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kleinbl00  ·  94 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Stephen Wolfram: What Is ChatGPT Doing … and Why Does It Work?  ·  

    Particularly over the past decade, there’ve been many advances in the art of training neural nets. And, yes, it is basically an art. Sometimes—especially in retrospect—one can see at least a glimmer of a “scientific explanation” for something that’s being done. But mostly things have been discovered by trial and error, adding ideas and tricks that have progressively built a significant lore about how to work with neural nets.

Some history: chatGPT and neural nets got a real kick in the ass when Robert Mercer decided to apply Markov chains to high-frequency trading. Markov came up with his theories shortly before being blackballed by the University of St. Petersberg for refusing to rat his students out to the Tsar. Mercer, for his part, basically figured out that Markov chains would allow his hedge fund to reverse-engineer the trading decisions of other dark pool trading bots and front-run them. This made him a lot of money, that he didn't want to pay taxes on, so he hired Cambridge Analytica to destroy the world. All that and he only delayed the inevitable.

    In earlier days of neural nets, there tended to be the idea that one should “make the neural net do as little as possible”. For example, in converting speech to text it was thought that one should first analyze the audio of the speech, break it into phonemes, etc. But what was found is that—at least for “human-like tasks”—it’s usually better just to try to train the neural net on the “end-to-end problem”, letting it “discover” the necessary intermediate features, encodings, etc. for itself.

In other words, the blacker the box, the better the performance. This is important because we're talking about training a model - a representation of reality. There is no part of neural networks or markov bots that attempt to explain that model, their sole purpose is to ape it, input to output. They will give you what you have, and hopefully allow you to predict what you'll get... assuming the future matches the past.

My sound world is governed and defined by Fourier transforms.. This is applied math stuff that argues that any function, no matter how random and chaotic, can be modeled as a series of sine waves. It's a curve fit and for most things it's good enough. You talking into your phone becomes a collection of bits through liberal application of Fourier transforms. And most of the time it works and the world continues in its orbit but sometimes the normies can't tell if it's yanny or laurel at which point we need experts who can explain, in no uncertain terms, that it's fucking laurel, that the normie confusion about it is due to their inexperience with codecs gone bad, that when the curve fit no longer fits the curve the philosophical "what does green even mean, maaaaaan" discussion is fine for Medium but if you're prepping a legal brief it is generally accepted to mean 495-570nm, full stop.

    And, similarly, when one’s run out of actual video, etc. for training self-driving cars, one can go on and just get data from running simulations in a model videogame-like environment without all the detail of actual real-world scenes.

All well and good unless your video game doesn't include bicyclists at night where there are no crosswalks.

    And what one typically sees is that the loss decreases for a while, but eventually flattens out at some constant value. If that value is sufficiently small, then the training can be considered successful; otherwise it’s probably a sign one should try changing the network architecture.

Had an interesting insight while still talking to my mother. Medicaid was paying for her physical therapy. She got "better" much faster than me or my sister anticipated - although her therapists never used the word "better." They kept using the phrase "return to baseline." At one point I asked what, precisely, "return to baseline" meant. The lead therapist cleared her throat, put on her lawyer hat and stated that for purposes of Medicaid reimbursement, "baseline" is determined to be that level of performance at which improvement plateaus such that qualitative measures improve no more than twenty percent over the course of X sessions where X is dependent on the qualitative measure.

"What you're telling me," I said, "is that 'baseline' is not 'where was she before' but 'where does improvement stop.'"

"For purposes of Medicaid reimbursement, that is correct," she said.

Now - my mother left their tender care with a walker. She was good for 20 steps, with assistance, before being winded and in pain. Prior to the accident she was getting around without assistance. "Flattens out at some constant value" does not mean the problem is solved, it means the model can't get any closer. Yeah - "if that value is sufficiently small, then the training can be considered successful" but who is determining the value? "Our self-driving model has avoided running over imaginary bicyclists for 2 million runs, it'll be fine in Phoenix."

    In the future, will there be fundamentally better ways to train neural nets—or generally do what neural nets do? Almost certainly, I think.

Yeah but are we good enough? Remember - ELIZA was created to show what a bad fucking idea all this bullshit is IN 1965!

Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA, running the DOCTOR script, was created to provide a parody of "the responses of a non-directional psychotherapist in an initial psychiatric interview" and to "demonstrate that the communication between man and machine was superficial"

    Or put another way, there’s an ultimate tradeoff between capability and trainability: the more you want a system to make “true use” of its computational capabilities, the more it’s going to show computational irreducibility, and the less it’s going to be trainable. And the more it’s fundamentally trainable, the less it’s going to be able to do sophisticated computation.

