The Fail Made It Fun

Another great find thanks to IFLScience.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had fun playing around with AI, ever since I was a teenager and I discovered that you could play 20 questions against your own computer. Of course AI has progressed enormously since then, and some of the recent stories have been utter fails. Do you remember that bot designed to mimick real people on Twitter, which eventually turned into a foaming-at-the-metaphorical-mouth racist? Well, this story is in a similar vein, though a bit more fun IMO.

Apparently, some people decided to invent a bot that could invent endless numbers inspirational posters at the click of a mouse. You know the kind I mean, a calming image with some sort of pseudo-profundity written over it, the self-help books of the meme world if you will. It’s called Inspirobot, and anyone can follow that link and make some inspirational posters for themselves.

What is funny is that Ispirobot seems to have gone a little… well… dark. It’s even more funny because I can’t understand how it happened. With the Twitter bot I know exactly why it happened: it’s aim was to learn from other Twitter users how to sound more human, and as we all know, Twitter has a particularly bad infestation of racist trolls. In this case I have no idea, and I don’t really care.

IFLScience gave a few examples of the kinds of things that Inspirobot has been producing.

And while these are hilarious, I had to test this out for myself. Can I really get Inspirobot to get weird without spending hours clicking on the generate button?

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Two Of My Favorite Things

Despite the fact that I had never heard of Rep. Mike Quigley before a month ago, he quickly became one of my new favorite American politicians when I came across this little gem of a story in the Hill.

As you are all painfully aware by now, there are fewer and fewer US politicians who are worthy of respect these days. However, Mike Quigley stole my heart, if only for a few minutes, when I read that he had decided to introduce the The Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act.

Well, that sounds a little clunky, doesn’t it? That’s because it is, meant to spell out COVFEFE Act.

You all remember the whole Covfefe bananza, right? When Trump posted an obvious typo in his tweet, it went viral, and then the Administration in it’s infinite inability to ever admit to a simple error, tried to pass it off as a secret code word meant for Trump’s inner circle?

Despite the fact that I love me a good smart ass, the naming of this Act went further than a mere jab at the POTUS.

Presidential records must be preserved, according to the Presidential Records Act, which would make it potentially illegal for the president to delete tweets.

“President Trump’s frequent, unfiltered use of his personal Twitter account as a means of official communication is unprecedented. If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference. Tweets are powerful, and the President must be held accountable for every post,”

At the end of the day, Trump cannot have it both ways. His Administration has repeatedly stated that Trump’s use of his personal twitter account should be considered as official statements. If that is so, you can’t then turn around when it is convenient and shrug it off as unimportant when Trump uses twitter to stick his foot in his mouth. Far beyond making silly typos, Trump has also used his personal twitter account to undermine his own staff’s credibility, contradict himself and, of course, stoop to petty insults and sniping. So, if we are supposed to take him and his twitter feed seriously, then let’s make this official. Let’s get some accountability.

Politics and snark with a valid point? Two of my favorite things in the world. Without knowing anything else about Mike Quigley, I knew I’d at least respect him for his sass. More of this.

COVFEFE marks Quigley’s second use of an acronym to jab at President Trump. His Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness (MAR-A-LAGO) Act would force the president to make the White House visitor logs, as well as the visitor logs at Trump’s resorts, public.

Yup, it’s official. Mike Quigley, I like you.

German So Funny

When I was studying French in school, my teacher at the time warned the class about faux amis. Literally translated this means “false friends”, but what she was getting at is that there are some words that are similar in two different languages which might lead you to assume that they have the same meaning, while in fact they do not. The classic French – English example that she provided was the word magasin, which you might assume means magazine, whereas in reality it means shop. While this is a perfect example of what she meant by a faux amis, it was not a particularly humerous one.

It was not until I started learning German, however, that I found a language filled with hilarious faux amis in relation to English. I remember being puzzled over ads for apartments which kept refering to their living rooms as “gross [and] hell”, which actually means large and brightly lit. I burst into laughter at a shop window with the word “Schmuck” plastered across it, only to discover that it actually means “jewelry”. Also, make sure you don’t offer someone a present and call it a “gift”, as that actually means you are offering them poison. My favorite German – English example though is probably the way that the parking ticket machines and highway signs politely wish you a “Gute Fahrt!” as you go about your way.

That is not to say that the hilarious faux amis only go in one direction. Describing the thick mist you had to cross in the countryside will get you laughed at, as you are actually describing the thick bullshit you were slogging through. I also personally spent a whole 5 minutes repeatedly using the word “mushy” to a student in describing the consistency he needed to blend his worms down to, only to be informed by my sniggering colleague that “mushy” in German means “pussy”, and not the one of the feline variety. Credit to my student though, he did not so much as crack a smile during my entire monologue.

However, despite the numerous examples that I have already come across despite my novice grasp of German, I think that there is one German – Romanian faux amis that just might trump them all.

My boyfriend joined me a few months after I had moved to Germany. He arrived one night, exhausted from his trip, but decided to join me and my colleagues on a traditional Kneipentour, which is a sort of bar hop often done as a leaving party for students. The typical way to do this bar hop is to have one shot and one beer in each location, so of course everyone clinks glasses and cheers before drinking. The fact that there is also a German superstition that you must look people directly in the eye when you cheer with them, lest you wish risking 7 years bad sex, added an extra wrinkle of hilarity to this story.

This being Germany we were not saying “Cheers” when clinking glasses, but rather “Prost”. After three rounds of people staring into each other’s eyes and saying “Prost” over and over again, my boyfriend finally asked what that means in German.

