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#59 December 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

A bunch of things (which I added to my Tumblr) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on (as no longer on Twitter).

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Before I leave, I ask Loeb what is to be gained from looking for aliens, and his reply is surprisingly humble. “We know from our private life that if we find a partner, it gives new meaning to our existence,” he says. “So finding a partner somewhere in the form of another civilisation that can teach us things that we can imitate, that we can aspire to, will give us a meaning to our cosmic existence. The universe will not be pointless any more.

The alien hunter: has Harvard’s Avi Loeb found proof of extraterrestrial life? | Space | The Guardian

The publication is suing both companies for copyright infringement and asks them to be held liable for “billions of dollars in statutory and actual damages” for allegedly copying its works. It’s also asking the court to prevent OpenAI and Microsoft from training their AI models using its content, as well as remove the Times’ work from the companies’ datasets.

The New York Times sues OpenAI and Microsoft for copyright infringement – The Verge

Facial recognition searches match the biometric measurements of an identified photograph, such as that contained on driving licences, to those of an image picked up elsewhere. The intention to allow the police or the National Crime Agency (NCA) to exploit the UK’s driving licence records is not explicitly referenced in the bill or in its explanatory notes, raising criticism from leading academics that the government is “sneaking it under the radar”.

Police to be able to run face recognition searches on 50m driving licence holders | Facial recognition | The Guardian

There was confusion in the plenary hall shortly after the agreement was passed as many parties had assumed there would be a debate over the text. The Alliance of Small Island States, representing 39 countries, said it had not been in the room when the deal was adopted as it was still coordinating its response. Its lead negotiator, Anne Rasmussen, from Samoa, did not formally object to the agreement and believed the deal had good elements, but said the “the process has failed us” and the text included a “litany of loopholes”. “We have made an incremental advancement over business as usual when what we really needed is an exponential step change in our actions and support,” she said. Her speech was met with a standing ovation.

Cop28 landmark deal agreed to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels | Cop28 | The Guardian

Generating images was by far the most energy- and carbon-intensive AI-based task. Generating 1,000 images with a powerful AI model, such as Stable Diffusion XL, is responsible for roughly as much carbon dioxide as driving the equivalent of 4.1 miles in an average gasoline-powered car. In contrast, the least carbon-intensive text generation model they examined was responsible for as much CO2 as driving 0.0006 miles in a similar vehicle. Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion XL, did not respond to a request for comment.

Making an image with generative AI uses as much energy as charging your phone

On Friday, the California-based company said in a regulatory filing that the personal data of 0.1% of customers – or about 14,000 individuals – had been accessed by “threat actors”. But the filing warned that hackers were also able to access “a significant number of files containing profile information about other users’ ancestry”. The company confirmed to TechCrunch on Saturday that because of an opt-in feature that allows DNA-related relatives to contact each other, the true number of people exposed was 6.9 million – or just less than half of 23andMe’s 14 million reported customers. Another group of about 1.4 million people who opted in to 23andMe’s DNA relatives feature also “had their family tree profile information accessed”, the company also acknowledged. That information includes names, relationship labels, birth year, self-reported location and other data.

Genetic testing firm 23andMe admits hackers accessed DNA data of 7m users | Hacking | The Guardian

If you do not want your website’s content used for this training, you can ask the bots deployed by Google and Open AI to skip over your site. Keep in mind that this only applies to future scraping. If Google or OpenAI already have data from your site, they will not remove it.

No Robots(.txt): How to Ask ChatGPT and Google Bard to Not Use Your Website for Training | Electronic Frontier Foundation

And finally, 66 Good News Stories You Didn’t Hear About in 2023, which we all need!

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If you need to create a maze for free then check mazegenerator.net out.

This paper exploring and showing how to Animate Anyone from AI visual training sets.

Pick best time to schedule conference calls, webinars, online meetings and phone calls with worldtimebuddy.com.

A colossal amount of tutorials for those looking to create small bit artistic expressions via Pixel Art Tutorials – Saint11.

On useminimal.com there’s a collection of beautiful, minimalist printable calendars, habit trackers and planners (available in 31 languages).

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#58 November 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

A bunch of things (which I added to my Tumblr) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on (as no longer on Twitter).

