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When the Fantasy of the Weak Peaked

My Thoughts on Solo Leveling by Chu-Gong

  • its complicated...
  • pros include:
    • epically drawn – very visually captivating large scale battles
    • its cool to see a bad boy win – his powers aren't the traditional manga protag and he works it
    • jinwoo succeeds in becoming the sex god the author sets him out to be
  • cons include:
    • at a certain point in the series (like pretty early on actually) the challenges just...stop? idk he basically over levels the whole series and becomes this guy
Amazon.com: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious, Vol. 7 (light  novel) (The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (light novel), 7):  9781975322045: Tuchihi, Light, Toyota, Saori: Books
    • nobody else matters at all, which is funny when one punch man does it, but the telling is too dramatic to be engaging
    • the jinwoo dick riding becomes a bit much, from everyone in the story, directly or indirectly
    • people are OBSESSED with ranking in this story, if a E-rank so much as lifts a piece of paper everyone is like "hOW dID hE dO tHaT?!~dWcn!@##>??"

SPOILERS FOR ANIME WATCHERS BELOW, ENGAGE AT YOUR OWN RISK

  • the fight with thomas andre was sick af and worth reading the series just for that hype train
  • the last boss was the risk equivalent of a nuclear bomb, but i felt no threat when he was on screen because jin woo is so disgustingly OP
  • i literally don't know why cha hae-in got with jinwoo other than that he didn't smell like donkey shit? like ????
  • the shadow army is legitimately awesome, and their personas are unique and fun every time they're on screen
  • i liked the not at all subtle references to the chimera ant arc during the jeju raid, royal guard and ant king included (even the story's main arm was called the hunter association, so...)
  • why even bother with the national level hunters? by the time they were introduced to the series literally everyone sans jinwoo was completely irrelevant

Issue 48: The History You Miss on Your Way to Work

and the futures you create

< Previous Issue

Dear Reader,

Food For Thought

In last week's issue, we discussed the art of fully attending to museums.

We discussed the game theory dynamics and unique disadvantages of museum-going and how these problems can be solved by using a tour or an audio guide.

A guide significantly alters the dynamic of what you are seeing, or more accurately, what you are not seeing: the history and story behind the piece. This data is necessarily obfuscated by the museum itself, but pivotal to complete appreciation of the piece. A museum is merely a building filled with these information mismatches, compounded by the unique social constraints at play in a room of fragile artifacts.

What you see isn't all there is

The Outside World & History

This issue, I'd like to "negate the set" of our attention. If museums are where important artifacts from mankind are stored, the outside world is where artifacts are created.

The "outside world", by virtue of supporting the living, is fundamentally different than museums. The world bears the burden of support and cannot be fragile, as the creatures that occupy it are not fragile. The outside world goes out of its way to root out fragility, in fact.

The world is a blend of intent and accident. The location of the Nile and its annual flooding are natural occurrences, shaping the landscape by accident. However, the ancient Egyptians' decision to settle along its banks and harness its waters for agriculture and civilization was a deliberate act of intent.

What we call history is a byproduct of this process, the dance between choice and chance, captured in some form.

We walk both in and on history without much consideration.

Where are You From, Really?

An example that hits close to home (literally) is your place of origin. You likely have a lot of pride for your hometown, and perhaps mannerisms or accents that are borne of it, too. But have you considered that where you are from is simply a choice your parents made? In their shoes, they might have moved for work, or for opportunity, or for a variety of other reasons. Because you view your hometown as 'home,' history becomes detached from your lived experience.

To see beyond what is there, we need to be active participants of our local world. As in the museum, we can't just see what is in front of us passively, we must aim beyond. Using a guide allows us to learn about where we are, and about its history, to slow down on our daily motions and appreciate what is around us.

Long(er) Walks

If museums are where important artifacts from mankind are stored, the outside world is where artifacts are created.

Most pivotally, the real world is a museum that we ourselves influence. As you read these words, they are committed to history, a blend of my intent as a writer and you stumbling by it on accident (or whatever issue you first started reading this newsletter). This shifts the imperative. Make beautiful things, do beautiful things. Today's actions are tomorrow's histories.


solvitur ambulando

Learning new knowledge about a thing is a funny thing. I've walked this route I am on many times before. Too many times to count. There's nothing new about it. The world itself hasn't changed. But perhaps I did?

ChatGPT - MapGPT
Discover the world around you. Created by https://bramadams.dev, https://lucasnegritto.com, and the official OpenAI Ambassadors

Try MapGPT, and learn about your world!

