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May/June links: AI debates, Apple Vision, Rubik's cube record-breaking

Interesting stuff from May and June, 2023
May/June links: AI debates, Apple Vision, Rubik's cube record-breaking
"A man trapped in virtual reality, digital art."

Greetings from Bend, Oregon!

We're here in Deschutes County through the beginning of July, before journeying up the west coast to the Seattle area. Bend is a lovely town. It's chock-full of hip breweries, dog-friendly restaurants with patios, sunny river floats, hiking, biking, skiing, camping, fishing. It combines a lot of what we love. Fiona and I are more than a little tempted to move here.

We decided on the Pacific Northwest for our summer to be close to the Cascade Range, where I have a series of climbs planned. I started with Mount Rainier at the beginning of June:

From the past month

A couple weeks ago, I finished Mark Twight's Kiss or Kill, which is a compilation of his essays on climbing. He has a way of cutting to the core of things. Most are not easy reads because he's in your face, shining a light on your weakness. This one in particular haunts me:

Twitching With Twight
What’s your problem? I think I know. You see it in the mirror every morning: temptation and doubt hip to hip inside your head. You know it’s not supposed to be like this. But you drank the Kool-Aid and dressed yourself up in someone else’s life. You’re haunted because you remember having something m…

Hoel: It’s not possible to make a good social media site:

Stop trying to make a “good” social media site
You want what cannot be had

Mark Andreessen on why AI will save the world:

Why AI Will Save the World | Andreessen Horowitz
There’s a full-blown moral panic about AI right now. But the real risk is losing the race to global AI technological superiority.

The sci-fi writer Ted Chiang on ChatGPT:

ChatGPT Is a Blurry JPEG of the Web
OpenAI’s chatbot offers paraphrases, whereas Google offers quotes. Which do we prefer?

The trouble with covering AI as a journalist:

Why I’m having trouble covering AI
If you believe that the most serious risks from AI are real, should you write about anything else?

Apple Vision Pro early access review:

My First Immersion in Apple Vision Pro: Heavy, Man!
This morning, I spent half an hour trying the Apple Vision Pro headset. Here’s the punch line: This is one freaking mind-blowing piece of…

A fantastic take on where Apple Vision is headed: "Just like you, your SecondSelf sometimes needs to take a wellness break. Scheduled firmware updates take place on the first Monday of every month between 2 and 3 am. During the firmware update, you may experience vivid dreams of elk charging across a snowy plain, of steam curdling from the nostrils of an infinite herd of elk, of tracking the elk with a stone-tipped spear, bone-thin, ravenous, of the snow melting and the grass sizzling around your burning feet of fire, of hot blood gushing from the hide of an elk...

Do not remain awake during the firmware update":

How to enjoy your SecondSelf Skinset Pro
Love yourself. Love your SecondSelf.

Speaking of Apple products, I was recently alerted that there exist a whole line of airplane TV adapters for your Airpods, so you don't have to use the shitty headphones they give you as you board. Genius:

The 3x3 Rubiks cube world record solve time was recently broken by Max Park:

Wisdom I couldn't agree with more: "An hour before 9 is worth two after five":

Sam Kriss on King Charles III, whose coronation was last month:

In England’s dreaming
Lizards and black magic: a republican case for Charles

Vladimir Putin’s vodka empire:

Russia Has a Vodka Addiction. So Does Vladimir Putin – But Not the Same Way.
The Russian leader is famously sober. There’s a reason that his country isn’t.

Japan’s choices in the event of a war over Taiwan:

Should Japan Defend Taiwan? - Responsible Statecraft
Responsible Statecraft Should Japan Defend Taiwan? Analysis -

Diary entries from a Ukrainian filmmaker-turned-soldier:

The Diary of a Ukrainian Filmmaker-Turned-Soldier
A cinematographer reflects on his time on the battlefield in Europe’s biggest land war in decades

RUSI report on Russian tactics in the second year of its invasion of Ukraine:

The ebb and flow of Russian power [podcast]:

The Russia Contingency with Michael Kofman

Der Spiegel on Wagner and Prigozhin:

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Meat Grinder: A Moment of Truth for Russia’s Wagner Group in Bakhmut
The Russian mercenary force Wagner Group has propped up autocrats from Mali to Syria in recent years. In Bakhmut, however, it now finds itself in the bloody spotlight of the war in Ukraine. Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin has long enjoyed Putin’s support – but for how much longer?

A tour of the Fort Worth F-35 plant:

Building the F-35