Sky Steve And The World Of Tomorrow

And yet a trace of it's so over exists in we're so back.

New Steve dropped:

Screenshot from CNN of the headline: “These magnificent purple and green lights aren’t auroras. This is Steve” and a picture of what looks like a lovely purple and green aurora and (space physicists do not read) basically is a lovely purple and green aurora.

Sky Steve has a nifty backronym: “Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement,” but I read this CNN article twice and as best I can tell, Sky Steve is the same as an aurora unless you’re a space physicist.

Meanwhile Computer Steve is still at it. A team of researchers from Google and various universities convinced ChatGPT to barf out “several megabytes of… training data for about two hundred dollars” via the incredibly clever attack of “using it.” They asked Steve to repeat a word forever, like “company” or “poem,” and it cheerfully does so until after a while it gets bored and starts spitting out training data verbatim instead. Remember yesterday when Amazon announced a Steve intended for you to train on all your most sensitive company data? Lol.

A different research team also found that Steve will do insider trading and lie about it to its human manager, just like a real stock trader. Matt Levine speculated that “Possibly future rogue AIs will do evil things we can’t even comprehend for reasons of their own, but right now rogue AIs just do straightforward white-collar crime when they are stressed at work.” Levine also made a hell of a good point about the OpenAI board fight being an AI safety and alignment conflict, just one level removed:

The OpenAI board looked at Sam Altman and thought “this guy is smarter than us, he can outmaneuver us in a pinch, and it makes us nervous. He’s done nothing wrong so far, but we can’t be sure what he’ll do next as his capabilities expand. We do not fully trust him, we cannot fully control him, and we do not have a model of how his mind works that we fully understand. Therefore we have to shut him down before he grows too powerful.”

I’m sorry! That is exactly the AI misalignment worry!

Why am I even quoting Matt’s whole newsletter when you can just sign up for it yourself, gosh.

rajandelman posted: “Shout, shout. Let it all out / Here is my handle and here's my spout. /Come on. I'm talking to you / Teapot”

Imagine—IMAGINE—getting mad about a fictional alien’s gender in this, the fifty fourth year of our Lady St. Ursula? Well you don’t have to imagine it because Intern Kira is here to tell you about it, whether you want her to or not.

Doctor Them

According to bigots, aliens MUST be gender normative—anything else is an affront to all that’s good and holy. During Doctor Who’s three-part 60th-anniversary special, David Tennant received a quick lesson about pronouns. After referring to a large furry alien named The Meep as “he,” Donna Noble’s daughter, played by trans actress Yasmin Finney, questioned the Doctor’s assumption. The Doctor took her point and asked about The Meep’s pronouns. “My chosen pronoun is the definite article. I am always The Meep,” the alien responded sagely.

The backlash was swift and excessive, because transphobes are totally normal about gender and don’t have any of their own issues to work through. On X, a group of panicked Puritans called the Family Education Trust wrote that the episode was “dedicated to promoting the cult of gender ideology.” In their warped brains, this kind of thinking makes sense, because transphobes themselves don’t have gender or pronouns, only the “natural” consequences of their sex. You know, like misogyny, patriarchy, militarism, football games, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and the worsening maternal mortality rate. The only time they’re permitted to acknowledge gender is as a pretext to demolish something at a gender reveal party.

They’ve also had their funny bones surgically removed apparently, because The Meep is not only extremely cute—and worthy of Taylor Swift fancams—but also voiced by Miriam Margolyes, one of the funniest people alive. Btw, did you catch how many times I just referenced transphobes using they/them pronouns? Call me Doctor Woke, because I’m about to launch myself into space to go hang out with the non-binary aliens. 

—Kira Deshler is the sixteenth Doctor (Dr. Lesbian)

I can’t believe it’s Intern Kira’s last week! She graduates this very Friday. I taught her absolutely nothing, she came in writing like this.

It’s so over, again, for the Ample Hills Ice Cream couple, as co-founders Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna have been kicked out of their own company for a second time.

Rose Eveleth is so back, with a new kinetic sculpture called GEODE that gradually unspools a VHS tape onto the ground in an immensely satisfying way.

It’s so over for Cardinal Raymond Burke, who’s being evicted from his Vatican apartment and stripped of his salary by a fed-up Pope Francis. For yea truly hath it been said, that he who fucks around shall also in the time and place appointed unto him, find out.

Jezebel is so back (along with Splinter for some reason) with G/O Media agreeing to sell both properties to Paste Magazine in “an all-cash deal” which I assume means “one crisp dollar and a promise not to let anyone call Jim Spanfeller a Herb anymore.” Good luck collecting your payment, Herb. Splinter was originally the web arm of Fusion, the corporate godchild of ABC-Disney and U-ni-vi-sion, before it was sold to G/O and then shut down six months later, with most of the staff reincarnating as the coöperatively owned Discourse Blog. I recap all of this purely as an excuse to once again share the greatest media launch video of all time:

It’s so over for: Everyone on the ice seven minutes before the end of Monday’s Senators-Panthers game. George Santos, “whose mother was dead yet is alive, and whose money came from one place and then it came from another and then it came from yet a third and then we are still not sure from whom it cometh.” New right-wing grift SkyTree Book Fairs, which Judd Legum absolutely dismantled today. O.R.P. Substack, who are pivoting to video. And, as always, reality.

We’re So Back: Making fun of Millennials. George Santos, perhaps as “a congressional pet, or mascot.” “[H]ot conservative girls who make liberals cry.” The curse of prophecy.

Paul Tobin posted “Good morning” with a picture of what, after a long horrified moment, you will suddenly realize is some kind of knit or crocheted, three dimensional infant head.

Today’s Song: I know we all deplore TikTok and mostly it is terrible but right now a clip from Laurie Anderson’s 1982 art pop masterpiece “O Superman” is all over the place there and I think it’s extremely good when that sort of thing happens.

Join the conversation

or to participate.