Posts tagged ‘youtube’


Klara by Dale Innis & Karima Hoisan

Well, this is just too much fun. :) Very good Second Life friend and collaborator liked the little Klara piece so much that she voiced it and set it to the perfect music and made it into a rather wonderful YouTube! Definitely more accessible :) and more of an experience this way than the 327MB pdf file. Wooot!

Digital Rabbit Hole

Very excited to share with you all, this off-beat, pretty long (almost 10 minutes) surreal video collaboration with Dale Innis
Those of you who read me regularly, know that Dale Innis is a scripter friend who has collaborated with me and also with Natascha & I for the last 10 years and lately has been dabbling in all sorts of AI Art, especially MidJourney, which is a veritable game-changer in this blossoming field.
He showed me a pdf file of slides and a story-line, that he had made and I fell in love…fell obsessed, is a better word, to try to bring this to a way more people could see it.
This is how the project was born. I found, what we both agree, is the perfect music   Meditative Music and I made a voice-over and edited the slides into what you’ll see below.
This is a very slow-…

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Flash-loan attacks, also LegalEagle on crypto

If you type “flash” into the search box on good ol’ Web3 Is Going Just Great, it’s very likely that you’ll get a lot of hits; at the moment there are nearly a dozen just in the last two months.

I haven’t studied these all in detail, but I think I can outline a representative flash-loan attack in enough detail and generality to be instructive and/or amusing.

Consider this small recipe, embodied as a piece of code:

  1. For a small fee, borrow a jillion FooCoins for a very small period of time, like the time that this program will take to run.
  2. Use those FooCoins to purchase 51% of the FooAdmin coins that determine who gets to vote on actions of the FooDAO (Distributed Autonomous Organization).
  3. Having control of the FooDAO, transfer all of the five-jillion FooCoins owned by the DAO to yourself.
  4. Sell the FooAdmin coins purchased in (2), for some amount of FooCoins, probably less than a jillion, maybe zero, I’m not clear on this part, see below.
  5. Pay back the jillion FooCoins borrowed in (1).
  6. Make off with a net profit of four-jillion FooCoins, minus the small fee in (1), plus the possible proceeds from selling the empty husk in (4).

One interesting fact about this is that every step appears to be using some feature of the overall system exactly as it was intended to be used: there are no stolen passwords, no impersonation, no stack overflows. Prosecutions or lawsuits seem relatively unlikely; it would be interesting to see how one goes!

Another interesting fact about this is that it’s basically the way that Mitt Romney and other “Vulture Capitalists” got rich: find a company whose assets are worth more than it would take to buy the company, get a loan, buy the company, sell off the assets, pay off the loan, and profit, leaving an empty husk of a company behind.

Only it’s much, much faster.

People have talked about various ways to keep these things from working:

Flash loans seem bizarre; I don’t know what non-nefarious uses they have. On the other hand, since they are really just programs, it’s unclear how (especially in the Free and Decentralized Web3 World) one would prevent people from creating them, in order to profit by supplying services to even nefarious uses.

It’s also not clear to me that the DAO administrative coins should just be sitting around for sale to anyone with enough money; given what they do, perhaps one would like actual human judgment involved. On the other hand, that also goes against the basic Code Is Law And Everything Is For Sale principles of Web3.

Perhaps, even if flash loans have to be allowed and buying DAO administrative coins has to be allowed, maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to intersect. In the traditional market, you aren’t supposed to buy big things like cars and houses (and down-payments on loans) using borrowed money, to prevent this sort of privilege-amplification via cash. That seems like it would be hard to enforce without significant additions to the relevant protocols; like, a FooCoin would have to remember that it’s borrowed and will need to be paid back, and who wants to clutter up the free simple Web3 world with stuff like that?

Perhaps someone should have to have owned a DAO administrative coin for more than a millisecond before they can vote the share that it represents. A few days maybe even. I think this is being seriously considered by some DAOists. (Haha “DAOists”; have you read “The Confessions of a Taoist on Wall Street”? Good book, long predating cryptocurrencies.)

Perhaps in general FooDAO shouldn’t own more FooCoins than the value of 51% of the FooAdmin coins that exist. But, as with the traditional companies, it’s not all that unusual for a company to own more assets than the company (or just a controlling interest in it) would cost, it just means that they’ve been accumulating stuff to use to make money by doing whatever the company is in business to do, but haven’t made that money yet. And in the area of DAOs, it’s not clear to me whether it’s perhaps possible to get enough by reselling the husk in step (4) that this isn’t actually necessary anyway. Also there are “liquidity pools” that I should read about sometime.

