Joho the Blog
Machine learning cocktails
August 13th, 2017, 07:35 PM

Inspired by fabulously wrong paint colors that Janelle Shane’s generated by running existing paint names through a machine learning system, and then by an hilarious experiment in dog breed names by my friend Matthew Battles, I decided to run some data through a beginner’s machine learning algorithm by karpathy. I fed a list of cocktail […]

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Messy meaning
August 8th, 2017, 07:35 PM

Steve Thomas [twitter: @stevelibrarian] of the Circulating Ideas podcast interviews me about the messiness of meaning, library innovation, and educating against fake news. You can listen to it here.

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Cymbeline: Shakespeare’s worst play (Or: Lordy, I hope there’s a tape)
August 7th, 2017, 07:35 PM

The hosts of the BardCast podcast consider Cymbeline to probably be Shakespeare’s worst play. Not enough happens in the first two acts, the plot is kuh-razy, it’s a mishmash of styles and cultures, and it over-explains itself time and time again. That podcast is far from alone in thinking that it’s the Bard’s worst, although, […]

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Misc.
July 27th, 2017, 07:35 PM

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I didn’t like the new Planet of the Apes movie. [No spoilers.]
July 20th, 2017, 07:35 PM

War for Planet of the Apes has 95% positive ratings at Rotten Tomatoes. Many of the cited reviews are effusive. For example, Charles Taylor at Newsweek calls it “a consistently intelligent, morally thoughtful and often beautiful picture.” I’d rephrase that a bit. I think it was a dumb, predictable, boring movie with a couple of […]

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America's default philosophy
July 18th, 2017, 07:35 PM

John McCumber — a grad school colleague with whom I have alas not kept up — has posted at Aeon an insightful historical argument that America’s default philosophy came about because of a need to justify censoring American communist professorss (resulting in a naive scientism) and a need to have a positive alternative to Marxism […]

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The Internet is also a thing
July 17th, 2017, 07:35 PM

A list I am on is counseling that a particular writer not to be taken in by a tour of a data center or network operations center. These tours are typically given by PR guides and can leave the impression that the Internet is a set of writes owned by a corporation. I certainly agree […]

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Net neutrality still matters. A lot.
July 12th, 2017, 07:35 PM

Net neutrality regulates the organizations that provide access to the Internet — to our Internet — to make sure that they do not play favorites. Net neutrality is not a layer on top of the Internet. It is not a regulation place on the Internet. It is the Internet, as Doc Searls and I explained […]

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Hallucinating, not lying?
June 30th, 2017, 07:35 PM

If we listen to what Donald Trump is telling us in plain and strong language, we should conclude that he is suffering from hallucinations — hallucinations of women bleeding. Twice now he has claimed that blood was pouring out of women he feels were antagonistic of him: Megyn Kelly and Mika Brzezinski. We all saw […]

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Re-reading Hornblower
June 28th, 2017, 07:35 PM

I read all of C.S. Forester’s Horatio Hornblower series when I was in high school. I’m on a week of vacation — i.e., a nicer place to work — and have been re-reading them. Why isn’t everyone re-reading them? They’re wonderful. Most of the seafaring descriptions are opaque to me, but it doesn’t matter. The […]

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