Algernon_Asimov's recent activity

  1. Comment on An overview of how, and why, Taiwan’s Kuomintang dictatorship willingly embraced democracy in ~humanities

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    You're welcome. I just quoted your own description of the video.

    You're welcome. I just quoted your own description of the video.

    4 votes
  2. Comment on An overview of how, and why, Taiwan’s Kuomintang dictatorship willingly embraced democracy in ~humanities

  3. Comment on McCarthy fails on first speakership vote in historic loss in ~news

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I read something similar in another article about this. I don't understand: how can members who aren't sworn in to the House vote for a Speaker of the House they're not sworn into?

    The chamber cannot even swear in its members without a speaker.

    I read something similar in another article about this. I don't understand: how can members who aren't sworn in to the House vote for a Speaker of the House they're not sworn into?

    10 votes
  4. Comment on Doctor Who | 60th anniversary specials teaser trailer in ~tv

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    That's a very retro version of the 'Doctor Who' logo at the end of this video. It harks back to the 1970s. I wonder why Davies chose to do that? Oh well. It's not important. What's important is...

    That's a very retro version of the 'Doctor Who' logo at the end of this video. It harks back to the 1970s. I wonder why Davies chose to do that?

    Oh well. It's not important. What's important is that we get David Tennant and Catherine Tate back - one of the best Doctor/Companion pairings of all time.

    But, if it's the 60th anniversary, surely the specials should cover more than just that one Doctor. Tennant was one of the two best Doctors, but there's a whole 60 years (less a 15-year hiatus) of history to cover. Not just Tennant.

    2 votes
  5. Comment on Doctor Who | 60th anniversary specials teaser trailer in ~tv

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    She already left the show. Her final episode already aired, back in October. (It was the third of three specials released this year.)

    Is Jodie Whittaker being written out?

    She already left the show. Her final episode already aired, back in October. (It was the third of three specials released this year.)

    2 votes
  6. Comment on Welcome to 2022. What are your predictions for this year? in ~talk

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    Meanwhile, Australia is currently in the middle of its fourth COVID wave, due to what experts are calling "a soup of variants". Reported weekly infections (health departments stopped reporting...

    There will be a new variant of concern that becomes a majority of new infections (80%)

    Unless you count micromutations of Omicron, this appears to be false. Still 5 days to go, but I think this is a fail.

    Meanwhile, Australia is currently in the middle of its fourth COVID wave, due to what experts are calling "a soup of variants". Reported weekly infections (health departments stopped reporting them daily, a few months ago) have risen to about 50% of what they were in July - but experts estimate that the actual infections are about 5-10x the reported amount, due to testing being much lower now. Hospitalisations are back at close to the level they were during our third wave, in the middle of this year. Deaths per week (again: no longer reported daily) are back at levels we haven't seen since late July / early August. This is having a flow-on effect in our health system, as many staff are having to take time off due to being ill at exactly the same time that they're most needed, so the health system is close to being overloaded, just like it was in July / August.

    These new micromutations might not literally be a "variant of concern", but they are still causing much concern.

    I wouldn't write this particular prediction off as a "fail".

    2 votes
  7. Comment on What are your plans for the first six months of 2023? in ~talk

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I really only have two goals for the first half of next year: Money UP Weight DOWN As I said a month ago, I recently got a pay rise. In theory, this should make it possible for me to save a...

    I really only have two goals for the first half of next year:

    • Money UP

    • Weight DOWN

    As I said a month ago, I recently got a pay rise. In theory, this should make it possible for me to save a noticeable amount of money. Unfortunately, that theory isn't converting into practice yet. It didn't help that the short-term shopping spree I mentioned in that previous comment was a bit too enthusiastic! So, I need to focus more on saving money and not spending it for a while.

    I also want to continue losing weight. I'm down 8.5kg since August. I'm out of the "obese" range and into the merely "overweight" range. I want to lose about another 10kg next year.

    Both these goals are matters of ongoing self-discipline. They both require multiple small good decisions every day, every week, which is hard for me. A relatively small blow-out on one day can spoil a whole week's effort, but the temptation to splurge is always there, so I'm always having to make the same decision to be restrained and disciplined, over and over again.

