WWE Battleground 2017 [REPORT]

Publishing this two days after the event aired, I can’t help but question if there’s any point. Then I realised, one of the reasons that I cover WWE PPVs here is to track their progress and development over time. Missing one, in a year that will have fourteen by its end, may not seem a big deal. However, I feel that not reporting this one PPV would be unfair on certain talents within. For example, Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal have been running a questionable and tiresome feud for some time now. It would be the height of injustice not to comment on their Punjabi Prison match at this year’s Battleground; it made me quite like Mahal for the first time, which is always worthy of discussion.…   [continue reading]

Stefan Bohacek Interview: The Ethics and Humanity of Bots

Stefan Bohacek is the founder of BotWiki, a project that aims to catalog the useful, friendly and artistic bots of the world. He also has a number of side-projects on his site, fourtonfish.com. The projects include Detective, a chat-based game that randomly pairs you with a human or a bot and makes you decide which you’re chatting with.

We spoke about the philosophy and ethics of bots, as well as the ideas behind BotWiki, Detective, and his other exciting projects.

Listen to the interview below:

Or read the transcript for all the links we refer to:

BotWiki’s been a fascinating project for me lately.…   [continue reading]

ACME (10) – Redemption or Condemnation

10

Redemption or Condemnation
(certainly no kind of conclusion)

Wallace’s trowel turned over the mud in whirlwind motions, mesmerising him. Sebastian, his dignified, auburn cat, sat behind with pricked ears and darting eyes, also fascinated by the grinding movement. He loosely contemplated whether those churnings breathed or bled. Perhaps, Sebastian thought in feline purr, there was a heart and life in the dirt. It certainly looked like it was breathing. Therefore, it seemed natural to conclude that the blunt, diamond-shaped tool, which Wallace continued to brandish, was an instrument of the hunt.

This reminded him he was hungry and, with a soft, intuitive mew, he signalled such to his companion.…   [continue reading]

ACME (09) – A Final Thought for Old Mrs. Misserly

9

A Final Thought for Old Mrs. Misserly
(erased from memory, stabbed back with realisation)

The kettle on the stove was boiling with bubbling cacophony.  It was a frightening sound, when analysed, with its random and violent blubs and pops.  But old Mrs. Misserly, after years of hearing its wet crackles, found it a comforting noise; a sort of school bell for the end of a long day plagued by peripheral pranksters.  Her days had been the same for some time now.  She would arise every morning as her patch of ACME was only just being tickled by the imagination of dawn’s light. …   [continue reading]

ACME (08) – Ancestral Jottings

8

Ancestral Jottings
(in the lands before ACME)

Chipped rock flew through humid, bubbling air.  Disordered lines in cave walls connected and separated in haphazard heavy-handedness.  Architects of some new place, intangible and distant to even its benefactors, hacked with primitive bashers and scratchers; patterns even they didn’t understand.  This was when man still bawled its aimless evolutionary whines – a communication, but with all the lexical weight of bleats and barks.  Here, as language was beginning to grind into motion, so too were the first wild lunges made in the direction of creativity.

A beat rose up in the night, rolled out on rocks and animal skin. …   [continue reading]

ACME (07) – The Mothers, The Fathers

7

The Mothers, The Fathers
(and all of their nurture)

Did your mother weep when first setting eyes on your moist, fresh body?  Did your father not smile when he rocked your helpless frame in his overwhelming arms?  If not, such a thing is surely the opus of tragedy; but these matters are questions of our own world.  For Petey, the appropriate queries would concern the activities of Wallace following the final key strike of his character proposal.  Did he light a cigarette in rest?  Did he sleep, or perhaps enjoy an evening in town as his younger self at the time so often enjoyed? …   [continue reading]

ACME (06) – Seasoned Immortals

6

Seasoned Immortals
(a Wabbit, a Ghost, a perpetually Smiling Mouse and a hulking, Yellow Stupidity)

A door creaked to an opening ahead of our swine subject.  The wall that housed the door was free from this construct moments previous and, as an odd, ethereal light slowly burst through the door ajar, he came to the realisation that he had somehow escaped total deletion.  He guessed the klaxon had meant the dawning of his destruction; the opening door signalled some hope for an opposing possibility – he would meet the Seasoned Immortals.  Perhaps there was yet time for Petey to harness the secrets they offered. …   [continue reading]

ACME (05) – The Douglas Anvil™ Shower

5

The Douglas Anvil™ Shower
(careless destruction and its terrible waves)

He’s really done it this time.  His laugh rolled out like giddy cavalry.  Fool.  This contract will be framed in my memory forever.  Creative control – his “children” are mine.  Emil Douglas rubbed his sweaty, manicured hands with an uncontainable elation at what sat before him – a ruffled paper edge, sliced through by blunt fingers, the letter sprawling out below.  He always wasted characters, Wallace.  He only got the job because better writers died, always knew I could do better.  Look back into envelope.  Something else?  A new script! …   [continue reading]

ACME (04) – Sally O’Malley

4

Sally O’Malley
(a diamond unpolished, hurled into the ocean)

So, as Petey stood alone and cold in a bright chamber awaiting his vision of death, his mind wandered nostalgic paths – winding memory lanes that never ended.  All roads led to more precious reminisces, more tragic regrets.  He heard a sound from the adjoining room – a kind of klaxon, a kind of scream.  Reverberating with strange emphasis, it hit Petey’s ears piercingly.  He knew what it meant; whatever strange toy they had decided to invent, to crush him from all memory, was ready.  Petey hadn’t even been told what it was that would eventually destroy his continuing presence, and he certainly never had any idle dream for Immortality.  …   [continue reading]

ACME (03) – Written in Stone

3

Written in Stone
(typed in microsoft word)

Push button.  His dusted, dated desktop Dell chugged into gear as if governed by churning teams of cogs.  Force slow legs stand, shimmy into kitchen.  He always avoided the creaking floorboard, but as his health began to reflect his age he couldn’t help the strained sinew in his back from moaning its own geriatric protest.  Stub fucking toe on old, cracked dog bowl.  Water everywhere, cold and shell-shocked feet.  An eternally broken digit, cracked under apathy and never healing through incompetence.  Even a hamster would learn its mistakes faster.  Quick, inefficient mop; kettle boil. …   [continue reading]