Emojibot uses deep learning to synthesize expressive new nonverbal communications


Dango is a personal assistant that feeds its users' messages into a deep-learning neural net to discover new expressive possibilities for emojis, GIFs and stickers, and then suggests never-seen combinations of graphic elements to your text messages that add striking nuances to them. Read the rest

Twitterbot that produces endless entries in an imaginary daemonological grimoire


The Lesser Bot is a twitterbot that is writing a machine-generated grimoire, complete with summoning runes, which is timely, given that we're entering the age of demon-haunted computers. Read the rest

How to Speak Canadian


Dan Nosowitz of Atlas Obscura has posted a pair of funny pieces on how to “speak Canadian.” I was reminded of this clip from comedy legend John Candy.

Canada RULES! I love swearing in Québécois. Also, I deeply respect Boing Boing's revered tech guru and sysadmin Ken Snider, who is Canadian.

Atlas Obscura's short guide to cursing like a French Canadian is fantastic. Basically you mutter a bunch of religious terms under your breath, like tabernak and callise!

Nosowitz also tackled one of the great mysteries of North American language, the Canadian “about”. I'm still not sure I can get my head around it.

Via Atlas Obscura:

The Canadian diphthong in “about” starts with something closer to “eh,” and migrates to a blank space on the American linguistic map somewhere between “uh,” “oh,” and “ooh.” That transition is actually easier on the mouth than the American version; our vowels go from low to high, and theirs from mid to high.

To say that Canadians are saying “aboot” is linguistically inaccurate; “ooh” is a monophthong and the proper Canadian dialect uses a diphthong. “A-boat” would actually be a bit closer, but still relies on a monophthong. Why can’t Americans get their heads around the Canadian “about”?

“What's going on is a compound of pronunciation and perception,” says Dailey-O’Cain. “The Canadians do pronounce it differently. Americans hear this and they know it's different—they're hearing a difference but they don't know exactly what that difference is.” Americans do not have the Canadian diphthong present in the word “about,” which makes it hard to understand.

Read the rest

The euphemisms news reporters use when a sports figure injures his penis and testicles


In a recent high-stakes basketball match between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warrior player Draymond Green kicked Thunder player Steven Adams directly in the penis and testicles. Read the rest

Paypal refuses to deliver online purchases to UK addresses containing "Isis"


The Isis River, which flows through the English university city of Oxford, has inspired many place names that include "Isis," including "Isis Close." Read the rest

Space Age Language Translator!


I never had an ear for foreign language, and after three years studying Spanish in junior high school, all I could say was “Esta lloviendo, aqui!” which means it’s raining or something like that. Pretty embarrassing.

The first time you travel to a foreign country where your native language is not spoken widely, it’s a surreal experience. Everyone sounds like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon.

The day of enlightenment may be upon us.

For $129 The Pilot by Waverly Labs, which hits the stores in September, will provide real-time translation of French, Spanish, Italian, and English when you insert the devices into your ears.

They look a little bulky now, but of course further miniaturization is just around the corner.

c'est magnifique!

Via Bored Panda Read the rest

The weird, humiliating nicknames George W Bush gave to everyone


Remember when "Turd blossom" was the affectionate nickname the President of the United States used to refer to his chief advisor? Read the rest

"Tendril perversion": when one loop of a coil goes the other way


The term "tendril perversion" was coined in 1998 by mathematicians Goriely and Tabor to describe the long-observed phenomenon of coiled cables, vines and other helixes that have one kinked loop that goes the other way. Read the rest

Petition: David Attenborough to change his name to "Boaty McBoatface"


After the public overwhelmingly voted to name a new British Natural Environment Research Council vessel "Boaty McBoatface," the UK government pulled a switcheroo, declaring the will of the people to be secondary to the judgment of humourless bureaucrats, and summarily named the ship the R.R.S. David Attenborough. Read the rest

Qantas delays flight because of wifi network named "Detonation Device"


QF481, from Melbourne to Perth, was delayed last week because a passenger spotted a wifi network called "Detonation Device." Read the rest

Baby names generated by a neural network


In 2015, Stanford computer science PhD candidate Andrej Karpathy decided to test out some neural network tools he'd been experimenting with, and set them to generating plausible baby names. Read the rest

Burbank airport changes name, ditches "Bob Hope"


My favorite airport in America is changing its name to "Hollywood Burbank Airport," removing the name of racist, reactionary old-timey boob Bob Hope, whose name has been judged not to resonate with the modern traveller. Read the rest

Society of synthetic linguists explain to court, in Klingon, why Klingon shouldn't be copyrightable


Last month, I wrote about Paramount's lawsuit against Axanar, a crowdfunded Star Trek fan-film. Read the rest

Funny "meeting speak cheat sheet"


Remember Sarah Cooper's brilliant "10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings"? Here are a few choice bits from her new "Meeting Speak Cheat Sheet":

• “This wasn’t on my calendar” = I deleted this from my calendar

• “To your earlier point…” = I’m kissing your ass

• “That said…” = We’re still not changing anything

• “Let’s circle back later” = I need this to be over


• "15 tricks to appear smart in emails" Read the rest

Weird has a weird history

Keep etymology wyrd! Er, weird. (The Endless Knot)

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Kindle Unlimited is being flooded with 3,000-page garbage books that suck money out of the system


Amazon's Kindle Unlimited service allows subscribers to download as many books as they want, and then pays writers based on the number of their pages that readers have read. Read the rest

Paramount wants to kill a fan-film by claiming copyright on the Klingon language

Say what now?

The crowdfunded, critically successful fan-film Prelude to Axanar has been in Paramount's cross-hairs since late last year, when the studio filed suit against the film's producers.

Read the rest

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