Unsupervised Learning Newsletter NO. 354



The US has implemented a number of aggressive export controls to stop China from attaining advanced semiconductors. And now it looks like the bans will be expanded to quantum computing and AI as well. NYTIMES | MY ANALYSIS BELOW

It appears Bytedance had a plan to use TikTok to monitor the location of specific American citizens. FORBES | NYPOST | THE REGISTER

NSA is asking companies to evaluate their supply chains and ask themselves what would happen if China attacked Taiwan. MORE

Hacktivists claim to have stolen 100,000 emails about Iran's nuclear program. MORE

The FCC is about to ban all US sales of new Huawei and ZTE gear. MORE

Zoom has patched a high-severity debugging port flaw in its macOS client. MORE | BULLETIN

Microsoft leaked the data of over 65,000 companies due to an internet-facing Azure blob misconfiguration. MORE

There's a critical RCE vulnerability in Cobalt Strike that's now been patched. MORE

The maker of IDA Pro, Hex-Rays, has been purchased by European VC firm Smartfin. I just hope they fix that purchasing experience. MORE

Someone cut the fiber optic cables providing internet to multiple cities across France, including parts of Paris and the Lyon region. MORE


Someone created a video called "A Year" using Stable Diffusion and their own custom algorithm. We've all seen what AI can do with text and images; now imagine it coming to video. MORE | THE VIDEO THREAD | AN ANIME VERSION

Ubuntu's latest release, Kinetic Kudu, is out at version 22.10. It's focused on IoT developers and enterprise administrators. MORE

There are now robots that can pick and sort strawberries during drought in California, and the company is hoping to branch into other fruits and vegetables. Automation is like a constricting snake: when we breathe in under duress, it tightens its hold. MORE

Musk says Starlink is now ready for airplanes, and it's opening up deliveries for mid-2023. MORE

Researchers out of UT Austin, with money from the US Army, claim to have reverse-engineered Starlink's satellite protocol and made it possible to use the fleet as an alternative GPS system. MORE | PAPER

Musk supposedly wants to cut 75% of Twitter's workforce, which is almost 6,000 people. If true I assume he'd try to target the worst performers, but with this leaking he could end up losing many he'd rather keep. MORE


The US just lost 26 years of life expectancy progress, dropping by 2.7 years between 2019 and 2021. That's all the progress since 1996. MORE

Researchers at Harvard are under intense scrutiny—including physical safety threats—for removing infant monkeys from their mothers, and in two previous instances, sewing their eyelids shut to see how they learn faces. MORE

The Webb telescope has a new 122MB image of the Pillars of Creation MORE


✍️ Humiliation is Deadly
"I’ve been thinking for a few years about the danger presented by humiliated people and groups…" READ ONLINE 

✍️ AI Art Will Push the Top 1% to Human Artists
"One effect I think we’ll see from all this AI-generated art is magnified status for those who insist on the opposite, i.e., manual, human art…" READ ONLINE 

✍️ Generate AI Art Using Your Own Writing
"One of the most challenging parts of finishing a post is coming up with a good image…" READ ONLINE 

US Attacks Chinese Chip Production
The export controls just placed on China for advanced semiconductors are extraordinary. They will slow China for years in their ability to do both advanced computing and to build top-end military technology. Many are saying, however, that this is a bit like provocations before Pearl Harbor, saying it's so big that it could push China into going after Taiwan or otherwise escalating against the US. I am personally ok with that, because I think China has been too brazen in their attacks against the US, especially in the cyber space, with relatively few repercussions. I just hope that the world can break their supply chains out of China as quickly as possible, similar to what Apple is doing, and that it'll force China to chill out and be friendly again. Their aggression is somewhat understandable as a response to The Great Humiliation, but they've overdone it and become a global menace. And I hope this, and other measures like it, help them dial that back. MORE

