This is Movement weekend, Movement being the three-day techno music fest at Hart Plaza downtown that kicks off summer in Detroit. Tickets aren’t cheap, but there are related parties in lots of clubs that cost far less to enter. On Sunday was the by-now-traditional sunrise rave at a local art park, and that was free. So I went with two young friends, who I sometimes call my surrogate sons:

That was 7:30 a.m., and all three of us had slept the night before, which wasn’t true of many other attendees. I did have a single beer, and a single hit of a preroll going around. In the druggy world of techno, that’s like sipping a small glass of sherry at a three-day bacchanal. Plus it’s legal, and what the hell, I ain’t dead yet.

As it was, a beer on an empty stomach and one tiny hit of today’s supercharged weed was just enough to put my head in a weird, dreamy space, not high, just ultra-relaxed. We had breakfast afterward and a wonderful, loopy conversation about everything, including a few moments on photojournalist Don McCullin, who specialized in war zones and was seemingly unafraid of anything. (I guess I should say “is,” as he’s still alive, at 87.) He went to Africa, the Middle East, Vietnam, but it’s his pictures of street fighting during the Troubles in Northern Ireland that are my favorites, if images of such violence can be said to be favorite. I still like looking at them, because you have to respect photographers this crazy, because otherwise, how would we know?

Also, if we have another civil war in this country, it’ll be fought like the one in Northern Ireland, i.e. house-to-house and block-to-block. Ain’t no north-and-south anymore. I tell my friends with cottages in rural areas, “Let me know when you have to shoot your way into your vacation home,” and sometimes people chuckle, but mostly not.

The best way to experience techno is to be there when someone is spinning live; it’s not great music for idle listening, at least for me. Any attempt to upload video would end in tears, so accept this frame to give you an idea:

The theme of this party was Sunday gospel, and the DJ was layering beats over gospel rousers. It was quite fetching. I saw a guy dancing in a Tushy T-shirt; the front read Ask me about my butthole. The art-park venue has lots of regulars, one of whom shoots fire:

As I left, I passed a man my age who had introduced himself, mentioning a mutual acquaintance. I said goodbye on my way out, as he was stenciling a quotation about justice, in Arabic and Hebrew, onto an art car that looked like a giant cockroach. And there’s a sentence you don’t get to write every day, and another reason I’m happy to live next to this nutty city.

I hope you’re enjoying your holiday weekend, if you are fortunate enough to have one.

Posted at 4:59 pm in Detroit life |

31 responses to “Movement.”

  1. Jeff Gill said on May 28, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    Follow up to Sherri, last thread:

    Yep. With LOTS of layoffs. So many in tech already, and more to come.

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  2. basset said on May 28, 2023 at 6:32 pm

    What great storytelling in those still pics… the detail that has always jumped out at me in the Derry pic is the women peering out their doors.

    Pretty much the expected finish in the Formula 1 race today, the 3 cars with American connections (two owners, one driver) were 17th, 18th, and 20th in a 20-car race, but what an ending to the 500! Not so sure they should have done the last lap without a lap or two to warm up the tires, but that’s how it went.

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  3. basset said on May 28, 2023 at 6:43 pm

    I should say two cars, one owner… and one driver. Not competitive, anyway.

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  4. Sherri said on May 28, 2023 at 7:11 pm

    Layoffs are a normal part of the tech company cycle, unfortunately. Got to keep propping up those stock prices! It’s just especially galling to watch at the same time they’re dumping billions into AI. It’s also been such a long time with such low interest rates that a large number of people entered the workforce with no experience of this history, and are encountering this for the first time.

    Amazon’s back to the office order is also a low key layoff, and Microsoft freezing salaries may be as well at the lower ends. At the higher ends, more of your compensation is in stock anyway, so the impact isn’t as big a deal. And it’s not like the tech world has ever had defined benefit pensions.

    So many things in the tech world just flipped on a dime when interest rates when up. Turns out that commitments to DEI and ethics and expanding into new areas outside of high housing cost markets were only zero interest rate phenomena.

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  5. Jason T. said on May 28, 2023 at 11:02 pm

    Sherri, I didn’t realize you’d gone to CMU. I worked in the compsci school for eight years.