This here above is a specific type of flash loan attack; the most impressive and amusing kind that I know of. More generally, there are various kinds of flash loans where someone pays a small fee to acquire a jillion FooCoins, uses those FooCoins to play fun lucrative tricks in the market (all the more feasible where liquidity is low, things are generally unstable, unregulated, etc), and then pays back the loan with a fraction of the resulting booty.

So that’s that Fun Idea o’ the Day! :)

Relatedly, the very interesting Legal Eagle YouTube channel / person / lawyer recently had a (what do you call them?) thing called “NFTs are legally problematic“, all about how NFTs are legally problematic, for reasons including the contract and copyright things that we wondered about back in previous posts here in the weblog, and benefiting from actual real legal concepts like “privity of contract”, which says that a contract can’t confer rights or impose obligations on anyone who hasn’t signed it (and which leads us to wonder for instance how someone who uses Opensea to buy some NFT that I’ve put up for sale, can acquire any rights in that, since I’ve never heard of them, let alone signed a contract with them; I dunno).

Anyone interested in the vaguely-legal NFT stuff that I’ve talked about here will probably be interested in that Legal Eagle video. There’s another one, also by Legal Eagle, about the usefulness (or otherwise) of NFTs for creators, and it’s over on Nebula and/or CuriosityStream; here is a link that probably requires some kind of membership in something.

I don’t entirely understand Nebula and/or CuriosityStream (including, clearly, being able to tell them apart), but there seem to be various interesting videos (that’s the word: videos!) on it/them, and various people that I like to listen to (including Legal Eagle and Jordan Herrod I think it is) talk about it/them and seem to be somehow involved, so that’s cool.

I wanted to write about something else, what was it? Oh, right, the objectivity or otherwise of God-based moral systems. That sounds like a different post :) so maybe later.


I’ve been watching YouTubes

I’ve probably mentioned that sometimes I stream random things while coding etc, to keep the easily-bored parts of my mind occupied or something. For a long time I was streaming mysteries like Bones and Lie to Me, and I would get annoyed with them when they switched from self-contained mystery stories to long arcs about the personal and family problems of the characters (if I wanted soap opera, I would watch soap opera), and that segued over to police procedurals, which had both that problem and more or less toxic levels of copaganda and testosterone (looking at you, Jethro “Mary Sue” Gibbs). So I mostly stopped that.

I didn’t switch over to podcasts, because 90% of podcasts have (at least) two people on them, and they spend an annoying amount of time exchanging meaningless in-jokes and chuckling at each other. Which, even if I’m not really listening and only playing it for background, makes me switch them off.

So for reasons that I can’t recall, I started streaming some random long-form essay things on YouTube, probably based on my ongoing curiosity about the thought-processes of conspiracy theorists (so presentations and debunking of Q stuff, Flat Earth stuff, Sovereign Citizen stuff, Creationist stuff, MLM stuff, etc), and gradually I followed links and recommendations and stuff, and subscribed to some YouTubers and joined some Patreons and stuff, so I thought I’d list some of the stuff I’ve been watching. Let’s start with, like, my YouTube subscriptions in whatever order they appear in here, and see where that takes us.

Legal Eagle is cool; a smart and articulate actual lawyer talking about actual legal stuff, in an approachable but not especially dumbed-down way. Does both fun puff stuff like “A real lawyer reacts to TV shows with legal stuff in them”, and more serious stuff like analyzing impeachments and what international law means for people who invade countries.

Rachel Oates is a smart young woman with a fun UKish accent (not the last one we’ll see), who talks intelligently about her reactions and opinions on internet culture and all sorts of random stuff; I may have gotten to her via feminist or anti-creationist stuff. And she has a cute dog.


Münecat is another smart young woman with a fun UKish accent (see?), and a more thorough investigative and technical bent (as well as high production values and some rockin’ musical numbers). I probably got to her via anti-MLM stuff; amusingly, her most recent essay is about Crypto and NFT stuff, and she draws parallels between that and MLMs beyond the obvious stuff that I’d already noticed.

