The American and Chinese economies both grew at the same rate in Q3: 4.9%

The Chinese economy beat Q3 expectations by coming in at 4.9% growth. The US economy also beat expectations and came in at 4.9% growth. Both growth rates are expected to slow in the coming quarters. 

It appears that China's economy will never even come close to matching the size of the US economy, despite China's much larger population. The US GDP is over $26 trillion, while the Chinese GDP is less than $18 trillion

On a per-capita GDP basis (a general measure of the average economic wealth of citizens), China's economy is about average, globally. The Chinese people are, on average, significantly poorer than Mexicans and even Russians

The Guardian joins the trend of using universal quantifiers to express a minority. Wait, what?

The Guardian Opinion headline, "Why are young people all growing mullets? I’ve been inspired by a much better hairstyle," joins a noxious trend of using a universal quantifier -- "all" or "every," for example -- to refer to a subset that is actually a minority. 

It's sloppy and unprofessional. And it's a lie. 

The percentage of "young people" "growing mullets" is in fact a minority. The trend may or may not be growing. But even "most" is a lie. "All" is a ridiculous and obvious lie. 

Pointing this out pegs me as a stuffy scold. After all, the piece is frivolous, the topic irrelevant. 

But I fear the motivation for such flabby language is that in today's media landscape, professional media competes with social media in the global contest for eyeballs. And so professional media feels the need to loosen standards, dumb down language and lie casually to compete with the everyday speech patterns of people who aren't expected to use dictionaries or adhere to AP style.

And what is gained? The headline, "Why are young people growing mullets?" serves the headline's purpose perfectly. The addition of "all" does nothing more than to colloquialize -- a deliberate and lazy lie designed to be relatable to a public that deliberately and casually lies in everyday speech.

I don't know when legitimate news publications started doing this. But now they all do it. 

See how wrong that is? 

A food pornographer at work

Here's me taking a picture of cooked agave (ready to be fermented and distilled into mezcal) in the Oaxaca Valley, and the resulting picture. (First picture by my friend, Leo. Second picture by me.) 

Pebble, the social network formerly known as T2, is shutting down

The post-Twitter social scene just got a little simpler with the announced closure of Pebble, the social network formerly known as T2.

The app maxed out at 3,000 daily active users and 20,000 registered users, but fell to 1,000 daily users after changing the name from T2, according to TechCrunch.

The service closes November 1, according to Mashable

I was one of those daily users, and felt like the interface improved a bit after the re-branding. But, in general, I think fewer is better when it comes to social networks. 

What to know about new generative AI tools for criminals

ChatGPT and other mainstream LLMs sparked a revolution in generative AI this year. But their safeguards against misuse left an opening for alternative LLMs designed specifically to boost cyberattacks. Tools like WormGPT and FraudGPT emerged on the dark web, offering AI-powered capabilities to automate phishing, gather intelligence on victims, and generate malware. These tools make it easier for unsophisticated hackers to launch attacks by generating persuasive phishing emails or custom malware code. Here's my article on SecurityIntelligence telling you all you need to know. 

On the limits of AirTagged luggage

Placing AirTags in luggage gives you a sense of control -- a false sense of control, it turns out. 

We flew Sunday and Monday from San Francisco to Dallas, Dallas to Madrid, then Madrid to Marrakech. We booked all flights through American Airlines, but the final two legs were served by the Spanish airline, Iberia. 

American transferred our four bags in Dallas, but Iberia loaded only three of them, leaving one in Dallas. I know this because I have an AirTag in each of our suitcases.

When we called Iberia, they gave us a 900 number to call, and implied that it was an Iberian number. When we called, we learned that it was in fact the general number number for American Airlines, which has no access to our luggage.

We we called again, Iberia told us that there's nothing they can do; we all have to wait for the airport, somehow. When we offered to tell them exactly where in DFW Terminal D the luggage is, they had no interest, as they have no intention of doing anything about our lost luggage.

And so our AirTags give up up-to-the-minute reports on exactly where our luggage is, the knowledge is useless. It's in the control of Iberian Airlines, which has no intention of delivering our luggage. 

High tide in Venice

The "normal" high tide in Venice is actually higher than some sidewalks. 

MIKE'S LIST: AI companies shift the blame for data collection from them to you

OpenAI today said its new web crawler, called GPTBot, can now be blocked using the old robots.txt file standard or by blocking its IP address. If website owners choose to use one of these methods, OpenAI won’t extract data from your site and bake it into ChatGPT.

Meanwhile, video conferencing giant Zoom quietly changed its Terms of Service in March saying that it reserves the right to use your data to train its AI. Zoom users agree to the Terms of Service or can’t use Zoom.

What these moves have in common is that, while they sound like protective benefits for the public, in fact they shift the burden of responsibility for data collection from the data grabber to the data owner.

It’s time to break the ChatGPT habit and start discovering the new world of powerful alternatives

ChatGPT is the first artificial intelligence (AI) brand to go mainstream and it was the fastest-growing tech product ever. The brand returns more than three million results on Google News Search. Late-night TV talk show hosts mention ChatGPT by name — and their audiences know what they’re talking about.

In business and tech circles, as among the general public, ChatGPT is synonymous with Large Language Model (LLM)-based chatbots. But it's time to stop obsessing over ChatGPT and start discovering the world of powerful alternatives in this new world.

What are fake ransomware attacks and how do you deal with them?

Experts say we’re currently undergoing a new wave of fake extortion attempts — attackers pretending that they stole or encrypted data and demanding ransoms — and it’s likely to continue. Fake attacks have the advantage for scammers of being vastly faster and easier and therefore can be committed at a massive scale by scammers without skills. Because of the ease of this attack, cybersecurity experts expect it to exist indefinitely. 

Here's how to spot these fake attacks without wasting time or money. 

Apple’s Vision Pro means business. Here's how we know.

Simply by announcing Vision Pro, Apple is already changing the market. Google, for example, has reportedly canceled its Iris AR/VR product plans because (according to rumor) Apple’s product is just too good to compete with. That product was positioned in the press as a successor to Google Glass Enterprise Edition, which itself was recently canceled.

Meanwhile, other AR/VR glasses makers are getting a boost because Apple is making the market believe in the future of spacial computing.

But when the hardware gets real next year, and the software starts to emerge, that’s when the real change begins.

I had to run from teargas last night in Paris

I even inhaled a tiny bit (my throat was raw for a couple hours). 

Our group of five decided to check out the Champs Élysées at around one in the morning. 

Huge numbers of young people in their teens and twenties were just waiting for something to start, and riot police were everywhere. The tension was clear. So we decided to go one block away and try to make it back to the Metro in the other direction on a street mostly parallel with a Champs Élysées. 

Suddenly, as we were crossing an intersection, a huge crowd of people was running away in our direction, followed by a huge rolling cloud of tear gas. It looked nasty to breathe, and we didn’t know what people are running from, exactly. So we ran a bit too, made it to the Metro station, but it had been closed.

Before running, I stopped to take a video, but my wife urged me to run instead. Later, I found a half second video shot accidentally showing nothing, really. This image above is from that video.

Apple Vision Pro: Here come the apps!

It’s on!

Apple yesterday released the first beta version of the software that powers its $3,499 Apple Vision Pro platform, called visionOS, plus their visionOS software development kit.

Apple also rolled out a simulator. So we’ll get to see pictures and videos of Vision Pro apps online well before the hardware ships. (Here’s what it’s like to use the simulator.)

Videos showing third-party apps are also emerging, including this visionOS game.

We also learned more about what Apple is thinking and planning.