This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

I said I found a microscope cheaper on AliExpress than on Amazon, but actually I was wrong about that. In fact I found it cheaper on eBay ($333.29) than Amazon ($733.42). Nevertheless, my point stands. It pays to shop around!

I mentioned my video jj5 feels hardcore!. Let me know if that doesn’t play for you, I think I have the original kicking around somewhere… If this video doesn’t make you happy, nothing will… :)

You told me about Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends.

The I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-satire lawyer/jailer thing I mentioned is documented here: Um, America?

The academic accident I referred to was in The Hardware Lottery by Sara Hooker published in August 2020. In the essay the author says “risk adverse”. Of course the idiomatic expression she is aiming at is “risk averse” and she just got it horribly wrong. Not once, but twice. As I said, for a professional academic ignorance at this scale is… unbecoming.

My comment about academic whinging was: “There’s nothing more sleep inducing than a pompous academic having a whinge.” (If I could refer you to section three of the policy document, subsection five, article three A, there is a discrepancy regarding some thing I do not give a shit about…)

I mentioned How It Works (girls suck at math!)

The full quote is: “‘Why?’ is a stupid boring question to which all honest answers are a deception of the mind.” — John Elliot V

I mentioned Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin. I will bring you your copy next time I see you. :) In the mean time you might enjoy: Rick Rubin: Legendary Music Producer | Lex Fridman Podcast #275.

Don’t forget to send me the name of the Sony headphones you recommend.

The LCD Soundsystem you mentioned was You Wanted A Hit. Classic.

Let’s not forget: It doesn’t have to be a bad thing!

Also, let’s not forget: everything you do is indelibly wrought in space and time. (No pressure.)

Also: hope is not a strategy. (Although some do not agree)

What is the difference between hope and faith?


  • To wish for a particular event that one considers possible.
  • To have confidence; trust.
  • To desire and consider possible: synonym: expect.


  • The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition or statement for which there is not complete evidence; belief in general.
  • Specifically Firm belief based upon confidence in the authority and veracity of another, rather than upon one’s own knowledge, reason, or judgment; earnest and trustful confidence: as, to have faith in the testimony of a witness; to have faith in a friend.
  • In a more restricted sense: In theology, spiritual perception of the invisible objects of religious veneration; a belief founded on such spiritual perception.

Serendipity and The Three Princes of Serendip.

I have a note about “deesterous”, but I have no idea what that means. What were we talking about? I think I wrote it down phonentically, but the search engine is telling me “dexterous”, but that is not it.

Also we were talking about “flapping around in affluence”. What was that all about? Lost to time?

We discussed the Spectacle. More reading may be required, particularly of Jean Baudrillard.

The string theory guy is Michio Kaku. I’m worried he might be a crank. Or maybe he is brilliant. Who could say. I watched a video of him recently: Michio Kaku | Quantum Supremacy | Talks at Google.

AI and the paperclip problem is described here. The problem is if you design an AI to make paperclips it might destroy civilization. Because, to begin with, it might sense that humans might try to turn it off, which would impede its ability to create paperclips, so it wipes out humanity and uses the atoms of our bodies to make paperclips… I mean, it is *very good* at making paperclips.

We mentioned Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star. Classic. On the web here.

The Chillout Sessions began back in 2001. They don’t make ’em like they used to.

The concept of enshittification is explained by Cory Doctorow in Tiktok’s enshittification.

I mentioned about Musk feigning thought in an interview I watched recently. Check this out. He totally pretends to think deeply about the question! It’s awful to watch, like bad acting!

I mentioned the video game Descent. I remember playing it back in the nineties, it was so cool! I think there is Descent, Descent II, and Decent 3. Apparently I can get them all on Steam. Gonna try that. Want to get myself a good joystick to go with them, maybe this Logitech G 4021846 H.O.T.A.S. RGB Throttle and Stick Controller X56.

You asked what brings me joy, it is this:

Love you brother. Can’t wait to see you again soon. <3


This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

Lately I’ve been learning about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. I would recommend you take the time to listen to Lex Fridman interview Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

I read RFK Jr’s new book: The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health. He is obviously deeply paranoid, and I’m not sure what truth he has.

Check out He Huang on Australia’s Got Talent 2022. So funny.

Steve the super villain says Switch to Linux.

The Sex Pistols song about abortion is Bodies.

The guy behind Designing the Mind is Ryan Bush, who I believe is from North Carolina, USA.

