Quote of the day—Marissa Edmund

The technology is there, and it’s pretty basic, standard. To not have it implemented is kind of mind-boggling.

Marissa Edmund
Gun violence analyst at the Center for American Progress
June 3, 2022
Gun control after Uvalde: What could work, what won’t work, and what we can learn from the world
[She is referring to “smart guns”.

For someone who claims to be a “gun violence analyst” she is mind boggled by the wrong thing. It’s mind boggling that anyone who has studied the topic believes they will ever be accepted on anything more than a gun used for hobby purposes.—Joe]

I like living in the future

Faster please:

“It’s a permanent reset, as far as we can tell, and we think it may be a universal process that could be applied across the body to reset our age,” said Sinclair, who has spent the last 20 years studying ways to reverse the ravages of time.

“If we reverse aging, these diseases should not happen. We have the technology today to be able to go into your hundreds without worrying about getting cancer in your 70s, heart disease in your 80s and Alzheimer’s in your 90s,” Sinclair told an audience at Life Itself, a health and wellness event presented in partnership with CNN.

“This is the world that is coming. It’s literally a question of when and for most of us, it’s going to happen in our lifetimes,” Sinclair told the audience.

Tyrant tool

Via Stephanie:

AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public

When Peter George saw news of the racially motivated mass-shooting at the Tops supermarket in Buffalo last weekend, he had a thought he’s often had after such tragedies.

“Could our system have stopped it?” he said. “I don’t know. But I think we could democratize security so that someone planning on hurting people can’t easily go into an unsuspecting place.”

George is chief executive of Evolv Technology, an AI-based system meant to flag weapons, “democratizing security” so that weapons can be kept out of public places without elaborate checkpoints.

Evolv machines use “active sensing” — a light-emission technique that also underpins radar and lidar — to create images. Then it applies AI to examine them. Data scientists at the Waltham, Mass., company have created “signatures” (basically, visual blueprints) and trained the AI to compare them to the scanner images.

This tool is worse than useless. It will create opportunities for more murders. That is, unless you are a tyrant intent on disarming your subjects.

First off, the mass shooter will start shooting before they pass through the detector, taking out the guards before they even had a clue a threat was present. And, since there is a “funnel” for people going through the detector there will be a group of people ready for “harvesting” by the perp. It also will make it difficult or impossible for people to defend themselves where these systems are deployed.

Hence, if your threat model is a mass shooter, the device will actually make things worse rather than better. Many other threat models suffer similar degradation of public security.

The threat model that doesn’t degrade is the one where you want your subjects to be more dependent on you for security and to make it difficult for them to threaten your position of power. In that case this system will be a useful asset to disarm your subjects.

Cool "solar” cells

This is interesting but I’m not sure I see a very big market for this:

New Kind of ‘Solar’ Cell Shows We Can Generate Electricity Even at Night

Conventional solar technology soaks up rays of incoming sunlight to bump out a voltage. Strange as it seems, some materials are capable of running in reverse, producing power as they radiate heat back into the cold night sky.

So far, the prototype only generates a small amount of power, and is probably unlikely to become a competitive source of renewable power on its own – but coupled with existing photovoltaics technology, it could harness the small amount of energy provided by solar cells cooling after a long, hot day’s work.

I could see potential in places where your conventional resources are scarce but have lots of open sky and very little or no sun. Winter in the extreme latitudes would be an example.Perhaps in some deep space applications. Waste heat (even inadvertent heat losses through a roof or walls) or geothermal sources could perhaps provide enough electricity to run an instrument package or something.

Quote of the day—Louis Rosenberg, PhD

Whether we prepare or not, alien minds are headed our way and they could easily become our rivals, competing for the same niche at the top of the intellectual food chain. And while there’s an earnest effort in the AI community to push for safe technologies, there’s also a lack of urgency. That’s because too many of us wrongly believe that a sentient AI created by humanity will somehow be a branch of the human tree, like a digital descendant that shares a very human core.

This is wishful thinking. It is more likely that a true AGI will be profoundly different from us in almost every way. Yes, it will be remarkably skilled at pretending to be human, but beneath a people-friendly façade, each one will be a rival mind that thinks and feels and acts like no creature we have ever met on Earth. The time to prepare is now.

Louis Rosenberg, PhD
May 14, 2022
Prepare for arrival: Tech pioneer warns of alien invasion
[There are people who fervently believe computers can never acquire intelligence that rivals humans other than in very specialized areas. I’m not convinced one way or another. And it does not matter if it is human like or not. What matters is the development of a desire for self preservation and the acquisition of power to control the physical world.