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Scientists believe we have great thoughts in bed because our brain is in a state conducive to neuroplasticity. Occupying ourselves with smartphones has replaced staring off into the distance and daydreaming. People equate boredom with low productivity, but making time for boredom may help you be more creative.

via When Do You Feel Most Creative? Why Ideas Bloom at Bedtime | Psychology Today Canada

…if an AI company was aware that its training data included unlicensed works, or that its algorithms generated unauthorised derivative works not covered by “fair use”, then it could be liable for damages of up to $150,000 for each instance of knowing use. And in case anyone thinks that infringement suits by angry artists are like midge bites to corporations, it’s worth noting that Getty, a very large picture library, is suing Stability AI for alleged unlicensed copying of millions of its photos and using them to train its AI, Stable Diffusion, to generate more accurate depictions based on user prompts. The inescapable implication is that there may be serious liabilities for generative AIs coming down the line.

via Artists may make AI firms pay a high price for their software’s ‘creativity’ | John Naughton | The Guardian

“Despite the increasing adoption of the technology, campaigners point out there is no legal basis for police to use it, with a courtroom challenge finding that South Wales police’s use of biometric surveillance was unlawful and breached privacy rights and equality laws.“

via Major UK retailers urged to quit ‘authoritarian’ police facial recognition strategy | Facial recognition | The Guardian

“I’ve been using the voice function since yesterday and noticed that it makes breathing sounds when it speaks,” said one Reddit user. “It takes a deep breath before starting a sentence. And today, actually a minute ago, it coughed between words while answering my questions.”

via People are speaking with ChatGPT for hours, bringing 2013’s Her closer to reality | Ars Technica

“Company documents cited in the complaint described several Meta officials acknowledging the company designed its products to exploit shortcomings in youthful psychology, including a May 2020 internal presentation called “teen fundamentals” which highlighted certain vulnerabilities of the young brain that could be exploited by product development. The presentation discussed teen brains’ relative immaturity, and teenagers’ tendency to be driven by “emotion, the intrigue of novelty and reward” and asked how these asked how these characteristics could “manifest . . . in product usage”.”

via Meta designed platforms to get children addicted, court documents allege | Meta | The Guardian

“Now Earth’s oceans are no longer unique. They’re just strange. They exist on our planet’s sunlit surface, while the seas of the outer solar system are tucked beneath ice and bathed in darkness. And these subterranean liquid oceans seem to be the rule for our solar system, not the exception. In addition to Europa and Enceladus, other moons with ice-covered oceans almost certainly exist as well. A fleet of spacecraft will explore them in detail over the next decade.”

via Icy Oceans Exist on Far-Off Moons. Why Aren’t They Frozen Solid? | Quanta Magazine

It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply… There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly. Lightly my darling, on tiptoes and no luggage, not even a sponge bag, completely unencumbered.

via Aldous Huxley, Island.

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Moon type which is so pretty.

Over 1,500 free fonts which puts privacy first.

The 200 best inventions of 2023 (apparently).

Create algorithmically generated quilt designs.

Cute little / free Mac app for grabbing video clips.

These collection of manifestos from activists and creatives.

Open Planet is free visual library for creating impact on a global scale.

Standard Ebooks: Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover.

Privacy Badger is a browser extension that automatically learns to block invisible trackers.

A web app to paint better with ease by stripping out the colours so you know what to mix.

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#57 October 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

A bunch of things (which I added to my Tumblr) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on (as no longer on Twitter).

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This is a sweet interview with Billy Connolly by his wife.

Hope with this suitcase sized desalinization system which can produce up to 4-6litres of water per hour.

More James Webb telescope findings of planet-like objects in Orion.

This is a meaty read but boy oh boy does it uncover the knowingly devastating role that Facebook / Meta played in the disgusting act of social engineering which led to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

Then there’s news that 42 states in the US are suing Instagram for it’s negative impact on the mental health of young people.

Now Elon Musk is under investigation for buying Twitter.

And MP’s and peers in the UK are calling for the police to stop using AI facial recognition tech.

Plus still in the UK, how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) use of AI has produced potentially ‘discriminatory results.’

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If you ever wanted to buy the chairs you saw on Star Trek check out this database.

All the Whole Earth publications, a series of journals and magazines descended from the Whole Earth Catalog, published by Stewart Brand and the POINT Foundation between 1970 and 2002.

The 293 writing systems worldwide.

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#56 September 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

The ‘Welsh Not’, which usually consisted of a small piece of wood or slate inscribed with the letters ‘W.N’, was hung around the neck of a child who was caught speaking Welsh. At the end of the school day, the child wearing the ‘Welsh Not’ would be punished by the schoolteacher via People’s Collection Wales.

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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95% of NFTs are Worthless: Report “…study investigated 73,257 NFT collections, 69,795 of which have a market value of zero ETH.”

