August 21, 2016

Efraim Diveroli

Arms and the dudes

Efraim Diveroli (b. 1985) was the founder of AEY Inc., a major weapons contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense that was prosecuted for violating an American arms embargo against China. In 2007, AEY provided 42-year-old substandard Chinese ammunition in ‘crumbling boxes’ that was re-branded and re-packaged. Documents showed that the company totaled more than $200 million in contracts to supply ammunition, assault rifles, and other weapons in 2007, despite the fact that his partner, David Packouz, and Diveroli were in their early 20s at the time.

As a result of the publicity surrounding the contract and the age of the arms dealers, the United States Army began a review of its contracting procedures. He was indicted on several dozen counts of fraud, and eventually pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy. He was sentenced to four years in federal prison. He is a subject of a 2016 Todd Phillips drama comedy film, ‘War Dogs,’ in which he is portrayed by Jonah Hill. The film was based on a ‘Rolling Stone’ article by Guy Lawson which he later adapted into a book titled ‘Arms and the Dudes.’ The film is heavily fictionalized and dramatized, and many of its events, such as the duo driving through Iraq, never took place. Continue reading

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August 14, 2016

Rock Paper Scissors

rps

spock lizard by JDPD

Rock-paper-scissors (sometimes called ‘roshambo’) is a zero-sum hand game usually played between two people, in which each player simultaneously forms one of three shapes with an outstretched hand. These shapes are ‘rock’ (fist), ‘paper’ (flat palm), and ‘scissors’ (a fist with the index and middle fingers together forming a V). Each beats one of the other two, and loses to the other (i.e. ‘paper covers rock, but ‘scissors cut paper,’ and ‘rock crushes scissors’).

The players usually count aloud to three, or speak the name of the game (e.g. ‘Rock Paper Scissors!’ or ‘Ro Sham Bo!’), each time either raising one hand in a fist and swinging it down on the count or holding it behind. They then ‘throw’ by extending it towards their opponent. If both players choose the same shape, the game is tied and is usually immediately replayed. The game is often used as a choosing method in a way similar to coin flipping, drawing straws, or throwing dice. Unlike truly random selection methods, however, rock-paper-scissors can be played with a degree of skill by exploiting non-random behavior in opponents. Continue reading

August 11, 2016

Hood Ornament

Lejeune

Spirit of Ecstasy

A hood ornament (‘bonnet ornament’ in the UK), ‘radiator cap,’ ‘motor mascot,’ or ‘car mascot’ is a specially crafted model which symbolizes a car company like a badge, located on the front center portion of the hood. It has been used as an adornment nearly since the inception of automobiles. According to ‘A History of Cars,’ the first ‘hood ornament’ was a sun-crested falcon (to bring good luck) mounted on Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun’s chariot.

In the early years, automobiles had their radiator caps outside of the hood and on top of the grille which also served as an indicator of the temperature of the engine’s coolant fluid. The Boyce MotoMeter Company was issued a patent in 1912 for a radiator cap that incorporated a thermometer that was visible to the driver with a sensor that measured the heat of the water vapor, rather than the water itself. This became a useful gauge for the driver because many early engines did not have water pumps, but a circulation system based on the ‘thermo-syphon’ principle as in the Ford Model T. The ‘exposed radiator cap became a focal point for automobile personalization.’ Continue reading

August 10, 2016

Toyetic

spaceballs

Toyetic is a term referring to the suitability of a media property, such as a cartoon or movie, for merchandising tie-in lines of licensed toys, games and novelties. The term is attributed to Bernard Loomis, a toy development executive for Kenner Toys, in discussing the opportunities for marketing the film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind,’ telling its producer Steven Spielberg that the movie wasn’t ‘toyetic’ enough, leading Loomis towards acquiring the lucrative license for the upcoming ‘Star Wars’ properties.

Although George Lucas wrote the ‘Star Wars’ saga without considering the toyetic potentials of the film, he insisted that he would keep the merchandising rights before the first film was released. 20th Century-Fox underestimated the potential of the film and allowed Lucas to do so, and the film turned out to be a toyetic phenomenon. The seven films have spawned a massive merchandising empire, with everything from toys, action figures, and video games to non-toy merchandise, such as beer steins, spoons, and replicas of the lightsaber hilts. Continue reading

August 2, 2016

Charging Bull

occupy wall street by Sassan Filsoof

Charging Bull, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Wall Street Bull’ or the ‘Bowling Green Bull’ is a bronze sculpture, that stands in Bowling Green Park in the Financial District in Manhattan. Originally guerilla art, by Arturo Di Modica, its popularity led to it being a permanent feature.

The 7,100 lb sculpture stands 11 feet tall and measures 16 feet long. The bull’s testicles are 10 inches in diameter, weighing 107 pounds each. The oversize sculpture depicts a bull, the symbol of aggressive financial optimism and prosperity, leaning back on its haunches and with its head lowered as if ready to charge. The sculpture is both a popular tourist destination which draws thousands of people a day, as well as ‘one of the most iconic images of New York’ and a ‘Wall Street icon’ symbolizing Wall Street and the Financial District. Continue reading

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August 1, 2016

Will It Play In Peoria?

groucho

Will it play in Peoria?‘ is a figure of speech that is traditionally used to ask whether a given product, person, promotional theme, or event will appeal to mainstream (also called ‘Main Street’) America, or across a broad range of demographic and psychographic groups. The phrase was popularized during the vaudeville era and in movies by Groucho Marx. The belief was that if a new show was successful in Peoria, a main Midwestern stop for vaudeville acts, it would be successful anywhere.

