Everything’s fixed! All that talking and opining about What Must Be Done has sorted EVERYTHING OUT! Praise be!

ONLY JOKING! It’s all still a total fcuking mess, whichever way you look.The only people with reason to look happy at the moment are the arms manufacturers, and they tend to grin suspiciously most of the time anyway. The rest of us, though, can only reflect on how banjaxed everything is and self-medicate to take the pain away.

Which, in a SEAMLESS segue, is exactly what I am going to be doing this weekend, and I visit Fat Bob in Amsterdam and try not to let him tempt me into doing crack with strangers. Presuming I survive, I’ll see you in a fortnight - Web Curios will be taking next week off to deal with the inevitable empty feeling that comes from TOO MUCH FUN. In the meantime, though, enjoy these hand-foraged, artisanally-crafted nuggets of web, sourced from all over and served to you with the now-mandatory garnish of prolix ennui that literally DOZENS of you have come to...well...tolerate, I suppose, is the best way to describe it. Hold your nose, scarf them down, and don’t think too much about exactly what all of this is doing to you -  THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

Marcus Brown is the one-man force behind so many unique, interesting, and creative ideas which inhabit the Internet - from the Kaiser's Toilet through to "virtual pop group" The Inanimates, he has rightly graced Imperica many times over the years.

This time, Marcus is launching Creative Walks - a way for people to get out of the uncreative, stifling atmosphere of the office and spend a day walking the Bavarian Alps. Will a clear head restore one's creative juices? We chatted with Marcus to find out.

Andrej Carpathy has open-sourced his new project, NeuralTalk 2, an artificially-intelligent image captioning program. And, as we are starting to see intelligence and self-learning networks flourish in both hardware and software, the results are truly spectacular.

When I’m asked – often – "isn’t Eigg a long way away?", I reply "from where?" Everywhere is a long way from somewhere, and with digital technology bridging the gaps between creation and consumption, between ideas and the market, who is a long way from whom?  

The Isle of Eigg, 12 miles off the northwest coast of Scotland, is remarkable in many ways. Eigg is community-owned, generates its own off-grid electricity from renewable sources, has a population of just less than 100, and a vibrant creative hub of island-based businesses and visiting artists.   

After the effort by Anonymous last week to shut down social media accounts belonging to ISIS, online counter-terrorism group GhostSec has apparently managed to stem the flow of Bitcoin going their way.

"It's true. I read it on the Internet". This line is regularly spun by people as a humorous, throwaway comment. But, years after it was first coined, British media regulator Ofcom has reported that for 1 in 5 teenagers, it remains true.

Well that was vile, wasn’t it? Let’s accept that there’s little or nothing edifying I can say about Paris and associated issues and move on - except that I was watching Question Time last night and a few things struck me which I will share in passing:

  1. You know what? I don’t know enough about any of this to have a cast-iron position on airstrikes, the Middle East, Islam or any of the rest of it, and neither do you (unless you have access to Cabinet-level intelligence, perhaps,or your an expert in the millennial sh1tstorm that is the whole region). Just bear this in mind.

  2. There was someone, I forget who, on Question Time last night, who got annoyed with someone for ‘muddying the waters’ by bringing up the wider Middle East in the context of this. Leaving aside the bare-bones idiocy of that position, these are waters that are filthy with blood and oil and money; you can’t muddy them, because they are fcuking murky already.

  3. I read someone writing on Twitter somewhere that ‘this is weather now; you can’t stop weather, you just mitigate against it’. That struck me as depressingly accurate.

Anyway, noone needs or wants this, so by way of light relief let me share with you a brief vignette from my life last weekend which may amuse.

