Hackaday Links: April 28, 2024

Well, it's official – AI is ruining everything. This isn't exactly news, but you know LLMs appear to be used for writing scientific papers A bit worrying, and Andrew Gray, a librarian at University College London, has the receipts. He looked at a cross-section of scientific papers from 2023 looking for certain words known to appear frequently in LLM-produced texts, such as “commendable,” “complex,” or “meticulous.” Most of the words seem to have a generally positive tone and sound more pleasant than everyday speech; One rarely uses the word “obvious” or “noteworthy” unless you're trying to sound smart, after all. It found increases in the frequency of occurrence of these and other keywords in 2023 compared to 2022, when ChatGPT was not widely available.

However, it does not always take a statistical analysis of word distributions to detect LLM effects. The article includes examples of text copied and pasted directly from the chatbot, without any attempt at editing or even basic proofreading. It is difficult to imagine how not only authors of research papers, but also journal editors and reviewers could not have caught an obvious copy-pasted chatbot error message. And let's not even get started on the sketch Midjourney created of a rat with enormous talent that was used to illustrate an article (Since I backed down) about spermatogenesis, complete with nonsensical captions and callouts for non-existent body parts. That's why we can't have beautiful things.

Speaking of cool things, did you know that the largest manufacturer of vintage lamps in history is a small company called “Underwriter's Laboratory”? At least it seems that way Looking on eBay, as sellers offering vintage lamps often claim that the manufacturer is a storied safety standards organization. We assume that it stands to reason that the only sticker on your old bulb is a UL Listed sticker and you have no idea what UL is. But actually, that's the least of the problems on some of these lists. “Vintage” is an extension of Green bank lamp With a polarized plug that was clearly manufactured sometime within the last 30 years.

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Switching gears a bit, it's one thing to know that everything you do online is being tracked, but it's another thing entirely to discover how much information is being exchanged back and forth between your computer and your hive mind. This is what Bert Hubert built Whistle tracker To do, it's a bit terrifying. The tool emits a short beep every time your computer sends a piece of data to the tracker. I only started monitoring the data going to Google, which was worrying enough. The tool was later modified to include most of the trackers we are likely to encounter on our daily travels, and wow! It looks like a Geiger counter when the tube is saturated with a very energetic source. Probably just as dangerous, too.

attention – Hope Conference is preparing. Hackers on Planet Earth XV will be held July 12-14 on the campus of St. John's University in Queens, New York. The Call for Participation is now open; It's always good to see a wide range of Hackaday at HOPE, so be sure to have your proposals for talks, workshops or panels together soon.

Finally, What should you do if the FCC comes knocking on your door? It is not just an academic question; The US Federal Communications Commission does a lot of field investigations, and if you do any kind of RF experimentation, there's a non-zero chance that you'll emit some sort of spurious emissions that will catch their attention. Josh from Ham Radio Crash Course dropped a video addressing the scary hit. TL;DW – Come back with a warrant. But it's more complicated than that, as evidenced by a hilarious IRL account of one such encounter. We won't spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say that if your home is located near a major international airport, you'll probably want to be extra careful with anything radio-related.

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