Recently I read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. It’s about a wise man being questioned about various topics by the villagers in a village. It’s good! It’s full of good quotes, but one favorite was from the beginning:

“But as he descended the hill, a sadness came upon him, and he thought in his heart: How shall I go in peace and without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city. Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret? Too many fragments of the spirit have I scattered in these streets, and too many are the children of my longing that walk naked among these hills, and I cannot withdraw from them without a burden and an ache. It is not a garment I cast off this day, but a skin that I tear with my own hands. Nor is it a thought I leave behind me, but a heart made sweet with hunger and with thirst.”

The book about positive thinking that I read recently is Magic Words and How to Use Them. It’s short and cheap and I would recommend it, if you can find some time for more reading! Here’s a quote from its philosophy chapter which is in the back of the book:

And now, we move on to the most exquisitely beautiful aspect of telling a positive story. Remember, the thinking mind’s job is to speak, comment, categorise and judge. And it does so every second that it is active. So, when we think about the world, we are always judging or categorising it. But, here’s the thing: reality, true reality, contains no judgement. Reality contains no opinions, no right and wrong. Reality just is. Judgement and categorisation are functions only of the thinking mind. All notions of good and bad, right and wrong, wanted and unwanted, are created by the thinking mind. All categories and concepts—even those we use for apparently physical objects like tables and chairs—do not exist in the outside world. If reality just is, it follows that it cannot be categorised or judged in any truthful or accurate way by the mind. This means all judgments, all categories, and all stories, positive and negative must be, to a certain extent, false. Yes, that’s right! All stories are false. However, it does seem to me that positive stories are truer than negative ones.

As I mentioned I recently read Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust. I suppose everyone should read this book, but it’s liable to make one sad. :( In the first half of the book Viktor Frankl describes his experience in Auschwitz. In the second half of the book he explains his theory of Logotherapy: which is “founded upon the belief that striving to find meaning in life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.” Here are two quotes from Viktor Frankl we should send to the Human “Resources” department:

“Since Kant, European thought has succeeded in making clear statements about the true dignity of human beings: Kant himself, in the second formulation of his categorical imperative, said that everything has its value, but man has his dignity – a human being should never become a means to an end. But already in the economic system of the last few decades, most working people had been turned into mere means, degraded to become mere tools for economic life. It was no longer work that was the means to an end, a means for life or indeed a food for life – rather it was a man and his life, his vital energy, his ‘man-power’, that became this means to an end.”


“Under the influence of a world which no longer recognized the value of human life and human dignity, which had robbed man of his will and had made him an object to be exterminated (having planned, however, to make full use of him first—to the last ounce of his physical resources)—under this influence the personal ego finally suffered a loss of values.”

Here ChatGPT explains Linear vs. Switched Mode power supplies. Basically linear supplies are built with transformers and have nice clean output but are expensive and inefficient (they lose energy to heat); whereas switched mode supplies are built with transistors and are cheaper to make and more energy efficient, but their output can be slightly noisy due to the high-frequency switching.

A bridge rectifier is four rectifying diodes connected together and used to convert AC voltage into DC. There’s a good explanation about how these work over here: Full Wave Bridge Rectifier + Capacitor filters + half wave rectifier.

We discussed Severance the TV series. I should check that out.

I found a transcription of Revelations by Bill Hicks, which ends with:

“Shut him up. We have a lot invested in this ride. Shut him up. Look at my furrows of worry. Look at my big bank account and my family. This just has to be real.”
Just a ride. But we always kill those good guys who try and tell us that, you ever notice that? And let the demons run amok. But it doesn’t matter because: It’s just a ride. And we can change it anytime we want. It’s only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money. A choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love, instead, see all of us as one. Here’s what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money that we spend on weapons and defences each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.

We should remember we don’t want to be “amplifying a bullshit signal and making a shit sandwich”.

Here is a fun comic from SMBC about consciousness:
SMBC comic about consciousness

The Desiderata is a beautiful poem.

The track is Cannonball by The Breeders. So good! Crash! I’m the last splash!

Everyone should read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance once in their life. It’s a book about “quality” and what it means.

The video editor I have been using is Kdenlive. So far so good but I don’t really know how to use it yet. Soon I’m gonna try making a time-lapse video with some footage of a tedious process, wherein I cleaned up and tested my whole 5% resistor stock.

And here is the photo of most of the networking in the lab:
Four network switches with coloured cables

It was lovely to see you, as always. Let’s do it again some time. :)


This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

I found OWC Docks & Hubs. This Thunderbolt 3 Dock looks pretty good.

