Is AI why we need a blockchain?

I am sure this is not a hot take, but is the sudden deluge of AI fake content merely to reëstablish the need for the blockchain and similar ledger systems?

Take the “Pope in a Coat” (please!). Via Ryan Broderick’s Garbage Day:

Over the weekend, a user on Reddit’s r/midjourney subreddit posted an AI-generated image of Pope Francis wearing a big parka (and looking sick). And it’s not an accident that it was an image of the pope wearing what looks like Balenciaga. Generative-AI art communities share different meta strategies for good prompts and aesthetics that these tools can work within and more than few users have recently figured out that Midjourney is actually really good at rendering stuff that looks like high fashion photography. For instance, last week, there was an AI video of Balenciaga Harry Potter that went viral, though I’m guessing the prompts for that were more “80s dark fantasy”.

Either way, the image above was then shared on Twitter by a user named @skyferrori who captioned it, “OKAAYYY”. And it went super viral. It was retweeted over 18,000 times. And a lot of those people thought it was real (myself included). The tell that it’s fake is that he’s carrying what looks like a Starbucks cup in his right hand.

And it seems like the believability of this image was a real wakeup call for a lot of folks. As writer Joel Golby succinctly put it in The Guardian this morning, “I thought I was immune to being fooled online. Then I saw the pope in a coat.”

There’s no reason to worry, certainly not as 01 April approaches.

Let’s imagine a world where the energy issues with blockchain (and I’ll refer to all digital ledgers that operate basically the same in that umbrella term) are resolved. Let’s say blockchain becomes divorced in peoples’ mind from NFTs and associated grifts. And let’s say blockchain becomes both ubiquitous and open like the World Wide Web.

Could blockchain solve the deepfake problem? It would not be fast — legitimate sources would need to register (?) on the blockchain and prove their identity through something … ugh, I hate myself for even typing this … non-fungible … gah, I was right – I hate myself for using that word … in the physical world. Governments and NGOs would be able to set themselves up, central banks could set up regular banks who would set up their clients, and so on.

I see legion problems with this approach. I’m tired and need to go to bed. But an imperfect system backed with some validation beyond buying a blue checkmark from a space Karen is better than a Wild West, which is what we may have now.

A fair assessment

I attended the school event of a child of my sibling. The event was a lot.

They — the parents and kids and teachers and administrators and staff — are a tight knit bunch. Coming in as an uncle does not convey much status in the social fabric. This is not to say anyone was impolite or rude to me per se, but more that rudeness and impoliteness existed adjacent to the awkward space I occupied.

For example, in the intermission I needed to stand up as the folding chairs did a number on my back. Padding is mounted on the walls of the theater/gymnasium, and against one pad at the end of our row I leaned and read the news on my phone. Two people started chatting next to me. Then a third joined in, and a fourth. I moved down. Then more joined in. I shuffled stage-ward as the conversation grew. I ended up relocated about ten feet or so from where I started.

This is not to say no one outside of my family talked to me. While we ate spaghetti and salad from Styrofoam containers another family sat down at the round table. We discovered through idle chit chat that their child and my sibling’s are in the same class. They live not too far away from us. And the husband works in the same industry as me. That so rarely happens that I was unprepared when it did.

I was already a bit socially overwhelmed by then after a rough day at work, so talking shop was not something I was remotely interested in. The fellow dropped hints about his social network and a colleague of mine that he also knows and how there’s a kind of tech circle that meets every now and again for drinks and shop talk.

He seemed a nice guy, as I said, and under normal circumstances I would have engaged. I did not. On the ride home my disinterest was a brief topic of conversation. I was told that I was not rude or brusque but signaled that I was not keen to chat.

That is a fair assessment.

What is my point in telling this story?

It’s largely a reminder to me that this was an ok series of interactions. There is no law or contract mandating camaraderie or inclusion, nor should I have expended energy to integrate myself into an environment I enter for about ten hours per calendar year.

Also, that seeing a parochial elementary school perform High School Musical The Musical while retaining secular elements and innuendo was an event I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.

Delta Air Lines Passenger Uses His Coach Seat As A Standing Desk, And I’m Here For It – View from the Wing

Delta Air Lines Passenger Uses His Coach Seat As A Standing Desk, And I’m Here For It – View from the Wing:

A Delta Air Lines economy passenger was spotted inflight on a four hour flight using his seat as a standing desk. He’s resting his laptop on top of his seat back, and facing backwards to work. This is a power move.

Indeed, it is. I’m not sure how he is actually standing, though. The seat back of the row behind him as he stands, the row in front of him as is numbered and when he sits, seems to me unlikely to help with standing like this. Granted, the plane and the seat configuration could accommodate this approach. Also, maybe he kneels on the seat.

Regardless, I would not do this. I do not want to look away from my screen to see a sea of enraged passengers. But if I’m on a wide body and there’s a surface I can set up my laptop without interfering … that I have done and will do again.

※ Farscape and the Narrative Beauty of Screwing Up |

Farscape and the Narrative Beauty of Screwing Up |

There’s a simple selling point I trot out when trying to get anyone to watch Farscape, and I think it still hits the mark nearly twenty years after its finale: “Imagine you were watching Star Trek, but this time, instead of your intrepid spacefarers helping people wherever they went, the crew of the Enterprise ruined everything all the time.” …

A perfect example of this dynamic is encapsulated in the episode “…Different Destinations,” an early entry in the show’s third season. Right on the heels of losing a very dear friend, John Crichton (that’s the human astronaut) and several of his cohort are visiting a planet shrine while their ship is undergoing repairs. Said shrine contains these weird temporal goggles that allow visitors to see back through time to a very important battle where thirty Peacekeeper soldiers died to defend kids and nurses from the Venek Horde, and eventually created terms for a ceasefire. This is already awkward on the propaganda front as the Peacekeepers of the current era are a purely fascistic force bent on galactic conquest, but things get trickier when their pal Stark has the goggles forcibly jammed on his head—they thought he’d enjoy a look at peace, you see—and Stark’s unique empathic spiritual abilities wind up shoving his friends back through time to the battle itself.

