Finale: SCP2 and Issue #1: Birth

This piece, which I’ve had planned in my mind for some time now, has proven intensely difficult to begin. In many ways, it signals a door closing. Perhaps that’s why I get a general sense of foreboding in its writing. On the other hand, while we’re certainly turning our backs on the past, it’s also indicative of a potentialย corridorย of new doors opening upย for us. Leaving the metaphors aside for one moment,ย Secret Caveย is changing.ย To put it another way, we’re evolving.

In actuality, we’ve been evolving since our inception just under a year ago. At first, we were nothing more than a listless domain name; the site on which you read these words was a mere clotheshorse for the abject literary whims of its co-founders.…   [continue reading]

INTERNET STANDOFF: DJ Douggpound vs. Lee Tyrrell (SCP Mini)

When I spoke to Doug Lussenhop last month, we got into a surreal internet standoff. It all started innocently, with a conversation about the addiction we all have to our phones. It’s true that all too much of our time is spent scrolling through infinite news feeds. Personally, I could be far more productive than I am by simply turning off my phone. We’re all guilty of it in certain respects, with Lussenhop combating it by spending dedicated time, in the sticks, away from social media. For me, as someone who needs to learn lessons in a similar fashion to a hamster, more direct incentive is necessary.…   [continue reading]

How Horse_ebooks Changed Internet Poetry Forever

What’s the difference between a tweet written by a human and a tweet generated by a machine?

In a lot of cases, it’s difficult to tell. Twitter bot developers are allowed unbridled creativity, and Twitter’s open API makes it a place where a bot can do pretty much anything. For example, Nathan Bernard (a developer we interviewed in season 2 of our podcast) tweets both manually and automatically. The automatic side of his account runs a script designed to get the first reply to any Donald Trump tweet. Itโ€™s even engineered to match its reply to the original tweet, making it harder to discern whether or not a bot is at work behind the scenes.…   [continue reading]

Joel Veitch: A Rather Good Interview

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

Today – in 2017 – we barely have a grip on what exactly the internet is. Its applications are only just truly coming to light, while the majority of us spend hours on social media trying to make sense of it. Sure, the internet has definitions, and we’re all quick to leap on YouTube and the exchange of free information as explanations for its use. Still, it’s a technology that was created ignorantly and has only evolved with incredible alacrity since. You can’t blame humankind for being somewhat perplexed by its implications.…   [continue reading]

What Created Flat Earth Theory?

“It’s easier to control people when we’re on a ball.” โ€” Eddie Bravo

If youโ€™re struggling to grasp why some people defend the flat earth theory so ferociously, it helps to remember that itโ€™s just as much a real theory people believe in as it is a representation of general mistrust for the mediaโ€™s dominant narrative.

The video below is a perfect example; a short clip of Alex Jones saying that he doesn’t believe the earth is flat, but if the mainstream media said it was spherical, he’d start to question it.


That’s the basic attitude that sums up why flat earth theory is so popular; it’s an extended metaphor blown out of proportion.…   [continue reading]

YouTube Poop: Advocating Low-Quality

If you’ve never encountered YouTube Poop, you’ve probably never delved too deep into that weird side of the internet. I can’t precisely recall how I first stumbled across it, but it’s something you can’t forget when you do. As one of the most confrontational and polarising forms of YouTube content, it’s widely seen as large-scale trolling. Even its moniker is off-putting. However, is there something of merit in the folds of their merciless edits? The deeper you fall into its aggressive charms, the more it warrants analysis. Firstly, for the uninitiated, exactly what is a YouTube Poop?

Many researchers and fans trace its true beginnings back to 2004.…   [continue reading]

Through the Lens of @FFD8FFDB: Art by Security Cameras

If you hang around near unsecured security cameras, you might accidentally appear on @FFD8FFDB, an automated Twitter art project run by developer Derek Arnold. The bot is connected to a range of unsuspecting cameras across the U.S. and tweets a screenshot from a random one every 20 minutes.

On the surface, this doesn’t sound particularly appealing. In fact, one of Arnold’s goals was to get any response at all, even a disinterested reaction. The project isn’t supposed to be creepy or menacing โ€” which is often the aesthetic of a security camera. Instead, the images are framed as “beautiful, rather than filthy”, he writes in an article explaining why he chose to start the project.…   [continue reading]

Life is Chronological, But Social Media Can’t Be

In March 2016, Twitter made the switch away from a purely chronological timeline to one partially ordered by algorithms. By looking at Twitter’sย origins โ€” a simple way to update groups of people โ€” the switch away from ordering information chronologically is more interesting than it first seems, and represents the state of the internet and the way we use it in 2017.

The origins of Twitter

When it started, Twitter (or twttr as it was then called) was just an SMS service linked to a website.

Famously influential tech critic Om Malik wrote the worldโ€™s first blog post on Twitter a few months after it launched.…   [continue reading]

Your Bot Art Belongs in a Museum

Recently I interviewed BotWiki founder Stefan Bohacek on the distinction between art made by a human and art made by a machine. “If you think art is these deep thoughts expressed by a human, then of course what bots make isn’t art”, he said. “If you think art is anything that looks good, then bots make art”.

Thinking more on the issue, I realized that a bot’s output is just the randomized result of human input. Even advanced bots with neural networks either learn from human input or learn from other bots that were programmed by humans. In the end, there’s no distinction between art created by bots and humans because humans are the ones that set boundaries for the bot and say what it can and can’t generate.…   [continue reading]

CHOOSE YOUR CHARACTER: The Fallacy of Personality

It’s somewhat of a truism that we all put on masks for public consumption. The only question is, to what extent? While some people hide behind a thick barrier of curated character, others are closer to the knuckle in their personal portrayals. I believe, however, that everyone is guilty, by and large, of relying on fictionalised exaggerations. With the advent of social media, this loss of individualism is only encouraged. There’s a truth behind us all, of course, but to whom is it ever truly visible?

It often works in gradients. For example, your workplace small-talk colleague will probably meet a grander illusion than, say, your parent.…   [continue reading]