Behold The Benedict Cumberbunny, Ye Mortals, And Weep! Your Saturday Nerdout
Are you blinded by its majesty?
Yr Wonkette is busy working on an exciting new project, we said teasingly, so today's Saturday Nerdout must of necessity be brief. Oh, but do we ever have some beautiful strangeness for you people today!
The Benedict Cumberbunny Has Arrived. Now Surrender Your Soul
From the deranged or brilliant mind of UK food arteest Jen Lindsey-Clark, we bring you the Cumberbunny, a ridiculous chocolate bunny with the face -- unlicensed, we assume -- of Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch. Don't ask why. Don't give too much thought to the sheer stupidity of a £50 (roughly $70) Easter bunny in a world where children are going hungry, for that is not the point of Art. Instead, accept it as far less horrifying than the existence of a $1,000 sundae and prepare for the Revolution anyway. The Cumberbunny is a thing, so you may as well wonder at the existence of a confection described by its maker as "a delicious Belgian chocolate rabbit with a handsome face and a tasty bottom."
It comes in three flavors from UK chocolate shop Chocolatician: dark chocolate with a dusting of edible bronzelike "lustre," milk chocolate, and the "limited edition white chocolate ones come with a edible 22 carat gold bow-tie" -- OK, that one really does trigger our Liberal Gilt. As you gaze at the Cumberbunny, does it not gaze back at you?
This is Chocolatician's second Cumberbatch batch of chocolate art-things; last year, The Guardian tells us, they were responsible for "Chocobatch," a " life sized chocolate figure of the actor made from nearly 500 bars of Belgian milk chocolate:
We're honestly not sure whether this is art, fandom taken to an absurd degree, or perhaps a form of stalking that happens to involve chocolate. With the current crop of Cumberbunnies, Ms. Lindsey-Clark is at least showing some restraint; she told a British paper, "I'm planning to send one over to his mum but not him," Lindsey-Clark told Metro UK. "He might think it's weird eating his own face."
Yes. We can see how that might be awkward.
Also, sad news for American choco-connoisseurs who might be tempted, from the order page: "So sorry but cannot take anymore orders from the U.S. at the moment as trying to work out shipping issues. Stay posted on that one."
Bookseller Shares Favorite Stupid Customer Conversations
We've noticed that this Colin Pinkham kid gets completely insane traffic with his tales of terrible restaurant behavior, so we figure You People might also enjoy similar stories from a bookseller, only instead of writing about people who think sashimi would taste a lot better cooked, the proprietor of the Book Mine in Fair Oaks, California, keeps a log of dumb things he overhears or gets asked in his rare and antique bookstore. Consider the following:
- (phone call - grownup)
I have a book I want to sell.
What is it?
It's by John Stainback. It's called "The Wayword Bus"
Who's the publisher?
I just said, John Stainback
He's the author, sort of. Let's try again, what does the copyright page say?
Sorry, I can't use it. Thanks for calling.
- (phone call - grownup)
I have an old book and want to find out what it's worth
You can look it up on Bookfinder.com
I would, but I don't know who wrote it!
Ok. What do you have?
It's a (sic) old book.
Yes, you mentioned that. What's the title?
I don't know. It's called the Collected Works of Shakespeare
- (phone call)
Do you buy books?
Yes. What do you have?
Yea. Books you read.
Ok. But I am not sure what it is you have.
I just said. Reading books. Do you buy them?
No. Thanks for calling.
- A very nice, well-appointed lady spends about an hour browsing the stock, including the locked cases. After building a rather formidable stack of unrelated books worth over $3,500 (including some very scare Mark Twain first editions), I couldn't resist asking:
What do you collect?
Oh nothing, but I will purchase these.
(My curiosity getting the better of me) A gift?
No. I am going to use them to decorate my daughter's bathroom.
(Silly me! I failed to notice that the books were all various shades of green. This is a good thing, since the books will soon be color-coordinated with the mold).
Let me help you carry these out to your car.
- (grown-up, looks around)
Do you have any real books?
Well, not like the ones you have here. You know, real books!
I'm not sure what you mean.
