Friday, 14 January 2022

like dear old alfred always said: eat a dinner, mattress wayne

Courtesy of Super Punch, we discover what a neural network will generate after being primed with a thousand pages of captions and quote bubbles from old Batman comics. More at the link above, including panels illustrating the text.  Joker is a clown but insane.  Two-Face is a man but attorney. 

Thursday, 30 December 2021

achievable goals

Courtesy of our friend artificial intelligencer and Smithsonian’s designated futurist-in-residence for next month, Janelle Shane (previously here and here) we are treated to a neural network’s attempt at coming up with a New Year’s resolution. With a few prompts, it generated suggestions like, “Make broccoli the national currency and then paint that,” or “take photos of my toes daily,” and intriguingly “act like a cabbage for a month,” “dress in a way that only a ghost could love,” “throw a birthday party for a tree” and “attempt to find peace living with an army of puppets.” More at the link above and see if you can find a resolution that’s particularly resonant for you. “I will now treat every worm I see as if it is an old friend.”

Wednesday, 15 December 2021


the hallmark channel: a treasury of classic festive films from Eastern Europe  

savage garden: the ruins of Rome’s Colosseum was once a wild green oasis full of exotic plants—via Messy Nessy Chic 

touching the sun: the Parker Solar Probe enters and safely exits the corona  

barcode architects: a new triangular high-rise for Rotterdam’s maritime district  

smart tweed: artificial intelligence predicts the next holiday, must-have gifts  

็‚ฌ็‡ต: Japanese in-situ heating solutions called kotatsu (see previously) have been around for a long time  

what day is it boy: the labour shortage hits Scrooge & Marley

Wednesday, 1 December 2021


dress rehearsal: for a quarter of a century, an individual attended his own funeral  

dominical letters: how the artificial unit of the week came to govern our lives—see also  

carceral publications: a collection of US prison newspapers  

yes or no questions: celebrate the conclusion of Futility Closet’s eight plus year run with a final episode of lateral thinking puzzles  

hvorugkynsnafnorรฐ: despite progress in the choices for human naming conventions, the Icelandic governing body for horses is still highly gendered  

regenerative medicine: researchers develop “xenobots” capable of biological self-replication—via Waxy  

amigone: aptly named mortuary services—via Super Punch

Saturday, 27 November 2021

can’t resist a list

Our AI Intelligencer (see previously), expounding on how the above protocols or inventory—being perhaps what artificial intelligence is—has this remarkable tendency to derail otherwise passingly competent machines as they carry instructions out to their unnatural conclusions, like with the prompt for baking a cake with the nth steps being Wait for the timer to ring. Smell the baked good. forgot to take it out. Hide it all under a carpet. Or the next cue to generate traditional wedding gifts after being supplied the first four anniversaries:

5th Year: Fowl Feathers, etc.
9th Year: Small Dainty
11th Year: Soapsugar Jelly
17th Year: Green Surpluses & Leaves
25th Year: Paper, Spreads and White Sea Shells
34th Year: Wool/Reindeer Hair
48th Year: Lying In Blankets

I seriously want this bot to be my personal shopping concierge for Christmas as it seems to have no problem conjuring up an inexhaustible wish-list. Much more at the links above.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021


Buried within the pared down yet still massive and significant US Infrastructure Bill is a rider that encourages in the pursuit of public safety the tagging of pedestrians and bicycles with transponder beacons so as to make it easier for autonomous vehicles from running them over—thereby, like the crime of jaywalking, shifting the responsibility away from the manufacturers to public and shared spaces.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

spot me up

Made in collaboration with Boston Dynamics, we learn courtesy of Laughing Squid, 1981 Mick Jagger and the rest of the Rolling Stones perform a Tik-Tok style duet with a trio of robot modules for a performance (previously) of their classic—the video produced as part of the fortieth anniversary celebration of the release of their Tattoo You album. What do you think? It’s fun and the tribute choreography is scarily brilliant but perhaps another example of normalisation and propaganda for the police state.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

the brain that wouldn’t die

First airing on this day in 1993 during the series’ fifth season, the lampoon of the Rex Carlton and Joseph Green 1962 collaboration from the crew of Mystery Science Theater 3000 helped elevate this film about a mad scientist who is working on methods of preserving dismembered bodily organs to allow for future viability who experiments on the his decapitated girlfriend whilst keeping a Frankenstein’s monster captive in a broom closet to the status of a cult classic. Because of an imperfect copyright notice, it entered into public domain upon theatrical release and was in 2018 the subject of one of the first fully machine produced movies. The episode was long-time writer Michael J. Nelson’s second appearance as host and features a segment with Mary Jo Pehl as Jan in the Pan, the actor to later replace Dr. Clayton Forrester in their secret underground lair, Deep 13.