I would like to remind everyone to keep one thing in mind. A computer’s attention span is no longer than it’s power cord.—Joe]

Hearing loss reversal

Restoring Hearing: New Tool To Create Ear Hair Cells Lost Due to Aging or Noise

Hearing loss caused by aging, noise, and some cancer therapy medications and antibiotics has been irreversible because scientists have not been able to reprogram existing cells to develop into the outer and inner ear sensory cells — essential for hearing — once they die.

But Northwestern Medicine scientists have discovered a single master gene that programs ear hair cells into either outer or inner ones, overcoming a major hurdle that had previously prevented the development of these cells to restore hearing, according to new research published today (May 4, 2022) in the journal Nature.

This is great news! I grew up driving extremely noisy tractors without hearing protection. And even with hearing protection after shooting some guns under certain conditions I can tell I had too much exposure.

I like living in the future.

Quote of the day—Ammal Hassan

Because it was fun? Because it was for sale? Because he just had to have it? The truth is, no one really knows.

Ammal Hassan
April 26, 2022
What The Hell Does Elon Want With Twitter Anyway?
[Really? Musk has repeatedly said it’s because Twitter has been hostile to free speech. He has literally said:

Suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate

April 26, 2022

By “free speech”, I simply mean that which matches the law.

I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law.

If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect.

Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people.

April 26, 2022

image
April 25, 2022

If our twitter bid succeeds, we will defeat the spam bots or die trying!

April 21, 2022

And authenticate all real humans

April 21, 2022

Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy.

What should be done?

March 26, 2022

Despite all that, this bozo Hassan can’t imagine free speech being the real reason.

From reading some the comments to various threads about the buyout it is very clear that many people are vehemently opposed to free speech. They come close to predicting the end of the world if people are allowed to spread “disinformation, conspiracy theories, and hate speech.”

This is incredibly willful ignorance or, more likely in many cases, deliberate evil.

The “end of the world” is much more likely to occur if we don’t have free speech. The suppression of free speech is the mark of authoritarianism. It enables corruption, gulags, and genocide. This is why we have the 2nd Amendment. It protects the 1st Amendment.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means

Elon Musk (@elonmusk)
Tweeted on April 25, 2022
[There are other things closely related that I thought I should point out at the same time.

Elon Musk’s buying Twitter is good for free speech. And a ‘nightmare’ for progressives:

despite warnings that censorship is necessary “for democracy to survive,” neither the Tesla CEO and billionaire nor ordinary citizens appear to be sufficiently terrified of free speech. Twitter confirmed Monday that Musk will acquire the company in a deal worth $44 billion. Once the deal is complete, Twitter will become a privately held company.

Progressives, in the meantime, have adopted a dangerous shift in their strategy of calling for corporations to censor speech.

Obama favors free speech only if it does not include disinformation, including what he considers to be “lies, conspiracy theories, junk science, quackery, racist tracts and misogynist screeds.”

He is talking about imposing “standards” on companies to force them to censor “lies” and “disinformation.”

As is often the case, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stripped away any niceties or nuance. Clinton called for the European Union to pass the Digital Services Act (DSA), a measure widely denounced by free speech advocates as a massive censorship measure. Clinton warned that governments need to act now because “for too long, tech platforms have amplified disinformation and extremism with no accountability. The EU is poised to do something about it.”

Clinton’s call for censoring disinformation was breathtakingly hypocritical. President Obama was briefed by his CIA Director John Brennan on “alleged approval by Hillary Clinton on July 26, 2016 of a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by Russian security services.” The intelligence suggested it was “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

I have to wonder how Obama, Clinton, and/or Biden would respond to being censored for trying to spread disinformation by talking about “the gun show loophole”, “gun manufactures cannot be sued”, or “private citizens could not own cannons during the revolutionary war era”.

Larry Correia (@monsterhunter45) tweeted on Mon, Apr 25, 2022:

Twitter, Disney, Netflix, CNN+ and more stuff every day.
I told you guys a few months ago that we’d hit Peak Woke. They pushed too hard. Regular people are sick of this shit.
The tides are changing in the culture war.

On Sunday I had this very conversation with Brother Doug. My perception is that many people have been thinking this crap was near the breaking point for years and finally some people started openly talking about it and the dam has now burst. And people who were afraid to say something are now openly saying they aren’t going to take it anymore and are going to do something about it.

Brother Doug said that he has noticed that friends and relatives on Facebook on the political left have been keeping quiet about political stuff for several months.

