Over on Long Forgotten (a Haunted Mansion blog that is so fantastically great that every post is a cause for celebration), there's a new post about suits of armor and haunted houses that reveals (among other things) that the helmet of the famous armor by the Haunted Mansion's infinite corridor was originally an ornamental piece worn by Martin Luther's archenemy Albrecht von Brandenburg, the indulgence-flogging Archbishop of Mainz. What's more, there's a damned good reason why they only used the helmet (click through to find out why).
For me, though, the highlight of the piece was this excellent description of why suits are armor are inherently spooky:
It isn't hard to explain why suits of armor are scary. First of all, they're ancient and unfamiliar, from another time and place, and often they are holding wicked-looking weaponry. Armor, after all, is supposed to look intimidating. Second, they present you with a human-shaped vacuum that could easily be a hiding place for a prankster or a villain—you can't tell by looking. Since you don't know for sure if anything is in there, when you see one your fight-or-flight instinct is automatically put on low level alert (otherwise known as the jitters). Funny, but you can't help imagining them starting to move, however vague or backgrounded or foolish this anticipation might be. Third (and best of all in my book), despite any misgivings you may have, it is nevertheless presumed that suits of armor are likely to be empty, which is to say they contain nothing, they define a void, they create a something-that-isn't-there, and this "nothing" is in the shape of a human. See? You've practically molded for yourself a ghost, instantly and automatically! With a suit of armor, it's all so easy that it's practically cheating.
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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