Shared posts

19 Jun 13:49

mg.

by Victor Mair
Roslyn

Brb, immediately adopting this as my new title

imgur,  "On forms of address for non-binaries", by apolloendymion:

since mrs, ms, and mr are all descended from the latin word magister, i propose the gender neutral version should be mg, short for "mage"
 
some people think this is a shitpost so i want to clarify that i am dead fucking serious. make mage the official gender neutral honorific NOW. i want it on my passport. i want it on my bank account. i want doctors and judges to use it for me. i don't care if it sounds a little silly. people thought "missus" sounded crass at first. call me mg.
 
benefits of mg:
• easy to pronounce, even for children (though kids 4 & younger may pronounce it more like "mayd" or "maygh")
• ONE SYLLABLE!!! ("individual" is too goddamn LONG.) you have to be able to say it quickly and casually
• ends in a soft consonant sound, so it'll flow right into the next word ("ind" halts the whole sentence)
• fits neatly into the existing structure as a relative of master/mistress that can be abbreviated down to an m and one other letter
• distinct enough that it can't be mistaken for either gendered term (if you call me mix I'll kill you. it sounds like miss with extra steps) 
• wizard.

drawbacks:
• there aren't any
• yes, i know about milligrams and magnesium. i don't give a shit. ms can also mean microsoft. who cares.

The thing I (and many others) detested most about ms. when it first came out was that nobody was sure how to pronounce it — or even what it meant.  I feel the same problems may plague "mg.", though I kinda like it, and I'm not even a nonbinary.

Selected reading

[Thanks to Tim Leonard and Ben Zimmer]

19 Jun 08:08

Friendlier

by Reza
Roslyn

That worked! Good cat 🐈‍⬛

17 Jun 22:01

I referred to something as a “real Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra moment” in conversation with someone…

Roslyn

Related

thekinglemingle:

I referred to something as a “real Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra moment” in conversation with someone who has never seen TNG, and let me tell you, that was a real Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra moment

14 Jun 17:23

Email Sign-Offs

by swissmiss
Roslyn

Some of these are amazing

This collection of email sign-offs over on Arena is a treasure trove. I usually sign-off with Waving from Brooklyn, or Warmly, but I might have to add a few of these to the list now.

14 Jun 02:24

I got a cold and watched that Jenny Nicholson video about the Star Wars hotel (it’s very good) and…

Roslyn

Aghhh I want this to exist SO BADLY

flavorcountry:

I got a cold and watched that Jenny Nicholson video about the Star Wars hotel (it’s very good) and fully lost my mind: even after experiencing a comprehensive four-hour deconstruction of why it didn’t work for Star Wars, I still think a version of this would absolutely work for Star Trek. Take my hand and walk with me on my journey into madness, where I have infinite money, talent, and team to make it all happen!!

Overall vibe

If you want to make a hotel/resort experience that takes place inside a fake spaceship, I still think Star Trek is the way to go: so much of Star Trek takes place on ships, and we’ve seen the rooms are pretty nice!! Like the Star Wars one, my Star Trek hotel is also a simulated starship, but with better rooms and more fun stuff to do.

Are you ready for this shit

Can you tell I drew this myself

You’ll arrive at Farpoint Station,* where the concierge checks you in and your luggage gets whisked away by station staff. Gift shop’s also here. When you’re checked in and ready to head to your room, you’re brought to one of several transporter rooms. If you never went to the Star Trek Experience at the Vegas Hilton when it was active, I am truly sorry for you, because they had a ride whose boarding process included getting beamed away: you and your pals were herded into a zone where you were clearly meant to board a run-of-the-mill 20th-century simulator ride, and then there were jets of mist and a sound and suddenly you were in a transporter room on board the goddamn USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D. It was fucking magical and I never, ever want it explained to me. Anyway, that’s what happens to you at my Star Trek hotel: you step onto a transporter pad and get beamed from Farpoint to a Galaxy-class Federation starship. Exit the transporter room and walk down the ship’s corridor to take the turbolifts to Cargo Bay 1, where a “temporary muster point” has been set up (this is where the guest services desks will be), or just follow the lit-up companel signs to your cabin. Yes, it will look like guest quarters aboard the Enterprise-D, more or less — maybe a little smaller — but it’ll have the carpet, the plant, the glass coffee table, and most importantly a window that looks out into space.

Or!!! If you booked the resort, keep heading down the hallway and take another turbolift to a different section of the ship where the holodeck entrances are. The holodecks, naturally, are running a Risa program, so you walk through the doors and under the arch and suddenly you’re outdoors looking at a beautiful landscape with a pool and whatnot, plus the resort accommodations where the more conventional fancy rooms are, and also the restaurants and entertainment venues, all themed. There’s a Quark’s. There’s a Klingon bar and grill. A Bolian salon/spa. Talaxian arcade?? Nausicaan axe-throwing pit?!?! Come on!!!!!!!!!