And at some point, someone will decide that tradeoff is good enough - Microsoft figured Bing was ready, Google figured Bard was ready. To do that, they performed a sleight-of-hand that Microsoft didn't pull with Tay, but which underpins all this bullshit:

large language models are trained to talk. Search engines are supposed to provide ANSWERS.

This is a great article that I would badge if I had any left. Stephen Wolfram is a straight shooter in my experience and he's done a great job of explaining what the chatGPT is doing - it's chatting. It's not "AnswerGPT." "I'm sorry but you're mistaken, Avatar isn't out yet because the year is 2022" is a stellar answer for a chat bot. It's fucking garbage from a search standpoint.

This is bad enough when we're looking up showtimes. Complications ensue when we're making staffing decisions.

    Why does one just add the token-value and token-position embedding vectors together? I don’t think there’s any particular science to this. It’s just that various different things have been tried, and this is one that seems to work.

This is very much like how Google made their AI marginally less racist by deleting gorillas from the model.. That one sentence "I don't think there's any particular science to this" is why the whole thing is going to crash and burn in an extremely ugly way after doing a fuckton of damage.

"Please explain for the jury, Doctor Scientist, how your program determined my client's position should be terminated due to her work performance, rather than her inability to thrive in a racist environment:"

    But anyway, here’s a schematic representation of a single “attention block” (for GPT-2):

"Thank you, Doctor Scientist. No further questions."

    (As a personal comparison, my total lifetime output of published material has been a bit under 3 million words, and over the past 30 years I’ve written about 15 million words of email, and altogether typed perhaps 50 million words—and in just the past couple of years I’ve spoken more than 10 million words on livestreams. And, yes, I’ll train a bot from all of that.)

Title VII? 13,000 words. The theoretical, scientific underpinnings of Markov chains and neural networks will severely limit any LLM from accurately reproducing law, let alone parse it.

    So how is it, then, that something like ChatGPT can get as far as it does with language? The basic answer, I think, is that language is at a fundamental level somehow simpler than it seems.

Sure - but what we do with it and how we make it isn't, QED. The problem here is now and has always been pareidolia. We see something that talks and we presume it has a soul. The better it talks the more soul we assign to it. The more soul we assign to it, the more value it has and the more value it has the more we let it trample humans. Until, that is, we've trampled enough that they threaten to tear down society.

The fact that there's a lot more news about ChatGPT sucking than chatGPT succeeding is on the one hand heartening but on the other hand deeply discouraging. Neither Microsoft nor Google care. There is no bad news. Fuckups and how they respond just allow faceless corporations to show how much they care. And the Markov bots only operate on a time horizon of a few milliseconds anyway so we're looking for a derivative of a derivative of a derivative of a signal in order to juice the stock price.

"Dr. Wolfram, can you please explain whether these 'large language models' can separate meaningful language from meaningless gibberish?"

    ...is there a general way to tell if a sentence is meaningful? There’s no traditional overall theory for that. But it’s something that one can think of ChatGPT as having implicitly “developed a theory for” after being trained with billions of (presumably meaningful) sentences from the web, etc.

"In other words, Dr. Wolfram, flawed data will produce flawed responses?"

    The basic concept of ChatGPT is at some level rather simple. Start from a huge sample of human-created text from the web, books, etc. Then train a neural net to generate text that’s “like this”. And in particular, make it able to start from a “prompt” and then continue with text that’s “like what it’s been trained with”.

"Thank you, Dr. Wolfram. Your Honor, the prosecution rests."


A fourier transform will allow you to process an analog signal digitally. It rounds the corners off square waves but then, so does physics. It's "good enough" for what we need most of the time - you listen to Spotify at 128kbps VBR, I mix at 48kHz 32-bit floating point unless I need 96kHz or 192kHz. Even then, it tells you what is, not what will be and the whole of what we want LLMs to do is tell us what will be.

Large language models are improvisational LUTs. LUTs are great so long as you don't wander off the map. In the case of office racism, the AI knows what a stereotypical employee should do in a stereotypical environment and anything that deviates from the stereotype is statistically rounded off.

Ergonomics and biomechanics are governed by the "5% human" and the "95% human." Your cars, your bicycles, your scissors, your coffee mugs are designed around 90% of humanity and the other 10% cope for better or worse. I've long said that any schlub can do 80-90% of any job, it's that last 10-20% that keeps you employed.

AI is gonna be great for the stuff that requires no expertise. Unfortunately, expertise involves knowing when expertise is required and AIs suck at that.

