OpenAI’s new multitalented AI writes, translates, and slanders

The Verge reports on efforts by OpenAI to create a language modelling program that could emulate the writing style of a real human. This quote caught my eye: “The writing it produces is usually easily identifiable as non-human. Although its grammar and spelling are generally correct, it tends to stray off topic, and the text […]

Ford made a conveyor belt mattress to keep bed hoggers in their own lane

According to The Verge: the company most likely to improve couples’ relationships and save marriages is actually… Ford? The company has been known to develop conceptual prototypes that utilize its car technology in unexpected ways, like this smart crib that puts babies fast asleep by replicating car rides, or this noise-canceling dog kennel. This time, […]

Beauty spot or landscape blot? Computer trained to judge scenery

  Wordsworth found it in a host of daffodils; Nan Shepherd in the nooks of the Cairngorms. For Monet it popped up all over the place, from the windmills and canals of Amsterdam, to the sailing boats of Argenteuil. What lends a scene beauty has long been left to the poets and painters to define, […]

Rider v rider: how transit etiquette campaigns make you the scapegoat

  At best, etiquette campaigns treat the symptoms of transit inefficiency, not the disease, they argue. At worst, they contribute to a ridership more concerned with each other’s behaviour than advocating for a better system. Read the full story here

Madrid tackles ‘el manspreading’ on public transport with new signs

  Madrid’s transport authorities are taking a stand against seated male selfishness with a campaign to tackle the social scourge that is manspreading. Fed up with men whose thighs fail to respect the boundaries of bus seats, the Spanish capital’s Municipal Transport Company (EMT) is to put up signs discouraging the practice. Read the full […]

Want to lose weight? Eat in a crinkly plate

  A crinkly plate, designed with ridges that cunningly reduce the amount of food it holds, may be heading for the market to help people concerned about their weight to eat less. The plate is the brainchild of a Latvian graphic designer, Nauris Cinovics, from the Art Academy of Latvia, who is working with a […]

Google’s 18-Month Quest To Redesign Its Terrible Emoji

  “It’s a communication issue,” says Rachel Been, Creative Director on Google’s Material Design. “If I sent my friend the dancing woman on iOS, and I’m on an Android device and I see a blob, there’s a miscommunication.” And now, thanks be to Google, that miscommunication is being fixed. “We’re doing a full redesign of […]

How real books have trumped ebooks

  Book covers looked very different a decade ago when the appearance of e-readers seemed to flummox a publishing industry reeling from the financial crisis and Amazon’s rampant colonisation of the market. Publishers responded to the threat of digitisation by making physical books that were as grey and forgettable as ebooks. It was an era […]

‘Turn it off’: how technology is killing the joy of national parks

  Andrew Studer was admiring a massive lava fire hose at Hawaii Volcanoes national park when he spotted something unusual: a small quadcopter drone flying very close to the natural wonder pouring hot molten rock. “There were other visitors sitting out relaxing in somewhat of a meditative state, just trying to enjoy this phenomenon,” said […]