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Sunday Overnight Open Thread (10/2/22) | Main | The Morning Report — 10/3/22
October 03, 2022

Daily Tech News 3 October 2022

Top Story

  • PayPal has banned using its services to buy, well, books. (Hacker News)

    The terms are so broad that they cover all works of fiction and probably all non-fiction except for trigonometry textbooks:
    You may not use PayPal's services for activities that

    ...

    5. involve the sending, posting or publication of any messages, content or materials that, in PayPal's sole discretion, (a) are harmful, obscene, harassing or objectionable, (b) depict or appear to depict nudity, sexual or other intimate activities, (c) depict or promote illegal drug use, (d) depict or promote violence,  criminal activity, cruelty or self-harm (e) depict, promote or incite hatred or discrimination of protected groups or of individuals or groups based on protected characteristics (e.g. race, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation etc.) (f) presents a risk to consumer safety or (financial) wellbeing, (g) are fraudulent, promote misinformation or are unlawful, (h) infringes the intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights of any party or (i) are otherwise unfit for publication.
    Romance novels? Banned. Medical textbooks? Banned. Historical fiction and non-fiction alike? Banned. Mark Twain and Charles Dickens? Banned to hell and back. Shakespeare and Chaucer? Banned so hard they're still spinning in their graves.

    The Bible? Banned. The Koran? Oddly enough, also banned.

    Oh, and they want you to snitch on that samizdat copy of Ivanhoe:
    We encourage you to report violations of this Acceptable Use Policy to PayPal immediately. If you have a question about whether a type of transaction may violate the Acceptable Use Policy, or wish to file a report, you can do so here.
    So that PayPal can steal all their money:
    If you are a seller and receive funds for transactions that violate the Acceptable Use Policy, then in addition to being subject to the above actions you will be liable to PayPal for the amount of PayPal's damages caused by your violation of the Acceptable Use Policy. You acknowledge and agree that $2,500.00 U.S. dollars per violation of the Acceptable Use Policy is presently a reasonable minimum estimate of PayPal's actual damages - including, but not limited to, internal administrative costs incurred by PayPal to monitor and track violations, damage to PayPal's brand and reputation, and penalties imposed upon PayPal by its business partners resulting from a user's violation - considering all currently existing circumstances, including the relationship of the sum to the range of harm to PayPal that reasonably could be anticipated because, due to the nature of the violations of the Acceptable Use Policy, actual damages would be impractical or extremely difficult to calculate. PayPal may deduct such damages directly from any existing balance in any PayPal account you control.
    Do not leave any money in your PayPal account. Ever.


Tech News

  • Are theses new "AI" art generators really applying artificial intelligence or are they just picking out elements of a vast library of existing images and putting them together?

    Yes.

    The creator of that page took the prompt

    A woman with flowers in her hair
    in a courtyard, in the style of ...


    And ran it through the Stable Diffusion algorithm with 1500 different artists' names.

    On the one hand, most of them are not very good. Sturgeon's Law applies at least as much to AI-generated art as to human efforts, and no-one went through the 6000 results (there are four examples for each artist) to filter out the crap.

    On the other hand, it is doing pretty much what it says on the tin.

    I was preparing some examples of this myself, getting long-dead masters to paint the Space Shuttle, but I didn't have this much time to dedicate to such a project.


  • Linux kernel 6.0 is out. (Phoronix)

    So what's the big change that led to the jump in version numbers? Linus himself explains:
    So, as is hopefully clear to everybody, the major version number change is more about me running out of fingers and toes than it is about any big fundamental changes.
    It was up to 5.19, but it version numbers count from zero, so nothing essential is missing.


  • The story behind the 2018 Tumblr containment breach that unleashed insanity on an unsuspecting planet. (The Verge)

    It all came down to - as so many things do - money. Tumblr contained all kinds of weird porn, and all the weird people who like that shit, and the payment processors didn't want to go near it.

    So Tumblr's parent company at the time - I don't remember which bunch of idiots was running things right then - banned porn. All of it.

    Rather like lancing a boil on a patient with bubonic plague... In a crowded subway car.


  • If we increase the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, doesn't that mean trees will grow faster and lock away more carbon? Yes. (Phys.org)

    The effect is measurable and consistent, but currently CO2 is increasing faster than plants can soak it up, so some gradual and carefully planned adjustments to industry and transport are in order.

    By which I mean nuclear powered cars.


Disclaimer: Mention of lancing boils on patients with bubonic plague not to be taken as medical advice. Also not to not be taken as medical advice. Please just pretend that paragraph never happened.
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