Trick's Blog

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

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And We're Back

After a string of bad nights of sleeping I am thrilled to report last night that I got a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and I am feeling fantastic. Please plan accordingly.

AOC did an Instagram stream yesterday (instagram.com)

It lasts about an hour, I haven't been able to watch it because Instagram's UI pauses and resets videos when you alt-tab away from the browser, and, well, I can't sit and watch it for an hour. I also took Instagram off my phone. So I'm sharing it here, aiming to get back and watch it. Maybe tonight.

A list of the things Biden can get done having the simple majority in the Senate (vox.com)

Programmer has two guesses left to access £175m bitcoin wallet (theguardian.com)

Guy was given roughly $15k worth of Bitcoin, and over the years as its value has ballooned it's now up to nearly a quarter of a BILLION dollars. The problem is he doesn't remember the password to get access to the money. He has tried 8 of his 10 chances. If he doesn't figure it out with the next two guesses, his hard drive security will lock him out forever.

No pressure.

The IRS offers a $625,000 bounty to anyone who can break Monero and Lightning (cointelegraph.com)

Blockchain has a lot of interesting uses, and this bounty from the IRS to try and track and be able to follow the money on a crypto currency which is designed for anonymity and encryption is a big challenge.

"I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking and NO vandalism of any kind." (twitter.com)


WRT54G History: The Router That Accidentally Went Open Source (tedium.co)

A very interesting bit of history from computer networking. Well, interesting for me. We'll see if you find it as interesting as I do.

One Ancient Commodore Amiga Runs the Heat and AC for 19 Public Schools (popularmechanics.com)

At a cost of estimated $2 million to replace, a school district has kept this old Amiga PC running for over 30 years. Now, admittedly this story is five years old, I don't know if it is still in use or not, but I like to think it is. Still there. Chugging away and keeping the system going.

Trump Is Impeached By House For 2nd Time (npr.org)

Trump becomes the 3rd and 4th Presidential impeachments voted in US history. I'm so glad he's out on his ass in a week. Seriously, fuck him and what he did to America's legacy. We have plenty of problems that need to be solved and he exacerbated all of them. Literally. Tell me one problem with America he didn't make worse.

Edit (9:14pm): As was pointed out to me, Nixon has to be in this discussion. He was only not impeached because he resigned, but had he not he would have been impeached in the largest vote by both parties.


This is what the video he tried to put out last week should have been. It only took his advisors a week to convince him to do it.

Because we all need to watch this a billion times (twitter.com)


The Aletheia Framework (rolls-royce.com)

An unlikely source of a framework for judging an AI framework has emerged, Rolls Royce. They created the Aletheia Framework as a way to judge an AI's decisions on three core metrics: Accuracy & Trust, Social Impact and Governance.

I haven't had time to dig into the booklet so I don't know how much meat this concept has on it, but it's wonderful to see. And something I expect all car companies will have to do, whether by this framework or their own, before fully self driving cars become the default.

(Aletheia, in case you're curious as I was, is from Greek. It refers to truth in philosophy.)

Frank Wilczek Cracked Open the Cosmos (quantamagazine.org)

If you ask me why the planets orbit the sun, my answer to you will be magic.

As my CV from college will tell you, I am terrible at Physics. I failed it three times. I just was completely unable to wrap my mind around it. But, even given my appalling understanding of how the universe works, I found this article an enjoyable read.

Of note, it discusses religion quite a bit and how a scientist like Wilczek sees things. In particular, I liked this, though I suspect it is an oversimplification in some ways:

When I was a teen questioning my family’s Catholicism, I came upon this concept of complementarity that helped me a lot: There can be different ways of approaching the same question. Often there are different ways of describing the same thing. They can be valid each in their own terms, but they may sometimes be very difficult or even impossible to reconcile. So many of the conflicts between religion and science arise because they’re answering different questions. There are many conflicts where religions say things that are just wrong, but there are many other domains in which they are just addressing different questions.
In science, you’re broadly asking, “How does this work?” In religion, you’re asking, “What does this mean and what should I do about it?”
Are you religious?
Physics is my religious belief. In the sense that in physics we discover a fantastically wonderful world out there that’s rich in potential, rich in realization, and that has ample scope for fantasy, because the laws are so strange and there’s so much stuff out there to understand. And when you understand it, you understand how that could be.
I learn that I myself am very small. But I am also very large because I contain multitudes, as Walt Whitman said. I can process information. I can understand things. I can imagine. I can have fun. That’s the essence of my religion. I learn my religion from the study of what the world is and how it works.

Here is another amazing segment. I can't imagine if something similar to this had happened to me at that age:

That summer I went to my first conference. It was very small, at a place called the Downingtown Inn. But Feynman was there, the Feynman, and he talked about our work. He said, “This is really important.” I was 21.

The 432-year-old manual on social distancing - BBC Future (bbc.com)

A very interesting article overall, but I especially loved learning the origin of the word 'quarantine.'

"Over the year from the summer of 1630 to the summer of 1631, I found something like about 550 different cases that people were prosecuted for, for various infringements of the public health regulations," says Henderson. For most of that time, the city wasn't in full lockdown, but people were expected to self-isolate for 40 days if a member of their household was suspected of having the plague, and taken to hospital. This is where the word "quarantine" comes from – "quaranta giorni" means "40 days" in Italian.

DarkMarket, the Web's Biggest Darknet, Just Got Taken Down (gizmodo.com)

How far can you make it into 2020? (2020game.io)

A silly pixel-art browser side scrolling game.

Rob Woodcox Photography (robwoodcox.com)

Found via Reddit, Rob Woodcox does amazing photography with the human form in extraordinary positions. Definitely check out his site for other amazing and fascinating to examine photos.

Cory Doctorow: Neofeudalism and the Digital Manor (locusmag.com)

Cory's essay lays out that when it comes to existing in the digital space, most people align themselves with "digital warlords" such as Google, Apple, Facebook, etc. Relying on their 'warlords' to provide security from outside threats, but also making themselves vulnerable should the warlord change and start taking actions that the person doesn't agree with.

Which is an interesting discussion given the very nature of this blog. How I am trying to build up my own blog again so I don't rely on a platform built on Facebook, Twitter, or another platform.

Joseph Simmons aka Run from Run-DMC used to have a reality show called "Run's House" and each episode would end with him in a bubble bath "tweeting" a bit of wisdom or something. I keep thinking about that and wanting to make a nightly post as I get into bed.

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