The Non-Alchemist (did I actually subscribe to them? I don’t remember doing that, but there they are on my Subscriptions page, so likely I did) is a smart guy with no particular accent (whaat?) who does atheist, and anti-anti-atheist, stuff. There are a Whole Lot of YouTube channels that do that, this is one that I got to and noted.

Paulogia is another one; that is, a smart guy with no particular accent who does atheist and anti-anti-atheist stuff; more specifically “A former Christian looking at the claims of current Christians,” which gives him an interesting perspective. He (like some of the other people on this list) spends what seems an inordinate amount of time responding to certain I guess Big On YouTube but otherwise unremarkable creationist figures like “Kent Hovid” and “Ken Ham” (who are apparently, and confusingly, different people), but I guess it’s good that someone is. He does other stuff, too, though, and has some interesting guests (some of whom I may have wandered over to and subscribed to also).

Emma Thorne is perhaps the first smart young woman with a fun UK accent that I subscribed to. She does atheist stuff and anti-MLM stuff (and other stuff), and was perhaps the conduit by which I got from watching the former things to watching the latter things. She has lots of plushies and action figures and so on, and is a Satanist who starts every episode with “Hallo, lovely people!”.

Geeky Faye Art is rather completely different from those I’ve mentioned so far. Smart young enby, apparently (as I just noticed) in the UK, but without an accent (or, presumably, with an American accent), but less about atheism or pyramid schemes and more about making really cool stuff using 3D printers and little Raspberry Pis and whatnot. Which is fascinating, and something that I’m much more likely to watch than do myself. Also I just really like their energy somehow, inchoately.

The Illuminaughtii is a cartoon lady with a pyramid for a head (and no / an American accent), and does really detailed and thoroughly-researched essays on all sorts of things, including corporations behaving badly, MLMs, frauds, crimes, and a whole bunch of more or less related stuff. Hours and hours of good listening.

(I am finding as I go through this that I haven’t actually subscribed to some of these people, and have just been relying on I guess The Algorithm to tell me about new stuff they do; so I’m fixing that as we go along.)

The Lady of the Library (for whom I seem to have a “user” link rather than a “channel” link? I don’t understand YouTube) is a smart young woman apparently named Cinzia, with the (what?) plummiest imaginable accent; a pleasure to listen to. She talks about a bunch of interesting historical and academic subjects, often around Ancient Greece and Rome; I think I got to her because of one episode where she responds to someone who claims that the Roman Empire never existed (this is apparently a thing!). According to an Instagram post she struggles with low self-esteem, which just goes to show; if this person can have low self-esteem, anyone can!

Jenny Nicholson is a smart young woman with (no particular accent, and) a marvelous sense of comedic timing. She is / has been very into various fandoms, like Star Wars, Disney Parks, and My Little Pony, and talks humorously and with sharp self-awareness about it all. She reviews movies with a really impressive amount of critical acumen, and also did one episode about how she traveled to another state with some friends to pick up a huge plush Borg (edit: Porg (lol)) that she’d bought on ebay or something. Whether she’s doing that, reviewing a Major Motion Picture, or doing a reading of a really terrible piece of fanfic, she brings the same (surely there’s a word for it that I don’t know) deadpan perfectly-timed sense of humor to it, and I love all of her stuff. I joined her Patreon when I’d watched basically all of her public stuff from the last several years on YouTube.

Heh, there are more of these than I’d realized!

Lindsay Ellis is apparently a huge Twitter and YouTube celeb, who might or might not currently be on hiatus / offline, and who has been cancelled and the subject of much drama. She’s also smart and interesting and funny, if a bit (what?) jaded or something.

Strange Aeons is a smart young woman who seems like she should have a UK accent (what?) but doesn’t. She has an excellent modified Furby which is like three feet long, and talks about Tumblr culture, lesbian culture, her Sphynx Cat, and lots of other stuff. Always fun to watch.

Genetically Modified Skeptic is another atheist who used to be a Christian, even an Evangelical, and smartly covers various topics in atheism and Christian apologetics, and sometimes appears with other folks on this list.

Ask a Mortician is a smart deep-voiced woman who (wait for it) is a mortician, and talks about all sorts of interesting death-adjacent topics, like the faking of spirit photographs, historical vampire panics, whether it’s legal to mummify your cult leader, and so on. Excellent sense of humor, interesting topics, easy to listen to.

