SRF 13: Subtle deepfakes, Flo, and family

The horrible drive to mess with Egregious seems to have passed. I can tell my dopamine pathways are no longer hijacked by writing, posting, sharing, and checking stats, which is the kind of small-numbers game that my brain can really latch onto. This is a good thing. I have a lot of plates I would like to spin, creatively speaking, and I don’t especially need website stuff booting other stuff out right now. You know?

But I do still wanna post in a low-motivation way, which is exactly the right amount of motivation. If all of my interests are in the zone of motivation where I’m like “I don’t mind doing this, but I could do something else” then I’m really happy.


I have been reading the news the last couple days, but not really saving articles to talk about. I haven’t had commentary on mind. Holidays are enough of a change from routine that I’m distracted, even if I have literally not set foot out my front door.

Having family around always helps put things into a more reasonable perspective, somehow. If it’s just me and the news on my computer, I don’t feel like I’m the right scale. A human-sized person worries about life-sized things, like…how’s my sister’s job going? what’s my mom up to? But an internet news-sized person is like, can I please get an update on the preemies who were in Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital when the conflict began? why are all systems so corrupt, especially Hollywood and the British Royal Family? why are so many artists so spineless as to support tech billionaires in their whole AI thing? and other things that make my fingers itch for the keyboard.

I only made a couple crochet-related things the last couple days. A sleeve for my kid, a phone purse using leather strips. Both of these were small and not very time intensive (relative to one of my big bags taking 12 hours+ of hooking) so it doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing it at all. My wrists/arms were killing me. The rest is necessary, I think.

So I guess it’s back to blogging for the moment.


This article about Flo from Progressive (NYT) is more interesting than I expected. I like reading about the strange trajectories artists’ careers can take. I wouldn’t have expected the actress’s life to intersect so much with the sorta NYC comedy circuit I follow, but it makes sense now that I think about it.


It’s not exactly the same as we see in America, but this sad story of a Roma boy killed in a police conflict (AJE) and the following protest actions is familiar.

Very familiar. Tell me if you’ve heard this one before.

In his testimony, the police officer, reportedly said: “I was shouting for him to open the door, so we could check on him, I had taken out my pistol because I didn’t know who was inside the vehicle and if he carried a weapon.

“When I opened the car door, he tried to grab my gun. When I realised his intention, I drew the pistol and then I heard the click, I froze.”

The victim’s brother countered this in an interview with Greek television channel OPEN, claiming the officer hit the window of the car with the gun, pulled Michalopoulos out of the vehicle, kicked him, and then shot him.

This sucks and I hope they get justice.


This longer read from The New Yorker about the life of a pre-Columbine school shooter is more interesting than I expected. Parts of it are incredibly difficult. But the siblings’ relationship is fascinating.

Before I could ask Kip about his crimes, he brought them up. It seemed that he had been trying for the past twenty-five years to answer one question: Why, exactly, did he do it? Or, as he put it, “How could I have gotten to this point at fifteen that all these things came together—where my humanity collapsed, and I did this horrific thing to people I loved and to people I didn’t know?”

He mentioned not only his mental illness but also “cultural factors.” Hunting was a popular pastime in Springfield, and guns were part of life in the town, he explained. “It was common in October—deer-hunting season—that seniors would drive to school with their hunting rifles in the back of their truck, just like someone else would pack a cooler for a camping trip. It was very normal.” Kip’s father was not a hunter, but, Kip said, he had owned three guns: a hunting rifle, a pistol he had bought for protection in the sixties or seventies, and a .22 single-shot rifle he had received as a gift when he turned twelve.

“If you would have asked me ten minutes ago if we had any guns in the house, I would have said no,” Kristin said. She had never been interested in guns or hunting. She added, “Mom was very, very anti-violence. I remember she wouldn’t let you play with G.I. Joes. She wouldn’t let us watch Bugs Bunny—it was too violent.”

Kip did not disagree, but, he said, “Dad did take me out when I was pretty young and taught me how to shoot.” He added, “Our parents were wonderful people, but I think we had different experiences in part because of gender.”


When visiting hours ended, Kristin hugged Kip and left. As we stepped out of the prison, she seemed to be reeling from everything her brother had said. For a while, she was quiet, but as we walked back toward the parking lot she exhaled loudly. “I cannot believe what different childhoods we had,” she said.

I’m not sure that there is a “typical” mass shooter, but it seems atypical for a mass shooter to have schizophrenia in this way. I’ve only heard other motivations. Out of curiosity, I looked it up. According to Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry, only 5% of shootings are attributed to severe mental illness.


NPR reports on a rising issue. Civilian deaths are being dismissed as ‘crisis actors’ in Gaza and Israel

The false accusations have spread on multiple platforms, including X and Facebook, boosted by pro-Israel influencers with large followings. Some of the videos on X carry labels warning they are “presented out of context.” But the false claims have still been widely seen, with one video racking up 5 million views.

Crisis actor narratives have become a standard element of the messy information landscape of catastrophe, from the war in Syria to the Russian invasion of Ukraine to mass shootings in the U.S.

Sometimes, the claim is that a real victim never existed. Other times, behind-the-scenes movie footage or images of unrelated events are presented as proof an incident was staged.

But the intent is the same, Ayad said. “It comes out of a defensive posturing: trying to essentially downplay civilian casualties in conflicts of this nature.”

And that’s why the false claims keep coming. They’re a way of deflecting the horrors of war.

It’s morbidly interesting that we are still getting a ton of this low-tech social engineering as part of the fog of war, and not so much with deepfakes and AI-generated stuff. The latter is out there; it’s just not playing a huge role. War is an ancient business. The froth of misinformation has been well-honed, and we don’t really *need* computers to make it worse, I guess.

The link in that last paragraph is especially interesting to me because I’ve seen one of those AI images around, scrolling quickly past things, and never gave it two thoughts. Usually AI leaps out at me even if I’m just scrolling. Would I have noticed if I actually looked at it? What impact did glancing exposure to the AI-generated image have on my sentiments?

They describe the information environment as “polluted” and it’s wild to get a vague sense of how much I might be exposed to without knowing it. And this goes for all of us. I’m kinda gullible, but probably in an average way. Yikes.


Alone Together: An Illustrated Celebration of the Art of Shared Solitude (The Marginalian)


Cult of the Lamb is getting a free update! (Engadget)

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