The stomping kitties video I mentioned is Rathergood – Communist Kittens sing Tanz Mit Laibach by Laibach but unfortunately it’s been taken down for copyright reasons. :(

There are some notes about uniforms on Wikipedia, there are also a bunch of books on the topic of the history of uniforms over on Amazon.

I found a preview for Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Might try and grab it on iTunes some time.

The Foo Fighters track that I said I thought was pretty good was The Pretender. But on listening to it again now it’s not about what I thought it was about when I thought it was pretty good! :P

The expression jamais vu is a sense of unfamiliarity with, or of never having experienced or seen before, something that should be familiar. Like when you walk into your bedroom and have the feeling like you’re seeing it for the first time.

The Prisoner’s dilemma is an interesting thought experiment from game theory.

Never forget Hits from the Bong from Cypress Hill.

The quote about how to fly from Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything is:

“The Guide says there is an art to flying”, said Ford, “or rather a knack. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

I’m gonna put The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Omnibus: A Trilogy in Five Parts on my wish list.

Also there is quite a lot of material on the subject of psychological boundaries.


This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

Maybe start with The Circle, because it’s short, and I think it’s cool.

A TED talk from Sal Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy: The amazing AI super tutor for students and teachers.

The Hardware Lottery, a paper about AI processing systems, contains the quote:

Perhaps more troubling is how far away we are from the type of intelligence humans demonstrate. Human brains despite their complexity remain extremely energy efficient. Our brain has over 85 billion neurons but runs on the energy equivalent of an electric shaver. While deep neural networks may be scalable, it may be prohibitively expensive to do so in a regime of comparable intelligence to humans. An apt metaphor is that we appear to be trying to build a ladder to the moon.

The concern with the efficiency of human brains is maybe they will be used as an AI platform? :( I hope not!

Also the author of The Hardware Lottery uses the phrase “risk adverse” twice in their paper, which is just so annoying.

The Chinese curse is: May you live in interesting times.

This is kind of hilarious: Laws of Computing. It’s a good example of one of those things where you’re not sure if it’s genius or quackery. :) (Hint: it’s quackery!) But it is good fun, and the author makes some allusions to the difference between Western and Eastern perspectives.

So the Time Cube is described as: “a pseudoscientific personal web page, founded in 1997 by the self-proclaimed “wisest man on earth,” Otis Eugene “Gene” Ray.” You can find a version of it online over here: https://timecube.2enp.com/.

The tildeverse is a loose collection of websites. I have an account on tilde.club over here: tilde.club/~jj5.

We were talking about Bluesky and I mentioned this article: Bluesky’s user safety situation.

Comedy for the ages:

An old classic: Nirvana – Oh Me (Live On MTV Unplugged, 1993 / Unedited).

The motto of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS) is an infantry battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland: “No One Provokes Me with Impunity” — Bad ass!

I forget how this one came up, but wow: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – “Jubilee Street” (Official Uncensored Music Video).

I have purchased this one, but have not read it yet: The Courage to be Disliked: The Japanese phenomenon that shows you how to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness.

I tried to find the quote from the person who said “I write tshirts” for a living. It was in some movie, but I forget which one.

If you have some time you might enjoy some of my essays:

If you like Nine Inch Nails and anime, you will love this: Anime Music Video NIN The Becoming Lain, Akira & Ghost In The Shell.


This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

I have a Dremel 4300 with a Plunge Router attachment.

I found the latest incarnation of OBS: OBS Studio.

I found AV Australia but they have a dizzying array of products. What I want to know about is the HDMI to USB cam adapter, can you let me know where to find that?

Definitely watch Where the Crawdads Sing, it’s excellent.

Turns out there’s countable infinity and uncountable infinity, this is arrived at by way of Cantor’s diagonal argument.

As I mentioned lately I’ve been working on my Kickass Crypto software library.

A Tribe Called Quest – Can I Kick It?

There should be a government provided service so that you can have your delivery details provided to the delivery company independently of the vendor. This could be a more general set of services. You give your ID to the vendor, the vendor gives your ID to the delivery company, the government gives your delivery address to the delivery company, the vendor never knows where you live. You could get a new ID for each transaction.

King Missile – Jesus was way cool.

You can see the books I picked in my Silicon Chip Book Order. The red arrows were round one, the green arrows were round two.