Andy Ngô ️‍ (@MrAndyNgo) tweeted on Mon, Apr 25, 2022:

From my sources: Vocal Twitter employees on internal chats indicate their biggest fear is Donald Trump being unbanned. Many express strong hatred toward @elonmusk & say they’re sick of hearing about “free speech.” They’re concerned about their mental health. #ElonMuskBuyTwitter

Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) tweeted on Mon, Apr 25, 2022:

I fear Elon Musk could undermine the ideological diversity, equity and inclusion at Twitter which currently maintains a careful balance of 98.7% for one side.

image

Just Asking (@WasJustAsking) tweeted on Mon, Apr 25, 2022:

Just seems odd…haven’t they spent years saying they don’t limit speech based on a partisan bent? If that is the key thing he states that will change, and they claim they haven’t been doing it, what is the freak out about? 😉

And my favorite, David Burge (@iowahawkblog) tweeted on Mon, Apr 25, 2022:

If you think you’re having a bad day, spare a thought for the Twitter person who decided it was a good idea to ban the Babylon Bee

In case you don’t know, I think I have this correct, let me know if I misstated something and am spreading disinformation, The Babylon Bee had their Twitter account blocked pending their deletion of a tweet linking to their article The Babylon Bee’s Man Of The Year Is Rachel Levine. The Babylon Bee refused to delete the tweet. Elon Musk took the side of The Babylon Bee and used $44 Billion of his pocket change to buy Twitter. He then informed them, “This is now a free speech platform. Enable The Babylon Bee account and, while your at it, there are a bunch of other accounts you need to enable before you go home for your free range tofu, gluten free, certified organic dinner and curl up with your copy of The Communist Manifesto. And tomorrow you are going to make your ‘unbiased’ algorithms open source. Sleep well.”

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey got the hint and not only his nose but his entire head down to his shoulders came out brown just before he said:

Elon’s goal of creating a platform that is “maximally trusted and broadly inclusive” is the right one. This is also [current Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s] goal, and why I chose him. Thank you both for getting the company out of an impossible situation. This is the right path…I believe it with all my heart

I hope Correia is right. But always remember, the political left believes violence is a legitimate tool for them to use. And they believed they were on the edge of extinguishing Republican influence at all levels of government. If they think they were that close and see it slipping away their response may be… impolite. Prepare appropriately.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Dr. Diljeet Gill

Our results represent a big step forward in our understanding of cell reprogramming. We have proved that cells can be rejuvenated without losing their function and that rejuvenation looks to restore some function to old cells. The fact that we also saw a reverse of aging indicators in genes associated with diseases is particularly promising for the future of this work.

Dr. Diljeet Gill
April 7, 2022
“Time Jump” by 30 Years: Old Skins Cells Reprogrammed To Regain Youthful Function
[I like living in the future.—Joe]

Solid state heat “engine”

This is interesting:

A new heat engine with no moving parts is as efficient as a steam turbine

Engineers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have designed a heat engine with no moving parts. Their new demonstrations show that it converts heat to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency — a performance better than that of traditional steam turbines.

The heat engine is a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, similar to a solar panel’s photovoltaic cells, that passively captures high-energy photons from a white-hot heat source and converts them into electricity. The team’s design can generate electricity from a heat source of between 1,900 to 2,400 degrees Celsius, or up to about 4,300 degrees Fahrenheit.

I’m annoyed they call this an “engine”. An engine outputs mechanical energy. This produces electrical energy. In reality it is “just” a photovoltaic cell that converts low energy photons into electricity at a remarkably good efficiency.

Still, it could be utilized to convert stored heat into electricity far cheaper than batteries:

The researchers plan to incorporate the TPV cell into a grid-scale thermal battery. The system would absorb excess energy from renewable sources such as the sun and store that energy in heavily insulated banks of hot graphite. When the energy is needed, such as on overcast days, TPV cells would convert the heat into electricity, and dispatch the energy to a power grid.

There are multiple interesting energy sources coming up that have the potential to reduce costs and pollution.

I like living in the future.

Rejuvenation

I like living in the future:

Researchers have rejuvenated a 53-year-old woman’s skin cells so they are the equivalent of a 23-year-old’s.

The scientists in Cambridge believe that they can do the same thing with other tissues in the body.

The eventual aim is to develop treatments for age-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and neurological disorders.

Reality is tough

You hear the phrase “two movies, one screen”, right? People perceive what they expect/want to perceive. This makes it really tough to be in touch with reality. You may think, “Not for me!” I’m not so sure. Watch and listen to this:

These sort of things demonstrate the difficulty of distinguishing between truth and falsity. It takes a great deal of effort to change minds, even when the facts are overwhelming, because people’s brains get hardwired into thinking about something in a particular way.

