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October 27 2017

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10:30 me: let’s do a quick squid sketch
11:30 me: …what just happened

October 26 2017


Someone: ugh why is everything bad all the time?


A neural network designs Halloween costumes




It’s hard to come up with ideas for Halloween costumes, especially when it seems like all the good ones are taken. And don’t you hate showing up at a party only to discover that there’s *another* pajama cardinalfish?

I train neural networks, a type of machine learning algorithm, to write humor by giving them datasets that they have to teach themselves to mimic. They can sometimes do a surprisingly good job, coming up with a metal band called Chaosrug, a craft beer called Yamquak and another called The Fine Stranger (which now exists!), and a My Little Pony called Blue Cuss.

So, I wanted to find out if a neural network could help invent Halloween costumes. I couldn’t find a big enough dataset, so I crowdsourced it by asking readers to list awesome Halloween costumes. I got over 4,500 submissions.

The most popular submitted costumes are the classics (42 witches, 32 ghosts, 30 pirates, 22 Batmans, 21 cats (30 incl sexy cats), 19 vampires, and 17 each of pumpkins and sexy nurses). There are about 300 costumes with “sexy” in their names; some of the most eyebrow-raising include sexy anglerfish, sexy Dumbledore, sexy golden pheasant, sexy eyeball, sexy Mothra, Sexy poop emoji, Sexy Darth Vader, Sexy Ben Franklin, Sexy TARDIS, Sexy Cookie Monster, and Sexy DVORAK keyboard. In the “technical challenge” department, we have costumes like Invisible Pink Unicorn, Whale-frog, Glow Cloud, Lake Michigan, Toaster Oven, and Garnet.

All this is to say that humans are very creative, and this task was going to be tricky for a neural network. The sensible approach would be to try to use a neural network that actually knows what the words mean - there are such things, trained by reading, for example, all of Google News and figuring out which words are used in similar ways. There’s a fun demo of this here. It doesn’t have an entry for “Sexy_Gandalf” but for “sexy” it suggests “saucy” and “sassy”, and for “Gandalf” it suggests “Frodo”, “Gollum”, and “Voldemort”, so you could use this approach to go from “Sexy Gandalf” to “Sassy Voldemort”. 

I wanted something a bit weirder. So, I used a neural network that learns words from scratch, letter by letter, with no knowledge of their meaning, an open-source char-rnn neural network written in Torch. I simply dumped the 4500 Halloween costumes on it, and told the neural network to figure it out.

Early in the training process, I decided to check in to see how it was doing.

Sexy sexy Dombie Sexy Cat
Sexy A stare Rowan
Sexy RoR A the Rog
Sexy Cot
Sexy Purbie Lampire
Poth Rat
Sexy Por Man
The Wombue
Pombie Con A A Cat
The Ran Spean Sexy Sexy Pon Sexy Dander
Sexy Cat
The Gull Wot
Sexy Pot

In retrospect, I should have expected this. With a dataset this varied, the words the neural network learns first are the most common ones.

I checked in a little later, and things had improved somewhat. (Omitted: numerous repetitions of “sexy nurse”). Still the only thing that makes sense is the word Sexy.

Sexy The Carding Ging
Farbat of the Cower
Sexy The Hirler
A costume
Sexy Menus
Sexy Sure
Frankenstein’s Denter
A cardian of the Pirate
Ging butter
Sexy the Girl Pirate

By the time I checked on the neural network again, it was not only better, but astoundingly good. I hadn’t expected this. But the neural network had found its niche: costume mashups. These are actually comprehensible, if a bit hard to explain:

Punk Tree
Disco Monster
Spartan Gandalf
Starfleet Shark
A masked box
Martian Devil
Panda Clam
Potato man
Shark Cow
Space Batman
The shark knight
Snape Scarecrow
Gandalf the Good Witch
Professor Panda
Strawberry shark
Vampire big bird
Samurai Angel
lady Garbage
Pirate firefighter
Fairy Batman

Other costumes were still a bit more random.

Aldonald the Goddess of the Chicken
Celery Blue Frankenstein
Dancing Bellyfish
Dragon of Liberty
A shark princess
Statue of Witch
Cupcake pants
Bird Scientist
Giant Two butter
The Twin Spider Mermaid
The Game of Nightmare Lightbare
Share Bat
The Rocky Monster
Mario lander
Spork Sand
Statue of pizza
The Spiding hood
A card Convention
Sailor Potter
Shower Witch
The Little Pond
Spice of pokeman
Bill of Liberty
A spock
Count Drunk Doll of Princess
Petty fairy
Pumpkin picard
Statue of the Spice of the underworker

It still was fond of using made-up words, though. You’d be the only one at the party dressed as whatever these are.

A masked scorby-babbersy
Magic an of the foand tood-computer
A barban
The Gumbkin
Scorbs Monster
A cat loory Duck
The Barboon
Flatue doctor
Sparrow Plapper
The Spongebog
Minional marty clown
Count Vorror Rairol Mencoon
A neaving hold
Sexy Avical Ster of a balana Aly
Huntle starber pirate

And it ended up producing a few like this.

