The Return of the Fringe

It’s August in Edinburgh, and I’ve found myself seeing more Fringe shows than I’ve been able to in a decade; last year (or was it 2019?) I caught Tony Law one lunchtime, and one or two Free Fringe shows with pals, and before that it was only one or two family-oriented shows a year when the kids were younger. I did okay in 2012, with a handful of adult-oriented comedy shows and more, but this was by far my busiest year since 2006, seeing shows with friends, the whole family, my son, and on my own. The Fringe has shaken off the pandemic (there weren’t many masks in most audiences); and even a bin strike, which turned the city centre into a heaving mass of litter and overflowing skips within 48 hours and is still going over a week later, didn’t dampen the mood in the sweaty venues themselves.

Underbelly, George Square
Underbelly, George Square, 5 August. Click through for more.

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28 August 2022 · Comedy

Humus Remains

Statistical analysis has laid to rest the Covid-19 lab-leak theory.

A reevaluation of key passages of the New Testament with profound implications.

Life as the deepfake Tom Cruise.

Insane in the Great Plains.

Humus remains.

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16 August 2022 · Weblog

Unstable Dalliances

Since my initial burst of activity with DALL-E 2 I’ve tried a few more queries on it, most of which didn’t produce much of interest, but there were a few exceptions. Things got more interesting when I was able to compare it with Stable Diffusion, which has been opening up to beta testers and let me (and thousands of others) on a few days ago. Unlike DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion is aiming to be completely open, with no holds barred, which means it’s inevitably going to be used to churn out AI-generated porn and to rip off living artists. Not the greatest advertisement for the power and promise of artificial intelligence. But judging from some of its results, I wouldn’t panic just yet (click through for a gallery)…

Stable Diffusion rendition of grizzly bears sitting at a desk

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14 August 2022 · Art


I’ve been meaning to overhaul some of the older corners of this site for a while, and the other day got started with the oldest: Pacific Islands Politics and the Cartoon Lounge. As well as bringing them into line with the overall look of Speedysnail since 2016, I’ve cleaned up a few minor glitches and have improved their print style sheets. Still some incremental tweaks to come, but worth noting here in case I forget to later.
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10 August 2022 · 2 Comments · Site News


Time to wind back the clock again to pick up the thread of our trip around the world that started in New Zealand in 1997. At the end of November that year we flew out of Auckland to Honolulu for a brief stroll along Waikiki Beach, and then on to San Francisco, to start a trip up the west coast to Canada to reach Alberta by Christmas.

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5 August 2022 · Memory

Intelligible Artifice

It seems a lifetime ago now, but as an undergraduate I took courses on Computer Graphics, Digital Image Processing and Artificial Intelligence, so it’s no surprise that I’ve been fascinated by DALL-E 2 and the results that people have been getting from it. I signed up for the wait-list two months ago, and yesterday received an invite. I’ve already burned through half of my fifty credits for the month, so had better start pacing myself… but it’s so much fun. Here’s a gallery of my best results so far.

DALL-E 2 rendition of a spaceship over Edinburgh

1 August 2022 · Art

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