I'm tired of all these apocalypses


The last few years have been too much for me. From high school I’ve been very neurotic and maladapted. I just started to get my shit together, learned to stand my ground, got a better grip on my career, built my first meaningful romantic relationship, bought an apartment.

Then in late 2019, I’ve heard of a story about an outbreak of an extremely infectious virus. An outbreak that just happened on the front door of a biolab that studies viruses in Wuhan. And for no particular reason whatsoever, for entire two years after the outbreak, the mass media has completely ignored the lab leak as a plausible origin of the virus. Later, of course, it turned out that this specific lab ran gain of function research funded by a US company. In a result surprising to no one, the guilty investigators didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing neither by themselves, nor by their Chinese partners in crime.

Then we had 540 days of “two weeks to spread the curve”, which IMO had dubious effectiveness.

Then multiple pharma megacorps started producing the exact same vaccine, using the exact same technology, which is used for this purpose for the first time in history. This novel drug, which relies on untested principles and didn’t even go through full testing cycle, was compulsively administered to everybody. Including children, who are in no danger from the virus.

What the actual fuck?!

Then we got the leaks of contracts under which the big pharma sold the vaccines to governments. And those contracts are something that nobody in their right mind should sign. Any opposition to the mandates were countered with extreme prejudice by the mass media and governments. To the point that the protestors and their supporters and their families got their bank accounts frozen with no investigation or trial. “Freedom to peacefully assemble” my ass.

And it’s fine, I’ve accepted that we live in a corporate dystopia where big pharma dictates the terms to the governments, and nearly all of the media is fully controled. Well, the alternative is that everyone “in charge” is borderline not smart.

All of this happening is on the backdrop of Global Warming, which is honestly not as apocaliptic as some people paint it. It will dry up some latidues, and make some places a hell to live in. There will be famines caused by this, some species will go extinct. Which means a lot of people will suffer and -at least try to- migrate to other, better, places to live.

Then, in a stroke of reverse genious, people who push for “green technologies” completely reject nuclear power. Germany closes multiple nuclear power plants, the electricity prices are now through the roof, and the cheapest way to get heating is using Russian gas. Would you be terribly surprised if this green lobbying that rejects nuclear power was supported by Russia? Anyway, it seems to me like green technologies aren’t going anywhere productive. I’m not even sold on the idea that current year electric cars have less total impact on the environment compared to ICU cars.

Sure, you can say that “We WILL Fix Climate Change!”, you could mitigate some of the damage. But a nontrivial amount of damage is already inevitable. Ecosystems will be thrashed, species will go extinct, people will starve.

And it’s fine, I’ve accepted that life will get significantly worse for billions of people.

There’s a shadow sibling of Global Warming, The Limits to Growth, which predicts (paraphrased) that humanity had the best party and it’s about to get the worst hangover. Humans are going to continue to human, and party until the hangover hits.

“But dear [author], that’s a 50 year old study, surely it’s been proven wrong!”

Nope, a recent study confirms those predictions are still working.

The [2020] study found that current empirical data is broadly consistent with the 1972 projections, and that if major changes to the consumption of resources are not undertaken, economic growth will peak and then rapidly decline by around 2040.

And it’s fine, I’ve accepted that life will get significantly worse for nearly everyone within my lifetime.

Then my mother called me on Thursday at 05:30. Telling me that the Russians are invading.

Honestly, I was not shocked. I had this on my mind for at least half a year, and there were a lot of SCREAMING RED warning signs during February that this is going to happen. Now I have air raid sirens to wake me up at 4 in the morning, and invite to daily breaks to a safer place. This complaint feels moot compared to hell many Ukrainians are living through. My parents’ apartment was on the front line, and there was fighting nearby. Despite my warnings, invitations, pleading and promises, and the fucking gunfights, they stayed at home. When the windows got shattered by the blast wave, and only then, they gathered some motivation to leave the front line. And even that motivation wasn’t enough to move to the western part of Ukraine to live with me. Now they live 30 Km away from the front line.

