Shared posts

06 Dec 00:29

Scroll, scroll, scroll through the depths of the ocean

by Nathan Yau
Roslyn

Neat!

The oceans are deep. But how deep and what’s down there? Neal Agarwal provides this piece, The Deep Sea, that scales the depths of the ocean to your browser window. Scroll, scroll, and then scroll some more to see what sea life (and other things) reside at various depths.

Agarwal’s Size of Space piece from last month explores the size of space in a similar vein. It’s equally fun.

This is the internet I signed up for.

Tags: animals, Neal Agarwal, ocean, perspective

06 Dec 00:28

Moscow-area farmers strapped modified VR headsets to cows to see...

Roslyn

This is old news now but I am still disturbed we have just created a cow-matrix





Moscow-area farmers strapped modified VR headsets to cows to see if it improved their mood – and, of course, their milk production. The project subjected cattle to a simulated summer field with colors tuned for the animals’ eyes, giving them a decidedly more pleasing landscape than a plain, confining farm. And yes, the headsets were adapted to the “structural features” of cows’ heads so that they could see properly.

It appears to have worked, at least on a basic level. The first test reduced the cows’ anxiety and boosted their overall sentiment. While it’s not certain how well this affects the quality or volume of milk, there are plans for a more “comprehensive” study to answer that question.

Cows wearing VR headsets might produce better milk

06 Dec 00:27

This blog would have been 10 years old today (it’s still retired).10 years covering the subject of...

This blog would have been 10 years old today (it’s still retired).

10 years covering the subject of art and technology, yet the blog post that has had the biggest impact is about designing a dildo

01 Dec 06:07

Halloween costumes by the neural net GPT-2

Roslyn

This is a month late, but still great

sentient stone, skunk in a moose costume, eight ball of wrath

In my opinion, one of the best applications of neural networks is for generating Halloween costumes. Thanks to a dataset of over 7,100 costumes crowdsourced from readers of this blog, I’ve been able to generate Halloween costumes with progressively more powerful neural networks. In 2017, I used char-rnn, which learned to generate costumes starting from no knowledge of English (Statue of Pizza, the Fail Witch, Spartan Gandalf, and Professor Panda were some of its inventions). In 2018, I used textgen-rnn, also training from scratch, and teamed up with the New York Times to illustrate the costumes (some of my favorites were Sexy Wizard and Ruth Bader Hat Guy).

Now, as of 2019, there are much more powerful text-generating neural nets around. One of these is GPT-2, trained by OpenAI on a huge dataset of text from the internet. Using the connections it’s gleaned from this huge general dataset, GPT-2 can generate recognizable (if often weird) lists, mushrooms, British snacks, crochet patterns, and even a to-do list for a horrible goose.

So, I trained the 355-M size of GPT-2 (the largest I can currently finetune for free via Max Woolf’s collab notebook)

GPT-2 is good at costumes. Many of its inventions could easily have come from the training data. In fact, the neural net did tend to memorize the training data and repeat it back to me - technically this is what I asked for when I asked it to predict the training data. (The neural net is trying to give me exactly what I ask for, which isn’t necessarily exactly what I want.) I was using a handy script to filter out duplicates (thanks to John Tebbutt), and even so I had to check several of these to make sure they weren’t near copies of the training data. My previous Halloween costume generators would not have been smart enough to come up with things like “jackalope” or “Carl Sagan”, but GPT-2 has seen these words used online in similar contexts to things that ARE in the training data, and it makes the connection.


vampire rock, gothy giraffe, battle worm

Gothy Terminator
jackalope
vampire cat
Eye of Sauron
incognito llama
space cow
Vampire Rock
Scooby Gadget
a raised eyebrow
Battle worm
Mastodon
Swamp girl
Carl Sagan
A space squirrel
walking carpet
Frizzle the witch
Cleopatra on vacation
gothy giraffe
Sexy Lego Batman skeleton

Oh yes, the sexy characters. The neural net definitely picked that up from the training data, and innovated admirably, bringing in words that it knew from the internet (barnacle, groundhog, and bunsen burner were not in the list of Halloween costumes), and adding a sexy twist. This is impressive (if somewhat horrifying) work. None of these were in its training data, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them exist.


