We’ve replaced all the blockchain buzzwords with AI buzzwords. Let’s see if big tech notices

Crypto collapse links

“Bitcoin’s current worth and future potential rest partly in the hands of the Bitcoin Core maintainers, a group who are chosen by their peers and are often vague about their whereabouts. A loose network of donors pays most maintainers’ salaries. At least once, the maintainers secretly patched a bug that bitcoin proponents say could have destroyed the cryptocurrency’s value.

A snappy, prescient review of crypto, from May 2022: “Its harms are substantial. It has enabled billion dollar criminal enterprises. It has enabled venture capitalists to do securities fraud as their business. It has sucked people in. So either avoid it or help me make it die in a fire.”

The final days of FTX: “Soon, news of FTX’s troubles was spreading beyond headquarters. Rental car agencies in Nassau demanded their vehicles back. Hotels and landlords turned out FTX employees, some of whom moved into properties owned by the company. Many workers rushed to book tickets off the island. ‘If you could get a flight out tomorrow, you would go,’ one recalled.

AI and chatbot links

“For a fun time, I decided to ask the new “Bing Search” chatbot what it knows about Leif & Thorn. […] By the second answer, the bot had made up a whole nonexistent storyline.

“How about a robot that instantly pulls and returning info from the internet when requested? Sixteen years ago, three guys had that exact idea—and it didn’t exist. The web was still a greenfield project. And thanks to some great foresight (perhaps too much, if that’s real) they created ActiveBuddy, the startup that built SmarterChild.

The joke here is “Chat GPT has very prudish sexual ethics“, but in all seriousness: we can all agree that’s not just predictive text, right? Some of those were phrases written by a human professional, once they noticed they were getting certain kinds of questions, where they absolutely couldn’t leave the chatbot to freeball the answers.

The Onion weighs in: Questions That ChatGPT Is Not Allowed To Answer.

“In this post, I catalogue a few of the analogies for “AI” art and how they are useful analogies and how they’re misleading.

Includes a link to an essay about data compression, and its fascinating failings. “It turned out that the photocopier had judged the labels specifying the area of the rooms to be similar enough that it needed to store only one of them—14.13—and it reused that one for all three rooms when printing the floor plan.

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Multifandom fic recs, 3/15 (Good Omens, WandaVision, Moon Knight)

  • Moon Knight | Steven, Jake, Marc, Layla | T | contact
    Over the months, Jake has grown more comfortable conversing with Steven. Together, they confer like college roommates, like brothers, lobbing insults back and forth like terms of affection, their conversations easy and fraternal and casual.

    To Marc, Jake does not talk much at all.
    series:moon knight,genfic,fic:one-shot

  • Moon Knight | Layla, Jake | T | carving out the shape of you
    Layla sees Jake. Then she sees him.

    “What’s your name?”

    His eyes finally find hers in the mirror, his brow raised. The brown of his irises are black in the low light. “Getting personal, now, are we?”
    series:moon knight,genfic,fic:one-shot

  • Moon Knight | Layla/Team MK | T | A Game of Chance
    Layla’s soul mark had always been strange. The date on it would change at random when it wasn’t supposed to.

    When it changed again that morning, it was sheer luck that she had been looking straight at it.
    series:moon knight,fic:one-shot,trope:soulmates,trope:polyamory,pairing:marc_steven_jake_layla

  • Moon Knight | Marc/Layla, Layla/Steven | T | Truce
    “If it’s nothing to do with Khonshu… I keep coming up with explanations, and they all sound crazy to me, and they’re probably not nearly as crazy as the actual truth.”

    Marc felt his mouth twist into a smile, even though that word, crazy, gave him a pang. She didn’t know the half of it. “Try me.”
    series:moon knight,fic:one-shot,trope:amnesia,pairing:layla_marc,pairing:layla_steven,amazing

  • WandaVision | Wanda/Vision | T | a glitch on the television screen
    “Butterfly kisses,” he says to the coffee table. He can’t muster up the contentment he felt a moment before. He folds his hands in his lap, furrows his eyebrows a second later when Wanda takes them in her own.

