Archive for ‘Money’

August 24, 2012

Doenjang Girl

Doenjang girl is a satirical Korean expression for girls and young women who are addicted to luxury and vanity. Doenjang is a fermented soybean paste used to make sour of bean soup. Instead of visiting an expensive foreign restaurant they will eat a three dollar bowl of soup and then go to Starbucks to purchase a six dollar latte, because carrying a Starbucks cup is considered posh. Likewise, doejang girls carry around shopping bags from Chanel and other high end stores to look as if they were shopping there.

August 23, 2012

Hebrew National

Hebrew National is a brand of kosher hot dogs and sausages made by ConAgra Foods, Inc. The Hebrew National Kosher Sausage Factory, Inc. was founded on East Broadway, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in 1905. The company was founded by Theodore Krainin, who emigrated from Russia in the 1880s. In a 1921 article, Alfred W. McCann writing in ‘The Globe and Commercial Advertiser’ citied Hebrew National as having ‘higher standards than the law requires.’ McCann wrote the article during a crusade for commercial food decency standards, in which ‘The Globe’ was prominent. He wrote ‘More power to Krainin and the decency he represents! Such evidence of the kind of citizenship which America should covet is not to be passed by lightly.’ Hebrew National ‘served the Jewish neighborhoods of immigrants from Eastern Europe and Germany and soon developed a favorable reputation among the other Jewish residents of New York City.’

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August 22, 2012

Sinclair C5

The Sinclair C5 is a battery electric vehicle invented by British entrepreneur Sir Clive Sinclair in the United Kingdom in 1985. The vehicle is a battery-assisted tricycle steered by a handlebar beneath the driver’s knees. Powered operation is possible making it unnecessary for the driver to pedal. Its top speed of 15 miles per hour (24 km/h), is the fastest allowed in the UK without a driving licence. It is powered by a 200w or 250W motor. It sold for £399 plus £29 for delivery. It became an object of media and popular ridicule during 1980s Britain and was a commercial disaster, selling only around 17,000 units, although according to Sinclair, it was ‘the best selling electric vehicle’ until 2011 when the Nissan Leaf had sold over 20,000 units. The C5 suffered from problems: cold weather shortened battery life, the driver was exposed to the weather, and because it was low to the ground, doubts were raised about its safety in traffic. The problems were addressed with a second battery, side screens for bad weather and a reflector on tall poles – all available as extras from the launch. Users of recumbent tricycles and a study by the Department of Transport suggested visibility fears were largely unfounded, but the weight, lack of seat-to-pedal adjustment, lack of gears, short pedal cranks, and that the motor overheated on long hills were serious problems; indeed the motor was essentially useless for climbing hills, with even mild gradients necessitating significant pedal assistance.

Sir Clive Sinclair started to think about electric vehicles as a teenager, and it was an idea he toyed with for decades. In the early 1970s Sinclair Radionics was working on the project. Sinclair had Chris Curry work on the electric motor. However, the company focus shifted to calculators and no further work was done on vehicles until the late 1970s. Development began again in 1979 and progressed erratically until, in 1983, it became apparent new legislation would alter the market and make it possible to sell a vehicle closely resembling development efforts. As time went on, the Sinclair Research C5 development cost gradually increased. In 1983, Sinclair sold some of his shares in Sinclair Research Ltd and raised £12 million to finance vehicle development. A new company, Sinclair Vehicles Ltd, was formed out of Sinclair Research and a development contract entered with Lotus to take the C5 design to production. At the same time, the Hoover Company at Merthyr Tydfil contracted to manufacture the C5. This, together with the fact that the motors were made by Polymotor in Italy, started the urban myth that the C5 was powered by a washing machine motor.

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August 22, 2012

Redneck Games

The Redneck Games are held in East Dublin, Georgia annually. The games were started by the general manager of WQZY, Mac Davis, in response to a comment made by the media; that when the 1996 Olympic Games went to Atlanta, it would be held by a group of rednecks. Taking offense to this, Davis and some locals set up the annual Redneck Games to reinforce the stereotype the media held. In 2001, Drew Scott of Wild Country 96.5 ‘borrowed’ the games to set up a fundraising event for the Franklin County NY Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Some events that are held during the Redneck Games include: The cigarette flip; Bobbing for pig’s trotters; Seed spitting; Toilet seat throwing; Mud pit belly flop; Big-hair contest; Wet T-shirt contest; Armpit serenade; Bug zapping by spitball; Dumpster diving; and Hubcap hurling. For each of the events, a trophy is awarded: a half crushed, empty mounted beer can. The Minto Canadian Redneck Games in Minto, Ontario started in 2006. Events include: Mud Pit Slip & Slide; Bobbin’ for Pig’s Feet; Mud Pit Tug-of-War; Mud Pit Belly Flop Contest; Redneck Horseshoes; Hubcap Hurl; and Mud Pit Volleyball.