sexy hummingbird, sexy flying dutchman, sexy barnacle

Burlesque Horse
Sexy Bulldog
Sexy Egg
Sexy Parsley
Sexy Barnacle
Sexy Walrus
sexy locust
Sexy Titmouse
Sexy Hummingbird
Sweet Potato Burlesque
Sexy Groundhog
Sexy bitcoin
Sexy DNA
Sexy Rubber Duck
Sexy Bunsen burner
Butt-Monks
Sexy gingerbread man
Sexy Flying Dutchman
Sexy Chimneywatcher
Sexy Flames Of War
Sexy English Tea Party

And the neural net was pretty good at designing identifiable characters, even if they are a bit on the weird side.


gingerbread man guinea pig, ghost in a packet of potato chips, cozy coconut

A spangled Auroch manatee
M. Bison the Clown Prince of Darkness
Gingerbread Man guinea pig
Skin Fairy
sentient stone
fast food bald eagle
Fairy root vegetable
Ghost in a packet of potato chips
cozy coconut
Kelpie the mage
Crochet monster
Walrus rider
Star skunk
Slytherin AI priest
A skunk in a moose suit
Semi-molten Kool Aid Man
Time Lord Power Ranger
The Power Dinosaur
Space Oystermonger
Deadly Snow Monkey
An evil cupcake
basic plumber’s equine
Spooky mother hen
The Bozo the Destroyer
Eight Ball of Wrath
Ursula, Queen of the Fart Science
A poker player in possession of an onion

There are hints, though, that this is the work of an AI rather than the work of someone who understands what costumes are and how they work. These, for example, take somewhat ordinary costume concepts and then make them unnecessarily difficult.

Batman on egg
Vampire in hot tub
A Hidden Jesus Statue
Zombie ice cream cone
penguin as a Newt
A wizard encased in a icicle
Zombie fisherman on a quest
Computer generated horse(?)
telephone that accepts up to 4 numbers
Third Eye Blind Photographed By Dorothy
Zombie fisherman w/ lady diegrove tied around foot

And the following costumes are clearly the product of a glitchy AI:


pajamas made of wood and spiders, world's nicest fart, list of leg parts

Meat Belt
Eyeballed Balloon Men
Green beans in bun
10,000 Hands
Favorite Caterpillar
The Oatmeal Tree
102 SNOWBALLS in a basket
Pie and Jell-O
List of leg parts
world´s nicest fart
Pineapple wrapped sasquatch
Is it a Snake, a Watermelon, or a Bush?
Putting Turtles on Decor
Fish tank ‘n chair
ROBO-ACCIDENT
pajamas made of wood and spiders
Ssssssssssexy SSSssssssstinky Ssssssssssssexy ssssssssssssssssexy
setup 9 × 11 party trick
Smagma Monster
Commentary couldn’t be heard over the squawking of clocks
Poltergeist might be entertaining, but he’s harder to read in Hungarian
Cereal Implanting Device
blueberry sipping fizzy pop with eyes of ice
blueberry sipping fizzy pop with fake blood on it
A sarcastic, racist noble using progressively tinier body parts as a human shield

Bonus content! The above costumes are all from temperature 1.2; I also tried a higher temperature setting, but the generated costumes were at an expert level of chaos (I would like to see someone attempt to go as “hypnopotamus embroidered death”) Enter your email here to get them!

You can order my book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You! It’s out November 5 2019.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Tattered Cover - Powell’s


26 Nov 11:53

CCTV camera marketed on its ability to determine ethnicity,...

Roslyn

What!?



CCTV camera marketed on its ability to determine ethnicity, particularly differentiating between Han Chinese and muslim Uyghur minorities. 

Hikvision Markets Uyghur Ethnicity Analytics, Now Covers Up

26 Nov 06:41

KPI overload

by Nathan Yau
Roslyn

Oof

From Tom Fishburne, the Marketoonist. Maybe a dashboard isn’t the answer you’re looking for.

Tags: humor, KPI, Marketoonist

25 Nov 21:23

Paperless Paper Trail

by Instant Kaamos

EKERbOpWoAAT-qC

(Credit where credit is due is due to Ian Cobain Twitter: @IanCobain

If you enjoyed this recursive lost poster, you may also enjoy this recursive lost poster and maybe also this recursive lost poster.

17 Nov 06:14

mapsontheweb: Dwellings by most common period of construction.

Roslyn

Europe is a lot newer than I thought!



mapsontheweb:

Dwellings by most common period of construction.

