Make Strange Stories from Your Pictures with Word Camera


Is a picture really worth 1000 words? Taking pictures has gotten easier than ever, knocking the word/picture exchange rate way out of balance. But Ross Goodwin, an NYU graduate student, recently made it a lot easier to get your picture’s worth, by automatically generating long, wordy, and sometimes eerily strange descriptions of your photos.

Goodwin created, an app that creates “lexographs,” or text documents generated from photographs. It takes images, either directly from your camera or from uploaded files, and uses Clarifai, an image recognition tool, to extract tags and then feeds them into ConceptNet, a network trained on the relationship of words to meaning and real world knowledge. It feeds the result through a template that creates sentences to weave the information together and returns a description that might be given by a Martian who’s read an encyclopedia and is looking at the picture through a foggy telescope. This can be fun, and often weirdly poetic.

For example here’s the first few paragraphs from a lexograph of this photo:


Accordingly, a singer, a stringed instrument, and a european. Now, the singer is made from a person who singing. The stringed instrument is for jam session, and the european is a native or inhabitant of europe. For this purpose, the singer yearns for smoking marijuiana. There, it is a person who singing. To put it another way, it evokes crooner. In conclusion, it evokes performer.

To sum up, a ballet dancer and a group: the ballet dancer belongs to a company that producing ballets, and the group evokes accession. Never, the group may include individual. Nonetheless, it is a set with composition operation. Once, it is a collecting in one place. Also, it is a set that being closed, associative, has an identity element and every element has an inverse. Immediately, the ballet dancer is known to some as ballerina. However, it may perfect his posture. Though, it is also known as a ballerina. Doubtedly, it is a one who dancing ballet.

Or a skeleton, which is for teach anatomy to student. To repeat, it is an organisation. Surely, it evokes bone. For example, it evokes skeleton in closet. Nonetheless, it evokes endoskeleton. Nevertheless, it evokes secretting.

To this end, a dalmatian, a musical performance, and a theater. By all means the dalmatian evokes romance. The musical performance may happen in auditorium, and the theater appertains to a building where theatrical performances or motion-picture shows can be presented. And yet, the dalmatian is a video game. Nearly, it is known to some as далматинец. Hence, it is a video game. Nonetheless, it is known to some as dalmát.

Yes, there is a performance happening, there is crooning and dancing. Are they Europeans? Yes. Are they Dalmations? No, they are supposed to be cats, but yes, they do sort of look like Dalmations. Do they yearn for marijuana, do they have skeletons in their closets? Well, they just might. The lexograph may know more than we do.

When I ran a bland picture of a parachute harness, the lexograph circled, semi-sensibly, around the ideas of harnesses, buckles, leg holes, and sports, but also went on a strange tangent about animals only dying once and children buttering bread, making the bland photo weirdly interesting. When someone else ran a picture of young Vladimir Putin the lexograph led with “Meanwhile, a history, a group, and an outfit. Undoubtedly, the history may repeat itself” before veering off to watercraft and war.

If you’re interested in artificial intelligence, playing with may give you interesting insights into the limits and strengths of image recognition and semantic networks. If you’re not, it may still give you serendipitous insights into the strange meanings that lurk in your photos and the world around you.

Play with here. If you make any you like, you can even turn them into albums or postcards.

Pop Culture
Solve a Murder Mystery (and Eat Cheesecake) with The Golden Girls

Something is rotten in the city of Miami. A murder has been committed—and nobody knows who’s behind the dastardly crime. The police are likely no match for the killer, so it’s up to the Golden Girls characters to combine their wits (over cheesecake, of course) to crack the case. But they can’t do it without your help.

That’s right: Peddler’s Village, a quaint shopping village in Lahaska, Pennsylvania, is now offering a Golden Girls Murder Mystery dinner and show every Friday and Saturday night through August 25, 2018. The whodunit takes place at Peddler's Pub at the Cock 'n Bull Restaurant, at 7 p.m.

While the major plot details have been kept under wraps (it is a murder mystery, after all), we do know that Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia have "invited a couple of well known detectives to join the party and discuss their famous capers." And given that the show is titled "The Golden Girls: The Curse of Jessica Fletcher," we can only guess (and hope) that an amateur sleuth from Cabot Cove, Maine will be making an appearance.

It's not the first time Peddler's Pub has hosted the gals from Miami; the current show is a sequel of sorts to the original Golden Girls Murder Mystery that Peddler's Pub put on back in 2016. Fun fact: Mental Floss Editor-in-Chief Erin McCarthy beat out a room full of other Betty White sangria-drinking armchair detectives to correctly solve the mystery during its original run. (She has the mug to prove it.)

Tickets are $69.95 per person, and you can make a reservation (which is required) by calling 215-794-4051. As for what you'll be dining on: You can scope out the menu online (and yes, the Girls’ favorite dessert is involved).

Pop Culture
Cheerleaders and Chicken Suits: Funko is Releasing Several Special Edition Deadpool POPs!

Marvel’s “Merc With a Mouth” is not only getting a sequel—he’s also getting some new swag. Deadpool, the sardonic superhero/villain in red spandex, will soon be immortalized in a new line of special edition Funko POP! vinyl toys.

In keeping with the franchise's eccentric sense of humor, there will be several outlandish outfits to choose from, each one sold exclusively by a different retailer. Among the outfit options Funko lovers will find are a mermaid get-up (complete with starfish bra) at Target; a cheerleader uniform for BoxLunch; a king’s robe and crown at FYE; and a chicken suit for Amazon shoppers. There’s even one of Deadpool holding a chimichanga while wearing ninja gear for 7-Eleven.

These parody dolls seem to be keeping in character with the Deadpool films, which themselves are parodies of the superhero genre. The title character, played by Ryan Reynolds, often breaks the fourth wall in order to poke fun at both DC and Marvel. (The filmmakers also famously signed off on spending $10,000 for a quick shot of the unlikely superhero wearing a tank top with Golden Girl Bea Arthur's face on it.)

The figures will be out this summer following the release of Deadpool 2 on May 18, 2018. Funko also recently released its royal family line of POP! dolls, depicting Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, Elizabeth II, and her kin.


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