ISSUE 1.47

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Dark Systems

Recruiting nuclear physicists, controlling prisons from the inside with computers, hindering the DEA with legislature, and more.

Hellooo! For this Glitchet, you can have my latest favorite track, Daydreamer - Travelling Light. This starts off really nicely, then goes into some heavier beats and bumps, and then suddenly... boom, it's banging. So I hope you're ready for that if you listen to it. All right! On to the articles!


The science of spying: how the CIA secretly recruits academics

OK, I'm just going to quote you some stuff, because the article hits it harder than I could, and also I'm kind of afraid to mock the CIA at this point: "Through a business front, [the CIA] had funded and staged the conference at an unsuspecting foreign centre of scientific research, invited speakers and guests, and planted operatives among the kitchen workers and other staff, just so it could entice the nuclear expert out of Iran, separate him for a few minutes from his guards, and pitch him one-to-one." It is pretty hilarious that the CIA has problems with its agents in the field (of the conference circuit on isotope hydrology and fusion energy) not being able to talk the talk, and the incredibly small-world nature of the research. That's like, a sitcom waiting to happen.


Ghost in the Cell

Man, if I were in prison trying to break out, I'd just like... try and Craigslist-trade my way up from a paperclip to a shovel or something. Not smuggle pieces of a computer in and hide it in my cell in order to wreak havoc in the prison I was locked in. Then again, I'm not Stan Transkiy. A great read if you love prison stories. (I mean... does anyone not love prison stories?)


The Drug Industry's Triumph Over the DEA

Now, look. I don't exactly believe in the War on Drugs, neither ideologically nor pragmatically. But the fact that Congress, politicians, were incentivized to cripple one of its own government's core judicial organizations by pharmaceutical lobbyists? Whoa. That's some dark, cyberpunk shit. Here's the lowlight: "Amid a targeted lobbying effort, Congress weakened the DEA’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise, a Washington Post and ‘60 Minutes’ investigation finds."


Glitchet Facebook Group

!!!!! I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to tell you that Glitchet now has a Facebook group! I've been trying to think of ways to bolster the community around Glitchet somehow and a Facebook group seems like a low-effort potentially-high-reward way to do that. Basically, you can post about whatever you want in the same realm as I tend to put into the newsletter; you can also put rambling emotional treatises, so long as they're weirdly, borderline uncomfortably vulnerable and grimly optimistic. (Kidding. Do whatever. We're family now! Just follow rule #1: don't be a jerk.) I'll also be putting articles that don't make it into Glitchet here (which is a lot), and naturally, Glitchet issues themselves--and you can discuss the issues and their contents in the comments. With friends!


Humans Prefer Computer-Generated Paintings to Those at Art Basel

No offense to humans (or computers), but I think it's fairly apparent that artwork generated by neural networks trained on the best of the best will always be more appealing because of their inherent accidental commoditization of the color, structure, and aesthetic. It is natural to like the perfect median version of thousands of terrific artworks. With any luck, we'll be pushed to new heights in human art, where the outsider is valued and the insider, being easily replicated, is boring. I'll be impressed (and depressed) by the computers when they can create entirely new artistic styles, and then explore and elaborate upon them (and then write long-winded, nearly incomprehensible art theory essays about them). Still, this is a neato article on the study researchers performing the study, and how people largely prefer the AI art.


Fish Depression Is Not a Joke

Geez, NY Times, if it's not a joke, why do you make it sound like a joke? I'm kind of upset on behalf of the fish. Not that they'll be able to appreciate my outrage from the confines of their tiny, sad little aquariums or worse, fish bowls. (OK, now I'm making myself sad.) Anyway, apparently we don't give fish enough credit--they're much more neurologically like us than we typically think. Which is horrifying, because I thought fish was the type of meat I could get away with eating guilt free because it's too stupid. Meanwhile, check out the GIFs of the fish hanging out in the bottom half of the tank after getting it drunk on ethanol for two weeks, cutting its supply to force it into withdrawal, and then giving it an antidepressant. Geez.