Google was gonna have their self-driving cars on the road by what, 2018? This is the problem marketing always has: they don't understand the difficulty of complex problems and they don't want to. Google is usually smart enough not to let marketing steer the ship while Tesla is the opposite of that. Results were predictable. Unfortunately for big stupid tech companies, Western law has sided with "wronged individual" over "faceless corporation" every time the faceless corporation can't prove they were abiding by the law.

And the achilles heel of AI is that the more sophisticated it is, the less you can prove.

kleinbl00  ·  297 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: August 3, 2022  ·  x 2

this was also a long time coming

Worthy of note: those numbers are bullshit. The counts per rev on the motors isn't vaguely right, there's a 9:1 gearmotor between the motor and the ballscrew, and the ballscrew calcs aren't even incorporated. And uhh obviously the motor and the ballscrews aren't even physically connected.

But that's the software, cheerfully controlling a servo motor to a tenth of a micron.

The backlash of the gear motor is under 3 arc minutes, or under 0.05 degrees. The backlash of the GT2 belts is 2.7 arc minutes, or also under 0.05 degrees. two of the axes are 4mm/rev ballscrews, one of them is 2mm/rev. .1 degree at 4mm/rev is 0.0011mm, or 1.1 microns.

The machine originally used closed-loop control via Heidenhain glass scales that were totes stolen by the brigand that sold me the machine. With that closed-loop control the machine managed 1-micron precision. I can buy Mitutoyo scales that will work with a module for the servo pack that will get me to within 0.01 microns, or "a coronavirus." I don't think it'll take that. To assume mirror finish for any waveform you need half the wavelength. Visible light starts at around 370nm, so half of that is 185nm, or around 0.2 microns. The motors, for their part, are 24-bit encoders, so 0.0013 arc minutes per pulse or 0.077 arc seconds. 0.073 nanometers per pulse at which point you acknowledge you're measuring absolute fucktons of noise. 4600 pulses just in the combined backlash of belt and gear motor.

But I've taken this creature from "is it possible" to "do I want it."

I got the motors to wake up yesterday. They appeared in SigmaWin and I could jog them. I choked up like I was watching the end of Babe. I've got at least one dead servopak; I paid $190 ea for them because the local guy told me they were $3k and fuck him. I could buy another for $190 used or $400 new out of China or, apparently $1100 out of any scrupulous North American distributor who isn't giving me the fuck-you price. I found this out when I inquired about getting mine fixed and was told they won't fix it if it'll cost more than 70% of the new price or "around $800."

Here's a $4500 mill. Like that surface finish? Here's its stepper motor. A B C D, baby! Mine have 1500 parameters, life-cycle monitoring and not one, not two, but five thousand-page manuals. Which allow fancy moves like this fucking voodoo at 3:30.

I'm literally at "the plane flies." It's not ready for passengers? I wouldn't take it across the Atlantic? But the proof-of-concept has proven out and this fucker IS GOING TO WORK.

kleinbl00  ·  1393 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Labor Econ Versus the World  ·  

I've been thinking about this comment for a while. From my perspective, Hubski has become a lot more polite than it used to be. "I disagree with you, and you're dumb for thinking this way" is an appropriate response when your counterpart is espousing ideas that are demonstrably wrong.

But then, I've been having online debates since before you were born. My first "internet" experience was using an acoustic coupler to dial into the University of Colorado to play a MUD on a terminal whose only output was a daisywheel printer. I missed being OG "eternal September" by a year. And what I've noticed over the past ten years (but not the past twenty, and not the past 25) is the retreat of anyone over 30. It didn't used to be this way. It started when GenZ hit college.

Because here's the thing: you can be wrong. People are wrong all the time. And when they're wrong, and they're asking questions as to whether they're right, they need to be told they're wrong. When they're holding opinions that you judge to be harmful and toxic, they need to be told they're wrong in such a way that the toxicity is front-and-center. This has been accepted social conversational doctrine my entire life; it was the basis of every single-camera and multi-camera sitcom going back to I Love Lucy. It's the core of Nancy Reagan's Just Say No. It's the basis of Dennis Leary's career.

But a funny thing happened about 2010, 2011. Conversations on the internet started demanding that both sides are always right, and that if one side has absolutely all the facts, they still need to politely assert that they don't have all the facts lest the other side stop listening because their feelings are hurt.

I didn't really grasp why until I'd been back to college, until I'd seen my kid start school, until I had reason to explore the pedagogy of education in these United States and what I discovered is that a doctrine of exploration and self-education has, in most school districts, become an insistence that no one is ever wrong. Whatever ideas you may have, they automatically have merit through the simple act of holding them and if those ideas are to be discounted, they must be discounted by the holder, on the holder's terms, for reasons that are valid only to the holder.

