As discussed previously, on Fridays, I present my weekly social media roundups. Note that toots of articles generally include header images from the articles, which I don’t include here unless their creators happen to have released them for use under a free license, and I notice. Most have not, or I don’t notice. But I now add my commentary here, where I don’t feel restricted by message length.

diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week

Also, I don’t generally attach pictures to posts with quotations.

9:03 – Mon 04 December 2023

Image Not Shown: Clip art of a dragon crushing a person while a digital Tweedledee and Tweedledum tear out their hair

The real AI fight from Pluralistic

The fact that they’ve split into warring factions on its particulars is less important than their unified belief in the certain coming of the paperclip-maximizing apocalypse.

Hashtags: #AI

I’ve wanted to put together a full post along similar lines for a while. My entry point—when I eventually get around to writing it—starts with the idea that bureaucracies effectively serve as artificial intelligences, systems of rules that absolve participants of responsibility for decisions.

Once you see that idea, which I believe that I adapted from Sugata Mitra maybe, you can expose this weird conflict over the future of AI as dystopian storytelling. Specifically, good dystopia takes existing problems that certain people—who society doesn’t, as a rule, really care about, such as women or minorities—live with, and “repackages” the problem for a privileged audience.

In other words, the hand-wringing over language models comes down to wealthy people finally realizing that uncaring, unaccountable systems could cause a problem for them, instead of the rest of us.

12:07 – Mon 04 December 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Books are pleasant, but if by being over-studious we impair our health and spoil our good humor, two of the best things we have, let us give it over.

Michel de Montaigne

Hashtags: #Quotes

9:07 – Tue 05 December 2023

Image Not Shown: Mid-adult man with a prosthetic leg presenting to his colleagues in a meeting room

Disabled PhD holders in STEM get paid less from Futurity

Across all employment sectors, STEM PhD graduates with disabilities earned $10,580 less per year than their counterparts without disabilities, and in academia, they earn $14,360 less.

Hashtags: #Disability #Education #Jobs

Please, though, tell me again how we don’t need to care about diversity programs or audit existing programs, because we can trust people to make unbiased decisions and find the best talent…

12:03 – Tue 05 December 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Idleness is a great enemy to mankind. There is no friend like energy, for, if you cultivate that, it will never fail.

Bhartrihari

Hashtags: #Quotes

9:01 – Wed 06 December 2023

Image Not Shown: A view through a vehicle hatchback showing bedding

It Takes Strength to Survive Poverty — and a Safety Net to Escape It from OtherWords

Lawmakers and middle-class voters need to understand that poor people work as hard as humanly possible.

Hashtags: #Poverty #WIC #SNAP

I feel like this piece speaks for itself…

12:01 – Wed 06 December 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Contentment consists not in heaping more fuel, but in taking away some fire.

Thomas Fuller

Hashtags: #Quotes

9:06 – Thu 07 December 2023

Image Not Shown: The aftermath of U.S. bombs in Neak Luong, Cambodia, on Aug. 7, 1973

Henry Kissinger’s bombing campaign likely killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians − and set path for the ravages of the Khmer Rouge from the Conversation

The cluster bombs dropped on Cambodia under Kissinger’s watch continue to destroy the lives of any man, woman or child who happens across them.

Hashtags: #Cambodia #Vietnam #Kissinger

I don’t love the cheering for anybody’s death that we often see on the Internet, but I do have to admit that the world certainly feels safer without Henry Kissinger in it…

12:06 – Thu 07 December 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

Every bird has its decoy, and every man is led and misled in his own peculiar way.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Hashtags: #Quotes

9:04 – Fri 08 December 2023

Image Not Shown: This beautiful mokha art from Eastern Nepal's Sunsari District will be taken down soon due to road expansion

As Nepali villages modernize, mokha art is on the verge of disappearing from Global Voices

Layers of clay are applied to the walls, forming various geometric and floral patterns, including depictions of birds such as peacocks and parrots.

Hashtags: #Nepal #Mokha

Not a critical story, but local forms of art almost never fail to strike my fancy.

12:02 – Fri 08 December 2023

Quoted on Mastodon

We have more faith in a well-written romance while we are reading it than in common history. The vividness of the representations in the one case more than counterbalances the mere knowledge of the truth of facts in the other.

William Hazlitt

Hashtags: #Quotes

Bonus

Because it accidentally became a tradition early on in the life of the blog, I drop any additional articles that didn’t fit into the one-article-per-day week, but too weird or important to not mention, here.

Content Warning: US Politics

Image Not Shown: A smug and worthless former president speaks before the Heritage Foundation

The Heritage Foundation is looking for fascism’s new foot soldiers. It might not go well from Daily Kos

Heritage is looking for people like themselves, conservative loyalists who can keep insisting that Conservatism Is The Way no matter how many real-world disasters they leave in their wake. The ideal conservative administration would be full of Larry Kudlows, top to bottom. Not even the arch-conservative but jail-averse Bill Barr could pass muster with this crowd now.

I feel like I point this out often, but it bears repeating: How little faith do you have in your own power, how weak and impotent do you need to feel, to put time into a plan like this that—at its best—can only ever prevent people from pointing out your inevitable mistakes? Surely, if they thought that they had any kind of right on their side or any ability to fight, they could withstand criticism and rules. But they don’t have either.

Image Not Shown: A field of connected glass-like bubbles, underneath the acronym NGI

Looking at NLnet’s Latest Grant Round from We Distribute

Overall, there are a lot of interesting projects that got funded this round. There’s a mix of supporting and scaling existing projects, as well as funding new ideas.

I find “minor” reporting like this—little more than a list of grant awards—because it often highlights projects that you or I might want to take a closer look at. For example, Commune looks fascinating.

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Credits: Header image is Circular diagrams showing the division of the day and of the week from a manuscript drafted during the Carolingian Dynasty.