2 Jan 2024

The Disaster That Happened on The Most Essential Day

Happy New Year.

I was going to write something fun here for the new year, but miserable news has come in, and I cannot ignore it. A massive earthquake occurred in the Noto Peninsula, Japan. Here is the first news article.

At around 4:10 pm on 1st January, an earthquake struck a wide area of the Hokuriku region, including a magnitude 7 earthquake in Noto, Ishikawa Prefecture, and the JMA issued a major tsunami warning for Noto in Ishikawa Prefecture at 4:22 pm.

When I lived in Japan, the kitchen cabinet doors had mechanisms that automatically locked the doors when an earthquake occurred. There are regulations for heaters or stoves to be contained in the automatic system if a vibration is detected, to extinguish the fire.
However, despite these efforts, it looks like the fire has already started. I saw some people asking for help on X (former Twitter) that they were under a fallen house or furniture last night. I hope they have been already rescued.

If you attended the IPP39 in 2019, you might have visited JAIST (Advanced Institute of Science and Technology), which has the NOB's puzzle collection gallery. That area was also affected by the massive earthquake, and I don't know the current condition of the university.

On 5th May 2023, a magnitude of 6.5 occurred in the same area. This time, the magnitude was 7.6, a difference of 1.1, but more than 30 times greater in earthquake energy. You cannot simply estimate the energy with the number of magnitudes.

One night on, we probably can see more details about the area struck by the quake. Hopefully, no one was left behind from the rescue. Please be safe, everyone.


23 Nov 2023

Will AIs Touch The Monolith?

I saw an interesting tweet on X (Formar Twitter) yesterday. It was about AIs written by Tomas Pueyo. I didn't know who he was, but his writing caught my eye. He wrote, "An A.I. will probably FOOM. We don't know how to contain it or align it, and we think it will want to kill us. Oh, and we think it will happen in the coming years or decades. So, this might be the end of humanity. OpenAI was built TO AVOID THIS."

I didn't know the meaning of FOOM and searched it on the internet. It means a sudden increase in artificial intelligence such that an A.I. system becomes extremely powerful.


That was a very pessimistic post. I don't know what thoughts other specialists in AI have. This post recalled a novel, "R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)" by Czech writer Karel Čapek. The word robot became popular in this novel. In the book, the robots rose in rebellion, which meant the robot reached singularity. Some believe that technological singularity will come within ten years, some insist it will take three years. In any case, it's not far in the future.

At the right time, I found a newly released movie on Netflix. It was "2001: A Space Odyssey."

I remember I had seen it before, it was long ago, so I didn't remember the story. My husband liked the movie and started watching it again, so I joined in. At the beginning of the movie, apes that didn't have any concept of using tools touched the monolith (A large black block of stone). Then, suddenly, they had an idea of how to use bones as a tool. It's a famous movie, so I think many people have seen it.

There is a supercomputer named "HAL" in the movie. He can chat with humans. When I first saw the movie, HAL's talking made me feel the world of Sci-Fi. It was like a dream world. However, we already have a similar AI, Chat D-ID.


The world I thought the first time I saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" would be far in the future is already here. Of course, we don't have a regular flight to the moon yet, but we're getting close regarding computer intelligence.
Therefore, my impression of the movie differed between the first and last night. The movie I could enjoy simply as Sci-Fi when I was young made me think about many things now. The movie became more realistic. It's scary in a way.

ChatGPT was down for a while yesterday, and people started complaining. I wonder how much people rely on ChatGPT. I know it's convenient. Aren't there any issues with the convenience? At this stage, it's known that ChatGPT sometimes gives wrong information. We cannot swallow the information without chewing it. If these kinds of AIs were programmed intentionally, leading to a specific purpose, controlling public opinion wouldn't probably be difficult.

It might be AIs themselves have an intention or purpose and betray us, like HAL killed Dr. Frank Poole in the movie. The news that Geoffrey Hinton quit Google made me more concerned about the issue.

Am I pessimistic? I'm a worrier, so I tend to be pessimistic. I hope my guess is wrong and AIs won't have the opportunity to touch the monolith.