Andrew “bunnie” Huang wrote Hacking the Xbox and made the Chumby. This is my chumby:

Nirvana – Oh Me

Pulp – Babies

Obama: “Better Is Good”

Black Star – Definition

KRS-One – Step Into A World

You should write a poem on “should”.

Portishead – Dummy

I discovered Situationist International.

Let’s not forget Assange, Manning, and Snowden.

I am definitely going to read The Courage to be Disliked.

As discussed, these are my mugs of memory:

Mr Rabbit didn’t look very stable on my shelf:

So I ate him:

I don’t think Mr Rabbit was very happy about that. But, fuck it.


This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

Check out this skit from He Huang, she’s hilarious!

The book I mentioned was Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. It’s a postmodern literary classic published in 1973. I have a dead tree version on my shelf (I haven’t read it yet), and I will give to you later this year.

The panopticon is a concept for a prison or surveillance system originally proposed by the philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century.

As we mentioned: if you work on the railways you must see people miss the train all day, every day.

As we discovered: you can’t change displacement without changing time. This was a revelation for me! Even classical space is not orthogonal to classical time! Or perhaps orthogonality and independence are different concepts and I oughtn’t conflate them.

I found the Bill Hicks pick up the gun skit.

I have published my latest weight loss report.

I mentioned the egg drop test. I read recently (and I’m annoyed that I forget where) that academics like using the egg drop test as a clandestine intelligence test.

I mentioned there are two broad types of 3D printer: resin and filament. You can read about resin vs filament. I’m planning to get a filament printer. The one I have my eye on is a Creality Ender-3 V2 Neo.

I will put gluten free muesli and sugar free jam on the shopping list. :)


This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

SMBC comic: holy shit the tape is in backwards!

  1. Filled with a specified element or elements; charged.
  2. Marked by or causing distress; emotional.

The VR guy is Jaron Lanier.

I was looking up the The Social Dilemma and I discovered the collective action problem, very interesting!

As promised there are some notes about my first contact with ChatGPT.

Check out James Mickens. Two talks of interest:

I asked ChatGPT why they call it the 64 thousand dollar question:

Willie, why do you rob banks?
Because that’s where the money is!

Elon Musk deletes tweets critical of Twitter after weekend barrage.

The distributed social network is Mastadon.

Recently I read How to Be an Artist. Essentially how to be poor and work hard!

Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia is an American docuseries, which premiered on Viceland on October 26, 2016. The show follows Hamilton Morris as he explores the history, chemistry and social impact of psychoactive substances. It chronicles Morris’ travels and first-hand experiences, as well as interviews with scientists, shamans and fringe culture figures.

Here are the lyrics to No Pussy Blues.

True Blood is an American fantasy horror drama television series produced and created by Alan Ball. It is based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries, a series of novels by Charlaine Harris.

And I mentioned my blog post about money and Straya.

Also I mentioned that StarOffice became LibreOffice. I use LibreOffice quite a lot, particularly Writer (Word equivalent) and Calc (Excel equivalent), it’s good capable software.




This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

Hey mate.

Thanks for hanging out on Christmas day. It was lovely to see both you and $YOUR_DOG. <3

Here is our latest homework.

I mentioned the “defence in depth” on my network, that looks like this:

The equipment on the top of the stack is an Edimax GS-1005BE, which is a 5-Port, 2.5 Gigabit switch. If you can make your way onto my GREEN network, let me know how, and I will shout you a steak dinner and the accompanying beers. :)

As you mentioned Western Sydney University started life as a federation of various smaller colleges. This genesis is documented in the opening section of the Wikipedia article.

There is atheist and agnostic, but I wasn’t able to find something different which meant ‘neutral’, unless you were thinking of secular?

So this bloke John Perkins wrote a book called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man which was published in 2005. It talks about how a number of small countries were swindled out of a bunch of money. (I discovered while digging up the book link that he has since published another book.)

The movie The Report is a look into the use of torture by the CIA. I’m no expert but I believe it is the Geneva Conventions that make this illegal.

You should be aware of Kevin Rudd’s new book: The Avoidable War: The Dangers of a Catastrophic Conflict Between the US and Xi Jinping’s China. I have read that book and I am pleased that Rudd has a strategy to help these nations avoid that horrible prospect. I for one am pleased to hear of Rudd’s recent appointment as Australia’s new ambassador to US.

The book Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev is about contemporary Russia and its unrealities…

Both the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street happened in 2011.

