Saturday, December 3, 2022

Q4 2022 Bronze Pour



I'm done teaching bronze casting. I'd rather be a cult member than a cult leader. It doesn't pay as well, but it is a lot more fun.

I love pouring metal. At 65, I get beat up and need more than one day to recover. (or the lockdown turned me into a big fat pig, more likely. I am classified a superior physique for someone my age despite the fat belly). 
What can one man do? Quite a lot, it turns out.


Kung Fu Octopus

I've been playing with OpenAI's DALLE-2 and GPT-3. Itt's so cute. Here are two examples:

Prompt 1: I'm a goddamned miracle of modern science, doc.

Response:That's quite a claim. I'm sure you have an amazing story to tell, but it's probably wise to get a checkup from your doctor just in case.

It's a fucken chat bot. DALLE-2 is a magic eigth ball, unless you are a nine dimensional master.
Prompt: Luminescent Mechanical Elf in winter

Prompt 2: Everyone admired the grey-eyed mother's son of Ming the Merciless.

Response: He was courageous and brave, and was always willing to stand up for what he believed in. He was well-liked by his peers, and was respected by the people of his village. He was admired for his intelligence and resourcefulness, and was a natural leader. He was kind and generous, and always put others before himself. He was a true example of what it means to be a son of Ming the Merciless.


Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Are billionaires completely useless?

Billionaires emit a million times more greenhouse gases than the average person. Currently there are 2,668 billionaires on this planet. That's 2 and a half billion extra people as liabilities just in greenhouse gases, and the cost to the public in extractive and other practices may put them as 4 billion useless eaters (minus 2,668 actual mouths).


Are billionaires pulling their weight? 2,668 of them hauling 4 billion and more? Are they useful? If you believe the job creator myth, then sure. The job creator myth is false. The monkey hive creates jobs, strange slime mold of a global brain finds the exploits. Billionaires just seem to be in the way. Oh, you can argue the philanthropical good, but then you must question whether one tiny brain is smarter than the global slime mold and I say no. 

Besides, when you look at global generation of movement and monies, billionaires are tiny. Global World Product they are collectively around 1%.  Take Mark Cuban and his medication sales setup. Laudible, but way too small. Big Pharma is generating 4 trillion a year and Cuban is bringing his dime to the thousand-to-open poker table? or hows about Yvon Coinard donating 3 billion to fight climate crisis? Why that's asking an ant to move a skyscraper. 

"They can fund lobbying groups and politicians, rant about colonizing Mars, and buy midlife crisis toys like Twitter or weekend getaways on a space station, but their scope for effecting real change is actually tiny on a global scale. Even Putin and Xi, who are at the state-level actor end of the scale (individually they're multi-billionaires: but they also control nuclear weapons, armies, and populations in 8-9 digits) have little global leverage. Putin's catastrophic adventure in Ukraine has revealed how threadbare the emperor's suit is: all the current gassing in the Russian media about using nuclear weapons if he doesn't get his way actually does is to demonstrate the uselessness of those nuclear weapons for achieving political/diplomatic objectives.

So I conclude that they probably feel about as helpless in the face of revolutions, climate change, and economic upheaval as you and I." - Charlie Stross

Studies have shown that the rich max out in comfort level around $100 million. I understand the advantage of having billions to leverage on tasks, but it works out much better if a billionaire simply gave at random to one thousand people. One thousand allies and their friends. American Communism is the Best Communism.

Q4 2022






Friday, November 4, 2022

Getting kicked off Twitter was the best thing that happened to me on Twitter

I went back and read the post after I was kicked off Twitter, and it is the lament of an addict.

I'm glad I'm off Twitter. I had fun times. I had shitty times. You get that dopamine kick when you get a lot of likes, or a like from a celebrity, or even a conversation with a celebrity. That's why people tweet. I get it. The same as I get my alcoholism. Twitter and alcohol were co-accelerants in my intellectual descent and the bitter black quality of my tweets. I just kept getting meaner and meaner. Thank goodness I didn't have Twitter during the lockdown.

I had some highlights, like when I spoke with Harry Turtledove about crafting alternate worlds. I would send him scenarios like if Carthage won against Rome, or the South winning the Civil War. He would write back, "It's great that you figured out how to logically alter our timeline, but you don't tell me what happens after. That's the fun part". 

