Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Worst People Awards 2018


Every year there are a select group of people who we feel deserve recognition as being particularly obnoxious to me, people who have gone out of their way to make my life worse.  Although they can not be named here, I want you to know that I am certainly thinking of you.

Machine Learning and Donald J. Trump


Machine learning is not perfect, no one claimed that it was or would be. I fed my little "convnet" GAN pictures of Donald J Trump to see if it could learn to make pictures of Trump, but all that came out was garbage.

My Apology To My Neighbors


I am so sorry.  I do my laundry and naturally have to go out to the laundry machine and back to my studio, and when I do so I might run into you, and then I might say hello.  I apologize because that is obviously the most obnoxious thing I could ever possibly do.

Jesus, even in NY people were friendlier.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Captain America & Natasha Romanoff


I cant help but think how different things would have been if Cap and Natasha had gone to a motel instead of to that Army Camp.  Shield/Hydra would have probably destroyed all opponents and freedom lovers world wide and seized control of the world.  A small price to pay for an afternoon with Natasha, it seems to me.

I still cant get over this sequence.  It is when I first began to wonder about Captain America's gender preference.  Not that its any of my business of course, but we do like to know such things about our superheroes.  

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A Few Thoughts About Fascism in this Country


A friend wondered when we (America) was going to do something about fascism in this country. Good question. Here are a few random comments on the topic. My friend, an American, lives in Berlin, by the way.

[name redacted]

Excuse me while I rant. Defeating fascism in America would probably mean a few things that are more or less impossible or maybe require leadership that we have not seen. Here are a few examples. 1. We would have to come to a consensus as a nation about what to do about immigration, those who are already here, those who want to be here. We have not done that and I do not know how we would do that. 2. We would have to put a leash on some billionaires who think that it is is their duty to destroy freedom and remake the country in their nutty boy and girl image. The poster children for these nightmares are the Koch Brothers and the Mercers (the people behind Steve Bannon and Breitbart news). If they were arrested and their money seized, America would be better off. It wont happen. Free speech, dont you know. 3. We would have to do something REAL about the displaced workers and at the same time something REAL about the economies of the fly over states. As a displaced worker for 30 years I can tell you that there is nothing, absoutely zip, in place. I could get training to clean out stuffed toilets at $5/hr, maybe. I could drive for uber/lyft and I very well may. Our leaders (both parties) have utterly failed at acknowledging this problem and it is one element of Trump's appeal is that at least he understood there was a problem here. 4. Somehow the Republicans have become completely corrupt, a complete tool of the rich, lying scum who work every day to keep people of color and poor people from voting or getting govt help of any sort. Racist to the very core. Now what? 5. The above mentioned Republicans have stuffed the judiciary and Supreme Court with right wing nuts that most people think can not be removed. I dont agree with that, but who am I to say? I am just angry. The influence of these nutty boys and girls, all carefully vetted for their religious extremeist views are just beginning to be felt. There is no justice system in this country and most people are not aware of what it means to have a right wing attack dog rapist on the Supreme Court along with nutty boy (let em freeze to death for all I fucking care) Gorsuch. The first thing Gorsuch did on the supreme court was to kill a black man, by injection, yeah kill that n-gg-r he said laughing as the needle went in. Oh we dont know if he was really guilty, couldnt you have waited for the new evidence. Nope. The impact is just beginning.

These are just some of the issues that come to mind that as far as I know no one is addressing. I think that they hope either that the problem is not real (they are wrong) or that someone else will solve it so they kick the can down the road as they always have. But to be fair, our leaders with a few exceptions are gutless wonders who dont have anything like the talent or capability, never mind the motivation, to address these problems.

So in conclusion, this little rant declares my belief that our problems are just beginning, although they might be suppressed for another day. Is Fascism inevitable, ummm, I dont know, probably not, but it would surprise me if there was not some sort of major problem here that is not going away in my lifetime and which will result in another populist being elected and other disruptions.  Nothing real is being done to prevent this and nothing will be done.  Too hard for our leaders, way over their heads, in my humble opinion.  Dont even ask them, it offends them to be asked about anything real.