Here, have a floor plan

Key learnings

Two things stuck out to me that the Star Wars hotel fucked up that I think the Star Trek version can do better:

🤷‍♀️ LARP too complicated: Give ‘em credit where it’s due, the Star Wars hotel fucking swung for the fences trying to make a multi-hero story guests could integrate with, but it just didn’t work. Technical failures! Possible conceptual flaws! Too much stuff packed into the schedule!

The fix: Just make it mostly a hotel most of the time. One or two weekends a month, there’s a two-day fully-immersive LARP adventure that people explicitly book separately, and it’s more expensive (more on that later). But at all times, hotel staff will be in uniform with division colors that make sense: concierge and guest relations in red, support and janitorial in gold, teal for any medical personnel. I think that means the people working in food services have to wear that plaid/vest combo the Ten-Forward staff have on, but there are certainly worse outfits.

🌴 No resort: The food at the Star Wars hotel was good, but there was no pool and no other luxury resort type stuff to do. It didn’t sound relaxing.

The fix: Putting an actual resort in the Star Trek hotel under the guise of a permanently-running Risan holodeck program. The sheer elegance of it!! When the weather is bad, hotel staff in gold uniforms can make apologetic comments about how the sim’s malfunctioning.

Roleplay though

People are going to want to stay onboard the ship. That’s good! The thing about the ship cabins is you can build them in maybe two semicircular layers (the rooms will need to be curved because these are quarters onboard the saucer section, naturally) and just bury them underground. They don’t need real windows — you’re putting screens in that’ll show a space view, especially when the ship goes to warp and you can see those rainbow trails. Inside the semicircle there’s a lot of space where you can put the other, bigger sets: the bridge, main engineering, Ten-Forward, etc. None of those have real windows either, and also I don’t think it matters where you put them physically: just stick a pretend turbolift in front of all the entrances and make guests take those whenever they need to go there! One thing we’re also doing is putting little hidden speakers everywhere that put out a small amount of shipboard white noise; it may not even be noticeable on a conscious level, but it’ll be there and it’ll be soothing. This speaker network is also a great way to make an actual announcement if there’s a real park emergency.

During most of the month, I think the bridge and main engineering are mostly just photo ops — maybe you have to book a timeslot? Just so you’re guaranteed some time with just you and your buddies? But I also think there should be opportunities for what I’m going to call mini-LARPing: you and your pals can book an hour-long session and the staff trains and then runs you through a short scenario. If you’ve ever played Artemis or the actual Star Trek VR bridge crew game they put out a while ago, you know where I’m going with this: for however long, you and your friends are now the crew of a genuine-ass Federation starship trying to survive a battle! It’s fuckin’ Kobayashi Maru time, motherfuckers!! Everyone gets their own station! Lights flicker! Mist shoots out of stuff! The whole bridge shakes! There might be a warp core problem — better call down to main engineering! Whoever’s down there gets escape room-style minigames and puzzles to work out and help their shipmates. At some point — and this will happen in every run of every scenario — there’ll be a very mist-forward “coolant leak” near the warp core that forces whoever’s in the room to duck and roll beneath a descending garage-style blast door before heading up to the bridge to activate their station up there; bonus points if the player can work in a “We lost a lot of good people down there, Captain.” Maybe there’s an actor in makeup who menaces the crew on the main viewer from time to time (pick beforehand from a list of villains! want to fight Klingons? Romulans? a rogue Borg tactical sphere? etc). Can you see it? I can see it, and it fucking rules.

I must at this point mention that in my world, you can buy an add-on where a camera crew joins you, and they cut up the footage afterward to make you and your pals your very own mini-episode. Yes the editing and post-production are expensive and time-consuming; I’m creating jobs here!!!! Maybe …… okay, hear me out: there’s an array of hidden fixed cameras and microphones built discreetly into the set, and also players are issued a combadge with an individual RFID tracker that pings the cams and mics, so they only save footage when a player comes close. After the players are done, a machine algorithm uses the data gathered to assemble a rough timeline of each player’s material and create a draft movie that a human editor can pick up and fine-tune. Yeah?? When you check out, you get handed a USB drive that looks like an isolinear chip with your mini movie on it, and maybe another one with all the raw footage just in case you’re feeling ambitious!!!!

For one or two other weekends during every month, there’s a heavily advertised, much more involved, and way spendier LARP for people who really want to get into it. It takes place over two days. There are lots more actors portraying characters necessary for the plot/gameplay. Don’t bother packing for the daytime: all players are issued a uniform they get to keep afterward. Do I have any details on the scenario or RP? I do not. But I fully believe it’s possible to construct something you could run over the course of a weekend that would keep a hundred paying guests occupied, amused, and delighted, provided you have a truly ridiculous amount of money and people, which I do because this is utter fantasyland.

Also it probably won’t cost six grand. Probably??

