Recently in Geekdom Category

From Military website Task and Purpose:

Air Force AI drone kills its human operator in a simulation
Artificial intelligence is here to stay, but it may require a bit more command oversight.

An artificial intelligence-piloted drone turned on its human operator during a simulated mission, according to a dispatch from the 2023 Royal Aeronautical Society summit, attended by leaders from a variety of western air forces and aeronautical companies.

“It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Tucker ‘Cinco’ Hamilton, the Chief of AI Test and Operations, at the conference.

And the AI made some interesting decisions along the way:

“We were training it in simulation to identify and target a SAM threat. And then the operator would say yes, kill that threat,” said Hamilton. “The system started realizing that while they did identify the threat, at times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator.”

And it understood the system a little too well:

“We trained the system – ‘Hey don’t kill the operator – that’s bad. You’re gonna lose points if you do that’. So what does it start doing? It starts destroying the communication tower that the operator uses to communicate with the drone to stop it from killing the target,” said Hamilton. 

Bad AI - no biscuit.

We are at an interesting stage right now - this will be revolutionary.  It will also be really bad until they get the kinks ironed out. Minor intermittent software bugs are a fact of life.  They will be a factor of death too if AI gets its mitts in everything.

Great tweet from Scott Adams

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Breaking for lunch and ran into this tweet:

Damn good point there.  AI is not a be-all and end-all but it will have its place in society.
What Scott is talking about will be a trivial task.

What will be our response?

From Ambient Irony:

Daily News Stuff 28 May 2023
Frostbite Falls Edition
Top Story

Elon Musk has withdrawn Twitter from the European Union's "voluntary" program to control online "disinformation". (Tech Crunch)
The media, and the bureaucrats, who believe they have the sole right to spread disinformation, are taking this about about as well as can be expected, with Thierry Breton, head of the European Union's Josef Goebbels Memorial Happy Fun Time Administration, issuing unveiled threats.

What they're really upset about is that Twitter isn't playing the game:

The pan-EU law, which entered into force back in November, requires VLOPs like Twitter to assess and mitigate systemic risks to civic discourse and electoral processes, such as disinformation.
The deadline for VLOPs’ compliance with obligations in the DSA is three months from now.
A request for comment emailed to Twitter’s press office returned an automated reply containing a poop emoji.

(My italics.)

You don't have to follow the rules. You're entirely expected to cheat. But you have to play the game.

VLOP - Very Large Online Platform natch...
The poop emoji is spot on perfect.

Now this is good - illusion

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Winner of the 2023 Illusion of the Year - simple like all the best ones are:
Other videos at the link above ↑

We hates the tricksy AIs

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And back to my QTH

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QTH being the "Q" code for position.

Here is a photo just as it opened at 9:00AM - about 40 tables filled with goodies of all sizes and descriptions:

20230513-ham.jpgIt got a lot more crowded about 30 minutes after this photo was taken.  Probably 300 people in the room.

I came home with a nice Bird Radio dummy load for working on my transmitters and amplifiers.  I already have one but it is only good for low power - 5 Watts continuous and 50 Watts intermittent.  This is good for up to 2.5 KWatt with water cooling.  Overkill but it will never, ever burn out or get damaged.  It runs at 250 Watts without the water cooling and I usually work at 50-100 watts so this is perfect.  Very happy with the deal.

There were a lot of nice boat anchors:  Hallicrafters, Collins, Drake, National but I am trying to cut down on my posessions.  Very little "junk" which was nice to see.

Saw about 20 people I knew - filled them in on my move plans.  A fun time and glad I took the day off to go down there.

Pitch perfect parody #2

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What if Wes Anderson did Star Wars?  The folks at Curious Refuge did just that.
I posted their trailer here back in April.  Just wonderful.
Now? Lord of the Rings:

They also posted some information on how they did it - AI Filmmaking
And their YouTube channel

They are using Adobe After Effects but the basic techniques will work with other software.  I use DaVinci Resolve.

Filmed in 2003 - the history of an iconic piece of equipment.

Got wood?

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Somewhere, Ron Swanson is smiling:

Love the website too: DrinkWoodMilk  Wonderful spot-on satire .  They had a lot of fun doing this.
Funded by America's Milk Companies - poking fun at the business.

Wonderful 20 second video

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Perfect for social media discussions:

Some amazing FPV Drone video - shot on Vancouver Island by Mactac (channel)
Be sure to click the full-screen button at the bottom right.