To this day, most representatives are not sure if they should impeach that traitor, Trump.  Self-deceived, weak, stupid, compromised.  What could you expect from such people, realistically?  Not much, I say.  Still, it is irritating to watch.

Why Should I Be Angry?


Lets see, it was proven today that Trump has been in the pay of the Russians all along.  Oh yes, and his DHS secretary blamed the death of the little children in her care on anyone but the DHS.

Maybe you, dear reader, if you are not angry, ought to consider whether you ought to be.

Assuming you are an American of course.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Things I hate About Libre Office


Libreoffice is the open source word processing system financed by Sun.  Its pretty good but it has several flaws that are worthy of note.

First, its help functions are completely insane, and its menus completely impossible to find anything in.  Next, even if you have saved your work, when it comes up again, it whines and complains and makes you go through a recovery process that is completely unnecessary.

Both of these two issues have the same cause.

The people who designed this software are morons.

Letter to My Representative

Dear Rep Carbajal,

These are certainly confusing and perilous times that we are in. I think that most Americans would agree that the first order of business is to get the government operating again, but then second to that, to stabilize the stock market, restore faith to our allies, competence to the Pentagon and so forth, and the only way to do that is to impeach Donald J. Trump.

I only know a few dozen people here having recently moved to CA-24, but every single one of them calls for the immediate impeachment and conviction of that obvious criminal and madman, Trump.

Once he is out of office, we expect you to impeach Pence and Kavanaugh, the religious nut and the rapist, but that can happen later, perhaps in February.

Impeach Trump now, do it today, or rather, next week perhaps on January 3rd. You could vote on it the first day you convened and America would cheer.

Good luck!


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Write Your Elected Representative? Yes, Annoy Him/Her.


Surely you are not so naive as to believe that writing your representative will do any good?  Oh you do?  You do think it will do some good?

Well, it might if you consider "annoy the fuckers" to be "some good".  And I do think thats so, why not?

At this point, the national security elite, the wall street/financial elite, and the people who know the dangers of a government shutdown all have to be shaking in their boots.  Their bet (a stupid bet if you ask me) that they could manage the orange moron has been lost.

Now what?  Impeach him?  Well, better late than never I guess.

But I bet our elected elite will still equivocate.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom


Written in 1777 by Thomas Jefferson and enacted in 1786 by the Virginia General Assembly.

An Act for establishing religious Freedom.

Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;

That all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and therefore are a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, who being Lord, both of body and mind yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do,

That the impious presumption of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world and through all time;

That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions, which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical;

That even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor, whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness, and is withdrawing from the Ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labours for the instruction of mankind;

That our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions any more than our opinions in physics or geometry, (emphasis added: editors note: '... or climate science...')

That therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence, by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages, to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right,

That it tends only to corrupt the principles of that very Religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honours and emoluments those who will externally profess and conform to it;

That though indeed, these are criminal who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way;

That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order;

And finally, that Truth is great, and will prevail if left to herself, that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict, unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons free argument and debate, errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities. And though we well know that this Assembly elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of Legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies constituted with powers equal to our own, and that therefore to declare this act irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare that the rights hereby asserted, are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal the present or to narrow its operation, such act will be an infringement of natural right.[6]

Travelling While Vegetarian


This just came up on Facebook, so I thought I would repeat it here.

I have found the following rules to be helpful when traveling and being a vegetarian: 1. Bring your own food, 2. Prepare to suffer, 3. When you can find something you can eat, buy two, 4. Keep your sense of humor, 5. Be as nice as you can be.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Lying or Stupid


The question is often asked, are Republicans lying or are they stupid?  Of course, lying can mean lying-to-obstruct, or lying-to-steal, or even just lying-to-confuse.  The point is that the very act of "lying" implies volition and desire.  But "stupid", thats a different thing.

I think that I would certainly prefer that they were lying.  Because accusing them of being stupid sounds so much like an ad hominem attack on their character.  Which it is, of course.

 So whats her name said the following.

President Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Sanders, remarked: “The idea that Putin is happy about this [Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from Syria] is ridiculous. It puts them at a greater risk, so I think that's just silly.”

In other words, stupid.

Amazon Tax Breaks


NY has given how much money in tax breaks to Amazon?  How many billions of dollars?  Amazon is crushing businesses all over this country and putting people out of work and these companies dont get tax breaks.

Now, ask me again why I am angry.

You Dont Know Angry


People ask me why I am angry and I stare at them in disbelief.  People attack me because I am angry and I laugh at them because, frankly, I think they are being worse than stupid.

A rapist on the supreme court.
A malignant narcissist as president, as corrupt as can be.
A right wing nut on the supreme court (Gorsuch).

The entire Republican party demonstrating their complete failure to have any ethics at all.

Now read this article about Zinke who just resigned as Secretary of Interior.

All I want is for these people to be in jail.  Is that so much to ask?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Death of Stalin

A fun movie about the shenanigans that occurred when First Secretary Joseph Stalin died.  It helps to have a sense of humor about mass murder.  Not too much blood on screen.

Machine Learning and the So-Called Real World


A friend, who knows computer science better than I ever will, declined to comment on the usefulness and validity of machine learning to me.  Actually, I had not asked him about that, at least I didnt think I did, but maybe I did without realizing it.  Its quite possible.  Anyway, he declined comment, sensibly pointing out that he was putting his energy into areas where he felt he had some understanding and intuitive feel for what was going on and what needed to be done.

One more time, I envy my friend's lifestyle.  Out here in the so-called real world (it isnt very real, just not the world of academia) one has no choice but to have an opinion on this topic.

And speaking of the real world, I would tell anyone who wants to use "Machine Learning" in an application to be aware that you will need a lot of time and the ability to possibly fail, especially if this has to work as a useful application vs a proof of concept.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

GANs That Work and GANs That Fail


So after the previous "circle test". I try two more tests using the exact same GAN networks, batch size, etc.  One is a "square test", similar to the "circle test" and one is a "grid test" of 100 variations on a grid.  See examples of both below.

And here are some results from the "square test"

I think these are looking pretty good.

But now when we get to the grid test, well, not so good.

This makes me wonder if GANs can really handle anything other than very clear graphic shapes.  Or maybe a completely different type of network is required.

Dershowitz is a Right Wing Asshole


Dershowitz thinks it is just groovy to put a rapist on the Supreme Court.

Why the Space Force is Stupid


The Space Force idea is another attempt by Trump to put his rancid stink on something in an overt and stupid way. The reason for having a "space force" is to try to deal with several different problems in executing a coherent space strategy. Another service is not necessary, some sort of reorganization probably is. This is all made more complicated because so much of what we do in space is not just secret, we can not even talk about it at all. Too many fingers in the pie(s), and too many other agendas (e.g. the Air Force has a lot on its plate, how can it demand more money for space when it does not (in its opinion) get enough money for air). Its not exactly a mess. A separate service is probably not needed at this time.

Letter to Rep Carbajal (CA 24) About the Latest Kavanaugh Abomination


My letter to Rep Salud Carbajal of CA 24 is as follows:

The recent dismissal of ethics complaints against Kavanaugh is an abomination. Why does our government think it can keep doing things like this and still have any credibility? I have had it with this right wing garbage dominating our government. It is time for my elected representative to speak out, loudly, now and often.

As far as I am concerned your only job in Washington is to impeach Trump, Pence and Kavanaugh (and possibly Gorsuch).

You are my representative, please speak out, now.

Thank you.
Michael Wahrman

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Incremental Notes on GANs


So there are a variety of things I have learned about GANs in the last few weeks.  

1. I am limited by my GPU memory.  The more memory you have, the more you can fit into the GPU, the larger the batch size.  A batch size of 6 may have very different results from a batch size of 2, or a batch size of 50.

2. It is only the GPU (in my case a 1080 with 8 GB memory) that makes this at all practical or possible.  I have 8/16 pretty good processors here and they can run for 10 minutes and not do a single batch, whereas the GPU can do a batch in 60 seconds or less.

