The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is the only science-fiction themed krewe marching in Mardi Gras, with a 400-person team whose floats and gizmos are paeans to maker culture. It costs a Douglas Adamsian $42/year to be a member, and the krewe's inventions are all human powered -- no fossil fuels.
For their 2014 theme, the Wrath of Kahn-ival, the krewe have built a robotic bar called the Barship Enterprise, and a 10' tall flamethrowing mechagodzilla. It will be hauled by the Redshirts, the volunteer security force of Chewbacchus.
"The Barship is going to be cool; it’ll light and glow and can pour shots on the go, plus Redshirts [the krewe’s volunteer parade security escorts] will push it,” Ballard says. “But the Mecha is a big project with a lot of people involved. The flame aspect of it involves a lot of planning, permitting, and insurance hoops. But it’s new ground, it’s something nobody has ever really done—Burning Man-style controlled flame effects in a Mardi Gras parade.”
Mechagodzilla and the rest of the Chewbacchus will march through the Marigny neighborhood on February 22 during the krewe’s fourth annual parade. The overlords again expect enthusiasts coming from all corners of the US; there are even official California-based sub-krewes at this point. So if you won’t be in town, start planning for 2015—and get working on a costume now.
An Arduino-controlled, fire-breathing Godzilla at Mardi Gras?! Blame Chewbacchus [Nathan Mattise/Ars Technica]
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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