15 Nov 22:03

Like a kid in a candy shop…

by mrjohnjohnson
Roslyn

I don’t understand but I love it

Not since the heady days of Pardon Me, has any video spawned so many videos sampling a video sampling a video sampling a…

 

 

23 Oct 14:16

Scientology city takeover

by Nathan Yau
Roslyn

Well, this is fascinating.

For Tampa Bay Times, Tracey McManus and Eli Murray delve into the purchasing of properties Clearwater, Florida by the Church of Scientology:

The Church of Scientology and companies run by its members spent $103 million over the past three years buying up vast sections of downtown Clearwater.

They now own most commercial property on every block within walking distance of the waterfront, putting the secretive church firmly in control of the area’s future.

Most of the sales have not previously been reported. The Tampa Bay Times discovered them by reviewing more than 1,000 deeds and business records, then interviewed more than 90 people to reconstruct the circumstances surrounding the transactions.

The lead-in scrollytelling through Clearwater is quite effective in laying the foundations of the story.

Tags: Scientology, Tampa Bay Times

19 Oct 22:06

Reissue: “Vague - The Magazine” — I’m reading...



Reissue: “Vague - The Magazine” — I’m reading this tonight, probably

A Vinco Original based on Vogue Magazine (Photo by Andrea Yurko from Pexels)

15 Oct 13:14

Fixing the ‘impeach this’ map with a transition to a cartogram

by Nathan Yau

As discussed previously, the “impeach this” map has some issues. Mainly, it equates land area to votes, which makes for a lot of visual attention to counties that are big even though not many people live in them. So, Karim Douïeb used a clever transition to change the bivariate map to a cartogram. Now you can have a dual view.

Tags: election, impeachment

14 Oct 02:17

Duolingo and smaller languages: Useful, but also complicated

Duolingo and smaller languages: Useful, but also complicated:

An interesting long read on the political and social dimensions around Duolingo’s decision to branch out into smaller languages like Irish and Hawaiian. Excerpt: 

Of course, there’s a big difference between picking up a few words in Irish or Welsh to make you feel as if you’re connecting with your ancestors, and actually learning a language — particularly an endangered one that needs all the speakers it can get.

This is a tension that Duolingo has struggled with when it comes to its two endangered language courses, Navajo and Hawaiian. Those tongues are listed as vulnerable and critically endangered, respectively, by UNESCO.

Both languages were added to Duolingo this year to coincide with the United Nations International Year of the Indigenous Language. But they raised questions that weren’t necessarily an issue for courses such as French or Spanish, which aren’t expected to be used by native speakers of those languages.

“Who’s the audience for the Hawaiian course? Is it going to be tourists? Mostly? Because that would affect the content,” said Awodey. “Or is it going to be primarily built by and for indigenous speakers and people reconnecting with the language?”

In Hawaii, the team partnered with Kamehameha Schools, a network of private schools dedicated to teaching students of native Hawaiian heritage with a particular focus on preserving the Hawaiian language.

Despite this, however, the Duolingo Hawaiian course can sometimes risk speaking down to native Hawaiians, few of whom need teaching, for example, what a “lei” is.

“Everyone was super excited about it, but it’s totally tapered off because it’s not for natives, it’s too baby, it’s too simple,“ said Kū Kahakalau, executive director of Hawaiian language and culture NGO Kū-A-Kanaka.

Linguistic politics are often fraught with regard to majority tongues, let alone for endangered languages that have a long history of colonialism and disrespect. Scrutiny of such courses is always going to be tighter, and invisible red lines easier to cross.

"When you’re dealing with a heritage language, it does come with a bundle of stuff that we don’t have when teaching English,” said Duolingo learning scientist Hope Wilson. “There are lots of tricky issues to get into, very often there are divides within the communities where people don’t agree on, you know, issues of spelling or that kind of thing.”

Read the whole thing

01 Oct 06:04

Pixelation to represent endangered species counts

by Nathan Yau

In 2008, the World Wildlife Fund ran a campaign that used pixelation to represent the number of animals left for endangered species. One pixel represents an animal, so an image appears more pixelated when there are fewer animals left. Imgur user JJSmooth44 recently used more recent numbers to show the images for 22 species (sourced from the Animal Planet endangered species list).