“It means Cheers”, I said.

“Oh”, he replied. “I thought it might. In Romanian, Prost means asshole”.

That has got to be my favorite faux amis of all time, even with all of the English ones put together. Everyone roared with laughter, made a point of emphasising the word Prost throughout the evening, and made a mental note to not say it in random bars should they ever visit Romania. It could lead to… an awkward misunderstanding.

So, do you know of any other amusing faux amis? Do you think you can beat “Prost”?

This Might Work

I had myself a little pity party over the weekend. Someone vandalized my brand new scooter that I was so very proud of, after exactly one week of being in my possession, I lost my key to work, and a bunch of other minor First World Problems ganged up on me and got me stressing out. In response, let’s have a little political satire, shall we?

 

Has anyone actually thought to try it? It might actually work.

I Can Relate

I now live in a country with much shorter summers and generally colder weather than where I grew up. Because of this, when we do have the occasional unseasonably warm day, I am happy in a tentative way. Actually, this comic perfectly summarizes my reaction on these days.

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Snark With A Purpose

I loled a little when I saw this picture pop up on my feed. It’s so my kind of humor: snarky, uncomfortable, and bringing up an excellent point in a clever way.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 5.03.39 PM

Update: The flyer reads:

  1. If someone is drunk, don’t rape them.
  2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone.
  3. Use the Buddy System! If it is difficult for you to stop yourself raping someone, as a trusted friend to accompany you at all times.
  4. Carry a rape whistle. If you find that you are about to rape someone, blow the whistle until someone comes to stop you.
  5. Don’t forget: honesty is the best policy. When asking someone out, don’t pretend that you are interested in them as a person. Tell them straight up that you expect to be raping them later. If you don’t communicate your intentions, they my take it as a sign that you don’t plan to rape them.

Rape culture directs women to police their clothing, beverages, behavior and sexuality at all times to avoid men. It portrays men as powerless to control their violent sexual urges. Rape culture demeans everyone, and everyone should speak out against rape culture.

 

When you start reading the beginning of the flyer, it is clearly uncomfortable. It is condescending and demeaning in language and tone, and that’s with the fact that it is clearly meant to be a parody. It makes you realize how condescending and demeaning, therefore, these nonsense “rape prevention” flyers are when they’re actually meant to be serious. Snark, and going over the top, are IMO excellent tools to quickly and directly call attention to an issue that many people overlook, and I think that this flyer does that nicely.

And now, we get to the serious aspect of this image, and into the topic of rape culture and victim blaming.

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Now For Some Silly Inventions

Regular readers will know that I like to post videos about various different inventions, usually involving something that either reduces waste or tackles a particular environmental problem. My facebook feed seems to have cottoned on to this, and so I will now often find short videos about inventions as “suggested posts”, in addition to the ones that are posted be friends or pages I follow.

Of course, not all inventions are created equally, and so I wanted to post a couple that I feel may have missed the mark by just a tad. These are the two inventions that I have found most baffling when perusing my facebook feed.

The first one, in my opinion, falls straight into the category of #FirstWorldProblems. It popped up under the description: “Tag someone who hates water!”

 

Are we being serious right now? There are enough people in the developed world who “hate” water enough for such a cup to be invented? Clean water is pretty much the only thing in the world that you have to consume to survive, millions of people across the world still do not have access to it, and yet enough people have become so thoroughly addicted to sugar that they need to trick their brains into thinking that normal water has flavor in order to drink enough of it. People all the way from Flint to Somalia feel your plight, I’m sure.

Next up: funny colored masks to put over your nose and mouth to trick your brain into thinking that you’re breathing in flavored air.

While I find that invention to be superfluous, and perhaps a bit counterproductive in helping people kick a bad sugar addiction by normalizing “hating water”, the second invention I want to share with you is just plain silly. So silly, in fact, that I have serious doubts that such a product actually exists, and I suspect (or perhaps hope) that it is just a ploy to make the video go viral. Either way, it has popped up in my feed a good 4 times now, so let’s all have a laugh at it anyway.

 

Hey cat lovers! Have you ever really wanted to lick your cat clean?

Ehm no. No I have not. Then again, I’m not really a cat lover. I don’t hate them or anything, I just don’t have any interest in owning one. Still, I think that the moment you feel the urge to purchase a giant rubber tongue and follow your cat around the house in an attempt to lick its head, maybe you’ve gone a little over the top. Perhaps start with asking yourself who owns who in this relationship.

So, those are my two silly inventions for today! Do you guys have any other contenders for silliest invention?

Sometimes, You Just Need A Laugh

Can I lighten up the mood here for just one moment?

It has recently come to my attention that there is a comedian out there, called James Veitch, who has taken it upon himself to do what so many of us have always wanted to do and respond to scam emails, taking the conversation to hilarious places.

I have been laughing out loud at my computer for the last 10 minutes. I really needed that, and so now I’m sharing the love.

 

Interestingly, the email exchange in the video is completely different from the one that is repeated in the text below video where I found it posted, which is no less hilarious.

Need a good 10 minute chuckle? Watch the video, and/or read the post. He is not cruel to the scammers, he just wastes their time in a most ridiculous fashion.

If anything, I think the exchange in the post is even funnier than the one in the video, but that might be because I read it first and then watched the video afterwards. What about you? Which did you see/read first, and which one did you find the most funny?

Of course I had to turn this into a mini informal experiment didn’t I…