2023-03-24 Roundup

Coding client-side OpenAI, simple made easy, laying out books with CSS, web fingerprinting, time reflections in EM, you're right not to trust public health...

2023-03-24 Roundup
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Transcript (Beta)

Hello, I'm Daniel Markham, and you're at the Roundup at daniemarkham.com.

If you've never been to a Roundup before, my friends, you are in luck.

The Roundup is for every week, my programming friends and I get together and gather the

articles we found interesting about the intersection of technology and humanity, and just kick

around for about an hour what we think about these articles.

There aren't rules.

Everybody's willing, able to post an article or comment on it.

We have an open discord.

Everybody's able to come by and participate if they want to.

So this week, you're doubly in luck

because nobody's here.

That crime is here.

Greg is here.

Alan Daley dropped by earlier.

John is out.

He's coming back from South Africa and James is out

and Scott Ambler is out.

And it's weird to say we only have three or four people,

and that's a small number.

It used to be at some point, it was just me,

but we do only have three or four people,

and I may be the only one talking.

If that's the case, I feel that you're very lucky,

and I stick to that.

All right, so what have I been doing this week?

I have been suffering.

It's what I've been doing, suffering quite a bit,

and I've been suffering due to our first article,

so I can just sort of segue right into that.

I decided, well, I tell you what,

about six months ago, James Greening contacted me

and said, Daniel, have you used anything

to do transcriptions of your roundups?

I'm doing training classes, I would love

to do transcriptions, it allows people

to search what we're talking about.

And I spent some time researching it,

because I thought it was a good idea too.

And the best solution I could find

something called Otter.ai, big, big company. They charge you subscription service. They

have a free tier, but only like up to five minutes or something. It's ridiculous. And

I just gave up because it just looked too impossible to do. That wasn't till last week

when I learned about Whisper. We did a roundup article about a guy who installed the Whisper

API and Greg again. Greg, you're back again. I installed the Whisper API and was programming

and loved it and I thought, oh, I want to try this. This looks really, really cool.

And so I downloaded the Whisper code because even cooler, you don't have to go to somebody's

site. You just download all this Python code and run it either in a Python program or directly

from the CLI, it took, once I got it running,

you typed in one line of code,

this thing of beauty occurs that I just came to describe.

It goes through, reads all the stuff,

it listens to what's going on,

and somehow makes it into a big text file.

And that was just easy peasy, cool,

didn't charge any money,

getting it to actually run, however.

About eight hours, the reason why, dependency, how?

Oh my God, you know, I've been through this.

Matter of fact, I don't think I've ever not been through

this on any piece of software I've picked up

in the last 20 years.

And with this Python code, it's the same old, same old.

Python has two versions, two and three.

If you missed out on the kerfuffle,

they broke the API when they moved to three.

And so, a lot of the two stuff doesn't work in three.

Some of it does, and you can include those

in your package descriptions.

And so, some of these old libraries,

which actually work in Irfine,

were written in Python 2, can't be compiled in Python 3,

and the fun just goes on and on.

And so, it's about eight hours.

It wasn't stupid enough to do it all in one day.

It took about three days, two or three hours a day.

got it running. I started on a Linux machine, moved to Windows, thought I was going to get

that working easier, gave up, moved back to a Linux machine. I did get it running though,

which was yay. And the problem was if you saw the text file on the blog, the problem,

by the way, here's the github if you're looking to download it yourself. This is early times

through these guys and it's free so you can't complain but too much but what it

does is it finds clusters of words it understands the phrases for and throws

them line by line which is enough to get pretty much all the words you use in

the video but you don't know like who said what or what the sentences are it's

it's a bit of a jumble and so I downloaded this the first time and got

the jumble, I was happy. I think it took me about 12 hours, but I think I was doing it

the wrong way. It took a while to do an hour video. I believe it also runs on your CUDA

graphics processor if you want to do that. Some cool diagrams on how it works. Here's

how to install it. One of the things that frustrates me is whenever you run to this

dependency help you always end up finding the same reason and the reason is works fine on my machine

for somebody down the line somewhere another and so you end up finding it oh yeah sure if you if

you had python and you did install these packages under two like everybody would do well then your

dependencies don't break when you come in and it's like it doesn't but i didn't have python too

So, got it running, does all sorts of, I think it's like 30, 40 different languages.

There are models that it downloads on the fly to recognize speech, and there's a tiny

one, a base one, see if I can make this a little larger here, there you go.

I started with the medium one, which is about 800 megs.

I tried the large one, 1.5 gigs, I'm not sure it got me anything better than the medium

one need to play around with some more but it certainly took a lot longer time to run.