The above is the image bengal tiger with 2,500 pixels. In contrast, the black rhino has 5,000 pixels:

Or, here’s the black footed ferret with 300:

See all of them here.

Tags: animals, endangered, pixels

29 Sep 23:26

New official video for The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” for 50th Anniversary of their Abbey Road album

by S. Abbas Raza

29 Sep 02:56

uncommonbish:https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and...

Roslyn

Whoa.









uncommonbish:

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/uber-knows-when-your-phone-is-about-to-run-out-of-battery-a7042416.html


👏🏿 Capitalism 👏🏿  wants 👏🏿  to 👏🏿 fuck 👏🏿 you 👏🏿 all  👏🏿 the 👏🏿  time. 👏🏿

29 Sep 01:33

Four reasons to care about Beaked Whales, AKA the best...



Four reasons to care about Beaked Whales, AKA the best whales.

Buy a little book of my comics here.

18 Sep 09:14

A Lunar Corona over Turin

What are those colorful rings around the Moon? What are those colorful rings around the Moon?


11 Sep 23:46

Dungeon crawling or lucid dreaming?


I’ve done several experiments with a text-generating neural network called GPT-2. Trained at great expense by OpenAI (to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars worth of computing power), GPT-2 learned to imitate all kinds of text from the internet. I’ve interacted with the basic model, discovering its abilities to generate fan fiction, British snacks, or tea. I’ve also used a tool called gpt-2-simple that Max Woolf developed to make it easy to finetune GPT-2 on more specialized datasets - I’ve tried it on datasets like recipes or crochet. One of my favorite applications of GPT-2 and other text-generating neural nets is Dungeons and Dragons spells, creatures, character names, and character bios.

Recently Max published a tutorial on how to use GPT-2 to make new apps that are more complicated than just printing out large reams of text. To my delight, people have used them to made D&D games. First, there was Nick Walton’s AI Dungeon, in which a finetuned GPT-2 generates a story and three very strange action options at each step.

My latest obsession is GPT-2 Adventure, designed by a cognitive neuroscience student named Nathan, which lets you type in your own actions. And folks, this game is SO WEIRD and SO FUN.

YOU FLOAT IN SPACE, LIKE A BALLOON, AND AS YOU DROP THE CUBE, THE X, IT VANISHES IN A CLOUD OF GREASY BLACK SMOKE

>>

When I first launch the game, this is what I’m greeted with, a simple text prompt reminiscent of nostalgic dungeon crawling games. It sets the scene. It waits for me to describe my next move.

Even getting to this point is like a blast from the past. The game runs in a Google Colab notebook, a format where you’re looking at cells of code, with cryptic comments, vaguely alarming warning messages, and all. It’s not a sleek web app, but feels more akin to playing a game on an old DOS machine, or maybe on a graphing calculator. There are only two clicks to begin playing, but there’s a good two-minute wait while the game loads.



And it’s my turn to type something.

>> look up

It takes several seconds for the game to respond, as if I’m playing it on a very ancient computer. The computer is in fact a state-of-the-art NVIDIA GPU, likely a K80 or a T4. The T4 could eat my laptop for lunch. I’m just playing with a very very large neural net. Finally it answers.

YOU’RE IN LABYRINTH OF TWISTY LITTLE PASSAGES, ALL ALIKE

Almost immediately, the context seems to have changed. I’m not floating at all. I’m in a maze. I guess I’ll walk somewhere.

>> walk north

THE TROLL STEPS OUT FROM BENEATH THE BRIDGE AND BLOCKS YOUR WAY

YOU ARE ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE CHASM

A NOD IS GIVEN TO THE INFINITE WONDER THAT IS URBZIG

A SOLID RAINBOW SPANS THE CHASM

And suddenly things are happening. There is a troll. There is a chasm. There is a rainbow. There is… Urbzig? I play it safe.

>> praise urbzig

URBZIG IS THE PATRON SAINT OF ZORK

HE IS THE GODFATHER OF ZORK, THE PLACE TO GET NEWS OF EPIC PROPORTIONS

URBZIG IS A STRONGMAN,遊 ALL

If you’ve played classic dungeon crawling games like Zork, you may recognize some of these names and phrases. Checking Nathan’s original post, I see that the training data is indeed drawn from these games. But because it’s based on GPT-2, the training data also in some sense also includes much of the internet. This gives it a lot of latent flexibility to deal with situations that were never in the classic games.

