Devon Holidays and political sackings and death – November 2023

A lovely weekend break in Devon leaves me sick for the rest of the month, but I made a Pistol Whip level and both the home secretary and Open AI boss got fired.

One of them took over the company by the end of the weekend.

The other one will probably do it next year.


Pictures from a weekend in Devon

Went to a friends house-warming party in Devon. I met this horse and these sheep and this pirate and my friend’s cat remains regal and disdainful and floofy.

Great time talking and drinking at the party all weekend too. Good friends and a few new people and their home is huge and beautiful in a way that would be tricky to find in London.

Very very far though. Gotta have spent like 12 hours sat in cars or trains. I’m knackered.

And I’ve been coughing ever since.

Negative covid test at least, but I never feel confident I’ve done them right. Anyway. Isolating is normal for me.

Home Repair

Success! I have changed the light in the kitchen, and now it can go purple if I want.

Just as importantly, I have wired up the extractor fan that the estate office left me with when they changed the windows but refused to work on my electrics.

I believe the house is no more likely to burn down from bad wiring than it was yesterday!

Pistol Whip Level

Stayed up till 5am one night playing with the Pistol Whip level-editor, Pistol Mix.

Some of it is laborious but it’s pretty easy to set up a decent level.

It’s all about the choice of tune to use I reckon and I chose a banger, of course.

There’s a video of me playing the level.

That game gets closer to the feeling of being in an action movie than any of the other VR shooters because of the way it’s all synced to the music, making it more of a choreographed dance game really.

Careful chirography and matching music is how they get those movies looking so cool too.

You can play my level in the Remix section of the game if you have a VR headset and have the game on Quest/Steam. Look for my yellow sunset silhouette image.

Home Secretary Fired

The home secretary seemed determined to hype up a peace march as being disrespectful to a peace-remembrance day.

So much so that she’d convinced violent nationalists that they need to defend the cenotaph.

From a march for peace, happening the previous day on the other side of the river.

Every time she opens her mouth it’s to cause more division and hype up more violence on the streets while she’s accusing the peacemakers of being hateful.


At least it forced him to sack her in the end.

Sam Kriss’s blog captured the pointlessness and horror of it all.

I also often think of the people who died waiting just for the poetry of a ceasefire to be at 11:11:11.

The people who died in the war at 10:10:10.

The ones who are dying today, and tomorrow.

Open AI

There was quite a weekend for OpenAI as they sacked their boss. saying he’d been lying to the board.

Zvi had a good just-the-facts writeup

Sounds like the board didn’t have any particular new-capabilities terror, just a more general impression that Sam was going too fast and too commercial.

Interesting questions on whether is it possible to have non-capitalist group enterprise in a capitalist system.

The owners/controllers tried to push the group-enterprise in a non-commercial direction, and so the staff all upped and threatened to work for one of the biggest capitalists offering them the most money instead.

Sam ended up back in control, with the board fired.

Imagine being so inept that you try and fire someone but it blows back so hard you end up being fired yourself.

Turns out that the board do not have an off switch for this AI they are building then.

We knew the capital was in control really.

Kissinger Is Dead

All of Fedi seems to be pleased he’s dead and calling him a war-criminal who lived too long.

But the radio in the UK had some tory wanker on saying how he was a great friend who helped negotiate important peace talks and was a wise and important teacher and Blair was saying how generous and kind he was.

Barely have any idea who he was myself, but seems clear the radio is lying again.

And also that Blair and the tories are absolute wankers who love world-leading war-criminals.

Twitter Advertising

Everyone is complaining that advertisers are still on twitter so I write an open letter:

Dear Apple/IBM/Oracle,

I write to express my outrage!

When I was reading the troll website that is definitely still called Twitter because that is what it says in the SSL certificate, I saw adverts for your computer things!

Why are you giving money to the troll websites I am spending my time reading!?

You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I’ve a good mind to boycott your products even though I would definitely never boycott the troll website,

Please only advertise on products I don’t read.


After Elon’s outburst it seems that those complainers are getting their way. Advertisers are leaving in droves.

I’m all for telling advertisers to go fuck themselves, certainly.

The fact of most media being advertising-funded has always been a chilling force in the press.

Newspapers owned by capitalists can attract all the advertising they need from the capitalists that support their view, but subversive Marxist magazines don’t get those advertising dollars.

The only press which can compete in an advertiser-funded system are those that agree with advertiser’s views on the world: Corporate ownership, establishment politics, no guillotines for the rich, that sort of thing.