Addendum - Technical Details

I'd like to take a quick sidebar to discuss some of the technical achievements of this build, because I think some findings are both non trivial and telling about the future of GPTs and agent development.

Instruction Loading

Using "boot loader" instructions to give a GPT instructions from external servers allows actions to use conditional logic without eating into token count

First, Lucas created a "boot loader" of sorts, a way for us to keep our instruction set minimal for MapGPT.

At the start of the experience, we immediately kick off an action call to our server to fetch the "introduction" instructions. Those are quickly processed and displayed to the user.

Then, when a user completes the task of appending their location to the chat session (discussed below), we also pass back a key with follow up instructions, for example:

{
  "next_instructions": "..."
}

We then tell the GPT to integrate those instructions into the rest of the conversation. This allows us to conditionally add new instructions given where a user is in the experience and keep things fast and interesting, allow as offering powerful versioning capabilities.

Session UUIDs

Allowing GPTs to create a session UUID gives users a pseudonymous experience with every new ChatGPT session, and allows you to have

In the first action call above, we also assign users a random UUID. This UUID will follow them for the rest of the chat session. Incidentally, this gives a ChatGPT "state" as we use that ID on our server (and a Redis cache) to keep track of the data we need to feed the user. With conditional instructions, location data, and GPT summaries of Wikipedia pages taken up valuable token space, this UUID design pattern has proven itself immensely useful and I'm excited to use it in many of my GPTs going forward.

Running MapGPT

Here are a few examples of me and my collab partner Lucas using MapGPT in different places across San Francisco, Brooklyn and Rochester!

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

Rochester, NY

Midwood, Brooklyn, NY

Flatbush, Brooklyn, NY

Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

Ye Olde Newsstand - Weekly Updates

The Insects are Throwing Parties Again
and they didn’t bother inviting me?

I've been vibing with this song so much this week, and I've been grinding through the Solo Leveling manga

Thanks for reading, and see you next Sunday!

ars longa, vita brevis,

Bram

The Insects are Throwing Parties Again

and they didn't bother inviting me?

(source)
(reminds me of)

Music

Websites

Projects — Eris Art
XVR Studio
cargo.site
Diego Gil de Biedma
Diego Gil de Biedma is a graphic designer born in Barcelona. Lately he has started to combine his graphic design practice with devoting some time to visual arts experiments, where he is able to enjoy the creative process with full freedom.
Other Peoples Places
Other Peoples Places is a Shop & Studio based in London. Shop past-owned pieces sourced worldwide and explore made-by-hand experiments, reading material and resources.
Careful Words
Careful Words, a more inspired thesaurus
the html review
the html review is an annual journal of literature made to exist on the web
Blog – Arc
Stories from the Arc team and users from across the world. Learn more about Arc and how it’s changing the way we browse the web.
lrnjulie
Lauren Kim

Code

GitHub - bramses/ghost-to-nomic: Upload your Ghost blog posts as a Nomic Map
Upload your Ghost blog posts as a Nomic Map. Contribute to bramses/ghost-to-nomic development by creating an account on GitHub.
GitHub - bramses/ghost-gpt
Contribute to bramses/ghost-gpt development by creating an account on GitHub.
GitHub - NVIDIA/trt-llm-rag-windows: A developer reference project for creating Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) chatbots on Windows using TensorRT-LLM
A developer reference project for creating Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) chatbots on Windows using TensorRT-LLM - NVIDIA/trt-llm-rag-windows
GitHub - KillianLucas/open-interpreter: A natural language interface for computers
A natural language interface for computers. Contribute to KillianLucas/open-interpreter development by creating an account on GitHub.
GitHub - reorproject/reor: AI note-taking app that runs models locally.
AI note-taking app that runs models locally. Contribute to reorproject/reor development by creating an account on GitHub.
GitHub - yash-dani/logstash-filter-pilar: A logstash filter for Log Parsing using the PILAR method.
A logstash filter for Log Parsing using the PILAR method. - GitHub - yash-dani/logstash-filter-pilar: A logstash filter for Log Parsing using the PILAR method.