So I was and here's the by the way they're ranking I think Spanish it works best on English

is number three. If you speak Nepali you're not in luck it does not do very well in Nepali

but it does a ton of languages and English is just fine for me. So I'm looking around

think, you know, this is sort of halfway to the North Dervana. I've got chunks of

words. I just, I want to have sentences and I want to know who said what and then

I will be a happy video maker. Looked around, there's a product called whisper

up, sorry, project called Whisper X.

There you go. Here's a guy picked up the whisper libraries and said, you know, I

I can actually find sentences instead of just clusters

of words.

And I thought, oh my god, that's awesome.

I see a one there.

I don't know what that means.


Yeah, he had a Nougat.

Oh, geez.

See, I went in, a economist says he had a package problem

using Nougat.

I went to this VS Code, and I've been into VS Code

several times, and I always come in

cold because it go about six months before I look at it and dang it there's

there's what is it Nougat and then there's fake there's there's three

different package systems I think there's a lot is Nougat the one that has

the jason.lock file?" And he crimes his tellers. I think the issue for me, and it's probably

not true for most programmers, is that by coming in cold, I have to, lots of high quality

packages. Yeah, I love it when it all works. The problem is when it doesn't work, then

I'm honking around with Jason or some bullshit and, um, just like I was doing, you know,

the thing is it, it's not that it's difficult. I looked at this, this Python, the pip install

pip update, you go in, they've just got, where's this thing? Requirements.txt. It can't be

simpler than that. Look at requirements.txt. There's your list of stuff you need to run

this whisper X thing, numpy torches, torches audio, blah, blah, blah. I mean, these, these

package systems actually most of them are not complex, which is kind of weird

because they end up like shooting in the ass all the time. Yeah, yeah, there's

dependencies is they're not a singular thing. It's hard to say they're

awesome or horrible. I do think that if you're in the same environment all

the time, you live in a different world than if you're somebody coming in cold

to Python, like I'm not a Python programmer, so I think I've written maybe a hundred lines

of Python in my life, so I'm coming in cold to that, VS Code, I love Fsharp, love VS Code,

but it might be six months between times I create projects, that effectively makes me

cold there as well.

So there's this whole difference between, I've decided on my tool sets day to day and

I'm happy with them and they're awesome, and by the way, I love that, and hey, how do

you know blah blah blah and that's just a different guy. So whisper X read this

guy's github and it is really cool so he what he decided to do was whereas

whisper chunks up the time I don't think it's like five seconds tries to find a

cluster words in five seconds and it kind of moves the window until it gets

cluster words and then it's happy he does what he's called dynamic time scaling

which basically moves the window in and out depending on the current audio

conditions and that is really cool. So I got Whisk Brex going. Whisk Brex I think

also took a couple hours or not to get installed for many the same reasons.

And here is the result from last week.

Yeah, so here's the transcript from last week as you can see using Whisk for X

Dang, we're close, look at this, it's got what we said in sentences.

Is that awesome or what, huh?

I'm going to run it again this week, let's see, I see Greg here, Greg you look, you

look muted to yourself, but anyway, this actually makes sentences for us, which is just, I think

it's freaking amazing, it misses it sometimes and that's cool, I think I'm just guessing

maybe 95 to 98% of the time, it gets the correct sentence.

And see, the next thing you need to do is actually do, I think it's called a diarization.

And that's where it's actually a separate process where you identify chunks of audio

and then the computer guesses at how many different speakers you have.

And speaker one, two, three, four, and then you can actually take the output of this whisper

X, throw it against that, and end up with a speaker one, speaker two for each of these


I'm going to try to do that by next week, knock on wood, we'll see.

This would also, by the way, let you do captioning.

Each of these sentences has time stamps with it.

So I could go into FFMPag and throw in these as captions at the appropriate time stamps

on the video and do my own captions with speaker identification.

So it's just all kinds of cool stuff.

I do not know about accents.

They say that the AI models have gotten to the point they're better than human listers.

But I don't know.

I have no idea.

That's what we're going to play around with.

Fun stuff.

Next article was something economists posted.

Oh, right here.

This is...

What was it?

Simple, made easy.

This was a talk from a while back.

Conclosure, this is from Rich Hickey.

You guys are providing some really awesome things.

I think John provided the 12 Steps to Good Code last week,

and this is another great one.

I am quite tempted to make a computer, I don't know,

programming hyphen history, because there's just

so many really cool classic articles that are never

to go out of style and they kind of deserve their own little spot. I might do that, don't know yet.

So since there's nobody else online that can talk to me, I'm just gonna say this is really cool

and you guys should read it. Hey Greg, I see a Greg. A wild Greg has appeared.

But his little name is not lighting up so he must not be talking.

I can see your mouth moving, but you got to look look at your little name here. Yeah, I know me here little name

All right

If it doesn't work, there you go. It is lighting up. So yeah, it's working out

Okay, this is really really annoying. I just had to go configure all that I


Feel for you the dude. I've spent two years trying to get the audio right on the roundup. So I

I mean, we've talked fine.

