We have lost Janelle Shane in the Meta-verse

You may already be familiar with the very fun person whose writing includes the book, You Look Like a Thing and I Love You. She tests AI networks by training them on large samples of certain kinds of writing, then takes a look at the output when they try to reproduce such things. In the olden days of 3 or 4 years ago, the “writing” was extremely short. AI couldn’t manage much in the way of good grammar, so things spun off the rails very quickly if you asked for even 5 words in a row. As a result, much of the fun she originally shared on her blog consisted of things like AI-generated names for hypothetical metal bands. Later there were song titles. Still later things got longer, although that worked best when working with very predictable data sets, like AI-generated recipes.

But as time has gone on, the AI networks with which Shane experiments have gotten more capable, and she has finally decided to go full meta. She asked an AI network to generate a blog post for her own blog by training it on her past blog posts. The very first one was quite sharp:

Welcome to AI Weirdness! In today’s blog post, I wondered what would happen if I trained a neural net to generate numbers in the range [-1,1].
As you might expect, the neural net started generating numbers that were more than a little odd: 0.9286401128496419 0.06491227721694329 0.9879906435756054 0.745677946535383 0.679450170988766 0.1065339560745793 -0.2977483969426606 0.05673549481890381 0.4304206725753945 0.7544217043730188 -0.8960721608636865 0.7224255864247317 -0.2139997613483644 0.0295771285597738 0.619233475195753 0.05578493537857566 -0.630712498931699 -0.0506476255464803 0.3256973044703828 0.0988207888549295

Isn’t that one awesome? I mean, when I saw “-0.6307…” I just knew it was going to be hysterical, and then it ended “…31699” and I just completely lost it. OMG 2 FUN-E! 

Yet now I am left with the tragic notion that in the future, I will never know whether a post on Shane’s blog was written by her with a bit of AI output placed where she consciously chose to put it, or written by the AI from scratch. I have lost Shane to meta-space. Make sure you go and get your last look at her blog before Skynet takes over.


Allen Ginsberg Was Only Momentarily Accomplished

So, on Saturday I was writing about Sen Harris and how Newsweek is shocked, SHOCKED to find racism on its editorial pages.

In doing so, I may have mentioned the poet who wrote this:

Come on come on kiss my full lipped, wet tongue, eyes open-
animal in the zoo looking out of a skull cage-you
smile, I’m here so are you, hand tracing your abdomen
from nipple down rib cage smooth skinn’d past belly veins,

along muscle to your silk-shiny groin
across your long prick down your right thigh
up the smooth road muscle wall to titty again-

Come on go down on me your throat
swallowing my shaft to the base tongue
cock solid suck-
I’ll do the same to your stiff prick’s soft skin, lick your ass-
Come on Come on, open up, legs apart here this pillow
under your buttock
Come on take it here’s vaseline the hard on here’s
your old ass lying easy up in the air- here’s
a hot prick at yr soft mouthed asshole- just relax and let it in-
Yeah just relax hey Carlos lemme in, I love you

[Read more…]

A Prelude to a Criticism

So I have something coming up on Monday. It’s a bit different from the usual fare around here, though I hope still relevant. As a cryptic introduction, I thought I’d quote a few reviews of Allen Ginsberg’s book, Mind Breaths from the site GoodReads. None of these will be featured or even quoted in Monday’s piece, but still, reading them might prove interesting:

[Read more…]

Cold Comfort

Many millennia ago, a full 275 years BT, an insightful composer once wrote the immortal words,

All we like sheep.

And as true as it is that we all find delight in ovine innocence and playfulness, it is perhaps time to update this ancient sentiment to something more of our moment. I suggest

All we like Janelle Shane.

Should you doubt, you have only to read her new short story in the online science fiction magazine, Strange Horizons.

A short story in such times as ours may seem insufficient. To that notion, I say, Beep. And yet more unexpectedly, Beep.

I Exist! The Nib comic mentioned on the socially distant hullabaloo.

So, while on the webchat with PZ et. al. earlier, a comic on The Nib came up. It’s titled “I Exist” and it’s by Breena Nuñez. In it  she writes about her Blackness as an Afrosalvi (someone from African descent who grows up in El Salvador). The whole thing is quite interesting, and I enjoyed her self-portraits and her insights equally.

Please do go read it and tell me what you think.

Whose Corona? (h/t Scandinavia and the World)

Well, SatW did a comic about getting this song stuck in their head during discussions of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, so I decided to do up a full redo of the lyrics from scratch. For your listening pleasure(?):

Ooh, my little bitty one, from Wuhan
When you gonna give me some (time, Corona!)
Ooh, you make my nares run, my nares run
Got grit coming off of my (eyes, Corona!)
Never gonna stop, love queuing up, such a dirty line
Always reachin’ up, touching faces of the younger kind
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Corona!
My Corona!

Come a little closer, huh, ah, will ya, huh
Close enough to get in my eyes, Corona!
Novel viral mystery, you get to me
Hopping borders on air lines, Corona

Never gonna stop, love queuing up, such a dirty line
Always reachin’ up, touching faces of the younger kind
My, my, my, ay, ay, woah!
M-m-m-my Corona!
M-m-m-my Corona!

Na, na, na, na, na-na
My Corona!
When you gonna get to me? get to me?
Is it just a matter of (time, Corona)?
It is just a matter of (time, Corona)…
It is!


All-North America Summarize Proust Competition

My entry:

Mmm, madeleines. These force me to remember how they flavour the tea, but the tea also flavours the madeleines, and, oh! isn’t it tragic that in all this talk of madeleines and tea, now that they’ve been scalded and discarded, no one remembers the linden flowers that made this moment possible without a conscious effort few will make?

How about yours?