Bizarro Briefs: Sunscreen Snow and Robot Horror Stories

The fear of robots and artificial intelligence taking away your job and your livelihood just got real, folks. A new AI bot created by Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology writes it’s own horror stories. The bot, “Shelley’, named after Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, has been trained on more than 140,000 horror stories posted on Reddit. Every hour, the AI starts a new story on Twitter and others are encouraged to contribute. The AI is able to conjure up imagery of stereotypical terrors, including creepy dolls, mysterious figures in black trench coats, and disembodied mouths. While Stephen King might feel a wince of fear, at least the writers of Bizarro Briefs are safe … for now.

Snowing Sunscreen

In the depths of the cosmos there exists a multitude of strange and wondrous sights that mankind has yet to discover, except for the planet that snows the active ingredient in sunscreen — titanium dioxide. The exoplanet, Kepler-13Ab, is one of 2,337 confirmed exoplanets discovered by the Kepler space observatory in a solar system that’s 1,730 light years from Earth. It’s a large gas giant six times the size of Jupiter where an average sunny day is 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The naturally occurring “snowscreen” can only be found on the planet’s dark side facing away from its star.

Woody’s New Hobby

In the town of Snellville, Georgia, there lurks a culprit that has left a wave of destruction in its wake — about two dozen people have reported that their car side mirrors have been shattered. Police sent extra patrols to the neighborhood where incidents were occurring and the culprit was revealed to be a woodpecker who thought his reflections were rival birds. One resident who had his side mirror smashed named Kevin Morrisey exclaimed, “My God, I got taken in by a woodpecker,” according to Channel 2 Action News.

Vegetable Orchestra

An orchestra in Vienna, Austria loves its vegetables so much that members learned to play hollowed out carrot flutes and squeaky leek violins. Since 1998, the Vegetable Orchestra has been turning pumpkins into drums and making eggplant clappers. The Vegetable Orchestra’s music takes inspiration from rock, electronica, and other genres. Although most of the veggie instruments don’t survive, they end up as either organic waste, gifts to the audience, or post-show soup.

The Great Fajita Heist

Gilberto Escamilla, a government employee in South Texas, found a way to scam the system by stealing $1.2 million worth of fajitas during the course of nine years. Had a co-worker not picked a phone call from a Labatt Food Service driver calling to confirm a 800-pound fajita delivery on Escamilla’s day off on Aug. 7, his fajita theft might have continued. The fajitas were planned to be delivered to the Cameron County Juvenile Justice Department in San Benito, Texas, where Escamilla worked, but here’s the catch— the juvenile justice department didn’t serve fajitas. The next day when Escamilla was questioned, he admitted his crime.

A Not So Perfect Storm

Two amateur sailors recently returned to land after spending six months lost at sea. The two women set off from Hawaii with their two dogs, hoping to spend two and a half weeks on their 50-foot Sea Nymph travelling to Tahiti. The women reported that a violent storm hit on their first day sea, hitting the boat with 50-foot waves. The boat was damaged, and it wasn’t long until the engine was ruined and they were adrift. As if their luck wasn’t bad enough, they were even confronted by two tiger sharks who rammed their boat. Luckily, the women had stocked extra dry provisions and a water purifier that kept them, and their dogs, alive for months beyond what they intended. They were finally rescued 900 miles off of the coast of Japan by the U.S. Coast Guard after sending a distress signal from a Taiwanese fishing boat.

Spidey Silk

The U.S. Army is officially trying to make its uniforms as cool as Spiderman’s. Well, sort of. The Army has a million-dollar contract with Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who are developing a new fiber that can be woven into protective clothing. The fiber is made by genetically engineered silkworms that now produce spider silk, which is a tougher and more durable material than silkworm silk (apparently spiders eat each other so they are not great for mass production). The company states that spider silk is more elastic than Kevlar, which is already used in the army’s combat helmet.

#Savemickey

A Manhattan art gallery is under fire from animal rights activists who are upset that the latest exhibit that features live mice. The 70 mice are all placed in individual plexiglass cages that are set in the floor like tiles. The piece, entitled “The Social Network,” is intended to be a commentary on the isolation of social media. Gallery-goers can walk on top of the cages and observe the mice eating and drinking. Protesters argue that living beings should not be considered art. The artist, Joseph Grazi, defends his work, noting that the mice are “feeder” mice and would have been fed to snakes anyway. The mice are all up for adoption, but those who are not claimed will be fed to the artist’s pet ball python, Mr. Chip.

Run, Forrest!

It wasn’t even Halloween yet when residents of Riverside, CA spotted a man dressed as Forrest Gump running around town. The publicity started when the Riverside Police Department posted pictures of officers “chasing” the man, who was dressed in a mangy beard, red shorts, and a “Bubba Gump” hat. The man identified himself as “Forrest Gump” and said that he was just trying to make people smile. Personally, we cannot imagine running in a beard.

Sleepy Pope

In a recent interview for a television show on Youtube, Pope Francis admitted that he falls asleep during prayer. Pope Francis is 80-years-old, and already has a reputation for being the “cool” pope. He has made regular, international news with his moderate reforms and transparency ever since he became head of the Catholic Church in 2013. Now he’s making international news with his all too understable habit of taking naps. The pope said that it pleases God when people are comfortable enough to sleep during prayer. Here’s hoping that it also pleases God when people are comfortable to sleep during movies.

Have an idea for Bizarro Briefs? Email deisen@valleyadvocate.com.

Author: Chris Goudreau and Meg Bantle

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