I've written several times here about Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, a collection of outstanding dystopian YA science fiction novels about a world where everyone is forced to undergo cosmetic surgery at the age of 16. Westerfeld concluded the series in 2007, but now he is revisiting the world in manga form, co-creating a series of graphic novels with Devin Grayson and Steven Cummings.
The first of these volumes, Uglies: Shay's Story came out this week, and it's a fantastic, fast-paced addition to the Uglies canon. As the title implies, Shay's Story retells some of the key events in the series from the point-of-view of one of the minor characters from the novel, Shay, giving her her due (she was always one of my favorites). In so doing, Westerfeld and co illuminate more of the Uglies world -- and bring to it a set of visuals that flesh out and enhance the original novels.
You can certainly enjoy Shay's Story without reading the Uglies novels first, though each series (Shay's Story is the first of several volumes) contains a few spoilers for the other.
Uglies: Shay's Story
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe’en.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
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