Which explains why I am not an author of alternate histories.

I got my PET scan results one year after they found the ocular melanoma, that grisly goblin in my eye. The thing is still in there, slowly dying. More important my scan is NEGATIVE for metastasis. Hurray for me. Only the one kidney, half blind, next crisis.


Thursday, November 3, 2022

Manger Baby Zombie Jesus

65 and a half years old, I suddenly noticed the inside of my elbows looking like the back of a fat ladies knee and I am grossed out by age. 

Thankfully not towards women my age. Younger women fun to play with but the older you get the more it feels like baby fucking. Fucking someone's daughter just is unsavory. Ah, but the crepe skin, folds and cottage cheese ass of women my age I don't mind. I find it kind o sexy, so I can only hope women my age feel the same about saggy, baggy old me.

Hurray for evolution.

I'm getting the thin skin bruises in my 60s, which suggests the 7th decade gets me. Every decade has tried to kill me which I don't like. There were certain indications that I might have another thirty years. That simultaneously excites and appalls me. The horror is I keep on turning into a lizard. The excitement is I can't stop watching the TV show anyway, and if I can get in front of the camera so much the better. And then you die. Apres mois, le deluge.

Or maybe the take a pill. You look at pictures of ripped Jeff Bezos and think Hollywood trainers and  East Coast doctors. Or maybe he started living the way we used to, because he cold afford it. Pictures and portraits of elderly hunter gatherers are ripppped. Rodeo physiques.

Kids at home, watching me on TV, grimace and think he gonna die. And yet I don't.

Fuck immortality give me immorbidity. The immorbidity pill. The Blue Pill.


Saturday, October 8, 2022

Come On, Killdozer!

The movie Killdozer I always assume starred Claude Akins as the Sheriff with the epic line of challenge: "Come on Killdozer!". Proving memory is recreative (and probably non-local), Claude Akins was not in the movie. That line was never uttered. The movie starred Clint Walker and Robert Ulrich. Maybe there was a sequel? No, no Killdozer II.


The story and sceenplay for the movie were by Theodore Sturgeon, he of  the "90% is all crap" quotation. I stand with Ted. 90% of my stuff is crap. It does not mean the 10% left is sublime. 


I've had moderate success inside the computer to try to get out of the Uncanny Valley, but it is an Uncanny Ocean. "AI"s exist for nudging things into deep fake reality, but I do ejoy the painterliness of the clay analog virtual medium. Next stop, extruded clay 3D prints. 


In the meantime, I'm getting my money's worth from this free software, no sarcasm intended.



Wednesday, September 14, 2022

The Mystery of the Wonton Killer

We are funny little ape shaped bugs, floating along with a tiny dust mote like Whos in Whoville. We would like to think there are other Whos or who-shaped beings out in the cosmos, but it could be we are it, or it for around in this here light cone. In which case, what? Nihilism? 


Of course we Whos could invent someone to keep us company? 

End of the Anthropocene.


Beginning of the Mechanozoic.



Monday, September 5, 2022

Where The Wild Things Aren't

100 years seems like a long time, but it isn't. In my own brain I have stories told me from that time. One hundred years ago is 1922. The beginning of the Modern age. Electrification.

If I had a time machine, I could snatch someone from 1922 and bring them here. They would be able to figure stuff out. Oh, a TV! Computer, a little more explaining. But then, they exclaim, oh shows and games! Why, you must never get bored!

We can safely bring someone from 1922, but 1822, two hundred years back? They are gonna be spooked by stuff, and some might get used to it. And so on into the past.

The one thing my time heist kidnap victim wll not forgive me for, the thing that will make them weep, is how barren and badly mangled we have made the Earth. In terms of sheer killing things off, 1922 was trying its darnedest, but the planet was a lush paradise compared to our poverty of today. Whole ecosystems gone, other teetering on the brink. 

We live in squalid hovels thinking them noble palaces. It is because we are now (and have been since 4/23/1978) * a force of Nature.

Humans have tamed a lot of things, but we, despite having a seat at the table, still do not have dominion.

