Category Archives: Uncategorized

Marching Towards Doom

For better or worse, it’s getting easier than ever to doctor video footage, and the latest development in this field is as scary as it is impressive. A new algorithm developed by researchers from Stanford University, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University, and Adobe makes it possible to alter human speech in a video, just by changing the text in its transcript.

This method is said to alter the video while preserving the speaker’s characteristics. To accomplish this, the algorithm first reads the phonemes and pronunciation of letters and words from the original video, and creates a model of the speaker’s head to accurately replicate the speaker’s voice and movements.

Once you edit the transcript, the algorithm performs a search for segments containing lip movements that make the words you’ve typed in, and replaces the original phrase. But the replaced part can have a lot of pauses and cuts, because it’s stitched together tiny segments of video from across the clip. So, the algorithm applies some intelligent smoothing to make the edited video appear more natural.

We humans aren’t smart enough to not trust what our eyes and ears tell us. If we see a video of someone saying something, we’re going to believe she said it.

Leon Redbone, RIP

Leon Redbone, the singer who built a career out of performing ragtime, vaudeville and American standards with a sly wink and an unmistakable, nasally voice, died Thursday. He was 69.

A statement on Redbone’s website confirmed his death, though it did so with a sweet bit of humor, joking that he was actually 127 years old.

“He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat,” the statement read. “He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence, and has plans for a rousing sing along number with Sári Barabás. An eternity of pouring through texts in the Library of Ashurbanipal will be a welcome repose, perhaps followed by a shot or two of whiskey with Lee Morse, and some long overdue discussions with his favorite Uncle, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites. To his fans, friends, and loving family who have already been missing him so in this realm he says, ‘Oh behave yourselves. Thank you… and good evening everybody.’”

He is one of my favorites, always has been.

Leon Redbone – Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone 1977

More Bleach

The parents in many of these groups, which have ranged from tens to tens of thousands of members, believe that autism is caused by a hodgepodge of phenomena, including viruses, bacteria, fungal infections, parasites, heavy metal poisoning from vaccines, general inflammation, allergies, gluten and even the moon.

The so-called treatments are equally confused. Some parents credit turpentine or their children’s own urine as the secret miracle drug for reversing autism. One of the most sought-after chemicals is chlorine dioxide — a compound that the Food and Drug Administration warns amounts to industrial bleach, and doctors say can cause permanent harm. Parents still give it to their children orally, through enemas, and in baths. Proponents of chlorine dioxide profit off these parents’ fears and hopes by selling books about the supposed “cure,” marketing the chemicals and posting how-to videos.