New Choire Lore Dropped
Today in science, not science, and crime (both human & animal).
Today in Science
I moved a few old boxes in my basement this morning and discovered a whole nest of scientists hiding down there! Here’s what they were up to.
To Infinity and Beyond: SHOW-1 and Showrunner Agents in Multi-Agent Simulations: a potentially real company called Simulation Inc. uses “a multi-agent simulation… [which] can make use of data points such as a character's history, their goals and emotions, simulation events and localities” to make fully AI-generated episodes of South Park that are almost exactly as bad as real episodes of South Park. The company’s “About” page lists its address as 500 Baudrillard Drive, San Francisco, CA 94127, so the whole thing might be an elaborate hoax or some kind of recondite Philip K. Dick themed ARG. Either way, I hate it!
Anonymity and Identity Online: Economics Job Market Rumors (EJMR) is the 4chan of professional economics, a bulletin board where anonymized posters express profound insights such as “the whole point of women is to get railed and make babies.” Or rather, they thought they were anonymized, but researchers Florian Ederer, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, and Kyle Jensen discovered that economists don’t know about the importance of using a random salt in hash functions, and with only public data from the site they were able to match “66.1% of the roughly 7 million posts made over the past 12 years” to specific IP addresses. In Inside Higher Ed Ryan Quinn reports:
Asked for comment Wednesday afternoon, EJMR sent an email saying, “you may wish to consider what a neutral actor (ChatGPT) thinks about the study.”
EJMR’s email then includes a question to that artificial intelligence program: “Would reverse engineering partial hash codes of thousands of website users to get their IPs with brute force be considered hacking?” ChatGPT, according to the email, replied “Yes, that activity would certainly be considered hacking, and more specifically, it would be illegal and unethical.”
This is extremely normal PR management, and not panicked flailing. I can tell from my long experience in forum meltdowns. The details of how the researchers mapped poster IDs to IP addresses are fascinating, and once again confirm that you must never roll your own cryptography.
Stanford president resigns over manipulated research, will retract at least three papers: Freshman Stanford Daily investigations editor Theo Baker has already achieved the dream of every college journalist and forced his University’s President to step down in disgrace for overseeing decades of sloppily falsified neuroscience research. Jill Tucker profiled Baker for the San Francisco Chronicle:
Baker, 18, carries at least some journalistic DNA. His father is Peter Baker, the Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, and his mother is Susan B. Glasser, a writer at the New Yorker magazine…
The incoming college sophomore has noted, in response to previous media allegations of being a “nepo baby”… that neither of his parents have won a Polk Award.
If he’s willing to keep roasting Peter Baker like that, I’m glad to call him a comrade.
Also Today in Science: New thing found in space.
Today in Not Science
“Florida is down so bad” writes Jason O. Gilbert, adding that Ron DeSantis “has the charisma of a lamp. His clothes don’t fit. He laughs like a horse getting its balls cut off.” Meanwhile back on Cheech & Chong’s weed gummy web store, Catturd2’s biopic treatment has the biggest possible Rex Kwon Do energy. The new meal is Husband Meal which is basically anything a man eats alone, I guess? We might be done identifying Types of Meal now. Casey Johnston’s New York Times profile was low-key upstaged by a Choire loredrop:
After sitting at his desk for long hours during the pandemic, he realized his body was on the verge of “deteriorating” and challenged himself to do something that made him “profoundly uncomfortable,” as Mr. Sicha put it. He became a volunteer firefighter but realized that he needed to build strength.
He turned to Ms. Johnston’s guide to lifting and found that the philosophy that undergirded her work resonated.
Choire in the firehouse! I’m opening AO3 even as we speak.
Today in Crime
Benjamin Mullin and Nico Grant report that “Google is testing a product that uses artificial intelligence technology to produce news stories, pitching it to news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal’s owner, News Corp…” and that ”Some executives who saw Google’s pitch described it as unsettling…” The stories were technically well written, but the world they reported on was an eldritch horror beyond mortal imagination. The eyes. The eyes…
Speaking of horrors, slaughter superfans and assassination aficionados are flocking to Rex Heuermann’s Long Island house to gawk and under their own full names say things to reporters like “I couldn’t wait to see it. I’m so into this thing.” I was looking for the following tweet this morning but misremembered the jokey nickname as “Murderinos,” which turns out to be what My Favorite Murder fans actually call themselves. I’m pretty broad minded but that’s fucked up!
…terms like “how to take money from a register without being caught,” “one-way bus ticket,” and questions about Amber Alerts, including whether you had to pay for a notice to be sent out. She also searched for information about Taken, a movie centered around a woman’s abduction, according to the Hoover, Alabama, Police Department.
Yes it’s “according to the cops,” which 99% of the time means it’s made up, but in this case the abduction story also makes absolutely no sense.
And: “Here's exactly how much I made as a JPMorgan trader and BuzzFeed account executive. I have no regrets leaving behind my $656K job to become my own boss.” The $656k job was “Client Partnerships” at BuzzFeed. 😐
Today in Animal Crime: There’s a lioness on the loose in Berlin maybe, according to some firefighters and this six second video that looks like it was filmed with the Vine app. No lionesses are currently known to be missing. And 488 Golden Retrievers “assembled on the broad lawn in front of the ruins of Guisachan House in the Scottish Highlands,” their breed’s ancestral home. It would be a crime not to pet each and every one of these Good Boys.
Today’s Song: Gilla Band, “Backwash”
Happy Gentleman’s Friday! Find your own Good Boy to pet, is my advice. Music Intern Sam apologizes for any generational trauma his Weezer top five list may have caused yesterday. I apologize for nothing, NOTHING, except my mistakes which are numerous. Subscribe to participate in the first Substack-era Tabs poll tomorrow! Or just, like, because you like this newsletter I guess.
Pronounced “corey lorey.”