Hackaday Links: January 29, 2023

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We’ve been told for ages that “the robots are coming for our jobs!” It’s true that we’ve seen robots capable of everything from bugger flipping to bricklaying being demonstrated, and that’s certainly alarming for anyone employed in such trades. But now it looks like AI has set its sights set on the white-collar world, with the announcement that ChatGPT has managed a passing grade on a Wharton MBA exam.

For those not in the know, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business is in the major league of business schools; earning a Master’s in Business Administration from that august institution is no mean feat, and is likely to put the budding executive on a ballistic career trajectory. So the fact that ChatGPT could pass the exam is significant. But before you worry about a world in which our best and brightest business leaders are replaced with soulless automatons, relax. The exam presented to ChatGPT was just a final exam for one course, Operations Management, so it’s not like it aced everything an MBA is expected to know, and it took a lot of hints from a human helper to get it that far. It’s also reported that it made a lot of simple math mistakes, too, so maybe a Wharton MBA isn’t that much of a big deal after all.

Don’t look up! No wait, do look up, because you might be treated to a spectacular sight over the next few nights, as comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) makes a rare visit to our neck of the solar system. The comet with the cumbersome name is a long-period comet, meaning it comes from out in the deepest reaches of the Oort Cloud and may never return. Pictures of the comet have been pretty spectacular, with a ghostly green glow that Dr. Becky explains is not from copper but rather due to diatomic carbon in the comet being broken down by UV light from the Sun and emitting light with a 518-nm wavelength. She’s also careful to manage expectations, since this comet will be 100 times fainter than the recent comet Neowise was; it’ll take some very dark skies and at least a set of good binoculars to spot this one.

Note to self: like pretty much any kind of mine, crypto mines make lousy neighbors. At least that’s the experience of residents of a rural North Carolina town, where a newly constructed mining operation is said to put out a constant, deafening sound. Murphy, NC, resident Mike Lugiewicz lives about 500 ft (150 m) from the newly opened mine and describes the sound as similar to “a jet sitting on the tarmac and that jet never leaves.” He measured the sound, which appears to be coming from the air handlers, at 85 dB, and further complains about the massive power use of the operation, claiming that while he and his neighbors suffered through rolling blackouts on a frigid Christmas Eve, the mine just kept chugging along. It doesn’t seem like a very neighborly thing to do, to be honest.

Also worthy of note: don’t teach your fish to play Pokémon. Because if you do, you just might end up getting unauthorized charges to your credit card. The trouble started when Japanese YouTuber Mutekimaru set up a motion-tracking system for his pet fish and hooked it up to his Nintendo switch. The fish’s random motions are translated to in-game movements in Pokémon, the whole thing is live-streamed, and hilarity ensues. But when Pokemon crashed while Mutekimaru was AFK, the fish actually managed to complete a series of commands that added 500 Yen to Mutekimaru’s account, changed the account name, purchased a new avatar, and download an N64 emulator. There’s also the little problem of flashing the credit card number to all the fish-watching fans, but apparently, the fish was forgiven for its transgressions.

And finally, if you’ve ever wondered what all those antennas up on the Empire State Building do, wonder no more. Crypto-radio enthusiast and avid antenna spotter Ringway Manchester appears to have taken a trip to the Big Apple, and managed to get some great shots of the antenna tower way up on what was the tallest building in the world for the longest time. It may no longer hold that title, but it still makes a dandy platform for getting antennas up above the concrete canyons, which accounts for a lot of the public safety installations up there. It’s also a great place for getting broadcast signals out into the surrounding area. He does a great job of breaking down what each antenna does, so check it out.