Jul. 7th, 2011 12:43 am
1) On Monday there was a little pageant about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Some slightly anachronistic terminology was used. Apparently the colonies seceded, in part, due to regulation creating a hostile environment for business.

Guess who was in the pageant, reading all his lines with a bizarre inflection that he insists is a British accent, but in fact bears no similarity to any dialect known to mankind? Also, kept waving at us in the crowd and making faces while the other actors were talking?

2) Read George R. R. Martin's Dying of the Light. If he sticks to the narrative pattern presented by this book, then Song of Ice and Fire will end with everybody either dead or desirous of that state.

3) The puppy has chewed up all the things. There are no things left.

4) And I don't actually think this is related, but I can't find the elastic strap that holds my bento set together. My life is pretty harrowing.

5) Some idol group put a CG girl into an ad without telling anyone beforehand that she was CG. Some fans of the group apparently worked out that she wasn't real, not because of any evidence in the commercial itself, but because of some hints in the biographical information the group released about her.

Because the animation in the ad is very good; the only giveaway, I think, is that she's a little too close to the Japanese ideal of beauty. If they'd made her a little heavier or her skin a little rougher, I wouldn't have been able to tell which one wasn't real. She's basically a comp of the facial features and movements of several of the other actresses. They just made models of the features in question, then attached little sensors to their faces and recorded them talking.

The comments on that article are pretty hilarious:

Her mouth and head movements were a dead giveaway… looks extremely artificial.

Uh-huh. Again, if I understand the video correctly, the mouth movements were essentially copied directly from one of the other group members.

In the third video, she blinks oddly at the beginning and her head movement looks a little jerky (the wave at the end too, but that could be attributed to nervousness if she were human).

I think an awful lot of people must fail this individual's Turing test. Seriously, I doubt anyone who wasn't alert to the possibility would even suspect that CG had been used there. (And the wave is just how Japanese teenaged girls wave when they're trying to be cute. I can't see anything at all weird about it.)

What's interesting about this to me is that, judging by the making-of video, what was done was about 75% an engineering thing. As in, it looks like the input from artists was mainly just in assembling the comp. Which probably means that in six years, the hardware and software used to make the facial meshes and capture the expressions will be available to consumers for $79.95 at the six-years-from-now-equivalent of Best Buy, for use in rendering your six-years-from-now-equivalent of WoW avatar more expressive. (Six-years-from-now-equivalent of Second Life will still be four years behind.) Teleconferencing may get pretty weird in the future.
Mom: - well, at the time, your sister was a baby, and she had colic and she would sleep maybe two hours at a time.

Dad: I drove her around in the car... I put her in this wind-up swing, which didn't work very well... I put her on top of the washing machine...

Mom: [Our Childhood Primary Care Physician] told you to give her alcohol one time, right?

Dad: Yeah, he told me I should put booze in her bottle.

Me: Are you sure he was a doctor!? I mean, did you ever actually see his diploma?

Dad: Yeah.

Mom: I saw it.
I am glad I was not in time to register to vote in Kentucky, because it means I don't have to vote in the Two Disgusting Men election.

Realistically, in the not-uncommon situation in which both choices in an election are disgusting, you want to vote for the one who more frequently pretends to support the policies you think wisest. It is the sensible thing to do. But it's also offensive to my sensibilities, so I'm pleased I didn't have to do it this year.

(Statistically, it's likely that there is at least one Two Disgusting Men/Women election going on in Maryland, too - but it's not as obtrusive, so I didn't need to go pray and mortify my flesh after filling in the little circles.)


Sep. 25th, 2009 12:11 pm

Reading the Huffington Post thing about the census worker story, I got to this line:

“I don’t think distrust of government is any more or less here than anywhere else in the country,” said Silver, a sociology professor at Southeast Community College.

My first thought was, “I bet the guy doesn’t have tenure.” My second one was, “Well, maybe he’s just kind of sheltered.” My brain was not being snippy or anything! It didn’t have time to be snippy.

You seriously do have to be pretty out-of-it to think that. I also note that this happened two frigging weeks ago, and I have no recollection of WYMT (local news station) covering it at the time. This place is just two hours away, and it’s not exactly a normal crime. This should have been on TV. There’s an article on their website as of today, and the comments are so far unusually short on the right-type craziness and long on the left-type - there’s only one person in there saying stuff about ACORN. I guess the strategy is to ignore it and hope it goes away.

(Crossposted to, Dreamwidth, and LiveJournal. You can leave comments at whichever.)

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