Categories
apple

But if you need it…

The new Mac Pro is available for order today. I’m not even remotely in the market for one of these powerhouses, but for fun, I maxed out the configuration options.

A 2019 Mac Pro with a 2.5GHz 28-core Xeon W processor, 1.5TB of RAM, two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo video cards, 4TB SSD storage, an Afterburner card, wheels, and both the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad is a mere $52,748.

Tack on the new Pro Display XDR —- with nano-texture glass and stand, of course — for $6,998….

Grand total: $59,746 (before taxes).

Just in case you were wondering.

Categories
tv and films

So…Free Guy is basically The Truman Show, but starring Deadpool, right?

Categories
tv and films

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Trailer

First things first: I really enjoyed the recent Ghostbusters reboot, am disappointed that so many people attacked it and its stars so viciously, and am disappointed that rather than continuing that story, it’s apparently being ignored in favor of continuing the original story. Even some of the statements from the upcoming film’s creators were quite questionable, even if they were quickly walked back afterwards. So when the first trailer dropped today, I went into it with a pretty healthy dose of skepticism.

That said — it’s a good trailer, and while all of the above comments absolutely still apply, I’m now a lot less skeptical than I have been. While I’d still love to see a continuation of the reboot continuity, this new film picking up the original continuity does look promising.

Plus, it was fun watching this for the first time with Prairie, because I didn’t clue her in to what we were watching, and she didn’t realize what it was for until the reveal about halfway through (right at the “Whoa…killer replica!” line). Her final reaction was much the same as mine — still bummed that the reboot is being ignored, but also looking forward to the new film.

Categories
personal

Of our two silly little window things, one seems notably more invested than the other.

Categories
politics

The Silent Coup

The US is being run by a government that no longer represents the people:

Today, representative democracy is on the brink as our government demonstrates an unprecedented disconnect from public opinion.

For instance, 83% of the public supports background checks for gun owners, but that hasn’t come to fruition. Some 77% of Americans want Roe v. Wade upheld, but that precedent keeps getting chipped away at. And 84% of the nation supports paid maternity leave, which has yet to become law despite President Donald Trump’s promising it during his 2016 campaign. We see time and time again that even overwhelmingly popular public views don’t translate to policy.

That’s because our three branches of government live under minority rule.

The Republicans in power care far more about holding on to their power and protecting their personal interests than they do about following the will of the majority of the electorate. Over the past few decades, we’ve been the victims of a silent coup, and I’m often worried that it’s too late to recover.

Categories
books

📚 fifty-eight of 2019: Sleeping Beauties, by Stephen and Owen King. ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A King take on the fears that women have of men, of the men that generate those fears, and how they all react when mysteriously separated. King (and his son) still knows how to tell a good tale.

Categories
tech

AI Dungeon 2

I haven’t taken the time to try this yet, but this seemed like something quite a few people I know would be into: a Zork-style game with an AI backend, so you can do…well, anything, apparently.

I wrote earlier about a neural net-powered dungeon crawling text adventure game called GPT-2-Adventure in which gameplay is incoherent and dreamlike, as you encounter slippery sign text, circular passages, and unexpected lozenge rooms. A PhD student named Nathan trained the neural net on classic dungeon crawling games, and playing it is strangely surreal, repetitive, and mesmerizing, like dreaming about playing one of the games it was trained on.

Now, building on these ideas (and on an earlier choose-your-own-adventure-style game he built), Nick Walton has built a new dungeon-crawling game called AI Dungeon 2. Nick made a few upgrades, such as beefing up the AI to the huge GPT-2-1.5B model OpenAI recently released, adding a penalty for repetitive text, and expanding the dungeon game training examples to a bunch of modern human-written games from chooseyourstory.com.

I CAN’T STOP PLAYING THIS GAME

Here’s the actual game site: AI Dungeon. Have fun!

Categories
links

Hopeful Images From 2019

Hopeful Images From 2019 – The Atlantic:

The following are images from the past year of personal victories, families and friends at play, expressions of love and compassion, volunteers at work, assistance being given to those in need, or simply small and pleasant moments.

Penguins at play
Photo credit: Thilo Schmuelgen / Reuters

Categories
politics

Restoring Voting Rights

Good news: House passes Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore Voting Rights Act of 1965:

On Capitol Hill just now, the House of Representatives has voted to PASS the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Bad news: This will join the mountain of other bills sitting in the Senate that McConnell refuses to do anything about.

Categories
music

Best-Selling Singles of All Time

Archie Henderson on Twitter:

I am a music historian, and with @AdrianRMG I have researched the best-selling single of every decade all the way back to 14,000BC. Here’s a thread:

This is a really amazing piece of musical historical research, and I strongly recommend going all the way through the thread. The snippets he was able to track down are incredible.