Farscape was fun. The first season was clunky and janky, especially where Moya’s crew individually looks at a junction node or something while an annoying alarm sounds in the background. It gets better fast.

Throughout, they fuck up. It can be glorious and intentional. It can also be horrible and intentional.

Amazon Kindle e-readers are showing a blank screen – Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle e-readers are showing a blank screen – Good e-Reader:

Amazon Kindle e-readers are suffering from a major bug. Customers are receiving new Kindles with a blank screen out of the box and the e-reader cannot be used, existing e-readers are also suffering from the same issue. The problem stems from the new Kindle UI that the company implemented last year, that makes the Kindle e-reader look similar to the apps for Android and iOS. Kindle users have petitioned Amazon and the company says they are working on a fix.

There is no rhyme or reason why this glitch is happening. Some users are just using their Kindle normally and all of a sudden they have a blank screen. Some new users go through the setup process and are reading an ebook and all of a sudden the entire e-reader becomes unresponsive. Reboots and wiping the device seems to have no effect. Users on Reddit speculate that some of the backend services provided by Amazon that power the Kindle experience are having problems.

I stopped trusting Amazon on updates years ago. Here’s my solution; YMMV:

  1. Get to a version of the Kindle Firmware which makes you happy, or at least doesn’t fill you with rage
  2. Turn on airplane mode
  3. Delete your wifi information from the device
  4. Go to Amazon and delete your saved WiFi information
  5. Download your books to a PC or Mac and transfer them to your reader
  6. Use a tool like Calibre to help you manage your device
  7. Search out legal non-DRM options for when Amazon eventually blocks downloads for USV¥B transfer 

My advice for other ebook vendors is basically the same.

※ Amazon is no longer allowing downloading Kindle Unlimited titles via USB

In such a scenario, maybe it would be a good idea to keep a backup of all your Kindle titles on your PC or a compatible storage medium while Amazon is still hanging on with the AZW format. Once everything is transitioned to the KFX format, it could become impossible to break the DRM.

I agree, and this is another example of hostile behavior toward the consumer. I have older Kindles that can’t (or I won’t) connect to WiFi but work fine for reading. If the books that I buy, not borrow, are locked out then why would I buy any more of them from these guys?

※ All Your Face

All Your Face:

TSA going hogwild with facial recognition is going about as well as you’d expect, “but you can opt out”.

YK Hong:


Since folks asked what happens whenever I opt out of facial recognition, I documented it for you while going through US border patrol.

Coming out of the flight there was a row of kiosks for facial biometric capture. There were no people. Just kiosks. So I kept walking.

The next point of contact was the passport agents at their desks. Agent A asked me, “Did you take your photo at the kiosk?” I said, “No, I am opting out of biometric facial recognition.” And the agent asked, “Why?”

And I said, “Because I don’t like it.” And the agent said, “Wait here,” and then let the people behind me through.

After a bit of this punitive behavior, agent A sent me to agent B.

Agent B said, “Why? Why don’t you want to do it?” And I said, “Because I don’t want it. I want to opt out.” He paused and twisted his face.

Then he pointed at a sign and said, “Read that.”

The sign read: “U.S. citizens and select foreign nationals who are not required to provide biometrics and who wish to opt out of the new facial biometric process may simply notify a CBP officer, request a manual document check, and proceed with processing consistent with existing requirements for entry into the United States.”

It’s almost as if everyone entirely forgot how to do a manual check, which was being used for everyone until about a year ago.

And then agent B again said, “So you want to opt out?” Again I said, “Yes, I want to opt out.” And then he said, “Why?” And I said, “Because I don’t like my image being taken over and over.” And then he shook his head.

He said, “You know we already have your photo right?” And I said, “Yes, but I don’t like my biometrics continuously being captured.”

Then he said “Okay well I have to call someone.” And he just sat there looking very upset.

Then agent C arrived at the adjoining desk to begin work. And agent B said, pointing at me, “She doesn’t want to do the face scan. Which manager do I call?”

Agent C then said, “You don’t have to call anyone. Just look at her face and then compare it to her passport photo.”

And I said, “Yes, how it used to be done just a year ago.”

And agent B said, “You’re my first opt out.”

Then agent C said, you just have to enter on the screen why she doesn’t want it.” So again, I said, “I don’t like the repetitive image capture.”

Agent B said, “You’re losing the advantages of going through quickly.” I said, “That’s fine.” He shook his head.

Finally, after a lot of fumbling on their end, I was able to proceed through.

Even though it says, I can “simply notify a CBP officer,” it is not simple at all.

Opting out of facial recognition should be as easy as it is to opt in. The fact that it’s not tells you an immense amount.

Make it as hard as possible for anyone to take your very personal data.

Normalize opting out so it is never taken for granted.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Almost exactly a copy of one of the times I opted out.

T.I.L. – scraunch


scraunch or scranch




verb tr.: To crunch, crush, or grind.


Of imitative origin. Earliest documented use: 1620.


The word scraunched is the longest one-syllable word in the
English language.


“Sancho fell to, without invitation, and champed his bits in the dark,
as if he had scraunched knotted cords.”
Miguel de Cervantes (translation: Thomas Shelton); Don Quixote; 1620.

See more usage examples of scraunch in’s dictionary.