In an age of disappearing prison libraries, jail profiteers provide "free" crapgadget tablets that charge prisoners by the minute to read Project Gutenberg ebooks

The past couple years has seen a rise in prison profiteers who strike deals with state corrections departments to provide "free" tablets to prisoners (these being the flimsiest, cheapest, least reliable hardware imaginable), and then profiting by charging exorbitant sums for prisoners to send emails (selling "digital postage stamps" that have to be affixed to each "page" of email), videoconference with family members, and provide media, charging prisoners for music that they lose every time a prison changes suppliers. Read the rest

Some pretty impressive machine-learning generated poetry courtesy of GPT-2

GPT-2 is Open AI's language-generation model (last seen around these parts as a means of detecting machine-generated text); it's powerful and cool, and Gwern Branwen fed it the Project Gutenberg poetry corpus to see what kind of poetry it would write. Read the rest

PT Barnum's get rich slow advice

Austin "Steal Like an Artist" Kleon pulls the Table of Contents from PT Barnum's 1880 book Art of Money Getting (which Mark wrote about last year), noting "Like most prescriptive books (including my own) you could probably write a whole book simply stating the opposite, but there’s so much in this book I love..."

* Don’t mistake your vocation * Select the right location * Avoid debt * Persevere * Whatever you do, do it with all your might * Depend upon your own personal exertions * Use the best tools * Don’t get above your business * Learn something useful * Let hope predominate, but be not too visionary * Do not scatter your powers * Be systematic * Read the newspapers * Beware of “outside operations” * Don’t indorse without security * Advertise your business * Be polite and kind to your customers * Be charitable * Don’t blab * Preserve your integrity

P.T. Barnum, The Art Of Money Getting (1880)

(via Beth Pratt) Read the rest