Friday links: Artificial intelligence, ruins, poetry.

Industrial ruins, comics as poetry, a couple of videos demonstrating A.I. in 2020 and 1971 (sort of).

Artificial Mountains

From 1913 until the 1960s, residents of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, parked their cars along an embankment to watch trains pulling enormous cars with massive cauldrons full of molten rock. In some cases dozens of cauldrons were emptied at once, pouring their molten rock down the side of the hill in eerily beautiful rivers. Observers said they looked like symmetrical rivers of fire and lit the sky red.

Canadian ‘prairie castles’

“There’s a feeling in many of these towns that if they don’t have a grain elevator, a sense of identity and community has disappeared,” said Ali Piwowar, an architect who grew up in the prairies. “Some people say they feel their town could just blow away without the anchor point of an elevator.”

Comics as Poetry

Ivan Brunetti breaks down a brilliant Lynda Barry strip from “Ernie Pook’s Comeek”. (Nice how Barry mentions him as a great inspiration, and here he’s tipping the hat right back.) Looking forward to more of these, looks like Brunetti’s going to have a regular column.

How AI helped upscale an antique 1896 film to 4K

Someone’s used AI to upgrade a 124-year-old video to modern standards, and it looks like it could have been recorded yesterday. Completely mindblowing how good it looks, I’d have an easier time accepting an elaborate fake than getting to grips with this technology.

ERNIE

Report about the random number generator “ERNIE” from BBC’s “Nationwide” in 1971. Love the shots from the huge paper archives.