notsocoolnow t1_jcximnv wrote

Right now people are using Elevenlabs to emulate the voice of Dagoth Ur, a character in the Elder Scrolls IV Morrowind with only a handful of voice lines, to make funny meme videos.

The capability of the AI tool is quite impressive even with small samples, though the small number of available samples does mean people are also depending on that small sample to get an impression of what the character sounds like.

I imagine it would be different for a character with a large number of samples (which viewers are familiar with) that you only fed a handful of to the AI.


notsocoolnow t1_jc0sc8c wrote

I can give a perspective.

I have had 4 shots: 3 Pfizer and 1 bivalent. I have also had a bout of COVID (Omicron, I suspect) with very mild symptoms. The shots and boosters were recommended by my government (Singapore) and free, so I took them. Just a reference: Singapore has a full vaccination rate of over 90%.

The last shot (the bivalent) took me out for a day. Arm felt bruised, slight fever. Got better in a couple days. But basically I do wonder how much my immunity could have waned when my body reacts so strongly even to another dose of the vaccine. Each dose the reaction generally gets stronger, which I suppose is good if I get exposed to COVID again, but I feel like maybe I can afford to space out boosters more.


notsocoolnow t1_ixk5jrt wrote

You do realize that if they wanted to cause mass destruction they already have nukes.

The defense from weapons of mass destruction is the same no matter the type, it's retaliation. China could build an ion cannon on the fucking moon and the threat would not be significantly larger than a nuclear weapon, because if they used their death ray the US would retaliate with nukes.

Humans already have the technology to render our planet devoid of life. A new weapon of mass destruction is not some dramatic leap in lethality, because you can't get extra dead.

For that matter, China is already extremely reluctant to have WMD. They maintain only 100 300 nukes to dissuade other countries' nuclear aggression, even though they are much much richer than Russia and could easily afford thousands. They also have a standing policy of No First Use, which is a commitment to allowing their enemy to nuke China first, before they retaliate with subs. They do this because they never want nuclear escalation and so the USA won't see a malfunctioning launch detector and immediately assume a nuclear strike.


notsocoolnow t1_iviwhfo wrote

If it makes you feel better, the mosquito species in question will continue to exist in much lower numbers farther from human civilization. This kind of measure is self-limiting because the modified mosquitos (and their offspring) will eventually die out on their own, being sterile. Aedes populations in remote regions will survive. The hope is that with those lower numbers the diseases will die out since the mosquitos will be exposed to far fewer infected humans.


notsocoolnow t1_ivifd2u wrote

The certain deaths of millions of people take precedent over the possibility of unforeseen ecological impacts, especially if experts say those impacts are unlikely.

As a matter of fact, the spread of the Aedes mosquito (responsible for most mosquito diseases but not malaria), originally localized to Egypt, is a result of human intervention. This species is inherently invasive, that is, it does not belong in most ecosystems.

The extinction of human-feeding mosquitos also heads off the possibility of a future global pandemic of zoonotic origin that jumps species to humanity due to mosquitos. And the pandemic is significantly more likely than severe ecological impact from their extinction. As a matter of fact, scientists have been warning about the dangers of a COVID-like pathogen being transmissible by mosquitos.

We cause the extinction of dozens of animal species (about 150) literally every day. This one just happens to be deliberate, because they're causing half- to three-quarters of a million human deaths every year. And because of climate change, one of those deaths might end up being you.


notsocoolnow t1_ivhxwhy wrote

"Hello humans from Earth. In exactly one orbital period of your planet, we will kill every member of your species using a precision weapon fired from the edge of your solar system. We assure you it will be painless, and apologize for the inconvenience. We just thought it would be polite to give you a heads-up to get your affairs in order."


notsocoolnow t1_ivhlqx6 wrote

I don't think so, actually.

The species that bother humans are very limited. Out of the 3000+ species of mosquito of which we are aware, less than 100 bother humans at all. And less than 10 cause the diseases that kill hundreds of thousands of humans every year.

Do you think ecologists are not involved in this research? The majority opinion of scientists is that is that it's acceptable. The eradication of say, the Aedes mosquito would eliminate Dengue Fever. Eradication of Anopheles would eliminate Malaria. The loss of these two species would not severely impact the ecosystem considering the fact that their ecological niche would be taken up by other mosquitos that do not bother humans, mosquitos that are already in the same ecosystem.

Malaria is caused by a parasite, there is no such thing as a vaccine. The anti-parasitical medication which kills the parasite has to be taken weekly. You cannot idealistically expect millions (almost a billion, actually) of poor people to buy this medication. Strategically eliminating specific mosquito species would save the lives of millions of people. Literally millions. These are real people, real lives, not some fucking statistic which you can blindly sacrifice in order to preserve a couple handfuls of mosquito species.


notsocoolnow t1_ivb4s2g wrote

Here's what I can tell reading the article...

Not particularly revolutionary, tech-wise. It's a low-cost solution, after all, not a new advancement. But the idea is pretty decent for giving access to hobbyists.

This gadget is not the camera or sensors or whatever else, those are old tech. What it is really is is a pressure-resistant housing and buoyancy-control in which you can put a camera and other sensors.

