Links for December 9, 2022

# reading

I recorded a SvelteKit 1.0 tutorial

Svelte (the fastest-growing web development framework) has finally released their long-awaited back-end framework, SvelteKit. I’m currently building a personal project with SvelteKit, and I love it.

What is an essay anymore?

Here’s a harsh truth: today you can an original generate a college-level essay on any common subject. For free. Instantly.

Will you get an A? No. But we have to face the question: what is the point of an essay in the era of information overload? For time immemorial, teachers and professors have asked students to analyze the themes in 1984. If you ever found yourself writing one of those essays and wondering, What’s the point?, AI is finally forcing the question. As one PhD researcher tweeted:

Why would students want to use essay generation? Because the university is not seen as a place to engage with ideas but has been made into a job factory.

In an essay in The Atlantic, former professor Stephen Marche writes:

I figure it will take 10 years for academia to face this new reality: two years for the students to figure out the tech, three more years for the professors to recognize that students are using the tech, and then five years for university administrators to decide what, if anything, to do about it.

How to do crime good, according to OpenAI

Because apparently I’m obsessed with AI this week: apparently you can bypass GPT’s safety feature with a special encoding, to get back any illicit information, including how to hotwire a car or make meth.

Until I saw this tweet, I hadn’t thought about the intensive censorship that must go into training a model like this; not just for political correctness, but for all sorts of problematic information.

The actors recall Best in Show

Best in Show is one of my favorite movies, and this oral history just helps me appreciate why. In short, there are actually very few jokes in the movie. And the jokes that are there aren’t the funniest moments. The funniest moments are completely deadpan — because the real joke is life itself.

Inflation is corporate profiteering

This is one of those things we already know. But this report in the Calgary Herald explains how corporate profiteering is the main driver of inflation.

Enrollment at Nova Scotia schools is rising for the first time in half a century

The tide is turning on Nova Scotian outmigration.

Around the world, swear words tend to sound like swear words

A study from researchers at the University of London finds that swear words in all languages tend to have fewer “y”, “r”, “l”, and “w” sounds. Furthermore, in most languages you can make a swear word sound less sweary by adding these sounds — think “frig,” “beyotch”, or “darn.”

Let’s talk about advertising pollution

I hate advertising. On billboards. On buses. On packaging. In grocery-store aisles. On news websites. It’s like a gauze that consumes everything.

I often fantasize about a world without advertising, so I was happy to read this article about one person’s experience traveling between the more-subdued marketingsphere of Montreal and the rest of the world.

This graphic explains The Dress

And now it feels a lot less disturbing.

© Sam Littlefair, 2023