Miscellaneous #11

Double dose of quantum weirdness pushes sensors past the limit

Scientists just found a hidden 6th mass extinction in Earth’s ancient past

The Death of the Key Change:

What’s odd is that after 1990, key changes are employed much less frequently, if at all, in number one hits.

What’s doubly odd is that around the same time, the keys that number one hits are in change dramatically too. In fact, songwriters begin using all keys at comparable rates.

Ronna, quetta, ronto and quecto added to International System of Units in first such change for more than 30 years:

…triumphed over some rather less scientific proposals including bronto and hella, which had been gaining ground…

They May as Well Grow on Trees: The Future of Genetically Engineered Livestock (fiction…for now)

“Sometimes maintenance involves shooting the shark.”

The Fallacy of AI Functionality

The Futile Quest for Autonomous Intelligence:

It’s easy to be mesmerised by the progress in AI. However, when we compare existing architectures with biology, the complexity is not close to be comparable.

Amazon Alexa is a “colossal failure,” on pace to lose $10 billion this year

Teaching Algorithmic Reasoning [to LLMs] via In-context Learning

META’s PEER: A Collaborative Language Model

The role of metacognitive abilities and curiosity in learning

Evidence of Critical Dynamics in the Honey Bee Swarm

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Ballista: Regulus vs. the River Monster

The ballista, an ancient Roman weapon:

Pearson Scott Foresman, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Mentioned in that article, is a popular ship used by the Roman (and Carthaginian) navies known as the quinquereme

Forget the The Quinquereme—when there was an ancient competition for ever-larger naval ships:

Ptolemy IV (221- 204 BC) added to the contest with the introduction of the superlative ‘forty.’ This vessel was enormous even by the gargantuan standards of the age and its shape is still subject to scholarly debate. Its full complement of rowers, sailors, and marines is said to have numbered around 7,000 men, which is comparable to the crew of a modern aircraft carrier.

Apparently nobody knows what the numbers mean in the ship terminology like the trireme (the “three”), the quinquereme (the “five”), the hexareme (the “six”) and so on up to the massive “forty.”

There doesn’t seem to be a ship type for every number after 20 or so as they jump to 30 and 40. It wasn’t a literal count of the oar levels. Maybe they were just model numbers of sorts, like iPhone 5, 6, 7, 8, X etc.? Or perhaps it was like jet fighter generation numbers.

Celtic ruler’s 2,000-year-old ring kept in cupboard for 28 years

Jonah and the Dolphin (an Antiques Pedant’s warning to the curious)

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