Manual Instructions

I asked DALL-E to show me “a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw hands”. Explains a lot.

AAN HARD OURND DOWVS NAVW ARE Rar Don Dangr Anaw tarr damg hvaarp Haund lid S 4 hiow ortand EG HMNSNG DAVW ANN DRRV HA

DALL-E 2 rendition of a step-by-step tutorial on how to draw hands

24 March 2024 · Infotech

Getting Done by Brexit

Today was the Day For Rejoin, with modest events held around the UK. It’s a start, but it’s going to be a long road back. I wouldn’t expect us back in the Single Market before the election after next, and the EU itself, who knows. But I can still remember getting a mad-looking flyer in the 2005 election from some bunch of no-hopers called UKIP, and look what they achieved.

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23 March 2024 · Politics

Ship of Fools

Farewell Karl Wallinger, gone too soon at the age of 66. I left some thoughts on his albums in the comments about “She’s the One” at Popular. (Blimey, that was a decade ago… is it like today?)

The story of Air’s Moon Safari.

The story of Girls Aloud’s What Will the Neighbours Say?

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17 March 2024 · Weblog

State of the Artless

By now, the whole world has heard about Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow (archived), or as the page title has it, “Willy Choclate Experience”, which sounds like something quite different and not at all for the weans. That mangled English is in keeping with the AI-generated graphics promising “a pasadise of sweet teats”, “enigemic sounds” and “ukxepcted twits”, which is the usual xepctation in the uk these days.

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4 March 2024 · Art

Malthusian Nightmare

Harry Harrison’s classic dystopia Make Room! Make Room!, written from the vantage point of a world of 3.4 billion in 1966, predicted a world of seven billion people by 1999. He was only a billion over, or twelve years too early, depending which way you look at it. (He overestimated the rate of US growth, though. The book ended with a Times Square billboard on new year’s eve announcing that the US had reached 344 million citizens. The chances are it’ll reach that figure this year.)

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4 March 2024 · Environment

Chasing Butterflies

America’s 1% have taken $50 trillion from the bottom 90%.

The unique rhetoric of Donald Trump. (Fortunately, this is a professor of rhetoric speaking about him—no need to listen to him.)

Hunter Biden has given House Republicans the rebuttal they didn’t want (archived).

The bottomless financial insanity of the Rwanda scheme.

The neglected history of the state of Israel.

Chinese influencers are paying huge fines to escape livestream contracts.

How Google is killing independent review sites (indirectly, as it’s more a case of big media publishers gaming Google to crowd out the sites that are bothering to test and evaluate stuff).

How scientists saved lives by predicting the Iceland eruption.

Building schools in Burkina Faso that stay cool in 40°C.

Ocean temperatures are off the charts.

The unauthorized comic adventures of Tom Bombadil in 26 one-page instalments.

3 March 2024 · Weblog

Life Stories

The New York Times reports that Amazon is being flooded with AI-generated biographies every time a celebrity dies, with such compelling titles as Tom Smothers: Revealing 4 Untold Truth About Half of Smothers Brother. As you’d imagine, they’re badly written, full of errors, and shameless money-grabs that take advantage of Amazon rules around only allowing partial refunds on Kindle ebooks.

How could this possibly be? Surely the entrepreneurs behind them aren’t using an AI author bio generator or AI Biographer™ or a free AI social media bio generator or Simplified’s bio generator or the professional bio generator Jasper or 10 AI professional bio generators to try in 2024. Surely.

19 February 2024 · Infotech

Hard Talk

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a couple of thousand words about Trump, the hard right, immigration, and Israel and Palestine, which I thought I’d post here, but which need some context first about why I wrote them.

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19 February 2024 · Politics

Binary Dominion

AI is back in the news—in truth, it’s rarely left it since the heady days of 2022—with the latest development being the emergence of Sora, OpenAI’s new video generator. Sora can produce minute-long clips that almost look real, assuming that people’s legs really flip from one side to the other, and that their hands really clap in slow motion and flap around like a seal’s.

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18 February 2024 · Infotech


We document our whole lives online, but is it even worth it anymore? A 2024 article about Insta and TikTok referencing a 2012 article about Facebook talking about things bloggers were wondering about in 2001.

No one likes hacks and oh God, we do care. “We’ve spent the past decade with our knickers in a twist because we collectively find it hard to believe that we may just be part of the last generation of our kind.”

Hope for Russia has died with Navalny, Putin’s most formidable opponent (archived and archived). Someone I follow on social media linked to the speech that Navalny’s daughter Daria gave on his behalf when he was awarded the 2021 Sakharov Prize, two months before Putin invaded (the rest of) Ukraine. It’s worth reading.

18 February 2024 · Weblog