Jordan Herrod is a smart young woman and PhD student in machine learning, who talks about various AI-adjacent and PhD-adjacent topics. I got to her when I was first learning all about generative transformers and all (GPT3 etc). Some of what she says is very specific to people wanting to get degrees in machine learning (and I’m sure it’s very useful to them!) but most of it is more generally-interesting AI and learning stuff.

Samaneri Jayasāra – Wisdom of the Masters is a person with a silky voice and a perhaps Australian accent, not afraid of a profound pause, evocatively reading various writings in various wisdom traditions, including Buddhism and including Zen. I don’t think they say any words of their own, they just read the writings over calm and soothing background music. Excellent for depth.

And if I’m going to widen the list to include things that aren’t people doing long-form essays, I should add Karima Hoisan, who makes Second Life and Opensim machinima (which, I proudly but shyly admit, sometimes have my Second Life name in the credits for some scripting that I helped with). So much virtual world art is for whatever reason of the “broken dolls in a wasteland” school, but these aren’t; they are celebrations and depictions of basically everything human, often beautiful often funny often profound. She worked extensively with Natascha Randt, who we sadly lost recently.

(What happens to YouTube channels when the owners die? Has this started to be an issue yet? One might expect it’s been long enough…)

I could continue to other non-essay channels that I subscribe to, and get into like Susan Werner and Pomplamoose [sic], but that would become a whole nother post, like “Music I Listen To”, and I suppose maybe someday I’ll do that; but not today!



The most important fact first: we made 170 dumplings this year (follow the tracks to prior years’ numbers!). There were five of us, because the little daughter brought along a gentleman acquaintance, so we had to limit ourselves to 34 dumplings each (hehe, joke, we had leftovers!).

That’s about it. Well, it’s been nice being off from work. And it’ll be nice being oncall tomorrow and Wednesday and Thursday, because I will do that from home in a relaxed and comfortable manner. Unless Something Goes Wrong. Which I’m sure it won’t.

I’ve been playing a lot (a lot) of the game Satisfactory, in which one is dropped onto a scenic alien world, and has to construct things to build machines to make things to build more machines and factories and power plants and eventually hoverpacks and monorail trains and things. It is great fun!

r/SatisfactoryGame - Overly proud of my West Coast oil-power station

That is an aerial view of a power plant that I built, that converts crude oil to fuel, and burns that fuel for energy. (It also generates “polymer resin”, which is carried by the conveyor belt at the bottom there to another factory, which makes that into plastic and rubber for other purposes.) It’s gotten quite a bit bigger since I took that picture.

This is my second time through the game; this time I am building much nicer-looking factories, and also vaguely intending to get to the end without mining any uranium or making any nuclear reactors, because those make nuclear waste, which is annoying either to store or to reprocess into something that can be safely disposed of. (I think the designers may be teaching a subtle lesson there.)

I have also been listening to various YouTubers in the background. The algorithm first took me from I think it was Paulogia (an ex-evangelical who now debunks various evangelical things) to Emma Thorne (who talks about creationist things, and also MLM and other general things, and has the most adorable British accent) to Rachel Oates (similar but different adorable accent) and eventually to Jenny Nicholson (no British accent, but very funny, mostly reviews of various bad movies, bad books, bad fanfiction, and other bad things, as well as a fascinating (and very funny) description of the history and status of Brony fandom). So I’ve been listening to those in the background more than my usual vaguely-cop shows like NCIS or CSI or Bones or Lie To Me or whatever.

Which is perhaps a good thing, because as someone pointed out probably on Twitter, not only are the cop shows obviously copaganda, but the medical shows are similarly an attempt to make it look like the US medical system is all good and wonderful and fair. While in fact it isn’t.

How about that worldwide pandemic, speaking of which? This Omicron variant may keep me from getting back into the city for another week or three, and I am not pleased! At least it seems somewhat less deadly than Alpha and Delta, and that’s good. I’m on the Review Panel or whatever it is on our local NextDoor (for my sins), and the number of delusional Covid Truthers that apparently live not all that far from me is truly saddening.

Ach, I think I will go build more factories on an alien planet while listening to people debunking creationism in the background for awhile. It seems to be comforting…


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

So I was down at the Drug Store getting more of the pills to inhibit my neurotransmitter reuptake, and there on the bottom shelf of the cabinet near where you drop off prescriptions there were some Home Pregnancy Tests, and some Home Cholesterol Tests, and next to those there were some Home Drug Tests (Marijuana).

