So a customer was shocked last year when Alexa blurted out: “Kill your foster parents.”
Alexa has also chatted with users about sex acts. She gave a discourse on dog defecation. And this summer, a hack Amazon traced back to China may have exposed some customers’ data, according to five people familiar with the events.
Alexa is not having a breakdown.
The episodes, previously unreported, arise from Amazon.com Inc’s strategy to make Alexa a better communicator. New research is helping Alexa mimic human banter and talk about almost anything she finds on the internet. However, ensuring she does not offend users has been a challenge for the world’s largest online retailer.
On January 1, 2019, original works from 1923 will move into the public domain. This batch will be the first new public domain works in over 20 years.
Mickey Mouse was born via Steamboat Willie in 1928. That means that, barring further Disney intervention, in 2024, the Mouse can become…anything.
I, for one, am keen to see how many people genuinely want to watch Mickey Mouse porn. I feel certain that the number will be much, much higher than anyone would like to believe.
Shame is now both global and permanent, to a degree unprecedented in human history. No more moving to the next town to escape your bad name. However far you go and however long you wait, your disgrace is only ever a Google search away. Getting a humiliating story into the papers used to require convincing an editor to run it, which meant passing their standards of newsworthiness and corroborating evidence. Those gatekeepers are now gone.
This seems disingenuous, since most stories people share are still from major news outlets. If people were writing long, hateful screeds on their personal blogs, and that was the material that was spreading through Facebook and Twitter, I would agree that the gatekeepers are gone; however, every media outlet has editors.
It’s not that there are no gatekeepers. It’s that the gatekeepers are motivated only by clicks, and it turns out that people click on shit-for-brains, hateful language over measured, thoughtful analysis.
The elements of Christie’s fiction are all already in place: a country house, a finite list of suspects, the outsider detective intruding into a place of order and hierarchy that has been disrupted by a crime. The world of Christie’s books is something like the ‘imaginary’ as described by Cornelius Castoriadis, a mental representation in which this orderly household stands for a whole society as a shared universe of meaning, with values and social roles encoded everywhere we look – and then, into this world comes a murder, and a detective trying to solve the murder. Something doesn’t mean what we thought it meant; someone isn’t who they appear to be; something didn’t happen the way it was said to have happened.The Case of Agatha Christie, LRB
Create a list of everything you’re interested in, ever, here. All of it.
- Sea mammals
- Global politics
- Micro-timing and latency adjustment
- Evolution as a heuristic for other things
- Cultural influence on story-telling
- See also, folk stories
- Crimes and how they’re solved
It may surprise some Catholics to learn just how literally the modern Church interprets Satan and his army of demons. While many people today understand the devil as a metaphor for sin, temptation, and unresolvable evil in the world, the pope consistently repudiates such allegorical readings.
In sermons, interviews, and occasionally in tweets, Pope Francis has declared that Satan—whom he has referred to as Beelzebub, the Seducer, and the Great Dragon—is a literal being devoted to deceiving and debasing humans. In an apostolic exhortation released in April, he wrote, “We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea,” but rather as a “personal being who assails us.”
It surprises me that there would be Catholics that don’t know this. I thought it was common knowledge that Catholics take transubstantiation, etc. literally. (Ew, by the way.)
Maybe what the Atlantic means is that there may be some liberal readers who love Pope Francis because he thinks that condoms might sort of be an acceptable way to stop the spread of STDs will be surprised by the fact that Our Hero the Pope believes in the Great Dragon.
I spent the day yesterday driving through the early snow to Northfield, Vermont to get a deal on superior socks. Jessamyn from Metafilter told me that the Cabot factory sale is where all of Vermont gets its socks. She doesn’t seem like the type to be fucking with me, so I’ve a trip to the sock show in the back of my mind for months. This one really serves a dual purpose for me — I’m a sucker for weird niche events and comfortable feet.
November rolled around, and a little digging revealed a local blog post with the dates. Always up for an adventure, Mom agreed to make the 4 hour round trip with me. Yes, for socks. But these are world-class socks, people.
The drive was, for November in Northern New England, stunning. Snow-covered covered bridge, trees clumped with powder, etc.
When we reached Northfield, we were greeted with a banner spanning Main St. announcing the sale. It was big news.
The final turns in the GPS directions were totally unnecessary. The road was blocked with cars for about the final 1/4 mile of our drive. They had — I shit you not — a massive shuttle bus for the overflow parking. This looked more like a fair than a sock sale. The lengths New Englanders will travel for a deal on some nice wool socks is pretty amazing.
After waiting in several lines, first in the car, then in the warehouse, we ended up in a giant box maze that led us into a massive room filled with hundreds of people.They didn’t allow photos, so I only snapped one in the antechamber, which doesn’t do the place justice:
Rest assured: the bins were large, and the socks were flying. Unless you’ve been in a sock factory before, you’ve never seen so many socks. In Vermont fashion, folks were fairly genial. I only saw a few elbows thrown.
Ezra forced himself to go to the temple, but he could not go through with the ritual. Despairing, he rent his garments and his coat, threw himself onto the ground, and cried out in agony. Finally, he uttered a prayer that was also an accusation against the people of the land, as he had come to call them, those who had stayed behind and whose habits were so horrifying to the returning exiles.The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization
Apparently, when Ezra brought the Judeans back to Jerusalem after they’d been exiled in Babylon for a few generations, he was super upset that the Jews that were left behind in Jerusalem married and had children w/ non-Jews, and forgot to practice important religious traditions. Can you believe it?
I think that tearing your clothes (which were probably a lot harder to come by in 450 BCE) and crying out in agony is a dramatic way to react to people behaving exactly as you would expect them to. I bet he really got people’s attention though.
We have been misled by the people of the time themselves who, in looking back across the gulf of the War, see that earlier half of their lives misted over by a lovely sunset haze of peace and security. It did not seem so golden when they were in the midst of it. Their memories and their nostalgia have conditioned our view of the pre-war era but I can offer the reader a rule based on adequate research: all statements of how lovely it was in that era made by persons contemporary with it will be found to have been made after 1914.Barbara Tuchman
The ankle wallet answered a need. It spoke directly to a personal concern. It made me feel there were people out there in the world of product development and merchandising and gift cataloguing who understood the nature of my little nagging needs.Don Delillo