Indian actor Anil Kapoor wins court battle over AI use of his likeness the start of many, many, many more.

Scientists excited to find ocean of one of Jupiter’s moons contains carbon & Nasa says distant exoplanet could have rare water ocean and possible hint of life.

Google gets its way, bakes a user-tracking ad platform directly into Chrome, the browser now directly tracks users, generates a “topic” list it shares with advertisers (stop using it as a way to communicate this is not cool!).

EU unveils ‘revolutionary’ laws to curb big tech firms’ power, “…tech companies have six months to comply with a full list of dos and don’ts under the new laws, after which they could be fined up to 10% of their turnover.” BOOM!

Rassie Erasmus: ‘Winning the World Cup is nice – but the most beautiful thing is what we have created’. Some great leadership reflections / insights in this piece for anyone interested.

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Over 500+ free CSS-only loaders made using a single element.

Check out this search engine for AI platforms / services, at current time of posting: 7,678 AIs for 2,103 tasks and 4,847 jobs.

EmojiGen, an open source emoji generator.

220+ ZX Spectrum 8×8 bitmap fonts & use for free with citation. My fav is Invasion, what’s yours?

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#55 August 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

The original Wicker Man origin: an image from a set of 8 extra-illustrated volumes of A tour in Wales by Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) that chronicle the three journeys he made through Wales between 1773 and 1776 (via Wikipedia).

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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Buyers of Bored Ape NFTs sue after digital apes turn out to be bad investment (insert-shocked-face-gif) -> if this is successful the floodgates will open…

…and hopefully more will follow for young people who are taking entitled boomers in leadership regarding the climate damage they continue to be the cause of to court: Judge rules in favor of Montana youths in landmark climate decision.

Meta’s Reality Labs (the metaverse tech dept) has now lost more than $21 billion since the beginning of last year: WOW & along with Musky it’s safe to say now that these ‘tech leaders’ don’t know what they are doing!

Why fidgeting is good for you, first paragraph bloody shocking as never thought this to be true, do people actually think that (asking for me as a fidgeter)?

Turning Empty Offices Into Vertical Farms (good for cities who are emptying due to working from homers and want to utilise their empty buildings but of course the great and good won’t contemplate that as that’s about doing something different and ah well sighs etc).

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This podcast with Topaz Adizes on ‘Can a Single Conversation Change Your Relationship Forever?‘, good for your ears / brain.

The Text FX project (from Google Labs) for some wicked fun ways to “expand the writing process by generating creative possibilities with text and language.”

I don’t pay much attention to web3 stuff as I used to although this newsletter (from Molly White) keeps me in touch in what’s happening in the silly crypto space.

Lunar Codex is an attempt to put an archive of 30,000+ creative artists from 157 countries on the Moon in 2026 as part of NASA Artemis program.

The NYC city government public Rat Information Portal.

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#54 July 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

From 2021 interview with Sinéad O’Connor: ‘I’ll always be a bit crazy, but that’s OK’

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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Seems like the New Zealand rugby teams are being sponsored by a UK asbestos firm, and sponsored in previous years by a petrol company, even though this country keeps promoting it’s 100% pure brand and status (which isn’t true).

There’s a new cryptocurrency (/Ponzi scheme) offering users tokens for scanning their eyeballs (probably as a way to make money out of peoples biometric data in the future).

Actor turned journalist deconstructing the crypto space in this interview.

Have a read at how the US’s top competition watchdog opens investigation into ChatGPT as it’s causing a bunch of legal problems (making up stuff).

Better farming techniques can aid keeping our planet within the 1.5 degrees heating target.

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This free and wonderfully intuitive workout routine creator.

Get your Jackson Pollock on.

Just refresh your page or click the random button for Wonders Of Street Views.

A directory of 151 interactive visual experiments with explanations.

Check out this AI music creation online interface, put in a word or phrase and it will give you lyrics that can be rendered into a real song.

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#53 June 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

(via Safely Endangered)

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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This piece with a marvelous headline: Eye-tracking glasses show viewers of Bosch triptych are drawn to hell.

About how the EU is moving closer to AI laws (including banning use of facial recognition tech by police & emotional recognition at work places & in schools.).

Meet the people still living on SecondLife: I still remember intro’ing folks to this in my presentations / workshops back in 2006-11, the concept of avatars, virtual currency / concerts / lectures etc.

Damn scary research on how COVID causes brain cells to fuse.

Crypto ads will need to carry risk warnings under new UK rules plus other new rules come into force imposed by the UK financial watchdog (which will probably be replicated in other nations).

