Martin Mull (RIP) Satirically Interviews a Young Tom Waits on Fernwood 2 Night (1977)

These days, ref­er­ences to sev­en­ties tele­vi­sion increas­ing­ly require prefa­to­ry expla­na­tion. Who under the age of 60 recalls, for exam­ple, the cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­non that was Mary Hart­man, Mary Hart­man, an absur­dist satire so faith­ful to the soap-opera form it par­o­died that it aired every week­night, putting out 325 episodes between ear­ly 1976 and mid-1977? And even for those who do remem­ber the show, it would sure­ly require a stretch of the mem­o­ry to sum­mon to mind its minor char­ac­ter Garth Gim­ble, an abu­sive hus­band who meets his gris­ly fate on the sharp end of an alu­minum Christ­mas tree. (We’ll set the ques­tion of how many remem­ber alu­minum Christ­mas trees aside for the hol­i­day sea­son.)

Garth Gim­ble was the break­out role for a musi­cal come­di­an turned actor called Mar­tin Mull, who died last week at the age of 80. Trib­utes have men­tioned the char­ac­ters he played on shows from Roseanne and Sab­ri­na the Teenage Witch to Arrest­ed Devel­op­ment and Veep.

But to those who were watch­ing TV in the sum­mer of 1977, Mull has always been — and will always be — not Garth Gim­ble but his twin broth­er Barth, host of a low-bud­get late-night talk show in the small town of Fer­n­wood, Ohio, the set­ting of Mary Hart­man, Mary Hart­man. Fer­n­wood-2-Night pre­miered as a tem­po­rary replace­ment for that show (and thus as yet anoth­er expan­sion of the tele­vi­su­al uni­verse cre­at­ed by mega-pro­duc­er Nor­man Lear), but it soon took on a coun­ter­cul­tur­al life of its own.

The fic­tion­al talk-show form of Fer­n­wood-2-Night was ahead of its time; more dar­ing still was its occa­sion­al arrange­ment of real-life guests. That ros­ter includ­ed a young Tom Waits, him­self a liv­ing embod­i­ment of the blurred line between real­i­ty and fic­tion. As the show’s announc­er Jer­ry Hub­bard, Fred Willard puts all of his dis­tinc­tive deliv­ery into declar­ing Waits “very famous for Fer­n­wood.” Mull plays Gim­ble as the kind of man on which the appeal of Waits’ art is whol­ly lost: “I know he sells a lot of albums, and he makes about half a mil­lion big ones in one year,” he says by way of intro­duc­tion. “In my book, that spells tal­ent.”

Nat­u­ral­ly, Gim­ble is game to set the liquor-swig­ging singer up for an old groan­er by remark­ing on the strange­ness of talk­ing to a guest with a bot­tle in front of him. “Well, I’d rather have a bot­tle in front of me than a frontal lobot­o­my,” Waits growls in com­pli­ance. This comes after his per­for­mance of the song “The Piano Has Been Drink­ing (Not Me) (An Evening with Pete King)” from his then-most recent album Small Change. It’s safe to say that many view­ers on Fer­n­wood-2-Night’s wave­length became fans of Waits as soon as they heard it. Near­ly half a cen­tu­ry lat­er, they no doubt still remem­ber his appear­ance fond­ly — at least as fond­ly as they remem­ber the Won­derblender.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Watch Tom Waits’ Clas­sic Appear­ance on Aus­tralian TV, 1979

Watch Tom Waits For No One, the Pio­neer­ing Ani­mat­ed Music Video from 1979

Tom Waits Shows Us How Not to Get a Date on Valentine’s Day

Tom Waits’ Many Appear­ances on David Let­ter­man, From 1983 to 2015

RIP Nor­man Lear: Watch Full Episodes of His Dar­ing 70s Sit­coms, Includ­ing All in the Fam­i­ly, Maude, The Jef­fer­sons, and More

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities and the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Stephen King Names His Five Favorite Works by Stephen King

Stephen King has no doubt for­got­ten writ­ing more books than most of us will ever pub­lish. But even now, in his pro­lif­ic “late career,” if you ask him to name his own most favored works, he can do it with­out hes­i­ta­tion. Stephen Col­bert tried that out a few years ago on The Late Show, when the writer made an appear­ance to pro­mote his then-lat­est book Bil­ly Sum­mers. The first of Stephen King’s top five by Stephen King is “Sur­vivor Type,” a 1982 short sto­ry about “a physi­cian who gets strand­ed on a lit­tle island, and he’s smug­gling hero­in, and he’s starv­ing, so he eats him­self piece by piece.”