Jack Mabley, writing in the ‘Chicago Tribune,’ concluded that ‘if it plays in Peoria it has good taste,’ but a more apt meaning is, according to James C. Ballowe, former dean of Peoria’s Bradley University graduate school, that ‘Peoria is a tough audience.’ The phrase subsequently was adopted by politicians, pollsters, and promoters to question the potential mainstream acceptance of anything new. Continue reading

July 31, 2016

Mascot

Phanatic by Mike Jackson

A mascot is any person, animal, or object thought to bring luck, or anything used to represent a group with a common public identity, such as a school, professional sports team, society, military unit, or brand name. Mascots are also used as fictional, representative spokespeople for consumer products, such as the rabbit used in advertising and marketing for the General Mills brand of breakfast cereal, Trix. Costumed mascots are commonplace, and are regularly used as goodwill ambassadors in the community for their team, company, or organization such as the U.S. Forest Service’s ‘Smokey Bear.’

In the world of sports, mascots are also used for merchandising. Team mascots are often confused with team nicknames. While the two can be interchangeable, they are not always the same. For example, the athletic teams of the University of Alabama are nicknamed the ‘Crimson Tide,’ while their mascot is an elephant named ‘Big Al.’ Team mascots may take the form of a logo, person, live animal, inanimate object, or a costumed character, and often appear at team matches and other related events, sports mascots are often used as marketing tools for their teams to children. Continue reading

July 28, 2016

Leo Burnett

tony the tiger

Leo Burnett (1891 – 1971) was an American advertising executive and the founder of Leo Burnett Company, Inc. He was responsible for creating some of advertising’s most well-known characters and campaigns of the 20th century, including ‘Tony the Tiger,’ ‘Charlie the Tuna,’ the ‘Marlboro Man,’ the ‘Maytag Repairman,’ United’s ‘Fly the Friendly Skies,’ Allstate’s ‘Good Hands,’ and for garnering relationships with multinational clients such as McDonald’s, Hallmark, and Coca-Cola.

His first job out of college was as a reporter for the ‘Peoria Journal Star’ in Peoria, Illinois. In 1917, Leo moved to Detroit and was hired to edit an in-house publication for ‘Cadillac Clearing House,’ later becoming an advertising director for the same institution. At Cadillac, Leo met his advertising mentor, Theodore F. MacManus, whom Leo called ‘one of the great advertising men of all time.’ Continue reading

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July 24, 2016

Hideo Kojima

kojima

Hideo Kojima (b. 1963) is a Japanese video game designer, screenwriter, director, and producer. He is the director of Kojima Productions, which he originally founded in 2005, and a former vice president of Konami Digital Entertainment. He is often regarded as an ‘auteur’ video game director.

He is the creator, director and writer of a number of widely praised video games, including the ‘Metal Gear’ series of stealth games, and the adventure games ‘Snatcher’ and ‘Policenauts,’ and he also directed or produced games in other series, including ‘Zone of the Enders,’ ‘Boktai,’ and ‘Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.’

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July 23, 2016

Self-monitoring

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Dramaturgy

Self-monitoring is a theory that deals with the phenomena of expressive controls, the ability to regulate behavior to accommodate social situations.

Human beings generally differ in substantial ways in their abilities and desires to engage in expressive controls. Individuals concerned with their expressive self-presentation (i.e. impression managers) tend to closely monitor their audience in order to ensure appropriate or desired public appearances. Self-monitors try to understand how individuals and groups will perceive their actions. Some personality types commonly act spontaneously and others are more apt to purposely control and consciously adjust their behavior. Continue reading

July 20, 2016

Trombone Shorty

trombone shorty

Troy Andrews (born January 2, 1986), also known by the stage name Trombone Shorty, is an American musician, producer, actor and philanthropist from New Orleans. A multi-instrumentalist, he is best known as a trombone and trumpet player but also performs and records on the drums, organ and tuba.

A highly sought after musician for his unique style and approach, he has worked with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, jazz, funk, hip hop and EDM. Andrews is the younger brother of trumpeter and bandleader James Andrews as well as the grandson of singer and songwriter Jessie Hill. He began playing trombone at age four, and since 2009 has toured with his own band, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. Continue reading

July 14, 2016

Chatbot

clippy

A chatterbot (also known as a talkbot, chatbot, Bot, chatterbox, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test (a measure of how well a computer can trick a person into believing that the computer is a person too).

Chatbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Some chatbots use sophisticated natural language processing systems (programs that understand not just recognize language), but many simpler systems scan for keywords within the input, then pull a reply with the most matching keywords, or the most similar wording pattern, from a database. The term ‘ChatterBot’ was originally coined by Michael Mauldin (creator of the first Verbot, Julia) in 1994 to describe these conversational programs.

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