Feminist Perversions: Sea Shanty Edition

Right then. A little while back Cat Mara on WeHuntedTheMammoth came up with the idea of WHTM-themed sea shanties:

[W]hat would a blog’s comment section be but a mutual admiration society? Why else would people come here and leave comments if they didn’t like the other people doing so? One could just lurk, or read the articles posted on the main page passively through an RSS reader. It’s not the Army. We didn’t enlist; we weren’t pressganged…

At least I wasn’t. If David approached any of you in a seedy waterfront bar and said, “aaar, I be formin’ a blog and be in need of trusty hands to work the bilge in the comments, will ye take me shilling?” you’d tell me, right? Are there shanties? Tell me there are shanties!

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The Zebrafish Go To Eleven

One or both of you may already know about https://aiweirdness.com. It’s a site of GARGANTUAN fun, run by Janelle Shane (Ph.D., I presume, though the site only mentions her Ph.D. studies. It doesn’t specifically say she received the degree and I know too many people who are ABD). Her day job is in optics research (probably playing with lasers, because don’t all those optics researchers play with lasers? Don’t they?), but in her spare time she

train[s] neural networks, a type of machine learning algorithm, to write unintentional humor as they struggle to imitate human datasets.

She’s done quite a lot of this from her places of residence and work, located on the occupied territory of the Arapahoe nation. She’s had computers create heavy metal band names. She’s had them write backstories for Dungeons & Dragons characters. Perhaps most successfully, she’s had them create names for racehorses (most successfully because racehorse names never make any sense, so it’s pretty difficult for a computer to foul up the task). She even attempted to go against type and have a neural network write intentional humor in an experiment where she fed the neural network the text of a large number of jokes and then had the network output its own. The results were NOT fractal. On one level of analysis, the results were clearly predictable. Yet on another level of analysis that clearly did not hold true:

What did the new ants say after a dog?
It was a pirate.

On the other hand, I feel the neural network might have paid me a compliment and/or summed up the inevitable aftermath of every single Jurassic Park movie:

What do you get when you cross a dinosaur?
They get a lawyers.

Important safety tip: Don’t cross the dinosaurs.

“But wait!” you exclaim if you have developed object permanence. “Wasn’t this all supposed to be about zebrafish?”

Why yes, astute reader. This post was and is all about zebrafish. You see, the most recent effort by Dr. Shane was to train networks to take the title of a list and the first few items on a list and then complete the list. For instance, in Olympic events, the 9th place medal is the Sigil of Destruction. Still, that’s better than finishing 11th and getting City Pollen. Shane also experiments with cake ingredients and anniversary gifts, but there is nothing the neural nets love so much as animals. Indeed it gleefully listed its favorite animals, if I am not gratuitously anthropomorphizing. (Fact Check: I am gratuitously anthropomorphizing.) Here you have the favorite animals of neural net GPT-2:

1. Giraffes
2. Maize
3. Polar Bears
4. Pigeons and Giraffes
5. Cats and Warthog
6. Javanese Canines
7. Tiger Teeth
8. Black Swans
9. Alligators
10. Basilisks

and, of course, number

11. Zebrafish




Calvin & Hobbes: Still Relevant

In the ongoing catastrophe in which we live, one week away from no-deal Brexit, TERFs ignoring how humans actually interact with other humans, the majority of the US denying climate change as they blindly follow fossil-fuel based energy companies off the cliff, the work of Bill Watterson is still frightfully relevant:

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Quote of the day

So, in the grand tradition of never having done this before, I offer you this quote of the day. In large part because I don’t want to lose track of it again:

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

– James D. Nicoll

My BFF just asked me about Nicoll a minute ago, so later today I might read some about him and add that here, but for now I ask you to simply enjoy the beauty of a well-turned metaphor.



Steve Bannon Engaged in Sex Robot Congress, But Pulls Out Early

I’m not sure which that headline evoked more: fun or emesis. Nonetheless, Bannon was engaged as a speaker for the 4th annual Sex & Love with Robots Congress or something like that. However, the notoriety of the event was costing Bannon other speaking gigs. Bannon will not now be speaking, and the entire “Congress” has been canceled. However, it has been suggested that Bannon pulled out even before the cancelation.

In any case, quite a number of people are now talking about this – frequently tittering as they do. One take is at RawStory.