It required me to go south, push to talk.

Yeah, I had to do that for about three months.

I didn't tell folks, but it was just so fretful.

I'm like, you know, just screw it.

I'll just do push to talk.

I know that works.

Oh, by the way, Greg, also when you do push to talk,

something I didn't know was you don't have to do it like a walkie-talkie.

You can like, you can talk over top of somebody.

somebody so that's fine. Alright so there's the simple made easy great great

article you should read it yeah I talked about some of this in the code

complexity was it CCR CCL essay I do there's some actually some metrics to

use to make sure your code is simple and we mean to bolt those into VS code or

something just never did. Oh, yeah, I want to show you guys

connefin as well. So for folks who are interested in simple made

easy, prepare to have your mind blow. I online friend of mine,

Dave Snowden and his friends put together something called

connefin. And it's C in C Y N E F I N. You think it'd be

sign of N, but no, it's Welsh. So you know, like if it's

Japanese, like shuraree, or kanepe.

If it's some foreign language, it's got magical powers

that most things don't have.

So this is kanepe.

It's basically how to figure out

what sort of environment you're in.

I call this epistemology for dummies

because it is quite simple.

And one of the things that it does not take into account

is that you can, most every time you're in a mixed environment,

and so none of this actually works in practice.

But the way he did it was he got together

with a bunch of his consultant friends

and everybody agreed on how awesome it was

and how they could make it more awesome

and sell more Knuffin.

And so now they got a big old bag of Knuffin.

They'll bring it right to your company

and give out free samples and everything.

Cool stuff.

So Greg, did you hear about the Amazon Kindle?

They're not gonna do newspaper

or magazine subscriptions anymore.

Yeah, this was a bit weird.

It's fucked up, man, it's messed up.

I've recently found out that it's four of the producers

not turning out very well.

So you're running a digital service

that has almost zero overhead

and you're bitching about producers

or not providing enough stuff for me to make money off of?

This is your complaint?

It seems kind of odd.

Oh gee, I'm only back on $40,000 a month on this.

I'm just gonna have to say, what?

How many extra, like when you use a different font,

do you have to like pay for the pixels or no?

It's free.

Once you set the infrastructure up,

it's just cranking out more books and magazines for Amazon.

I don't get it.

But it is a big deal.

And it's yet another story about how we,

as content creators, put together stuff,

tie ourselves into platforms, and then get screwed over.

Sad thing.

Yeah, that's messed up.

Now this one, next article is especially for Greg.

Or as I like to say,

laying out a print book with CSS.

If you guys haven't been on the previous roundups,

Greg has built his own pipeline to do eBooks.

I think he is number 42,703 to build a pipeline.

I built my own and it's a wonderful,

you got, if you've never done it, it's a fun thing.

It's a fun thing to do.

But here is a discussion on CSS and book layouts.

You gotta go here first.

Here I go.

I know what my notes on this are.


I don't wanna touch this with a 10 foot pole.

Ha ha ha ha.

Yeah, it's everything we've been talking about.

Yes, so eBooks were basically HTML files.

didn't want to spoil it for you, but that's what they are.

And because they're HTML files, oh my God,

you gotta use some CSS to do pagination

and clustering and all that.

And oh my double God, fricking CSS and HTML,

neither one were built to do eBooks.

They're all like a fricking web format as they should be.

And so you're asking HTML to do a lot of stuff,

or X HTML, that it was not ever meant to do.

And here are a bunch of libraries

can help you if you're interested in doing it,

got to start here. Yeah latex. It has all the same unbits as HTML as well like you

know I'd like to align this image with the paragraph on the left hand side. It

does and there's a well EPUB spec one two I think three now so it does have the

same bits but the versioning matters like early days of browsers they are

versioning matters and I can almost guarantee you're going to end up with

about 14 different ebooks trying to figure out where that dang image is

floating at in the text just like you used to do with browsers. Having said

that you should be able to reproduce that online with some browser plugins.

Well, let me find out that the online version is not quite the same.

What tickles me is we got into HTML to begin with, but because it's a nest of complexity

in snakes, it's like, why don't we just separate the data from the presentation, guys?

Isn't what this would be cool?

It's like, fuck, 25 years later, it's a damn, it's another mess.

It was easier to do this with typesetting

back with the old Xerox days where you,

it was an easier process.

No, it's just another opportunity to do it right.

Oh my God, everybody does it so right it's wrong.

Have you ever worked, I started in a newspaper

and you would print out these white strips

of columns of your text and you would take a razor

and cut them out and then there was a big pasteboard

And it would actually put the columns in on the page in the newspaper.

And then you'd take a big picture and turn it into a plate, and that's how the newspapers

get done.

