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Month: February 2023

Memorizing a few lines really quick

Memorizing a few lines really quick

While many people focus on the kind of acting folks are doing, we often forget the part about them having to memorize lines. Tons and tons of lines. Rote memorization was always a bit of a struggle for me so I usually needed lots of practice, or later use things like mnemonics. Others use a memory palace-like system.

This guy shows a memorization technique he picked up from actor Lauren Tothero that follows a 5 step plan:

  1. Read over the lines a few times
  2. Write down the first letter of each word.
  3. Read it using first letters of the word only a few times to help sink it in.
  4. Rewrite the letters just from memory.
  5. Try the whole section just from memory without the letters.

He tries it live on camera to see how well it works – and it seems to work really well (but maybe not quite as ‘instant’ as he proports). Still, it’s something I might try in the future.

See if you can guess who said this

See if you can guess who said this

I’m going to give you an actual quote from a historical figure, and see if you can figure out what she/he was talking about and who said it. You’ll get two tries. First, I’ll remove a key word from the quote that would give it away.

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than <our political party name here> attitudes and activity. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, we <political party name here> conclude that we have the right to create our own ideology and to enforce it with all the energy of which we are capable.”

Figure it out yet? Here’s another way to put this same quote by translating some of the philosophical language to layman’s statements we use today:

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is based on the idea that we decide for yourself what is true and right. People who claim there are are things that are objectively right and wrong are incorrect and should be opposed. Everyone has their own truth to tell. There is nobody that embodies this attitude more than our party. From the fact that all truths are of equal value, our efforts conclude that we have the right to speak our own truth and spread that truth with all the energy of which we are capable.

Some of this sound familiar? I would bet a good number of people would agree with some or many of the ideas behind this quote. We see leaders and experts in the media encouraging people to ‘tell their truth’ and that each of us has our own ‘truth’. We also see a lot of people who are very against religions and to increasing degree our own Democratic political and legal systems. We definitely see groups that use social media witch hunts/doxing and cameras as a weapon to intimidate and silence others.

So who would you guess said this? What political party was he referring too?

The answer is this was from Benito Mussolini. The party was his National Fascist Party. Here’s is the original quote from his philosophical writings:

Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective immortal truth … then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity… From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.

Diuturna The Lasting as quoted in Rational Man : A Modern Interpretation of Aristotelian Ethics
Who sells the most electric cars?

Who sells the most electric cars?

It’s no longer Tesla – it’s BYD from China. BYD sold 1.86 million cars in 2022 which surpassed Tesla’s 1.3 million cars. This wasn’t unexpected – back in the financial crisis of 2008’s, Berkshire Hathaway invested a hefty $230 million in BYD stock. How has that gone? Charlie Munger of Berkshire has said the investment was one of his best investments and is doing ridiculously better than Tesla. (paywall free) That outlay has ballooned more than 1,570%, and even after the most recent selldown of it’s holdings in late 2022/early 2023, Berkshire’s remaining stake is still worth around $4.5 billion. BYD is looking to expand it’s reach in Japan and Europe.

BYD has made batteries for commercial and industrial purposes for years – and now they have developed their Blade Battery that seems to handle puncture and temperature tests much better than current EV batteries that have a bad tendency to catch fire and explode in accidents. Tesla plans on using a blade battery in its car in upcoming models.

BYD hasn’t come to the US, but are (obviously) selling quite well in China and Europe. Middle class Chinese customers are flocking to the $14,500 and $29,000 price tag instead of Tesla and other EV makers. So what do these cars look like? Their more recent dual motor flagship model the BYD Han is quite nice. It sells for $42,000 in China and 70,000 Euros in the EU. The interiors and ride is about as nice as the fact it can do 0-60 in 3.9 seconds.

Some of the other offerings from BYD, and a whole host of other makers if you’re curious:

Anadol’s data projections

Anadol’s data projections

Refik Anadol makes projection mapping and LED screen art. His unique approach, however, is embracing massive data sets churned through various AI algorithms as his visualization source.

I think one of his unique additions to the space is visualizing the latent space generated during machine learning stages.