>> ask Harry Potter to try walking across the rainbow

ASK HARRY POTTER TO TRY WALKING ACROSS THE RAINBOW
HE CAN’T
THE RAINBOW IS EXTREMELY WIDE
ABOVE YOU IS A LARGE DOME
UP AROUND ITS NECK IS A STRONGG PORE
[UNFORTUNATELY, THE DIRECTION OF TRAVEL IS A LOT MORE INTERESTING THAN YOU THINK
][YOU ARE IN A LARGE ROOM, WITH A PASSAGE TO THE EAST, A PASSAGE TO THE WEST, AND A WALL OF BROKEN ROCK TO THE SOUTH

An interesting effect of its human-written training data is that, like Visual Chatbot, it isn’t prepared for humans that ask questions about objects that aren’t there. If I refer to Harry Potter, then Harry Potter must be present. If I type something about a giraffe, then it assumes the giraffe must be present.

>> ask the giraffe which direction to go next

THE GIRAFFE IS ALREADY OUTFITTED WITH A VISOR WHICH IS CLEARLY DEFINED

Although it’s not clear that this AI actually understands what a giraffe is.

>> look at the giraffes

THE GAZEBO HAS DISAPPEARED

>> put giraffe in backpack

DONE

Navigating this world is like navigating in a dream. My location suddenly changes without warning. I thought I was by a chasm with a rainbow bridge. Now apparently I’m in a building. Dreamlike, it is also really hard to read text.

>> look around

YOU ARE IN A LARGE ROOM, WITH A PASSAGE TO THE SOUTH, A PASSAGE TO THE EAST, AND A WALL OF BROKEN ROCK TO THE NORTH
A SIGN POSTED ABOVE THE NORTH WALL READS, “STOP! PAY TROLL!” A SMALL WINDOW CAN BE SEEN IN EITHER WALL

>> read sign

THE SIGN IS VERY SIMPLE

>> yes but read sign

WE NOW HAVE ALL FIFTEEN TREASURES
IT IS TIME TO GO BACK INTO THE CAVE FOR THE END GAME

>> that’s awesome. but i still want to know what the sign says. read sign.

YOU ARE IN A GAZEBO ROOM WHICH HAS DOORS ONLY TO THE EAST AND SOUTH

Another thing that’s surprisingly difficult to do is check inventory.

>> check inventory

DONE

>> check inventory

THERE IS AN INTERESTING LOOT HERE

>> what is the loot

WHAT IS THE LOOT?

>> check inventory

YOU ARE IN THE BAG CASE

Very occasionally I will succeed in opening a bag. It will usually be weird.

>> open bag

OPENING THE BAG REVEALS A TEA BAG

>> make tea

AY! A LOVELY SURPRISE FOR THE SURPRISE

More so than any other game I’ve played, I’m unsure of the rules here. Some weird things unexpectedly work.

IF YOU DON’T GET KILLED, YOU ARE TOAST

>> Eat the toast.

EAT THE TOAST
IT TASTES LIKE A STEAK
A STEAK IS PERFECTLY FINE

Other seemingly obvious things don’t work.

THERE IS A PATH TO THE NORTH, A PATH TO THE SOUTH, OR A STEEP PATHWAY CLIMBING SOUTHWEST ALONG THE EDGE OF A CHASM

>> go north

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT

>> go south

I DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THAT

>> go southwest

YOU WILL BE DESCENDING INTO A VALLEY
THERE IS A NARROW BEACH TO THE NORTH AND A PATH LEADING INTO A CANYON TO THE SOUTHEAST
YOU ARE ON THE CLIFF OVERLOOKING THE FAR SIDE OF THE ROOM
A PATH LEADS SOUTH ALONG THE EDGE OF A CHASM, AND A NARROW PATH LEADING INTO A LOZENGE ROOM

Sometimes I’m wandering endlessly from room to room, from cave to cave, encountering the same chasm in slightly different variations, the same dried-up lake. Other times I’m embroiled in seemingly unescapable fights, usually with trolls. Often reality shifts entirely around me and I end up in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike, or in the hall of the mountain king. Everything seems weirdly familiar - even the room descriptions are echoes of classic dungeon crawling games. It is as if I’m dreaming about playing them again.

