Off-the-wall Harry Potter chapter created using predictive text

The Harry Potter series has an unusual new chapter and J.K. Rowling didn't write it, machines did.

Botnik Studios, a "human-machine creative collective" which describes itself as "a community of writers, artists and developers collaborating with machines to create strange new things," created a predictive keyboard that later penned the unauthorized chapter. By "training" the keyboard on all seven Harry Potter titles, machines were able to write this humorous new work.

Harry Potter and the Portrait of what Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash is the fabricated book's title and the faux chapter is called, "The Handsome One."

Here's a few quotes from its ghostwritten pages:

"Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good."

"Ron's shirt was just as bad as Ron himself."

"The pig of Hufflepuff pulsed like a large bullfrog. Dumbledore smiled at it, and placed his hand on its head: 'You are Hagrid now.'"

"'The password was BEEF WOMEN,' Hermione cried."

Read the entire chapter here. Be sure to take a look at Botnick's other work, like this predictive text Thanksgiving dinner video.

("BEEF WOMEN" will now be my new password.) Read the rest

Watch: The Wizard world gets a Hanukkah lesson in 'Fantastic Holidays and How to Explain Them'

Animator Leigh Lahav and writer Oren Mendez created this wizarding world-salute to the holiday season. Read the rest

J.K. Rowling delivers fabulous smackdown to Westboro Baptist Church

After the Irish voted in favor of recognizing same-sex marriage, the Harry Potter author gleefully posted a "Dumbledore/Gandalf" slash meme with the text "now they can get married in Ireland!", replete with rainbow and clover emojis galore.

The funeral-picketing proprietors of took exception to this, promising to turn up to any such thing and ruin it.

J.K. had fast replies: both for the church…

… and for the ever-present criers of "don't feed the trolls."

Read the rest

The messy science that spotted J.K. Rowling's secret novel

Behind the unveiling of J.K. Rowling as the author of a pseudonymously published detective novel lies a messy and not-terribly-precise science called "forensic stylistics". Using specially designed software — or, less often, just a trained eye — experts in the field try to match writing styles and discern the true authorship of disputed texts. But, even when they turn out to be right, as in the Rowling case, their findings are less than exact. Linguist Ben Zimmer explores the field and its usefulness at The Wall Street Journal. Read the rest