You drop the device, it sinks. After a predetermined time its buoyancy system returns it to the surface (the traditional way is to drop ballast). When it hits surface I am guessing it emits signals so you can boat out there to pick it up. You retrieve it and look at your video.

Just a heads up about underwater exploration: if you want to control just about *anything* (or get video/readings while it's still down there) you need signals. This means for anything deeper than 100m or so, either you run a cable or you use acoustic signals (radio's range is terrible underwater). Either would raise costs a LOT. Because acoustic signals have a HUGE latency, it is impossible to deftly control anything with them, nor can they effectively transmit video. This is why most ROVs (Remote Operated Vehicle, an underwater drone which can be as small as a backpack to the size of a tank) instead use an umbilical cable with fiber-optics. These cables are expensive as heck, because they're kilometers-long, armored (I mean you don't want a sharp rock to slice your cables right?) and filled with power cables and fiber-optics. The winch and umbilical for very large systems can cost millions. But this is literally the only way to properly pilot a system that is kilometers deep. There's also some hybrid systems where you lower a cable with a transmitter to depth and then control the ROV using acoustic/radio signals from that transmitter.

You can bypass most of these issues if you opt not to control the device and only get your video/readings after you retrieve it. But this means you run the risk of losing your device every time you use it. A low-cost solution does kind of make this less painful, though it means you cannot put anything too expensive in it. What the Maka Niu has - camera, altimeter, thermometer, hydrometer (video, depth, temperature, salinity, in that order), they are all very cheap (cept the camera - that can cost a lot depending).


notsocoolnow t1_iuh33qu wrote

I complain endlessly about some of our social policies, but even I admit our housing governance is amazing by the standards of any first-world city. Though COVID has recently screwed up the construction schedule and prices are skyrocketing.


notsocoolnow t1_iugqd5b wrote

It happens quite a bit. The release is targeted at Singaporean readers, so there's a lot of political dogwhistles that would make no sense to a foreigner but trigger emotional responses in locals.

In the Singapore subreddit we post these and pick them apart all the time, and this isn't even the first press release for this specific event. To be fair, the recent high-profile drug execution has attracted unusually high attention to our draconian drug laws.


notsocoolnow t1_iugq3qp wrote

Course I did. Like China's version of wolf-warrior diplomacy, it's for domestic, not foreign consumption.

The Opium War reference is entirely expected, because you see in my post where I mentioned the Chinese cultural hatred of drugs? It's because of the Opium War. For any non-Singaporeans reading this, drugs are a symbol of colonial oppression and capitalist evil. Younger Singaporeans aren't quite as crazy about this, but the PAP's core voter base, senior citizens, were heavily indoctrinated into hating drugs due to their grandparents ranting about the evils of the Opium War.

To be fair, it's not an unjustified sentiment. But it's become a dogwhistle for Chinese conservatives whenever Britain (and for that matter, any of the 8 nations - Germany, Japan, Russia, Britain, France, the United States, Italy, and Austria-Hungary, who conquered China so that Britain could continue to sell opium) tries to support drug legalization or for that matter any kind of humanitarian movement, as if a country's citizens are to blame for the sins of its past forever.

Scores of angry Chinese grandparents will read that and cheer for no reason other than the image of our "scrappy" government standing up to the big bad West.


notsocoolnow t1_iugjstv wrote

Singaporean here: it is not helped that Shanmugam, the politician in question, is a very experienced lawyer and one of the best debaters in Singapore politics. It's not immediately apparent watching his speeches, but in parliament he's extremely quick-thinking and processes information very quickly on the spot.

The scope of the debate would also have been highly disadvantageous to Branson, since Branson is a British entrepreneur used to dealing with an international environment, while the debate was on Singapore's laws which Shanmugam, being the friggin' Minister of Law, would have infinitely more experience with, not to mention having better familiarity with the Singapore government's internal statistics and social environment. Shanmugam would have been able to pull statistics, studies, and facts idiosyncratic to Singapore which Branson would have been hard pressed to refute in a live debate - because he'd need time to look up those studies and verify those statistics. And to top it all off I suspect the debate would have been moderated by a Singaporean, guiding the arguments in a seemingly-neutral fashion towards the local context ("keeping the discussion on-topic") where Shanmugam would have the overwhelming advantage.

The trump card Shanmugam always held is that a majority of Singaporeans approve of our drug laws (70% of Singaporeans are Chinese, and there is a very very very strong hatred of drugs in Chinese culture), so no matter what, he can always fall back on democratic mandate as the core of his argument.

This is like if Mike Tyson asked some random to settle their disagreement in a boxing match held in Tyson's favorite gym. The offer was highly one-sided, feels very disingenuous, and the Singapore government would spin it as a victory regardless of whether Branson accepted, refused, won or lost. There is no good outcome to Branson agreeing to the debate.

But I also think Shanmugam was doing it to raise Singapore's public profile. You'd be surprised how many stinking rich international finance-types approve of our anti-drug policies. Frat-boy multimillionaires who demand absolute sobriety from their employees while snorting lines of cocaine in their private jets.

FYI I highly disapprove of the death penalty for drug offenses, especially the specific way in which my country enforces it which utterly breaks the fundamental innocent-until-proven-guilty principle of justice.