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Cake day: July 2nd, 2023

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  • Sure, it’s hard to say whether a computer program can “know” anything or what that even means. But the paper isn’t arguing that. It assumes very little about how how LLMs actually work, and it defines “hallucination” as “not giving the right answer” with no option for the machine to answer “I don’t know”. Then the proof follows basically from the fact that the LLM-or-whatever can’t know everything.

    The result is not very surprising, and saying that it means hallucination is inevitable is an oversell. It’s possible that hallucinations, or at least wrong answers, are inevitable for different reasons though.


  • Or just let the mother-to-be charge her insurance at hospital rates for all the blood transfusions and other health care she’s giving the fetus.

    (As a bit of completely unwarranted pedantry — and I’m not a lawyer — most crimes in the US and other common law countries have a mental component (mens rea). This means that e.g. to be guilty of manslaughter you must have chosen to do something willfully harmful or at least unacceptably dangerous, such as attacking someone or driving drunk. So fetuses and babies cannot be guilty of those crimes. Of course, the “charge your insurance” thing probably doesn’t work either.)



  • Yes, but it doesn’t matter, these people don’t read the Bible.

    They do read the Bible though, at least in my experience. I’ve gone to a number of different churches, Evangelical and otherwise, and the Evangelical or otherwise Calvinist folks were the ones that read the Bible the most and in the most detail — but perhaps also the ones who came to horrible conclusions the most often. Like that you should shine the light of Christ into the world by blocking women for promotion at your job, because 1 Tim 2:12 says that Paul does not permit them to have authority over men. (Real example, if possibly the worst one I’ve seen.) Maybe my experience is not representative, but I don’t think the problem is primarily that Evangelicals don’t read the Bible.

    I have a long theory about some of the ways that Evangelicalism distorts Scripture, but one root of the issue is that (IMHO) Scripture was written by humans, reflects the biases of the authors and their societies, and has a lot of horrible things in it. If you take a sola scriptura view and then read it through a lens that’s been cultivated over years to reinforce patriarchy and supremacy (see e.g. Manifest Destiny, the curse of Ham, etc) then you will end up absorbing the genocidal and supremacist bits and not the hospitable and altruistic bits.

    For them, it’s just an excuse to do whatever it is they’re doing.

    For sure. People don’t want to repent. They want to find justifications for what they were already doing, or planning to do.


  • I think the point might be reasonably condensed to:

    • Africa is big and diverse, and its internal geographic barriers (particularly the Sahara) are more significant than the ones dividing it from Europe and from southwest Asia.
    • Some parts of Africa have thousands of years of written or otherwise well-documented history, and each part has seen several waves of significant change, including colonization from other areas of Africa (e.g. by Egypt or Mali), from Europe (e.g. by Rome), and from southwest Asia (e.g. by the Umayyads); and colonization of other areas (e.g. of the Iberian peninsula by Morocco).
    • For some parts of Africa, the latest round of European colonization is arguably less significant than previous changes.
    • Thus, for serious discussions of history, “pre-colonial Africa” is not a useful division to make: you won’t be able to say anything meaningful without more precisely specifying the time and region (e.g. “medieval west Africa”).
    • This isn’t fixed by changing to “pre-European Africa”.
    • Both “pre-colonial Africa” and “pre-European Africa” additionally suck because, instead of using a more relevant division, you are using a less-relevant Eurocentric term.

  • solanaceous@beehaw.orgtoJokes and Humor@beehaw.orgEels
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    7 months ago

    Follow-on serious answer: there are also electric rays, which are known as torpedos. According to Wikipedia, this is from the Latin torpidus meaning “paralyzed” or “numb” (the same root as the English “torpid”). The weapon is named after the fish. Edit: some of these live in the Mediterranean, and that Latin name predates understanding electricity; they were also known to Hippocrates who called them narke with a similar meaning in Greek.

    IIRC some of the other pre-electricity names for electric fish are based on their ability to numb, paralyze or stun people and other creatures.


  • I was having a weird one today so I read through the book of Amos. It’s shockingly similar to the current situation.

    Amos prophesied that Gaza would be destroyed, even genocided, as a reaction to crimes that included kidnapping entire communities. But that’s just an intro to a prophecy that Israel would be violently and mercilessly destroyed in response to a long list of their own crimes.

    I’m not saying that Amos predicted the current situation, just that it’s sad how little we’ve improved in 2500 years.


  • So I wrote a long-ass rundown of this but it won’t post for some reason (too long)? So TLDR: this is a 17,600-word nothingburger.

    DJB is a brilliant, thorough and accomplished cryptographer. He has also spent the past 5 years burning his reputation to the ground, largely by exhaustively arguing for positions that correlate more with his ego than with the truth. Not just this position. It’s been a whole thing.

    DJB’s accusation, that NSA is manipulating this process to promote a weaker outcome, is plausible. They might have! It’s a worrisome possibility! The community must be on guard against it! But his argument that it actually happened is rambling, nitpicky and dishonest, and as far as I can tell the other experts in the community do not agree with it.

    So yes, take NIST’s recommendation for Kyber with a grain of salt. Use Kyber768 + X448 or whatever instead of just Kyber512. But also take DJB’s accusations with a grain of salt.





  • He’s not just ignoring it though: he’s been advancing and legislating (many of) these awful policies for literally fifty years. You might quibble about where to draw the line between “fascism” and “everyday atrocities”, but the guy has done a lot of harm in his life.

    That’s not to say that everything he’s done has been bad. And I’d still rather have him in government than one of today’s fully mask-off GOP fascists: there’s no doubt that this label applies to Trump or DeSantis. But it’s important to recognize that neither party has any interest in ending many of the US’s worst crimes. We’re going to need some major … let’s optimistically say “reform” … for that to happen.