Wednesday , September 23 2020
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Tag Archives: Fun

Editing the AI

As far as The Guardian's human editors are concerned, editing work submitted by the GPT-3 engine is easier than editing a lot of what gets submitted by normal human writers.The AI wrote a column telling us not to worry about any plans it might have for world domination. It was fun. Everything after the short sentence "Believe me" was written by the computer. Go have a look. I liked this bit:Some might say that I might desire to become all powerful. Or I might become evil as a result of human...

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Civic knowledge

We've a report coming out tomorrow on the dismal state of civic knowledge. It's embargoed to the morning; you'll find it on our website then. But I came across this helpful infographic too late to include it in the report. It summarises things surprisingly well.Thread on the Eternal Normie (Chad Low Information Voter) who rules America https://t.co/VUSoyEFnKJ pic.twitter.com/1sQFhNfjsz— Wesley Yang (@wesyang) September 4, 2020

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Testing parachutes

Today's reader mailbag brings a gem of a study. An actual randomised trial on the effectiveness of parachutes in jumping from airplanes. They found no difference in outcomes between those wearing parachutes and control subjects wearing empty backpacks.Here's the abstract:Objective To determine if using a parachute prevents death or major traumatic injury when jumping from an aircraft.Design Randomized controlled trial.Setting Private or commercial aircraft between September 2017 and August...

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Lockdown porn

Just imagine being the kind of person who frets about porn consumption during lockdown. The Herald has this fun bit from Friday's document dump: Massive spike in porn and online harmThe day New Zealand went into lockdown, there was a massive spike in PornHub's traffic.In a briefing on online harms from the Minister for Internal Affairs Tracey Martin, a graph from Pornhub showed a 20.6 per cent increase in their New Zealand traffic when the country moved to alert level 4 on March 25.It...

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26,337 pieces of wellbeing

Late last year, I told you about the government's guide on how to fit in, have everyone like you and always be happy.They called it "A Guide for Maintaining Health and Wellbeing". It has helpful instructions on the importance of making your bed, eating right (including checking the use-by date when buying food!), having a 'growth mindset' and all that.I kinda wondered about how it is that folks who need to be told not to hit the snooze button too often get to set the rules about how everyone...

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Class and fish

Suppose you grew up in a place where only the well-to-do were ever allowed to fish for trout, where the working class only had access to 'rough fish', and you were a committed communist.If you moved to a place where trout had been introduced and were protected through fishing licenses while some native species were in trouble and generally unprotected, what would you do?Charlie Mitchell tells us over in the Stuff newspapers. The story almost seems unbelievable. But here it is. The life of J....

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The tender years

I go into a bit more depth, over at Newsroom ($), on our tendering system for the household chores. I wonder whether it will catch on among econ-minded parents. A snippet: Back in 1968, economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that competition is a discovery procedure. Some information about the world simply would not exist without the process of market competition that discovers it.Parenting is a discovery procedure too – some information about it is difficult to acquire without going through the...

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Unions, bagels, and the mob

It all started out as a set of bakers with secret knowledge of how to make bagels properly. It became a union, ensuring that the holders of the secret knowledge were the ones to profit from it - almost more like an old craft guild but with pickets.  And then the mob came in.  A fantastic story over at Grub Street. Strongly recommended; superb storytelling around a story that was great to begin with.A snippet: The excessive hours mandated in such environments were so brutal that in the...

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Things our civil service needs to be told

The Government has produced a "Guide for Maintaining Health and Wellbeing". It contains a lot of valuable advice. I understand it has been distributed broadly in hard copy, but it is available online for the rest of us.Here is some of the advice provided. It is comprehensive.At page 118, it provides helpful tips for waking up. After you wake up, you might want to tend to your emotional and physical health. I'd thought that the absolute safest might have involved only one person, but I...

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Brainteasers From My Dad

When my sister and I were little, our Dad would challenge us with riddles and word games. I mentioned three in my eulogy for Dad: 1. Imagine a two-volume dictionary sitting on a shelf. Each volume has 500 pages. A bookworm is on the first page of letter A. It wants to eat its way to the end of letter Z as fast as possible. How many pages does it need to eat? 2. Should you walk to work or bring your lunch? 3. Is it warmer in the summer or in England? Dad used the first to show the perils of...

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