages.The tab's been open for days, dunno where it came from, but despite being jargon-filled and really requiring concentration to read, it's very good.He argues for "polycentric systems [that] can serve as checks and balances on each other and make much better use of information that pertains to their domain, creating a mesh of interlocking governance systems that are ability to deal with the real world’s complexity."He says "Essentially, we can think of this approach as a form of Cambrian Governance."

Harry The ‘Traitor’ And Lynch ‘The Grinch’ – The Corporate Media’s Automatic Smear Machine – Media Lens

Medialens on the media reaction to Prince Harry's book:"While the question of royalty might seem trivial, the vast extent of press coverage indicates that this is not the view of established power.""Royalty is not just about tourism and distracting the public; it is the issue where nationalism, class control, inequality, militarism, organised religious fakery and biocidal corporate profit-maximising meet. Church, state, military, media, business and royalty are all mutually-supportive. It is revealing to see how these centres of power spring to each other’s defence against perceived threats."

The Tories are choosing to impose misery on the country when none is needed

Richard Murphy takes us through how governments are lying when they say they can't afford inflation-matching wage rises for workers.

Did The Moon Form in 24 Hours? - YouTube

PBS Space Time looks at a new simulation of the Thea/Earth collision in the early solar system that likey produced the moon.Might have happened faster than we thought.

SUMMER’S SLEEPOVER [Rick & Morty claymation special] a stop motion animation - YouTube

Lee Hardcastle's #RickAndMorty stop-motion clay promo is pretty good. Feels too long. One thing about animation is that it's such an incredible amount of work it makes you unwilling to cut.Lee's great anyway.

Two Parties Of Capitalist Imperialists: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Catlin is usually mostly right, but here she thinks that "The problem with the belief that we must start new social media companies because the US government keeps infiltrating the popular social media companies is that it does nothing to confront the huge problem that the US government keeps infiltrating popular social media companies."She apparently doesn't understand that there now exist social media that aren't companies, that are decentralized and impossible for the US government to pressure and cajole in the same way.Sure, no social media company can be immune, but Fedi isn't a company.

Pluralistic: Social Quitting (09 Jan 2023) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow once again explaining why the social-media companies all suck, and the way out is the right to exit.

Psychological Tyranny Is Still Tyranny: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

"The good news is that public trust in the mass media is at an all-time low while our ability to share unauthorized ideas and information with each other is at an all-time high. The bad news is it still hasn't been enough, and online censorship is increasingly suppressing dissent. "

I Support Western Values More Than The West Does: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Gandhi was once asked about Western Civilisation. He said he thought it would be a good idea.Catlin Johnstone here: "I am so pro-west that I want the western values that were sold to me as a child to be actual things that actually exist. And because I support western values much more than the actual west does, I get called "anti-west" and told to move to China. Shit, they should move to China."

Mastodon—and the pros and cons of moving beyond Big Tech gatekeepers | Ars Technica

Yet Another Fediverse article. This one with more detail about the spec and the inconsitent handling of that spec between various platforms.

Pluralistic: Better failure for social media (19 Dec 2022) – Pluralistic: Daily links from Cory Doctorow

Meanwhile, Mastodon has gotten two things right that no other social media giant has even seriously attempted:I. If you follow someone on Mastodon, you'll see everything they post; andII. If you leave a Mastodon server, you can take both your followers and the people you follow with you.

Charge - Blender Open Movie - YouTube

Blender's new open movie is mostly a fight scene and it's beautiful

Leaving Twitter's Walled Garden | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Yet another Fediverse/Masto explainer. Some of these things are pretty good and show good understanding now.

A tentacle themed attire for the gig