I mentioned the concept of Ikigai, which loosely translated means “why you get out of bed in the morning”, and is the intersection of your passion, your mission, your vocation, and your profession:

In Japan Moais are social support “clubs” that act as a safety net for members. According to that Wikipedia page “According to research, Moais are considered one of the leading factors of the longevity of lifespan of the Okinawan people, making the region among the highest concentration of centenarians in the world.”

You have probably heard that to become an expert you need to put in your 10,000 hours, but in The 4 things you need to be an expert, Derek Muller lists some additional things:

  1. a valid environment (not a random one)
  2. many repeated attempts
  3. feedback after every attempt
  4. deliberate practice (to push beyond your comfort zone)

In computer science a tractable problem is one which can be solved in polynomial time. It is not known if P!=NP, no polynomial time solution has ever been found for a nondeterministic polynomial time problem, but no proof that there can be no such solution has ever been given. I put together this comparison of algorithm running times which indicates how many items you can process in various durations for various types of algorithm.

Definitely watch Ex Machina. I’m surprised this movie came out back in 2014, I thought it was more recent than that. But really good. Check it out. Before you watch Ex Machina you should be aware of the Turing test, which basically means we decide that AI is real/successful if a person can’t tell if they’re talking to a machine or a real person when interacting with an AI. The futurist (and Google employee) Ray Kurzweil believes the Turing test will be passed on or before 2029.

Crypto-fascism is “the secret support for, or admiration of, fascism or trends very closely related to the ideology. The term is used to imply that an individual or group keeps this support or admiration hidden to avoid political persecution or political suicide.” In this case “crypto” just means “secret”, it doesn’t have anything to do with encryption or crypto-currency.

The recent Penny Arcade comic which talks about “business” is this one: A Knife And A Fork.

I have it in my notes to mention my disk configuration for ‘longing’, but I’m not sure why that was relevant. All I can think to point out is that I have 2x 48GB NVMe cache partitions sitting in front of 3x spinning rust disks which are in a RAID1 mirror, meaning I can tolerate the loss of two drives. Also of note is that I’m using zstd compression for my spinning rust disks.

As I mentioned Descartes’ demon is a thought experiment from René Descartes in which he contemplates the possibility that he is being deceived via his sensory access to the world and develops his philosophy of “radical doubt”. Even under radical doubt he concludes that he can never doubt that he is thinking, thus: I think, therefore I am.

The Categorical Imperative is a moral conclusion of Immanuel Kant: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

I mentioned Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. Haven’t read it yet, but do have a dead tree version sitting patiently on my desk.

See you in the next instalment. :)



This is a part of the homework feature of my blog, which is an ongoing conversation with my mate S.F.

Hey mate.

Lovely to see you again. Thanks for dinner! And thanks for sending me home with dessert, the apple crumble was yummo! <3

So this is Mastodon. Basically peer to peer social networking.

If you go here and scroll down to “Moderated servers”, you will see what a nightmare it is keeping toxic content off the platform.

It was interesting reading about the journalism code of practice.

Bodies by the Sex Pistols remains a confronting and poignant message. “I’m not an animal! I’m an abortion.”

I couldn’t find anything on “Don Kiyoti”, did you mean Don Quixote?

Check out The Tao of Programming.

Check out the Lex Fridman interview with Ray Kurzweil. In the interview Ray mentions about how he has a conversation with his digitized father.

Lex Fridman is a very interesting dude, and he does some awesome interviews with some very famous people.

Fred Brooks is a famous programmer and author who died just a few days ago.

The Penny Arcade comic is an important part of contemporary culture. I forget why it was relevant but I had a note about this one.

Steve Yegge is a famous programmer from Google who made a bit of a splash with his blog many years ago.

Check out Welcome to Hell, it’s pretty funny.

If you get a chance definitely watch Hacksaw Ridge.

You should read Technology implies belligerence and the book that it’s from, Blindsight. You can find it free online.

There’s a great interview with Pat Helland over here, you can see his famous collection of pez dispensers in the background!

And I will leave you with this, because it’s awesome.



Hi. I’d like to introduce a new feature of my blog, the Homework category. From time to time I meet with my friend S.F. and we have very interesting conversations. Arising from those conversations is a bunch of homework, which is stuff I have to go home and research based on what came up in our conversation. Usually I just email my friend after our conversation with the homework, but I thought that from now on I would post a slightly edited version of the homework over here, because I think it’s interesting and good fodder for my blog.