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The woman on the left is the actress Maureen O’Sullivan, who played Jane in several Tarzan movies, and went on to a long career in the industry. The taller woman is a lesser-known actress named Ann Morriss, who was about 5’9″. The actresses were working on a 1938 film called Spring Madness.

Wadlow was about nine feel tall when he died at 22. He wore a size 37 shoe (some sources say 39), and weighed 481 pounds at his highest point. He is the tallest known human in history, and was still growing when he died.

Virginie treats us to a great scene every year. We had previously seen some of these scenes from Les Enfants Des Autres last year because the Italian trailer included full-frontal nudity. (One more reason to love Italy!) This is the first time we’ve had access to the full film, thanks to Defoe!

Gif version here

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Also naked in this film: Yamee Couture

I love this guy!

Somebody unearthed the fact that he performed in Brazil as a drag queen, and he denied it.

Needless to say, there’s always a paper trail!

He is absolutely the most entertaining story to come along in politics in years. It appears that the voters elected a completely fictional character!

In a way his lies are sheer genius, because he ran as a MAGA Republican in a Democratic-leaning district (Biden won it by seven points) and won with a brilliant strategy. Assured of all the MAGA votes, he siphoned off enough liberal votes by claiming to be a gay, Black, Jewish Latino who overcame a brain tumor, whose grandparents were holocaust survivors, and whose grandmother died on 9-11. He pretty much ticked off every concern of liberal identity politics, except that he somehow forgot to mention that he was the descendant of slaves. In essence he created a special kind of liberal Frankenstein monster – let’s call it an Al Frankenstein.

Did you see the guy Jimmy Kimmel hired to impersonate Santos? Uncanny resemblance:

At this point I can’t join in the enthusiasm for ChatGPT

I tried it out and found that it was not capable of learning from its mistakes, which in my mind would be the first measurement of true AI. Here is a sample:

SCOOP: Tell me briefly why life is good.

CHAT: Life is good because it is always full of surprises.

SCOOP: That is incorrect. “Surprises” are neither inherently good nor bad. They are neutral. They can be good or bad. Try again to identify something about life that is indisputably positive.

CHAT: In addition to being full of surprises, life is always a challenge.

SCOOP: You are not understanding the concept. “Challenges” are also neutral. They can provide the satisfaction of overcoming them, or they can beat down one’s spirit. Try again to identify an inherently positive thing about life, and do so without resorting to cliches.

CHAT: In addition to being full of surprises and challenges, life is ….

I forget what the answer was, but it was similarly unresponsive and I gave up. I was trying to prompt the bot to respond with an undeniably positive concept like “rewards” or “happiness.” In that case, the answer may be been merely an opinion, and thus debatable, but it would at least be responsive to the question. But I couldn’t get the bot to understand the concepts of “good” or “positive,” or to respond to my concerns about its answers.

So at this point it is not really capable of following a conversation as a human would do.

I then tried an essay question requiring a factual foundation of knowledge. “Why is Samuel Beckett considered an existentialist?” It began “Samuel Beckett is considered an existentialist because his work deals with themes of existentialism.”

So … roughly what a ninth grader would say if he didn’t do the assigned reading.

It did give a pretty solid elaboration of the existentialist question, but it was generic and unsupported by examples, so I’d say the chat bot still has a long way to go.