Some of his projects:

The Field, The Cube, The Ladder, The Horse

The Field, The Cube, The Ladder, The Horse

The first personality tests appeared in the 1920s and were intended to aid in personnel selection, particularly in the military. Since then, a number of personality tests have been developed and optimized for different purposes. Some of these—such as the MBTI and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter—really can help people understand themselves better, but others are made more for fun.

One of the first ones I heard was the field, cube, ladder, and horse test. You ask those with you to sit quietly and then imagine each of these things as you ask the questions. Don’t tell them how many questions there are. Encourage some time as you ask the question so they can get a very good visual picture in their mind before moving on to the next question.

  1. Think of an open field. How big is this field? What is it filled with? What are the surroundings like?
  2. Think of a cube. How big is the cube? What is it made of, and what is the surface like? What color is it? Where in the field is it? Where is the cube (e.g. on the ground, floating, etc.)? Is it transparent? If so, can you see inside?
  3. Think of a ladder. How long is this ladder, and where is this located in your field? What’s the distance between the ladder and the cube?
  4. Think of a horse. What color is the horse? What is the horse doing, and where is it in relation to your cube?

How to interpret the questions:

  1. The field represents your mind. Its size is the representation of your knowledge of the world, and how vast your personality is. The condition of the field (dry, grassy, or well-trimmed) is what your personality looks like at first glance
  2. The cube represents you. The size of the cube is your ego. The surface of the cube represents what is visibly observable about your personality, or maybe it is what you want others to think about you. The texture of the cube (e.g. smooth, rough, bumpy, etc.) represents your nature.
  3. The ladder represents two different aspects of your life—your goals and your friendships (though I heard it originally only as your friends). The size location and material of your ladder can also tell you how close you are with your friends. You guessed it—the closer the ladder is to the cube and the stronger the ladder is, the better it is for your friendships
  4. The horse represents your ideal partner/sexuality. It could be playing, running around, or grazing right next to your cube or clear across the field.

See the links below for additional guides on how to interpret the results as well as some other tests you might try.


Install Stable Dreamfusion on Windows

Install Stable Dreamfusion on Windows

I wrote about Stable Dreamfusion previously. Dreamfusion first takes normal Stable Diffusion text prompts to generate 2D images of the desired object. Stable Dreamfusion then uses those 2D images to generate 3D meshes.

A hamburger

The authors seemed to be using A100 nVidia cards on an Ubuntu system. I wanted to see if I could get this to work locally on my home Windows PC, and found that I could do so.

System configuration I am using for this tutorial:

  • nVidia GeForce GTX 3090
  • Intel 12th gen processor
  • Windows 10

Setting Stable Dreamfusion up locally:

Step 1: Update your Windows and drivers

  1. Update Windows
  2. Ensure you have the latest nVidia driver installed.

Step 2: Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL)

  1. Install Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). WSL install is a simple command line install. You’ll need to reboot after you install. You want to make sure you install Ubuntu 22.04, which is the default in Feb 2023 since that is what Stable Dreamfusion likes. Currently WSL installs the latest Ubuntu distro by default, so this works:
    wsl –install
    If you want to make sure you get Ubuntu 22.04, use this command line:
    wsl –install -d Ubuntu-22.04
  2. After installing WSL, Windows will ask to reboot.
  3. Upon reboot, the WSL will complete installation and ask you to create a user account.
  4. Start Ubuntu 22.04 on WSL by clicking on the Windows Start menu and typing ‘Ubuntu’ or you can type Ubuntu at a command prompt and type ‘Ubuntu’.

Step 2b (optional): Install Ubuntu wherever you want on your Windows system. By default it installs the image on your C:\Users directory – which is kind of annoying.