That was not as hard as what we're compared to, it was not that bad, it was a pretty easy

thing to do actually.

Ooh, there's a Weezy print rendering engine.

one I think I've seen all of the various weird names for stuff libraries in such

Weezy print. I am firmly convinced you could just make up some bullshit library

and throw it in one of these discussions. Nobody, no, nobody. Is this a suggestion?

You could automate it. I could easily see a thing, right, where you make up a

a random name, have your system go out,

create a GitHub account for it,

check in a bunch of un-understandable C code, right?

Do some likes and stars and random comments,

and then like five minutes later,

you've got a library you can talk about online.

That makes me sad.

The best part about it though would be making it have

HTTP calls to a backend that just uses another library.

Yes, the one is probably top of the comments. The one everybody else uses. That's funny.

If you obfuscate it up, it would look like your thing. Yes, it runs very similarly to

the other thing, but there's a lot. I can't remember all the changes. Now, there's a lot

of changes. You don't want to use that as other guys. The output is almost as good.

Almost as good. Yes, but it's cheaper. Yeah. Oh my God. We have reached maximum bullshit.

No, maybe not. I don't know. I think we've reached maximum bullshit complexity layer, but we've probably got some more room to run on this.

No, no, no, no, because you can always just add another lighter.

Well, yeah, I think I guess where I'm going is we've added so many layers in the tech stack.

You can point to a random item on one of the layers and you're guaranteed that not everybody knows the whole stack.

So they're gonna go to a point go. Well, yeah, I guess it does kind of work with CSS

I don't really so it's they've lost the ability to rationally analyze whatever you say

Next stop there used to be glow in the dark tires

Alexander was looking to this he says they could actually redo it. They gave up too soon

Back in the day in the 60s. It was too expensive

expensive, but you could do this now. And dang, it looks pretty cool. I think it's awesome.

Yeah, I would like that. Yeah, that's all we need. That's all we need next to people

having their light up rims. Yes. Oh, yes. Well, the ones that spin like backwards from

where the car is going, like the wheels are going one way and the rims lit up and then

they've got the LED strip lighting down the sides. No, they make rooms with LEDs in them

Oh my god

Yeah, yeah, I think your house is now becoming I'm sorry your car is now becoming its own Christmas house

Wow weird

What we got next all we have next

Turns out I am actually a boy genius. I did not know this until this previous week

But you guys are in the company of a boy genius. Let me tell you what happened

Some might post John Karmic on Twitter was telling folks don't worry about losing your

programming job because hey, if you know how to program, it's a multi-discipline affair.

You're always going to be in demand because you're always going to be able to pick up

various things and put them together.

So this was posted on Hacker News.

I was trying to sort of go with John's flow and just agree with him.

I said, you know, as a self-taught polymath, I did a lot of research on how this happens

and basically, yeah, he's right.

you gotta put together multiple disciplines.

Being a programmer is being an autodidact polymath.

That's the job.

And then my reply was, somebody said,

calling yourself a polymath is akin

to calling yourself a genius.

I'm like, oh my God, let me do that.

And so I'm like, I just meant you have to know.

I was posting about how you had to learn

different areas to be a programmer.

What I got was about 20 different comments

about the definition of the word polymath

and whether I should use autodidact

or not, whether I was being considered.

It was this huge discussion about this total bullshit thing

about which was the proper word.

I love you, H.N., keep it going, keep it classy.

You have been in America before, right?

What, by America, do you mean the United States?

Because that's actually different than America.

The two are not the same, right?

They're the same, they're the same.

Mr. Podantik man arrives in the conversation I love programmers I love

Hacker News and it's been this way forever God bless you guys carry on next

time I will use auto-doddak dammit I know

I've been corrected this next article is the best is Daniel when you have

somebody tell you that the definition of the word you're using doesn't mean what

use them, it is. And you're the person who defined the work.

You know, the funny is I didn't want to bring this up, but I

was telling Melissa this story, it's my wife this morning. And

so she whenever she's confused, she goes right to Google. And

she looks up polymath, she's like God, somebody who just been

working a bunch of different areas. There's nothing here about

genius at all. I'm like, I know, right? I was right to begin

would, but no, I will use auto not that because I don't know, you know, because some jackass

read a book about Newton or Rhyman or somebody and they use the word polymath, which they

were, and they have, well, hey, if you're a polymath, you must be, you know, Newton

or a vionleman, that's those guys.

And that's not true.

Yeah, I...


He kind of stumbled in how to program,

I was struggling with the radows

and getting swaggered at the general APL.

I'm pretty dumb.

I just lucked in absorbing lots

of knowledge about programming.

No, you're not.

