June 4th, 2013
My favourite part of the story on the BBC News web site about how the BBC Trust has upheld a complaint about the fact that the BBC home page's clock simply repeats the time shown on the user's computer and thus "is not consistent with BBC guidelines on accuracy" is the section at the foot of the page of the BBC News report on the decision, linking to the story as it's presented elsewhere:
Trust the Daily Mail to turn it up to 11. "Slammed"? Really?
[Via Martin Belam]
April 24th, 2013
I'll confess to never having played Warhammer 40K or read any of the tie-ins, but even so I'm quite prepared to believe that this truly is the Best Warhammer 40K Costume Ever:
* Post title courtesy of MeFi user Halloween Jack.
March 15th, 2013
March 5th, 2013
It turns out that combining Nine Inch Nails and Carly Rae Jepsen gives a really strange result.
I honestly can't make my mind up whether this is epic or embarrassing, or possibly just a little from Column A and a little from Column B.
February 25th, 2013
I'm deeply indebted to Charlie Stross for bringing the concept of Roko's basilisk to my attention. Well, either that, or damned forever to have an avatar of my presumably long-dead self tormented by a vengeful AI for failing to believe in it. We'll see:
Roko's basilisk is a proposition suggested by a member of the rationalist community LessWrong, which speculates about the potential behavior of a future godlike artificial intelligence. The proposition, and the dilemma it presents, somewhat resembles a futurist version of Pascal's wager.
The claim is that this ultimate intelligence may punish those who fail to help it (or help create it), with greater punishment accorded those who knew the importance of the task. That bit is simple enough, but the weird bit is that the AI and the person punished have no causal interaction: the punishment would be of a simulation of the person (e.g. by mind uploading), which the AI would construct by deduction from first principles. In LessWrong's Timeless Decision Theory (TDT), this is taken to be equivalent to punishment of your own actual self, not just someone else very like you.
Roko's basilisk is notable for being completely banned from discussion on LessWrong, where any mention of it is deleted. Eliezer Yudkowsky, founder of LessWrong, considers the basilisk would not work, but will not explain why because he does not consider open discussion of the notion of acausal trade with possible superintelligences to be provably safe.
Wow. Just wow…
[Via Charlie's Diary]
February 6th, 2013
Artist Jim Kazanjian produced a series of photographs of imaginary houses, carefully assembled by matching up snippets of images of real houses to make something much weirder.
There are definitely untold stories behind those houses. Perhaps best left untold in some cases.
[Via Colossal, via MetaFilter]
December 7th, 2012
Contemplating the career of Ludivine Sagnier, Xan Brooks came up with a striking comparison:
[In her early 20s...] she gave us a 21st-century riff on the French gamine: at once innocent and perverse, beautiful and bent out of shape. The press promptly touted her as "the new Bardot", although that barely scratches at the surface of her wonky appeal. On screen, Sagnier manages to be at once coolly carnal and haplessly gauche. For me, she's like Stan Laurel as played by Marilyn Monroe, though I'll concede that this description may well not catch on.
Not a parallel that occurred to me when I first watched Swimming Pool.
November 17th, 2012
August 31st, 2012
The Osmonds 1974 – Fiddler On The Roof Medley.
You know, Fiddler On the Roof used to be my favourite film musical. Now, I don't know if I'll be able to watch it again without getting flashbacks of this … performance.
July 14th, 2012
Olympic Mascots Wenlock Policeman Figurine: Amazon.co.uk: Toys & Games:
- Hello, I'm Wenlock! Don't I look smart in my police officer's uniform?
- I have the important job of protecting you on your journey to the London 2012 Games.
- Take this figurine on a journey to the London 2012 Olympic Games – we can have lots of fun together! [...]
The customer reviews are all you'd expect and more…
[Via Charlie Stross, commenting at Making Light]
June 26th, 2012
May 26th, 2012
May 15th, 2012
May 14th, 2012
OAuth is your future. What a cheerful thought.
March 22nd, 2012
If you must obsess over a diminutive musical genius with a decade-plus streak of brilliant albums and a penchant for the colour purple, Troy Gua shows how it should be done:
A note from [artist Troy Gua]:
Le Petit Prince was made late in 2011 in an attempt to cleanse myself from what I had been making and felt was becoming cynical work. I wanted to make something that made me happy. I've been fascinated with Gerry Anderson's work since I was a kid: 'Thunderbirds', 'Captain Scarlet' – those odd sci-fi marionette films from the 1960's that inspired Matt Parker and Trey Stone's 'Team America: World Police'. Now, Prince changed my life and view on the world at an early age (as a friend recently said: "artists help us see colors we didn't notice before"), and I wanted to pay a loving and humorous tribute to a man that has influenced and inspired me like no other. I did it, and it worked – it's been a joy-filled project. [...] For the record, I never intended it to become this extensive – I planned for a Purple Rain outfit, and that was it. Then folks began requesting certain looks and eras, and I took it as a challenge and ran with it.
Don't make the mistake I did first time round of following the link, perusing the first image at the top of the page, seeing the block of text that follows and assuming that's the end of the story. Keep scrolling down: it just gets better and better.
March 5th, 2012
This anti-theft briefcase is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
[Via Bruce Schneier]
February 17th, 2012
This morning's Devo on 'devo max' for Scotland was by some considerable margin the most surreal item I've heard on the Today programme in quite a while.
I'd dearly love to have been a fly on the wall in the editorial meeting when someone first suggested they ask a member of Devo what they thought of the possibility of adding a third option to the ballot on Scottish independence.
February 14th, 2012
For one day only, Pizza Hut is getting into the wedding business:
Not content with ruining dinner, they're now looking to ruin the wedding proposal too. Specifically, Pizza Hut is hoping to trick as many as ten idiots into proposing to their significant others with a big old box of disgusting. Don't believe it?
There's certainly a set of people willing to spend $10,000 on a proposal. It's likely there's also a set of people who would propose with chain restaurant pizza. Still, it's disheartening to think that the intersection of those two sets may not simply be zero. Thankfully, it's simultaneously hilarious. [...]
February 2nd, 2012
The very definition of irony.
[Via Memex 1.1]