Archive for January 11th, 2011

January 11, 2011

Walker Library of Human Imagination

walker

The Walker Library of Human Imagination is the private library of Priceline.com founder Jay S. Walker opened in 2002. The library occupies 3,600 square feet in his Connecticut home. It showcases a collection of rare books, artworks, maps and manuscripts as well as artifacts both modern and ancient. Rare books in the collection include: a complete Bible handwritten on sheepskin from 1240; the first illustrated history book (1493); the first illustrated medical book (1499); the first medical book to illustrate the human brain (1550); a copy of ‘Micrographia’ (1664), the first book of illustrations of images seen in the first microscopes; and a 1699 atlas containing the first maps to show the sun, not the earth, as the center of the known universe.

Historical artifacts include: an original 1957 Russian Sputnik backup; an instruction manual for a Saturn V rocket, along with a signed American flag carried to the surface of moon and back on the first lunar landing; and the napkin on which President Franklin D. Roosevelt jotted down his plan to win World War II, just four months after Pearl Harbor; one of two known Anastatic Facsimiles of the original 1776 Declaration of Independence (made directly from the original using a wet-copy process); a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed using movable type; and a Nazi Engima Machine decoder. Distributed around the Library are a series of etched-glass art panels by artist, Clyde Lynds, which illustrate major achievements in the history of human invention.

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January 11, 2011

Tin Foil Hat

mind control

A tin foil hat is a piece of headgear made from one or more sheets of aluminum foil or similar material or a conventional hat lined with foil worn to shield the brain from electromagnetic fields, or against mind control and/or mind reading; or attempt to limit the transmission of voices directly into the brain. The concept of wearing a tin foil hat for protection from such threats has become a popular stereotype and term of derision; the phrase serves as a byword for paranoia and persecutory delusions, and is associated with conspiracy theorists.

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January 11, 2011

Tux

tux

Tux is a penguin character and the official mascot of the Linux operating system originally created as an entry to a Linux logo competition. The concept of the Linux mascot being a penguin came from Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux. Tux was created by Larry Ewing in 1996 after an initial suggestion made by Alan Cox and further refined by Linus Torvalds on the Linux kernel mailing list.

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January 11, 2011

Gaslighting

Silent Hammer

Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. Sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics; they consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but are also typically charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions.

Gaslighting had a colloquial origin in a 1938 play ‘Gas Light,’ but the term has also been used in clinical and research literature. The play and its 1940 and 1944 film adaptations, concern a husband who attempts to drive his wife mad by manipulating small elements of their environment, and insisting that she is mistaken or misremembering when she points out these changes. The title stems from the husband’s subtle dimming of the house’s gas lights, which she accurately notices and which the husband insists she’s imagining.

January 11, 2011

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) refers to a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs. The term originated in the computer hardware industry where IBM and later Microsoft were accused of using FUD tactics against their competitors, particularly open source software like Linnux.

An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor’s product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival.

January 11, 2011

Noam Chomsky

chomsky by shepard fairey

interventions

Avram Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) is an American linguist, philosopher, political activist, author, and lecturer. He is a professor emeritus of linguistics at MIT. Chomsky created one of the most important contributions to the field of linguistics made in the 20th century: the theory of generative grammar, a branch of theoretical linguistics that works to provide a set of rules that can accurately predict which combinations of words are able to make grammatically correct sentences. In the 1950’s he helped start the cognitive revolution in psychology through his review of B. F. Skinner’s work.

He challenged the behaviorist way of looking at behavior and language. His natural approach to the study of language also changed the philosophy of language and mind. He invented the Chomsky hierarchy, a way of looking at formal languages in terms of their power to explain language. In the 1960s he criticized the Vietnam War. Because of that, Chomsky became more widely known for his media criticism and politics. He is a key intellectual figure within the left wing of United States politics.

January 11, 2011

Bill Hicks

A Ride

Bill Hicks (1961 – 1994) was an American stand-up comedian whose humor challenged mainstream beliefs, aiming to ‘enlighten people to think for themselves.’ Hicks used a ribald approach to express his material, describing himself as ‘Chomsky with dick jokes,’ while conceding that his humor was ‘caring.’ His material largely consisted of general discussions about society, religion, politics, philosophy, and personal issues. He was often controversial and his routine was steeped in dark comedy.

In both his stand-up performances and during interviews he criticized consumerism, superficiality, mediocrity, and banality within the media and popular culture, describing them as oppressive tools of the ruling class, meant to ‘keep people stupid and apathetic.’ Hicks died of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the age of 32. In the years after his death, his work and legacy achieved the significant admiration and acclaim of numerous humorists.

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January 11, 2011

Iron Ring

The Iron Ring is a ring worn by many engineers in Canada as a symbol and reminder of the obligations and ethics associated with the profession. Obtaining the ring is an optional endeavour, as it is not a prerequisite to becoming a Professional Engineer. The ring is given in a ceremony known as The Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer, administered by a body called The Corporation of the Seven Wardens. The first set of rings were conferred at the University of Toronto in 1925.

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January 11, 2011

Snopes

Snopes, officially the Urban Legends Reference Pages, is a web site discussing urban legends, Internet rumors, e-mail forwards, and other stories of uncertain or questionable origin.

It is the best-known resource for validating and debunking such stories in American popular culture, receiving 300,000 visits a day.

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January 11, 2011

Coconut Water

vita coco

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young coconuts. As the fruit matures, the coconut water gradually is replaced by the coconut meat and air. A very young coconut has very little meat, and the meat is very tender, almost a gel. Coconut water has long been a popular drink in the tropics, especially in Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, such as Hawaii, and the Caribbean, where it is available fresh, canned or bottled. It is naturally fat-free and low calorie.

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