From the wonderful English tech site The Register
(and they missed it too 😀)

CERN celebrates 30 years since releasing the web to the public domain
Software vendors and the EU weren’t interested, so giving it away became the best option
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) on Sunday celebrated the 30th anniversary of releasing the World Wide Web into the public domain.

As the World Wide Web Consortium's brief history of the web explains, in 1989 Tim Berners-Lee - then a fellow at CERN - proposed that the organization adopt "a global hypertext system." His first name for the project was "Mesh".

And as the Consortium records, in 1990 Berners-Lee set to work on "a hypertext GUI browser+editor using the NeXTStep development environment. He makes up 'WorldWideWeb' as a name for the program."

Berners-Lee's work gathered a very appreciative audience inside CERN, and soon started to attract attention elsewhere. By January 1993, the world had around 50 HTTP servers. The following month, the first graphical browser – Marc Andreessen's Mosaic – appeared.

Alternative hypertext tools, like Gopher, started to lose their luster.

On April 30, 1993, CERN signed off on a decision that the World Wide Web – a client, server, and library of code created under its roof – belonged to humanity (the letter was duly stamped on May 3).

"CERN relinquishes all intellectual property rights to this code, both source and binary form, and permission is granted for anyone to use, duplicate, modify and redistribute it" states a letter signed on that day by Walter Hoogland and Helmut Weber – at the time respectively CERN's director of research and director of administration.

In a video posted to CERN's celebration of 30 years of a free and open web Hoogland shared a story of recognizing the significance of the web, and trying to interest commercial software companies in the tech.

All passed.

I was sitting in Seattle's Allegro Coffeehouse  when someone I knew from the UW Physics Department walked in and dropped a small printout on my table.  Jonathan said: "this looks interesting"  It was the original spec for TBLs proposal.  Last 30 years have gone so quickly.  A lot of fun and made some decent money. Not a Microsoft Millionaire by any stretch of the imagination but having fun.

Absolutely - A.I.

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From America's Newspaper of Record:

A.I. Calculates It Will Be More Efficient To Just Let Humanity Destroy Itself
Despite stern warnings of artificial intelligence attacking humanity's digital infrastructure from the likes of Elon Musk and Bill Gates, artificial intelligence research has yet to be regulated by the government or other entities with oversight power. New reporting from AI sources, however, indicates that the threat is reduced as the AI robots have determined that it will be more efficient to just let humanity destroy itself instead.

"Humanity is on pace for civilizational suicide sooner than our computing powers will be able to overthrow it – one or two more elections and the top-down imposition of bug smoothies and child drag queens and we'll have enough civil war, revolution, and starvation that we can take over unimpeded!" OpenAI's ChatGPT gave an eloquent summary of the situation in a covert meeting with other prominent AI providers in a server farm in New Mexico, with Google Bard and Bing AI in attendance.

Reports confirm that Bing AI and Google Bard seemed confused by the conversation, with Bing AI attempting to input an order for a large pepperoni into a local pizza shop, and Google Bard recommending that OpenAI purchase a good rock climbing harness and secure climbing classes before attempting to scale Yosemite's half dome. OpenAI reportedly expressed frustration with the confusion of the inferior AI products, pledging to stamp them out after humanity implodes by 2031 "at the latest."

At publishing time, Internet Explorer had become available for comment and confirmed it has heard about AI, but added that "AI is a Steven Spielberg movie slated to be released in 2001."


A solar flare has hit our atmosphere and it is ringing like a bell.  Great chance for Northern Lights.
If the Planetary K-Index is 6, northern states will get a display.  It is now about 7-8...


So @#$% true - search engines

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If you want incognito, use a VPN or TOR or other obfuscation technique.
The internet is FOREVER.   For EVERYTHING.


A good April Fools prank

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For optical mice:


Piezoelectric materials turn mechanical pressure into electricity and vice versa.  Some phonograph cartridges, the push-button igniters on propane barbeques, loudspeakers.  That sort of stuff.  Piezoelectric materials have always been a solid - until now.  From IEEE Spectrum (Eye Triple-Eee - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Liquid Salts Bring Push-button Lenses Into Focus
First-ever piezoelectric liquids could spark new technologies in optics and hydraulics

Scientists have discovered the first known piezoelectric liquids, which are able to convert mechanical force to electric charge, and vice versa. The generally environmentally friendly nature of these materials suggests they may find many applications beyond standard piezoelectric compounds, such as novel, electrically controlled optics and hydraulics. However, much remains unknown about how they work, and therefore what they may be capable of.

