Singer Nick Cave has dissected a song produced by the viral chatbot software ChatGPT that was supposedly written in the style of Nick Cave, calling it “bullshit” and “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human." Writing in his newsletter the Red Hand Files on Monday, Cave responded to a fan of his called Mark in New Zealand, who had sent him a song written by the ChatGPT software. The artificial intelligence, which can be directed to impersonate the style of specific individuals or forms of writing, was used by Mark to create a song “in the style of Nick Cave”. Filled with dark biblical imagery, ChatGPT’s song included the chorus: “I am the sinner, I am the saint / I am the darkness, I am the light / I am the hunter, I am the prey / I am the devil, I am the savior.”
His forged documents saved thousands of Jews
Adolfo Kaminsky’s talent was as banal as could be: He knew how to remove supposedly indelible blue ink from paper. But it was a skill that helped save the lives of thousands of Jews in France during World War II. He had learned how to remove such stains as a teenager working for a clothes dyer and dry cleaner in his Normandy town. When he joined the anti-Nazi resistance at 18, his expertise enabled him to erase Jewish-sounding names like Abraham or Isaac that were officially inscribed on French ID and food ration cards, and substitute them with typically gentile-sounding ones. The forged documents allowed Jewish children, their parents and others to escape deportation to Auschwitz and other concentration camps, and in many cases to flee Nazi-occupied territory.
When a humpback whale turns up dead in the Arctic, who do you call?
Kathy Burek spends her days cutting up the wildest, largest, smallest, most charismatic, and most ferocious creatures in Alaska. She’s been on the job for more than 20 years, self-employed and working with just about every organization in Alaska. Until recently, she was the only board-certified anatomic pathologist in a state more than twice the size of Texas. She’s still the only one who regularly heads into the field with her knives and vials, harvesting samples that she’ll later squint at under a microscope. And nowhere in North America is this work more important than in the wilds of Alaska. As human-generated greenhouse gases continue to trap heat in the world’s oceans, air, and ice at the rate of four Hiroshima bomb explosions every second, and carbon dioxide reaches its greatest atmospheric concentration in 800,000 years, the highest latitudes are warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. (via The Browser)
The neurosurgeon who claims he went to heaven and returned
In 2013, Luke Dittrich wrote for Esquire about the author of the book "Proving Heaven," a former neurosurgeon who claimed he saw heaven while in a medically-induced coma after suffering from bacterial meningitis: "We talk for hours. We talk about his past life and his present one, and about the strange voyage that divided the two. We talk about some of the stories he tells in Proof of Heaven, which has sold nearly two million copies and remains near the top of the New York Times best-seller list nearly a year after its release. We also talk about some of the stories you won't find in the book, stories I've heard from current and former friends and colleagues, and stories I've pulled from court documents and medical-board complaints, stories that in some cases give an entirely new context to the stories in the book, and in other cases simply contradict them."
A fake death in Romance-land raises questions about an author
I recently linked to a story about Susan Meachen, a 47-year-old homemaker and author of romance novels who pretended that she had committed suicide only to re-emerge two weeks ago very much alive. This is the follow-up to that story: "More than anything, Ms. Cole said, she was hurt. She had gone into a major funk for months over Ms. Meachen’s death, worried that she had not been a good friend. Worse, in the recriminations that followed, Ms. Cole was accused on one fan page of bullying Ms. Meachen, something both women said was untrue. Ms. Cole, who describes herself as naturally suspicious, set about documenting Ms. Meachen’s false claims in a series of screen shots and DMs. She provided screenshots showing that Ms. Meachen had appealed to the group for financial help in medical emergencies and noted that she returned to the fan page under a new identity, T.N. Steele, effectively eavesdropping on her own mourners.
The fork was once considered immoral, unhygienic and a tool of the devil
From a piece in the Smithsonian magazine in 2020 on ten surprising facts about everyday household objects: "The word 'fork' is derived from the Latin furca, which means pitchfork. The first dining forks were used by the ruling class in the Middle East and the Byzantine Empire. In 1004, Maria Argyropoulina, niece of the Byzantine emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII, was married to the son of the Doge of Venice. She brought with her a little case of two-pronged golden forks, which she used at her wedding feast. The Venetians were shocked, and when Maria died three years later of the plague, Saint Peter Damian proclaimed that her death was God’s punishment. And with that, Saint Peter closed the book on the fork in Europe for the next four hundred years."
Can the bagpipes be a jazz instrument? Gunhild Carling says yes they can
I have never liked the bagpipes much, apart from military parades and maybe the odd funeral, but this video of Swedish multi-instrumentalist Gunhild Carling changed my mind about them completely