April 16, 2014

Mindset

mindset

mindset list

In decision theory and general systems theory, a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by one or more people or groups of people that is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. This phenomenon is also sometimes described as mental inertia, ‘groupthink,’ or a ‘paradigm,’ and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon analysis and decision making processes.

A mindset can also be seen as incident of a person’s Weltanschauung or philosophy of life. For example there has been quite some interest in the typical mindset of both individual entrepreneurs and their organizations. An institution with an entrepreneurial philosophy will set entrepreneurial goals and strategies as a whole, but maybe even more importantly, it will foster an entrepreneurial milieu, allowing each entity to pursue emergent opportunities. In short, a philosophical stance codified in the mind, hence as mindset, lead to a climate that in turn causes values that lead to practice. Continue reading

April 14, 2014

Ego Reduction

shrink by james jean

The concept of ego reduction is predicated on the use of Sigmund Freud’s concept of the ego to describe the conscious adult self; and broadly describes the deflating of an over-inflated or egotistical sense of oneself – a curtailment of what Irish philosopher Iris Murdoch called ‘the anxious avaricious tentacles of the self.’

Among other contexts, ego reduction has been seen as a goal in Alcoholics Anonymous; as a part of BDSM play, providing a means of entering ‘subspace’ (a state of submissiveness); and as a way of attaining religious humility and freedom from desire in Buddhism. Continue reading

April 12, 2014

FriendsWithYou

malfi

FriendsWithYou (FWY) is an art collaborative based in LA, founded in Miami in 2002, by Samuel Albert Borkson (b.1979) and Arturo Sandoval III (b. 1976), which seeks to redesign spirituality, rituals, and religious acts for modern day usage and connectivity. Their mission coincides with their motto: ‘Magic, Luck, and Friendship.’

The collaborative began by creating soft sculptures as a means to spread more accessible art like plush and wood toys, as well as immersive art installations, fine art works including sculpture and painting, and are best known for their public art spectacles such as large-scale installations, playgrounds, and performance pieces. They have described the creation of their art as a healing process intended to increase relatability and connection to each other and the world around them.

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April 11, 2014

Monolith

monolith by Daniel Norris

Monoliths [mon-uh-liths] are fictional advanced machines built by an unseen extraterrestrial species that appear in Arthur C. Clarke’s ‘Space Odyssey’ series of novels and films. During the series, three monoliths are discovered by humans and it is revealed that thousands if not more were created throughout the solar system, although none are seen. The subsequent response of the characters to their discovery drives the plot of the series. It also influences the fictional history of the series, particularly by encouraging humankind to progress with technological development and space travel.

The first monolith appears in the beginning of the story, set in prehistoric times. It is discovered by a group of hominids (apes), and somehow triggers a considerable shift in evolution, starting with the ability to use tools and weaponry. Continue reading

April 10, 2014

Childhood Amnesia

childhood memories by william haefeli

Childhood amnesia, also called infantile amnesia, is the inability of adults to retrieve episodic memories before the age of 2–4 years, as well as the period before age 10 of which adults retain fewer memories than might otherwise be expected given the passage of time. For the first 1–2 years of life, brain structures such as the limbic system, which holds the hippocampus and the amygdala and is involved in memory storage, are not yet fully developed. Research has demonstrated that children can remember events from before the age of 3–4 years, but that these memories decline as children get older.

Psychologists differ in defining the offset of childhood amnesia. Some define it as the age from which a first memory can be retrieved, others the age at which memories change from general memories to more specific autobiographical events. It is generally agreed there is no set age that people should be able to remember events from. The nature of the childhood event and how the person retrieves a memory can influence what can be recalled. The amount of early childhood memories a person can recall also depends on how old they are when they are asked to remember. Continue reading

April 9, 2014

Risk Perception

cultural theory of risk

Risk perception is the subjective judgment that people make about the characteristics and severity of a risk. The phrase is most commonly used in reference to natural hazards and threats to the environment or health, such as nuclear power. Several theories have been proposed to explain why different people make different estimates of the dangerousness of risks. Three major families of theory have been developed: psychology approaches (heuristics and cognitive), anthropology/sociology approaches (cultural theory) and interdisciplinary approaches (social amplification of risk framework).