And it’s fine, I’ve accepted that at any moment a missile could fly into my house and I could die. That my parents still won’t leave the eastern parts of Ukraine and might get caught in the crossfire.

Now that our country got invaded we have martial law. Which also means there is ongoing draft for all males of age 18 to 60. One of my friends got surrounded by armed three letter agents who politely asked an entire group of men to show their papers and visit the nearby military enlistment office.

And it’s fine, I’ve accepted that I could get drafted and sent to the front line.

Then I saw a rumor on [some nonspecific] anonymous imageboard saying that the nuclear forces of Russia are now on elevated alert. That was the first time during this war I’ve felt terror. I’ve already come to terms with risks to my life and lives of my loved ones. I was not prepared to take a look over the edge into the nuclear war. What terrified me is the thought of losing everything that I ever loved or enjoyed, and no chance that anyone will ever restore a fraction of it. Then the rumor got confirmed by the official Russia media.

Sure, metaculus says that the chances of a full scale nuclear war are ~0.35%, or various sources saying they aren’t effective. You go ahead and argue with my lizard brain.

And it’s fine, I’ve accepted that any day now the monkey with a grenade could pull the pin, and there’s nothing I could do about it.

To top it all off, another potential risk that I was aware of for some time. Superhuman AI gone wrong re-emerged on my radar. If you want a serious introduction to this risk, please read the following sequence: Engaging First Introductions to AI Risk. Then this happened. Yes, I’m aware that it’s posted on the first of April; and yes, the substance is serious, although presented jokingly.

But allow me to present how I feel about it. Dare I say, in more poetic terms. We etch sigils into the stone to make a thinking machine, and then we talk to the machine using an interface to make it useful. One of the most useful things is to make tha machine teach itself. But the machine teaching itself could create an alien mind. And not one mind, many powerful and incomprehensible minds emerge in our world. They have their own goals, and human life is not even a speck in their mind. For some reason, people think that summoning these aliens to our world is a good idea. We’re sleepwalking into hell, attracted by the imaginary riches that these false gods could provide.

Of all the world-ending scenarios, I least expected to live a Lovecraftian horror.

And… I don’t know how to approach that.

There are too many apocalypses for me to process. What’s most annoying, I can’t even find this experience amusing. Most of these world-ending scenarios are mundane, predictable, boring even. They’re not interesting enough for people to pay attention and do something.

We’re all truly fucked.

How (Not) to Design a Hash Function


Recently, Casey Muratori has implemented a proof-of-concept terminal, which is designed around fast input processing and rendering. This is an important and commendable effort, since the vast majority of software performs tens to thousands of times slower than it can.[citation needed]

One of the design choices of refterm is to use a hash table to cache glyph rendering. The key in this table is the UTF-8 string of a single glyph. To avoid string allocations, the hash value of the glyph bytes is used as a key instead.

When Casey got asked about the possibility of hash collisions on stream, he responded with a claim that the hash function used in refterm is “a strong hash”, and the complexity to find collision is about 2^64 operations. After analyzing the code for the hash function used in refterm, a few flaws were found in the hash function, and O(1) attacks were discovered.

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Extracting TLS keys from an unwilling application


I want to be able to inspect the traffic of programs running on my computer. I don’t really trust those programs and ideally I’d like to put nearly all of them into a high security jail.

One of those programs is Oculus software. There are a few reasons why I want to be cautious about Oculus software.

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The smallest lambda interpreter in JavaScript


This post is heavily inspired by Tom Stuart: Programming with noting, William Byrd on “The Most Beautiful Program Ever Written”, Guowei LV – The Most Beautiful Program Ever Written, John Tromp – Binary lambda calculus.

When I first learned about Lambda calculus, I was amazed by a strong mathematical basis for anonymous functions used in many languages.

Then I wondered: what’s the simplest way to represent lambda functions as data?

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