You're not pretty well, you're pretty smart by being pretty dumb put it that way

Being a program begins with I'm a dumb jackass, but I got to go figure out what these smart people were doing

If you can accept that you got a shot of being a program and I it seems like you can't

What's interesting with this is that this applies in many many domains and one of the biggest issues that you'll have and

interacting with domain experts is that they don't understand how the other

people pursue that domain. Yes, yes I think that what I've learned personally

is that you're looking for as an outside person there are common patterns of

knowledge and patterns of proof that all domains use and so you look for those

areas those commonalities and then you present the simple version to the

experts and then they correct you but if you can't understand the domain you got

no shot at coding an answer to it. I don't know where my lack of knowledge starts I think.

My tests pass. That's all they have to do. Pass. Nobody's going to give you a test on

what the freaking long pointer is if your tests pass.

Hey, you know what? It doesn't even matter if the tests are doing anything vaguely reasonable.


They still pass.

And across this even the customer does not seem to understand the domain sadly now now

That's getting to the heart of the actual frickin job

Which is the point I was trying to make on hiker news as programmers

I'm trying to say this we create formal testable systems that test the domain experts knowledge of their own problem domain

That's our job

You tell me what you guys are doing. I'll put together a logical series of symbols that pass tests

Then you tell me if that tells you what you want to know or not and so

So we don't expect them to know their domain.

We expect them to know enough to say, well, I'd like to know this, and I think this is

how I'd like to know this, and we can help them with that.

Now that's where we can implement features faster than a good domain knowledge.

That a good team will always deliver faster than a customer keep up.

That's a good sign.

It needs to be fixed, but it's a good sign.

I wonder how many domains now have a calculator associated with it.

what associated with it? Oh, a calculus. That's a good question. Do not know. Yeah, that's a good

question. But yeah, that is an excellent question because you know, if they have a calculus associated

with them, those symbols have to map into whatever calculus your computer's using. So

So you're kind of ahead of the game maybe, but I suspect even if your domain has a calculus

associated with it, you're going to quickly cross domains into another domain without

a calculus or worse yet another domain with a different calculus, and we're right back

to where we started with the programmer, having a bunch of glue and tape and sticking shit

together and saying that this work should work.

I suspect a lot of them are getting that.

I imagine this will just continue to grow.

Have you considered that programmers adding glue and tape might actually be your main


You know, I know Bob says, you know, we don't hack and I'm all for writing good code being

a craftsman.

But epistemology speaking, in other words, how humanity knows stuff in general, we just

stick shit together until we get a system that has a cause and effect that's predictable.

That's how humanity knows any damn thing.

So programmers, in a way, are just the glue and tape and stuff that just help other people

stick stuff together to create testable hypothesis.

That's our job.

Sorry about that.

I just wonked out a bit.

I'm coming back now.

Oh, yes.

So the next article is, You're Right Not To Trust Public Health.

and better communications for better tech.

Did you get a chance to listen to this, Greg?

I think I did about half of it.

Yeah, I was gonna bail out,

but I didn't listen to all of it.

I am happy to see people on the left in the United States

who were scientists say, you know,

God, we really made some big mistakes in the US

because, you know, we need to have that conversation.

And it became so politicized that you couldn't say anything

because people would yell at you and call you names.

And that's, that ain't no way to run a circus.

What are you talking about?

If you even question the scientific process

that's occurring, you're anti-scientific.

I'm gonna keep the story with me.

You know, back when COVID, they finally said

you had to wear cloth masks

before they told you cloth masks are stupid.

Then they said you had to wear a cloth mask

and they had to cover your nose

because otherwise it didn't work,

which we know now it didn't work.

And they knew then it wouldn't, it doesn't work anyway.

So I'm going to this pinball place

and the owner or the guy, the kid working

almost gets into a fight with me.

He threatens to call security.

He had me thrown out of the building.

Why? Because my mask had slipped below my nose.

And I was, I guess, spreading the plague

across the entire mall.

It was, he was afraid.

I could look in his eyes and see he was very, very afraid

of me and very, very afraid of getting sick.

And it made me very sad.

That's a horrible waste of human being there.

What's sad is that your story is so common.

It, I know, it's just, it wasn't me

I don't want to forget it because fear, you know, we talk about old conservative people

being afraid of change, but no, everybody's afraid of something and everybody has a little

magic button you can put, you know, to work on that fear and it ain't right.

He deserved better than that from his press, from his health department.

He deserved a better life than that.

This is an excellent discussion on a whole bunch of stuff about public policy.

That is next to your, oh yeah, this is a cool one, okay, I forget, I think Alexander posted

this one, how quantum computers break the internet?

Best easy explainer video I've seen of public private key cryptography and how quantum physics

will play into cracking those things. Excellent little explainer video. Tempted to keep it,

download and keep them up in my back pocket to help people out, but it's just very, very cool stuff.

Greg, have you heard of web fingerprinting?

