Slightly annoying that ‘tristinction’ is not a word (it should be, considering ‘distinction’ comes from Ancient Greek δίς [dís,…

IFTTT, Twitter, PeterSjostedtH


Our essay “Making Things Physical”, co-authored by @_foam / Maja Kuzmanovic @deziluzija, Nik Gaffney @zzkt & Time’s Up has been…

IFTTT, Twitter, TimesUp_Linz


I’m on a mission today to reconnect / follow up on leads / collaborate - apologies if you’re waiting for a response (it’ll come/…

IFTTT, Twitter, M_PF


10,000 BC paragraph 48a Then there was the system of the strata. On the intensive continuum, the strata fashion forms and…


10,000 BC paragraph 48a

Then there was the system of the strata. On the intensive continuum, the strata fashion forms and form matters into substances. In combined emissions, they make the distinction between expressions and contents, units of expression and units of content, for example, signs and particles. In conjunctions, they separate flows, assigning them relative movements and diverse territorialities, relative deterritorializations and complementary reterritorializations. Thus the strata set up everywhere double articulations animated by movements: forms and substances of content and forms and substances of expression constituting segmentary multiplicities with relations that are determinable in every case. Such are the strata. Each stratum is a double articulation of content and expression, both of which are really distinct and in a state of reciprocal presupposition.

The second volume of our long-awaited Journal of Futures special double issue is finally out! Eighteen more articles, interviews…

IFTTT, Twitter, futuryst


in a complex social system, there can be a conspiracy without conspirators the emergent behavior of a system sometimes looks…

IFTTT, Twitter, aaronzlewis


All radicals should be encouraged to form institutions. Much moral high-ground posturing and insufferable certitude are rooted…

IFTTT, Twitter, vgr


Two types of problems. A: Those that are hard because nobody knows how to actually solve them yet B: Those that are hard…

IFTTT, Twitter, vgr


Autonomous vehicles fooled by drones that project too-quick-for-humans road-signs


In MobilBye: Attacking ADAS with Camera Spoofing, a group of Ben Gurion security researchers describe how they were able to defeat a Renault Captur’s “Level 0” autopilot (Level 0 systems advise human drivers but do not directly operate cars) by following them with drones that projected images of fake roadsigns for a 100ms instant – too short for human perception, but long enough for the autopilot’s sensors.

Such an attack would leave no physical evidence behind and could be used to trick cars into making maneuvers that compromised the safety or integrity of their passengers and other users of the road – from unexpected swerves to sudden speed-changes to detours into unsafe territory.

As Geoff Manaugh writes on BLDGBLOG, “They are like flickering ghosts only cars can perceive, navigational dazzle imperceptible to humans.”

The “imperceptible to humans” part is the most interesting thing about this: we tend to think of electronic sensors’ ability to exceed human sensory capacity as a feature: but when you’re relying on a “human in the loop” to sanity-check an algorithm’s interpretations of the human-legible world, attackers’ ability to show the computer things that the human can’t see is a really interesting and gnarly problem.

Word of the day: “nefelibata” –– literally a “cloud-walker”; that is, a daydreamer, one who wanders lost in thought or wonder…

IFTTT, Twitter, RobGMacfarlane


Regarding this “plant forests!” thing: I’m going to plug Joe Mercer’s @RCAarchitecture ADS1 thesis project from 2017/18 which…

IFTTT, Twitter, entschwindet


Shit, just realized I operate with an unconscious 2x2 in how I engage with people online. X-axis: harmless to dangerous, Y-axis,…

IFTTT, Twitter, vgr


“First of all, I am a real Minimalist, because I don’t do very much. I know some minimalists who call themselves minimalist, but…

IFTTT, Twitter, SamuelAndreyev


I introduced a remarkable person (Ai Weiwei) to a remarkable tree (the Great Oriental Plane Tree) this afternoon….

IFTTT, Twitter, RobGMacfarlane


sound nerds: there’s a new auditory illusion. if you replace a repeating texture with white noise, your ear hallucinates the…

IFTTT, Twitter, kcimc


The sense of time I have as a millennial is so weird… 1970: About 30 years ago 1980: About 20 years ago 1990: About 10 years…

IFTTT, Twitter, quartzen


In this Overview, the San Juan River is shown meandering through southeastern Utah, not far from Goosenecks State Park. It is a…


In this Overview, the San Juan River is shown meandering through southeastern Utah, not far from Goosenecks State Park. It is a major tributary of the Colorado River and provides drainage to the Four Corners region of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. The San Juan is one of the muddiest rivers in North America, carrying an average of 25 million U.S. tons of silt and sediment each year.