Sur­vivor Type” may be a deep cut — and one that ini­tial­ly strug­gled for pub­li­ca­tion, being so dis­turb­ing that King remem­bers “even men’s mag­a­zines” turn­ing it down — but it’s nev­er­the­less been adapt­ed into five dif­fer­ent films since the twen­ty-tens alone. King may have enjoyed mas­sive book sales through­out almost the entire­ty of his career, but it cer­tain­ly has­n’t hurt his brand that so many of his works have become movies and tele­vi­sion shows, many of them cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­na in their own right. Take the case of Mis­ery, anoth­er of King’s selec­tions, the 1990 fea­ture-film ver­sion of which gave us Kathy Bates’ Oscar-win­ning per­for­mance as a crazed fan who kid­naps her favorite nov­el­ist.

Mis­ery was direct­ed by Rob Rein­er, who’d worked with King’s mate­r­i­al before: in 1986, he turned the sto­ry “The Body” into Stand by Me, which is now con­sid­ered a high point in the cat­e­gories of eight­ies teen-star vehi­cles and ear­ly-six­ties nos­tal­gia pic­tures. After see­ing its first screen­ing, King declared it “the best film ever made out of any­thing I’ve writ­ten” — before char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly adding, “which isn’t say­ing much.” (That same year, recall, King not just wrote but direct­ed Max­i­mum Over­drive, a spec­ta­cle of malev­o­lent machines tak­ing over a truck stop that he lat­er described as a “moron movie.”)

King also enthus­es about his 2006 nov­el Lisey’s Sto­ry, as well as its Apple TV+ series adap­ta­tion, which had just come out at the time. Also still-new was the sec­ond tele­vi­su­al ren­di­tion of The Stand, King’s 1978 nov­el set in the after­math of an apoc­a­lyp­tic pan­dem­ic. “Any sim­i­lar­i­ties to what’s going on now are just too close for com­fort,” he says to Col­bert in this COVID-era clip, though it’s ambigu­ous whether the book actu­al­ly makes his top five. Col­bert sug­gests fill­ing out the list with Bil­ly Sum­mers, pre­sum­ably on the prin­ci­ple that every writer favors his most recent work. But where would King rank the three nov­els he’s cranked out since?

Relat­ed con­tent:

Stephen King’s 22 Favorite Movies, Packed with Hor­ror & Sus­pense

Stephen King Cre­ates a List of His 10 Favorite Nov­els

Stephen King Rec­om­mends 96 Books for Aspir­ing Writ­ers to Read

How Stan­ley Kubrick Adapt­ed Stephen King’s The Shin­ing into a Cin­e­mat­ic Mas­ter­piece

Pret­ty Much Pop #18 Dis­cuss­es Stephen King’s Media Empire

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities and the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

When a Drunken Charles Bukowski Walked Off the Prestigious French Talk Show Apostrophes (1978)

Charles Bukows­ki did­n’t do TV — or at least he did­n’t do Amer­i­can TV. Like a Hol­ly­wood movie star shoot­ing a Japan­ese com­mer­cial, he did make an excep­tion for a gig abroad. It hap­pened in 1978, when the poet received an invi­ta­tion from the pop­u­lar French lit­er­ary talk show Apos­tro­phes. Bukows­ki was­n’t the first for­eign­er to grace its set: a few years ear­li­er, Vladimir Nabokov had come in advance of  the French trans­la­tion of Ada, but only under the con­di­tions that he be allowed to pre-write his answers and read them off note­cards, and to drink whiskey from a teapot dur­ing the inter­view. No such niceties for the author of Ham on Rye, who was set up with ear­piece inter­pre­ta­tion and Sancerre straight from the bot­tle.

