More Popes Than You'd Expect

The price of a very specific oil is skyrocketing. Also, Unity is promising changes but people aren't optimistic, Microsoft has suffered a couple of massive leaks, AI isn't really winning all our hearts, and lets imagine a Pope cage match.

More Popes Than You'd Expect

Scheduling Note

Hello! This is just a reminder that I will be off this coming Friday (September 22nd) and Monday (September 25th). I will still be streaming tonight and likely on Monday, but Stuff Keeps Happening will return Wednesday, September 27th.

Price of Oil Skyrockets

But not THAT kind of oil. Olive oil.

Olive oil prices have skyrocketed recently to record highs as major droughts in production areas around the Mediterranean have cut production to shreds. As of September, prices were as high as $8,900 per ton.

This massive price hike has created a new problem: Olive oil heists. According to reports, a heist of 50,000 liters of extra virgin olive oil was stolen from an oil mill in Spain, amounting to about $450,000 of product. Other thefts have been reported with expectations of more looming as the price isn't expected to drop in the near future.

If you've got oil in your kitchen, lock it up. You never know when a trickster may try to steal that greasy goodness.

Unity Promises Change

Normally, a heading like that would mean something like "if we all work together, we can make the world a better place." Instead we live in the timeline where the company behind a popular game engine is trying to smooth over the massive outrage from their pricing model change.

Hyper-quick recap: Unity is a video game engine used by a lot of popular video games, especially indie games. They announced a new pricing structure which would charge game developers every time someone installed their game. That pricing structure is unheard of and had the potential to bankrupt developers. The industry clapped back, HARD.

Unity is now announcing that they will be "making changes" to their pricing structure, but fell short of saying "we fucked up and we're not doing that after all" as we saw earlier this year with Wizards of the Coast and their licensing debacle.

It seems likely that they'll tighten up some of the rules around what and when you need to pay them, but they're still pushing for per-install payments. The larger story here, in my opinion, is the massive loss of trust. Unity is HUGE in the game development space, and thousands of development firms have now seen that Unity cannot be trusted to remain financially viable in the long run. They changed the rules once, they sure as hell can change the rules again.

Given the years-long effort of making a marketable video game, developers absolutely need stability and security when choosing a game engine. It is a deeply invasive task to "just move to another game engine," as you need to train your entire team on the new engine, and often need to completely rebuild the game entirely. The risk is just not worth it, and Unity has destroyed the faith that developers had in them.



Microsoft is Really Going Through It Right Now

Microsoft has had two MASSIVE and unrelated leaks over the past couple of days. One was a leak from an ongoing court case which dumped a trove of unreleased internal communications and product details, and another was 38TB (Terabyte, 1 TB is ~1,000 Gigabytes, so, a lot) of company data leaked from ongoing AI research.

Microsoft maintains that no user data has been leaked.

However, there's a lot of tea to spill and it just keeps going, primarily in the Xbox / gaming space. For example, we now know that Phil Spencer, head of Xbox floated the idea of trying to purchase Nintendo, thinking it could be a career defining moment.

Another example would be internal documents that show that Microsoft didn't think much of Baldur's Gate 3, essentially labeling it in internal market estimations as a big ol' dud of a release.

There's so much to comb through here, I gotta move on. But, Spencer has released a statement about all of this, and if you wanna learn more about upcoming Xbox design changes and company plans and whatnot, it's all out there to be discovered.

People Aren't Super Into AI At The Moment

Despite every tech company on the planet finding ways to shovel AI into their apps, people at large aren't yet convinced that AI is an actual net benefit.

According to a recent poll (N = 2,063 US adults), a modest majority of responders were more concerned with the threat of AI than they were the potential benefits.

The biggest concern was around data harvesting, security, misinformation and harmful applications of AI. Much lower down the chart was the "it's going to replace my job" concern.

The concerns are not universal though, and break down a bit by demographics. Younger responders were more into it than older responders, and men were more chill AI than women.

Millennials were the most excited cohort, which is deeply confusing to me, because we are the generation who has grown up with and watched these massive tech companies actively break our worlds apart. So. I dunno about that, y'all.

Anyway, as a Technology Boi, I am not a big fan of generative AI. I think it has some use cases, but I don't think it merits the incredible toll on natural resources and the rampant theft of creative works that power these things just enough to often spew made up shit as answers.

AI has a solid place in medical research, possible infrastructure enhancements and more. But that does not require generative output so much as it leverages the underlying neural network technology that powers modern AI. This current wave of chatty AIs everywhere is primarily being pushed by venture capital firms and investors. It's the new hotness after Crypto, and while I think it has more viable application than Crypto did, it's still not the thing we should be throwing all our time and effort into right now.

On This day…

On this day in 1378, some cardinals of the Catholic church elected a second pope, alleging the currently elected pope was invalid. This began the Western Schism, where there were rival popes trying to out-Pope each other for about 40 years.

Towards the end of the Popedown, there was even a third pope who entered the ring.

I would absolutely love to see a Pope cage match.

Here's the Weather

Source: VentuSky

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