Take the unsettling but charming videos of people with tame big cats. Lions, tigers, leopards. Yes, it is nice that big cats are cats, but I really think big cats should be eating people. 


I understand animals can be friends. I understand humans have shaped the world since the taming of fire. But this sterile land that these animals are now stuck in with us, in this human snowglobe.

Outside that dome, in the red zone, mass slaughter, done by us. We have to stop killing shit. That is step one. Will we? Or will we continue to be as dumb as bacteria in a peach tree dish?




Saturday, August 27, 2022

Art Making

I am still beta testing OpenAI's DALL E 2, the text-to-image generator. This result from the phrase "sugar skull spider, digital art".


Sometimes I'll do my own virtual reality render of the results, like this one in Adobe Medium:


I'm also back on the bronze casting. This one is entitled "Mister Potato Chip and Friends". None of the pieces would stand so I welded them together. The thicknesses of metal vary, so the welds are not great but solid. Weld quality also suffered from poor eyesight.

I have about fifty figures like this in the 1/10th scale, and these will be added to the ongoing piece, Grandpa's Funeral.



Friday, August 12, 2022

Cannon Fodder

I'm a slob. I wish I'd been more orderly and methodical in constructing my memory hut. Instead it is strewn with clothes and papers and half started gadgets and boring stories just like in real life. But that's what google is for, right? I blog in google. I am vertically integrated into this animal, because it is the meanest and most evil thing on the planet. Evil as in its a fucking verb. And I am an ally.

RW 4/22/2010 Entry Death By Plastic 

The Carlin Conjecture is that the Earth wanted plastic. 

Stripped of teleology, George Carlin's hypothesis is valid. Humans are great distillery bees. Metals. Glass. Plutonium. Liquid Helium. Plug 'n play RNA. Plastics.

Plastics. Forever chemicals. Mutagens and carcinogens. Even the rain is deadly now.
 
But hang on. This isn't the first time the rain was toxic or living on Earth wasn't deadly. Life was set up to handle radiation and poisons and toxins of a younger, fiercer universe. 

(Sol is the middle child of population II stars with enough metallicity to form solid planets. That's 7 billion years back, (No planets in Pop I stars? Maybe lithium. Maybe boron. Not enough carbon for our kind of life)).

Again, stripped of teleology, Carlin presents an elegant solution of just enough product killing off or slowing down producers. This is a command economy strategy which we learned from microbes. 

The current problem points out the rich/poor divide. Rich people can afford to filter water, while the poor get by without. Do the poor get more fatty liver disease? Do the rich enjoy unscathed or are some disasters democratic? 

Anyway, new bronzes finished just this week. I need to make larger than life. That requires monies I do not have access to. Anyway, Mama's Little Angel, and 

Mama's Little Angel

Super Friends

Super Friends

I did a VR kitbash/sculpt from memory of Super Friends, which, it from bit, is instead called Superfriends.
Superfriends


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder

To the critics: It's a comic book movie. Any story beyond the ride is gravy. To One Million Moms: the two dads holding hands over lava to make a kid homo rock creatures? They're made up. Humorous fictions.

This movie, to dorks like me? To geeks like me?  It's fun, funny, has a tug at your heart moments. It's ham-handed like Thor himself, but with character development. To a satisfying larger story which I assume is Thor 5. 

I wouldn't be surprised if they have Thor 5 made.

What do we know at the end of Thor 4? Thor has a daughter. She calls him Uncle Thor. 

An uncle is a dad on standby. Thor has learned how to be a dad. Honestly, if you are age 25 or older, and also had a kid, you get it.  I don't get it, so I'm at best a father figure. I imagine, as a real father, you know you had a great and scary adventure ahead. You as parent, parent figure, mentor, banker, advocate, pirate. Space viking.

Anyway, Thor 5, we know Hercules is coming after Thor. We know Thor will befriend him, because that is Thor's real superpower. Love, his bench daughter, tasks his love to make him (and her) kinder and more patient. Thor is going to die. Original Thor so he and Natalie Portman can live in Valhalla.

Natalie Portman as Mighty Thor should get her own movie, but she's in Valhalla now. It makes me wonder if I were worthy of the hammer? I would be Sarcastic Thor. Sarcasm. Every planet would hate me. No planet would want me around.