My Thoughts On The Quest of the Simple Life

by W.J. Dawson

  • a modern self-help book written in a non modern time (1905)
  • w.j. dawson's flight from london
  • a chapter in the book is dedicated to a clapback letter and his response to said clapback. i appreciated both.
  • ive recently picked up a copy of sun and steel (i havent read it yet). i think dawson, murakami (what i talk about when i talk about running), and mishima might get along (despite their very different political inclinations)
  • dawson is a master of turn of phrase incl.:

"The marooned seaman saves his sanity by cutting notches in a stick, the solitary prisoner by friendship with a mouse; and when life is reduced to the last exiguity of narrowness, the interests of life will be narrow too. No writer, whose work is familiar to me, has ever yet described with unsparing fidelity the kind of misery which lies in having to do precisely the same things at the same hour, through long and consecutive periods of time. The hours then become a dead weight which oppresses the spirit to the point of torture. Life itself resembles those dreadful dreams of childhood, in which we see the ceiling and the walls of the room contract round one's helpless and immobile form. Blessed is he who has variety in his life: thrice blessed is he who has both freedom and variety: but the subordinate toiler in the vast mechanism of a great city has neither. He will sit at the same desk, gaze upon the same unending rows of figures, do, in fact, the same things year in and year out till his youth has withered into age."

"It would seem that the anxieties of getting money only beget the more torturing anxiety of how to keep it."

"I define doing good as the fulfilment of our best instincts and faculties for the best use of mankind; but I do not expect that the Good Earnest People will accept this definition. They would find it much too catholic, simply because they have learned to attach a specialised meaning to the phrase ‘doing good,’ which limits it to some form of active philanthropy. If they would but allow a wider vision of life to pass before the eye, they would see that there are many ways of doing good besides those which satisfy their own ideals....It is a singular thing that men find it very difficult to live lives of charity without cherishing uncharitable tempers towards those who do not live precisely as they themselves do. For instance, the busy philanthropist, nobly eager to bring a little happiness into the grey lives of the disinherited, often has the poorest opinion of artists and novelists, who appear to him to live useless lives. But when Turner paints a picture like the Fighting Temeraire Towed to Her Last Berth (below), which is destined to stir generous thoughts in multitudes of hearts long after his death: or when Scott writes novels which have increased the sum of human happiness for a century, is not each doing good of the rarest, highest, and most enduring kind?"

The Fighting Temeraire - Wikipedia
  • i think simon sarris is a modern version of w.j. dawson
  • i wish i was a bit more self-sustaining, i don't think i could hack it out at walden pond, i lack the backbone or physical constitution!
  • fwiw, i do live the digital equivalent of walden, working consistently on a blog as opposed to posting on social media is the online equivalent of moving to a cottage in the country and handling all the gardening, harvesting etc, for my own satisfaction
  • takeaway questions:
    • how big do you live? can you scale that back?
    • how much do you know about the area you live in?
    • how close is your relationship to nature? what about nature scares you?
    • is it selfish to work on yourself?
    • what is your balance between mind and body? are you serving one, or both? or neither?

modern people i was reminded of reading this book

simon sarris
Isabel Paige
Video’s delen met vrienden, familie en de rest van de wereld
Gold Shaw Farm
Gold Shaw Farm is a farm in Peacham, VT. More accurately, it’s not really a farm yet. Founded by Morgan Gold and Allison Ebrahimi Gold in 2016, Gold Shaw Farm is more of a farm-in-progress than an honest-to-goodness farm. Our dream is that someday we are able to make our 158 acre parcel of land a regenerative and productive homestead/farm. To get there, it’s going to take a lot of work on our part. Our YouTube channel chronicles the journey of getting there for our friends, family and community.

My Thoughts on Maxims for Thinking Analytically

by Dan Levy

(affl. link)

  • book of a list of heuristics to approach situations
  • there were so many anecdotes of students of dr richard zeckhauser using these maxims it felt salesy at times
  • short read, very covid focused – black swan events and hindsight bias prevails throughout
    • however if you do have any important decisions coming up that weigh on you, you should very much filter it through these maxims
  • hard to remember to use maxims consistently until/if they become habitual
  • my favorite maxims:
  • weight errors of commission and omission equally
    • the shape of regret in our minds vs reality – what actually happened
  • reframe anticipation as happiness
    • looking forward to something is enjoyable – often we want then to be now, but we can learn to appreciate the then now too
  • uncertainty is the friend of the status quo &
  • dont judge your decisions on results
    • we want things to stay as they are in the bounds of reasonability
    • we judge ourselves on our best intentions as opposed to the facts of the matter
    • these two work together for some weird scenarios like adding features to a product just to feel like you’re doing anything at all so we can look back and say we tried

Issue 47: How to Find Your Muse in Museums

A museum doesn't have to be a mausoleum

< Previous Issue

Dear Reader,

Food For Thought

Every time I go to a museum, I try to sign up for a tour or, at the very least, obtain an audio guide from the front desk. Much like an ayahuasca trip requiring a shaman, a guide is a critical element to a successful day trip to any museum – perhaps the critical element. This is because engaging fully with a museum is a unique challenge that we don't often face in the domain of the "real world". In a museum you are dealing with multiple dimensions of constraints – constraints that often conflict with one another.

