Buck buck (also known as ‘Johnny-on-the-Pony’) is a children’s game with several variants. A very physical version of the game involves one group of players that huddles together. An opposing team of players climbs on their backs and attempts to make the pile collapse.
A less violent version has a player climbing on an opponent’s back and guessing the number of certain objects that are out of sight. As early as the 16th century, children in Europe and the Near East played Buck, Buck, which had been called ‘Bucca Bucca quot sunt hic?’ Pieter Bruegel’s painting “Children’s Games” (1560) depicts children playing a variant of the game. Continue reading
Vatnik (Russian: ‘cotton-padded jacket’), a derivative of and often shortened to ‘vata’ (Russian: ‘batting’), is a derogatory social slang neologisms in Russian and Ukrainian languages, and an internet meme used in reference to individuals with pro-Russian jingoist and chauvinist views. In the original meaning, ‘vatnik’ (also ‘telogreika’) is a cheap cotton-padded jacket.
The meme was created by Anton Chadskiy under the pseudonym ‘Jedem das Seine.’ His associated picture of an anthropomorphic square-shaped quilted jacket similar to the cartoon character ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ was first posted on Russian social network ‘VK’ September 9, 2011. The meme went viral in 2012, but became much more widespread in society after the Russian military intervention in Ukraine started in 2014. Chadskiy, claiming he feared political persecution, left Russia in late 2014. Continue reading
The ‘web brigades,’ also known in English media as the ‘troll army,’ are state-sponsored anonymous Internet political commentators and trolls linked to the Russian government.
Participants report that they are organized into teams and groups of commentators that participate in Russian and international political blogs and Internet forums using sockpuppets (fraudulent accounts) and large-scale orchestrated trolling (harassment) and disinformation campaigns to promote pro-Putin and pro-Russian propaganda. It has also been found that Wikipedia articles were targeted by Russian internet propaganda activities. Continue reading
David Ogilvy (1911 – 1999) was an advertising tycoon, founder of Ogilvy & Mather, and known as the father of advertising. Trained at the Gallup research organisation, he attributed the success of his campaigns to meticulous research into consumer habits.
His best-selling book ‘Confessions of an Advertising Man’ is one of the most popular and famous books on advertising, and there is a strong suspicion that Ogilvy is the inspiration for the suave creative director ‘Don Draper’ in the TV series ‘Mad Men.’ Continue reading
Buck passing, or passing the buck, is the act of attributing to another person or group one’s own responsibility. It is often used to refer to a strategy in power politics whereby a state tries to get another state to deter or possibly fight an aggressor state while it remains on the sidelines.
The expression is said to have originated from poker, in which a marker or counter (such as a knife with a buckhorn handle during the American Frontier era) was used to indicate the person whose turn it was to deal. If the player did not wish to deal he could pass the responsibility by passing the ‘buck,’ as the counter came to be called, to the next player. Continue reading
Fake news is a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation, be it via the traditional news media or via social media, with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically. It often employs eye-catching headlines or entirely fabricated news-stories in order to increase readership and online sharing. Profit is made in a similar fashion to ‘clickbait’ (content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue at the expense of quality or accuracy) and relies on ad-revenue generated regardless of the veracity of the published stories.
Easy access to ad-revenue, increased political polarization and the ubiquity of social media, primarily the Facebook newsfeed have been implicated in the spread of fake news. Anonymously hosted websites lacking known publishers have also been implicated, because they make it difficult to prosecute sources of fake news for slander. With a large portion of Americans using Facebook or Twitter to receive news, in combination with increased political polarization, filter bubbles, the tendency for readers to mainly read headlines – fake news was implicated in influencing the 2016 American presidential election. Continue reading
In automobiles, a start-stop system automatically shuts down and restarts the internal combustion engine to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This is most advantageous for vehicles which spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic lights or frequently come to a stop in traffic jams. Start-stop technology may become more common with more stringent government fuel economy and emissions regulations.
