Sesame Street gentrifies. Hooper’s Store now sells nothing but artisanal ketchup. The apartment building is luxury condominiums. Gordon, Susan, Bob, and Maria had to move out. Big Bird’s empty lot is now a single origin cold brewed coffee bar called The Nest.
When asked about the recent changes to the neighborhood, one long time resident who asked not to be named was quoted as saying, “I think this is great! Everyone was so happy before. Now they’re miserable! Now if only Chipotle would close down that taqaria down the block, it would be perfect!”
Springfield, Illinois’s Mayor Mike Houston presents Cobra Commander, the operational head and founder of a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world, with the key to the city. This is just like giving the key to Osama Bin Laden.
Upon receiving this gift, this tribute, Cobra Commander said, “Springfielders near and far, I accept your mayor’s generous gift. And let it be known that I, too, bring a gift for every man, woman and child of this city that is so near and dear to my heart; an invitation to join with me. Join Cobra!”
Of course we shouldn’t be surprised. Springfield has long been associated with Cobra
From the mind of Glen A. Larson:
Today, the American institution Saturday Morning Cartoons died. Live action programming and dedicated channels killed it. infomercials couldn’t be reached for comment by press time.
Brotherhood of Death (1976)
Three black special forces soldiers (including return from Vietnam to their small Alabaman town, where the klan rapes one friend and kills another. They respond with Interestingly, the white sheriff is above board, but the deputies are the klansmen. Ends with a shot of a pro-klan billboard.
The Black Klansman (1966)
After the klan burns his daughter to death in a church burning, a light-skinned black man buys a wig, joins the klan under the guise of wanting to form a chapter in Los Angeles, dates the grand wizard’s daughter, and then kills him. Bonus points for miscegenation. This one ends with a JFK quote about racial equality.
Writer, director, ghostbuster Harold Ramis, dead at 69. He’s busting the Holy Ghost now.
In all seriousness. I was bummed when Philip Seymour Hoffman died, because I liked his movies, and now there wouldn’t be anymore. When I heard Harold Ramis was dead, I thought, “Oh good! Perhaps Ghostbusters III won’t get made.”
Premier Health Plans, a a health insurance broker, employs a rather elaborate chat bot to collect a customer’s basic information and interests before sending the potential customer to a real person to close the deal. It’s really a clever chat bot, but the odd thing about it is that it insists that it’s a real person. Clearly someone at Premier Health Plans, thought that a chat bot made good business sense, but at the same time didn’t think it was quite convincing, so they added in scripts to respond to questions like, “Are you a robot?”, with the idea that if they just deny it, that would placate enough curiosity and automaton-phobia to hold a potential customer on the line long enough to close.
Think about this for a second. At some point there was a discussion that went something like:
Analyst: In order to get n conversions per day, we need x telemarketers, which costs y dollars.
Manager: Hmm, y is a lot of dollars, and that initial part of the conversation is where we lose most of customers. What can we do bring down this cost?
Analyst: What if we used a robot?
Manager: Not a phone tree. I hate those press-one-for-English type things.
Analyst: No a really smart robot, like Siri.
Manager: Yeah, a sexy robot, like Siri, but it would have to be smart. Can we make it smart?
Analyst: That can be done, and it would only cost z dollars, which is much less than y dollars.
Manager: Good. Good. Let’s do it.
Analyst: I just thought of something. You know how people don’t like to leave voicemails, or deal with phone trees. What if they don’t like the robot?
Manager: Well, we’ll just have robot lie.
Sadly, the phone number and website, premierhealthagency.com are now disabled.
Sadly, I believe I’ve repeatedly had this conversation at work.
via Mike Mitchell’s Tumblr of Amazing Things.
At SIGGRAPH91, graphics researcher and digital artist Loren Carpenter stood near the front of an 5000 seat auditorium in a Las Vegas hotel. In the seats in front of him, the attendees held cardboard paddles, one side of which was red, the other green. Behind him was a giant screen covered in blinking and shifting red and green dots. After a few moments, the audience figured out what Loren already knew. A camera was trained on the auditorium and was feeding images into a computer that then displayed the color and polishing of every paddle in the room. The audience cheered and began to wave back and forth in unison.
The screen changed to classic video game Pong. The only difference was that instead of all white paddles, the paddles were two-toned, with a green upper half, and a red lower half. Loren took the stage and addressed the crowd. “Okay guys. Folks on the left side of the auditorium control the left paddle. Folks on the right side control the right paddle. If you think you are on the left, then you really are. Okay? Go!”
The ball began to move across the screen and the paddles twitched to life. The paddles move to a height calculated from the relative number of red and green paddles. If everyone shows the same color, then the paddle will move to either the extreme top or the extreme bottom. However, if some show the opposite color, then paddle will stop somewhere in the middle. Surprisingly quickly, the crowd began to play effectively, even when the speed of the ball increased.