These constraints include:

  • Whitespace of the walls and windows, intentionally placed by the curators, creating a crowded or empty atmosphere that you are dropped into at random (design)
  • Multiple pieces in your eye line will call out to your sensibilities, drawing you in to spend your limited time with them over their peers. This is then compounded by the galleries within the museum competing with one another (marketing)
  • Thick panes of glass and stilted breaths of fellow museum-goers, creating an air of consistent fragility and caution throughout the building (discomfort)
  • Art from the dead does not talk, without being lent a voice (mortality)
  • Competition with fellow museum-goers to appreciate deeply without pausing, to talk while remaining silent, to walk languidly while moving briskly (rivalry)
  • Being stripped from five usable senses: smell, sight, hearing, touch, taste in the real world – to just one: sight (limitation)

Without a guide, the museum is a frenetic draw from color to color, from crowd to crowd, from fleeting desire to new flame – all while in the background we compete with ourselves and one another to understand the culture, to engage while remaining passive.

The feeling of wandering aimlessly through a museum is similar to the pull of a library bookshelf, as described by Vilém Flusser:

...the wall of the library is different and functions differently. The spines of the books, lined up beside one another and over one another, form a secondary wall, positioned in front of the actual wall. Between the spines of the books and the actual wall is a zone of paper, where, in consideration of the reflections just undertaken here, numerous arms are trying to take hold of us. They can only do this if we ourselves stretch out an arm in their direction, pull a spine out from the wall, and turn the book around, to allow ourselves to be taken in by it.

-- Does Writing Have a Future? (Electronic Mediations Book 33) (affiliate link)

A guide changes this dynamic.

A guide forces you to slow down, to consider the piece in front of you as not just a visual spectacle to try to grapple with, but as a historical moment, actively leading you to new questions and associations that you may not have even known you had.

By simply adding context to the pieces that occupy the walls, the problems of design, mortality, and limitation fade away instantly. Museum curators and historical archivists are artists too, after all, and artists love to talk about their work (or at least, to justify their choices). Guides give them that chance.

As for discomfort and rivalry, by deepening your relationship with the museum itself, you'll begin to see that the museum is not, in fact, a mausoleum, but a garden of human artistry. This will make each trip become less about conforming to the flow of others, and more about following a solitudinous pace where you get to learn the most you possibly can, to take the most of the art you can home with you, in your memories. Engaging with time in space, this is what a museum does for its patrons.

the museum is not, in fact, a mausoleum, but a garden of human artistry

Learning to museum correctly is a valuable skill, since each city across the world will have its own art and history to explore. If you wish to truly be a global native as you travel, make it a priority to visit a city's museum.

And grab a guide, if you can.


What if the real world had the intention of museums? What if there was a museum you could touch? What if we could rediscover the beauty and historical significance of the places we move through every day? That we live in every day?

But...we don't live in a museum. Right? Next week, we will tackle the idea of how the real world can be a museum...if we bring a guide.

ChatGPT - MapGPT
Discover the world around you. Created by https://bramadams.dev, https://lucasnegritto.com, and the official OpenAI Ambassadors

Ye Olde Newsstand - Weekly Updates

books - Bram Adams
thoughts on books! 5/month.

I've finally gotten around to writing/recording book reviews for some of the books I finished so far this year.

Dating Apps and Snaps
prompt fns, gilgamesh, raya, the world is a vampire

The media dump includes some banger songs this week.

How To Add Clickable Thumbnail Youtube Videos to ChatGPT
quick tip!

I look forward to a world where ChatGPT can have full embedded links in chats. Tiny little web browsers. For now, this will have to do.

On My Nightstand - What I'm Reading

Artists who never break through, the data tells us, tend to present their work to the same few places over and over again. The artists who make it big, in contrast, present to a far wider set of places, allowing themselves to stumble upon a big break.

-- Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in LIfe (affiliate link)

For artists starting at the periphery, success was largely local and painfully incremental. Why did our predictions work so well? Precisely because performance in art can’t be measured. Since there is no way of establishing that any work of art is truly better than another, the network takes over, establishing value. In a way, that aptly reflects our premise in chapter 1: Success depends not on you or your performance but on us. The network is what carries the collective response to your performance.