Or rather, bot­tles, plur­al: Bukows­ki had pol­ished off one of them by the time Apos­tro­phes host Bernard Piv­ot opened the live broad­cast by ask­ing him how it felt to be cel­e­brat­ed on French tele­vi­sion. Already drunk, Bukows­ki respond­ed in a slurred and dis­mis­sive fash­ion. Things dete­ri­o­rat­ed from there, and Bukows­ki kept ram­bling as the oth­er pan­elists tried to car­ry on their con­ver­sa­tion. At one point François Cavan­na ven­tured a “Bukows­ki ta gueule”; soon there­after, Piv­ot opt­ed for a more direct “Bukows­ki, shut up,” which prompt­ed the guest of hon­or’s unsteadi­ly impromp­tu depar­ture. “Piv­ot bid him au revoir with a Gal­lic shrug,” writes Howard Sounes in Charles Bukows­ki: Locked in the Arms of a Crazy Life.

“The next day, he didn’t remem­ber any­thing, of course, but the whole of France was run­ning to book shops to buy his books,” says Barfly direc­tor Bar­bet Schroed­er in the doc­u­men­tary The Ordi­nary Mad­ness of Charles Bukows­ki. “In a few hours they were all sold out.” This suc­cès de scan­dale made Bukows­ki even more of a lit­er­ary rock star in France than he’d already become. The episode has also been wide­ly remem­bered in the Fran­coph­o­ne world since the death of Bernard Piv­ot ear­li­er this month, nev­er fail­ing to make the much-cir­cu­lat­ed lists of Apos­tro­phes’ most mem­o­rable broad­casts dur­ing its fif­teen-year run.


“Six mil­lion peo­ple watched him,” writes Adam Nos­siter in Piv­ot’s New York Times obit­u­ary, “and near­ly every­body want­ed to be on his show. And near­ly every­body was, includ­ing French lit­er­ary giants like Mar­guerite Duras, Patrick Modi­ano, Jean-Marie Gus­tave Le Clézio, Mar­guerite Yource­nar and Georges Simenon.” (One very spe­cial episode even brought on “a hag­gard-look­ing Alek­san­dr Solzhen­it­syn, not long out of the Sovi­et Union.”) Apart from Bukows­ki, Apos­tro­phes’ guest list also includ­ed a very dif­fer­ent Amer­i­can with an equal­ly enthu­si­as­tic French read­er­ship: the late Paul Auster, who — like most of the cul­tur­al fig­ures whose appear­ances on the show you can sam­ple on this Youtube playlist — pre­ced­ed Piv­ot to that great talk show in the sky.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Bukows­ki Reads Bukows­ki: Watch a 1975 Doc­u­men­tary Fea­tur­ing Charles Bukows­ki at the Height of His Pow­ers

“Don’t Try”: The Phi­los­o­phy of the Hard­work­ing Charles Bukows­ki

Hear 130 Min­utes of Charles Bukowski’s First-Ever Record­ed Read­ings (1968)

Charles Bukows­ki Reads His Poem “The Secret of My Endurance”

The Charles Bukows­ki Tapes: 52 Short Inter­views with the Under­ground Poet

Bukows­ki: Born Into This — The Defin­i­tive Doc­u­men­tary on the Hard-Liv­ing Amer­i­can Poet (2003)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities and the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

RIP David Sanborn: See Him Play Alongside Miles Davis, Randy Newman, Sun Ra, Leonard Cohen and Others on His TV Show Night Music

It’s late in the evening of Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 28th, 1989. You flip on the tele­vi­sion and the sax­o­phon­ist David San­born appears onscreen, instru­ment in hand, intro­duc­ing the eclec­tic blues icon Taj Mahal, who in turn declares his intent to play a num­ber with “rur­al humor” and “world pro­por­tions.” And so he does, which leads into per­for­mances by Todd Rund­gren, Nan­ci Grif­fith, the Pat Methe­ny Group, and pro­to-turntab­list Chris­t­ian Mar­clay (best known today for his 24-hour mon­tage The Clock). At the end of the show — after a vin­tage clip of Count Basie from 1956 — every­one gets back onstage for an all-togeth­er-now ren­di­tion of “Nev­er Mind the Why and Where­fore” from H.M.S. Pinafore.

This was a more or less typ­i­cal episode of Night Music, which aired on NBC from 1988 to 1990, and in that time offered “some of the strangest musi­cal line-ups ever broad­cast on net­work tele­vi­sion.” So writes E. Lit­tle at In Sheep­’s Cloth­ing Hi-Fi, who names just a few of its per­form­ers: “Son­ic Youth, Miles Davis, the Res­i­dents, Char­lie Haden and His Lib­er­a­tion Orches­tra, Kro­nos Quar­tet, Pharoah Sanders, Karen Mantler, Dia­man­da Galas, John Lurie, and Nana Vas­con­ce­los.”