3. 256 resolution is much more practical than 512 resolution.

4. It is not at all clear whether GANs can do any of the simplistic projects I wanted to do with galaxies, nebulae or march posters.

5. With the simplistic test patterns, at least 150,000 samples are required.

CBS Eye Recreated by Machine Learning


Kids, dont try this at home.  These machine learning generative adversarial networks are for adults, you could hurt yourself. There are finally some decent results from a GAN on a pattern simple enough to work.  But this tells me almost nothing about what the technique can or cant do.  This test is very, very simple.

An example of the input images. 

And some of the generated images after training on about 125,000 different images.

Monday, December 17, 2018

GANs, Machine Learning & Learning on the Internet


By using a simple test pattern and pushing through latest attempt at a GAN, I was able to confirm some suspicions I had about what was going on.  And through this I was able to use the right words in my Google search and come up with some posts and references to papers to help explain what was going on.

What I saw in my tests is that indeed my GAN was at various times doing a respectable job at recreating the image class.  And then it would seemingly lose its mind, or lose the thread, and go off into its own zone from which it would occassionally return.

The process has been productive and I have learned a lot, but the process is also suboptimal.  Its hard to tell from the Internet at first glance whether or not many of the posts that are thrown in your face have been written by people who actually understand what is going on.  My opinion at this point is that they do not.

In particular, what 98% of these posts about GANs did not tell me was that this very promising technique is not at all cut and dried.  That there are many questions and issues about pretty much every phase of the process, about what type of loss function, about what type of optimizer, about how to avoid "mode collapse" and many other critical issues.

So GANs are an exciting work in progress, a true research project, and unlike many other areas that someone from Computer Graphics might expect, nothing is cut and dried here.  It may work in one case but not another.

In my case, it truly makes progress towards the goal, but then it wanders off.

Here is a link to the best post I have found so far on this topic by Jonathan Hull.  He has written a dozen or so posts on GANs and so you might want to poke around and see more of what he has written.

Here is one of the input images as a reminder of what I am aiming for and then a few selected images of results that shows it is on the right track.  Remember, our GAN does not know a circle from a politician, so when you see something like a circle that is significant.

And here are some selected outputs from the GAN.

And then here are some images from when it has apparently lost its mind.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Test Patterns for Machine Learning


I am slowly reducing my test patterns for machine learning to the simplest form that will tell me something.  

When this is a little further along, I may package them all up and put it on kaggle as a lesson for the others.

I should mention that these images have been through the Tensorflow/Keras data augmentation process, and are hence smashed in a variety of ways.  Here is an example of an original image as created via Nuke.  Still not perfect, but better.  For what I am doing, it really doesnt matter.

Shut the Government Down Now


I am perfectly OK if they shut the government down until Trump/Pence is gone, the rapist is off the supreme court, and so forth. I will vote against any representative of mine who permits this travesty to go on even one more day. Its the moral equivalent of the hunger strike in the face of gross injustice.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Pence is Not an Existential Threat


I have friends so terrified of a potential President Pence, that they are perfectly OK with Trump continuing in office and murdering women and children.  Thats how much they fear Pence.  I think they are out of their mind and need to get a grip.

Short of starting a nuclear war in order to encourage the end of the world and the return of Jesus the Christ child, there is nothing too bad that is likely to happen that could be any worse than Trump.  He cant get legislation passed.  He can put right wing nutty boys in the judicial system the way Trump does, but that is no worse.  Any executive order he signs that is egregious will be reviewed by non-Trump justices and can be overturned by the next administration.

And there is nearly zero chance that he can be elected president in 2020.  He has the charisma of an uninteresting rock.  He probably would not even be able to get the Republican nomination.

So yes, Pence for 1.5 years would be an embarrassment and a humiliation, but he does not represent an existential threat.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Running a More Controlled Test with Tensorflow/Keras


After many interesting tests with Tensorflow/Keras, I am convinced I have no idea what is really going on.  So, I am doing what I should have done to begin with, which is to generate some test data and see how well the script i have written to implement a GAN works with known data.

