AI Dungeon 2

I haven’t taken the time to try this yet, but this seemed like something quite a few people I know would be into: a Zork-style game with an AI backend, so you can do…well, anything, apparently.

I wrote earlier about a neural net-powered dungeon crawling text adventure game called GPT-2-Adventure in which gameplay is incoherent and dreamlike, as you encounter slippery sign text, circular passages, and unexpected lozenge rooms. A PhD student named Nathan trained the neural net on classic dungeon crawling games, and playing it is strangely surreal, repetitive, and mesmerizing, like dreaming about playing one of the games it was trained on.

Now, building on these ideas (and on an earlier choose-your-own-adventure-style game he built), Nick Walton has built a new dungeon-crawling game called AI Dungeon 2. Nick made a few upgrades, such as beefing up the AI to the huge GPT-2-1.5B model OpenAI recently released, adding a penalty for repetitive text, and expanding the dungeon game training examples to a bunch of modern human-written games from


Here’s the actual game site: AI Dungeon. Have fun!


Hopeful Images From 2019

Hopeful Images From 2019 – The Atlantic:

The following are images from the past year of personal victories, families and friends at play, expressions of love and compassion, volunteers at work, assistance being given to those in need, or simply small and pleasant moments.

Penguins at play
Photo credit: Thilo Schmuelgen / Reuters


Restoring Voting Rights

Good news: House passes Voting Rights Advancement Act to restore Voting Rights Act of 1965:

On Capitol Hill just now, the House of Representatives has voted to PASS the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 to restore the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Bad news: This will join the mountain of other bills sitting in the Senate that McConnell refuses to do anything about.


Best-Selling Singles of All Time

Archie Henderson on Twitter:

I am a music historian, and with @AdrianRMG I have researched the best-selling single of every decade all the way back to 14,000BC. Here’s a thread:

This is a really amazing piece of musical historical research, and I strongly recommend going all the way through the thread. The snippets he was able to track down are incredible.

apple blog

Today’s geeky triumph: Figuring out how to use Automator to create a service that pipes selected text through pandoc to speed up converting old posts on my blog to proper markdown format from the current HTML/markdown hodepodge.


Plex Offers Over a Thousand Ad-Supported Movies on Demand: The films are “free” as in “ad supported”, but it’s still an interesting move. While I’m a long-time Plex user, I’m not sure if I’ll take advantage of this (I have an extensive personal movie and TV collection as it is, plus some of the big-name streaming services), but it may well be worthwhile for plenty of other people.


Downtown Seattle Barnes & Noble to close January 18th: “When the downtown Barnes & Noble closes, there will officially be no bookstores in the downtown retail core. While there are quite a few bookshops in surrounding neighborhoods like the Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Capitol Hill, and Queen Anne, this will be the first time in decades that shoppers won’t be able to browse the stacks of a bookstore without leaving downtown Seattle.”

star trek

RIP D.C. Fontana

Sad news — D.C. Fontana, one of the pillars of Star Trek, has died.

As a writer, Fontana is credited with many episodes focusing on Vulcan culture and helped blaze a trail for female writers in sci-fi television. She is the mind behind The Original Series and The Animated Series episodes like “Yesteryear” and “Journey to Babel,” which introduced Spock’s father Sarek and mother Amanda. She co-wrote the Hugo Award nominated The Next Generation episode “Encounter at Farpoint” with Gene Rodenberry, and she continued to write for TNG and Deep Space Nine. Her last produced credit was an episode of webseries Star Trek: New Voyages, starring Walter Koenig.

personal politics


I first ran across the term “hopepunk” just about a year ago, and more and more these days, it’s the attitude that is helping me cope with the state of the world today.

As I posted on Facebook earlier today, along with the Tank Girl image in this post:

Tank Girl is hopepunkI post occasionally about the #hopepunk idea, and this is the essence of it (what I’ve also seen termed as “weaponized optimism”, which I love).

Yes, many things are horrible. Yes, far too much of the world is shit. And yes, not only can it be better, but we can make it better. And we’ll drag the rest of you with us into a better world, whether you like it or not.

Here’s more on the hopepunk idea, from a few sources. In each of these links, there’s a lot more than what I’ve excerpted here, and I highly recommend spending some time going through them all.


Seattle QFC debuts first apple ever bred in Washington, despite the state being the highest grower: “The apple variety was developed by Washington State University. Washington growers, who paid for the research, will have the exclusive right to sell it for the first 10 years.”