(Temporary?) Change of Address

For the time being, new Sore Eyes content can be found at http://blog.thebeard.org. At some point old content hosted here might be moving over there, or that content might be moved over here. (I realise I should have posted about this weeks ago. More on that as my plans for my web presence evolve.)

A blurry image…

Ted Chiang, writing in the New Yorker (New Yorker link, Archive.org link) finds a neat analogy for what ChatGPT does with the information it was trained on: Think of ChatGPT as a blurry jpeg of all the text on the Web. It retains much of the information on the Web, in the same way that… Continue reading A blurry image…

The Billion-Dollar Book of the Dead

A neat little slice of science fiction from Robin Sloan, published in MIT Technology Review: Elyse Flayme and the final flood. Molly Khan had written six books in as many years, starting with Elyse Flayme and the Ice Queen, surprise best seller, first in the series that became the heir—at last—to Potter. Even better, this… Continue reading The Billion-Dollar Book of the Dead

The Peripheral

I’ve not read William Gibson’s source novel, but after seeing the first two episodes I can safely say that The Peripheral on Amazon Prime looks right up my street. I’ll certainly give them the first season to see if the mix of high technology, alternative time lines and rich, powerful people from the future with… Continue reading The Peripheral

A long, slow death

Laurie Penny, from the Conservative Party conference a few weeks ago (that is to say, before the wheels fell off). The unfortunate Toby Young, a living monument to the English Art of failing upwards, is on one of their panels, and seems distressed to be the most liberal person here by far, making an asinine… Continue reading A long, slow death

A new double act?

If only Peter Falk was still around to play his part in “I HEAR THE BLUES A-KILLIN’ (or: Frasier Meets Columbo)”: I HEAR THE BLUES A-KILLIN’ (or: Frasier Meets Columbo) part 1 of 4 pic.twitter.com/4C8zrB1CYB — Joe Chouinard (@joechoui) October 18, 2022 How can they be planning to do more episodes of Frasier without Niles… Continue reading A new double act?

Frasier returns

In a perfect world, this would be the Frasier sequel coming to Paramount+ for at least one season. I’d like to imagine the returning show will live up to the reputation it earned back in the day when I used to enjoy it on Friday nights on Channel 4. The original show got lucky to… Continue reading Frasier returns


By some margin my favourite read this weekend: Shadows on maps are getting a lot more exciting, and here’s why… As cartographers, we want to make beautiful maps that grab our readers’ attention. Sometimes we wish our maps could jump out of the screen or off the page, and with a recent trend in cartography… Continue reading Mapping

My hero

It’s Friday. Have some history. So you know Hadrian’s Wall? Well for over 1000 years everyone thought it was built by someone else. Until, in 1840, John Hodgson, an unknown Northumbrian clergyman published the LONGEST footnote in history. Read on… /1 pic.twitter.com/HNU4EU9qBL — John Bull (@garius) September 16, 2022 My hero. [Via @pnh]

A Different Aftermath

A Different Aftermath by Kingfisher & Wombat (Twitter version, Threadreader version). Lovely, optimistic work. Much-needed right now. [Via MetaFilter]