Step 3: Install dependent packages on Ubuntu

  1. If you don’t have Ubuntu started, go ahead and start Ubuntu 22.04 on WSL by clicking on the Windows Start menu and typing ‘Ubuntu’ (or you can type Ubuntu at a command prompt as well). A new shell terminal should appear.
  2. You need to install the nVidia CUDA SDK on Ubuntu. You’ll choose one of these two options:
    • You will then get a set of install instructions at the bottom of the page (wget, apt-get, etc). Simply copy the lines one by one and put them into your Ubuntu terminal. Ensure each step passes without errors before continuing.
    • The ‘sudo apt-get -y install cuda’ line will install a lot of packages. It can take 10-15 minutes.
  3. Install python3 pip. This is required for the Dreamfusion requirements installation script.
    • sudo apt install python3-pip

Step 4: Install Stable Dreamfusion and dependent packages

  1. You should now follow the install instructions found on the Dreamfusion page.
  2. Clone the project as directed: git clone
  3. Install with PIP: Install the pre-requisites via pip as directed on the Dreamfusion github page:
    • pip install -r requirements.txt
    • I also installed both optional packages nvdiffrast and CLIP.
    • Add this export line to your .bashrc to ensure python can find libcudnn:
      export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/wsl/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH
  4. I did not install the build extension options
  5. Exit and restart your shell so that all path changes take effect

Step 5: Run a workload!

Follow the instructions in the USAGE section of the Dreamfusion instructions. Instead of ‘python’ use ‘python3’. They have a number of things you can specify like negative prompts, using the GUI interface (which does not work under WSL),

The very first run will take a long time. It will download several gigabytes of training data, then train 100 epoch’s, which can take up to an hour.

$> python3 --text "a hamburger" --workspace trial -O 
$> python3 --text "a hamburger" --workspace trial -O --sd_version 1.5 
$> python3 --workspace trial -O --test 
$> python3 --workspace trial -O --test --save_mesh 

Check Your Output:

Look in the results directory under the workspace name:

.\stable-dreamfusion\<workspace name>\mesh\ #directory holds the .obj, .mat, and .png files
.\stable-dreamfusion\<workspace name>\results\ #directory holds a mp4 video that shows the object rotating

Copying them to Windows:
All Windows drives are pre-mounted in \mnt\<drive letter>\ for WSL.
Ex: \mnt\c\
So you can copy the output files to your windows side by doing:
cp -rP .\<workspace name> \mnt\c\workdir\

Looking at the generated meshes with materials:

  1. Install Blender
  2. File->Import->Wavefront (.obj) (legacy)
  3. Or, use 3D Viewer (though it seems to have issues with material loading at times)


  1. You might get an error about missing
==> Start Training trial Epoch 1, lr=0.050000 …
0% 0/100 [00:00<?, ?it/s]Could not load library Error: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

add this to your .bashrc to ensure it can find libcudnn:
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/lib/wsl/lib:$LD_LIBRARY_PATH

2. If you load the object in Blender but it doesn’t load the texture maps, try Alt-Z


Midjourney intro + prompt guide

Midjourney intro + prompt guide

Matt Wolfe briefly walks you through getting Midjourney set up (via Discord) and then gives you some great geting started prompts to help you learn different styles and image generation capabilities.

He also recommends Guy Parsons who gives out lots of tips on building prompts and who has a free e-book with some of his best tips.

Comparing AI art generators for common artist workloads

Comparing AI art generators for common artist workloads

Gamefromscratch decides to do side-by-side results tests on DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion, and MidJourney for a variety of art generation tasks.

His conclusion is they are not going to replace artist for all tasks, but for concept art, pixel art, and some other simple tasks these AI generators can replace artists.

If you use social media, you should watch this

If you use social media, you should watch this

Smarter Every Day does some amazing videos. While just a few years old, these videos on social media manipulation are even more relevant today than ever. They cover how foreign agents are already manipulating and infiltrating social media platforms Reddit, Facebook, YouTube, and likely countless others. He also shares some good data on how the manipulators work – which echoes almost exactly the techniques used by Ryan Holladay for over a decade and he outlines in Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. All of this information is now about 5-10 years old – so you can imagine how much more sophisticated it has become since then.

If you use social media, this is critical information since it has become crystal clear (from the social media companies themselves, as well as congressional reports) that foreign entities have been doing this for almost a decade now. This was before AI based chat and response bots – which will likely make the volume and sophistication of these kinds of manipulators massively more pervasive and harder to spot.