Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
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Irving housing

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Like my brownhouse:
   not tolerating spongy moth egg masses
Monday, January 1 2024
Gretchen didn't have time to walk Charlotte before she went off for her New Years Day shift at the bookstore, so I bribed her into following me with peanuts. We went to near south end of the Farm Road and the northeastward through the forest, up to the top of plateau, and then along its escarpment until it started heading southward. Then we headed eastward to the edge of the escarpment west of the Stick Trail, which took us back home. On all my recent walks, I've been doing what I can to destroy the many spongy moth egg masses I encounter. (Spongy moth is the new name of the gypsy moth, as that old name was considered pejorative of the Romani people.) My method is to just scrape the egg masses off and leave them to mix with the leaf litter. This isn't likely to kill all the potential larvæ, but since the moths are most likely to place their egg masses inside the deep furrows of chestnut oak or pine on the ground-facing side of a leaning trunk, doing this likely reduces their viability, hopefully to a level where the survivors will mostly be picked off by predators.
I spent much of the day watching the third season of For All Mankind. Since it was a holiday, I eventually started drinking. But I stopped a little before Gretchen invited me to meet her for dinner. (I didn't want to drive drunk, and my breathalyzer, which doesn't seem reliable, was telling me that my blood alcohol level was 0.19%, more than twice the legal limit.)

I left the dogs back at the house and arrived to our date at the Garden Caf´ about ten minutes late. We'd be having dinner with Gretchen's newer friends Lynne and Greg, whom she met at the bookstore more than a year ago. (We'd all had dinner together at the Garden once before.) Unfortunately, none of the specials on the menu were to my liking, so I ended up eating the stuffed mushrooms and black bean quesadillas.
The main topic at dinner was AI, with Gretchen starting out by explaining how she critiques the responses of an AI to prompts (written by herself, other people on the team, or random people who have used the AI on the internet; one hilariously asked it to write a poem about her husband who smells like poop). I then explained how her training actually functions inside the computational neural networks that produce the illusion of intelligence (in a manner similar to how we produce our own illusion of intelligence). Gretchen's responses change the weights in the neural network, causing it to produce better poetry in the next iteration. We also explained that the impetus behind the whole project is likely to improve the overall quality of the text that the AI generates for all prompts, as it currently has overly-corporate stiffness to it. Gretchen also talked about her initial reservations for getting involved, but then her realization as she discussed it with friends that she was hoping that they would advise her to take the gig, which gave her an insight into what her preference was. And that was how she came to do it. We also talked about the risks of AI, mostly to the people whose jobs they would replace. Gretchen is confident from her AI work that humans have nothing to worry about. But I remain convinced that there is likely to be an AI powerful enough to replace all remote human workers fairly soon, and that within a few years such human-replacing entities (perhaps with completely fabricated backstories and the ability grow their proficiencies over time) will be available to be "spun up" via Amazon Web Services.
After that, we mostly talked about Lynne & Greg's trip to Sardinia, which happened back in May. They had lots of pictures to show us, which included landscapes dotted with absurdly-large boulders and weird pre-Roman stone stuctures (nuraghes) built with massive stones.

Charlotte atop the escarpment west of the Stick Trail. Click to enlarge.

Charlotte atop the escarpment west of the Stick Trail. Click to enlarge.

Charlotte atop the escarpment west of the Stick Trail. Click to enlarge.

Charlotte on the Stick Trail today. You can see spongy moth egg masses on the ground-facing side of the leaning hemlock trunk visible over the nape of Charlotte's neck. Click to enlarge.

Charlotte on the Stick Trail. Click to enlarge.

Charlotte on the Stick Trail. Click to enlarge.

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