One espe­cial­ly mem­o­rable broad­cast fea­tured “a 15-minute inter­view-per­for­mance by Sun Ra’s Arkestra that finds the com­pos­er-pianist-Afro­fu­tur­ist at the peak of his exper­i­men­tal pow­ers, mov­ing from piano to Yama­ha DX‑7 and back again while the Arkestra flex­es its cos­mic mus­cles.”

“San­born host­ed the emi­nent­ly hip TV show,” writes jazz jour­nal­ist Bill Milkows­ki in his remem­brance of the late sax­man, who died last week­end, “not only pro­vid­ing infor­ma­tive intro­duc­tions but also sit­ting in with the bands.” One night might see him play­ing with Al Jar­reau, Paul Simon, Mar­i­anne Faith­full, Boot­sy Collins, the Red Hot Chili Pep­pers, Dizzy Gille­spie, — or indeed, some unlike­ly com­bi­na­tion of such artists. “The idea of that show was that gen­res are sec­ondary, an arti­fi­cial divi­sion of music that real­ly isn’t nec­es­sary; that musi­cians have more in com­mon than peo­ple expect,” San­born told Down­Beat in 2018. “We want­ed to rep­re­sent that by hav­ing a show where Leonard Cohen could sing a song, Son­ny Rollins could play a song, and then they could do some­thing togeth­er.”

Hav­ing want­ed to pur­sue that idea fur­ther since the show’s can­cel­la­tion — not the eas­i­est task, giv­en his ever-busy sched­ule of live per­for­mances and record­ing ses­sions across the musi­cal spec­trum — he cre­at­ed the YouTube chan­nel San­born Ses­sions a few years ago, some of whose videos have been re-uploaded in recent weeks. But much also remains to be dis­cov­ered in the archives of the orig­i­nal Night Music for broad-mind­ed music lovers under the age of about 60 — or indeed, for those over that age who nev­er tuned in back in the late eight­ies, a time peri­od that’s late­ly come in for a cul­tur­al re-eval­u­a­tion. Thanks to this YouTube playlist, you can watch more than 40 broad­casts of Night Music (which was at first titled Sun­day Night) and lis­ten like it’s 1989.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Watch David Bowie Per­form “Star­man” on Top of the Pops: Vot­ed the Great­est Music Per­for­mance Ever on the BBC (1972)

Chuck Berry & the Bee Gees Per­form Togeth­er in 1973: An Unex­pect­ed Video from The Mid­night Spe­cial Archive

How Amer­i­can Band­stand Changed Amer­i­can Cul­ture: Revis­it Scenes from the Icon­ic Music Show

All the Music Played on MTV’s 120 Min­utes: A 2,500-Video Youtube Playlist

When Glenn O’Brien’s TV Par­ty Brought Klaus Nomi, Blondie & Basquiat to Pub­lic Access TV (1978–82)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Aldous Huxley Explains How Man Became “the Victim of His Own Technology” (1961)

Just a cou­ple of days ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweet­ed out a video pro­mot­ing, “the new iPad Pro: the thinnest prod­uct we’ve ever cre­at­ed.” The response has been over­whelm­ing, and over­whelm­ing­ly neg­a­tive: for many view­ers, the ad’s imagery of a hydraulic press crush­ing a heap of musi­cal instru­ments, art sup­plies, and vin­tage enter­tain­ment into a sin­gle tablet inad­ver­tent­ly artic­u­lat­ed a dis­com­fort they’ve long felt with tech­nol­o­gy’s direc­tion in the past cou­ple of decades. As the nov­el­ist Hari Kun­zru put it“Crush­ing the sym­bols of human cre­ativ­i­ty to pro­duce a homog­e­nized brand­ed slab is pret­ty much where the tech indus­try is at in 2024.”

One won­ders whether this would have sur­prised Aldous Hux­ley. He under­stood, as he explains in the 1961 BBC inter­view above, that “if you plant the seed of applied sci­ence or tech­nol­o­gy, it pro­ceeds to grow, and it grows accord­ing to the laws of its own being. And the laws of its being are not nec­es­sar­i­ly the same as the laws of our being.”