I finally broke down and learned enough Nuke to be able to generate one of my standard test sequences.  512, 1K frames with two levels of noise and a 12 field chart.  

All the frames look like the one below, except of course that it animates, slowly.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Without Use, Knowledge Decays


As part of the process of cleaning data for use in machine learning, I finally broke down and I am learning Nuke, that being the preferred compositing program after the predecessors (Shake & Chalice) were destroyed by Apple out of greed. 

But the point is that with the passage of a few years, all kinds of skills and knowledge go away and I am stuck with the frustrating process of trying to remember what used to be second nature.

Let this be a warning to youth out there.  This can and will happen to you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Why Impeachment is Not About Removing Trump (at least not exactly)


This one of those essays that require at least a day to write, and probably several days to write, assuming one wants to do it well.  But I dont have that time so I will just have to sketch out the ideas here and hope you will be indulgent.

The question is as follows.  Is it necessary or desirable to impeach Donald Trump even if it is impossible to convict him because Republicans control the Senate and Republicans are traitors?

Some would say it is not desirable because it would piss off many good Americans who will think that the Democrats are being vindicative.  Others would say it is not desirable because it probably wont remove Trump from office, but it *might* and then we have Pence to deal with.  Still others would say it is not desirable because as far as they can tell Trump has not been "proven" to have committed a crime.

I think it is desirable, even required, and for the following reasons.

First, there are no good Americans who would be pissed off.  The only Americans who support Trump at this point (maybe not initially) are traitors who want to destroy this country, put rapists on the supreme court, etc.

Second, the only mechanisms we have to remove a madman like Trump is impeachment (or article 4 of the 25th Amendment).  If that means Pence, that means Pence.  Pence is a religious nut will try to put gay people in extermination camps, but he will fail.

Third, it is not necessary to prove Trump committed a crime to impeach him.

But the most important reason is this.

The Republicans have tried to destroy this country and we have to fight back.  Now, and forever, now or not at all.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Machine Learning and Nebulae

Damn this machine learning can be fun! The images are definitely getting better and I think it would be petty to complain that the "generated" images dont look much like the input "real/training" images. That would be the concern of small minded people and everyone here I am sure operates on a higher level. Oh yes, also, the "metric" of good vs bad (error, incorrectness, what have you) also seems to have no relationship whatsoever to the images being "judged". 

Again, we must rise above such nonsense!

Nebulae, who needs nebulae?

Noteworthy Brief from the FBI about Cohen


I have not read the brief that Mueller has filed but I have read about it and seen a few excerpts that seemed so noteworthy as to bring it to the attention of my friends.  In this paragraph, the Special Council's office makes the following point about Michael Cohen, esq.

While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks, or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows. He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1. In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Mercury is so retrograde

I am writing this blog post from my smartphone. Retrograde is what Mercury is, like I have never seen. I am so pissed off I'm ready just to give up on the whole damn thing.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Notes to Reviewers I (Schools)


These are the schools I plan to apply to so far.

I recognize that there is work associated with each additional school (even if you are just cutting and pasting which is what I would do).  So I have tried to minimize the list and I am also completely cool with the idea that if you consent to do any of these, that you may prefer to do one or two rather than the whole list.  You will let me know, etc. 

Additional notes:  1. The goal is to get a PhD but it really doesnt bother me to get a masters first because I have a lot to catch up on and because I think it lets people get a look at me first (which may help and it may hurt).  2. There is at least one foreign school on the list, I would like others, too.  Maybe Canada?  Maybe Europe?

Computer science: Stanford (because of Pat Hanrahan), Columbia (excellent computational biology), something in Israel (TBD).

CMU?  MIT?  Illinois?  Berkeley? You tell me.  NYU is too close to home.  It would be fine otherwise.

Public Policy: Rand Graduate Institute, something at Georgetown.

How you know things are really bad


When you invest vast time in describing how much someone's feelings concern you and suggest some ways to change the relationship to better take into account their feelings and they respond "YOU DONT CARE ABOUT MY FEELINGS".  

Right or wrong, this is a subtle sign of a serious disconnect.