Saturday, 16 October 2021


pour homme, femme, et grenouille: Amphรญbฤซa, Kermit the Frog’s signature scent from 1995  

hampsternomics: a look at how the attention economy has matured through the lens of a quarter-century old meme—see previously 

a day without rain: Endless Enya (previously) from Mischief Magazine—via Web Curios  

memento mori: a treasury of macabre reminders of death’s inevitability  

corvid catalogue: counting crows of literature  

sneakernet: non-existent virtual trainers dreamed up by artificial intelligence (see also)—via ibฤซdem  

pietra per pizza: a deep-dive into the history of the cooking accessory convinces one individual it isn’t just a trendy gimmick

Friday, 15 October 2021

spook it up

Through some experimentation with text style-changes—dialing-up the fright-factor—our artificial intelligencer (previously here and here) has been able to solicit recommendations for Halloween costume improvement, surpassing her initial concept in terms of keeping with the reason for the season.

More about methodology and algorithmic improvement at the link above, but we were particularly intrigued with the below prompt and response: 

Input: I’m dressing as a princess for Halloween! 

More interesting: You are preparing to confront the powerful Uber Faerie, one of the rulers of the week, he who commands the forces of week, including faeries, goblins, toadstools, lampposts, and fleas. It is to be your first confrontation with him, and you are secretly afraid. 

Whilst I might not be able to visual convey my distress, I do very well to better understand my character’s motivation. Be sure to check out how machine-learning altered the tone and tenor of a beloved Winne the Pooh theme song with the same parameters in mind.

Friday, 8 October 2021

effective calculability

With its roots in the Latinisation of the Persian mathematician Muhammad bin Musa Al-Khwฤrizmฤซ as algorimus, we were quite pleased to learn about the education, contributions and legacy of the scholar of Baghdad’s House of Wisdom in the ninth century, in Greater Iran—presently Uzbekistan—whose the namesake for the unambiguous computational instructions that machines can act upon through tributes by several local artists hosted by a Tashkent gallery. Entitled Dixit Algorizmi after the opening line of his comprehensive manuscript, Thus Spake Al-Khwฤrizmฤซ, there is much more to explore at the links above.

Friday, 1 October 2021


For this latest instalment of the annual tradition of using machine learning to generate Halloween and autumnal themed sketching—or decorating prompts—we really enjoyed some of the curated favourites from Janelle Shane (previously) and gamely humans take to these suggestions. In order of model dataset size—Moustaches creep creepily; the unseen graveyard stretches for miles; mist-sheep chew on tombstones. A slightly less experienced, exposed artificial intelligence recommends: the question mark from a box; half a cup of milk; a flappy spider; a flappy tea; Ghost traitors and A zombl. Much more, including submissions and unrelated prompts for animals (Bearllionaire) and landscapes (Library of Lava) at AI Weirdness at the link above.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021


kรกdรกr cube: a practical, mass-produced boxy house (Magyar ร‰pรญtล‘mลฑvรฉszet) from Communist-era Hungary is staging a comeback 

the new english canaan: revisiting the banned publication that mocked American’s puritanical ways—see also  

you’ve got a habit of leaving: the first single from the unreleased David Bowie album, coming in January

merfolk and melusine: tritons and mermaids entertained by enlightened minds 

facebookland: the social media giant ought to be treated like the autocratic rogue state it is—via Waxy 

roll over beethoven: a team of musicologists using artificial intelligence complete the composer’s unfinished tenth symphony—to premier in Bonn next month, via Kottke  

ะณะพัั‚ะธะฝั‹ะน ะดะฒะพั€: a rotating arch for a shopping arcade in St. Petersburg—via Pasa Bon!

Sunday, 26 September 2021

unknown foods

Also growing up with grocery store chains named Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion, Safeway and Skaggs Alpha-Beta (wherein items were originally stocked and arranged in alphabetical order for ease of location and retrieval), we could appreciate this exercise from AI Weirdness (previously) that trained various neural networks on generating suggestions for naming supermarkets. We especially enjoyed how quickly it picked up on real world marketing conventions and served them back to us. Some of our favourites in addition to the entitled included: See How Much! Jumbo Boost Built in Juice, Fair-Oil Edible Foods and Little More Large Brook. Discover more about the methodology behind machine learning and be sure to subscribe to Janelle Shane at the links above.

