A mixed bag

All posts in the A mixed bag category


Published March 30, 2023 by Nan Mykel

It’s down to the nub tragic, evil and bad.

Following that fateful day when the Supreme Court in 2010 voted to let corporations and special interest groups spend unlimited funds on elections,  power has not remained with the people but with the wealthy politicians who profit from the financial backing. The National Rifle Association is such a powerful source of influence. Yes, that decision was regrettable, and what happened in Tennessee on Monday is fallout from that 6-3 decision.

In Tennessee one can buy a gun and openly carry it if you’re 21.

I’d like to refer you to an open letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee in the New York Times by  Margaret Renkl, one of a family of teachers.  So we don’t get our hopes up, there’s an Associated Press story saying that Tennessee’s gun laws are likely to remain lax.

The Tennesseean reported that the a bill currently under consideration would allow anyone to carry a firearm such as a semi-automatic assault-style rifle down Broadway or outside the Capitol building. The proposed bill would also delete significant portions of the code that do things such as allow employers to ban handguns from company vehicles.

In a separate article from WKRN, at least 16 bills filed in the legislature would dramatically increase who would be able to own or operate a firearm in the state, including allowing teachers to carry on school grounds, allowing current permit holders to carry “long guns” like rifles in public, and allowing 18-year-olds to carry.

Does the current backing for gun law expansion also reflect castration anxiety?



Oh Wow…

Published March 28, 2023 by Nan Mykel

How I see it…

John McWhorter’s Opinion Column Today John McWhorter  

I wanted to get away from blogging today, but then the above caught my eye and I was quite interested in how  one non-Caucasian  feels about race as witnessed on the screen, on the street, in literature and in philosophical writingss of the great whites.  (He sees them as humans without racial overtones, as he also sees himself as himself.  Color doesn’t come first in his feelings, it’s more ideas that he relates to.  If you join and read or buy  it on the News stand (I assume) please tell me if I have misinterpreted McWhorter’s words.  If I just type N.Y. Times will I get surrounded by squares?

Made it without squares around my words!  Whoopee…

But when published it insists on inserting the column heading in its unreduced form.  This does not show on my initial attempt to publish.  I’m gnawing nails and wondern who to ber mad at.  Smile…?


Published March 28, 2023 by Nan Mykel

Silicon Valley’s futurists have gone from utopian to dystopian

Author Headshot By David Wallace-WellsOpinion Writer

Can you see these squares?  They mean I don’t have permission to share the content of David Wallace-Wells’ weekly opinion column from the N.Y. Times.  So I’ll just say that while I’ve bad-mouthed money deals in the past, I’m considering a few exceptions, like the N.Y. Times for a dollar a week on the internet.  It’s unclear if they’re going to raise this price. I hope not, but if you want good coverage of the AI situation, it’s worth it…Plus of course the up to date news, but not their reportedly anti-transgender editorial influence..

Another fascinating well-researched article today was about Israel’s involvement under Netanyahu (spelling, I’ll admit it) during the 2016 election, written by someone else. You can find out who wrote it if you decide to visit.  I’m needed elsewhere.  (So nice to be needed)….


Published March 27, 2023 by Nan Mykel

How could I be surprised to see that Google runs ads by shysters  who  sell crooked government stamps online?!  (Noted tonight)


Sorry to see that Daniel  Ellsberg is dying of pancreatic cancer and I’m glad to see that he’s as feisty and patriotic as  ever, at 91.


“Forced birth–literally commandeering a person’s womb and forcing them to incubate cells against their will–is evil and barbaric and cannot be compelled by a legitimate government”

From <https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/79180663/posts/17394>


In a reversal, Israel’s prime minister delayed his contentious plan to overhaul the nation’s judiciary.

From <https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/WhctKKXwrlVFzRXjRhdchVCgsSgQTHGCDcwPdLXhVcPvZdfVqHKtvKdSJJVbCSgGcpRlMmV>



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Idaho is the latest state to permit execution by firing squad.  On July 1 Idaho will join South Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Utah

(I’m not up to date on how states can have trouble purchasing the chemical phenobarbitol for lethal injections)From < https://www.npr.org/2023/03/26/1166139433/idaho-is-the-latest-state-to-permit-execution-by-firing-squad>________________________________

OH NO!  Columnist points out the weaknesses in the Lawsuit he’s been indicted for. Possibly from the Washington Post. I haven’t paid so I can’t read it again.  Just gives me the creeps to imagine him being exonerated after all the publicity.                                                                                                                                 _________________________________________

Not to fail to regret the school shooting today.  Feeling both sorrow and anger at our country for allowing guns to proliferate.



What Will This Mean For The Future?

Published March 26, 2023 by Nan Mykel

I DON’T KNOW, but it has come to my attention via an  opinion piece in today’s New York Times that Latino immigrants are bringing with them a  more intense, active  level of Christian religiosity  than that manifested by white protestants. It also seems  puzzling news to think that Christianity is catching on worldwide, as compared to its occurrence in the United States.

More than 40,000 churches in the United States are currently in the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

How will this all play out?  I guess we’ll see.  Get the lowdown from Tish Harrison Warren’s op ed Times piece of 3/26/23.

You don’t have to read this…

Published March 25, 2023 by Nan Mykel

I just had to share this dream with somebody:

My first memory of the dream was hearing something from space was passing in the sky, and then that it had briefly collided with something on earth.