Even six decades ago, he and cer­tain oth­ers had the sense, which has since become fair­ly com­mon, that “man is being sub­ject­ed to his own inven­tions, that he is now the vic­tim of his own tech­nol­o­gy”; that “the devel­op­ment of recent social and sci­en­tif­ic his­to­ry has cre­at­ed a world in which man seems to be made for tech­nol­o­gy rather than the oth­er way around.”

Hav­ing writ­ten his acclaimed dystopi­an nov­el Brave New World thir­ty years ear­li­er, Hux­ley was estab­lished as a seer of pos­si­ble tech­nol­o­gy-dri­ven total­i­tar­i­an futures. He under­stood that “we are a lit­tle reluc­tant to embark upon tech­nol­o­gy, to allow tech­nol­o­gy to take over,” but that, “in the long run, we gen­er­al­ly suc­cumb,” allow­ing our­selves to be mas­tered by our own cre­ations. In this, he resem­bles the Julia of Byron’s Don Juan, who, “whis­per­ing ‘I will ne’er con­sent’ – con­sent­ed.” Hux­ley also knew that “it is pos­si­ble to make peo­ple con­tent with their servi­tude,” even more effec­tive­ly in moder­ni­ty than antiq­ui­ty: “you can pro­vide them with bread and cir­cus­es, and you can pro­vide them with end­less amounts of dis­trac­tion and pro­pa­gan­da” — deliv­ered, here in the twen­ty-first-cen­tu­ry, straight to the device in our hand.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Aldous Hux­ley Pre­dicts in 1950 What the World Will Look Like in the Year 2000

An Ani­mat­ed Aldous Hux­ley Iden­ti­fies the Dystopi­an Threats to Our Free­dom (1958)

Aldous Hux­ley Tells Mike Wal­lace What Will Destroy Democ­ra­cy: Over­pop­u­la­tion, Drugs & Insid­i­ous Tech­nol­o­gy (1958)

Aldous Hux­ley to George Orwell: My Hell­ish Vision of the Future is Bet­ter Than Yours (1949)

Hear Aldous Hux­ley Nar­rate His Dystopi­an Mas­ter­piece Brave New World

Aldous Hux­ley, Dying of Can­cer, Left This World Trip­ping on LSD (1963)

Based in Seoul, Col­in Marshall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Learn How to Create Your Own Custom AI Assistants Using OpenAI GPTs: A Free Course from Vanderbilt University

Last fall, Ope­nAI start­ed let­ting users cre­ate cus­tom ver­sions of ChatGPT–ones that would let peo­ple cre­ate AI assis­tants to com­plete tasks in their per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al lives. In the months that fol­lowed, some users cre­at­ed AI apps that could gen­er­ate recipes and meals. Oth­ers devel­oped GPTs to cre­ate logos for their busi­ness­es. You get the pic­ture.

If you’re inter­est­ed in devel­op­ing your own AI assis­tant, Van­der­bilt com­put­er sci­ence pro­fes­sor Jules White has released a free online course called “Ope­nAI GPTs: Cre­at­ing Your Own Cus­tom AI Assis­tants.” On aver­age, the course should take sev­en hours to com­plete.

Here’s how he frames the course:

This cut­ting-edge course will guide you through the excit­ing jour­ney of cre­at­ing and deploy­ing cus­tom GPTs that cater to diverse indus­tries and appli­ca­tions. Imag­ine hav­ing a vir­tu­al assis­tant that can tack­le com­plex legal doc­u­ment analy­sis, stream­line sup­ply chain logis­tics, or even assist in sci­en­tif­ic research and hypoth­e­sis gen­er­a­tion. The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less! Through­out the course, you’ll delve into the intri­ca­cies of build­ing GPTs that can use your doc­u­ments to answer ques­tions, pat­terns to cre­ate amaz­ing human and AI inter­ac­tion, and meth­ods for cus­tomiz­ing the tone of your GPTs. You’ll learn how to design and imple­ment rig­or­ous test­ing sce­nar­ios to ensure your AI assis­tan­t’s accu­ra­cy, reli­a­bil­i­ty, and human-like com­mu­ni­ca­tion abil­i­ties. Pre­pare to be amazed as you explore real-world exam­ples and case stud­ies, such as:

1. GPT for Per­son­al­ized Learn­ing and Edu­ca­tion: Craft a vir­tu­al tutor that adapts its teach­ing approach based on each stu­den­t’s learn­ing style, pro­vid­ing per­son­al­ized les­son plans, inter­ac­tive exer­cis­es, and real-time feed­back, trans­form­ing the edu­ca­tion­al land­scape.