For my part, I came to Hollywood in 2007 and was immediately sheep-dipped into a culture where the people who are wrong are wrong immediately, they are wrong incontrovertibly and the sooner we can get things right the less money we lose because there are 28 people and millions of dollars of gear waiting on your mistake. You can get over your butt-hurt later because we've got shit to do. Your assessment of the world is not the core issue here, it's the broader context and your place in it is entirely optional because there's a long line of people behind you who will do your job without getting wrapped up in whether or not you were right to have your feelings hurt. Likewise, my wife's profession involves life safety and regular discussions with emergency rooms and aid cars. She is surrounded by students who have opinions, who have their knowledge, who have their confidence, and are not going to be walked through whether or not an iron level of 18 should go to the ER "in their opinion" because somebody could die and somebody else has the expertise to answer the question.

And you can't fight the tape. The world is definitely heading towards safe spaces where we never confront each other over our racism or ageism or anything else because that's not the sort of shit you do face-to-face and person-to-person, you see, if you want to strike a blow for social justice you do it by ratioing Twitter threads. You do it by regramming. You do it through in-jokes and memes that Vice will wring their hands over obliquely. Actually telling someone they're wrong? In a conversation? Perish the thought.

So those of us who remember? Those of us who know? We're left with a choice - figure out how to tell you that you're wrong in such a way that your feelings aren't hurt... or find something better to do.

One of the things that bugged the shit out of me when I was your age was people who said "when I was your age." What bugged me more was people who would say "you'll understand when you're older." It's intellectually lazy. It's an appeal to authority based on nothing more than hang time. It's "respect your elders" without any underpinning justification. But it's also a cry for help - it's a statement that "I don't know why you're wrong, but you're wrong, fucking listen to me because I've been around the sun a couple dozen more times than you have and that ought to count for something."

I maintained then and I maintain now that an idea needs to stand on its own, regardless of who puts it forth. What I've learned by growing gray hairs, however, is that it's an instinct borne of the knowledge that simply being ass-in-seat for longer will teach you something, even if you can't elucidate it, even if you can't share it, even if you can't describe it. "Respect your elders" is ultimately based on the same sentiment as Neils Bohr's quote "an expert is someone who has made every mistake there is to make in a narrow field." You might not be able to explain why your opinion is right and their opinion is wrong based solely on the fact that they're half your age, but prejudicially speaking, at least, you've had longer to change your mind.

A lot of people don't have the patience to constantly reframe an argument in their opponent's terms. "You're right, but also impolite about it" has become the most common refrain I've seen over the past ten years whereas the 20 years before that were full of "you're full of shit, let me count the ways, asshole." I'll take the profanity, thanks; it doesn't immediately shift the conversation to whether or not the information was presented in the proper tone of voice.

Most people? Given the choice between having a conversation at a tenor that satisfies the other person no matter how wrong they are or silence? They'll pick silence. And that's how a whole new generation of kids are growing up with the idea that unions are useless, that public school doesn't matter, that feminism is irrelevant, that you're entitled to believe measles is better than measles vaccines. Because those of us who can argue the opposite have given up the effort of explaining it to you because you reject that there can be one right answer. Have given up on defending our certainty of knowledge because we've had this fight since you were born. Have given up on educating the youth because the youth don't want to be educated, they want to be patronized.

Because if the only people you're willing to listen to are the ones who are speaking in your approved tone of voice, the only people you'll hear are the ones you agree with.

goobster  ·  1870 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 11, 2018  ·  

We all have doubts about ourselves. If we didn't we'd all be dicks like Trump.

Doubt isn't a bad thing in and of itself. But it shouldn't hang around. Don't feed it.

Look it in the eye, evaluate it with a clear head, learn what you can from it, and then discard it. Doubt is a reminder to look inward from time to time, and make sure you are who you think you are.

Doubt is a fortune cookie fortune: Interesting in the moment, but useless in the long run.

(And by the by... the "sad panda" visual that appeared in my head almost made me spit out my coffee, it was so funny! Thank you for that!)

flac  ·  2236 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 12, 2017  ·  


I have a temp job that fulfills almost all the requirements I was looking for last week - consistent schedule, paid breaks, near where I live, reasonable pay, and a place to sit, if I want to. It's warehouse work, and I'm pretty good at it.

But more importantly, I got an interview for that job I really fucking wanted. The one over here, the one I thought I was unqualified for. I requested to be the first interview of the day, and they have about 10 other people they're considering for the job.

I don't own a jacket. I don't own a white shirt - though I think I may make one tonight after work. I'm really nervous, but I feel good about the possibility of working a job that I both like and think is important.