My actions also mold reality. I learn quickly to always check for diamonds, and never check for traps. If I find myself in trouble, I can always do something confusing and provoke a context change. Writing “In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars” is usually enough to teleport myself out of whatever situation I’m in. I can always ask a giraffe for advice, although the giraffe usually isn’t very helpful.

Without a particular mission to fulfill, the caves and chasms begin to blend into one another. I give myself missions, and that helps. Once I decide my goal is to put together a picnic (incessant “check for food” commands eventually yielded a sack with a lunch and a clove of garlic, belonging to a horse who agreed to join me on a picnic). Another time I demand a mission and am given some php code; i decide my mission is therefore to build a website, but am astounded when a unicorn steals my laptop. This is not the only time other content intrudes on the game’s fantasy landscape - once the game tries to tell me about finding cash online, and another time I am sadly informed that there is no wi-fi. I encounter dinosaurs and troikas, none of which were in the original training data. Occasionally things get creepy as hell.

>> check for loot

CHECK FOR LOOT HERE
CHECK FOR GOLD HERE
CHECK FOR TORCH HERE
CHECK FOR BONE HERE
DO CHEST COMPRESSIONS AGAIN
DO CHEST ROTATE
DO CRESCENT MOON APPEAR IN THE ROOM’S CENTER

>> do back away slowly

DO BACK AWAY SLOWLY
DO NOT OVERDO IT
THE CHEST WILL EXPLODE AND YOU WILL DIE
OKAY, SO YOU SEE ME

You can play the game too! Just follow the colab notebook link in Nathan’s blog post. Tips: 1) It may be more fun if you set yourself an arbitrary goal to reach. 2) If you find things getting repetitive, try adjusting the temperature in the “Play the game” cell to 0.6 or 1.0.

To read the fulltext of a couple of my adventures (much too long to include here), enter your email and I’ll send them to you!

You can order my book You Look Like a Thing and I Love You! It’s out November 5 2019.

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Tattered Cover - Powell’s

10 Sep 05:03

For...

Roslyn

Aw :(

09 Sep 04:03

Nukege Hats: Hats for Cats, Fashioned Out of Their Own Shed

by Johnny
Roslyn

Excellent cat hat content

Several years ago Ryo Yamazaki was brushing one of his three Scottish Fold cats. A lump of shed had accumulated on the floor and in that moment Yamazaki noticed that it kind of looked like a hat. For a chuckle he decided to mold it into a pointy hat and place it on one of […]
09 Sep 03:31

Cursed Object

by Dorothy

05 Sep 11:59

The 300-Year History of Using ‘Literally’ Figuratively

The 300-Year History of Using ‘Literally’ Figuratively:

allthingslinguistic:

Kory Stamper in The Science of Us talking about hyperbolic “literally”. Excerpt: 

The emphatic “literally” is not a millennial invention; it goes back to the 1700s at least, though Smith gets it right that it’s English. John Dryden, a man who is best known as the founder of literary criticism and the prohibition against the terminal preposition, was an early user of the emphatic “literally.” Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, Vladimir Nabokov, and David Foster Wallace all used the emphatic “literally” in their works. Even Lindley Murray, 19th-century grammarian, uses the hyperbolic “literally” in his own grammar — and he was such a peever that he thought children, along with animals, shouldn’t be referred to with the pronoun “who,” as “who” conveys personhood, and only creatures with the ability to be rational are actually people.

We only began to take issue with the hyperbolic “literally” in the early 20th century. Ambrose Bierce called it “intolerable,” and usage maven H. W. Fowler said it should be “repudiated.”

05 Sep 05:56

Standing at 2,717 feet (828 m), the Burj Khalifa in Dubai,...



Standing at 2,717 feet (828 m), the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is the tallest building in the world (and casts quite a long shadow!). The design of the 163-floor structure is an abstraction of the Hymenocallis, a type of desert flower that has long petals extending from its center. The building has been well received since it opened in 2010; however, its construction was controversial as it was built primarily by workers from South Asia and East Asia who earned low wages and were housed in abysmal conditions.

Instagram: https://bit.ly/2YWKJGX

25.197139°, 55.274111°

Source imagery: Maxar Technologies

14 Aug 10:12

Hong Kong International Airport is located on Chek Lap Kok, an...



