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Toplist Points 865 == Toplist Rank [50.000+ (bad)]

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The stories in Turkish American author Ayşe Papatya Bucak’s debut story collection “occupy a dreamscape of surprising...
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2 months ago

The stories in Turkish American author Ayşe Papatya Bucak’s debut story collection “occupy a dreamscape of surprising...

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Bob’s Bookstore in Charleston, Illinois. 

2 months ago

Bob’s Bookstore in Charleston, Illinois. 

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“Humanity had chosen the land over the sea millennia ago, and sometimes—when she was letting her mind wander, when she was...

2 months ago

“Humanity had chosen the land over the sea millennia ago, and sometimes—when she was letting her mind wander, when she was...

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Sometimes bookstores are the best places to spend a lunch break.  ( @strandbooks )
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2 months ago

Sometimes bookstores are the best places to spend a lunch break.  ( @strandbooks )

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A different rainbow.
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2 months ago

A different rainbow.

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Without the dark, we’d never see the stars ✨

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3 months ago

Without the dark, we’d never see the stars ✨

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Reading…  detail from an early 20th century book cover design - Blackie & Son Ltd c1910

3 months ago

Reading… detail from an early 20th century book cover design - Blackie & Son Ltd c1910

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Well dang! Nobody in the office answered my #FridayReads email today (must be all the ACTUAL news that’s happening) except for...
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3 months ago

Well dang! Nobody in the office answered my #FridayReads email today (must be all the ACTUAL news that’s happening) except for...

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papilio demoleus! my favourite butterfly, so tiny and cute, we became friends   our cinemagraphs on instagram: @kitchenghosts

3 months ago

papilio demoleus! my favourite butterfly, so tiny and cute, we became friends our cinemagraphs on instagram: @kitchenghosts

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Currently reading~  “Contrary to popular belief, love should never take from you.”  — Mariko Tamaki, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking...

3 months ago

Currently reading~ “Contrary to popular belief, love should never take from you.”  — Mariko Tamaki, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking...

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Does anyone else seek out independent bookstores while traveling? If you’re near Lake Tahoe, check out Word After Word Bookshop...
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3 months ago

Does anyone else seek out independent bookstores while traveling? If you’re near Lake Tahoe, check out Word After Word Bookshop...

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“He smiles, and he’s made of trouble.”  ― Rainbow Rowell, Carry On

3 months ago

“He smiles, and he’s made of trouble.” ― Rainbow Rowell, Carry On

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#MiniatureMonday  Pansies grow plentiful here in Iowa. Their face-like petals enchant many who pass by. Today’s #MiniatureMonday...
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3 months ago

#MiniatureMonday Pansies grow plentiful here in Iowa. Their face-like petals enchant many who pass by. Today’s #MiniatureMonday...

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Soon I’ll be packing up for college again, and I’ll have to decide what books I really really want to take. I know that I’ll be...

3 months ago

Soon I’ll be packing up for college again, and I’ll have to decide what books I really really want to take. I know that I’ll be...

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Just One More Page Book Photo Challenge (August):   2. Currently Reading: The final book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved...

3 months ago

Just One More Page Book Photo Challenge (August): 2. Currently Reading: The final book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved...

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“…that’s what books are for … to travel without moving an inch.”   – Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

3 months ago

“…that’s what books are for … to travel without moving an inch.”  – Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake

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Some of today’s new releases, part 1

3 months ago

Some of today’s new releases, part 1

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Toni Morrison has died at 88. The Nobel Prize–winning author had also been a teacher, an editor and a cherished friend and...

3 months ago

Toni Morrison has died at 88. The Nobel Prize–winning author had also been a teacher, an editor and a cherished friend and...

I am really really excited to announce a thing I’ve been working on for more than a year now: there’s going to be an AI Weirdness book!!!!!

Book cover: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why it\'s Making the World a Weirder Place. Coming November 5, 2019. A fun pop-science look at what artificial intelligence is and how it works.  Contains: - LOTS of cartoons - phantom giraffes - accidental murderbots - magical sandwich holes - real-life applications

You can preorder it at these links:

Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Powell’s - Tattered Cover

When I was coming up with a title, I decided to see if I could get a neural network to help me out. Since they learn to generate text by following examples, my first task was to collect a bunch of book titles for the neural net to learn from. Of course, there haven’t been that many cartoon-filled AI humor books published, so I had to resort to other kinds of books.