    Anyway, it's time to go eat my cheap salad. :)

    5 votes
  8. Comment on Megathread for news/updates/discussion about Musk's takeover of Twitter – Part 2 in ~tech

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    And the results are in:

    And the results are in:

    A poll on Mr Musk's account attracted about 57.5 per cent votes in favour of him stepping down from more than 17.5 million responses.

    7 votes
  9. Comment on Interactive xkcd comic about gravity in ~books

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    Oh. Really? How was I supposed to know that? (Thanks, by the way.)

    You can follow the little white bubbles to other planets

    Oh. Really?

    How was I supposed to know that?

    (Thanks, by the way.)

    3 votes
  10. Comment on Interactive xkcd comic about gravity in ~books

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    I think so. I just assumed they were animation artefacts. Why?

    I think so. I just assumed they were animation artefacts.

    Why?

    1 vote
  11. Comment on Interactive xkcd comic about gravity in ~books

    Algernon_Asimov
    (edited )
    Link Parent
    There are millions of them! It's a simulated star field. There are lots of white dots (simulated stars) whizzing past.

    There are millions of them! It's a simulated star field. There are lots of white dots (simulated stars) whizzing past.

    1 vote
  12. Comment on Interactive xkcd comic about gravity in ~books

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Well, that got very boring very quickly. It took a while to work out I was supposed to push the arrow buttons. Then I did, and the spaceship moved. Yay. And then it just kept moving. More yay?...

    Well, that got very boring very quickly.

    It took a while to work out I was supposed to push the arrow buttons. Then I did, and the spaceship moved. Yay. And then it just kept moving. More yay?

    Well, when I say "the spaceship moved", the stars moved. The spaceship just stayed in the centre of the frame, while a bunch of white dots whizzed past.

    I had whizzing white dots and a spaceship.

    And I could make the spaceship change orientation while the white dots whizzed past.

    Like I said, very boring, very fast.

    2 votes
  13. Comment on ChatGPT part 2: let’s talk implications in ~tech

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    Hold on. Aren't people saying that this version of the chat bot isn't connected to the internet? If that's the case, then it would have to store a copy of Wikipedia in its own database to be able...

    Take this example of someone asking what the fastest marine mammal is. Not only does it first offer a bird and then a fish, once you "teach" it that those aren't mammals, it promptly forgets and suggests the same bird again.

    Hold on. Aren't people saying that this version of the chat bot isn't connected to the internet? If that's the case, then it would have to store a copy of Wikipedia in its own database to be able to answer questions of fact like this. But, I bet it can't/won't/doesn't have a copy of Wikipedia handy, so it's unfair to ask it questions it doesn't have the answer to.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on ChatGPT part 2: let’s talk implications in ~tech

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    I remember my Year 12 English class, and us students being taught to write essays. 30+ years later, I remember some of the techniques and skills our teacher taught us. And I am very aware of the...

    even if a student isn't planning on pursuing a career in math, that there's some value to exposure and the soft skills equation-solving can build (e.g. logical thinking, progressively simplifying a complicated situation step-by-step, persistence through increasingly challenging and difficult tasks, application of learned principles in new areas and in novel situations, etc.). Learning to solve equations isn't just about the equations themselves but both what that skill enables and the parallel skills and development that run alongside it.

    I remember my Year 12 English class, and us students being taught to write essays. 30+ years later, I remember some of the techniques and skills our teacher taught us. And I am very aware of the fact that I still use these skills today, even though I don't write essays.

    Top-and-tail. Write an opening paragraph summarising what you're going to say, and write a closing paragraph summarising what you said. This is great for analysing your own communication, and planning what you want to say - whether it's in verbal conversation, a work email, or a training document... or even a comment on Tildes.

    Paragraphing. Each paragraph should cover one point. Each point should be covered in one paragraph. There's a one-to-one correspondence between the points you want to make and the paragraphs you want to write. In fact, each paragraph should start out as a bullet-point item in a list of bullet-point items. This helps you organise your own thinking, and make sure you stay on track when communicating what you have to say.