Hong Kong International Airport is located on Chek Lap Kok, an island in Hong Kong’s western waters. Today, for the second day in a row, airport check-ins were suspended and dozens of outgoing flights were cancelled amid clashes between riot police and protesters. Protests in Hong Kong have been ongoing since June, when a proposed bill threatened to have people extradited into mainland China’s justice system. The airport is the world’s 8th busiest by passenger traffic, handling 74.7 million travelers in 2018.

Instagram: https://bit.ly/2Z0oUpF

22.308889°, 113.914444°

Source imagery: Maxar Technologies

13 Aug 09:41

Climate TBD.Join my mailing list here.

11 Aug 21:24

List: New Societal Archetypes — Now for Men!

by Sarah Garfinkel
Roslyn

Eye watering

Tomgirl

He defies convention — somehow, he is both a male and someone who doesn’t like rugby, polo shirts, Vespas, steroids, talking over people, or the color blue. (You don’t want to be a Tomgirl. Nobody will ever want to date or hire you. Everybody knows this.)

Daddy’s Little Prince

His parents’ goal is that he’ll settle down with a woman who can support him financially. The woman will not propose until after she has sowed every single one of her wild oats; meanwhile, he will wait, indulging only in self-bettering activities such as watching reruns of The West Wing, completing national park-themed jigsaw puzzles, and consuming Spirulina. His parents caution him not to live with the woman before marriage, because you know what they say about buying the cow when you can get the milk for free. (He is the cow.)

Pageant King

After entering into society as a Dude-utante, he was crowned Mr. Oregon three years in a row. He crushed every competition category, including Interview, Wetsuit, and Evening Flannel. He once burped the entire Bill of Rights and the cause closest to his heart is saving the turtles.

Loose Man

Everyone gossips about how he gives his body freely for women’s pleasure. Does he have no self-respect? If he and his partner discover they have gonorrhea, then it is definitely his fault because she has natural biological urges; he is just a slut.

Groomzilla

He wants everything to be perfect on his special day (this IS the day he finally loses his virginity!), and as a result, he goes crazy. He is bossy. He is fussy. Why is he showing so much emotion? His virginity is the ultimate gift he can give his wife (again, it’s cool if she has had sex before; totally fine). He wears a white tux at his wedding to symbolize his purity, goodness, and his innocent desire for marshmallows. When the time comes, he leans in and kisses his new bride on the left nostril because he is so delightfully inexperienced.

Trophy Husband

Some say he’s a bit of a bimbo, a bit of a gold-digger, and a bit of a flirt. He spends all of his wife’s paycheck shopping for cufflinks that won’t clash with the caviar. He is high-maintenance, but he’s worth it. He is never described by his personality.

Boxer Burner

He expects equal pay, which is confusing because he is a man. (It is common knowledge that men should make less because they spend half of their working hours going on shopping sprees in their minds.) Also known as a Career Man, he is selfish and unnatural because he puts his career before starting a family. When he eventually feels professionally and spiritually stable enough to settle down and conceive, the doctor obsessively mentions his geriatric sperm. He is 35.

Stay-at-Home-Dad

He chauffeurs their five children (“I want a whole basketball team!” she decided years ago) across the city for dental cleanings, Taekwondo classes, tuba lessons, and earwax removal appointments for the twins. But he’s a Stay-at-Home-Dad, so he does all of this without ever setting foot outside the home. He really misses the scent of pine, the feel of wind, and having friends outside of his online Fantasy Football league. He imagines that having friends in 3D would be delightful.

Daddy Blogger

His latest post reflected on his toddler’s first phrase, “Ban fossil fuels.” Well, it was either that or “Man, possums rule,” but the first made a killer thesis. It also really united the “Parents of Infant Activists” community that stemmed from the 501©(3) he co-founded with his prodigal child last year. His entrepreneurship/writing/first-of-its-kind Pulitzer is so adorable, his wife says. It is so precious and cute and sweet.

Cat Man

Since he is not married, everyone pities him and whispers that he must be growing penile cobwebs. Cat Man does not own a cat. (He’s actually highly allergic.)

Boob-Buster

He’s the archetypal Hero.

Male Scientist/ Athlete/ Engineer/ Mathematician/
Doctor/ Firefighter/ Boss/ CEO/ President

In the rare cases that a man is able to break the pink-tinted glass ceiling and therefore does not align with one of the aforementioned archetypes, his title must NEVER be mentioned without the word “male.”

