The Sun Demands It

Billionaires built their own deep sea death trap. Also, AI companies are still just Tech companies, the climate is on trial, a judge steps in to block Arkansas transphobia, and a confusing day for a Spanish garrison.

The Sun Demands It

It's the Summer Solstice today and that can be the only reason for the Stuff that is Happening.

Balloons are old news, we're on to lost subs now

You've possibly already heard about this by now because it is everywhere, but a commercial submarine has gone missing during a mission to the wreckage of the Titanic.

The sub is operated by a company that sells tickets for about a quarter of a million dollars each to go and explore the depths. At least one person on board is a billionaire from the UK. At time of writing, the sub has up to 50 or so hours of remaining oxygen and search efforts are massively ramping up.

The submarine looks pretty makeshift, and current reports show that it uses parts such as a $30 Logitech generic game controller.

While I don't wanna joke about human beings in such a situation (because holy god, nightmare fuel), I do have a hard time getting past the whole "you have billions of dollars and chose to spend it on a joyride to the Titanic wreckage" thing. What's with billionaires launching into space or the depths?

AI tech companies are still Just Tech Companies

…and tech companies love to pull bullshit in legal systems. I guess most companies, really.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, has been talking A LOT recently about the existential threat of AI, and how we need to have a ton of regulation or it's gonna kill us all or something.

I wanna be super clear: that is marketing. He is doing marketing. The problems that we face with AI right now are deeply political, not directly existential, and tech companies are throwing everything they have at AI because it's the current hot thing, and anyone not doing it is falling behind in the eyes of investors.

Anyway, big shocker, while talking about the dangers of AI, Altman has also been lobbying EU regulators to deregulate his AI. And it has worked. The final draft of the proposed AI legislation in the EU lacks a classification of GPT as "dangerous."

The main difference between AI and the other recent tech hype pits (NFTs, Crypto, etc) is that generative AI has an easy to understand "wow" factor right now. We've had neural network AIs doing shit for us for years now. It's just easier to see now.

Climate on trial

So here's a thing: the state constitution of Montana guarantees its citizens a "clean and healthful environment." Here's another thing: the rapid burning of fossil fuels is causing the planet to burn. Here's a third thing: politicians, often bought and paid for by the oil industry, are actively working to prevent a transition away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable future.

And so here is a fourth thing: young citizens of Montana have brought a court case to hearing that holds the state liable for infringing on their constitutional right to a healthy environment.

Defense arguments are set to open soon after several failed attempts by the state to weasel out of the lawsuit.

If we're gonna live in the land of litigation, I'm all for litigating on behalf of the land.

Arkansas trans youth healthcare ban stopped by a judge for now

A few weeks back, Arkansas passed an anti-trans youth healthcare bill because that is all the rage these days for back-asswords authoritarians. Since then, a bunch of other states passed similar laws because they can't be loudly anti-Black anymore so they instead attack trans youth.

However, a judge has recently ruled the bill to be a sack of shit, and it is Not Happening Anymore.

This is a good thing (kinda sorta, I mean, shouldn't have been a thing to begin with) but its still via the legal system, so don't be super shocked if it gets un-re-side challenged and escalated or however that works. On the flip side, this can now be pointed to as prior art for future rulings, so hell yeah.

On this day…

On this day in 1898, the United States "captured" Guam from Spain.

There was no bloodshed during the capture of Guam, as the Spanish forces there didn't even know there was a war going on. A single US ship sailed up and fired some warning shots. The Spanish garrison thought it was just saying hello.

Seriously. A bunch of people had gathered on the shore, and the US ship shot 13 rounds at the nearby fort. The forces were like "oh, they're saluting the fort!" and went to return fire. They even sent out the captain on a boat to go board the ship and say hello, only to learn that there is, in fact, a war going on and the ship was, in fact, there to take over Guam. Which it did.

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