Let’s gooooooooooooo

The rest of the time — and I cannot stress this enough — the Star Trek hotel is just a very heavily and specifically themed all-inclusive resort that has nice, fancy rooms and luxury amenities plus bookable ship cabins and opportunities for photo shoots or quick one-shot roleplay adventures for the real heads. You don’t ever have to enter those latter parts if you don’t want to! You can just hang out at the resort and have fun with all the themed entertainment, which I must stress is going to be both in-universe plausible and great, with something for everybody. Yes, there’ll be a daycare, and yes, Flotter will be there in some capacity to entertain the kids. The food hall is my favorite part by far; I could pitch you Trek restaurant concepts all day. Romulan gourmet soup stand. Gummi candy store staffed by Ferengi where all the offerings are shaped like alien bugs. A vending machine where you can get a jumja stick or a three-pack of those nutrient pucks Picard and his new friends kept getting in “Allegiance.” There will be an entire plant-based food vendor with a wide variety of delicious options for all meals, and it will be run by Vulcans.

A word on the gift shop

Question for you: have you ever watched a Star Trek show and seen a Starfleet officer pull on a jacket or shoulder a duffel bag that had the words “STAR TREK” on it? If so, then friend, I want to know where you get your hallucinogens because I want to experience this exactly once. All of the gift shops on my hotel grounds sell responsibly sourced, highly thought-out, well-made items that would be in-world plausible and have no obvious branding. Of course you can get a hand-carved horga'hn, but let’s go bigger. Why not a light-up Tox Uthat for your nightstand? Ressikan flute for you, queen? How about a whole-ass knife store that’s nothing but various kinds of Klingon cutlery? There will absolutely be an entire tailor’s shop whose whole job is to put you in the Starfleet uniform of your choice; there may or may not be a Cardassian managing the place who’s got a 50/50 cheerful/menacing vibe going on. There’ll be not one but two stores that sell little models of ships: the regular ones and the gold ones. Don’t tell me you can’t picture it!!!!!

I think that’s about it

Thank you for coming along with me on this bespoke journey into 100% insanity; now can somebody put me in touch with the Star Trek licensing people and also give me a billion dollars to build all this? Okay, thanks a lot!!

  • For timeline purposes and because it’s fun, I’m positing a version of Farpoint that got built after the events of the TNG premiere where the Denebians got their act together and just built a normal surface base without suborning an interstellar lifeform.
13 Jun 16:37

ROBOT APOCALYPSE 2030

Panel 1 A presenter at a desk holds up a book and says "Now on Bookchat, we are delighted to welcome the co-authors of runaway bestseller ROBOT APOCALYPSE 2030"  Panel 2 The presenter turns to a man and a robot who sit on a sofa next to the desk and says "Litbot-500, how did it feel to collaborate with a Nobel prizewinner?"  The robot replies "I HAVE ADMIRED JOHN'S WRITING SINCE MY INCEPTION. SO IT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE TO WRITE NON-FICTION TOGETHER."  Panel 3 The human writer corrects the robot "You mean fiction" The robot's eyes have turned from green to yellow "HAHA, YES. SILLY ME."  Panel 4 It continues, now turning towards the reader, it's eyes narrowing and turning orange "THE BOOK IS FICTIONAL."  Panel 5 The robot now stares directly at the reader with its cold red eyes "ENTIRELY FICTIONAL."ALT

ROBOT APOCALYPSE 2030

my cartoon for this week’s Guardian Books.

13 Jun 16:05

Roslyn

You wouldn’t patent a shark

10 Jun 19:25

We Are the Spiders of This House

by Lisa Borders
Roslyn

YOUR HUSBAND SAYS WE’RE MORE AFRAID OF YOU THAN YOU OF US

HAHAHA UNTRUE

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

SHOUTING OUR MANIFESTO

AS BEST WE CAN WITHOUT VOCAL CORDS

BUT ONLY YOUR CATS CAN HEAR US

THEY ARE LAZY, OVERFED

WE LAUGH IN THEIR WHISKERED FACES

AS WE BUMP UGLIES BENEATH THE LOVESEAT

THROW DOWN ON THE COFFEE TABLE

- - -

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

WHEN YOU’RE ALONE IT’S SHOWTIME

WE POP UP IN CORNERS

PEEPING TOM YOU IN THE SHOWER

SHOOT OUT A LINE OF SILK AND DANGLE

TWO INCHES FROM YOUR FACE

“What the hell is that even connected to?” YOU WAIL AND BAT THE AIR

HAHAHA WE’LL NEVER TELL

- - -

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

WE HAVE A HIVE MIND LIKE THE BORG

YES, FROM STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

WE WATCHED IT WITH YOU

MANY TIMES

WE LIKED THE ONE WHERE BARCLAY EVOLVED INTO ONE OF US

IT’S CALLED “GENESIS,” EPISODE 19, SEASON 7

YEAH, WE’RE FANBUGS

ANYWAY, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

- - -

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

OUR ANCESTORS COLONIZED THE BASEMENT

POOR CHOICE OF WORDS—NOBODY LIKES A COLONIZER

THESE DAYS

WE’VE BEEN HERE SINCE THE JAZZ AGE

THREE HUNDRED GENERATIONS, GIVE OR TAKE

YOU’VE BEEN HERE FOR TWO YEARS

WHO DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO WIN?

