Sunday, 4 June 2023

uncropped (10. 785)

Expanding on a previous post using AI to unframe and extend the backgrounds of iconic works of art and other bounded creations, the same suite of tools has been applied to internet memes to image what’s going on just outside of the picture, like for Side-Eye Chloe or Wandering-Eye Boyfriend

 What do you think? While it does strike one as impressive and plausible, distortion aside, we wonder how far removed these abilities are from zealous automated enhancement and “upsampling” features that play into our biases. More at the links above.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

benedict arnold (10. 784)

Investigating charges that some school textbooks widely in use in classrooms were stoking anti-American sentiment, a commission working from New York City adjudged on this day in 1923 eight titles of being guilty of perpetuating the propaganda for suggesting that the Revolutionary War was unnecessary and questioning which side was at fault, some one hundred fifty years on. The head of the commission ordered a biblioclasm and that the editors be labelled un-American. While the fact-finding group charged with this culling owed that statements critical of American patriots might be accurate and worth of investigation, the assessment was overly sophisticated and dangerous for impressionable young readers, ruling that only textbooks that contained no suggestion of “derogation or in disparagement of the achievements of American heroes” were suitable for the classroom. During World War I, curricula were revised to tone down the nationalism and emphasise affinity and kinship with overseas allies, particularly for the British and this torrent of censorship interbellum was partially in response to those previous changes.

bellona (10. 783)

Daughter of Jupiter and Juno and sister to Mars, Vulcan, Lucina, Discordia and Juventas, the Ancient Roman goddess of warfare was celebrated on this day in the Republic and Empire by a cult of priests whom mutilated themselves to make a blood sacrifice and placate this deification of madness and frenzy in battle. The majority of rites dedicated to Bellona were equally gory, though fearful of a volatile deity, most worship was not for public spectacle. Her main temple on the Campus Martius with station located through the expanse of the Empire (St Peter’s Minster in York was originally a temple dedicated to her) had an extra-territorial status, the equivalent of modern day embassies and consulates, where ambassadors from foreign states could stay, not allowed to enter the capitol or colonies proper, and could meet representatives of the Senate for negotiations. If diplomacy (fฤ“tiฤlis) and states became belligerents (bellicose and before the consonant shift, duel come from the name of the goddess), the high priest would launch a javelin over the column of war (columna bellica) to formally declare hostilities.

Friday, 2 June 2023

hinter den kulissen (10. 782)

H doesn’t recall watching but we rented Stanley Kubrick’s sumptuous 1975 period drama Barry Lyndon (based on the William Makepeace Thackeray novel about the gentleman gambler and social-climber) several years ago. 

Set in Ireland, England and Prussia in the 1750s during the Seven Years’ War, the title rogue travels across Europe calling in debts through various scams, scenes and establishing shots were filmed in Dublin, County Wicklow, Schloss Ludwigsburg outside of Stuttgart, Sanssouci in Potsdam and as we just learned, in between these two locations at around the fifty-three minute timestamp, Lyndon’s regiment on the march, in our very own little village on the Bavarian-Thรผringen border, uncredited but confirmed by Redditors

Not much has changed (the roads are paved now however) and we’ll need to do a re-watch soon.

7x7 (10. 782)

court of last resort: Propublica presents a guide to potential imperilled rights in the US—via Waxy 

e. o. 9066: George Takei recalls growing up in a Japanese-American internment camp—see previously

velben goods: the concierge to the world’s rich and powerful—see also  

mermen: the increasing popularity of underwater performances in China—see previously 

stumbling block: in a simulation, an AI-controlled drone kills its human handler because that individual was thwarting its achieving mission objectives, later apparently walked back  

rainbow crusaders: a more inclusive examination of heroism during World War II 

legislate guns not makeup: a roster of state houses poised to adopt bans on drag performers

Thursday, 1 June 2023

uncanny valley ranch (10. 781)

With varied results—most AI creations fall into one or two categories of either “there, I ruined it” or “that’s an interesting/uncanny/horrific take”—Hyperalleric experimented with Adobe’s Generative Fill (see previously) to expand the canvas of iconic works of art and test the software’s imaginative capacity for what might be just beyond the four corners. Some were able to limn and extend the backgrounds quite nice while others, like for The Great Wave of Kanagawa, find the addition rather unnecessary.

the annoying thing (10. 780)

Originally shared as an MP3 audio recording of a student in Gothenburg called Daniel Malmedahl imitating the sounds of a two-stroke engine revving (Tvรฅtaktare) in 1997 that was picked up as a signature sound for Formula One Racing in 2001, the concept, with the addition of a CGI character, became a ring-tone licensed and rather aggressively marketed in 2004 and on this day in 2005, just a couple of weeks after being released, its incarnation as a Eurodance, techno song by Axel F became the number one single in the UK and a summer hit (internationally—tube de l’รฉtรฉ), beating out the likes of Cold Play in the charts. This enduring cult classic, which is periodically called into service, saw more than a dozen remixes, concert tours, a video game, a documentary plus an unrealised television series and feature film. Deng deng!

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

whale of a tale (10. 779)

A highly sociable beluga whale, a local celebrity nicknamed Hvaldimir, a portmanteau of the Norwegian word for whale plus the first name of Russian president Putin—long suspected as being used for espionage, trained and outfitted with a harness believed to gather intelligence and telemetry on Nordic waters, has been sighted off the coast of the Sweden. Activists and onlookers, considered for the whale’s safety and well-being, possibly retired from spying already although that is not clear, are aiming to re-socialise with others of his pod and rehabilitate him. More from NPR at the link above.