Trouble for Musk of course is that his company is capitalist, advertiser dependent, and filled to the brim with debt.

It does actually need it’s advertisers.

Advertiser-strike really is the thing which could bankrupt his company. Like it has done all the anti-capitalist press before.

He seems to think the world will be sad and judge Disney if Disney killed Twitter by withdrawing it’s advert-subsidy.

But I think I’d see nearly as much celebration of that death here as there was of Kissinger dying.

Even half of Twitter users would be glad, and everyone else wouldn’t give a toss at all.

Blockchain Hilarity

KyberSwap is a Decentralized Exchange, allowing crypto-users to buy and sell tokens even across different chains without involving the banks.

The smart-contract got exploited by a hacker for 50 million dollars.

The company suggested that maybe if he gave back 90% of it they’d let him off. They often do that.

He’s counter-offered with a message on-chain saying he’ll give the money back if he gets

* Complete executive control over Kyber (the company)

* Temporary full authority and ownership over the governance mechanism

* Etc

Says he’ll give all the staff a wage-double if they give him the company.

It sure does continue to be hilarious what you can do with a blockchain.


Wordcloud Tarot

Only two shows this month due to holiday and subsequent illness but I did do a tarot reading on Braverman’s sacking:

The government’s uneasy truce was broken when a hateful bondage queen tried to provoke the indolent hard right into a riot at a peace march on remembrance day.

This is too much for even the Tories, so there will have to be a change of tone, to something more temperate, but nothing too radical.


The Internet Con

Read Cory Doctorow’s “The Internet Con, how to seize the means of computation” in which he describes how changes to monopoly law helped tech get big and the ways big tech caused more changes to law to ratchet that up and up.

Copyrights protecting corporations not artists, getting governments to ban breaking digital locks means digital locks can protect any business model, corporations buying each other instead of competing with each other, network effects locking users in.

It would all be very eye-opening if I hadn’t also been reading his blog for the best part of 20 years in which it’s mostly already been detailed.

For a change there’s some actual suggested paths to improve things: Adversarial and legally enforced Interoperability and competitive compatibility.

Which he sounds optimistic about, but I can’t see lawmakers suddenly becoming sane and seeing the point of his arguments when they are paid so heavily not to understand them.

Great summary of the situation if you haven’t been reading him obsessively enough to already know most of it and if you have been reading that obsessively then you’ll want to anyway obviously.


Doctor Who 2023

Russell T Davies is back as show-runner and Tenant is back as lead actor, and Tate is back too.

It’s like a dream come true.

I thought it was Amazing.

RTD and Tenant and Tate are all so good at what they each do.

Sonic screwdrivers seem to have developed new powers, really it’s a sonic multi-tool by this point. Might as well call it his sonic phone.

Cute Monsters and modern themes with energy and pace and heart.

Two of ’em.

Tenant is so energetic and mad and confused and Tate is so indignant and haughty. They are brilliant.

The TARDIS is so shiny and big and white now.

Even bigger on the inside.

I was getting fed up with steam punk so it’s ace to have it back to the roundrells.

I like ’em ending with the line “we could end up anywhere in time and space.”

Coz that’s the core of the show there.

That’s why it can last 60 years.

I love Doctor Who I do. It’s so silly.

And of course in episode two they end up in a corridor in the middle of nowhere.

Stands to reason. Most places in time and space are corridors really when you think about it.

More detailed reviews in the links, and I expect the thread will be added to next week and onto the new Doctor’s run.


Space Exploration

* Mindscape, Building Cities on the Moon and Mars – Kelly & Zach Weinersmith

SMBC artist Zach and his wife Kelly have a book out on space-colonisation, so they done some podcasts and things. Here’s Mindscape cause Sean Carol always asks the right questions about space sex.

Media Lens

Times of war are where the flaws in our media become more apparent and yet more vigorous. Media Lens are excellent at pointing out the flaws in the lens we see the world through.

* Gaza – ‘A Graveyard For Children’ – Media Lens

” In describing the conflict, the BBC is content to use the pro-Israel propaganda construct ‘Israel-Hamas War’. – Israel’s murderous bombardment of Gaza was described by the BBC’s Jeremy Bowen as Israel ‘still pushing forward’. “

* ‘Are Hamas A Terror Group? Are They A Terror Group? Answer The Question!’ – Media Lens

” If the Luftwaffe was a terror group for its mass killing of civilians, how about Britain’s RAF that firebombed Dresden and Hamburg? How about the US Army Air Force that firebombed every Japanese city with a population over 50,000 and, of course, atomic bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

Has a ‘mainstream’ politician or journalist ever described these as ‘US nuclear terror attacks’?

