Things I Think Are Awesome [TITAA] Ep 2: Bots, Meteors, Colors
Hi again -- thanks for signing up! This time has more focus on things that make me smile, because they are the most awesome: a lot from Twitter as usual, and also one travel tip.
Via a tweet from @DashingD3, I love the Dark Sky emoji weather map. It has funny faces, whales, ships, waves, you can zoom in, and it's just adorable:
"A Neural Networks Approach to Predicting How Things Might Have Turned Out Had I Mustered the Nerve to Ask Barry Cottonfield to the Junior Prom Back in 1997" - an arxiv article by Eve Armstrong. It's for April 1, but don't let it put you off. It took me a while to click on this link, but--oh the humanity--! and the Yearbook pictures. I think there's something deeper to it than just a joke (it's funny because it's almost real?). It's a small data, real-ish human customization of a normally quite boring technical subject. We need more humanity in AI writing.
From @wattenberg, this 3d animated meteor showers from space app is amazing. Super responsive.
Bots: Recently, I've been smiling at bots a lot. A tiny bit of poetry, a nice image, or a funny line in the middle of the political crap: they're a great brain-wash. This list of "good bots" paid off, as did some friends' recs. So here's some I recommend.
a strange voyage, by @joebaxterwebb.
phantomfunhouse by @tinysubversions. Very weird Tarot cards and micro-poetry. I can't explain and don't understand and am ok with that (except I do have questions, tbh).
Emoji Aquarium, by @joesondow. It's so simple, but so colorful and cute.
The Sappho Bot is almost always lovely (not signed by a creator).
There will be more bots later, I'm sure!
Travel and food: Last weekend I was in San Sebastian in Spain (after the Malofiej conference) and the tapas ("pintxos") were outstanding. If you want your mind blown by outstanding food for criminally low prices, go to Zeruko. I was there twice in 24 hours, and spent under 20 euros both times for 3 epicurean small plates and 2 glasses of wine. It was awesome.
Book(s): The guy who wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth, Walter Tevis, wrote an amazing novel about a girl chess player: The Queen's Gambit. I don't know anything about chess, so for me it was kind of "blah blah knight queen pawn," but that didn't matter. Highly recommended. Best read in ages. His book Mockingbird is a moving take on a nearly-post-human robot world, where the last people are pacified by drugs, sterile, and can't read. Poetry plays an important role as one person teaches himself to read and tries to understand what happened to the world. There is also a lovely cat, who, yes, is still alive at the end.
I hope you're finding awesome things that make you smile, too... and hoping this helps!