The study of risk perception arose out of the observation that experts and lay people often disagreed about how risky various technologies and natural hazards were. The mid 1960s saw the rapid rise of nuclear technologies and the promise for clean and safe energy. However, fears of both longitudinal dangers to the environment as well as immediate disasters creating radioactive wastelands turned the public against this new technology. The governmental communities asked why public perception was against the use of nuclear energy when all of the scientific experts were declaring how safe it really was. The problem, from the perspectives of the experts, was a difference between scientific facts and an exaggerated public perception of the dangers. Continue reading

April 8, 2014

Max Richter

memoryhouse

Max Richter [rik-ter] (b. 1966) is a British composer. He studied composition and piano at the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Academy of Music, and with Italian composer Luciano Berio in Florence. After finishing his studies, Richter co-founded the contemporary classical ensemble Piano Circus. He stayed with the group for ten years, commissioning and performing works by Arvo Pärt, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Julia Wolfe, and Steve Reich. The ensemble was signed to Decca/Argo, producing five albums.

In 1996, Richter collaborated with Future Sound of London on their album ‘Dead Cities,’ beginning as a pianist, but ultimately working on several tracks, as well as co-writing one track (titled ‘Max’). He subsequently worked with the band over a period of two years, also contributing to the albums ‘The Isness’ and ‘The Peppermint Tree and Seeds of Superconsciousness.’ In 2000, he worked with Mercury Prize winner Roni Size on the Reprazent album ‘In the Møde.’ Richter produced English singer-songwriter Vashti Bunyan’s 2005 album ‘Lookaftering’ and Sneaker Pimps lead singer Kelli Ali’s 2008 album ‘Rocking Horse.’ Continue reading

April 7, 2014

Turbo

Turbocharger

A supercharger is an air compressor that increases the pressure or density of air supplied to an internal combustion engine. This gives each intake cycle of the engine more oxygen, letting it burn more fuel and do more work, thus increasing power. Power for the supercharger can be provided mechanically by means of a belt, gear, shaft, or chain connected to the engine’s crankshaft. When power is provided by a turbine powered by exhaust gas, a supercharger is known as a turbosupercharger – typically referred to simply as a turbocharger or just turbo.

Supercharging increases power, but turbocharging can improve power and efficiency. Turbochargers were known as turbosuperchargers when all forced induction devices were classified as superchargers. Currently, the term supercharger is only applied to mechanically driven forced induction devices. Continue reading

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April 5, 2014

Superficiality

after many a summer

What social psychologists call ‘The principle of superficiality versus depth’ has pervaded Western culture since at least the time of Plato. Socrates sought to convince his debaters to turn from the superficiality of a worldview based on the acceptance of convention to the examined life of philosophy, founded (as Plato at least considered) upon the underlying Ideas (the belief that non-material abstract ideas, and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality).

For more than two millennia, there was in the Platonic wake a general valorization of critical thought over the superficial subjectivity that refused deep analysis. The salon style of the Précieuses (a 17th century French literary movement characterized by wit and wordplay) might for a time affect superficiality, and advance the treatment of serious topics in a light-hearted fashion; but the prevailing western consensus firmly rejected elements such as everyday chatter or the changing vagaries of fashion as superficial distractions from a deeper reality. Continue reading

April 3, 2014

Normcore

k-hole

Normcore is an emerging cultural trend focusing on ‘coolness that opts into sameness.’ It is in response to hipster subculture. Jeremy Lewis, the founder of fashion website ‘Garmento’ calls normcore ‘one facet of a growing anti-fashion sentiment.’

K-hole, a creative trend forecasting collective based in New York City is cited as coining the phrase. Normcore is an anti-trendy trend.

April 2, 2014

Ichthys

jesus fish

Ichthys [ik-thees], from the Koine Greek word for fish, is a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish, used by early Christians as a secret Christian symbol and now known colloquially as the ‘sign of the fish’ or the ‘Jesus fish.’

