Cards Against Humanity's Thanksgiving livestream pits a machine learning model against human joke writers

Cards Against Humanity asked Spencer Kelly to teach a computer to write mean, funny joke-cards for a new, AI-based expansion pack to the game; Kelly trained the popular GPT-2 generative language model (previously) on existing cards, and now the company is livestreaming a 16-hour competition between its AI and its human joke-writers, with a voting system to up/downvote the resulting jokes (at the end of the day, these votes will be "tallied up and thrown in the garbage"). You can choose to buy the resulting packs, and if the human team outsells the robots, it will receive a $5,000 bonus. If they fail, they will all be fired. Read the rest

Open Memory Box: hundreds of hours of East German home movies, 1947-1990

149 families' home movies are archived on Open Memory Box, a massive archive of 415 hours of footage from the former East German, shot from 1947-1990. The video is indexed and searchable by 2700 search-terms, and makes for fascinating browsing as well. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Anarcho-hydrology: watch as a public-spirited drain clearer videos his incredibly satisfying adventures in storm mitigation

Post 10 is a vlogger who devotes his channel to "videos of unclogging culverts and drains, trains, experiments, machines, animals, trailcams, howto, aquariums, reviews, things I love and much more." I just spent an hour watching this fellow unclog storm drains during ferocious rain storms and marveling as he created gigantic whirlpools that despatched lake-sized puddles in parking lots and roads, leaving behind navigable surfaces. It's not just soothing TV, it's also inspirational to watch this guy play Anarchist Department of Public Works and freelance his town's hydrology problems. If you enjoy Mr 10's videos, you can celebrate them with a DRAIN IT! tee. (via Metafilter) Read the rest

"Softbody Tetris": what if tetronimoes were made of jello?

C4D4U's SOFTBODY TETRIS V16 is (as the name implies), the latest in a series of "softbody" simulations of Tetris, in which the tetronimoes are rubbery, jelly-like solids that glisten as they wobble into place. It's an incredibly soothing thing to watch (C4D4U calls them "ASMR for my eyes") and part of a wider genre of softbody sims. JWZ argues that this "becomes intolerable" upon the "realization that completed rows don't liquify" but if that's your thing, you need SOFTBODY TETRIS V9. Read the rest

"OK Boomer" comes to the NZ Parliament and makes all the right people angry

NZ Green Party MP Chlöe Swarbrick was giving a speech in favour of stricter carbon emissions standards when the 50-year-old National Party Climate Critic Todd Muller heckled her; without missing a beat, she fired back "OK Boomer" and moved on to making a rather good and eloquent point about need for intense action on climate. Read the rest

How to reengineer our systems to address climate change's refugee crisis and create new, high-density cities on demand

Vinay Gupta (previously) is a polymath engineer/inventor, whose Buckminster Fuller-inspired "hexayurts" can be found all over Burning Man (and my novel Walkaway). Read the rest

Aethervision: "newsreels" that recap the week's news using public-domain, pre-1924 footage

Mark Anderson is the proprietor of Aethervision, which has a simple premise: "Each week, I release a weekly news recap which covers 5 news items using nothing but footage from pre-1924 footage." These are spectacular and mesmerizing. Read the rest

Pirate Bay cofounder Peter "brokep" Sunde has a new TV show about activism

The Activist is a new 5-part series from Peter Sunde (previously), AKA brokep, who cofounded The Pirate Bay and also founded Flattr. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders and AOC, in conversation

The Intercept's political editor Ryan Grim chaired a 10-minute, backstage conversation between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders at a rally in Queens last weekend, just before AOC endorsed Sanders' bid for the Democratic Party's nomination for the 2020 presidential race. The pair describe their theory of change and how they can get their agenda enacted. (I am a donor to both Bernie Sanders' and Elizabeth Warren's campaigns) Read the rest

Make: a scary, jerking "groundbreaker" zombie for your lawn

Trimbandit's Scary Animated Zombie Groundbreaker Instructable uses two pneumatics to make a partially buried zombie jerk and pitch and seem to try to claw its way out of your lawn -- it's an incredibly effective illusion, one that capitalizes on the jerking, sudden motions of the pneumatic to lend a terrifying, otherworldly vigor that makes the mannequin skinned over the pneumatics seem like the living dead. Read the rest

Visualizing what happens when you shuffle a deck of cards

Nathan Davis writes, "When you shuffle a deck, it rearranges the order of the cards and I got wondering what that looked like. Read the rest

Straws are a distraction: how the plastics industry successfully got you to blame yourself for pollution

40 years of Reaganomic sociopathy has managed to convince hundreds of millions of otherwise sensible people that big, social problems are caused by their personal choices, and not (say) by rapacious corporations that corrupt the regulatory process in order to get away with literal and figurative murder. The Intercept's Sharon Lerner made a short doc on the subject, showing how the inevitable pollution from single-use plastics was rebranded as a matter of individual carelessness, starting with the "Crying Indian" ads, and how that continues to this day, with the plastics industry successfully lobbying states to ban cities from limiting plastic bags, even as those cities have to pay to landfill and clear them away. Read the rest

Lizzo vs The Aristocats

Mike Lake's mashup of Lizzo's "Truth Hurts" with "Scales and Arpeggios" from Disney's 1970 animated feature "The Aristocats" is plain fabulous. Lizzo plays the scene far better than Eva Gabor ever did. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Dick and Stewart: a new, delightfully dark and twisted animated series from Scarfolk's Richard Littler

[[You may know Richard Littler from the astounding dystopian alternate fiction/bleak humour series Scarfolk (previously). He's been working on an on-again/off-again animated series that is, at long last, on. I was honoured to be offered the opportunity to launch the series here today!]]

Dick and Stewart is a series of short animations set in either Britain’s dismal past or the Britain that’s soon to come. It's hard to tell nowadays, isn't it? Either way, just imagine what it would be like if children's TV programmes were written by George Orwell or Franz Kafka. Or the government itself. Read the rest

Stealing Ur Feelings: interactive documentary on the snakeoil "science" of facial emotion detection

Filmmaker Brett Gaylor (previously) writes, "Stealing Ur Feelings is an augmented reality experience that reveals how apps like Snapchat can utilize facial emotion recognition technology to secretly collect data about your emotions to make decisions about your life and promote inequalities." Read the rest

At the UN, Greta Thunberg excoriates world leaders and her elders for climate inaction

Holy shit. Read the rest

Raffi's new songs about kids, climate emergency, and Greta Thunberg

Raffi Cavoukian (AKA "Raffi") is best known as a beloved children's singer -- I vividly remember attending one of his concerts as a child -- and possibly secondarily as the brother of former Ontario Privacy Commissioner and excellent privacy advocate Ann Cavoukian, but in recent years, he's emerged as a smart, acerbic political activist whose anti-Trump and climate-oriented tweets are as much as source of uplift as his Baby Beluga was when I was a kid. Read the rest

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