Sports costume
Sexy scare costume
General Scare construct

The reason? Apparently someone decided to help out by entering an entire costume store’s inventory. (”What are you supposed to be?” “Oh, I’m Mens Deluxe IT Costume - Size Standard.”) 

There were also some like this:

Rink Rater Ginsburg
A winged boxer Ginsburg
Bed ridingh in a box Buther Ginsburg
Skeleton Ginsburg
Zombie Fire Cith Bader Ginsburg

Because someone had entered about 50 variations on Ruth Bader Ginsberg puns (Ruth Tater Ginsberg, Sleuth Bader Ginsber, Rock Paper Ginsberg).

It invented some awesome new superheroes/supervillains.

Glow Wonder Woman
The Bunnizer
Light man
Bearley Quinn
Glad woman
robot Werewolf
super Pun
Super of a bog
Space Pants
buster pirate
Skull Skywolk lady
Skynation the Goddess
Fred of Lizard

And oh, the sexy costumes. Hundreds of sexy costumes, yet it never quite got the hang of it.

Sexy Scare
Sexy the Pumpkin
Saxy Pumpkins
Sexy the Pirate
Sexy Pumpkin Pirate
Sexy Gumb Man
Sexy barber
Sexy Gargles
Sexy humblebee
Sexy The Gate
Sexy Lamp
Sexy Ducty monster
Sexy conchpaper
Sexy the Bumble
Sexy the Super bass
Pretty zombie Space Suit
sexy Drangers
Sexy the Spock

You bet there are bonus names - and oh please go read them because they are so good and it was so hard to decide which ones to fit into the main article. Includes the poop jokes. You’re welcome.

I’ve posted the entire dataset as open-source on GitHub.

And you can contribute more costumes, for a possible future neural net upgrade (no email address necessary).

Next time I go to a Halloween party, I’m going to write a couple dozen of these on index cards, fasten them to string, and drape it around myself. It’ll be a Halloween Costume Neural Network Halloween Costume. 

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People who think Homestuck summaries are difficult to understand from a newcomer’s perspective should try reading Problem Sleuth.


Angrath was a family man on a plane we haven’t been to yet. He has two adorable daughters, and whenever he wasn’t at work as a blacksmith he would travel the Multiverse to bring them back presents. He went away on a weekend holiday years ago and ended up on Ixalan, and when he tried to return home he could not.

@wizardsmagic doing their best to make me sad

October 23 2017

omg why do white ppl love cheese so mu-







I actually didnt know that

The answer is apparently “because we’re actually able to eat it”

Fun fact: white people (specifically Northern European white people) have a genetic mutation that allows them to digest lactose even after weaning, which is abnormal for all mammals and also most humans. It’s theorized that because Northern Europe doesn’t get a lot of sun, an alternative source of vitamin D (like milk) would be a useful trait. It’s a very recent mutation that would only have happened after humans started domesticating animals like cows and goats.

oh no, my bizarre moment has come, cause lactose tolerance is actually A Thing I Know About because it’s played a fascinating role in human evolution for thousands of years. This chart displays some of the broad trends, but it’s giving near continental averages, which doesn’t showcase how this kind of thing really breaks down and some of the surprising exceptions. 

Lactose tolerance is the majority trait for only a very few population groups: North Europeans (and therefore populations that draw heavily from that stock, such as America,) nomadic central Eurasians, and sub-Saharan pastoralist Africans, but that latter group is often overlooked. The vast majority of Africans cannot process lactose, but certain people groups whose lifestyles have revolved around cattle for thousands of years will have 80% and even approaching 100% lactose tolerance rates. They’d be spots of dark green amidst a sea of orange and burgundy on the above chart. 

Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were almost entirely lactose intolerant, that is definitely the biological norm (and people groups who maintained that lifestyle, such as Native Americans, remained as such – along with groups who transitioned to sedentary agricultural lifestyles, but I’ll get into that). As such, lactose tolerance is an adaptive trait that only became prevalent in environments that exerted strong selective pressure for it. So, cows were domesticated some 10,000 odd years ago in the Middle East (and some have contended for an independent domestication event in Africa as well). In either case, cattle quickly spread across the continent and we know there was milking and cheese production at least 6,000 years ago in both the Nile and Mesopotamia. While cow meat would have been enjoyed by all, in agricultural societies milk and cheese would have been options, but hardly staples as there were plenty of other things to eat as well, and therefore there would have been no selective pressure for processing lactose. Also, sedentary societies had ways of processing milk and cheese that allowed lactose intolerant people to drink/eat dairy products. Fermenting milk or aging cheese breaks down lactose, making it a non issue once ingested. This is why fermented milk may seem utterly foul to many Westerners, but is extremely common in other parts of the world. But, fermentation and aging requires time, and the ability to store things in a single location for weeks or even months. Sedentary societies adapted the milk to fit their biology, but nomadic societies did the reverse.