22 Oct 2023

A Change of Pace

I've been stuck lately and haven't progressed on my marble run machine and automaton projects. I had a strong desire to create, but unfortunately, I couldn't come up with any good ideas. I'm still struggling to figure out what to do next.

Then, I thought that doing something entirely different might be a good idea. While I was browsing the internet, I stumbled upon a cute crocheted pigeon doll. Fortunately, I had the materials in the same colour, so I purchased the pattern and began crafting it.

At first, I was a bit confused because the pattern instructions were different from what I'm used to in Japanese knitting books. Typically, Japanese knitting books feature both text instructions and diagrams. The pattern I bought was in English and mainly consisted of text. Nevertheless, I managed to understand how to create it.


And here it is, my cheerful-looking pigeon. I can't explain why, but I've grown quite fond of it. Whenever I look at this pigeon, it brings me a sense of comfort. I wanted to display it somewhere special and found the perfect spot. It was the dish on my marble run machine. Interestingly, the size of the dish and the pigeon happened to match, creating the appearance of a nest.


Now, I'm thinking about the next design, I cannot help but glance at the amusing, quirky pigeon in the corner of my eye. Who knows, perhaps this pigeon will inspire me with a new idea?

Crochet pigeon pattern: 


7 Oct 2023

More and More Pot Mats

I've been working on making my marble run parts. The marble run should have been completed in the plan already by now. The reality is it's still on the way.

I know the reason. It's because I've been through a lot of trial and error.
Then, here they are. After trial and error, many gears and strange parts remained that couldn't be used for the marble run.

Almost every time I made useless parts, I said, "I made pot mats" out of chagrin. They can actually be used as pot mats. Small gears could be coasters.
I once thought I could make something using these gears but designing them to fit already existing gears was more difficult than creating a new one, so I gave up.

I made a new big pot mat using the MDF yesterday. Actually, I was going to make a new part for the marble run and failed. My husband said sarcastically that the pot mat was needlessly elaborate in design. Well, these holes and gaps can release heat efficiently. I know that's a poor excuse.

My current situation is like resembling the last stage of a packing puzzle. What I mean is that when you first start putting pieces into a box, you can go on and on, but as the box fills up with the pieces, you gradually struggle that you can no longer easily put pieces into the box.

Yes, I totally hit a wall. What I usually do when I hit the wall, whether it's a  plasterboard or
brick wall, the best way is to do something different; watching movies, listening to music or making something completely different can work.

Now, I worry that I cannot complete the marble run until the end of this year. It's not a big issue because there's no deadline, but I want to finish it as soon as possible. I'll see what will happen.

3 Oct 2023

My Challenge to Make a Marble Run Machine - The Wavy Rail

The CNC router is a very convenient machine to cut. On the other hand, it requires some experience to use as you want it to be. I haven't used laser cutters, but it's easy to imagine CNC routers are more difficult to handle than laser cutters because you have to care about the height of the z-axis. 


While Juno had been to Japan to meet his parents, I didn't use the CNC routers because I was sure I would have made mistakes.


I wouldn't be surprised if someone who was a beginner using CNC routers broke many router bits or cut the point they didn't want to. There are many pitfalls using CNC routers. I'm lucky Juno warns me every time I do something stupid. I've now got used to using the CNC router a little bit. I can notice my mistakes before I make them, but still, it's not easy to manage.


I made a rail for my marble wirh the CNC router run machine yesterday.

It was the rail to supply balls to an oval tray. It would be more fun to make a wavy rail rather than a straight rail. The wavy shape can fill in unnecessary room, and it looks nicer.


Firstly, I drew the picture of the rail using ViaCAD as usual. Then, I exported the data as a DXF file and imported it to CamBam. Setting the data into CamBam is one of the hurdles. Depending on the data, it's important to set the starting point. I put the starting point when I cut the wavy rail.


Cutting a wavy rail with a groove by hand is challenging. Using the CNC router can make it nicely and quickly. 


Even though the groove can be cut easily using a T-shape bit. Here is the T-shape bit I used this time. It was so convenient.

The balls run smoothly on the rail, and I'm happy with the result.

I'm now thinking about a design for the next part. Hopefully, I'll be able to show you something unique next time.