Starting with a version of textgenrnn that I trained on Welcome to Night Vale transcripts, I then trained it on the full text of my book - that would give it a starting vocabulary that was an uncanny version of my book. But that version of the algorithm was generating paragraphs, not snappy titles, so I trained it for just a bit on another dataset I had handy - ice cream flavors. Here are the titles it generated.

Strange ServeButter ChaptersNOT ChocolateTop Chocolate Cream Chocolate People Cake

Book cover: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why it\'s Making the World a Weirder Place. Coming November 5, 2019. A fun pop-science look at what artificial intelligence is and how it works.  Contains: - LOTS of cartoons - phantom giraffes - accidental murderbots - magical sandwich holes - real-life applications

Although delicious, the titles weren’t quite as computer-focused as I would like. I took that same confused Night-Vale-AI-ice-cream neural network and trained on a list of computer algorithms.

Quickletely in a recognizyStrawbergendon’s algorithmKevinBut algorithmDang also

They tended to be either very wordy or very obscure - I’m not sure what I was expecting from algorithm names as titles. So I decided to take my cue from science fiction titles. I filtered a big set of titles from http://www.isfdb.org/ for length (so I wouldn’t end up with unwieldy suggestions thanks to titles like “The Philosophical Voyager in a Land Unknown to the Inhabitants of the Earth” and “Captain Megaloman and His Trusty Sidekick Squidley Save the World Once Again”, and then trained the neural net on these.

The Dead DeathThe Blood BandlandThe ScattingThe Tamelight of Winter Tablike

None of these titles had anything to do with humor, or artificial intelligence, or any of the things the book was actually about. So I started over with the ice cream neural net (I had to start somewhere, and I was hungry) and this time I filtered the scifi titles for length AND for a bunch of keywords like machine, robot, artificial, etc. Finally I was getting a bit closer.

One group of titles seemed to be about cute helpful robot friends, and that was nice. My book IS full of cartoons of helpful robot friends (other than the accidental murderbots).

Robot posting!No, Strange FriendArtificial FriendLittle Strange MachineGo Strange RobotA Friend you?

But my book also talks about times when AI is NOT that helpful, times when it makes mistakes or solves the wrong problem, sometimes with serious consequences. I did get some generated titles that struck more of a scary note.

The Doom of HumansGet the HumanStrange Murder MachineThe Book of the Skin’s Home!Hello, The Hole of NightThe God and Oh, It’s HumansThe Million Murders BookThe Blood Robot

Book cover: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why it\'s Making the World a Weirder Place. Coming November 5, 2019. A fun pop-science look at what artificial intelligence is and how it works.  Contains: - LOTS of cartoons - phantom giraffes - accidental murderbots - magical sandwich holes - real-life applications

These titles are needlessly scary, though. Another point of my book is that AI isn’t smart enough to come up with goals of world domination - it’s got the approximate brainpower of a worm. There were some titles that definitely brought out that aspect of the neural net.

The Book of ThinksThe Human Found and Four in Room!The Artificial Lives, I really on the JokesThe Very Say ChairsEverything Moon!Still We Book of the DaveRobot Bookbook of Dog Machine

But another aspect of AI is that it can be delightfully, unpredictably weird. It can bring in all sorts of new connections that humans would never have thought of. My book’s a celebration of that weirdness. There were some titles that were indeed weird.

Horses of PantsSpoon: Vampire of the BookHandway Wormsels!Hello, Go HoverMy Face of MonstersThe Fighty EarthquakeThe Pig-Book of the StarsThe World Human Shovel!By My Bunned RocksGet MeltedZom!The Book of PiesHigh McDangs!

Book cover: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why it\'s Making the World a Weirder Place. Coming November 5, 2019. A fun pop-science look at what artificial intelligence is and how it works.  Contains: - LOTS of cartoons - phantom giraffes - accidental murderbots - magical sandwich holes - real-life applications

And of course there were the titles that were basically repulsive. Those were fitting, too. Today’s AI doesn’t have a sense of appropriateness or morality - it will accidentally do Very Unfortunate things because it has no clue there’s a problem.