Also, the album is unfortunately not coming out on the 15th. Job hunting has been an all-consuming affair. Sometime this month, though.

EDIT: Interview went well! They're doing a second set of interviews next week, should be hearing back this weekend about whether they want me to come in again.

video  ·  #space  ·  #spacex
mk  ·  2943 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 6, 2015  ·  

I have a good friend that transitioned from art school to head of a successful neuroscience lab. His advice on related matters is this: "Bite off more than you think you can chew. It'll go down somehow."

_refugee_  ·  3050 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Thenewgreen rounds up his friends in one big circle and says,   ·  

    _refugee_ -Did you just get a new tattoo? I recall seeing something like that while trying to peruse Hubski on my phone, while my daughter was at dance class. How is the poetry coming along? Any new publications on the horizon? It seems 2014 was a good year for you in that regard, right? How is life with the boyfriend? All good?

I am late to the game on this one. And if anyone has noticed I may be a little late to the game at Hubski in general, or may have been. I am juggling things including a growing hate of my current/new job and I find that I have less Hubski time (or at least it seems to me) as a result.

I did just get a new tattoo. Take a look:

I am very happy with it. There is some background information here but I figured I'd elaborate a bit more and do it justice here, so mk here is a better answer. I'm sorry, I don't Hubski mobile well, and I responded to you on mobile. This is generally the summation I've gotten down to tell people (it still takes a few minutes, it's a complex story, but all the better for such a tattoo, I think):

So, Jimmy Fallon's father, James. He's a scientist, he studies brains. One day he was in the science-y medical place where they look at brain scans. At that time he was doing two studies: one was a familial, casual personal study looking at brain scans of his family members, I think for genetic diseases or trends, not sure. The other was a formal study of psychopathy. At this point it should be mentioned that the brain scans of psychopaths are visibly different from those of non-psychopaths; different areas "light up," to be a layman about it. Anyway, James is in his study, lookin' at a brain scan and he thinks "Aha! We have a perfect example of a psychopath here! Wonderful!"

Then he looked at his notes. Turned out, that scan wasn't from the psychopathy study. It was from his family. So he looked up who it belonged to, and it turned out to be - him! Well, he was nonviolent, he'd never killed or tried to kill anybody, but he did indeed otherwise fall into classic psychopath behaviors. So they interviewed him, and I think he wrote a book.

In the first link I provide the Hubski link for the article I read, in which they interviewed James. One of the things they asked him about was love, and romance. And he admits that "even the most hardcore, cold intellectual wants to believe in the romantic notion." He calls it a "disappointment," when he realized he would never have that. That specific paragraph in which they discuss this "romantic notion," as he terms it, really resonated with me. Why?

Well, because I try to think I'm that cold, hardcore intellectual. That I don't need love or want love. But deep down at the heart of it, I do. I know I do, though I may deny it or say I'm not capable of being in a relationship or anything. But you know what? If a psychopath can admit that even he wanted love - a person who genuinely probably isn't capable of it, at least as we know it - then I can too, or at least, I should be reminded of that. To me, it means - everyone wants love. No matter how we deny it.


Poetry - it's coming. Got a really exciting opportunity tomorrow actually, I'm going to go to a poetry workshop group up in Philly for the first time, see how they are. Maybe I will join. I am hoping it's a good opportunity to get regular feedback on my work by people I trust to "know" poetry. (It can be hard to swallow poetry advice from people who don't read it a lot. I admit. I have my sensitivity there.) Nothing new to announce about January 2015, besides the Deer Skin poem which I know you saw went up and my poem over at Cider House Review. Bop Dead City will put two of my poems in their January issue whenever it goes live but to spare the expectation of any of you buying it I may re-post them online once it goes up - linky

I still have the goal of self-releasing a hand-bound small selection of poems by end of 1Q2015 but there are 2 poems I want to have feedback on before I'll feel totally content with them so the project has been on hold waiting for tomorrow's workshop (where I am being brave and asking them to look at the first of the two).

2014 was extraordinarily good for publications for me. I am hoping 2015 will match it but not optimistic and as usual not enjoying the submission process.


Uh, the boyfriend. Hmm. It's not great but I'm hoping it'll improve. Long story short is he thinks/feels we're at 100% but I am not at 100%. I am hoping it gets better. He's making some life choices I am sure he feels are very necessary and important but I am having a hard time agreeing with them. Because he is a dreamer and I am not. But they won't harm him if they don't pan out, it's just frustrating to watch him 'try' knowing he will most likely get nowhere. However I suppose he has to feel like he's done it instead of just - wake up and smell the coffee. Haha. Hard to sum. Not really worth going into more, though.

