Trolls, Crusaders, and Internet Territories

The conditions that enable and encourage trolling aren’t exclusive to the internet, but they are more prevalent online than off, mostly thanks to the ease of anonymity and effects of crowd psychology. Territorial behavior — based either on platform loyalty or tight-knit communities — is amplified when geographical constraints no longer play a part. Internet crusades targeting other groups or individuals have become so commonplace that major platforms like Twitter have had to rethink their stance on free speech.

The internet population is growing, but it’s also fragmenting as real world issues polarize mainstream and fringe subcultures alike. In this article, I’ll examine the phenomena of internet territorialism and those who coordinate trolling on a large scale.…   [continue reading]

SCP3 #07 – Trolls

Click here to hear SCP3 #07 on YouTube.

For this episode of SCP3, our third season of podcasts, we invited my dad back onto the show. In his previous appearances, he acted as a sage-like elder; keeping Benjamin and I grounded. He’s also, usually, inappropriately vulgar for someone of his age. Along with March and Katy, Dad will be joining us for several episodes of this season. This time, he shows some restraint. As SCP3 develops, though, I’m certain the truth of his intimidating bonhomie will quickly unfurl. Perhaps it was merely the topic at hand, which engrossed us all in a conversation exceeding two hours in length.…   [continue reading]

Detectorists: A Quintessentially English Comedy

“Anything?”
“Fuck all.”

The opening dialogue of Detectorists is an expression of matter of fact disdain, which belies the deep passion Andy (Mackenzie Crook*) and Lance (Toby Jones) have for their hobby; in this case, metal detecting. Every philatelist, train spotter, bird watcher, pigeon fancier, weekend woodworker and, well, insert your hobby here ….. knows how it feels. You can’t explain it. You try, but the blank expressions prove you’re not getting through. You love what you do, and that’s all there is to it. Rewards? Very rare, but intensely satisfying; a penny black, a GW Moghul, a Green Winged Teal or that perfectly tight hand-cut dovetail will mean nothing to those around you but, inside, you’ll be doing the dance.…   [continue reading]

The Choice is Yours (SCP Mini)

Click here for this SCP Mini on YouTube.

It’s been some time since we’ve released an SCP Mini. Therefore, I may as well go over their concept once more before I introduce our latest. Using dialogue from our podcast episodes, Benjamin creates short, compressed versions set to edited footage. They allow us to focus on a particular subject, and accentuate key points and humour. In addition, they’re an excellent way for Benjamin to express his developing skill for video editing. Though they’ve only ever pulled in pathetically small view counts on our YouTube, they’re among our personal favourite content.

For this SCP Mini, Benjamin has used a deleted “scene” from episode fourteen of our second season.…   [continue reading]

Maddox Interview: F*ck Whales, Video Games and Criticism

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Maddox, available here.

George Ouzounian, better known as Maddox, has built his brand on the internet for twenty years. Beginning with The Best Page in the Universe in 1997, the project has grown into a number of different mediums. Primarily, Maddox considers himself a writer and satirist. Yet, he’s always made an effort to craft content for various platforms. While maintaining a consistent and practised tone, Maddox now produces podcasts, animation, comics and YouTube videos. He’s even currently working on a video game. Though all of his output is faithful to the core of his character, his outspoken penmanship inspires it all.…   [continue reading]

Issue #1: Birth: A Final Announcement and Update

Several months ago, we announced our first physical zine. Since that announcement, Benjamin and I have been working hard to make Issue #1: Birth a reality. On the same day as this post’s publication, we’ve made our final order for the complete batch of debut issues. Once we’ve received them, we’ll send out individual copies to our subscribers. With its release just a few days away, this post will take a look at each of the zine’s talented contributors. In addition, I’ll detail a few of the difficulties we’ve encountered in the process, and how they’ve helped us to develop.…   [continue reading]

SCP3 #05 – Latvia

Click here to hear SCP3 #05 on YouTube.

Besides our formal interview guests, Benjamin and I have previously invited two other participants to join in this season. For our second episode, Conspiracy, we introduced March. In his appearance, March brought a new youthfulness to the show as he took us through his burgeoning obsession with conspiracy theories. In the following edition, Birds, MC Kat graced us with a female perspective for the first time. Both March and MC Kat will have regular slots across SCP3, along with a number of others as the season evolves.

We’ve been eager to test the dynamics between various guest combinations this time.…   [continue reading]

Computer Vision: How Bots See The World Around Them

In my piece on neural network art, I looked at how bots generate images based on their existing ‘knowledge’ of shape and form. These computers are trained on large data sets of images, all classified and tagged so the machine can make sense of them. Google’s Deep Dream, for example, uses a set of ImageNet material with 120 dog categories, explaining why almost everything it hallucinates has some kind of dog, however subtle.

Projects like Deep Dream are more of an artistic side-project than a useful tool, but the tech it’s based on is a bridge towards computer programs being able to make sense of the world around them — whether that’s an image tagger for a search engine, or a robot with nuanced spacial awareness.…   [continue reading]

Three Months as a Softcore Sex Worker in Latvia’s Capital

“I saw women broken by it. I saw girls crying at the end of the night. The only reason I could deal with it is because I had no sense of self worth.”

Past the grand churches and 14th century mansions, the bewildering side-streets of Old Riga are lined with failed bars and shuttered clubs. Every week, bars are bought, sold, and shut down by the police, only to reappear soon after with a new name and logo. This harsh environment, coupled with Riga’s legacy as a sex capital of Europe, leads establishment owners to employ young Latvian women with the job of bringing foreign men in off the street and giving them an expensive fantasy for the night.…   [continue reading]

Caedmon: Creating Creativity (Maurizio Fusillo Interview)

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Maurizio Fusillo, the creator of Caedmon, available here.

At Secret Cave, we’ve always had an obsession with the output of artificial intelligence. Across a variety of fascinating bots and other projects, it’s been shown that their artwork is more than worthy of scrutiny. Since the birth of the internet, and the entropic prevalence of technology over the past century, the capabilities of such bots has improved at a vast rate. It’s allowed certain older ideas, about the creation of art without emotion, to be explored in the depth they deserve.…   [continue reading]