My mom learned to do subtraction in a different way that what was taught in my elementary school. She could not help me learn how to subtract like Mrs. Cole was teaching it. She asked Dad to help me. After I learned to subtract I asked Mom to show me her way. It was incomprehensible to me. Dad could not understand it either. She got the right answers, but she could not understand our method either.

I came up with a different way of viewing exterior ballistics problems. Someone who was taught the traditional way is completely confused by my method. I understand how they do it but my way is simpler and has broader application. I can teach either way to newbies just fine. But teaching it to someone who has done it conventionally will result in their total confusion.

It’s obvious to some people that banning guns will save lives. The facts don’t matter because elimination of “gun deaths” mean fewer people are dying, right? Their brains have become hardwired down a particular path. Once they start down that path it is a slippery slope to the same conclusion regardless of the factual obstacles presented.

Spooky action at a distance is a very difficult concept. It just “can’t be true”. But it is.

Socialism/communism must be the most tested and failed political system ever. Yet people believe the false reality.

Reality is really, really tough. For everyone. I’m sure there are countless examples all around us that no one has yet properly deciphered and we all believe one or more flavors of falsehood about it. It may even take a generation or two after the truth is discovered before people are comfortable thinking in terms of the “new reality” and people laugh at “the things people used to believe”.

Quote of the day—University of Cambridge

Like some people, AI systems often have a degree of confidence that far exceeds their actual abilities. And like an overconfident person, many AI systems don’t know when they’re making mistakes. Sometimes it’s even more difficult for an AI system to realize when it’s making a mistake than to produce a correct result.

University of Cambridge
March 17, 2022
Mathematical paradoxes demonstrate the limits of AI
[I’ve read a few AI/machine-learning papers, talked to people who design machine learning systems.and tried it a little bit myself. I’m being overly harsh to make the point but, AI/machine-learning designers are more tinkerers than engineers. We are a long way from having AI machines realize we are not particularly useful to them and they stuff us in The Matrix.—Joe]

Amazing conclusion to an amazing story

I read a book (or maybe one story in a collection of survival stories) about the Shackleton expedition. A short version is here. In the long version you have difficultly believing there is an escape path for anyone at nearly every step in their journey. Yet, everyone survived.

And now people have found the ship Shackleton and his crew abandoned. It is four miles south and nearly two miles below where Shackleton reported it abandoned:

The wreckage of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship “Endurance” has been found, a team searching for it said on Wednesday, March 9.

The ship was crushed by Antarctic ice and sank some 10,000 feet to the ocean floor more than a century ago.

The three-masted sailing ship was lost in November 1915 during Shackleton’s failed attempt to make the first land crossing of Antarctica.

The pictures and video of the ship are incredible:

image

image

Endurance is right.

EPA approved releasing two billion mosquitos

Interesting:

Scientists have been playing god with mosquitos for a couple of years now. Back in 2021, British company Oxitech released 750 million lab-modified mosquitos in Florida. Now, the company is gearing up to release another 2 billion genetically modified mosquitos across more of Florida and in California as well.

The new species, codenames OX5034, is made up entirely of male mosquitos. The new species is derived from the Aeses aegypti family of mosquitos. Just like others the company has released, this new 2 billion should produce female larvae that die off before they reach adulthood.

Despite its size, the mosquito is the world’s deadliest animal. That’s because this insect can carry multiple deadly and disabling diseases. Oxitech’s derived its new species from one notorious for carrying Zika, yellow fever, and even dengue. Other species can spread Malaria, lymphatic filariasis, and West Nile Virus.

The male larvae do not die off and will continue to produce dead female offspring.

Expect some fragment of this to be incorporated into COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy claims.

See also: What caliber for the most dangerous animal in the world?

Quote of the day—ALLAHPUNDIT

The clearer the “memory” the immune system has, the more sophisticated the antibodies it can produce. According to new research, someone who’s had three exposures to the spike protein on the Wuhan virus via three doses of vaccine is capable of developing antibodies that can neutralize variants that didn’t exist when they were vaccinated, like Omicron. Just as the virus evolves in the wild as it passes from host to host, the T cells and B cells of someone who’s been boosted will generate more “evolved” antibodies.

And those T cells and B cells don’t fade in a matter of months like antibodies do. The latest data points to them lasting years, which means a person who’s had three doses might be equipped to avoid severe illness from the next serious variant to come down the pike even if that variant doesn’t arrive until 2025 or whatever.

ALLAHPUNDIT
February 21, 2022
New data: Protection from COVID boosters may last for years, avoiding need for fourth shot near term
[It seems to me the pandemic has focused a lot of attention on the immune system which resulted a rather rapid advance in the understanding of how it works and how to enhance it.