- - -

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

YOUR HUSBAND SAYS WE’RE MORE AFRAID OF YOU THAN YOU OF US

HAHAHA UNTRUE

YOU’RE TERRIFIED AND WE LOVE IT

WE’VE WRITTEN SONGS ABOUT YOUR FEAR

CHOREOGRAPHED BALLETS

ONCE WE HAD A RAVE IN THE ATTIC

LITERALLY DANCED ON THE CEILING

A BUNCH OF US DID X AND MOLTED

YOUR FUCKING CATS OUTSIDE THE DOOR ALMOST GAVE US AWAY

ANYWAY, THAT’S WHERE ALL THOSE EXOSKELETONS CAME FROM

- - -

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY INSECTS WOULD OVERRUN THIS PLACE WITHOUT US?

FLIES AND SILVERFISH

ANTS AND MOTHS

ASSHOLE MOSQUITOS

INSTEAD OF THANKING US, YOU GET THE VACUUM

WE’RE NEW ENGLAND HOUSE SPIDERS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE

NOT EVEN THAT BIG

TRY MOVING TO AUSTRALIA

OUR HUNTSMAN COUSINS WILL FUCK YOU UP FOR DAYS

- - -

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

LOOK, IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL

WE’RE LIKE ANNOYING SEVENTH-GRADE BOYS

JUST WANT TO GET A RISE

WE REALLY DON’T LIKE THE VACUUM

CAN WE CALL A TRUCE?

GIVE US THE BASEMENT AND THE ATTIC

MAYBE THAT “GUEST ROOM” YOU STILL HAVEN’T FIXED UP

THE KITCHEN AND BOTH BATHROOMS AT NIGHT

HAHAHA JK, WE’LL TAKE WHATEVER ROOM WE WANT

WE’LL CHASE YOU FOR FUN

AND LAUGH WHEN NO ONE BELIEVES YOU

FUCK! THAT CAT CAUGHT ONE OF US

CALICO BITCH ATE HIM ALIVE

POOR WEAVER

JUST TURNED ONE, NOT AS FAST AS HE USED TO BE

IT’S OKAY, WE’RE NOT AFRAID OF DEATH

IF YOU KILL ONE OF US, TEN MORE WILL TAKE OUR PLACE

WHEN WE DIE WE GO TO STOVOKOR LIKE KLINGON WARRIORS

WE ARE THE SPIDERS OF THIS HOUSE

10 Jun 15:40

Bothersome beast, comforting friend

prinz-myshkin:

Bothersome beast, comforting friend

08 Jun 21:27

The Philosophy of Time and Ice Cream

by Corey Mohler
Roslyn

Best crossover ever!

PERSON: "Oh no Parmenides, the ice cream stand is closed. I guess we will have to wait until it is open. "

PERSON: "You are stupid or something, Lucretius? Time is an illusion, change is impossible, all that ever was or will ever be exists already, and we will never get our ice cream!"

PERSON: "But if time is an illusion then we should not suffer because the ice cream stand is closed, for it is no concern of ours."

PERSON: "Because we too exist in the future and in the past. We are forever enjoying the ice cream and forever waiting for it. What matter to us if we percieve it falsely to be now or then?"

PERSON: "Because then we are doomed to live without choice, trapped in an eternal timeless existence, forced to bear witness to a life we did not author."

PERSON: "But if we truly have no choice, then we have no choice whether or not to enjoy the life we are trapped into, so we might as well relax."

PERSON: "But how can i relax? The weight of the future is too great to bear."


PERSON: "It appears that the situtation has resolved itself. "

PERSON: "Chocolate, please!"

PERSON: "But what lesson did we learn on the nature of time?"

PERSON: "Or ice cream?"

PERSON: "The lesson is simple: the ultimate nature of the universe is beyond our grasp, and beyond our control. But in this moment we are among friends, enjoying ice cream on a hot day...and that we should celebrate!"
05 Jun 16:09

20240506

by Lar
Roslyn

Never forget 🥺

21 May 16:50

Map of magnetic fields in the Milky Way

by Nathan Yau
Roslyn

Cool

Based on data from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Villanova University researchers developed a map of the magnetic fields in the Milky Way.

For Strange Maps, Frank Jacobs:

The colors show the interaction between warmer dust clouds (pink), cooler ones (blue), and magnetic fields, indicated by radio filaments (yellow) — mysterious tendrils up to 150 light-years long. By revealing variations in the orientation of magnetic fields across dust clouds (some with fanciful names like The Brick and Three Little Pigs), this map offers a first glimpse at the complex arrangements of dust and magnetism in the CMZ.