2. Culi­nary GPT: Your Per­son­al Recipe Vault and Meal Plan­ning Mae­stro. Step into a world where your culi­nary cre­ations come to life with the help of an AI assis­tant that knows your recipes like the back of its hand. The Culi­nary GPT is a cus­tom-built lan­guage mod­el designed to rev­o­lu­tion­ize your kitchen expe­ri­ence, serv­ing as a per­son­al recipe vault and meal plan­ning and shop­ping mae­stro.

3. GPT for Trav­el and Busi­ness Expense Man­age­ment: A GPT that can assist with all aspects of trav­el plan­ning and busi­ness expense man­age­ment. It could help users book flights, hotels, and trans­porta­tion while adher­ing to com­pa­ny poli­cies and bud­gets. Addi­tion­al­ly, it could stream­line expense report­ing and reim­burse­ment process­es, ensur­ing com­pli­ance and accu­ra­cy.

4. GPT for Mar­ket­ing and Adver­tis­ing Cam­paign Man­age­ment: Lever­age the pow­er of cus­tom GPTs to ana­lyze con­sumer data, mar­ket trends, and cam­paign per­for­mance, gen­er­at­ing tar­get­ed mar­ket­ing strate­gies, per­son­al­ized mes­sag­ing, and opti­miz­ing ad place­ment for max­i­mum engage­ment and return on invest­ment.

You can sign up for the course at no cost here. Or, alter­na­tive­ly, you can elect to pay $49 and receive a cer­tifi­cate at the end.

As a side note, Jules White (the pro­fes­sor) also designed anoth­er course pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on OC. It focus­es on prompt engi­neer­ing for ChatPG­PT.

Relat­ed Con­tent

A New Course Teach­es You How to Tap the Pow­ers of Chat­G­PT and Put It to Work for You

Google & Cours­era Launch New Career Cer­tifi­cates That Pre­pare Stu­dents for Jobs in 2–6 Months: Busi­ness Intel­li­gence & Advanced Data Ana­lyt­ics

Com­put­er Sci­en­tist Andrew Ng Presents a New Series of Machine Learn­ing Courses–an Updat­ed Ver­sion of the Pop­u­lar Course Tak­en by 5 Mil­lion Stu­dents


The Fictional Brand Archives: Explore a Growing Collection of Iconic But Fake Brands Found in Movies & TV

Los Pol­los Her­manos, Madri­gal Elec­tro­mo­tive, Mesa Verde Bank and Trust, Davis & Main: Attor­neys at Law—all of these brands come from the Break­ing Bad/Bet­ter Call Saul uni­verse. They also appear in the Fic­tion­al Brands Archive, a web­site ded­i­cat­ed to “fic­tion­al brands found in films, series and video games.” Tak­ing the brands seri­ous­ly as brands, the site draws on research from a new book writ­ten by Loren­zo Berni­ni enti­tled Fic­tion­al Brand Design. And, with its many entries, the site pro­vides a “com­pre­hen­sive view of each fic­tion­al brand, fram­ing them in their own fic­tion­al con­text and doc­u­ment­ing their use and exe­cu­tion in source work.”

Oth­er notable brands include Acme (Looney Tunes), ATN News (Suc­ces­sion), Dun­der Mif­flin (The Office), Fed­er­al Motor Cor­po­ra­tion (Fight Club), both Grand Budapest Hotel and Mendl’s (Grand Budapest Hotel), and Nakato­mi Cor­po­ra­tion (Die Hard). Enter the Fic­tion­al Brands Archive here.

via Messy­Nessy

Relat­ed Con­tent 

A Free Dig­i­tal Archive of Graph­ic Design: A Curat­ed Col­lec­tion of Design Trea­sures from the Inter­net Archive

The Let­ter­form Archive Launch­es a New Online Archive of Graph­ic Design, Fea­tur­ing 9,000 Hi-Fi Images

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Isaac Asimov Predicts the Future in 1982: Computers Will Be “at the Center of Everything;” Robots Will Take Human Jobs

