Thursday, March 30, 2023

We're headed for the great round up!

Notes for tonight's weekly punch up with Donna who - fair play to her - gives as good as she gets and never holds a grudge.

Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter

We call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.

More than 1,000 artificial intelligence experts urge a delay until world can be confident ‘effects will be positive and risks manageable.'

Meanwhile in the increasingly marginalized, anemic and pathetic UK a new white paper lands.

A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation

Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology by Command of His Majesty on 29 March 2023.

God give me strength.

Consider the previously modest and unassuming word alignment; a labourer in the vineyard if you will.

In the field of artificial intelligence (AI), AI alignment research aims to steer AI systems towards their designers’ intended goals and interests. An aligned AI system advances the intended objective; a misaligned AI system is competent at advancing some objective, but not the intended one.

Intended by whom and to what end? This is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

institutionally misogynistic


Met Police boss defends his £200k-a-year HR chief accused of overseeing failings
Clare Davies has the ‘full support’ of Mark Rowley after whistleblowers claimed she was ‘hopelessly out of her depth’

A whistleblower and several senior sources told The Telegraph that Ms Davies could not escape responsibility for many of the Met’s structural problems, with one describing her as “hopelessly out of her depth” and another saying she was “a toxic senior leader”.

I know, or perhaps more accurately knew, Clare Davies years ago when we worked on the SPIKE project at Surrey Police and hold her in very high regard.

I read, therefore, the cowardly hatchet job in the Torygraph with more attention then I otherwise would have. The 'whistleblower and several senior sources' anonymously sticking it to her are ball-less wonders casting around for scapegoats as their ship goes down.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Persian inversion perversion?

Dear imaginary tolls,

I was reading Jordan Peterson in the Torygraph yesterday because I am probably the crypto-fascist you knee-jerk assume. Trans activism is sexist and delusional was the title of the piece you won't read because it is behind a paywall. 

Any roads, and as you can imagine, it goes on and on and on but about half way down we get:

And let’s not forget for a moment that the world capital for sexual conversion surgery is Tehran, as the mullahs in their wisdom have determined that “trans” is acceptable on religious grounds (so a man can be a woman) but gay is not.

Is this right? I am absolutely astounded. Never would have imagined it in a million years etc. etc. etc.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Dueling pistols. Thirty paces.

  • Character development: 0
  • Life Lessons: 0
  • Plot: 0
  • Historical accuracy: 0
  • Moral exemplars: 0

John Wick: Chapter 4 is by some considerable margin the best movie I have ever seen. Were we too hasty leaving before the post-credit scene of which I was previously unaware?

The cherry blossom is blooming in Colliers Wood as well as John Wick's Osaka.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

I'm the hoochie-coochie man

Myself: I have named the child Caleb in accordance with your wishes.

Prodnose: What are you on about now?

Myself (summoning forth some little dignity): There are those who scoff and those who understand.

Saturday, March 25, 2023


Myself: What is a cigar box guitar?

Bard: A cigar box guitar is a simple chordophone that uses an empty cigar box as a resonator. The earliest had one or two strings; modern models typically have three or more. Generally, the strings are connected to the end of a broomstick or a 1×2 inch wood slat and to the cigar box resonator. 
The cigar box guitar is a popular folk instrument, and it is often played in blues, country, and rock music. It is relatively easy to make, and it can be a fun and rewarding project for people of all ages. 
The cigar box guitar is believed to have originated in the American South in the early 1900s. At the time, many people were poor and couldn't afford to buy expensive musical instruments. So, they made their own instruments out of whatever materials they had on hand. This included cigar boxes, broomsticks, and nails.
The cigar box guitar quickly became popular, and it spread throughout the United States and Europe. Today, there are many people who make and play cigar box guitars. There are also many festivals and competitions dedicated to the cigar box guitar. 
If you're interested in making a cigar box guitar, there are many resources available online and in libraries. You can also find kits that include everything you need to get started.

I have signed up for Google's chatbot as well now, in addition to Open AI's chatGPT and Microsft's Bing. I will let you know how I get on. 

Bing is in Skype as well now. A much better home than a browser I think.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Household Chaos

The son and heir's old bedroom is now a sort of laundry/guest room hybrid. (My brother John will be billeted there when he is up this weekend.)

When I was in it yesterday morning ironing a shirt, I glanced at a poster on the wall celebrating Wales' storied 30-3 drubbing of England a decade ago. Of the six players featured Leigh Halfpenny, Alun Wyn Jones, Justin Tipuric and George North were all on the pitch against France last weekend and Alex Cuthbert played against Scotland and Ireland. Only Adam Jones has definitively moved on. A sign I think that we should be giving the kids more of a chance.

In another domestic development I 'found' the raw chicken thigh I had 'lost' a few weeks ago. It was just as grisly an encounter as you can imagine.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Domestic Bliss

Sometimes "bad" is better than "good." Back at the house, after my youngest sister's christening I entertained the family from a C90 cassette that had London Calling by The Clash on one side and 'The B-52's' on the other. 

Nothing has been the same since.
She came from Planet Claire
I knew she came from there
She drove a Plymouth Satellite
A-faster than the speed of light
Planet Claire has pink air
All the trees are red
No one ever dies there
No one has a head

Wednesday, March 22, 2023


Bukovel has 68km of pistes
Give or take, we are pretty much in the middle of the week Bondy's White Heart Ski Patrol used to hit the slopes every year. This post from a year ago yesterday is as good an illustration as any.