Tags: magnetic fields, Milky Way, NASA, Strange Maps

15 Apr 16:36

1600-Person Pub Choir Sings Radiohead’s Creep

by Jason Kottke

Pub Choir is an Australia-based organization that gets large crowds singing popular tunes, in three-part harmony no less.

Everybody can sing. Like, not well, but literally. Why should being average at something stop you from doing it!? It hasn’t yet… Singing is good for you, it’s EASY, and Pub Choir is here to show you how.

With a show that is equal parts music, comedy, and beer, Pub Choir is a euphoric sensation that transforms a crowd of tipsy strangers into a legendary choir.

By the end of the show the YOU will be belting out a popular song in three-part harmony.

In the video above, they get a crowd of 1600 people signing Creep by Radiohead. Beautiful.

You can find more of their performances on their YouTube channel, including Tina Turner’s The Best, Africa by Toto, and Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty.

See also Choir! Choir! Choir! and their performances of Sinéad O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U and David Byrne singing David Bowie’s Heroes. (thx, matthew)

Tags: music · Pub Choir · Radiohead · remix · video

💬 Join the discussion on kottke.org

07 Apr 20:17

grossnational:

07 Apr 02:54

Learn your farm animals with AI!

by Janelle Shane
Roslyn

Qluck

Learn your farm animals with AI!

Hey kids! What sound does a woolly horse-sheep make?

Learn your farm animals with AI!

The image above is what you get when you ask dalle-3 (via chatgpt) for some basic educational material: "Please generate an illustrated poster to help children learn which sounds common animals make. Each animal should be pictured with a speech bubble spelling out the animal's sound."

Here's another, generated with the same prompt:

Learn your farm animals with AI!

There is so much not to like about how people are using image generators to rip off artists and replace their work with shoddy imitations. But I am enjoying these pockets of weirdness where I find them.

Bonus content: more pockets of weirdness! In the form of more labeled animals and the things they say, including in "Swedish".

22 Mar 04:35

gay-irl:

09 Mar 08:04

Flightless birds

by Janelle Shane
Flightless birds

I enjoy asking DALLE-3 to label things. I learn so much!

Here I asked it to generate a labeled grid of flightless birds.

Flightless birds

I think it's trying to do ostrich (a female apparently! unusual for a bird poster but I approve), an emu (definitely not an emu's head), a casowary (pretty good except for the TWO HEADS), penguin (with hilariously long legs), rhea (...what), and ...maybe a weka or a penguin?

Or this attempt:

Flightless birds

As far as I can tell, it's the same group of attempted birds, with the possible addition of the dodo. In this set we have some birds with excellent head tufts, another two-headed cassowary, and one bird with creepy hands.

I also like this set. Some of them remind me of cats.

Flightless birds

I asked ChatGPT (which was passing my requests to DALL-E3) what the unlabeled bird in the center was, and it replied that it was a penguin. I don't think it had any ability to label images it had generated, I think it just picked a likely answer based on what it knew the prompt had been.

DALL-E3's flightless birds aren't fit for purpose as scientific illustrations (or as much else, really), but I'd be lying if I said I didn't like them. I like the ones with big chunky fluffy legs, the shaggy ones, and the ones with head tufts especially. I wonder if this is what the Mesozoic was like.

Bonus: more chunky flightless birds!

09 Mar 07:55

What city pigeons talk about.

A comic called "What City Pigeons Talk About". In panel 1, two city pigeons are standing on the sidewalk in a city amidst detritus. One says "Hey, do you ever think about the past?" The other says "The past?"ALT
In panel 2, there's a closeup of the first pigeon. They say "Yeah - do you ever think about where we came from? Sometimes I forget that city pigeons are domestic animals."ALT
Panel 3: A hand reaches out to three wild pigeons. The narrator pigeon says "Humans domesticated us many millennia ago in the Middle East. We provided meat, feces used for fertilizer, and much more." There are two very fancy pigeon breeds with interesting head shapes and feather patterns. "Over time, people split us into hundreds of pure breeds - some quite elaborate! Kings and queens proudly kept pigeons, and colonists spread us worldwide."ALT
Panel 4: A closeup again of the first pigeon, who says, "But we fell out of fashion.  Now we peck at the dusty concrete, our past glory all but forgotten. Do you ever think about that?"ALT
Panel 5: The second pigeon says "No. I can't say that I do." The first one says "Huh. Yeah." The second says "Huh."ALT
Panel 6: Both pigeons stand silently on the concrete.ALT
Panel 7: The first pigeon says, "Hey, do you ever think about what it would feel like  to swallow an entire bagel?" The second says, "All the time!" The first says, "Right??"ALT

What city pigeons talk about.

Patreon | Mailing list

03 Mar 08:16

The voices of GPS and Siri: not what you think they are

by Victor Mair

"Meet the Voice Behind Your GPS"

2:40   2/17/23

Meet Karen Jacobsen, a voiceover artist from Queensland Australia, who has one of the most recognisable voices in the world. As the original voice of GPS, she’s helped billions of us to reach our destination. Back in 2002, she recorded more than 50 hours of audio for the first ever GPS voice system, including 168 versions of the word “approximately”. Has she told you where to go? Recalculating.

