My PC died yesterday, screaming in pain as its brain heated over boiling point. I went out to Central Computer...
Danny O'Brien @ oblomovka.com
AI certain[ly] seems to be generating massive crop surpluses: Whisper was literally a side project for OpenAI so that they could use it to parse and suck down video sources for GPT’s maw. I find this to be just one of the indications of an age of wonder. I’ve spent years worrying that open source was falling behind commercial speech recognition tooling, and OpenAI just chucked one over the transom as favor. Oh, and it also translates, tolerably, and sometimes accidentally.
But my point here is what a pleasure it is to run these tools locally. As Simon, now AI whisperer to the world, notes, there’s a substantial difference from feeding an LLM through a grate in OpenAI’s door, to having it run under your own control, and/or passing around the model among friends and submitting it to the processes of open improvement.
— Danny O’Brien, only fans Oblomovka, 16 March 2023.
So I’ll keep this one short: it feels like I’m getting back into my stride, and I managed to knock out 2000 words on cognitive liberty and decentr…
Danny O'Brien @ oblomovka.com
The PC was always intended as a machine that augments individual abilities. In this way of thinking about digital tech, the personal computer is an extension of your brain and its abilities. Its memory is to help you remember; its processing power is there to help you think faster; its network connection is for you to reach out to others; its interfaces are to connect more closely to you. It is yours in the same way as your hands belong to you, as your eyes, as your imagination.
My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.
On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support — from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.
To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.
The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military — a final atrocity against his people.
I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.
We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.
I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.
Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly — yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.
Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.
My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.
May God bless our country and all who defend her.
— Televised Address by George W. Bush, President of the United States March 19, 2003.
In an address to the nation Wednesday night, President Bush said, "My fellow citizens, at th…
George W. Bush @ georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov
March 19, 2023:
Twenty years after, with hundreds of thousands dead, with Missions Accomplished and trillions of dollars spent and ancient cities yet torn apart by walls and bombs and fire, with an invasion and a quagmire occupation and a drone war and two of the most hideous civil wars in the history of the modern world — twenty years after, this preemptive war, this war to disarm Iraq, this war for homeland security, this war for Iraqi freedom, this war of choice, founded on politicized panic and hysteria-driven intelligence failures, on unspeakable arrogance and opportunistic lies — this war that set fires burning in Iraq, in the Middle East and across the world, fires that still aren’t put out — this war remains the worst political act, perhaps the single worst thing that the American government has done in my entire lifetime.
War is stupid. War is brutal. War is not a weapon you can aim. War is never over. This war is a debacle, a source of deep and lasting shame, corrosive to everything it has touched, a curse upon our politics, and a permanent, scarring damage to human well-being in the world.
I would wish, piously and fervently, that we may never see its like again. But twenty years after, we haven’t stopped seeing it yet.
They shatter the trust of the community, and the results can be deadly.
Yet in 2021, as homicides in the city soared, the city announced the formation of the Street Crimes Operation to Restore Peace in Our Neighborhoods, or SCORPION. The teams, which included four groups of 10 officers each, would saturate crime hot spots in the city in unmarked cars and make pretextual traffic stops to investigate homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies and carjackings.
The SCORPION program has all the markings of similar elite police teams around the country, assembled for the broad purpose of fighting crime, which operate with far more leeway and less oversight than do regular police officers. Some of these units have touted impressive records of arrests and gun confiscations, though those statistics don’t always correlate with a decrease in crime. But they all rest on the idea that to be effective, police officers need less oversight. That is a fundamental misconception. In city after city, these units have proven that putting officers in street clothes and unmarked cars, then giving them less supervision, an open mandate and an intimidating name shatters the community trust that police forces require to keep people safe.
The city of Memphis disbanded the SCORPION program over the weekend, and five officers have been charged with murder. But Memphis isn’t alone. Despite a sordid and scandal-plagued history, city leaders around the country continue to turn to similar elite police units as a get-tough response to rising crime. Memphis is hardly alone. In the early 1970s, Detroit officials responded to a surge in street violence with a program called Stop the Robberies, Enjoy Safe Streets, or STRESS. They were accused of planting evidence, physical abuse and corruption. Over a two-year period, the units killed at least 22 people, almost all of them Black. The city eventually ended the program after a STRESS unit raided an apartment where five Wayne County sheriff’s deputies — all Black — were playing poker. In the 50 years since, a similar story has played out in cities across the country, with remarkable consistency. Perhaps the most infamous was the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart scandal of the late 1990s, which involved a unit called Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums program, or CRASH. A decade earlier, Chicago created the Special Operations Section, or S.O.S., in response to rising crime in that city. By the mid-2000s, whistle-blowers and official investigations accused S.O.S. officers of armed robbery, drug dealing, planting evidence, burglary, “taxing” drug dealers and kidnapping. Scandals involving elite police units have also hit Indianapolis, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Newark, Pomona, Milwaukee, Greensboro and Fresno, among others. Most recently, eight officers from a unit in Baltimore were convicted and imprisoned after allegations that they robbed city residents, stole from local businesses, sold drugs and carried BB guns to plant on people.
The evidence is overwhelming: Giving roving teams of police officers added authority, elite status, a long leash and a vague mandate is a formula for abuse.