Is China About to Rise or Fall?
One of the trends I'm reading most about, and listening to experts most about, is the future trajectory of China. There are two main narratives right now: 1) China is about to crush America and become the dominant world power, and 2) China has unbelievable weaknesses right below the surface, and they're about to materialize and hobble the country. Despte having read multiple books about China and its future, and having listened to dozens of hours of experts debating this, I don't feel like I have a good grasp of things. The best thing I feel I have is a good understanding that these are the primary narratives, which I guess is something. The arguments that they're ascending are easy: So many people, so many people getting a good education, they're stealing the world's intellectual property, they're becoming the world's dominant bullies, which they can because they make everything for everyone, and they also have a functioning government that is thinking very long-term about the success of the country (which the US does not have). The arguments for China's fall are far less discussed, but they include a huge problem of not having enough young people, a major real estate crash, and the fact that so many smart young people are not actually in China because they left to the US or Canada or Europe. Which way this will go is one of the most important variables in the world's future right now, as it will significantly determine other major issues such as North Korea, Taiwan, and Russia. MORE

Luxury Surveillance Becomes the Norm
I just read a good article about Luxury Surveillance that definitely resonated. Well, mostly. I think there are many people, especially in the security community, who share his desire not to be tracked. But I'd argue most rich people will be fine with it, as long as it's done to their advantage. To me it's is about tradeoffs. What are the benefits of perfect life tracking and ubiquitous personal surveillance? And what are the downsides? How would you like to know everything about everything around you? Who's near your house, how many times they've been there? Whether they've been reported elsewhere? Whether you're walking into a dangerous neighborhood? Etc. I'd argue that as the tech gets better, the downsides will reduce relative to the upsides—specifically for the top 10% of earners. Those who can pay for it will get all this tracking and monitoring without a lot of the data-broker-drama that comes with it. For the less well-off, they will get that tracking at the cost of their whereabouts and preferences. I don't see the big breach of one's data as a major risk here. Security for these services will be better, just the same as bank and brokerage security is decent for those who use them today. It'll be decent because the rich will demand that it is, and because they also demand to use these technologies. In short, those who are unwilling to share any data will fall in numbers over time. The benefits of providing that data will simply outpace the negatives, and those from the old school who refuse on principle will age out. Hard to imagine, but I think that's where it's going. MORE


As I move towards my transition to doing UL full-time, which will include the show, building products, consulting, writing books, and other creative endeavors, my creative forces are spinning up again. I've had more creative thoughts and output in the last couple of weeks than I have in months. As of November 1st, it's about to get even more exciting around here. More to follow.

Birdfeeder Update: Thank you so much to those who gave advice on the birdfeeder. I now have had a number of visitors, and my feeder level is starting to drop a bit. I've learned a few things as well, which some of you pointed out. 1) You have to provide cover. The feeder is next to a tree that's gaining some mass, so that's probably helping. 2) You want to be conscious of who you're attracting. Some birds are migratory and there's a theory that it's disruptive to provide permanent food to those who orient their lives around following it. I'm going to keep researching this, but I think the visitors I'm getting are called Cow Birds, which I think are just local types.

Finishing Ryan Holiday's latest book on discipline. These books remind me of Pressfield's stuff. More like data-backed motivation than pure content, but I like them regardless. BOOK


🛠️ Jfrog has a new tool for detecting Text4Shell. TOOL | by JFROG

🛠️ htmlq is like jq but for HTML. TOOL | by MICHAEL MACLEAN

🛠️ metlo is an open-source API testing tool. TOOL | by METLO LABS

What happens today if you tell Twitter you had ice cream. TWEET | by SWIFT ON SECURITY

Getting musically discovered is harder than ever, and being #1 on the radio doesn't matter anymore. MORE

What if mass corporate emails weren't actually mass, but were slightly different so they could see who leaked them? ANALYSIS BY RSNAKE

Cloudflare Pages is Kind of Amazing MORE | CLOUDFLARE PAGES

Overnight charging could be the reason you lose so much iPhone battery life in just a year. MORE

How STÖK builds custom wordlists for his bounty work. TECHNIQUE | by the amazing STÖK
The Social Recession, By the Numbers — A strong write-up on how disconnected we've become. MORE

Pallete.fm — A new tool that automatically colorized black and white photos. TOOL | by EMIL WALLNER

👾 We Become What We Behold | A super intriguing web game. MORE | by NICKY CASE

Currycels, Ricecels, & Strict Asian Parents — An episode of Incel recommended by the creator. MORE

Why Republicans Are Surging MORE

The Generative AI Landscape GRAPHIC


Ask yourself what your main thing is. Is it family? Is it getting to work at a particular company? Is it making enough money so you can become an artist full-time? Know what your main thing is, and periodically look at your calendar and to-do list to make sure it's properly prioritized.


"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Stephen Covey