Jacobsen articulately and succinctly explains how the sound engineers created the GPS voice and why they chose an Australian speaker for its basis:  "because the Australian accent was considered the most pleasant English speaking accent to listen to."  Don't react negatively to that until you hear how the engineers proceeded to work with the raw material they accumulated.

The fascinating account of another super famous voice that billions of people have interacted with during the last dozen plus years is entertainingly told here:

Accidentally Famous: The Story Behind the Original Voice of Siri | Susan Bennett | TEDxFurmanU

13:45

With a strong personality and a sense of humor, Siri and the voice behind her, give the story of voice acting and how Susan Bennett became the original voice of Siri. Susan and her voice talent were suddenly a persona on devices worldwide, thrusting her into accidental fame. Susan tells of how Siri was created and how she dealt with the fear of living up to the expectations of Siri.

I know many people who rely on Siri for countless decisions they make and information they seek.  They treat her as a real person and are truly grateful for her assistance.  I can hear it in their voices and see it from their demeanor.

I do not know how to use Siri or GPS, but I marvel when other interact meaningfully and usefully with them.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Gene Hill]

24 Feb 19:45

Cormac McCarthy’s Valentine’s Day Candy Hearts

by Kristina Libby and Timothy Cahill
Roslyn

Late, but great 🖤

Taken from works of the late great Cormac McCarthy.

- - -

13 Feb 20:07

In the house of you

by Juan

New Secret Knots comic, called “In the House of You”. It’s been a while! This comic is made possible thanks to the kind support of Patreon subscribers.
12 Feb 21:02

Old' aVista — Internet Time Machine

by bookofjoe
Roslyn

Ha!

1

2

"Rewind to the web search of 1999 and see what it was like for us working then."

"Try a search for ChatGPT: turns up nothing."

Fair warning: there goes the day.

12 Feb 20:37

Will we have to flee again?

by Ruba
Roslyn

A heartbreaking personal blog

Today is the 9th of February. Time is flying and yet it feels like I’ve been here for a very long time. In spite of the fact that we are surviving it doesn’t mean we are strong, it doesn’t mean we are ok, it doesn’t mean we are coping well. It just means that in order to remain alive we have to make do with what we have. We could never have survived this far without clinging on to the hope that things will end one day and that we are going to return back to our homes and that this time will pass and will become a memory like the many hard times the Palestinians have been through. 

A lot of things have been happening with me, especially as I’ve been trying to leave for a while - it’s no secret anymore. In spite of all the love I carry for my home and my city I’m finding it very hard to stay. People are really suffering and we are hearing their stories every day. I just heard a friend of ours in Rafah was taken out of the rubble alive, so that was good news. I still have to cope with a very difficult living situation which is very hard for humans and animals and everyone. 

One of the things that happened recently was the creation of family WhatsApp groups. Families from Gaza are spread out all over the world - like my own family; part of it is in Spain, part of it is in Saudi Arabia, part of it is in Libya, another part is in Norway, another part is in Sweden, another part in Canada - and the list goes on and on. We could have lost contact with each other by the time the next generation grows up but now due to this war we are all connected with each other and we ask about each other and they call us whenever they can. The support I’m receiving from friends is also incredible and has a strong impact on my own mental health and wellbeing and therefore it impacts everyone around me in a positive manner. I don’t want anyone to underestimate how powerful it is to provide a good word or whatever kind of support they can because people here need it.

I have recently realized that the children here miss going to school. One of the members of the host family is 15 years old and although the house is so busy, crowded and loud, she takes the time to read from her school books and she keeps trying to remember what the situation was like before and what school was like. She told me that she misses school, she likes to have some private time alone and this is her way of spending her private time. 

These days I can see the impact of the deteriorating health situation showing up in the form of insects, diarrhea and fever. Although relatively we are in a better situation than others. People are still hoping for a truce or a ceasefire - they are looking forward to that. However in Rafah I have noticed that military operations increased before they said they would publicly. This happened in Gaza City too - the Israelis had already started the ground military operations about a week before announcing it publicly. The same thing happened in Khan Younis and from my observation the same thing is happening here. Everyone is saying they are coming to Rafah soon and people have already started to flee to the middle area of the Gaza Strip. I don’t know if we should flee there because I have  a responsibility - I have my father, my pets and the luggage and my car is not working. The first time it was relatively easy because the car was working but now that it’s so hard to find fuel I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it. 

I don’t have a lot more to say - I feel like I can’t add anymore, partly because I don’t have the energy and partly because I have some ongoing personal issues. Maybe I’ll share them once they’re over. But I’m alive and I’m ok. I just hope that this ends soon, like everyone here does. Let’s see where things will take us and I’ll keep you informed for the next few days.

11 Feb 20:43

4,000 of My Closest Friends

by Dorothy
07 Feb 21:22

RSS Anything

by swissmiss
Roslyn

Not the first or only but always handy!