And while I realize there are all sorts of Important Social and Cultural and Moral Things to say about these, what I’m really thinking is what a great routine George Carlin could have done on these.

Just imagine, someone sees one of these in the store when he’s a little wasted, and he’s like “whoa, cool, I’ll take some o’ those, man”, and he takes them home and opens one up and figures out how to use it, and then he yells “SHIT!” and his roommate says “what’s wrong, man?”, and he says “Man, I’ve got WEED!!”.

Something like that, anyway.

I was going to write down other things, too, but I can’t remember what…

Oh yeah! So we forgive Jen Rhee for whatever role she is playing in the mystery infographic spam thing, because one of the things that she links to on her Digg page is 5 Questions We Desperately Need a Buckaroo Banzai Sequel to Answer, and Buckaroo Banzai references are worth alot.

(Although we also dimly suspect that the things on her Digg page are carefully selected to contain at least one thing that is worth alot to each of seventeen carefully-selected Internet Demographic Groups, about which she also has infographics. But probably we are just paranoid.)

Passive media invades the Internet!

In the sense that I heard something on NPR or somewhere about how all various people with lots of money, like Google and I guess Yahoo and all various other people are apparently spending lots of money to put together “channels” which would carry “programs” that people would then be expected to “watch” like they do (or used to do) with “television programs”.

Which strikes me as bizarre!

I personally have very little patience with non-interactive media these days, and the only things I really consume that you can’t click on, so to speak, are (a) background music, (b) WNYC while doing other things, and (c) occasional old Buffy episodes on Netflix. My impression of YouTube “channels” is that they are, like, places where you can go to find some mildly amusing “JibJab” thing with animated talking pictures of politicians or something, except now they have advertisements which if you have to watch more than like six seconds of invariably causes me to go do something else instead.

But apparently I may not be entirely typical (shocking thought), or at least some people with lots of money are willing to bet that I’m not. So there are whole “channels” on YouTube and YahooTube or whatever and maybe like Hulu and things, where people make “episodes” of “programs” with High Production Values, and advertisers, and all like that there, so you can have the whole stultifyingly dull and ad-saturated television experience right there on your computer, oh joy oh rapture.

Here is one they talked about on whatever NPR story or whatever it was that I heard: Barely Political. If you click on that you will go to a YouTube page where some video will probably play even without you asking it to. The one it showed me was incredibly stupid, but maybe you will be luckier.

(It occurs to me that when I watched several in a row “episodes” of (what was that? oh, yeah) Dragon Age: Redemption, I was probably consuming one of these very “web program” things, but it was just to moon over Felicia Day, and obviously that doesn’t count, right?)

This interests me somewhat, in that I like to think of the Internet as extremely liberating and empowering and tending to inspire and facilitate creativity and collaboration and participation and all, which is pretty much the opposite of the “sitting on the couch staring at ads interspersed with brief stretches of plot” paradigm that TV and this stuff represent.

Passive consumption has, I tell myself at some level, been so successful on TV just because the technology doesn’t offer the superior alternatives, and now that the ‘net so definitely does offer those alternatives, we’re basically done with that whole TV thing.

But maybe not!

Time will tell…

oh P.S.: This is probably the NPR story that I heard.


Rick Perry is a Sorry Excuse for a Human Being

Not that this is any big news, but jeez.

Down in the polls, but still in play because the way the Republican race has been going he could suddenly be front-runner at any time. So, to stay relevant, attack gay people! And, explainable only by a complete lack of brain, specifically attack gay people in the military! (Because attacking our men and women in uniform is a tried-and-true way to win Republican — oh, wait…)

All this resulting in what is, thankfully, one of the most Disliked videos ever on YouTube, whose basic message is “there’s something wrong in America if both gays and non-Christians have their civil rights respected”:

Currently: 10,186 likes, 423,057 dislikes

And apparently there is an amusing mole in his wardrobe department or something, in that he is wearing what most viewers of the YouTube video will see as a Brokeback Mountain outfit in an anti-gay ad. (Perhaps the target audience of the video will see it as a Normal People outfit, but that’s not the YouTube viewership.)

There are of course a billion YouTube responses. A couple of pointed rational ones I like:

And two that are just funny, in evil ways:

It must be so painful to be a Republican right now…