For non-electric vehicles, fuel economy gains from this technology are typically in the range of 3-10 percent. Hybrid/electric assist vehicles experience almost no delay in power from a stop, due to the instant availability of power from the traction battery to the electric motor(s). Gasoline powered cars on the other hand generally experience slight delays (albeit fractions of a second). Continue reading
The prisoner’s dilemma (PD) is a paradox about co-operation. It shows why two ‘rational’ individuals might not co-operate, even if it seems in their best interests. It is studied in game theory.
In the classic example two people are arrested for a crime, and the police are uncertain which person committed the crime, and which person abetted the crime. If each remains silent, they are both soon released. If one betrays the other, the betrayer goes free, and the other is imprisoned for a long time. If each betrays the other, they both are held for a short time. No matter what happens, they will never see each other again. Continue reading
The Idaho stop is the common name for a law that allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign, and a red light as a stop sign. It first became law in Idaho in 1982, but has not been adopted elsewhere.
A limited form of the law called ‘Stop as Yield,’ that deals only with stop signs, has expanded to parts of Colorado and been considered in several other states. Advocates argue that current law criminalizes normal cycling behavior, and that the Idaho stop makes cycling easier and safer and places the focus where it should be: on yielding the right-of-way. Lawmakers in many states and cities have attempted to pass similar laws. Continue reading
George Miller, commonly known by his internet pseudonym ‘Filthy Frank,’ is a musician and YouTube personality. He was born to Australian and Japanese parents, and attended Canadian Academy, where he graduated from in 2012. Aside from the comedic and often rap based music he creates under his ‘Pink Guy’ alias, Miller also creates more serious and traditional music under the stage name ‘Joji.’ He first became known for his absurdist YouTube channel, ‘TVFilthyFrank,’ which features music, rants and a bizarre ‘show’ featured in an alternate universe, with all of the main characters played by him.
Miller’s video titled ‘Do the Harlem Shake (Original)’ has been viewed 57.2 million times and spawned the ‘Harlem Shake’ meme. The earliest known video of Miller is a YouTube video titled ‘2cool4u92,’ uploaded to a channel sharing the same name in 2006 and features a young Miller performing a break dance move in front of the camera. Miller created the ‘Filthy Frank’ character during his time on his ‘Dizasta Music’ channel, where he created other content but started gaining popularity once he conceptualized Frank, who is described as the anti-vlogger of YouTube. The first known video on this particular channel was uploaded in 2011, and was titled ‘Filthy Shit.’
Jorg Gray is a California-based brand of men’s and women’s watches. They are best known as the favored watch of U.S. President Barack Obama and the U.S. Secret Service. Jorg Gray was established as a watch line in 1998 by Logomark, Inc. based in Tustin, California. Originally Jorg Gray timepieces were manufactured as a high end promotional item for corporations and federal agencies. Jorg Gray became a retail only brand in 2009. The company has since expanded their line and launched a women’s collection in late 2013. There are currently over 250 authorized dealers the U.S. and the brand can be found in retail stores in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and South America.
President Obama received his original JG6500, the ‘official’ model of the Secret Service in 2007 as a birthday gift from his security team and has been documented wearing it. Shortly thereafter Jorg Gray created a commemorative edition of the timepiece. Each watch comes with an individualized serial number and an inscription, laser engraved on the case back. Other government agencies around the world, including the London Metropolitan Police, now also wear watches made by Jorg Gray.
Mahjong is a four player game that originated in China during the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). Three-player variations of the game can be found in South Korea and Japan. The game and its regional variants are widely played throughout Eastern and South Eastern Asia and have a small following in Western countries.
Similar to the Western card game rummy (though played with small tiles instead of playing cards), Mahjong is a game of skill, strategy, calculation, and luck. It is not known when the conversion from cards to tiles took place precisely but it most likely occurred in the middle of the 19th century. Traditionally, Mahjong tiles were made of bone, often backed with bamboo. Bone tiles are still available but most modern sets are constructed from various plastics such as bakelite, celluloid, and more recently nylon. Continue reading