    “Of course you do, silly,” she says, squeezing his hands. “It’s our tradition, remember?”
    series:wandavision,pairing:wanda_vision,trope:amnesia,fic:one-shot

  • Iron Man, WandaVision | Wanda, family, Peggy, Tony | T | Wanda 1995
    Her mother makes her soup, before she heads off to work. Her parents can’t afford to stay home to take care of her, but at six years old, Wanda is old enough to stay home for a few hours.

    (She is almost-thirty and a mother of two.)
    fic:one-shot,series:marvel comics,series:wandavision,genfic,trope:timetravel

  • WandaVision | Wanda/Vision | T | I Know Those Eyes
    White Vision contemplates if he should complete his mission and destroy the Vision or if there is something worth living for. (The red-haired woman.)
    fic:one-shot,series:wandavision,pairing:wanda_vision,trope:amnesia
  • WandaVision | Wanda/Vision, Billy, Tommy | T | direct to reality sequel
    “Mr. Maximoff. Your children are clearly very academically gifted, but they seem … troubled. Is everything alright at home?”

    It’s a foolish line of questioning. Being so direct often results in a defensive answer. One hoping to deflect any probing. Of course everything’s fine, is the automatic response. The boys are bored, un-challenged in their current state. Perhaps they should be moved up a grade, or into gifted classes.

    “They’ve recently been separated from their mother,” he sighs.
    series:wandavision,pairing:wanda_vision,trope:kidfic,fic:one-shot

Multifandom works roundup, 3/14 (Moon Knight, MCU, webcomics)

Leif & Thorn
Central City Office (art | scenery | worksafe)
Knight x Family (art | Thorn/Kale/Leif, WiB | worksafe)
Lackadaisy Knights (art | Rowan, Juniper, Violet, Pascentia, Birch, Thorn | worksafe)
Too Many Cooks (art | Rowan, Violet, Neineikura system | worksafe)
Ice cream for the trio (art | Leif, Thorn, Kale | worksafe)
Pretty Combat Mountaineer (art | Geirskögul | worksafe)

Moon Knight
Moon Knight studies 28 – Shadow Swing (art | Moon Knight | worksafe)
What The Right Hand Is Doing, chapters 3-4 (fic | Steven/Marc/Layla, Jake, ensemble | T)
Meeting the Team, Episode 2: Park (fic | Jake/Steven, Andrea | T)
Vegan Leather (comic | Jake/Steven | T)
Heart In Pieces, chapter 1-3 (fic | headmates, Layla | T)
Don’t look in the shadow (art | Steven/Marc, Jake | worksafe)
One Fish, Two Fish (art | Marc/Steven | worksafe)
If You Need A Hand (art | Marc, Steven | worksafe)

Moon Knight/Marvel Cinematic Universe
Cover of Knight, chapter 31 (fic | Steven, Marc, Jake, Jen | T)

General/Miscellaneous
Storm bunnies (reward art, worksafe)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
The annotated Easter interlude continues.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
Kale gets accosted by a shampoo-selling MLM rep in the shampoo aisle.

Slumberland review: …it has very little Nemo

So I watched Slumberland on Netflix. It was…okay?

First letdown: it doesn’t have much to do with the Little Nemo in Slumberland comic strip. (Which I’m a big fan of, as you might’ve guessed by this takeoff in Leif & Thorn, or this one in And Shine Heaven Now…)

The movie uses two character names (Nemo and Flip), the general concept of “a fantastical world you visit when you dream,” and the iconic image of Nemo’s bed growing stilt-high legs and walking off with him. That’s it.

When I heard the “Nemo” was a girl in this movie, I went and got my hopes up that she’d have some fun scenes with [a modern-day take on] the art-nouveau, Gibson-girl Princess of Slumberland. No such luck! There’s no princess at all.

The plot we get instead — well, it’s a solid kid’s-adventure story. Imaginative and esoteric kid Nemo is orphaned, has to go live with her boring CEO city-slicker uncle, starts having dreams about this rascal named Flip that her dad used to tell stories about, who asks her to help find a MacGuffin he previously searched for with her dad. Cue a series of misadventures through fanciful half-CGI settings, fun jokes about how weird dreams can be, and heartwarming lessons about post-grief bonding.