I was on the Tube going into town, when I spotted a crumpled flyer on the seat across from me. Being well into found oddities (I own several editions of this, for example, which is EXCELLENT), I picked it up. Here it is:

Odd, eh? I mean, I’m not into spanking (too much information, I know, but I feel it’s important to clarify these things at the outset), but it’s sort of curious, right? Even curioser - on the reverse were the name and bank details of one Ishmael Skyes, who I obviously Googled later that evening when drunk and discovered was the doyenne and coordinator of a certain London spanking and CP (Corporal Punishment, apparently, with a tendency towards school uniforms and very British discipline) community, which was holding a spanking party in South London that very Sunday, tickets to which were £20. Not only this, but the party was being held under the aegis of a certain insitution, active since the mid-80s, specialising in this sort of school-themed fetishism. The institution’s name?

The Muir Academy

You know when sometimes it just feels like the universe is speaking to you? I mean WHAT ARE THE CHANCES that I would find a flyer on the tube for some weird S&M fetish club based around a school of punishment and domination bearing my actual name? I have been properly weirded out by this all week, and have avoided speaking to my Dad in case there’s some sort of dark family history I’ve never been told about. Christ knows what the universe is saying, in any case. It's probably telling me I need punishing, which is pretty accurate as it happens.

Anyway, that was something non-atrocity related which happened this week, and which I hope has somewhat lightened your mood in what has been, in no uncertain terms, a pig of a week. Without any further ado, let’s plunge headlong into the lost property cupboard of the internet - remember, you’re going to have to put SOMETHING on or you’re doing games in your pants. THIS IS WEB CURIOS!

It’s a long-held dystopian idea that robots will take over the world and humans will become slaves to them. It’s an idea that Ray Kurzweil describes in his book, The Singularity is Near.

Some say, the way that humans are in constant eye contact with screens – often our relationship with our smartphone – we have already reached a point where we are slaves to technology. However, this isn’t what Kurzweil was describing; he was talking about technological intelligence.

#OpParis, the Anonymous campaign to down the Internet presence of ISIS, has been bolstered by the publication of a guide for people wanting to get involved. However, ISIS has been on the attack, launching a site in the dark web to an ever-increasing audience. 

Airbnb, Dropbox and Reddit are all companies that emerged out of tech accelerators. These incubators of talent have been a crucial component in turning tech start-ups into businesses that can stand on their own two feet. As well as giving needy new companies financial support and office space, they play an important role in helping them develop through mentoring.

So it’s good news that the number of accelerator programmes is set to increase in the UK, to support what is one of the world’s most dynamic start-up clusters and the most prominent start-up ecosystem in Europe. But, as this takes place, there’s a huge need to address the industry’s gender imbalance. My research into tech accelerator programmes has found many (often unwittingly) cater for men over women.

Following the weekend's attacks in Paris claimed by ISIS, Anonymous have launched a new campaign to hack the militant group's accounts and online services.

So this morning I unaccountably woke up 75 minutes late (not unaccountably at all, I just forgot to turn on my alarm) which means that I had even less time than normal to write all this crap and which crap, as a result, is a little shorter and more pared back than normal. Sorry about that.

Although I don’t know why I’m apologising - I know it’s too long, and that that’s an ISSUE. Which is why (note the SEAMLESS SEGUE here) the clever man that is Shardcore has built THE WEB CURIOS BOT! Yes, as of this week, if you follow Imperica on Twitter you will receive, each hour, a link from the previous week’s Curios, with a screencap of the accompanying sparkling prose, so you can ‘enjoy’ it all in bite-sized chunks. I mean, I would say this, but it is SO USEFUL; do let us know what you think of it as a development. Oh, and if you think there would be value in a separate bot doing the same thing for the whole Curios archive (many THOUSANDS of links) do let us know and we will try and sort it (or lock Shardcore in a basement until he’s done it; either/or).

Anyway, I am spaffing on and I can’t afford to waste the time. Let’s MOVE, people, weaving through the thick linkforest, trying not to get snagged on the bark, and perhaps stopping a little too often to taste the assorted berries and fruits - they’re probably not poisonous, though don’t quote me on that. This, as ever, is WEB CURIOS!