Overall - things are OK. I hope they get better, but they aren't bad and could be much worse.

Best wishes to you TNG and thanks for the care.

kleinbl00  ·  3236 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: BREAKING: ISRAEL BEGINS GROUND OFFENSIVE (Sources Incoming, see Comments)  ·  x 6

<deep sigh>

I've read like eight books(edit: I wrote this, then wrote what follows - the actual number is over 20). Israel is kind of the distillation of conflict and hegemony going back to the Crusades. As such, you kind of need to form your own opinion. I can give you my mileposts; you may or may not come to the same conclusions.

1) The Jews are kicked out of Palestine by the Babylonians in the Diaspora (A)

2) A return to Israel becomes ingrained in the basic prayers of the Jews (A)(B)

3) Landless, the Jews wander afield. Many end up in Europe, where they are treated like outcasts and forbidden from working the land, thereby shoving them into occupations like tailoring and moneylending (A)(C)

4) The Crusades expose Europeans to the current occupants and conflicts of Palestine, restructuring religious and cultural comprehension of Europeans as "our Jews" and the Moors as "their Jews" (A)

5) Persecution of Jews continues in Continental Europe with the expulsion of the Moors and persecution of the Sephards in Spain, driving more Jews to England (A)

6) England, eager to legitimize Anglicanism, embraces the Old Testament and all things Jewish (except Jews, who still can't own land) as a refutation of all things Catholic, leading to the Puritan tradition of naming white kids after biblical Jews (A).

7) The Enlightenment and Renaissance re-align Europe along the concept of boundaries and nationalism rather than city-states and tribalism, further alienating and disenfranchising the Jews (D)

8) English purges drive the Puritans to the United States, where "jewishness" as a biblical conceit remains worshipped but actual Jews remain reviled (A)

9) As colonization and empire flourish, so does materialism and territorialism thereby raising the hate levels against Jews, culminating in the Dreyfus Affair, in which a French army captain is tried for treason essentially for being Jewish (A)(B)(C)(D)

10) The Dreyfus Affair prompts another diaspora of European Jews to England, where Theodore Herzl and others come up Zionism not as an approach to trample the rights of Palestinians, but as a way to keep from going extinct in the face of 2000 years of persecution and extermination (A)(B)(D)

11) The outbreak of WWI and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire ("The sick man of Europe") leads to a global reapportionment of territory in which the Middle East is carved up willy-nilly for Western empires, particularly France and England (D)(E)

12) Sensing an in, Theodore Hertzl petitions Lord Balfour for a chunk of land to move all the Jews to so they don't get exterminated by French, Russian, German, Spanish and English pogroms. Balfour offers Uganda. Hertzl says "yay" everyone else says "Uganda?" (A)(D)(E)

13) Baron Rothschild (AKA the richest, Jewishest rich Jew in the history of rich Jews) appeals to Balfour for Palestine, rather than Uganda, and the British Empire essentially signs a letter of intent saying "We don't have a particular problem with that, but we're not going to support it, really, you're on your own, fuckers." Europe and the European Middle East collectively LOSE THEIR SHIT (A)(B)(C)(D)(E)(F)


14) With a little bit of money and not a lot of support, a hard-core Zionists buy up a couple hundred acres in Jaffa that will become Tel Aviv. The Arabs, who never got the "territory not tribe" memo (D) say "fuck this noise" and begin terrorism and warfare with material support from the French (E)(F)

(non-sequitor about Jewish persecution in Tsarist Russia goes here - this is how my great grandfather Mordechai went from being a jeweler in Moscow to being a greengrocer in Manhattan)

15) The world spirals into a nasty depression wherein everyone loses all their money. The Germans, loath to blame their misfortunes on their war of aggression against Belgium and France, blame it on war reparations they never actually paid and on those filthy Jews, who have always been handy, and who are hated by the Spanish, French, Italians and the entirety of the former Hapsburg Empire (your 6th grade history teacher)

16) BAD THINGS HAPPEN brought to you by The History channel

17) The United States, noticing that Europe has twice driven the world to war over old grudges and recognizing that oil is the future, proceeds to ass England out of Saudi Arabia for ever in exchange for all the oil they can drink, all the guns they can sell, and a "don't ask, don't tell" policy towards those filthy Jews across the peninsula (C)(F)(G)(H)

17) Hitler's Bunker etc V-E Day and kissing in the streets. Meanwhile, France is in ruins, Belgium is in ruins, Germany is in ruins, Poland is in ruins, Italy is in ruins, England is broke as fuck and the United States is ascendant. All of the countries listed aside from the United States enact policies and procedures that essentially say "we don't care that this was your house, we don't care that this was your job, we don't care that your family was gassed at Dachau this is ours now and you should fuck off, you filthy Jew" (C - Seriously - the entire last chapter of C is a solid, documented, footnoted argument that while the Germans were the ones that actually carried out the Holocaust most every country in Europe was thinking about it, was aligned with its principles, and was pretty damn happy to have those filthy Jews gone).