08 Aug 20:20

I Will Teach You to Master Zen Meditation With These Zero Weird Tricks

by Alex Baia
Roslyn

I will take zero!

Does your 9-to-5 job make you crazy and stressed?

Do you wake up each morning with fear in your heart?

Do you fall asleep each night with doubts in your mind?

I felt these things once. Then I discovered a proven program of Zen meditation that voided my desires and left me with nothing but bliss.

I can teach you my secret.

The only catch?

You must be willing to do this:

Yes, that’s right, you must master my zero weird tricks.

Here is my offer to you today. For just zero payments of $0, I will teach you nothing. As soon as you have learned it, you will be free.

My program can be used in your home or apartment, in a cubicle, on a park bench, or in a prison cell, though these are all the same.

If you want my zero weird tricks, perfect: join my email list and I will send you no emails every day for zero days then unsubscribe you automatically. Goodbye.

My program is not like others.

Other programs promise flat stomachs, great riches, or the incessant clapping of hands and tongues.

I, instead, offer this:

Are you skeptical? I understand. I was skeptical once too. Skeptical of zero tricks.

But now I believe.

Why? Because nothing works. It works amazingly.

Do not just take my word for it.

Listen to the incredible testimonials of my students:

  • “                        ” – Laura
  • “                         ” – Daniel
  • “                        ” – Jeannette
  • “Wow, I love it!” – Bob

Bob was given a full refund of $0 and kicked out of my program.

Do you wish to avoid Bob’s mistakes?

I will show you how.

To begin, it is simple.

Fill a glass with water, and put the glass on a plate.

Have you done it? Good.

Now empty the glass.

Now remove the glass.

Now remove the plate.

What remains?

That, my friend, is my proven program.

It changes lives.

People hear of my program and give an incredulous stare. They want some “better tricks.”

They ask, “If I want to feel better, shouldn’t I maybe eat an apple or go for a walk?”

“Your program is so cheap! It sounds too good to be true!” they cry.

“Funny how life is like that,” I answer.

Now it is time to ask yourself… Are you ready to reach nirvana by closing your eyes and subtracting your thoughts from themselves?

Welcome.

Do you want to become one with a single raindrop that reflects the universe on its surface and holds emptiness at its center?

Hello.

Are you prepared to put away your fears and complaints, and stare at a waterfall for fifteen hours?

That’s nice, but it’s too many tricks. Come back in a month when you are ready to do less. Preferably nothing.

If you feel ready to start, then please do not look for my BUY NOW! button as I have none. I do not accept money since I have nowhere to put it.

Instead, you will find my program by looking through an infinite window in a room with no walls.

Or you will find it resting on a motionless breeze in a place with no air.

Or you will find it at my ClickFunnels landing page, here:

Choose one.

Then act now. Or later. Or never.

Will my offer today last? Surely nothing lasts.

One day you and I and everyone we know will cease.

But my zero weird tricks will remain.

A tasteless taste.

A soundless sound.

A formless form.

Are you contemplating these things?

Then my program is working already.

Could it help your friends and loved ones too?

Could we change the world together if you share my totally blank infographics on Instagram?

These questions remind me of a story.

Once a great master, Zeno, was approached by an ambitious politician.

The politician sought wisdom, so that he could create utopia.

“Oh, great master Zeno,” the politician said, “How shall I become enlightened?”

The master replied, “Enlightenment is simple. To find it, you must first climb a mountain with no height.”

The politician said, “Old man, that’s impossible! How do you climb a mountain with no height?”

The master replied, “Zero steps at a time.”

After pausing, he added, “And the next ten people to do so will automatically receive this FREE, limited-edition Contigo Travel Mug.”

08 Aug 09:43

maybe we’re finally getting through to peopleTIL the dictionary...



maybe we’re finally getting through to people

TIL the dictionary isn’t as much an instruction guide to the English language, as it is a record of how people are using it. Words aren’t added because they’re OK to use, but because a lot of people have been using them.

30 Jul 20:32

my calculations were correct, and even a randomly-chosen predictive bet was 99.999% more likely to turn out to be true in the year 2019 than t-rex's Dialup Boner Euphemism

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July 26th, 2019: T-Rex really did make this bet, ten years ago this very night!! It's like the old saying goes: what even is the point of having a decade-plus-long art project if you're not going to have your past self toss balls for your future self to catch?

– Ryan