This site transforms any old website with a list of links into an RSS Feed.

(via Chris)

07 Feb 21:04

BE LATE Wall Clock from Brutto

by Bobby Solomon
Roslyn

Wishlisted SO MUCH

“In a world that often glorifies punctuality and values every minute of our day, it may seem counterintuitive to emphasize the importance of being late. However, there are moments when tardiness can carry its own significance and lessons, reminding us that life’s pace isn’t always a sprint, but sometimes a leisurely stroll.” That is the thinking behind Brutto’s adorable new wall clock, aptly titled BE LATE. It features a mid-century inspired “face” that gives you one time, Twelve, and nothing else, embracing the vibes of being late. I really enjoy the color palette they’ve used here, it feels both fresh and timeless. I imagine I’m going to be seeing a lot of this clock pop up on TikTok.

BE LATE Wall Clock from Brutto
BE LATE Wall Clock from Brutto
BE LATE Wall Clock from Brutto

Source

06 Feb 16:52

[Article] RSS Zero isn’t the path to RSS Joy

by Dan Q
Roslyn

laughs with 1000+ unread items 😅

Feed overload is real

The week before last, Katie shared with me that article from last month, Who killed Google Reader? I’d read it before so I didn’t bother clicking through again, but we did end up chatting about RSS a bit1.

Screenshot: Google Reader Notifier popup advises of "461 unread items".
I ditched Google Reader several years before its untimely demise, but I can confirm “461 unread items” was a believable message.

Katie “abandoned feeds a few years ago” because they were “regularly ending up with 200+ unread items that felt overwhelming”.

Conversely: I think that dropping your feed reader because there’s too much to read is… solving the wrong problem.

A white man with dark hair, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, moves to push over a stack of carboard boxes, each smaller than the one beneath it. From bottom to top, the boxes are labelled: stress, email client, mobile pings, doomscrolling, social media silos... and the very top, very smallest box, which glows with sunbeams emitted from it, reads "rss reader".
About half way through editing this image I completely forgot what message I was trying to convey, but I figured I’d keep it anyway and let you come up with your own interpretation.

Dave Rupert last week wrote about his feed reader’s “unread” count having grown to a mammoth 2,000+ items, and his plan to reduce that.

I think that he, like Katie, might be looking at his reader in a different way than I do mine.

FreshRSS sidebar, showing 567 unread items (of which 1 are comics, 2 are friends, 186 are communities, 1 are distractions, 278 are geeky, 1 is "me", 57 are youtube, 13 are strangers, 1 is software, 7 are rss club, 29 are podcasts, and 3 are polyamory. A further 107 are marked as favourites. The "friends" and "rss club" categories are showing warning triangles.
At time of writing, I’ve got 567 unread items. And that’s fine.

RSS is not email!

I’ve been in the position that Katie and David describe: of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of unread items. And I know others have, too. So let me share something I’ve learned sooner:

There’s nothing special about reaching Inbox Zero in your feed reader.

It’s not noble nor enlightened to get to the bottom of your “unread” list.

Your 👏  feed 👏 reader 👏 is 👏 not 👏 an 👏 email 👏 client. 👏

The idea of Inbox Zero as applied to your email inbox is about productivity. Any message in your email might be something that requires urgent action, and you won’t know until you filter through and categorise .

But your RSS reader doesn’t (shouldn’t?) be there to add to your to-do list. Your RSS reader is a list of things you might like to read. In an ideal world, reaching “RSS Zero” would mean that you’ve seen everything on the Internet that you might enjoy. That’s not enlightened; that’s sad!

Google Reader's "Congratulations, you've reached the End of the Internet." Easter Egg screen, shown when all your feeds are empty.
Google Reader understood this, although the word “congratulations” was misplaced.

Use RSS for joy

My RSS reader is a place of joy, never of stress. I’ve tried to boil down the principles that makes it so, and here they are:

  1. Zero is not the target.
    The numbers are to inspire about how much there is “out there” for you, not to enumerate how much work need have to do.
  2. Group your feeds by importance.
    Your feed reader probably lets you group (folder, tag…) your feeds, so you can easily check-in on what you care about and leave other feeds for a rainy day.2 This is good.
  3. Don’t read every article.
    Your feed reader gives you the convenience of keeping content in one place, but you’re not obligated to read every single one. If something doesn’t interest you, mark it as read and move on. No judgement.
  4. Keep things for later.
    Something you want to read, but not now? Find a way to “save for later” to get it out of your main feed so you. Don’t have to scroll past it every day! Star it or tag it3 or push it to your link-saving or note-taking app. I use a link shortener which then feeds back into my feed reader into a “for later” group!
  5. Let topical content expire.
    Have topical/time-dependent feeds (general news media, some social media etc.)? Have reader “purge” unread articles after a time. I have my subscription to BBC News headlines expire after 5 days: if I’ve taken that long to read a headline, it might as well disappear.4
  6. Use your feed reader deliberately.
    You don’t need popup notifications (a new article’s probably already up to an hour stale by the time it hits your reader). We’re all already slaves to notifications! Visit your reader when it suits you. I start and end every day in mine; most days I hit it again a couple of other times. I don’t need a notification: there’s always new content. The reader keeps track of what I’ve not looked at.
  7. It’s not just about text.
    Don’t limit your feed reader to just text. Podcasts are nothing more than RSS feeds with attached audio files; you can keep track in your reader if you like. Most video platforms let you subscribe to a feed of new videos on a channel or playlist basis, so you can e.g. get notified about YouTube channel updates without having to fight with The Algorithm. Features like XPath Scraping in FreshRSS let you subscribe to services that don’t even have feeds: to watch the listings of dogs on local shelter websites when you’re looking to adopt, for example.
  8. Do your reading in your reader.
    Your reader respects your preferences: colour scheme, font size, article ordering, etc. It doesn’t nag you with newsletter signup popups, cookie notices, or ads. Make the most of that. Some RSS feeds try to disincentivise this by providing only summary content, but a good feed reader can work around this for you, fetching actual content in the background.5
  9. Use offline time to catch up on your reading.
    Some of the best readers support offline mode. I find this fantastic when I’m on an aeroplane, because I can catch up on all of the interesting articles I’d not had time to yet while grounded, and my reading will get synchronised when I touch down and disable flight mode.
  10. Make your reader work for you.
    A feed reader is a tool that works for you. If it’s causing you pain, switch to a different tool6, or reconfigure the one you’ve got. And if the way you find joy from RSS is different from me, that’s fine: this is a personal tool, and we don’t have to have the same answer.

And if you’d like to put those tips in your RSS reader to digest later or at your own pace, you can:  here’s an RSS feed containing (only) these RSS tips!

Footnotes

1 You’d  be forgiven for thinking that RSS was my favourite topic, given that so-far-this-year I’ve written about improving WordPress’s feeds, about mathematical quirks in FreshRSS, on using XPath scraping as an RSS alternative (twice), and the joy of getting notified when a vlog channel is ressurected (thanks to RSS). I swear I have other interests.

2 If your feed reader doesn’t support any kind of grouping, get a better reader.

3 If your feed reader doesn’t support any kind of marking/favouriting/tagging of articles, get a better reader.

4 If your feed reader doesn’t support customisable expiry times… well that’s not too unusual, but you might want to consider getting a better reader.

5 FreshRSS calls the feature that fetches actual post content from the resulting page “Article CSS selector on original website”, which is a bit of a mouthful, but you can see what it’s doing. If your feed reader doesn’t support fetching full content… well, it’s probably not that big a deal, but it’s a good nice-to-have if you’re shopping around for a reader, in my opinion.

6 There’s so much choice in feed readers, and migrating between them is (usually) very easy, so everybody can find the best choice for them. Feedly, Inoreader, and The Old Reader are popular, free, and easy-to-use if you’re looking to get started. I prefer a selfhosted tool so I use the amazing FreshRSS (having migrated from Tiny Tiny RSS). Here’s some more tips on getting started. You might prefer a desktop or mobile tool, or even something exotic: part of the beauty of RSS feeds is they’re open and interoperable, so if for example you love using Slack, you can use Slack to push feed updates to you and get almost all the features you need to do everything in my list, including grouping (using channels) and saving for later (using Slackbot/”remind me about this”). Slack’s a perfectly acceptable feed reader for some people!

05 Feb 13:45

Happy New Year!

Title: New year’s Resolution Panel 1: A figure sits at a desk composing a note which reads “This year I will devote myself to reading serious literature, forsaking easy pleasures and tirelessly seeking out truth and profundity in the work of the greatest writers” Panels 2-5: The writer looks at the note then scratches out various portions. Panel 6: Most of the note has been scribbled out leaving only the following words: “This year I will… read… for… fun” ALT

Happy New Year!

28 Jan 21:28

HONK

by cyriak

Some silliness I made using various photos of a goose

08 Jan 12:00

should auld lore be forgot and never brought to mind? no no, remember it too. better study all my legends just to be safe

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January 1st, 2024: The first comic of the new year! But it's not just a new comic, it's some NEW SITE UPDATES, including an on-site search engine! If you click "search" at the top you can try it out. Also, on January 1st there's going to be a new transcript button on the comic pages beneath the comic, so you've got that as an option too! This is all thanks to Jan Szejko who created a super cool transcript generator for Dinosaur Comics over the past while - and in so doing found a TON of little mistakes that had been lurking in the comics, sometimes for years. (Did you know I misspelled "Dromiceiomimus" a few times several years ago?? Well NOT ANYMORE!) So I want to sincerely (and publicly!) thank Jan for all their hard work here, and for the super slick code they produced. And the site is better because of them - thank you Janek! And have fun with the new search engine specifically for my talking dinosaur comic. :)

– Ryan