I heard the term, yes. So everybody is concerned with people tracking their web usage through

cookies. Well, the sad thing is cookies are like 10, 20 years old. So that was like stuff they did

in 2005. They moved on since then. And I guess probably 10 years ago, they started in web fingerprinting.

And this guy finally, I guess, woke up and realized, Oh my God, this cookie shit, all the stuff we're

doing to try to keep anonymous really doesn't matter at all. And he's right. It's a scary,

scary thing, and there's a lot of data here about how fingerprinting works, and it's an

interesting math and all that. Basically, your browser has to tell the server what types

of things it can do. I can print, I can juggle, blah blah blah, and each browser, because

there's so many different plugins, so many different browsers, ends up with a pretty

much statistically unique set of stuff it can do. Well, guess what? You just fingerprinted

your browser. So it doesn't really matter where you have cookies or not. Here's how

you tested it, and here's all the stuff. It is, it should be concerning to folks who

feel like that they're Firefox and, you know, Raspberry Pi, PyHole is fixing anything.

So this, this one, Greg, you got to watch this one. Okay. You can do it offline. This,

this is beautiful. It should go into profound ignorance. What's going wrong in particle

physics? I love me some physics. We talk about physics and math every week. But nobody

knows everything. And so this lady, I think she's a statistician, a mathematician, antiphysicist,

she just takes the particle physics guys to do the ringer. Thought this would work,

didn't work, thought this would work, didn't work, had this theory, theory didn't work.

And she makes the point, which I agree with, for the 30, 40, maybe 50 years, they're just

beating up an overly complex system trying to get to do something useful and it's not.

And she explains, the really awesome thing about this, this is directly applicable to

the complexity stuff we just talked about in software, because her point is, is that

you can build a complex enough mathematical model

to fit any sort of data you have.

That's not a hard thing to do,

but that doesn't mean it's a useful model.

Once you add so many variables,

somebody else can build another complex enough

mathematical model that gives you another prediction.

And we've been doing this for 50 years in particle physics

and none of them have worked out so far.

And I think it's kind of time to admit to that.

String theory is not wrong, it's not even wrong.

It does everything.

So a lot of good ranting there.

That would predict everything.

Prediction predicts nothing.

That's exactly right.

That's exactly.

It's what the, I, I believe physics has done all science has done best by pointing

at something is, Hey, what's that?

I wonder what it'll do next.

And then making a simplest model possible to show what it'll do next and then

checking against that. I believe most of the bad science is, let's go get a book

on X, get this really complex thing we had before, we'll add some more stuff to

it, and then it'll be a better thing. No, it hardly ever works that way. It does

sometimes, but hardly ever.

Another four variables can never hurt.

Yeah, it's not Occam's razor, it's kind of Occam's thumbtack. If you

To continue to add variables to a problem, you get a sort of a shiny surface that doesn't

stick to anything.

Dockham's Beach Ball.

Not many on the D. Oh yeah, this I think maybe economists or Alexander once there's

some clothing posted this clothing designed to confuse facial recognition software.


Yes, there is

Hilarious, it's yeah, I'm looking at yeah

Whoa boy. I thought the 70s or something man. Whoa. This is awesome

Boy, yeah, I want the hat that goes with that. Oh

Yeah, that's a

It's a vaunt guard. I think they call that the vaunt guard is like it's a French word

It doesn't mean goofy. It means like Frenchy. It's a Frenchy thing

You know, I am actually the crazy thing about this is I'm so libertarian. I love this idea

I mean, I really really love this idea, but it's never gonna work

I mean you walked out of the street wearing something like that. Everybody's gonna know who you are

It's not going to be anonymous.

And I would not go into a biker bar in anything like this with a license plate cameras as well.

Yeah, where they've used adverse data on the license plates.

I don't they have like a LED like clear LED plate covers.

And then they thought about pixels randomly.

So if a cop pulls behind you, hey, they can see the numbers.

but as you go under cameras, you can add things on top of the numbers by lighting up the LEDs.

That's one of the ways of doing adversarial data for them.

That's scary stuff. So we have one last one that I did not, I actually didn't get a chance

to read this to my friend. Danny posted this and I tried to skim it and my head started hurting

And so I stopped. In a first, scientists show time reflection of electromagnetic waves.

What the fuck is a time reflection? I don't know. I don't know.

In reading this one, I almost immediately started saying, I don't know enough to know if I don't

know. The best I got is that, so you have electromagnetic waves, which are fetal like

Moving out from a source

They found a way to change the wave at one point that changes the wave both backwards and forwards at all points

I think that's what it is. I don't know how it works, but that's at that point. I really I lost i'm i'm yeah

Beyond my kin. This is what our um the crowns are talking about

It sure sounds cool. It's like that quantum retro causation thing. Okay

You don't have to know something to know the buzzword

Yeah, I think we were going to finish up really

It does help to know three or four related buzzwords, you know the buzzword. Oh

Yeah, so some asked you a question you can use the other like the deeper buzzword. Oh, yeah

I do what Richard caught requiting Richard causation

So that way, even if they go in Google, they're like, oh my God, this guy actually knew what

the hell he was talking about.

