CNET: NFT goldrush: A roundup of the strangest nonfungible tokens. “Real digital artists are making real money on NFTs. Take Beeple. He’s a digital artist with a huge fanbase, over 1.8 million followers on Instagram. Art he sold as an NFT recently fetched $69 million in a Christie’s auction. That’s insane to you or me, but not to people who frequent Christie’s auctions, who spend $60 million on abstract expressionist paintings. But even if there is a small percentage of NFT sales you can make sense of, there are many more which are absolutely, positively nuts.”
New York Times: Pandemic Baking Just Got Weirder. “Back in March, when isolation and homebound boredom were novelties, many Americans fashioned themselves into folksy sourdough bakers. Come June, making bread loaves, cookies and cakes took on new urgency, as professionals banded together to raise funds for organizations that support and defend Black lives. All the while, many artists and amateur bakers had been creating confections at home, not out of practicality or as part of a campaign, but for art’s sake. Their cakes, which draw on the absurdist Jell-O mold tradition of 1950s homemakers and revel in gross-out palettes, reflect ideas about gender, power and respectability.”
Dedicated to all you cool cats and kittens who have ever had to do really weird tech troubleshooting, from the BBC: Internet: Old TV caused village broadband outages for 18 months. “The mystery of why an entire village lost its broadband every morning at 7am was solved when engineers discovered an old television was to blame. An unnamed householder in Aberhosan, Powys, was unaware the old set would emit a signal which would interfere with the entire village’s broadband. After 18 months engineers began an investigation after a cable replacement programme failed to fix the issue.”
Okay, I promise I will calm down about these. But this one uses AI to generate CAT PICTURES. Seriously, how can I not? Futurism: A New AI Draws Cats, and They’re Utterly Grotesque. “GANs have been used for much more ambitious projects in the past. Researchers at NVIDIA harnessed the power of the technology to create uncanny faces that are almost completely indistinguishable from the real thing. But that doesn’t mean bored people on the internet shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the open-source technology for a bit of fun — that is, as long as real-world cats stay out of harm’s way.” I tested this. A fraction of the cats look something like real cats. The other ones look like the dreams you have after a meal of spicy meatballs and eggnog.
The Verge: Navigating the well-curated, deeply weird Sponsored Films online archive. “Last week, the National Film Preservation Foundation launched a remarkably well-curated and easily accessible online collection of movies featured in Rick Prelinger’s book The Field Guide to Sponsored Films. These are mostly educational shorts, financed by government agencies, charitable organizations, or corporations with something to say. In the latter half of the 20th century, these shorts were fairly common in schools, workplaces, and civic institutions. But these days, most people encounter them only when they’ve been comedically repurposed. The gang from Mystery Science Theater 3000 often riffs on sponsored films.”
Of course there’s an online museum for weird Cheetos shapes. (PRESS RELEASE). Of COURSE there is. “Since its launch, the Cheetos Museum has already had over 15,000 Cheetos fans turned art curators submit the unique shapes they’ve found in their Cheetos bags. The 10 best shapes will be featured in the ultimate official Cheetos art collection and be awarded a total of $150,000 in prize money.”
I’m confused. Google is being sued for using someone’s song in its ads. Here’s the thing: they had negotiated the rights to use the song, but hadn’t gotten her permission. Huh? “[Darlene] Love’s voice was used, as it was part of the licensed track. Her goodwill remained where it always was — loaded like a spring trap, apparently. She accuses Google of deliberately using a non-union ad producer to ensure her union-granted ‘rights’ (whatever they are…) were routed around.”