The other concern I have about the MCU universe is my disturbing parallel with fiction. Thor loses a right eye. I lose a right eye. Valkyrie loses a left kidney. I lost a left kidney. Marvel writers, please stop carving me up.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Who put the hype in hypersonic?

Editors Note: it is the 4th of July 2022. My window is open and the war zone is open for business as well. Followed eventually by the sound of ambulances and fire trucks. 15 miles away from me in the affluent suburb of Highland Park, a shooter killed 6 and wounded 30 up at a 4th of July parade. Right there in the green zone. No one is safe now, was the message. Buy More Guns was the message.  

=========================================================================

'National pride is at stake' crows the Science article about the race to develop hypersonic weapons. From the article:

For decades, the U.S. military—and its adversaries—have coveted missiles that travel at hypersonic speed, generally defined as Mach 5 or greater. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) meet that definition when they re-enter the atmosphere from space. But because they arc along a predictable ballistic path, like a bullet, they lack the element of surprise. In contrast, hypersonic weapons such as China's waverider maneuver aerodynamically, enabling them to dodge defenses and keep an adversary guessing about the target.

The worry being these hypersonic demons are unstoppable. But for a great majority of the time even the predictable ballistic path missile have been unstoppable. There have been gains in anti-missile technology to worry missileers, but certainly much cheaper alternatives to hypersonic flight exist, and one has to assume there are larger reasons to pursue it. Again from the article:

Now, DOD is leading a new charge, pouring more than $1 billion annually into hypersonic research. Competition from ambitious programs in China and Russia is a key motivator. Although hype and secrecy muddy the picture, all three nations appear to have made substantial progress in overcoming key obstacles, such as protecting hypersonic craft from savage frictional heating. Russia recently unveiled a weapon called the Kinzhal, said to reach Mach 10 under its own power, and another that is boosted by a rocket to an astonishing Mach 27. China showed off a rocket-boosted hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV) of its own, the Dongfeng-17, in a recent military parade. The United States, meanwhile, is testing several hypersonic weapons. "It's a race to the Moon sort of thing," says Iain Boyd, an aerospace engineer at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "National pride is at stake."

So, simple answer, space war butthead stuff. Not to be dismissive. The tech is fascinating. The tech is finally melding and all the niches for spaceflight are starting to mature. But just to hurl nukes? No dearie dear. Why build a cathedral and use it as a battering ram? My guess is there's a lot more to the Air Force X47-B space plane program than meets the eye. Lots and lots of stuff, not to mention all the Shuttle flights. The USA plays Aw Shucks almost as often as the game of Catch Up. 

And guess what? It is still rocket science. One hundred years on from the Wright brothers and it is still hard stuff to do. 

Everybody is worried about Russia and China when they shouldn't count out Iran. Or India or Pakistan for that matter. We may be looking at Space War One (or Two? I don't know).

It's just more monkey hive honey spent on space monkey hives that will never happen and instead we get a sky full of warbots.

If so, I want a swarm of warbots working for me. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Spoofing and Jinking

My brother went to see Top Gun: Maverick and said it was stupid but fun, like all good propaganda. 

The original Top Gun (which I also have never seen) was also propaganda which resulted in a huge recruitment boost for the United States Navy. The one thing my brother objected to (other than the hypersonic bullshit - of which I could write a separate essay called the Hype in Hypersonic) was the avoidance of a drone subplot. Possibly because tiny Tom Cruise would be sky burgers after about twenty seconds against a drone. Let's face it, unlike fighter drones, Tom Cruise cannot handle sustained 9 gee acceleration and look both ways at the same time. He cannot think a million times faster than a human.

Not to make too much of drones. Like hypersonic weapons, they suffer from design flaws and the biggest flaw is the machine intelligence itself. It's damn hard to audit a machine intelligence and the data it learns from. It's damn hard to know how it is doing what it is doing other than empirica evidence. This is nto a good situation. There have been numerous reports of bias introduced into these little critters (the classic example is how an AI chatbot was corrupted into a racist, sexist troll after being exposed to Twitter) and invariably the fault lies with the training data. Garbage in, garbage out.