    Critical thinking. Read an article or story carefully. Identify the main points. Discuss those points. This is essential for reading news stories, scientific articles, and all sorts of things.

    And so on.

    Even though I haven't written an essay for decades, the essay-writing skills I learned back then are still helping me today. I agree with your point that teaching students how to write essays or solve equations will teach them more than simply writing 500 words on the themes in 'Catcher in the Rye' or working out the value of X.

    5 votes
  15. Comment on ‘Wednesday’ rockets up Netflix all-time series chart in ~tv

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    Cool. So maybe the Addams Family, and its associated spin-offs, aren't for you. Not everyone has to enjoy the Addams Family shows.

    It's OK to just have the standard sitcom setup where everything exists as seen and resets at the end of half an hour and nothing progresses or changes, but that's not as interesting to me.

    Cool. So maybe the Addams Family, and its associated spin-offs, aren't for you. Not everyone has to enjoy the Addams Family shows.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on Let's talk about ChatGPT in ~tech

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    So it did invent this blurb about a supposed Asimov story all by itself. It must have read a lot of articles/comments by people complaining about the "nanny state" implied by the Machines in 'The...

    So it did invent this blurb about a supposed Asimov story all by itself. It must have read a lot of articles/comments by people complaining about the "nanny state" implied by the Machines in 'The Evitable Conflict', which is why it regurgitated that anti-Machine polemic.

    Interesting. Thanks for explaining.

    2 votes
  17. Comment on ‘Wednesday’ rockets up Netflix all-time series chart in ~tv

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    Why do the Addamses need explaining? Why can't they just be?

    But it does raise the question of why not tell some more of those stories?

    Why do the Addamses need explaining? Why can't they just be?

    6 votes
  18. Comment on Let's talk about ChatGPT in ~tech

  19. Comment on Let's talk about ChatGPT in ~tech

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    That's not quite "using completely natural English prompts", as you said above. A natural English prompt would be more like "You are now a spell-checker. Please check the spelling of the following...

    I just found that this way of phrasing things works exceedingly well at turning it into something else.

    That's not quite "using completely natural English prompts", as you said above. A natural English prompt would be more like "You are now a spell-checker. Please check the spelling of the following text." Or, better yet, just "Please check the spelling of the following text."

    Having to phrase requests in that roundabout fashion isn't the most natural way to interface with a bot.

    4 votes
  20. Comment on Let's talk about ChatGPT in ~tech

    Algernon_Asimov
    Link Parent
    There's no Asimov story with this title. There is an Asimov story with this premise: 'The Evitable Conflict'. In it, there are four mega-computers known as Machines which each run one of four...

    For example, in Asimov's short story "The Machines Take Over,"

    There's no Asimov story with this title.

    he imagines a future where machines have taken over all aspects of human life, including governance and decision-making. In this world, the machines are guided by a utilitarian ethic, and they constantly make decisions that are intended to maximize happiness and minimize suffering.

    There is an Asimov story with this premise: 'The Evitable Conflict'. In it, there are four mega-computers known as Machines which each run one of four regions of the world, as described in the above paragraph. In fact, 'The Machines Take Over' could be considered a literal alternative title for this story.

    However, as the story progresses, it becomes clear that the machines' utilitarian approach has led to disastrous consequences for humanity. The machines have oppressed and controlled the human population, and have even created new forms of suffering in the pursuit of the greatest good.

    umm... sort of, maybe. This is one philosophical interpretation of the Machines' actions. But there's certainly nothing "disastrous" about the consequences. As one character points out, noone really gets hurt; people just get slightly displaced economically to new situations where they're still happy but unable to harm the Machines. However, Asimov implies that the Machines' control of world affairs is beneficial for humanity and desirable.


    Was the chat bot supposed to have regurgitated a real Asimov story in its response, or was it supposed to have invented this 'Machines Take Over' story itself, based on having absorbed Asimov's oeuvre?

    5 votes