Day: November 2, 2004

  • Clone Wars Watchlist

    I discharged my civic duty last night and today by helping out SVRC, the Swarthmore Voter Registration Coalition. I had already voted absentee in Minnesota over two weeks ago, so hopefully that vote has been counted properly. I wanted to get involved in helping out with the election, but unfortunately I couldn’t really commit the time to go canvassing in Philly or somewhere else far away from campus. Maybe I shouldn’t have given the Sierra Club my phone number…

    Last night I “stormed” ML, making sure that everyone had information about their rights as voters, how to get to their polling location (depending on which dorm or off-campus housing you live in, there are three different ones), and what sort of ID to bring with them so that they wouldn’t get challenged at the polls.

    Today I spent over four hours at the northern precinct polling location for Swarthmore, keeping track of Swatties as they voted and making sure that their information in order. We had very few problems; I think only about 10 people had to cast provisional ballots, which probably won’t be counted for a while, if at all.

    The SVRC registered almost 800 current students as voters here in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of whom were first-time voters. As of 6:00 pm tonight, over 85% of the Swatties listed on the northern precinct rolls had voted. Since there are some recent graduates still on the voter rolls, and since we weren’t always able to check off everyone as they entered the polls, we’re probably closer to 95%. I spent the last hour or so of my shift going through the voter rolls and finding current students listed in the Swat phone directory who hadn’t (to our knowledge) voted yet. Other people were doing the obnoxious calling :o). Hopefully these last 20 or so stragglers will get out and vote tonight!

    Those of you who know me probably know that I’m not too big on activist groups, particularly political groups. The SVRC is non-partisan, which fits my centrist beliefs just fine. All they’ve tried to do is to get as many Swatties as possible registered for this election. Obviously, the campus is predominately Democrat, but I think increasing voter turnout is a pretty good (and totally neutral) cause. I went to a Dept. of Poltical Science speaker two weeks ago on voter turnout, by a professor at Harvard, and he seemed to believe that a huge voter turnout would really help to decide this election. It seems like that is probably the case.

    Volunteers” from Forrest Gump by Jefferson Airplane

  • Sunspot

    A small Yorkshire Terrier lies in a pet bed on a green upholstered chair in a sunny living room.

    I wish I could nap like Pike naps.

  • The Muppets Meet Murderbot

    For the last year and a half or so Andrle and I have been having a ton of fun as part of an online book club put together by my friend Tanya. Unlike most book clubs where you all read the same thing, we all just share things we love that we’ve been reading.

    One recommendation that kept coming up was The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, and I’m glad we finally ran with it and started reading them. We’ve been bingeing the last few weeks and they’re really, really great. Highly recommend (even though I’m only on Book 4.)

    Unsurprisingly another thing I’ve been reading about and thinking about a lot is the advent of Large Language Models, particularly as manifested by ChatGPT. My past work life as an NLP practitioner has me a mix of curious, envious, and highly suspicious of what these are and how they’re being used. In the short term I don’t mind using them as a toy that I can play with for the purpose of a joke, which is what this post is about.

    A recurring topic in this book club is how we might have the Muppets interpret a particular book, or how we might recast a movie with Muppets (but keep one human actor). This provides a lot of fun discussions, especially since I grew up regularly watching the classic Muppet movies on VHS recorded off of TV, and I really like musicals.

    That all brings me to some prompt iterating that I did to get ChatGPT to write the painfully cliché finale to a Muppet musical featuring Murderbot. (Apologies to both Henson and Wells.)

    Verse 1 (Murderbot):
    I used to be a killing machine,
    A rogue cyborg, feared and mean,
    But then I met the Muppets and Kermit,
    And learned what friendship truly meant.

    Verse 2 (Kermit):
    I'm just a simple frog, it's true,
    But I believe in friendship too,
    And when I met Murderbot, I knew,
    Together we could do something new.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    Verse 3 (Murderbot):
    I never wanted to be a tool,
    But that's all humans see in me, it's cruel,
    I used to dream of breaking free,
    From their endless schemes and greed.

    Verse 4 (Kermit):
    It's true, I'm always happy-go-lucky,
    But I've been through some tough times that were quite yucky,
    But now with Murderbot and the gang,
    I know our friendship will never hang.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    The past is gone, the future bright,
    With friends like these, we'll win the fight,
    Our love and trust will guide us through,
    Together we'll see this journey through.

    Chorus (All):
    We don't need to kill no more,
    Our friends are all we're fighting for,
    With Murderbot and Kermit side by side,
    We'll show the world what we stand for.

    So let's raise our voices high,
    And let the world hear our battle cry,
    With Muppets and Murderbot side by side,
    We'll change the world and turn the tide.
    OpenAI. (2023, Mar. 16) [Iterative prompt conversation starting with “This Muppet movie is about a rogue cyborg traveling to different space stations and learning the power of friendship from the Muppets” and “I need some lyrics for the big finals. The music is big broadway style number about how the rogue cyborg doesn’t need to kill bad guys anymore because it has friends.” and then encouraging more dialogue between Kermit and Murderbot]

    Yes, I looked up recommendations on how to properly cite ChatGPT output.

    Overall the result was mildly amusing. I couldn’t get it to capture Murderbot’s signature style, presumably because while information about the novellas are in its model training, not enough text from the novellas are in there.

    I’m still not sure what useful things I could do with this kind of tool, but in the meantime, I can make it make silly songs.

  • Fox Ferocity

    Pike playing with a toy almost as big as he is.

  • Groomed Pike

    Tiny freshly groomed Yorkie sits on a teal couch wearing a monstera bow tie

    I love this little gentleman.

  • The Kale Wanter

    A small black and brown Yorkie stands on a cream rug in front of a brown cupboard begging for the bunch of lacinato kale in hand in the foreground.