One example is to attack machine learning training by re-ordering the sequence of training data. This is because ML models are susceptible to "initialization bias" (paging Kahneman and Tversky). Whatever data they receive first has a profound impact on the overall weighting of subsequent data.

Worse still, evidence is mounting that validating an ML model can be made impossible by planting an udectectable backdoor into the training data. Such a backdoor can change the classification of any input wihout detection by a tester - unless they are in possession of a "backdoor key". The mechanism is undetectable by any computationally bound observer, meaning you can't even tell if a backdoor was implanted into the model. That's pretty scary. Rather like the Manchurian Candidate, the thing itself doesn't know it is corrupted.

There are plenty of examples of how poison data makes ML baby Jesus cry, but for your entertainment, read this Pluralistic entry from Cory Doctorow. My favorite is  where a 2" piece of tape on a road sign can trigger 50mph accelerations in Tesla autopilots.

Other thing: I've had, hopefully, the last operation on my eye for the year. The retina had completely detached and my eye received essentially a boob job. The vitreous humor was removed and replaced (after the retina was re-attached with a laser) with silicone oil. The eye would have withered and died with the retina detached, So, the eye is saved, the vision is lost, and I'm good to go.

To mess with people, I published this aftermath photo, which is fake:



Wednesday, June 22, 2022

A New History of Old Europe

A Short History of Humanity: A New History of Old Europe by Johannes Krause and Thomas Trappe (translated by Caroline Waight) gives us the latest info on archeology and DNA samplings from European archaeological sites. The title may be a bit pretentious, as it only covers an area of Earth more or less a cultural backwater until very recent times. Still, there is a lot of new information to give us an up-to-date picture of the peopling of Europe. European archeology covering the most ground, it is refreshing to see debunking and confirmations from new data. Particularly, and most interesting, the piecing together of prehistoric metadata involving artifacts and diseases.

I enjoyed this book as it is a good tie-in with David Graeber's and David Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything.

Shaman of Bad Durremberg

Europe, the largest peninsula on Earth, has it tough duing the Ice Ages. Though the central plains heading across Eurasia are ice free, living conditions at the deepest parts of ice ages are impossible. However, during the interglacials Europe is quite charming. Briefly, from current data in the book, what we currently know is that Europe's first known settlers are Neanderthals and Denisovans some 600,000 years ago. Early modern humans followed, but left no permanent genetic record among modern Europeans.

Three waves of anatomically modern humans have left genetic markers among Europeans today. The first wave, the hunter gatherers that produced the beautiful cave paintings at Lascaux and Altamira, entered from Africa approximately 45,000 years ago. Reconstructed DNA evidence taken from bones and teeth from that time indicate they were dark-skinned, and dark to light eyed. These Aurignacian hunters after mastodon and cave lion and short face bear were beautiful black people with blue eyes.

The latest Ice Age ended some 12,900 years ago, and was so abrupt as to be noticed in the short span of one generation. Times were good for the hunter gatherers in Europe, until about 8,000 years ago, with glaciers finally in retreat, farmers from Anatolia and the Fertile Crescent appear in Europe. Interestingly, there are two distinct groups of unrelated peoples inhabiting the western and eastern portions of the Fertile Crescent. The western people are the lactose tolerant cheese eating surrender monkeys of the future. Because they lack nutrients (vitamin D) from hunter gathering, they got paler and paler the further north they went. Funny thing is the physical records show the original hunter-gatherers staying way clear of these extremely violent farmers bickering over land, other than interaction through trade.

 And the trade networks are a regular time crystal of a quantum computer connected by atom lasers. Much to be gleaned from the metadata of traded artifacts, but the extent of networks reached all the way across Eurasia, and possibly into the Western Hemisphere. These are the peoples behind the poorly named Agricultural Revolution, with groups picking up and abandoning agricultural practices as set their whims. (My mother's side of the family can be traced back to the Scandinavian penisula, which became ice free a mere 6,200 years ago.)

5000 years ago the last migration wave arrived from the Ponticsteppes above the Caspian and Black Seas, the Yamnaya. The Yamnaya brought Indo-European languages, bronze age tech, and domesticated horses with them. They originally migrated across the Caucasus to the steppes from the Zagros mountains of Iran (thus the whole shithead Aryan white supremacy thing).