    Your explanation of how “AI” works (on the last thread) was spot-on. Early artificial intelligence models, from the 1950s through the early ’80s, were trying to replicate the way humans (and other higher animals) solved problems. They never got very close.

    What happened instead was that computer processors got faster, and data storage got cheaper. Instead of spending time designing “thinking machines,” it was a lot quicker to design massive statistical analysis machines.

    So rather than writing a lot of rules, you dump raw data in one end of a statistical machine, and you let it guess its way to the right answer, by calculating probabilities.

    Statistical machine learning has made most of the current advances in computing possible. But it’s not really intelligence, because it can’t create anything from scratch — it only makes mathematical models that average out the things that came before it.

    Remove from these “AIs” all of the free data — documents, photos, sketches, music — that was previously created by humans, and they will go quiet.

    What I fear is going to happen — what’s already happening, or so I’ve read — is that AI-generated content is going to corrupt those data sources. In other words, AI is going to start generating content based on statistical models already generated by previous AIs.

    That’s like throwing your food into a blender and drinking it, then throwing more food into a blender along with your excreta and drinking that, and then throwing more food into a blender along with your excreta and drinking it, and then repeating that ad nauseum … at some point, it’s going to be digital poop-shakes all the way down.

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  6. Jason T. said on May 28, 2023 at 11:08 pm

    Speaking of poop-shakes, there are a couple of lawyers who are going to be drinking them after using ChatGPT to generate a legal argument. It did … complete with plausible-sounding made-up legal citations:

    When the lawyer asked ChatGPT to show its sources, it happily made those up, too.

    Again, ChatGPT was just guessing what’s found in a typical legal brief, based on mathematical models. So it made up “court cases” that sounded like the names of real cases, and it made up a legal argument that sounded like real legal arguments it had already analyzed.

    But it can’t actually do any research or legal reasoning itself. It’s just a big probability-analysis machine.

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  7. Sherri said on May 28, 2023 at 11:54 pm

    Yes, Jason, I was in CS grad school at CMU in the mid-80’s, but dropped out after a few years without the degree. I then worked on the Andrew File System for a few years until early 1990, when my husband finished his CS PhD at CMU and we moved to California where he took a job at Xerox PARC and I worked for Adobe.

    When were you at CMU?

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  8. Mark P said on May 29, 2023 at 1:39 am

    My late brother was a postdoc in materials science at CMU in the late ‘70’s-early ‘80’s.

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  9. Dexter Friend said on May 29, 2023 at 5:42 am

    I have never heard of Mutualart but they tell me they are experiencing odd or irregular activity from my account and they want a lot of info before directing me to see the Troubles photos. Bye bye forever Mutualart, whoever you are.
    I am always busy this time of year, but this year I finally drove up to Williamston , Michigan to visit my army buddy’s grave; he, just 19 at his death in a Vietnam helicopter crash. A middle age couple were raking and grooming the cemetery and we exchanged hellos, and I was surprised, they knew my friend, he went to school with this lady’s friend. Williamston is a tiny town but full of stores and at a park they were having a huge event, tents everywhere…maybe a craft show, a flea market? A nice town, anyway.
    Over half the 108 miles (one way), construction. No problem at all but coming home I was in the right lane to exit I-94/127 onto 127 South, but there was an exit before my exit, and in jam-packed I-94 traffic I barely was able to squeeze over. No markings that it was a turn-only, very bad engineering. The Honda ran like a new car. 79 mph.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on May 29, 2023 at 10:04 am

    We had a graduation party last night for our great-nephew, who will soon be tickling the keyboards at Epic, home of MyChart and other medical services. I’m sure he’s not thinking about layoffs at this point, but he also knows there’s no such thing as job security. Grad school is definitely in his future, the company has generous benefits and tuition reimbursement, and I suspect it’s a starter job for him. One that, his professor father disclosed, pays more than dad makes.

    Other than that, we’re all pretty tired after two weeks of Fringe Fest with a trip to NYC in the middle, and hosting one party in a weekend is enough for us. Today, I’m crashing. Oh, yes, have to watch that Succession finale too!