Hello, You ColonsHistory of SweatThe Sign of Fart!Strange Human Spoor!The Hole Attack!Hello, the poopers HumansSwearing Machine

Book cover: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How AI Works and Why it\'s Making the World a Weirder Place. Coming November 5, 2019. A fun pop-science look at what artificial intelligence is and how it works.  Contains: - LOTS of cartoons - phantom giraffes - accidental murderbots - magical sandwich holes - real-life applications

So, did I end up using a neural net-generated title for my book? Yes, I did! You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is definitely the fault of a neural net. But it wasn’t generated by the neural net I trained on book titles after all. Instead, longtime blog readers may recognize this title from a different neural net: one trained on pickup lines. 

I hope you all will have as much fun reading my book as I did writing it!  There will be hilarious experiments, real-world examples, and illuminating cartoons. And yes, there will be plenty of giraffes.

You can preorder it here (preorders are super super helpful for letting stores and my publisher know that people are excited about the book, which helps it do well. If you’re planning to order it anyways, a preorder would be an awesome way to do it).

Preorder You Look Like a Thing and I Love You!Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Indiebound - Powell’s - Tattered Cover

Bonus material this week: a bunch more rejected titles, including some that were Even Worse than the earlier rejected titles. Like, unprintably worse. Ah, neural nets.

tag yourselves, we’re Everything Moon!

3 months ago

An AI Weirdness book!!!

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Weekend plans courtesy of a visit to @strandbooks. What are you reading?

3 months ago

Weekend plans courtesy of a visit to @strandbooks. What are you reading?

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hi hello alert so that classic tumblr flowing jungle river post is now cited in a real book like an actual paper book and it’s...

3 months ago

hi hello alert so that classic tumblr flowing jungle river post is now cited in a real book like an actual paper book and it’s...

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Some New Yorkers spend their lunch breaks browsing and buying @strandbooks. Do you have a favorite independent bookstore? 

3 months ago

Some New Yorkers spend their lunch breaks browsing and buying @strandbooks. Do you have a favorite independent bookstore? 

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If you love languages and the Internet, Gretchen McCulloch (@allthingslinguistic) has a brand new book for you! Because Internet...

3 months ago

If you love languages and the Internet, Gretchen McCulloch (@allthingslinguistic) has a brand new book for you! Because Internet...

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My book about internet language is a real book on a bookshelf today! It’s been such a long time coming and I am so excited!   If...

3 months ago

My book about internet language is a real book on a bookshelf today! It’s been such a long time coming and I am so excited!  If...

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Happy book birthday to Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow! This lovely YA was an easy, fun read that enchanted every...

3 months ago

Happy book birthday to Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Gods of Jade and Shadow! This lovely YA was an easy, fun read that enchanted every...

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Glass, people. All the creatures you see here are glass!!! Mind-blown. New from  the University of California Press and author...
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3 months ago

Glass, people. All the creatures you see here are glass!!! Mind-blown. New from  the University of California Press and author...

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My wife and my bullet journals for the week! She’s been obsessed with @linseymiller‘s Mask of Shadows series, so she naturally...
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3 months ago

My wife and my bullet journals for the week! She’s been obsessed with @linseymiller‘s Mask of Shadows series, so she naturally...

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“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” ― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men. The novelist was...

3 months ago

“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” ― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men. The novelist was...

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Nothing like an open nook where your book stays dry but you can listen to the pouring rain and feel the breeze on your cheek.

4 months ago

Nothing like an open nook where your book stays dry but you can listen to the pouring rain and feel the breeze on your cheek.

Going off-topic today to share what I’ve been working on at my day job! It’s tangential to what I usually talk about here, so I figured y’all might enjoy it.

I’m a librarian in the Washington DC area, and for years, my library has been working on a project to preserve our collection of VHS tapes. This week, we finished digitizing the last videotape on-site for a total of 2250 videos that we can make available to our patrons again.

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We have a collection of over 8000 VHS tapes, including lots of documentaries and educational films. For obvious reasons, our patrons can’t access them anymore. VHS is undergoing what has been called “degralescence” – degradation and obsolescence. The tapes are deteriorating, and the format is becoming more obsolete. Fewer new TVs even have the video inputs for VHS players.

