I found my beach.
I found my beach.
I'm enjoying a nice bowl of Atol Shuco (also spelled "Atol Chuco," and "Atol Shuko") at my beach hotel in the Southeastern-most corner of El Salvador. Shuco is one of the indigenous staples that Salvadorans never stopped eating. It's a massively nutritious dish for two reasons: 1) it's made with "black corn" that's made black by large quantities of polyphenols, so it's highly antioxidant-packed; and 2) it's fermented, so it's loaded with probiotics for healthy gut flora.
For my breakfast, it's got ground roasted aihuashte (also called "aiguashte" or "pepitoria") on top, made from the ground seed (pepitas) of a Salvadoran pumpkin-like squash, which is common when taken for breakfast. Shuco is also eaten with beans and white "pan francés" (basically a white-bread roll) if you have it at night.
People here make it at home. Rural Salvadorans eat it on their way to or from work, purchased from a street vendor.
Before OpenAI, the company behind both ChatGPT and DALL-E, the sustained panic centered around deepfake videos, produced by generative adversarial networks (GANs). Everybody feared that deepfake videos would become the ultimate tool for spreading disinformation. Deepfakes, we were told, could produce “evidence” that political leaders, for example, said or did things they never said or did.
Deepfake fears haven’t been realized yet. The tech isn’t convincing enough. (And, once they are convincing, I fear the bigger threat will be that people caught on video will plausibly deny the truth by falsely claiming the real video is a deepfake.)
But this week a new panic set in. Rumors circulated about the imminent indictment and arrest of former president Donald Trump (rumors started by Trump himself in a Truth Social post that falsely claimed he’d be arrested Tuesday).
Read the rest on my Substack.
"It looks like you're making a picture"...
The Salvadoran government has not only installed them all over El Salvador, but 50 such machines in the US where 20% of the Salvadoran people live.
Despite the high number of job openings, the number of qualified applicants has dropped significantly, leaving many employers feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, job seekers are finding it difficult to land a job, even with all the opportunities out there. They are applying for various job openings but getting ghosted by potential employers.
It's called the “Great Mismatch.” Here's what's causing it.
You get to taste amazing wines nobody has tried yet, and even wines that are only halfway between grape juice and incredible wine. (This is an incredible winery in Veneto, Italy, during The Venice Prosecco Experience.)
Watching the sun rise over the Sahara desert give you an indescribable feeling. No need for shoes. It’s all just pure burnt-orange sand in the Moroccan Sahara. You really should add this to your bucket list.
The restaurant is newish and has no signage. It’s not on Google Maps. You just have to know about it, I guess.
Reverse prompt engineering is the process of querying text-producing generative AI tools like ChatGPT to find out which text prompts led to a specific output result.
It's so good, it's almost a dessert. Amazing bread, the cooks hand-whip the milk and egg batter custom with each order, tons of cinnamon, organic berries on top and whipped cream. This french toast is not to be trifled with.
It's a tiny one-room place in a tiny town in the Oaxaca valley. The lady who makes it just ladles the stuff out of the plastic buckets she ferments it in. So fresh and good. (Pictured above: The outside of the place; below: my pulque lady with one of her customers and also her pet goat, who happens to be peeing on the floor in this picture.)
I'm not a vegan anymore, but I love vegan tacos at a sidewalk stand called Por Siempre. Always tasty!
In this issue of Mike's List:
Why paid social is a no good, horrible idea
Now you can find a stalker’s AirTag *before* it “travels with you”
This tiny 3D printer actually works!
Waterproof boots look like LEGOS but they’re actually made out of coffee
Why go to a regular bar when you can find one with retro arcade games?
The Big Question about TikTok, the crack-like addictive social network owned by China's ByteDance, is: "Does the Chinese government intend to use the global reach and power of TikTok to spy or influence? Yes or no?
The "Yes" camp gets another point today after the Chinese government warned that Europe's ban on the use of TikTok by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the EU Council on official devices "harm business confidence" in Europe.
The US government and more than half of US states have banned the TikTok app on government-owned devices as well, and the Chinese government "lashed out" about that as well.
Lots of countries are banning TikTok in one way or another. But the Chinese government seems especially vexed by the bans on US and European government devices.
If the Chinese government did not want to use TikTok for bad intentions, why does it care so much about it being installed on European and American government devices?
And if TikTok is so great for business confidence, why did the Chinese government ban it in China?
Here's a question Meta doesn't answer on its paid-verification explainer: If I'm shadowbanned on Instagram and Facebook (which I am) and I pay to get "expanded reach" and "increased visibility," which wins? The shadowban or the paid reach and visibility?
(Oh, I'm not going to pay. I'm just curious.)
It seems to me that people are way too excited about the "metaverse" and way not excited enough about the other major use of VR goggles: "digital twins."
So I wrote a piece for Computerworld about what "digital twins" are and why they're going to literally change the world and make everything better, safer and cheaper. Check it out!
I got a chance to show up at Xochimilco in the dark, ride a boat to a farm and watch the sun rise over an active volcano. (Xochimilco is a series of canals built by the Aztecs in what used to be a lake but which is now Mexico City.) What an experience!