Little Nemo screencap

One big element that bugged me, though:

Uncle Philip does his best to bond with Nemo. He’s not great at it, for obvious reasons — they’re both grieving the loss of her dad, he’s a single professional who wasn’t planning or prepared to raise a child, etc — and also, there’s a personality mismatch. She’s an oddball who likes secret treasures and dangerous adventure stories! He…runs a doorknob company. Our Phil here is sincerely enthusiastic about doorknobs. When Nemo asks for a bedtime story, he regales her with a doorknob supply chain issue.

This seems like the setup for a nice uplifting lesson about how you can still bond with family members (and people in general) when you’re seriously different. Maybe Philip starts looking up weird stories to read to Nemo. Maybe there’s a key point in her Slumberland adventures where Nemo has to pick a lock, and suddenly she realizes, hey, sometimes doorknob knowledge matters!

…Nope. Turns out, rascal Flip is Phillip’s long-lost dream-self. When Nemo reunites them, it turns out he was actually an adventure-loving oddball this whole time.

Nobody’s actually that interested in doorknobs, haha! It’s not like there are IRL humans with equally “boring” special interests, who are nevertheless full people with rich and valid inner lives, some of whom might end up watching this very movie! Sounds fake.

There’s one exchange near the end that sort of suggests “maybe Flip and Phillip are still separate individuals, they’re just sharing a body now.” At least, enough that if a writer ever pitches “a sequel about Flip and Phillip both being valid people, now with their own mismatched odd-couple dynamic, learning to co-exist as headmates,” the canon groundwork is there for it.

But I do think we’re supposed to infer that the end is “fake half-person Phillip was fixed by him and Flip fusing into one.” Which (a) has all those IRL implications I don’t like, and (b) is just so much less interesting or satisfying as a place to leave a story.

Going for the Silver in the crypto rubbernecking Olympics

There’s been a deluge of crypto-rubbernecking articles since FTX melted down 4 months ago…and I’m not even gonna try to link all the good reads. These are just some of the top hits.

November: “In less than a month, reporting and the bankruptcy process have uncovered a laundry list of further decisions and practices that would constitute financial fraud if FTX had been a U.S. regulated entity – even without any crypto-specific rules at play. […] The list is very, very long.

December: “Sam Bankman-Fried’s $30 million Bahamas penthouse looks like a dorm after the students have left for winter break. The dishwasher is full. Towels are piled in the laundry room. Bat streamers from a Halloween party are still hanging from a doorway. Two boxes of Legos sit on the floor of one bedroom.

“The Block, a media company that says it covers crypto news independently, has been secretly funded for over a year with money funneled to The Block’s CEO from the disgraced Sam Bankman-Fried’s cryptocurrency trading firm, sources told Axios.

“Zhao [CZ, from Binance] was concerned that Bankman-Fried was orchestrating crypto trades that could send the industry into a meltdown. “Stop now, don’t cause more damage,” Zhao wrote in a group chat with Bankman-Fried and other crypto executives Nov. 10. “The more damage you do now, the more jail time.”

“[Trump’s] “digital trading cards” are indeed just another cash grab NFT project, but the low quality images and the company in charge of the project are a more complicated enigma. The images were so lazy that based on reverse image searches they were edited photos scraped off the internet.” Zoom in on some of them, and you can even see the remains of the Shutterstock watermarks…

February: “These are sophisticated idiots that not only acted with disregard for their customers’ funds – not that one can call anyone of Celsius a “customer” in the traditional sense, as no service was being offered – but with possibly the least financial acumen I’ve seen outside of the Minions from the Despicable Me movies.

“Dillon Danis said he felt bad for the victims of scams, but let’s see if he really means that. Putting an influencer to the ultimate test, by offering them money to promote what is an OBVIOUS fake NFT website, and then giving them a contract acknowledging the whole scheme.” [Video, another slam dunk from Coffeezilla]

Now: Crypto Collapse BINGO, 2022-23 edition, updated with the folding of Silvergate Bank. (I haven’t watched Crypto Critics’ Corner’s video about the de-bankening yet, but I’m sure it’s a good time.)