Jeffrey sez, "Paul French, who recently won an Edgar in the true crime category, uses the forthcoming US publication of Decoded, the first spy novel by a PRC author to be translated into English, as a jumping off point for a Los Angeles Review of Books 'China Blog' post on the ongoing allure of Asian settings for authors of fictional works of intrigue."
He brings up lots of fascinating work (some famous, some forgotten), but there are many other ways to go with this theme. For example, @beckminster tweeted soon after the piece went up that two other relevant authors to bring into the discussion could have been Neal Stephenson (who has actually been drawn to Shanghai as a setting more than once) and, well, this guy Cory Doctorow, due to his For the Win. And then, of course, there's the big real life news story of last year, which was dealt with in an earlier piece in the LARB (my "Why Hong Kong?" that had you-can't-make-this-stuff-up intrigue elements relating to an Asian setting: Edward Snowden's sojourn in Hong Kong between leaving the U.S. and ending up in Russia.
A Short Look at the Long Literary History of Spies in Asia [Paul French/LA Review of Books]
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.
I dote on fidget gadgets — soothing gizmos intended to give your hands something to keep busy with, like modern worry-beads — and while you can’t buy Chris Bathgate’s amazing machined sliders, and the Fidget Cube Kickstarter just closed, there’s still Thinkgeek’s new Jumbo Noah Fidget Toy, which looks like a lot of fun and […]
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