37.206203°, -109.995573°

Source imagery: Maxar Technologies

Ever notice how the humanities and social sciences are expected to understand scientific research method but scientists don’t…

IFTTT, Twitter, annegalloway


Biologists analyzed 150 samples from across the U.K. and concluded that British knotweed was all a clone of that original plant,…

IFTTT, Twitter, annaridler


vns matrix archive is finally live. coded by the brilliant @francesdath the slime archive has taken over a year to build and has…

IFTTT, Twitter, AnomiePrecious


There are 20,000 TOTAL Customs & Border Patrol agents in the US. 9,500 - almost HALF that number - are in a racist & sexually…

IFTTT, Twitter, AOC


People sometimes ask how’d you deal with corporations w/out a state. W/out a state & its legal structure there are no…

IFTTT, Twitter, davidgraeber


A few years back, I followed @archillect, because I like cool images. After a bit I started to wonder why it had a seeming…

IFTTT, Twitter, vuzhmusic


AIs named by AIs


Neural networks can be good at naming things, I’ve discovered. Recently I’ve been experimenting with a neural network called GPT-2, which OpenAI trained on a huge chunk of the internet. Thanks to a colab notebook implementation by Max Woolf, I’m able to fine-tune it on specific lists of data - cat names, for example. Drawing on its prior knowledge of how words tend to be used, GPT-2 can sometimes suggest new words and phrases that it thinks it’s seen in similar context to the words from my fine-tuning dataset. (It’ll also sometimes launch into Harry Potter fan fiction or conspiracy theories, since it saw a LOT of those online.)

One thing I’ve noticed GPT-2 doing is coming up with names that sound strangely like the names of self-aware AI spaceships in Iain M. Banks’s Culture novels. In the science fiction series, the ships choose their own names according to a sort of quirky sense of humor. The humans in the books may not appreciate the names, but there’s nothing they can do about them:

Hand Me The Gun And Ask Me Again
Zero Credibility
Fixed Grin
Charming But Irrational
So Much For Subtlety
Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall

Now compare some of the effects pedals GPT-2 came up with:

Dangerous But Not Unbearably So
Disastrously Varied Mental Model
Dazzling So Beautiful Yet So Terrifying
Am I really that Transhuman
Love and Sex Are A Mercy Clause

 And some of the cat names:

Give Me A Reason
Thou Shalt
Warning Signs
Kill All Humans

Did GPT-2 somehow have a built-in tendency to produce names that sounded like self-aware spaceships? How would it do if it was actually trained specifically on Culture ships?

A reader named Kelly sent me a list of 236 of Iain M. Banks’s Culture ship names from Wikipedia, and I trained the 345 million-parameter version of GPT-2 on them. As it turns out, I had to stop the training after just a few seconds (6 iterations) because GPT-2 was already beginning to memorize the entire list (can’t blame it; as far as it was concerned, memorizing the entire list was a perfect solution to the task I was asking for).

And yes. The answer is yes, naming science fiction AIs is something this real-life AI can do astonishingly well. I’ve selected some of the best to show you. First, there are the names that are clearly warship AIs:

Not Disquieting At All
Surprise Surprise
And That’s That!
New Arrangement
I Told You So
Spoiler Alert
Bonus Points!
Collateral Damage
Friendly Head Crusher
Scruffy And Determined
Race To The Bottom

And there are the sassy AIs:

Absently Tilting To One Side
A Small Note Of Disrespect
Third Letter of The Week
Well Done and Thank You
Just As Bad As Your Florist
What Exactly Is It With You?
Let Me Just Post This
Protip: Don’t Ask
Beyond Despair
Way Too Personal
Sobering Reality Check
Charming (Except For The Dogs)

The names of these AIs are even more inscrutable than usual. To me, this makes them much scarier than the warships.

Hot Pie
Lightly Curled Round The Wrist
Color Gold Normally Comes With Silence
8 Angry Doughnut Feelings
Mini Cactus Cake Fight
Happy to Groom Any Animals You Want
Stuffy Waffles With Egg On Top
Pickles And Harpsichord
Just As Likely To Still Be Intergalactic Jellyfish
Someone Did Save Your Best Cookie By Post-Apocalyptic Means

At least it does sound like some of these AIs will be appeased by snacks.