I arrived safely at a hotel-like place and the above dream continued.

Then I was loading up a vehicle with psychology results to turn in after a student experiment and also leaving the hotel. The driver and I were transferring things to the car.  The lot was almost empty.

On the way to the hotel I was leaving I  had been back seat driving from the passenger seat. Or was I driving? Anyway, there was a point where we almost went into the oncoming traffic.

I saw where a UFO had knocked a large part of a steel structure askew when it must have bounced off it to continue its journey to the moon.  I had just pointed it out to an officer who was checking on some of my result papers and proving to him that I was legit when I was awakened by the arrival of my assistant and it was 12 noon. 3/25/23

DAY RESIDUE: I had just finished a Dick Francis book which ended with a protracted fight between cars, literally: (Even Money). Before retiring I had also been working a jigsaw puzzle.


P.S. A true funny:  For several months I have been enjoying organ music from the condo above mine. I finally went up to tell the occupant, a very pleasant smiling black man, how much I enjoyed his organ music, and that some of it had seemed to be a cd of an organ slowly going from chord to chord and if so I wondered how I might purchase it.  He gave a big polite smile but said he didn’t have an organ…. I have to laugh every time I remember the incident.

A friend who I shared the incident with brought me a notice from the local news of an organ recital in town this weekend, but I won’t go. Why should I? I have my own soothing organ music,


Published March 24, 2023 by Nan Mykel

I can’t winnow  this for you (gotta march forward with my book), but these are too tempting to gloss over:


Judge Gives Trump Mafia Boss Treatment And Says So

KeithDB  From < https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2023/3/23/2159841/-Judge-Gives-Trump-Mafia-Boss-Treatment-And-Says-So>

A very lengthy footnote, filling most of a page provides examples of that. Footnote 7 on page 4 is definitely worth a read.


It’s finally happened! A call to ban the Bible for pornography

From < https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/WhctKKXwrkvqkDlWmPbHgNhqFxPLSqTCsXTBDbqkvJqFBHDHXjmbfqzBfqqWLTMNZxJPpqv>



A Suggestion

Published March 22, 2023 by Nan Mykel


Earlier  in the week I read an article on the internet about how Americans have become so afraid of other Americans. They suggested all the nice psychological and open ways to approach the problem–all decent suggestions about communication solutions.

BUT–they ignored the number one possible solution to our current problem with fear of neighbors:

Remove their guns!  I remember some conservatives warning not to vote for the Democrats because they’ll “take away our guns!”

Unfortunately, we haven’t, and assuming that folks are fully armed, we have such calls as for genocide of LGBTQs and for murder of the opposition if our former president is indicted.  I thought the specificity of the postings about murder  (execution?) should be illegal, and maybe they were–they have disappeared from the internet.  Good riddance.

To the best of my knowledge automatic-kill rifles are still legal, at least in some states.

But “the people” are armed– in some states they can carry concealed and even openly carry guns.  An example of extreme concern should be in the state of Missouri, where Federal law enforcement officers say they seized 11 guns, a silencer, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, body armor plates and several pounds of a binary explosive from a Springfield man with ties to the Boogaloo extremist anti-government group. Local and state law enforcement are not allowed to enforce federal gun laws.  !!!

In Missouri, local law enforcement agencies, under penalty of being fined, can’t help in enforcing federal guns laws.

The Missouri situation is from <https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2023/2/7/2151687/-Arrest-of-a-Boogaloo-supporter-with-guns-in-Missouri?detail=emaildkre&pm_source=DKRE&pm_medium=email>






Moral Self-Correction in Large Language Models?

Published March 21, 2023 by Nan Mykel

This is over Nan’s head but thought you might like to know.

(Ha Ha, my computer wouldn’t accept “computer morality” in my tags, insisting it should be computer mortality…)

arXiv Forum: How do we make accessible research papers a reality?

Can we truly call it “Open Science” when most research papers are not fully accessible? You are invited to join the forum on Monday April 17 to chart a path towards truly accessible research papers.

Learn More   Skip to main content

Computer Science > Computation and Language  [Submitted on 15 Feb 2023 (v1), last revised 18 Feb 2023 (this version, v2)]

The Capacity for Moral Self-Correction in Large Language Models

We test the hypothesis that language models trained with reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF) have the capability to “morally self-correct” — to avoid producing harmful outputs — if instructed to do so. We find strong evidence in support of this hypothesis across three different experiments, each of which reveal different facets of moral self-correction. We find that the capability for moral self-correction emerges at 22B model parameters, and typically improves with increasing model size and RLHF training. We believe that at this level of scale, language models obtain two capabilities that they can use for moral self-correction: (1) they can follow instructions and (2) they can learn complex normative concepts of harm like stereotyping, bias, and discrimination. As such, they can follow instructions to avoid certain kinds of morally harmful outputs. We believe our results are cause for cautious optimism regarding the ability to train language models to abide by ethical principles.

Subjects: Computation and Language (cs.CL)
Cite as: arXiv:2302.07459 [cs.CL]
(or arXiv:2302.07459v2 [cs.CL]for this version)

From <https://arxiv.org/abs/2302.07459> 49 scientists apparently  plan for  greater accessibility of research papers  April 17  is the forum to discuss how this might happen.  “You are invited to join the forum,” presumably via the internet.


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