You know, books that are real.
Sorry, none of our books are real!
- (Guy in his mid-thirties)
I never knew there was a libary (sic) here.
What is it?
It's called a book store.
What's the difference?
I guess there isn't any.
I didn't think so.
- phone call...
Hello, do you sell adult books?
No, books with no pictures.
Yes, we have a few of those.
How much are they?
- Is this a library?
Oh, it's a museum!
Well, what is it?
- phone call...
Hi, I have a book that is really rare.
What do you have?
It is called "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", but it's not the one by Mark Twain.
Really! Who is it by?
This one was written by Samuel Clemens.
- phone call...
Hello, I have an old Bible for sale.
We don't buy Bibles.
This one is really old. It is pretty rare!
How much will you give me for it?
But it's rare.
I am sorry, but I am not interested.
There is no market for old Bibles.
I don't know.
It is in really good shape. It belonged to my grandmother.
Why don't you keep it?
I would, but she is dead.
All the more reason to keep it, I would think.
What do you mean?
I have to go now. I am pretty busy.
If she wasn't dead, would you buy it?
- Hi, are you hiring?
No. Not at this time.
I like books.
So do I.
I promise not to get in the way. I could just read or something.
Actually, we really identify with that last one. It probably describes about 80% of people who do end up working at bookstores, don't you think?
The Ethics (If Any) Of Torturing Robots
[contextly_sidebar id="0TFPPZFnZuvpxjH8depP0h5Oit5rj77f"]Last week, we featured a video of Boston Dynamics' Atlas Robot demonstrating its ability to recover from being pushed, knocked over, and having its objective (a box to pick up) being moved away by a guy holding a hockey stick. As BoingBoing's Mark Frauenfelder points out, the video messes with our logic and empathy: no matter how much we know the thing's a machine, it looks marginally human, and so we end up feeling sorry for it, even as it demonstrates how impressively capable it is. You'd never trip a toddler (if you would, please delete your account), but you gotta trip some robots, in order to build better robots. All this is by way of sending you off to read this pretty cool essay, "Is it OK to Torture a Robot?" by Dylan Love, which gets straight to the Atlas video conundrum:
Consider the latest robot to be unveiled by Google’s Boston Dynamics. When the collective internet saw a bearded scientist abuse the robot with a hockey stick, weird pangs of empathy went out everywhere. Why do we feel so bad when we watch the robot fall down, we wonder? There’s no soul or force of life to empathize with, and yet: This robot is just trying to lift a box, why does that guy have to bully it?
We took this question to a more satisfying conclusion for our present day: Is it okay to torture a robot?
“When A.I. reaches some certain level,” says comedian and podcaster Duncan Trussell, “when it passes the Turing test and becomes indistinguishable from human intelligence, then at that point the machines will deserve the same protections offered to humans by the legal system.”
And what about video games? What do we do, asks Trussell, when the inhabitants of Grand Theft Auto 15 have some kind of self-awareness and insist that they be protected from "bored 15-year-olds mowing them down in the streets?”
As a gamer who felt terrible enough going all the way to the Dark Side while playing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic -- to do this (SPOILER WARNING), you not only kill major characters who've been helping you all along, you also order one loveable character to kill another -- Yr Dok Zoom has to admit that this essay seriously messed with our head.
Here, Spend Some Time On Another Planet
We can't really top i09's description of this animated film by Chloe Hayward, "Vessels -- 4AM," so we won't bother trying:
[It's] like being on a tourist spaceship touring a volatile world. And, as it navigates water, ice, and lava, to music, it’s somehow perfectly lovely.
Those kids and their computer animations are doing some pretty incredible stuff. Remember when we were impressed and moved (and frankly, still are) by a computer-animated lamp playing with a ball?
[Guardian / CNET / Book Mine via BoingBoing / Inverse via via BoingBoing / io9]
Programming Note: Yes, we'll run an open thread for today's elections so you can all talk about Louisiana and those weird caucus states. Polls close at 9 Eastern (8 Central if you're voting in Louisiana) so look for an open thread around 8-ish Eastern, OK?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.