Sandra Day O’Connor died today. The first woman to serve on the Supreme Court was 93 and had suffered from dementia for a number of years.
Appointed by President Reagan in 1981, O’Connor spent 24 years as a Supreme Court Justice, retiring in 2006. Her New YorkTimes obituary makes an interesting point: while O’Connor was considered a conservative, the current Supreme Court’s increasing right-wing bias makes many of her opinions and rulings appear (gasp!) downright liberal.
Her is a decidedly mixed judicial legacy.
As the Times notes, at her confirmation hearings, she was questioned about the issue of abortion. She “called the procedure ‘offensive’ and ‘repugnant,’ and said that ‘it is something in which I would not engage.’” Yet she defended Roe V. Wade on several occasions.
“One of her most influential roles,” according to Politico, “was in the 5-4 vote in Bush v. Gore, as she joined justices Anthony Kennedy, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in a decision that led to George W. Bush’s 2000 election win.” The consequences of this hotly-contested election are still being felt – most especially in what is and what is not being done to stave off global warming and ecological collapse. Had Al Gore, a passionate environmentalist, reached the White House it is safe to say the planet’s health would be in far better shape than it is.
She supported affirmative action in college admissions. Reuters tells us: “O'Connor wrote in the ruling that colleges must strive for diversity ‘if the dream of one nation, indivisible, is to be realized.’” Reuters also informs the reader that her initial lack of support for gay rights changed over time. “In 1986 she voted to uphold a Georgia law prohibiting sexual relations between homosexuals but voted in 2003 to strike down a similar law in Texas.”
Comparing her to the most recent – Trump-appointed – Justices makes O’Connor seem like a figure from a distant past: a moderate who took the opinions of others into account, a judge who refused to enshrine her own morality as law.
A groundbreaking figure, indeed.
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Karl Marx Gets Slimed: The Cult of Dall-E Mini
Someone please sew me a xenomorph beanie baby.
Jun. 27, 2022
Dall-E Mini, the AI-powered text-to-image generator has taken over the internet. With its ability to render nearly anything your meme-loving heart desires, anyone can make their dreams come true.
DALL-E 2, a portmanteau of Salvador Dali, the surrealist and Wall-E, the Pixar robot, was created by OpenAI and is not widely available; it creates far cleaner imagery and was recently used to launch Cosmpolitan’s first AI-generated cover. The art world has been one of the first industries to truly embrace AI.
The open-sourced miniature version is what’s responsible for the memes. Programmer Boris Dayma wants to make AI more accessible; he built the Dall-E Mini program as part of a competition held by Google and an AI community called Hugging Face.
And with great technology, comes great memes. Typing a short phrase into Dall-E Mini will manifest 9 different amalgamations, theoretically shaping into reality the strange images you’ve conjured. Its popularity leads to too much traffic, often resulting in an error that can be fixed by refreshing the page or trying again later.
If you want to be a part of the creation of AI-powered engines, it all starts with code. CodeAcademy explains that Dall-E Mini is a seq2seq model, “typically used in natural language processing (NLP) for things like translation and conversational modeling.” CodeAcademy’s Text Generation course will teach you how to utilize seq2seq, but they also offer opportunities to learn 14+ coding languages at your own pace.
You can choose the Machine Learning Specialist career path if you want to become a Data Scientist who develops these types of programs, but you can also choose courses by language, subject (what is cybersecurity?) or even skill - build a website with HTML, CSS, and more.
CodeAcademy offers many classes for free as well as a free trial; it’s an invaluable resource for giving people of all experience levels the fundamentals they need to build the world they want to see.
As for Dall-E Mini, while some have opted to create beauty, most have opted for memes. Here are some of the internet’s favorites:
no fuck every other dall-e image ive made this one is the best yet pic.twitter.com/iuFNm4UTUM
— bri (@takoyamas) June 10, 2022
There’s no looking back now, not once you’ve seen Pugachu; artificial intelligence is here to stay.