The creepiest images generated by BigGAN



Writing to you from deep inside the Uncanny Valley, I present to you some hand-selected images generated by an algorithm called BigGAN. This algorithm looks at example images of a bunch of different objects and then tries its best to figure out how to generate more of them. Because the algorithm comes in two parts – one that generates the images, and the other that tries to tell the difference between the generated images and the real thing – it’s known as a Generative Adversarial Network (GAN). Each of the images below is from the big set of generated images that the BigGAN authors released along with their paper. I merely came across them, was freaked out by them, and decided to present them here.

As you look at these, remember: the GAN thought these looked a lot like the real thing.


Note lack of actual microphone. BigGAN probably saw lots of pictures of humans holding microphones and doesn’t understand that the human is not the microphone. It does understand how to do stage lighting though.


“Pan pipes”

Those are not teeth but, apparently, the pipes. No explanation for all the other stuff though.


“Teddy Bear”

I regret to tell you they’re almost certainly cursed. At least they’re fuzzy.



Its letters and numbers are in some strange unearthly script. It has trouble counting things like watch hands. But its textures are spot on. This, including the unearthly GAN-script, is very characteristic of GAN images.



I have found it. The worst BigGAN category. As far as I can tell, these were all from baby bottles, but that doesn’t make it better. It seems to have come up with a hybrid bottle-human head, which it does from time to time. (I saw an oboe/human hybrid once, and the authors report that during training it crossed a dog and a tennis ball into a dogball. It also produced catflowers and hendogs)


These results may not LOOK photorealistic, but they’re really impressive for a GAN that can do so many categories, especially in high resolution. Jer Thorpe also calculated that generating them took enough power to run the entire city of Cleveland for 6 days. Hopefully that will get a lot better soon as technology improves, because the aesthetic is often strikingly beautiful. I would love to see a movie with GAN graphics.

More GAN images in my earlier blog post on BigGAN and in these Twitter threads.

And to see even more (and optionally get bonus material every time I post), sign up here.

…I desperately want to make those teddy bears into a real, physical item. They’re WONDERFUL!

We need more appropriately snarky handicap signs out there.



I love this lol! I know they probably won’t do it but I’m still submitting this as a suggestion for how to improve my city to city officials. Like so many people are like “it’s not a big deal” when informed it’s illegal to park without a valid pass (which I pay for- it’s not free). If they had to experience what I do for a few minutes even I’m sure most would be nope nope not worth it don’t want this spot.

River Cane of the Southern Appalachians

Fun fact: bamboo shoots used to be a popular seasonal vegetable back home!

Besides the plants being very useful for building stuff, basketry, and just about anything else you can do with bamboo.

(These are native species of bamboo, BTW. Just not an introduced/invasive type.)

However, there hasn’t been much of it left for a long time now:

Researchers estimate that some 98 percent of the canebrakes present when the Europeans arrived have been lost. The usual suspect is the enclosure of animals, especially cattle, which eat the tender cane shoots as they emerge. In Cherokee, the tribe has sponsored a restoration project to ensure native basketmakers having a supply of cane for their work. Preserving river cane is one way to recognize the history and value of this hardy and beautiful grass.

One thing to consider for controlling invasive bamboos, possibly. It’s almost impossible to wipe out where you don’t want it, and those folks must have been pretty persistent at getting rid of the nuisance weeds 😩

River Cane of the Southern Appalachians

Bygone Bites: A Review of La Choy’s Chow Mein – D Magazine

And, on the heels of Bad Halloween Costumes of the 1970s and 80s: more nostalgia!

For whatever reason, this stuff turned into a Halloween tradition when I was little. Either La Choy or the now-defunct Chun King mentioned in that piece. Load the kid up on dubious “Chinese” food before heading out trick or treating.

I get the feeling that this may have started precisely because it was so quick and easy, with a busy night ahead. But, I thought it was awesone–partly because we so rarely got convenience foods like that at home, other than some canned soups. Party time! 🙄

(The smallish city where we lived then also did not get its first Chinese restaurant until around 1980. How things have changed…)

My mom always served this stuff up with rice, and the peculiar crispy noodles as a garnish. Plus plenty of soy sauce on the side, because you really needed something to add flavor.

La Choy Chinese Food Commercial (1978)

I think my mom had those glasses in ‘78, too.

Reminded of this earlier, so tonight the plan again is our own Halloween “Chinese” feast at home 🤗 The closest I am willing/able to go is some quick basic Beef Lo Mein, using whatever suitable vegetables we have lurking in the fridge.

Though, I did find this in the cupboard, and I may have to slice up a few to add. Closest we’re going to get to classic ‘70s style fare, but it’s the thought 😉

Bygone Bites: A Review of La Choy’s Chow Mein – D Magazine





in Houston we have something called the 100 Club where if you donate 100 dollars to the police in a year you get a special, very visible sticker you can put on your back window that obviously in no way influences the way cops treat you and i just now learned that isnt a universal thing

how often do you think this guy gets pulled over for speeding

This feels kind of like how in Ankh-Morpork, you can pay the Thieves Guild not to rob you.

Except if the City Watch ever did this bullshit, Mister Vimes would go spare.

They have something sort of like this for businesses in Detroit, it’s called the green light program and basically the police come to a business and say something to the effect of “would be a shame if we didn’t have the resources to protect you” and get business owners to buy in to put an outdoor camera, a blinking green light and several signs letting customers know that this location has paid their bribe, go rob somewhere else

today in “things i’m disproportionately emotional about”:








it’s facial reconstructions of prehistoric humans!!

like, look at this part-homo sapiens, part-neandertal man from well over 30,000 years ago:

doesn’t he just look like a dude you’d wanna hang out with? like he probably washes dishes in the kitchen with you, and has excellent weed

what a charming fellow. what stories he probably has to tell. i’d definitely go shoot the shit with him on Contemplation Rock after i’d finished my day’s work carving a bone flute for the autumn hunting ceremony, or whatever

people have been people ever since people first became people, i tell you what

they all had lives and histories and families and friends and dumb gossip and games they played and total bullshit in which they believed wholeheartedly

they all argued about the nature of the world, and of themselves

they all sang songs

they all drew pictures

they all buried their dead in graves, and they buried their dead in graves well before they did a lot of that other stuff. they buried their dead with flowers, with panther claws, with the bones of animals they’d killed, with the bones of family members who had died at the same time or earlier. they buried their dead with their arms folded across their chests

they fell in love

they took care of their old and their sick and their disabled, even when it cost them

they made new things, and worried about what the new things meant for people everywhere, as a whole

Oh I like him he looks like he would appreciate my jokes

This dude would have great stories at a get-together and would bring some really great homemade dip. 

I feel like he really digs Lo-Fi Music

This guy was sculpted by Alfons and Adrie Kennis, and their Neanderthal reconstructions are all delightful

I love the kid in the last picture a lot- they look like a kid, just a little kid who’s done some mischief and is trying not to laugh about it.

I also adore their Lucy- they’ve struck a wonderful balance between the falling angel and the rising ape.

And their Turkana boy- there’s something precious and wistful in those eyes. 

But my favorite has got to be their reconstruction of H. floresiensis.

Just look at her. That’s a face of someone who’s lived and seen a lot, but also a face that’s known love and joy and laughter. That’s a face with a soul

They are all beautiful

What an amazing work, Kennis & Kennis! 

And just last week, a two part special started on PBS, all about how Neanderthals were more like Homo Sapiens than scientists had given them credit for generations. Here’s the official trailer (with Closed captions):