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August 22, 2012

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is an American reality series that debuted on TLC in 2012. It is a spinoff of ‘Toddlers & Tiaras,’ based around T&T contestant Alana ‘Honey Boo Boo’ Thompson and her family, who reside in rural McIntyre, Georgia. The series follows the Thompsons, focusing on the daily interactions between the family members and mother June’s attempts to enter Alana into beauty pageants. Other focal points in the series are the teen pregnancy of eldest daughter Anna, Jessica’s attempts to lose weight, as well as visits to the Redneck Games and auctions.

The ‘A.V. Club’ called the first episodes a ‘horror story posing as a reality television program,’ with others worrying about potential child exploitation. A reviewer for ‘Forbes’ criticized TLC as trying to ‘portray Alana’s family as a horde of lice-picking, lard-eating, nose-thumbing hooligans south of the Mason-Dixon line,’ stating that ‘it falls flat, because there’s no true dysfunction here, save for the beauty pageant stuff.’ ‘The Guardian’ also criticized the attempt to portray the Thompsons as something to ‘point and snicker at,’ saying, ‘none of the women or girls who participate in the show seems to hate themselves for their poverty, their weight, their less-than-urbane lifestyle, or the ways in which they diverge from the socially-acceptable beauty standard.’

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August 22, 2012

Self-handicapping

Self-handicapping is the process by which people avoid effort in the hopes of keeping potential failure from hurting self-esteem. It was first theorized by Edward E. Jones and Steven Berglas, according to whom self-handicaps are obstacles created, or claimed, by the individual in anticipation of failing performance. Self-handicapping can be seen as a method of preserving self-esteem but it can also be used for self-enhancement and to manage the impressions of others. This conservation or augmentation of self-esteem is due to changes in causal attributions or the attributions for success and failure that self-handicapping affords. There are two methods that people use to self-handicap: behavioral and claimed self-handicaps. People withdraw effort or create obstacles to successes so they can maintain public and private self-images of competence.

Self-handicapping is a widespread behavior amongst humans that has been observed in a variety of cultures and geographic areas. For instance, students frequently participate in self-handicapping behavior to avoid feeling bad about themselves if they do not perform well in class. Self-handicapping behavior has also been observed in the business world, with some researchers even going so far as to speculate that the Enron Scandal came about as a result of the company’s managers using self-handicapping behavior. The effects of self-handicapping can be both large and small and found in virtually any environment wherein people are expected to perform.

August 17, 2012

Motivation

drive

Motivation is the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal and elicits, controls, and sustains certain goal directed behaviors. For instance: an individual has not eaten, he or she feels hungry, and as a response he or she eats and diminishes feelings of hunger. There are many approaches to motivation: physiological, behavioral, cognitive, and social. It is the crucial element in setting and attaining goals—and research shows that subjects can influence their own levels of motivation and self-control.

A 2007 paper, ‘Where the Motivation Resides and Self-Deception Hides: How Motivated Cognition Accomplishes Self-Deception,’ examined how people remain blind to the motives underlying their flattering self-construals, attitudes, and social judgments. Motivated cognition accomplishes the goal of self-deception. Self-serving conclusions are produced and the influence of such distortions remains hidden from conscious awareness because of the ubiquitous presence and specialized nature of motivated cognition.

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August 13, 2012

Cassette Culture

cassette

Cassette culture refers to the practices surrounding amateur production and distribution of recorded music that emerged in the late 1970s via home-made audio cassettes. It is characterized by the adoption of home-recording by independent artists, and involvement in ad-hoc self-distribution and promotion networks – primarily conducted through mail (though there were a few retail outlets, such as Rough Trade and Falling A in the UK) and fanzines.