This third migration wave DNA is prominant in Northern and Eastern Europe, and also in Native Americans. (Easily solved problem traced back to a 24,000 year old skeleton in Mongolia, the common ancestor). We are up to speed save for an interesting deduction via the metadata of disease. There is a suggestion that the Black Plague came with the Yamnaya, like a biocidal invasive species.. Further, plague has a possible origin in the domestication of horses. The bacteria responsible for plague are indigenenous to the Vast Plain of Eurasia. Further evidence, the Yamnaya replaced their steppe horses and tamed native European horses (possibly more resistant to plague). 

Obviously, the authors stress the absurdity of racial superiority and that we are still of dangerously limited genetic diversity. (Me being Scandinatian makes me seriously inbred). Thank goodness for the African Diaspora.

Still lots to do, lots of books to come, and still a lot of places to dig up.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Harold Redux

Around 2014 I started building a plaster mold collection at the college for bronze and clay. All gone now, stolen or thrown away. Still, over time I made lots of waxes from those molds and tossed them in boxes. Today I have three boxes of waxes.

I've thought about having a Frankenstein Party. Go through my stuff and combine it like a variant of Exquisite Corpse. But that doens't sound all that interesting. It's what I've been doing, at the outset of making an art object, but it was always just the beginning.

Find The Game    =  World Building (characters in a world)
Raise The Stakes  =  Perspective Shifting (character interaction, expand the world)
Play to the End     =  Action Generating (let her rip, with callbacks and connections)

I talked about The Harold before, a generative procedure for long form improvisation developed by Del Close and Charna Halpern. I thought about those boxes of wax parts and I said how can I use the Harold with these? It would seem an obvious thing to just substitute art or music or poetry for comic performance and surely smarter people than me have done it to make jazz and other collaborations. I looked for diagrams, found one, studied it, and finally it hit me.


I finally noticed a scene or "beat" as they like to call it, produced a temporary art. Well, duh. More improtant, the Harold can be recursive, both during the procedure and results input as new values in a Recursive Harold. (Although that's for another time). 

So, do I need other players in this game? It woud be more fun. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Awaiting Rescue

Heard a news story today that a ridiculous number of Americans think they can survive in the wilderness for two weeks. You could call it Dunning-Kruger, but it turns out Dunning-Kruger is Dunning-Krugered.

Two weeks, though, clearly they think they will be rescued and merely have to hang out vs. living indigenous for the rest of their life. Well, know how to make a fire with flint and get clean fresh water is all you have to do.  You can live without food for two weeks.

What if they don't have a zippo? "Find some rocks to strike together" 

What if there are no rocks? "Fill a plastic water bottle and use if as a magnifying glass" Wow*

Maybe a lot more Americans have survival skills than I thought. I certainly would be fucked.

Me, a Boomer, supposedly trained for war, pampered beyond repair, woefully unprepared. It's different if you are a Boomer from the South (or similar hunting cultures throughout the USA). Much better prepared for so-called primitve camping. Still and all, the attitude is awaiting rescue. 

We expect and enjoy our Anthropocenic Tour of Nature.

Other things. Quick eye update. When your opthamologist/retinologist says "Let's try this", you know you are dealing with permanent vision loss. And sure, enough, at last appointment, he told me there will be permanent vision loss. How bad is still to be determined, but right now, the answer is legally blind in the right eye. It's like my macula is balding, big blind spots on the right side. That aint' com ing back and I already feel my cortex rewiring accordingly. The one interesting thing of note is my new reliance on propriosenses(?) and body awareness. Presence. I am more present with the loss of an eye.

For example: Teaching welding is more difficult. Loss of depth perception has turned me into a monkey touching a stove. But whatever you use to throw a ball without looking, that's what I tap into to do welding demos. 

(My welding has always been atrocious, but I can teach, I am a damn good teacher)

Today is 4/20 which is Weed Day so Happy Weed Day from Grandpa Weed. My
bet is federal legal soon and I don't get why Grandpa Joe hasn't pulled that train into the Junction. 