18) Tel Aviv is now one hope in a blasted hellscape of holocaust survivalism and a Europe that just doesn't give a fuck about the Jews. Everybody bolts for "Israel." The British hate this because, completely assed out of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Palestine are all they have for oil that they desperately need. (B)(C)(D)(F)

19) Now at odds over how to run the world, England sidles up to Iran, France sidles up to Egypt and the United States sidles up to Saudi Arabia. Not surprisingly, half of the intelligence apparatus of Europe ends up in Israel. (C)(H)(I)

20) Irate over the rapacious contracts enjoyed by the Anglo Iranian Oil Company (AOIC, aka BP), Mohammed Mossadegh is swept to power. England, thoroughly assed out of oil, attempts to overthrow Mossadegh and enlists US help. The US somehow manages to fuck up in such a way that the English coup attempt fails but another all-American attempt a week later succeeds, thereby installing Mohammed Zair Shah, an American puppet, in the Peacock throne. US interests now control Saudi Arabian and Iranian crude 100%, thereby converting England to a vassal state of the United States (C)(G)(H)(I)(J)

21) Gamal Abdel Nasser decides to dam the Aswan in Egypt. England and the US offer to help. Nasser decides Non-Alignment is the way to go and gets Soviet aid as well. England and the US withdraw in a huff. Nasser nationalizes the dam, thereby evaporating large swaths of European investment. England and France enlist Israeli intelligence to help them invade Egypt. The United States, not consulted on the adventure and knee-deep in a proxy war with the Soviet Union in Korea, pins all three country's ears back but especially Israel. Israel gains material support from the United States and intelligence exchanges. (C)(I)

22) (SPECULATION AHEAD) The United States, just to put Israel in its place, mentions nothing about the massed troops plainly visible via satellite reconaissance that led to the Yom Kippur War. Israel faces an existential crisis and gains land; the Arab world is humiliated, and the only remaining power in the Middle East that isn't on the US payroll is pushed back. (B)

23) Israel becomes even more of a rallying point/thorn in the side of Middle East countries. Nasser is assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the great-grandfather of Al Qaeda, the PLO, Hamas and every other faction in the Middle East. Yasser Arafat, an Egyptian, re-invents himself as "Palestinian" to put a human face on the Arab-Israeli conflict. (B)(D)

24) Stansfield Turner, DCI, responds to Watergate revelations by conducting the Halloween Massacre at the CIA, whereby the agency essentially purged its abilties of HUMINT (HUMan INTelligence) in favor of ELINT (ELectronic INTelligence) and IMINT (IMaging INTelligence). As part of this process, the United States loses the ability to predict the fall of the Shah and rise of the Ayatollah, thereby turning over the 2nd-largest military and arsenal over to Islamic extremists with a real axe to grind against the US. (G)(H)(I)(K)(L)(M)(N)(O)

25) Iran, fully recognizing that the CIA is effectively its only oppositional power in the Middle East, begins a Soviet-style proxy battle against the CIA and, therefore Israel, its paid-in-full puppet and the most obvious thorn in the side of Islam via Hamas and Hezbollah. IT'S SUPER-EFFECTIVE. Their greatest success, aside from the Marine barracks bombings and utter chaos enjoyed by the Middle East at large, is kidnapping and murdering William Francis Buckley, the legit CIA station chief for, like, The Middle East. (I)(L)(M)(N)(O)

26) The CIA begins a perpetual hard-on for anything related to annihilation of the regime in Iran. This includes arming and encouraging Iraq in a bloody and pointless war that kills millions. France, never one to miss a beat, sells Iraq mustard gas. Meanwhile half the oil in the Middle East is no longer American so the United States doubles down in Saudi Arabia where, by the way, Wahabism is sweeping the ruling class. IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Saudi Arabia is run basically by the Kardashians. It’s not really a country. It’s about 80 dudes directly related to Ibn Saud that do what they want. (F)(G)(H)(I)(K)(L)(M)(N)(O)

27) So here we are: Saudi Arabia wants Israel annihilated because Jews. Iran wants to fuck with Israel because CIA. Iraq fired Scuds at Israel because CIA. The CIA relies entirely on Israel because William Buckley. And when Europe and Russia completely assed the Jews out of their homes, the United States has been providing Israel with material aid since WWII. And, by the way, a lot of them emigrated to the United States. (A-O)

TL:DR: Israel is where Europe finally got to cast all its jews. Israel is the most democratic and American-friendly state left in the Middle East, so we rely on them for intelligence and ground support in proxy warfare. Israel, in turn, takes the brunt of Islamic aggression against the West because not only are they an obvious example of Americanism, but they are literally the boots on the ground for a clash of ideas going back to the Enlightenment and a clash of colonization going back to the Crusades.