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  11. Jason T. said on May 29, 2023 at 10:57 am

    Sherri: 2008 to 2016. The day Mark Zuckerberg and a phalanx of his security detail swept by my office remains a memorable one. Pretty sure he rolled with more visible bodyguards than Obama did.

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  12. Deborah said on May 29, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    I’m in the midst of season 3 of Succession and miraculously haven’t read any spoilers this morning about the finale. I’m not sure how long that will last.

    I’ve got my nose buried in my phone as our Uber is barreling its way to LAX. Another miracle is the lack of traffic on this holiday.

    Yesterday we were steeped in the arts and crafts movement in Pasadena as we toured the Green and Green designed Gamble house. There are some other G & G homes near my S-I-L’s place. They’re quite beautiful.

    I’m happy to be headed to NM where I can hug LB again.

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  13. Sherri said on May 29, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    We’ve seen the extremists on SCOTUS make up facts to suit their outcomes, in the case of the praying coach in Bremerton. Now these supposed textualists and originalists are making up laws.

    In Sackett v EPA, Alito and friends decided they didn’t like Congress’s clear and explicit definition of adjacent wetlands, and rewrote it. Not because it was unconstitutional, but because they didn’t like it, they decided that too many wetlands were protected. Not even Kavanaugh was willing to go that far.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take to get Dems to wake up to fact that we’re long past the point where they need to take action about the Court. I think too many of them must be stuck in that brief period of time that was the Warren Court, when the Court actually expanded rights. But that was only about a twenty year period, and for most of history, the Court has been more Dred Scott than Brown v Board.

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  14. Sherri said on May 29, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    Jason, what did you do at SCS? I still know quite a few people there (even though it was just a department when I was there!)

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  15. Jim G said on May 29, 2023 at 4:01 pm

    Jumping in to join the virtual CMU SCS reunion. I actually overlapped with Jason during one of my stints at CMU. I was never ‘leet enough to get into grad school in SCS, but I still have my undergrad Math/CS degree (from a few years after you left the department, Sherri) sitting proudly…well, probably in a box somewhere at the moment. Long story.

    As for SCOTUS, there’s not a lot the Dems can do. It’s kind of constitutionally built that way. Dreams of expanding the court are just that (and were even when the Democrats ostensibly had control of both chambers). More drastic measures, like mandatory retirement ages for judges, would take a constitutional amendment; counting the number of states who would never go for that is left as an exercise for the reader.

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  16. Sherri said on May 29, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Jim, did you know Mark Stehlik? Mark was a good friend of mine and my husbands in grad school. We played intramural softball on the CS grad school team together, and Mark and my husband played intramural football together. Or David Kosbie? Another friend from grad school, another member of the softball team.

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  17. Jason T. said on May 29, 2023 at 6:14 pm

    Sherri: I edited the alumni magazine, and yep, I knew Mark!

    This was one of the issues I edited: The School of Mark

    There’s no way I could have been admitted into SCS as a student, except, as I used to joke, “on a scholarship for dumb people.”

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  18. Jim G said on May 29, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    Sherri: I don’t think it was possible to be an undergrad in CS at CMU without knowing Mark! At least while I was there in the ’90s, he was the undergrad advisor. So every CS major (about 80 of us in my graduating class) got to chat with him at least once a semester.

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  19. Sherri said on May 29, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    I made the cover of the alumni magazine in 2019!

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  20. Mark P said on May 29, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    The extent to which the Congress and President can curb the power of the Supreme Court depends on how much of a constitutional crisis they want. As strict constructionists may note, the Constitution does not give the SC the power to declare a law unconstitutional. If things got bad enough, the other two branches could tell the court to stuff it. If we ever get a strong Democratic majority in both houses and a strong president, simply noting that fact along with the implied threat to act on it might be enough to bring the court to heel. After all, the court has no actual mechanism of its own to enforce its decisions.

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  21. Brandon said on May 29, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    The Movement Festival lineup page.

    I recognize Basement Jaxx, Skrillex, Three 6 Mafia, and Kash Doll.

