The new Ubuntu wallpaper looks like some guys ballsack and I can't stop laughing whenever I see it.

It's the hairs that get me.

University of Minnesota banned from Linux kernel development and a purge begins:

"Because of this, I will now have to ban all future contributions from your University and rip out your previous contributions"

lore.kernel.org/linux-nfs/YH%2

In practice, I don't think energy is free or unlimited, just we're so far removed from the immediate consequences and future energy-bank-account that it feels that way at the point of use.

Energy has real consequences now, and even if we were to find genuinely "free"/"unlimited" energy, say a working fusion reactor with positive energy balance, the costs will be borne out in other ways.

There's always a bottleneck. What do you do with the waste heat? Literal global warming? Boil the seas?

Show thread

In 200 years, we could well have exhausted a planetary lifetime's savings of energy from oil, and be back on our meager "solar income" of energy, by renewable means toted around in batteries.

In this future, bitcoin etc will all be seen as the adolescent excess, and we'll be left with an energy hangover and much more rational, thought out use of energy.

Show thread

we're very much in the same position now. After an eternity of pulling up burnable rocks out of the ground just to survive, we suddenly have such a glut of (primarily oil based) energy that it feels to be free (almost 0 cost) and unlimited.

So we do what we always do - we have more energy than we can sensibly spend on tap, so we blow it on wasteful bets, things like speculation on cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc.

Show thread

how it basically goes is that when we have a surplus of something, we tend to be increasingly inefficient at using it.

For example, if you live a normal, slightly tight-on-cash life, and you win the lottery, all of a sudden you have more cash than you can spend. While you're in this position, it can feel like you have unlimited, free money.

It's a well observed consequence that people tend to blow this surplus on risky/wasteful purchases/investments.

Show thread

people on irc are looking at me funny for my "free and unlimited" energy hypothesis for bitcoin/cryptocurrency again

just in case anyone was still labouring under the assumption that HN is a tech site instead of pop business news.

Just noticed that Ever Globe, an identical sister ship to Ever Given, is about to head through the same stretch of canal going the other way and I am praying for them to do the funniest thing of all time

Final take for the night (I hardly think "flamewars bad" and "nn stupid" can be called hot takes).

What cryptocurrencies and rust share as legions of devoted fanatics who will hijack any mention of them (fair or not) and will insist that the discussion is reframed around them in terms of memory safety and/or fiat currency.

paging @feld

People talk about all the energy and opportunity wasted on bitcoin, but I think neural networks are worse.

Show thread

Neural networks are to AI what password bruteforcing is to cryptography: uninteresting practicalities enabled only by scale.

Breaking a hash function is cool if you devise new insight, but not if you just exhaust every input. In the same way, splatting 10,000 images into a neural network and getting 90% success at recognising a dog is not an interesting academic outcome if you can't explain how the rube goldberg machine makes its decisions.

In application: are submissions/stories/posts that are low-quality (eg, politically motivated, flamebait, etc) more likely to get rapid and extensive engagement than technical/on-topic posts, because those low-quality posts have a low barrier to entry?

Can we automatically detect engagement-outlier posts and freeze them into a moderation queue for consideration before re-enabling discussion?

If so, can such a system focus a community back on topical discussion rather than in-fighting?

Show thread

People often talk loosely about bikeshedding, but: "A [nuclear] reactor is so vastly expensive and complicated that an average person cannot understand it (see ambiguity aversion), so one assumes that those who work on it understand it. On the other hand, everyone can visualize a cheap, simple bicycle shed, so planning one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add a touch and show personal contribution."

Show thread

Hypothesis: posts that are outliers in engagement metrics (comments, score, etc) are more likely to be low quality/controversial/damaging to communities.

Show older
Mastodon @ SDF

"I appreciate SDF but it's a general-purpose server and the name doesn't make it obvious that it's about art." - Eugen Rochko