In my opinion? The Palestinians will be wiped out. It’s just a matter of time. They’re Native Arabians on the Reservation and eventually the plague blankets will catch up with them. But it isn’t the “Israelis” that started this.

It’s us.

And that’s why there are no simple answers.

(PS I could throw more books at this)


(A) Bible and Sword: England and Palestine from the Bronze Age to Balfour by Barbara Tuchman

(B) The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, The West, and the Future of the Holy City by Dore Gold

(C) Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945

(D) How To Win A Cosmic War: Confronting Radical Religions by Reza Aslan

(E) Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World by Margaret McMillan

(F) Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism by Dore Gold

(G) Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold our Soul for Saudi Crude by Robert Baer

(H) Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer

(I) Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Wiener

(J) All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer

(K) RESET: Iran, Turkey and America's Future by Stephen Kinzer

(L) Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA in Afghanistan from the Soviet Invasion to September 10 2001 by Steve Coll

(M) Charlie Wilson's War:blah blah blah super long subtitle by George Crile

(N) Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent by Fred Burton

(O) See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism by Robert Baer

mike  ·  3242 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Mid-2014 Hubski Sticker Vote Thread  ·  x 2

Inspired by veen, here is a fractal hubski animation. I know it would have to be a tricky sticker to animate.

This has recursion level 4:

And here's one with recursion level 6:

Each group of 8 "satellites" has a total area equal to its "planet". The initial orbital distance of the first ring of 8 satellites varies in this animation (in the Hubski logo, they are spaced one satellite diameter away from the planet). Subsequent orbits are of the ratio of sqrt(2)-1, or approximately 0.4142. This makes the satellites of neighbors overlap precisely. I was pleased to find the ratio of sqrt(2)-1. I've done a lot of cool math with sqrt(2)+1, and so this is a new direction to explore!

kleinbl00  ·  3304 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: On Jumping to Conclusions  ·  

This right here is perhaps the most important thread in this entire discussion. Everything else boils down to "how do you remember your manners?" and the answers, as varied and creative as they are, boil down to "more or less successfully" with interludes of "but I always try harder." Here's the crux of it:

civility is a design choice as much as a cultural choice.

More than that, the two are interrelated. Structure can emphasize civility and denigrate hostility, or it can reward "entertainment." So this statement:

    there can be good subreddits, but by default they aren't, because you need both a strong community and a way to create and maintain a civil community.

Has the distinct problem of presuming that it would be possible to create a civil community on a borderless site where flamboyance is rewarded and nonconformity is punished.

Haven't shown this off in years - wanna see my first "big" comment on Reddit?


That's me, talking shit to a spammer. And everyone else piling on. Got the entire domain banned - not bloody bad, eh?

Problem is, there's nothing remotely civil about any part of that discussion. Nothing. No aspect of it. But it's a funny beatdown, and it feels really good when you read it.

The problem with Reddit is everyone is "tom" to someone else.

"upvotes" and "downvotes" are every bit as civilizing as Nero's Thumb at the Colosseum. There's no compassion, there's no consideration, there's just a binary affinity gage - positive or negative. Combine that with two interesting factoids:

- 80% of the participants don't vote at all, so the gage is dominated by outliers

- You react to criticism between three and twelve times as strongly as praise.

Think about that - if you want to create a healthy community, your "upvote" should have between three and twelve times as much weight as your "downvote." Your "mad props" comments should be between three and twelve times as much weight as your "fuck you tom"s.

Have you ever seen a "mad props" comment that's even in the same zipcode as that "fuck you tom?"

I have, but it didn't come easy.

There's really only one solution: a site that only rewards positivity. It's not possible to accomplish it 100% (my beatdowns of Ramona being heavily "hubbed" or whatever are proof of that) but if you don't make a conscious effort to reward positivity and discourage negativity, you're going to end up with rage and kittens.

The steady state of Reddit is "shit to be angry about" and "completely inoffensive things." And that's why, no matter how hard individual subreddits try (and I'm a part of several that try really.fucking.hard), they will always be swimming against the tide of design.