Friday, 17 September 2021


pontifices maximi: the denatured bridges of euro notes 

top banana: the fruit label collecting community—via Weird Universe  

toccata and fugue: Bach’s compositions—see previously—from eight perspectives  

trolley problem: pedestrians recruited involuntarily in self-driving car trials—see also 

trivia killed the video star: a look back on how quiz games replaced arcade fascination  

soli cui fas vidisse minervam: polymath Lauri Maria Caterina Bassi Veratti, nacknamed after the goddess of wisdom, first salaried female professor

rewilding ones attention

Via Things Magazine, we quite enjoyed this essay by Clive Thomas expounding on the above maxim from CJ Eller to stray from the algorithmic path, to step off of the hedonistic treadmill by cultivating diversity in what one allows inside. The nature of what goes viral—even if it’s pedestrian and unviral—is in the subterfuge in not noticing ourselves how much mind we’re giving it, and we owe it to ourselves to at least be aware of how we’re otherwise pigeon-holed and exert the effort to seek out those smaller sensations. We agreed that rewilding was a fitting and lucid way to describe what we aspire to appreciate and explore.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

the dead internet theory

On this anniversary which has propounded two Forever Wars (one of which capitalised on the 9/11 terror attacks to as a pretext to invade Iraq with the media mostly obliging, a misdirection that prised open for some a credibility chasm), the panopticon of the surveillance state, xenophobia, sectarianism, intolerance, violence, bloodshed all at a very dear price with the most treacherous legacy perhaps being the exportable cult of conspiracy theorists that first emerged as Truthers, then morphed into Birthers, Pizzagate, QAnon and whatever atrocity is next in the line of succession, we are presented a new one positing that the world wide web, acknowledging that the majority of traffic is bot driven, did die the death approximately five years ago and what remains is not all an elaborate hoax but rather a platform almost entirely dominated by artificial intelligence. Weighted interaction, with human engagement or robotic attention-seeking seems to matter little ultimately in a world of detached rankings and recursive references, but what if since 2016, the web and its various walled-gardens was depopulated and replaced with neural network propagandists, influencers and marketers? It’s patently ridiculous and like most “independent research” lurches to the territory of unhinged and offensive but the veiled unreality of it all makes it intriguing and a challenge to disprove, and with no prevailing mainstream narrative to counter the arc of conservation, evidence, it is garnering traction. There’s more than a kernel of truth to the manipulative, unrestrained and inhumanly automated nature of social media and shadow profiles created to supplement the personalities of those who don’t participate sufficiently. Not that the metaverse was ever particularly welcoming, it certainly seems uninviting if made by and for people-pleasing machines.

Saturday, 4 September 2021

coming attractions


Again via ibฤซdem, these movie posters generated by a neural network struck us as intriguing, created after being feed a brief description of the film, and while the range was wide and varied and saw some of the elements that the artificial intelligence may have been picking up on retrospectively after the answer was revealed, we admit to really only getting without being told though still needed to verify Monty Python’ and the Holy Grail (1975, see also) and Space Jam (1996) for their cinรฉma vรฉritรฉ and appreciable observation mode. 


Wednesday, 1 September 2021

hey mister dj

Via Waxy, we are directed to this preternatural, surreal algorithm that rather expertly, uncannily will make a mashup of any number of songs from a group-watch streaming service, RaveDJ generating a set-list in the spirit of our friends at Hood Internet are presumably doing the old-fashioned way. It really shows its surprising competency with mixes like Gangnam Style crossed with MC Hammer’s Can’t Touch This or The Eurhythmics’ Sweet Dreams and Seven Nation Army from White Stripes. Browse the submissions or create your own and share. Always of the opinion that lamentful number from My Fair Lady and David Bowie’s song about getting to the church on time flowed into each other and had complementary energy so I gave it a whirl, our disc jockey creating “Why Modern a Love Be More Like a Man” but as the lengths seemed a little incompatible and needs a bit more refinement, please instead for now check out this preview of one of the mashups cited above to see its full virtuosity.

Tuesday, 31 August 2021


slough off old skins: the rise and demise of an Internet Onion—via Kicks Condor  

posture pals: a gallery of awkward, outstanding stances  

gravy boat: kitschy vintage table settings  

a little pick-me-up: the lovely Flowers for Sick People project by Tucker Nichols—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

news at eleven: screen grabs of 1990s reporting captions  

more like a simile: an experiment searching the web with AI contextualised natural language—via Web Curios