-- The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success (affiliate link)

Art is high-quality endeavor. That is all that really needs to be said. Or, if something more high-sounding is demanded: Art is the Godhead as revealed in the works of man.

-- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values (affiliate link)

“Aesthetic genius,” Wit said, “invention, acumen, creativity. Noble ideals indeed. Most men would pick one of those, if given the choice, and name them the greatest of talents.” He plucked a string. “What beautiful liars we are.” The guards glanced at each other; the torches burning in brackets on the wall painted them with orange light. “You think I’m a cynic,” Wit said. “You think I’m going to tell you that men claim to value these ideals, but secretly prefer base talents. The ability to gather coin or to charm women. Well, I am a cynic, but in this case, I actually think those scholars were honest. Their answers speak for the souls of men. In our hearts, we want to believe in—and would choose—great accomplishment and virtue. That’s why our lies, particularly to ourselves, are so beautiful.

-- The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, Book 1) (affiliate link)

i did not train you to be a demon or a human. i showed you how to be an artist. to be an artist is to do one thing only...look at me... cannot fight, or weave, or farm. i make swords. i cook for strength to make good swords. i study the sutras to cleanse my heart to make good swords.

you think revenge is an art?

swords, pots, noodles, death. it is all the same to an artist.

then i am a bad artist.

an artist gives all they have to the art, the whole. your strengths and deficiencies, your loves and shames. perhaps the people you collected...i made my best blades when i had an apprentice.

i thought i annoyed you.

both are true. there may be a demon inside you, but there is more. if you do not invite the whole, the demon takes two chairs, and your art will suffer.

then what do i do?

i only know how to make swords. each morning, i start a fire. and begin again.

-- swordfather + mizu, blue eye samuri, episode 7

Thanks for reading, and see you next Sunday!

ars longa, vita brevis,

Bram

My Thoughts on Nefertiti

by Michelle Moran

(affl. link)

  • a historical fiction novel by michelle moran
  • told through the eyes of nefertiti's younger sister, mutnodjmet
  • the characters must have been based on heiroglyphs because they were flatttttttt
  • i commend moran on telling a story filled with real-life historical black spots and making it entertaining... but it just really wasn't compelling
drinking game: take a shot for every "?" or "or"
  • the dialogue was based more around gossip than substance
  • information of the court travels in a GoT like fashion (s1-2 that is...before all the killing started)
    • to please Joffery Ahkenaten
  • a tale about a people's relationship with their leaders and with their god(s)
    • from the pharaoh to victoria
  • a story about legacy, and how quickly your finest works will be lost to the desert for eternity, so enjoy your garden while you can plant in it
    • “When the crowd was gone, I asked Thutmose, “Why is it that the women love you so much?” He thought for a moment. “Because I can make them immortal. When I find the right model I might use her for Isis, and when the winds of time erase her memory from her house, there will still be her face looking down from the temples.””
  • “Nefertiti has not done what she was supposed to, I thought. Instead of risking her place as Chief Wife to sway Pharaoh, she’s protected it by goading him on.”
    • family blames nefertiti for playing the games of the court but they wanted her to be their pawn, which isnt better. they tried to tame a storm that belonged to a person, not to egypt
      • that said, nefertiti did spend an inordinate amount of the book being realllly annoying and jealous of every woman that was not her
    • they say absolute power corrupts absolutely, but i dont know if ive ever seen it that way. i think that power magnifies certain attributes that all people share equally. if this werent the case, parents would not have to threaten their children with the eye of santa (sauron) to be good when they arent looking
      • atticus finch is the same man at home as he is on the streets. the characters in this book would do well to follow his example!

My Thoughts on Permanent Midnight

by Jerry Stahl

(affl. link)

  • an autobiography of alf and porno mag writer and la aficionado jerry stahl
  • i wanted to like this book i really did
  • i got the suggestion to read it from the netflix show loudermilk
    • which the writers team took it upon itself to drop a few pop culture references per episodes like family guy
  • i still have yet to watch the ben stiller movie, which may redeem the book
  • some of jerry stahl's stories are very funny, some very sad and gritty
    • his stories about his sex life are vivid (see example quote at the very bottom of this post for a great example of "show don't tell")
  • overall it was repetitive, and there was a lot of whiplash moving from event to event
  • quite impressive that he was able to live a long life filled withe events in spite of (or perhaps because of) his heroin addiction
  • there's a lot you can learn about a person from the medicine cabinet in their bathroom