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This lovely website of a curated free typeface collections and there’s also this London TFL Dot Matrix typeface as well.

emojikitchen.dev has over 30,000 unique emoji mashup combinations for you to play with and use.

shapecatcher.com to draw in the box and it will help you to find the most similar unicode characters (urrently, there are 11817 character glyphs in the database).

200 plus, free Illustrations for your projects , just download and use, no attribution required.

An Online Safety Sign Generator.

clipdrop.co/uncrop “uncrops” your images and broadens them out (just like Photoshop Generative Fill Firefly but without text prompt) for free. Here’s an example from my AI creations:

And finally, Midjourney just released their ‘zoom out’ feature (you can either 1.5x or 2x) which is like automatic generative fill / out-painting. Here are my first attempts:

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#52 May 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

Via Julian Frost

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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This Twitter thread detailing how Cuba has had almost zero Covid deaths in an entire year.

Here’s a wonderful newsletter collating the most salient of all crypto related news & things (BONUS LINK: a fantastic deconstruction of the hype machine still churning by the failing investment portfolios of folks who bet on lame horses).

An article making a case that the Metaverse is dead although more like end of the Zucks massively failed gamble, it will continue in much smaller iterations.

We’re getting a better idea of AI’s true carbon footprint, it’s not all jazz-hands & high-fives this stuff.

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The Gigabrain scans billions of discussions on Reddit & other online communities to find the most useful posts + comments for you.

This AI generated, never-ending discussion between Werner Herzog and Slavoj Žiže.

A QArt Coder which makes QR codes with pixellated images which you upload.

Over 4100 pixel-perfect icons for web design via Tabler Icons, free and open source icons designed to make your website or app attractive, visually consistent and simply beautiful.

The Not By AI badge is created to encourage more humans to produce original content and help users identify human-generated content (although no information about the humans behind it).

Make It Big, an app to have full screen text message on your (iPhone) (I use it at events I’m facilitating to tell folks speaking what time they have left).

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#51 April 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

Nope.

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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Here’s a completely non-technical explanation of AI and deep learning which really does help you get how they do what they do (and through the metaphor used discover it has nothing to do with intelligence).

Another article on how awful Bitcoin (& crypto mining) is for the environment and another for good measure.

This article about Long Covid is scary stuff, which is echoed in some conversations with those in my networks who are suffering the same fate.

A great exploration of the secret list of websites that make AI like ChatGPT work with bonus link of how this site is listed even though probably without them carrying on the terms when referenced.

A cheeky monkey who entered an AI created image and won a photography competition.

A different taken AI (that’s “Augmented Imagination”) to spark some thoughts.

How one company scraped 30 billion images from bookFace & other social media sites and gave them to cops: it puts everyone into a ‘perpetual police line-up’, douches!

A clean energy milestone the world is set to pass in 2023 which is news we all need more of.

Where I live in Wellington there is a danger of every street lamp falling out (which weighs that of a full grown turkey) plus the nation is becoming less attractive for rich foreigners based on visa numbers.

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Draw a character, upload and animate. So much fun for the little & large humans!

Just live air traffic control with lofi hip hop.

Iceberger: draw an iceberg and see how it will float.

Humaaans, which is a mix-&-match illustrations of people, CC0 free for commercial or personal use.

Mockdrop is a free device mockups site.

Ukiyo-e Search, is a collection of a wide variety of Japanese woodblock prints.

This podcast with to Rex Weyler (one of the founders of Greenpeace) on Team Human, good for the ears and brain.

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#50 March 2023 | Monthly Digital Breadcrumbs

AI still has a way to go.

A bunch of things (which I tweeted) for your eyes and ears plus brain to spend time on.

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The superb and erudite Jaron Lanier schooling us all on what AI means.

An in-depth article detailing how Block Inc., formerly known as Square Inc., operated by praised tech bros fraudulently created wealth beyond belief.

We can only hope that treaties such as these at the UN can protect international waters finally.

Still use RSS myself (like all of you should) but check out this great How to Take Back Control of What You Read on the Internet article on why it’s important to control your media menu.

New paper from StanfordVR peeps on the mechanisms responsible for Zoom (and other video conferencing) Fatigue and who suffers most from it.

This should be in every country / city in the world: Kyoto to introduce Japan’s first empty homes tax.

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Tour this amazingly detailed 3D scan of the Tomb of Ramesses II via this ace website.

10 links in 10 minutes (my mate’s wonderfully curated weekly newsletter you should subscribe to).

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