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  22. Dorothy said on May 30, 2023 at 7:28 am

    Jason @5: By any chance did you know a guy named Drew (last name starts with E) at CMU? He’s still there – he’s currently Director of Technology & Operations. In 2009 he lived next door, renting an apartment, to my father-in-law’s house on the South Side. When my f-i-l died, Drew expressed an interest in buying the house. And he did! We didn’t even need to list it with a realtor. The owner of the house Drew was living in is an attorney, and we did all the legal work with him. He ended up renovating the house, gutting it essentially, and replaced the ancient furnace. He sold it some time ago and no longer owns it, but he sure did a great job fixing up that old row house.

    How does one go about finding out the identity of a person or persons who were in a group of vehicles that was escorted by several Columbus and Ohio State Police on Friday evening around 7 PM, screaming down Nationwide Blvd.? We were leaving the Boston Restaurant, strolling to the Clippers game, when all these loud sirens began and as it came right next to us, the State Police vehicle sped up VERY fast and went flying around the corner of (I think) Neil Avenue? We wondered if it might have been the Governor. We counted 3 black SUVs too. I should have taken a video but my phone was in my cross body bag and it never dawned on me to get it out to film it.

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  23. ROGirl said on May 30, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    No spoilers about Succession, I promise, but the last episode was a roller coaster ride of fun and games. You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking any Greggs.

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  24. Sherri said on May 30, 2023 at 4:37 pm

    Now there’s a second open letter warning about the danger of AI wiping out the human race. The people signing these letters consider themselves rational thinkers and scientists, so why aren’t they putting a probability on this outcome? Do they think there’s a 10% chance that this will happen in 10 years? That would be scary. Do they think there’s a 1% chance in 100 years? Less scary, but still worth worrying about, maybe. Why don’t they put it into context?

    Climate scientists do this all the time. They talk about probabilities and time frames for what might happen. Astronomers talk about probabilities and time frames for the likelihood of an asteroid or other object striking earth. Even the self-driving car people gave time frames for when self-driving cars would happen, though they were wildly wrong.

    So, they aren’t really serious about AGI (artificial general intelligence) wiping out humanity. Why, then, are they drawing attention to it? Probably to get the kind of regulation they want, rather than the kind of regulations the EU, for example, has been proposing, which would require them to expose their training data. If they expose their training data, it will be obvious that they have stolen a lot of copyrighted data without permission. They’d also like regulation to put up barriers to entry, as we’re starting to see small, open source LLMs appear, and that would make it difficult for OpenAI and Google and Microsoft to make money off of their investments in LLMs (Large Language Models). So, they need all this to sound scary, but scary in right way, not scary in the wrong way.

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  25. Jason T. said on May 30, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Dorothy @ 22: I don’t think so. It may have been someone I would have known on sight, though. (I’m terrible with names.)

    But to illustrate how small the world is, one of my bosses in that job had been a reporter in Fort Wayne whose parents still lived there. His mom used to regularly clip our blog hostess’s columns out of the paper and mail them to him, with a note basically asking, “Why don’t you write as funny as Nancy Nall?”

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  26. jcburns said on May 30, 2023 at 7:10 pm

    My mom wondered that as well. I think Nancy grew up on the funny side of the street we lived on.

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  27. Mark P said on May 30, 2023 at 7:13 pm

    I think you got it, Sherri.

    One of the other issues with this stuff is it’s self-polluting nature. It will scour the internet for content and in all likelihood find its own output, and then incorporate it into yet another output to be used again.

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  28. Jeff Gill said on May 31, 2023 at 8:00 am

    Dorothy, Gov. DeWine did a Memorial Day event at the statehouse with a wreath laying and program at 11 am last Friday; you probably saw him and his retinue heading home to Cedarville and the farm for the weekend at 7 pm. I’m sure he had some meetings in the afternoon with House & Senate leadership to review the insanity agenda and deciding just how much red meat they have to throw the ravening base.

    My sources all agree he can’t wait to retire.

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  29. Dorothy said on May 31, 2023 at 9:01 am

    I knew you would know, Jeff!! Thx.

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  30. beb said on June 3, 2023 at 9:38 pm

    I was amused to see in the second picture that someone was a fan of “Bob’s Burgers” at least to the extent of wearing bunny ears like Louise’s.

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  31. connie said on June 4, 2023 at 12:55 am

    I am in the hospital after brain surgery.

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