Bonus content: more AI names, including a few anachronisms (“Leonard Nimoy for President” for example)

“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the…


“You cannot carry out fundamental change without a certain amount of madness. In this case, it comes from nonconformity, the courage to turn your back on the old formulas, the courage to invent the future. It took the madmen of yesterday for us to be able to act with extreme clarity today. I want to be one of those madmen… We must dare to invent the future.””

Thomas Sankara, President of Burkina Faso, 1983 - 1987.

50 lost words from the Oxford English Dictionary


acnestis (n.): on an animal, the point of the back that lies between the shoulders and the lower back, which cannot be reached to be scratched

advesperate (v.): to approach evening

aerumnous (adj.): full of trouble [‘practically begging to be reintroduced to our vocabulary’, Shea notes]

backfriend (n.): a fake friend; a secret enemy

benedicence (n.): benevolence in speech

cellarhood (n.): the state of being a cellar (cf. tableity)

cimicine (adj.): smelling like bugs

constult (v.): to act stupidly together

dactylodeiktous (adj.) pointed at with a finger

discountenancer (n.): one who discourages with cold looks

elozable (adj.): readily influenced by flattery

epizeuxis (n.): the repetition of a word with vehemence and emphasis

fard (v.): to paint the face with cosmetics, so as to hide blemishes [‘I suspect there is a reason no one ever gets up from the table and says, “Excuse me while I go to the ladies’ room and fard.”’]

felicificability (n.): capacity for happiness

gound (n.): the gunk that collects in the corners of the eyes [‘the type of word I was unaware that I didn’t know, and yet it still felt like a relief when I discovered it’]

grinagog (n.): a person who is constantly grinning

hamartia (n.): the flaw that precipitates the destruction of a tragic hero

happify (v.): to make happy [this one gives me a happy, as they said in Buffy]

heterophemize (v.): to say something different from what you mean to say

impluvious (adj.): ‘wet with rain’ (Thomas Blount, Glossographia, 1656)

insordescent (adj.): growing in filthiness

jentacular (adj.): of or pertaining to breakfast

kankedort (n.): an awkward situation or affair

latibulate (v.): to hide oneself in a corner

letabund (adj.): filled with joy

malesuete (adj.): accustomed to poor habits

misdelight (n.): pleasure in something wrong

nefandous (adj.): too odious to be spoken of

neighbourize (v.): to be or act neighbourly

obganiate (v.): to annoy by repeating over and over and over and over

occasionet (n.): a minor occasion

petecure (n.): modest cooking; cooking on a small scale [‘Very few people eat in an epicurean fashion, yet many of them know what the word epicure means. A great many people eat in a simple fashion, and yet no one knows the word for this.’]

postvide (v.): to make plans for an event only after it has occurred [the antonym of provide, which originally meant ‘exercise foresight; make provision for the future’, per OED]

psithurism (n.): the whispering of leaves moved by the wind

quag (v.): to shake (said of something that is soft or flabby)

remord (n.): a touch of remorse; (v.) to remember with regret [‘when utilized as a verb, remord seems as though it can instantly render poetic any decision made in the past and subsequently regretted’]

residentarian (n.): a person who is given to remaining at table

scringe (v.): to shrug the back or shoulders from cold

scrouge (v.): to inconvenience or discomfort a person by pressing against him or her or by standing too close

subtrist (adj.): slightly sad

sympatetic (n.): a companion one walks with [‘Discoveries like this one are what make reading the OED from cover to cover worthwhile.’]

tacenda (n.): things not to be mentioned; matters that are passed over in silence

unbepissed (adj.): not having been urinated on [‘Is it possible that at some time there was such a profusion of things that had been urinated on that there was a pressing need to distinguish those that had not?’]

undisonant (adj.): making the sound of waves

vicambulist (n.): one who walks about in the streets

vulpeculated (pa. pple.): robbed by a fox

well-woulder (n.): a conditional well-wisher

xenium (n.): a gift given to a guest

yesterneve (n.): yesterday evening

zyxt (v.): to see [‘It is the second-person singular indicative present form of the verb “to see” in the Kentish dialect and has obviously not been in common use for some time.’]

Ammon Shea (because)