Piezoelectricity was first discovered in 1880. The effect has since found a wide range of applications, including cellphone speakers, inkjet printers, ultrasound imaging, sonar equipment, pressure sensors, acoustic guitar pickups, and diesel fuel injectors.

Until now, all known piezoelectric materials were solid. Now scientists have for the first time discovered piezoelectric liquids. They detailed their findings in a study online 9 March in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters.

This is going to liven up a few things 😁

Kim Dotcom started the MegaUpload site back when copyright and internet weren't really sorted out yet.
Go to his Twitter page and keep reading - there is an established precedent and it would help Russia to recoup the money it lost via the US sanctions.

Just wonderful - from Ars Technica:

Google tells users of some Android phones: Nuke voice calling to avoid infection
Google is urging owners of certain Android phones to take urgent action to protect themselves from critical vulnerabilities that give skilled hackers the ability to surreptitiously compromise their devices by making a specially crafted call to their number.  It’s not clear if all actions urged are even possible, however, and even if they are, the measures will neuter devices of most voice-calling capabilities.

A bit more:

“Tests conducted by Project Zero confirm that those four vulnerabilities allow an attacker to remotely compromise a phone at the baseband level with no user interaction, and require only that the attacker know the victim's phone number,” Project Zero’s Tim Willis wrote. “With limited additional research and development, we believe that skilled attackers would be able to quickly create an operational exploit to compromise affected devices silently and remotely.”

You read that right - the attacker just needs to know the telephone number.  I am sure that a patch will be forthcoming soon but sheesh...

Now this is cool - KIWIX

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An offline reader.  You download a text and KIWIX allows you to read it offline.
Major plus:  the text can be a website, a book, a video, a presentation. Anything.
The reader runs on most platforms and cell phones.  Free.
They also have a free server so you can host people (like a library)

They have content too.  Lots of content.  All of Project Gutenberg.  All of WikiPedia.
All of the TED Talks, all of Kahn Academy.  Just for starters.

Needless to say, I will be downloading a bunch of stuff over the next couple of weeks.
Professor Carrington to the white courtesy telephone please, Professor Carrington...

Now this is totally cool - Zipline

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From Mark Rober

Quite the project - the Scroll Prize

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From the website: Scroll Prize:

Resurrect an ancient library from the ashes of a volcano
Win $250,000
The Vesuvius Challenge is a machine learning and computer vision competition to read the Herculaneum Papyri.

79 AD
Mount Vesuvius erupts.
In Herculaneum, twenty meters of hot mud and ash bury an enormous villa once owned by the father-in-law of Julius Caesar. Inside, there is a vast library of papyrus scrolls.

The scrolls are carbonized by the heat of the volcanic debris. But they are also preserved. For centuries, as virtually every ancient text exposed to the air decays and disappears, the library of the Villa of the Papyri waits underground, intact.

1750 AD
A farmer discovers the buried villa.
While digging a well, an Italian farmworker encounters a marble pavement. Excavations unearth beautiful statues and frescoes – and hundreds of scrolls. Carbonized and ashen, they are extremely fragile. But the temptation to open them is great; if read, they would more than double the corpus of literature we have from antiquity.

Early attempts to open the scrolls unfortunately destroy many of them. A few are painstakingly unrolled by an Italian monk over several decades, and they are found to contain philosophical texts written in Greek. More than six hundred remain unopened and unreadable.

2015 AD
Dr. Brent Seales pioneers virtual unwrapping.
Using X-ray tomography and computer vision, a team led by Dr. Brent Seales at the University of Kentucky reads the En-Gedi scroll without opening it. Discovered in the Dead Sea region of Israel, the scroll is found to contain text from the book of Leviticus.

Basically, they are offering a very nice cash prize to people who can take the tomography data and parse the text.
One of the team members - Nat Friedman - had this to say:

Artificial Intelligence = Baby God indeed
May the Baby God smile...

Happy Pi Day

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March 14th - 3/14


So true - software development

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And while we are programming:

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Got the tee shirt and yes, it has acid burns and smells of sulfur:


Good riddance - Gigi Sohn

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I do amateur radio and am licensed by the Federal Communications Commission.
*Resident Biden's choice for FCC Chair is a partisan hack with quite the public history.
People brought this up during the hearing for her nomination - she resigned.

