Playing Cards Pay Homage to Groundbreaking Women in History

Earlier this week, Donald Trump told a group of supporters: “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card.”

In reply, Clinton told her supporters: “Mr. Trump accused me of playing the ‘woman card.’ Well, if fighting for women’s health care, and paid family leave, is playing the woman card, then deal me in.”

Later that night, Every Voice communications director Adam Smith tweeted this question:

… which was then spotted by Iowa City-based siblings Zach and Zebby Wahls. They took that idea and launched a Kickstarter for "The Woman Card[s]," a set of playing cards featuring pioneering women. It was funded in less than five hours, and has now raised nearly $20,000 (its original goal was $5000) with 31 days to go (at the time of writing). The internet moves fast, huh?

The cards are sketched by Zebby, who is currently finishing up a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa. The first sketch was of course, Clinton (the ace in the deck), followed by the queen, Beyonce. While all the figures have yet to be drawn, the full deck has been selected and includes figures like Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the king, along with Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony and more.

While the idea is a fun take on politics, the Wahls write on their Kickstarter page that it “isn't just a novelty,” but a way to honor the achievements of female trailblazers in a variety of fields.

While the project is not affiliated with the Clinton campaign, the siblings are supporters of the candidate and a portion of the profit will go to support Hillary for America. The Wahls wrote that Clinton’s people told them that they have something similar in development, so bone up on your favorite two-deck card game and get reading to draw a hand of awesome women from history.

The Woman Card[s] will likely be shipped starting in early July (plenty of time before the big election) and you can check them out here.

[h/t Zach Wahls on Twitter]

The School Book That Pioneered Funny Cat Pics 100 Years Before Lolcats

If you were learning to read in the early 20th century, you could do a lot worse than practicing on Eulalie Osgood Grover’s 1911 masterpiece of an early reader book, Kittens and Cats; a Book of Tales, which we spotted on the Public Domain Review. Long before lolcats or Instagram-famous felines, Grover’s teaching tool imagined what cats would say if they could talk. And boy, do they have things to say. In one chapter, a cat muses about how hard it is to drink out of china cups. In another, a cat wonders who that cat he saw in the mirror was. The first chapter’s narrator proclaims “I am the Queen of all the Kittens. I am the Queen! the Queen!” (Show me a cat who doesn’t think that.)

The chapters, usually just a page or so long, are all accompanied by photographs of cats and kittens dressed up in silly hats and frilly outfits and labeled with captions related to the story, like “I am taking a bath,” “I am Granny Gray,” and “I am the queen!”

According to the Public Domain Review, the photographs were likely the work of pioneering animal photographer Harry Whittier Frees, who insisted that his carefully posed portraits were the result of human handling, not taxidermy. Given how crisply his early-20th-century camera shutter managed to capture piles of kittens, the claim seems suspicious. But please dwell on how amazing these little stories and portraits are and not the stuffing that might be hiding behind these cute kitties’ glassy eyes. Go ahead and enjoy a few of the most delightful spreads below.

Not sure why every elementary school on earth isn't teaching their students to read with this book.

[h/t Public Domain Review]

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]


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