A Very Thirsty Computer

A massive earthquake has shaken Morocco. Also, training chatty AIs takes a real toll on natural resources, Google is rolling out shiny new tracking software in Chrome, and today may not be the best day to do an "on this day" gag.

A Very Thirsty Computer

Morocco Earthquake

A massive earthquake hit Morocco this past Friday, crumbling buildings and claiming thousands of lives. Aftershocks have been hitting the country since then.

The US is reporting that the quake was a 6.8 magnitude, while Morocco's seismic monitoring agency says they measured it to be as high as a 7.0 on the Richter scale.

At time of writing, the death toll is stated to be about 2,400 people with expectations that the number will continue to rise.

If you have the means and are seeking a way to donate, here's a few options:

The Real World Toll of an AI That Hallucinates

Generative AI models like GPT have caused a massive spike in energy and water consumption by tech companies over the past few years, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Between 2021 and 2022 alone, Microsoft's water consumption increased 34% to about 1.7 BILLION GALLONS of water.

Water is pumped in to datacenters where AI training occurs to help cool down the machines as they read through countless written works, often written works taken without permission from the author, mind you.

Microsoft, OpenAI, Google and other massive tech companies are currently battling to win the AI space race, and along they way they're expanding their environmental toll dramatically. In addition to the massive amount of water being pumped from rivers (the Des Moines river in the case of Microsoft), their energy toll is spiking, as is their carbon footprint.

Tech companies are very aware of this, but the race is already on and so fixing the climate impact of AIs is an afterthought. All that matters for them right now is one thing: win.

But don't worry, you can feel okay leveraging the AI that is burning through resources to remix copyrighted material, because Microsoft has also stated that they will take legal responsibility for lawsuits brought against you if you're caught in a legal issue from content their AIs made.

Google Chrome is Spyware

You're probably used to the term "cookies" at this point regarding the Information Superhighway, but you may need to start learning about Google's new Cookie-Killer: "The Privacy Sandbox"

So here's the super basic rendition: cookies are a general purpose internet thing which allow websites to store some info in your browser for later use. Typically this can be things like user preferences or a way to remember who you are (the "remember me" checkbox, for example). Now, cookies have been falling by the wayside over the years due to a number of reasons, one of which is their issues with privacy.

"Tracking cookies" or "third party cookies" are a use of cookies to see you who are as you move around the internet. It enables tracking software to know your browsing patterns and then sell that data to advertisers. They're part of the larger "surveillance capitalism" ecosystem, which is why they're always under fire.

But fear not! Google is rolling out the Privacy Sandbox in their web browser! Which will… uh… let them have more control over tracking you across the internet and being a broker for your data.

The "Privacy Sandbox" was previously known as "FLoC" and the "Topics API", and has been routinely rejected by privacy and security advocates, as well as organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Google is essentially leveraging their dominance with the Chrome web browser to empower their tracking software under the guise of "saving you" from the big bad Cookies.

You have options. There are plenty of browsers besides Chrome, and they're increasingly great. Firefox is still a great option, but if you still want to feel like you're using Chrome, there's a whole host of web browsers that are based on the same foundation as Chrome, and even work directly with Chrome extensions. I recommend checking out Opera, Vivaldi or Arc Browser. Brave is a generally good option but has a history of problematic shit and is closely tied to crypto stuff.

On This Day…

On this day in… uh

I uh…

I'mma skip the history fact on this one, y'all

Here's the Weather

Source: VentuSky

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