The culture was in part an offshoot of the mail art movement of the 1970s and 1980s, and participants engaged in tape trading in addition to traditional sales. The culture is related to the DIY ethic of punk, and encouraged musical eclecticism and diversity.

August 13, 2012

Strength Through Joy

Strength through Joy‘ (‘Kraft durch Freude,’ KdF) was a large state-controlled leisure organization in Nazi Germany. It was a part of the German Labor Front (‘Deutsche Arbeitsfront,’ DAF), the national German labor organization at that time. Set up as a tool to promote the advantages of National Socialism to the people, it soon became the world’s largest tourism operator of the 1930s. KdF was supposed to bridge the class divide by making middle-class leisure activities available to the masses. This was underscored by having cruises with passengers of mixed classes and having them, regardless of social status, draw lots for allocation of cabins. Another less ideological goal was to boost the German economy by stimulating the tourist industry out of its slump from the 1920s. It was quite successful up until the outbreak of World War II. By 1934, over two million Germans had participated on a KdF trip; by 1939 the reported numbers lay around 25 million people. The organization essentially collapsed in 1939, and several projects, such as the massive Prora holiday resort, were never completed.

KdF set up production of an affordable car, the Kdf-Wagen, which later became the Volkswagen Beetle. Buyers of the car made payments and posted stamps in a stamp-savings book, which when full, would be redeemed for the car. Due to the shift to wartime production, no consumer ever received a Kdf-Wagen (although after the war, Volkswagen did give some customers a 200DM discount for their stamp-books). The Beetle factory was primarily converted to produce the Kübelwagen (the German equivalent of the jeep). What few Beetles were produced went primarily to the diplomatic corps and military officials.

August 13, 2012

Growler

A growler [grou-ler] is a glass or ceramic jug with a capacity of 64 oz (1,900 ml) used to transport draught beer in Australia, the United States, and Canada. They are commonly sold at breweries and brewpubs as a means to sell take-out beer. The exploding growth of craft breweries and the growing popularity of home brewing has also led to an emerging market for the sale of collectible growlers. Growlers are generally made of glass and have either a screw-on cap or a hinged porcelain gasket cap, which can provide freshness for a week or more. A properly sealed growler will hold carbonation indefinitely and will store beer like any other sanitized bottle. Some growler caps are equipped with valves to allow replacement of CO2 lost while racking. The modern glass growler was first introduced by Charlie and Ernie Otto of Otto Brother’s Brewing Company in 1989.

While 64 oz (0.5 gallons) is the most popular growler size, growlers are commonly found in 32 oz, 128 oz, 1 L and 2 L sizes as well. The two most popular colors for growlers are amber (dark glass greatly reduces UV light from spoiling the beer) or clear (often referred to as ‘flint’). Clear growlers are often 25% – 35% cheaper per unit than their amber counterparts. Glass handles are the most common type of handle for growlers, although metal handles (with more ornate designs) can also be found. Some growlers do not have handles – this is especially common with growlers smaller than 64 oz. that have Grolsch-style flip-tops. The term likely dates back to the late 19th century when fresh beer was carried from the local pub to one’s home by means of a small galvanized, rust-resistant pail. It is claimed the sound that the CO2 made when it escaped from the lid as the beer sloshed around sounded like a growl.

August 10, 2012

Yoyodyne

Yoyodyne is a fictitious defense contractor introduced in Thomas Pynchon’s ‘V.’ (1963) and featured prominently in his novel ‘The Crying of Lot 49′ (1966). Described in the latter book as ‘a giant of the aerospace industry,’ Yoyodyne was founded by World War II veteran Clayton ‘Bloody’ Chiclitz. The company has a large manufacturing plant in the fictional town of San Narciso, California. The name is reminiscent of several real high-tech companies, including Teledyne, Teradyne, which was founded a few years before Pynchon wrote ‘The Crying of Lot 49,’ and Rocketdyne, an aerospace company that manufactured, among other things, propulsion systems. The ‘dyne’ is the standard unit of force in the centimeter-gram-second system of units (largely obsolete but still widely recognized), derived from the Greek word dynamis meaning ‘power’ or ‘force.’

