… and now I think I have a hairball stuck in my throat.
Fur Up by Snowflurry Entertainment
I was given a courtesy copy of this game to play.
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MIT researchers trained AI to write horror stories based on 140,000 Reddit posts—Thu-Huong Ha, Quartz [see also]
The team behind Shelley is hoping to learn more about how machines can evoke emotional responses in humans. “The rapid progress in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has people worried about everything from mass unemployment to the annihilation of the human race at the hand of evil robots,” writes researcher Iyad Rahwan by email. “We know that AI terrifies us in the abstract sense. But can AI scare us in the immediate, visceral sense?”
Shelley, named after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, is interactive. After the program tweets a few opening lines, it asks people on Twitter to continue the story, and if the story is popular, it responds to those responses.
Using information from 140,000 stories from Reddit’s r/nosleep, Shelley produces story beginnings that range in creepiness, and in quality. There’s some classic “scary stuff,” like a narrator who thinks she’s alone and then sees eyes in the dark, but also premises one can only imagine are Reddit-user-inspired, like family porn.
RIDE from The Janos Corporation purports to be written by a pulp-era writer Henry Abner, and from “newly discovered manuscripts … currently being edited and released” after his death.
The fictional author Henry Abner is described as “the pen name of hard-boiled fiction author Henry Abner Sturdivant” who “had a long career in law enforcement, and served as the chief of police of Washington, Georgia from 1921 until his death in July of 1935”. When I looked there were no authoritative external references anywhere other than a Wikipedia page presented with a straight face for Henry Abner. I pretty much convinced myself that Henry Abner is as much a literary fiction as “his” works. Turns out now that Wikipedia page has since been deleted and there’s a talk page about Henry Abner’s page as hoax. Guess the actual author also created a gallery of shopped images which I didn’t find when I was looking, until now. But, you know, well played, I suppose: a little bit of promotional fun.
This book is first in the Tales from the Goddamned Lonely Universe series, for which there is another volume. There’s a third volume which is the first in The Goddamned Lonely Universe Saga, apparently a different series. Nothing new in either sequence has been released in the interim between my read and this review, and there doesn’t appear to be any discussion of other volumes on the JanosCorp website, so maybe that’s all we get, but if this collection is any indication of the others that’d be a shame, especially as it seems like there were plans for more.
RIDE is a collection of stories held together by the presence in them of a particular robotic taxi. I found a feeling of familiar fictional future here. The taxi reminds me of the one driven by Korben Dallas in The Fifth Element, and the neo-noir setting seems quite similar to the gritty, grungy future New York in that film. My mind also included Harry Canyon’s taxi story from Heavy Metal. There’s interstitials between each story with in-world ads, which adds a kind of Verhoeven touch, that for me included by indirect reference the feeling of Robocop‘s Detroit. The stories don’t feel dated; since, you know, they aren’t actually old that makes sense. It’s a fun and interesting collection for fans of the genre to dig in, and suggests a lot of promise for the other “Henry Abner” books, which I’ve already added to my to-read stack.
I made 4 highlights, but, hey, it’s short!
Originally posted on my personal blog at RIDE
Chameleon by Layden Robinson is a short unfolding mystery of self-realization with epic fantasy horror elements that just didn’t stick with me for long after reading it.
I made 8 highlights.
Originally posted on my personal blog at Chameleon
An ‘Accidental Dictionary’ Explores How Errors Created The English Language. “Pink” used to be yellow. A “bimbo” used to be a brutish man. How did we get here?—Claire Fallon, Huffpost; an interview about The Accidental Dictionary by Paul Anthony Jones
But while the dictionary offers neat columns of words, followed by clear and definitive meanings, it is a haphazard document at its heart. Language itself is a constantly shifting, changing thing, so any guidebook to it also reflects those shifts and changes ― and over time, the book itself must be edited and reedited to reflect an evolving linguistic reality.
“Under scrutiny,” writes Jones in the introduction, “the dictionary reveals an unpredictable network of etymological crossed paths, U-turns, and forks in the road.” The Accidental Dictionary takes the form of a dictionary ― a 100-word dictionary ― and adds that scrutiny, revealing the many lives each word has lived.
“Clumsy” once meant “numb with cold.” “Hallucinate” once meant “deceive,” and “prestigious” once meant “deceitful.” “Queen” once meant “wife.” (Viewed from a relatively enlightened, feminist era, that one is rather disappointing.) Somehow, these words were shunted sidewise, rejiggered or tweaked; though they’re still familiar to us today, their meanings have entirely changed.
How A Doll-Loving Heiress Became The Mother Of Forensic Science. Frances Glessner Lee became the first woman police captain in the U.S., but you’ve probably never heard of her.—Priscilla Frank, Huffpost
Lee is known today as the “mother of forensic science.” Her contributions to the field are varied, but she’s often remembered specifically for her interest in making grisly dioramas like the one depicting poor Robin. During her lifetime, Lee crafted 20 painstakingly detailed domestic crime scenes, measuring a foot or two in length and width. They were based on actual crimes, culled from photos, witness statements and other telling ephemera, and they are still used to train officers.
Here’s a summary of activity for the week ending October 29th, 2017.
Oy. My streaming and recording schedule got completely messed up this week. A bunch of IRL stuff got in the way, primarily gathering firewood for the winter, which took up several days, and then another several days recovering. I’m still full of aches and pains. Got two loads done and only … oh, four or five more to go. But, hey! *wink* *wink* I’ve got wood.
I was going to record a new series of ICRPG but I wasn’t able to get everything I needed to prepare done in time, so I’m going to try to finish prep and do the recording this week so I can upload at least the first episode to premiere in a few days. Still hoping to get that going, but it was supposed to be already done. Things happened, just not the things I was planning on.
Well, it’s a new week now!
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Here’s a summary of posts on the blog from last week
Here’s videos and streams from last week
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- Thieves of Lankhmar by Nigel Findley, module LNA1 for 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons, from TSR, circa 1990
- Sim Ant: The Electronic Ant Colony by Will Wright and Justin McCormick, from Maxis, DOS version for IBM/Tandy/100% compatibles, on four 5 1/4″ floppies, circa 1991
- Swords of Deceit by Steven Bourne, Michael Dobson, Steve Mecca, Ken Rolston, &al., module CA2 for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Lankhmar: City of Adventure, circa 1986, with a giant fold out map of the sewer networks
- Serenity #3 by Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad, Laura Martin, &al., from Dark Horse Comics
- Lankhmar: City of Adventure, for use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons game, from TSR, Inc., written by Bruce Nesmith, Douglas Niles, and Ken Rolston, circa 1985, With huge map that uses geomorphs to fill in blanks for twisty back streets. “From the pages of Fritz Leiber’s masterwork spring his greatest heroes, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Their adventures in the sparkling city of Lankhmar come to life in this complete city campaign pack from the Game Wizards of TSR.”
Odd Order and Hermetic Library Anthologies Artist Radio Free Clear Light