Raymond's Weblog^

February Roundup

I’m experimenting with a quick roundup of things I enjoyed from the past month. I’m aiming to lower my bar for posting stuff, so this will be quick and dirty.


LLM Visualisation

This is a beautiful interactive walkthrough of the structure of a transformer, visually depicting all the matrix computations. I feel like I finally have intuitions for how transformers work.

The Burrito Test

A test used to find out if a particular facility is an institution. Used primarily by disability advocates. If you can’t get up at 3 am and microwave yourself a burrito, it is one. For clarification, the question is about being allowed to do this if you choose to do so, not about wheather [sic] or not this is something you’d want to do. It’s about wheather [sic] you have the freedom to control when you eat and make other basic decisions about yourself and your actions that free human beings over the age of like 8 are generally considered to have as natural rights. Most group homes don’t pass the burrito test.

This, followed by a series of other definitions

Why it’s impossible to agree

Link to a cute game, and thoughtful discussion, on how attempts to fairly enforce policies are restricted by the almost unavoidable fuzziness of natural language rules.

The Tyranny of Stuctureless

Contrary to what we would like to believe, there is no such thing as a structureless group. Any group of people of whatever nature that comes together for any length of time for any purpose will inevitably structure itself in some fashion. The structure may be flexible; it may vary over time; it may evenly or unevenly distribute tasks, power and resources over the members of the group. But it will be formed regardless of the abilities, personalities, or intentions of the people involved. The very fact that we are individuals, with different talents, predispositions, and backgrounds makes this inevitable. Only if we refused to relate or interact on any basis whatsoever could we approximate structurelessness – and that is not the nature of a human group. This means that to strive for a structureless group is as useful, and as deceptive, as to aim at an “objective” news story, “value-free” social science, or a “free” economy. A “laissez faire” group is about as realistic as a “laissez faire” society; the idea becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others. This hegemony can be so easily established because the idea of “structurelessness” does not prevent the formation of informal structures, only formal ones.

I found the beginning to contain most of the insight.

Kinda nice

On the differences between kindness and niceness. No striking insights, but a good topic for reflection, and one which I found salient because I spent much of the past month teaching.

Taylor Swift Does Not Exist


Tweet thread on South Korean birth

I find this topic important and hard to get my head around, so I generally enjoy any grounded discussion of how and why birth rates are collapsing.