Archive for Humor

Fish-in-fish matryoshka sinoglyph

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A very noisy channel

From Breffni O'Rourke:

I thought you might appreciate this effort by Dall.E. The prompt was "Create a diagram of Shannon and Weaver's model of communication."

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Everything's Fine

Eve Armstrong's latest — "Everything's Fine", 3/29/2024:

I investigate the peculiar situation in which I find myself healthy and strong, with a darling family, stimulating job, top-notch dental plan, and living far from active war and wildfire zones — yet perpetually ill at ease and prone to sudden-onset exasperation when absolutely nothing has happened. My triggers include dinner parties, chairs, therapists, and shopping at Costco. In analysing this phenomenon, I consider epigenetics, the neuroscience of neuroticism, and possible environmental factors such as NSF grant budgets. Yet no obvious solution emerges. Fortunately, my affliction isn't really all that serious. In fact, it's good writing material. So while I'm open to better ideas, I figure I'll just continue being like this.

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The textbook racket industry

SMBC dramatizes an all-too-common dynamic in the textbook industry. The initial negotiation:

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Whimsical surnames


Because surnames of immigrants in a melting pot like America often end up getting distorted, bowdlerized, prettified, and otherwise transformed from what they were in their original homelands, we cannot take their current form as gospel linguistic truth.  Nonetheless, people who encounter them cannot avoid taking them at their face value, which may cause much merriment or consternation.  Here I will list several puzzling, unusual surnames I have known, but will not make an assiduous effort to arrive at a definitive explanation of their etymology, morphology, or phonology

In grade school, there was a classmate with the surname "Hassapis".  We all assumed that it meant something related to Manneken Pis (like, he couldn't wait), which I wrote about recently.  After googling around for a few moments, I found that a lot of people from Cyprus have that surname, but couldn't find a hint of its meaning.  After still more googling, I found that a variant seems to be "Hasapis", which may be derived from the Greek word "hasapi", meaning "butcher", though I'm not so sure about that. (source)  Other, more fanciful, derivations have been proposed, but I am inclined to believe that it does have something to do with the Greek word for "butcher":

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La francophonie triomphe

…by virtue of the global spread of English. At least, that's what we can conclude from the click-bait title of a book recently published in France, "La langue anglaise n'existe pas". C'est du français mal prononcé (= "The English language doesn't exist". It's badly-pronounced French).

The author, Bernard Cerquiglini, has some serious credentials, to which he's now added a verified sense of humor. The book opens with a (slightly modified) quote from Montaigne:

« C'est icy un Livre de mauvaise foy, Lecteur.» Il faut de l'audace pour citer Montaigne à rebours; nous aurons cet aplomb: la mauvaise foi est ici proclamée, assumée, réflechie.

"Here is a book in bad faith, reader." It requires boldness to cite Montaigne backwards; we will have this confidence: bad faith is here proclaimed, assumed, and considered.

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"Famous authors asking you out"

This post links to three shorts by @ellecordova — "This is what I think it would be like if famous authors asked you out".

The first one features Kurt Vonnegut, Emily Dickinson, Dr. Seuss, Jane Austen, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Ernest Hemingway:

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Artificially unintelligent phishing?

I have something to add to The Economist's list of "How businesses are actually using generative AI", namely creating phishing messages that are even more implausible than those generated by rooms full of non-native hirelings.

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Unborn Alabama chickens

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AI humor of the day

Let's start with the last four panels of today's Doonesbury:

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More AI humor

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Effective X

"The 'Effective Accelerationism' movement doesn't care if humans are replaced by AI as long as they're there to make money from it", Business Insider 12/30/2023:

The Effective Accelerationism movement — a staunchly pro-AI ideology that has Silicon Valley split over how artificial intelligence should be regulated — appears to be walking a razor's edge between being a techno-libertarian philosophy and a nihilistic, even reckless, approach to advancing one of the world's most significant technological developments. […]

A riff on the effective altruism, or "EA," philosophy touted by tech influencers like Sam Bankman-Fried and Elon Musk, e/acc took off in 2023, though its exact origins remain unclear. The movement has attracted a cast of unlikely characters, including venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli.

"EA and e/acc are mostly the same people," Emmett Shear, the former interim CEO of OpenAI, said in an interview with Meridian. "Their only difference is a value judgment on whether or not humanity getting wiped out is a problem."

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Compound pejoratives

[This has been drifting down my too-long to-blog list for almost 16 months — but better late than never, I guess, and the world could use some pejorative-flavored humor…] 

Colin Morris, "Compound pejoratives on Reddit – from buttface to wankpuffin", 6/28/2022:

I collected lists of around 70 prefixes and 70 suffixes (collectively, “affixes”) that can be flexibly combined to form insulting compounds, based on a scan of Wiktionary’s English derogatory terms category. The terms covered a wide range of domains, including:

    • scatology (fart-poop-)
    • political epithets (lib-Trump-)
    • food (-waffle-burger)
    • body parts (butt--face-head-brains)
    • gendered epithets (bitch--boy)
    • animals (dog--monkey)

Most terms were limited to appearing in one position. For example, while -face readily forms pejorative compounds as a suffix, it fails to produce felicitous compounds as a prefix (facewadfaceclownfacefart?).

Taking the product of these lists gives around 4,800 possible A+B combinations. Most are of a pejorative character, though some false positives slipped in (e.g. dogpilespitballs). I scraped all Reddit comments from 2006 to the end of 2020, and counted the number of comments containing each.

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