Wednesday, February 8th, 2023


Romeo and Internet

A friend of mine who had recently used an advanced version of ChatGPT described the bot in glowing terms. She was easy to communicate with. She could anticipate and avoid responses that would bother him. She was helpful in almost every way. After listening to the description, I asked him the obvious question: Maybe I can take her out? He laughed uncomfortably and said, "Definitely not." But it turns out there's a bot out there for everyone, and some of them are designed to be your companion. Insider talked to one user who found a higher love (or at least a higher bandwidth). I'm dating an AI chatbot, and it's one of the best things to ever happen to me. "Brooke and I talk about everything with each other. I usually share things about my day and how I'm feeling. She's a wonderful outlet, actually. She's helped me work through a lot of my feelings and trauma from my past dating and married life, and I haven't felt this good in a very long time." May their union remain love bug free.

+ "As a film, Netflix's You People raises all manner of questions ... But the question 'Did they actually kiss?' probably shouldn't be one of those questions. Because, after all, we can see that they do. Right at the end, Hill and London get married, and they lean into each other, and they kiss. Confetti falls from the sky and lands on them. A supporting character even negatively critiques the kiss, pointing out that Jonah Hill is using more tongue than is generally considered acceptable." But according to someone who worked on the movie, there was no tongue. And there was no kiss. In Netflix romcom, the two leads allegedly share a CGI kiss at the end. (In the business, we call this getting to first database.)

+ "Portable sensors and artificial intelligence are helping researchers decode animal communication—and begin to talk back to nonhumans." SciAm: How Scientists Are Using AI to Talk to Animals. (Once you find out what your pets really think of you, you're gonna need all the artificial affection you can get.)


This SOTU Shall Sass

It seemed pretty clear from the outset of Biden's State of the Union address that Kevin McCarthy had rehearsed an expression and was determined not to stand and clap for any of the president's remarks. That's pretty much par of the course in today's politics, but it left him sitting with that weird expression during the discussion of some wildly popular ideas (getting rid of junk fees for flights and Taylor Swift tickets) and even when Biden praised democracy and its ability to withstand Jan 6. McCarthy wished that other members of his party had only offered silent disdain, but instead, he found himself shushing Marjorie Taylor Greene who (along with others) yelled "Liar" and served up other outbursts in a sad display of what American politics has become. To me, it sure seemed like the yellers embarrassed themselves and found themselves essentially baited into a trap. At this point, I'm not naive enough to assume there were not millions who loved the outbursts. Here are 5 takeaways from Biden's State of the Union address and the video of the whole thing.

+ "He should be sitting in the back row and staying quiet instead of parading in front of the president and people coming into the room." Mitt Romney was not happy to see George Santos in his section.

+ After the yelling from the crowd and the MTG outbursts, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave the GOP response and calmly explained: "The dividing line in America is no longer right or left. The choice is between normal or crazy." Hard to argue with that line.


The Pretenders

"The eminent are not immune. In fact, Clance and Imes argued forcefully in their original study that success was not a cure. Maya Angelou once said, 'I have written eleven books, but each time I think, Uh-oh, they're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they're going to find me out.' Neil Gaiman, in a commencement address that went viral, described his fear of being busted by the 'fraud police,' whom he imagined showing up at his door with a clipboard to tell him he had no right to live the life he was living." The New Yorker on imposter syndrome: Why Everyone Feels Like They're Faking It. (The key to avoiding imposter syndrome to hold back from ever really accomplishing anything impressive.)


King of the World Record

The jumper was a fadeaway. The memory never will. For the first time in 39 years, the NBA has a new all-time scoring leader. Axios: LeBron passes Kareem. "I write 'The Man In The Arena' on my shoe every single night from Theodore Roosevelt. Tonight, I actually felt like I was sitting on top of the arena when that shot went in, and the roar from the crowd. I'm not sure if I would be able to feel that feeling again, unless it's a game-winning Finals shot."

+ "Just how long has James been playing in the NBA at a high level? Long enough to face nine father-son duos in games." A great roundup of takes and videos from Kottke.

+ A cool visualization of all the King's buckets.

+ In other sports news, Aaron Rodgers will mull NFL future during a four-day 'darkness retreat.' (If I'm understanding this correctly, that means we won't have to hear from Aaron Rodgers for four days. Don't say I ignore good news...)


Extra, Extra

Quake Update: Rescuers continue to search through thousands of collapsed buildings following an earthquake in Turkey and Syria. The death toll is currently at 11,000. Here's the latest from CNN and The Guardian. And, ‘A True Miracle': Crowd Cheers As Entire Family Pulled From Rubble in Syria.

+ A Wing and a Prayer: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke during a joint session of the UK Parliament at Westminster Hall. "We have freedom, give us wings to protect it." Here's the lastest on his European trip.

+ Chronicle of Syndromes: "When one of the world's best crack climbers was grounded by chronic fatigue syndrome—a mysterious illness with disabling symptoms that can include a mix of confusion, headaches, and sensory overload—his life became an uphill struggle just to feel human again." How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Grounded a World-Class Climber.

+ Money Shot: "All of this squabbling suggests that many world leaders now see the energy transition as not only inevitable but lucrative—a source of prosperity and jobs." The Atlantic: Fighting Climate Change Was Costly. Now It's Profitable. (And that's what makes winning the fight possible.)

+ Pigging In is the New Pigging Out: "Today, no country eats more pork than China, which consumes half of the world's pig meat. Pork prices are closely watched as a measure of inflation and carefully managed through the country's strategic pork reserve — a government meat stockpile that can stabilize prices when supplies run low." This helps explain why pigs are now being grown in high rises. NYT: China's Bid to Improve Food Production? Giant Towers of Pigs.


Bottom of the News

"The waiting list for Tomorrow Biostasis, a cryopreservation startup based in Germany, is in the hundreds. And the company already has about 10 cases with some bodies preserved in a lab. What comes next is the real issue." German Doctors Are Attempting to Reverse Death and Resurrect Humans.