There have been some ongoing improvements to Natural Language Processing and associated Artificial intelligence. AI “chatbots“, which are able to converse in normal human language, have become fairly robust. OpenAI in particular has made some new work widely available. Ben Thompson at Stratechery discusses.
This was sitting unread in my inbox from two months back. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. A very good overview of what the pandemic did to the US economy and what the Federal Reserve and other actors are doing to try to return to the pre-pandemic economy. The only real question is who really wants to go back to 2018, and why. One of the best things I’ve read in a long time.
I believe the early response to climate change in America will come through the insurance industry. It is my understanding that many coastal areas, particularly parts of Louisiana and Florida are becoming uninsurable, mostly due to hurricanes. This article in an insurance trade publication discusses how insurance costs have gone from 2% to 8% of a projects cost. While this is a steep financial cost, it also brings up the point: do you really want to live in a place with these sorts of risks?
I was not able to understand the labor relations problem at US railroads from just watching the news and reading mainstream news articles. A good article from New York magazine digs deeper. Takeaway: railroads cut a third of staff over the years and have no real wiggle room for things like people getting sick. The railroads are also very profitable and essentially a monopoly locally and an oligarchy nationally. Why not just give people sick days? I suppose it would mean having to hire people as a buffer, the way just about every other business does. Anyway, a good read.
The traditional turkey gumbo.
I have been a fan of Arm processors for HPC workloads since at least the Mont Blanc project at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center. Amazon AWS has been quietly displacing the standard Intel x86 server platforms with their homegrown Arm solution for a few years now. It will be interesting to see how this one goes.
Good read from A Wealth of Common Sense blog. Seems tech companies are only about 2% of the US workforce. Did not realize it was that low.
The only Substack I subscribe to is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Today he goes off on Louisiana for not voting against slavery — in a 2022 election.
Summary: In the midterm elections, several states voted to change their constitutions to ban slavery and involuntary servitude as a criminal punishment in the form of forced prison labor. Vermont, Tennessee, Alabama, and Oregon voted to ban slavery—but Louisiana voted 60.9% to keep it. The 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery, but kept an exception to allow involuntary servitude as a punishment for crime.
My Take: Out of the 50 states, Louisiana ranks 46 in health care, 48 in education, 48 in opportunity, 49 in natural environment, and 50 in crime and corrections. In overall ranking of states by U.S. News & World Report, it ranks 50. The bottom.
Apparently, they can sink even lower.
A few days ago, I was trying to remember the name of an old colleague. He may have popped up in a dream, or at least someone who resembled him did. I could distinctly remember his face and lots of little bits of related information (where he lived, number of children, places we has met up over the years). I could remember bits related to the company he worked for, but not the actual company name. Nor could I remember his actual name, but I did remember it was one of those names common to men my age. John? No. Bob. No, but close. Finally it hit me (Don) and the rest fell into place like dominoes tumbling. Sent him an email and renewed an old friendship (but didn’t mention I somehow struggled to remember his name). I suppose he never looked like a guy named “Don” to me, whatever that means. BBC digs a little deeper.