For the most part, these tapes aren’t unique. They’re commercial videotapes, which means compared to one-of-a-kind video collections, they’re a low priority to digitize. But if we don’t do it, who will? If not now, when? So we did it.

Under Section 108© of US copyright law, libraries are allowed to make a reproduction of a copyrighted work, as long as 1) there are no new replacements for sale and 2) the original format is degrading, damaged, or obsolete. There’s more to it than that, but basically, as far as VHS is concerned, if it’s not being sold anymore, we can digitize it!

With lots of help from our student staff, we audited the collection and found that we had about 4000 videos that qualified. A huge chunk of those were being kept in off-site storage. The remaining 2200+ were on-site, and that’s what we finished digitizing this week.

It took a lot of time. VHS digitization happens in real-time, so an hour-long tape takes one hour to capture.

In total, that comes out to 37 TB of video, compressed! Here’s our storage arrays:

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This is a big achievement for us, and it hasn’t been an automatic process. Preservation takes work. There’s a lot of human labor involved, especially in A/V preservation, with manual processing and attention needed for individual videos. We listened to experts and found how to make it work in our time and budget.

The project is still ongoing. In addition to everything we have to digitize from off-site storage, we have to keep maintaining the digital video collection. Digital storage is volatile, and we have to ensure we have backups and that we keep it in an accessible format. Preservation is never in the past tense. A thing is never preserved. We’re always preserving.

This has been a huge team effort across the library. These projects don’t happen alone, and I want to stress how much the whole library contributed to this!

absolutely incredible you funky little archivists

Librarians are heroes. 

4 months ago

Going off-topic today to share what I’ve been working on at my day job! It’s tangential to what I usually talk about here, so I...

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What are you currently reading?

4 months ago

What are you currently reading?

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Top 10 Books of the Year So Far   (And it’s been very competitive! These are the books that wowed me, surprised me, impressed...
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4 months ago

Top 10 Books of the Year So Far  (And it’s been very competitive! These are the books that wowed me, surprised me, impressed...

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“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was...

4 months ago

“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was...

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June Book Haul 📚

4 months ago

June Book Haul 📚

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A book I’ve always wanted to read
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4 months ago

A book I’ve always wanted to read

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Amanda Lee Koe’s new novel was inspired by a famous photograph of three film legends – Anna May Wong, Marlene Dietrich, and the...
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4 months ago

Amanda Lee Koe’s new novel was inspired by a famous photograph of three film legends – Anna May Wong, Marlene Dietrich, and the...

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June Book Haul with Gizmo- Outtakes 
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4 months ago

June Book Haul with Gizmo- Outtakes 

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C U R R E N T L Y R E R E A D I N G : Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

4 months ago

C U R R E N T L Y R E R E A D I N G : Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

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I’m participating in Sci-fi July this year! Here are the books I plan to read during the month. There will probably be some...

4 months ago

I’m participating in Sci-fi July this year! Here are the books I plan to read during the month. There will probably be some...

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BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I HAVE A NEW BOOK COMING OUT!  It’s designed to help you overcome things like anxiety and procrastination in...

4 months ago

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I HAVE A NEW BOOK COMING OUT! It’s designed to help you overcome things like anxiety and procrastination in...

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I dug out my copy of The Scarlet Letter, which I read for an essay assignment in my sophomore year of high school. Clearly, I...
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4 months ago

I dug out my copy of The Scarlet Letter, which I read for an essay assignment in my sophomore year of high school. Clearly, I...

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booksforthoughts BPC July 2019  Day 4. There’s No Place I’d Rather Be. Than in my home with a cup of tea. Well… chocolate,...

4 months ago

booksforthoughts BPC July 2019 Day 4. There’s No Place I’d Rather Be. Than in my home with a cup of tea. Well… chocolate,...

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Top photo by Jelani Day/Dapper Dan of Harlem  Our own Audie Cornish got to hang out with legendary hip-hop couturier Dapper Dan,...
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4 months ago

Top photo by Jelani Day/Dapper Dan of Harlem Our own Audie Cornish got to hang out with legendary hip-hop couturier Dapper Dan,...

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my new obsession is solitaire by alice oseman

😍

4 months ago

my new obsession is solitaire by alice oseman