The 1984 film ‘The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension’ used the name, as Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems, for a defense contractor whose corporate offices feature the sign, ‘Where the future begins tomorrow.’ Yoyodyne is a front for a group of red Lectroid aliens, all with the first name John, that landed in New Jersey in 1938, using the panic created by Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ radio play as cover. Numerous references in the ‘Star Trek series,’ such as control panels and dedication plaques, indicate that parts of Federation starships were manufactured by Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems or YPS. Often, these notices are too small to be visible on a television screen, or can only be observed by freeze-framing. The creators of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ were noted fans of Buckaroo Banzai and featured many references to the film in the series.

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August 9, 2012

Irrational Exuberance

Irrational exuberance‘ is a phrase used by the then-Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Alan Greenspan, in a speech given at the American Enterprise Institute during the Dot-com bubble of the 1990s. The phrase was interpreted as a warning that the market might be somewhat overvalued. Greenspan’s comment was made in late 1996: ‘[…] Clearly, sustained low inflation implies less uncertainty about the future, and lower risk premiums imply higher prices of stocks and other earning assets. We can see that in the inverse relationship exhibited by price/earnings ratios and the rate of inflation in the past. But how do we know when irrational exuberance has unduly escalated asset values, which then become subject to unexpected and prolonged contractions as they have in Japan over the past decade?’

The prescience of the short comment within a rather dry and complex speech would not normally have been so memorable; however, it was followed by immediate slumps in stock markets worldwide, particularly the Nasdaq Composite, provoking a strong reaction in financial circles and making its way into colloquial speech. Greenspan’s comment was well remembered, although few heeded the ‘warning.’ The phrase was picked up by Yale professor Robert Shiller, who used it as the title of a book on the topic in 2000. By the mid-to-late 2000s the losses were recouped and eclipsed by a combination of events, including the 2000s commodities boom and the United States housing bubble. However, the late-2000s recession of 2007 onwards wiped out these gains. The second market slump brought the phrase back into the public eye, where it was much used in hindsight, to characterize the excesses of the bygone era.

August 9, 2012

K Tape

Elastic therapeutic tape, commonly referred to as ‘kinesiology tape,’ is an elastic cotton strip with an acrylic adhesive that is used with the intention of treating athletic injuries and a variety of physical disorders.

Numerous studies have failed to show that elastic therapeutic taping produces clinically significant benefits. A 2012 systematic review found that the efficacy of Kinesio Tape in pain relief was trivial.

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August 6, 2012

Girls’ Toys

Girls’ games and toys are a large yet difficult market for the children’s toy industry. Nancy Zwiers, an industry consultant and former head of worldwide marketing for Mattel’s Barbie doll line, has pointed out the male-centred bias that makes development of girls’ toys difficult: ‘When I tour different company showrooms and look at what they’re doing, many times it’s a bunch of guys making decisions about what girls would like, and they miss the mark.’

‘Age compression’ is a toy industry term that describes the modern trend of children moving through play stages faster than they did in the past. Children have a desire to progress to more complex toys at a faster pace, girls in particular. Barbie dolls, for example, were once marketed to girls around 8 years old, but have been found to be more popular in recent years with girls around 3 years old. The packaging for the dolls labels them appropriate for ages 3 and up.

August 3, 2012

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things refers to uniquely identifiable objects (things) and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure. The term ‘Internet of Things’ was first used by British technology pioneer Kevin Ashton in 1999. The concept first became popular through his Auto-ID Center at MIT, which created a global standard system for RFID (radio-frequency identification) and other sensors. RFID is often seen as a prerequisite for the Internet of Things. If all objects and people in daily life were equipped with radio tags, they could be identified and inventoried by computers. However, unique identification of things may be achieved through other means such as barcodes, QR codes, and advanced computer object recognition. Equipping all objects in the world with minuscule identifying devices could be transformative of daily life. For instance, business may no longer run out of stock or generate waste products, as involved parties would know which products are required and consumed. One’s ability to interact with objects could be altered remotely based on immediate or present needs, in accordance with existing end-user agreements.

Ashton’s original definition was: ‘Today computers—and, therefore, the Internet—are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings—by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code. Conventional diagrams of the Internet … leave out the most numerous and important routers of all – people. The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. And that’s a big deal. We’re physical, and so is our environment … You can’t eat bits, burn them to stay warm or put them in your gas tank. Ideas and information are important, but things matter much more. Yet today’s information technology is so dependent on data originated by people that our computers know more about ideas than things. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things—using data they gathered without any help from us—we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best. The Internet of Things has the potential to change the world, just as the Internet did. Maybe even more so.’

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