we want plates
we want plates

8 Decidedly Different Twitter Feeds

we want plates
we want plates

Twitter is a social network and microblogging platform that lends itself to some imaginative purposes besides communication. A Twitter account can be a single-subject blog or a single joke. It can be an experiment in what software can do, or what people will believe. It can be a medium for social protest. It can even be a webcomic site. Here are some strange and different Twitter feeds that you might get a laugh out of once, or you might want to follow long-term.

1. FACES IN THINGS 

Humans have a tendency to perceive patterns in seemingly random data. That’s our brains making sense of the world, and we tend to see human faces more than anything else. This phenomenon is called pareidolia. The Twitter account Faces in Things gives us example after example. All you need are two dots, circles, or really any two things for eyes, and maybe a shape for a mouth, and we can even see expressions in those shapes.

2. CATS OF DISNEYLAND

Disneyland is home to an extensive colony of feral cats. They stay mostly hidden during the day, and come out at night to prowl the premises. Park staff tend to the cats by feeding, neutering, and providing veterinary services when needed, and the cats return the favor by keeping rodents away from the park. Spotting one of the cats is a treat for visitors, but they can also follow the cats on Twitter at Cats of Disneyland. The tweets are cat-centric, and usually pretty funny. There are also plenty of contributions of pictures from visitors who spotted a cat at Disneyland. The Twitter feed was created to support the blog of the same name, but the Twitter feed is much more active.

3. INTERESTING.JPG

We hear ominous warnings about the rise of artificial intelligence, but then we see real experiments that show we have quite a way to go before Skynet takes over. INTERESTING.JPG is an experimental Twitter feed generated by artificial intelligence. An AI software program was trained in photo captioning by having it analyze photographs with human-written captions. On Twitter, it tries to caption news photographs itself, as best it can. Sometimes the generated captions are almost accurate, although not particularly enlightening. Other times, they are hilariously wrong.

4. WE WANT PLATES

There seems to be an epidemic of restaurants that are dispensing with regular dishes in favor of something “creative” to set them apart from other restaurants, particularly in the UK. The Twitter account We Want Plates collects incidents of food being served on weird substitutes like wooden cutting boards, flat caps, flower pots, wicker baskets, marble slabs, and shovels. If there weren’t photographs, you’d think I was making that up.

I’ve seen hot dinners served in skillets (cold food would be weird), and of course you expect a barbecue sandwich to come in a plastic basket lined with paper. But I’ve never been to a restaurant where they just made up stuff to use instead of plates. Have you?

5. INTERNETDIR95

Jeff Thompson created a Twitter account that links us to various websites from the “Internet International Directory,” published in 1995. InternetDir95 Tweets one URL out every hour. Most are dead, because keeping a website active for 20 years is asking a lot. Finding one that is still active is like finding a piece of treasure. Thompson has created several other experimental Twitterbots, some more successful than others.

6. MEDIEVAL REACTIONS

The Twitter feed Medieval Reactions marries medieval imagery with modern problems. It’s funny, but either or both the art and the text can be NSFW.

7. NIHILIST ARBY'S 

Nihilist Arby's is not connected to Arby’s sandwich shop at all, except for the subject matter. This Arby’s has a thin veneer of promotion for the brand, but underneath all that is a soul who is obviously going through an ongoing existential crisis. Contains NSFW language.

8. KYRZBEKISTAN 

Back in January, the New York Times did a profile of rock climber Tommy Caldwell. They referred to his trip to Kyrgyzstan, but in the print edition and initially in the web story, the country was spelled Kyrzbekistan. The internet version was corrected, but not before the fictional Kyrzbekistan became an internet sensation. Eight months later, Kyrzbekistan’s Twitter feed is still educating people about the culture, history, and government of the nation. However, the updates are slowing down, so you may as well enjoy them while they last.

See more in our previous post 12 Strange and Different Twitter Feeds.

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Don’t Fall For This Trick Used by Hotel Booking Sites
iStock
iStock

Hotel booking sites can be useful tools when comparing prices, locations, and amenities, but some services use deceptive tactics to get you to click “book.”

A new report spotted by Travel + Leisure determined that those “one room left” alerts you sometimes see while perusing hotels can’t always be trusted. Led by the UK-based Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the eight-month investigation concluded that many sites use “pressure selling” to create a false sense of urgency in hopes that customers will book a room more quickly than usual. Similar notices about how many people are looking at a particular room or how long a deal will last are some of the other tactics travel booking websites employed.

The CMA also found that some discount claims had either expired or weren’t relevant to the customer’s search criteria, and hidden fees—like the much-maligned "resort fees"—are sometimes tacked on at the end of the booking process. (To be fair, many hotels are also guilty of this practice.)

The report didn’t drop any company names, but the consumer agency said it warned the sites that legal action would be taken if their concerns weren't addressed. The companies could be breaking consumer protection law, the CMA notes.

“Booking sites can make it so much easier to choose your holiday, but only if people are able to trust them,” Andrea Coscelli, the CMA's chief executive, said in a statement. “Holidaymakers must feel sure they’re getting the deal they expected … It’s also important that no one feels pressured by misleading statements into making a booking.”

Still, booking sites remain a convenient option, so if you decide to use one, just take your time and be cognizant that some of the claims you're seeing may not be entirely truthful.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Internet Archive's Billions of Web Pages Inspired a New Art Exhibition

The Internet Archive, a digital library based out of San Francisco, contains books, movies, music, and roughly 332 billion web pages saved from internet history. The nonprofit's collection is an invaluable tool for researchers, but for the past two years, it has also provided some inspiration to artists. As Fast Company reports, the Internet Archive’s 2018 artist in residence exhibition opens in San Francisco on Saturday, July 14.

For its second annual visual arts residency, the Internet Archive invited artists Chris Sollars, Taravat Talepasand, and Mieke Marple to refer to its web archive (a.k.a. the Wayback Machine) as well as its media archive while building a body of work over the course of a year.

Marple, an artist from Palo Alto, California, created a series of illustrations based on a Facebook quiz titled “What Abomination from the Garden of Earthly Delights Are You?” She found images that inspired the project's visual style from books in the archive's library.

San Francisco artist Chris Sollars built a multimedia exhibition meant to evoke the Bay Area in the 1960s. It includes retro screen savers, literature on psychedelic drugs, and live recordings of the Grateful Dead.

The third artist, Taravat Talepasand, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, was born in the U.S. during the Iranian Revolution. She used the archive to build a mini archive containing magazines, propaganda, and posters from pre-revolutionary Iran. From that, she drew inspiration to make an accompanying series of paintings and drawings.

After launching July 14, the exhibition will be available to view at 1275 Minnesota Street, Suite 105, in San Francisco through August 11. If you're looking for inspiration of your own, artists and non-artists alike can search the Internet Archive for rare materials anytime for free.

[h/t Fast Company]

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