Despite being, by Jones’s definition, the ultimate acts of ‘terror’, the incineration of 180,000 civilians in giant fireballs is not labelled terrorism for precisely the reason explained by Chomsky. “


* What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work? — Stephen Wolfram

Excellent write up from Stephen Wolfram, who takes us through a detailed description of how the modern AI systems are working.

Describing neural networks and token embedding and transformers and attention heads.

Very clear and detailed.

* AI Thinks Different – Sean Carol

Sean Carol’s solo podcast on the Large Language AIs.

* They don’t model the world.

* They don’t have feelings or motivations.

* They do not have intelligence, because intelligence is about that world model and motivations and planning.

But I think there probably is some model of a world inside and argued that a bit.

But he’s basically right about everything as usual.

These machines aren’t doing general-intelligence, and are not going to become conscious.

I’d add that they don’t need to be conscious in order to plan, and that once they are planning they have instrumental motivations: steps towards a plan.

And since they don’t have values, those instrumental motivations have no qualms built in.

Great podcast.

* AI and Trust – Bruce Schneier

Schneier wants the law to regulate AI models and even for government to develop a public model with more trust:

” You will want to trust it. It will use your mannerisms and cultural references. It will have a convincing voice, a confident tone, and an authoritative manner.

Its personality will be optimized to exactly what you like and respond to. It will act trustworthy, but it will not be trustworthy.

We won’t know how they are trained.

We won’t know their secret instructions.

We won’t know their biases, either accidental or deliberate. “


* Are YOU on the Right Team? – YouTube

Kurzgesagt reckons it’s real-life that has a filter-bubble and the problem with the internet isn’t being trapped in a filter-bubble but instead being exposed to the angry-making things from outside it.

* This TRANSPARENT ENGINE is Fascinating (How Engines Work) – Smarter Every Day 292 – YouTube

Smarter Every Day goes to look at a transparent engine and talk to the guy who made it about how four stroke internal combustion engines work.

* You can’t explain prisms without understanding springs | Optics puzzles part 3 – YouTube

Why does light slow down in a medium? Because of the secondary waves caused by the osculations of that medium induced by the light, which are smaller but of the same frequency but offset.

3-blue-1-brown is great. He’s so good at explaining and his animations are so clear and helpful.


That’s just the highlights this month, there’s more in my full public bookmarks from my link-bot on the fediverse or an RSS feed

Around the Fediverse

As the plastic corporate internet continues to become more oppressive, ad-ridden, surveilled and filled with disinformation there is one rebellious group of servers still fighting for the users and against capital ownership of the means of commination.

We’re taking back the media.



Mastodon is getting a new feature to gently suggest being friendly the first time you talk to someone, and that’s making some replyers hilariously angry, which is ironic because the feature is:

” Strangers offering unsolicited advice or derailing conversations should be familiar to all who use social media. In our new Mastodon for Android update, we’re testing a new feature aimed to curb these behaviours “


Points us at a guide to Mastodon:

” Unlike other guides out there that simply focus on the registration process, she goes the extra mile by providing tips on finding interesting people to follow and discovering fresh new content. “


A great video called “Mastodon Is Bigger Than A Twitter Replacement”, because ownership of the means of communication isn’t just about Twitter.


WeDistribute on some of the Mastodon Myths, and problems:

” Mastodon, we wrote this because we love you and care about you. People have been saying a lot of things, and we need to get the facts right. “

Open AI


Funny joke:

” How is the OpenAI board gonna fire Sam Altman just because he gave answers that sounded plausible but weren’t actually accurate? “

Art & Crafts

People are using Fedi to organise cooperatively-owned alternatives to endebted capital ownership of our work:


Has an aricle about a co-op owned Etsy alternative:

” I didn’t realize the extent to which Etsy had become toxic to sellers until starting interviews for this piece.

It’s clear that artisans are being drawn to this because an alternative is long overdue. “

* is helping musicians sell their work since BandCamp is turning to the dark side on being sold to an advertising company.

” now has a simple homepage to help you find artists and their releases. If you’re an artist, we’re ready for you to add and sell your music “


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