I declare myself a natural medicine enthusiast. Weed, yes. Mushrooms, definitely. Poppies, for sure

*out in the middle of nowhere and they can find a plastic bottle. Answer since 1973? Yes.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The lesson of history is that no one learns it

I have a student named Lenin. You got to admit it sounds cool, but I don't think her parents realized just how much of a cocksucker, a plague virus, bad RNA, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was. Last year I had a student who informed me he was a Stalinist. Then again my ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide in my head seemed like magic to him.

I was there once, inexperienced, wounded by lack of knowledge and adorable in my ignorance but not this fucking stupid. Maybe the reactionary minds that feel they should be in control have a point. But reactionary minds gets you the freedumb stuff. No liberties allowed.

Anyway I'm making clay this semester, and I know keep saying it but I really miss color. Metal 

- and I will always pour metal until I am too frail - 

Metal makes lustrous colors but not vivid colors. A plague has made me crave vivid colors. These are some clay figures I made, Frankenstein style, random parts except for the legs. Acrylic paint, and I get a sense of maritime creatures. Maybe you don't. What about Speedo, white legs and black socks, a comedy classic?

The legs makes them sexy?

More of a vegetarian?

Or nautitical?





Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The End of the Golden Age of Barbarism

Which happened 40,000 years ago, I reckon.

According to Marx and Engels, the means of production is technology and ancillary components. Ownership of the means of production can be private (capitalism), society (socialism) or the state (command/communist/fascist).

The real means of production is the uterus, the womb. 

You may have heard about the woman in Texas charged with baby murder by induced abortion. Charges dropped, but the woman was put through what Texas dough boys wanted her (and the media) to be put through.

This has resulted in a Practical Guide to Not Getting Arrested for a Miscarriage or Abortion.

This is not simply crime codes and control or commodification, but a recent push towards totalitarianism. Forced birth is a declaration of ownership rights (slavery), and it appears that ownership, in the state of Texas, belongs to the state. Fucking Commies. 

When did the Republicans, or the radical right, become communist? Their organisations and institutes even ape Soviet naming conventions. (Committee For Future Prosperity, etc.). Maybe its In order to defeat the asshole, you must become the asshole kind of thing. Or Horseshoe Theory.

Whatever it is its happening, the push is on towards more restrictive and exclusive laws and mandates against the people in the states, picked off piecemeal. It is obvious this is a response to the climate shock and awe just around the bend, the big windshield heading towards us ape-shaped bugs.

And here we are trying to grow things too, trapped in the ditch of agriculture. Got to feed the baby cannons somehow. (In chicken and egg style, yes, food is needed, but only tehcnologically derived only recently in the past 5K years or so, in which case you need people to tend machines. 40,000 years ago getting food took no time at all amidst such plenty. Now, we are finding out, a different plenty, and the wrong kind).

Currently, food is grown with oil and natural gas via domesticated plants. This is not sustainable. Ammonia, used as fertilizer, is derived by the Haber Bosch process, run on oil and gas. This is not sustainable. Top soil, especially in North America, has been eroded down to unsustainable levels, washed down the rivers into the oceans to become useless. The useless silt deposits have created dead zones, anoxic waters. The ocean is not getting enough oxygen, 

Soylent Green, way above budget but only slightly behind schedule.

And for people who read all this as a crisis (and they are right), they are getting their doomsday forts ready. A doomed effort, because collapse means Collapse. No where to hide, rich people, not even New Zealand. Nope, the reactionary minds, thinking that only they know how to run things, are making their play. They have moved from hippy underground to set piece battles, and the rest of the decade will be interesting times (as if the past couple of decades haven't been interesting).

Do I think I'll be around for the collapse. Oh, sure, and honestly it will be like a brick wall thrown at us. Meaning life will still continue to be pleasant on the surface, all rot and degradation underneath, but this is not news. We will keep on doing what we do, like stupid bacteria with no off switch, and eat and eat and eat and eat.

Whats' to be done? Well, thank goodness for a limited lifespan. I once figured 2032 was my death year. Coming up fast, and probably wrong. If I make it to 2042, that's when it gets really bad, or really, really good. Probably just the robots that survive, and maybe that's what we scramble to do the next 20 years. Get everyone into their emergency avatars, and do our darndest to simulate them in the wandering satellites and moonlets of the Metaverse. 