There are still mobile pastoralist societies in Africa today, and there have been for thousands and thousands of years. For many of them, cows are not one of many dietary options, they are the single dietary staple around which their lifestyle revolves. Biologically, this means you gotta get with the program if you wanna survive. For most mobile tribes, fermentation and aging weren’t options, so there would have been strong selective pressure favoring those who could drink milk straight outta the cow, as they would have had an additional, highly nutritious food source available to them. Milk also allowed for a marked shortening of the weaning process, transitioning children from breastmilk to cow’s milk, which would again be advantageous for groups where both the men and women work and are always on the move. Over generations these populations specialized into essentially cow-based lifestyles, creating a survival niche highly advantageous to them, and fast forward thousands of years and there are groups in Africa with near ubiquitous lactose tolerance, while the rest of the continent (and the world really) is nearly entirely intolerant. 

Many of these same factors would have influenced the central Eurasian populations, which is why Mongolians and other descendants of nomadic steppe peoples are largely lactose tolerant, as mare’s milk would have been a dietary staple (though they also developed efficient ways to ferment it). 

North Europeans developed lactose tolerance in response to deficiencies in certain nutrients. The northern climate limited Vitamin D production, and the agricultural products available to them were often low on calcium and protein, and so dairy farming developed alongside agriculture to create a more rounded diet (and this was limited to Northern Europeans, as Mediterranean peoples such as the Romans wrote about their great confusion at the northern barbarians’ ability to drink fresh milk)

And I promise all of this is fascinating because the ability to process lactose evolved independently in several different population groups and in response to different factors: lifestyles revolving around cows, lifestyles revolving around horses, deficiencies in climate and agriculture. Besides providing insight into human history and biology, lactose tolerance is also a great example of convergent evolution, where different genetic populations in different environments produce similar results. 

And uh, that’s my rant about the role of milk and lactose tolerance in human evolution. 

October 21 2017

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by wendelscardua via /r/homestuck

October 19 2017

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None Pizza with Left Beef is 10 years old today.

happy birthday to a decade-old meme.

October 16 2017

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Ghibli Back to the Future scene redraw! Happy BTTF day everyone! <3

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Когда ты накуренный и не помнишь, как выключается кран


where’s the fucking TRANSLATION


don’t like this one

oh my god it means tap. The tap. (Water)Rooster = tap in many indo european languages like danish and russian

oh my god thank you

It’s not just Russian - the word “cock” used to mean “faucet” in English, too. The usage is now considered archaic, but survives in some compound words, like stopcock.

October 13 2017



Bugs Bunny accidentally transformed the word nimrod into a synonym for idiot because nobody got a joke where he sarcastically compared Elmer Fudd to the Biblical figure Nimrod, a mighty hunter.

Etymology is ridiculous and terrifying sometimes

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exclusive pokemon 2018 leaks

October 04 2017




are you an “arrr” pirate or a “yo ho ho” pirate

I’m an “I’m not paying $600 for Photoshop” pirate

oh this one is good

September 15 2017

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When the Group Hug player finally reveals their endgame

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When the Group Hug player has outlived their usefulness

September 11 2017




Dr James Barry, the first doctor to perform a successful C section wherein both mother and child survived, was a huge champion of handwashing at a time when most doctors didn’t wash their hands. For this reason, many of the chilldbirths he delivered resulted in healthier babies and mothers. He was also a gay trans man, who specifically wrote that upon his death he wished for his body to be taken in its nightshirt, wrapped in his sheets as a shroud, and placed into the coffin so that nobody would see his body. His wishes were not respected, and as a result he was outed at his death.

i’ve also been informed he had a poodle. He named his poodle Psyche. I’d just like to congratulate him on being an excellent human being, who not only pioneered modern medicine but also had good taste in dogs. that is all.

types of responses to this post

  1. i thought this was fake but it’s not
  2. here’s the sawbones episode about him
  3. cis people
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LETS PLAY A GAME. It’s called: Who directed it TIM BURTON or HENRY SELICK

We’ll start with the 2009 Laika film Coraline based on the novel by Neil Gaiman. Do you know who directed it? Burton or Selick?


Did you guess yet?


If you guessed Henry Selick, you would be correct. Tim Burton actually had absolutely nothing to do with Coraline at all in anyway ever. Reminder: Tim Burton has NOTHING to do with Coraline. At all. But that was an easy one. Let’s go to the Walt Disney Pictures adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel, James and the Giant Peach next.


Think you got it? Are you sure? Better double check…


Oh, look. It’s Henry Selick again! Tim Burton actually interacted with this project, though only as a producer. Bet that was tricky… Next one! Let’s go to the Disney/Touchstone Pictures film Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

imageHave you guessed it correctly? Have you really?


Yep that’s right. Even Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas was directed by Henry Selick. Though Burton wrote the poem and created the characters in which Nightmare was based he didn’t have much interaction with the project beyond that. At the time he had already signed off to direct the film Batman Returns and did not want to be involved with the “painstakingly slow process of stop-motion animation.”

Looks like it was a trick quiz. But now you know Henry Selick, whom people rarely know of is responsible for many of the most well known stop-motion animated films. The more you know!

This isn’t even being qeued. This is just being reblogged, because some of you still don’t understand who directed Coraline.

September 10 2017

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Dangerous Dogs Behind “Beware Of Dog” Signs.

September 02 2017

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what the fuck

Ah, good. I’ve found it again. The best comic ever made.

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