Yeah, you want like a tree of like, like one, one, one top one with three or four nested

ones you can use like some backup.

Then it's the same thing if we talked about this fake library thing, they're not going

to know.

Oh yeah, the quantum retro causation is really due to the Bohm de Burgliet effect, which

the head uses the Pathfinder wave in another dimension. It helps to wave some

hands when you do that. It's sometimes fun stuff. It's fun not to know stuff. I

love not knowing so. You're really so who? Don't forget to show them the board, the entire

board of math, which actually says nothing. I promise his buzzwords are

casing quite useful for finding what terms to search for. Yeah, I think most of

of my usage of Google has boiled down in recent years

to how do I join the buzzwords together correctly

so that Google will give me the answer I'm looking for?

And I've been doing a lot of this with ChatGPT

in the last week or so too, it's just weird.

Like, do you wanna update or do you wanna update a package

or do you wanna upgrade a package?

You get different results with different words.

Not that I use that or two different things.


Oh yeah.


In Linux, they're completely two different things, but for the commoner, I don't update

this package.

Well, no, you don't.

You have to.

Mr. Potentic man shows up again.


You need to upgrade the package.

Hard to find solutions.

You don't know this right buzzword.


And those buzzwords are domain and by domain, I mean business domain.

buzzwords are technology domain specific. And that's, once again, we have, you know,

you guys think I enjoy bullshitting about quantum rector causation. There's a linguistic

point to this that Greg is joking about, but he's exactly right. You learn the buzzwords,

you learn to sort of conversational use the buzzwords, and then you test them out as necessary

to learn more. That's perfectly fine. It's called bullshitting. It's people been doing

for years it's okay as long as you're honest about it it's fine uh luck in county a react state

reducer reducer is good oh boy oh bingo yes i have a i have a card for that i have a couple uh

bullshit cards we should we should play be fun it's hilarious to play at a conference etc yes

So for the people that might be listening that don't know what it is, you have a bunch

of randomized cards with buzzwords on them and you might go sit in the first keynote

talk at the conference and as the speaker says those terms, you cross them off until

eventually somebody hits bingo and then they go bingo.

I love language so much.

Synergy you're just stalled. There's these wonderful bullshit buzzwords that we used and they were awesome

Then they were overused now like they're assigned it like you're just not being honest

wonderful wonderful stuff

The really fun one is when you get a talk that everyone expected that to happen and it never happens

You give a you give a what?

Yeah. Well, it's literally nobody ever calls bingo and then you walk out after. Yeah, I don't think you want to do that.

You might tell them afterwards, you know, I won the bullshit bingo, buzzword bingo in the back. I appreciate that.

This is one of the new minivan. Thanks, dude. Yeah, the turbo and cabulator, if you've not seen that video,

I want I downloaded that user that in my backlogs training. There's also the how a missile

Finds its target video, which is just amazing. You need to get that one as well

We're at the point where we see the little dots for economists is typing

What is he typing? We don't know except little little dot things. Sometimes you get talk

There's no idea what he's talking about. They're just so low goes where she can't phone

coherent argument. I struggle. You know, it's weird. You're exactly right. Sometimes you

get to talk where you think someone has no idea what he's talking about, but it's just

so loaded, loaded buzzwords you can't form a coherent argument. And that is exactly correct.

And the thing is, if you want to work at a meta level, which we're talking about programmers

working across disciplines, you're going to have to juggle some buzzwords you don't dive

into or you're going to spend your life picking one buzzword and diving into it. So you're

You're stuck being that guy, and I feel for it, because it's tough to listen to that.

It's tough to get that across in a way that people will listen to, but that's the job.

Like I was talking to Hacker News, that's what we do.

I don't have to define quantum work or causation.

I have to use it, and I have to be able to talk to you about it enough that I can create

a test.

That's my job.

I don't do math.

I'm fine with not doing that.

And that's a different thing than not knowing about it.

I know the term and I am using it conversational linguistically to do a job, that's what language

is for.


What's really funny is when you have a speaker who's up on the stage and you have somebody

who gets up and asks a question and they ask for instance, can you please give a concise

definition of the term through that you were using?


And they're like, oh, giving out a precise definition of that term would be much too

difficult. We did this with you. You asked a question during the post-game show last week.

You said, how do you do blah, blah, blah? I'm like, Greg, that's the wrong question.

But I wasn't trying to bullshit you. The thing is, is a good speaker should say, you know, that

question sounds excellent. Let me show you why it's misguided. And what I were asking, I were you,

and here's the correct answer and why there's a difference. And if you can do that, you're fine.