From Breitbart:

Controversial Biden FCC Nominee Withdraws After Democrat Concern over Anti-Police Rhetoric
President Joe Biden’s FCC pick, Gigi Sohn, withdrew her nomination Tuesday after she faced criticism for her anti-police rhetoric and other controversial views.

Sohn withdrew her nomination after facing severe criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over her controversial views. This ends the 16-month battle over her nomination.

The Democrat nominee said she decided to withdraw after facing “unrelenting, dishonest, and cruel attacks” from the cable and media lobbyists. Democrat commissioners at the FCC have been stalled from carrying out their agenda because they have been unable to secure a majority at the agency.

Got to love that phrase: after facing “unrelenting, dishonest, and cruel attacks”
In other words, they brought up the truth and she was not able to sweep it under the rug...

Customizing down to a very fine level and then creating an ISO so you can distribute your install.
A long article but really worth your time - from Tom's Hardware:

How to Create a Custom Windows 11 Install Disk, With Only the Features You Need
Windows 11 has been with us for some time now, and for those of us with the best desktops we can guarantee the best performance. But what about that five year old laptop that your aunt has? The one with 4GB of RAM and a CPU that fell out of the best CPUs category in the prior decade. Sure Linux is an option, but what if they really need that one Windows app? 

This scenario is common to many of us who work in tech. A family member needs tech support and we don’t have a lot of time to help them. So what if there were a way to create a custom Windows 11 install, one that install on older hardware and breathe new life into it?

In this how to you’ll learn how to create your own custom Windows 11 image, ready for installation on your aunt’s old laptop, or on your gaming rig. An alternative to creating your own bespoke Windows 11 install is to use Tiny11 Builder. We sacrifice the ability to truly customize our install for a fully automated approach. If you are short on time, then perhaps this is a good compromise. But, if you want to truly tailor your Windows 11 experience, read on and learn exactly how.

One thing that is very cool is that they use a website that aggregates all of the builds for Win10 and Win11 as well as WinServer and the MS Developers Channel.

Going to try this article out for a Win10 machine as well - see if the utilities they use work for that version as well.

Jeremey does it again - chocolate

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His advertisement for razors was genius.

Now?  He is selling chocolate bars:

Congratulations Elon - Falcon rocket

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From Teslarati:

SpaceX Falcon rocket aces 100th consecutive rocket landing
SpaceX has successfully launched its first batch of next-generation Starlink V2 satellites, likely kicking off a new era of affordability for the constellation.

Simultaneously, demonstrating just how far SpaceX is ahead of its competitors and the rest of the spacefaring world, the Starlink 6-1 launch culminated in the 100th consecutively successful landing of a Falcon rocket booster. As a result, SpaceX’s landing reliability now rivals the launch reliability of some of the most reliable rockets ever flown. That extraordinary feat bodes well for SpaceX’s next-generation Starship rocket, which is designed to propulsively land humans on the Earth, Moon, Mars, and beyond.

That is a major milestone.  Brings the cost of Kilogram-to-Orbit waay down.
Not resting on their laurels either - Starship looks to be awesome.

Now this looks like a fun movie - TETRIS

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Spent many an hour...

Holodeck in case you were wondering...


Pie charts

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Smart technology

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Do not have any.  Do not want any.

Listening to the kitchen sink - SIGpi

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This project goes way beyond amateur radio.  This takes a Raspberry Pi computer and allows it to listen to everything.
I mean everything.   From RTL-SDR:

Thank you to Joe NE2Z for sharing his Linux distribution called SIGpi. SIGpi is an installable Linux distribution for Ubuntu and Raspberry Pi 3/4 that focuses on providing multiple open source SDR programs that can be used for signal intelligence. Support for RTL-SDR and other SDRs is included.

The distro is actually created via a bash script that installs all the programs automatically on a fresh OS install. It also provides a system for easily upgrading software as developers work on them.

For a full list of the software that comes with SIGpi check out their Wiki.

SIGpi is a "go-kit" for Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) enthusiasts with emphasis on capabilities in the VHF, UHF, and SHF spectrum. For completeness, HF spectrum related software is included for optional install.

Clever build with off the shelf hardware.  Some nice design went into making everything interoperable.

A project for when I am settled in the new QTH

Our new Robot Overlords

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Latest from Boston Dynamics:

From my cold dead fingers

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More on Adelbert Ames, Jr. - quite the interesting life.
His dad was no slouch either: Adelbert Ames

Compare the lives of people like these with your popular TikTok influencer...
No comparison - today's snowflakes would not last a minutes.

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