Fake people living in robots.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

DALLE-2 and the End of Art

Arthur C. Danto, art critic, once declared the end of art and DALLE-2 might be it. 


DALLE-2 is a text to image app from OpenAI and it is astonishingly good. You put in any text and a scene is provided in return. A djinn and a wish. For example, "Hothouse elves in a greenhouse of flowering fire plants and vines, in the style of ____" and voila! A replicator and a holosuite rolled into one produces your scene. Your world building, your characters, and you can adjust it just by being more specific like a recursive wishaholic. 

Graphic and game designers, artists who know about it are either nervous or greedy to get their hands on it. I'm signed up. You can submit pic requests to OpenAI via Twitter and Instagram right now if you wish. Some consider this highly dangerous, deep fake wise, but if you cannot rely on computer number one (taps head) to sift out the bullshit, you are kind of fucked anyway. Hopefully someone will look out for you.

I played with DALLE back in 2021 and am blown away at the advancement. I shouldn't be, but I am. Here's the thing, that part to me that I wanted to use was: in the style of_____

I was too lazy to download and learn the software, so I relied upon service, Snowpixel. I relayed the desire that when it came to that In the Style of____ lazy Johnny wanted in the style of me. The developer replied you are about the millionth person that wants that. Artists hand a multiuniverse generating versions of their own works. A vast portfolio of John Kurman stuff for me to pick and choose and point in directions I want to go. It is a Moog synthesizer of  brain toy. 

Here's the funny thing, you guys ready? Samples of my art indicate I am 73 different artists. Never one to be patient, I roam the borders, forever in novelty. So of course I want to use DALLE-2.

OpenAI also has a text generator called GPT-3 which can code, blog, and argue. I'm sure someone has suggested GPT-3 texting DALLE-2 and bye bye.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Breaking News: Elon Musk Invades Twitter

Musk has been buying shares of Twitter since January, amassed 9.2% of the company to become the largest shareholder. The Twitter put him on the board of directors with his promise he would not seek controlling interest. No one wants to call it a hostile takeover, but that is what it was, exactly the same to when Musk took over Tesla.
Sieg Heil Baby

Musk claims this is a free speech issue, but this is a red herring considering 1) under Citizen's United, money is free speech, and therefore Musk is more than free to speak; 2) his own censorious history and lame shitposting negates his claim to be a free speech absolutist, and 3) this is not a First Amendment issue. Only the mentally challenged, highly naive or cynical nihilists buy the Free Speech bullshit.

Is any of this important? Could be, under certain counterfactuals. Twitter has been getting the tar beat out of it by TikTok and Snapchat. User numbers of Twitter, like Facebook, are not going in the right direction. I doubt that Musk is interested in growth so much as control, our thin-skinned petty tyrant is making Twitter how he wants it to be. I will tell you right now, Twitter jail will be expanded to a gulag.

(One wonders why Donald Trump didn't try this instead of tragic attempts to get his mojo back. It oculd, aside from not being smart enough to think of it, or having smart advisers to think of it, Trump just didn't have the money to pull it off. So, he stinks of loser stench forever after, amen).

If Musk is actively involved in management, we can expect similar disappointments that Tesla and SpaceX have provided. 

What? Scream the stans, Tesla is worth over a trillion dollars, and SpaceX disrupted the aerospace industry. But keep in mind, without stellar management and countless faceless engineers for him to Thomas Edison in front of, Musk would have neither Tesla or SpaceX. In fact, he barely managed to be part of PayPal.

More and more, the comparison to Hitler's early luck and later meddling seems ready to play out. All Musk needs now is a Doktor Feelgood to shoot him up with concoctions to get him to the next meeting.

Which is to say, this is more illiberal democracy, more of the totalitarian future we can all look forward to. Social media is carved up and siloed, but clearly all it takes is the next invention to fuck up the status quo. You don't need innovators or disruptors to muck about the place, things just keep on changing. Without the next big thing, it's just churning the waters with a shit stick to see what can be skimmed. Perhaps that's all this is, or perhaps Musk thinks he can, with his brain control shit, control brains. 

Or maybe he just wants an Edit button.