It is sometimes a subject of satire, especially when adorning the bumpers or trunks of automobiles. The most notable is the ‘Darwin Fiss,’ an ichthys symbol with ‘evolved’ legs and feet attached. Rhetorical scholar Thomas Lessl conducted a survey of users of the Darwin fish emblem. Based on their responses, he interprets the symbol as scientific ‘blackface,’ a parody that is one part mockery and one part imitation. While users frequently explain the symbol as a rebuke against Creationism, Lessl suggests that the emblem represents a metaphor for cultural progress. Continue reading

April 1, 2014

Flash Trading

flash boys

flash crash

Flash trading, otherwise known as a flash order, is defined by industry trade publication ‘Traders Magazine’ as ‘a marketable order sent to a market center that is not quoting the industry’s best price or that cannot fill that order in its entirety. The order is then flashed to recipients of the venue’s proprietary data feed to see if any of those firms wants to take the other side of the order. This practice enables the market center to try to keep the trade.’ Under an exception to Rule 602 of Regulation NMS, flash orders are currently legal.

Bloomberg states: ‘Flash systems trace their roots as far back as 1978 to efforts by exchanges to electronically replicate how a trader might yell an order to floor brokers before entering it into the system that displays all bids and offers. Markets have evolved since the days of floor brokers’ dominance, with computer algorithms now buying and selling shares 1,000 times faster than the blink of an eye.’ Continue reading

March 31, 2014

9/11 Humor

onion

too soon

9/11 humor is black comedy or off-color humor that aims to make light of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A number of scholars have studied the ways in which humor has been used to deal with the trauma of the event. Researcher Bill Ellis found jokes about the attacks from Americans the day afterwards, and sociologist Giselinde Kuipers found jokes on Dutch websites a day later. Kuipers had collected around 850 online jokes about 9/11, Osama Bin Laden, and the Afghanistan war by 2005.

An early public attempt at 9/11 humor was made by Gilbert Gottfried just a few weeks after the attacks. During a comedy roast at the Friars Club his 9/11 gags ellicited angry shouts of ‘too soon.’ Gottfried improvised and performed ‘The Aristocrats’ routine (a famously vulgar joke), which got great applause from the crowd. Continue reading

March 30, 2014

The Rock-afire Explosion

Fatz Geronimo

The Rock-afire Explosion is an animatronic robot band that played in Showbiz Pizza Place from 1980 to 1990, and in various Showbiz Pizza locations between 1990 and 1992 as Showbiz rebranded and the band was steadily replaced by Chuck E. Cheese characters. The characters in The Rock-afire Explosion were various animals ranging from a dog to a gorilla. They would perform medleys of classic rock, pop, and country music, as well as original compositions.

The show was a pioneer in commercial animatronics in the 1980s, featuring life-sized characters capable of facial expression; some were even programmed in such a way that they could actually play simple melodies on musical instruments. The show was created and manufactured by noted inventor Aaron Fechter, through his company Creative Engineering, Inc. in Orlando, Florida; in addition to overseeing the production of the animatronics, Fechter also provided the voices for several characters. Continue reading

March 27, 2014

Hacker Koan

codeless code

Out of hacker culture, and especially the artificial intelligence community at MIT, there have sprung a number of humorous short stories about computer science dubbed hacker koans [koh-ahns]; most of these are recorded in an appendix to the Jargon File (a glossary of computer programmer slang). Most do not fit the usual pattern of koans, but they do tend to follow the form of being short, enigmatic, and often revealing an epiphany.

One notable example, titled ‘Uncarved block,’ describes an exchange between professor Marvin Minsky and student Jerry Sussman: ‘In the days when Sussman was a novice, Minsky once came to him as he sat hacking at the PDP-6. ‘What are you doing?’, asked Minsky. ‘I am training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-tac-toe,’ Sussman replied. ‘Why is the net wired randomly?’, asked Minsky. ‘I do not want it to have any preconceptions of how to play,’ Sussman said. Minsky then shut his eyes. ‘Why do you close your eyes?’ Sussman asked his teacher. ‘So that the room will be empty.’ At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.’

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