Four decades ago, our civ­i­liza­tion seemed to stand on the brink of a great trans­for­ma­tion. The Cold War had stoked around 35 years of every-inten­si­fy­ing devel­op­ments, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to the Space Race. The per­son­al com­put­er had been on the mar­ket just long enough for most Amer­i­cans to, if not actu­al­ly own one, then at least to won­der if they might soon find them­selves in need of one. On New Year’s Eve of 1982, The Mac­Neil-Lehrer News Hour offered its view­ers a glimpse of the shape of things to come by invit­ing a trio of for­ward-look­ing guestsWas­n’t the Future Won­der­ful author Tim Onosko; Omni mag­a­zine edi­tor Dick Tere­si; and, most dis­tin­guished of all, Isaac Asi­mov.

As the “author of more than 250 books, light and heavy, fic­tion and non-fic­tion, some of the most notable being about the future,” Asi­mov had long been a go-to inter­vie­wee for media out­lets in need of long-range pre­dic­tions about tech­nol­o­gy, soci­ety, and the dynam­ic rela­tion­ship between the two. (Here on Open Cul­ture, we’ve pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured his spec­u­la­tions from 1983, 1980, 1978, 1967, and 1964.) Robert Mac­Neil opens with a nat­ur­al sub­ject for any sci­ence-fic­tion writer: mankind’s for­ays into out­er space, and whether Asi­mov sees “any­thing left out there.” Asi­mov’s response: “Oh, every­thing.”

In the ear­ly eight­ies, the man who wrote the Foun­da­tion series saw human­i­ty as “still in the Christo­pher Colum­bus stage as far as space is con­cerned,” fore­see­ing not just space sta­tions but “solar pow­er sta­tions,” “lab­o­ra­to­ries and fac­to­ries that can do things in space that are dif­fi­cult or impos­si­ble to do on Earth,” and even “space set­tle­ments in which thou­sands of peo­ple can be housed more or less per­ma­nent­ly.” In the full­ness of time, the goal would be to “build a larg­er and more elab­o­rate civ­i­liza­tion and one which does not depend upon the resources of one world.”

As for “the com­put­er age,” asks Jim Lehrer; “have we crest­ed on that one as well”? Asi­mov knew full well that the com­put­er would be “at the cen­ter of every­thing.” Just as had hap­pened with tele­vi­sion over the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, “com­put­ers are going to be nec­es­sary in the house to do a great many things, some in the way of enter­tain­ment, some in the way of mak­ing life a lit­tle eas­i­er, and every­one will want it.” There were many, even then, who could feel real excite­ment at the prospect of such a future. But what of robots, which, as even Asi­mov knew, would come to “replace human beings?”

“It’s not that they kill them, but they kill their jobs,” he explains, and those who lose the old jobs may not be equipped to take on any of the new ones. “We are going to have to accept an impor­tant role — soci­ety as a whole — in mak­ing sure that the tran­si­tion peri­od from the pre-robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy to the post-robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy is as pain­less as pos­si­ble. We have to make sure that peo­ple aren’t treat­ed as though they’re used up dishrags, that they have to be allowed to live and retain their self-respect.” Today, the tech­nol­o­gy of the moment is arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, which the news media haven’t hes­i­tat­ed to pay near-obses­sive atten­tion to. (I’m trav­el­ing in Japan at the moment, and saw just such a broad­cast on my hotel TV this morn­ing.) Would that they still had an Asi­mov to dis­cuss it with a lev­el-head­ed, far-sight­ed per­spec­tive.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts in 1983 What the World Will Look Like in 2019: Com­put­er­i­za­tion, Glob­al Co-oper­a­tion, Leisure Time & Moon Min­ing

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts the Future on The David Let­ter­man Show (1980)

Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts the Future of Civ­i­liza­tion — and Rec­om­mends Ways to Ensure That It Sur­vives (1978)

Buck­min­ster Fuller, Isaac Asi­mov & Oth­er Futur­ists Make Pre­dic­tions About the 21st Cen­tu­ry in 1967: What They Got Right & Wrong

In 1964, Isaac Asi­mov Pre­dicts What the World Will Look Like Today: Self-Dri­ving Cars, Video Calls, Fake Meats & More

Nine Sci­ence-Fic­tion Authors Pre­dict the Future: How Jules Verne, Isaac Asi­mov, William Gib­son, Philip K. Dick & More Imag­ined the World Ahead

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.