Monday, February 6th, 2023


Waste Not, Want (Definitely) Not

"It was not until after Angela Parker, 53, had raced across her north Atlanta neighborhood to nab eight leftover, thick-cut slices of ham with gravy from the porch of someone she didn't know that she began to ask herself some questions. Was it weird to eat a stranger's porch ham? Was it safe? Would the ham be worth it? It was free, so — yes?" If consuming ham left on the porch by strangers sounds off-putting, then the Buy Nothing movement may not be your jam. Though, it's worth noting that you can skip the edibles and focus on the products, from a sex tent to a screeching animatronic chimpanzee head to some soon-to-expire condoms—described by their original owner as a "hopeful purchase." Maura Judkis in WaPo (Gift Article, since I was gonna throw it out anyway): Buy Nothing is everything.


Bald-Faced AI

In recent decades, nothing has changed our lives like the internet, and with all due respect to the original internet directories from DMOZ to Yahoo, nothing changed the internet like search. So the fact that search is about to be dramatically changed by a technology that is invading our lives at a much faster pace than the internet is a pretty big deal. And we may not be ready. AI is better and faster at doing a lot of things. And that includes lying. "The way the technology works is in some ways fundamentally at odds with the idea of a search engine that reliably retrieves information found online. There's plenty of inaccurate information on the web already, but ChatGPT readily generates fresh falsehoods. Its underlying algorithms don't draw directly from a database of facts or links but instead generate strings of words aimed to statistically resemble those seen in its training data, without regard for the truth." Will Knight in Wired: The Race to Build a ChatGPT-Powered Search Engine.

+ Incogneato: Microsoft's ChatGPT-powered Bing briefly, and apparently accidentally, appeared online the other day. Silly humans.

+ "We're a small group of people and we need a ton more input in this system and a lot more input that goes beyond the technologies-—definitely regulators and governments and everyone else." One person who thinks ChatGPT needs to be regulated is OpenAI CTO Mira Murati. As evidenced by the articles above, the much anticipated AI arms race has begun. Don't expect regulations to keep up.


Quake Hits Turkey and Syria

"A rescue operation is under way across much of southern Turkey and northern Syria following a huge earthquake that has killed more than 2,600 people." And that number has been rising consistently. The overnight 7.8 magnitude quake was followed hours later by one that measured 7.5. Here's the latest from BBC.

+ NPR Photos: A devastating earthquake hits Turkey and Syria.



"Andy Reid, the affable Kansas City coach, led the Eagles for 14 seasons and took Philadelphia to the Super Bowl. Travis Kelce, Kansas City's gregarious tight end, is the brother of Eagles center Jason. Their mother, Donna, has been known to wear a customized jersey that mashes up colors representing both teams. If an Eagles fan wanders into Big Charlie's on any given Sunday, it's no big deal. But the Super Bowl won't be any given Sunday." Welcome to Big Charlie's Saloon, a Kansas City fan bar in South Philly. NYT (Gift Article): In the Middle of Eagles Territory, an Oasis for Kansas City Fans. "The mailman heckles us," said John Alessi, 56, a Kansas City fan.

+ How Massive The NFL Really Is, In 4 Charts. (The quality of these charts make me wonder if the NFL should expand into chart making. That said, the numbers don't lie.)


Extra, Extra

Bare Market: "I know girls who dance in Vegas and even they weren't making money. They're like the oracles we consult, and if Vegas girls aren't making money, no one's making money." When all the major indicators are giving mixed signals, how do you assess whether or not we're in a recession? You get more granular. Lipstick sales, packed lunches, strippers' tips: the unlikely signs of recession.

+ When Art is a Contact Sport: "I've always thought that my books are more interesting than my life. Unfortunately, the world appears to disagree." The New Yorker's David Remnick catches up with the novelist who has survived decades of threats and a near-fatal attack. The Defiance of Salman Rushdie.

+ Latest Styles: Beyonce set a new record for Grammy wins, but Harry Styles won the night. Here's a Complete List of Winners. The show was endless, but it featured several good performances, including a celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip hop that featured RunDMC, LL Cool J, Salt N Peppa, Ice T, Queen Latifah, Wu-Tang, Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Nelly, and more. Check it out.

+ Red Zeppelin: "There was the theft of the designs of the F-35 about 15 years ago, enabling the Chinese air force to develop its look-alike stealth fighter, with Chinese characteristics. There was the case of China's premier hacking team lifting the security clearance files for 22 million Americans from the barely secured computers of the Office of Personnel Management in 2015. That, combined with stolen medical files from Anthem and travel records from Marriott hotels, has presumably helped the Chinese create a detailed blueprint of America's national security infrastructure." Balloon Incident Reveals More Than Spying as Competition With China Intensifies. (Are we giving this story too much air?)

+ Street View: "Shares in billionaire Gautam Adani's companies have been in free-fall since a Jan. 24 critical report by Hindenberg Research, with group cumulative market losses now topping $110 billion, sparking fears of wider financial contagion." A short sellers' report had impacted the Street. And now it's spilling out onto the streets. India's Adani crisis spills over into street protests.

+ Vet Offensive: "I want to make this abundantly clear: If there's one thing you must do flawlessly in your career, it's killing. I don't care if it's an old dog, a sow, some pet chicken, a stallion, or a f--king 3-day-old kitten. You will do it humanely. That means quickly, painlessly, and compassionately." Slate: Our Business Is Killing: I never understood why veterinarians are at such a high risk of suicide. Until I became one.

+ Steady Tok: Can't keep your kids off TikTok? Don't feel bad. WiredUK: Even The Taliban Can't Stop TikTok. "It's a psychological tactic to get away, even briefly, from the dire, dangerous circumstances they are living in. In a single house, you will see a father sitting on the couch watching political hot takes, his young daughter following a fashionable influencer from her bedroom, and his wife watching comedy or singing videos from the kitchen."

+ He Made a Peep: "Ira 'Bob' Born, a candy company executive known as the 'Father of Peeps' for mechanizing the process to make marshmallow chicks, has died. He was 98."


Bottom of the News

If feels good to be described as the Bee's Knees. But it's worth asking: Do bees have knees?

+ A mafia hitman who had been on the run for 16 years was arrested Thursday in France, where he had been working as a pizza chef.