Friday, October 27, 2023

Text With Jesus App

There is now an AI LLM app that lets you "text with Jesus" and other noteworthy Biblical characters. (Via N.L.)

The FAQ addresses in a serious fashion the following:
"Am I really talking to Jesus? Isn't this blasphemous?"
"What version of the Bible does the app use?"
My favorite question in the FAQ:
"Can I really chat with Satan? Satan is included in the app to provide a comprehensive understanding of biblical narratives, reflecting the character's role as described in the Bible. However, interaction with Satan is turned off by default and must be manually enabled by the user if they choose to engage with this figure. The portrayal is rooted in Christian teachings, and users have full control over their engagement with all figures within the app."

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Birthday Present

Spotted online: "So I found a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring in a thrift store with the following inscription". (Via S.K.)


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

AI Propaganda Update

"Israel-Hamas War: This viral image of a baby trapped under rubble turned out to be fake

"When looking closely, it appears the baby has extra fingers. That’s because even though AI is getting better at creating human-like images, it still has trouble reproducing certain body parts, including hands and feet.

The Cube also found earlier posts of this AI-generated picture. It had already appeared on social media back in February 2023 after earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria.



Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Light Posting Notice

Admin note: Posting may be lighter than usual this week due to external obligations.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Techno-Optimist Manifesto

Marc Andreessen: "The Techno-Optimist Manifesto".

I agree with many of his points, although I'm not so sure about some of his so-called "Patron Saints".

Star Trek Chairs

"Commercially Available Chairs in Star Trek"

Friday, October 20, 2023

New Hottest Pepper

"Pepper X marks the spot as South Carolina pepper expert scorches his own Guinness Book heat record":

Currie said when he first tried Pepper X, it did more than warm his heart.

“I was feeling the heat for three-and-a-half hours. Then the cramps came,” said Currie, one of only five people so far to eat a entire Pepper X. “Those cramps are horrible. I was laid out flat on a marble wall for approximately an hour in the rain, groaning in pain.”

Heat in peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units. Zero is bland, and a regular jalapeno pepper registers about 5,000 units. A habanero, the record-holder about 25 years ago, typically tops 100,000. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Carolina Reaper at 1.64 million units.

Pepper X’s record is an average of 2.69 million units. By comparison, pepper spray commonly holstered by police is around 1.6 million units. Bear spray advertises at 2.2 million units.


Space Gorilla

That time that astronaut Scott Kelly smuggled a full gorilla suit onto the International Space Station

Here is his short video.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

AI Reading Scrolls

Nature: "AI reads text from ancient Herculaneum scroll for the first time"

AI Text Detector Don't Work

"How can educators respond to students presenting AI-generated content as their own?"

Do AI detectors work? In short, no, not in our experience. Our research into detectors didn't show them to be reliable enough given that educators could be making judgments about students with potentially lasting consequences.


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Sixth Basic Flavor?

"A New Flavor Frontier: Is Ammonium Our Sixth Basic Taste?"

Related article in Nature Communications: "The proton channel OTOP1 is a sensor for the taste of ammonium chloride"

Starlink For Phones

"SpaceX details Starlink-for-phones plan, launching in 2024". (Via H.R.)

Monday, October 16, 2023

Writing Scientific Grants With ChatGPT

Nature: "ChatGPT use shows that the grant-application system is broken"

A 2023 Nature survey of 1,600 researchers found that more than 25% use AI to help them write manuscripts and that more than 15% use the technology to help them write grant proposals.

Some people might see the use of ChatGPT in writing grant proposals as cheating, but it actually highlights a much bigger problem: what is the point of asking scientists to write documents that can be easily created with AI? What value are we adding? Perhaps it is time for funding bodies to rethink their application processes.


Bionic Hand Update

"Woman's Experimental Bionic Hand Passes Major Test With Flying Colors". (Via H.R.)

Friday, October 13, 2023

Fair Coin Flips

"Fair coins tend to land on the same side they started: Evidence from 350,757 Flips". (Via P.O.)

Fluorescent Mammals

"Fluorescent mammals are far more common than earlier thought, study suggests"

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Surgery Robot Update

"This surgical robot can remove brain tumors from children"

Four Vs. Five

"Your brain finds it easy to size up four objects but not five -- here's why"

Now scientists have discovered why: the human brain uses one mechanism to assess four or fewer items and a different one for when there are five or more. The findings, obtained by recording the neuron activity of 17 human participants, settle a long-standing debate on how the brain estimates how many objects a person sees. The results were published in Nature Human Behaviour on 2 October.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Pee Near Home

"Why You Always Need To Pee When You Get Close To Home"

An Article About Nothing

"The 4 fundamental meanings of 'nothing' in science"

Siri Name Woes

"iOS 17 forces woman named 'Siri' to change her name":

She got by when the wake word was “Hey Siri.” “I work in a gym with a lot of people around so everyone learned quite quickly not to say ‘Hey’ when they greet me or there would be a lot of bleeping going on,” she told The Sun.

Then iOS 17 came along so all that’s necessary to trigger an iPhone to start listening for spoken commands is the word Siri.

“Now people can’t even say my name,” said Siri Price in the interview.

The solution was to change her name. She now goes by Siz.


Monday, October 09, 2023

One Revolution Per Minute

Video: "One Revolution Per Minute" -- a short film by Erik Wernquist

ONE REVOLUTION PER MINUTE is a short film I made to explore my fascination with artificial gravity in space. 

It takes place aboard the "SSPO Esperanta" - a planetary orbiter that spins around itself at a rate of one revolution per minute (1 RPM). With a radius of 450 meters, the spin generates artificial gravity with an effect of approximately 0.5 g along its main deck. 

With the "Esperanta" I wanted to create a leisure-like environment, such as a hotel or cruise ship, and explore what the views could be like onboard when the orbiter visits some of the worlds in our solar system. I was also particularly interested in how light and shadows from the sun play around in the interior as it spins around.

(Via Transterrestrial Musings.)

False News Travels Faster Than Truth

"The spread of true and false news online"

Friday, October 06, 2023

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Wednesday, October 04, 2023


"Aphantasia: What It's Like When You Can't See Images in Your Mind". (Via L.C.)

Academic Honesty

"Perhaps the best one-liner in a student paper this semester..."

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

New Dictionary Words

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has added 690 new words for September 2023. I am especially pleased at these two from popular culture:

padawan noun, informal : a young person especially when regarded as naïve, inexperienced, etc.

cromulent adjective, informal + humorous : acceptable, satisfactory

Straight Line Sailing From India To US

"Map showing it's possible to sail from India to the US in a 'straight line' boggles social media". (Via H.R.)

Monday, October 02, 2023

ChatGPT With Voice

"Now you can chat with ChatGPT using your voice"

Flying Car Update?

"World's first flying car has grand reveal two years before launch date". (Via H.R.)