We haven't been since 2019 now, and I think COVID may have killed the habit; we would always start planning next year's jaunt, tired but happy after the latest one.

Thus, skiing has been on my mind, and I was astonished to find this in The Telegraph.
How Ukraine’s ski resorts have given winter respite to its war-weary citizens
Not so long ago – before the pandemic, before the war – Bukovel, Ukraine’s biggest and best-known ski resort, expected to host around two million skiers each winter. Those skiers came for the long season lasting until May, for the densely wooded slopes topping out at 1,372m, for 68km of pistes and 19 lifts spread over five mountains, for 11km of black runs. A quarter of them came from abroad.
Some US$400 million (£325 million) had been invested in Bukovel since 2002, according to managing director and co-owner Oleksandr Shevchenko, leading to the creation of more than 50,000 tourist beds and more than 100,000 jobs.
Then came Russia’s invasion, on February 24 2022. As the tanks rolled towards Kyiv, the resorts closed, despite being far from the war in the east. For obvious reasons, winter sports were the last thing on anyone’s mind.
However, perhaps surprisingly, this season some resorts –  Bukovel among them – have reopened, offering relief to those seeking a glimpse of normality far from the conflict. 
Amazing. Take a look at the live website on You can even book holidays there on Expedia

One for the bucket list. Who would have imagined?

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Baroness Casey Review


Only two years ago, in March 2021, Sarah Everard was abducted, raped and murdered by a serving Metropolitan Police Officer. With greater courage than I can ever imagine, Sarah’s mother, Susan Everard, told the Court in her victim impact statement that: “There is no comfort to be had, there is no consoling thought in the way Sarah died. In her last hours she was faced with brutality and terror, alone with someone intent on doing her harm. The thought of it is unbearable. I am haunted by the horror of it…I am repulsed by the thought of what he did to Sarah. I am outraged that he masqueraded as a policeman in order to get what he wanted.” 

The lifespan of this Review has been bookended by that tragedy and another avoidable and abhorrent case when, only two months ago, another serving Met officer, who also exploited his position, was convicted as one of the country’s most prolific sexual offenders.  They are connected in another way too. What Mrs Everard could not have known as she made her statement was that another woman heard her words and was so struck by them that she was moved to call 101 and report that other Met officer as having tortured and raped her and left her for dead. It was only as a result of her call that other women came forward and that same officer was eventually prosecuted. 

None of this should have happened. Enough was known about both men to have stopped them so much earlier. And there is no comfort I can offer Sarah’s family and the victims of that rapist with my words. Nothing I say can match the daily agony and pain these crimes continue to cause all of those affected. 

But I do want to begin this report by remembering Sarah, thinking of all those who have suffered as a result of Met officers’ crimes, and paying tribute to those who have fought for justice on their behalves.

Those crimes, and those betrayals of trust, led to my appointment to review standards and culture in the Met. The previous Commissioner was right to establish this Review, with the Mayor’s support. I am glad to have had the opportunity to lead this work, and am grateful to the new Commissioner for his continued support. I am also deeply grateful to all those who have given us their time and told us their stories, often recounting traumatic and painful experiences.

I have read the Foreword, Summary and Conclusions. They are damning  and that is only the first twelve of 346 pages plus annexes.

I have downloaded the whole sordid saga from

You can too.

Monday, March 20, 2023

He was in the quicksands and clutching at me

The Times
Patsy Ferran on A Streetcar Named Desire: ‘It was a crazy thing to agree to’
When the actor accepted the role of Blanche DuBois opposite Paul Mescal, she had just four days to rehearse. Then she knocked the critics’ socks off.
There is a great story in this interview that I need to remember when we go and see it at the end of next month.

She got the role at the last minute, due to an injury to Lydia Wilson who was originally cast. For the first week of shows, she carried a small leather binder with pages of the script pasted in, her lines highlighted in green (or, when a change of mood was required, orange). The idea being that audience might think she was carrying a collection of love letters and poems from the husband who killed himself.

If you know the play, you will understand what a brilliant idea that is. I must remember so I can tell Mia, as she played Blanche herself in her second year at Central.

Sunday, March 19, 2023


I left my green beanie hat at PG's last week, so I must remember to pick it up today.

I didn't miss it because J (Icons passim) flew over from Norway after he got back from his mercy mission to Ukraine to see Renu.

When I met up with them he gave me a dark green beanie had with a discreet black tryzub on the front that he brought back from Kyiv Or Lviv. The tryzub is the coat of arms of Ukraine, so I have been proudly sporting that.

I can always pick up the other hat of mine you have next time I am picking something else up. There is no rush.

The coat of arms of Ukraine is a blue shield with a gold trident. Officially referred to as the Emblem of the Royal State of Volodymyr the Great, or, colloquially, the tryzub (Ukrainian: тризуб, "trident"), the insignia derives from the seal-trident of Volodymyr the Great, the first Grand Prince of Kyiv.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

I'm thinking I'm back

Today marks the first time I have done yoga (this morning), cardio and weights on consecutive days since 12-14 December 2021. I have got yoga booked again at half past six on Tuesday morning, so if I can get back on the exercise bike tomorrow and then under a barbell on Tuesday.

John Wick 4 is out on Friday. Among the protagonists; Keanu Reeves is 58, Donnie Yen is 59, and Hiroyuki Sanada is 62.

Maybe my action hero day can still come if I can keep on the stamina, strength, 'balance and flexibility' treadmill.

Friday, March 17, 2023

New Dawn or Damp Squib


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We are excited to give you access to an early preview of the new Bing – Your AI-powered copilot for the web.

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