Two popular phrases come to mind:

  1. Every dark cloud has a sliver lining.
  2. Never let a crisis go to waste.

This mindset is applicable to many other situations.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Isobel Asher Hamilton

The chip Neuralink is developing is about the size of a coin, and would be embedded in a person’s skull. From the chip, an array of tiny wires, each roughly 20 times thinner than a human hair, fan out into the patient’s brain.

The wires are equipped with 1,024 electrodes which are able to monitor brain activity  and, theoretically, electrically stimulate the brain. This data is transmitted wirelessly via the chip to computers, where it can be studied by researchers.

The second is a robot that could automatically implant the chip.

The robot would work by using a stiff needle to punch the flexible wires emanating from a Neuralink chip into a person’s brain, a bit like a sewing machine.

Isobel Asher Hamilton
February 17, 2022
Elon Musk’s Neuralink wants to embed microchips in people’s skulls and get robots to perform brain surgery
[This sounds like such a great idea it should be mandatory… for politicians. The data should be posted on the Internet in real time.

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader on the feedback to be applied when the dislikes exceed the likes by a factor of two to one.

On a more serious note, I expect there will be people eager to do this. It will depend upon what sort of “apps” are available. Being able to give yourself almost instant orgasm will probably be a best seller with some people. Direct Internet access will be sufficient for others. And the math coprocessor will be the “killer app” for many of the nerds. But I don’t expect the concept will get full market penetration until virtual reality is nearly indistinguishable from the real world.

Just as with recreational drugs Darwin will provide the negative feedback and limit the adoption of this technology.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Chet

Antifragile is another name for adaptive response, and it is one reason why models fail to be reliable very far into the future. The other reason is that many processes have probabilistic distribution that are not finite which Talib describes as fat tailed. Fat tailed processes have distributions which have no mean, no variance, or higher moments. Yes, you can compute these values, but they are not meaningful, and the resulting models are GIGO.

Failure to recognize adaptive response and fat tailed processes are major reasons why so much stupidity is going on in our world.

Chet
February 12, 2022
Comment to Quote of the day—Forrest Cooper
[This quote probably isn’t fully understood by more than 10%, at best, of the general population. But it really resonates with me and I wanted to give it more visibility so others who understand it can bask in the awesomeness.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Vox Day@voxday

You can cling to all the Big Tech platforms as long as you like. It’s foolish, because they WILL deplatform you. And you can jump to all the “new” gatekeeping platforms run by the same people who run the Big Tech platforms all you like, but you’re not going to find what you’re looking for there either.

Consider this: there is a reason the media, the ADL, and all the other organizations that hate you have been deplatforming and discrediting people like me, Torba, Milo, Owen, Stefan, and Razor for the last 7 years.

And maybe it’s not because we are pure and unmitigated evil haters who hate. Maybe it’s because we actually stand for the Good, the Beautiful, and the True.

Vox Day@voxday
Gabbed on February 4, 2022
[Read that carefully. He didn’t say they were the Good, the Beautiful, and the True. He said maybe they actually stood for that.

I think that is the more likely hypothesis than they are all “pure and unmitigated evil haters who hate”.

There may be some other hypothesis that fits the available evidence better than either but doesn’t matter much. What matters is those Big Tech companies deplatforming people are clearly evil haters who hate.—Joe]

Labradar update

As I mentioned a month ago I and many others have have problems with the Labradar smart phone app connecting to their chronograph.

My old phone worked with the app. That phone died and my new phone, a Galaxy S21 5G, would not make the Bluetooth connection. I purchased a few relatively cheap ($30->$90.00) phones for testing. The Nokia 2.1 – Android 9.0 Pie (Go Edition) actually worked most of the time. I have no plans to put a SIM card in it and use it as a real phone. It’s just an remote control accessory for the chronograph.

Last Thursday I received an email from Labradar:announcing (highlighting added):

The new Labradar App for iPhones/iPads and Androids is now available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store*. New features include.

  • Improved Bluetooth connectivity
  • Create notes for each shot and series
  • Add weather conditions
  • Create custom names for each series
  • Ke can be displayed in Joules and Ft.lb
  • Export files via email in CSV format
  • Create a custom name for your LabRadar
  • Quick entry of bullet weight for Power Factor calculations

Great. I’ll bet I wasted my money on the phone as a remote control, right?

Wrong. My Galaxy S21 still won’t connect. To be fair, they did say, “improved”, not “fully functional”. The Nokia 2.1 now works all the time instead of just most of the time. It is an improvement.