If you just say, oh, it's my favorite, it's emergent. It's all emergent. You put the correct

parameters in the complexity emerges from the processes. That's saying I don't know what the

fuck's going on, but it sure is cool, isn't it? So emerges is my like bullshit word.

It also allows you a plausible liability for how much comes out the other side.

Yeah, I had a big problem when I went into teaching. Problem number one was, as somebody who's

consulting, trying to help teams, I learned to use fuzzy words so that I could avoid conflict

To get to the important part that I felt like right so you can't do that

Oh when you're trying to teach directly you got to hit them with the exact least thing the second problem

I asked you can't hit them with the exact thing because

Life's short and nobody gonna read 8,000 page book. So

It's it it is not an easy spot to be in

That was just said something my Greg Greg ran off. He's Greg is watching Fox new Greg Greg Greg. Oh, no

Oh, oh, Greg. Oh, man. You on the Fox News again, dude? Oh, geez. I told you you had to quit.

Man, arrest you to rot your brain, man.

I stopped watching TV news. I don't know. 15 years ago. And I think I used to turn on the cable news 15, 20 years ago.

I'd get to the hotel after work and it was a bill around the guy. I can't hear you.

He's just driving around.

What are you saying?

I can't really deal with watching any of the news in the US.


Like they're, they're all garbage.


I was going to say, I used to leave the Fox news on or CNN.

It, I would code after work and do SAS reports and these,

there would be these angry people and I was like, oh, I must

be something.

I just kind of fade in and then I realized eventually they're

like that every damn night. They're always angry. It's like every time I

turn to TV, there's something there's angry about. And I thought, well, you know,

maybe this is just a teeny wincey itsy bitty manipulative of my time.

What I've learned is that what you do is you watch both.

I did it for a while, and then I just became twice as angry because both of them are wrong.

It's like, no, he's wrong. No, no, no, she's wrong. And I had to make-

No, but they identified, but the other is wrong.

Well, I have been, I hate to say this, I've been enjoying the recent podcast, I've been

enjoying the Andrew Heaton because both of them try not to pick any sides in discussions

and just find really smart people and ask them questions.

God that used to be that was what we did all the time, but I haven't seen that public in

a long time.

You realize that only 8% of conservatives and also 8% of independents in the United

states trust TV news eight percent. I think the Democrat percentage is like

maybe around 40-45 but no matter what you believe in you don't think TV news

is correct and if you're on the right or in the middle you definitely think it's

awful. That's amazing it's just amazing to me that they're still selling

advertising. So Greg speaking of what you've been consuming what have you been

consuming. Mostly producing. Yes. Consuming very little. I've been working on your book

producing. The book is essentially done. I've had something back and forth with

of Efters, things like that.

It's at 62, 63,000 words, something like that.

That sounds pretty good.

I think it's got 50 illustrations that are there right now.

It's like a solid 350 page book.

It feels good, feels good to do that.

It really does.

I've done that before and it's like,

bam, I created this thing.

It's really cool.

I promise you want to tell us.

Yeah, if you're in a good topic you can always correct more stuff the chronemists you want to add anything about reading or watching or

Yes, no

Well, I um

Okay, I finished up Peter Straub's ghost story I think last week I want to do some

70s 80s classic horror novel frickin awesome the man when you read a I'll

tell you once again if you really want to read books don't read good ones

because he can't go read the crap that comes out today if you've read like

really good books like oh my god this sucks who would I so it's a mixed bag I

really enjoyed ghost story and now I'm working on another argument here which

is trying to read the worst books that you can possibly find I can't do that

I it took me until about five or ten years ago to finally reach support or

you know I will leave the book for a long time I'm like once you pick the book

up like you're married you have to read you must read the book like Katnicker I

I must read the book to the end, but no, I can't give it to him.

You can learn just as much from an utterly terrible book as you can from a really good


You can.

And I've actually had several experiences where the book was horrible, but somehow about

halfway through, you kind of see through the horribleness and you realize, hey, this

guy actually is something really useful to say here.

He just can't write worth a shit.

And I've enjoyed each one of those.

a tough thing though. But you also get the experience of having been shown how

not to communicate something. Yeah a lot of times it's like I don't want to do it's

like best you can do is be a bad example for others and it's like oh no don't do

that no that's our oh no that's bad thing. So now I'm consuming a how-to

book great courses series on how to write a best-selling fiction excellent if

If you guys want to be a fiction writer, it's a topic I have been struggling with myself

for quite a while and I'm going to get it one day.

So let me say my good-bye, things.

Well, there you go.

It's been another hour about on Nerd Roundup.

Thank you for dropping by.

We're here every week.

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I'm Daniel Markham.